Friday, August 2, 2013

Delightful Dining Options in Columbus, GA.

The Good Girls adore good food and boy did we find it in Columbus. First stop was the Cannon Brewpub for a late lunch of salad and beer.  Truth be told, we ate dessert first- in our car. You see, Pearly's in Albany sent us off from breakfast with three slices of buttermilk pie. We attempted to view Georgia's Grand Canyon located in Providence State Park, but the foliage was far too dense.  Dejected, we returned to our car, sat there and ate pie, which soon made us feel like we'd arrived in the Promise Land. 

An hour later we drove into Columbus and hit the military themed Brewpub for light fare. The chicken-topped spinach salads were fresh, tangy and had just the right amount of salad dressing. We discovered local Red Jacket beer with its malty taste and mild hop quite to our liking.

Salad at Cannon Brewpub @ Debi Lander

After a stormy afternoon, we chose Downstairs at the Loft- an uptown kind of place located downtown. We started with fried artichoke hearts in lemon basil butter - rather sensuous. I ordered salmon over sautéed spinach and Judy had unstuffed chicken with vegetables. Decadently delightful.

The next morning's caffeine jolt began at Iron Bank Coffee, an old bank building converted into an eclectic coffee shop. If you desire, sit at a table inside the vault. I desired a cinnamon roll and had it heated until the glaze oozed down the sides.  Perfect with a cappuccino!

Following breakfast, we checked out the rapids along the white water rafting course and then toured the Oxbow Environmental Center. Don't miss the cool treetop walkway.

Now friends, prepare yourself for emotional impact if you tour the Last Hundred Yards in the National Infantry Museum (see our next blog post). After reliving war scenes, we felt deeply indebted to all the military who have served our country. To lighten the mood, the Good Girls decided to try on uniforms and shoot rifles on a simulated Humvee course. We highly recommend this very fun high-tech experience.

We ran a little late for lunch, but no worries. Country's on Broadway prepared mouth watering barbecue in a flash. Drinks came in quart size mason jars and sides were southern specialties like corn bread, collards, black eyed peas and skillet apples.

BBQ plate at Country's   @ Debi Lander

After lunch we zipped over the bridge to Whitewater Express for rafting (see previous post) and arrived back at the Columbus Marriott with thrilling tales, not to mention wet and wild hair.  A little down time and a shower had us once again prepped for an evening of fine dining. We picked Meritage on 1st Avenue, a locally owned and operated dinner restaurant, wine and martini bar and lunch time deli cafe.  

Faye Simmons, the owner, greeted us, making us feel like we were dinner guests in her own home.  She suggested a few wines and let me assure you, Faye knows wine; she's a Certified Sommelier (2010) with the Court of Master Sommeliers and Certified Specialist of Wine (2011) with the Society of Wine Educators. I was impressed that one could order some very pricey choices by the ounce. How clever to experience the taste a renowned vintage when one could never afford to buy the entire bottle.

Faye's daughter, Ashley Simmons Parsi-Garciana, is the executive chef and indeed, an excellent one.

My meal began with baby spinach, crumbled Goat Cheese, sliced oven roasted golden beets, candied pecans, grape tomatoes and a house citrus vinaigrette.

Chilean Sea Bass

Judy chose lamp chops

The entree of seared and oven roasted Chilean Sea bass was exquisite- moist, flaky and over the top with a dollop of peach chutney and sweet potato hay- the thinnest crunchiest strands of fried sweet potato.  (My guess is they cook these for only a few seconds.) We couldn't pass up dessert: steamed lemon pudding cake with colorful blueberry coulis. 

Meritage is a grand addition to the walkable city of Columbus and after that meal Ruth and I needed a walk. We meandered through the historic house district and along the RiverWalk, which couldn't be a nicer way to end an evening.  

Peachy French Toast

Off to Warm Springs the next morning, but not before we stopped at Bitter Brick for breakfast. They call the restaurant a cocoa, coffee and wine retreat. I call it my kind of place!  I devoured fresh peach French toast which was tasty enough to make me say, "Bazinga."  Judy enjoyed an egg and bacon biscuit and others chose breakfast banana splits. I am positive we left Columbus about two pounds heavier and very satisfied.

Pastry Options at Bitter Brick    @ Debi Lander
- Post by Debi Lander

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