Something Good in The Kitchen.

Hey friends, hey!

Have you heard about this amazing new spot in Columbus, The Kitchen?

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Love at first sight.

The Kitchen is tucked away in German Village (arguably my favorite area of C-bus.) It was started early in 2013 by two best friends who love to cook and have a good time while doing so. The concept behind The Kitchen is participatory dining (hello! So fun!) You purchase a seat for a specific night/menu and the staff walks you through cooking various parts of the meal. At the end of the night, you get to sit down at a banquet table with 25 new friends and enjoy the meal you all cooked together. They offer private events as well, for anything from a corporate outing to bridal shower. And if you aren’t so much into cooking, you could head over on a Taco Tuesday or Sunday evening dinner, for a more traditional restaurant experience.

My girl Kimmy and I went a few weeks ago as a Christmas/Birthday date. And I’ll admit, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But I knew we had selected a great menu, so no matter what is was going to be delicious. Here’s what we walked into:

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We were immediately offered a huge spread of appetizers and an array of drinks at the bar. Once everyone arrived, about 25 guests, we went over some general how-to’s of the kitchen and reviewed the menu. Everyone then chose a station/course that they wanted to cook and we all got to work!

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Our new friends for the night…this was Damian’s first onion chopping experience…nailed it!

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After a couple of hours of cooking away, it was finally time to sit down and be served (the staff finishes up all the dishes, plates the courses and serves you.) Here’s our menu and how it all turned out:

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Appetizer:

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Soup (we cooked this course!)

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Main Course:

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And always my personal favorite…dessert:

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Everything was PHENOMENAL and fairly simple to make. The idea at The Kitchen is to cook with friends and have fun. There aren’t a ton of rules or cooking lessons, however all the staff members were more than willing to give us advice when we asked. It really did feel like a big dinner party. I think it’s a great date night or night out with the girls. My only problem now is that I want to go all the time…I haven’t seen a single menu that doesn’t look great!

Be sure to check it out for yourself at thekitchencolumbus.com. I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself and learn a few things along the way.

 

My Kind of Truck.

This weekend was the third annual Columbus Food Truck Fest held at the Columbus Commons (one of my FAVE summer spots in cbus.) I couldn’t imagine a better end-of-summer weekend. The temperature was perfect, I started the morning with outdoor yoga, took a walk along the river and had this for lunch.

Only one of the greatest festival foods I could imagine, as confirmed by the mile-long line I stood in (but totally worth it and actually incredibly fast-moving.)

But then we walked past it. Perhaps one of the most ingenious ideas I’ve seen in a while. The Boutique Truck.

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LADIES. This is a STORE ON WHEELS. Can I get an amen?!

Kimmy and I walked right in (because it said to come in!) and were in immediate heaven. We talked with Catherine, the truck’s owner, and I assured her that she is definitely onto something. Inside you can shop for everything from maxi dresses (hello, my favorite!) to leggings and accessories. She even has a fitting room. It truly felt like walking into a personal closet. Aside from just festivals, The Boutique Truck can be reserved for at-home parties, bachelorette parties, etc. A store that will come to my house so my friends and I can shop in our own driveway while drinking wine and hanging out? Sign me up!

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My lovely friend, yoga partner, city gallivant-er and model, Kimmy!

Catherine said she just started the truck this summer and hopes to continue even into the winter. Y’all, you need to check this out next time you see it on the street. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love me some food trucks. But, what a fun idea! Kimmy and I walked out saying, “What else can we put in a truck?!” We’re still working on the next big thing.

Congrats to Catherine and The Boutique Truck on such a great idea! I’m so glad you’ve brought this to Columbus and I look forward to visiting again soon (hopefully when I’m less sweaty and can actually try some things on!)

How was your weekend? How are you spending these last weeks of summer before we enter the most wonderful time of the year? (FALL.)

A Time to Write.

Hello there, friends. Been awhile, eh? I’d like to claim that I’ve been away for the summer touring the world “Eat, Pray, Love” style or saving starving children in a third world country. But alas, I’ve been right here in good ol’ Cbus, Ohio. Trying to enjoy everything this time of year has to offer, from festivals to patios and everything in between.

And as summer starts to wind down (omg, really?) I thought it’s about time to check in on my little quest to be Alive this year. I was recently reminded of how one of my favorite writers, Donald Miller, used to post his blogs…with photos of his actual writings. And I’ve had this notebook which I stuck in my purse a few weeks ago, intending to write more in the moment. And until about two days ago, it’s remained blank. So I thought I’d give it a try. In an effort to be more present and write more often, here we go!

Think Pink.

This past weekend I participated in one of Columbus’ largest annual events…The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I walked…I just like to make sure everyone knows that I don’t run…

One of my goals for “The Year of Being Alive” was to get involved with an organization where I could do event planning and fundraising for a cause I care about. So, I recently joined the Komen Young Professionals and so far it’s been great!

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Team KYP 2013

During the race I had a moment…you know one of those spontaneous tears moments? (Am I the only one who gets these??) There is a point on the route where hundreds of motorcyclists line up and cheer on the racers, revving their engines and beeping their horns. (Yes, I recognize this is a strange place to get emotional.) But there was this moment of pure, human interaction. People giving up their own time to cheer on others who were giving up their own time to celebrate victims and survivors . A community coming together to not only raise awareness and money, but to encourage each other to keep fighting. And in that moment, I wasn’t thinking about the 5K I was walking, or that it was about to thunderstorm or the myriad of scary possibilities our society has recently encountered when large, public groups gather. I was just happy to be there seeing the smiles on faces. 

I think the tears came from a place that is still taken by surprise by humanity. In a world full of so much selfishness, negativity and uncertainty, it’s a joy to catch those glimpses of celebration.

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And the celebration continues! Join KYP for Style for the Cure in June! Put on your little black dress and come out for a fashion show, cocktails and celebrating some strong ladies!

Saturday Fun: Winter Hike.

One of my goals with being Alive in 2013 is to do more new things. Eat at new restaurants, see more sites…basically do a lot more of the stuff I always talk about wanting to do (less talking and more action.) And Saturday was one of those!

I don’t know where you were on Saturday…but in Columbus, Ohio it was 60 degrees in January…so most of us were outside.

My dear friend Michelle and I had already planned to go out for our first Winter Hike, sponsored by the Columbus Metro Parks. We majorly lucked out that the weather was so fantastic. If you aren’t familiar with this program, the Metro Parks sponsor guided walks each weekend over the winter. Each week is in a different park around central Ohio. It’s a great way to get out, enjoy the weather, soak in some vitamin D which we DESPERATELY need in the winter and enjoy some time with your friends and family. This week was at Sharon Woods, which is ironically right down the street from where Michelle and I met, our days at Otterbein.

When we first arrived, we were in utter shock. EVERYONE was going to the hike. There were cars as far as you could see in all directions. Even regular participants said they had never seen it this busy. Obviously, spring-like weather in January is a hit! It was great to see so many people out and about.

Seriously…by the bus loads!

Once we arrived, all we had to do was follow the arrows!

Excited for our first hike and some fresh air!

I’ll admit, I was a little bummed that the snow had melted and the park was just sort of boring and wet, but we still got a few glimpses of nature and her beauty.

The great thing about these hikes is that there are volunteer guides everywhere. So if you have questions, or wanted to take a guided hike, you can. You also have the option of what trail you take. Michelle and I chose the 2 mile track, but some of the parks offer up to 7 miles. It really gives you the opportunity to have a great time no matter who you are…and there were definitely some experienced hikers in the mix (not us).

At the end of the walk, there is a fantastic treat! Volunteers serve soup, snacks and hot chocolate. We even had chocolate milk from Snowville Creamery (so yum!)

Chicken chili, cornbread and chocolate milk!

All in all we had a really great morning out…that was until we had 0 clue how to find our car. After wandering aimlessly and finally asking for directions, we discovered that there was, of course, as sign (there were helpful signs everywhere!)

At least we didn’t get lost on the trail, right?

If you’re looking for good way to spend your Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon (they have walks on both), be sure to check this out! We’ll be out next Saturday!

How did you spend your weekend? Any good winter activities you can share?

Friday Smiles: Patty Cake.

It’s Friday! It’s been gray and rainy here, but Friday nonetheless. To fend off the rainy day blues, I thought we needed something cute and funny. And thus…a cat video. (I mean, really, come on. They’re hysterical.) I’m also pretty sure this would be Daisy and Gatsby if they could talk.

Enjoy your day, friends! Any fun plans for next few days? I’m heading out to the Central Ohio Metro Parks for a Winter Hike and then off for more birthday celebrations (it just keeps going!)

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: The Nutrcracker.

Saturday was a fantastic day.

I started my morning baking cookies with a dear friend, a tradition we started last year. Always fun to catch up over some sweets!

The afternoon, however, was where the real fun was waiting. This year, Breena and I finally decided it was time to take Eisley to see The Nutrcracker performed by BalletMet. Being a tiny performer herself, Eisley has talked endlessly about Angelina Ballerina for the past couple of years. She even got to take her first dance class last year. So I of course thought it necessary that she see this holiday classic.

There is something magical about seeing art performed live. It could have something to do with the fact that we were in the amazing, historic Ohio Theatre, decked out for Christmas, among hundreds of excited kids dressed to the nines.

Or, it could be something else. It could be the idea that at the core of all of us, is the desire for something beautiful. And art is beautiful. I can’t count how many times Eisley leaned over to me during the show and said “Oooooh, look at how pretty that girl (dancer) is”…it was like each costume was more spectacular than the last one to her. By the end of the day, she couldn’t stop talking about Clara, the lead character. And I couldn’t help but find a sense of great joy and thankfulness…that in light of Friday’s events, I got to spend a few hours with a little girl, where the scariest thing we had to encounter was the Mouse King, and how he was really just a kid with a costume so she didn’t need to be afraid.

I was thankful that I had the opportunity to go with Breena and Eisley and share something that I love so much. I remember watching older dancers when I was little, thinking they were so pretty and perfect and thinking that I could be just like that. And I hope Eisley got that too; the understanding that she too has the opportunity to be beautiful and make magic in her own life and in her own way. Because art ends only with our imagination.

In Eisley’s own words, “That was just too much fun.” And it really was.

And of course, pictures! We are three fashion-loving ladies, so of course we were excited for a reason to dress up. Eisley even got to wear a little make up because it was a special day out.

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With her Clara Christmas tree ornament she got to pick out.

 

Office Lunch Date 2.0

I feel pretty confident to say that I have probably some of the best coworkers a girl could ever ask for. We work unbelievably hard; which means we also like to play hard. Fortunately, summer is a time when our schedule lightens a little bit. There are fewer events and late nights required. So, we try to tie in as much fun as possible during these months.

Enter, office lunch dates. A few weeks ago we went to the North Market, one of the most iconic places in Columbus (in my opinion) and one of my favorites. Today, we tried out a new feature, Food Truck Food Court at the Columbus Commons.

Food Trucks!

The Columbus Commons is an amazing new green space built in downtown Columbus. The city is doing an amazing job of utilizing it throughout the summer, through concerts, family events and free group fitness classes, among other options. My favorite quality of Columbus is that there is SO much to do. Summer is one of the greatest seasons to take advantage of all the entertainment and culture the city has to offer.

Food Truck Food Court takes place every Thursday, so make sure you check it out!

Ok, now I know you’re wondering what we ate! Alecia and I went for Tatoheads. She got the Mediterranean sweet potato fries, looked yum-o. I opted for the chili cheese fries, with vegan chili. So good!

My chili cheese fries.

David got an awesome salad from Pitabilities.

JT, winning our prize for most trucks visited, had The Royale from The Cheesy Truck (which he ate before I got a photo of it) and a second sandwich from the Market District truck.

Sandwich #2.

Lunch date success! The weather was beautiful and the food was delicious. Here we are with our bellies full before we left to head back to the office.

JT, myself, David and Alecia. A happy, full team!

A few tips I have from our experience:

Plan for the time. The trucks are available from 11-2. Expect some lines and some wait time for the food to be prepared (it’s so good and fresh!) We went right at noon but I would consider going right at 11 or after 1 to avoid the crowds a little more.

Make it a team effort. There are a lot of good options! If you go with a group, try to order from different trucks so you get the opportunity to sample a lot of the different choices.

Seating. The Commons offers a lot of tables/chairs and even some that have umbrellas. But, again, it’s somewhat crowded. Stake out a table early to make sure you can fit your group. Or, I would even consider taking a blanket and sitting in the grass…there’s a ton of space!

I hope to go back again, I’m loving all the food trucks we have around the city. I highly recommend trying it for yourself some Thursday.

We are currently taking suggestions for Office Lunch Date 3.0…any suggestions?

Village Valuables.

This past weekend was the PERFECT weather to be outside. Summer always reminds me of why I love living in Columbus. There’s so much to do…and most of the time it’s free or really inexpensive!

Saturday morning we embarked on an adventure I had never gone on before…Village Valuables. Village Valuables is a district wide yard sale in German Village (only my absolute favorite area of Columbus!) So, up and at ’em early, we set out to enjoy the day and go on a treasure hunt.

I ended up with a small treasure…this old picture frame I got for $1.

Thanks to Bryan, who is not in this picture because he was too busy being our set designer and photographer.

We also stopped at Winan’s for some caffeine (remember I said it was early.) All in all it was a great morning with great friends. I consider myself a pretty experienced yard saler (sale-r? That’s not really a word) and I would highly recommend going next year if you’ve never been. My #1 piece of advice though is to go early…beat the crowds, the parking and you get the best pick!

Now, I may have only scored the picture frame, but I did spot the greatest yard sale treasure of all time. For a small fee, we found the world’s best play kitchen for little Savannah (her momma Tess is in the middle in the photo above). Since I don’t have my own kids, I have to live vicariously through others. Just look, could absolutely not be any cuter.

Note the sassy popped knee and princess leotard (which Tess also found at Village Valuables.) She’s one of my favorites.

And that my friends is what we call yard sale success. Do you have any favorite summertime traditions or events?