Caroline’s Picks: 5 Local Products to Buy

Caroline's Picks 5 Local Products to Buy
One of my favorite aspects of living in Ohio is that we have so many local small business owners putting out great products. Why shop at the big box stores when you can get unique gifts and tasty treats from retailers right here in Columbus? All of the items shown below are available at either Celebrate Local at Easton or the New Leaf Market at the Lancaster Greenhouse, and in the case of some items, both locations!

Liberty Pottery is based in historic Roscoe Village in Coshocton. This thrown stoneware often has an Ohio theme, and comes in a variety of interesting colors to suit any decor. Look for beautifully-made platters, pitchers, coffee mugs, and more. I especially like the robin’s egg blue glaze they use, and the saucers serve as great bases to hold a candle.

Liberty Pottery

I’m in love with Ridiculously Good Salsa. It is super fresh and great for summer entertaining. My husband lived in New Mexico for a while, and knows good salsa. He and I both give the onion-based zing of the “happy medium” version a big thumbs up. Or, pick up the “mellow” style for topping nachos or fish. Appetizer dilemma solved.

Ridiculously Good Salsa

One of my favorite companies for rustic home decor is Columbus Barrel Co. These talented folks craft everything from tables and clocks to sunglasses and cutting boards from re-purposed bourbon barrels. Every creation is gorgeous, and because of the unique grain of each piece of wood, no two items are the same. They do custom orders as well!

Columbus Barrel Co.

Looking for a sweeter wine for patio weather? Wagon Wheel Wines in Canal Winchester has a huge selection of fruit-based beverages, made in-house. Try options such as strawberry-pear cider, hard pink lemonade, black cherry pinot noir wine, or coconut-yuzu wine. I can’t wait to make a tropical sangria with one of these wines as a base. Check out their brick-and-mortar shop in downtown CW too.

Wagon Wheel Wines

These lollipops from Lollipop Lush come in tasty flavors like red wine, root beer, and pineapple lime chili. The suckers would be a great favor for a wedding or as part of a gift box for a friend! You can even customize the wrappers for special occasions, or order the pops made in a fun shape like lips or a mustache for a memorable treat.

Lollipop Lush

Find more info about the products mentioned here:

Celebrate Local:

New Leaf Market at Lancaster Greenhouse:

Ridiculously Good Salsa:

Liberty Pottery:

Columbus Barrel Co.:

Wagon Wheel Wines:

Lollipop Lush:

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The salsa and lollipops were provided to Columbus Culinary Connection gratis. This in no way impacts the nature of my opinions or writing.  

2015 Columbus Food Truck Festival

2015 Columbus Food Truck Festival
Food truck lovers unite! It’s one of the best times of the year, because the Columbus Food Truck Festival weekend is upon us. At the Columbus Commons from Friday, August 14 through Sunday, August 16, find all of your favorite food trucks all in one place! Where else can you eat Korean pork sliders, walk a few feet for a brisket taco, and then stroll a couple more paces for a gourmet cupcake? It is a great opportunity to try a new mobile food vendor, or sample a new cuisine without any commitment. I suggest bringing a large group, and then utilizing the “divide and conquer strategy.” This way, you can each pick a truck, load up on multiple items, and then divvy up the spoils so that each person gets to try a wide variety of dishes. Need more convincing? Entrance to the festival is free, there are tons of great musicians playing on the Commons stage, and there are craft vendors lining the perimeter.

At the event, you can graze on offerings from some of these great trucks:

The Burrito Bus
Burrito Bus Nachos
Hot Chicken Takeover – Click here for my review
Hot Chicken Takeover Food Truck
Mai Chau
Mai Chau Banh Mi
Pitabilities Falafel Pita
Mixing Bowl Asian Grill
Noodle Bowl Mixing Bowl Asian Grill
Mikey’s Late Night Slice
The Sauces at Mikey's Late Night Slice
Tortilla Street Food – Click Here for my review
Tortilla Street Food Truck

See you there! To learn more about the festival, head to:

I’ve been on a whirlwind food truck tour the last few months! Learn more about my adventures in meals on four wheels with the food truck tab of Columbus Culinary Connection:

Snapshots of Summer

Snapshots of Summer

This summer has been filled with culinary delights! I’ve traveled all over central Ohio eating and drinking my way through some awesome menus. I’ve also enjoyed snagging some fresh and local produce, and utilizing these items in my cooking. Below, you will find a glimpse at some of my most memorable shots from my warm weather adventures. I can’t wait to see wait the remaining days of summer bring!


Watermelon from a fabulous 4th of July bash

Watermelon from a fabulous 4th of July bash

Photo May 31, 5 59 39 PM

Beer Garden spread of Por’Ketta food truck goodies at Buckeye Lake Brewery. Visit all the stops on the Columbus Ale Trail!

Peaches from The Peach Truck became cobbler, salad, and great side dishes
Peaches from The Peach Truck eventually became cobbler, salad, and great side dishes

Amazing farmers market finds like this berry cinnamon roll from the New Albany Farmers Market

Amazing farmers market finds like this berry cinnamon roll from the New Albany Farmers Market were true gems

It may not be winter, but I'll always welcome sightings of the Fox in the Snow Cafe

It may not be winter, but I’ll always welcome sightings of the Fox in the Snow Cafe fox

Limoncello-making with friends was time-consuming but so worth it!

Limoncello-making with friends was time-consuming but so worth it!

View from the dock at Buckeye Lake Winery

View from the dock at Buckeye Lake Winery

Photo Jun 24, 7 48 31 PM

Freshly-picked wild black raspberries from the brambles at my parents’ home

Photo May 31, 4 26 12 PM

Garden boxes, early in the season. Now they are out of control with cherry tomatoes!

Photo Jun 21, 1 09 27 PM

Father’s Day German Feast! Pretzel bites with beer cheese spread and maple mustard

Photo Jul 11, 12 02 32 PM

Fountain stop at Easton Town Center

Photo Jun 09, 7 58 17 PM

Columbus Brewing Company’s Summer Teeth – a perfect patio beer

Sweet corn on the grill is my everything

Sweet corn on the grill is my everything

Photo Jul 11, 1 14 43 PM

Georgia O’Keeffe moment exploring the outdoors

Photo Jun 19, 6 37 17 PM

Watershed Distillery Mules at the Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival

The Columbus Culinary Connection mascot, Teddy, loves sunny days

The Columbus Culinary Connection mascot, Teddy, loves sunny days

Want to see more images from my experiences? Check out my Instagram here. What are your favorite activities to do in our capital city in the summer?

Caroline’s Picks: Farmers Markets

Caroline's Picks:  Farmers Markets
As someone who loves to cook (and eat!) there is nothing better than spending a few hours outdoors in the summer, shopping for fresh ingredients at a local farmers market. I love to comb through the wares at different stalls, and am always inspired by a new or unusual ingredient that I score during my trip. Due to its close proximity to so many produce growers, Columbus is crawling with amazing farmers market options, each with their own unique vendors and atmospheres. Here are my picks for my 5 favorite farmers markets in Central Ohio:

New Albany Farmers Market | Caroline's Picks:  Farmers Markets

New Albany Farmers Market: 

The New Albany Farmer’s Market is held Thursday evenings, which I appreciate because you can stop by after work, since it’s one of the few markets held on a day other than Saturday. Another reason is that it has plenty of parking nearby, which can be a struggle with more urban areas. Some of my “can’t miss” vendors: Sock Hop Soda Shop (50’s sandwiches and shakes), Beehive Bread (cheese bread and raspberry cinnamon rolls), and Root 23 (grapefruit basil and vanilla ginger syrup).

Sock Hop Soda Shop | Caroline's Picks:  Farmers Markets

Worthington Farmers Market

This market is absolutely huge; there are so many vendors you almost have to make two rounds to ensure you don’t skip anything! They also regularly feature live music during the market. Vendors to try:  Blue Jacket Dairy (yay! cheese curds and goat cheese), Dangling Carrot Farm (heirloom tomatoes and kale), Silver Bridge Coffee (fresh coffee and beans).

Bailey's Drive-In | Caroline's Picks:  Farmers Markets

Granville Farmers Market

I like that this market is a little farther out of town, because the variety of merchants is great and different from other venues closer to the capital city. Stroll around this charming Licking County town and enjoy the sights. Check out: Bailey’s Drive-In Donuts (huge donut holes), Bird’s Haven Farms (fresh produce), Branstool Orchard (peaches and apples).

Bird's Haven | Caroline's Picks:  Farmers Markets

Clintonville Farmers Market

Clintonville’s market is actually held on two days during the summer, Wednesday and Saturday. It too is large-scale, with vendors for everyone. Buy goods ranging from fresh flowers to jams and salsa. Stalls to sample: Dan the Baker (amazing breads of all kinds), J-POPS (gourmet ice pops), and Oink Moo Cluck (chorizo and fresh eggs)

Oink Moo Cluck | Caroline's Picks:  Farmers Markets

Easton Farmers Market

Easton’s market is great, because you can shop the farm wares and then shop more in the mall! There are children’s activities and chef demos too. Vendors to visit: Celebrate Local (outpost of the awesome local store), Ohio City Pasta (gnocchi and fettuccine), Tiger Mushroom Farms (gourmet ‘shrooms)

Ohio City Pasta | Caroline's Picks:  Farmers Markets

Here are some other local farmer’s markets to try:


Canal Winchester:


Grove City:

North Market:

400 W. Rich:


What is your favorite outdoor farmer’s market? Let me know in the comments below!

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Neighborhood Spotlight Grandview Heights

Neighborhood Spotlight: Grandview Heights

Peabody Papers | Neighborhood SpotlightOne of my favorite sections of Columbus is without a doubt Grandview Heights. This quiet neighborhood has beautiful homes to view, drool-worthy restaurants, and stellar shops to meet your every need. It seems as though every day a new spot is opening up here, making Grandview a neighborhood that just keeps evolving. If you are looking for a walkable place to explore, this friendly suburb needs to be on your bucket list! Below is a compilation of a few of my favorite places to visit in Grandview, but the list is by no means exhaustive. In fact, I am doing a whole neighborhood spotlight series on this town!  Sign up here and I’ll notify you as new Grandview-centric posts are released.

For Foodies:

Some of Columbus’ most beloved restaurants are located within Grandview Heights proper. Brunch at Third and Hollywood, where the garlicky biscuits and pimento cheese will keep you coming back for more. For casual pub fare, Matt the Miller’s Tavern is your best bet, or drop into DK Diner for delicious down-home meals and donuts. The Pear and Brie wood-fired pizza at Figlio is always a dish I crave, as is the peanut butter-banana sandwich from Krema Nut Third & Hollywood | Neighborhood Spotlight GrandviewCompany. Score tasty ethnic dishes like the tikka masala at AAB Indian Restaurant or the falafel at Mazah. If an upscale dining experience is what you seek, Spagio has an elegant atmosphere and amazing lobster bisque. For burgers and bourbon, try Bar 145. Don’t miss the festive German vibes at Hofbraühaus Columbus for pretzels and a huge beer garden. Local Cantina and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams both have noteworthy outposts here as well. Put Grandview on your list of dining destinations!

Click Here to View My Grandview Pocket Guide

For Shop-a-holics:

Spend an afternoon strolling around Grandview Avenue, browsing some great local stores. Start at the Candle Lab, where you can make a one-of-a-kind candle by picking out your own custom fragrance combinations. Scents range from classic (coconut, lavender) to quirky (bacon, wasabi) and every smell in between. Your candle will be ready for pick-up by the time you’re done The Candle Labshopping. Head over to Peabody Papers next, where you can choose from a wide range of paper products, including invitations, stationary, and gifts. They offer made-to-order monogrammed thank you cards as well, which I absolutely love. Then, proceed to The Oilerie, where you can sample olive oil and vinegar ’til your heart’s content. Purchase bottles of blueberry balsamic vinegar or cinnamon EVOO to inspire your home cooking. After you’re worn out from all that walking, head over to The Blowout Bar to pamper yourself. Pick up some Stauf’s coffee on the way to help you unwind while you get a relaxing scalp massage and a new ‘do. A blowout here ensures you will have perfect hair for days! During the summer, the last Saturday of the month brings the Grandview Hop, an open-air market on the streets, to snap up some funky art pieces or handmade wares. Fashionistas will adore the selections of dresses and tees at Thread, and the interesting metal jewelry at The Smithery. Cap off the evening with a cooking class at The Commissary!

Click Here to View My Grandview Pocket Guide

For Hop-Heads:

The craft beer scene in Columbus is thriving, but Grandview in particular has established itself as a beer mecca. There are so many breweries here that there is a whole alliance dedicated to promoting it! (See more here: Four String Brewing on 6th Avenue has an amazing happy hour in their taproom. Zauber Brewing, in my opinion, has some of the best beer offerings in town, coupled with a cozy, industrial bar and great cocktails.  Smokehouse Brewing hosts some awesome events, such as the Mini Real Ale Fest and the biannual Oysters and Stout pairings. Sideswipe Brewing and Knotty Pine Brewing are great recent Grandview additions to the Columbus craft beer scene as well. For growler fills in the area, and to grab a slice of some tasty Honeykiss Bakery pie, drop in to the Ohio Taproom. Maifest and Digfest are fun area festivals to listen to tunes and try some Grandview beers.


Make a day trip to Grandview, and then come back again and again, to catch all of the destinations you missed on the first trip. Or to see many of the city’s food and beer hot spots, book a tour with Columbus Brew Adventures or Columbus Food Adventures; both groups have tours focused entirely on Grandview. To learn more about all of the great places to visit in Grandview, check out Their site will give you even more ideas about what to do and see! This is a introductory post for my series on Grandview.  Sign up here and I’ll notify you as new Grandview-centric posts are released.

What are your favorite Grandview locales? Is there another neighborhood you’d like to see featured next? Let me know in the comments below.

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Grandview Series Guide

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE and I’ll notify you when new Grandview-centric posts are added to the series.


Culinary Event: Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival

Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival
One of the Columbus festivals I look forward to the most every year is the Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival. This three day extravaganza held in the heart of Gahanna is everything you are looking for in a summer event, filled with incredible music, food, and drinks.

Acoustic Alley

Threats of impending storms didn’t stop me from heading to Creekside on both Friday and Saturday nights, and the weather turned out to be clear and perfect. Friday my group and I set up camp in Acoustic Alley for much of the evening, listening to some great guitar and harmonica duos until trekking to the Community Stage to hear Soul Kitch’n cover some funk and soul favorites.  On Saturday we came back to jam to Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, voted best local band in the Columbus Alive awards. Angela and her crew play original tunes that are both dreamy and energetic; she even plays a saw as an instrument to accompany her fabulous vocals. Track down these talented local artists at Columbus music venues too!

Angela Perley | Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival

The food at the CBJF is wonderful too. In addition to the “typical” fair food selections like corn dogs, lemon shake-ups, and donut bacon cheeseburgers, there are some interesting twists in the form of local food trucks. During my time there, I stopped by Tortilla Street Food for nachos, and Mikey’s Late Night Slice for pepperoni pizza and “signature” sauce. I also couldn’t resist a cream puff from the Schmidt’s Sausage Haus truck. Other possibilities include J. Gumbo’s for Cajun specialties, Pizza Cottage pies, or Koko’s Tea Salon treats. Area restaurants such as Local Cantina, Old Bag of Nails, and Wine Guy Wine Shop are also open for business during the festivities.

Mikey's Late Night Slice | Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival

When it comes to drinks, options are endless as well. This year, Watershed Distillery created some signature drinks for the festival.  My favorites were the Ohio Mule, made with Old  City Soda ginger beer, and the Bluesberry Lemonade, accented with Watershed vodka and fresh basil. I also snagged a spot in a whiskey tasting that was offered, which was as tasty as it was informative. For craft beer lovers, Columbus Brewing Company Summer Teeth, Four String Brass Knuckle, Sweetwater 420, and more were available too.

Watershed Distillery | Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival

If you missed out on this year’s Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival, make sure you put it on your calendar for next year – it’s a blast!

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Free weekend passes and a t-shirt were provided to this event for Columbus Culinary Connection and a reader. All opinions in this post are my own.

Culinary Event: Drinks of the Speakeasy

Pleasures of the Cup:  Drinks of the Speakeasy
Columbus has so many wonderful locations to get your cultural fix, but one of the most interesting may be the Ohio History Center. This massive structure is a great place for families, friends, and couples alike to visit, whether it be for a class trip, a summer outing, or a booze- fueled learning experience. I was fortunate enough to attend the latter most recently, by checking out the Pleasures of the Cup Speakeasy event held outdoors at the Ohio Village. This celebration of history and cocktails will please both scholars and alcohol-lovers.Mason Jar | Pleasures of the Cup:  Drinks of the Speakeasy

The evening began with a brief introduction into the history of Prohibition, and then the group was divided into smaller parties. A guide then leads you to different locations around the village. At each of the 7 stops on the tour, you interact with characters dressed in flapper garb, who tell you a little about the making of their particular hooch, or a tidbit about bootlegging. For example, I learned that moonshine gets its name from the fact that it had to be made by the light of the moon during Prohibition.

Love a Curio-style 1930’s cocktail? This is definitely the affair for you! At the beginning of the tour, you will receive a collectible mini Mason jar for all your samples, as you will imbibe in a Prohibition cocktail at every location. The sole exception to this is the Temperance Movement house, where you will receive root beer, and be warned about the dangers of drinking. Get chased out of a secret jazz club by the constable, then partake in a “medicinal” brandy concoction by handing the local apothecary your prescription for alcohol. Learn how juniper can tame the harshest spirits, and sip sherry in a brothel. Don’t worry about trying to remember the ingredients for all the drinks; you get to take home recipe cards for each, so that you can capture some of the speakeasy magic in your own kitchen. I can’t wait to try to recreate my favorite, the whiskey fizz!

Moonshine | Drinks of the SpeakeasyAt the end of the night, everyone joins together for snacks, and the leftover cocktails are available for further sipping. The production team also had Big Band music playing, and were teaching guests how to perform “The Charleston,” the era’s most popular dance. Laughter, liquor, and learning? Count me in for next time!

Want to attend one of the other Pleasures of the Cup events? Learn more by using the Columbus Culinary Connection calendar here. The two remaining events for the year sound equally entertaining. The first, Mad for Martinis, is a 1950’s celebration, while the December event, Drinks of the 19th Century, is an ode to Dickens and tavern fare.

A Visit to: Crafted Drafts

Crafted Drafts Review
Crafted Drafts Color Key | Crafted Drafts Reveiw5245 N. Hamilton Rd.
Columbus, OH 43230

Looking for a hard-to-find brew? Want to learn more about what kind of beer styles will tickle your fancy? Crafted Drafts bottle shop near Gahanna is the place to frequent. This small store doesn’t carry growlers, but the constantly rotating selection of beers and ciders will leave any alcohol aficionado satisfied. But don’t be overwhelmed by the rows and rows of bottles once you get inside. One of the coolest things about Crafted Drafts is the great organizational system that they have. All of the different beer styles are color-coded by type. This way, once you pinpoint the beer style you’re seeking, just look for the corresponding color swatch on the shelf instead of being forced to read every bottle’s label.

Furthermore, owner Mike Troy is incredibly knowledgeable about the hundreds of beers they carry in the store, and if you are unsure what you’re looking for, he or his staff will guide you down the right path. He produces informational videos as well, which teach you how to to appropriately “age” beer to alter its flavor, or the impact that temperature changes can have on your beer. Thankfully, Crafted Drafts also does a great job of updating their social media, so before you make the drive you know whether or not they have that rare beer you’ve been hunting; they will post when they run out of specialty kinds. They also do Facebook features on what is new in stock at the store.Crafted Drafts Selection | Crafted Drafts Review

Another cool thing that they do at Crafted Drafts is host a weekly beer tasting with local and nationwide breweries. On many Friday evenings, for generally around $5, you can taste some new suds and learn about each. Sometimes, the brewers themselves are even on hand to chat! Check out the Crafted Drafts website or the Columbus Culinary Connection event calendar for more info about upcoming tastings.

Crafted Drafts is my favorite bottle shop in Columbus, and if you haven’t checked it out, make the drive to Gahanna and see why for yourself!

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A Visit to: Celebrate Local

Celebrate Local

Easton Town Center
3952 Townsfair Way
Columbus, OH 43219

I am a huge believer in supporting small businesses, and fortunately Columbus has some great local shops to browse for treasures. One of my favorites is Celebrate Local, a hidden gem among the big box stores at Easton Town Center. Looking for a unique gift? In from out of town and looking for Cbus memorabilia? This is your place.

In addition to clothing and home goods, there is a great selection of local beers, wines, and food products at Celebrate Local. They are constantly changing the merchandise onOhio Wines | Celebrate Local the floor, so that you can make new discoveries every visit. New Albany’s own Tessora Limoncello is in stock, as are Rockmill Brewery beers, Wynadotte Winery wines, and Brothers Drake meads. The food options are fabulous too. The last time I was in, I picked up some of Millersburg’s Simple Gourmet salted caramel syrup for topping corn pancakes, but was tempted by other available flavors like butter pecan and lavender. Look for salsa and hot sauce from CaJohn’s at the North Market, and locally made candies, jellies, and honey. There is even a frozen food section.

The clothing and jewelry selections at Celebrate Local are also extensive. I am obsessed (bordering on “needing an intervention” obsessed) with Celebrate Local’s t-shirts, the kind made out of the super-soft material. There are many designs of these tees available here, all with an Ohio theme. Finds like handmade jewelry featuring OSU Buckeyes logos and Blue Jackets scarves are also for sale.

Celebrate Local - Ohio PrintAs a new homeowner, this is my decorating mecca. There are soaps, candles, and more, including wonderful art created by local artists.  I bought this print for my kitchen, but there were so many interesting choices. Ohio-shaped coasters and cutting boards also caught my eye. The possibilities are endless!

Stop into Celebrate Local – you won’t be disappointed! Where do you like to do your shopping for unique Ohio-made items?

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Local Love

columbus culinary connection newsletter

Since launching the site, I have found the Columbus food community to be an extremely supportive one. You can’t go wrong with any of the sites below.

Here are some food + drink-centric  websites and bloggers that I follow regularly:

The Big 3:

All of these publications are excellent and all-inclusive sources for everything you wanted to know about dining out in Columbus.
Columbus Underground Columbus Underground –
Columbus AliveColumbus Alive –
columbus craveColumbus Crave –

Looking for a food festival or museum event? Check out Experience Columbus for ideas.

experience-columbusExperience Columbus –

Cheryl Harrison’s site focuses only on alcohol, so you know it’s a great source for beer, wine, or liquor news. Plus, she has a wicked sense of humor.

Drink-Up-ColumbusDrink Up Columbus –

Love breakfast? Then explore the best bites of eggs, bacon, and more with “Dr. Breakfast.”

BreakfastwithNickBreakfast with Nick –

Some of my other favorites:

Need a recipe? Looking for someone else’s take on that new Cbus hot spot? Click on one of these other great local blogs.

CMH Gourmand –

614ortyniner  –

Nothing Better To Do –

Will Work For Shoes and Vodka –

Grubgraders –

Columbus Foodie –

Girl About Columbus –