CMH Gourmand – Eating in Columbus & Ohio

Dining, Donuts, Dives and Diatribes

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Posts Tagged ‘CMH Gourmand’

Third Anniversary – Why I Write and a Short History of the Blog

Posted by cmh gourmand on September 2, 2009

Several people bugged me to start a blog for years. I deferred because I thought it was just some passing fad. I am a late adopter of all technology (no Facebook account, no I phone, a TV from 1993, no DVD player and I bought my Macbook in July 2008. I had dabbled a little by doing some content for Columbus Underground in the early days of CU 2.0 or 2.5 (circa 2004) but that was as close as I was getting to the new Social Media.

When I started this blog my goal was to keep up my HTML skills and keep down my frustration from two book deals gone belly up. The week before I had jumped out of an airplane, the first chute didn’t open but as you can read, the second one did. It had been a long August after a very long year. I had no mission or focus for the blog other than to write on occasion to reuse, recycle and rework some of my content that did or did not get published elsewhere. The name for the blog came from the name I had used for online dating – most of my dates did not get the name either.

Three years later, I do have mission – promoting and growing the food culture in Columbus. I profess that Columbus is the Ice Cream Capital of the World. Columbus, per capita, has a great selection of superior restaurants and can hold its own against most other cities. Another thing the capital city delivers is fun and often free food functions. We have great galas on the grand scale (and sometimes the high end) such as Dine Originals Restaurant Week, Taste of The Future, The Food and Wine Affair, Taste of the Independents and a lot of North Market events.

On the smaller scale – there are a plethora of wine tastings to choose from every week. My favorites are at Hills Market and House Wine. As for events – in the 90’s when I went to cooking classes, food workshops, etc., I was typically the only guy in a pack of cougars and felt a bit out of place. Now – Columbus has Cupcake Camp, Bacon Camp, Pizza Grand Prix, “Meat Up’s”, Beer and cheese tastings and more. If you want to do something fun with food, there are choices every week. I was speaking with a lawyer visiting from New Orleans this week at a presentation for my day job. She was impressed by what we have to offer as a culinary city.

For your to do list:
When you are sitting next to someone from out of town, mention what we have. When they ask where you are from – just say Columbus, drop the Ohio….they should know

So what else? Promoting eating local and knowing where out food comes from is important and will happen more often. Slow Food Columbus does this through education and great events. I am a proud member of this group and had the honor of putting together my first food tour this year as one of our events. I plan to write more about where our food comes from before it gets plated in the restaurant kitchen.

So what next? Continuing to look for places just off the radar, growing the appreciation for Taco Trucks as well as the new immigrant kitchens in Columbus. And while doing all of the above – getting myself back into balance and working through my own omnivore’s dilemma soon to become a disaster.

Here are some of the major milestones of CMH Gourmand.

August 2006 – It begins.

January 2007 – 100 people view the blog in one day – I am excited.

March 2007 – Writer and Filmmaker George Motz joins me at the Thurman Cafe and Gahanna Grill for two of the 100 hamburgers he will feature in his book. A new seed for Thurman Burger fame is planted.

Fall 2007 – Walker Evans helps me get invited to a Central Ohio Restaurant Association meeting. I met Liz Lessner and we become friends. (And I get to go to her wedding in August of 2009 – FUN!)

October 2007 – I am invited for my first gig as a judge for a food event at North Market. Best job ever!

December 2007 – Food bloggers are profiled in the Columbus Dispatch. My bit involves the Ohio Deli. A seed is planted for Ohio Deli Dagwood fame. On a downside, for the photoshoot I have the sandwich in my mouth for almost 30 minutes. I get 1300 hits in one day – and I thought 100 was good.

January 2008 – First Columbus Foodcast goes live.

March 2008 – Columbus Underground does a Dagwood eating contest at the Ohio Deli. Walker Evans does a great video of the event. The Dagwood gets more fame on the internet via You-Tube. I make several new friends via Columbus Underground.

March 2008 – Slow Food starts a convivium in Columbus. I meet Bear and Colleen.

Spring and Summer 2008 – My posts on the Thurman Burger and the Ohio Deli Dagwood sandwich are linked on the website – This is Why You’re Fat. More seeds planted.

September 2008 – I met a Hungry Woolf via a North Market cooking class. Thanks for the tickets Mary Martineau! This is the first of many culinary adventures.

September 2008 – My main Columbus Underground cronies, Hungry Woolf and I become card carrying members of the Highland Estates Social Club and start our journey to becoming loyal Slow Food board members.

October 2008 – I go to Chicago with the Dirty Franks Crew and eat hot dogs all day. I tour the Vienna Beef hot dog factory!

Fall 2008 – I start to notice a lot of searches for “Thurman Burger” and “Dagwood Sandwiches” and “Columbus Food Blogs” in my web statistics – I am puzzled by this.

December 2008 – The television show Man Vs. Food premieres their show on Columbus. The featured items – The Thurman Burger (a Thurmanator) and The Dagwood Sandwich. Web statistics go crazy.

January 2009 – Taco Truck research begins. I become slothful and stop exercising (bad idea).

March 2009 – The Third Pizza Grand Prix is held at Wild Goose Creative – another partnership is born!

March 2009 – TacoTrucksColumbus goes live!

June 2009 – The TacoTrucksColumbus website is in the Dispatch, on TV and Podcasted all in 24 hours! The site gets 8000+ hits in one day. I now have one blog, 1/3 of the Taco Trucks blog, occasional posts for Slow Food Columbus, a few food events and still work fulltime. Things are busy, busy, busy.

There are many other great moments and persons not mentioned above. Several people contribute to what I do. Anyone I eat with has to share their food and wait for me to take photos. Zach and Mary deserve the credit for doing all of the leg work for the podcast and keeping that going.

People say all the time – “It must be great to make a living by eating”. I then have to tell them that this is a non profit venture and watch their bubble burst. But this is my living of sorts, my life is about what and where I eat. Most people talk about sports or their jobs – both bore me to tears. I am what I eat – not what I do or watch. I don’t expect (or want) fame as a food writer on this blog. I never expected to make any money doing this. I get something much more rewarding. I have made incredible friendships with people I would have never met. I have had opportunities and experiences that I would never had without my connection to this blog and the people that read it. I hope that those reading enjoy doing so and will continue find it is worth their time.

Spending hours each week writing, eating everywhere, and taking photos: pricey. Making firm friendships and having a lot of fun: priceless.

Now back to our regularly scheduled content – already in progress.

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Posted in culinary misadventure, food | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

Third Anniversary: Thanks for Reading. So What Now?

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 29, 2009

Today I am observing the third anniversary of CMH Gourmand. Thanks for reading. Above, I have the new CMH Gourmand logo by local artist Robert Patricy.

Due to popular and militant demand, I will start twittering (with great restraint). I promise not to be a Twitter Sh*tter.

In the coming week I will have a post about the history and workings of the blog. Then several more road trip posts as I get caught up. By mid September my focus should be back on Columbus.

So what do you want to read about in the next year? Let me know.

Posted in culinary knowledge | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

The Ides of March Returneth: My Fifteen Food Favorites of the last 365 days

Posted by cmh gourmand on March 14, 2009

It is time for my second annual Ides of March reflection. I look back at the year and ask myself “ate for 2 Brute”. These are my fifteen favorite meals or moments from the last 365 days. Thanks to those that shared these morsels with me.

1. Hot Dog Daze: A Dirty Franks Field Trip (Posted November 17th)

2. Slow Food Columbus – Celebrated the one year anniversary with a dinner at Rigsby’s on March 2nd. I’m a proud member and I currently serve on the event planning committee. All SFC events rocked. The requirement of a chapter is to have one event per year – Slow Food Columbus often has one per week. We have one of the most active memberships in the country. Read about our adventures in eating and education in the Slow Food Blog.

3) Columbus Foodcast Episode 21 – Pattycake Bakery.

4) Hungry Woolf’s Blog – My cheeky British meal mate Bethia has one of the best blogs in town. This post marks the debut of the new Hungry Woolf Approved (HWA) logo.

That is a jar of Marmite in the paw.

That is a jar of Marmite in the paw.

5. Taco Trucks Columbus – There is a lot of Taco Truck culture in Columbus – go check it out. Viva la Vida Taco!

6. Pizza Grand Prix III – exceeded my expectations for quality of pizza and people and quantity of pizza and people.

7. Bono Pizza (Bedtime for Bono – Posted December 11th, 2008)

8. Hills Market Wine and Cheese Tastings – Tied with judging for the Fiery Foods Festival at North Market. (Posted February 2009)

9. Ice Cream Sandwiches with Pattycake Tollhouse Cookies (Joining Jennie and Jeni – Posted November 24th)

10. Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company in Australia: I discovered this magnificent microbrewery while returning to Melbourne from the Yarra Valley with my mates Mandy, Dan and Katie. The beer is great, they have a wonderful tasting flight and it is a green business. The recent wild fires in Victoria destroyed this place. I hope it comes back. The Yarra Valley is the home of my discovery of wine and my obsession with all things Australian.

11. In April, I found the best cheese in the world. It is Whitestone Windsor Organic Blue Cheese. This New Zealand cheese was suggested to me by a cheesemonger from the East Coast and I found it in Australia at The Queen Victoria Market. That is kind of how my life rolls.

12. The Ritual Tavern, San Diego. After a day in Mexico, I found myself in my “dream seating” for all my tastes – local, organic, everything made in house and a perfect dining companion. I’m heading back next winter to keep my new West Coast winter warmth tradition alive.

13. The Liberty Bar, San Antonio. I continued my quest for sun in the winter with a trip to San Antonio. This was a wonderful food field trip for me. My favorite meal (all of my dines in SA were impressive) was a simple dish of thick, crusty, homemade bread with a Mexican brown sugar style dipping sauce and fresh goat cheese. Dios Mio! I spent the night at the bar and headed back the next day for lunch. The Liberty Bar is is worth visiting for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the same day.

14. The End of Prohibition Anniversary Party – Highland Estates, December 2008. This party inspired my purchase of a vintage Tuxedo and flask. This was not posted to protect the innocent and the guilty.

15. Eating Frank Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven, Connecticut (the end of a 5 year quest) with my friend Lee and her sister Kathy. New Haven pizza is considered to be a unique style of pizza making like New York or Chicago. When I was researching for a pizza book in 2004, this was on my hit list. Scratch one pizza. Next – Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix.

Best Photo: I want a better camera, perfect lighting and a free week to master Photoshop. Until then I will be frustrated with white plates that do not cooperate and shots that scream for a flash or special setting in environments which call for decorum and discretion. This shot from the New Year’s Eve tasting menu at Details came out just the way I wanted.

My best shpt of the year.

My best shot of the year.

Posted in Road Trip | Tagged: | 3 Comments »