2020 Holiday Gift Guide: DRINK

Welcome to part three our of 2020 gift guide! This is certainly a year like no other, and so we’re sharing ideas for local gifts and experiences. Small businesses all need our support more than ever, and our four-part gift guide follows our travel mantra of Food, Park, Drink, & Art. Read part one, all about food and part two, all about parks/plants/outdoor activities!

So now we present part three: DRINK!

Watershed Distillery Holiday Bourbon Bundles

Watershed released a perfect little three-pack of 175 ml bottles bundling their bourbon, Old Fashioned mix, and new barrel-strength bourbon. Their full lineup of spirits is available, too, including a 375 ml Old Fashioned (perfect stocking stuffer) or a big 1.75 liter jug of it. watersheddistillery.com/holiday-bourbon-bundles

Bottles of Ohio Pop Co. Pop

Remember, we’re in Ohio. It’s pop, not soda. Give the pop collector in your life a selection from this new company producing flavors like cherry, lemon-line, orange, root beer, cola, ginger beer. They’re made with Ohio-grown beet sugar. ohio-pop.com

Middle West Spirits Bourbon Cream

Middle West Spirits has been on a roll, too, launching a couple new whiskeys meant to pair with BrewDog beers. Their big addition this year is a smooth and creamy bourbon cream. middlewestspirits.com/spirits

Coffee Beans, Canned Brews, & Subscriptions

Coffee is a constant on my Christmas list. I always love getting new beans to try. Order bags from local roasters like Thunderkiss Coffee, Crimson Cup, Brioso, Ramble Coffee, Mission – many of which offer local delivery or easy pickup at their stores. Granville Coffee has gift packs, while Florin Coffee offers coffee subscriptions, for the gift that keeps giving. Many places are doing canned or bottled coffees, like Thunderkiss cold brew, ROST bottled coffees, Jennings Java canned drinks.

Spritz Tea

Spritzers and seltzers are enjoying their day in the sun, and deservedly so. They’re refreshing on their own, perfect for mixing, and offer a lighter and usually gluten-free alternative to sipping beers. We’re getting plenty of local options these days, too, including Spritz Tea. Spritz features flavors like Bright Citrus, Pink Guava, Golden Peach, and Wild Acaí. spritztea.com

Root 23 Simple Syrups

For folks who love to mix their own drinks at home, Root 23’s all natural flavored simple syrups are a must. They come in individual flavors like blueberry mint, cherry almond, vanilla ginger, plus little mixer and starter kits. root23.com

Simple Times Mixers

The same goes for Simple Times Mixers! The all-natural pre-made mixes allow you to create a variety of drinks by just adding your preferred booze. Look for seasonal flavors or mainstays like the pineapple mule or blueberry basil lemonade. simpletimesmixers.com


Just like coffee, beer is a standing item on my Christmas lists. So many more breweries have turned to bottling and canning their beers in 2020. Random Precision bottles their sours, Wolf’s Ridge has created a huge list of bottles and specialty bundles, Seventh Son cans and delivers, Olentangy River Brewing just started canning, Nocterra has tons of stuff in cans, Zaftig features stouts and other big beers. You get the picture.

A Sip + Play Night

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing and Kingmakers joined forces to create Sip + Play nights. You and your group sign-up, receive a pack of WRB brews, then log in virtually for a combined beer tasting and game night! kingmakersfun.com/sip-and-play

Bottled Cocktails

One of the good things to come out of 2020 is the permanent law allowing bottled cocktails and drinks to-go. That means that, while we can’t belly up at our favorite bars, we can savor (and pass on as gifts) cocktails to go from spots like Lawbird, Service Bar, The Bottle Shop, Huli Huli Tiki Lounge, and many others.

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Emmett’s Cafe | Columbus, OH

Emmett’s Cafe | Facebook | IG: @emmettscafe
744 S. High St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43
(614) 826-0679

Open 8a-2p daily
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/Y/Y
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Monday, November 2, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

Amongst a number of restaurant openings in 2020, Emmett’s Cafe has been at the top of our most-anticipated list. It joins that growing strip of South High Street that’s gone quickly from law offices to Kolache Republic, Dough Mama, Antiques on High, Ambrose & Eve, Lawbird (and its biscuit sidekick Boxwood), and other stops. And we’re fans of the culinary team behind it, from Lara Pipia crafting the menu to Robin Myers on coffee service.

Find Emmett’s on High Street just south of Frankfurt, next to Lawbird cocktail bar. The clean and modern cafe feels warm and welcoming. They’re all geared up for online ordering and carryout, but they sport a few seats in the front and a spacious back patio.

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Friday Food Bites: November 20, 2020

The new Original Pancake House in Westerville

There’s a lot happening in the Columbus restaurant world; here’s the latest for this week:

  • The Original Pancake House opens its second central Ohio location at 715 Worthington Rd. in Westerville on Saturday, Nov. 21
  • Milo’s Deli shared that they will start serving out of their original deli space at 980 W. Broad St.. They’re offering carryout only; items must be pre-ordered online.
  • A new breakfast-leaning food truck called Mersh’s Breakfast Cafe opened up this week, parked at 2805 Brice Rd. in Reynoldsburg
  • Middle West Spirits has distilled two specialty whiskeys designed to pair with BrewDog beers. The Lucky Find wheat whiskey pairs with the Lost Lager, while the Soul of Scarlet bourbon whiskey goes with Jet Black Heart stout.
  • Columbus Navigator shared today at The Florentine restaurant will make its return as a cloud kitchen soon.

This week I’m also writing:

Want to keep up with more? Check out the news archives, follow our Current Cravings, or…


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2020 Holiday Gift Guide: PARK

Part two our of 2020 gift guide is here! This is certainly a year like no other, and so we’re sharing ideas for local gifts and experiences. Small businesses all need our support more than ever, and our four-part gift guide follows our travel mantra of Food, Park, Drink, & Art. Read part one, all about food!

So now we present part two: PARK!

An Overnight Stays in a Treehouse, Yurt, or Cabin

Give someone the gift of a quiet overnight in the woods! Curl up, read books, watch movies, make dinner together. There are so many options within an easy drive from Columbus. Read about our stays in a treehouse at The Mohicans or in a yurt at The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. Or check out spots like Dwellbox in Dundee, Cherry Ridge Retreat in New Plymouth, or The Cliffs at Hocking Hills.

Art Walk + Dinner

Plan a walk to see some public art and pair it with lunch or dinner. Search the free public art database on ColumbusMakesArt.com, and find a nearby restaurant. Think of combos like:

Go to the Movies at the South Drive-In

The drive-in is a fun, safe, and socially distanced way to take someone to the movies! They’re still showing a fun range of movies these days. Check out their schedule here: drive-inmovies.com

A Visit to Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

We always love a trip to Pyramid Hill in Hamilton. The park is dotted with 60+ sculptures across more than 600 acres of rolling hills and woods. They’re doing seasonal exhibitions and light shows, too, all good for social distancing. pyramidhill.org

Franklin Park Conservatory

The warm and lush conservatory offers seasonal displays and light shows, beautiful greenery, an outdoor train display, glass sculptures, and more. Give a year-long gift of a membership! fpconservatory.org

Park + Picnic

Similar to the art walk paired with dinner, grab lunch and take a stroll in a park. Some ideas:

  • Brown Bag Deli, Boxwood Biscuits, Kolache Republic, Emmett’s + Schiller Park
  • Lox Bagel Shop, Tasi Cafe, Brassica, Barley’s, North Market + Goodale Park
  • Arepazo, Smoked on High, Rockmill Tavern, Harvest + Scioto Audubon Park
  • Starliner Diner, Center Street Market + Roger Reynolds Park or Homestead Metro Park in Hilliard
  • Or build an itinerary like our visit to The Wilds + burgers and ice cream in Zanesville

Pack a Picnic From a Local Market

Lots of park ideas! Create a custom picnic pack by visiting a locally owned market like the Hills Market (Downtown or Worthington), Weiland’s Market, or North Market. Each spot carries loads of local products: cheeses, breads, dips, wines, beers.

Local Coffee Cup + A Stroll

Several local coffee shops sell travel mugs. Order up a mug, fill it with coffee (or add a gift card!), and arrange a lovely stroll at a local park. Local spots like Florin Coffee and Stauf’s are selling great mugs.

Columbus City Adventures Holiday Lights Tours

I love love love Christmas lights, and Columbus City Adventures has revamped its Holiday Lights Tour as a safe, socially distanced walking tour Friday and Saturday nights. Private tours are available, too! columbuscityadventures.com/tours/holiday-lights

Bring the Park Inside: Oakland Green Interiors or Stump

Liven up someone’s home with fresh greenery! This can be especially nice for anyone quarantined, working from home, schooling at home, or just needs a little joy brought to their living space, etc. Visit the experts at a local shop like Oakland Green Interiors or Stump.

Get Active at Play: CBUS

Book a time to in this indoor play park, with 52,000 square feet of ropes courses, climbing walls, and more. playadventureparks.com/location/columbus

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Gift Guide for Babies, Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers

Gift Guide for Babies, Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers

(UPDATED!) I have been playing with toys almost every day for the last 9 years haha. As a pediatric speech pathologist, I’ve learned a few things about the best toys and games. I’ve also tried them out myself- about a million times. 😉 

I put together a gift guide for anyone looking for ideas for kiddos ages 10 months to 5 years! Most of my clients are actually preschool age (3-5 years old), and I have a few little ones and a few older kids. Then I of course have Luca who is 17 months, so I included his favorites as well! These are all more educational-ish ideas 🙂
















Baby, Toddler and Pre-Schooler Gift Guide!

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Basic Biscuits, Kindness & Coffee | Grandview Heights, OH

Basic Biscuits, Kindness & Coffee | Facebook | IG: @basicbiscuitsandcoffee
1160 W. Goodale Blvd. (map it!)
Grandview Heights, OH 43212
(614) 549-5955

Open Tues-Sat, 7a-sell out (10a-ish); pre-order pickup hours, Tues-Sat, 7a-2p

Visited: Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at 8 a.m.

It’s good to know that Columbus’ breakfast scene has some bright spots this year. Case in point: the addition of new options like this Grandview shop, delivering three important things – biscuits, coffee, and kindness.

Meet Rebekah Hatzifotinos, owner of Basic Biscuits, Kindness, and Coffee. Her bright and welcoming shop on Goodale Boulevard, decked in whites and bright yellows, is open in the morning hours serving all things biscuit-related.

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Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta – Spinach for Breakfast

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta

I’ve said this multiple times on here; I literally live for a creamy pasta. Red sauce usually isn’t my thing, but add cheese and I’m all in 😉

This is such an easy upgrade for pasta and marinara. You literally just stir in goat cheese and it not only becomes creamy and dreamy, but the flavor is amazing. I used a creamy Le Pico goat cheese from Murray’s in NYC and it was perfect, but use what you love. 

creamy goat cheese pastacreamy goat cheese pasta

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta

2020-11-14 14:34:52

Serves 4

  1. 1 box of penne
  2. 1 jar of marinara
  3. le pico goat cheese (or any other goat cheese)
  1. cook pasta according to package directions
  2. while the pasta is cooking, add the sauce to a separate pot and heat on medium-low
  3. once bubbling, add the goat cheese (1/4 to 1/2 of a package) and stir to mix through until smooth. taste and add more goat cheese of desired.
  4. mix sauce into pasta.

Spinach for Breakfast https://www.spinach4breakfast.com/

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Roasted Sweet Potato and Farro Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato and Farro Salad

If you’re looking for an easy and super delicious side for Thanksgiving, I gotchu 🙂 

Roasted sweet potato, massaged kale, chopped walnuts, goat cheese and a maple dressing makes this loaded salad the perfect healthy and filling dish. It’s also easy to make ahead and throw together when you need to! We are planning to head to my parents this year in MA, and since I still don’t know how to make a turkey I think I will be bringing this 😉

Recipe below!

sweet potato and faro salad

Roasted Sweet Potato and Farro Salad

2020-11-14 14:40:31

  1. 1 large sweet potato, chopped
  2. 1 cup of dry farro
  3. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  4. 3 cups of chopped kale
  5. pomegranate seeds
  6. goat cheese
  2. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  3. 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  4. 1/4 cup olive oil
  5. sea salt and pepper
  1. preheat the oven to 400F
  2. toss the sweet potato in olive oil, sea salt and pepper and bake for 25-30 minuets until tender
  3. add water to a medium pot, once boiling add the farro and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. add the chopped kale to a large bowl and massage with oil
  5. add the farro, chopped walnuts, pomegranate seeds and roasted sweet potato.
  6. pour in the dressing and mix through.
  7. add a desired amount of goat cheese and gently fold in
  8. serve immediately or chill and serve cold

Spinach for Breakfast https://www.spinach4breakfast.com/

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Friday Food Bites: November 13, 2020

My name is Nick Dekker, but you can call me “Dr. Breakfast.” I’m a food/travel writer, tour guide, and arts administrator. With my wife Beth and our two boys Will and Owen, we chase down breakfast everywhere we go. You’ll find us exploring coffee, brunch, donuts, beer, bourbon, travel, the arts, and our amazing city of Columbus, Ohio.

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2020 Holiday Gift Guide: FOOD

2020 is certainly a year like no other, and as we approach the holidays, one of the best things we can do is support local businesses. We need to buy gifts, and they need the support! So we’re putting together a four-part gift guide following our travel mantra of Food, Park, Drink, & Art.

Let’s start off with an old favorite: FOOD!

Columbus Food Adventures Gift Boxes

Columbus Food Adventures makes it easy to support local while mailing gifts around the country. They’re featuring four boxes: Thanksgiving, Brunch (co-curated by yours truly!), Gourmet, and Columbus Classics. Each one is loaded with local goodies. columbusfoodadventures.com/gift-boxes

Worthington Gift Boxes

Same for the Worthington Gift Boxes! They’re in limited supply, but they feature all local products and are themed for spa pampering, guys, foodies, or diehard Worthington fans. Worthington boxes on FlipCause.com

North Country Charcuterie boards

Mrs. Breakfast With Nick’s love language is cheese and charcuterie boards, so North Country Charcuterie’s kits are a regular sight around our house. NCC’s goods are made from all Ohio ingredients, so when you support them, you’re supporting 20 different businesses. North Country Charcuterie on Shopify

Restaurant Gift Cards

Restaurant gift cards are the old stand-by. They’re a great way to treat someone to a meal (help them discover a new favorite!) and support hard-hit local eateries. My particular recommendation: support black-owned restaurants this year, like a decadent Southern feast at Hen Quarter, donuts from Donna’s Delicious Dozen, nostalgic treats from Bake Me Happy, coffee from Upper Cup, Ethiopian fare from Nile Vegan.

Spices from North Market Spices

Many more of us are cooking from home these days. Help a budding home cook by loading them up with North Market Spices’ goods. Let their experts guide you in selecting spices and mixes that are perfect for gift baskets or stocking stuffers. northmarketspices.com

Pasta + Sauce from Carfagna’s

The long-running, family-owned Carfagna’s just announced a big move to a combined market and restaurant off Polaris. While they haven’t moved yet, you can shop local with their sauces, pastas, wine selection, and gift baskets. carfagnasmarket.com

Pickles & Preserves

Perfect to supplement home cooking or as an easy stocking stuffer, locally made pickles and preserves are a fun little treat. We’re always fans of The Crazy Cucumber, or the marmalades from Prospect Jam Co. and the jam and biscotti from Sweet Thing Gourmet. (P.S. You can find a lot of these items by shopping your local farmers market!)

Create Your Food Tour

We’ve already plugged gift cards, but try assembling a collection of them to take someone on a food tour. For instance, go to North Market for drinks at Barrel & Bottle, lunch/dinner at any of the vendors (pho? burgers? lobster rolls? momos?), and then take dessert or coffee to-go. Or create a mini tour of a neighborhood like Grandview, Westerville, Short North, Italian Village, Worthington. Pair drinks with a meal, local gifts, a sweet treat. Need ideas? Contact me!

Chocolates from Coco Cat, Pure Imagination

When it comes to sweets, I love chocolate. So I’m always on board with creative treats from spots like Coco Cat Bakery & Chocolates and Pure Imagination Chocolatier are easy wins. cococatbakery.com / Pure Imagination on Facebook

Jeni’s Ice Cream

Jeni’s has been on a roll this year with some pretty incredible new flavors like pumpkin cake roll and campfire chocolate. Plus, her ice creams have been heartily endorsed by the President-Elect, so you’re really doing your civic duty by ordering them. jenis.com

Shagbark + Darista Dips

Chips and dip are the classic combination, so why not source them locally? Shagbark Mill’s organic, GMO-free chips can be found all over the city in restaurants and grocery stores, and Darista Dips’ hummus (Moroccan carrot? roasted red pepper?) are not to be beat. daristadips.com / shagbarkmill.com

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