Foreign Brews, Football, and French Fries

{alexis}

These past several weeks have been epically busy in our household. We’ve welcomed two beautiful and healthy babies into our lives: a nephew and an almost-niece. Aside from that, our house hunt is taking up 150% of our time, and I haven’t made dinner for poor husband in WEEKS. Almost every night we’re crawling through rush hour to get to a new house that usually already has an offer on it. It is TOUGH out there, yo. Nothing is quite right, and everything is over-priced thanks to the sellers’ market.

Wah, poor house-shopping blogger, right? I’ll stop now.

No matter how busy we are, we always have time for good meal (or seven), and a fun night out. What follows is a brief collection of our more recent escapades.

After a late showing in Upper Arlington, we popped into Royal Ginger at the Lane Avenue Shops. We used to visit a good bit when I lived in Grandview, but it’d been a while since our last trip. We started with light, crisp beer. Just what we needed after another house let-down, and the hot night air.

photo 1(1)Aren’t the little glasses adorable? We tend to go over-board when we order sushi, and this night was no different. Here is our embarassingly full plate.

photo 2(1)On our left we have the Scorpion King with soft-shell crab, next to the Mars, then the Cinncinati roll, and on the right is the Golden Dawn. The last is our staple. The tuna and avocado (and who am I kidding — the cream cheese) is a hit every time. Though it was recommended, the Mars wasn’t our favorite, though it was very well done, and the cream cheese on the Cincinnati made that a great success as well.

Later that week, husband had a fancy work party at Ohio Stadium. With a handful of his wonderful co-workers, we celebrated barefoot on the field just after the sun set.

photo 3We usually sit so far away, it is a trip to stand in the middle of the O. The new turf was soft on our feet. Some of us enjoyed ourselves more than others.

photo 4There’s husband and his, um, appropriately themed shoes, dreaming of first-downs and tailgates, while I looked on. Such a fun night.

This past weekend, after touring two houses we didn’t like, we finally got a chance to try Westies Gastropub. I have been dying to go, and just haven’t found the time. I AM GLAD I FINALLY FOUND IT. We got there early, right after they opened and had our pick of seats. I (predictably) chose a seat on the patio. This place is beautiful! The bar is huge, and the fire place looks so cozy. I will definitely choose this place next time husband begs to watch “the game” (there’s always a game, isn’t there?).

Even though it was still “morning,” we began with a round of cocktails, as one does. I went with the bubbly white sangria (seemed like a morning drink), and husband went for the spicy bloody mary. The sangria was crisp, refreshing, and surprisingly potent. Husband’s bloody mary was wonderful — it had a great spicy flavor, and was beautifully garnished with two stuffed-olives and a delightfully salty slice of salami. Now THAT is a bloody mary.

Drinks at Westies Columbus

For lunch, I went with the marinated portabella sandwich. Of course, I ordered it because it sounded great (chimichurri guacamole and chipotle mayo is a food lover’s poetry), but it was astoundingly delicious. The portabella had SO MUCH FLAVOR. We grill them ourselves sometimes during the summer, but ours don’t compare. I would order this again, and again, and then again.

westies portabella sandwichThe fries were another positive: thin, but not overdone, and with a bit of skin visible. Just how I like them!

Husband ordered the Pork Belly BLTE. This is always a favorite of his, but he was thrilled with his selection as well. He thought the pork belly was full of flavor, but without tough fat that is common on many cuts of pork belly. Plus, a fried egg. QUIT IT.

So though we’re busy, we always have time for drinks, fun, and dinner. The house hunt continues, but at least these late evenings give me an excuse to skip the dinner prep and grab takeout. The chefs around here do it a lot better than I do.

Advertisements

Hudson 29 + Alexis’ Birthday

{alexis}

My love for celebrating my own birthday is a well-known, and tolerated truth. About a month before May 3, I start dropping comments like, “My birthday is so close,” and “I can’t believe it’s already been a year since my last birthday!” These comments are met early with eye-rolling and later panic because you still have no plans, even though I’ve been warning you for a month! Or maybe that’s just my husband’s experience.

Anyway! This was quite a year for my birthday. Though my actual day of birth wasn’t till Saturday, my girlfriends kicked off my “birthday week” with Monday morning donuts from Honey Dip. All signs pointed to a happy couple of days.

Come Friday, they brought out their big guns. Check out this chocolate creation, the likes of which you have never seen.

photo 2-10

That is a triple-layer chocolate cake. That middle layer you see there is not cake, in fact, but brownie. YES. There is brownie in the middle of my cake. I’m always a fan of layer cakes — more places to put frosting. I housed that whole piece first thing in the morning, and jittered my way through a busy work day. After burning it off at the gym (or one-sixteenth of it), husband and I got ready for our dinner at Hudson 29 in Upper Arlington.

Cameron Mitchell almost never disappoints, and I was excited to see their new space and try the menu. It’s a casually swanky place (go with me here), full of comfy fabrics and dark wood. The bar was full, and due to the dim lighting and buzz of the other customers, I felt a little like I was dining in LA on an episode of the Hills.

We started with cocktails (please assume this sentence to be true for every dinner blog post ever). I started with the Daisy, and husband went for a classic gin martini, and even shared his stuffed olives with the birthday girl.

photo 1-7

Mine was light, refreshing, but not overly sweet. It was also popular: almost every table was sprinkled with these pink drinks, and I was happy to assimilate.

We were surprised to see sushi on the menu (well, I wasn’t — I do my research), and husband chose the Hawaii Five-O as our appetizer. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of sushi. I will try anything you throw at me, but sushi has never been my favorite. This, on the other hand, was delicious.

photo 2-8Please pretend like this roll isn’t half-eaten. We got a little excited when it arrived and forgot all about my blogging duties. Husband described it as “sweet,” well I went for a more direct “delicious.” It was excellent. I would order this one again, without hesitation, and refuse to share.

So then of course it was time for more drinks. I went for the famously potent French 75 (happy birthday to me). Do yourself a favor and read about this drink’s history; any drink favored by Ernest Hemingway in his Paris phase is one that deserves a place on my order rotation.

photo 3-7

Although the French 75 is hiding, it is not shy.

And to dinner! I went with the night’s special of pan-fried walleye, and husband went for a generous portion (is there any other kind?) of medium-rare prime rib.

photo 4-4My fish was well-prepared. It wasn’t my favorite (husband says I just don’t like fish — but then why do I keep ordering it!), but he loved it. The leftover portion went beautifully in a late-night fish taco the next night. The fries were delightful. The skinny, seasoned type are my favorite, and these fit the bill.

photo 1-8

Husband’s prime rib was very, very wonderful. I stole more than a few bites from him, and the horseradish cream was the crowning jewel. He was extremely pleased, though didn’t love having to share so much.

So here we are, stuffed to the gills, savoring our last sips and bites, when our lovely waitress, Erin, came back and offered a complimentary dessert for my birthday! I cheerfully accepted another slice of chocolate cake, complemented with a scoop of Graeter’s vanilla ice cream. (This lesson in complimentary vs. complementary brought to you by grammarians everywhere.)

photo 2-9The cake was dense and the frosting thick. I know I don’t have to convince anyone of the genius that is the pairing of ice cream and cake, but really, the lightness and coolness of the ice cream was wonderful against the heavy Texas sheet cake.

Have I convinced you to try Hudson 29 yet? You should go. The cocktails are fun, the food delicious, and the service wonderful (thanks, Erin!). The ambiance is hip, but not snooty. You’ll feel like you’re in with the in-crowd, but after one (or three) French 75s, you won’t care about the cool kids at all.

Tune in later this week for more birthday fun!

Hudson 29 is located at 1600 W Lane Ave. M-Thurs, 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am-11pm; Sun, 11:30am-9pm.