The Best Things of 2018

Before I get to the list, I want to say that 2018 was quite the year personally and for Tour de Cincinnati. Personally, I was able to travel and care for myself as my husband and I prepare to bring another person into the world. For Tour de Cincinnati, I was able to better manage my time, streamline content, and cut back while still posting quality content (in my opinion, anyway).

I would also like to give a shout out to Ddotts and Layla Living of Cincinnati Bloggers. For so long, Cincinnati hasn’t had any kind of cohesive blogging community, and in less than a year since its founding, I’ve already “met” and engaged with so many wonderful people. It has proven to be a valuable resource and it has provided renewed inspiration to something I’ve loved doing for so long, but—quite frankly—had started to lose interest in.

Cincinnati Bloggers lifts up some pretty great people who are creating badass content. Follow @cincinnatibloggers on Instagram for highlights of what’s being posted and written about by many different content creators in Cincinnati.

In 2018, Tour de Cincinnati put less emphasis on reviews and more emphasis on permanent pages. Because of this, a big goal for 2019 is to reformat the site to better accommodate this layout. The three most visited pages in 2018 were Dog Friendly, Brewery Guide, and Local Gift Guide. Additionally, the Cincinnati Craft Madness series attracted more than 100k page views, and the most-read posts in the past year were New Home, New Neighborhood; Review: Bircus Brewing; and the 2018 Cincinnati Bucket List (which, unfortunately, lost steam mid-year, thanks to substantial changes to life generally).

To add to the good that’s happened with the site in 2018, here are the best things from this past year:

Podopolis

Thanks to the opportunity to appear on Cincinnati Magazine’s CM Conversations podcast with then-Senior Editor Justin Williams, he and I decided to start our own take (courtesy of the great Cincinnati Magazine, of course). Podopolis is a Cincinnati-centric podcast that touches on everything from sports and high school reunions, to the westside and Midwestern lore (“Ope!”), plus our undying love for UDF and theme park nostalgia (including Justin’s “fear” of roller coasters).

We initially put up episodes every two weeks, but currently record pretty irregularly. If you haven’t yet, subscribe so you don’t miss an episode and can listen as they air. It’s a ton of fun to record and talk about Cincinnati, so I hope you’ll listen (if you don’t already)!

New Breweries in ’18

There were seven new taprooms to open in greater Cincinnati in 2018 (with several more planned in the months to come, and not including Bircus’ grand re-opening), bringing the total to just under 50 craft brewery taprooms within a 30-ish mile radius of the city center. For various reasons, these are my favorites from this past year:

3 Points Urban Brewery
3PB not only has a super cool interior, the beer is good, they feature local artists, and it’s quite different from most breweries in the area. Plus it’s in Pendleton and run by Hickory Wald, which is an excellent group that focuses a lot on community, so wins all around.

Sonder Brewing
I can’t vouch for the beer (yet), but I can verify the legitimacy of this place. The food, provided by BrewRiver at Sonder Brewing (courtesy of BrewRiver Creole Kitchen), is excellent and the taproom space is great. Plus that dog-friendly outdoor beer garden will be fantastic when warmer weather returns.

Wiedemann’s Fine Beer
What I love most about Wiedemann (because, unfortunately, it’s not for the beer since I am currently off the stuff) is its home-like ambiance. It’s a rather large taproom and low-key brewpub with pretty dang good bar food and a nice outdoor space to boot.

For a complete greater Cincinnati Brewery Guide, click here.

New restaurants/favorite foods tried

There have been a number of new restaurants to open in 2018 but, unfortunately, didn’t find myself getting to try a lot of them. Between sleeping and trying to keep my head above water this year, I didn’t spend very much time trying new places. But I did get to try a number of new [to me] places and dishes. Some of my favorites were:

13thstreet
13th Street Alley – OTR Philly
coppins
Coppins at Hotel Covington – Roebling Benedict (Glier’s goetta, Maddy’s English muffin, wilted spinach, Crystal hollandaise)
ooey-gooey
Donna’s Gourmet Cookies – Ooey Gooey Day, which takes place every Friday and Saturday. Follow Donna’s on Instagram for details!
louvino
LouVino – Seared Scallops (fried green tomato, maple mustard sauce)
precinct
The Precinct – The Jeff Ruby Burger and Boardwalk Fries from the bar menu

I also tried and really liked Veracruz Mexican Grill, specifically the beef enchiladas (BK will tell you about the Al Pastor tacos). I’ve never been super into Mexican food or tacos (especially when made with corn tortillas), but I was very impressed by Veracruz.

Travels

The privilege I have to explore—both locally and globally—is not lost on me and every single day I am grateful for the opportunity to do it. In 2018 I was fortunate enough to have traveled to Iceland, Germany, and Amsterdam (thanks to the now-defunct WOW Air); Chicago for a work event and to check out some breweries with friends from high school; Michigan to see Liverpool play Man United in the Big House, followed by a night in Detroit (complete with Detroit-style pizza); Southern California with Little Lady in tow; and more locally to Indy—twice—for an FCC match, Pacers vs. Cavs playoff game, and brewery explorations.

Guys. Indy is an excellent place to visit, whether for a day trip or weekend getaway.

california-pregnancy
Venice, California at sunset

Pregnancy

Even if it meant taking a short hiatus—and, quite frankly, leaving Tour de Cincinnati with an uncertain future—this has been the most profound thing to happen to me in 2018, and definitely one of the more prolific things to happen in my life. This journey has taught me a lot, but especially when to say no and to better manage my priorities and time. It has allowed me to scale back, while hopefully still posting quality content, which has been very beneficial for the site (and for me).

It has been beautiful. It has been trying. It has been difficult. It has been transformative.

Volunteer Involvement and UpSpring

I’ve been volunteering with UpSpring—whether individually or coordinating events for work—for over two years now, and this past year I saw the fruits of the UpSpring Break committee’s labor culminate with its annual fundraiser in April. UpSpring is the region’s only nonprofit exclusively serving the needs of homeless youth, and I am grateful to be on the committee again this year. It is a truly wonderful organization and I urge you to get involved in one that you’re passionate about in whatever way you’re able.

FC Cincinnati, Die Innenstadt, and the move to MLS

I wasn’t aboard the MLS-or-bust train but, as a supporter of the club, it was a goal of theirs from day one that I have supported by proxy. With the move comes an underwhelming brand refresh, higher ticket prices, and a less than ideal stadium situation, but also more Forrest Lasso.

I have met so many wonderful people thanks to being a supporter of this club and a member of Die Innenstadt, and I am grateful I am afforded the opportunity to participate in all of the above as a season ticket holder.

Another highlight from the world of FCC worth mentioning is the Old Man Ultras. Check them out. Their podcast vaguely resembles analysis and is hilarious.

My Husband

Without him, Tour de Cincinnati probably wouldn’t exist. He has motivated, encouraged, and supported me from the start of the site in 2013, when he accompanied me on most of my weekly adventures. It was a great way for us to date each other while exploring the city we both love. Though he will say that I continue to spread myself too thin, he is beyond supportive of this work that I do and will agree that I’ve done a much better job of scaling back in ’18.

As with relationships, TDC has made quite the evolution. And he has been with me every single step of the way. I am grateful for his partnership—in creativity and in life. (…and when I have grammar questions; need a proofreader; or forget where we went, what we ate, or the beers we had in the week(s) before.) Every single day I am thankful for him, and I do my best to remind him just as often.

How I’m proud of the site? I love that it’s become an all-encompassing resource more so than merely a chronological blog of reviews. It is my hope that TDC is a helpful guide to all things food, beer, events, and dog-friendly fun in greater Cincinnati. A big goal of mine in the next year is to reformat and refresh the site to better lay out this setup, so keep your eyes peeled for a refresh hopefully soon!

In addition to refreshing content and the overall look of the Tour de Cincinnati “content conglomerate” (TDC, Podopolis, and @dogfriendlycincy), I am working on a number of pocket maps to eventually serve as printable resources for visitors and people exploring Cincinnati, including its Points of Interest, Streetcar Map, and Craft Beer Map. (For a sneak peek of a working draft of the Streetcar Map, click here.)

It was a year filled with exploration, adventure, transformation, excellent food, and surprisingly some brewery visiting. I hope 2019 brings you personal peace and success, and I also hope that you get to explore and enjoy all the great things that this great city has to offer.

I initially didn’t have a list of goals for 2019—it started and ended with “keep my head above water”—but my husband worked on a really great list of attainable things he sets out to achieve this year, and I am going to steal a couple from him:

  1. Keep my head above water
  2. Go on five day trips from this book
  3. Complete five hikes from this book or this one
  4. Get more involved in our neighborhood (mostly by attending more organizational meetings)
  5. See #1.

I am unsure of what the future will bring for the site, but I’m looking forward to the challenge, whatever it may be.

Happy New Year, friends!

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