This post comes from guest blogger Dawn Scheurle, creator of www.KidsEatOut.com — a great resource for finding kid friendly restaurants in Central Ohio.

Although Spring signals the beginning of my all-time favorite Patio Dining Season, Fall brings me home.  I don’t mean inside my home (although it does that, too), I mean thoughts of home … being comfy and cozy with family, friends–and of course, food!  Fall food is the stuff that makes you warm inside, brings back memories and makes you want to take a nap in front of the fireplace afterward.

Here are a few of the places and foods that confirm to me that Summer is indeed over and Fall has arrived:

  • There’s a little gem we have frequented for years, but we just recently discovered their donuts.  Jacquemin Farms offers warm (if you time it right) sugar coated pumpkin donuts – grab one before you hop on the hay wagon to go out to the fields to pick your pumpkins.
  • La Chatelaine’s Cream of Tomato Basil Soup. (Don’t skip the croutons and cheese!)  The bakery atmosphere and warm cozy dining room with the stone fireplace make it the perfect place to be on a Fall day. I have to admit to eating this in the Spring on their patio, too. 
  • They say appetizer, I say entrée.  To each his own.  Matt the Millers Shrimp and Grits are absolutely crave-able.  Just writing about them makes me want to jump in my car and go.
  • An age old way to warm up: Bravo Cucina Italiana offers hot Apple Cider with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum–and a new trendier way–their Apple Cider Martini.  They also offer a seasonal Pumpkin Crème brûlée.  It’s hard to improve on the traditional kind, but it is Fall after all.
  • Sunny Street Cafe’s Pumpkin Pancakes.  Think sweet cream sauce and butter with walnuts and cinnamon to top it off.  Breakfast and dessert have always been interchangeable in my mind anyway!
  • A Featured Dish for the chilly months at Kogen’s is called Beef Pho. (This is pronounced Beef Fuh–as in … “Uh, let me think about that.”) Traditional Vietnamese Pho (Beef Noodle Soup) is a hearty soup of Beef simmered for more than 8 hours with onions and spices. It is served with a side of vegetables and sauces that can be combined to create a custom flavor.  
  • The Morgan House serves warm Kendra’s Creamy Chicken Pot Pie.  It’s topped with puff pastry and served in a fun terra-cotta pot.  The hot mulled cider is very nice, too.
  • Something fancy?  Although you can get it year-round, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse will warm you up with their Steak Kosar.  It is a 7 oz. or 10 oz. filet mignon over bordelaise crowned with lobster and bearnaise; asparagus and mushroom caps.
  • What is Fall without Mac-n-Cheese?  And NOT the boxed kind.  Homemade style Mac-n-Cheese.  Hoggy’s Mac-n-Cheese is made-from-scratch and finished under the broiler so the top is slightly browned and crispy, but the inside is smooth and creamy. In my picky family, the kids don’t like ‘the brown stuff’.  Lucky for me, I do!  Yum!
  • Did Scotland invent comfort food?  It seems like everything on Digger & Finch’s menu says “come on in and get comfy.”  The two standouts for me are the Guinness Stout and Cheddar Soup and Scotland Yard’s Shepherd’s Pie.  The pie is made with ground chuck, lamb and pork simmered in cabernet, with carrots, onions and peas baked in a cheddar potato crust. You can start your diet tomorrow!
  • Just in time for Fall, Rusty Bucket has added some new menu items including three new wing sauces–mild with teriyaki, spicy with sriracha sauce and chipotle in the middle.  They also have added some new comfort foods including Short Ribs, Sloppy-Joes, Pork Wing Tacos and Shrimp Grilled Cheese. 
  • Traditional Fall comfort food, maybe not, but Gooseneck Tavern has added a few new ‘spicy’ dishes to their menu that are sure to warm you up. Boom Boom Shrimp, Willow Noodles, and Grilled Andouille Sausage and Shrimp all have a bit of a kick!

I haven’t found my favorite place to get chili–which is almost the very definition of comfort food.  Well, I have, but my mom doesn’t own a restaurant. 

There are so many great restaurants in and around Dublin that I could go on for a while here.  And surely I haven’t been to them all.  Do you have a favorite Fall restaurant dish? For more ideas, visit the extensive list of Dublin Ohio restaurant listings here.

 ~Post by Dawn Scheurle, creator of www.KidsEatOut.com

Hmmm. How to woo your sweetheart in a way that is both unique and memorable this Valentine’s Day? The Dublin, Ohio CVB has plenty of ideas to help make your job easier.

Stay and play.  Cozy up with your Valentine this weekend (or anytime through February) to enjoy a close-to-home retreat. Eight Dublin hotels have designed their versions of a memorable Romantic Getaway. Build your own package online, selecting luxurious inclusions ranging from champagne and chocolates to roses and bathrobes. Then enjoy a complimentary breakfast and late check out.  Packages start at just $104—make for an affordable and unforgettable getaway.

Take Time to Wine, Dine (and Shine).  Who can resist being courted over a lovely lunch or dinner? But nothing kills your romantic efforts more than a packed, noisy restaurant and a hefty bill. We’re proposing some off-the-beaten-path establishments that are whipping up some specials just for their Valentine’s guests—with prices that will make Cupid’s harp sing.  

  • TehKu Tea Company (55 S. High St.) Enjoy a romantic Tea, Spa and Dinner Package complete with violin music on Sat., February 13.  Treat your Valentine to some Butterfly Kisses or Chocolate Strawberry Cake … (both featured tea flavors). Reservations: 614/761-3808
  • Digger & Finch Scottish Pub (is offering a special dinner menu from 5-10 pm on Saturday for $27.95/pp. The price includes an appetizer, soup or salad; choice of main courses and dessert of Crème Brulee (with chocolate dipped strawberries). Oh … and a rose for each lady. Reservations: 614/889-8585 
  • La Chatelaine French Bakery & Bistro (65 W. Bridge St.) Enjoy a St. Valentine Dinner in a romantic old world European setting. The ($32.95/pp) Prix Fix Three Course Menu offers some culinary creations that will encourage a long evening.  Reservations: 614/763-7151.

Treats for your Sweet. There is chocolate, then there are Historic Dublin’s famous Sweet Treats.  

  • Sugar inc. (36 N. High St.) is hosting a High Noon Tea Tasting from 12-2 pm Saturday.  It is free—and they will feature their beautiful Valentine’s Day cupcakes and cookies for purchase. (614/389-3459)
  • Sisters Sweet Shoppe (45 N. High St.) The Sisters have been busy dipping, decorating AND filling orders for their famous Chocolate Covered Strawberries this week. These delectable darlings will only be available through Saturday. (614/761-1118)
  • Enjoy “All Things Chocolate” at Our Cupcakery (16 N. High St.) for Valentine’s Day.   Savor dark, white, Swiss, German, and Devils chocolate cupcakes or share one of the new “King” size cupcakes with your sweetie.  (614/659-1555)
  • Pick up some Graeter’s Ice Cream for the weekend. Take advantage of their Pint Sale through Sunday—just $3.29 each.

Nifty Gifts. So, if you’re going for the gift rather than (or in addition to) the night out—the rules are the same: it’s the unique thought that counts.

  • Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland is featuring Claddagh and My Soul Mate rings, as well as the Valentine bead for Tara’s Diary bracelets. Take advantage of 25% off selected jewelry. Brand new arrivals include the Belleek 2010 Event Piece as well as divine imports from—you guessed it—Ireland. If jewelry is not her thing, wrap her in a red or pink cape or sweater or consider a woolen throw to warm her heart. Other inventive ideas? Toasting flutes and Irish fragrances.
  • Whole Foods has some great deals for natural Valentines: including two dozen roses for $19.99/ea and packages (including flowers, dinner and more) for $50, $75 and $100.

Hopefully, these ideas will help to make your Valentine’s Day memorable.

-Post by Mary

I’m the only person in the office that drinks coffee. My morning routine of brewing my coffee forces everyone to listen to the angry bubble and drip
of the coffee pot. This is fine for most days, but sometimes I just need some variety. That’s when I turn to Java Jan Gourmet Coffee located just down the street from our nestled office in Historic Dublin Ohio. What I found was not only delicious coffee and espresso, but a friendly atmosphere and great service.

When I first entered Java Jan I was greeted by the head barista herself, Jan Antauer. My eyes darted to the lengthy menu of drink options that rests right above the shop’s cozy fireplace. Jan helped me with my Buckeye Mocha decision and just like her slogan, it was “Love at first sip.”

Would you like a cupcake with that coffee? Java Jan also neighbors Our Cupcakery, a local cupcake shop. The two work together to pair flavors. If you aren’t in the mood for coffee, Jan offers refreshing smoothies as well.

I chatted with Jan to learn a little more about Historic Dublin’s newest business.

Q: How did Jan Antauer become Java Jan?

A: I have always been interested in working closely with the public. Instead of setting up a restaurant, I decided to focus my energies on my favorite beverage: coffee. While visiting plantations in Costa Rica, Brazil and Jamaica my interest deepened. By learning the processes of growing, harvesting, roasting and processing–I was hooked. I became Java Jan.

Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Gardening and decorating

Q: What’s your favorite coffee?
A: Java Jan Highlander Grog is one of my favorites but I have many favorites. They are all available and made fresh daily in my shop.

Q: Why did you open your business in Dublin?
A: I live here, it’s perfect.

Q: What’s your favorite Dublin event?
A: Sláinte Thursdays. I welcome the opportunity to share our beautiful downtown Dublin with clientele, as well as visitors from outside of our community. (Note: Sláinte Thursdays are held from 4-7 p.m. on the third Thursdays during the warm weather months.)

-Post by Allison

If you are like us, you never missed an OSU Buckeye Football Saturday prior to having children. You’ve been waiting for years for your kids to be old enough to sit through (most of) the game — and now that time has arrived!  My husband and son enjoyed attending the game last week—so we thought we’d share a few tips for going to the game with kids. 

Get a good night’s sleep before the big game.  A well rested child is a happy child–and one who is willing to climb to “C” deck!  If you are coming to Columbus from out of town, consider staying at one of our 15 hotels in Dublin. It’s quieter than staying on campus and we’re only 15-20 minutes away from the stadium. (Plus, rates are great this time of year!) Dublin has 100+ restaurants—offering plenty of options for a quick bite before the game or a leisurely dinner afterwards … without the lines and the wait.

Arrive early on campus.  We like to park at the Gateway garage and take the shuttle which drops you close to the stadium.  Head over to St. John’s Arena and watch the “Skull” session (OSU Marching Band practice) or see the cheerleaders and Brutus Buckeye warming up the crowd in the grass area.  It’s a great place to have your photo taken with them!

Line up on the sidewalk to watch the band march through into the stadium past the Jesse Owens Memorial—but be prepared for the scramble that follows as everyone hurries to their gate.  Remember that even numbered gates are on the east side and odd numbers are on the west. (You don’t have to enter at the exact gate number of your ticket.) Have your tickets out and your bag ready to be searched—just to help make the lines go quickly.   

Purchase your treats and head to your seats! If your little one’s attention wanes between plays—you can play a game of “I Spy” by challenging them to look for the “hidden” cameramen taking video in the scoreboard, the State of Ohio flag or Brutus in the stadium.  It’s like a huge, live game of “Where’s Waldo?”

As you are leaving the stadium, don’t miss the Victory Bell ringing (on the East side near the “open” end).  Grab your shuttle which will drop you off right at Gateway and Long’s (Barnes and Noble) bookstore so you can buy a momento to always remember that first Buckeye Game with your child. Have fun and Go Bucks!

-Post by Katie

It’s Easter………..but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Hopefully it’ll be more like spring this weekend. I’m just checking out the Easter Dublin, Ohio Diningbrunch possibilities for those who don’t want to cook that special meal, and there are some great alternatives in Dublin (OH).  

  • The Golf Club of Dublin (5805 Eiterman Rd.) is offering seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for breakfast items, salads, sliced leg of lamb, char-broiled chicken, pan seared tilapia, pasta station and assorted desserts and pastries. Adult price is $19/per person and $8/child. Reservations are required (614/792-3825).
  • Digger & Finch  (6720 Riverside Dr.) will be serving 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The menu includes an appetizer buffet, breakfast items and entrees consisting of stuffed chicken breast, grilled salmon, sirloin steak, pork tenderloin, pasta pomodoro and veggie lasagna. Not to mention an assortment of cookies and pies. Adults: $23.95 and a reduced price/menu for kids.
    (614/889-8585)
  • J. Liu (formerly Jason’s) Restaurant & Bar  (50 W. Bridge St.) in Historic Dublin has a wonderful brunch buffet featuring freshly carved prime rib and ham, made-to-order omelets and a variety of breakfast items … plus, Asian Italian, seafood, salads and dessert items. Adults: $21.99, seniors 65+: $18.99, children (ages 4-12): $9.99  Service is 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (614/718-1818)
  • The Columbus Marriott Northwest  (5605 Blazer Pkwy.) will be serving  brunch 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Enjoy soup & salads, cold displays, breakfast station, action stations, entrees and dessert station. Adults: $28.95, seniors: $21.95, Children, ages 6-12: $14.95. (614/791-1000 ex. 4762 for reservations.)
  • The Crowne Plaza Metro Grill  (600 at Metro Place North) will offer made-to-order omelets and crepes, a carving station, a salad station, hot breakfast & lunch entrees and a dessert bar. Adults: $24.95, Seniors 65+: $18.95, children, ages 6-11: $14.95. Live piano, plus ice & food sculptures. (614/760-7939)

-Post by Kay