My family and I are spending some time in the beautiful Anna Maria Island, Florida weather while kids are doing their distance learning. The first house we stayed in was very close to Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, which sits on the public Manatee Beach. We headed that way for breakfast our first morning on the island. Orders are placed at a window and a number given to place on any of the well-spaced out tables in the sand. The food comes quickly and is surprisingly good! So good we had lunch at the same spot later that same day.

Island Wrap

Island Wrap

For lunch, I ordered the Island Wrap with blackened chicken ($7.99). The wrap was packed with delicious blackened chicken and the chutney added some sweetness to compliment the spicy seasoning. I also ordered onion rings ($6.99) which seemed a little pricey upon ordering, but the serving size was so generous that it was enough for our entire family!

Onion Rings

Onion Rings

We also had carryout one other afternoon last week. This time I had a solid chicken salad wrap ($7.99) and sweet potato fries ($7.99). Again the serving of sweet potato fries was huge. These fries were more like curly chips, thinly spiral sliced potatoes. I didn’t like these as much as the onion rings, but the marshmallow dipping sauce was interesting. My wife liked the blackened fish tacos ($9.99) so much she ordered them both times. The kids were huge fans of the grilled cheese ($4.99) with fruit or fries. Overall the food was good, the service was fast, and their outdoor dining space is very nice!

Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Happy New Year! Below is the list of cities that I visited in 2020 with at least one night spent in each place. A much smaller list than in past years. I hope to return to a more typical number of cities this year!

  • Cincinnati, Ohio *
  • Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom
  • Stanton, Kentucky
  • LaFollette, Tennessee *
  • Williamstown, Kentucky *
  • Oregon, Ohio

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

See also: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 201620152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

One of the best additions to our neighborhood restaurant scene in a long time is Delwood, in Mt. Lookout Square, at the intersection of Delta and Linwood. At Delwood, they are putting their own Latin American spin on the classic American dishes.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Crispy Brussels Sprouts

First of all their crispy Brussels Sprouts ($8) are top notch! These are a staple of many American restaurants now, but Delwoods are served with Aji Verde aioli. The sauce is a spicy Peruvian green sauce, sometimes made with cilantro, jalapeños, mayonnaise, and Parmesan. These are delicious and a staple of our order every time!

Kid's Burger

Kid’s Burger

While not listed specifically on their menu, Delwood is very kid friendly. They have a burger that is served plain with cheese and ketchup on the side. Their burger is quite good, and my daughter has even grown to love their Classic Double Cheeseburger ($11), with cheese, pickle, and special sauce.

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

My go-to sandwich is the Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich ($10) with spicy Rocoto aioli and salsa Criolla. Rocoto is a Peruvian chili pepper, which really adds a kick to this sandwich. And the salsa Criolla (pickled onions and peppers) adds a nice balance to the heat.

Chicken Fingers

Chicken Fingers

Their buttermilk fried chicken is extremely good. It’s a great start for their chicken sandwiches, and can even be ordered as an entree or from the kid’s menu.

Waffle Fries

Waffle Fries

And finally, no meal of ours is complete without an order of waffle fries ($5) served with Aji Amarillo aioli. The Aji Amarillo is the Peruvian Yellow Chili Pepper, so the sauce again has a bit of heat. We also have some ketchup available for the kids or to put out the heat in our mouths after all of the wonderfully spicy food.

Delwood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our go-to pizza during the pandemic has definitely been from Taglio, and I was surprised to find that I had never reviewed them before. Their pepperoni and hot honey pizza is outstanding! It combines tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, pepperoni, basil, and Mike’s hot honey. And for the full experience, you have to try their Detroit deep dish ($26). This is my personal favorite, though more often than not we go with the traditional crust and get a half pepperoni and hot honey and half spinach and ricotta (tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, fresh spinach, garlic). These two pizzas are my favorite of theirs, but they also have some other great topping combinations.

Detroit Deep Dish

Detroit Deep Dish

My kids enjoy their cheese pizza, but again more often than not they like to order the uncooked dough ball and prepare their own dinner. They also have to-go pizza kits with all of their fixings to make a full pie. Oh and don’t forget the to-go cocktails, growlers, wines, and craft beer. Ordering from their website is so easy and includes all of these options plus creative salads and appetizers as well. Just typing this up had me dreaming of placing my next order with Taglio!

Taglio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My family and I don’t often venture over to northern Kentucky, but there are definitely some great spots worthy of visiting. The Gruff, just over the suspension bridge in Covington, is definitely one such place. They specialize in brick oven pizza, as well as various fresh sandwiches and salads. We stopped in for brunch and found something for everyone in our family.

Gruff BLT

Gruff BLT

I’m not a big brunch fan, as I do not like eggs. However, I was happy to find a number of sandwiches, and even pizza, on their brunch menu! I had a hard time deciding, which is rare for me at brunch, and eventually went with the Gruff BLT with applewood smoked bacon, arugula, pickled green tomato, and black pepper aioli on toasted sourdough with a chopped salad ($12). This was a great sandwich, especially the pickled green tomato. The salad was simple but full of fresh ingredients!

Southern Chicken Biscuit

Southern Chicken Biscuit

My wife enjoyed the southern chicken biscuit with which came smothered in sausage gravy and topped with bacon and an egg ($12). I almost ordered this without the egg, but was happy when she shared a bite with me. This was very filling and tasty! My kids enjoyed the fresh veggie plate, and the hot dog (both $6). Overall we had a great visit to the Gruff and I definitely want to go back to sample some of the pizza.

Gruff Pizzeria & Delicatessen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’ve been to various BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in the past but was never a regular customer until they opened their latest Cincinnati outlet in Rookwood about a year and a half ago. Now it has quickly become a go-to spot for my family.

Inside

Inside

Inside the restaurant is quite large and we have yet to encounter a wait for a table despite it often being crowded. It is fairly loud inside, but that’s to be expected. And I love their large selection of draft beers.

Wedge Salad

Wedge Salad

I started with the wedge salad ($3.75) with iceberg, blue cheese, applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes, red onions, and blue cheese dressing. Nothing too out of the ordinary here, though I don’t recall having red onion on a wedge before. And there was plenty of it along with the other toppings that made it a great start to the meal.

Garlic Knots

Garlic Knots

My kids love their garlic knots. They were given complimentary ones to start the meal, and we had to order more for my son as he just couldn’t get enough.

Honey Sriracha Brussels Sprouts

Honey Sriracha Brussels Sprouts

My wife really wanted to try their honey Sriracha Brussels Sprouts ($6.95). These were awesome! I highly recommend starting your meal with an order.

Classic Combo Pizza

Classic Combo Pizza

My dinner I went with the classic combo pizza ($12.50 for the 6″) with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, and seasoned tomatoes. The deep-dish pizza did not disappoint! I have ordered this same thing on the majority of our visits.

Enlightened Barbacoa Cauliflower Pita Tacos

Enlightened Barbacoa Cauliflower Pita Tacos

My wife enjoyed the EnLIGHTened barbacoa cauliflower pita tacos with seasonal bistro grains ($10.75). Two thick pita shells are filled with roasted cauliflower and red peppers, sweet corn, jack and cheddar cheese, onions, tomatoes, greek yogurt crema, and cilantro. BJ’s has an entire section of EnLIGHTened meals that are low-calorie vegetarian options.

We look forward to dining in at BJ’s again when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Giminetti Baking Company has been baking and supplying bread to area restaurants since 1985. And for nearly the last 20 years they have also been serving breakfast and lunch at their spot in Walnut Hills that previously served as an RC Cola factory. The restaurant specializes in sandwiches, pizzas, soups, and salads.

Inside

Inside

On my first visit, I felt like I had to try one of the Giminetti Original sandwiches, and went with the top of the list, the Chevre ($7.95 with chips and a pickle spear). This combines salami, smoked turkey, goat cheese, roasted peppers, onion, tomato, and pesto on a ciabatta roll. This was a very good sandwich and I loved the combination of ingredients.

Chevre Sandwich

Chevre Sandwich

Overall there are over a dozen sandwich offerings and a handful of pizza options that should suit any taste. I will definitely be back to try some more!

Giminetti Baking Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

If you haven’t been to Karrikin in the past, I can’t wait for them to fully open to the public so you can fully experience the space as I did in the past. Karrikin is a Cincinnati based craft distillery and restaurant in Fairfax that has a wonderful selection of spirits, sodas, beer, and food all crafted in house.

Outside

Outside

The craft sodas are all caffeine-free and have some fun flavors in addition to the traditional cola. Their hard sodas mix together these sodas with some of their spirits and those are available on draft and in cans. They have also started canning a couple of the beer offerings.

Draft Wall

Draft Wall

The spirits are made on the largest copper pot still in the state of Ohio. These include vodka, brandy, gin, rum, and agave spirits.

Still

Still

The keylime sparkling spirit was a quick favorite of ours, and their citra IPA is solid!

Draft Flight

Draft Flight

Their food is also really good and most of it is set up for sharing. On our first visit, we just had the cheese board with local  Urban Stead cheeses, nuts, and bread.

Cheese Board

Cheese Board

While you can still get delivery or carryout from Karrikin, the full experience inside the open distillery and restaurant should not be missed!

Karrikin Spirits Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’ve reviewed the Gomez Salsa OTR walk-up window before, but now that they have a location closer to home, we have enjoyed their food more often. Their Walnut Hills location features a full dining area and bar. The menu is unchanged though, turtles, tacos, burritos, and bowls.

Outside Gomez Salsa

Outside Gomez Salsa

Orders are placed at the counter, and food is prepared just a fast as it is in OTR.

Menu at Gomez Salsa

Menu at Gomez Salsa

The dining room has plenty of seats, plus a bar with plenty of draft beer choices and cocktails.

Inside Gomez Salsa

Inside Gomez Salsa

For me, there is nothing better on the menu than a turtle, aka the Turtle Shell. They take a burrito sized tortilla, stuff it with all the goodies – rice, beans, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, meat, veggies, cheese, or anything else you’d like – then we seal it all up with an extra cheesy, tostada crunch!

Turtle from Gomez Salsa

Turtle from Gomez Salsa

They offer 5 styles to choose from, my favorite is the southwestern (rice, black beans, fajitas, spicy crema, corn salsa, Verde salsa, lettuce, and cheese) with chicken. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed!

Gomez Salsa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

As Nick & Tom’s website indicates, they have been a west side tradition since 1988. I have eaten there numerous times over the years as it is one of the closest restaurants to my in-laws’ house. They often are packed solid on weekend evenings, including my most recent visit with my wife. We took a few minutes without the kids to have a quieter dinner date while the kids played with their grandparents. Surprisingly we found a wait for a table on a random Saturday in January. But we were able to find a table in the bar by the time we ordered a drink at the bar.

Inside

Inside

My wife and I shared the Biehl Street Sprouts ($10) with crispy Brussels sprouts, bacon, pecans, and goat cheese. These were delicious and I highly recommend them! The Brussels sprouts alone would have been good but add in the smoky bacon with the sweeter pecans and goat cheese and these should not be skipped!

Biehl Street Sprouts

Biehl Street Sprouts

For dinner, I had the Mediterranean Pasta with chicken ($13.50). This combination of feta, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, pepperoncini, basil, oregano, and garlic on vermicelli pasta is a Cincinnati Magazine Silver Spoon Award winner. Though the award seems to be from 10 years ago, the flavors are still a pretty good combination. The addition of a well-seasoned chicken breast was a good choice and I wouldn’t recommend having the pasta without it.

Mediterranean Pasta

Mediterranean Pasta

Overall Nick & Tom’s is a solid restaurant, made even better by the lack of other good choices in the immediate area. We will definitely be back.

Nick & Tom's Restaurant & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato