Editor's Note: Indulge Me

Shelley Mann, Columbus Alive

When I started throwing around the idea behind this issue's cover story, 24 small plates in 24 hours, everybody said, "Oh, what a fun idea!" I don't think most of them realized I actually was planning on eating all 24 in one day.

It's a lot of food for a single day, especially since most small plates these days don't exactly live up to their "small" moniker. But I once ate 20 giant gourmet burgers while writing a cover story for Columbus Monthly, so I figured I could handle one day of overindulgence.

Truth is, this challenge was harder than I expected. By about small plate No. 21, I was really hurting.

A coworker who wasn't all that impressed by the enormity of my quest teased that he was going to recreate my 24-hour challenge: "I shall call it 24 Small Plates in 24 Minutes."

Well, I wouldn't recommend recreating my day-of-small-plates challenge to any of you (unless you have plenty of friends to help), and I certainly wouldn't recommend trying it in 24 minutes.

But what did put things into perspective was the reaction from the Twitterverse that day as I documented each of my 24 plates.

Many were jealous of a job that revolves around dining out. From friends who own a wine shop: "We rarely envy others…but we guess our roles have some overlap. If you become fatigued, let us know."

A lot of people told me my photos made their mouths water all day long. And toward the end of the evening, as I began to whine about having to eat two more plates of food, one follower said, "This must be grueling…yet somehow I'm having a hard time feeling TOO sorry for you."

And he's right. Let's face it: spending an entire day driving around and feasting on some of the city's best food? Things could be much, much worse.

More than anything, though, I enjoyed documenting my adventure via social media simply because it got people excited to read this story. And that got me thinking about some of the restaurants in town who do a particularly great job using social media to build buzz.

1.Katalina's: Their feed is the perfect combination of mouthwatering food photos and fun, behind-the-scenes tidbits (like an adorable freak-out when Jack White stopped in).

2.Bodega: Follow chef Marcus Meacham on Instagram (chef-_meach) to watch as he creates his weekly specials menus.

3.Betty's Fine Food & Spirits: All the Columbus Food League eateries do a great job, but I'll single out Betty's for daily "deviled eggs du jour" posts as well as strategically timed reminders about their new late-night brunch menu.

4.Freshstreet: The Japanese street food kids use an app to turn their pictures into an awesome anime-style comic strip.

5.Curio: A constant stream of gorgeous cocktail photos. What more could you want?

6.Mikey's Late Night Slice: I can't help but expect juvenile jokes from these guys, so they regularly surprise me with a sharp sense of humor and fun contests.

7.Skillet: Detailed descriptions of brunch specials never fail to make my stomach rumble.

8.Da Levee: The Creole spot posts pictures of its chalkboard menu every day just as lunch cravings set in.

9. Jeni's: Love the sneak peeks at upcoming flavors as they're being taste-tested.

10. North Market: Not technically a restaurant, but they're diligent about sharing all the delicious things the merchants have cooking.

Let's eat!

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