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Puppy Mania!

Murphy Brown (the dog) has been a grand addition to my life. While she can be a little crazy at times, my boyfriend and I can’t imagine our lives without her.

This post is about the multiple events and places I’ve been apart of since Murphy has come into our lives. I love to keep her active because that gives me some down time and it gives her some much needed exercise. I often take her to dog parks. While I do feel uneasy about taking her, since people have warned me against aggressive dogs and diseases. However, I try to be as cautious as possible. Murphy is up to date on all of her shots, if any dog seems hostile towards her, I immediately scoop her up and take her away from the situation.
Murphy loves to run and while I can watch her gleefully for a few minutes, I can become bored easily. Hence why I love Washington Park in Over the Rhine. I go to Cincinnati quite often since I live so close, but Washington Park is great for dog lovers who have owners who are also beer lovers. Yappy Hour, as shown above, is one of my favorite events downtown. At Yappy Hour, dogs are provided with treats and free food while their owners can enjoy a cocktail.I like taking her there, picking up a beer and then heading towards the dog park section. Personally, I haven’t had a problem with aggressive dogs, but Murphy tends to be an instigator so that doesn’t exactly help matters. I believe Yappy Hour occurs every Thursday night in the summer.

Another event I went to was Paws and Pints at Listermann Brewing Company (As seen above). This event was adorable. There were paw print cookies, free samples of dog food, party hats and lots of happy friendly dogs. This also gave this happy owner a chance to drink some great beer while socializing Murphy. The event was held to celebrate national dog day and it was definitely a hoot!

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Also, here’s a random tidbit from me learning the hard way. It sounds silly but these dog wipes are amazing for getting out bathroom stains that your pet leaves. They’re cheap and effective and they’re great if your bringing your pup to a new place that involves carpeting!

Favorite dog parks in Cincinnati: A tie between Washington Park (But you have to pay for parking usually) or Otto Armleder Dog Park (Free parking and lots of room for dogs to play)

Favorite dog park in Northern Kentucky: Highland Hills Dog Park

 

 

The Anchor-OTR, The Rook & Senate


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!

Friday Favorites: Summer Edition

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Macaron Bar: OTR

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This will be a very short and sweet one! I’ve been waiting for the Macaron Bar in Over the Rhine to open since September. However, this place was well worth the wait! Each store, especially those in the food industry, have hard time getting started. You’ll always find out that you need this crazy thing to pass inspection or you need this permit to distribute this. It can be frustrating and discouraging to many shop owners, but I’m so glad that it didn’t discourage this pastry heaven!

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The shop was sweetly decorated with a macaron tree and macaron snowflakes. It was definitely a winter wonderland. The setup of the store, while simple, was very modern. Their main use of color were the cute red and white chairs, the macaron boxes and the macarons themselves. I talked to the owner a bit about my enthusiasm of his store and told him I would try all of the flavors but pistachio (I don’t like pistachios, not sure why). The flavors were: dark chocolate, cinnamon, Madagascar vanilla, pistachio, raspberry, spiced pumpkin, lemon, black currant, and salted caramel! My favorites were the dark chocolate and salted caramel which isn’t too surprising. They were scrumptious, I will definitely be back for more. I was also pleased to find out that there will be 15 flavors each day most likely starting later next month. Also, how cute are the boxes! One of the workers there actually created the design and was a graduate from University of Cincinnati and was in the DAAP program. Love it!

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OTR Obsessed!

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A Tavola Pizza

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.

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MOTR

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!

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Taste of Belgium

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!

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Bakersfield OTR

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!

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The Eagle OTR

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.

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The Famous Neons Unplugged

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!

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Japps Since 1879

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!

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Lucy Blue Pizza 

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.

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Coffee Emporium

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!

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Rhinehaus

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?

Queen City Underground Tour in Over the Rhine

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I was looking for some present ideas for my best friend for his birthday when I came across the American Legacy Tours on Groupon. First of all, for two tickets it was only $20. That’s a pretty amazing deal for a tour! Second of all, my best friend and I love Over the Rhine (OTR). So it was a win, win. His birthday and my birthday fall around the end of November so buying stuff for his birthday and Christmas can be kind of challenging financially, so I’m spacing it out and taking a friend’s advice and giving people “experience gifts” instead of physical ones.

When we arrived at the destination we had already purchased some coffee from our beloved Coffee Emporium where I was delighted to have a scrumptious pumpkin spice latte (I’m all about fall). The weather was glorious and I was excited to get my learn on. It’s amazing how many things you miss when you walk past the same buildings everyday (The gallery of photos to the right of this post is in order of the tour). The first picture I took was of a building where the majority of our politicians made the big decisions that still are apart of our lives today. I had no idea that building was even there. I have probably passed it a dozen times and didn’t even know it existed. Sure, it’s beaten down and a bit worse for wear, but it’s history.

I won’t go into detail about each historic landmark we visited but I will say that this tour was very educational for me. My favorite part was going to the John Kauffman Brewery, which was where the underground part came into play. I love old buildings and houses. Apparently the brewery was built underground in 1856 so that the beer could reach a 45 degree fermentation level that it needed. Of course, refrigeration wasn’t around then, so underground was the only way to go. It definitely interested me, and well I love beer.

I have loved OTR for about three years now. John (Jon?), our tour guide, made a point of saying how we’re very lucky that OTR is now a place of growth and has seemed to appear on the radar on other countries. It’s been a great place to go to and it’s sad to say that it wasn’t always that way. In 2009 OTR was named the most dangerous city in America. That’s something I can hardly fathom since I have lived in the NKY area my entire life. Cincinnati has always been a short car ride away, and was a place of fear for some. I was never encouraged to visit downtown because in all honesty, it wasn’t that safe and if you’re not a city kid, suburbans like me do not know how to equip themselves. Now Over the Rhine is selling out tours and the tour we went on was rated one of the Top Five Underground Tours in the U.S. by National Geographic. It’s hard to believe that in a few years time, Over the Rhine is no longer on the most dangerous cities list. I’m so happy to be in a city where we’re growing and trying to better ourselves.

Get your ticket here! I think I’m going to be going to the haunted tour here soon!

Fall Favorites Review

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Washington Park Photo credit: Lisa Boehmker

I really wanted to get out of the house this weekend because I knew this was probably going to be the last nice weather Saturdays, so I suggested Washington Park’s Apple Festival to a friend. The festival was definitely booming and beautiful with fall leaves everywhere and a live band. The festival was more low key (I think my brain hoped for millions of bins of apples to choose from) than I originally thought. I imagined the festival involving more apples and apple related products. I feel like the festival was more geared towards kids than adults. It definitely was cute and educational, but it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. I really enjoy any activity Washington Park does, but unless you have some kids around-might want to only plan a quick drop by for a funnel cake or activity.

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Burger and frites from Taste of Belgium

My friend and I ended up at the infamous Taste of Belgium for lunch that day. While this isn’t exactly a place that is necessarily “fall” like it is definitely worth mentioning. Taste of Belgium is amazing. I used to only buy the waffles from Findlay Market whenever I happened to be there, but now I’m obsessed with their cafe/restaurant in OTR by Washington Park. We did end up waiting for twenty or thirty minutes for brunch, but it was during lunch hour and on a weekend. I wasn’t sure what we were getting into when we entered the cafe’s doors but I’m glad we did! I ordered the burger and frites while my friend got the chicken burger (Click here for the full menu). Both of us were so hungry and happy with our meal that few words were said while we ate except how good the food was. I definitely recommend their waffles and pastries as well. Everything I’ve ever had at Taste of Belgium was delicious.

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Coffee Emporium Goodies

We also managed to stop at Coffee Emporium (It was definitely an OTR kind of day) because my friend had never been before. Every time I walk into this place I am rewarded with the intense smell of coffee beans. It’s truly appetizing to even breathe in this place. While I’m an avid coffee drinker, I tend to get their apple cider with the added syrup and cinnamon because I’m a autumn and cider junkie. I believe they have it throughout the winter but it’s my favorite drink of all time. I do really love their coffee but cider always puts me in a good mood in the fall. I regret not trying one of the pastries that are in the above picture but Taste of Belgium left me full and happy. Everyone there is always so friendly and helpful. I definitely recommend Coffee Emporium for a date, hangout or a place to study. Also, if you like coffee, this is obviously the place to go.

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Reality Tuesday’s Butter Rum Cider

While the Butter Rum Cider wasn’t my favorite apple cider, their original is phenomenal. I am really picky about my apple cider. This is another coffee place (This time in Kentucky) that I’m in love with. They even had a cup that supported breast cancer awareness, so I was one happy lady. It’s a great place if you need lunch or a cup of coffee and again is a great date/hangout place. There lunches are incredibly inexpensive and tasty. An honorable mention would have to be their grasshopper drink.
What are your fall favorites? I’d love to know!

P.S. I’ve decided to do NanoWrimo this month. Follow me at JuliaGoolia1920 for a brief excerpt of what I’m working on, and good luck to fellow NanoWrimo(ers).

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