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Restaurant Roundup: Dinners, Contests, and Independents’ Day

Ayana Wilson Ayana Wilson Restaurant Roundup: Dinners, Contests, and Independents’ Day
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The Columbus Food & Wine Affair

The Columbus Food & Wine Affair is an annual charitable event for amateur and experienced oenophiles. This year marks the 11th in the tradition, and its Grand Tasting is to be held this Friday, September 20th at the Franklin Park Conservatory, 1777 East Broad Street. Tickets cost $130, with special Grand Tasting & Discover Hospitality passes available for $195 per person.  This buys you early site entrance to check out over 100 wineries pouring some 350 different varietals, a Grand Tasting ticket, free valet, special commemorative gifts, and a Discover Hospitality Champagne and Vitner reception.

Culinary offerings will be made by Vittoria Ristorante, Basi Italia, Figlio, Vino Vino, and Latitude 41, whose Executive Chef, Dean James Max, is also creating the menu for the Discover Hospitality Cuisine featuring the Wines of Italy. This year’s celebration’s proceeds will benefit the Children’s Hunger Alliance, Columbus College of Art & Design, and the WBNS 10-TV Family Fund. To purchase tickets, visit www.foodandwineaffair.com.

Sage American Bistro

On Wednesday, September 25th, Sage American Bistro, located at 2653 north High Street, will be teaming up with local meadery, Brother’s Drake, to create a seven-course dinner where each item will be paired with a specially chosen and crafted mead selection. This will be Sage’s first mead dinner, and part of their Lucky Seven series held on the last Wednesday of every month.

For $75 per head, guests will be able to experience Sage’s Executive Chef Bill Glover’s inspired fare. Cocktail service will begin at 6:30pm, dinner at 7pm. To make a reservation, e-mail [email protected] or call 614-267-SAGE (7243). For a sample of a past Lucky Seven dinner event, check out www.sageamericanbistro.com.



On Sunday, September 22nd, Bodega, the popular Short North watering hole known for a wicked craft beer lineup, Grilled Cheese Mondays, and one of the best happy hours in the city, will host Columbus’ inaugural Hot Dog Eating & Craft Beer Shot Contest. Here’s how it will work: 3 groups of 10 hungry patrons will have 7 minutes to consume as many of Chef Marcus Meacham’s Smoked Hot Dogs topped with Jalapeño Tabasco Mustard and shots of Seventh Son Brewing’s craft beers as they can. For every hot dog eaten, a shot must be taken (beer flavor to be announced on the day).

The entry fee is a mere $15, and winners will take home a Bodega t-shirt, coffee mug, and mason jar. The showdown begins at high noon, and will be hosted by Team Tim, who hosts Bodega’s trivia nights.  If you think you have what it takes, bring it. Bodega is located at 1044 North High Street. More information can be found at www.columbusbodega.com.

Hubbard Grille

There’s still time to get in on Hubbard Grille’s Become Legendary Contest, the opportunity to name Hubbard’s fall lineup of 4 new cocktails. This is the 3rd year for the competition, where the truly creative could win gift cards, goodies, and other special prizes. Entrants can make their submissions online or in-person at the restaurant, 793 North High Street. Once submitted, the public votes for their favorites, which then make a short list from which the winner will be crowned on October 15th.

So far, 3 drink combinations have been revealed: For Those Who Support Local – Watershed Four Peel Gin, Avive Natural Almond Sparkling, and cranberry juice; For Those Who Enjoy an Old Fashioned – Kentucky Wheat Whiskey, house-made bitters, and honey;  and For Those Who Want to Spice Up the Season – Spiced Rum shaken with house-spiced Apple Cider. To learn the 4th combo, and enter the contest, go to www.facebook.com/HubbardGrille. Become Legendary runs through the end of September.

Independents’ Day

This year marks the sixth for the Independents’ Day celebration, and to commemorate, the event is now spread out across three days. This music/art/food festival recognizes the best of local entrepreneurship, and this year, there’s a lot to be excited about, food-wise. First off, there will be a great cast of food trucks on hand to complement the crafters and artisans showing and performing.  Popular mobiles like Ajumama (Korean street food), Mashita Noodles (ramen machine), and The Coop (yak burgers. turducken tacos.) will be slinging their grub, as well as Freedom à la Carte, J-Pops, and Jeni’s, among others.

Saturday introduces Up-and-Coming Eats, a celebration of the aspiring chefs and restaurateurs we have in Central Ohio. Here, promising chefs provide free samples and share information about their foods and brands with festival attendees. Justin Hemminger of Abe’s, a restaurant/bar/music venue coming soon to the downtown, will be there serving Creamy Beer Brat Dip with Sliced Baguette and a Dijon Carrot Slaw; Tomos Mughan and Chef Mike Gadd of global gourmet empanada company, Empanada Intifada, will be dishing up Sloppy Joe, Baked Potato, and Chana Masala Empanadas. Other culinary artists who will be in attendance include Brian Thornton of OH! Chips, the guy behind OH! Burgers, who hopes to launch Columbus’ premiere artisan potato chip company, Tyrone Frank, of The Good Frank, who will be plying his grass-fed beef frankfurters, living sauerkraut, and chocolate lemonade, and possibly, Pierogie Mountain. Up-and-Coming Eats will run from 2pm to 6pm.

On Sunday, nurse that hangover with Brunch in the Alley, or more correctly, Bloody Mary Brunch in the Alley. The bartenders at Due Amici will be rolling out their Bloody Mary carts for create-your-own mixes, where guests will be able to customize their own “hair of the dog”. It’s the perfect accompaniment to The Hills Market’s buffet-style brunch featuring Ham Mini Quiches, Egg, Sausage, Cheddar and Pepper Strombolis, Home Fries, and Fresh Fruit Salad.

The Independents’ Day festival runs from 5pm-11pm on Friday the 20th, 11am-11pm on Saturday the 21st, and 11am-5pm on Sunday the 22nd. Brunch in the Alley will be at 11am-3pm, when a toast will be held to salute the success of the 2013 Independents’ Day events. The weekend’s festivities will be held downtown at Gay Street, Pearl Alley, and Lynn Alley. For more on all the Independents’ Day news, visit www.thisisindependent.com.

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The Urban Living Tour returns (with strict safety guidelines) on Aug 30!