Ah, 2016. What shall we say about thee? I know many are quick to say good-bye to what’s been a rough-and-tumble year, but I think it’s worth looking back on the good we experienced, from meals shared with friends new and old, to travel with family, to more breakfast and brunch tours, to new discoveries and re-visits to old favorites.
Here’s a few highlights of our 2016 adventures in breakfast, beer, coffee, cooking, travel, and beyond.
Duck Donuts – A favorite taste of North Carolina opened in Columbus! We know Duck Donuts from our OBX visits. They offer fun treats using one base donut that’s dipped and frosted in all sorts of stuff.
Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen – Central Ohio’s wackiest brewery is now partnered with a brewpub, and their brunch is every bit as fun and colorful as the beers and the branding.
Baba’s – We were excited for this neighborhood bakery/cafe to open. They’ve begun small but are growing, starting with some awesome breakfast sandwiches, coffee, snacks, and more comfort foods.
Condado Tacos – This build-your-own taco joint serves a fun weekend brunch, with spicy biscuits and gravy, grits, and yes – breakfast tacos!
Jack & Benny’s Downtown Diner – It was a homecoming of sorts for Jack & Benny’s this year. Geno and Hilda opened a new location at Broad and High downtown, right where the original J&B stood until the 70s. Bonus: they’re open 24 hours!
Buckeye Donuts Food Truck – Our love for Buckeye Donuts is well known, and they’re always a delightful stop on my breakfast tour. Now they’re taking to the road at very festivals and events.
Gallerie Bar & Bistro – We brunched at the Gallerie as part of our invited staycation at the Hilton. There we were treated to a beautiful eggs benedict and some of the best chicken and waffles we’ve tasted.
Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op – Bottoms Up supports great causes using the profits from their coffee shop and co-working space. Be sure to visit them lots this coming year!
Starliner Diner – Starliner moved to Main Street in Hilliard this year after their original building was bulldozed. Fortunately, they’ve recaptured the same feel, with the same kooky decorations and wonderful breakfasts.
Bottle Shop – Although the food truck at The Bottle Shop doesn’t always do regular brunch hours, the shop itself is still worth checking out. It’s become one of our favorite spots for cocktails.
Salt & Pine – Salt & Pine has discontinued their brunch, but when it comes back, we’ll certainly be lined up. Beautifully executed dishes like salmon eggs benedict, breakfast burritos, grits with eggs.
Amy’s Donuts – Amy’s took the west side by storm with tray after tray of colorful donuts topped with frostings, candies, cookies, and everything in-between.
Skillet – We need to go to Skillet more. It had been too long so we made a trip last spring and were again blown away by the Caskeys’ handling of comfort foods.
Valter’s at the Maennerchor – I first discovered Valter’s when writing about them for the Dispatch, and soon added their German comfort foods to my monthly brunch tour.
Lineage Brewing – Our neighborhood brewery started up weekend brunch this year, and while the menu is small, it’s mighty.
Red Velvet Cafe – Red Velvet’s Filipino brunch has moved to their sister restaurant of Bonifacio, and it’s worth chasing down the silog rice and meat dishes or the ube waffles and chicken.
I continued my coffee obsession in 2016. Columbus’ coffee scene keeps getting better and better, and we discovered great spots during our travels, from Press Coffee in Dayton to Collective Espresso in Cincinnati and Quills Coffee in Louisville.
Crimson Cup Innovation Lab – Crimson Cup opened their new Innovation Lab, a space with classrooms, gathering spaces, roasting labs, and training equipment.
What’s a Pour Over? – I wrote a piece exploring the pour over method, how to do it at home, and how it’s an excellent way to taste coffee.
Brioso Roastery & Coffee Bar – Brioso opened their second location on Long Street downtown, a quiet place to study and home to their new roasting facility.
MRS. BREAKFAST WITH NICK
Mrs. Breakfast w/Nick continued writing up some of our favorite recipes on the blog.
Banket – Banket is a Dutch pastry filled with almond paste. I grew up with my mother and grandmothers making it, and now we’re carrying on the tradition!
Pulled Pork – Beth detailed an easy and versatile recipe centered around her brother’s smoked pulled pork.
Dutch Babies – We wrote about Dutch babies (aka German pancakes) and the fun of making them around the holidays.
This year’s beer writing on the blog has focused on my goal to complete the full Columbus Ale Trail. I’m more than halfway there, and have until spring.
Columbus Ale Trail Part 1 – visiting Zaftig, Rockmill, Four String’s production facility, and Sideswipe
Columbus Ale Trail Part 2 – hitting up Kindred Artisan Ales, Seventh Son, Staas Brewing, and Restoration Brew Worx
Columbus Ale Trail Part 3 – going to Wolf’s Ridge, North High, Temperance Row, and Land-Grant
Columbus Ale Trail Part 4 – hitting up Elevator’s 13th Floor Taproom, Zauber, Lineage, and Ill Mannered
We don’t JUST eat breakfast. There are too many great places to explore, from burgers at brewpubs to Chinese dumplings to everything in between.
Rockmill Tavern – One of our favorite breweries opened a full service restaurant in the Brewery District, pairing their beer with top notch dishes from chef Andrew Smith.
Hai Poke – If you haven’t found this pop-up/food truck, go soon. Mico and Niles serve up poke, a Hawaiian staple layering fresh fish with rice and veggies.
Kamayan Night at Bonifacio – With Bonifacio’s opening this year, Columbus gained a full service Filipino restaurant. We attended their first kamayan, a community meal with foods spread across the table, from rice to seafood to sausages to veggies.
Tiger Mushroom Farms – I got to meet Te’Lario Watkins, the Tiger Scout who’s growing and selling delicious mushrooms with his family. And of course we bought mushrooms and cooked ’em up at home!
Helen’s Asian Kitchen – We finally wrote about one of our favorite spots. Helen is super sweet, her dumplings are the best in the city, and her stir-fried Szechuan cauliflower tops our list of regular cravings. If you’ve never been, get there soon, as she may be closing in early 2017.
This year we made several little trips around Ohio, and did some vacationing in Columbus itself.
Sneaking Down to Cincinnati Part 1 and Part 2 – We made a couple trips to Cincinnati this year. In the winter we visited the Cincinnati Art Museum of their Art of the Brick exhibition, and along the way toured the Newport Aquarium, had breakfast at Sleepy Bee Cafe and Sugar N Spice, discovered fried chicken at The Eagle and coffee from Collective Espresso, and explored Jungle Jim’s on the way home.
The Midwest Travel Writers Visit Part 1 and Part 2 – Last spring Columbus hosted the annual meeting of the Midwest Travel Writers, and I got to help lead a couple tours and show off the city’s breakfast to them.
Dayton in a Day – A day visiting the Air Force Museum and some Wright brothers sites, including beers at Warped Wing Brewing, breakfast at Butter Cafe, a stop at Press Coffee, and treats from Bill’s Donuts.
Shipping Out to the Erie Shores & Islands Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 – To celebrate Owen’s birthday, we took our lighthouse-loving little boy to Port Clinton and Put-in-Bay to explore four (count ’em, four) lighthouses: Marblehead, Port Clinton, Perry’s Monument, and South Bass. In between we had breakfast, visited safari parks, and much more.
A Cincinnati Weekend Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 – Beth and I enjoyed an invited visit to Cincinnati, where we spent our time exploring markets, parks, coffee, beer, bookstores, and cocktails downtown, Over-the-Rhine, and northern Kentucky.
A Staycation at Hilton Downtown – Not all travel included leaving Columbus! Beth and I were invited to stay at the Hilton Downtown complete with dinner at the Gallerie Bar & Bistro.
A Look at Louisville – We visited Louisville for my cousin’s wedding, and took his suggestions for tacos, beer, and coffee. Bonus visits included eating real Kentucky hot browns at the Brown Hotel and a killer brunch at The Silver Dollar.
Brunch Your Way Through Easton Part 1 and Part 2 – Easton Town Center invited me to explore their brunch options. Guided by Toni the Easton FoodE, I checked out Northstar Cafe, Zest Juice Co., Flip Side, Fado, Bon Vie, and Brio.
Thanks again to everyone who reads the blog, shares ideas, and follows along our adventures. I appreciate you letting me serve as your guide, and for making this the busiest year yet for Breakfast With Nick!
Here’s to the good memories of 2016, and to a happy and productive and adventurous 2017!