Monday, March 21, 2011

The bounty of Ohio foods at Hills Market

I love March. Spring, my birthday, the weather is improving. And Christmas in March.

OK, this isn't the kind of Christmas that brings a fat guy with a bunch of stuff - March brings the first of the year's Ohio Market Festival at Hills Market. Anyone who's ever experienced competitive sampling at Costco ain't seen nothing like this. And the awesome part is that Hills is now doing it three times a year to give more Ohio producers a chance to show off their yumminess!

We waited a little late in the day to head to Worthington - it was around 1:00 and the event ended at 2:00. See - that's better for our waistlines - there's no WAY to hit every sample station when there's a beer tasting involved. The nice thing was that the crowds had thinned out and I got a chance to say hi to Bethia Woolf. She's the founder of Columbus Food Adventures (rolling my pennies) and one of the best food bloggers in the area. I'm more of a stay-at-home-and-cook kind of gal, but I love reading her reviews and she's convincing enough to make me want to go to Happy Hour again.

On to the Ohio foods at Hills Market. Oh - wait. Let's start with Ohio brews - Rockmill Brewery. I love beer - more importantly, I love craft ales. From a farm near Lancaster come four beautiful Belgian-style ales. Organic grains, hops and malts combined with a natural spring deliver something special. We tasted all four of Rockmill's offerings - poured and described by brewer Matthew - and had a hard time picking a favorite to carry home. The man won and I have a bottle of Saisson awaiting the perfect moment.

Saisson Organic Farmhouse Ale: Ohio-made from Rockmill Brewery
I was excited to see Blue Jacket Dairy, but we were too late for the Gretna Grilling cheese samples. However, these cheese curds? Just the right blend of seasoning. I've used some of the Dill to make a simple pasta side dish and munched on a few of the Firelands - with chipotle! They are perfect alone, it just makes me think I need to cook with them. Any suggestions?
From Blue Jacket Dairy, near Bellefontaine 
 We tasted this dip with a simple tortilla chip and were more than impressed with Urbana's Taste Weavers. The smokiness of the chipotle is more overstated than the heat. Again, I'm running recipe ideas through my mind. Harry says "It's a dip - it's for dipping things in."
I thought about a drizzle on some Chipotle-inspired (the restaurant) burritos. 
 I like to hit up Cajohn's at the North Market and loved the chance to try several of their barbecue sauces. We decided this was the perfect sauce for our BBQ Burgers with sauteed onions and horseradish cheddar cheese. We were right.

Not too sweet and no overpowering fake-smoke taste. 
 I might have to give up my food-geek card after my faux pas with this guy. Massillon's Gold'N Krisp potato chips are one of the few kettle-style chips I've ever tasted that I enjoy. They're not too thick and a little less salty than most potato chips. My goof came when I asked "Peanut oil?" He was very nice when he said it was a blend of lard and shortening. I will NOT feel guilty about loving the taste of these chips.

Gold'N Krisp doesn't have their own web presence but - did you know there was a chip of the month club?
YUMMY! Potato Chips! 
I know I'll never be able to participate in the 100-mile diet but it's nice to know that there are several resources in Columbus to find local and Ohio foods.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Planning a summer wedding in Columbus?

Get busy! There are so many summer wedding locations in and near Columbus but summer 'tis the season. Have you tried all the popular venues and found out that they are booked?

If you are still looking for the perfect spot and are willing to travel a little outside of I-270 (or even to Clintonville!) you might still be able to have your wedding outside ON the day of your choosing.

Summer Wedding Venues near Columbus

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Warm up at a locally owned coffee shop in Columbus!

Yes, if you're a local and you love coffee you already know about these great coffee houses! But, think of it as doing a service for the new arrivals.!

Coffee Houses in Columbus

Monday, January 17, 2011

Food Pantries in Columbus

This doesn't really have anything to do with being bored in Columbus. The winter months often take their toll on families - higher heating bills, seasonal workers are laid off and food costs keep going up.

If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, there are several food pantries and other organizations throughout Columbus that can help.

Food Pantries in Columbus, Ohio

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Short North - live, laugh, play...

Even though I'm a country girl, I have a certain affection for many of Columbus' neighborhoods. I don't know many people who have spent any time exploring the Short North and what it has to offer and then decide they don't want to go back.

Here's a quick snapshot of one of Columbus' best neighborhoods.

Short North - Neighborhood Profile

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Columbus Metro Parks ARE open in the winter...

The hours might be a little more limited in the cold, winter months but Columbus' Metro Parks are open year-round. More importantly, there are several winter hikes and other activities planned.

Columbus, Ohio Metro Parks: Winter Activities

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Charity Donations

The holidays are fast approaching and many of the Columbus-area charities that provide holiday assistance are still in need of your help - donations of items, food, money and time. Giving any of these items can help make Christmas a little brighter for others.

Christmas Charity Donations in Columbus