2014: A Year in Breakfast

December 31, 2014

Wow, what a year 2014 has been! It’s been full of ups and downs for our family (mostly ups!), but one thing we’re always sure of: there’s lots of good breakfasts to be had. I’m very grateful that the blog has kept our family adventuring around Columbus and beyond over the past year.

This year has been one of transition for me, as I’ve stepped in writing and tour-guiding full time. It’s been a little crazy, but ultimately very rewarding. I’ve been especially fortunate to start leading breakfast tours with Columbus Food Adventures (and the brunch tour launches January 10!), and to continue leading brewery tours with Columbus Brew Adventures.

I’ve also had the chance to write a lot for publications like Experience Columbus, Columbus Crave, Columbus Alive, The Dispatch, and Columbus Monthly. It’s been rewarding and challenging work, and there are also some great projects on the horizon for 2015 (I’ll share more on those soon).

Breakfast With Nick also got some international exposure (counting Canada!) through the New York Post and Toronto Star.

The big news for me this year is the redesign and rebrand of BreakfastWithNick.com. I’m very pleased with the work Adam and Allie Lehman of The Wonder Jam pulled off. It should allow the site to continue to grow in the coming years.

Here are some of our favorite discoveries of 2014. What did you find?

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Philco Bar + Diner – this hip little diner with colorful breakfasts is our go-to in Short North. We love stopping in there for dinner during Gallery Hop or for a quiet weekday breakfast.

Sunflower Chinese Restaurant & Lounge – Sunflower is our go-to spot for dim sum. Weekends are the best time to visit, when the dining room is bustling with carts full of goodies.

Ethyl & Tank – E&T is one of our favorite discoveries of the year, with big creative brunch dishes (tank pancakes! chicken and waffles!), solid coffee, and an arcade to boot.

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Hungry Soul Cafe – George and Anita Keller’s downtown cafe is a hidden gem (because I said so in Columbus Alive), with a delightful Sunday brunch in a comfortable atmosphere.

AJ’s Cafe – we’ve been friends with Ajay Kumar since his family owned Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant, so we were happy when he opened a new cafe downtown.

The Social – the cafe inside the Upper Arlington Whole Foods serves up great and inexpensive breakfasts. I collaborated with them for a Breakfast With Nick brunch in October, where they created an amazing s’mores French toast and kale & eggs dishes.

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Sassafras Bakery – Sassafras is a perennial favorite, with their donut muffins and their cookies and their bourbon pumpkin tart and their quiche and their, well, you get the picture.

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing – beautiful plating + stellar beers + delightful cocktails = one amazing brunch

Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza – you might not think of brunch at a pizza place, until you’ve been to Natalie’s. And while their pizza is great, the coffee, cinnamon rolls, and arancini are even better.

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Fox in the Snow Cafe – Fox in the Snow is a much-loved newcomer to the breakfast scene this year, and it’s easy to see why. It’s hard to beat the combination of great coffee and amazing baked goods.

Actual Roastery – the coffee arm of Actual Brewing Company opened a small, quiet shop inside 400 W. Rich in Franklinton this year, serving great coffee in a unique space.

Crimson Cup Coffee House – Crimson Cup has become one of my go-to shops for writing space. And the cortados and the nitro cold brew coffee aren’t too bad, either. I also spent a fun morning with Brandon Bir, their coffee and training specialist, visiting their roasting facility and sampling coffee.

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Of course, the year wasn’t only about breakfast! We enjoyed many wonderful meals. To highlight this, we included new Beer and Beyond sections in the site re-design.

Veritas Tavern – Mrs. Bfast w/Nick and I enjoyed a simply amazing anniversary dinner at Veritas. Easily one of the best meals of our lives, including one of the single best dishes I’ve ever tasted: a bacon risotto with a 62.5 degree egg (pictured above).

Hot Chicken Takeover – HCT has been the big news in the Columbus food scene, and we made multiple visits. Great fried chicken, wonderful communal focus.

Meshikou – this new ramen place really stood out to us, with rich bowls of ramen and crispy fried chicken.

Staas Brewing Co. – one of our favorite new breweries of the year. Liz and Donald Staas nail a wide range of beers, in their comfortable little pub in downtown Delaware.

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This year we were fortunate to travel a bit as a family. We made our annual trek to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and we experienced day trips to Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Athens. Here are a few highlights:

Blue Door Bakery & Cafe – we’ve long known about this Cuyahoga Falls cafe and bakery, and their donuts, croissants, and pancakes did not disappoint.

Slyman’s Restaurant – our day in Cleveland started at this old deli, with homemade corned beef galore and some of the best corned beef hash I’ve ever had.

Taste of Belgium – Columbus has a Taste of Belgium stall, but no full bistro like this one in Cincinnati, serving excellent chicken and waffles in the heart of Over-the-Rhine.

Casa Nueva Restaurant & Cantina – it’s an Athens classic, and it’s easy to see why. Homemade salsas, huevos rancheros, and breakfast enchiladas.

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With the site redesign we added a section highlighting Mrs. Breakfast With Nick’s writings about recipes, cooking, and thoughts on family dining. We’ve also written more article-type pieces exploring some of our favorite topics.

7 Tips For Taking Little Kids to Restaurants – this has been a popular read on the site, and it’s generated some discussion. Mrs. Bfast w/Nick articulated our thoughts on taking kids to restaurants, and some of our tips for making it happen.

What is Kyoto-Style Cold Brew? – last Christmas I got Mrs. Bfast w/Nick a Kyoto-style coffee tower, and I wrote about how we like to make cold brew with it.

11 Ways to Cook an Egg – this has been a popular read, too. I always wanted to know all the different ways to order eggs, so I researched it myself!

Egg It: Enhancing Almost Any Dish With An Egg (or Two) – we love putting eggs on things, so here’s a collection of our ideas.

Thanks again to everyone who has supported the blog! I’m grateful for all of our readers, supporters, and sponsors. I’m a big believer in food as community, so I love connecting with others over food, and I hope the blog has helped you discover some new places and find new spots to connect with your friends and family.

From our whole family, we wish you a Happy New Year and a wonderful 2015! Here’s to many more fun breakfasts in the coming year!

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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