Union Centre Food Truck Rally 2016

Anita and I just returned from the 2016 Union Centre Food Truck Rally. Over 40 of the most amazing food trucks in one place just north of Cincinnati, Ohio, the rally was enough to bring tears to this foodie’s eye. Truck after truck, cuisine after cuisine. It’s hard to describe, but I’ll try.

Time for lunch…

I should start by saying we were at the rally for lunch. The event actually goes on through the night, culminating in a fireworks display. Beer and music are available all day. Me, I was there for the food trucks, so we got there early so I could get some pictures, but the crowds got big and got big fast.

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 2Tons of trucks….

The trucks were arranged down three streets, noted as green, blue and red. There’s something for everyone. I’ll start by highlighting some of the trucks we ate at, and then follow up with pics of the other various trucks (not all of them). You can’t go wrong at the food truck rally. Great food, great folks.

Let’s get going…

So for starters we grabbed some fried crushed potatoes at the Street Chef Brigade truck. Buttery yellow potatoes cooked then crushed and (I think) flash-fried. Topped with the best combination of cheeses, truffle oil and fresh herbs. Addicting.

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 6More food…

Next, I grabbed an Italian sausage dog at U-Lucky Dawg (fantastic), and headed on down the line of trucks. Anita grabbed some ice cream and I grabbed some churros.

I could not go to a food truck rally without getting chili from my favorite chili truck, the Chili Hut. I didn’t care that it was 104 out with the humidity, I was getting a few 3-way chilis. The Chili Hut was at a cluster truck at Jungle Jim’s years ago and I’ve been jonesin’ to return ever since.

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 12… and more …

Then, more truly amazing goodness at the Quite Frankly truck. I had (and devoured) the Darth Reuben, which made any other Reuben pale in comparison. I could sit down with a bowl of their homemade kraut right now. Anita had the Granny Brie, a crazy good combination of smooth brie with apple butter and Granny Smith apples. Like a dessert sandwich. Well, not like one, it was one.

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 14The food was too much to describe, with so much good stuff that you just have to go to experience it. Here are just a few of the other trucks that were at the rally. Don’t let the lack of lines fool you. We got there right at the moment the rally started. Minutes later it was busy as busy can be. So don’t be surprised to wait for your food for a few minutes. Take the time to chat with your fellow eaters or the great folks in the trucks (about the nicest people you’ll meet).

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 15 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 13 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 11 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 10 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 9 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 8 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 7 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 5 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 4 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 3 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 1See you next year!

I so cannot wait to return in 2017. Although I packed a few coolers to take food back with us, I definitely did not pack enough. Next year I’m bringing more food containers and coolers and ice.

You can follow the Union Centre Food Truck rally on their Facebook page, here. You’ll get notifications of the trucks that will be attending (so you can plan your food truck dining!).

I also recommend the short drive from West Chester up to Springfield, OH, for their yearly food truck competition.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio

I’ve been secretly wanting to go to the train display at EnterTRAINment Junction for years. I had a big train set as a kid and I’ve been fascinated by them ever since. EnterTRAINMent Junction combines the fun of watching trains with an amazing display and interactive features for kids of all ages. And it throws in a few history lessons to boot. The display begins with in the 1860s and continues to the modern times. The transition from period-to-period is very well done.

Here are a few of the pictures I took. You really have to experience this amazing place in person, but this will give you a feel for just how great it is. So let’s begin! All aboard!

As soon as you walk in you are struck by the quality of the displays. You feel like you are inside of them.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioTrains are everywhere. 90 of them. With over 1200 cars!
EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioEnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio Entertrainment Junction 4I was fascinated by the bridges. They are very well done. Huge and amazing. I thought I wouldn’t be a fan of the larger (compared to the HO scale I played with as a kid) G-scale size, but I really loved it.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio Entertrainment Junction 6As you walk along there are large red buttons along the way that you can press (Anita pressed them all!) that add sounds to the experience. You hear saw mills working, dogs barking, cars honking, all sorts of things. It’s like you’re there.

In the upper right of the picture below you can catch a glimpse of Imagination Junction, the kids railroad-themed playing area. Even though I’m a ‘kid’, I didn’t go in there but it looked like it had all sorts of fun things for the little ones to play with.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioThe 40s-50s city scape was really very well done. The detail is again amazing.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioThere are firemen playing ping pong inside the firehouse!EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioOne of the absolutely coolest things is that the entire train display transitions into night every so often. I didn’t know that this was going to happen so it was unexpected, and it was really amazing. The city and trains lit up and all you could say is ‘wow’.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioLook at the detail! Laundry hanging on the line!

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio The Woolworth’s is complete with a soda counter.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioThis picture gives you a little feel for the scale of the display. It’s 25,000 square feet! You can see the 2nd floor area up ahead. That’s where the Coney Island display is.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioWhat’s that? Something’s going on at the city jail!

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioThe 50s city had everything from a theater to a diner to a drive-in. There were things going on everywhere, with trains all over!

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioThis shot is back over the 40s-50s era of the display.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioTrains also run along the ceiling. They’re everywhere!

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioThe Coney Island display was recently completed. It is so well done and it’s fun! The designers did a great job combining great modeling with interactive features. All the rides you see, from the roller coaster (crazy fast!) to the merry-go-round, run. Just push the corresponding red button and watch it go!

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioEnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioMore examples of the detail that is so well done. The volunteers (yes, volunteers!) that work on this display are amazing.
EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioEnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioNow we’re heading into the big city and more recent times in history.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioHere’s a look down to the last section.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioYou never know what’s around the next corner!

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioModern times.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioEven the graffiti is very well done!

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, Ohio EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioThe journey is not complete without a stop in the volunteer’s workshop area. This is where the magic is created. How fun! There are also a few models and plans of the original design that just start to give you a feel of how much work and engineering wen into making this display. It’s huge and complex behind the scenes.

EnterTRAINment Junction, West Chester, OhioThere’s a lot more to do at EnterTRAINment Junction than trains. There’s a fun house, a gift shop, a hobby and toy shop, and a cafe. But for me, the train display was amazing and well worth the trip and price of admission (which isn’t much!).

After your visit to EnterTRAINment Junction swing by Smashburger in Hamilton for lunch!

Grilled Cincinnati Hot Dog

Ah, hot dogs. One of my favorite things. And you can put almost anything on them. Lately, I’ve been making more traditional hot dogs, such as the Boston hot dog, or the Chicago dog. Like the others, this grilled Cincinnati dog is very tasty, and very easy.

Grilled Cincinnati Hot DogThe key to a great grilled Cincinnati hot dog is to use real Cincinnati chili, which has a hint of cinnamon. I used some chili I picked up from Skyline Chili. If you don’t have a Skyline Chili near you, check the canned chili section of your local grocery store as Skyline also sells a canned version of their famous chili but you can also make my slow cooker Cincinnati chili.

Also make up a few of my grilled Cuban hot dogs.

Grilled Cincinnati Hot Dog

Course Main
Cuisine American
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Grilled hot dogs
  • Hot dog buns warmed or steamed
  • Cincinnati chili warmed (I used Skyline chili)
  • Extra sharp cheddar shredded
  • Onion chopped
  • Prepared yellow mustard

Instructions

  • Place the dogs in the buns and heap on the chili. Don't be shy.
  • Add cheese, onion and mustard and get ready for some yummy dogs!