GET A GRIP

Mosaic Climbing is Cincinnati’s newest rock wall and bouldering facility. But it’s also more than that.

Opened on March 15, 2019, the 20,000 square foot facility goes beyond what you’d expect from a climbing gym. Here you’ll also find a yoga studio, group fitness room (with all the traditional amenities), event rooms for parties, and even co-working spaces. That’s right. Whether you need a quiet work/study room or a communal space, Mosaic Climbing has what you need, all in a modern space filled with natural light.

Looking mostly for the climbing experience? Don’t worry—they have you covered there, too. The Bouldering Room features climbing walls up to 15 feet high reaching out over a thick pad. No ropes needed for bouldering—simply fall or jump off the wall when you’re ready.

I spent the morning walking around with Lindsey Zinno, Director of Customer Experience at Mosaic Climbing (and amazing climber herself, naturally), and it was in the Bouldering Room that she pulled out her phone. Another climbing wall at the far edge of the room lit up like a Christmas tree. It’s a MoonBoard controlled by a simple smartphone app. With the touch of a screen, you can climb any number of suggested patterns, all mapped out for you.

The Ropes Room is a 55 foot beauty of a space featuring several roped paths, including 8 auto belays (so you can climb with a friend or by yourself). The Yoga Studio is clean and minimalist, and yes—the yoga mats do match the industrial-style air ducts. Literally every detail is accounted for here.

I particularly like how integrated the kid-friendly aspects are here. For example, the kid routes in the Bouldering Room are still in the same space as the other color-coded options for adults. That way, your littles don’t feel isolated and there’s something for everyone in the family all together. The same thing goes for the event rooms for parties— whether you need a place to blow out birthday candles with a bunch of friends from school or a large space to hold a meeting, Mosaic Climbing has been built to accommodate both and everything in between.

Curious? Take a look, check out their climbing programs and memberships, and give it a try.


Mosaic Climbing is located at 9501 Union Cemetery Rd, Loveland, Ohio 45140. For current hours, upcoming events, and other info, check them out at mosaicclimbing.com.

YOU HAD ME AT CHEESE

Share Cheesebar in Pleasant Ridge offers artisanal cheese and charcuterie in swirling and decadent patterns to fit any board and occasion. Choose to include a number of items ranging from bright red sweety drop peppers, house made pimento cheese, an entire case of real cheese, an array of wines and craft beers, marcona almonds, local soft pretzels from Tuba Baking Co., and artisan bakehouse baguette bread from Sixteen Bricks. Owner Emily Frank offers designs, classes and events, catering, a restaurant experience, and custom boards in nearly endless options.


Share Cheesebar is located at 6105 Ridge Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45213. For more info about events, hours, menu, and catering, head over to sharecheesebar.com.

PUSHING THE EMPANADA ENVELOPE

If you haven’t already, please do yourself a favor and find some foodie friends. It will change your life.

That’s how I ended up on Monday night at Ché in Cincinnati with my new food scientist friends, Ann and Luan. (So fun to say, right?) They know food and flavor. I know photography. We all love to eat, and it’s perfect.

Ann and Luan have started a wonderfully personable, accessible, and solid blog called Bitesized Duo. In just one outing, their perspective on food opened my eyes the same way my 2-week deep dive into Salt Fat Acid Heat did last Christmas.

I will absolutely leave the food and flavors up to Ann and Luan in their own post—they’re the experts by far—but the pictures alone tell you exactly what you’ll find at Ché. Here, it’s not just a place. It’s an experience.


Ready to go? Be sure to order the chef’s favorite empanadas— you won’t be disappointed. Ché is located at 1342 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.

Find out more at checincinnati.com and read about the experience, flavors, and more from a couple local food scientists at bitesizedduo.com.

BEYOND BAKLAVA

It was an honor to spend the day with Evie, owner and baker of Meli Cincinnati. It’s a local home bakery offering made-from-scratch, Greek island-inspired treats that taste as scrumptious as they look.

All of these decadent items were made fresh, and I can’t tell you how delicious it smelled at this photoshoot. Sweet honey, flaky layers, buttery-soft toppings, powdered sugar sweetness, and the scent of just-made Greek coffee. Yep, this was my happy place.


Perhaps you’ve heard of Baklava, arguably one of the most traditional of Greek desserts. It’s a rich and golden masterpiece of phyllo layers, nuts, butter, and more. Even if you’ve tried it before, there are multiple ways to create this signature treat, so you should definitely try it at least once from Meli.

From the start, however, it was the Melamokarona that caught my eye. What was this beautiful sweet nugget sprinkled with walnuts that photographed so well? Seriously, I couldn’t take my eyes away from them. Take a nibble and you’ll taste a full symphony of flavors, with notes of orange, honey, cinnamon, brandy, and yes, those decadent walnuts on top. This is my new go-to for desserts in a pinch. The best news? They deliver!

Other items you don’t want to miss are Kourambiethes (almond shortbread wedding cookies topped with powdered sugar), Koulouria (classic butter cookies), and Tiropita (cheese pie).


For more info and to order, check out MeliCincinnati.com.

KOREAN LATINO FUSION WITH A TWIST

The first time I met BJ Kim of Cincinnati’s own Red Sesame Korean BBQ was at Fountain Square. He had a few moments before opening for the weekday lunch rush, and we talked about his dive into the food industry.

BJ used to work in dental implants, believe it or not. A job transfer brought him to Cincinnati, and one of his favorite ways to explore a new city was through food. Early visits to local eateries began inspiring him to create something new for the city: Korean-Latino fusion.

They say it’s in the sauce, and it’s really true. Red Sesame is known for its three signature sauces, all made from scratch. They’re colorful and flavorful, perfected to a gourmet-level blend of sweet and savory. You’ll definitely want to bring some home!

BJ’s food truck debuted in 2012. Today, it’s the iconic orange and red truck many of us have come to love. After much growth, BJ went on to open his first brick and mortar location in 2016 just inside the Eastgate Jungle Jim’s. If you haven’t been there yet, it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s a larger space, so there are additional items at the restaurant that you might not always find at the truck.

The Red Sesame Korean taco truck travels around Greater Cincinnati, and you can find the location on their Facebook and Twitter pages.


Red Sesame Korean BBQ is located at 4450 Eastgate S Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45245 (inside the Eastgate Jungle Jim’s) and anywhere the truck goes.

Visit redsesamebbq.com for hours, location, truck info, catering, menus, and more.

THE GRASS IS GREENER RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE

There’s something special about sprawling fields, open sky, and fresh air. Time slows down at the farm, flowers bloom bigger, and greens are even richer. At Gorman Heritage Farm, it’s back to paper maps, exploration, and mud on your shoes…all without having to drive very far.

Gorman Heritage Farm is an educational working farm nestled in Evendale, Ohio. It boasts 122 lush acres bursting with everything from farmyard animals, hiking trails, extensive gardens, a bee area, and the list goes on. But wait, there’s more. You can also take classes of all sorts, rent the farm for a wedding or event, check out their popular sunflower festival, volunteer, or even take a tour.


Head down the curved driveway into their ample parking lot, then mosey on over to the Interpretive Building for the front desk. Check-in is simple, then it’s off to explore with map in hand. You’re sure to run into some friendly volunteers wherever you go.

When you go, be sure to give yourself plenty of time because this is one place you’ll truly want to enjoy.


Find Gorman Heritage Farm at 10052 Reading Road, Evendale, Ohio 45241.

Visit gormanfarm.org for hours, pricing, special events, and more.

BUILDING FAMILIES WITH NECCO

It was an honor to help highlight a local foster mom with a lot of love to give. She is so full of life, very open about her journey, and has a beautiful story to tell.


For more information and to see her full story, check out Necco.org.