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Netflix & Grill: Collusion, suspense, burgers, Bowie

Aaron Wetli

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Watch, listen, eat, drink
Welcome back to Netflix and Grill, where we piece together some grub, a boozy drink, an album, and a binge-worthy show. Along the way, we plug the local establishments that make Columbus shine. This entry focuses on the FX’s Cold War spy opus ‘The Americans,’ a burger and shake from B Spot Burgers and the best-selling album of David Bowie’s career. Scroll down comrade, it will all make sense soon!

Entrée

For those who aren’t familiar, FX’s The Americans is a classic Cold War spy thriller that just happens to be set in the Washington D.C. of the 1980s. We will get into details later, but for now, we are going to root on team red, white, and blue and order the most American meal possible: Cheeseburger and fries.

Per usual, I used this column as an excuse to try a new (at least to me) restaurant, this time it’s B Spot Burgers. Located in Gahanna and offering gourmet burgers and boozy shakes, B Spot is the brainchild of celebrity chef Michael Symon.

Although I was tempted by the many different toppings available, I chose a regular cheeseburger with a side of Lola Fries.

I was not disappointed. The burger was a perfectly cooked juicy medium, the lettuce, tomato and onions fresh and the Sriracha mayo perfectly straddled the line between spicy and sweet. The fries were unremarkable but tasty and not overpowered by the rosemary.

Drink

After dinner I treated myself to an adult style Vanilla Bean milkshake that included Vodka and Kahlua, therefore making it a White Russian.

The shake was thick, rich and dangerous and if you have more than one, you may misplace the nuclear launch codes.

Vinyl

No artist transitioned between identities and personas as easily as David Bowie. Like the protagonists of The Americans, Phillip and Elizabeth, Bowie was born in Europe, wore many different wigs and makeup, and had plans to conquer America.

Because The Americans is set in the 1980s, we will celebrate Bowie’s 1983 release Let’s Dance.
Chock full of singles and appealing to the masses, Let’s Dance was the best-selling album of Bowie’s career. Highlights include:

  • Let’s Dance – Funk kingpin Nile Rodgers helped craft this new wave hit and Stevie Ray Vaughan plays guitar. Enough said.
  • China Girl – Just like the Jennings, this Iggy Pop and Bowie collaboration is not kind to American imperialism.
  • Modern Love – A classic 1980s sugary sweet anthem. Crank it.

Streaming

As the FX goliath heads into its final season, it remains one of the most underappreciated shows on television.

In a nutshell, Phillip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) and wife Elizabeth (Keri Russel) are Russian operatives/spies who live in suburban Washington D.C. During the day, the Jennings run a travel agency – the perfect cover for keeping strange hours and globetrotting – and at night, come home to their loving children, picket fences, and dark pasts.

The Jennings are committed to the façade of a nuclear family and although Phillip and Elizabeth are deeply committed to their family unit, they remain spies first, parents second and spouses third.

The Jennings duo is a threat to be reckoned with. Smart, cunning and deadly, they see two steps ahead of the competition and are assigned the most difficult and dangerous missions, often to the dismay of Phillip, who, as the series progresses, becomes more disillusioned with the wicked things he does for the security and future of his Russian Motherland.

Those tough assignment are often doled out by Russian operatives Claudia (Margo Martindale) and Garbriel (Frank Langella). The tension between the Jennings and their handlers is often palpable as the line between morality and duty is often blurred.

Further complicating the Jennings life is friend and neighbor Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), who just happens to be an FBI Counter Intelligence Agent. Stan is a typical 1980s divorced suburb dad with a gym membership, fast car, and little black book. However, when Stan is focused, he remains the biggest threat to uncovering the Jennings’ secret identities.

As The Americans sprints towards the finish line, there are many questions to be answered, souls to search, and secrets to be revealed. If this sounds interesting and you are looking for a binge worthy morality play where the good and bad guys are often difficult to differentiate, look no further.

The final season of The Americans premieres tonight at 10pm on FX and previous seasons are available to stream on FX Now app.

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Food & Drink

Clintonville Brunch Crawl: We dare you to squeeze all 3 stops into 1 day

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Clintonville is lovely this time of year, especially when you make three separate stops for brunch. 

Whether the weather is gracing the charming little burgh with a healthy dose of vitamin D or giving it a couple spins around the Lazy Susan that is Ohio’s climate, a trifecta of morning food destinations is sure to keep your mood afloat.

BLunch  • 2973 N High St.

blunchcolumbus.com

Yes, we know that Columbus now is home to a Drunch AND a BLunch.

Snicker all ya want—if you do, you’d be missing out on one of the culinary scene’s welcome newcomers—a half-day cafe that carries the comforts of a First Watch, but with the sophisticated execution of Tasi or Katalina’s.

The White Family has decades of hospitality under their belt—the family owned Galena’s Mudflats until recently, and dad Jeff has been running the OSU Faculty Club for the past 20 years.

Those two were training grounds for son Jeff, once a young, eager dishwasher and now head chef for the White’s new “daylight eatery and bar.” Mom Jane, despite her own admission that in the family’s tavern-running days breakfast didn’t get served until halfway through afternoon, now relishes an intimate spot where people can maintain their own balance between booze and breakfast.

A full-bar at brunch is a rarity in the peculiar little burg, and positioned near Lineage, Old Skool, and Condado, BLunch could be the perfect starting point for a casual Clintonville crawl.

Then again, you may not have another stop after Chef Jeff gets done with ya. He and the White family have concepted a bennies-and-batter focused menu, where you’ll be sure to come back after a healthy amount of indecision. Me? I’ve been dreaming about the Bananas Foster pancakes (topped with ice cream) and the huevos rancheros over masa cake for weeks. – Travis Hoewischer

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Dough Mama • 3335 N High St.

Dough-mama.com

Dough Mama is the top of my list for my favorite breakfast joint. I love so much about this place.

The atmosphere is super chill, laid back, and inviting. The food is so so good. I would call it comfort food with an extra sprinkle of love and thought.

From pie to salad, it’s all good.

They use a variety of local and seasonal ingredients and support some of my favorite local delicacies with Dan the Baker bread and Thunderkiss coffee … YUM! They also have a variety of vegan and gluten-free options.

I am smitten with the Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy muffin. This place is my go to for a yummy drippy egg, roasted potatoes, salad, a sweet treat and a perfect cup of coffee.

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My husband loves Grammie’s Sammie and a piece of Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie. I somehow manage to splurge here and feel really really good about it.

Their menu has some great staples but they also always have specials that look and are amazing.

Right now they serve both lunch and breakfast during the day and I’ve heard it through the grapevine that they will soon be open in the evening and serving dinner. I cannot wait to see what delicious dishes they create for that menu. – Jana Rock

Baba’s • 2515 Summit St.

babascolumbus.com

Baba’s is my go-to breakfast spot in Columbus. You can grab a breakfast sandwich on their homemade griddle muffins (aka little pillows of heaven), order a rack of ribs, or in the spirit of Alabama Worley, have a slice of perfect pie and a cup of Thunderkiss coffee.

Their delicious baked goods are made in house, they smoke all of their own meats and their produce and coffee are all sourced locally, though their espresso will send you to the moon.

The service is fast, their team is super-friendly and there are never any pretentious vibes in the super chill atmosphere they have created on the corner of Hudson and Summit.

They’ve made a beautiful impact in their short existence in the SoHud neighborhood, fostering local artistic connections and bringing beautiful new mural art that rotates different artist from the community throughout the year. Don’t forget to grab one of their perfect cinnamon rolls for later. — Vanessa Jean Speckman

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Food & Drink

Harvest Pizzeria sowing last seeds in German Village

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Eight years ago, Harvest Pizzeria cropped up in a small space in German Village. Today, the local pizza chain announced the closure of its flagship location.

Harvest Pizzeria German Village will open its doors for the final time on Saturday, April 27th.

“Despite the success of Harvest in German Village and our strong ties to the neighborhood, the owner of the property will not honor our renewal of the lease,” wrote founder Chris Crader in an email. “…the landlord’s demands for a new lease at a higher rate would not allow our little pizzeria to remain viable.

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Crader added that he is proud of the strides Harvest German Village has made over the years, and thankful for the community that’s supported it. He hopes they can return to the neighborhood when the right spot presents itself.

As far as the employees go, Crader wrote that with the success of the other locations, the German Village workers will be able to join a team at another restaurant.

“Harvest sincerely thanks all of its loyal supporters and we hope to see you at our other locations soon,” wrote Crader.

This news follows the announcement of the Grandview Harvest closing back in February. Read more here.

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Food & Drink

Crawfish boils claw their way into Columbus Saturday

Mike Thomas

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What’s the deal with crawfish boils? Sure, they’re delicious, but as a true land-lubbing midwesterner, my knowledge of this particular culinary phenomenon is fairly lacking.

That said, I definitely can’t tell you why there are multiple crawfish boils going down this Saturday. Best not to overthink it—just enjoy the experience!

Pecan Penny’s |113 East Main Street
Saturday at 4 PM – 7 PM

Sponsored by Brewdog, downtown BBQ joint Pecan Penny’s is kicking off patio season with an all-you-can-eat Crawfish boil, complete with giveaways and a DJ.

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Rehab Tavern | 456 W Town St
2 PM – 6 PM

Rehab’s own 4/20 crawfish boil kicks off at 2:00. Your $15.75 entrance fee will net you a pint of beer in addition to all-you-can-eat crawfish and fixins’!

Can’t make either of these, or want to try the boil experience before committing to a large-scale event? Check out Kai’s Crab Boil or Boiling Seafood Crawfish—both on Bethel Road —for first-rate seafood experiences you won’t soon forget.

Why are there two crawfish boils on the same day? Why are there two crawfish restaurants on the same road? We may never know, and honestly, who cares? Crawfish is the bomb! Just put on your bib and get crackin’!

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