CMH Gourmand – Eating in Columbus & Ohio

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Archive for the ‘beverages’ Category

Rusty Bucket Wrangles Rogue Root Beer

Posted by CMH Gourmand on March 27, 2011

I get many incredible offers. Most come from people in African countries that will give me millions of dollars just to help transfer some money from their country to ours to cut down on paper work and avoid hassle for the estate of a deceased relative with a horribly misspelled name. Some offers come from Russian mail order brides and maybe related to that, it seems that there are some medications I should be taking, I that I can get cheaply. Maybe I should consider the mail order bride option.

The type of offers I would like to get would include: Hey, you are awesome and resourceful and blindingly creative, here is a job that does not suck; or yes you really should write for us, starting now, because you are not boring or pretentious. These offers don’t come and years of trying for them have not yet been productive.

So when the Rusty Bucket asked if I wanted to drink root beer and get some remuneration for my trouble I was curious. I read further. It seems that said root beer was Rogue Root Beer. That fact changed no thanks to yes, pretty please PDQ. As fate would have it, I had Rogue Root Beer in PDX (Portland) recently which was a highlight of five days that were a low point.

I get an interesting array of offers from the food industry that tempt my wallet and threaten to stretch the scope of my blog and my ethics. I almost always say no. The Rusty Bucket offer was perfect. I knew I liked the root beer. I did not know I could get it in Columbus so that knowledge was a gift to me. Rusty Bucket is a locally owned company and aligned with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants so I could support them without hesitation. I knew I was going to rush out for root beer anyway so for the price of gas and a mug of root beer – game on! Yes, I will write for root beer so here we go.

It seems that if you are planning on going Rogue, Columbus is the place to do it. Rusty Bucket charmed this Portland-centric purveyor of tasty drinks into sending most of it’s product line here for serving. This is unique for Columbus and Ohio and the Midwest and most of the country for that matter. The only other states that have Rogue Root Beer are Oregon and Washington. You can pretend you are in Portland while sitting inside 270.

I am not a big pop drinker (we say pop in Columbus, accept it, move on). I NEED to have a coke with pizza to complete the experience. However, I am an absolute sucker for a good Root Beer. I have invested a good deal of time searching for the perfect root beer experience. I found a few that are worth traveling for – Virgil’s Root Beer and Sioux City Root Beer were my brews of choice.

Why might you want to make the effort to try Rogue Root Beer? Because they make it right and because Rusty Bucket pours it right. Rogue approaches their root beer with the same attention to detail and devotion they invest in their craft beers. Their root beer is made with 100% pure dark brown sugar. It has a nice dose of Sassafras. This is draft root beer, served from a tap into a cold, frosted mug with just a bit of foaming head. It may be the most perfect root beer experience in town. Visions of childhood bike rides to the Clintonville A&W drive-in come to mind when I take a sip. To appeal to the child in you or the child tagging along with you, Rusty Bucket also offers kid sized mugs and root beer floats in both sizes.

If you want to completely go Rogue, Rusty Bucket serves several Rogue beers on draft. You can also sample Rogue’s other roguish spirits including Dead Guy Whiskey, Spruce Gin and White Rum. A daily drink special involves soaking a giant chunk of pineapple with brown sugar, vanilla beans and Rogue white rum, then adding some ice and more rum. Yum.

On Tuesdays, a featured drink is the Rogue Spruce Gin Gimlet. I had not been to Rusty Bucket for a while so I decided to try out multiple locations in my root beer research. For your first Rogue run I suggest trying out the Lane Avenue location and hoping that Katie is tending bar when you walk in. She knows all things Rogue and can talk you through your choices while you enjoy a frosty root beer.

Posted in bar, beer, beverages, culinary knowledge, restaurants | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails…and Brunch

Posted by CMH Gourmand on July 8, 2009

The Columbus Foodcast crew dropped in at Tip Top to talk with Tim Lessner. Tip Top has been open just over two years and continues to cater to customers with fan friendly tweaks to the menu and beer selections. The latest additions are a weekend brunch and Barley’s beer on tap. Tim gave us an update on all things Tip Top – click HERE to hear the full interview on Columbus Foodcast.

Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails
73 East Gay Street
Downtown
221.8300
Tip Top link

Here are some highlights of our afternoon with Tim at Tip Top.

Tip Top unveiled a weekend brunch menu which is available 11 AM to 4 PM. I broke my fast with some of the fare.

Comfort Quesadilla:
scrambled eggs, Swiss cheese and avocado folded into a grilled
whole wheat tortilla, served with hash browns

Sweet Potato Hash and Black Eyed Peas:
diced sweet potatoes, onions, black eyed peas,
bell peppers, jalapeno, cilantro and thyme all grilled together in perfect harmony with two scrambled eggs and toast.

The full menu is online at the Tip Top web site.

I sampled the new Barley’s beer which adds to an already strong Ohio and regional micro beers selection.

Tim served as a tour guide for the rooftop garden. This is the second season. Plantings for 2009 include herbs, peppers and tomatoes as well as watermelon. The produce is integrated into the food and cocktail menu at the restaurant. The original genesis of the garden came from purchases made at the Pearl Alley Market.

We discussed the decor of the restaurant – the original old character of the bar was restored when Tip Top opened. Diana Lessner (Mom) worked with the Ohio Historical Society to gather local history in the form of postcard, photos, playbills, etc., to promote, preserve and protect the history of downtown Columbus past and present for future Tip Top diners.

Tip Top also has a small but vibrant patio which is the perfect hangout for late night loungers or in my case – a perfect Sunday afternoon with a breeze and a beer. There is a lot going down on Gay Street (including new parking meters that take credit cards) and the patio is the perfect place to watch everything.

Thanks to Tour guide Tim for an informative afternoon of eating, drinking, podcasting and a good tip on a Simon Pegg DVD.

Posted in bar, beer, beverages, breakfast, restaurants | Leave a Comment »

DD-Day: Dunkin’ Donuts Invades Columbus

Posted by CMH Gourmand on November 8, 2008

There were a lot of happy coffee drinkers and donut eaters on Friday. The grand opening of a new Dunkin Donuts in Columbus started at 5 AM. This is the first of at least thirty Dunkin Donuts opening in Central Ohio. The next opening will be (updated February 2009) Broad and High on February 11th and Bethel Road (updated May) in June or July. Dunkin Donuts expects to double the number of locations in the USA to 15,000+ by 2020.

Many of us only know about Dunkin Donuts from older national commercials (“time to make the donuts”) and a few locations in Columbus over the years. There is a culture to Dunkin Donuts that we will see grow in Columbus. In New England there is an average of one Dunkin Donuts for every 5000 residents. I was in Chicago last week and there seemed to be a Dunkin Donuts on every block. There were more Dunkin signs than Starbucks….that is hard to concieve. On the east coast, especially Boston, people are die hard Dunkin Donuts coffee fans. Many New England transplants missed their DD. The wait ended yesterday as shown by a steady line of cars outside and people packed inside all morning.

Dunkin Donuts also has a certain cool factor that will fuel the growth of loyal fans. The company’s ads poke good natured fun at Starbucks and sometimes feature They Might Be Giants songs. Dunkin has over 200,000 fans on Facebook. Keep an eye out for pink and orange DD magnets on the back of cars. There is a good chance the drivers are making a run to Dunkin Donuts.

The newest location is at:
8235 N. High St.
Worthington (Route 23, North of 270)

DD on Facebook

DD on YouTube

Posted in beverages, breakfast, Columbus | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

A Tale of Two Tastings – Hills Market and Tip Top

Posted by CMH Gourmand on April 21, 2008

Hills Market had a British Beer and Cheese tasting on April 17th. The turnout was smaller than I expected, only eight souls, but we had a fabulous time. Kent Rand walked us through the cheeses and Constance Begue covered the background of the beers we sampled. Kent did a wonderful job creating appetizers to complement the beer and cheeses.

This is what we sampled:

All the beers were Ales.

Beer: Smithwick’s Irish Ale (Ireland)
Cheese: Blarney Castle (Ireland – semi-soft, park skim milk)
Appetizer: Melon balls wrapped with Blarney castle cheese and a dusting of pistachio nuts

Beer: Samuel Smith Organically Produced Ale (England)
Cheese: Cotswold (England – semi firm cheddar)
Appetizer: Flour tortilla with mayo, spinach, Cotswold cheese, roasted red pepper and grilled chicken breast

Beer: St. Peter’s Golden Ale (Wales)
Cheese: Red Dragon (England – Cheddar blended with toasted mustard seed and a bit of ale)
Appetizer: Brioche with mesclun, red dragon cheese, roast beef and a drizzle of horseradish

Beer: Black Douglas Ale (Ireland)
Cheese: Dubliner (Ireland – aged semi-firm)
Appetizer: endive leaf wrapped with ripe pear, Dubliner cheese, thyme, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper

Beer: Fuller’s Extra Strong Bitter (England)
Cheese: Stinking Bishop (England – soft English stinky cheese)
Appetizer: a wafer-sized slice of fig almond cake with Stinking Bishop cheese and dried cranberries

Beer: Kelpie Seaweed Ale (Scotland)
Cheese: Shropshire Blue (England – aged Stilton)
Appetizer: baby portabella mushroom caps stuffed with Shropshire Blue cheese, tomato bruschetta and Panko bread crumbs

This is what you missed, make sure to give at least one of the Hills tastings a try in the future.

May 29, 2008 – Wines & Cheese from Spain 6.30 p.m.

June 26, 2008 – Wines & Cheeses from Greece 6.30 p.m.

July 24, 2008 – Wines & Cheeses from Italy 6.30 p.m.

August 21, 2008 – Wines & Cheeses from Australia 6.30 p.m.

September 25, 2008 – Wines & Cheeses from France 6.30 p.m.

October 23, 2008 – Octoberfest: Beers & Cheeses 6.30 p.m.


Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails partnered with the Columbus Beer Wench for the first Tip Top Drink with the Wench Beer Sampling on Sunday, April 20th from 5pm until 8pm. The sampling included beer, and generous helpings of Ohio Nachos (housemade potato chips topped with melted cheese, tomatoes, green onions, black olives, jalapenos, and sour cream), Sweet Potato Fries and Red Bean Hummus.

We sampled six different beers, three from the Tip Top menu and three candidates for new beers to update the menu. Each person had the opportunity to vote on which of the current beers should be discontinued and which of the new beers should be added to the Tip Top beer selections. Beers chosen by the group will be featured as local selections. The end result, two old beers stayed and one new beer was added.

The Columbus Beer Wench coordinated the pours and poured on the commentary with a touch of charm. Tim Lessner, co-owner kept the food coming and added some Surly Girl insight. Andy Wuelfling from Premium Beverage Supply gave us insider information on each of the beers and clarified that in the industry – there are two schools of thought on just about anything so the end result is essentially – if you like it, it is good.

Here is what we tried.
Southern Tier – HopSun (my favorite)
Lagunitas – The Censored – (formerly Chronic) Cooper Ale

Flying Dog – Old Scratch Amber Lager
Flying Dog – Garde Dog (Biere de Garde)
Southern Tier – Phin and Matt’s (the owners) extraordinary ale
Ft. Collins Brewery – Retro Red

The bolded selections were the winners.

So – as I often say, if you can not find something to do in Columbus – you are not looking.

Posted in bar, beer, beverages, cheese, Columbus | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Beer and Cheese – The New Peanut Butter and Chocolate!

Posted by CMH Gourmand on March 26, 2008

Pace Hi Carry Out in Clintonville closed in February. The signs of demise were there for a long time – they just never seemed to be able to keep things in stock..so I stopped going long ago. Having the wine displayed in the window made me wary as well – you could not do anything worse to a bottle of vino.

UPDATE: Pace Hi reopened August 2008 with new ownership and a lot of work invested in new coolers, stock, etc. This is a great rebound for this part of Clintinville.

I often wonder if a new business concept called Hops and Curd – a high end beer and cheese store might work in Clintonville.

OK – the concept of wine and cheese is well sold.

But beer and cheese…. not so much. I believe beer and cheese is the undiscovered peanut butter and chocolate of the 21st century. So that is why I am posting this post…to build a groundswelling of support for this advanced idea.

And as it just happens – Constance and Kent at Hills Market will be offering a Beer and Cheese Tasting on April 17th – check out the Hills Market web site and get on the mailing list for more details. I have attended two Hills Market wine and cheese tastings – both were wonderful so I expect the beer and cheese pairing to be just as good. The format for the wine tastings has been 6 pairing of wine and cheese with a appetizer for each. The Beer and Cheese tasting will probably have the same format. The cost would be no more than $35. As a bonus, you typically get 10% off anything you buy at that store following the tasting. It a great deal. See my post about the December tasting for more information.

To further sell pairing beer with cheese check out the site below:

A link with all you need to know about beer and cheese

So what do you think – is it time to open Hops and Curd during a recession?

Posted in beverages, cheese, culinary knowledge, food | 6 Comments »

Worthington Pub Crawl / Stroll

Posted by CMH Gourmand on March 5, 2008

I acknowledge that a pub crawl is a little outside the typical scope of this blog, but with St. Patrick’s Day in view – why not. All of these spots are within the distance you could hurl a beer bottle so the strolling is minimal. This would be a great way to spend a late afternoon with a gang of friends – share a few beers and an appetizer or split a meal at each place. I plotted out the paces, (if you opt to jaywalk) it is 165 steps from door to door.


P.K. O’Ryans Irish Pub

666 High Street

Worthington

614.781.0771

Web Site

Happy hour is Monday – Thursday from 4:00pm until 6:00pm. The place offers a wide range of pub style meals with several beers on tap. Happy Hour gets you: reduced prices on draft and domestic bottled beer plus 1/2 price appetizers. The regular menu item to try here is the Irish Stew – a hearty mix of slow cooked beef, onions, carrots and potatoes with at least a pour of Guinness mixed in – served in a bread bowl. That will keep you warm.



Old Bag of Nails
663 High Street
Worthington

614.436.5552

Old Bag of Nails Web site

The best menu item is the Famous Fish Sandwich. It easily serves two. My favorite reason to go here is the Fried Snickers (not available at all locations – but you can count on it here.) It is battered and devine, served with ice cream. There are plenty of beers on tap. It feels like a true pub when you walk through the door. Since you just hit O’Ryans you may think you are on the Emerald Isle – until you notice no one has an Irish accent and everyone is talking about the Buckeyes. This is the original Old Bag of Nails and has the best “feel” of any of the locations. There are old beercans and other pub bric a brac lining the walls. Many of the staff have worked at this location for years and they know their regulars by name.


Worthington Inn

649 High Street

Worthington

614.885.1223

Web Site

Most people do not think Happy Hour when they think of Worthington Inn – but there is room at the Inn within the spacious bar area. Their happy hour is the longest on this stroll – Monday to Saturday, 4 – 7 PM. They offer domestic beer and well drink specials. However the best deal here is the discounted plates to share specials. The Worthington Inn is a very good restaurant and their “bar food” is more than one would expect.

1/2 off “Plates to Share”

Artichoke-Spinach Dip
Grilled Flat Bread Pizza
Provolone, tomato sauce and pepperoni
Seasonal Bruschetta
Our Famous Parmesan-Truffle Fries
House Cheese Plate
Warm Garlic and Herb Potato Chips
Blue cheese dip
Flash-fried calamari
Thai sweet-chili sauce and napa slaw
Roasted Pepper Hummus
Aunti Carol’s Sauerkraut Balls

La Chatelaine

627 High Street

Worthington

614.848.6711

Web Site

There is a nice selection of French wines along with some hard to find Belgian and Euro beers on tap at the bar. If this is your last stop for the day consider picking up a bakery item as you are walking out the door – for a snack or maybe for breakfast the next day. The wine bar happy hour is from 5 to 7 PM. If owner Val Wielezynski is behind the bar – ask him about anything – he has great stories to share about the restaurant, his family and life in general.

So that is your Pub stroll agenda – a mix of small town and uptown for a Eurotrash style day out in the heart of Worthington.

Posted in bar, beverages, culinary misadventure, wine | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Buckeye Donuts: an OSU Late, Late Night Tradition

Posted by CMH Gourmand on February 8, 2008


Buckeye Donuts

1998 North High Street

Corner of 18th and High Street

OSU Campus

614.293.3923

Web Site

Most of OSU is new now. One exception is Buckeye Donuts. This small nook of a corner donut shop has been serving up donuts and coffee since 1969. I do not know how long it has been 24 hours a day service but based on my own trips and drive by’s – my guess would be at least a decade. Gyro’s were added into the list of offerings sometime in the 1990’s… it all kind of blurs together sometimes. For quite some time, the Gyro’s were made by Souvlaki George from (closed) Souvlaki Palace but he is no longer with us at BD.

One of the most memorable nights at the shop was when it was a featured destination on Insomniac with Dave Attell.

My favorite Buckeye donut would be a tie between an old fashioned and a chocolate covered crueller.

The Barouxis family has owned BD since day one. The Buckeye Donuts in the German Village area is no longer affiliated with the campus location but I hear the donuts are still good. There are many great BD stories and you can find some of them on Columbus Underground as comments to the Buckeye Donut review I posted on CU in January.

Posted in bakery, beverages, breakfast, culinary misadventure | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Yeah, Me Too – A Coffee Shop and that is it.

Posted by CMH Gourmand on January 1, 2008

Yeah, Me Too
3005 Indianola Ave.
Clintonville
No Phone
No Website
Monday to Saturday
7 AM to 6 PM

 

Yeah Me Too is a very small coffee shop in Clintonville. If the place had a motto – it would be: just coffee – no perks and no pretense. I don’t really drink coffee but all of my friends have raved about this simple shop for over a year. YMT sells four types of coffee to take home to your coffee machine and usually has one type available to drink when you drop in. There is no place to sit, no Wi Fi, no gimmicks, no frills – just coffee. Everything is simple – hence no phone, no web site, no marketing – they just sell coffee. There may be a few baked goods from Pattycake Vegan Bakery and/or Wellness Forum Foods (Del Sroufe) in case you need a snack as you head out the door but that is more of an afterthought – maybe even a public service.

 

 

One of the current coffee choices is Black Swans Blend, a mix of coffee beans from Rwanda, Guatemala, and Flores. The Black Swans are a local band with ties to past punk rockers, Gaunt (the owner was in Gaunt ). And Yeah, Me Too is a reference to the musical roots that mix into the shop. There is a great story about some of the art work on the wall and if you look into the corner by the window you will see an album about several special people from ARC Industries who created artwork for Black Swans album covers. Here is a LINK to the story.

 

It is refreshing to see a business just do one thing and do it well. YMT is as simple as one could make it and that is just fine for all involved. It is also nice to see a business survive and maybe even thrive on Indianola – the less developed Clintonville artery.

Posted in beverages, Clintonville | 14 Comments »

Fun at the Ohio State Fair.. In Search of the Perfect Lemon Shake Up

Posted by CMH Gourmand on August 5, 2007


I made a sojourn to the Ohio State Fair, I try to go once per decade. I really enjoyed myself this year, so I may change up to once every five years. I am a sucker for fair fare – elephant ears, funnel cakes, fair fries, and deep fried anything (in particular snickers and twinkies) – the Ohio State Fair has plenty of all that. I spied several food vendors that had signs stating as seen on Food Network.  I’d love to see Nigella Lawson at the fair!


This year, I was on a quest for the perfect lemon shake up. I am a super sucker for shake ups in the summer so with the hot, hot heat of Saturday – I was on a mission, I could not sip enough of these.

The first sampled was at Big Jeff’s Original, billed (on their sign) as the best at the fair. The stand is strategically located near the center of the midway. The one I sampled was light on the ice.

Shake it up

Shake up number two was at the stand run by JP’s Ribs. This one was the cheapest – $1.50 compared to the $2.00 standard. The shake up I was served was a bit watery. This stand is to the east of the Coca Cola Coliseum.

My third for the day was the best. The Marshall family has a berry farm that keeps them busy all year long. Since 1969, they have come to the fair to peddle their shake ups with raspberry or strawberry added in for an extra 50 cents. I opted for the lemon shake up with a raspberry twist. I was a little disapponted that the raspberry component was a spoonful of raspberry preserves (from their farm) – what I was hoping for were some real raspberries – but it shook together well. It turned out the be the perfect mix of lemon, ice, sugar and water. This was my Lemon Shake Up Best of Show for this year. This stand is located near the 17th Street entrance. I counted about 15-20 Lemon Shake Up opportunities at the fair – so if I missed the mark – let me know.

Other items of note at the fair.

A must do at the fair is a journey to the Dairy Products building to see the Butter Cow and to get a big heaping serving of fresh ice cream in a bowl. Also of note, several awards for best Ohio cheese went to Guggisberg and Pearl Valley (both mentioned in an earlier post). The top winners were Ragersville Swiss Cheese and Steiner – so now I will be on a quest to find those out in Amish Country.

A quick shout out to the Tracey family. Their Coney stand has been at the fair for over 50 years now. I wrote a short article mentioning them in 1998 for Ohio Magazine so I am glad to see them going strong.

Posted in beverages, Ohio | 3 Comments »