Thursday, 6 February 2014

'CityScene Magazine' Release Party @the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill

Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill on Urbanspoon

Continued wintry greetings, fellow foodie friends! For those among you who have not yet heard (or rather, read), I was contacted last November by CityScene Magazine Community Editor Lisa Aurand regarding a story she was working on about food bloggers. As it turned out, she had learned of my blog via Urbanspoon and wanted to interview me. I naturally jumped at the opportunity to share my story, and the motivations and development of Learning through Food. And last month, her finished article--also featuring the local bloggers of The Breakfast Grub Guy and the Leptologists at Lunch--was published online and in print form. A few weeks later, I was contacted by CityScene Editor Garth Bishop inviting me to their January/February issue release party. Of course, I couldn't pass up that opportunity, and with Brianne joining me (prior to watching Frozen again...for the fourth time), the journey brought us to Grandview's Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill where I also couldn't help bring out my camera and snap some shots for another restaurant review.

Spacious and adorned with Buckeye paraphernalia and 40 flat-screen TV's, the glossy wood flooring and sophisticated ambiance create an atmosphere conducive to a positive dining and sports fan viewing experience. To this latter point, this review in itself is rather limited, limited in this case to the appetizers that had been organized for the magazine release party. All this really means is that I'll have to come back to try out Buckeye Grill's other culinary offerings. If the following appetizers are any indication, I'm confident I won't be disappointed.

To this end, three appetizers made it to our p(a)lates. Starting with the one at 12 o'clock on the above plate is the BBQ chicken flatbread. The crisped bread upon which all else sat was well toasted and seasoned, with actual flavour to it. More importantly, though, it served as a great vehicle for the tender pieces of grilled chicken coated in a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce, the layer beneath it of Monterey Jack and garlic herb cheeses, and the addition of cilantro and softened red onion. The amount of flavour packed into one such bite was worthy of another (and maybe a few more after that...). Moving clockwise, next up to bat was the Margherita, also from the flatbread menu. Made with that same, wonderful dough as the BBQ chicken flatbread, this one was layered with melted mozzarella, meaty roma tomatoes, touches of basil, and drizzles of extra virgin olive oil. A classic dating back to the late 19th century, Margherita pizza (or in this case, flatbread) is a pretty safe choice. I seemingly can't seem to emphasize it enough, but it's Buckeye Grill's dough which makes its version a particularly delicious one. Finally, and actually off the appetizer menu, were the Hall of Fame pretzel bites. Warm bundles of dippable dough, these savoury confections are paired with one of the best things ever made: cheese dip (here, one made with pale ale, which is of course fitting with Buckeye Grill's sports theme).

Drink options are unsurprisingly plenty, though it was the tasty sour apple martini--made with vodka, Apple Pucker, and sour--which was the highlighted special for the party. Reminiscent of liquid sour apple hard candies, this is definitely a drink I'd drink again.

But perhaps the most meaningful highlight of the night was expanding my network of Columbus foodies. In addition to meeting CityScene President Kathy Gill (above right), I had the fortunate pleasure of meeting Candice Strelsky and Paul Melko, the leptologists of Leptologists at Lunch. Along with Nicholas Dekker (OSU graduate, lecturer, administrator, and author of Breakfast with Nick, who I met last semester), and Jim Ellison (the mastermind also known as CMH Gourmand and with whom I went on a microbrewery tour last November), Candice and Paul clearly reflect what I find to be hallmarks of the Columbus food blogger community. My own bias and limited knowledge..acknowledged, it seems to me that Columbus food bloggers generally (and by generally, I say this with a rather high degree of confidence) tend to be extremely down to earth, truly love talking about (and of course eating) food, and above else, are excited and inspired by the food scene of this city. It is in our stories--attempts to recapture and share our experiences through photos and words, with as much justice as possible--that we aim to highlight and celebrate the local food scene, as well as the food scenes we visit elsewhere. Our stories are added to yours and the countless others which are transmitted every day in both written and oral form. With every uploaded photo and published text, the chatter of the foods and cultures which support each other throughout and outside of the city of Columbus grows stronger. Collectively, such chatter is a reflection of this ever-vibrant foodie destination. May the dialogue and the journey continue!

Many thanks again to Lisa for including me in her article, as well as to Garth and Kathy for their invitation to the magazine release party. Click here for access to the online magazine version (pp 10 & 11 for the "online dining" food blogger article), or visit CityScene's website here. And once again, check out the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill (located at 775 Yard St), and comment below to share your experience there, as well as your thoughts on what I should taste next!

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