Local Cantina in Dublin, Ohio

The title might be a tad bit misleading. The title refers not to a generic neighborhood Tex-Mex bar and grill but a specific restaurant named “Local Cantina”. It is a part of a chain of thirteen wonderful Mexican restaurant/bar establishments in and around the Columbus, Ohio area. We were out with family and went to the Dublin location.

Excellent chips and dips to start

We had a large group of 12 (or was it 13?) and we were seated at a long table. Worked for us as we all just wandered around visiting who ever we wanted whenever we wanted. Unplanned family get togethers and meals are the best. The atmosphere was exciting, and the music was not too loud, and of course there were TV’s for those that have to have TV 24/7.

Full bar

Interesting decor

 

Of course we were also there for some of those great tacos! None of us were disappointed.

Sher’s veggie tacos, left, and Maj’s seasoned beef,, right.

This was a wonderful experience! The ambience is comfortable, the service was very good even though the place was packed. But most important of all, the tacos were very very good, and filling as well. Check out all the locations at the Local Cantina website.

 

Melt Bar and Grilled is not your mother’s grilled cheese

We did not have to wait in mid afternoon.

We did not have to wait in mid afternoon.

When our son and daughter-in-law suggested we go to Melt Bar and Grilled in Columbus, Ohio, I was a little skeptical. A grilled cheese restaurant? Little did I know how surprised (and satisfied) Sher and I would be after dining at this unique eatery.

Grilled cheese? Yes. On thick Texas toast. Any cheese you want. Then things get interesting, because you then pick what else goes onto the sandwich. For example, Mom’s Meatloaf Diner comes with a slab of meatloaf and redskin garlic mashed taters. Other culinary delights cover most menu possibilities with pork, beef, chicken, fish and of course vegetarian/vegan.

Each sandwich comes with a huge order of fresh cut fries. You can order either a whole or half size of the sandwich of choice. The half size will fill you up. The whole order size will leave you pleasantly stuffed. Our waiter confessed that even though great desserts are offered most patrons are too full to order any dessert.

Unique design behind the register

Unique design behind the register

My "Backyard BBQ" with beef and thick cut onion rings and cheddar cheese. Tasty!

My “Backyard BBQ” with beef and thick cut onion rings and cheddar cheese. Tasty!

Craft beers are available from the bar. Any combination of sandwich fixins are available to order. Menu items change all the time, according to our waiter. This is a fun place to eat unique and tasty food for reasonable prices. Melt Bar and Grilled started in the Cleveland area in 2006 and now have locations scattered around Ohio. Check out the Melt Bar and Grilled website for all kinds of info including locations and hours for all the Ohio locations.

Sher and I give this eatery a solid five stars. We did not have to wait as we went at an off hour. Our son said there the place is usually packed. Go eat at one, expect a busy place but the wait will be worth it.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus Ohio

One of the beautiful butterflies

One of the beautiful butterflies

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio is a most remarkable facility. Nestled in the beauty of the Franklin Park, the Conservatory houses a wide varitey of fauna from all over the world. Different ecosystems are represented in different “rooms” within the massive structure.

Himalayan Mountain fauna is found in one of the rooms. You can move from the Himalayan Mountains through a door and enjoy desert plants in yet another room, Man made stone outcroppings set the foundation for all of the plants on display. Waterfalls and other water features add to the ambience of the displays.

 

Of special interest is the tropical rain forest room that also serves as a home to hundreds of butterflies. Bred on site, the different species of butterflies are released several times during the week by staff members. During these informative release shows the staff discusses the life cycles and traits of each butterfly.

Strange cacti in the desert hall

Strange cacti in the desert hall

Brilliant color and striking bloom

Brilliant color and striking bloom

Parts of the facility was under renovation when we visitied with our granddaughter, however the construction did not interfere with our enjoyment of the many plants and ecosystems represented.

Make sure to plan a visit to the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus. All pertainent information is on their website here.

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Beautiful waterfall and Nature Preserve

20150522_134618 (2)Traveling in the Columbus and Dublin, Ohio area? There is a little gem of a nature park that you really should see. Nestled in a ravine running into the Scioto River in Dublin, Ohio you will find a stunning waterfall in a peaceful setting in the middle of the city. The Griggs Nature Preserve is part of the Columbus Parks system.

The small parking lot is located on the west side of the river on the south side of  Hayden Run Road east of Dublin Road. There is a trail head that immediately turns into a new, well constructed boardwalk trail. The steep steps lead down the ravine bank to a wide boardwalk with railings on both sides. The boardwalk follows the stream which may give you the chance to see some ducks and their families. Songbirds add to the vista of the pretty trees, wildflowers and other foliage.

The waterfall itself is at the end of the 1/4 mile long boardwalk. What a beautiful waterfall and pool! The rock outcroppings are stunnning to see and you wonder how did this falls come to be. It is hard to believe that this serene natural setting is surrounded by the bustling cities of Dublin and Columbus!

Words of caution: The steps leading down to the stream trail are very steep and long. It is easy going down, but the climb back up can be difficult. Plan accordingly. In addition, the parking lot is small and will require the use of your towed vehicle. Only a Class B will fit into the small parking lot.