J. Gumbo's summons the spices and flavors of Cajun cooking, dishing out chili and po' boys inspired by Louisiana classics. Start with the crawfish-cheese dip, a crawfish étouffée topped with cheddar cheese and served with tortilla chips ($5.50) or sink spoons into gumbo, a slow-cooked roux-based soup tweaked with onions, bell peppers, chicken, and andouille sausage ($6.50). Like a wizard with a wand made of taffy, the Voodoo chicken ($6.50) casts a spell on taste buds, highlighting slow-cooked poultry drizzled with spicy Cajun tomato sauce and vegetarians can make a meat-free meal of the white chili—white beans mingled with stewed tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and dill ($6.50). The classic po' boy sandwiches weigh down the plate like a freight truck on a bicycle kickstand and include the Jean Lafitte po' boy, an open-faced french bread nestled beneath Bumblebee stew, Voodoo chicken, cheese, jalapeños, and sour cream ($6.50).
With more than 15 locations nationwide, Wine and Canvas commissions accomplished artists to spread the joy of painting during informal painting classes. These talented brush wielders guide students of all abilities through a landscape, portrait, or abstract artwork via step-by-step instructions. Though each Wine and Canvas location is home to an art studio, the classes are taught in students’ living rooms or at local hot spots—many of which mix up tasty drink specials during classes. Instructors provide their artists-in-training with all the supplies they need to create eye-catching masterpieces, from paints and canvases to Ouija boards with a direct line to van Gogh. Though adult painting classes are Wine and Canvas’s bread and butter, they also help little ones unleash their creativity and satisfy their sweet tooth with Cookies and Canvas classes.
The inside of Blue Ash Strength & Conditioning looks like a jungle gym for adults. Here, people hang from bars of different heights, jump up to gymnastics rings, or flip giant tires through the space. This is a typical CrossFit class, led by experienced trainers who change up the workout routine every day to ensure muscles don't plateau. Their exercises are designed to create well-rounded athletes, and everything that's done can be scaled to accommodate guests of all fitness levels. A typical day at Blue Ash can bring any number of unforeseen challenges, from running around outside to hurling medicine balls.
Patty first discovered rock climbing in college. “I got sucked in right away,” she says. Before long, she found herself marrying a fellow climber—a man she met at Climb Time back when it was still managed by the original owners who also blended their relationship with climbing. “They got married at the gym,” Patty says, describing how the first owners scaled the roof to say their "I dos." Though Patty and her husband didn’t exchange rings at the top of a wall, they did decide to buy the gym.
The expansive arena challenges climbers with a 24-foot climbing wall, where novice and expert mountaineers alike grasp handholds with chalked palms or coax a gorilla to carry them up piggyback style. Along the other side of the facility, Patty and crew dare climbers to test their strength on a wide array of 15- to 60-degree bouldering inclines that sit above moveable pads to cushion jumps or falls.