Dine Originals Columbus is kind of like a support group for more than 50 locally owned independent restaurants. And their signature fundraiser, Taste of Dine Originals, is a chance to sample food and drink from each and every one.
This year's gala, raising money for Buckeye Ranch, happens Thursday at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Guests can expect to sample classic restaurant favorites, like G. Michael's famous Shrimp and Grits (pictured), plus fun off-menu creations from the city's most creative chefs.
Here's what I'm looking forward to:
--Love the whimsical sound of these matchy-matchy menus from Alana's and Skillet: Alana's Food and Wine • Tessora Panna Cottas • Ohio Black Walnut Shortbreads with Stinky Ohio Cheeses and some austere savory surprises Skillet, Rustic. Urban. Food. • Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Rhubarb and Lemon Verbena as well as a few other savory fancies & curiosities
--The Worthington Inn is doing a ceviche bar! On tap: Gulf Shrimp and Avocado Ceviche, Cucumber-Habanera Ceviche, and Beef and Sweet Onion Ceviche.
--Rigsby's Kitchen always serves innovative dishes, and this year's offerings are no different: Lamb Tagine with Sesame Seeds, Almonds and Citrus Rice, plus a Sicilian Eggplant Salad with Feta, Olives and Crispy Flatbread.
--Excited to see what Dine Originals newcomer Chile Verde brings to the table. The Dublin restaurant specializes in New Mexican cuisine, and their lineup sound delightful: Fresh Fried Tortilla Chips with Chili Con Queso and Homemade Salsa, plus Crab Boules with Jalapeno Cocktail Sauce.
--For dessert, this s'mores addict can't wait to try Due Amici's take on the classic campfire treat. It's a graham-cracker blondie topped with Belgium chocolate and bruleed housemade marshmallow. Oh my.
Taste of Dine Originals 6-9 p.m. Thursday, May 12 Grange Insurance Audubon Center 505 W. Whittier St., Downtown dineoriginalscolumbus.com
(G. Michael's Shrimp and Grits/Will Shilling photo)