The Other End – Destin

We get pretty excited when new restaurants open in Destin. The Other End was new (2016) and I heard awesome things about their burgers. We have a few days of wiggle room with our Destin food run-down so…off we went. I believe Day 2 in.

Parking is TEENY. Better be good at maneuvering – we had a Suburban and it was a tight fit! Upon first glance, I can tell why it’s a popular evening hangout. Garden lights, great view – those are fantastic things…but pretty useless when it’s 90 degrees in direct sunlight and metal chairs. 😉

We managed to find one table with a baby umbrella and waited…and waited…and waited. I’m not the most patient person, I’ll give you that but, in humid hell? I’m ready to throttle.

I wish I could say our service got better/faster but it was pretty much snail pace the whole time. We were 1 of 3 tables.

Hot weather = I need wine. Oh, who am I kidding…I always need the wine.

Wine

Just like the umbrella, it was a baby wine. Where’s the rest of it?

My son was excited about his coke bottle. Easy to please there.

Coke bottle

My teen boy loves his soft pretzel appetizers – so…

Pretzel

He loved the pretzel. Hated that beer cheese stuff on the side. Looks like no beer cheese that I’ve ever seen. Gotta go with the boy on this one – gross.

After much back and forth – the menu IS pretty small, the husband decided on the Duck Grinder

Steak Sandwich

And, more of that crappy beer cheese/sauce stuff just smothered all over it. Bleh.

My son got a cheeseburger (of course) and he loved it.

Cheeseburger

Me? My go to – fish tacos!

Fish tacos

They looked like a good idea in theory but…they just weren’t doing it for me.

The ONE amazing item in this whole dining experience? Some of the BEST french fries that I’ve ever had in my entire life!

Fries

Because they fry them in duck fat – score!

Our bad service (I will say that the cooking staff was KILLING it in the hot truck! They deserve some major kudos) combined with the mediocre food knocked the Other End off of our “gotta go again” list. But, I can certainly understand why it draws a night crowd. Beer and fries are a win.

 The Other End Beer Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mazunte

We had friends that were raving about Mazunte – let me just preface this by saying that I’m very picky (picky is probably the wrong term here) when it comes to Mexican food. Or, food in general. It’s very rare that I eat something and I’m overwhelmed by its deliciousness.  “Hard to impress” is probably a better description.

Headed to Mazunte on a hot Saturday, around 6PM. There’s a unique system they have for seating – since there’s not a lot. You get in line. A nice staff member hands you a table holder…

Mazunte table holder

As you’re waiting in line, he’s scouting out the best possible location for you to sit. (Probably not a good idea to come with a huge party) I felt like I couldn’t trust the system…we shall see.

The Mazunte Menu is pretty simple – by simple, I mean short and to the point. (which I LOVE!) Because of other bloggers/reviewer suggestions, I had a good idea as to what I was going to get. We waited for about 5/10 minutes to make it to the register to order. In that time, I was scoping out the Mazunte situation. There was a stand with ice, bottle openers, salt and lime. Along with a container of sangria (maybe?) and horchata. There was a corner of the restaurant dedicated to the Salsa Bar. (FRESH made chips with 4 salsa choices – seriously, heaven) AND, figured out that the woman making chips was also in charge of the margaritas (learned that on our 2nd visit – yeah.)

I was good to go. The husband was having issues figuring out his best choices. He’s a sucker for the tostadas so I had a feeling he was headed in that direction.

So – here we go…

Chips, Salsa and Guac, of course!

Chips and Guac

They are fresh, hot, crispy and leave just the right amount of oil on your hands. I was focused on the guacamole, so can’t speak too much on the salsa. My thoughts on the guacamole – eh, it was okay. Too mushy for my taste. Needed some chunk. ( I guess in some circumstances, chunky is a good thing) But, I’m never refusing any guacamole.

And, I called it – the husband got the Tostadas

Tostadas

Seriously – way better looking than any tostadas I’ve ever seen before. He LOVED them.

Since we were indecisive and really wanted to try a taco, we got the Taco Trio too. 2 Steak and 1 Fish (me)

Taco trio

My husband was digging his steak taco. For me, the fish taco was just okay – probably because I was totally and completely in love with my meal…

The Pork Enchiladas with Verde Sauce

Enchiladas better

Let me just say, this whole plate was perfection. You know when you get full but your taste buds just scream for more? That’s where I was toward the end of this. In real life, I’m not even a fan of enchiladas but these…these are enchiladas that people should write poetry about. Every component was perfect and cohesive. The pickled onions, the queso fresco, the crema…the verde sauce! (again, not my normal choice) I just ate in silence and wonder. Our friends totally nailed it with this place and the suggestion!

We loved it so much that we came back the NEXT week. Yes, we were that in love with it. This time, I ditched the side taco and got the enchiladas (again) and a margarita this time.

Margarita

Since the drinks are self-serve, you must have an “M’ on your cup to get that yummy (strong!) margarita from the woman making tortillas. Margarita was awesome. 2 might have sent me over the loopy edge.

Second go around, we were still in love with it. And, I was a bit feisty that we’d be unable to go for a 3rd Saturday. BTW – the husband got his tostadas again (he will never vary – that’s just who he is once he finds something he likes) but he discovered that you can just get a single taco! So, if you want to try a side taco, you don’t have to get the full on trio.

I love that Mazunte is set up in a basic manner – but the ingredients are fresh, authentic, creative and anything but basic. If you’re looking for a taste explosion and you loved Mexican food, go to Mazunte. My suggestion is to get there a bit earlier on the weekends because around 6, it’s packed. Follow and trust the seating system, it works. And, get things the way that they prepare them! Each ingredient adds something to the dish.

Next time around? Yes, we’re going again (soon, I hope!) – I’m going to try the Memelitas. (read that menu description) Unlike the husband, I’m willing to give new things a whirl. 🙂

Mazunte Taqueria Mexicana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Asiago’s Skillet – Destin 2016

So, it’s been a REALLY long time since I’ve blogged about food – like, almost a year.  It’s not that I still don’t enjoy food…I might have gotten sucked up by the glorious invention that is Netflix. More specifically, Supernatural.

I’ve got some food blogging to make up! Since we’re headed into the summer months (yah!), might as well start off with some vacation destination food. Even if it is from last summer’s vacation…

Most everyone knows how much I complain about breakfast food – I’m a pretty hard person to please. I DO enjoy Another Broken Egg Cafe but, it’s pretty pricey (it’s eggs, for the love of pete) and they got kind of stingy with the fillings/toppings. The Donut Hole could be a valid choice but in the 10 years of vacationing in Destin, we’ve NEVER been able to get in to eat there. I won’t wait 2 hours for breakfast AND I don’t like that they don’t have a seating system. Get your lives together, Donut Hole. Plus, their donuts are crappy. <– I’m sure that statement just pissed off a bunch of Destinites.

BUT – Asiago’s Skillet came along in Destin last summer. Just go ahead and look at their menu. It’s a thing of creative beauty. I had really high hopes that this could be our new breakfast place. Was it?

The great news (for us) was that Asiago’s Skillet was new on the breakfast scene so parking wasn’t an issue. The other upside was that the space is pretty big (in a land of teeny breakfast spots).

Although we had an idea of what we wanted, it all sounded so good so final decisions were hard to come by.

In the end, this is what happened, food-wise…

Local Breakfast Sandwich

Local Sandwich

French Toast (my bestie LOVES her powdered sugar…)

French Toast

This would be the Asiago’s Big Breakfast Bowl AND what I got – yes, it was as amazing as it looks!

Asiago's Big Breakfast Bowl

American Breakfast

American Breakfast

Seafood Omelet

Seafood Omelet and pancakes

Kid’s Breakfast

Kid breakfast with pancakes

Okay – everything was AWESOME. However, my son, got a side biscuit with his breakfast order and it quickly became the item that we ALL were salivating over.

This – the honey butter biscuit.

Honey Butter Biscuit

Yes, look upon it. Perfection in one turquoise bowl.

And, that is why we all found an excuse to come back again. Us, the vacationers that only eat breakfast out 1 time in 2 weeks. We were willing to sacrifice beach time for Asiago’s Skillet’s breakfast.

Second time around? Well, my daughter and her boyfriend were in town and although there was a french toast and basic breakfast repeat, everyone on the left side of the table got the King of the Biscuits (read that menu description…)

King of the Biscuits better

I don’t need to say anything.

I did change my order the 2nd time around  (all because of the honey butter biscuit). I got the Chorizo Omelet with a side of potatoes that were Shipwrecked and that delicious biscuit on the side. A PERFECT Destin breakfast, everyone. Actually, a perfect breakfast no matter where in the world you are.

Mine

BOTH times we were there, the manager/owner came out to make sure we were happy with our breakfast experience. I, since then, have liked their page on Facebook and learned that they have a Bloody Mary Bar (hello, awesome) and that they’re just all around fantastic, LOCAL owners.

I know a lot of Cincinnati peeps vacation in Destin – if you are there and want a fabulous breakfast that won’t break the bank, go to Asiago’s Skillet. They are doing it all the right way. Skip the Donut Hole, skip Another Broken Egg (except to buy a coffee mug), skip the Pancakery, skip The Breakfast Place.  You’ll thank me.

Asiago's Skillet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Original Best Italian – Gatlinburg, TN

The husband and I were drawing to a close our weekend of time alone and eating. Our “last”meal was a pretty big deal. I sort of wanted Paula Deen’s but…if I was honest with myself, it was just because of the hoe cakes, biscuits and fried chicken. Did I really want to spend $60+ on that? So – we went the pizza route. No pizza in 9 weeks for me! Yes, it’s appropriate to cry for me.

We saw some pics from a friend of a crazy huge calzone that The Original Best Italian serves – gigantor! Calzones to me are just okay – I much prefer pizza. But, the husband was all over getting a monster calzone.

The Original Best Italian is tucked away in a corner of Gatlinburg (across from TGIF and Melting Pot) – if you see wooden Jesus, you have arrived!

It was the night of the Derby so it wasn’t busy – our service was fast and friendly and we always had drinks!

We started with some of their signature garlic rolls…(that was my other stipulation – I wanted some bread after no carbs for 9 weeks!)

Italian Garlic knots

Yum! I especially like all the extra garlic butter at the bottom to dip them in! (along with the side of marinara)

Oh – and check out this glass. It was totally retro and adorable.

Italian coke

The husband thinks I’m like an old lady. I’ll freely admit that I am – books, blankets, cats, coffee…yep.

He was going straight for the calzone. I could have been a good wife and split it with him but really, I didn’t have a single desire for a calzone.

Take a look at this beast!

Italian Calzone solo

And for some perspective…

Italian Calzone

It was like an extra large pizza folded in half! He said that there was a crazy amount of cheese in it (along with his sausage and banana peppers). He was in calzone heaven. (and, hell no, he didn’t finish it!)

I got pizza – just pepperoni pizza

Italian Pizza

It was damn perfect pizza – homemade thin crispy crust. Lots of cheese, perfect sauce. So…damn…good. You know I love Dewey’s pizza and this rivaled it. Yes, that good!

We left, crazy full and loaded down with boxes. We waddled down the strip some more. Debated whether to ride the sky lift or not. (that was a not) If you’re in the Gatlinburg area and are looking for something other than pancakes or fried food – hunt down The Original Best Italian! (wooden Jesus!)

The Original Best Italian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Loco Burro – Gatlinburg, TN

As we checked into our hotel, we discovered that the Dolly parade (or something like that) was headed our direction. We decided that it would be a good time to head into Gatlinburg and do some shopping. I’m not a parade person. 😉

We stopped at Mel’s Diner for lunch so we knew it was going to be a minute until we were hungry for dinner. Thankfully, I was ready to shop! As we walked, the husband and I saw that Loco Burro had rooftop seating – I love guacamole and we needed to kill some time…plus, people watching in Gatlinburg is top-notch.

Because of the parade, it wasn’t busy at all – score! Our server and service was awesome – fast, friendly, we chatted with her for a bit. 🙂

Since we weren’t crazy hungry, we just (Okay, just me!) had some drinks to start with…

Blueberry Margarita

Burro Loco Blueberry marg

Yum – super sweet but still yum!

Then, to kill some more time…

Burro Loco Marg

I wish I could remember what it was – I’m not particular when it comes to the margaritas!

We discovered that we were never going to be hungry enough for a meal – which is sad because all of the food around us looked amazing! The husband got the 6-Layer Dip appetizer…it was like a meal. Crazy huge.

Burro Loco Layer Dip

Okay – this next picture, sums up how perfect this whole experience was.

Burro Loco Guac Station

Seriously. A Guacamole cart/station when you order table side guacamole. My whole trip was complete at that point.

Burro Loco Guac

Mmm…guac. It needed a bit more lime and salt (to be fair, she asked me if I’d like to add anything extra but I felt guilty for being picky…) but, it’s guac.

The husband and I really enjoyed our experience here – I know it’s not southern fare but if you’re in Gatlinburg and looking for a place for some drinks and for a great atmosphere…this is it. The bonus? Mechanical burro riding, people. Enough said.

Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sawyer’s Farmhouse – Pigeon Forge, TN

A couple of things – I’m on a crazy strict diet right now so there aren’t going be many reviews, sadly. My life consists of chicken, fish and veggies right now.

Also – I was given a brief (2 day!) reprieve from my diet and was able to eat what I want. Let me just say, no sugar for 9 weeks will make a girl crazy. Hence, why I probably loved this breakfast! (I was like Elf with the syrup)

The husband and I went for a weekend trip to Pigeon Forge a few weeks ago – it was nice, just the 2 of us getting away. REALLY nice being able to eat some food. 😉

I read some good things about Sawyer’s Farmhouse and wanted something different – something that wasn’t a Waffle House, a Pancake House or a buffet. The place is huge AND there’s a great big rooster outside. Damn, gotta love that. I couldn’t convince the husband to selfie with the rooster.

Coffee was immediately ordered (of course)

Sawyer's coffee cup

Life without coffee is not a life worth living. Truth.

The husband decided on the Mountain Man. Of course. I don’t think he had any decision-making issues at all.  3 eggs, home fries, biscuit and gravy, sampling of all breakfast meats and 3 pancakes. Hello, big breakfast!

Part 1

Mike breakfast

Part 2

Mike breakfast 2

And, all together now…

Mike's big breakfast

I would like to tell you that he didn’t eat it all. That would be a lie. To be fair – we eat healthy 90% of our life. It’s what deprivation will do to a person.

I couldn’t make up my damn mind! I really wanted a bowl type thing with home fries, toppings and a runny egg on top but that wasn’t an option. So – I went with cinnamon, syrupy goodness

Sawyer's french toast

It was soooo good. Lots of cinnamon and powdered sugar AND I requested some blueberry syrup. Yum.

And, to make my carb load complete…home fries!

Sawyer's home fries

Those are perfect home fries – super crispy. Could have popped them like potato chips. Oh wait, I did. I don’t think I ever used my fork!

I know so many people always look for good breakfast joints – THIS is it, people! If you’re in Pigeon Forge and looking for some good early eats, go to Sawyer’s Farmhouse! (I hear they do an awesome lunch, too!)

Sawyer's Farmhouse Breakfast Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Public House – Cheviot

I knew that The Public House was a bar in Cheviot, so I was a bit hesitant to go there just for a dinner. Wasn’t sure if we’d be given “the eye” or not. I know regulars are pretty possessive of their space. 🙂 Hey, I am.

But, I heard (from my Cheviot bar/restaurant frequenters) that they had really good burgers and some good pizza too. You know the husband and me…burgers and fries. (and pizza!) We’re in!

When I walked in, I could immediately tell why it’s a welcome spot for regulars – it’s comfy, big and you could tell that the bartenders and servers knew most of the people in there. I’m down for a “Cheers”. We were greeted warmly and shown to a table – no “eyes” were given. 😉

The menu is simple (love that!) – appetizers, sandwiches, burgers and pizzas. Hey, I’m down with that.

Even though it’s not my favorite appetizer, the husband wanted Soft Pretzels. Between him, my son and my bestie, I’ll never escape the soft pretzels!

Pretzels

I only took a couple of bites – they’re just too fluffy and filling for me. They were fine – needed some more salt. Yes, I’m aware that I say that about all things. The husband had no issue taking them down.

So that we could maximize our choices – we split a burger and a pizza. In theory, good idea. But, I eat so little that I knew a lot was going in to go boxes. Hunger knows no reason.

Bah Bah Black Sheep

Burger

Burger inside

That right there is a damn good burger. Really – pretty perfect. I LOVE that bacon and runny egg. I’d get super upset if the egg yolk was cooked. The husband and I were elbowing for bites. Okay, maybe not – since we split it in half. But, I’d poke him in the eye if he’d try to get in the way.

I needed (yes, needed) a side of Parmesan garlic fries.

Fries

I liked the plain fries but there was something off-putting about these topped fries. I’m not quite sure what it was (well, minus the wrong dipping sauce of marinara – just, no) but, I was really wishing for a more garlic taste. Maybe the parmesan was overbearing?

Our pizza – The Firehouse

Pizza

It just wasn’t good. The dough was way too puffy. The sauce was just okay. We each ate one piece and didn’t take it home with us. My sister said that the pizza has changed (not for the better) in the past few months. Yeah, we’ll stick with the burgers. Dewey’s still has my pizza love.

Our service was awesome. It was a great atmosphere. Pricing was good. Burger was fantastic – and we’ll totally go back again because of that!

The Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bru Burger Bar – Downtown

It’s actually been a couple of months since I’ve been to Bru Burger – what can I say? I’m a blogging slacker! Or, I’ve been busy… 😉

A group of us went for a pre-Bachelorette party dinner. Trendy, new and burgers? Hells, yah!

It’s beautiful inside – a bit smaller than I anticipated the space to be but, still beautiful. The servers got a little testy if your chair was a 1/2 inch in their space. Welcome to downtown dining.

We had some cocktails – I believe we did a shot but I have no clue what it was! Also – I might have had several of the Peach Margaritas. 

Margarita

Holy delicious! I suppose that’s why it was so easy to slurp down about 4.

For the table, started off with a couple appetizers…

The Triple Dip

Appetizer

Goat Cheese was awesome. And, who can refuse Naan? I’m not a fan of hummus in general but took a little swipe anyway. It was hummus. I just read an article today about how hipsters have destroyed food set up – the “board” was on the list. 🙂

Pretzels

Pretzels

Needed more salt but, your basic soft pretzel.

Onion Rings

Onion Rings

Total and complete yum. Crispy and quickly consumed!

My burger – Provencal Burger

Burger

I love goat cheese so that’s what sucked me into this burger. I wasn’t impressed though – the burger was pretty dry. The bun was tasty. I DID enjoy the fries even though I had to salt them.

I don’t know if I picked the “wrong” burger (of course, my philosophy on that is this…I shouldn’t have to pick the one item that they do well – everything should be good) or if Bru Burger was having just an “off” night.

I had an awesome time with some fun women. Our server was amazing – I’m sure it wasn’t easy dealing with a group of 8 women that were swinging back cocktails. He definitely deserves some major props! However, based on food, I definitely don’t need to travel downtown for this burger again. Especially since I have some amazing burgers in my own neighborhood.

Bru Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mama’s Farmhouse – Pigeon Forge, TN

It was our first night in to Pigeon Forge – all my kids wanted was fried chicken. Seriously – who doesn’t? We attempted to go to Paula Deen’s restaurant – yeah, that wasn’t happening without call ahead or a 3 hour wait. Since it was about 8PM, I did a quick search to see what restaurants in the area were high ranked. Mama’s Farmhouse was in the top 5, had all you can eat fried chicken and was right behind our hotel. Score!

The whole “all you can eat” and family style dining was all new to us. For 19.49/person, you get a salad, biscuits, choice of 3 entrees, 5 sides and a dessert. Big old fat fest!

Even at 8, they were still on about a 15 minute wait. When we got sat, it looked like the restaurant had been hit by a bomb! Apparently, a lot of people like to get down with the family style dining. I did hear a man, as he was paying, complaining about the price. Dude – look at the menu before you hog down fried chicken.

Our server was awesome – we could tell that she had been crazy busy before us, yet she still had the energy to be nice and accommodating.

I love iced tea. I really love iced tea served in adorable mason jars. 🙂

MF Mason jar iced tea

We all got a salad to start – it had an apple cider dressing as the house. AMAZING. Even my kids who are ranch addicts loved this dressing! I even liked the crunchy black eyed peas.

MF side salad

MF apple cider dressing

For our entrees, we got Fried Chicken (of course), meatloaf and turkey/dressing. We picked broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, macaroni and cheese and chicken and dumplings as our sides.

MF foodMF food 2

MF food 3

The food was pretty good – the fried chicken was probably the best thing on the table. Mashed potatoes were super runny. I’m a major macaroni and cheese snob because I crush the mac’n’cheese making. With family dining, you can request as much “extra” stuff as you’d like. The only thing we got more of was the fried chicken. I don’t think the family dining style was really created for us.

We each got to pick a dessert, too – banana pudding (have I mentioned that I HATE bananas?), peach cobbler or chocolate chip cookies. I forgot to take a pic but the chocolate chip cookies were really delicious. Probably because they just came out of the oven!

We were crazy stuffed – waddled to our hotel and watched some football. It was okay but can’t say that I’d have to go again. If I’m going to do family style dining and spend that kind of money, I’m going to Paula Deen’s.

Mama's Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

McAlister’s – Blue Ash

Working in Blue Ash, I’ve heard about McAlister’s but I’ve never actually been there. However, as I was stalking their menu, I noticed something. The nacho description – it appeared to be a description of perfect nachos. My nacho-loving, foodie self flocked to McAlister’s, right before Christmas to scout out these intriguing nachos.

Because my college attending daughter loves free food, she met me there. Teen people are good for that. 😉

Blue Ash is crazy during lunch time – uber busy. Luckily, we got there around 2ish so…we were dining almost solo! I like the simple set up – order at the counter, get your drink and a number and the food is brought out to you.

I got nachos (surprised?) and an Iced Tea…apparently, they’re known for that, too.

MA iced tea

It was damn awesome iced tea! Fresh, perfect brew and super cold.

MA perfect nachos

Just take a look – tortilla chips, layered with melted cheese AND shredded cheese, chili, black olives, jalapenos, tomatoes, green onions, sour cream and GUACAMOLE! Boom – perfect nachos! And, I believe they were only 7.99!

My daughter got a half Reuben and a half potato. I raised her right.

MA Reuben and potato

That is a 1/2 potato – seriously! It was HUGE!

MA reuben

I was too focused on my nachos to try hers but neither the sandwich nor the potato stood a chance.

My daughter and I were both in love with McAlister’s – it’s a deli, doing things simple and right. The bonus? ALL of the above (plus, my daughter’s tea) was under $20!

So, you nacho junkies – GET to McAlister’s for your nacho fix!

McAlister's Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato