Condado Tacos started in Columbus in 2014, and now has a dozen locations spread across Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, with more scheduled to come soon. They specialize in a build your own taco concept where the tacos are customizable in toppings, proteins, and shells.

Outside

Outside

The Cincinnati location occupies the southwest corner of Freedom & Joe Nuxhall Ways, directly across from Great American Ballpark. On nice days the entire walls of windows can be pushed back to really open up the restaurant space.

Bar

Bar

The inside is completed covered in street art style murals, all designed and painted by local artists. My wife and I sat at the bar and were lucky enough to discover it was happy hour, Monday through Friday 4-7, with half-price margaritas and $1 off tacos.

El Tres Amigos

El Tres Amigos

On recommendation from the bartender, we started with the El Tres Amigos, a selection of 3 salsa, quesos, and guacamoles ($15). He also let us know that he would give us the salsa verde and salsa roja at no charge with our taco orders. So we went with the traditional guacamole, the diablo queso, and the chorizo queso. The chorizo queso was really good and comes highly recommended.

Tacos

Tacos

While the make your own taco concept was intriguing, I decided to play it safe and ordered off of their taco suggestion menu. The El Santo ($4) was my favorite I think. It’s a sweet Lucy shell, which is a soft flour tortilla wrapped around a hard corn shell with queso and guac, topped with chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, queso fresco, salsa roja, and Condado Secret Sauce. I do think I will try creating my own on my next visit, which I hope is sometime soon!

Condado Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’ve been a fan of Revolution Rotisserie & Bar dating back to my 2015 visit to their Over-the-Rhine location. Since then they have grown up quite a bit. They added a location in Pleasant Ridge, they have more on the menus other than pita sandwiches, they offer a kids menu, and the list goes on.

Inside

Inside

I really like the openness and the feel of the newer Pleasant Ridge location. My wife and I stopped in one Saturday afternoon for lunch. Actually, we were there for brunch as they serve brunch on Saturdays and Sunday until 3 pm. I’m not really much of a brunch fan, mainly due to the dependence on egg-heavy dishes, but there were a couple of items I found to try.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

First, my wife went with the tried and true Joan of Arc salad with goat cheese, strawberries, toasted almonds, and raspberry basil vinaigrette ($8). She has had this salad before and consistently goes back to it, so it must be good! I slightly allergic to almonds, so I cannot comment on the flavor of the salad, but it looked pretty good, though I thought it appeared on the small side.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

For my brunch offering, I went with the Jackie Robinson Chita (chicken pita) with bacon, pepperjack cheese, tater tot hash, and hot honey ($9). This was really good, as have been the other chita sandwiches I have tried on previous visits. I would still recommend getting a chita when you visit.

Side Salad

Side Salad

I also had a simple side salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing ($3) on the side. The ingredients were fresh and the salad was tasty. Overall, I am still a fan of Revolution and their rotisserie chicken, and you should definitely give it a try if you haven’t already done so.

Revolution Rotisserie & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

While going to and from the airport recently, the Fort Mitchell Public House has often been on our agenda for a meal. Their convenient location is just off of the interstate and on an exit without a whole lot else going on, so it is easy to get in and out. We have enjoyed their quick and friendly service, kid friendly atmosphere, decent beer selection, and never a wait for a table (at least in our experience).

Outside

Outside

There is ample seating throughout the old home turned dining establishment. We prefer a table on the outside wall with half of a booth, also in view of some televisions and the bar.

Inside

Inside

On our first visit I tried the blackened chicken flatbread with blue cheese cream sauce, andouille sausage, banana peppers, red onion, cheddar jack, green onion, and bacon ($13). This was a healthy serving of food and the blackened chicken was great! I would have liked the peppers and onions to be a little more cooked, but overall this was a solid start to our meal.

Blackened Chicken Flatbread

Blackened Chicken Flatbread

My wife went with the fish tacos on the advice of our server. The blackened whitefish served on flour tortillas with a corn salsa, lettuce, cheddar, and sour cream ($10). The serving of fish was very large and quite delicious. She remarked that these were among the best chicken tacos in the city.

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

The kids burger and fries ($6) was good enough for my often picky son. It was served plain just as he liked it and had plenty of ketchup on the side.

Kids Burger

Kids Burger

On another visit I went with the public house mac and cheese, filled with andoiulle sausage, bacon, sauteed onions, and peppers ($15). The cheese sauce was slightly on the lighter side, but it clung well to the penne pasta and other ingredients. The addition of panko bread crumbs also helped to thicken the sauce. Overall this was a very good meal and I would definitely get this again. It is filling, so if you aren’t too hungry I would go with the tacos or flatbread from before. Or maybe just take the leftovers home.

Public House Mac and Cheese

Public House Mac and Cheese

Overall we have been really happy with the Fort Mitchell Public House and I look forward to another visit when our travels take us nearby.

Fort Mitchell Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Casa Sanchez in Copper Mountain has closed and El Zacatecano has opened in it’s place. If you liked Casa Sanchez you’ll like El Zacatecano, but if you didn’t like it the same will also be true. Reason being that I didn’t find any differences between the two.

Outside

Outside

Aside from a new sign out front, the space looks identical on the outside. And absolutely very little has changed on the inside. The same booths that are badly in need of repair are still there. There does appear to be a fresh coat of paint on the inside, which does help brighten up the space.

Inside

Inside

I couldn’t tell that much had changed with the food either. The place my food was served on was the same blue plate I had a year prior. The rice was the same, and the beans too. I had a medium combination plate with a chimichanga and an enchilada ($12.99). Pretty average tex-mex food here.

Combo Plate

Combo Plate

There aren’t a ton of places to eat in Copper, and this is the only Mexican around, so there isn’t a lot of competition. I just had hoped for more when I heard that the Mexican place had changed, but then I soon realized that not much had truly changed.

With the increasing number of breweries around the city I’m finding it harder to visit them all. Fretboard Brewing has been open for a little over two years now, and I’ve only visited them twice. If they were located closer to my house I’m sure my visits would be more often.

Outside

Outside

Fretboard is located in Blue Ash not too far off of I-71 at Pfeiffer in a sort of warehouse district. While the space looks pretty typical of the surrounding buildings on the outside, the renovation on the inside is great!

Inside

Inside

Of their six or seven year round beer offerings, I probably drink Improv (IPA) or Trey (Amber) the most, though their Vlad (Pilsner) has won some national and international awards. But when I’m in the taproom I love trying out the creative seasonals that they have on tap.

Tasters

Tasters

One thing that make Fretboard stand out from other breweries is that they have live music essentially every weekend. I have not had the chance to check that out, but it seems to be very popular. They are also kid friendly during day with cornhole and giant jenga sets.

Glassware

Glassware

Smoked Out Cincy is located at the back of the room and features in-house barbecue. I’ve enjoyed the flying pig sandwich with pulled pork, coleslaw, BBQ sauce, spicy bacon bits, and horseradish aioli ($11). They even offer a limited kids menu when the entire family is in need of some lunch. Fretboard is another great addition to the Cincinnati craft beer scene.

In the year or so that The Hi-Mark has been opened, I’ve visited the bar/restaurant three times. The first time was with my entire family, parents, and brother. This included the kids, which struggled to find something that they wanted to eat from the menu. It’s not a kid friendly menu, but the space is not entire kid unfriendly either.

My second visit was with a couple of friends on our way to a FC Cincinnati match. And my most recent visit was with my wife when we needed a quick meal before an event downtown. I ordered the Pulled Pork Bánh Mì on both my first and most recent visit ($9 with fries). This delicious sandwich features Eli’s smoked pork, do chua, cucumber, BBQ sauce, cilantro, green onion, and optional jalapenos. Eli’s pork is some of the best around and it really stands out on this sandwich, but the other ingredients help to reinvent the classic smoky taste.

Pulled Pork Bánh Mì

Pulled Pork Bánh Mì

I’ve also had the fried chicken sandwich and the grilled chicken torta ($9 each with crinkle fries on the side). The fry sauce that comes on the fried chicken sandwich is awesome and comes on the side with the crinkle fries. While both of these sandwiches are good options, it is hard to beat the Bánh Mì.

Fried Pickles

Fried Pickles

The crinkle fries can also be loaded for an additional $2. This adds Psychobeer cheese, cheddar, sour cream, bacon, tomato, and green onion. Honestly I think the fries are best served plain with the fry sauce on the side. The fried pickles can also be served with the fry sauce, which I highly recommend. I guess what I’m saying is to get the fry sauce is one way or another!

Loaded Fries

Loaded Fries

The Hi-Mark also features some great cocktails, the Horse’s Neck is one of our favorites – bourbon, bitters, ginger beer ($6 for well). They also have a dozen mostly local draft beers on tap, plus a tons of bottles, cans, and wines by the glass or bottle. It is a great place for a quick meal and drink!

The Hi-Mark Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Happy New Year! Below is the list of cities that I visited in 2018 with at least one night spent in each place.

  • Cincinnati, Ohio *
  • Copper Mountain, Colorado
  • Denver, Colorado *
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
  • Williamstown, Kentucky *
  • Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  • Gulf Shores, Alabama
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • West Portsmouth, Ohio
  • Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

* Those cities marked with an asterisk were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days.

See also: 2017 | 201620152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

My family and I enjoy spending time occasionally out at Summit Park in Blue Ash. When the park first opened there wasn’t much more than a playground a grass fields. Now there are restaurants, an observation tower, nature playscape, and much more!

Inside

Inside

After letting the kids get their energy out early on afternoon day, we stopped into the Brown Dog Cafe for brunch, which is offered on Saturday and Sunday from 10-3. I’m not the biggest fan of brunch menus typically due to the overwhelming amount of eggs that are typically on the, but Brown Dog had a nice variety of offerings, so I agreed to give it a try.

View

View

Inside and outside dining options are available, both with a view overlooking some of the parks main features. We settled into our high-backed booth and enjoyed the views on a pretty but chilly morning. I started with a Kentucky mule, a favorite of mine that combines bourbon, lime, mint, ginger syrup, and soda. There are also a variety of other craft cocktails that are worth a try!

Flyin' Hawaiian

Flyin’ Hawaiian

As I mentioned earlier there is a good variety on the brunch menu, including brick oven pizzas. I went with the Flyin’ Hawaiian with house smoked local pork belly, pineapple, red onion, house BBQ sauce, and local cheddar cheese curd ($16). This was a really good pizza and the toppings were of the highest quality.

Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo

My wife went with the Monte Cristo, which was great since we actually shared these plates. This sandwich combines ham, turkey, and Swiss between grilled French Toast and served with fresh fruit ($13). This was also really good, though the sourdough bread made for French Toast that was a little lighter than I was expecting. Something a little more dense might really make this excellent.

Our kids were happy with the chocolate chip pancake ($8) and the breakfast plate with one egg, bacon, ham, or turkey sausage, and toast ($6). The dinner menu looks fairly pricey making Brown Dog a candidate for a suburban date night, though we are much more likely to enjoy brunch or lunch again in the future.

Brown Dog Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I have a lot of memories of Mt. Lookout Tavern from college, but none of them are centered around a dining experience. Back then it didn’t seem like a good place to grab a bite, but the reinvented MLT has surprised me by offering really good bar food.

Inside

Inside

The inside has changed a lot since those college days. There are more tables that I remember, though it does seem like the tables can now be moved out of the way for the late night bar scene. The bathrooms could use some work though, as those don’t seem to be have been updated yet.

Chicken Philly

Chicken Philly

For lunch I went with the Chicken Philly with sauteed banana peppers, onions, and mushrooms topped with melted provolone and mayo on a hoagie roll ($9.49). I was really surprised by the good quality of this sandwich, and it was very filling. I also had added a side of freshly prepared onion rings for $3.

Hot Pretzel Bites

Hot Pretzel Bites

There is no kids menu to speak of, but our little ones were happy ordering from the appetizer menu. Two of their favorite items are at the top of the list, hot pretzel bites with MLT bier cheese ($6.49) and mini corn dogs with honey mustard ($5.99). Both were large servings and the kids had no complaints.

Mini Corn Dogs

Mini Corn Dogs

My wife ordered a build your own quesadilla ($5.49 to start, veggie fillings $.50 each, meat $1.99 each). Nothing out of the ordinary here, but again another solid option for a decent price.

Quesadilla

Quesadilla

On another visit I thoroughly enjoyed the buffalo chicken wrap ($8.99) and the loaded nachos that were enough for an entire family ($7.99, $2 to add chicken). MLT has been added to our neighborhood rotation of restaurants for a solid lunch or dinner.

Mt. Lookout Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

If you haven’t yet tried anything from the Brown Bear Bakery in Over-the-Rhine you need to head there right away. Well don’t do it today as they aren’t open on Tuesdays, but get there before weeks end. While there are plenty of great bakeries in Cincinnati, Brown Bear is on another level.

Counter

Counter

My wife and I grabbed a quick bite as a late breakfast and quickly decided to split the cinnamon roll and the savory brioche (both $5 each). The cinnamon roll is what brought us there in the first place, but the brioche stole the show!

Baked Goods

Baked Goods

The gooey cinnamon rolls are served with plenty of icing on top as well as orange zest to kick it up a notch. This was a delicious offering, but once I tried the savory brioche I had an immediate favorite. The light and fluffy bread is covered with goat cheese, spices, and topped with pepitas. It is the perfect combination of flavors and left me wanting more!

Brown Bear Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato