Columbus Brew Adventures: Craft and Draft Tour

Columbus Brew Adventures Tour

Columbus Brew Adventures
Craft and Draft Tour
http://www.columbusbrewadventures.com/

I wrote recently about how much I enjoyed my first Columbus Food Adventures tour, eating my way around downtown Worthington. So when Columbus Brew Adventures invited me to tag along on their Crafts and Drafts tour, I was raring to go. Even more so once I read the itinerary for this Craft and Draft tour: Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, Mad Moon Craft Cider, Brothers Drake Mead, and Watershed Distillery. This means tastes of beer, mead, cider, and liquor all in one day! As I’m a equal opportunity drinker, how could I not be excited about that level of variety?

First, let’s talk about the logistics. We met up with our group of 11 at Wolf’s Ridge and were driven around in a CBA van to the various locations. Jim Ellison, founder of the CMH Gourmand blog and co-owner of Columbus Brew Adventures, served as both our driver and our guide, and offered plenty of nuggets of insight on the way. He also packed up our appetizers for snacking on the road and had a fabulous sense of humor, both additions that made the tour even more enjoyable!

Treats from Wolfs Ridge Brewing

At Wolf’s Ridge, we received two of their signature munchies, potato chips and pork rinds. Having a base layer in your stomach was important, I later learned, because they weren’t shy with samples! We sipped on 4 different beers, including Pi, WRB’s smoked pumpkin brew, and a spice-infused imperial stout. Next, we strolled downstairs for a behind the scenes look at the bottling area and some of the experimental brews. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Wolf’s Ridge is working on creating some sour beers, that should be ready to roll out in a few months – woohoo!

Next stop was Mad Moon Craft Cider, which was a totally different experience since they are still in the beginning stages of expansion. I’d tried Mad Moon’s Unglued caramel apple cider before, but quickly fell in love with owner Sally Moon’s tea and cranberry styles as well. Fall sangria with cranberry cider? I can see it now! Our group learned how hard it is to press apples into juice, in addition to being constrained by local apple demand, and subsequently I have a whole new respect for anyone who produces cider.

Mad Moon Cider

We zipped over to Brothers Drake next, where due to a change in plans Jim gave us a brief tour of the mead-making area. Did you know mead is the world’s oldest spirit? I’d taken the Brothers Drake tour before, but I’m always glad to glad to sample the honey they use, as well as taste some seasonal varieties I hadn’t been able to get my hands on previously. I’m looking at you, Bourbon Apple Pie mead.

Brothers Drake on Columbus Brew Adventures Tour

Watershed Distillery was supposed to be our final stop, but more on this later. Here, we got a quick overview of the liquor’s creation and its history. As a bourbon-lover, the Old Fashioned mix that Watershed churns out is heaven on Earth, and the bourbon barrel-aged gin could actually make me a gin convert. We also discovered that Watershed will be opening a restaurant as part of the distillery due to a recent change in Ohio law; this is exciting news in my book! With enough time remaining, Jim dropped us off at North High Brewing to pop in for a quick taster of a beer of our choosing. A mere 4.5 hours later, in much happier moods than when we started our days, we were delivered back to Wolf’s Ridge to conclude our afternoon.

Watershed Distillery on Columbus Brew Adventures Tour

Taking this tour brought me to some of my favorite alcohol-laden spots in town, and helped me discover some new treats as well. I even learned some secret new tidbits at many of the locations, before the general public! There are plenty of other CBA options for boozy tours in the capital city if this itinerary doesn’t appeal to you. I’ve got to check out the Pitchers and Pizza one that hits up Hounddog’s Pizza (hello craft beer and Smokin’ Joe’s crust) but the Granville/Buckeye Lake beer tour sounds intriguing too. To learn more about the Craft and Draft tour and other Columbus Brew Adventures offerings, click here. PSA: A gift certificate to one of these tours would make a great gift for the adult-beverage lover in your life.

If you’ve taken a Columbus Brew Adventures Tour before, send me a tweet about the tour I should book next!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Disclosure: I was invited on the Columbus Brew Adventures tour. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Caroline’s Picks: 5 Food Truck Bowls to Try

Hai Poké: Tuna Bowl

http://www.haipoke.com/
Hai Poké: Tuna Bowl

There’s been so much buzz around this newcomer truck, and it is well-deserved. I’m not sure how Hai Poké marinates their sashimi, but I know it’s incredible. Here’s the contents of the tuna bowl: raw tuna, lime, cucumbers, sushi rice, seaweed, scallions, spicy mayo, avocado, power soy sauce, plus a crispy wonton for scooping up all that jazz. Bonus: They have pop-ups every Sunday evening at Zauber Brewing.

Cupzilla: Pork Combo Cup

https://www.facebook.com/cupzillakoreanbbq/
Cupzilla: Pork Combo Cup

This Korean BBQ truck won my heart when I discovered their sauces come in 5 heat levels, so spice wimps like me can still enjoy those tasty flavors. Cupzilla has their layering technique perfected, and they pack so much into one bowl, I often save half for later. On the bottom, there’s a layer of rice soaked in sweet sauce and lettuce leaves, then rice noodles followed by succulent pork, two craveable sauces, and the whole thing is crowned with a crispy potsticker!

Mai Chau: Noodle Bowl

http://maichaustreetfood.com/
Mai Chau: Noodle Bowl

I’ve written about my Mai Chau peanut sauce obsession here, so this Vietnamese spot had to be included. I love that they have sweet and spicy cauliflower as a topping choice (it’s so outside the box) but lemongrass chicken and sriracha pulled pork are available too. Carrots, sprouts, and crushed peanuts add some good crunch to this bowl, and you’ve gotta love the fresh cilantro on top too. Get slurping!

Aloha Streatery: Loco No Moco

https://www.facebook.com/alohastreatery/
Aloha Streatery: Loco No Moco

Aloha also creates some of my favorite sliders (http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/carolines-picks-5-sliders-to-try/) in town, but don’t forget about their Loco No Moco bowl! Your pick of tofu or Hawaiian-style chicken sits atop a bed of rice with decadent cilantro sauce and chunks of fresh pineapple. It’s simple and delicious, perfect for daydreaming about that tropical vacation.

Aromaku: Bakmi Ayam Bakar

http://www.aromaku.com/

This grilled chicken and noodle dish hits all the flavor notes – it’s sweet, spicy, and salty rolled together. The dish consists of thin egg noodles in a savory broth which are topped with fried onions and tender marinated chicken. I hadn’t eaten Indonesian cuisine before Aromaku, and I had totally been missing out. I wish I had a photo, but I always seem to get so excited I forget to snap one. Give it a try!

What’s your favorite food truck where you can dine on a bowl? Let me know by sending a tweet here: @cbusconnect.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Uptown Deli & Brew / Temperance Row Brewing Co.

Uptown Deli & Temperance Row Brewing

I went to college at Otterbein University in Westerville, and I’ve always loved exploring the shops in the “uptown” city center. But when I was a student there, Westerville was still dry, meaning no fun restaurants like Uptown Deli and its sister brewery, Temperance Row. But that hasn’t stopped me from coming back to visit now that things have changed! A nod to the town’s past as the “Temperance Capital of the World,” the cheeky name of the brewery is just one of the things I love about this unassuming joint. The interior is designed around a Prohibition theme, with lots of 1920’s era photographs and dark wood. They also have a sizeable private patio, which is a bonus in any urban area.

Beer Flight from Temperance Row Brewing

When it comes to brewing operations, I like that you can see into the tank and production zone. Many of the beers are named after key figures from Prohibition (which my inner history nerd always loves) and they give a little blurb on the menu about that person. Take for example, Hatchetation Pale Ale – its moniker is derived from Carrie Nation, who wielded a hatchet, which she used to destroy the furnishings inside suspected saloons. Temperance Row boasts a decent selection of beers for a smaller space which is not as focused on distribution, unlike many of its Columbus counterparts. Get a flight so you can sample them all, ranging from a stout on nitro to Scofflaw Scottish Ale and Corbin’s Revenge IPA.

The Uptown Deli portion of this business is no slouch either. I always enjoy the local Blue Jacket Dairy cheese curds, which aren’t overly-battered like some pubs tend to do, and come with plenty of Cajun Ranch for dunking. But my favorite thing on the menu is one of the simplest apps: potato chips sprinkled with spices and Parmesan and dished up with the most heavenly sour cream onion dip. I NEED this recipe. You can also get a side of the dip for the optional chips with your sandwich, something I always do because I want ridiculous amounts of onion dip, apparently. There are more starters, such as black bean hummus, calamari, and cheddar beer fondue for the non-onion obsessed, as well as soups, salads, and charcuterie boards.

The Frenchy from Uptown Deli

The entrees here are all sandwiches, but that doesn’t mean low-quality. The Figaboudit, consisting of grilled ciabatta, prosciutto, fig jam, goat cheese, and arugula is a good option, or try the classic Reuben, roast beef, or pastrami varieties. I have a soft spot for Brie between bread, so I like the Frenchy too: prosciutto, brie, grilled apple, arugula, and spicy Dijon on a baguette. In addition to selling sammies, the deli also has quality meats, cheeses, and snacks available in bulk so you can take them home!

Culinary Clue: Westerville has a ton of restaurants in the uptown area, many of them brand new due to the change in liquor laws. Stop in Asterisk Supper Club or Meza Wine Shop for some divine fare in a great atmosphere!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Uptown Deli and Brew Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fresh Corn Cakes with Spicy Shredded Beef

Fresh Corn Cakes with Spicy Shredded Beef

Confession: I hate eating corn on the cob. The kernels get in my teeth and the butter always drips off – a cardinal sin in my book. My mom always cut her corn off the cob, so I blame her. At any rate, we always end up with a bunch of leftover sweet corn at our house and these corn cakes are a great way to use up the last of those lingering ears. If you haven’t had pancakes in a savory variation before, please try this recipe. It’s easy to make the beef ahead of time, and the apple cider will get you in the fall spirit!

Fresh Corn Cakes with Spicy Shredded Beef
Serves 4

For the Beef:
3 lb. beef brisket or chuck roast
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup apple cider

For the Corn Cakes:
1 pkg. corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
2 T. melted butter
2 ears fresh sweet corn, taken off the cob

For Topping:
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
Handful chopped cilantro
Your other favorite toppings: avocado or guacamole, tomatoes, or hot sauce

In a crock pot, toss in all the shredded beef ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours, until meat is fully cooked. Take the beef out and shred it, then return it to the crock pot so it can soak up all those juices!

Spicy Shredded Beef

Whisk together the corn cake ingredients in a large bowl. Let the mixture set for 10 minutes to thicken. Next, cook and flip the cakes until crispy on a greased and heated griddle, just like you would pancakes. There should be enough for 8 generous corn cakes.

Corn Cakes with Spicy Shredded Beef

Plate up the corn cakes next. Layer two cakes with the beef, a ladle of the crockpot sauce, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of cheese and cilantro. Pile it high with the fixin’s of your choice, and gobble them up!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Fresh Corn Cakes with Spicy Shredded Beef
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 3 lb. beef brisket or chuck roast
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
  • 1 10 oz can enchilada sauce
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 cup apple cider
For the Corn Cakes:
  • 1 pkg. corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c. milk
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 2 ears fresh sweet corn, taken off the cob
For Topping:
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • Your other favorite toppings: avocado or guacamole, tomatoes, or hot sauce
Instructions
Beef
  1. In a crock pot, toss in all the shredded beef ingredients.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours, until meat is fully cooked.
  3. Take the beef out and shred it, then return it to the crock pot so it can soak up all those juices!
Corn Cakes
  1. Whisk together the corn cake ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Let the mixture set for 10 minutes to thicken.
  3. Next, cook and flip the cakes until crispy on a greased and heated griddle, just like you would pancakes. There should be enough for 8 generous corn cakes.
  4. Plate up the corn cakes next.
  5. Layer two cakes with the beef, a ladle of the crockpot sauce, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of cheese and cilantro.
  6. Pile it high with the fixin's of your choice, and gobble them up!

 

Alchemy Juice Bar + Cafe

Alchemy Juice Bar + Cafe
Alchemy Juice Bar + Cafe
625 Parsons Ave.
Columbus, OH
http://alchemyjuicecafe.com/

Top Tastes:

1. Chocolate Avocado Pudding
2. Snickerdoodle Smoothie
3. Carrot Noodles
4. Dragonfruit Lemonade
5. No Bake Bites

Listen, I love bacon and queso as much as the next girl, and will happily gobble up ice cream any day of the week. Sometimes though, it’s good to push the reset button and eat food that is light, fresh, and delicious. Say hello to Alchemy Juice Bar + Cafe, which totally fits the bill. This Parsons area shop is bright, modern, and filled to the brim with treats that are good for you. Every item at Alchemy is colorful and beautiful, making their Instagram feed a veritable work of art.

I really struggled narrowing down the top tastes list, because Alchemy’s menu is surprisingly large and diverse.  For main meals, many of the offerings can double as morning or lunch dishes. I’d be happy to devour one of Alchemy’s bowls any day of the week, in varieties such as Purple Coconut (organic acai, grapes, flaked coconut, almond milk, banana, granola, and peanut butter) or Cherry Cheezecake (organic acai, cherries, vanilla cashew cream, almond milk, granola, almond butter, and a crumbled cranberry no-bake bite). I’d never had dragonfruit before I started going here, but quickly fell for the tropical taste and cheery pink hue. Now, the cravings I have for Dragonfruit Lemonade are constant, and there are many other juices available. The simple but effective Strawberry Avocado Toast is a perfect treat no matter the hour, and there are tons more “toasts” toppings as well.

Alchemy Juice Bar

One of the other great things about Alchemy is the grab-and-go prepared food section, where you can pick up some fabulous fare for later. The Asian Carrot Noodles are my favorite, drenched in a ginger sesame dressing with just enough zip of spice. There are also salads, sammies, and all kinds of hummus, just waiting for you to snap them up. I’ve got my eye on the Quinoa Fried Rice for next visit though!

Don’t be fooled into thinking your sweet tooth won’t be satisfied in a place focusing on nutrition. You won’t believe there’s green stuff in the creamy, dreamy chocolate avocado pudding; it’s the ideal guilt-free dessert. For a quick sugary pick-me-up, try a no bake bite. These glorious nuggets are sweetened with maple syrup or fruit, and come in flavors like cranberry pecan, coffee, and matcha green tea. And don’t forget about that beloved creation, the Snickerdoodle smoothie. This blended indulgence is chock full of bananas, almond butter, flax seeds, cinnamon, and house-made almond milk, and truly captures that signature cookie flavor.

No Bake Bites from Alchemy

Culinary Clue: You may have seen some recipes floating around the web from Hummusapien, who is one of the Alchemy founders. If you’re looking to recreate some Alchemy-esque plant-based foods at home, head to her blog for some healthy inspo.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Alchemy Juice Bar + Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Caroline’s Picks: 5 Queso Dishes to Try

Photo Jul 16, 7 02 51 PM

If you follow this blog at all, you’ve probably picked up on my queso obsession. If I see a menu item with queso at any restaurant, I’ll probably order it; it’s not the fanciest choice, but it sure is delicious. I feel as though there’s a lot of other people that share this passion with me, so I’m rounding up some of my top tastes in Columbus’ cheesy goodness here!

Bodega Columbus: Loaded Truffle Fries

http://www.columbusbodega.com/#home
Bodega Columbus: Loaded Truffle Fries
The only thing that could possibly outshine Bodega’s diverse beer selection is liquid cheese, and you can find it in the form of their loaded fries. Think crispy fries topped with queso, bacon, scallions, and Parmesan, served with a fabulous tomato aioli. You will NOT want to share this starter. They also feature a queso-drizzled pork belly nacho app on their menu that you shouldn’t neglect either!

Balboa: Sampler

http://www.balboagrandview.com/
Balboa: Sampler
The three dip sampler at Grandview’s Balboa highlights two other pretty scrumptious choices, but the only one you need to know about is the crock of queso. So creamy and savory you can eat it plain with a spoon, the generous helping of cheese could be your main meal if you wanted it to be! Wash it down with a signature margarita and your inner dairy-lover will be delighted!

Click here to read my review of Balboa

Hudson 29: Chorizo con Queso

http://www.hudson29.com/

Heatseekers will love the Cameron Mitchell take on queso. With just the right amount of spice coming from the blend of cheese, chorizo, roasted peppers, and a touch of pico de gallo, this is a perfect happy hour snack for your table. At a more upscale restaurant this wouldn’t necessarily be your first choice, but this is not a dish that should be overlooked!

Click here to read my review of Hudson 29

Tortilla Street Food: Nachos

http://www.tortillastreetfood.com/
Tortilla Street Food: Nachos
I’ve shared about my husband’s Tortilla addiction before, but it’s the queso that I think really makes the nachos at this Columbus food truck stand out. Anyone can melt some shredded cheese on chips and call it nachos, but to have queso on there too is something special. Who can resist the combo of guac, carnitas, salsa, and all your other favorites piled high with a ladle full of queso?

Click here to read my review of Tortilla Street Food

Condado Tacos: Tres Amigos

http://www.condadotacos.com/
Condado Tacos: Tres Amigos
Like Balboa, Condado boasts a sampler platter of dips, but with an important distinction – you can get three kinds of queso if you choose! You read that right. Pick from varieties of guacamole, salsas, and queso to make the appetizer of your dreams. For the queso, there are original, corn with spices, balck bean, chorizo, spicy diablo, and “dirty” (chicken, onions, and secret recipe dirty sauce) options. You can also sandwich a hard and a soft taco with queso for an entree!

Click here to read my review of Condado Tacos

Do you have a favorite spot in town to get your cheesy fix? Send me a tweet (@cbusconnect) and let me know!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Columbus Food Adventures Tour: Worthington

Photo Jul 16, 1 12 00 PM

I’ve been dying to see my city through a Columbus Food Adventures Tour, so when one of my out-of-town friends came to visit, it was the perfect excuse to take the plunge. I chose the Worthington tour because it was newer, so I knew we’d see some spots I’d never visited yet, plus I loved the idea that there were some history tidbits on this itinerary. It didn’t hurt either that The Whitney House is one of my favorite restaurants in town, and I knew we’d be heading there!

Here is a brief overview of our stops:
• Worthington Farmers Market
• House Wine/North Country Charcuterie
• Worthington Inn
• La Chatelaine
• Sassafras Bakery
• Igloo Letterpress
The Whitney House

Our group met at the Candle Lab, which was a good place to increase your hunger for the tour by inhaling candle scents like lemon and cinnamon. We then headed outside into the depths of the Farmers Market. The time our tour began was at the tail end of the market, so crowds were starting to die down. From Honeyrun Run Farm, we compared and contrasted the flavors of 4 different honeys. Next, at Blue Jacket Dairy, we gobbled up garlicky cheese curds and feta, as well as sampling some freshly grilled cheese – those slightly burnt, crispy edges were divine. Our last market stall was another delicious cheesemonger, Kokoborrego.

Photo Jul 16, 11 42 42 AM (1)

Stop 2 was a visit to House Wine, for a sample of rosé paired with more Blue Jacket cheese curds (hooray!) and crackers, in addition to three samples of North Country Charcuterie. North Country makes sliceable salami that are made with local products like Rockmill Brewery beer, and we learned about the process in making these delicacies. The owner of House Wine also spoke with us a little about their wine catalog, and gave some more details about the specific rosé we were drinking.

Photo Jul 16, 12 36 04 PM

At Worthington Inn, we received an enormous “taste” of Worthington Eggs Benedict, a small mimosa, and a healthy dose of history. You’ll have to take the tour to hear the spooky ghost stories accompanying the meal – they are worth it! A brief walk to the following location helps give your stomach a break to make room for more goodies, before landing at the quaint and beautiful French café La Chatelaine. I’ll be back to try the pastries on display as they looked mouthwatering, but in the meantime we dined on mini tuna salad sammies on brioche and gazpacho.

I’m obsessed with the donut muffins and the egg sandwich at Sassafras Bakery, but when we made our next break here I found some new menu favorites. The cherry pie was heavenly, as was the mini-scone laden with local ramps. Even the teeny dish of salad was tasty, and greens are so not my cup of tea. By this time, I was glad to stop at Igloo Letterpress for a short respite from stuffing my face. Igloo is a unique place for gifts, paper-printing workshops, and an all-around good time. We were lucky enough to print our own coaster on the old-fashioned press with a Julia Child quote, and the talented owner Allison shared some of her artistic creations and printing stories with us. With a final stop for chilaquiles (nachos with scrambled eggs, savory sauce, jalapenos, creamy guac, and more) at the always-excellent The Whitney House, our tour was complete and our stomachs were full.

Chilaquiles from The Whitney House

Overall, I have to say that I’ve done food tours in other cities, and with this one, you get a serious amount of samples! I was expecting 4 or 5 stops with tastes, but some of the locations pretty much gave us a meal, plus a small drink, and I wasn’t the least bit sorry about it. Furthermore, my inner history nerd loved learning about the founding of the city of Worthington, as well as some of the prominent residents. This would be a really fun thing to do with a group of friends or family too, because who doesn’t love eating? I highly recommend that both native Columbusites and visitors alike give Columbus Food Adventures a try – it’s a fun way to see a suburb you may not have examined too closely.

Keep Connected,
Caroline

A Visit to: Nashville

Nashville, TN

Neither my husband nor I had ever been to Nashville, so we were eager to scope out the local food and drink scene in the Music City. We ate biscuits in some form every day of our trip, and despite the heatwave, did an extensive amount of exploring! Below, you’ll find a collection of photos and the low down on our dining journey.

The first stop was at Belle Meade Plantation, where we soaked up some history on a guided tour, followed by a wine tasting at the on-site winery. Wine and an antebellum home? My inner history nerd couldn’t resist! Afterwards, we headed to Pinewoood Social (on a Columbus Food Adventures recommendation) to observe some casual bowling and eat snacks. The toast tasting was divine, consisting of 5 mini crostinis topped with different goodies ranging from mascarpone + berries to deviled eggs, and the bartender made a perfect Ramos Gin Fizz. For dinner, we had to hit up Husk, one of my favorite restaurants in Charleston, SC. There’s no shortage of Southern charm here, from the decor down to the food. I am still swooning over the dessert, a twist on streusel coffee cake, and the fried chicken skin appetizer drizzled with white BBQ sauce.

Nashville Dining Day 1

When in Nashville, checking out a hot chicken joint is a must. Sorry I cheated on you, Hot Chicken Takeover. Hattie B’s delivered with perfect, cayenne pasted-rubbed fried chicken. Tip: call ahead to order so you can skip the round-the-block line! The side of pimento cheese macaroni was tasty too. If brunch is your style, make sure to nosh at Biscuit Love. I can’t say enough good things about the menu. Think chocolate pretzel gravy on biscuits, bonuts (fried and filled biscuity doughnuts), and even a ham tasting platter – heaven! I love discovering new breweries on vacation, and Southern Grist Brewing exceeded my expectations. They specialize in sour beers, and we brought back a crowler of the Nashville Mule, a lime and ginger beer-inspired delight. At night, we prowled around the Johnny Cash museum and enjoyed some Broadway bar-hopping while listening to some ridiculously talented live music acts.

Nashville Dining Day 2

Before heading out of town, we went to Centennial Park, a wonderful place to stroll. There is a really cool recreation of the Parthenon inside the grounds, as well as some beautiful ponds and landscaping. Breakfast was Barista Parlor iced coffees and you guessed it, more biscuits. Because how can you go into a cafe with sausage and egg biscuit sammies slathered in peach jam and not order it? Our final impromptu destination was Five Daughters Bakery, to buy some doughnuts to take home. These aptly named “hundred layer” doughnuts are more like croissants, in the best possible way. It’s a toss up as to whether the maple bacon King Kong variety or the peanut butter cup version was better, but I’d definitely devour either again.

Nashville Dining Day 3

Nashville was a fun place to uncover some new food gems. Plus, I loved that there were so many Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams around too; it felt like a piece of home. Where is your favorite place to dine in Nashville? Let me know below!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Sausage & Gravy Breakfast Skillets

Video Post

Sausage & Gravy Breakfast Skillets

I loved the sweet and salty cookie skillets recipe so much that it’s time to bust out those mini cast iron skillets again! This time though it’s for breakfast, and it’s super easy to make. The dish is completely customizable, so add your own flair with additional veggies or swap the sausage gravy for bacon pieces. This is one of my go-to lazy weekend morning recipes!

Sausage & Gravy Breakfast Skillets

Ingredients:

Skillets
2 cups cubed bread
1 c. sausage gravy (recipe below)
4 eggs
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. chives
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
Hot sauce, for topping

Evenly distribute the cubed bread inside of two mini cast iron skillets. Place the skillets in the oven to toast the bread until just browned; then remove them from the oven. Add 1/2 cup sausage gravy on top of the layer of bread. Next, crack 2 eggs into each skillet and place the skillets in a 350 degree oven until the eggs are cooked as desired, about 10 minutes.

When the eggs are cooked, remove the skillets from the oven and add the chives & cheddar cheese. Place the skillets back in the oven until the cheese is just melted.

Finally, remove the skillets from the oven and place a dash of hot sauce on each. Enjoy!

Gravy
1 lb sausage
1/3 cup flour
3 cups 2% milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Brown the sausage
2. Sprinkle in the flour and cook mixture until flour is absorbed
3. Slowly whisk in the milk and seasonings and let mixture thicken

Keep Connected,

Caroline

A Food Lover’s Road Trip to Columbus, Ohio

Downtown Columbus
(Note: this post was originally posted in the Travel section of the Charleston Gazette-Mail on July 10, 2016. It was an honor to be featured and share some of my favorite places to dine in Columbus.)

Ohio’s tourism slogan might be “The Heart of It All,” but the capital city of Columbus is quickly becoming the heart — and soul — of the state’s culinary scene.

You can find this surprising dining metropolis just a quick, three-hour jaunt from Charleston, making it the ideal weekend getaway this summer. Columbus is a known haven for breakfast fanatics and ice cream enthusiasts, but there are plenty of options for every taste and budget.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how a weekend might go:

Upon your Friday arrival, head for the historic neighborhood of German Village for a casual dinner with drinks. Harvest Pizzeria is the perfect place to unwind after the drive, followed by libations at its sister spot, Curio.

Harvest Pizzeria

The focus at Harvest is on local ingredients, and the pizza shines as a result. Don’t miss the Spicy Yuma pie, on a blackened and chewy crust topped with a chipotle-spiked sauce, corn, chorizo, roasted peppers, cheese and jalapeños. Add an optional egg on top and let the runny yolk ooze and enhance every bite.

To fight off the heat, head next door to Curio for innovative Prohibition-era cocktails like a Silver Dollar Pony, swimming in bourbon and bitters.

The next morning, venture over to Fox in the Snow Café for breakfast in Italian Village. This newer spot boasts excellent pour-over coffee, tantalizing custard donuts, and an arugula-crowned egg sandwich that will have you raving. Make sure to get there early or you might miss out on some of the best of the baked goods.

Fox in the Snow Cafe

To stock your pantry at home, make North Market your next stop. Here you can purchase everything from colorful macaroons to crusty marble rye, and it is also the best way to get a taste of Columbus for lunch.

Hot Chicken Takeover is a personal favorite, specializing in fiery fried chicken and cool house-made ranch, but don’t forget about renowned Katzinger’s Deli Reubens, Brezel’s jumbo chocolate chip pretzels or healthy quiches from Little Eater.

Hot Chicken Takeover

To enjoy a sunny Columbus afternoon, shopaholics can journey to Easton Town Center, an outdoor fashion mecca, while families and animal lovers can spend the afternoon at the award-winning Columbus Zoo.

At dinnertime, there are many mouthwatering choices, but for road trippers Wolf’s Ridge Brewing is an easy winner. Such beautifully plated dishes aren’t typically found in a brewery, but this restaurant excels at both food and beer. The bright and modern interior is the perfect place to indulge in dishes such as corn bisque and scallops, all paired with craft brews in every imaginable style.

Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Banish your sweet tooth by heading to the area’s most beloved ice cream purveyor for dessert: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. There are various locations around the city, so stop into the shop nearest you, and experience the wide array of seasonal flavors. Opt for the mini scoops to try all the varieties, like salty caramel, pistachio and honey, or biscuits and peach jam.

Jeni's Ice Cream

Before leaving town, brunch at Katalina’s Cafe is essential. The Breakfast Tacos and the sweet-and-spicy glazed bacon are fabulous, but the must-try items are the pancake balls. Plump nuggets of pancake batter are filled with your choice of Nutella, dulce de leche caramel or pumpkin-apple butter, and these bites are ready for dunking in maple syrup.

Katalina's Cafe

Fresh-squeezed juices and hot coffee will help kick-start your day, and the umbrella-filled patio laden with picnic tables make for a cozy morning experience. Katalina’s alone is worth the journey to Ohio.

With its short distance from Charleston and wallet-friendly lodgings, Columbus is the ultimate road trip destination for local foodies.