COLUMBUS, OHIO — There are two things I love most in this world: food and travel. So when I learned about Columbus Food Adventures, an assortment of local food tours in Ohio, I jumped at the chance to go on one. It’s perfect for locals and tourists alike — visitors get a quick taste of the city while Ohioans get to try multiple restaurants they’ve been eyeing. But how could I, or anyone, decide on just one? Taco truck tour? Dessert tour? German Village tour? I settled on the Short North walking tour. All the walking would balance out all the eating, right?
The Short North Food Tour began at the North Market, an indoor collection of local specialty shops and food counters. Our tour guide, Bethia – an information-filled Brit with a passion for food and the city of Columbus – set the bar by spouting a bit of history on the market and the booths inside. She’s one of those people who knows who owns which restaurant, where they get their bread from, who owns that bakery, and then some. That’s why she started Columbus Food Adventures after all, and why she has three different local food blogs. After a taste of the best fresh asparagus of my life, a couple other samples, and a bit more insider info on the C-bus food scene, we began our trek down High Street into the heart of Columbus’ Short North arts district.
Nearby stops included Knead, a boldly painted restaurant where the menu lists which local producer provided which product. After devouring a delicious off-the-menu salad with beets from the chef’s garden, we walked a couple blocks through the arches of the Short North to Chocoholique. We sampled an assortment of classic and not-so-classic confections among fresh black-and-white pics of local cocoa fanatics eating the store’s own handheld desserts at last week’s Gallery Hop event. Next, we disappeared down a side street and stepped inside the not-open-to-the-public Eleni-Christina Artisan Breads bakery, where we were greeted by the aroma of fresh-baked bread. Eleni-Christina supplies bread for many of the city’s favorite restaurants.
After walking past one of Columbus’ well-known murals, the sideways Mona Lisa, we grabbed a table at Tasi, a favorite brunch spot of mine. Their perfectly-flaky croissants and various jams were the perfect treat after watching Eleni-Chrstina’s workers roll and cut fresh, gooey dough that made our mouths water. Then it was on to a mini crab cake at Tasi’s husband’s place, Rigsby’s Kitchen. Rigsby’s is a delightfully swanky establishment, perfect for a classy lunch or dinner (and we had a surprise visit from the owner himself). But the tour wasn’t over until we stopped at the heart and soul of Ohio’s capital city: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. It’s the only thing you could have convinced me to stomach after an afternoon filled with eating, eating, and more eating. I can never turn down Jeni’s. It’s charming, local, and delicious. Just like Columbus Food Adventures.