Troy’s Cafe

In January we celebrated my grandma’s birthday …

with dinner at Troy’s Cafe. Part of me hesitates writing this, because it’s such a great suburbia secret. Situated at the end of a strip mall in West Chester, an area awash in chain restaurants, this little gem of a restaurant has delicious, reasonably priced food, good wine and desserts. Andy and I have celebrated an anniversary there. We’ve dragged all our friends up north to celebrate a birthday there. When family is in town, we often eat there—my parents could be considered regulars. It’s small, but I’ve never had to wait. When we have a large group, we make reservations. But still. I don’t understand why it’s not packed, all the time.

And they are so nice. I have taken many-a-crying child out to the parking lot only to be given extra crayons or a refill of milk upon our return. Two visits ago, Owen dropped his entire cupcake after only one bite. I think he got out only a couple tears before someone from Troy’s just appeared, new cupcake in hand at no cost.

They’re good people.

So there you go. If you live in Cincinnati—especially if you live in West Chester—check it out.

“Never trust the food in a restaurant on top of the tallest building in town that spends a lot of time folding napkins.” —Andy Rooney

My New Backseat Driver

Me: “Uh oh.”

Sophie: “What?”

Me: “I’m going the wrong way.”

Sophie: “What do you mean you’re going the wrong way?”

Me: “I’m lost.”

Sophie: “You’re lost?”

Me: “Yes.”

Sophie: “Why didn’t you go back the way we came?”

Me: “I missed my turn.”

Sophie: “What does ‘turn’ mean?”

Me: “You know. Right or left. I went straight when I should have turned.”

Sophie: “So why didn’t you just turn around and go back?”

Me: “Because now I’m downtown and dealing with one-way streets.”

Sophie: “Are we still lost?”

Me: “Yes.”

Sophie: “Boys, Mommy is lost.”

Me: “It’s OK, Sophie. You don’t need to tell them that.”

Sophie: “This does not look like our house [referring to a skyscraper].”

Me: “No. I’m still trying to find the road back to our house.”

Sophie: “She [referring to my Garmin, which I’ve since turned on] said to turn left, Mommy. You should have turned there.”

Me: “DANG IT!”

Sophie: “Are we still lost?”

Me: “Yes.”

Sophie: “How will we get home?”

Me: “We’ll figure it out.”

Sophie: “This is taking a long time.”

[blessed silence for a few minutes]

Sophie: “This doesn’t look like our house, either.”

Me: “I know where I am now. We’re on 471.”

Sophie: “What’s 471?”

Me: “The way home.”

Sophie: “Are you sure?”

“Back seat drivers don’t know the feel of the wheel
but they sho’ know how to make a fuss.” —Bob Dylan

Join a Summer Reading Program

Last week, at the Fort Thomas branch of the Campbell County Public Library, Sophie colored, tried on all the dress-up hats, played at the train table with James and Owen (and was surprisingly patient with their quest to break apart the track instead of put it together) and built towers. Then, she picked out three books. We checked them out and she carried them to the car in her Olivia bag.

As I was strapping her into her carseat she said, “Can I read one of my books on the way home?”

Every once in awhile Sophie will do or say something that reminds me so much of my childhood that I feel like I’m transported back to my past, a long-forgotten memory suddenly so vivid. This was one of those moments. Even though I grew up in Liberty Twp., we always participated in the Lebanon Public Library‘s summer reading program (oh how I loved those T-shirts we earned at the end). The books were housed in a beautiful, old building and sometimes we were treated to ice cream at Village Ice Cream Parlor after. And always I asked to read on the way home.

Today the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County kicks off its 38th Annual Summer Reading Program—Team Read—which runs through July 31. Open to preschoolers on up to adults, top readers at every library branch can win really great prizes including books, tickets to Coney Island or a Cincinnati Reds game and Nooks. (Way better than a T-shirt.)

Consider registering for a summer reading program this year. If you’re local, you can register for Team Read here (and you don’t have to be a Hamilton County resident to participate). I firmly believe an appreciation of books is one of the most important gifts you can give to your children and this is a most wonderful way to get them excited about reading.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” —Charles W. Eliot