Sunday morning started off with a yummy egg/veggie scramble and a hot cup of English Breakfast tea, watching the season finale of “The Middle”. If you’ve never seen that show, please do yourself a favor and check it out. It reminds me so much of my childhood, especially since the show is set in southern Indiana. We didn’t have anything planned for Sunday and Josh had never been to Newport Aquarium, so we decided to take a trip over. We arrived early enough to the aquarium that we missed most of the big weekend crowd. I have always had a love for the water and all its animals. Aquariums have long been one of my favorite places to visit and learn. We explored rivers from around the world and their wildlife. We got to touch a leather sea star and horseshoe crab in the Shore Gallery. There were several different types of seahorses to enjoy- one of my personal favorites were the sea dragons and dwarf seahorses. In Gator Alley, we got an up close look at Mighty Mike (he’s an 800 pound, 14 foot long alligator) and Snowflake & Snowball, the aquarium’s white American Alligators. There were lots of brightly colored poison dart and tree frogs in the frog bog. And the happiest little axolotl (Mexican salamander) you ever did see! I just loved his little “smile”.
The Stingray Hideaway was home to several stingrays…we got to crawl through an underwater tunnel and even got to pet a few of them! One of the most fun parts of the aquarium for me was the tunnel where the shark rays, several species of sharks and fish, and rays swam around and over your head. They are all so big and majestic, I love watching them move through the water. The jellyfish gallery was gorgeous. Mostly because jellyfish are in my top three favorites. We got to see Chinstrap, Rockhopper, and King penguins up close in Penguin Palooza. One of the things they’ve added at the end of the aquarium since I was last there is a really neat shark bridge. There is a rope bridge that travels across the shark tank. You get to walk just inches over the water and look down on all the giant sharks swimming around. It was a cool way to end the aquarium tour for sure.
After all the exploring and learning, we were ready to eat! I know you’re shocked. It wasn’t hard for me to convince Josh to try out Senate Pub. We’re starting another cut the beginning of July and since we’re not sure when we might make it back to Cinci, we figured it was the perfect time to go. Senate Pub is located right in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. I had been there once before with Des and Kalee and absolutely loved it. I was so excited to go back again.
For an appetizer, we ordered the poutine with a poached egg- french fries covered in braised short rib, local cheese curds, and gravy. Hands down the best poutine I’ve ever had. I’ve been dying for Josh to try it too, so he would know how good it is. When the poutine came out without the egg on top, no big deal, we just let the waitress know. We didn’t mind waiting an extra minute or two to get it at all. It was totally unexpected when the manager came to our table and informed us that the poutine was on the house. Talk about great customer service. We would have gladly paid for the poutine, but it was so thoughtful that they covered the cost for us. This is exactly why I love small gourmet street food restaurants like Senate Pub. We ordered the hot dog of the day (an Italian sausage on a brioche bun smothered in braised short rib and caramelized bell peppers and onions) and the Tricia Takanawa (a beef hotdog with wasabi mayo, bacon, sesame seeds, wasabi peas, and carrot slaw). We each cut our choices in half and then traded. Being married to someone who loves trying new foods and sharing is the best thing ever. I mean, how is ordering one type of hot dog but getting to eat two types of hot dogs not awesome?!
We strolled around Vine Street after lunch. There are lots of great restaurants, bars, and shops all along the OTR neighborhood and especially on Vine Street. We strolled around, stopping in at Elm & Iron (the cutest home decor/furniture store where I got an artificial succulent…I’ve successfully killed two live succulents, so it seemed like maybe I should try an artificial one), Pet Wants Kitchen (is anyone surprised we picked up some beef jerky and peanut butter cookies for Rocko), and Elm & Iron Loft (an extension of Elm & Iron focusing more on furniture). We headed home after a successful trip to Cinci and relaxed on the couch, catching up on the final day of the CF East and South Regionals events. The final day is always the most fun- everyone is pushing so hard to qualify for one of the top five spots to move on to the Games and the final workout is usually a quick/exciting sprint to the finish. It’s pretty easy to guess who will qualify for the top three spots, but the fourth and fifth qualifiers are usually a surprise. After all the hard work of the past year and especially the events over the weekend, it’s really neat to see the delight and exhilaration of the qualifiers. This past weekend makes me all the more excited to see what happens in the remaining regions over the next couple weekends!