Hey everyone! I had a weekend trip not too long ago to Red River Gorge, also known as The Gorge to most Kentuckians and Cincinnatians. Now, most who have heard of The Gorge, have unfortunately only heard about the accidents that happen there. Here’s the thing, if you go through safe trails, if you’re not drinking and if you’re not wandering around in the dark where you’ve camped by cliffs-you’re fine. If you’re not an expert climber, you might want to avoid difficult trails or doing anything tricky and have friends go with you, if you’re experienced I would still say HAVE A BUDDY to go with you. Accidents happen and while it can be dangerous if you’re cocky or lack caution, if you want to hike and see how beautiful nature can be, go to The Gorge. Enough of my ranting. Here’s some pictures!
Also, one of our friends created an IPA beer taste. Most, if not all, of the beers were local! We found out that it was hard to differentiate when all of the beers were IPA’s and we might switch it up on the type of beer next time but it was a lot of fun!
We had a blast, despite my asthma was giving me a hard time and I began to resemble a tomato more and more as the day went on, but it was amazing! We also went to breakfast at this adorable restaurant (See the pictures below) and had a feast of wonderful food. Overall it was an amazing weekend vacation to say the least!
Yesterday I wined and dined myself through Over The Rhine. I had a spectacular time feasting at The Anchor for lunch and later in the day I came back to have dinner at Senate. Lastly I went to the new bar I was dying to check out on Vine, The Rook. I was lucky enough to stop by The Anchor for lunch because it was my boss’s birthday. I had The Sunset Spritzer, and it was fantastic and I also had the flounder over some asparagus, mushrooms and carrots as an entree. While lunch was tasty, the dessert was probably my favorite part. We had the rye brownies and salted caramel pudding and they were absolutely delightful! While I had been there for dinner before, I found it to be a bit on the expensive side. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the prices for lunch.
I came back later that night to have dinner at Senate. Despite the fact that Senate is actually known for their gourmet hot dogs, I couldn’t deny myself from getting the Lobster BLT (Which I stupidly forgot to take a picture of because it looked so delightful). I purchased a kitten fizz as my cocktail, and while it was definitely beautiful, it wasn’t exactly my taste. While I think the bartender did a good job, I just didn’t like the soda with the vodka mixture as much as I thought I would. I also had the duck fries, which were divine.
The Rook (Sorry that the last picture is so grainy) was glamorous. The Rook is a new bar that offers a variety of board games while you drink (Basically two of my most favorite things) I didn’t have the chance to play a game because my friend and I were just stopping in but it was definitely as cute as I hoped it would be. I got a “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Margarita”, but next time I’m excited to try the Pretty Pretty Princess drink that comes with a candy necklace and contains cotton candy. At first I thought it only had one floor so I thought it was very small, but then a friend pointed out that they do have an upstairs…. yeah I didn’t figure that out. I was probably too distracted because everything was completely adorable and looked like fun. I almost expected The Legend of Zelda theme song to start playing throughout the bar. They even had a game concierge that offered to get us a game if we’d like. It was a wonderful end to a fun day!
Tis the season to try new food and new coffee! Since I started working in Ohio again, I’ve been introduced to new food and coffee shops and I couldn’t be happier. I love trying new places to eat and drink in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area, so please suggest new places for me!
The pictures above were taken at Stone Bowl Ramen in Oakley, Ohio. I almost missed finding this place at first, it’s quite small but there is a large neon sign, so that helps. Unfortunately, sushi wasn’t available that day, but I did get to try chicken ramen. The nice thing about Stone Bowl, is that a lot of their food is “healthyish”. For example, I got the ramen (First picture on the left closest to the camera). It’s a MSG free stock broth, and the majority of the food items involve vegetables and there’s hardly any fried food options. However, I did of course get the pan fried dumplings, which is probably the least health conscious item on the menu. My friend got the beef stone bowl bibimbap (Pictured right).
We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals, the service was great and I liked the atmosphere. Overall, I don’t know if I would go with the ramen again because I bet it’s better spicy, but my taste buds can’t handle it. My ramen was a bit plain as a result, but it was nice having something hot and more filling than soup. I did like trying something new, and I would love to try the bibimbap, their version of chicken fried rice or their chicken kastu the next time I go.
I recently received a cup of coffee from a coworker from this marvelous place called, Coffee Please about two months ago (Coffee Please is close to the Indian Hill area and is off Miami Avenue). All this time I have not been to the coffee house personally, but I graciously accepted their coffee from my coworker once a week. I was entirely too curious about this wonderful place that served coffee drinks with almond milk (I’m lactose intolerant so this helps) and they have a variety of coffee options to choose from. When I went there this morning I was pleasently surprised that they had a menagerie of coffee beans that I could take home and brew myself. Sadly, I limited myself from buying anything more than a cup of coffee since I have three bags of coffee at home. There were so many flavors, and the place reminded me of a slightly smaller version of Coffee Emporium. Everything was adorable, tasty and wonderful. I’d highly recommend the white chocolate almond latte. It’s divine!
So some of these are’t necessarily things to do in the summer, but I have been busy trying to kick my bucket list this summer before my best friend leaves for Spain for ten months! Here are some of my favorite nights, meals and activities from my summer so far:
One of my friends saw that the Residence Inn had a killer rooftop bar. On her birthday we decided to take advantage of this amazing view (the alcohol was also a large incentive). I had a Rooftop Lemonade, which was definitely sweet but also a little strong. When you go for these mixed cocktails, try to make sure you eat dinner first then drink. The view was spectacular, I was glad we went there on a sunny day and while it was crowded, it was worth the small breathing room we got because I was more interested in looking at my city anyway.
After drinks at the Residence Inn my friend and I decided to spend her birthday dinner at the Yard House. While the Yardhouse is a chain restaurant, I must give them props. Every time I go there I have to get the lobster garlic noodles and a Fat Head Bumbleberry beer. The combination, while expensive, is simply delightful. Also, if you sit on the back patio (which we didn’t get a chance to but we did see it on our way out) you can see a dazzling view of the Roebling Bridge.
Two of my good friends are moving to New York next week, and while these pictures aren’t of there going away party, we definitely partied. The bottom right picture was when we were at Neon’s in Over the Rhine. I have sung my praises about this bar many times (there’s puppies and a large Jenga set!), it’s going to be sad to not go there with our two friends. Neon’s is kind of a staple of our friendship, so it is a little sad that they’ll only be visiting from now on.
Anyways! After Neon’s we headed over to Horseshoe Casino for dinner. Ok, usually I am not one to write a post about my disappointment in a dish/restaurant, so all I’m going to say is, the night was fun but the food and service was lacking. I would recommend straying away from this place unless your looking to gamble or have some drinks.
I was a little sleepy in this photo (and somehow paler than usual) but King’s Island is always a good time. Before this outing, we went to karaoke at Northside Tavern the night before. If you haven’t been to Northside, you are missing out! I was sad that they only have karaoke on Wednesdays and sometimes Thursdays, but it was still bearable because I was off the next day. Sorry guys, I’m not going to post my karaoke skills (or lack there of on here) but my friends were fantastic and we had a great time laughing, singing and rooting for each other.
King’s Island was a bit hard to deal with, due to the fact that we were drinking and singing the night before, but it was phenomenal as usual! Despite the dreary day we made a go of it, and because of the crappy weather, we practically walked on rides. Ok, so we did wait 30 min at least for each ride but that’s not bad for this amusement park, usually you wait much longer. My favorite is Diamondback, but The Banshee ride was definitely a thrill!
What have you enjoyed doing this summer?
Hey everybody! These are just some of the reasons why I love living so close to Cincinnati.
1. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is one of the best zoos in the country. I recently went to the Tunes and Blooms event that is held on every Thursday in April. Tunes and Blooms allows everyone to enter the zoo free of charge. There’s also live music playing and other vendors giving away free items and teaching children how to do things like compost in your backyard and such. It’s great for kids, but be aware that the place is packed even more so than usual. The zoo in general though, is awesome. You can have a beer, eat a slice of Larosa’s pizza and take in the amazing view of both exotic animals and flowers.
2. You have to go to a Cincinnati Reds game at least once each year. Even if you hate baseball, the atmosphere is completely delightful. Beer, peanuts, junk food, a good view and some community comradery. Go to one baseball game. Have a beer (Which they have a lot of craft beer now, and cute places like Bootleggers) and relax. Just try it!
3. Party in the Park has been an event that happens on every Wednesday in the summer since 1976! It’s an excuse to celebrate hump day with a beer, some live music and some local food. It usually draws a big crowd and it provides a nice view of the river.
4. I freak out when I know Taste of Cincinnati is just around the corner. This is basically a foodie’s paradise. I fricken love all of the different food, beer and entertainment (Yes, I do notice that I write a lot about beer, food and live music). It’s kind of incredible when you know that there’s no possible way you can eat something from every food vendor. It would be physically impossible, and that’s kind of beautiful. Good food, good entertainment and good company. If you go on a Friday or Saturday, you might not be able to move around if you’re short like me. If you don’t mind crowds, then I’d highly recommend it!
5. This park is little… I know, I know, I’m not that punny. Yes, you can pretend slap me over the computer now. I swear no more puns… probably. I passed Lytle Park on the way to Reds game one day and I just had to stop and take a picture. It looks gorgeous. While my allergies hate spring/summer, I can’t help but admire the scenery.
6. Schneider’s Sweet Shop sells these magnificant treats called Ice Balls on day after Easter. I look forward to this ever Easter. I know that summer isn’t too far away if I can get a Tiger’s Blood snow cone filled with vanilla ice cream from Schneider’s. It’s amazing. I know what you’re going to say. Ice cream and a snow cone? Trust me, you will like it.
7. I went to the drag strip in Cleves, Ohio (This event is comically referred to as Friday Night Lightz) a weekend or two ago with my boyfriend and a few of his friends. It was fun! I mean watching cars race each other, being with friends, drinking beer and being outside, what more could you ask for? I definitely wouldn’t have gone there on my own (Since I had no idea it existed), but I really did like learning about the different cars and trying to figure out which car would beat out the other. It was something new and different and I would definitely go back.
8. I stopped by 21 C Museum Hotel Cincinnati for the first time and had a great time on their roof! The view was killer and the alcohol (While a bit pricey for this girl the popsicle with alcohol was a nice touch) was tasty. Honestly this is why you want to be in Cincinnati. Partying on a roof overlooking the city? It’s bound to be a good time.
9. I love roller coasters. I get a little more shaken from them than I used to, but I still enjoy the thrill of a good loop or hill. Diamondback and The Banshee are easily the best rides (In my opinion) to go on, but there are lots of fun coasters and if you don’t like their blueberry ice cream, than I cannot count you as a friend.Seriously, what’s wrong with you?
10. This hasn’t happened yet, but I’m beyond thrilled about it anyway. They’re having a Beerfest at Washington Park! I’ve been to the Fountain Square one, and I wasn’t as impressed but I am beyond happy with their location this year. Anything at Washington Park is fun but this is beyond amazing!
Honorable Mention: Most of the time Bunbury Music Festival is pretty cool, this year was decent. I liked the 2013 year the best but don’t worry I’m writing that post this week!
Hey everyone, it’s Top Ten Tuesday! Since I’ve had all this anxiety stuff going on I decided I should focus on the good things in my life and focus on what makes me happy.
1. Food. I love food, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I plan my day around what meal I’m going to have next, and I get excited by it. Genuinely. Am I going to have hibatchi for lunch today? Well today is going to be fabulous then. I’m going to Bunbury Music Festival this weekend and all I can think about is the fact that I can have Eli’s Barbecue everyday while watching amazing music…. I swear I care about the music too.
2. Coffee. As I’ve said before, I am a coffee addict. I love coffee, and I think coffee loves me too. We have a beautiful relationship, don’t judge.
3. Traveling. I get so excited for the smallest of trips. I’m planning on going to Chicago and Washington D.C. this summer and I’m beyond pumped. I’ve never been to D.C. and cannot wait to check it out! I’m hoping to go to Europe next year to visit my best friend while he’s teaching in Spain… is this possible? Maybe. I’m going to try and make it there because I miss going outside the country and visiting somewhere new. Plus, I think I’ll miss him too much and need a fix before he comes home.
4. People. My family, my boyfriend and my friends can make my day better in an instant. I’m one of those people who usually feels better when they’re around people. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy curling up with some wine and a good book at my house, but I also need to be around people to really recharge sometimes. Some of my happiest moments in life are being with people I care about.
5. Singing. I sing all the time. Even when I talk I tend to do the Zooey Deschanel singing random words thing she does in New Girl. It’s something that I’m not the absolute best at, but it does make me forget about my problems. Plus, when you actually hit that note you didn’t think you could hit, you feel like a star…. Yes I did watch too much Glee in the early seasons.
6. Writing. If I write a line I really like or I have a killer idea, I can accept that and feel proud of myself. Granted, it doesn’t happen often but it’s nice when it does.
7. Music, film, books or plays-the arts really. I can’t play an instrument, I can’t act all that well and I definitely cannot draw. So seeing someone else doing these amazing things makes me jealous in the best possible way. I love creative people and I’m amazed by art everyday. There’s so many things worth looking at out there.
8. The beach. I’ve been to the beach before but when I do get to see the ocean I act like a kid again. I went to Destin, Florida last year with my best friend and I reverted immediately back to when I was eight and use to play in the water. I hope to go back to the beach or at least to a lake here soon!
9. Summer. There’s something so hopeful about warm weather to me. I think it’s because I associate warm weather with happiness because I use to have the summer to myself. Every kid looks forward to summer break, and I still let the weather influence my mood.
10. Learning something new. I completely admit that I don’t know everything… not even close. So when I figure out how to do something new, I am floored. From time to time I impress myself by learning something I never thought I’d get the hang of.
What makes you insanely happy?
The picture on the left is kind of terrible but that was me only a few months ago. I’ve mentioned that I worked at a restaurant for a couple of months in order to pay off some debt and such. I ended up working at this restaurant for six months or so. I did their social media and I served meals on the side. Granted, it wasn’t the worst job. I was paid well and it was in a higher scale restaurant with some lovely people. I got lucky. However, working two jobs was hard. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
I could write a book about the woes of working events and the food industry but in reality I only saw a glimpse of it. I was seriously one of the worst servers ever. EVER. I did manage to get everybody’s order correct (I might have had them switch plates with someone else at the table but it was the right meal) and I think I knew the menu pretty well (I had a cheat sheet with all of the items I didn’t understand). I dropped silverware all the time, I broke a few glasses and I never opened a wine bottle in front of a table for fear of breaking the bottle. I was mediocre at best, but I wasn’t the worst. It’s harder than it looks guys. I had to remember what table number I had, what seat number which guest was in. I had to remember the specials, sell the specials and clock things in on time. I hardly ever remembered all of the drinks that people had. I would write them down but I might be a glass or two short.
What really blew my mind was the amount of money people would spend on a meal. Granted, they had the money. This was an exclusive restaurant, but I can’t imagine ever spending more than $75 on a meal for two. There were many tables that would spend gobs more than that. It drove me crazy. It’s somewhat ironic that people who are so desperately trying to make money are serving those who had a lot of money. I know that this often happens, and I shouldn’t be surprised, but it was a great life lesson. Now, I know where the silverware and my napkin goes. I can fold napkins in numerous shapes, I now say pardon me much more and I can carry a lot of plates in one go (Not as many as great servers but I can hold way more than I thought). When I go to restaurants I try to make the server’s job easier. I will gather the table’s plates and arrange the silverware and napkin so it’s easier for them to get.
What I’m trying to say is that each job in life is hard. Sometimes people will snub servers or the food industry. It’s hard work people. I learned it the hard way. I really learned a valuable life lesson from this job. What life lesson have you learned from your job?
Hey everybody! Sorry for the lack of blogging. Work has been a bit crazy and I’ve been more busy outside of work as well. Can I slightly exaggerate and say that I was doing blog research this whole time? Well, let’s go with that! Today I will be talking about a few of my favorite things I’ve done while I wasn’t blogging. While I do realize I talk about Cincinnati a lot, this time I will be reflecting about food, beer and desserts I enjoy all around the Cincinnati area!
Hello Honey is one of my favorite ice cream places that I’ve never talked about on this blog. It’s adorable, it’s local and they put toasted marshmallows on ice cream guys! They change their flavors from time to time but I really enjoy the seasonal additions. I personally enjoy the salted caramel ice cream. This beauty is located downtown on Vine.
Those who know me, know that I love local breweries, especially MadTree. I’ve only been to this brewery once or twice before but when I headed out there last weekend I was reminded why this place rules. The brewery is massive and they’re always trying out new beers, I liked Suncrest because it reminded me of a smoother version of a Blue Moon. Since it’s getting warmer outside there is cornhole and the patio is the place to be! Not to mention it’s pet friendly and you can buy some cute t-shirts! This brewery is located on Kennedy Avenue, so it’s a bit of a drive for some, but it’s worth it (And yes the guys in that photo were completely photobombing us and it was hilarious to see it after the picture was taken).
So I had heard about Eli’s for awhile now, but now I’m officially obsessed. This place is fricken fantastic! Not only is your food cheap, it’s mouth wateringly delicious. The mash potatoes melt in your mouth, the pulled pork makes you take huge bites instead of small bites and it’s a bring your own beer location. BYOB! My boyfriend actually took me to this place on on one of our first dates. It was a bit cold then so we didn’t get a chance to eat outside, but since then I’ve gone back and enjoyed some pulled pork on a picnic bench with some MadTree actually. I wish that Eli’s was in a more convenient location (It’s on Riverside Drive), but other than that it’s amazing.
I put Sprout Market & Eatery, which is located in the Mount Adams area, as an honorable mention because while I really enjoyed my meal, I am a hungry girl. The portions, which I should know by now are going to be small for scallops, were too small for me. I left Sprout rather hungry because there wasn’t a whole lot of food there to eat. My friend and I really enjoyed our meals but it felt more like lunch options and less like dinner options. I would highly recommend this eatery for lunch though!
I’m always looking for some new places to review, so please, give me your suggestions! What do you like to do in Cincinnati?
I really love their pizza. All of their pizzas are wood fired, use local/seasonal ingredients and are hand made. I personally enjoy the sea salt after bake. I’m weird about pizza. I take the cheese off of mine since I’m lactose intolerant, so I really don’t value cheese as a quality. I’m all about sauce, crust and toppings. Their pizza is thin crust, so deep dish lovers beware, but I could honestly finish an entire pie on my own. Unlike most restaurants, A Tavola is less crowded because the pizzas don’t take all that long to make (Hence the wood fire oven). Granted, if it’s Saturday and it’s 8pm you’re going to run into a crowd.
I haven’t eaten at MOTR but I have definitely had my fair share of alcohol at this joint. MOTR is a great bar if you’re into live music. Want to listen to some local or obscure band that has a great sound? Go here! I love MOTR because it’s a huge building. There’s a large main dance floor, an off to the side booth area (Great for music lovers who don’t like to be on top of a band but still like to hear them play), an outdoor patio (Great place to hang out at in the summer) and they have quite a roomy downstairs with some arcade games and a small bar as well. The only negative comment I have for this place (Mainly a disclaimer to the ladies) is that there’s only bathroom and it is really really small. Also, it’s a bit of a walk from the central bars, if it’s late at night you might wanna travel with a buddy. Use the buddy system. Don’t make fun of me, it’s essential sometimes!
I actually reviewed Taste of Belgium before but I had to brag about them again! If you’re into waffles, beer, pastries, fried chicken, small but delicious salads or tasty burgers-this is your new jam. If you’re looking for a new brunch spot, they have some delicious waffles, crepes and enough coffee to make this coffee drinker blissfully happy. This place is crowded! If you’d like to get a guaranteed table I suggest going after 6 on a weekday, it’s a little more manageable on those days. They basically have everything that would make a foodie happy. Taste of Belgium has three locations in Cincinnati so you can get your waffle on at Findlay Market, OTR and Clifton!
I’m not an average foodie. I don’t usually it Mexican food. I like fajitas, chips and salsa can be yummy, but I’m lactose intolerant and I have a zero tolerance for spicy food. So why did I put Bakersfield on the list then? The margaritas. I definitely have an open door alcohol policy. This place tends to be packed on a daily basis, if you want a table, you need to plan ahead. I haven’t ordered anything off the menu, but I know my friends love this place. The atmosphere is welcoming and a bit old school. This bar reminds me of a smaller version Japps in a way because the TV screens often displays an old movie I can watch while sipping my drink. Did I mention they have boot shaped glasses and a weekly BAMF mention on their Facebook page? I like their style!
I love this place because I could drink their OTR ice teas all day! This “tea” (As pictured above) is the best long island I’ve ever had. I never really appreciated long islands until I tried one from here. If you’re not a liquor fan, their beer selection is to my liking since they have Crabbie’s Ginger Beer and Fat Head, but those are just my recommendations. Southern food lovers, this restaurant will make you feel at home. I personally enjoy their fries and chicken (It is a little on the spicy side) but I’ve heard their macaroni and cornbread are big crowd pleasers. I’ve never known The Eagle to not be crowded, so be prepared. It’s nice to visit during the summer because they have a small outdoor waiting area and they open all of their windows.
This bar is always packed, probably because is co-owned by the infamous and local, Molly Wellman. Neons is a unique bar that houses a lot of diverse people. If it’s summer, you will not find a place to sit and during the winter you will have plenty of standing room… as long as you don’t mind the cold (There are some fire pits which do help). The outdoor patio consists of a bar, grill and a human size Jenga (See photo above) and the inside provides a bar, an upstairs room for parties and a shuffleboard table. The upstairs is sometimes open to the public and sometimes closed for parties so be careful and tread lightly so as not to interrupt. However if you’re on a date and it’s open, definitely go in. It’s the only place you can talk semi coherently if they have the music turned down. Dogs are welcome, which is great for dog owners and dog lovers, so if you’re not a big animal fan this might not be the place for you. Their hot apple cider alcoholic drink is a must have on cold nights!
Japps, like Neons, is it’s own kind of bar. I’ve never been to a bar quite like it. Japps caters to a wide audience with its crafted cocktails, live music and large dance floor. If you’re looking to go dancing, MOTR and Japps and are the way to go. Did I mention that while you’re dancing you can be accompanied by leading actors like Judy Garland or Gene Kelly? Ok, so they’re actually on the ridiculously large projector screen behind the dance floor, but you can use your imagination. Japps has steered away recently from playing classic songs like “Twist and Shout” (A little to my dismay) but they do play a lot of 80’s, 90’s and top hits which are fun to dance too. Molly Wellman (Pictured above) is a co-owner of Japps as well, she sure knows how to make me love a bar!
Lucy Blue is a great place to go when you’re looking to wind down and get a quick/cheap bite to eat. Lucy Blue has a couple of different locations in both Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, but the one in OTR is my favorite. It helps that they have my new favorite beer there, Fat Head’s Bumble Berry ale, so I’ve been a more frequent visitor as of late. The people there are cordial, they usually are playing sports (Not hockey though to my dismay) so you will never have to miss the game… I really only watch hockey so I’m not the most enthusiastic about this part. Another benefit is that it’s never overly crowded and the slices are huge.
Saving the best for last! I’ve already written a post about my love for this coffee house last year, but I didn’t want them to feel excluded because this is my favorite place to hang out in OTR. That is a huge declaration of love, but it’s true. I love bars but this place makes me feel at home. They have killer coffee, apple cider, cookies, smoothies and staff. I would go everyday if I could. They’re vegan and organic friendly, health conscious in all aspects and did I mention pumpkin pie lattes!
Ok, this place is beyond packed. I’ve walked past this bar a million times but I’ve never really stopped in completely until last weekend. During the summer people actually sit on window ledges because they don’t have any room. I actually am not the biggest fan of the bar per say, because it is so crowded and it’s hard to get a drink, but it is a great place to meet people and the beer is cheap. If you want to meet new people however and you’re a twenty something, this is your bar peeps.
What are your favorite places to visit in OTR? Did I mention your favorite place? What should I try next?