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8 food, drink trails to consume & conquer this winter

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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

10 Restaurant Week destinations for date night out

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Sometimes just getting out of the house is the priority. Other times, getting out of the house without the kids is the priority. When that time strikes, get the sitter on lock and hit the town.

Restaurant Week July 15-20 is the perfect time to reconnect with your significant other without breaking the bank. Here are our top 10 picks for date night out during Restaurant Week!

South Village Grille | 197 Thurman Ave, Columbus

South Village Grille is a romantic little spot tucked in a happening strip of Thurman Avenue. During Restaurant Week, indulge in oysters (aphrodisiac), scallops, and even pork chops. Round out your night out with beignets.

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing | 215 N 4th St, Columbus

You may have been to the taproom out back, but have you dined in the front? It’s a beautiful space where beautiful food is served, like lamb racks and Black Forest Chocolate Cake.

Trillium Kitchen & Patio | 2333 N High St, Columbus

Trillium is a modern kitchen with a splendid patio, often times hosting live entertainment! Wine and dine your loved one with Trillium’s diverse wine list, tasty Restaurant Week menu, and romantic digs.

The Keep Kitchen & Liquor Bar | 50 West Broad Street Mezzanine Level, Columbus

With the watermelon salad in the first course, BBQ chicken in the second, and strawberry shortcake for the third, this summer-time menu will be the perfect seasonal date. And the dark wood ambiance will make you want to cozy up close to your date.

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The Boat House at Confluence Park | 679 W Spring St, Columbus

Suggested wine pairings with every course during Restaurant Week will help direct you and your lover down a path of sensuality. And if you’re lucky enough to get seated by the fireplace, the heat will turn up even more, literally.

M at Miranova | 2 Miranova Pl, Columbus

M recently underwent a stunning remodeling that is sure to wow your date. The menu features both surf and turf, so your taste buds will be wowed, as well.

Asterisk | 14 N State St, Westerville

This intimate supper club will really encourage you to relight the flame between you and your significant other. And with familiar favorites like ravioli, meatloaf, and chicken pot pie, you’ll go back to your roots and remember why you feel in love in the first place.

Lindey’s | 169 E Beck St, Columbus

We know it’s hot outside, but Lindey’s patio is worth the sauna experience. This restaurant is the epitome of romance and can be yours to experience for just $35 during Restaurant Week.

Spagio | 1295 Grandview Ave, Columbus

Spagio is the perfect spot for a nice dinner and, with a window on Grandview Avenue, people watching. Let the conversations flow over seafood, pastas, and prime cuts of steak during Restaurant Week.

The Market Italian Village | 1022 Summit St, Columbus

For a fun, light-hearted date with lots of character, this is your destination. Exceptional quality, outstanding service, and approachable atmosphere: The Market Italian Village.

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Food & Drink

Newly-remodeled M at Miranova has the most unique cocktails ever

Laura Dachenbach

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After a quick spring break, M at Miranova is back and open to the public with a new look, shedding its old browns and bronzes for pops of purple and elegant, cooling grays. The 18-year-old fine dining establishment is ready to show off a beautiful wooden floor, its terrace with spectacular views of the river and the city, its lounge made for an evening of small bites, an almost complete menu change, and its new line of seasonal signature cocktails.

Two Ships (Photos by Brian Kaiser)

Developed by award-winning bartender Cris Dehlavi and the beverage team, the line showcases the classic flavors of summer: coconut, pineapple, lemon, and rum.

M at Miranova aims to welcome all, and the line covers a spectrum of tastes. There’s something for everyone at your table, from the light, refreshing oral mix to the heavier, spirits-forward drink, all with an emphasis on superb and fun presentation.

“Gone are the days of the plain old glass,” said Dehlavi from behind the bar, bringing forth her concoctions.

Magic Elixer

The appropriately-named Magic Elixir, a beautiful balance of spirits and flavors, comes to your table as a blue liquid (thanks to butter y pea tea) poured over ice and garnished with flowers. Your server will add a vial of lemon tableside and ask you to stir as chemistry turns the drink a beautiful lavender. Botanist gin and an aloe vera liqueur give the drink a taste as sophisticated and surprising as its presentation.

“There’s nothing like the look on somebody’s face when you put something down in front of them like that,” said Dehlavi.

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The AHA!, a simple and refreshing drink combines a California Brut sparkling with pineapple and coconut flavors, and comes served in light- bulb shaped glassware, a nod to its moment of creative inspiration.

“We really wanted a low-proof cocktail, and kept playing with different ideas. Nothing was working,” said Dehlavi. “My daughter loves coconut water and she had coconut water in the fridge one day and I had a swig of it […] and I thought, ‘What about pineapple liqueur, coconut water, and bubbles?’ and it worked.”

AHA!

Ordered solo, the Two Ships combines Don Pancho rum, amaro, banana, and bitters over whiskey rocks. Ordered for two (or as a taster for four), the drink comes in a globe suspended on a wooden stand containing a blown glass ship and a bit of dry ice for effect.

The creamy You’ve Met Your Matcha and the rich Great Vieux round out the summer line. Your server will snap a Polaroid of the latter, but each of the drinks plays to an audience of Instagrammers, so your own phone is welcome, too. After all, it’s an experience—an impressive, yet accessible array of cocktails, and Dehlavi notes a few are already starting to become favorites.

You’ve Met Your Matcha

“I think presentation is super-important,” said Dehlavi. “We take a real culinary approach to our cocktails. Just like a culinary approach to food, you can put a piece of salmon on a plate with some asparagus and there it is, or you can make it gorgeous. And we always think about that with cocktails, too.”

M at Miranova is at 2 Miranova Pl. To book a reservation, visit matmiranova.com.

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Food & Drink

Get an insanely delicious dessert + a laugh at comedy bake shop coming soon

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Soon, you’ll be able to get some sweet comedy and even sweeter desserts in Old North. High on Sugar will be open in the space formerly occupied by Buffalo Exchange at 2643 N. High St. sometime in September.

The menu will feature inventive indulgences like shakes piles high with different cakes, ice creams, and toppings—all built your way.

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Entertainment will be offered daily, along with free WiFi and comfortable seating options. More details on the comedy component to surface closer to the open date.

Want to help make sure this sugar train stays on the tracks? Check out High on Sugar’s GoFundMe campaign here.

Learn more about the comedy bake shop here.

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