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

2017 Restaurant Bucket List

The best and worst thing about Columbus’ phenomenal food scene is that there is always a new restaurant to try. I did a pretty good job at conquering last year’s locales, but this year there is a fresh crop of eateries to enjoy! I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the cuisine at the places below before 2017 ends:

Cosecha

https://www.facebook.com/Cosecha-Cocina-1789198708022380/

Cosecha Columbus
Photo Credit: Silas Caeton

With a Mexican-inspired focus and Salt & Pine’s Silas Caeton at the helm, this new venture can’t go wrong. The spot doesn’t open until early 2017, but you can bet I’ll be first in line. The pop-ups they’ve had around town have looked divine. Pictured: Grilled octopus with mojo-marinated cabbage, red mole, and roasted taters.

Simply Rolled

https://www.facebook.com/simplyrolledicecream/

A fun twist on Thai ice cream rolls, these treats are hard to track down but the reaction from fans radiates positivity. A flavored cream base is poured onto cold stones, mixed with toppings, and scraped into pretty rolls. Catch them at a festival or pop-up near you!

The Avenue Steak Tavern

http://theavenuesteaktavern.com/

The Avenue Steak Tavern
Photo Credit: The Avenue

As a huge Cameron Mitchell cheerleader, I must be crazy for failing to eat a full meal at this Grandivew joint. The classic steakhouse interior always looks inviting, and I’m such a sucker for a well-prepared steak. Plus, they have baked cheese fondue. When melty cheese is on the menu, you must order it, end of story.

Skillet

http://www.skilletruf.com/

Brunch is always a good idea, but when your diner of choice seeks out seasonal ingredients to create scrumptious-sounding comfort food, you can’t delay in visiting. I’ve got to visit Skillet in 2017, so I can gobble up entrees like quiche made with roasted butternut squash, kale, chevre, fresh thyme, and shallot baked in flaky pastry.

Prost

http://prostcafe.com/menu/3288556

This Reynoldsburg watering hole has been on my radar for awhile. The number one reason: a bruschetta bar! Mix and match varieties like Brie and apple with fig jam, burrata and bacon, or ricotta, dates, and pistachios sound heavenly, plus there is some great happy hour pricing on beer and wine.

Paulie Gee’s

http://pauliegee.com/short-north/

Paulie Gee's
Photo Credit – Paulie Gee’s

Where did I go wrong that I still haven’t made it to Paulie Gee’s, home of the mini pizza flight? That’s right, no more confining your choices to one pie – you can devour 3! When the menu contains pizza combos like the Monte Cristo (Canadian bacon, gouda, maple syrup) or The Katzingers 83 (swiss, pastrami, sauerkraut, Russian dressing drizzle), I’m drooling already.

Tensuke Express

http://tensukemarket.com/

A quick-service spot inside a beloved Japanese market, Tensuke Express cuts out the sushi and focuses solely on other delicacies. Dishes like ramen bowls, pork cutlet fried rice, and spicy shrimp udon make up the diverse menu, and I’m dying to try them all!

de Novo on the Park

http://www.denovobistro.com/

The views of the new de Novo location look stunning, with large windows facing Columbus Commons and eclectic furnishings. The menu is intriguing as well – Duck BLT sliders, lobster mac, and kangaroo (!) too. I’m sold on noshing here next year!

Did I miss any noteworthy restaurant you love? Tell me in the comments below.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Fall Flavors 2016

Goumas Candyland offers up Caramel Apples

I totally get it: flavors like pumpkin and apple have become synonymous with the start of fall, and sometimes it can be overkill. But let’s face another reality: when all is said and done, we still find ourselves buying or ordering menu items with these ingredients because the dishes simply taste heavenly. So buckle up for a buffet of all the autumn eats I’ve enjoyed so far this season! Don’t forget about squash, sweet potatoes, and warming spices too. 

Pumpkin-palooza

Snickerdoodle Cooki Sammies with Velvet Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Snickerdoodle Cookie Sammies with Velvet Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Cashew Cream Toast and Beet Juice from Alchemy

Pumpkin Cashew Cream Toast and Beet Juice from Alchemy

Basic Fall Staple Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles

Basic Fall Staple: Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles

Apple Extravaganza

Goumas Candyland offers up Caramel Apples

Goumas Candyland offers up caramel apples

Donuts with maple apple compote from Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Donuts with maple apple compote from Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Brothers Drake Bourbon Barrel Apple Mead

Brothers Drake Bourbon Barrel Apple Pie Mead

Acorn squash stuffed with apple and sausage

Acorn squash stuffed with apple and sausage

Street Thyme Burger with brie and apples

Street Thyme burger with brie and apples

More Fall Fare

The new Rockmill Taverns comforting Duck Pot Pie

The new Rockmill Tavern's comforting Duck Pot Pie

Akoori Eggs from The Table on the Columbus Food Adventures Brunch Tour

Akoori Eggs from The Table on the Columbus Food Adventures Brunch Tour

Chili by the Fire

Hot chili by the fire

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams seasonal offerings Sweet Potato Eclair and chocolatey spicy Xocorosa

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams seasonal offerings Sweet Potato Eclair and chocolatey, spicy Xocorosa

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 Queso Dishes to Try

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

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

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.

Caroline’s Picks: 5 Local Treats to Try

Rime Time Pops

We are lucky to have access to some great creators of gourmet treats right here in Columbus. I’ve rounded up some items that I’ve been loving lately, and listed them here for your snacking pleasure.

Rime Time Pops

http://www.rimetimepops.com/
Rime Time Pops

In summertime, nothing can beat a popsicle. But when that icy dessert is carefully crafted with quality ingredients, it makes all the difference. Rime Time creates flavors that are familiar with a hint of something new, and can appeal to both kids and adults alike. My favorite of Cody’s concoctions is the peanut butter and raspberry jam, but I’ve got to get my hands on the newest twists: watermelon habanero and juicy Georgia peach.  Just follow the bike with the snowflake sign!

Middle West Spirits OYO Bourbon-Barrel Aged Maple Syrup

http://middlewestspirits.com/
Midwest Spirits Maple Syrup

Is there a better barrel-aged combo than bourbon and maple syrup? Rich, dark, and guaranteed to step up your pancake game, this syrup will absolutely blow your mind. Made by sourcing maple from Ohio farms and cask-aging it in the Middle West Spirits barrels, the syrup is packed with flavor and begs to be put in a cocktail. I picked up this bottle at STUMP plants, and it’s made for some heavenly chocolate French toast.

Katie’s Beef Jerky

http://www.katiesbeefjerky.com/
Katie's Beef Jerky

There’s a great story behind Katie’s Beef Jerky, in that Katie left her job in the corporate world to pursue her passion in the kitchen. I was lucky enough to sample some of her available flavors, and had fun taste-testing! There are varieties such as teriyaki, garlic, ghost pepper, and even pineapple jerky. I have to recommend picking up a variety of flavors and sharing pieces of each with friends, to compare and contrast the heat levels all the way up to ultra-fiery Scorpion XXX! Our favorite was the Half Heat, but I’ve got to try the Black Cherry Bourbon next. You can find Katie’s at the North Market, Celebrate Local, and various Columbus events.

Santo Brigadeiro

Check out their Facebook page
Santo Brigadeiro
Brigadeiros are a kind of Brazilian truffle, which are super soft, made with condensed milk, and rolled in more goodies such as nuts, sprinkles, or coconut. I’d never had them before until Santo Brigadeiro came along, but when my husband and I were nibbling on these delicacies we kept trying each new flavor and saying, “this one is my favorite.” Then we’d eat another, and change our minds. The cycle continued until we gave up and just accepted the fact that each one of these delights is just as tasty as the last. Bonus: the packaging of the treats is very pretty and ideal for gift-giving!

Root 23 Simple Syrups

http://www.root23.com/
Root 23 Simple Syrups

I’m an admitted addict of Root 23 syrups, because this stuff is just so ridiculously versatile! It comes in flavors like Cherry Almond (hello, bourbon on the rocks), Pear Rosemary, and Vanilla Ginger. Each can be made into a refreshing soda  when paired with a glug of tonic water, or stirred into lemonade. Even ice cream, cocktails, and baked goods can be dressed up with a drizzle of Root 23.  Sip on each kind and then purchase your favorite at the New Albany Farmers Market.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Disclosure: Some products were received free of charge. This in no way impacts the nature of my opinions or writing.

Mountain State Food Tours: Charleston, West Virginia

Mountain State Food Tour
Mountain State Food Tours: Charleston, WV
http://www.mountainstatefoodtours.com

When I went to visit one of my close friends who recently relocated from Columbus to Charleston, WV, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the food scene in her new city. But, knowing she was a was fellow food aficionado, I was positive I was in good hands when she signed us up for one of the inaugural Mountain State Food Tours of downtown Charleston. The fledgling business has a leg up with Michael and Maria Young at the helm, since Maria is a features editor for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.  The Youngs’ goal is to create a culture of food and drink tours just like those we are fortunate enough to have here in Cbus with Columbus Food Adventures and Columbus Brew Adventures.

Fried Feta from Adelphia

We embarked on our tour with an empty stomach, but we certainly didn’t go home hungry. The food sample sizes were generous, and we also received drink pairings at each stop so our guides could test out the potential addition of an alcohol aspect to the tour offerings – lucky us! As we roamed the streets, Michael gave us some history tidbits about the landmarks we were passing on our walk. There were tales of fire and destruction, wealthy salt barons, underground speakeasies, and secret art pieces, all sprinkled into the narrative mix. But naturally, the most important part was the grub, so let’s get to that!

Salted Caramel

Here is a rundown of our tour stops:

Adelphia:  Greek wine and the most amazing fried feta balls imaginable, served on pita wedges
Blossom Dairy:  Warm and savory roasted red pepper soup coupled with a mini Reuben sammie
Celsius:  Moscow Mules served up with filet mignon sliders topped with delightfully tangy blue cheese
J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works + The Peanut Shoppe: Soft caramel squares, dusted with local salt
Black Sheep Burrito & Brews:   A small sample of beer plus a killer Thai Shrimp taco, slathered in hoisin-peanut sauce and garnished with daikon-carrot slaw
Ellen’s Ice Cream:  A scoop of ice cream in the flavor of your choosing – I went for amaretto gelato!

Ellens Ice Cream

Next time you need a foodie getaway that is a short drive from Columbus, don’t overlook Charleston and Mountain State Food Tours! We loved each stop, as well as the entertaining and bubbly guides.

Some other Charleston dining highlights I enjoyed while in town: a wine flight at The Block, Capitol Market where I bought all the cheese in sight, and a Maple Pancake Latte at Starlings Coffee & Provisions.

Keep Connected,

Caroline