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Event: Drink Up Columbus’ 3rd Anniversary

Columbus is fortunate to have many excellent blogs covering a wide range of resources. One of my favorites – and a regular go-to for all things related to beer, bars, and booze – is Drink Up Columbus. At the end of this month, they’re celebrating three years of keeping Columbus informed about all things drink-related.

You can join up the celebration by registering for the party at Strongwater Food & Spirits here. As a special bonus, I have a bright blue XL Drink Up Columbus shirt to giveaway!

To enter, comment on this post by midnight tonight with your favorite place to grab a drink in Columbus. And be sure to tell us why you love it!

Photos: North Market Coffee Roast 2014

Yesterday North Market hosted the third Coffee Roast on a perfectly beautiful spring day. This year the event moved outdoors to the farmers market plaza (and the date was pushed back from March), with the roasters lined up in front of the market. Together as a family we beat most of the crowds by hitting up the event just as it started.

We strolled up and down the lines, saying hello to some favorites and trying a couple new roasters. Like every good event – and every day, let’s be honest – we started with a stop at One Line Coffee. Mrs. Bfast w/Nick is there often enough that she knows the baristas by name; they were pulling delicious, delicious shots of espresso.

Down on one end stood Das Kaffee Haus‘ table, complete with their modified ambulance (labeled the Emergency Kaffee Unit) parked nearby. DKH is located in Lithopolis, but their coffee can be found around Columbus at places like Milestone 229 and the Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant. Amy and Joe (aka Frau Burkhardt and Herr Joseph) told me their place is modeled on the European coffee shops they’ve encountered while traveling and serving abroad in the military.

And of course we were on the lookout for Jason and Emily from Thunderkiss Coffee. They’re the coolest. Also, their coffee is great. Some of my favorite in town. Jason has a small but mighty roasting operation; you can find his beans at restaurants and on store shelves all around town.

Strolling down the line we took in brews from Crimson Cup, Backroom Coffee Roasters

…plus Silver Bridge and the newer Roaming Goat Coffee. The fun thing about this event is that everyone is excited to talk about coffee – and not just their coffee, but coffee in general. And you could witness nearly every type of coffee prep available.

Dayton-based Boston Stoker has established their presence in Columbus with a shop near OSU’s campus. Like a couple other places, they displayed coffee beans for smelling or to reference the colors of the roasting process.

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, one of the mainstays of the Columbus coffee scene, was on hand with a tiny electric roaster. The portable setup roasts in small sample batches, allowing them to treat the same beans in different roasting lengths quickly.

Rich the roaster showed me samples of his roast in progress. The machine roasts in 80 gram batches.

The most unique offering of the day came – not surprisingly – from Cafe Brioso. They served two excellent hot brews – some of the standouts from the morning – but they also featured coffee sno-cones.

Yes, coffee sno-cones. J. J. explained they used a rare Ethiopian Nekisse bean, cold-brewed, mixed with a dash of Ohio honey, and served over shaved ice. It was as delicious as you’d expect. I think we have a new definition of summer in Columbus.

Further down the line – right next to Snowville Creamery with their samples of milk and yogurt – we found Actual Brewing‘s roastery crew in full swing.

They make superb beer, really strong coffee roasts, and they’ve got some of the best beards in the biz.

The event space indoors was dedicated to coffee education, with Brioso’s crew kicking off a demonstration of espresso preparation. On the other end of the room, baristas from a mix of shops made espresso drinks for customers.

We couldn’t have had a better day for the event. The move outdoors and to a Sunday (see photos from 2012 and 2013) offered more space and prevented longer lines. The one thing that confused me was the branding of it as a “brunch.” When I hear “brunch” I assume there will be food involved, but what that really meant was “you can go into the market to find food.” Many vendors had special $5 brunch bites, but the market opens at noon on Sundays (the Coffee Roast started at 10), so a majority of the stalls were closed during the first half of the event (although the newly moved and re-branded Taste of Belgium was hopping). I was also a little disappointed that attendees were given generic North Market mugs, and not the fun branded ones with colorful Clinton Reno artwork like years past. I know it’s gimmicky, but I like having a memento that references the specific event.

Aside from those details – it was a wonderful event that really featured Columbus’ great coffee roasters and brewers. We have much to be proud of, and our coffee keeps getting better and better.

Event: Brunch & A Classic at Gateway Film Center

I know dinner and a movie is a thing, but what about brunch and a movie? Well, the Gateway Film Center is trying to rectify that. Starting this Sunday, March 2nd, the GFC is hosting a monthly brunch + movie series, starting with Goldfinger. The event will pair a classic movie with a special brunch at the new Torpedo Room, one of the latest openings from the Columbus Food League group of restaurants.

Brunch kicks off at noon; the movie starts at 2pm. $15 gets you brunch and the movie ticket (or $7.50 if you just want to see the movie). You can pair your meal with all sorts of Ohio beers and specialty cocktails. The event will be hosted by Johnny DiLoretto (director of ops at the theater) and John DeSando, known for their Cinema Classics program on WCBE. Expect to see participation from other local businesses like pur-suit as well. Once you’re impressed by Sean Connery’s gray three-piece suit in Goldfinger, talk to Nate DeMars about buying your own.

I always enjoy pairings like this. I love the theater, with its combination of first run movies, independent films, and classics. (We recently took our 5-year-old there for his first movie-in-the-theater ever, The Lego Movie.) Plus, their beer and cocktail list is solid. And I’m a big fan of Liz Lessner-led Columbus Food League restaurants. The match-up of Gateway + Torpedo Room is brilliant. I got a sneak peak at the brunch menu, and it’s looking pretty awesome. It’ll include things like bourbon-glazed French toast with toasted almonds and maple syrup, egg & cheese breakfast enchiladas, huevos rancheros, and bottomless silver dollar pancakes. True to CFL form, expect to see lots of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options, too!

If you can’t make it this month, you can catch Breathless on April 6th and Annie Hall on May 4th. Look for more offerings to join the list in coming months.

Photos: Taste of Dine Originals

Taste of Dine Originals is this week Thursday! Hosted by the members of Dine Originals Columbus, the event raises money for Buckeye Ranch.

I’m sharing some of Mrs. Bfast w/Nick’s photos from last year’s event to give you a taste of what you can sample. The event is a showcase of some of Columbus’ best and brightest in the culinary world.

Expect all sorts of delicious treats and drinks.

Tickets are $100, but it supports a good cause. And you’ll get to eat and drink your way through an amazing Columbus culinary tour the whole evening.

Event details:
Taste of Dine Originals
Thursday, May 9, 6-9pm
Capitol University Field House
670 Pleasant Ridge Ave.

Chinese New Year giveaway!


Happy Chinese New Year! The celebration of the Year of the Snake starts today and runs for fifteen days. The folks at Molly Woo’s Asian Bistro are kicking things off with a traditional Chinese Lion Dance at 4 p.m. today, and to include others in the overall celebrations, they’re providing a $25 giftcard to give away to my readers!

To enter, first take a look at the Molly Woo’s menu, and simply comment on this post (by 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 12) by saying what you would order if you were going to celebrate the Chinese New Year there!

National Pancake Week!


It’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted a breakfast dish named for me, and well, here we are.

This week, which I’m sure you have marked on your calendars, is National Pancake Week. It’s a week to celebrate our justification for having cake for breakfast. In Central Ohio the six Sunny Street Cafe locations are celebrating with pancake specials every day. You can visit them seven mornings in a row and sample a different style, from pumpkin to berries to chocolate to maple glaze.

And on Friday, February 8, you can enjoy Pancakes With Nick: buttermilk pancakes stuffed with bacon and sausage, served with eggs on top. It’s the full breakfast experience.

I’ll be there on Friday, most likely at the Arena District location, but you can have Pancakes With Nick at all six Sunny Street locations:

Arena District – 277 W. Nationwdie Blvd.
Dublin – Sawmill – 7573 Sawmill Rd.
Dublin – Avery Road – 7042 Hospital Dr.Grove City – 2788 London-Groveport Rd.
New Albany – 5481 New Albany Rd. West
Westerville – 644 N. State St.

EDIT: Here is Sunny Street Cafe’s press release, with descriptions of each pancake.

Dine Originals Week in review

Dine Originals Week has wrapped up! Did anyone make any good discoveries? We managed to try three places, which is saying something considering our busy schedules and the kids! For one of the first nights, we hit up our family-favorite Katalina’s Cafe Corner. There we were able to try both their lunch and dinner specialties. The lunch item was a nice, fresh fall salad. It was loaded with figs, baby onions, cheese, and roasted acorn squash. Like a big, leafy pile of autumn.

We also split their dinner special: a skirt steak with skillet potatoes and a side of the fall salad. The steak was medium rare and sliced into thin strips. While it was a little chewy, the crust was packed with flavor: smokey, sweet, spicy all at once. Nice crispy side potatoes, again with a little bit of heat, plus a helping of the salad on the side. For dessert we devoured their pumpkin custard in seconds. I wasn’t even quick enough to get a picture.

Later in the week we visited Katzinger’s Deli to try their special. It’s been too long since we last visited, and we were in the mood for some reuben sandwiches, so we ordered their corned beef and turkey reubens. Both were quite good – the meats and sauces were spot-on, although the bread was a little hard. They came with different sides, both decent but not notable: a roasted squash soup and potato salad. They tossed in some chocolate chunk cookies, too.

Our last visit was a Friday morning breakfast at Pistacia Vera. I’ve had Pistacia Vera’s baked goods many times before, but never had the pleasure of sitting down to one of their delightful breakfasts. My wife ordered their DO Week special of a thick slice of mushroom quiche with a side salad and a cup of coffee. The quiche was big and moist and loaded with mushrooms – really superb. I ordered their baked eggs, but you’ll just have to wait to read more about those!

What about you? Did you try any new places last week?

Dine Originals Week giveaway!

Dine Originals Week is off and running! Some of Columbus’ most creative restaurants are busy offering fixed-price lunch and dinner menus (with the occasional brunch, yes) from November 12-18, allowing customers to easily sample the soups, sandwiches, steaks, seafood, salads, desserts, cocktails, and more from around the city.

During this week, you can enter to win a $50 gift certificate from Dine Originals (for use after this week)! To enter, you need to read through the Dine Originals Week menus here, then comment on this post with an answer to this question: as the weather is turning colder this week, we think of more warm, comfort food to get us through chilly days. Which two menu items from the week sound the most warm and comforting to you, and why? Comment by the end of Dine Originals Week (midnight on Sunday, November 18) to enter!

An English Second Breakfast

Today – September 21st, 2012 – marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy. In case you haven’t noticed, these books have been getting increased world-wide attention in recent years because of the Lord of the Rings movies, and the upcoming definitely-going-to-be-amazing trilogy of films of The Hobbit. In honor of the book’s publication, the official fan club has organized a world-wide second breakfast (one of several meals that hobbits eat throughout the day) at 11 a.m. sharp. We decided to celebrate our first breakfast by making a traditional English breakfast together as a family.

We replicated the ingredients as best as we could: baked beans, mushrooms, fried eggs, English sausage, grilled tomatoes, and toast. It’s a delicious, calorie-packed breakfast.

We purchased the eggs, beans, and mushrooms from the store. The tomatoes came from our garden – we grilled them face-down on our George Foreman grill, with mixed results. The English sausage we found at a butcher’s shop in western Pennsylvania. It’s not truly authentic, as it’s not imported from the UK, but it’s made in a similar style. We didn’t have any back bacon (bacon cut from the back of the pig, as opposed to the belly), but we did cook the eggs in the sausage drippings. We served the toast in a caddy that we bought on Portobello Road years ago! If you’re not used to making a full prepared breakfast, this one takes a little longer, but it’s well worth it.

In a little under an hour, I’ll be eating second breakfast in honor of the book, using some of the leftovers from this morning. What about you?

And if you want to take your celebration a step further, don’t forget that tomorrow – September 22nd – is Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ birthday in the books. So maybe another English breakfast is in order?

Photos: pancakes on the Hills Market veranda!

Who wants pancakes? Okay, better question: who doesn’t? Saturdays and Sundays on the Hills Market veranda, you can eat your fill of delicious blueberry pancakes. With the weather taking a chillier turn (for now, at least), a plate of pancakes, sausage, and a cup of hot coffee is just the ticket!

This past Saturday I hosted (read: ate pancakes and annoyed Kate, the pancake maker) the pancake breakfast as part of the Hills’ farmers market and Foodie Fair, their kick-off for Local Foods Week.

It didn’t take long for the veranda to fill up!

The pancake breakfasts are served Saturdays and Sundays, but the bonus of going Saturday is that you get to hang with Kate. She makes some wicked awesome pancakes.

The normal serving is a stack of three pancakes, which is a steal for $5. And I love some sausage links with my pancakes. You can help yourself to Silver Bridge coffee, too, and for an extra dollar you can get real Ohio maple syrup.

For an added bonus, I wandered over to the Jeni’s Ice Cream truck and picked up scoops of their Honey Vanilla Bean and Salty Caramel. And what do you know? They taste pretty amazing on blueberry pancakes. Now, how do I convince Jeni to do a Breakfast With Nick ice cream flavor?


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