Dish Picks: Farm to Plate & shout outs

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

It's been a great week of eating as we continue our annual Farm to Plate week through Sunday, Aug. 24. You've still got a few more days to get in on the deal-as a refresher, all dishes featured at area restaurants are made with at least 70 percent local ingredients. Head here for a full list of restaurants and menus.

I know how overwhelming it can be to look at 50 menus and whittle that down to just one spot for dinner. To help, here are a few great Farm to Plate dishes I've had this week so far:

Bodega: If you're looking for a great deal, this is the spot. This Short North beer bar recently revamped its look and menu. The layout is now more open, and nixing table service means it's much more casual. You can order food from a window at the back or at the bar if you're seated there like we were. Five bucks will get you three large (a small meal's worth) crisp black bean and chorizo stuffed empanadas with garlicky chimichurri. I'm a sucker for a great empanada. My requirements? A crisp, deep brown shell (the sign of a good fry) and a dough that's got the perfect amount of flake-it breaks apart with the cut of a fork, but doesn't flake like a pie crust.

Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza & Live Music: At this Worthington pizza and live music joint, you can get a three-course meal-a choice of appetizer, pizza and dessert-perfect for two for $30. (You can also order anything off the menu a la carte.) What I loved most about their Farm to Plate menu is that it pinpoints sources of ingredients. For example, I knew that the bacon on the rich BLT Pizza came from Flock Family Farm, the crisp frisee and sweet heirloom tomatoes from Wishwell Farms and the lemon aioli, the creamy citrus-y topper that lights the whole pie, was made with Snowville Creamery cream. Our entire meal was delicious, including a savory-sweet beet and pistachio crumble parfait for dessert. But the standout was the BLT pizza. (So good that my husband realized on the way home he had devoured five slices.)

The Market Italian Village: This once-decrepit convenience store in Italian Village has been hopping since it opened last month, renovated and transformed. The dishes from their Farm to Plate menu pull mostly from their regular dinner menu-a sign that they are truly dedicated to the source-local mission this week seeks to promote. It's another three-course deal (this one for $32, which includes a drink off the Farm to Plate special list). The two things I loved: Bright and fresh watermelon radish "carpaccio" that got substance and depth from a lightly pickled fennel salad; and a cured green tomato salad with smoked tomato coulis that hit tangy, acidic and smoky notes.

Thanks to those who have been sharing their Farm to Plate dishes with us via #CraveCbus and #FarmtoPlate. Keep it up!