How to make your own ‘Zombie Dogz’

Published: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 @ 12:41 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 @ 9:57 AM

Zombie Dogz restaurant and food truck has built its success on the knowledge that hot dogs remain one of America’s most favorite of favorite foods, even as our collective tastes have grown gourmet.

>> Zombie Dogz to open brick & mortar store 

>> 6 delicious hot dogs to eat in Dayton

I’ve seen their dogs with roasted corn, avocado puree and cilantro; with feta and tzaziki; with arugala and tomato jam. They keep freshening up the menu, which keeps their fans coming back for more.

>> Zombie Dogz announces menu updates

 

 
 

A photo posted by Zombiedogz (@zombiedogzdayton) on 


 

 >> Your guide to Dayton food trucks

There’s been jubilation since the announcement Monday that in September they’ll be opening a bricks-and-mortar restaurant at 1200 Brown St. near the University of Dayton. The news is bittersweet, however, because it means that the food truck won’t be making the rounds much after July as owners Dave and Lee VanArtsdalen focus on opening the restaurant. 

>> Young’s Dairy launched a new food truck, and you HAVE to try it

Withdrawal from Dayton’s most famous dogs will be difficult later this summer, and to help you get through the pain, we offer a recipe for gourmet dogs that you can make in minutes at home.

>> The 12 best restaurants in Dayton

From there, experiment with what you have in the fridge and in the pantry, as well as what you like. Be bold. Try cheese curds and gravy; tortilla chips, guacamole, queso and jalapenos; mashed potatoes or onion rings; egg salad; even fried bananas.

   

 
 
 

 Bright colors on a cloudy day.

 

A photo posted by Zombiedogz (@zombiedogzdayton) on 

  

THAI-STYLE HOT DOGS

Thai-Style Slaw

½ cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise

½ cup shredded carrots

½ (10-ounce) bag shredded red cabbage

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons less-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoons Thai red chili sauce

Peanut Sauce

2 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon sugar-free maple-flavor syrup

1½ teaspoons less-sodium soy sauce

For serving:

6 all-beef kosher hot dogs

6 whole wheat hot dog buns

¼ cup raw unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

6 teaspoons sesame seeds

Directions:

1. To make the slaw: In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, carrots, red cabbage and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and Thai red chili sauce. Pour this over the vegetables and toss to evenly cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. To make the peanut sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sesame oil, syrup and soy sauce. Set aside until ready to serve.

3. To assemble: Preheat an indoor grill, grill pan, or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Coat the indoor grill or grill pan with cooking spray. Grill the hot dogs for 2 to 3 minutes on all sides.

4. Place one grilled hot dog in a bun, top with 2 tablespoons slaw, ¾ tablespoon peanut sauce, a heaping ½ tablespoon peanuts, and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds.

5. Refrigerate any leftover slaw or serve it as a side dish.

Source: “Skinny Suppers: 125 Lightened-Up, Healthier Meals for Your Family” by Brooke Griffin; 308 pages, $29.99. Published by William Morrow, 2016.

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3 of the best spring wines to try under $20

Published: Wednesday, May 09, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

It’s spring in Ohio and finally time to get out of the house. I feel like I’ve been hibernating for months, and by hibernating I mean drinking big, bold, warming red wines under 3 layers of blankets while I watch reality TV. Cute visual, huh? But now the sun is up, restaurants are opening up their patios and I am ready to pour something a little brighter into my wine carafe. 

Here are my picks for the best spring wines under $20: 

 >>RELATED: Downtown business issues warning to ‘parents and prudes’ about new weekly event

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier - $13 

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier is one of the spring wines Tess recommends trying. CONTRIBUTED

I have this theory that the most popular American wines are widely consumed because they are easy to pronounce. People know how to say “Cab-er-net” but for fear of sounding silly, no one orders a deep and beautiful Mourvedre. I would like to state for the record now that this is silly and we should all get over that. There are so many amazing and beautiful wines on the shelves, and much more interesting grapes than chardonnay, people! Step outside of your comfort zone and try the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier blend. If you’ve been drinking oaky buttery white wines all your days, this bottle is going to blow your mind. It’s aromatic, bursting with honeysuckle and orange blossom, crisp and luscious with flavors of stone and tropical fruits. Lingering mineral flavors and a balanced acidity make for a well-rounded, dry white wine. The flavors are approachable, yet unique to anything you’ve tried before. Pick it up at Arrow Wine for a really affordable price, oh, and by the way, it’s pronounced (vee-yon-N’YAY.) 

 >>MORE: This rosé is so last season -- so make some spring sangria

Gassier Rosé - $17.99 

Gassier Rosé is one of Tess' picks for a spring wine to try. CONTRIBUTED

It’s no secret, I love me some rosé, especially when the temperatures outside start to climb. Rosés are bright, crisp, and refreshing - so refreshing, in fact, that they are slightly dangerous! A few sips can quickly turn into a few gulps, and next thing you know, your glass (or bottle!) is empty. One of my favorite rosés to sip on (and yes I do mean sip and savor) is the 2017 Gassier rosé. This beautiful French wine is a lovely shade of light (millennial) pink, a nice floral nose, and soft flavors of peach and grapefruit. Since rosés are growing in popularity, it’s hard to know what to look for, or even where to start. When I’m thinking about trying a new bottle, I personally look for two things: 1) If it’s from France, and 2) how light it is in color. This is a personal preference, of course, but I think the best rosés are coming out of France. I also prefer a light light pink over a blush wine. You’ll see a huge variance in rosé colors on the shelves, and I find the lighter wines are cripser and more floral while the darker shades taste more of berry and are a little bolder. The more you try, to more you can figure out what you like, and at a price like Gassier - you can try again and again! 

 >>RELATED: At this patio event, ‘pounding’ your favorite Rosé is encouraged

Stella Pinot Grigio - $15 for a 4 pack of small cans 

Stella Pinot Grigio is one of the spring wines Tess recommends trying. CONTRIBUTED

There is almost nothing better in this life than wine on-the-go. Those who know me best, know that I rarely see a movie without a contraband can of champagne in my bag. (Sorry movie theaters.) A new wine is out on shelves here in Ohio and they are the cutest and most refreshing cans of white wine out there. This Pinot Grigio from Sicily is a mature wine in a fun package! The delicate flavors of white peach, and lemon peel are light and refreshing, perfect for one of Ohio’s hot spring days, enjoy it out at a picnic with some gal pals, or cool off with it in a movie theater! This wine will be even better in the summer, pool side! No matter where you enjoy it, this is a lovely and sophisticated wine for a great price. 

>>GUIDE:  Where to go for the perfect picnic in Dayton 

Happy spring drinking, cheers and ciao!

Tess Vella’s blog can be found at CiaoVella.wordpress.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tess is a young professional, home-baker and downtown Dayton dweller who spent years working in the restaurant industry. When she's not mixing drinks for restaurant patrons, she's drinking champagne, buying shoes, or writing her blog, Ciao Vella. You can read about her home recipes, party planning tips, and more at www.CiaoVellaBlog.com

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The recipe for an amazing Derby Day party: Bourbon, tasty treats and a fabulous hat

Published: Friday, April 27, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

The signature drink of The Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep. The Mint Julep is an extremely strong bourbon drink, with minimal ingredients. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO / TESS VELLA-COLLETTE
The signature drink of The Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep. The Mint Julep is an extremely strong bourbon drink, with minimal ingredients. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO / TESS VELLA-COLLETTE

Derby Day is just a few weeks away, and even though I’m a “Yankee” through and through, if you live as close as we do in Dayton to Kentucky, you better get your derby hat ready.

>>WATCH: Emily Mendenhall of Lily's Bistro shows how to make a great Mint Julep

The signature drink of The Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep. The Mint Julep is an extremely strong drink, with minimal ingredients. 

 

  • 2 oz. Bourbon (Yes, it has to be bourbon) 
  • 1 oz. simple syrup 
  • 2 oz. crushed ice 
  • Mint sprigs for garnish 

 

Seriously, that’s it. It’s basically like a bourbon slushy. There are two components that make this drink so awesome.

>>RELATED: Future downtown speakeasy’s name pulls from Dayton history

Number one is the crushed ice. That’s absolutely key for the perfect Julep. It keeps you cool on a hot spring or summer day, but more importantly, crushing ice is the MOST SATISFYING THING EVER.

Experiencing a little pent up aggression? Smack a Lewis Bag of ice with a big mallet and your stress will melt away, the booze helps too.

>>Looking for things to do? These are the TOP 10 events in Dayton this week

The other component that makes a mint julep especially enjoyable is the sterling silver julep cup. Much like a Moscow mule mug, the ice stays nice and cold for longer, and basically you just look really cool drinking out of it. Many cups come with a spoon/straw hybrid just like a slushie at the 7/11 but much classier, and for adults. 

Try some nice bites sure to satisfy all of your party guests. Stuffed mushrooms are always a crowd pleaser and they are incredibly easy to make. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO / TESS VELLA-COLLETTE

>>MORE: What’s better than one Cinco de Mayo celebration? El Meson says two

Not that I care about horse racing by any means, but I’ve decided to throw a party for Derby Day (mostly because last year I spent $60 on a hat, and I wanted to wear it again 😳). And it is the perfect opportunity to hang out with some friends, throw a couple juleps back.

>>PHOTOS: Derby Day 2017 in the Oregon District

Also, the promise of Spring has been long awaited, and with that, the bounty of beautiful fresh veggies popping up all over. Here is my recipe for the perfect Derby Day Soireecomplete with plenty of bourbon, lots of tasty treats, and yes, a fabulous hat

>>RELATED: 5 events to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Dayton

Another easy to please and fool proof dish which highlights spring veggies in a light and bright way: ricotta and asparagus bruschetta. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO / TESS VELLA-COLLETTE

You’ve got the drink recipe down...but for food, try some nice bites sure to satisfy all of your party guests. Stuffed mushrooms are always a crowd pleaser. And they are incredibly easy to make. Let some cream cheese get to room temperature, a dollop of ricotta, a pinch of chives, and a healthy dose of fresh parsley. Mix them together, and spoon them into some fresh white mushroom tops. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, they will be ooey-gooey, and if you top them with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, they will be irresistible to all of your party pals. 

>>PHOTOS: Get inspired for Derby Day with these looks from Dayton Heart Ball’s ‘Heart of the Derby’ gala

Another easy to please and fool proof dish which highlights spring veggies in a light and bright way: ricotta and asparagus bruschetta. Slice a few pieces of French baguette, drizzle with olive oil and toast in the oven for 7 minutes. Spread that extra ricotta cheese across the bread, top with roasted asparagus, and a pinch of sea salt. Right before your guests arrive, zest lemon on top, and again, a glug of balsamic. They will pop on a serving plate, and your guests will gobble them up. 

Take your favorite brownie, or chocolate cake recipe and top it with bourbon whipped cream. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO / TESS VELLA-COLLETTE

And of course, you can’t skip dessert. Take your favorite brownie, or chocolate cake recipe and top it with bourbon whipped cream. Yep, you heard me, boozy whipped cream. All of the world’s problems could be solved if people just added liquor to their dessert topping. 

You heard it here first, people. In a mixing bowl, add heavy whipping cream, a pinch of sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla and a glug of that bourbon you’ve got on hand. Whisk until you’ve reached stiff peaks and spoon on top of your chocolatey confection. 

Your friends will leave your party slightly toasted, full of delicious food, and ready to get their derby on. And by that, I mean checking out the Wiener Dog Race in the Oregon District. I guess you could watch some horses run too, if you’re into that kind of thing.

It's not Derby Day if you aren't wearing a fabulous hat. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO / TESS VELLA-COLLETTE(Tess Vella-Collette)

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Nurse your hangover with help from Dayton's bartenders

Published: Saturday, December 26, 2015 @ 12:00 PM
Updated: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 3:38 PM

5 Secret Hangover Cures

We’ve seen this movie before.

Here we are again, prostrate on the couch with a head pounding from excess alcohol and heavy dehydration. Somehow, we lost ourselves last night between a bottle of red wine, or one too many Fireball shots, or the random Long Island Iced Tea. 

>> New pub in the works at the former Barnsider location

Though it feels like we’ll never revive, there are ways to beat back the hangover beast. Your local bartenders have many tricks up their sleeve – they are, after all, used to nursing their customers — and themselves – back to health. 

>> New BBQ restaurant opening in Kettering THIS WEEK

We asked a few of our neighborhood bartenders their most effective techniques. May they serve you well.

>> The best places for brunch in Dayton

Ginger, miso, tofu, spinach, green onion are piled in a bowl, then doused with broth. Soup, instantly. (Food styling by Joan Moravek) (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/TNS)(Bill Hogan)

Vitamin Water, miso soup, Chinese buffet, booze

Amber Brady serves up delicious (and dangerous) cocktails at Lily’s Bistro, and offered up her step-by-step process for recovery:

“For me, hangover remedies are an intricate ritual of as many 'cures' as I can possibly ingest,” Brady said. Try one, some or all of the following with her recommendations:

"Revive" Vitamin Water. "This is a must. This purple potion is packed full of B vitamins, potassium and electrolytes. All things your body is begging for. If the store is out, shed a single tear and get another flavor; however, Revive is where it's at."

Coconut water. "Tons of electrolytes and hydration goodness. Just pound one. Sure way to get some moisture back into your poor dehydrated body."

Miso soup. "I know the sodium is a throw off here, but it actually helps you retain water. Lots of good vitamins and minerals here too, plus it's just a feel good soup."

Tons of water. "You should be drinking water throughout your boozy adventures, but let's be real, that rarely happens. So at the very least, chug as much as you can before bed. Then chug one more glass. When you wake up, drink it all day. Force yourself. After your Revive and coconut water, of course."

Food. "Once you can eat, feed the beast. When the battle of the hangover comes to the point where I can eat, I eat tons of food. Preferably Chinese buffet, or if I'm not capable of removing myself from my cave of shame, get Chinese delivery. Go all out. You’re going to need to eat it like three times that day."

>> Where to get the best Chinese food in Dayton

Lily's Bistro Bar Manager Amber Brady shares her top hangover cures. Provided photo.(HANDOUT)

The classic hair of the dog. "This isn't always possible, especially if you are also nursing a 'shameover' and you've done or said things that will not allow you to be seen in public for a few days. However, if you can, my go-to hangover booze is a shot of whiskey, a beermosa, or at Lily’s, we offer the fine cocktail ‘Corpse Reviver #2,’ (made with Citadelle gin, Lillet blanc, lemon juice, orange liqueur, Pernod rinse, and Luxardo cherry garnish). However, it comes with the warning that too many will just put you back where you started. It's delicious and one or two of these really does help ease the pain!"

The bubbles settle your stomach; the booze clears your head just enough to start functioning. Plus you feel fancy again. File photo

A little bubbly could do the trick

Corner Kitchen bartender Callie Young admits that she is “terrible at being hungover.”

“I usually just lay in bed all day,” she wrote. “If I do drink, it is champagne with grapefruit juice and then some Taco Bell.”

Food and lifestyle blogger Tess Vella-Collette, also a contributor to Dayton.com, gave a rundown of her hangover cure routine.

  • "First of all, a shower is essential. It sounds terrible, but once you get in there, let the steam hit you, and reflect on your bad decisions from the night before; you can wash it all away and start again.
  • Second, champagne. I don’t like to muddy something already perfect with fruit juice, so no mimosas for me.
  • Third, a runny egg – in ramen doesn’t hurt.
  • Fourth: I must spend the rest of the day horizontal. Hulu is my friend."

Whatever crazy method you use to relieve a hangover, please don't try this one. Black coffee alone can make your hangover worse, according to researchers. But combine black coffee with Tylenol and the effects could be deadly, suggest scientists. Caffeine triples the amount of a toxic by-product created when Tylenol is broken down. It's the same substance responsible for liver damage when alcohol and Tylenol react together. Just don't do it.(Business Wire photo/William Berry/ AJC Special)

Amateur hour: Dayton.com's personal cures

Lastly, we may not be bartenders in our day jobs, but several of us served plenty of time in the restaurant business to pick up a few tricks to getting the job done while feeling less than amazing. Plus, college. The following is a sampling of our staff recommendations.

  • "Smart Water. Lots of it. If you have pickles in the fridge, sip that pickle juice. Fill your belly with Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese. But the all-time winner when you need to revive in a hurry is a glass of ginger ale with a few dashes of Angostura bitters, any flavor. At almost 45 percent alcohol, even just a touch of these bitters will bring you back to life."
  • "Two huge glasses of water and Tylenol before bed. Also, Gatorade the next day, especially if you were too drunk to remember to drink water and have Tylenol before bed."
  • "Bagels and Bloody Marys. Plus, heavy lounging and Netflix."
  • "Dry Life cereal and Gatorade. If you can afford it, upgrade to Pedialyte: world of difference. They even make Pedialyte popsicles and suckers."
From the Dayton.com staff to all of you: Good luck, and wishing you a speedy recovery.

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Where to find king cake on Fat Tuesday in Dayton

Published: Thursday, February 23, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

Some facts about this Marci Gras delicacy.

To us in Dayton, king cake may seem like a bit of a novelty. However, those from or living in the Gulf Coast area take it very seriously.

>> 10 restaurants opening in Dayton in 2018 

Commonly enjoyed on Fat Tuesday -- which will be celebrated on Feb. 13, 2018 this year -- the origin of the king cake goes back to Biblical times as part of the celebration of the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 6. Its popularity spread across Europe as a Christmastime delicacy before making its way to North America. 

>> Where to find paczki in Dayton on Fat Tuesday

French settlers brought the recipe to the Gulf Coast in the 1700s, where the cinnamon-flavored treat was later associated with carnival season.  

>> Reza’s Roast to open first coffee shop on Wayne Ave.

French settlers brought King Cake to North America in the 1700s.(Jim Ingram)

>> So many new chain restaurants snagged by Cornerstone -- how do they do it?

King cake recipes have transformed into various forms over the centuries, with a small baby doll being included somewhere inside the cake itself to symbolize the birth of Jesus at parties. 

>> 4 new restaurants that opened in Dayton last month

Tradition holds that the party guest who gets the piece of cake with the doll in it will be blessed with good fortune and be crowned the king or queen of said party. But royalty has its obligations as well, as the winner must provide the king cake the following year.

WHERE TO GET KING CAKE NEAR DAYTON

Ashley’s Pastry Shop - 21 Park Avenue, Dayton 45419

* Big Sky Bread Company - 3070 Far Hills Avenue, Dayton 45429

* Dorothy Lane Markets - Oakwood, Washington Square and Springboro 

* Ele Cake Company - West Carrollton, Beavercreek and Austin Landing 

* Evans Bakery - 700 Troy Street, Dayton 45404

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