Spring So Far

Aside from a few bouts of stormy skies, central Ohio’s notoriously fickle weather has been gracious so far this spring. I’ve been soaking up Vitamin D all around town, from the ‘burbs to Olde Towne East and Italian Village. There were too many shots to share on Instagram alone (@cbusconnect) so a roundup post was the only solution. Get out and explore the beauty of Columbus and its food scene in springtime!

Flowers & Many Breads

Of course, there’s Clintonville’s actual Flowers & Bread Co, a carb-lover’s haven that screams spring. But Kittie’s Cakes has fig and goat cheese scones that pair perfectly with warm days, pile warm ricotta on crostini at Third and Hollywood’s steal of a happy hour, or head to Olde Towne East for the Angry Baker’s avocado toast.

In My Home Kitchen

I’ve been raving about rhubarb, and whipping up double batches of rhubarb syrup for homemade soda and killer cocktails. We’ve also been firing up the grill, enjoying Easter with family, and noshing on pimento cheese sammies for The Masters tournament.

Nature’s Bounty

Think spring when picking out your next meal! Alchemy Juice has the most colorful foods that your body will thank you for eating, Curio’s libations are a cornucopia of flavors, or stop by Cosecha and sample the fresh taste of the Hawaiian poké tostada, bursting with pineapple.

Where else in town do you enjoy spending spring? Let me know in the comments below!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Fetty’s Street Food

Egg Roll from Fetty's Street Food

Fetty’s Street Food
https://www.facebook.com/fettysstreetfood

You likely know about my food truck cravings; after all, there’s a whole section of the blog dedicated solely to the mobile dining scene here in Columbus. But I had never encountered anything quite like Fetty’s Street Food when I sampled it last summer at Newark’s Canal Market District. Owner Damian Ettish is churning out cuisine inspired by Indian, Thai, and South African flavors. What is Indian-Thai-South African cuisine? It turns out, it’s savory and scrumptious. If you can’t catch the truck, watch the calendar at The Commissary – Ettish has taught cooking classes there previously.

Let’s talk dining. If the egg rolls or the crab rangoons are on the menu when you visit, they are well worth the caloric splurge. Each is served with a sweet and sour sauce for dipping and has a perfectly oh-so-crunchy exterior. Ettish spends hours hand-rolling batches of each item; no machines here. When it comes to the entrees, the portions are plentiful and tasty. Try the Thai Chimichanga, a fried burrito filled with rice, chicken, cheese, tomato, peppers, and onion, then bathed in a tangy Thai sauce. Eastern food purists will enjoy the General Tso’s chicken or the Thai egg fried rice, familiar takeout flavors with a Fetty’s twist. Other selections, depending on the day, vary from an Indian-style Pita (stuffed with falafel, lettuce, tomato, cucumber raita, and coriander-mint chutney) to the Bunny Chow, South African butter chicken curry presented in a bread bowl.

Thai Egg Fried Rice | Fetty's Street Food

Have you checked out Fetty’s Street Food? Let me know your favorite dish in the comments below.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Paulie Gee’s Short North

Paulie Gees Short North

Paulie Gee’s Short North
1195 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43201
http://pauliegee.com/short-north/
614-808-0112

Top Tastes:

1. Monte Cristo Pizza
2. Hell Boy Pizza
3. Cherry Jones Pizza
4. The Katzingers Pizza
5. Brisket Marmalade

I’m going to put the most important words in this post out there at the beginning: pizza flight. That’s right – Paulie Gee’s in the Short North is dishing up the best flight you never knew you needed, in the form of 3 mini pizzas. The owner, T.J., is an OSU grad with a passion for pie. He knew that our capital city would be a great fit for the renowned NYC eatery, and convinced the Paulie of Paulie Gee’s to franchise here. There is no bland corporate feeling in the restaurant though. The reclaimed barn wood walls and framed photographs of Cbus keep things local; even the pizza flight boards are crafted by Columbus purveyors.

Brisket Marmalade at Paulie Gees

To start, a must-order item is the Brisket Marmalade. This concoction begins with Ray Ray’s Hog Pit BBQ mixed into a sweet tomato base, piled high and served with Laughlin’s Bakery crostini and microgreens. You can also find the local meat king’s brisket on the Hog Pit Brisket Pizza, BBQ pie plus pickled red onion and mozzarella. Wash it all down with a Columbus by Way of Brooklyn, an OYO Rye sipper made with luxardo liqueur and hopped grapefruit bitters.

Cocktails at Paulie Gees

But let’s get to the pizza. Don’t miss checking out the staff tossing dough and shoveling it into the cavernous brick oven that cooks each pizza in less than 2 minutes. Opt for the flight to maximize your tasting options; if you bring a friend, this means you can sample 6 pizzas and have plenty for lunch the next day. Even then, it is still so hard to choose a favorite. The divine Cherry Jones (Gorgonzola, prosciutto, dried cherries and more) and the sweet and salty Monte Cristo (Canadian bacon, gouda, and maple syrup) have captured my heart. But I can’t forget the Katzingers Deli-inspired pie, consisting of Swiss, pastrami, sauerkraut, and a Russian dressing drizzle. And then of course, there is the Hellboy, its dough spilling over with tomatoes, parm, mozz, hot sopressata, and spicy honey. It indulges my Mike’s Hot Honey obsession completely, a love first cultivated by Kittie’s Cakes. Finally, I especially love that so many of the pizzas are crowned with a dollop of ricotta. Why aren’t more pizzerias swirling on ricotta? Even vegans can get in on the ricotta action – the Red, White, and Greenpeace Pizza has a cashew milk version.

Pizza Flight from Paulie Gees

If you’ve ever questioned whether it’s worth it to go to the Short North for pizza, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

Culinary Clue: Speaking of the Short North, parking can be atrocious. But Paulie Gee’s has its own lot at Wall and 5th Streets during most hours. Look for the sandwich sign with Paulie Gee’s logo on it.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Disclosure: The Columbus Food Bloggers group and I received a free Paulie Gee’s smorgasbord; however, all opinions in this review are my own. 

Paulie Gee's Short North Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Columbus Craft Beer Week 2017

It’s almost time for Columbus Craft Beer Week! This extravaganza of all things brewery-related transcends the hops scene into something that celebrates the culinary arts and local businesses as well. The capital city has embraced its beer-loving roots; after all, we are home to over 30 breweries. Plus, we can boast about the Columbus Ale Trail and the fantastic tours offered by Columbus Brew Adventures. But May 12-20, don’t miss some of the unique opportunities to savor some Columbus-made suds.

First on the roster is the brewing of the annual collaboration ale, consisting of 2 dozen local breweries uniting at Columbus Brewing Company to “mash in” the group-created beer and start the brewing process. The collectively created beer is dubbed Dysfunctionale, and is only available at select locations during Columbus Craft Beer Week on draft and in limited numbers of cans. Here are some shots from the initial mash in:

Throughout the week, your favorite bars and restaurants are also churning out some fantastic beer-centric dishes, having exclusive beer releases, and creating themed dinners. The whole week is capped off with the Six One Pour beer festival on May 20 from 5-9 at Huntington Park, featuring plenty of food, music, and of course, beer samples. These are some of the happenings that have caught my eye:

All week: Small Plate Pairings with The Market and Jackie O’s

All week: Small Plate Pairings with Homestead Beer Co. and The Crest Gastropub

May 12: Rockmill’s Quad Release at 101 Beer Kitchen

May 12: Science on Tap at COSI

May 13: Columbus Craft Beer Alliance – Beer and Donuts pairing at Platform Beer

May 14: Sushi, Sake, and Craft Beer Pairings at the Daily Growler

May 16: Beer and Ice Cream Pairing with Jeni’s and Land-Grant Brewing

May 17: Dog and Patio Beer Party at Zauber Brewing

Learn more about all of the upcoming events here: http://www.columbusbeerweek.com/events/ and see you at Columbus Craft Beer Week!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Magic Chocolate Stout Cake

Magic Chocolate Stout Cake

When I went away to college, I knew one of the things I would miss the most was my mom’s cooking. So that I could attempt (the key word is “attempt”) to recreate some of our family’s meals, my mom created what has become my Bible, a handwritten collection of my favorite recipes in a spiral bound notebook. Included in her guide was this recipe for “pudding cake.” The version below is adapted from my mom’s, replacing the water in the original recipe with stout beer. I call it magic cake, because the cake creates its own hot fudge sauce during the baking process, making it the ideal treat to serve with ice cream. I love the coffee richness that the stout brings, and it’s a snazzy dessert to throw together at the last minute – it doesn’t even require eggs!

Mom's Cookbook

 

Ingredients:

For the cake:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 cup milk
2 T. melted butter

For the topping:
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup of your favorite stout beer

Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees, and spraying a 9×9 inch square pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients for the cake: the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix well to incorporate, and then slowly add in melted butter to dry ingredients, followed by the milk. Spread the cake mixture into the bottom of the 9×9 pan. In another bowl, mix the 1/4 cup cocoa powder and the brown sugar. Sprinkle this topping evenly over the cake batter. Next, microwave the stout for approximately 2 minutes, until just warm. Then pour warmed beer over the topping and cake mixtures. Bake the cake for approximately 40 minutes until cake portion is set. There will still be a “sauce” underneath the cake that will not set. Top with whipped cream or your favorite ice cream and serve warm.

Chocolate Stout Cake

Magic Chocolate Stout Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 T. melted butter
For the topping:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1¾ cup of your favorite stout beer
Instructions
  1. Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees, and spraying a 9x9 inch square pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients for the cake: the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Mix well to incorporate, and then slowly add in melted butter to dry ingredients, followed by the milk.
  4. Spread the cake mixture into the bottom of the 9x9 pan.
  5. In another bowl, mix the ¼ cup cocoa powder and the brown sugar.
  6. Sprinkle this topping evenly over the cake batter.
  7. Next, microwave the stout for approximately 2 minutes, until just warm.
  8. Then pour warmed beer over the topping and cake mixtures.
  9. Bake the cake for approximately 40 minutes until cake portion is set.
  10. There will still be a "sauce" underneath the cake that will not set.
  11. Top with whipped cream or your favorite ice cream and serve warm.

 

Platform Beer Co. Columbus

Platform Beer Co. Columbus
408 N. 6th St.
Columbus, OH 43215
http://platformbeerco.com
https://www.facebook.com/PlatformBeerCoCBUS/

Sour beer lovers rejoice! Cleveland’s Platform Beer Co. has hit Ohio’s capital city, and it’s fast becoming a hangout for hopheads and foodies alike. The taproom has a large patio that will be wonderful once the weather starts to turn, and the large and casual seating area has an industrial feel. But the sour beer and the rotating eats are the reasons you’ll keep coming back to the Discovery District outpost.

Platform Beer Co.

Platform has a constantly evolving draft list, but the sour beer styles are where the company really shines. Until this point, sours haven’t been the focus of local purveyors, so it’s been a pleasant surprise to find cans of Platform’s funky brews on the grocery store shelf. On Saturdays from 12-3, the bar boasts Sour Hour, an opportunity to sip on sour flights for $8 and get sour growler fills for just $12. Blackberry Bearded Gent IPA is a summer-worthy, fruit-infused delight, but make sure to sample the seasonal Shanghai Noon, a gose-style with lychee and prickly pear. Additional sour selections: Bunny Pajamas, City Boy, and the expectedly citrusy Tang Life.

Platform Beer in Columbus Ohio

Equally original are the pop-up restaurants hosted by Platform. With menus unlike any others in town, the taproom tables are often filled with unique and delicious meals. Take a bite of Meatball Mafia’s mouthwatering meatball entrees, or dine on dishes from the pork extraordinaires, 1803 Bacon. I recently devoured curry-cured bacon and egg sliders on sweet buns there for brunch, and wasn’t disappointed in the least. Other options: Creole Crust Cajun pizza by Da Levee, Freaks and Leeks vegan brunch, The Hungarian Butcher, Put It in Your Face Sandwich cart, Bus Appetit, and African pop-up Asempe.

1808 Bacon at Platform

Culinary Clue: Make sure you park at the metered street parking. Platform doesn’t have a dedicated lot and Columbus State campus police will ticket your vehicle.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Platform Beer Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flowers & Bread

Flowers & Bread

Flowers & Bread
3870 N High St
Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 262-5400
http://flowersandbread.com/

Top Tastes

1. Citrus Focaccia
2. Chocolate Bundt Cake
3. Mini Wheat Loaves with Butter and Fig-Apple Jam
4. Bacon Jam and Brie Sandwich
5. Lemon Lavender Scones

Clintonville’s newest bakery is combining all the pretty things in one spot, with baked goods, hydrangeas, and a cozy atmosphere. Beauty in simplicity rings true here; every element is aesthetically pleasing and not too stuffy. Flowers & Bread is open, airy, and filled with fresh floral arrangements created by the shop. You can pick up these same bundles of flowers to gussy up your own table at home.

Fresh Baked Items from Flowers & Bread

The bakery counter is small, but it’s churning out some seriously toothsome treats. On the breakfast front, don’t miss the delicate lemon lavender scones or the monkey bread muffins. I’m also crazy about the citrus focaccia, a fun twist on the typical savory bread sprinkled with pomegranate and punchy citrus segments. If you’re looking for lunch, sample the daily soup selections or the baguette sandwiches. Try the bacon jam and brie sammie with arugula and ham, or the deliciously Spartan radish, butter, and chives version. Finish with the tiny, tender chocolate bundt cakes; the accompanying gold silverware with intricate scrollwork makes every bite a treat. Take home a mini loaf of Semolina bread, with a crispy exterior and soft center. It’s the ideal item for breakfast the next day when slathered with house butter and fig-apple jam.

Outside of Flowers & Bread

Recently, Flowers & Bread has started offering “date nights,” featuring dishes created with the on-site wood-fired oven. Normally the shop closes at 3 or 4, but these special events are held at night and are BYOB. Menu items have included delectable-sounding smoky oysters, roasted hen, chocolate caramel lava cake, and champagne berries. I will have to try one of the offered cooking or floral arrangement classes soon as well. Topics range from flower crown-making to homemade marmalades and soups.

Butter + Jame | Flowers & Bread

Don’t wait to try this place – it’s one part carryout French bistro and one part dream kitchen with a florist’s touch.

Culinary Clue: Get to the shop as early as you can. They just added additional morning hours, and because of the bakery’s popularity things can get a little hectic at times. Going early or during a non-peak hour can help beat the crowds!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

2 Year Anniversary Spectacular: My Favorite Posts So Far

I’ll be writing more about this for the March newsletter (Click here to sign up for the newsletter), but this week Columbus Culinary Connection celebrated its 2 year anniversary! 131 blog posts, 4,200 Instagram (@cbusconnect) followers, and 8.3 million pounds of cheese later, I’m still enjoying being a food blogger. It’s forced me outside my comfort zone in tasting new cuisine, but also in making new relationships. It’s been a creative outlet, and given me a greater appreciation for Columbus and all things Ohio. I’ve enjoyed looking back at the posts I’ve written over the past two years, and daydreaming about the places I’ve visited, and of course the food I’ve devoured up to this point. Here are some of my absolute favorites!

Rockmill Brewery

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/rockmill-brewery-review/
Rockmill Brewery

One of my very first posts, Rockmill is still a place that has a certain magic for me. The countless good times on the brewery’s grounds and in the idyllic horse barn-turned-taproom make this a spot I’ll always go again and again.

Kittie’s Cakes

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/kitties-cakes/
http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/kitties-cakes-bexley/
Kittie's Cakes

The original German Village location and the new Bexley Kittie’s cafe have some of my favorite treats in town. Bacon cheddar scones, immense Facecookies, and shop mascot Linus the Golden Retriever make Kittie’s a must-try bakery.

My Family’s Christmas Cookies

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/christmas-cookie-recipe/
Christmas Cookies

My mom was the guest writer for this post, and she’s the reason I am crazy about cooking. It’s one of my all-time favorite family traditions, and it’s been fabulous seeing so many other people take her recipe and incorporate it into their own holiday customs.

A Visit to: Biltmore Estate

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/biltmore-estate/
The Biltmore Estate

I love exploring, and have embraced my inner history nerd. Our mini vacation to Biltmore Estate let me combine my admiration for both fine dining and Downton Abbey, and I loved every second of it. I also used this post as a template for my Charleston Gazette article, another writing opportunity that blogging has afforded me!

Fox in the Snow Cafe

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/fox-in-the-snow-cafe/
Fox in the Snow Cafe

The effort put into blogging is worth it soley because I learned about Fox in the Snow through blogger friends. What had I been missing? Only the cutest animal logo in town and some heavenly custard-filled donuts.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Grandview Heights

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/neighborhood-spotlight-grandview-heights/
Sweet Carrot and Zauber Beers in Grandview

It’s been great seeing so many new foodie destinations pop up in Grandview recently, and there are some classic oldie but goodie spots as well. There’s something for every palette in this Columbus ‘burb. I need to get around to making another neighborhood dining guide soon.

Por’Ketta Food Truck

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/porketta-food-truck/
Porketta Food Truck

I love the ease and variety that food truck dining brings, and I tend to seek out my favorites time and again. Por’Ketta’s family business is doing some really fun things, and my adoration has not waned even after eating that chicken sandwich a hundred times.

Top Secret Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/chocolate-chip-cookies/
Chocolate Chip Cookies

The secret is the cheesecake pudding! Trust me on this – it’s been my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe for years. It makes the softest, tastiest cookies imaginable.

5 Queso Dishes to Try

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/carolines-picks-5-queso-dishes-try/
Bodega Columbus: Loaded Truffle Fries

I have to end this round-up with another round-up! When you can list some of your most beloved restaurants in one cheese-laden post, i.e.  Hudson 29, Condado Tacos, and Bodega, what isn’t to love? I have a whole category on the blog of 5 to Try posts, when you’re in need of a quick reference guide.

Thanks for being on this journey with me! Cheers to another year of bacon and blogging.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Blystone Farm

Blystone Farms

8677 Oregon Rd.
Canal Winchester, OH 43110
(614) 833-1211
http://www.blystonefarm.com

You may have heard me mention the fact that I’m smitten with Blystone bacon breakfast sausage on social media (or bacon in general, for that matter). But the sausage patties aren’t the only things to drool over coming out of the Canal Winchester family farm.

Blystone Farms in Canal Winchester

I grew up not far from Blystone, so I love to see this small business succeeding. The Blystone family is doing things right, recently adding a patio and a taproom area to the existing butcher shop and bakery building. It’s now an ideal spot to grab a sandwich, sip on a craft beer, or pick up local products. The whole operation is situated a few hundred yards from their homestead, and more often than not, upon pulling into the driveway you will be greeted by mooing cows in the pasture or the friendly resident farm dogs. One of them, Hank, even has his own Instagram account!

Breakfast Biscuit at Blystone Farm

The butcher shop works with many local purveyors to provide items like Dijon-marinated chicken thighs, bison, freshly ground beef, cut-to-order short ribs, and the infamous bacon sausage. On weekends, they serve up breakfast sammies with your choice of their ham, bacon, or sausage, plus cheese and an egg, all on a freshly baked biscuit. For lunch, try a pulled brisket slider, a gyro, or a deli sandwich. Baked goods made in house are also available; think red velvet cookies and pecan sticky buns.

The market portion of the Blystone business is a reason to visit in itself. You can purchase food truck favorite Sophie’s Pierogies, frozen for you to sauté and enjoy at home. Or peruse the craft beer shelves, where you’ll uncover bottles of everything from Lancaster’s Rockmill Brewery to Columbus’ Wolf’s Ridge and perennial favorite Three Floyd’s Brewing. Other items I’ve ended up taking home? Maple syrup, salsa, caramels, local blackberries, and even Carfagna’s marinara.

Sophies Pierogies at Blystone

Journey out to Canal Winchester soon to visit the farm and Hank the cow dog!

Hank the Cow Dog

Culinary Clue: The farm is in close proximity to Slate Run Metro Park, and both places are very family-friendly. Make a day trip to the southeast side of town and kill two birds with one stone.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Stack City Burger Bar

Stack City Burger Bar

Stack City Burger Bar
600 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 372-7229
http://www.stackcityburger.com/

Hooray for happy hour at Stack City Burger Bar! In a section of town where so many meals will break the bank, the Short North’s Stack City is serving up generous portions at prices that won’t break the bank. The restaurant is part of Hyde Park’s empire, which explains the tasty grub and impeccable service, for a casual joint. With a large local draft list (including Wolf’s Ridge, Land-Grant, and Seventh Son offerings) and a large patio primed for people-watching, this is an ideal place for post-work dining.

Buffalo Nachos from Stack City Burger Bar

Let’s talk more about the sublime happy hour pricing.  It lasts from Sunday-Friday,  3-6 P.M. During this time frame, all appetizers, fries, and chips are half off, there are 45 cent bonless wings, and drink deals. Most important of all, there is the $5 Red, White, and Blue Burger (complete with all the traditional toppings) – what a steal! We opted to start with the buffalo chicken nachos, a playful take on the spicy dip everyone adores. The platter that arrived was so immense, I took home half to devour later. There was just enough zip and shaved celery for added crunch, perfect for pairing with beer or the Rye Old Fashioned. Sides are shareable, so scout out some friends to join you and sample them all. The truffle chips were thin and crispy, just like I like them, and the thick-cut onion rings were also tempting, served with a Southwest ranch.

Rye Old Fashioned - Stack City Burger Bar

Burgers are something that even the most finicky of your friends can appreciate, and Stack City keeps the menu simple but with some original twists. All of the beef is locally sourced and never frozen, ensuring that your patty is perfection. I enjoyed that you can add an egg and bacon to any of their selections, because when is extra bacon or a drippy egg a bad idea? I ordered the Bison burger, brushed with a delectable balsamic glaze and topped with dollops of goat cheese, grilled onions, and tangy cranberries. I also snuck a bite of my husband’s more traditional Cowboy burger, with bacon, cheddar, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, and capped with one of the aforementioned giant onion rings. It stacks up!

Biscoff Cookie Butter Shake

I had to save room for dessert, by snapping up a Biscoff cookie butter shake. If you haven’t had cookie butter, it’s a divine European spread made of crushed cinnamony cookies. When Stack City blends it up with vanilla ice cream and bourbon, it’s even better. There are other boozy shake flavors as well, such as the buckeye shake with chocolate vodka. I’ll be back for this one!

Culinary Clue: Don’t miss the featured burgers either; next time I’m fully prepared to devour the latest concoction, the Three Little Pigs. You guessed it – the sandwich features bacon 3 ways, including bacon mayo!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Stack City Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: My meal was provided by Stack City, but all opinions are my own.