Burnt Out

Last Friday, as I was heating up some leftover pizza, I noticed some sizzling and then a bright spot in my oven.


I opened the door to find smoke and a small fire taking place in the left front corner.  Crap!  I gave it a sec to see if it would burn out (In case it was food related) but it kept getting worse so I shut the oven off and pulled out the pizza (Save the food!).

After the heating coil cooled for a bit I realized what had happened and not only was I flummoxed but also annoyed.  It seems that the coating on the heating coil decided to just melt off leaving a section of the coil exposed. The exposed coil reacted with the remaining coating causing it to spark and then catch fire.


So my oven is out of commission.  Thankfully I have a double oven, the bottom half being a smaller oven drawer.  It’s not large enough to roast a chicken or anything, but I can roast veggies in it just fine. Or, you know, heat up pizza.

That’s a lot of backstory to say, we got pizza out this week!

Scott ordered a new coil that should be delivered next week.  In the mean time we took this as an opportunity to visit one of our favorite pizza spots in Columbus, Figlio!

Yes I do love me some Bono, but it’s not close enough for a quick pizza run.  Figlio is and they make the perfect personal size pizzas.

We got the Figlio classic which has sausage, pepperoni, and proscuitto plus veggies. Scott got the same only his also had mushrooms on it.

We munched on our pizza as we watched the 2012 NHL All Star Draft and kicked back after a busy week. Did anyone watch?

This weekend we’re looking at more home improvements, this time it’s all painting.  We are wallpaper free! Hooray!

What are you doing this weekend?

Project Organize: Donating Furniture And Knick-knacks

One of the many things that needed done around the house was to donate household items that we no longer use. This included furniture items like office chairs but also things like knick-knacks and decorations.

Small decorative household items can be a challenge to donate because some places aren’t interested in those things.

They have to go some where though and throwing them out seems wasteful to me.

Volunteers of America is a organization that will take used household items and that includes things like decorations and knick-knacks. They will also come and pick up those items from your house for free.

Which is perfect if you have a little hobbit car like us and can’t transport many things at one time.  It would have taken us several trips in order for us to get everything dropped off for donation.  With Volunteers, that wasn’t an issue any longer.  I called and scheduled a pickup appointment with them.

They arrived early in the morning and were able to take everything.

There are Volunteers of America locations all over the US, so give the website a look and find your local chapter.

Columbus locals, your chapter is here.

Also if you live in Columbus and have used furniture to donate, another local organization is Mid-Ohio Furniture Bank.  They will also come and pick stuff up for free!  Though there are a few restrictions, the items have to be certain things to qualify for free delivery.  However they take large items (beds, dressers) which is convenient because not many places do take that stuff.  Read about my experience with them.

If you have clothing and soft household items (like sheets, towels, and blankets), there are AmVets dropoff boxes located all over Columbus.

Please consider using these organizations for anything that you no longer need and would like to donate to a good cause. I will definitely be contacting Volunteers of American again soon because I still have more stuff to donate!

Cooking Classes Starting in January 2012

Starting in January of 2012 I will be conducting a series of cooking classes at Wild Goose Creative, called Embrace Cooking!

Each month we’ll cover a different topic and prepare foods around that topic.  This is an interactive class series which means that everyone will be helping to create the dishes that we taste later in the evening.

Classes are two hours long and if you have an apron and a chef’s knife, feel free to bring those along!

You can register and pay for classes via my website.  There’s a link at the top called Events.  That will take you to the main discription page and then you’ll see links to each class as well.

I hope you’ll join me for fun and fabulous cooking classes!

Camelot Cellars Cranberry Dinner

This past Monday evening I had the pleasure of dining at Camelot Cellars. Camelot paired up with local caterer, Laura’s Catering, to create a dinner around the cranberry.

Cranberries are one of the staples of fall and winter dining.  Typically we see the cranberry turned into a sauce and drizzled on top of turkey or perhaps on a dessert.

This dinner featured cranberries at each course and it was an interesting twist to the winter classic.

Each course of the meal was paired with a wine from Camelot. The wines accentuating the tartness and sweetness of the cranberry.

Janine, the owner of Camelot, created the dinners because she wanted to provide another way for patrons to get to know each other and the winery a little bit better.

We started off with a creamy cranberry soup, which I unfortunately do not have a picture of.  My camera did not want to focus on the soup properly leaving me with very blurry pictures.  It was a lovely deep pink soup that was smooth with hints of cream and garlic in the background.

The soup was paired with Camelot’s Symphony wine.  A white wine made from the Symphony grape which was a grape created specifically to make wine (at least this was my understanding! I hope I got that right, Rick!).  The wine went well with the soup helping to tone down the sharpness of the cranberry.

The second course was a light mixed green salad with dried cranberries, toasted sliced almonds, and crumbled blue cheese all topped with a balsamic dressing.  I’m not sure if the dressing was made with cranberries or not but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a touch in there.

The salad was light and refreshing after the rich soup.  This dish was paired with Camelot’s Vieux Chateau du Roi, described as a French Burgundy style wine.  It was a light red that kept the freshness of the salad alive.

The main course was a ravioli filled with dried cranberries and ricotta cheese.  It was drizzled with a garlic cream sauce and sprinkled with orange zest and chopped basil.  The orange was a strong flavor of this dish and it complimented the cranberries very well.  My favorite part of this dish was actually the sauce.  It was light and creamy, which is exactly what you hope for when eating a cream based pasta sauce.

The wine for this dish was Camelot’s South African Pinotage.  This was a light red that also had a bit of a smokey nose to it.  This was my favorite wine of the evening.  So much that I bought a bottle of it! Such a great red and the flavors are complex enough that you can pair it with appetizers or it can stand up to a heavier dish, like a roast.

Dessert was a cranberry and apple crumble/cobbler combo.  It had aspects of both.  The crust and the topping were my favorite.  Very buttery and flaky. Perfect way to end a meal! Camelot paired one of their ports with this dish.  By the end of the evening the port was a little too much for me to handle and I couldn’t finish my pour! But it was tasty and a nice end of the evening drink.


The second picture of these is my favorite. I liked the way the lighting and the color came out.

There was much chit-chatting and talk around the table.  Camelot hosts these dinners at their long Tuscan table which seats 12 people comfortably.

The centerpieces were done by a local florist and they smelled amazing.  Fresh flowers at dinner were a lovely surprise and much welcome after all the gloom and rain we’ve been having.

This was the second themed dinner that Camelot has hosted.  In November they hosted a pumpkin dinner which was so popular that they did it twice!

They are hoping to have more dinners again starting in the spring of 2012.

To stay updated on Camelot and all their events (like their masquerade ball!) please connect with them!

Twitter: @CamelotWines

Facebook: Camelot Cellars Winery 

Website: Camelot Cellars

You can sign up for their newsletter via their website.

Janine has some great events coming up in the new year so make sure that you stay connected with Camelot.  Thanks to Janine for hosting a great dinner! It’s always a good time when you get a chance to sip some wine at Camelot!

2011 Hal and Al’s Pumpkin Beer Tasting

The last time we talked about Hal and Al’s I mentioned that we went for their pumpkin beer tasting.  Can you imagine how excited I was for that event!

When we were in last, I was informed that they were going to be hosting a pumpkin beer tasting the following week which would include pumpkin beers and ciders.

I may or may not have almost toppled over a parton and bartender as I eagerly inquired more about the event, embarrassing both my friend John and Scott.

Okay, not really, they both know me well enough to not get embarrassed by my antics any more.

I immedately marked the event on our calendar and off we went to the pumpkin beer tasting!

We were serious about this tasting.  I busted out the camera and my handy notebook featuring Snoopy with a pumpkin on green paper.

This was an intense tasting as well, there were 9 samples to get through.

Let me repeat, 9 samples!

Signing up for the tasting meant that we also got a sample of the pumpkin soup!  It was creamy and savory with a hint of heat on the backend that increased the more you ate.

After that it was time to dive in!

Bottoms up!


In order the 9 beers we had were:

  1. Shock Top: Good smell and color.  It had decent pumpkin and spice tasting along with being a very light ale. It almost evaporated off your tongue at the finish.
  2. Ichabod: Icky! Read our previous review. Still hold the same opinion.
  3. Blue Moon: It tastes just like a regular beer to us.  Nothing really of note.
  4. Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider: I’m lukewarm on ciders so I didn’t care for this.  Scott likes ciders a lot so he enjoyed this one.  This is a very limited edition cider and can be hard to find. We’ve previously purchased it at The Anderson’s but you need to get it quick because it sells fast.
  5. Brooklyn Post Road: I couldn’t even finish this beer.  It was so light that to me it tasted like water.  I love Brooklyn Brewery so I was disappointed in their version of pumpkin beer.
  6. Harpoon UFO: This was an unfiltered wheat pumpkin beer and we both really enjoyed this beer.  It has a pretty strong cinnamon flavor to it that gets more intense at the finish.  However the pumpkin flavor isn’t that strong.
  7. Rivertown: I thought this beer had more of a cinnamon flavor than the Harpoon but Scott didn’t agree.  He said Harpoon has much more cinnamon to it.  It was alright but nothing we’d purchase again.
  8. Pumpking: Read our previous review. Thoughts still the same.  Scott and I ended up switching, I gave him my Pumpking and took his Rivertown.
  9. Your pick! #9 was a bonus and you could pick your favorite of the bunch.  We each got Harpoon’s UFO.

We had a great evening full of chit chat and pumpkin beer.  Hal and Al’s is the perfect place to chill and relax from your busy day or week.

We also got the best glasses at the end of this tasting!

A pint glass with a pumpkin on it?!  OH YES!  This is a huge part of the reason that I came to this tasting because I caught a glimpse of this glass on their facebook page.

That wraps up the pumpkin beer tasting for 2011!  Now it’s time to plan for next year!

Hal and Al’s Columbus Bar

My absolute favorite bar in Columbus, is by far, Hal and Al’s. My friend John is responsible for introducing me to this fabulous place.

He kept saying to me, “Andrea, they have a great beer selection and I really think you would enjoy their stouts.”

These are the kinds of friends you need to have in your life.  The ones that seriously look out for you and have your back.

John, totally has my back when it comes to beer.

So I finally made it down to Hal and Al’s and fell in love right away.  They have an amazing beer selection.  I’m not exaggerating here, the menu is three pages long and has the beers listed by type.  Meaning the beers are listed as, Lagers, Ales, IPAs, Stouts, Porters and so on.

And there’s usually some stuff they have either in bottles or on tap that isn’t listed on the menu.

Heck yes!

The atmosphere is exactly what I’m looking for in a bar.  There’s plenty of seating in a wide open space. The bathrooms are clean and updated.  It’s quite, no super loud music and no super loud people.

There’s food! Hal and Al’s just happens to serve all vegan bar food.  Now I know some might not care for it, but I happen to like it a lot.  Keep in mind, it is bar food, but the offerings are enjoyable.  My favorite being the burrito and the sweet potato fries.

Plus free popcorn just to munch on if you feel like it.

The decor is totally up my alley.

How can you not like a bar that has a pic of Jambi up?  Meka leka hi, meka hiney ho!

There’s also one of Tom Selleck because of course, why not?!  They also have a lot of retro pictures up that advertises things like bar hours, drink suggestions, and weekly specials.

Bonus is that they also do tastings of beers on Tuesdays.

There will be a theme to the tastings, like a sampling of stouts or IPAs for example.

They handle the tastings in the most efficient way.  You sign up at the bar and then you’ll get 4oz (guessing, but I’m pretty sure it’s 4oz) tasting cups, each numbered 1 through however many are being tasted for that event.  The first cup gets filled up and you’re told what it is.  You go sit down and when you’re ready for #2, you bring up your #2 cup to the bar and they fill it up for you. Rinse, repeat.

This is great because it lets you taste at your own pace and you’re not sitting there with a bunch of samples of beer getting warm while you work your way through them.


The best part is at the end, when you’ve finished the tasting you get a pint glass to take home.  Oh yeah!

Considering how much beer you’re getting to sample and that you get a glass at the end, the tastings are completely priced well.

If you’re in the mood for a pint, definitely check out Hal and Al’s! I think you’ll be pleased with the selection that you find there.

Stay tuned! The last tasting we did at Hal and Al’s was a pumpkin beer tasting! :pumpkin:

Hal and Al’s
1297 Parsons Ave Columbus, Ohio 43206

Stay tuned! The last tasting we did at Hal and Al’s was a pumpkin beer tasting! :pumpkin:

Experience Columbus, A Bloggers Tour

Recently Experience Columbus hosted several bloggers here for a four day whirlwind tour of the city and all it has to offer.

I got a chance to read some of the posts and I was completely jealous of all the places they got to visit.  How fun!

It was also nice seeing the city from someone else’s perspective and reading about their experience.  Columbus is such a great city with so much to offer its residents, most especially when it comes to food.

Because I enjoyed reading the posts so much, I wanted to share them with you as well!

Have fun touring Columbus and live vicariously through these other bloggers!

Vanilla Icing:

The Hungry Dudes:

The Heritage Cook

A Thought For Food:
Blue Kitchen:
These are the blogs that I came across but there might be more! If I’ve left any out please drop me a note and I’ll add them to the list.

Three Years Strong

Yesterday was my 3 year blogversary! While I know that this year has seen a name change with the blog, that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve been blogging about food and wellness for three years now.


In three years so many things have changed in my life but real food and eating well is always a constant.

Okay, so is wine, beer, and cheese.  But you know what I mean!

I appreciate all of my readers, old and new, who keep coming back to talk about food and all of the many things we like to chat about.

Since I had a dream last night where I was talking about my favorite stout, I’ll post a few links to some of my favorite things on the blog.

Starting off with Buried Hatchet Stout since I brought it up.

Back when I used to post our daily eats, this is my favorite post.

This is our favorite event in Columbus, The Food and Wine Affair.

My favorite race in Columbus, Cap City Half.


I can’t even begin to post my favorite recipes because I have a ton but I’ll post a few from this summer that I love.

Beer steamed mussels on the grill.

Fajita burgers with quick pickled onion and jalapeno.

Those are just a few of my favorite things on the blog! With three years under my belt there’s a lot of posts there that I love.

We’ll be taking the weekend off here at the HQ and blogging will start back next week after the holiday.  The main plans for the weekend include:

  • Relaxing
  • Grilling
  • Beer
  • Gaming (hopefully!)
  • Continuing the countdown till hockey season starts

Thanks for a fabulous three years guys! Here’s to many more! Cheers!


Common Ground Dinner

Last week I was invited to a women’s event to showcase a new organization in the food world called Common Ground. The goal of Common Ground is to connect people who provide food to those who purchase food. The target audience is women.

From the website:

Consumers aren’t getting the real story about American agriculture. We’re a group of farm women and we plan to change that by doing something extraordinary. Our program is called CommonGround and it’s all about starting a conversation between women who grow food, and the women who buy it. This is our chance to set the record straight and to help get you the facts about farming and your food. We hope you’ll join in the conversation.

The event was the first one for Columbus to introduce the local chapter of Common Ground and kick off discussions between farmers and consumers.

The event also put us in contact with people from The Soybean Council and Corn Growers of America.  The idea was to gather together over a meal and talk about the food industry and where our food comes from.

The dinner was held at Amelita Mirolo Barn in the Sunny 95 Park located in Upper Arlington.  The barn is one of the oldest buildings in the area that was taken over and repurposed to use as an event space.

The original beams and wood from the barn were used in recreating the new space and this space just finished construction recently.  It officially opened it’s doors in July.  It was a spectacular place for an event.

There was a small cocktail reception to welcome everyone and give everybody a chance to mingle and introduce themselves.

There were some Ohio cheeses and crackers to nibble on, along with a chilled cucumber soup that was garnished with roasted corn kernels.  And later they brought out what seemed to be beef in a puff pastry.  The appetizers were great! However everyone was scrambling around for napkins, those somehow got overlooked!

It was nice to see some familiar faces at this event and I also got an opportunity to meet some new people.

Hello to all!

We got called to dinner and sat down for an evening of conversation and family style dining.  They had us seated at a long table with the best centerpieces.

How perfect! A huge glass vase full of all kinds of vegetables.  Another woman sitting close to me mentioned how much she wanted to take one home. I agreed! I would gladly take those veggies off your hands.

We started off with a mixed green salad in a parmasen crisp.  The salad was very refreshing though the parmasen crisp was a little challenging to eat.  I ended up having to abandon it much to my dismay.  That much crispy cheese needed to be eaten!

The dinner had rice, veggie mix, and a chicken saltimbocca that was drizzled with a cream sauce.  There was also lamb chops served as well but I’m not a huge fan of lamb so I passed on that.  For those that are vegetarians, there was a vegetarian dish available which I believe contained portabella mushrooms.

Dessert was an apple handpie with fresh vanilla ice cream.  The dough for the handpie was fluffy and delish.  It reminded me of a fluffy donut.  The ice cream was also delicious.

There were a lot of women there each representing different aspects of the agricultural community.  Three ladies were there who were farmers, one raised hogs, one raised sheep, and the other was a seed farmer.

There were members there from Common Ground itself along with various folks from the Soybean Council.

It was an interesting event to chat with these ladies who are working and living the Ag business.

As the evening wrapped up, the ladies informed us that they had some goodies for us to take home.

They really went all out and provided us with some Ohio based food items.

  • Goat Cheese
  • Peaches
  • Honey
  • Quick Bread
  • Bottle of Rose

I thank the folks of The Soybean Council and Common Ground for inviting me to the dinner and providing me with a chance to meet and chat with everyone.

Check out Common Ground for more information and to find a local chapter in your area.

2011 Taste of Hilliard

Last week was the second annual Taste Of Hilliard event. Local restaurants and businesses who are members of the Chamber of Commerce gather together at the Makoy Center for an evening of nibbles and chatting.

The great thing about The Taste of Hilliard is that it doesn’t just focus on food but also showcases local businesses as well so that community members get a chance to see exactly what their town has to offer.

You would be surprised by how many businesses are local to Hilliard and the wide variety of services that are offered.

I didn’t stay too long at the event because it was getting packed and fast.  The event started at 4:30 and I got there around that time.  My plan was to get there early to be able to take plenty of pictures without being in anyone’s way.

Best laid plans right? I arrived to a very packed parking lot.  I was kind of surprised actually that it was so packed so early.  People had to park far away and walk to the event, that’s how many people were there at the start.

Which is fantastic news! That means that the word is getting out and more people are attending the event.  Win win!

There were many restaurants there with samples of their food, I’m only highlighting a few.

First up is The Heritage Golf Club, they had the creme brulee pictured first and also this little crab cake.  There was a tartar style sauce on top but I’m not sure what the sauce on the bottom was.  It was quite tasty though and was going fast once people heard there were crab cakes.  I didn’t try the brulee, but if Scott had been with me I know he would have tried some for sure.

Cupcake Yum Yum was there showing off their gorgeous little two-bite cupcakes.  I don’t remember the flavors of the cupcakes, however I do know that one featured bacon.

These little nuggets can be found at Kitamu Coffee or you can place an order directly.

Be forewarned that the site has music that starts playing.

Speaking of Kitamu, they were there as well sampling their coffee and offering up some cookies.

Last up was Olive Tree Mediterranean Cafe. They had fresh pitas to go along side their chicken and hummus dish.  The chicken was marinaded in spices and then sauteed up with onions and peppers.  This dish was fantastic.

Olive Tree has also announced that they are starting to serve Sunday Breakfast now as well.

Olive Tree and Kitamu are in the same shopping center so you can grab yourself some coffee after having your meal.

The event was a huge success and rumor has it that the number of folks who attended this year was very high.

Attending a taste like this in your town or a neighboring town helps you learn more about what your area has to offer.  Plus it exposes you to new items you might not otherwise have tried.  If you have an event like this around where you live, I highly encourage you to attend!

Congrats to The Hilliard Chamber of Commerce for putting on a great event!