Columbus, OH … My favorite city

Hi everyone and happy Saturday!! A few weeks ago, Jeff and I traveled back to Ohio for a wedding. This was the first time Jeff had been back to Columbus since I graduated, so we were definitely inclined to make the most of this short trip!

As always, hitting my favorite food spots was at the top of my list. I thought I would go through some of my favorite Columbus restaurants just incase your travels take you to this wonderfully quirky and fun city! I’m going to start with breakfast and work my way up to dinner and dessert. Enjoy!

Breakfast:

Northstar Cafe

Nothing will ever replace this choice for me. Northstar was one of my favorite breakfast spots when I was living in Columbus and of course didn’t disappoint during our trip home. This cute and trendy restaurant serves food all day, but their breakfast is definitely something to brag about. Whether you are looking for savory or sweet, there is an option for everyone!

My favorite dish is the Sweet Potato and Turkey Hash, which consists of applewood smoked turkey, red pepper, sweet onion, sautéed sweet potato, and 2 sunny side up eggs. If you are looking to the perfect plate of protein and veggies, this is it! A close second is the Big Burrito which also contains roasted sweet potatoes and eggs as well as organic black beans, sautéed peppers and onions, white cheddar cheese, and house made salsa wrapped in a warm tortilla. If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to try the black cherry preserves on a warm buttermilk biscuit!

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Lunch:

Alchemy Juice Bar + Cafe

While I didn’t get to visit this yummy little spot this trip, I have had the pleasure of eating at Alchemy before. It is such a little treat! The menu is always changing, so expect something new and yummy if you become a frequent flyer.

Now… let’s talk about the toast. I am a toast fanatic. Give me a hearty piece of toast topped with delicious ingredients, and I am a happy girl! Alchemy has a unique list of yummy toast options that can satisfy any palate whether you are looking for savory or a little sweet. If you like the traditional PB and banana, I suggest you try the Banana Almond Butter toast topped with a thick spread of almond butter, sliced bananas, cacao nibs, cinnamon, and maple syrup. It is absolutely delicious!

Dinner:

Marcella’s

If you want a quaint and charming dinner with an amazing atmosphere and a delicious menu this is definitely one of my top choices! Close to night life or other charming cafes, bars, and boutiques, Marcella’s is located in the heart of the Short North. Every tim I go to this restaurant it’s packed with people waiting for a table or enjoying a drink at the bar.

This was one of my favorite spots to bring my mom when I was a student at Ohio State. The menu consists of traditional Italian dishes such as Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti and Meatballs, as well as trendy and unique menu items such as Crispy Potato Pizza with pancetta, parmesan onions, and arugula. It is the perfect place to gather with family or friends and enjoy a great meal with good company!

Dessert:

Jeni’s Ice Cream

Whether you are in the mood for Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam or traditional Cookies and Cream, Jeni’s has a little something for everyone. If you are looking for something to liven up your tastebuds, this is definitely a place to visit. All of Jeni’s ice creams are buttery and smooth without fillers, artificial flavors, dies, or emulsifiers. If you want a pure and simply satisfying scoop of ice cream, Jeni’s will definitely check your box!

Oh and incase you were wondering…. they deliver! My mom has shipped us a holiday pack of Jeni’s ice cream all the way to Arizona, and it tasted just as good as it does in the cone!

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La Grande Orange Grocery

Ok, I know I skipped a few weeks but it is time for another local eats post! Today I’m talking a little about La Grande Orange, which is one of my favorite brunch and/or lunch spots!

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Located on 40th St. and Campbell in the center of Arcadia, this quirky and unique “grocery” is fill with eclectic grocery and decorative items to purchase, fun and funky desserts, and a variety of sandwiches, salads, and fun breakfast dishes. Don’t worry, they also have pizza if you aren’t in the mood for a salad!

Every time I have a guest or visitor from out of town, I always want to take them by this spot! The grocery part of the restaurant has so many fun items to look through, such as unique cook books, specialty birthday or holiday cards, jewelry and clothing from local designers, a variety of wine and beer, and other unique items that can serve as fun gifts or conversation pieces.

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Every time my mom is in town, she loves to go through and pick up a few items to take back with her. We also can’t help but grab a few of the desserts to share with our family. If you are a dessert lover or have special dietary needs, there are also gluten-free options if needed!

What are my favorite items at La Grande Orange? If I am coming for brunch, I almost always get the Heriloom Brown Rice Bowl which is made with quinoa, black beans, pistachios, feta, greens, a fried egg, and harissa. It is filling, super flavorful, and perfect after an early morning hike! I am also a big fan of the Vegetarian Sandwich filled with fresh veggies, herbed goat cheese, and havarti.

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I owe a lot of my favorite local finds to one of my good friends who also shares my love of food and eating local! When I first moved to Phoenix, she was the first fried to really help me feel at home and get me involved in all that Arizona has to offer in terms of food and fitness! Because of her, I also love to hike and explore new trails throughout Arizona. There is so much that this wonderful state has to offer, all you have to emerse yourself in the culture of Phoenix and enjoy!

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OHSO Brewery & Distillery

Time for another local eats review! I can truly say hub and I have tested this one out thoroughly. OHSO Brewery & Distillery is just a few blocks down from our home and is dog friendly, so when we are looking to take out our pup, this is our spot!

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The back of the restaurant has an indoor/outdoor atmosphere with space for kids (or dogs!) to run around, play, and test out different games such as corn hole or ping pong! If you are a dog lover, this is definitely a spot your want to check out!

With a variety of local and seasonal brews, this spot is great to have a cold beer on a sunny afternoon or refreshing cocktail made from locally distilled vodkas. There are a variety of fun and funky food options as well as small bites that are perfect for sharing! OHSO offers brunch, lunch, and dinner and has 2 happy hours that run during normal afternoon hours and late at night for those who want to stay out a bit later.

If you enjoy a good burger or sandwich, I can definitely give you a few recommendations! My favorites are The Gobbler (a turkey burger topped with pear compote, spring mix, bacon and tomato; usually pair this with sweet potato fries) and the Grilled Cheese (a cheese combinations of gouda, mozzarella, prosciutto, and tomato jam; usually pair this with a side salad and citrus vinaigrette).

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If you’re curious what I look for in a restaurant before checking it out, here are a few things that tends to spark my interest…

  1. It’s not a chain! — This is within reason. A few of my favorite places to eat, such as True Foods, aren’t necessarily chains but have a few locations out here on the west coast/mid west. If its a place that you can’t find off any highway or in any state, I am definitely interested!
  2. Unique menu — I love something that is a little different. I am also a big fan of small bites, so if I can try a variety of things on your menu in small portions I am definitely going to go check it out! Local beer or wine list? Even better!
  3. There’s a healthy twist — By this I mean a few things. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a “healthy restaurant” or a restaurant that is know for serving lots of vegetables or only gluten-free foods. If there are options or ways to tailor foods to specific diets, I consider that a healthy twist. Of course, a big old plate of roasted veggies doesn’t hurt either 🙂
  4. Local ingredients — I’ve already explained that I love eating local and supporting local farms, orchards, you name it! If there is a place that locally sources ingredients, you can sign me up!

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Postino Wine Cafe

Ok my foodie friends! Time for another one of my FAVORITE local eats. Today I’m going to talk a little about Postino Wine Cafe. If you are wanting a little fun and funky atmosphere, some amazing small bites or unique and fresh entree options, and of course a glass of wine or two… this is your spot!

While this brand is growing and more locations are popping up throughout the valley, my favorite is still the Arcadia branch, located on Campbell and 44th Street. I think the reason I tend to go to this location is because it truly has the local, quaint feel that I love in a restaurant. With an indoor/outdoor vibe, wine bottles throughout the seating area, and a unique menu that has a little something for everyone, I could spend hours here people watching and enjoying a local, fresh bite to eat.

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Now, what makes their menu so unique? Besides the fact that there are plenty of healthy gluten-free, vegetarian, or health conscious options, their pick-4 bruschetta board can truly make anyone get excited for their food to come. Talk about options! I remember the first time I sat down with a friend and she asked if I wanted to split the board, I couldn’t understand why she was so excited? Now, having tried a variety of their choices I see why she had the reaction she did.

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Each flavor combination is better than the next…. seriously! With options like Sweet & Spicy Pepper Jam with Goat Cheese, Ricotta with Dates & Pistacios, and not to mention the variety of seasonal options available, how are you supposed to choose just four?! If you choose to check out this local favorite, I beg you to try this board. I promise (well… I am 99.9% sure) that you will fall in love with the unique flavors that this cafe has been able to create.

If you enjoy a glass of wine, obviously they offer a variety of choices, as well as a few local and craft beers. This is a charming and cute spot for a relaxed date night or just a night out with the girlfriends! I brought a friend here during her visit last month, and I think she was entirely pleased!

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I just want to leave this post with something a little personal about me and my transition through “healthy eating”. When it comes to eating out, I thoroughly enjoy trying new things and new places. Obviously I love eating local, but something that has changed a lot with me over the past few years is the types of foods that I “allow” myself to eat. I quote that, because over the past few years I have adapted a better concept of being “balanced” with my eating. I have learned that if I want to try something that may have a few more calories than my typical salad or bun-less veggie or turkey burger, I should not hesitate to do it!

It is OK to enjoy the experience of trying new foods or eating out at one of your favorite restaurants. One special meal will not ruin your health efforts! Something that I do to help me moderate my portions when we are eating a special meal or trying something a little more calorie dense is split the meal with my husband. Bless his soul that he has become more open to doing this with me so that we can enjoy these experiences together and both get to try something new! If he really doesn’t want to split something (there are those times when his appetite is bigger than I can keep up with!), I will usually stop eating the second I feel sensations of fullness and box up the rest of my meal for leftovers. It is that simple! I hope you can use some of these tips to help you do the same and enjoy your experiences with eating out and trying new foods!


Chestnut Fine Foods & Provisions

Happy Sunday everyone! I am so, SO excited to start sharing more in this section of HHK! For those of you who know me personally, you know that trying new restaurants and diving into the culture of wherever I am living is so important to me. Trying local restaurants, cafes, or even checking out local farmers markets is something that truly helps me accept where I am living and feel at home.

When I was living in Columbus, OH during my undergraduate career at Ohio State University and for a short time after graduation, I truly fell in love with everything that the city had to offer. For me, studying to be a dietitian did not only mean I cooked healthy meals for myself, learned about Medical Nutrition Therapy, and worked to make connections with patients or clients to help them achieve whatever it may be nutritionally they needed; I embraced everything that it meant to be in a profession that is centered around food. This meant that a lot of my free time was doing just that; exploring the different side of “eating and being healthy” by learning more about eating local and embracing the food market in the city I called home.

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Now that I live in Phoenix, this is something that has really helped me once again expand my interests and feel of fulfilled as a dietitian and someone who simply enjoys living a healthful and happy lifestyle. Food culture is everywhere and eating local has become something that is even more important to me as Jeff and I have started to build our family here in AZ one paw at a time (sorry, no babies just yet!). I enjoy shopping at local food/farmers markets and preparing wholesome, nutritious meals for myself and my husband. I want to support local restaurants and cafes that source foods locally and work to keep the Phoenix food culture unique, hip, and ever-changing.

That brings me to talk about Chestnut Fine Foods & Provisions (finally, right?!)! Some people take brunch as the opportunity to sip mimosas (or maybe a little more than sip) and socialize with others in the fun and fabulous Scottsdale scene of Arizona. While this is fun on occasion, brunch is something that I actually value as time spent with my husband that we normally don’t get.  Because of Jeff’s hectic work schedule, I thoroughly enjoy the moments where we can share an early meal, soak up some sun, and really relax on a Saturday or Sunday.

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Chestnut is a local brunch and lunch restaurant that is only open mornings and early afternoon. It is located right in the center of fun and funky Arcadia on Camelback and 44th street and is never a disappointment! Their breakfast menu is one of my favorites, with variety of options including egg dishes, gluten-free pancakes, and some of the most decadent waffles you have ever seen! Chestnut features several local producers, such as one of my favorite cold brew coffee brands, Mama’s Cold Brew. With an eclectic, charming atmosphere, this spot tends to thrive with locals for a quick breakfast, lunch, or even a cold brew and pastry to go. If you are looking for a quite, yet pleasant and unique experience this is definitely a place for you!

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What is my favorite thing on the menu?

Well, that’s a hard question for me to answer, but I think I could narrow it down to 2 options. The Morning Bibimbap Bowl is a healthy blend of quinoa, sauteed kale, sriracha, and green onions with 2 poached eggs on top. Uh, can you say delicious?! My second favorite is the Banana Bread Pancakes made with a combo of walnut flour, oats, and bananas that is served with maple bacon and candied walnuts. Both of these choices are gluten free and leave me feeling satisfied and happy for the morning! Below is the Bibimbap Bowl!

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If you are a Phoenix local or just visiting for the winter months, I would highly recommend you try this especially sweet brunch spot! I have attached a link to the website above in the first few paragraphs to help get your taste buds watering!

 

Thanks for reading as always and happy Sunday !