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Staycations: Getting down in Dublin

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You may overlook Dublin, Ohio as a destination to explore if you’re not a golfer or a country club socialite, but we promise there is much more to Ohio’s Emerald City than golf polos, soccer moms, and roundabouts (be careful, they’re everywhere up there). Take our advice, Dublin is becoming one of the next best destinations for food, entertainment, and off campus drinking. In addition, countless parks, outdoor events, and sightseeing opportunities give this enormous Columbus suburb its own personality worthy of your time this summer.

Head into Old Dublin on a sunny day to walk beneath the trees as you head towards the  waterfalls at Indian Run Falls. You’ll find these peaceful and secluded walking paths provide more than enough separation from the busyness and noise of campus. After enjoying your stroll, stop by Dublin’s Jeni’s ice cream location which is just a quick walk from the falls, or grab a table at Mr. Sushi for fresh seafood and a great happy hour. Sushi not your style? Not a problem. Old Dublin has other favorites all within walking distance like Harvest Pizzeria or Brazenhead.

If you’re in the mood for something more upscale, head across the river to Dublin’s newest dining, retail, and residential location known as the Bridge Street District. This “urbanburb” (whatever the hell that means) has transformed a former driving range into a haven for our generation. Growing every week with new stores and places to eat, Bridge Street has already become the perfect place to spend an evening in Dublin.

Head over to Cap City Diner, a brand new location for one the best of Cameron Mitchell’s dining experiences. Keep the classy vibe going with cocktails at the AC Lounge, the swanky new hotel bar located on the ground floor, or head on up to VASO, a rooftop bar that sits eight stories up and overlooks the entire district. Of course it’ll be hard to ignore all of the noise and fun you hear from the new PiNS Mechanical Bar and it’s just a short walk away.

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If this all sounds a tad too expensive, have no fear, food trucks regularly rotate through the district every weekend. If you’re lucky you may be graced with the Cousins Maine Lobster truck for lobster rolls that may put you in a food coma on the spot. We can assure you that all food served from a truck after 1AM tastes like pure bliss.

Cousins

If you decide to venture deeper into the city, Napa Kitchen + Bar is a quiet and authentic Italian restaurant that might cost you your whole budget but promises to serve you a meal you won’t forget. Just off of the highway, Flannagan’s remains one of Dublin’s favorite places to drink and listen to live music.

Flannagan’s

As with any city, there’s much more than the food that makes it worth visiting. We’ll assume that if you’re into golf you already know your way around the country clubs and won’t waste our time recommending places to play. While it may not come to mind as top place to visit, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium has been an excellent place to spend the day with family and friends. Winning countless awards over the years, Columbus’ zoo is an easy thing for us to take for granted if we have grown up going as kids, but if you haven’t been recently or have never been then we advise you bump this up to the top of your to-do list this summer.

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First-of-its-kind high school helps students break cycle of addiction

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Students recovery from substance use disorders often relapse upon leaving treatment and returning to their old school. A newly opened school on the city's east side seeks to help young people break the cycle of addiction through dedicated care and attention.

Heartland High School is Ohio's first school specifically for students recovering from addiction. The inaugural class consisting of 8 students will receive a recovery-centered education that aims to create a sense of belonging, self-confidence and purpose.

The purpose of a recovery high school is to give students in recovery a high-quality education in a safe and supportive environment that is specifically conducive to substance use recovery.

Heartland High School will receive and maintain a charter issued by the state board of education. Students will be awarded a state-recognized diploma upon graduation.

Heartland High School is located at 760 E. Broad Street in Columbus. For more information, visit heartlandhighschool.org.

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Review: Not Chicken Takeover debuts today!

Mitch Hooper

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Hail seitan!

No, this isn't a religious cry—it's a plant-based one. And the newest addition to the ever popular Hot Chicken Takeover will soon have everyone from carnivores to vegans saying the same thing.

Hot Chicken Takeover is a solidified Columbus staple. The lines for lunch at the North Market prove that, and expanding to Clintonville as well as Easton Town Center further show that the hype for HCT is real. And as a vegetarian, my jealousy was at an all time high. But now I can officially confirm: Hot Chicken Takeover is certified good. Look out Impossible Burger, you've got some competition.

The menu option at HCT is created out of the aforementioned seitan. Basically, as Wikipedia so eloquently describes it, it is: "Wheat gluten is a food made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving the sticky insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten." I know what you're thinking: yummy!

But before you stick up your nose, this isn't just your run-of-the-mill tofu knock-off. Compared to tofu which can become squishy and sponge-like, seitan holds it's consistency where it stays more firm similarly to what happens to fried chicken. And this holds true at Hot Chicken Takeover. Whether you have yours served on a sandwich or atop two slices of white bread, the seitan never loses it's texture and consistency. It goes to show that nine months of hard work pays off (shout out to Craig Morin!).

Speaking of texture and consistency, the exterior of the seitan brings all the flavor and heat you'd imagine from the regular menu options. It's crispy and soaks up that house-made ranch dressing, plus little fried bits fall off throughout the eating process. It's the simple things like crispy and spicy bits of the "skin" that give you the full experience.

Eating this "Not" Chicken Takeover really reminded me of my first experience of trying the Impossible Burger. As a vegetarian, you almost feel guilty eating something that resembles what it's trying to replicate so well. Though the Impossible Burger takes the crown for appearance (it freakin' bleeds, ya'll), HCT is a close rival. And the seitan at HCT isn't nearly as a flavor diva like the Impossible Burger. The flavor is similar to chicken, but it also allows the other flavors to shine like the sauce. Meanwhile, the Impossible Burger sometimes feels like it's just trying too hard. Chill out, ya know?

It's a big ask for meat-eaters to ditch the delicious chicken at HCT for a meal, but it's worth it. As I brought back leftovers to my predominately carnivorous office, the only complaint they had was they wanted more. As for my vegan and vegetarian friends, save some house made ranch for me.

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Dear I-670 drivers, your lives are about to change

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Notice anything different on your I-670 and/or I-270 commute this week? Could be the nine 600-square-foot, 110,000-pound digital signs towering over the freeway.

When operational this fall, these signs will display information about the first ever Ohio SmartLane.

The I-670 "SmartLane" is the left shoulder that will be opened when traffic slows to a crawl. It will begin just east of I-71 in downtown Columbus and extend to I-270 on the East Side.

https://twitter.com/ODOT_Columbus/status/1158603393377738752

The SmartLane will be closed most of the time, indicated by a red X. But when traffic dips below 50 mph, The Dispatch reports traffic monitors will send signals to the overhead signs to open the SmartLane.

A green arrow will appear along with a speed limit for SmartLane drivers to abide by (slower speeds keep traffic moving during congestion). A yellow indicator will appear when the lane is about to close.

ODOT will be installing more than 30 traffic cameras to monitor the lane for any obstructions, reports The Dispatch. The right shoulder of I-670 will be free for disabled vehicles to use.

The $61 million project is expected to be open in October. Visit ODOT.com for more information on the project and the new traffic patterns.

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