Upcoming Event: Taste of Dine Originals

Mark your calendars for this Thursday (May 9th), as Dine Originals Columbus holds it’s annual fundraising event in partnership with Buckeye Ranch, the Taste of Dine Originals. Representatives from DOC’s 50 member restaurants and 30+ wineries, beer brewers, and micro-distillers serve up food and drink that shows you the best of what each has to offer. It’s an event I’ve enjoyed attending over the last few years, and am continually surprised at the creativity the chefs show when given free reign to display their craft. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the event last year, after missing it in 2011 because I was in the hospital. A deep and heartfelt thanks goes out to the organizers of the event, who have, in previous years, let me attend the event gratis. Since I’m likely not attending this year, and since I completely neglected to do the write-up immediately after last year’s event, I’m hoping that my entry about the 2012 event will convince you that you really want to go – tickets are a little bit steep for most at $100 each, but then again we’re talking about great food and drink from a whole room of independent restaurants. It’s a great way to spend a weekday night, going from table to table, talking to the chefs and noshing at each one, drink in hand while you run into those people that you’re happy to see because it’s been a while, but who you usually only run into at these food events.

I think if one particular chef embraces the philosophy of the independent spirit, it’s Alana Shock. The great thing about dining at her restaurant, Alana’s Food and Wine, is that you never really know what’s going to be on the menu, as it is seasonally driven and each menu is created that day based on what ingredient has inspired her at farmers markets or other local purveyors. Personally, I think her strong suit is in her small plates and risottos, but I’ve never once disliked anything I’ve ever eaten there. The same could be said for her offerings at this event, as she has been known to put out at least a dozen different things (not all at one time, mind you – 3 or 4 at a time, switched out for other things a few times that night). You can’t go wrong here – even if it’s something you’re not familiar with, try it anyway. It’ll be delicious.

Alana Shock from Alana's Food and Wine

One of the new features of last year’s event (in addition to the change of locale from Italian Village to the Capital University Field House in Bexley) is that Edible Columbus hosted an artisan’s market that featured many local farmers and other producers, and which allowed people to talk directly to those who create their food and try various samples in a laid-back environment. Luna Burger and Shagbark (seen below) are just a couple of the many, many others that will be there.

Shagbark Black Beans

I’m usually not a fan of meatless burgers, but Luna Burger will convince you that there are meatless alternatives that are worth seeking out.

Luna Burger

One thing I really dug abut last year’s event was that DeepWood made their own charcuterie plates. Loved loved loved this.

Charcuterie from DeepWood

Some bites are hot, some are cold. One thing I do know for certain is that you’ll be full to bursting long before you get the opportunity to try everything, so plan accordingly. Seriously. I’m still full from last year (nah, not really – but couldn’t eat another thing until lunch the next day).

Squash from Spinelli's Deli

Local fave Katzinger’s Delicatessen had a few different sandwich bites, but this corned beef sung to me.

Corned Beef Bites from Katzinger's Delicatessen

Just in case I haven’t convinced you yet, take a second to check out my set on Flickr with the rest of the pics:

Taste of Dine Originals 2012 pics

At any rate, if you’d like to go, you can get tickets at this link: Taste of Dine Originals tickets. And I believe that they are also available at the door for $100 for unlimited tastings and samples (please correct me on this if I’m wrong, Dine Originals folks). The event will be held from 6-9pm at the Capital University Fieldhouse at 670 Pleasant Ridge Avenue in Columbus. Hope you get a chance to go, if you can only go to a handful of these events each year, this should be one that’s near the top of your list.

Event: Slice of Columbus 2011/2012

I love pizza.  Okay, I admit it.  Is that so wrong?

I’m not talking about big corporate pizza chains like Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesars, etc.  I love *good* pizza.  There are plenty of good independent pizzerias in Columbus.

Those pizzerias, as well as some of the chains, are represented at Slice of Columbus.

 

Slice of Columbus is an annual competition amongst the best of Columbus’s pizzerias. B. and I attended Slice of Columbus 2011, where she judged and I — as usual — captured the event for posterity on one of our digital cameras.

Slice of Columbus is a charity event which benefits Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This year’s event is open to the public at a cost of $15 per person at the door or $40 for a family pass (2 adults and up to three children plus five free Pepsi products).  Slice of Columbus 2012 will be at Columbus Commons downtown, from 5pm to 9pm today.  Attendees will be able to try all the competitors’ pizzas, if you’re willing to wait in a couple dozen fast-moving lines.  Trust me, you won’t leave hungry.

 

Last year’s Slice of Columbus was held at Huntington Park in the Arena District. We had a lovely view of the outfield from the press box…

A Slice of Columbus 2011 at Huntington Park

 

We’re not sure whose pizza this was, but it certainly rocked.

Good Pizza

 

And then there was the Dire Pizza[tm].  Definitely a congealed, greasy mess.
Bad Pizza

 

This pizza looked perfect to me, but made B. reach for the Rolaids…
Spicy Pizza

 

If you want more information about this year’s Slice of Columbus directly from their website, go here.

 

All proceeds from the Slice of Columbus benefit Pediatric Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, so you won’t just enjoy pizza — you’ll be doing a good deed!

See you there!

Event: Taste the Future 2012

B. and I have gone to Taste the Future every year since 2006. It’s always great to see the best that Columbus restaurants have to offer, and this year was no exception. It was a shame that the threat of inclement weather forced the event to be held in the parking garage; alas, a dimly-lit parking garage doesn’t allow for good photos.

Taste the Future is, of course, the annual fund-raiser for Columbus State Community College’s Culinary Apprenticeship program. This three year program produces graduates who have gone through 4000 hours of apprenticeship at a sponsoring restaurant while completing their Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts at the College. Graduates, in addition to earning their degree, also earn ACF certification as Certified Culinarians.  They are usually in high demand throughout the region.

Many of the restaurants which participate in Taste the Future employ Culinary Apprenticeship students during their apprenticeship; those participating restaurants who do not apprentice, hire the program’s graduates.

There were plenty of highlights at this year’s Taste the Future. One of my favorites was this Liptauer Cheese Crostini:

Crostini from Metro Cuisine Catering

Costco represented themselves well with this Tuxedo Cake:

Cake from Costco

Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a good picture of my single most favorite item, Bob Evans Farms’ Braised Pork Belly “Cones”. I went back for more than one of those.

Blackwell Inn of Ohio State University’s Fisher College had a nearly-as-irresistable offering in their Confit of Duroc Pork Wonton with Pickled Red Onion, Micro Greens, and Herbs:

Duroc Pork Wonton from The Blackwell Inn

Bob Evans did offer up Mashed Potato Doughnuts, which were very good. It’s a pity I’m not a huge fan of coffee, they might’ve been even better dunked in some java…

Doughnuts and Coffee from Bob Evans

The Easton Hilton delighted my palate with one of my favorite proteins: Duck Three Ways. Didn’t see the cherry risotto that they were supposed to offer, oh well…

Duck from Hilton at Easton

Last, but certainly not least, is The Kroger Company’s Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a good mousse cake (think Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake from the Cheesecake Factory and you’ve pretty much hit the mark). This was worthy of comparison. In fact, this was BETTER.

Cake from Kroger

If you’d like to see all the photos I took of the event, take a look at the slideshow. Until next time…

FTC disclosure: I was provided with a free pass to the event, along with extra tickets to give away.

Event: Taste the Future 2011 and Ticket Giveaway for 2012!

Taste the Future has always been one of my favorite food events in Columbus, and it’s one I’ve attended every year since I first discovered it (in 2006 or so). We’re quickly coming up on that time again (this time around, a few weeks earlier than it’s traditionally been held because of Columbus State’s switch to the semester system). So be sure to mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 21st, as this is one event you don’t want to miss.

I did manage to be able to go last year, thanks to CSCC’s generosity. It was an off year for me (I wasn’t fully mobile yet, and pushing myself around in a walker plum tuckered me out in no time flat). And last year, because of threat of rain, it was held in the parking garage, so the lighting was a bit off for getting great pictures. Still, I heartily enjoyed the experience, and here are a few images from the event:

Pepper and Cheese Skewers from Sidecar Global Catering

Heirloom BLT Bites- Mini Quiche with Heirloom Tomatoes, Applewood Bacon, & Aged Cheddar, Micro Greens from Lindey's

Shrimp, Chicken, & Andouille Étouffée over Mushroom Rice from Creole Kitchen

Tuna in a Can from Cameron Mitchell Catering

Sushi from AVI Fresh

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes from 3 Babes and a Baker

There’s tons of additional pictures, and you can see the rest of the slideshow here:

Once again, Columbus State has been generous enough to provide me with extra tickets which I’m giving away here on the blog. I’m using a different method of letting you enter and choosing the winner this year, which will provide you with tons of extra opportunities for entries, and can track all the entries and choose the winner much more easily. The only one that is a mandatory entry is the question, the rest are optional, but will allow you up to 30 entries rather than just 5. The giveaway ends on 8/17/2012, and winners must confirm attendance by Monday morning (8/20/2012) or another winner will be drawn. Three pairs of tickets will be given away in total. Please don’t enter if you are aren’t planning on being in the Columbus area on August 21st, and all winners must be of legal drinking age. The only method of entering is through the Rafflecopter plugin, so comments on this blog entry won’t count. If you’re having problems entering, please comment to let me know.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, everyone – and even if you don’t win tickets, I hope to see you at the event! It provides scholarships to Columbus State Culinary students, and is tax deductible. You can get more information about the event (and the dishes the participating restaurants plan on serving) on the CSCC Taste the Future web site.

Update: You can now earn 5 additional entries by following me on Pinterest – simple to do using the widget above. :)

May is for Foodies!

May is always, always one of my favorite months of the year – if not for the great weather (the cold snaps of early spring are behind us, and the weather is still cool enough to enjoy spending time outdoors), then definitely for the events for food lovers that are held this month. Today I’m going to talk about a couple of my favorites – the Taste of Dine Originals and the North Market Apron Gala.

Last May, I was definitely in a whole different place than I’m in this year – I started out the month with a slim to none prognosis of survival, with the best case scenario was that even if I managed to make it through my acute respiratory distress alive, I’d be tethered to a ventilator for my remaining time on earth, which would probably be no longer than a year because human lungs aren’t designed to handle that kind of stress before other organ systems start to fail one by one. When I woke up the second week of May, I was still a bit delusional about my condition – here I was unable to even sit up in bed without falling over, but still thought somehow that I’d be recovered enough in the next week or two to handle all of my usual May events. What the heck was I thinking? But miracles do happen, for sure, and I’m fortunate enough to not only be fully recovered, but to be able to attend both events that are near and dear to me for a multitude of reasons. And you can see why this year is extra special to me.

Lamb Sirloin with Sweet Pea and Minted Pesto from Basi Italia

Tonight’s event, the Taste of Dine Originals, lets the 50 member restaurants of Dine Originals Columbus put their best food forward, offering delicious examples of what makes them restaurants that I’m happy to patronize. Each one is different, and the variety of restaurants that belong (all independents, natch) are a direct reflection of the awesome mix of people we have in our fine capital city. There are fine dining options to go along with the casual spots, ethnic or as American as apple pie, spots at all price points, spots that are open all day, spots that are only open for a few hours a night. In addition to trying dishes from some of my favorite local chefs, there are also other reasons to go – a new venue, local wines and microbrews, and new this year, Edible Columbus is hosting a Food & Artisan Fair at the event, which offers local farmers and artisan food producers to offer samples and information about their methods, farms and products.

Parfait of Walnut Cake with Buttercream Espresso from Alana's Food and Wine

The food is always fabulous at the event – you can see my coverage of previous years here: 2010, 2009.

According to the event planners, “Our signature annual event, Taste of Dine Originals, is one of Ohio’s best food and wine events, featuring tastings and samplings from 50 regional restaurants, 30 vineyards, 2 craft breweries, and a couple of micro distilleries. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or an intrigued beginner, chefs, brew masters, and winery representatives welcome you as they mix useful knowledge with tastings of signature dishes and interesting beverages. The silent auction features cooking lessons, private dinners, special events, works of art and rare bottles of wine. This year’s event will be held at Capital University’s Capital Center, at 2360 East Mound Street, Columbus, OH 43209. The event will be open from 6-9:30pm. Tickets are $100, proceeds from this event are shared by Dine Originals Columbus and The Buckeye Ranch, which offers mental health treatment and alcohol and drug services for children. Dine Originals Columbus celebrates, supports and promotes the culinary diversity that locally owned and operated member restaurants contribute to the identity and culture of our city. We are committed to strengthening the local economy and enriching our community through education and charitable partnerships. The Buckeye Ranch and Dine Originals both support this community and strive, each in their own manner, to make Central Ohio a better place for everyone.

Later this month is the other event that is one of my annual favorites, the North Market Apron Gala – we’ve personally been attending since 2006 (Paul attended last year, although I couldn’t make it). In many ways the event is the same from year to year, but with each passing year the landscape of the North Market has changed – it is a living, breathing entity unto itself which has its own ebbs and flows – as old favorites disappear, new favorites appear in their place. No matter what, each year is worth attending – not only does it help support a vibrant public market, but it’s also one of those events that you can’t go five feet without seeing someone you know. Catching up with everyone while noshing on delicious food? Count me in!

Pastry from Mozart's

This year, the event is being held on Saturday, May 19th from 7-10pm. Tickets are $75 per person and are available online or through the North Market Business Office (2nd floor of the market at 59 Spruce St, Columbus). Call 614-463-9664 for more information.

Event: 2011 North Market Apron Gala

Sad to say, I wasn’t able to make it to the Apron Gala this past year. I held an unrealistic hope that I’d be well enough to attend, but that would have depended on me getting off a ventilator, getting my trach removed, and being able to hold myself upright in a matter of 2 short weeks after being in a medically induced coma for over a month. When I plan, I plan big. I was depressed about missing it – it was the first time in many years that I missed both the North Market Apron Gala *and* the Taste of Dine Originals events. Paul, like a trooper, went in my place, and managed to get quite a few nice pictures. But this year? I’m going to go, and will actually wear an apron this year. Save the date, it’s just a few short months away now on Saturday, May 19th. More details as the date gets closer. In the meantime, enjoy these pics of last year’s event. The link to the slideshow of all pictures can be found at the bottom of this entry.

Vegetable Stromboli from Sarefino's

Mixed Baby Green Salad at Pastaria

Pastry from Mozart's

Summer Rolls from Lan Viet

Chicken Salad from Kitchen Little

Ham Balls from Bluescreek

Slideshow:

Event: The Making of a Chef at CSCC + Giveaway!

As many of you already know, I’ve been attending and blogging about Taste the Future, the annual fundraiser that provides scholarships for those who are going through the Culinary program at Columbus State, for many years now. Off the top of my head, I want to say that I’ve been there every time since 2006. And, at least to me, it’s one of my favorite culinary events of the year. But my participation has always been limited to attending and blogging about it – even though I knew that the money raised would go to students, I had never met or spoken to any of the students.

So when Elissa from CSCC’s Development Foundation asked me If I wanted to sit in on a class, I didn’t hesitate before saying yes. There have been many times over the years that I’ve toyed with the idea of cooking professionally, so it was absolutely fascinating to be able to quite literally see and taste the care and discipline it takes to make it through the three year program.

Each class begins with a mini-lecture that teaches theory and/or clarifies the concepts that the students will work on in the kitchen. Team assignments are made, with each person in the team being given a task to work on. The topic of this particular day was cheesemaking, with the gentlemen of Canal Junction cheeses there as guest speakers.

Before they got started on making three varieties of fresh cheeses (quark, ricotta, and mozzarella), the chefs went to work setting up their mis en place, with their sharp chef’s knives making quick work of chopping up fresh herbs.

cscc_herbs

I had a definite case of equipment envy, especially the Robo-Coupe they used to make pesto.

cscc_pesto

The rest of prep before making the cheese involved roasting garlic, rehydrating and chopping sun-dried tomatoes, and slicing berries. Luckily, they have several hours to prep/cook before presenting their dishes to the instructor and the rest of the class, so the pace is far more relaxed than it would be in an actual restaurant. They get on-the-job training during the 6,000 hours they work in a restaurant outside of the classroom in order to earn their credentials. Most of the restaurants involved in Taste the Future employ CSCC students and alumni.

cscc_addins

Ricotta was probably the easiest to make – the addition of an acid to the milk causes it to separate into curds and whey.

cscc_ricotta

Quark seemed just as simple to make, using a method that can easily be done in a home kitchen.

cscc_drained

Making mozzarella cheese is a bit more complicated because it involves the addition of rennet, which can ruin the whole batch if you add too much. Even though there were some problems along the way, everyone managed to get to the part where you have to stretch the mozzarella well before the deadline.

Stretching the Mozzarella

With the addition of the add-ins the students had prepped earlier, every group made spirals that were popping with flavor.

cscc_rolling

My favorite of the bunch were the ones filled with pesto.

Pesto-filled mozzarella spirals

Quark is a pretty neutral cheese on its own, but can easily be flavored with other ingredients to be sweet or savory.

cscc_quark

We really enjoyed the pesto quark, which had an in-your-face garlic punch.

cscc_pestoquark

The berry quark was equally as good, just In a different way.

cscc_berryquark

And I got to sample almost all of the cheeses Canal Junction produces. Yummy stuff, and local to boot.

cscc_samples

I really enjoyed myself during this class. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the students, and was impressed by the passion and hard work involved in completing this program. I really love what they’re doing there, and your support during Taste the Future allows them to subsidize the cost of the program.

For those of you who have stuck around this long, I’m giving away a pair of tickets ($200 value) to next Tuesday’s event. To enter, go to the Taste the Future website, peruse the menu, and tell me what one item you’re most interested in trying. Leave a comment on this entry with that information, making sure to provide me with an email address where I can contact you if you win. I’ll accept entries until Sunday, September 11th at 11:59pm and draw and notify the winner immediately thereafter. Earn an extra entry by tweeting about this giveaway (make sure there’s an @columbusfoodie somewhere in your tweet so I see it and it gets counted. Limit one entry per person per entry method.

Congrats to LeAnn Purdy, the winner as chosen by Random.org. I will contact you directly to give you further instructions.

Some Upcoming Columbus Events

I usually don’t promote events on the front page (instead, I list them on a separate Ohio Events page), but these are ones I wanted to bring attention to specifically, either because I’m involved directly, or because they are fundraising efforts for charities I believe in. Please be sure to check out one of these events if possible, and do your part in recognizing the awesome food and talent in some of these local restaurants.

A Taste of Columbus Logo

Tomorrow (September 28th) is A Taste of Columbus, hosted by the Renaissance Hotel and Latitude 41, and benefitting OhioHealth HomeReach Hospice, will be held on the rooftop pool deck at the hotel. It will feature cocktails and food from some of Columbus’ best restaurants (the Refectory, G. Michaels, Latitude 41, Barcelona, Basi Italia, and Jeni’s Ice Cream). The event runs from 5:30-8pm. The tickets are $50 per person, and tickets can be purchased here.

Taste of Grandview Logo

If A Taste of Columbus is a bit out of your price range, then consider checking out A Taste of Grandview, which has free admission – the catch is that if you’d like something to eat, you’ll most likely pay a nominal amount which each restaurant will set separately (last year, from accounts I’ve read, some samples were free, other cost as much as $5 or $6).

It will be held Sunday, October 3rd from 2-7pm, rain or shine, in McKinley Field Park at 1661 Goodale Blvd. According to their Facebook page, it looks like there are 25 different restaurants participating, so this is one you don’t want to miss. :)

Local Foods Week Logo

Last but not least, Local Matters is hosting Local Foods Week from October 2nd-8th, a celebration of all things local. Here is more information, according to their press release:

The Food Revolution Comes to Central Ohio

Local Foods Week and Eat Local Challenge, October 2-8, 2010

Columbus, Ohio, September 13, 2010 — Central Ohio not-for-profit Local Matters announces its second annual Local Foods Week from October 2-8, 2010 and issues a challenge to the community in support of local food.

In addition to a week of fun festivities for Local Foods Week like the Harvest Ball, the Market to Market Ride, and the Grilled Cheese Throwdown, Local Matters is also challenging the community to deepen their connection to local food through their first Eat Local Challenge.

“This year we wanted to use Local Foods Week to ask the community to step up their commitment to eating more local food, so we’ve launched the Eat Local Challenge.  Individuals pledge a personal commitment to local food and get entered for a chance to win great prizes like a ‘Pantry Makeover’ with local products from Whole Foods, or 26 weeks of the Weekly Fresh Market Bag from the Greener Grocer,” says Local Matters Executive Director, chef Michael Jones.

“We’re inviting people to step out of their normal routine and try some of the delicious foods that are grown, raised and prepared here in Ohio,” said Dr. Shella Farooki a radiologist and member of the planning committee for Local Foods Week. “Increasing the proportion of fresh foods in your diet can have a big impact when it comes to your health.”

Angela Stoll Petro, founder of Two Caterers and a lead sponsor of Local Foods Week, shared her thoughts: “Two Caterers made a commitment to local food because fresh Ohio foods taste better on their own, which means less salt and sugar are needed.  Fewer preservatives make it great for your health.  The shorter distance from farm to fork means more nutrient rich food and less fuel consumed.  And then there’s that much needed boost to family farms and Ohio’s economy.  You can’t ask for a better way to confront many of the biggest issues we’re facing right now, and all at once!”

Full details and registration for Local Foods Week events and the Eat Local Challenge can be found at EatLocalOhio.org.

Local Matters work directly confronts the childhood obesity and diabetes epidemics; provides healthy food access in our communities; supports family farms; and advocates for fair food policies. To learn more, visit Local-Matters.org.

Here is a rundown of the events for the week:

Friday, October 1, 2010, 5-7pm, $5 for the tasting purchased at Whole Foods
Pre-party at Whole Foods (Lane Ave and Dublin locations)

Whole Foods “Fridays Five After Five” wine tasting will benefit Local Matters in celebration of Local Foods Week.

Saturday, October 2, 2010, 9am-2pm, FREE
Harvest Festival at North Market

We’ll kick off Local Foods Week at the North Market Harvest Festival with cooking demonstrations and the launch of the Eat Local Challenge.

Saturday, October 2, 2010, 8am-1pm, $15 in advance, $20 day of
Market to Market Ride

Bicyclists can sign up to participate in the festive ride from North Market to Hills Market in celebration of local food. Reserve your spot in the Market to Market Ride now.

Saturday, October 2, 2010, 10am-2pm, FREE
Ohio Market Day at The Hills Market

Meet the people who make your food. Find new (and delicious) Ohio food products to put on your shelves. Taste new treats and learn about what makes local food (and local markets) so great! Hills Market will be having cooking demonstrations featuring local ware, as well as prizes and giveaways.

Saturday, October 2, 2010, 6:30-8:30pm, $5 tickets at the door
Grilled Cheese Throwdown during the Short North Gallery Hop at MoJoe Lounge

Chefs from Skillet, Deepwood, Betty’s, and the MoJoe will compete alongside amateurs for the title of “grilled cheese master” using local breads, cheeses and toppings.

Sunday, October 3, 2010, 9am-11:30am, $10 for adults, $5 for children 3-12, FREE for children 2 and under
Local Breakfast in Old Worthington

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams will provide delicious waffles and toppings paired with locally made ham alongside sausage from the Worthington Inn for a fantastic breakfast feast. Snowville Creamery will be on hand to pour their delicious milk and Stauf’s Coffee will give you the jolt you need to get going! Reserve your spot now.

Sunday, October 3, 2010, 12-2pm, FREE
Brookside Elementary School Garden Tour and Picnic

Tour one of Ohio’s award winning (and largest) school gardens at Brookside Elementary in Perry Township/Worthington and hear more about our Food is Elementary Curriculum. Bring a picnic and games to enjoy with your family.

Sunday, October 3, 2010, 5:30-7:30pm, $15 Student Tickets, $25 Public Tickets
Iron Chef Competition at OSU Student Union

Chef Ricky Barnes from Ohio State and Chef Stazi Dulman from Whole Foods will compete to impress at the OSU student union using a “secret ingredient” grown at Honey Run Farm. Hosted by OSU student group Dollars 4 Change. Buy your tickets now!

Monday, October 4, 2010, 5:30-7pm (happy hour) $25 Happy Hour and 7-9pm (dinner) $75 Dinner
Local Matters Benefit Happy Hour and Dinner at Alana’s Food and Wine

Chef Alana Shock, a founding partner of Local Matters will host a private happy hour and benefit dinner for Local Matters and show how her food exemplifies the best of the season. Happy Hour tickets will include hors d’oeuvres and wine; Dinner tickets include a multiple course meal served family style and wine. Make your reservations by calling Alana’s at (614) 294-6783

Tuesday, October 5, 2010, All Night, Prices Vary
Restaurant Night

Featuring Local Restaurants listed on Fresh Connect who will feature special dishes from local farms. A great chance to get out and support local restaurants who are supporting our local farmers. Participating restaurants will be announced during the week of September 20th.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 5-7 pm, $25
Tour Jeni’s Splendid Kitchen

An exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ delicious operations. Jeni will prepare a special Pumpkin Tiramisu Parfait with Ohio Heirloom Pumpkin Icecream, Stauf’s Black Coffee Icecream, Mascarpone Whipped Snowville Cream, and a Marsala Honey Sauce. Tour and taste! Buy your tickets now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 7-9pm
Movie Night

Screenings of Fresh- a movie that celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Locations to be announced soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010, 6:00pm or 7:30pm seatings, $10 adults, $5 kids (10 and under)
Local Foods Fall Family Fun Dinner

A Benefit for Local Matters at The Hills Market
All Ohio house-made chicken tenders, Ohio sweet potatoes and Ohio apple sauce served with Snowville Creamery milk and Ohio Apple Sundae with Jeni’s ice cream for dessert. Includes fall holiday activities and fun in the kitchen with a special guest. Ohio wine and beer cash bar available.
Location: The Hills Market 7860 Olentangy River Rd, Columbus
Time: Buffet runs between 6:00 seating and 7:30 seating – limited to 60 people.

Thursday, October 7, 2010
Ohio Wine and Food Tasting at House Wine in Worthington

House Wine will offer a variety of Ohio wines and foods for their weekly Thursday night wine tasting.

Thursday, October 7, 2010, 6-9:30pm, $60
Culinary Tour

Local Foods week tour presented by Columbus Food Adventures highlighting some of the talented chefs who emphasize local sourcing. Four stops include Skillet, Latitude 41, Clever Crow (at Circus) and Knead and will also feature CBC beer to accompany Clever Crow pizza. Tickets must be booked in advance and can be purchased at www.columbusfoodadventures.com

Friday, October 8, 2010, Harvest Dinner 6:30-8pm, $75, Harvest Ball 8-12pm $25
Harvest Dinner Prior to the Harvest Ball the Harvest Dinner will feature a five course dinner with beer and wine. Harvest Dinner tickets include entrance to the Harvest Ball.
Harvest Ball Local Matters will close out Local Foods Week and the Ohio Eat Local Challenge with a party of grand proportions featuring great music, delicious local food and delightful drinks. Reserve your tickets now.

As you can see, many of the events are low cost or free, so there’s something for everyone. Hope I see you all at one or at all of the events. :)

Event: Taste the Future 2010

This past Tuesday, P. and I attended Taste the Future, Columbus State Community College’s annual fundraiser to help raise money for scholarships to help send hospitality students through the three-year program.

Under almost perfect weather conditions (mid 70′s, clear), we enjoyed an evening of running into a bunch of people we knew, eating more food than we thought was humanly possible (I was only able to try 60% of what was there, and was full for an entire day after the event!), and got to talk to familiar faces in the culinary world, many of whom I have since found out are graduates of the CSCC program. Please be sure to show your support to the restaurants involved, as they all have a connection to the hospitality program, either by employing graduates, or working directly with the department in apprenticing budding chefs. While I was fortunate to be able to attend on a press pass, I can easily say that this is one event that is well worth the $100 per person ticket price.

Here are just a few photos from that evening of some of the fantastic dishes we got to try…

Watermelon Gelee, Crab & Avocado with Tomato Vinaigrette from Cameron Mitchell Catering

Pastries from Mozart's Cafe

Cucumber Crostini topped with Herb Boursin Sprea, Prosciutto, Watermelon Gazpacho and Microgreens from The Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus

Shrimp Cocktail Kabob from Columbus Fish Market

Tuna Tartare with Gaufrette Potato Chip and Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette from Lindey's Restaurant & Bar

Tomato, Melon and Cheese Skewers from Luce Enoteca

You can view more of my photos from that evening (over 100 of them!) by checking out my Flickr set.

The event was only a few days ago, and I’m already looking forward to next year. So, did you go? If you did, what was your favorite dish of the evening?

Would You Like to Taste the Future?

tastethefuturelogo

It’s that time of year again! Year after year, we love going to Taste the Future, Columbus State Community College’s fundraising event for the Hospitality program at the college – and most of the restaurants participating in the event either employ CSCC graduates or work closely with the program during their apprenticeship. This year the event will be held on Tuesday, September 14th on the Columbus State main campus. The weather forecast looks promising (mid-70′s and clear), so it should once again be an awesome event that shows off the best of what Columbus has to offer.

We stopped by their Media Preview Party last night at the Polaris Hilton, and ate dishes made by CSCC alumnus Executive Chef Kevin Ball.

Chef Kevin Ball of the Polaris Hilton

Honestly, I never even knew there was a restaurant there. I loved their burgers, perfectly cooked and delicious ground ribeye on a bun with garlic aioli. I’m going to have to come back and order it off their regular menu. Yum!

Mini Polaris Burger

Along with the burger, these shoestring fries paired perfectly.

Shoestring Fries

I really liked the grits with spicy shrimp and pork belly. Even though the Polaris Hilton won’t be participating in Taste the Future this year, the food we ate last night is representative of what you can expect at the event.

Grits with Spicy Shrimp & Pork Belly

To get a better idea of what makes the event so special, check out my slideshows for 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006.

Columbus State was once again generous enough to gift me a couple of pairs of tickets (value $200 per pair) to give away to my readers! Entering is the same deal as last year – to enter to win, visit the menu section of the Taste the Future site, and pick out the dish you’d most look forward to trying if you got to go. Leave a comment on this entry with your choice, and please make sure that your email address is linked somewhere so that if you win I can contact you. The contest ends at 11:59PM on September 11th, and winner will be chosen by a random number generator. The tickets will be held under your name for you at will call.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, as I’ll be giving another pair of tickets away on there. Good luck!

Update: Congrats to Anne D. and Ryan B. on winning the tickets! Thanks to everyone else for entering. Hope to still see you there!