What to Bring Your Thanksgiving Hosts

{by alexis} This week is Thanksgiving! Is everyone as excited as I am? I’m sure that depends on whether you’re the guest or the host. If you’re the latter, you can go: I HAVE NO WORDS OF WISDOM. But! If you’re a guest, let me remind you that you cannot show up empty-handed! Forgot about that, didn’t you? I’m here to save the day! What follows is a list of gifts you can bring for your brave hosts, items that will guarantee you a seat closest to the stuffing (because it’s the best part).

I’m actually headed North to Michigan to break bread with my family. (I don’t care WHAT week it is guys: Our blog always includes the FULL ALPHABET.) Since I’m always yelling about how fabulous Columbus is, I welcome these trips home to expose my favorite Michiganders to all that is delicious about Ohio.

I would not be welcome in the house without a wrapped package of Bahama Mamas from Schmidt’s. We’ve been known to cook this up on Thanksgiving itself, and serve them alongside that gargantuan turkey. A little spice goes a long way!

schmidt's sausage haus | columbus, oh

You can always go a more traditional route. This year, Columbus Monthly published a great piece on where to get pies in the city, complete with order-by dates WHICH I WILLFULLY IGNORED. Take pity on me, Just Pies? The photography on their piece will prove you can’t go wrong with any of the local pie people.

If pie isn’t your bag (we need to identify a Thanksgiving Day Cake immediately), feel free to up the fancy factor and pick up a treat from Pistacia Vera. Today at noon is the last time they’re accepting orders for Turkey Day, so I’ll forgive you if you stop reading to make that important call. GO FORTH.

pistacia vera | columbus, oh

Prefer to drink your dessert? Can we best friends? Pick up a bottle of festive Apple Pie Mead from Brother’s Drake. It’s sure to warm the cockles of your heart and set those shimmery lights aglow.

If your host insists you musn’t bring a thing, and has talked your ear off for weeks about their perfectly crafted menu, don’t mess with their plans! Grab a beautifully wrapped box of chocolate from Winan’s to set out with coffee, and don’t be surprised if your host tucks them away to enjoy alone while recovering from the madness that is Thanksgiving.

winan's chocolates | columbus, oh

credit: Winan’s website

Don’t forget the adorably decorated sugar cookies from Cheryl’s too! Individually wrapped, there’s no pressure to eat them all at one time! (But it’s always an OPTION.)

chery'ls cookies | columbus, oh

credit: Cheryl’s Cookies

My mom and I will be doing a bit of early Christmas prep, so I couldn’t come home without several rolls of the loveliest paper on earth from Paper Source. We get positively giddy about the selection here, and it’s sure to make your gifts stand out under the tree. Below is my current favorite!

paper source gift wrap

credit: Paper Source

And last, but certainly not least, I’ll be sure not to forget Indiana Bones! He’s pretty good entertainment and he’s a great garbage disposal in a pinch!

indiana bones

he’s giving me side-eye

I wish you all safe travels over the river and through the wood! Happy Thanksgiving from Wander & Whine!

NYC Food Diary

{by: alicia} If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I did my fair share of eating on my recent jaunt to NYC. For those of you who missed out, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Since my time was limited, I was on a mission to have some favorites that I can’t eat otherwise. Namely, Shake Shack:

Shake Shack

Santa, if you can hear me, I’d love a location in Columbus for Christmas. Having to go through life without these concretes, cheese fries, and burgers with ShackSauce is a cruel existence.

Also, what’s up with the lack of Korean fried chicken in my neck of the woods? There is nothing more bomb than chimek, and Bon Chon knows how to do it properly. Everything is double fried, crispy, and that spicy sauce is to die. Washed down with some Hite…omg, I could live off this.

Bon Chon Chicken

Just kidding, Santa. I need a Bon Chon for Christmas as well.

I was also on a mission to have my fill of dessert. Some of these treats are worth the plane ride alone. Like the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery. Screw the cupcakes, guys. You don’t want to miss this. I didn’t even think I liked banana pudding. That is, until I consumed this fluffy, whipped dream.

Banana Pudding from Magnolia Bakery

Wahhhh! I miss you!

We also stood in the world’s longest line for a crack at some goodies from Momofuku Milk Bar (worth it). Even typing the name brings a wistful tear to my eye. The fact I can’t eat their cereal milk soft serve on any given day makes me want to SOB. And the birthday cake truffles. UGH, THE TRUFFLES. Do yourself a solid and order some for Christmas.

Cereal Milk Soft Serve from Momofuku Milk Bar

Omgggg, the cereal milk soft serve lives up to the hype.

Unpictured are the goodies I got from Sprinkles, but here’s a shot of some Baked By Melissa. These bite-sized cupcakes are all the rage, but I am strangely unimpressed. Maybe they were too small for my taste.

I mean, these were good, but...

I mean, these were good, but…

There were also some delicious surprises I encountered. After the disastrous news that the wait at Clinton Street Bakery was two hours, we went across the street to Ariel’s for what turned out to be a tasty breakfast.

Breakfast at Ariel's

I also missed out on the honey toast from Caffebene, but their strawberry cream waffle was an excellent consolation prize:

Waffle from Caffebene

And we stumbled upon this casual spot on the Upper East Side devoted to churros (called Le Churro, natch). Churros are underrated, I say. Would it be greedy to add a Le Churro to my Christmas list on top of everything else? I didn’t think so either.

Le Churro

You can pick your dipping sauce–I went with hazelnut chocolate.

To me, a huge part of travel involves the food. This also applies to souvenirs.

Foodie souvenir

My spoils from Milk Bar and Korea Town.

Who needs another shot glass or some kitschy thing they’ll never use? Not me. The only problem is my stash was gone 48 hours after I returned home. Whoops, but that’s what Expedia is for, right? On to the next, I say. I’m not sure where/when that will be, but you can be certain I’ll be eating everything in sight.

Wandering NYC

NYC

{by: alicia} The last time we spoke, I was heading out to attend a conference in NY. That was over a week ago. My absence can mostly be attributed to falling ill (DO get your flu shots, people), and projects ramping up at work.

But I thought it’d still be nice to do a quick photo essay of some of the highlights from my trip. Just as I suspected, a majority of my time was spent working, but I managed to squeeze in some fun. There was really no game plan (other than the 800 things I planned on eating), so I spent most of my free time tromping around the city, and making the odd stop at the New York Public Library or whatever struck my fancy.

Made my way into the Met.

Like this sexy beast.

What I love about NYC (among many other things) is the absolute randomness of the people and its surroundings. Like the Hare Krishna who insisted on blessing me (um, thanks?) and this next photo that could only be described as genius:

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM in NYC

Genius.

Yes, I had a cupcake or three (plus a bonus cookie for dessert). I needed the extra fuel for the massive amount of walking I was doing. No complaints on my end. I love to explore whenever I’m in a new city, and I actually enjoy walking when it’s not frigid out. The weather was in the 50s and 60s that week, so I really lucked out. I also love New York at Christmas, so it was a double bonus to see that everything was already looking festive–even though I kind of hate how early it comes about.

IMG_2324

Shut up and look at the nice lights, Scrooge.

Skating at Bryant Park

Skating at “Brr”yant Park.

Seester came down to see me once the conference was over, and we positively frolicked about much to everyone else’s dismay:

This might be my favorite photo of sister and her boyfriend. I cannot stop laughing.

This might be my favorite photo of sister and her boyfriend.

Becker and I have similar interests, so you can only imagine the amount of fooderies we visited in that small window of time. I think at one point we had like three desserts in a span of an hour–it was AWESOME, and worthy of its own separate post (done and done).

The rooftop bar at my hotel was also awesome. Overpriced as all get out, but not a bad spot to have a nightcap. I mean, the Empire State Building is right in front of you. Not much to complain about.

Strand Rooftop Hotel

Photo stolen from Becker.

That is, until it’s time to go back home.

Guest Posting at Live Columbus Part Deux

{by alexis}–Alicia had so much fun a few weeks ago taking over the Live ColumbusInstagram, she insisted I give it a go. And so, last Thursday, I swapped my credentials for a new set and signed in to document my day. What follows is a quick recap, along with a few outtakes at the end!

We started the day with a walk in German Village. It’s gotten so cold, so quickly, don’t you think? I had to break out my serious winter coat far earlier than expected. Indy, on the other hand, doesn’t so much mind when the temperature dips. Must be that whole fur coat thing.

wander & whine | German Village

One of the perks of living in GV is the atmosphere. These bricks and lights and trees, oh my! Another perk? Pistacia Vera.

wander & whine | Pistacia Vera

I’ve lived here for over two years, and I STILL haven’t tried everything. This morning I treated myself to an almond croissant the size of a newborn, and a latte. If you like almond, go quickly here. It was the bomb.

Later on, I took some time to walk around Ohio State’s campus. Autumn is in full swing out here on the oval, and there was no shortage of beautiful photo opportunities.

wander & whine | ohio state university

Just on the other side of the oval, where you’ll find the Wexner Center for the Arts. I’ve got a date to visit the Transfigurations exhibit next week, but last week I only had time for lunch. Fortunately, you’ll find the singular Heirloom Cafe inside. Their menu has a seasonal focus and they’re committed to local sourcing. Also, their food is BEYOND delicious. I ordered the green chili bowl, with tender roasted chicken and tangy green chilis and enjoyed every hearty bite. My lunch dessert was that frothy pumpkin spice latte on the side.

wander & whine | heritage cafe

In the evening, Alicia and I met up at the Trader’s Haven Sip & Style event. The designers behind this showroom and interior design business served us cocktails, let us wander around, gawking at their wares, and even gave us a little how-to on how to set a festive holiday table. We’ll share more from the event soon!

wander & whine | trader's haven

After a few more errands together, we called it a night. I was happy to get home to my embarrassing stack of library books, and this face.

wander & whine

I had such fun with the Instagram takeover, and I’m so excited they gave me a shot!

Check out some outtakes below, featuring — who else? — Indiana Bones. Follow me on Instagram (@alexishattie) to keep up with me on the regular!

wander & whine | german village

can you spy our kitty friend?

wander & whine | german village

he’s not always the most cooperative model

Alexis Goes to Washington

{by alexis}–It hasn’t been long since my last trip to DC, but this past weekend, we went back to celebrate the marriage of one of my dearest friends. Yes, it was a busy few days, with rehearsal dinners, too-tight heels, and about a million champagne toasts, but we did have enough time to do a bit of sight-seeing. In case you missed my jam-packed Instagram, I thought I’d share a few — okay, more than a few — of my favorite snaps from the memorable weekend.

We landed on Thursday, and, while we waited for our room at the Mayflower Renaissance, we did a bit of wandering.

washington dc washington dc washington dcAnd it took a little doing, but we did finally find that big White House.

the white houseAfter a margarita-fueled rehearsal dinner, we rested up for the main event the next day. And check out the bridal bouquet that B carried down the aisle, from Uncloudy Studio!

bridal bouquet from Uncloudy Studio in DCYou know I’m a sucker for flowers, and these are TO DIE FOR. The textures are so varied and complex, I had to force myself to keep from snatching it from her perfectly manicured hands. Fortunately, I did get to carry my own miniature version. Here we are at the head table for dinner.

1107142001g_edited-1Turns out, we clean up pretty nice, but we’ve got nothing on the bride and groom.

1107142019a_edited-1I confess to shamelessly clinking my glass to stage this picture. Sorry, B!

The next day I woke up unpredictably fresh and chipper, so we started the day’s tour at the Library of Congress.

the library of congressWe wandered down past the Capitol. The scaffolding on the dome really brought down my pics, so I’ll leave it to google to prove to you how pretty the building is. Eventually, we found our way to the Botanic Gardens, and look at this treasure inside!

the botanical gardenThe view outside wasn’t too shabby either.

1108141411b_edited-1We made our way into the Air & Space Museum just a bit down the road.

smithsonian air and space museum

We even managed to track down the Saturn V. My grandpa worked on the development of the booster, so we were pretty moved to stand before it, especially given the size of the thing.

Saturn V at the Air and Space MuseumLater, we caught the game at a sports bar near the hotel, and I even got to catch up with the fabulous Sofia, behind one of our favorite blogs, Caviar & Quarters. She’ll whip you into prime financial shape!

It was a busy weekend, but we got to see a lot of beautiful things, even during our short visit. Weddings are such fun on their own, but add in a setting like this and they really shine. And really, what’s better than watching one of your closest friends say “I do”? I can’t think of a better reason to drink a few bottles of champagne.

Helloween at Double Comfort

{by alexis}–I know Halloween is over, but let’s go back a bit. On October 24 and 25, Double Comfort Restaurant hosted Helloween — a five course dinner, each course featuring a dish spicier than the one that came before it. Spicy, they said. Take some pepto bismol, they told me. Well, folks, I’m here to say that MY MOUTH IS STILL ON FIRE.

My husband and a few brave family members crowded around a table in the restaurant Friday night after work. We started with Terrifying Russian Roulette Meatballs. One skewered meatball on the plate was filled with a disturbing amount of pequin chili peppers. I avoided that meatball, fortunately, and lived to see another round.

helloween at double comfortNext came the Double Comfort Hell Cakes, which are really corn cakes with jalepeños and habeñero cole slaw. This was THE BOMB. Not the spicy bomb, just the bomb. So good. I would order these up all the days of my life, if I had a chance.

helloween at double comfortNext came the round I was dreading: the Taunting Wings of Mass Destruction. Wings are hard for me in general (how am I supposed to get all this meat off this bone?).

helloween at double comfortBy the end, I was wearing most of the sauce and the heat had spread from my mouth and lips to my CHEEKS. That is a weird sensation, flaming skin.

flames-on-the-side-of-my-face

And now we move on to the Scarrrr-y Trinidad Ghost Chili & Habenero Mac & Cheese. This was a sleeper spicy. I got a few mouthfuls into this dish and I was like, no big deal. I could eat this all day, yo. And then my face melted off and my esophagus tried to self-destruct. THIS WAS SORCERY. My beer did little to quell the flames and I BARELY made it through this round, but conquer the mac and cheese I did.

helloween at double comfortThis brings us to the final flaming course: The Fire-Breathing Etouffee. This arrived and I was like, what soup? Queue up another bowl! And I saw the rice and I’m all, it has built-in extinguishing properties! But then I ate a spoonful. And then I ate another, and it was honestly like my gums were trying to flee my mouth. The burn was total and complete, and I was done. That was it. I had to tap out. I sat back in my chair, watched them whisk away the bowl of death, and welcomed a creamsicle. Who knew that creamsicles were instant relief?

helloween at double comfortFinally, we were served a chocolate cayenne ice cream. I was a big fan of the cookie shell it was served in, and, even though I didn’t earn it, Joe let me share his. Because of COURSE he finished. OF COURSE, the man with the steel belly passed with flying colors. Maybe he’ll let me share his tshirt, too!

double comfortDouble Comfort is located at 505 N High Street. T-Th, 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-9pm; Fri, 11am-11pm; Sat, 9am-11pm; Sun, 9am-2pm.

CMH -> JFK

66c4ac5a51d911e2979622000a1fb04f_7

Me in NYC, Circa 2012. IT’S BEEN TOO LONG.

{by: alicia} I think when most people are about to go on a business trip, their to-do list looks a lot like this:

{Normal person’s list}
-Bring business cards
-Confirm hotel reservations/flights
-Pack laptop/phone/chargers
-Grab marketing materials for conference
-And so on and so forth

Then you have my list (my fellow foodies will understand):

{An excerpt from my actual NYC planning list}
-Shake Shack
-Momofuku Milk Bar
-Bon Chon (EAT ALL THE CHIMEK)
-Popbar (I don’t care if it’s cold outside)
-ACQUIRE CRONUT AT ALL COSTS
-This list goes on for like 10 more pages

Priorities, people.

Though there will most certainly be work during this trip, I’ve scheduled time for play (code word for eating). My sister’s on the East Coast now, so she’ll be joining me for some gallivanting this weekend. Feel free to stalk my Instagram if you’re in the mood to vicariously eat what I eat! I’ll be back with a recap next week.

I know Alexis is a teeny bit jealous of my upcoming New York wanderings, but she’ll be taking a trip of her own this weekend to Washington DC. I’m sure her Instagram will also be hopping, in case you’d like to tag along with both parts of our dynamic duo.