A few years ago, while wandering the streets of a small town in the south of Spain, my friend and I were coaxed into a hole-in-the-wall bar up a brick-lined street with the promise of free flamenco music.

A few years ago, while wandering the streets of a small town in the south of Spain, my friend and I were coaxed into a hole-in-the-wall bar up a brick-lined street with the promise of free flamenco music.

Inside, we took the remaining two seats at the bar and ordered a round of the house beer. Just a few sips in, the bartender returned with a plate of fresh cheese and marinated olives. Seeing the confusion on our faces, he told us the free small plate was customary-to encourage bar-goers not to get too tipsy or too full, but to enjoy the evening in moderation.

And so, with each round ordered, out came beautifully simple plates filled with olives and cheeses, grilled white fish and calamari. We left the bar hours later, pleasantly satiated and drunk off little more than the haunting flamenco guitar. My friend and I still get a little giddy when we talk about that night.

This issue's cover package ("Let's Grab a Drink," page 86) was inspired by these kinds of memorable nights out-those evenings with good food and drink that serve as a perfect accent to great company. So in the pages of this issue (in our cover story and beyond), you'll find plenty of ways to explore the impressive talents of Columbus chefs and bartenders. We have ways to get in the kitchen with local chefs ("Behind the Line," page 82), how to pizza crawl in Worthington ("Pie Chart," page 34), a complete guide to the city's best Japanese fare ("Rolled Out," page 53) and so much more.

Hopefully you'll find this issue filled with familiar favorites and new places to explore. I know I did a few months ago while researching for the cocktail section of our cover story.

My friends and I gathered at Brothers Drake Meadery, the first stop on our cocktail bar list. We ordered a drink and a few small plates to share from permanently planted food truck Maki Go (two words: enoki fries) and talked about where to go for dinner. That discussion quickly fizzled out, and before we knew it, we had wandered down to bar No. 2, ordering another round of drinks and appetizers.

Sound familiar? The evening that we now refer to as "cocktails and small plates" progressed down High Street in the Short North for a few more stops. We came upon old haunts and new bars. And my friends have already started mapping out similar crawls in little-explored neighborhoods around town.

I encourage you to create your own memorable night out-and share it with us on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #CraveCbus. You may just end up in the summer issue.

Happy eating!

Beth Stallings, Editor