Kain Na Tayo! Bonifacio Modern Filipino

Much of the history regarding Bonifacio and my personal relationship to this Filipino restaurant can be found at this prior blogpost, which detailed the experiences of my spouse and I at their July 2016 preview event. At that time, I was eager to for the restaurant's grand opening, but in many ways I wanted to fully digest how Krizzia Yanga's somewhat bold venture into a full-service restaurant, largely spurred on by the success of their Filipino-oriented silog (featuring a fried egg) and panini brunch and lunch offerings at her Downtown Columbus-located Red Velvet Cafe and in a region largely unfamiliar with Filipino cuisine.

Well, almost two years later after the restaurant's opening, and after landing a "Best New Restaurants of 2016" from Columbus Monthly and grabbing national press in media sources like NPR and Southwest: The Magazine, I figured I had more than enough time to take it all in. In some ways, this post is somewhat exemplary of the concept of Filipino Time, a concept not unlike Hawaiian Time where folks (or in this case, this blog post) are known to show up fashionably late to events.

In Praise of the Swag Bag: Brunch with the Columbus Food Bloggers

The swag bags you'd get at pre- and post-race athletic event expos
were the ultimate cat's meow at one time of my life
Back in the day when my body was adapting better to the condition known as "adult onset athlete", I learned about the joys of the swag bag, especially in relation to running or triathlon races. Back in those days, an energy gel that wouldn't make you barf and a running shirt made of wicking material (bonus points for a good fit) were really nice gets. Every now and again, your event fee would get you a really good quality product - one swag bag turned out to be the best swag itself, a snazzily constructed duffel bag that we have taken on numerous trips now for almost a decade now. On occasion, the mystery of what you might get in the bag actually outweighed what you found there.

As the focus of my spare time in recent years has turned toward both blogging and exploring my new city of residence, the swag bag still holds that special intrigue for me, whether it was related to a community event (such as Franklinton's fun holiday Festivus event swag bag, which was available for a small donation) or attendance at a group event. The little coupons and items within have led us to explore some businesses and sampled some products we may have never figured out existed during our normal travels.

Our haul from our most recent swag bag (a natty model produced by Inked and Screened) came at the fun gathering that was the Columbus Food Bloggers potluck brunch. The contents, plus some special guests in attendance, proved to be for my spouse and I both a discovery and rediscovery of a wide swath of locally produced products.

Thrills for the Gills: Marino's Seafood Fish and Chips

My relationship to seafood has always been a tenuous one, but one thing that has remained true for me is that frying solved a lot of my reluctance. In fact, I remember as a kid liking my parent's fried fish so much, I would crack off chunks of the tails simply because I enjoyed the crunch. Steamed crab was never a favorite of mine, but my first encounter with a fried up disc of deliciousness that is a Maryland Crab Cake gave me a new way of thinking of this crustacean.

As I've grown up, my appreciation for this culinary class of food has evolved, and I've begun to appreciate well-made seafood creations no matter what the preparation method. But I'll always have a jonesing for the fried versions, something that has led me more times than not to the doors of Marino's Seafood Fish & Chips, located in Columbus' Fifth by Northwest neighborhood.

Hier spielt die Musik: Valter’s at The Maennerchor

My first encounter with the German culinary hybrid currywurst came courtesy of a
Columbus Männerchor booth at German Village's Village Lights holiday event
For all the influence that immigrants from Germany had in Columbus's early history, the culinary presence these days is somewhat muted.  German Village's Schmidt's is the most prominent purveyor these days, with their famed cream puffs and Bahama Mama sausages, but overall the numbers are/were slim, from the recently closed Juergens Bakery (due to be replaced by another German restaurant), Grandview Heights's German import Hofbräuhaus, the Crosswoods-area Wurst Und Bier, and a decidedly German take on fast food in Polaris's What´s for Döner.

Other options to sample German treats blend in a welcome dose of culture: Columbus's annual Oktoberfest celebration offers beer, music and other cultural elements in a family-friendly, festival-style setting. Additionally, the Brewery District-located Germania Society, which was established in the mid-1800s to help new German immigrants adapt to their new homeland, openly invites the public to join them in events such as their Sommerfests and Red, White and Brats.

Java Broad-side: Bottoms Up and Third Way Cafe

Columbus's vigorous coffee scene has headed west in recent months
down Broad Street, one of the city's historically main thoroughfares
For those in the know, the Columbus coffee scene continues to steam as vigorously as milk for a latte drink, prior to and ever since the well-respected Sprudge Media Group's listing Ohio's capital city as one of its Five Underrated Coffee Cities. Just in the past several months alone, a bevy of local favorites, from Fox In The Snow, Roaming Goat Roasters, and Stauf's either opening new locations or on the verge of expansion.

Of course, the places to grab a lovely cup of java around here tend to be concentrated in select neighborhoods, with the Short North, German Village, and Downtown being prime hot spots. But I personally like to the opportunity for a good cup of joe filter out to lesser served parts of the metro, as I found out headed toward parts west on Broad Street during recent travels.

Brews and Ques: A Trip to the Heart Of Ohio

Our last antique venture led us to this bottle from Schlee & Son Brewery,
which made its home in Columbus' historic Brewery District
Our next pairing of 'Ques and Brews wasn't an option in prior years, mainly because the Brews pairing wasn't in existence. However, give credit to the ever growing Ohio craft beer industry - as noted in this Columbus Business First article, nearly 70 breweries were added to the Buckeye State roster in 2017 alone to push the total number statewide to nearly 260. While the brewery in this pairing was actually a Class of 2016 member, our recent visit was our first chance to pair an old with a new favorite.

Going Off The Rails on the Wholesome Train: Acre

Looking back at that Columbus Underground "Best New Restaurants of 2014 List" that I had mentioned on a post last year on Bareburger, I noticed just how many of these restaurants have become or were regulars in our rotation.  Of course, there's local phenomenon Hot Chicken Takeover, but in addition I found the now (sadly) departed Double Comfort, the Brewery District hot spot Arepazo Latin Grill (I have blogged about their first two locations in Downtown and Gahanna), and Clintonville's Harvest Bar & Kitchen, an offshoot of the original Harvest Pizzeria in German Village.

Also on this list was an eatery that for some reason had for some reason slipped through the cracks in terms of a blog post in the locally-focused, fast-casual eatery known as Acre.