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.

 

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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.)

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?

My New Baking Obsession.

Chocolate No Bake Cookies. I know, they’re pretty simple. But they are SO good. And quick. And chocolate.

Ok, so here’s my secret. I found this sweet recipe on foodnetwork.com and added my own little twist.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa *DARK CHOCOLATE. I promise. It will change your life.
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped in the food processor *note this is a change from the original recipe. I reduced the oatmeal and added peanuts for some extra crunch and flavor. 

Directions

Chop your peanuts up ahead of time and set those aside. Bring to a boil the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Boil for approximately 1 minute, stirring throughout. Add in the peanut butter, vanilla, oatmeal and peanuts. Mix well. Drop by the teaspoon on wax paper and allow to harden. Typically, once they are mostly cooled, I’ll pop them in the refrigerator to harden up before I serve them.

And there you have it! So simple and so good. In a few minutes time, you’ll end up with these bad boys…

New Recipe Love: Spinach and Feta Quesadillas.

Yep, you read that right. This recipe is quick, easy and delicious. It’s one of my new favorite finds on Pinterest!

I adapted the original recipe found at Closet Cooking. Here’s what I came up with:

1 handful of fresh spinach, steamed and squeezed (recipe says 1/2 cup…I like to eyeball measurements…)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 handful crumbled feta
salt and pepper
Shredded mozzarella cheese
2 corn tortillas
*I left out a few of the ingredients from the original recipe (mostly because I didn’t have them) so I missed a little bit of the greek style, but I still loved them.

Directions:
1. Steam spinach, drain and squeeze excess water.
2. Meanwhile, warm your skillet with a little bit of cooking spray or EVOO.
3. Combine spinach, parsley, feta, salt and pepper in a bowl.
4. Warm each tortilla one at a time in the skillet.
5. Fill one tortilla with a small handful of mozzarella, followed by the spinach/feta mixture. Top with a little more mozzarella and the second tortilla.
6. Cook on both sides until tortillas are browned and cheese is melted.

And the finished product!