Something Good in The Kitchen.

Hey friends, hey!

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

IMG_0400

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:

IMG_0398

IMG_0411

 

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!

IMG_0405

IMG_0407

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

IMG_0408

IMG_0410

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:

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 3.04.04 PM

Appetizer:

IMG_0413

Soup (we cooked this course!)

IMG_0415

Main Course:

IMG_0416

And always my personal favorite…dessert:

IMG_0418

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.

 

Advertisements

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.

IMG_3555

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!

IMG_3556

IMG_3557

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 Wednesday Post of Randoms.

Happy Hump Day, friends!

I hope your week is going well. I’m enjoying my last day off before I start my new job tomorrow. The excited/nervous feelings have set in full swing. I’m packing my bag and picking out my clothes…it’s really kind of like the first day of school all over again…

Anyway, here in Ohio we are enjoying one of our favorite things…a lovely snow storm in March 😦 So I have given myself an unofficial snow day to do with it whatever the heck I want. And I decided to give you all a random update of the past few days (because mini staycations are the bomb.)

Sunday I wore this fun little get up to brunch (where there were Broadway music videos! I would just like it to be known that this is the best idea ever. Way to go, Level Dining Lounge.)

IMG_2531

I’m in a navy blue phase at the moment

I made this for chocolate pomegranate tart for dessert on Monday…omggggg.

Photo from PastryAffair.com

And I made this black bean soup and cilantro lime rice for dinner last night…so good.

Photo from iowagirleats.com

And I finally worked on a little project and took my Christmas wreath off my front door (I mean, it’s only March, give me a break…) Craft day!

IMG_2530
And I’m currently plowing through a miniseries on the Kennedys on Netflix. Snow days really are the best.

How are you today, sweet friend?

Those Winter Blues.

Let’s all be real here for a hot second. It’s winter. In Ohio, that means it’s cold, it’s dark by 5 p.m. (which if you aren’t aware, is the time we all get out of work and actually see the outside) and the motivation gauge is usually on empty. It’s the winter blues. A funk. Depression. And though I am not a psychological or medical professional (and if you are having extensive difficulties, you should definitely see one of them) I thought I would share a few of the ways that I try to keep myself moving during these winter months. I’d love to hear any techniques or activities you have! I’m always interested in new ways to find inspiration and motivation.

1) Get some people time. I will openly tell you I am one of the most introverted people you will meet. I love me time. I NEED me time. But I also know that when I let that get off balance, it gets ugly fast. I know that if I’ve gone too long without real social activity, I’m in trouble. Don’t let that happen! Right now…call, text, Facebook message, tweet a friend. Set up a little hang out date. This is one of my first go-to ways to pull myself out of a funk: I fill my social calendar. I think you’ll realize that when you spend time with others, you want to spend more time with others, and that makes even my little, internal self jump for joy. It also keeps you from sinking into yourself. And just as it helps you, your presence is beneficial for the other person; because you’re pretty stinking awesome.

2) Get outside! Vitamin D my friends. Even if it’s cold (let’s be real…it’s cold.) Take a walk at lunch. Sit on your porch for a few minutes. Take a moment, breathe and get some fresh air. It’s an instant mood changer.

3) Dance it out. I mean it. You’d be shocked by what 15 minutes of shaking your groove thing can do. Don’t worry, no one is watching. Just have fun and laugh at yourself. Find yourself a good Pandora dance station (I have a Beyonce “Single Ladies” station) and go for it. My favorite is to dance while I’m cleaning my house…and sitting in my car…and sitting at my desk…and waiting in line at the store…ok maybe this one is my favorite tip 🙂

4) Be task oriented. I love to-do lists. In fact, I need them to function. I mean, I make to-do lists when I’m on vacation to make sure I don’t miss anything. And when I’m having a bad day, or I’m lacking motivation, usually having at least one task to work towards keeps me moving. So I’ve been trying to break up my lists into small, daily projects. I don’t have to do everything at one time, that’s overwhelming and then I give up. It’s just small steps. Today, pay bills. Tomorrow, emails. Another day, run errands. Little things can result in a lot of forward motion.

5) Write a love letter. Over Christmas break I stumbled upon this amazing project, www.moreloveletters.com. It was started by a young woman when she was struggling with depression. It’s an act of anonymous encouragement; literally writing love letters and leaving them for whomever should stumble upon them. How fun?! You can learn more about the organization and how to be a part of the letter writing if you go to the website. I just got my first request for letters (they send a monthly list of people who have requested letters for someone they know) and I can’t wait to get started! You can’t imagine how encouraging another person can really benefit you as well.

What about you? What do you do to keep yourself going?

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!)

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?