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The Historic Inns of Ohio #2

 

The Levee House

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Last Saturday, April 5th I drove the 142 miles to Marietta, traveling south through the gentle rolling foothills hills, the remains of the once might Appalachian Mountains, in south eastern Ohio.

I took the scenic State Route 60 which meanders along the banks of the Muskingum River rather than take the antiseptic, utilitarian, and faster Interstate 77 route.

In a ‘normal’ spring (what ever that is) the trees would have young tender leaves and would be bursting with the colorful flowers of redbud and apple trees. Due to the cold winter and spring the trees were still bare. The weather people told me it would be sunny. But alas, it was cloudy gray all the way south.

However, as if on cue, when I drove into the city limits of Marietta the sun came out.

At The Levee House the first thing to greet me were dancing cheerful daffodils.

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And it just kept getting better and better as the day wore on.

First A Little History

The Northwest Ordinance, passed by the United States Congress, set up rules for expansion of the fledging new nation west of the original 13 states:

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 ………the act of Congress in 1787 providing for the government of the Northwest Territory and setting forth the steps by which its subdivisions might become states.

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It did not take long for the pioneers to set up home in the new territory.

By 1788 Marietta was the first such permanent settlement recognized by the new government. Sitting at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers in what is now south east Ohio it was soon a busy business hub based on river transportation and trade.

 Source: Wikipedia

Today the entire downtown area of Marietta, Ohio is on the list of  National Historic Places.

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The Levee House stands at 127 Ohio Street as the only remaining original riverfront structure in Marietta. The river, once the source of trade and transportation, formerly was lined with dry goods stores, hotels, restaurants, and taverns. The Levee House has been all of the above.”

Source: Levee House restaurant web site; link above. There is a picture of the original building, a dry goods store,  on that web site.

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The building sits right on the Ohio River. It is not more than 15 steps to the river.

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The current owners are Chef David Hearing and his wife Kimberly.

With that backdrop I met up with Twitter friend, Renee,  [ @reneestorey ]who lives in Portsmouth, Ohio further west on the Ohio River.

Lunch and Friends

I arrived first and was warmly greeted by Kim, one of the owners and Super Waitress Shannon,  who made me feel right at home with a big smile and a cup of hot tea. I was seated at a table with a view of the Ohio River.

Everyone was super friendly and had ready smiles and the service was top rate. And just in case you are thinking that maybe they were nice to us because I have a blog, The Levee has a 76%  Recommend score on Trip Advisor.  So it is not just me and Renee.

Soon Renee arrived and we looked over the Menu.

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Renee ordered the Swiss Onion Chicken Sandwich and I ordered the Steak Salad.

Me on the left. Renee on the right.

As we waited for our food Renee and I talked and talked like we had known each other for years. She is a delight! She is just as nice in person as she is on Twitter.  She works for the Ohio State University Extension Program and helps low income families in the Portsmouth area learn how to make and eat delicious, healthy, and inexpensive meals. We had a lot in common as I taught school in low income areas in Dayton, Ohio.

When our food arrived we were in heaven. Everything was fantastic!

Renee had the Swiss Onion Sandwich.

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She said it was very tasty. She loved the mix of the chicken with onions and the melted Swiss cheese.

I had the Steak Salad.

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It was excellent. In fact, excellent is way too lame for how great this salad is. The steak was tender and flavorful. The greens were fresh and crisp. The Swiss cheese was not over whelming but just added another subtle layer of taste. There were these little potato sticks that added just a wee bit of crunch.

But best of all was the Raspberry Dressing. I like Raspberry Dressing, but I am not usually in love with it. Most of the time it tastes fake. Not this time. Not this time!!

The dressing had a fresh and intense real raspberry taste. I suggested Renee try it and she agreed. We both agreed that this dressing was made with real raspberries. Even the seeds were real.  I wish they sold it by the bottle.

During our meal we saw several barges with tug boats, going up and down the river still delivering goods to various points on the Ohio River.

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We were not done yet.

Next came the desserts.

Renee had cheesecake with strawberries and I ordered chocolate fudge cake with caramel and nuts.

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Renee and I decided to share. We cut our desserts in half so that we could taste both.

Oh my!! I am not a big lover of cheesecake. But this was fantastic. Only twice in my life have I liked cheesecake…….this one – so light and airy – and at another  restaurant way back in the 1970’s up near Mansfield. I am sure the restaurant does not exist any more. It’s name long ago ceased to exist in my brain.

The chocolate cake was also fantastic. Both desserts were the perfect finishing touches to a beautiful, fun, and delicious day; although Renee and I stayed and talked for at least another hour.

So if you ever find yourself in our nation’s 17th state and you have some time to travel to southeast Ohio be sure to visit historic Marietta and the Levee House restaurant. You will have both a beautiful drive, meet good, friendly, and nice folk, and have a great meal too!

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Featured Recipe        Swiss Onion Chicken Sandwich

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Originally when I planned this trip I was going to share a recipe from the previous owners of the restaurant from a cookbook I found at a antique shop.

However, I changed my mind when Renee said how wonderful her open faced sandwich was.

I do not have the Levee House recipe. The recipe below is based on what Renee and I saw and how Renee described the taste to me.

The description on the Menu for the sandwich said the chicken was marinated. Renee said the chicken had a definite onion flavor so I used and onion soup based marinade with some wine. I am sure Chef David did not use boxed soup like I did.

One of the things Renee liked about this open faced sandwich was how the cheese melted into the onion soup.

Mine did not do that. I don’t know how to do that.

However, since this is my very first try at this recipe I don’t think it was too bad.

HELP! I NEED IDEAS ~ If any of you have any ideas on how I can get the cheese to melt be sure to let me know in the comments section below or on Twitter or Facebook.  I thank you in advance.

Nevertheless, this first attempt was every bit as tasty, delicious and bold as Renee said it was. It certainly tripped the lights fantastic across my taste buds. If you like onion soup this is the open faced sandwich for you.

For this first try of this sandwich, I only made one.

This is what you will need for 1 Sandwich:

1 chicken cutlet

2 packets of dry onion soup

¼ cup white wine

1 small sweet onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1-2 slices Swiss cheese

1 thick slice of bread

Salt and pepper to taste

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Here is what you do:

Lightly salt and pepper to the chicken to taste.

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Mix 1 packet of the onion soup with the wine.

Add the chicken to the soup/wine mixture and turn to coat both sides. Let marinate 1 hour turning several times.

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NOTE: I threw away the soup the chicken was marinated in. I never keep marinade that had raw chicken in it unless it is cooked in the recipe.

In the meantime slice the onion and sauté slowly over low heat in a mixture of the olive oil and butter.

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When the onions begin to carmalize push them to the side of the skillet and cook the chicken for about 2-3 minutes each side. Do not over cook.

NOTE:  Caramelize simply means to heat or cook the sugar in foods in order to turn it brown and give it a special and sweeter taste.

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Make the soup with the second packet according to package directions. Make sure it is very hot.

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Very lightly toast the bread.

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Place the toast on a plate.

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Add the chicken.

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Place the onions on the chicken.

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Top with a slice or two of the cheese.

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Pour a couple of ladles of the very hot soup over the top. You want the cheese to melt. Mine did not melt very much but did not affect taste.

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Serve with some slaw.

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Bon appétit!!!
Cost

1 chicken cutlet                     $0.93

2 packets onion soup             $2.49

¼ cup white wine                 $1.04

1 small sweet onion               $1.30

1 tablespoon olive oil             $0.23

1 tablespoon butter               $0.08

1-2 slices Swiss cheese         $0.42

1 thick slice of bread             $0.25

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost for 1 = $6.74

Quote of the Day

Great restaurants are, of course, nothing but mouth-brothels. There is no point in going to them if one intends to keep one’s belt buckled.

Frederic Raphael

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10 comments to The Historic Inns of Ohio #2

  • I loved your restaurant review and the history of Marietta was really interesting. What fun to meet a great twitter friend.

    • Roberta

      Yes. It is great to meet Twitter friends. Renee was the 6th friend I met. Now it is on to Australia and meeting you. 🙂

  • Your trip sounds wonderful! I too have met a few social media friends in person and also had a great time! So much fun to meet like minded people after getting to know them on twitter etc.
    my suggestion for melting the cheese is to pop it into the oven for a few minutes or place it under the broiler for a minute or two. I’m so glad you had a beautiful day 🙂

    • Roberta

      Yes, Dawn. I agree. Tweet Ups are great fun. Thanks for the tip on the cheese. Will try it next time I make this sandwich. Hope to meet you some time in person.

  • I am so loving this! The place, the food, the recipe! I just love it when you showcase Ohio. I really must spend some time there. Looks amazing!

    • Roberta

      Glad you like the Ohio posts, Julia. It is a beautiful state with a lot of great people and places. Unfortunately, it often does not get the praise it deserves. If you come I will give you the grand tour!. 🙂

  • I am envious, not a sign of a daffodil here yet!

    Thanks for the photos and interesting background on Ohio and Marietta. I had not realised how big the Ohio river is, now I am not surprised that it provided such an important transport route in the old days.

    There is an interesting person from Marietta on twitter, I will introduce you.

    • Roberta

      The daffodils here only started blooming a day or so before I went To Marietta, if that is any consolation. The Ohio is not as big as the Mighty Mississippi, but it played a huge part in Ohio’s and the nation’s history.

      Thanks for the intro to Lynn. 🙂

  • What a great time we had, Roberta! Lovely location with wonderful food and nice people. I thought maybe the cheese melted in the hot onion soup topping because it was shredded. Possibly it wasn’t, but it seemed to be melted in small bits, making me think it might have been. Your copy-cat recipe looks like a winner and I’m going to give it a try!

    • Roberta

      I agree 100% with everything you said, Renee.

      Ahhh Haa! Shredded…Makes sense. Shows you how observant I am! We must do this again some time. 🙂