RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Ohio

HoneyDip Donuts & Diner | Columbus, OH

IMG_0295
Honey Dip Donuts & Diner (Facebook)
4480 Kenny Rd. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43220
(614) 459-0812
Open Mon-Sat, 6:30a-2p; Sun, 7a-2p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 12:30pm

IMG_0296
Who’s up for a big breakfast of donuts and donut sandwiches? Apparently, me! It’s been a while since I’ve been to Honey Dip. The first visit was when they only served donuts, and the second was a quick peek at the new renovations that added the “and Diner” to the name.

IMG_0279
Well, now it’s time to get a good look at how the donut shop has remade itself as a diner. Judging by the decently busy Saturday afternoon, they’re doing quite well.

IMG_0292
Fans of the original version of Honey Dip will still recognize the space and the feel. The long, low counter, the red tile floor, the pink donut shelves. More seats have been added, and the old donut prep area is now a small dining area with eight tables.

IMG_0276
Donuts are still the feature; upon entering you’re greeted with a sight of the classic shelves.

IMG_0289
And a glass case full of the extra special goods like longjohns, cinnamon rolls, and apple fritters.

IMG_0287
The purpose of this exploratory visit: to sample a donut sandwich. Honey Dip offers three: the breakfast sandwich, the BLT, and the burger.

IMG_0262
We found a small table and looked through the one-page breakfast menu. It has all the basics covered: eggs, omelets, pancakes, sandwiches. Even some specialties like eggs benedict and a breakfast burrito.

IMG_0263
My son wanted something simple: the two eggs, home fries, and toast. As with any basic breakfast, you can customize it: eggs, choice of toast, sausage patties or links (or bacon), home fries or hash browns. All of it was nicely done. The eggs were scrambled without being dry, the sausage patty was basic but seasoned well. The hash browns could have been a little crispier, but they came in a generous portion. All in all: a very filling and likable diner breakfast.

IMG_0283
We were hungry, so we also split the biscuits and gravy, a small but rich bowl of thick sausage gravy along with two soft biscuits. The gravy was thick to the point of being a little gummy, but it was chunky and peppery.

IMG_0267
And now on to the main show: the donut breakfast sandwich. When I posted a picture of this on instagram, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “What am I doing with my life?!” And that’s the honest question you have to ask yourself after you’ve ordered one of these. What has led you to this point?

IMG_0272
The construction is simple and really, it seems so obvious. You take a breakfast sandwich (a fried egg, a sausage patty, a slice of cheese) and you grill two donuts instead of bread. It’s the perfect marriage of sweet + salty. The warm donuts collapse under the pressure into two solid layers of sugar. But I have to be honest about two things:

1.) This sandwich was delicious. I mean, seriously: it’s a breakfast sandwich made with donuts. The only failing point is that you mostly just taste the donuts. Sure, there’s a hint of sausage, a soupcon of cheese, a waft of eggs, but for the most part you’re tasting two warm, soft honey dip donuts.

2.) This sandwich also sat with me for a long time. A long time. I honestly wasn’t hungry until the next day.

IMG_0301

You also can’t walk out of a donut shop without some donuts (and I’m wondering why I was still full the next day?), so we snagged a half dozen of a couple custard-filled donuts, two longjohns, and a pair of their signature glazed yeast donuts. Honey Dip has long been a favorite donut shop of many, and they’re still riding on that strength.

Well, now you know about breakfast at Honey Dip in all its glory. If a full-blown donut sandwich isn’t your thing, you can always settle for a donut and a cup of coffee, or a small plate of eggs and toast. Overall, Honey Dip seems to have successfully transitioned over the years from a favorite donut shop to a favorite donut shop and diner.

Honey Dip Donuts & Coffee on Urbanspoon

Jerry’s Galaxy Cafe | Hilliard, OH

IMG_9866
Jerry’s Galaxy Cafe (Facebook)
4920 Scioto Darby Rd. (map it!)
Hilliard, OH 43026
(614) 319-4035
Open Tues-Thurs, 9a-9:30p; Fri & Sat, 9a-10p; Sun, 9a-4p
Accepts cash & debit/credit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 12:30p

Just like the Explorer’s Club, Jerry’s Galaxy Cafe is bit of Columbus restaurant history come to life. While that piece of history that pre-dates my time in Columbus, I can still be excited to see the addition of more good eats, especially on the west side of town. Jerry’s covers much of the same territory as Starliner Diner (Jerry started the diner years ago), and some of his same collaborators of old opened Explorer’s Club. So now Jerry’s going his own way by doing what he does best.

IMG_9863
The cafe opened in a fairly nondescript, beige-sided building. The only signage is the restaurant name scrawled in white chalk paint across one of the doors. We nearly drove by it on our first trip.

IMG_9857
But then the interior is surprisingly bright. Black and white checkered ceiling. Bright yellow walls. Colorful posters.

IMG_9858
One wall – all brick with a fireplace in the center – is lined with shelves full of knick-knacks like trains, porcelain cartoon characters, trucks, old cans. Our two boys were of course fascinated with these.

IMG_9827
The Bangin’ Breakfast menu isn’t huge, but it covers all the bases. The mainstays are Cuban/Mexican/southwestern-themed, while a list of omelets and buttermilk pancakes complete the line-up.

IMG_9837
We started with coffee, a basic diner brew served in smaller mugs. I usually like small mugs; they help the coffee cool more quickly.

IMG_9833
We mixed a little breakfast and lunch (someone should come up with a name for that). The appetizer was fried plantains – soft, starchy, and sweet – served with a creamy house salsa that was a little too heavy on the onion.

IMG_9840
Next was the always-loveable Cuban French toast, which means Cuban bread diced, battered, and fried. They’re like mini donuts dusted in powdered sugar.

IMG_9842
I knew before walking in that I’d be ordering the chiliquiles. They’re one of my favorite breakfast dishes – a savory and spicy mix of beans, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and tortillas – and they’re my benchmark for restaurants offering southwestern fare. Jerry’s version measured up pretty well, although I wanted more seasoning.

IMG_9846
Same with the chorizo burrito, a flour tortilla generously filled with eggs, cheese, beans, and chorizo. It’s a tasty burrito, as far as they go, but I wanted more spice!

IMG_9853
From the lunch menu we sampled the Galaxy steak sandwich at the suggestion of our server (who was a little forgetful but very sweet and friendly). Nicely done steak on a toasted bun, good seasoning, a sprinkling of herbs, still a little heavy on the onions.

Jerry and his crew may be working out some kinks still, but he’s sporting a creative menu, many types of dishes I love, and a cozy location that could easily become a hidden gem for Columbus breakfasters. I suggest making the trek to Hilliard to support his latest endeavor!

OTHER LINKS:
-> read more about my visit to Jerry’s on the Daily Crave blog

Jerry's Galaxy Cafe on Urbanspoon

Beyond Breakfast: Marino’s Seafood Fish & Chips | Columbus, OH

IMG_9450
Marino’s Seafood Fish & Chips
(Facebook)

1216 W. Fifth Ave. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43212
(614) 481-8428
Open Mon-Fri, 10:30a-9p; Sat, 11a-9p (all you can eat served 4-7p Mon-Fri, all day Sat)
Accepts cash & credit/debit

Visited: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:30p

IMG_9438
On a recent cold, weekday night, we found ourselves wanting to go out. We were thinking about supporting a local restaurant after seeing a post from Donnie Austin at House Wine. He had encouraged everyone to hit up a local restaurant, bar, or shop to everyone recover from rough winter sales. So we found ourselves cruising down Fifth Avenue heading into Grandview. As we came down Fifth, the yellow signage of Marino’s Seafood – a place we had never visited – caught me eye, and before we knew it, we were pulling into the parking lot.

IMG_9446
I didn’t eat a lot of seafood growing up, although I’m certainly trying to make up for lost time in adulthood. So I don’t have a history with any seafood spots (I think we had Long John Silvers and Red Lobster nearby growing up), but I do recognize the old-schoolness of fast food places. Take, for instance, the big bendy microphone at the ordering counter. This makes me think of a Burger King near our house growing up; I always found it funny how anyone could keep things organized with orders simply being called out over a scratchy loudspeaker.

IMG_9440
Although the big, yellow-lettered menu boards confused me at first (so many options!), I found a handful of picture menus and whiteboards helpfully suggesting specials or favorite combos.

IMG_9444
I’ll be honest: in places like this, I look for the word “platter.” If I can’t find it, the word “dinner” will suffice. That usually signifies a bulked up plate of nearly everything. I love me a big fried plate of everything.

IMG_9422
Let’s start small: sides of macaroni salad and slaw. Both simple but very likable. Slaw is the on sweet side.

IMG_9424
And then the baskets of golden fried goodness began arriving, starting with my seafood platter. The platter (technically a basket) included fish, shrimp, scallops, chips, and hush puppies. All of these pictures look a little yellow-ish. That’s in part from the batter, but more so from the yellow glass lanterns hanging around the restaurant.

IMG_9430
Then there’s Mrs. Bfast w/Nick’s clam platter, loaded with fried clams, chips, and hush puppies.

IMG_9426
Plus a couple crab cakes to boot.

IMG_9434
We ordered from the child combos for our boys. These combos include one piece of fish, chicken, or a battered hot dog, plus chips and a hush puppy. We picked one with fish…

IMG_9432
…and one with chicken.

Every piece we ate was fried well. Not too greasy or too heavily salted. Just right.

Does it taste good? Absolutely. Marino’s meals are baskets piled high with crispy fried seafood. Now, this isn’t fancy fish and chips. And this isn’t the completely fresh-off-the-boat type of stuff you find on the east coast (at places like this). The fish is simple whitefish (even the scallops are disk-shaped whitefish). The shrimp and clams are the best seasoned of the lot. The chips and hush puppies are crunchy without being dry.

IMG_9442

 

I have gladly added Marino’s to my list of easy comfort foods. I could honestly go for a big plate of their fried goods any time (and if you’re really hungry, visit during their all-you-can-eat hours!). On top of that, it’s all older, family-run business that deserves your patronage. If you’re out cruising for cheap eats, consider Marino’s instead of another fast food stop.

Marino's Seafood Fish & Chip on Urbanspoon

Photos: Cravings Carryout Cafe relaunch

IMG_7397
One of our favorite discoveries from last year – Cookie Cravings Bakery – celebrated a re-brand and a revamp this past weekend. Newly christened Cravings Carryout Cafe, the cafe has new signage, branding, and a new menu. They dropped the “Cookie” from their name because they do so much more. The cookies are still there, but the focus is now on sandwiches, wraps, and  other sides, all highlighting the neighborhood carry out element.

IMG_7360
Owners Matt, Lindsey, and Joan Tewanger have made some small changes to the space. You’ll see new equipment, shelves, and menu boards.

IMG_7356
This includes a new retail shelve with T-shirts, granola, plus growlers and bags of Thunderkiss Coffee.

IMG_7362
The boards showcase the new menu, replete with rolls, burritos, sandwiches, and sides.

IMG_7363
There’s iced and hot coffee, plus juice and tea. I completely forgot to photograph the third board that highlights specials.

IMG_7390
We stopped in about half an hour after opening on Saturday, and already they were busy. Matt was working his magic in the back.

IMG_7357
Cravings added some more seating in the side yard, with has great promise for spring, summer, and autumn breakfasts, especially when there’s a welcoming fire in the fire pit.

IMG_7365
We knew we were going to visit over the weekend, but the promise of bronuts pretty much guaranteed we’d come searching. What’s a bronut? It’s a brioche donut. Cravings makes killer brioche, and they’ve mixed the dough with lemon and rosemary, fried it, and iced it. The donuts were perfectly soft, fluffy, and warm. Ours disappeared in a matter of seconds.

IMG_7371
And then it was on to the sandwiches. Oh, the sandwiches. They were beautiful and delicious, stacked high on golden brioche rolls.

IMG_7373
We started first with the Breakfast Roll, featuring cheddar, bacon, a fried egg, and a rosemary aioli. We barely managed to sneak some bites while our boys devoured it. Our five-year-old (who is not picky, but knows his stuff) said it was one of his favorite sandwiches.

IMG_7368
We also snagged a plate of the sausage biscuits and gravy, made using Bluescreek Farms sausage. It was thick and chunky, served with a soft biscuit, and just what you would ask for in biscuits and gravy.

IMG_7381
Our favorite of meal was the BLT. Like the breakfast roll, it was served on a beautiful brioche roll.

IMG_7380
The sandwich was stacked high with thick-cut bacon, greens, a basil mayo, and these stunning tomatoes. We did not expect to find tomatoes like this in March. Usually  you get those sad, tasteless, translucent ones in the winter, but these were dark and red. Matt roasted them to perfection.

IMG_7388
With the firepit going in the side yard, they set out a cute little smores kit.

IMG_7386
So after brunch we enjoyed some smores roasted over the fire.

IMG_7389
All in all, it’s an exciting new stage for the restaurant! Congrats to Matt, Lindsey, Joan, and the crew!

If you want to visit & connect:
Cravings Carryout Cafe
227 E. Third Ave. (off Fourth St. in Italian Village)
Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 725-0090
Find them on Facebook and @CravingsCafe614
New hours are Tues-Fri, 11a-7p; Sat & Sun, 9a-3p

Photos: Brunch at The Torpedo Room

IMG_9943
One of the latest Columbus Food League arrivals, The Torpedo Room, launched a limited brunch menu this past Sunday in conjunction with a monthly event of brunch + a classic movie at the Gateway Film Center. I took my five-year-old to go check out the brunch (although I don’t think he’s quite ready for Goldfinger). The Torpedo Room is located on the main floor of the GFC; you’ll see the signs just to the left of the concession stand.

IMG_9940
As you might expect, the single-room restaurant uses a heavy nautical theme, with round portholes, heavy draped curtains, and a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea feel.

IMG_9963

There’s a good amount of seating, and the restaurant includes a full bar. It’s a cozy and quiet spot.

IMG_9950
The current brunch menu (it may change) features seven items, lots of sides, plus drinks (including the bar). There’s a heavy southwestern theme, with burritos, enchiladas, and huevos rancheros taking the lead. Like every CFL restaurant, you can rely on solid vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options.

IMG_9947

I took the opportunity to finally try a Rambling House ginger beer. Rambling House produces their own natural sodas out of a small space in southern Clintonville (where they host a LOT of live music), and their sodas are showing up on tap around town. The ginger beer is bright, fizzy, and a delightful balance between sweet and a nice gingery pucker. The last few gulps were especially strong with the ginger. You could make some great cocktails out of this.

IMG_9951

I chose the egg and cheese enchiladas, because you don’t see many breakfast enchiladas out there. The two enchiladas are filled with eggs and cheese, and topped heavily with a spicy verde salsa; I added the optional chorizo, because… well, chorizo. They’re served with a small plate of hash browns.

IMG_9954

Will asked for the breakfast burrito, a good-sized one filled with eggs, cheese, beans, sausage, and salsa, plus a side of potatoes.

IMG_9958
It was as filling and tasty as you would expect from a breakfast burrito.

Overall, it’s a solid brunch that’s just getting started. Expect the menu to change and hopefully regular hours to be established.

If you want to visit:
The Torpedo Room
1550 N. High St. (inside the Gateway Film Center)
Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 247-4433

Currently brunch is just served with this event. Upcoming movie brunches (cost is $15 for both your meal and the movie ticket) include:
April 6th: Breathless
May 4th: Annie Hall

UPDATED: Regular brunch hours are Sat & Sun, 11a-2p; Cinema Classic brunches start at 12p, movie is at 2.

The Torpedo Room on Urbanspoon

Sunflower Chinese Restaurant & Lounge | Dublin, OH

IMG_9453
Sunflower Chinese Restaurant & Lounge (Facebook)
7370 Sawmill Rd. (map it!)
Dublin, OH 43235
(614) 764-7888
Open Mon-Thurs, 11:30a-11p; Fri, 11:30a-12a; Sat, 11a-12a; Sun, 11a-11p
(smaller dim sum menu served daily; full dim sum served Sat & Sun, 11a-3p)
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N

Visited: Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.

IMG_9511
Oh, it’s been too long since we’ve been to dim sum at Sunflower Chinese Restaurant & Lounge. Sadly, there aren’t many places for dim sum around Columbus now (the nearby Lee Garden closed a couple years ago). While there are a plethora of Chinese restaurants around town (some the Americanized, some very authentic), there aren’t many that serve authentic dim sum.

IMG_9508
Quick background, in case you’re not familiar with dim sum. Dim sum is essentially Chinese brunch. It’s a late morning/early afternoon meal that’s typically eaten as a group. The meal consists of tea and mostly small plates meant to be shared.

IMG_9500
In the true dim sum experience, the small plates are served tableside from carts. Different servers wheel their carts from table to table, allowing you to select plates that interest you. A typical dish is already divided into pieces for easy sharing.

IMG_9473
The carts come quickly at first, so your table will fill up in no time. I remember the first time we had true dim sum, at a place called Jing Fong in New York City. The carts came at us so fast that we barely had time to react. The experience is a little more subdued at Sunflower, and the servers are all very polite, so don’t feel bad if you decline a plate. And don’t hesitate to ask what’s what.

IMG_9461
We started with a lot of dumplings, some steamed and some fried.

IMG_9460
The dumplings are loaded with things like shrimp, pork, and veggies.

IMG_9459
They’re steamed in metal or wood containers that stack on the carts, and the servers deposit them with tongs.

IMG_9480
There are also plates with stir fries of rice noodles and veggies. Our boys loved these.

IMG_9497
This dumpling (I don’t know what it was called) had a delicate and flaky exterior.

IMG_9469
I also love these rice noodles, filled with shrimp and doused with a sweet soy sauce.

IMG_9466
These dumplings were similar, filled with shrimp.

IMG_9483
These fluffy steamed pork buns were a hit, too, with a big, pillowy breading surrounding sweet and rich pork.

IMG_9470
One dish includes chicken, rice, veggies, and a quail egg steamed in a lotus leaf.

IMG_9490
Here’s the interior of the lotus leaf, complete with quail egg.

IMG_9503
There’s a cart with drinks and desserts, too, so you can supplement your tea with cold bubble tea and finish off the meal by indulging your sweet tooth.

IMG_9478
At the beginning of your meal, you’re given a card listing the general categories of the dishes. As you select plates from the cart, the server will mark the appropriate line with a stamp or initials. Then at the end of your meal, you take the card up to the cashier and they add everything up.

The dim sum experience at Sunflower is delightful, especially if you go with a large group and enjoy the company while sampling dishes. We were pretty conservative with our choices (because this was a first experience for our boys), but there are more adventurous plates, too, like fried chicken feet.

Is Sunflower the best Chinese restaurant in the city? Probably not. Is it one of the only restaurants serving dim sum? Yes. And a very fine meal it is.

Sunflower Chinese Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Grandview Grind | Columbus, OH

IMG_8988
Grandview Grind (Facebook / @GrandviewGrind)
1423-A Grandview Ave. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43212
(614) 485-9005
Open Mon-Wed, 6a-8p; Thurs-Sat, 6a-10p
Accepts cash & credit/debit

Visited: Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 12:30pm

IMG_8983
Columbus has no shortage of coffee roasters and coffee shops, and the closer you get to Ohio State, the more you’ll find coffee shops that are perfect for studying or just hanging out. Shops like these are valuable community hubs, especially in the winter. They’re a warm place to gather for studiers, freelancers, book clubs, or the casual newspaper reader. Grandview has no shortage of these shops, including the relatively new Grandview Grind.

IMG_8977
Grandview Grind is located in the Grandview Center, a little plaza with shops and restaurants surrounding a small parking lot. GG is tucked in the northwest corner of the plaza, next to Local Cantina. It was just announced that the Panera which sits on front corner of the plaza will move to the Grandview Yard and be replaced by a new Cameron Mitchell steakhouse. Panera’s exit will certainly benefit Grandview Grind.

IMG_8978
The coffee shop is a sizable space – bigger than it looks from the outside – with a curved counter in one corner and the requisite number of tables, chairs, stools, and comfy seats. It’s bright and tall and open, while still feeling pretty cozy. In one corner are shelves stocked with local gifts.

IMG_8973
The coffee menu is sizable, and offers the range you would expect: hot and cold coffee, lattes, espresso, specialty drinks, smoothies.

IMG_8970
They don’t prep food on premises, but plenty of local treats from places like Patisserie Lallier are available.

IMG_8969
Beans (available for bulk purchase) come from around Columbus – Thunderkiss, Brioso, Backroom, Luck Bros, Boston Stoker – with the exception of Denver-based Novo.

IMG_8974
Mrs. Bfast w/Nick and I were in the mood for something simple, so I ordered a shot of espresso and a cubano. Both were good, although just a tad sour.

IMG_8981
If tea is more of your thing, Grandview Grind still has you covered.

IMG_8984
Lots of local love on the door. Grandview Grind was busy when we stopped in, a sure sign that it serves that all important need of a community space. They seem to be doing something right, and here’s hoping that success continues!

Dan the Baker | Columbus, OH

IMG_8942
Dan the Baker (Facebook / @thebakerdan)
1028 Ridge St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 928-9035
Open Mon & Tues, 9a-5p; Wed, Fri, & Sat, 9a-4p
Accepts cash & credit/debit

Visited: Friday, January 10, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.

Daniel Riesenberger, aka Dan the Baker, has long been selling his breads, croissants, and pastries at farmer’s markets around town. I first encountered his goods at a workshop at Wild Goose Creative‘s Too Many Cooksa couple years ago, where he taught everyone how to roll sourdough croissants. We’ve been following Dan’s work ever since then, finding him at the Clintonville and the Worthington farmer’s markets. I also keep seeing his name pop up on restaurant menus, as his breads and pastries are turned into sandwiches and desserts.

IMG_8932
Well, finally Dan and his team have opened up a small retail space attached to their production kitchen in Grandview. The space is a little hard to find, down an odd side street off Dublin Road (just east of the Grandview Avenue intersection), but it’s a bright, clean little space with a few tables, decorated in blues with light wood accents.

IMG_8925
The space includes a small counter and a few shelves. The main shelf behind the counter shows off Dan’s picturesque breads. Serious, follow him on Instagram to get a daily dose of his breads. We ended up picking a loaf of sunflower flax seed bread (bottom center) which was simply delicious. He preferences local and organic ingredients in his bread. The price point is a little higher than grocery store bread, but the flavors, textures, and overall quality are hard to beat.

IMG_8934
He also sells smaller pastries, croissants, and scones.

IMG_8935
Plus cookies, shortbreads, and “tiles.”

IMG_8924
That day there were some fresh and crisp apple galettes.

IMG_8928
Dan also offers full coffee and tea service, with a variety of loose leaf teas.

IMG_8893
He also serves espresso, lattes, macchiatos, cappucinos, V60 pour overs, and more, using beans from Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee and Columbus’ Cafe Brioso.

IMG_8899
I had a smooth and creamy shot of espresso to go with the galette.

IMG_8927
The cafe space has a window into the pastry kitchen. It was dormant when we visited, but I can imagine it’d be some fun watching while enjoying coffee and a snack.

IMG_8902
Daniel took us through their production kitchen, too. The space used to be owned by The French Loaf, so when Daniel took it over, it was mostly ready for production. He added some equipment, including a new oven, but it was good to go as a bakery!

IMG_8911
We saw delicious savory croissants.

IMG_8908
And cheddar bacon scones.

IMG_8905
Around the kitchen you can see the remnants of Daniel’s small start, like labeled equipment from his time baking out of the Hills Market’s kitchen.

IMG_8922
As expected, they were busy. We found Colin scoring loaves of sourdough bread and loading them into the oven.

IMG_8940
Daniel and his crew are still getting started with the shop, but they’re already doing quite a bit with it. They’re open most days of the week, and look for an official grand opening soon. You can stop in to grab a snack, or hang out with a pastry and some coffee. It’s a quiet little spot, perfect for some reading, studying, or conversation with friends!

Dan the Baker on Urbanspoon

Photos: Columbus Brew Adventures Distillery Tour – Part 2

IMG_7317
This post continues from Part 1 of my post on Columbus Brew Adventures‘ distillery tour. Our third stop on the tour took us to Grandview to Watershed Distillery. We gathered in their front room, where Greg gave us an overview of the business and shared their particular take on distilling.

IMG_7315
One of Watershed’s signatures is their Four Peel Gin.

IMG_8871
Greg passed around bottles of the key aromatics added to the Four Peel, letting us guess what was what. The Four Peel includes orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime peel (sorry, I spoiled it for you).

IMG_7328
He then took us back into the production space, showing us everything from the stills to the bottling and labeling machines, to their storage, barrels, and even the new milling room.

IMG_7339
A batch of gin was boiling away, so Greg opened the hatch to let us sniff. It was like sweet, floral mulling spices. Afterward, Greg took us back to the front room to sample the gin, the barrel-aged gin, and their bourbon.

IMG_8889
From there, it was time to hit up our last stop: Till Dynamic Fare. At Till we were treated to a cocktail and some food. The bartender Branden created a special cocktail that day using Watershed gin.

IMG_7346
I appreciated getting to sample the gin previously, and then see it at work in a cocktail. I’m no expert on cocktails, but I enjoyed this one, and that seemed to be the consensus around the table.

IMG_7350
Chef Magdiale Wolmark prepared a special spaetzle to complement our cocktail, with bacon, spinach, goat cheese, and an egg. We devoured it. The meal and cocktail was a nice, quiet way to wind down the tour and talk about what we had seen that night. Jim then took us back to Middle West, and we departed from there.

I’ve both taken and led Brew Adventures’ downtown brewery tour already; my knowledge lies more in the beer realm, but I learned a lot on this tour. It gave me an even greater appreciation for what these distillers and mead makers do. Like many elements of the Columbus culinary scene (meat, spices, coffee, beer, etc.), these businesses are made up of individuals who are passionate about and proud of what they do, and we got a glimpse of it.

I highly recommend the Distillery Tour, if you get the chance. The tour runs alternating Thursdays; you can get more information here.

Photos: Columbus Brew Adventures Distillery Tour – Part 1

IMG_8836
Last week I took part in another one of Columbus Brew Adventures‘ offerings: the distillery tour. The tour makes four stops total, visiting a couple distilleries, a meadery, and a restaurant that features their work in a cocktail. It started very appropriately at Middle West Spirits in Short North; Middle West is Ohio’s first micro-distillery. Jim got the tour going with an overview, then he turned things over to Josh, who took us around the space, talked about MWS’s mission and style, then had us sample a couple of their spirits.

IMG_7280
Josh spread out the sampling. He began by having us compare a sip of Grey Goose vodka to Middle West’s signature OYO vodka. This helped frame Middle West’s mission to “build spirits around a palate,” as Josh said. Meaning that their vodka is not meant to be the plain, tasteless, clear spirit like most vodkas. Instead, it’s built to have a flavor, which is pulls from its Ohio wheat base.

IMG_7275
He also had us sample the honey vanilla bean vodka, which is one of my favorite offerings from Middle West, and then he led us around the distilling operation. It’s a small but mighty space. The walls are lined with barrels of aging spirits, alongside vinegars from Tavern Vinegar Co., a collaboration between Middle West and Cleveland chef Jonathon Sawyer.

IMG_7287
We were fortunate to see some of the distilling in progress. Here’s 190 vodka coming off the still.

IMG_7293
Josh finished the tour by sharing a sample of their deliciously smooth bourbon. The three samples provide a nice contrast: the wheat-based vodka, the flavored vanilla bean, and the aged bourbon.

IMG_7302
We walked next door to our second stop: Brothers Drake Meadery. Brothers Drake has been preaching the mead gospel around Columbus, and their bar has become a favorite spot to enjoy some unique drinks, live music, and some Japanese food truck delicacies. We were led through the small production area by Justin, one of the assistant mead makers.

IMG_8860Brothers Drake sources their raw honey from Marysville. Justin opened a bucket of it so we could sample it.

IMG_7306
Justin even poured a glass of some unfiltered mead in-progress; it has a foamy and sweet taste.

IMG_7310
It’s easy to think of mead as just an overly sweet dessert wine, but Brothers Drake demonstrates the variety of meads available. We sampled their Wild Ohio and Bergamot Blue meads. The Wild Ohio is a semi-dry mead, while the Bergamot Blue is spiced with scarlet bee balm and blueberries from Ohio.

That’s the beginning of the tour; read on for Part 2!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 238 other followers