Monday, November 14, 2011

Dine Originals Week November 2011 - Chile Verde

Last night was the end of Dine Originals Week. Bob and I poured over the list, reading the menus and trying to decide where we would have dinner.

Eventually we decided on Chile Verde. We really, really like their food (and their margaritas ain't bad either). The menu sounded wonderful. First course was Butternut Squash Soup, second course was a stuffed avocado and the entree was steak fajitas. While I can't remember the descriptions off the top of my head, let me just say I had to wipe my chin after reading them. Bob and I looked at each other and exclaimed, "What's not to like?" And off we went, with tummies growling and hearts full of anticipation.

As we pulled into the parking lot I said, "Uh, Bob. There isn't much of a crowd here." He nodded and commented, "Yeah, I see. Not a single car is here."  We pulled up to the door.

"Closed Sundays"

Guess next time we'll check hours before we drive cross town. *Sigh*

... Hunan Lion was good ...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dine Originals Week - Surly Girl Saloon

Meet Brooke & Andy. Yesterday was Andy's birthday, so we went out tonight to celebrate. Andy picked Surly Girl Saloon. Good choice, my friend!!! We had a great time with great friends and great food :-)
Okay, so maybe a few great drinks were consumed, too. It was all just so ... well, great!

Brooke ordered off the menu (she always has to be different, our Brooke) and Andy, Bob and I went for the Dine Originals menu. What a deal! For Andy who was "flying solo" (as the menu put it) his dinner was 3 courses for $20! Even better, For Bob & me it was 3 courses for 2 for $30!!! We were totally psyched. And then we looked at the menu. Oh lordy this was gonna be fun.

Andy began his meal with the "Wasabi Cream Cheese Ball". This was served with sesame crackers and slices of fresh cucumber. It was really good! I say this with surprise because we all know I am a total wimp when it comes to hot food. And wasabi is hot, is it not? So you can understand my hesitation. But in the interest of reporting fairly and not trusting someone else's opinion, I dove right in. I took a cracker and slathered a spoonful of the cheeseball on it. Then I topped it with a cucumber slice. Wow! This was good stuff! The cheese ball had just the right amount of wasabi; not too hot but it had a nice horseradishy quality. The cucumber was the perfect foil; cool & crisp. I have to say I wholeheartedly approved!

Bob and I chose the "Skillet Nachos". These were reliably delicious. The chips were topped with warm black bean & corn salsa and melted cheese. Okay, so what's not to like? They were just flat out yummy.

I chose the "Butternut Squash Ravioli" in a chile-pumpkin cream sauce with house-made focaccia. The picture does not do it justice. This dish was absolutely divine. I kid you not, this is the stuff that food porn is made of. Uh, I mean, dreams are made of. The pasta of the ravioli was perfect. The butternut squash filling was subtle yet substantial enough to stand up to the sauce. And the sauce? Well, excuse me while I swoon. It was one of the most incredible things I have tasted in a very long time. I have to admit that I didn't taste the chile part in it. What I did taste was pumpkin, so creamy and lucious that it should have been served with some kind of fanfare. I simply cannot get it out of my mind! Alongside was the promised focaccia. This was also delicious. And, it was essential to sop up every teensy bit of sauce that might otherwise have been left behind. I will unabashedly tell you that I scraped my plate clean ... something just short of licking it. I didn't want to embarrass my dining companions. Although I'm pretty sure Brooke would have just laughed!

Bob had "Cowgirl Carmen's Cherry Cola Ribs". These were served with creamy coleslaw and poblano mashed potatoes. Excellent. Just excellent. The ribs were falling off the bone tender, with a sweet cherry cola bbq sauce that left you wanting to lick your fingers. The slaw was just right and the potatoes .... well, we know how I adore potatoes. And these were no exception. Three words to say about this dish - yum, yum, yum!

Now for Andy's dinner. He ordered the "Spicy Thai Pizza". This was a pizza made with peanut sauce, broccoli, carrots, cheddar, peanuts and sweet chili sauce. I just need to say that his choice of this pizza following the "Wasabi Cream Cheese Ball" was dead on. The two made for an awesome combination! This pizza however, is not for the faint of heart. Andy advised me to wait until my drink refill came before I chowed down on it. Andy was oh-so-right. This baby packed some heat! But it was so incredible! The crust was thin and crisp and the toppings all worked in such harmony that there was truly a symphony of tastes playing out on my tongue. This was deemed an uber success by all of us!!!

Now on to dessert! Yippee!!! Cupcakes!!! Oh happy day! Andy and I both got the "Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting". Awesome, awesome, and just totally delicious! The crumb was so soft, yet there was just the tiniest bit of crunch at the edge. The cream cheese frosting was not too sweet and the cherry on top was a like little red kiss.

Bob went with the "East" selection, which was a "Cherry Blossom Cupcake". I'm sorry the picture doesn't show it to full advantage. It was a delicate pink color with bits of cherry in the mix. It also had a soft crumb and Bob fully enjoyed it.

So happy birthday to Andy! What a fun and delicious way to celebrate our dear friend turning thirtysomething!

Surly Girl Saloon
1126 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43201-2440
 (614) 294-4900

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dine Originals Restaurant Week - November 7-13, 2011

It is that wonderful time of the year when the restaurants in Dine Originals participate in their restaurant week! Oh boy, we sure are the lucky ones on this deal :-)  It is the perfect time to try out a restaurant that has been on your list to visit, or to go back to a favorite one. Check out the info from Dine Originals! You can browse the menus from each restaurant. I am here to tell you that the deals are awesome and you'll find amazing menus. Bob and I already have our plans made!

Happy Eating!!!

   Dine Originals Week STARTS NOVEMBER 7

 twice-annual EVENT OFFERS chance to sample bold flavors of independence

47 restaurants, 7 days of original menus

Monday, november 7–sunday, november 13, 2011

The next Dine Originals Week will be held November 7–13, 2011, featuring creative, three-course fixed-price lunch and/or dinner menus for $10, $20, or $30 (not including tax, gratuity, or alcohol) from all 47 Dine Originals Columbus restaurants. Besides offering diners extraordinary menus at reasonable rates, this popular event, held twice a year, also serves as a celebration of the high-quality local dining scene. Restaurateurs see an uptick in sales at the restaurants, new faces, and visitors coming from out of town to take advantage of the special menus.

In keeping with Dine Originals’ mission to give back to the community, a portion of the proceeds from Dine Originals Week will be contributed to Local Matters, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting access to local food, advocating for fair food policies, and other related causes (

Notes Tim Lessner, president of Dine Originals Columbus and owner of Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails, “We’re excited for the next installment of this very popular week, which has turned into something of a citywide festival celebrating Dine Originals Columbus restaurants. With some new members added since last March, we encourage people to try a new restaurant—or, as always, to revisit a favorite during this special week.”

Dine Originals Columbus has 47 member restaurants, all locally owned and operated. The list follows on the next page.

·         Alana's Food and Wine

·         Barcelona Restaurant and Bar

·         Barrio Tapas

·         Basi Italia

·         Basil Thai Restaurant

·         Bel-Lago Waterfront Bistro

·         Black Creek Bistro

·         The Black Olive

·         Bodega Cafe

·         Chile Verde Cafe

·         The Clarmont Restaurant

·         Columbus Brewing Company

·         DeepWood Restaurant

·         Due Amici

·         Figlio Wood-Fired Pizza Grandview

·         G. Michael's Bistro

·         The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls

·         Katalina's Cafe Corner

·         Katzinger's Delicatessen

·         LaScala Italian Bistro

·         Local Roots American Cuisine & Spirits

·         Luce Enoteca

·         Mezzo Italian Kitchen and Wine

·         Milo's Deli and Cafe

·         Milo’s The Capitol Café

·         Mozart’s Bakery

·         Old Mohawk Restaurant

·         Pistacia Vera

·         The Refectory Restaurant  & Bistro

·         Rigsby's Kitchen

·         Shaw's Restaurant and Inn

·         Shoku

·         Skillet

·         Spinelli’s Deli

·         Surly Girl Saloon

·         Tasi Cafe

·         Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails

·         Tony’s Italian Ristorante

·         The Top Steakhouse

·         Trattoria Roma

·         Vienna Ice Café & Tea House

·         Wildflower Cafe

·         The Worthington Inn

·         Z Cucina Ristorante & Bar