Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Columbus Food League Bike Tour

 We are majorly in love with 5 restaurants around downtown that are part of a “family” of restaurants called the Columbus Food League.  Last fall we talked about how we needed to do a bike crawl to that group of restaurants on afternoon, at which we’d get a drink and something to eat.  We never got around to it, so we wanted to make sure we were able to get it done as soon as possible. 

The last few years we’ve stayed home for Easter – meaning we didn’t drive 1.15 hours to visit Lo’s family or 3 hours to visit mine.  Traffic is always so sucky on Sunday coming back to Columbus, and it was just nice to have a holiday for which we didn’t have plans.  The first year we went to Betty’s Fine Food and Spirits to eat – because they posted a pic of a martini with a marshmallow Peep floating in it.  The next year we went to Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace, because we’d been wanting to try their brunch and it seemed like a perfect day that probably wouldn’t be as busy as normal. 

This year, my mother-in-law’s birthday happened to fall on Easter, so we decided that we needed to break our tradition and visit his family on Easter.  BUT since Saturday was going to be so beautiful, we decided to do our Columbus Food League Bike Tour that day.

We had brunch at our friends’ house and came home a couple of hours later in need of a short nap before we embarked on our journey.  I woke up, and after a quick scan of Facebook, realized that it was Gallery Hop day.  Our intent was to start our tour at the further point from our place and work our way back – but that was going to put us in the Short North right around the time that Gallery Hop would really be hopping, which could make getting a seat at Betty’s and Surly Girl difficult.  We decided to change our order to Surly Girl, Betty’s, Jury Room, Dirty Franks, and finally Tip Top. 

I got dressed while Lo started to fill up the bike tires.  That was a problem because one of his tires was completely flat AND the pump was suddenly broken (it worked fine last year).  After a quick online search, he found that a lot of people had the same problem with this pump and there was no fixing it.  That was annoying.  Off to Target we had to go to get a pump and a tube (in case it was bad too).  He got everything fixed and off we went.

We got to Surly Girl Saloon around 5 and grabbed a spot at the bar – right before a group traveling on the Cycle Tavern got there.  They were D-Runk.  I had a Surly Temple (Red Pop and Vodka) and we ordered Frito Pie with the veggie chili (because it was GF). 

Our second stop was Betty’s Fine Food and Spirits.  It was clear at this point that Gallery Hop was really picking up.  We got a table, but within minutes, there were people waiting.  I had a Berry Betty, which was Blueberry-Strawberry Infused Finlandia Vodka & Pink Lemonade.  I didn’t realized that the berries had actually been soaking in the vodka until I started eating them and realized how boozy they were. So I ate all of them.  We didn’t get any food this time since we just had Frito Pie at Surly Girl.  We had some good people watching from our window table including a guy wearing a leopard print fur shrug with a very casual outfit (he ended up coming inside briefly, so I snapped a pick), and a guy wearing an American Flag tracksuit (old school with the tightly cuffed elastic bottoms) and a tshirt with an American flag and 3 wolves.  Luckily his tracksuit jacket was tied around his waist so I could see his fantastic shirt (I have no idea what American flags and wolves have in common).  Sorry, no pic – I was too slow.  Traffic was packed through the Short North, but we just rode in the lane beside the parked cars and it was fine.

We went to Jury Room next because we wanted to go to the furthest one left in this direction and then work our way back.  Jury Room is awesome because it’s a little out of the way, so it’s never too busy.  Plus they mark their gluten-free items on the menu, so I know what I order is safe.  We just got the Truffle Fries and I had an Executioner, which is XRated Liqueur, Citrus Vodka, and 7up – though I had him sub club soda for the 7up so it wouldn’t be so sweet.  Very good substitution.  

On to Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace for our 4th stop.  We weren’t surprised to see a line outside, as it’s a tiny place and we were getting there around prime dining time.  We put our names in and stood inside so we’d know if anyone got up from the bar (it’s first come, first serve to sit at the bar).  Within 10 minutes, we had a seat at the bar and I was enjoying a Vodka and ½ red pop ½ club soda.  I ordered a Whoa Nellie in a GF wrap (beef dog topped with pulled pork and BBQ sauce), while Lo had a Doginator (bacon-wrapped dog –seriously- topped with beef brisket, bbq sauce, cheddar, and onion rings.

Our final stop of the Columbus Food League Bike Tour was Tip Top.  It wasn’t crowded at all and they were playing obscure-ish hip-hop, which was pretty great.  I had a “Commit to be Lit” for my final drink (Orange, vanilla and raspberry vodkas mixed with cranberry juice and a splash of 7up, served tall).  We were still hungry since we’d just been snacking all day, so we ordered Ohio Nachos and the Salmon Dinner to split. 

That was a tour!  The ride home was a little chilly, but it was a great evening!  We hung out at each place for awhile, so we were gone for 5+ hours.  I’m already looking forward to having our friends join us for this tour next time! 

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