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Food & Drink

8 food, drink trails to consume & conquer this winter

614now Staff

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Cold weather brings a built-in excuse to stay snuggled up inside and hibernate this winter. But we want to give you every reason to go out and brave the frigid temperatures. We’ve compiled a partial list of the fine indoor adventures available to the local foodie or beer snob who wants a conquest to brighten up their winter darkness.

Here are eight of my favorite edible and drinkable tours just begging for you to embark upon this winter:

Columbus Coffee Trail: If your mittens aren’t doing the job, warm up your paws this winter with the Columbus Coffee Trail. With 23 stops around the city, this trail is guaranteed to get your heart rate and productivity a-buzzing. And not only will you be hella caffeinated when you’re through, but after just four stamps on your trail card, you’ll be the proud new owner of a Columbus Coffee t-shirt.

Dublin Celtic Cocktail Trail: Round up your best mates and hit the Celtic Cocktail Trail in Dublin. There are 11 stops (which you are strongly advised not to make all in one day) featuring such green drinks as 101 Beer Kitchen’s “Muck of the Irish,” Pins Mechanical Company’s “Leatherlip’s Revenge,” and Vaso’s “Liffey’s Cooler.” It’s like St. Patrick’s Day whenever you please! And yes, there’s a t-shirt prize involved. Slánte, lads.

Ohio Buckeye Candy Trail: Football’s not really your thing but you still want to participate in game day festivities? Skip the stadium and hit the Ohio Buckeye Candy Trail! This sweet, 31-stop adventure takes you all around the great state of Ohio to the best bake shops growing chocolate and peanut butter nuts, including seven right here in Columbus. Gotta eat on the run? Hit up the Chocolate Cafe at 1855 Northwest Boulevard for an on-the-go dozen in an incredible, edible box!

Columbus Meat Lover’s Tour: Where’s the beef, you ask? Why, on the Columbus Meat Lover’s Tour, of course! On this four-stop journey, carnivores will encounter and devour farm-fresh cuts and innovative preparations, a pair of ethnic cuisines displaying novel uses for a wide range of proteins, and a smokehouse with a long history of preparing European-style smoked and cured meats at Skillet, Thurn’s, Apna Bazaar, and The Refectory. (Vegans and vegetarians need not apply for this one.)

Columbus Ale Trail: With 40 breweries and counting, Columbus boasts one of the booziest craft beer scenes in the Midwest (next, the world!). We don’t want you wasting precious porter time behind bars, so queue up the Uber, lushes, we’re going Columbus Ale Trailing! From sours to sasions, rooftops to restaurants, you and 2,370-ish of your closests friends will crawling your way through the tipsy trail and gathering prizes along the way.

Ohio Ice Cream Trail: You’ll scream for the two local scoop shops on the Ohio Ice Cream Trail. Our very own Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at 714 N High St, Columbus and Johnson’s Real Ice Cream at 2728 E Main St, Bexley landed themselves a spot on the highly-coveted 20-stop list. Unfortunately, there’s no prize for completing this trail, but a t-shirt is moot compared to the joy a few scoops of ice cream can bring you.

Ultimate Pizza Road Trip Across America: On an ambitious mission to find the best pizza in the United States, a national blog known for its “best of” lists uncovered two saucy gems right here in Columbus. Rave Reviews took their readers around the country to find the 50 best pizzas and it just so happens that two are located right here in the (614). Rubino’s Pizza and Mikey’s Late Night Slice are both slivers in the pie that is the Ultimate Pizza Road Trip Across America.

Alt Eat Ethnic Food Tour: Give your meat and potatoes diet a break with the Columbus Food Adventures Alt Eat Ethnic Food Tour where you’ll learn about the cuisines and cultures of some of Columbus’s finest immigrant kitchens. Experience Somali cuisine, eat Vietnamese sandwiches, sample Nigerian food, visit a Mexican bakery, learn about Salvadoran delicacies, and more on this unique adventure.

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Food & Drink

Too Good to Eat: Hubbard Grille’s Short Rib and Shrimp shareable

@findyourfork

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If looks could krill, you would be on the floor. Literally.

Hubbard Grille's Short Rib and Shrimp shareable dish will knock you right out of your seat because it will hit you hard and fast with flavor and more.

Photo by Angela Lee of @findyourfork

Imagine this: the most tender and delicious pulled beef short rib layered on a bed of the creamiest and cheesiest white cheddar grits with tomato jus. Top the bite-sized goodness off with a perfectly tender and seasoned prawn, add some color and texture with delicately placed microgreens and take that first bite.

With that first bite, you’ve just experienced one of the most delicious flavor profiles that the Columbus food scene has to offer. Second bite and your taste buds are just begging, pleading, and crying for more. Third bite and you are already shamelessly scraping off every last drop, speck, and flavor from the dish with your spoon.

You might actually even pick up the dish with your own two hands and unashamedly lick the plate clean. You might also start bargaining with your fellow table mates to negotiate the remaining pieces on the plate.

No judgement here. We have all done it at one point. You gotta do what you gotta do, am I right?

Hubbard Grille is located at 793 N. High St. in the Short North. To learn more + view the menu, visit hubbardgrille.com.

@findyourfork your average noodle connoisseur, taco devourer, and mimosa lover. When she's not busy snapping pictures of her latest yummy foodie adventures, you'll find her at your local coffee shop casually relaxing with a pastry in hand and a latte in the other.

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Food & Drink

Beloved burger joint opening in Hilliard next week

614now Staff

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Swensons Drive-In is expanding their central Ohio footprint in just a few days. The Hilliard stand will open at 4810 Cemetery Rd. on Monday, September 23.

Hilliard will be the third stand in Columbus with a locations in Dublin and Polaris.

The Akron-based burger chain prepares their burgers, including the signature Galley Boy, using premium cuts of beef ground fresh daily and made to order. The buttered and toasted buns only add to the juiciness of the meat.

https://twitter.com/SwensonsDriveIn/status/1175043808268099585

Apart from the greasy goodness that is Swensons food, one of the other reasons to patronize the stand is its car-side service. From the comfort of your pajama pants, Swensons Curb Servers will be at your window, eager to take your order and sprint, literally sprint, it back to the kitchen for preparation. Just be sure to not drop a single Potato Teezer between your seat because we all know that is the land of no return.

Visit www.swensonsdriveins.com for more information.

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Food & Drink

Review: Matt & Tony’s dishes out classic comfort food in downtown

Regina Fox

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I've gotten to try a lot of interesting cuisine with this job, but it's rare that I get the opportunity to sample a mother's spaghetti recipe outside of my childhood home. This is the type of experience that Matt & Tony's Wood Fired Kitchen, which recently opened inside the former CBC Restaurant space, offers its guests.

At Matt & Tony's, you don't have to sneak off to the bathroom to Google what a menu item is so you don't look ignorant in front of your date, and that's what makes it so great.

The menu bodes familiar comforts like fried chicken, fish & chips, veal parmesan, and burgers. There's no proprietary flare or fancy sauce smears around your plate—it's all just damn good food.

I sampled Madeline's Spaghetti & Meatballs, which is straight from the cookbook of co-owner Matt Rootes' mother. The sauce was sweet and plentiful while the meatballs were hearty and succulent. I didn't want to gorge myself on the first entree, but I couldn't seem to stop twirling those perfectly-boiled noodles around my fork...

Next up was a Wood Grilled Steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli. I heard once that butter wasn't a carb, so I spread it on thick and cut myself a piece with a crispy fat edge—juicy, tender, and lean. I didn't eat all 12 oz., but I very easily could have.

The Fork N' Knife BBQ Ribs at Matt & Tony's are straight out of a BBQ fairy tale. This healthy helping of slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone meat is smothered in sauce and almost impossible to put down. You may not be excusing yourself to Google what you just nervously and unknowingly ordered, but you'll probably require a bathroom mirror to make sure you've wiped all the sauce off your mug after devouring these racks.

Feeling like Thanksgiving? Have a little alternative celebration for yourself with Matt & Tony's Half Roasted Chicken with crushed herbs and lemon butter. Slip into a food coma with the sides of potatoes and seasonal vegetable. Dream a little dream of country gravy (which can be found drowning the fried chicken dinner entree).

Rootes says he and his partner Tony Wildman chose to open Matt & Tony's to give the people of downtown an option for high-quality steaks and seafood at a reasonable price without all the "frou-frou." I, for one, think that's exactly what downtown needs.

While so many other restaurants are reaching for globally-inspired dishes made with ingredients you can pronounce, Matt & Tony's is executing classic comfort dishes you grew up on in a warm, inviting atmosphere—it's like a little slice of home on Short St.

Matt & Tony's is located at 525 Short Street and is open 11am- 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 11am- 11pm Friday and Saturday. Visit mattandtonys.com for more information.

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