I love birthdays. Ask anyone near and dear to my heart, I go over the top. At least in my line of work, we’re about the customer and for my customers (hotels) we’re all about the guest. We’re in the service industry. We live to serve and we love to serve. So you know what? When someone gets to have a day for it to be about them – they should enjoy it! So, let’s just say my standards and expectations around birthdays are high, but the good news is, I’m easy to please. This past week it was my birthday and my husband and family and friends had their work cut out for them. Good news, everyone! They showed up to the table – figuratively and literally. Let’s dive in. I hope you’re hungry…
My first birthday meal was at Hudson 29. If you’ve lost track of all of the fabulous Cameron Mitchell Restaurants in Columbus, it’s OK, that’s what I’m here for – jot this one down. This is a relatively new restaurant to Columbus, and if you haven’t checked out the Upper Arlington (or New Albany!) location yet, what are you waiting for? I’ve been a few times, but it’s a great go-to for a work lunch or a nice dinner with friends. There is free parking, a massive bar and delicious food. Even at a birthday lunch, if it’s during the work day, salad is my go-to. Yes, it’s partially because I’m a health nut, but it’s more so that I don’t end up with my head on my desk by 2PM snoring away. I love their Arugula Salad (add chicken!!) and always order a side of shoestring fries. I convinced my lunch mates that my backup option is the Black Bean Burger and they should try it. Don’t worry readers, I LOVE BEEF. But one time, a server here convinced me to try the Black Bean Burger and it was amazing. Definitely one of my top lunch meals, so I had to share the love. After we wrapped up lunch, we were easily convinced to try an order of the Pineapple Upside-Down Donuts. Good choice.
That evening, my sweet husband who admitted defeat early on in the baking department, lined up a fabulous cake from Piece of Cake in the Short North. I have had cake from there before, but this one was sublime. Loaded with fresh strawberries and a perfectly sweet icing, this was a favorite of our party guests!
What birthday wouldn’t be complete without days of delicious food? First thing Saturday morning, we were off to try a new brunch spot. Rockmill Brewery out of Lancaster, OH recently opened Rockmill Tavern in the Columbus Brewery District. We have tried multiple times to get in for dinner to no avail, but apparently Columbus hasn’t discovered the brunch menu there yet and I am sooo glad! We showed up with a group of 7 and they were able to accommodate us. Oh the choices! I finally narrowed it down to the Egg in a Biscuit (half order) and the Parfait. My sister selected the Veggie Toast, which she kindly shared with me. Everything we ordered was phenomenal and the prices were super reasonable.
After a full belly we headed to one of Columbus’ premier events the Arnold Sports Festival. Believe it or not, you get hungry just watching all of these athletes compete. We headed over to one of our favorite Short North hangouts for a late lunch – Bakersfield. Really, this birthday girl needed some guac – ASAP. If you haven’t been to Bakersfield you need to go. It’s a Cincinnati restaurant, so I was already familiar with it when it finally made its way to Columbus. They are most known for their tacos and chips and guac, but personally, I’m a huge fan of their Johnny salad with you guessed it! chicken. I know, I know, salad AGAIN! But here’s the thing. I knew what lied ahead for the evening and I needed to pace myself.
For my official birthday dinner I had to go to the top of my list. No, seriously. THE TOP… Steak House! I love this place. TJ and I recently discovered it during restaurant week and it’s quickly become a fave. You can’t find an atmosphere like this anywhere else. Built in 1955, The Top sits on the invisible fence of Bexley & Whitehall. Too many martinis and wandering outside, and you might find yourself next to some interesting people, but once you’re inside, it’s magical. Most importantly, the food is incredible. The steaks are always cooked to perfection and the service – top notch. On this particular night, the pianist must not have gotten the memo it was my birthday, because he didn’t show, but typically there is live music and an active bar scene. Luckily, the waitress knew it was my birthday and made sure to finish the night with my favorite dessert – crème brûlée.
All in all, I’d say this was a very fulFILLING birthday. Great food doesn’t usually pass me by, and I hope you don’t let it pass you by either. Get to one of these places quick before everyone finds out our little secrets!
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck