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

Located in the Anderson Towne Center, Latitudes Bar & Bistro has been open for over a decade with the current owners at the reigns for the last nine years. The outside of the building is warm and inviting, but the inside was quite dark and had a different feel to it than I was expecting.

Inside

Inside

My family and I arrived for an early Sunday lunch and found the restaurant nearly completely empty. We didn’t let this deter us and grabbed a table near the stage that is used for nightly entertainment. Our service was fast and super friendly.

Mediterranean Platter

Mediterranean Platter

We started with the Mediterranean Platter filled with falafel, spanakopita, hummus, pickled veggies, and pita bread ($12). This was a ton of food for my wife and I and it was all of such great quality. This could easily feed a group of four as a solid starter for your meal.

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread

My wife and I also split the buffalo chicken flatbread with a ranch base, chicken, red onions, crumbled blue cheese, mozzarella cheese, and drizzled with ranch dressing and hot sauce ($11). Again, this was a filling flat bread and the taste was excellent! We ended up taking a good portion of this home after eating our way through the appetizer.

Cheeseburger Sliders

Cheeseburger Sliders

Our son enjoyed the cheeseburger sliders with fries ($5). Sunday is also kids eat free day, so our bill at the end was really cheap! These looked like high quality burgers and our son was happy and really enjoyed the fresh cut fries as well.

Chicken Bites

Chicken Bites

Our daughter enjoyed the chicken bites, which are essentially boneless wings without sauce, served with fries ($5). I’m sure most kids would enjoy this plate, but our daughter actually preferred the Mediterranean platter.

While the restaurant space is a little odd, the food at Latitudes Bar & Bistro is great, the service was superb, and we all left happy. When we are back in the area we will not hesitation to visit again.

Latitudes Bistro & Lounge @ The Omni Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Recently we completed a landscaping renovation with Young Entrepreneur Landscaping LLC. Our old cracked concrete walkways were the primary motivation behind the project, but like so many other projects once we started looking to replace that we decided to include some others.

Before Front

Before Front

Before Back

Before Back

Our old back paver patio was in need of repair or replacement, and our front steps also needed some TLC. When the project was complete we had new matching Unilock pavers installed all the way from the front sidewalk to and including the back patio. We also had new custom built stairs up to the front porch complete with a new railing. And of course once this was all done we needed new sod planted to clean it all up.

New Stairs

New Stairs

New Walkways

New Walkways

New Patio & Sod

New Patio & Sod

Owner Barrett Weckel was very easy to work with and had great ideas for our space. It was all executed to perfection by partner Nate Record and his two-man crew in a couple of weeks. They all worked very hard to make sure we were completely satisfied and were quick to make any adjustments as the project unfolded. We couldn’t have been happier with the entire process and all of their hard work!

I was recently invited to a blogger dinner at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. I had dined at Freddy’s once before, but this was the first time taking the entire family. It was on a Tuesday, which is their family night with balloons, toys, coloring pages, and the best part – a free kids dessert!

Inside

Inside

We started with the cheese curds, which came highly recommended by our host. Their cheese curds are premium white cheddar cheese, lightly covered with butter crumbs and fried to a gooey golden perfection. About the size of a tater tot, the cheese curds can be popped into your mouth and savored, with or without a dipping sauce. A great start to our dinner!

Cheese Curds

Cheese Curds

For my meal I tried the new spicy chicken sandwich. This it normally just topped with pickle planks, but I chose to have it loaded with more veggies and some Freddy’s sauce on top. The sandwich has a nice cayenne pepper kick – a kick, just enough for those looking to spice it up a bit, but not too hot for those who typically shy away from all-things spicy.

Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Chicken Sandwich

My daughter enjoyed the kid’s cheeseburger meal, which includes a small order of fries and a drink. The small order of fries is not really small at all. We had so many fries at our table, and my wife didn’t even order any.

Kid's Burger

Kid’s Burger

My son enjoyed the grilled cheese meal. Normally this is a a mix of Swiss and American cheese, but they were happy to make his with just American. Everything at Freddy’s is cooked to order, so while it can take a bit longer to prepare, it is always fresh and just the way you like it!

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese

After finishing our meals, we were all treated to our choice of frozen custard desserts. Frozen custard is smoother and richer than ice cream, thanks to a time-tested churning process that minimizes ice crystals and excess air.

Custard Machine

Custard Machine

My daughter was so excited to make her own dirt n’ worms sundae with vanilla custard, Oreo cookies, gummi worms, whipped cream, and a cherry. I went with the chocolate brownie delight concrete with chocolate custard, brownie, hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top. A concrete is Freddy’s fresh and creamy frozen custard blended with mix-ins like chocolate fudge, caramel, candy pieces or fruit. The name “concrete” came about because the finished treat is so thick it can be served upside down!

Dirt 'n Worms

Dirt ‘n Worms

We had a great time at Freddy’s and now is your chance to win a $50 Freddy’s gift card!

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Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato