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Columbia is Poised for Patio Season!

April 11, 2013

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With the trees turning green and flowers starting to bloom, it’s a great time to visit Columbia and experience its outdoor dining options. Last year, we told you about our perfect patios, but we have a few more suggestions for your next trip. Relax with some of Columbia’s most delicious food and enjoy the gorgeous spring weather!

In the District, there’s never a shortage of places to stop and have an incredible meal.

For al fresco dining, check out Teller’s. It only has a few tables out on the sidewalk and they go fast, but it’s a prime location for both food and people watching.

Teller’s in downtown Columbia decked out with Homecoming decorations.

Also in the District, Shiloh Bar and Grill is the perfect spot to sip a drink on their expansive patio, enjoy local music and have a great meal. The large shaded area is perfect for those hot days and the restaurant itself is a restored train station.

Food, fun and festivities.

Heading to the south part of town, a variety of outdoor options await you.

Las Margaritas is a family-friendly and festive place serving up fantastic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant opened this fall, so this spring marks the first time patrons will be able to enjoy their beautiful lakeside patio. Take happy hour outside and take in the view at Las Margaritas.

Fresh and fantastic at Las Margaritas.

If something from across the pond is more your speed, head over to 44 Stone Pub, where a seat on the patio and an extensive beer selection make for a wonderful experience. Dive into welsh rarebit, signature burgers and fish & chips. Be sure to get a side of colcannon. This mix of smashed potatoes, cabbage, bacon, butter and chives is absolute perfection.

44 Stone in south Columbia. Image from the Columbia Business Times.

Now that we’ve introduced you to a few more great Columbia patios, it’s time to come check them out! Did we miss any of your favorites?

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Columbia Snapshot

March 4, 2013

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In our new Columbia Snapshot posts, we feature photos from around Columbia captured by our staff or by our readers to share little corners of our city that you might not always see. Have a snapshot you’d like to share? Send it to MLMccona@GoColumbiaMO.com and you might be featured on our next blog!

In the past couple of years, Columbia has been lucky enough to have an influx of popular food trucks. This particular day was sunny but frigid. Still, crowds braved the cold to get lunch from the Sunflower Waffle Company truck! Their small but delectable menu features signature chicken and waffles as well as waffles with toppings (like Nutella!) that hit the spot anytime day or night.

Want to grab a waffle next time you’re in town? Follow them on Twitter @SunflowerWaffle to get info on their spot for the day. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it.

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Columbia Snapshot

February 15, 2013

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In our new Columbia Snapshot posts, we feature photos from around Columbia captured by our staff or by our readers to share little corners of our city that you might not always see.

This week’s photo is of one of the colorful and vibrant menu boards at Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe in downtown Columbia. One of Columbia’s few completely vegetarian restaurant options, Main Squeeze is a haven for diners who like fresh, locally sourced, healthy and delicious meal options.

One of our favorite boards is home to the array of smoothie choices at Main Squeeze! Each creatively named smoothie is full of freshly blended fruit, juices and any other add-ins you request. Our personal favorite is the Berry Berry Good, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the selections. Make sure to pair your smoothie with one of their organic hot dishes, melt-in-your-mouth sandwiches or outstanding handmade desserts. No matter what you pick, your stomach will thank you!

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A Little Columbia Romance

February 12, 2013

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This time last year, we told you why We Love Columbia. This year, we’ll tell you a few ways to impress your sweetheart Columbia style.

On the Rails

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Climb aboard the Columbia Star Dinner Train for a romantic night on the rails. There are two options for you and your sweetheart.

February 14th starting at 6:30 pm – the Valentine’s Day Dinner
Ride on a three hour long train ride while enjoying a romantic five course meal with aphrodisiac inspired ingredients. All meals will come with better poached mussels for an appetizer, a soup, a salad, entrée and the chef’s own house made
flour-less chocolate cake. Women will receive a complementary rose and each adult will receive one glass of champagne. This ride is special in that each couple will receive their own private table! Lighting on the train will be by candlelight
and you will be able to see outside with our 14 giant spotlights to light the scenery. $250 plus tax per couple

February 15th starting at 6:30 pm – The Young Lovers Ride
Ride on a two hour long dinner train ride from Columbia to Hallsvile. You will receive a three course meal with your choice of entrée. Prices are $120 plus tax per couple and does not include a private table.

Wine and Dine

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A couple of local wine-centric restaurants will offer special Valentine’s Day menus.

Wine Cellar and Bistro

By reservation only, $55 per person, Aphrodisiac Valentine’s Menu. Three courses of aphrodisiac-focused dishes and includes a glass of lovely pink prosecco.

Les Bourgeois Bistro

Features a special pre-fixe menu for $55 per person with five courses – choose one item from each pre-determined course option

Chocolate. Always Chocolate.

Looking for something local, delicious and…chocolate? Columbia has you covered!

The Candy Factory

The line often goes around the block for their famous chocolate covered strawberries. You can also skip the line and choose from an array of truffles, old fashioned candy selections and their incredible chocolate pizza.

Patric Chocolate 

Patric Chocolate’s decadent flavors are gaining national attention, and they’re made right here in Columbia! This year, their limited edition Valentine’s flavor is called “Sweet and Sassy” and features dark milk chocolate with hints of burnt caramel and sea salt. We’ll wait here while you go place your order.

Now that you’re back, we want to wish you and yours a very happy Valentine’s Day. And we hope you’ll celebrate it the Columbia way!

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Warm Up to Columbia this Winter

December 15, 2012

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Columbia has had a relatively mild winter so far. But temperatures are bound to drop before too long, and while you’re visiting our city we feel it’s our responsibility to help you stay warm. Here’s how the locals do it.

Bundle Up

Does your winter coat make you feel like Randy from A Christmas Story? You should probably head over to the Alpine Shop, where their staff can find you an incredibly warm coat and we promise you’ll still be able to put your arms down. You can also stay warm and fashionable with hats, gloves and scarves from the likes of the Mustard Seed or Swank Boutique. Now that you’re all bundled up, you’re ready for winter weather. Just don’t put your tongue on a flagpole.

Sip Something Hot

Do you get as excited about coffee as Buddy the Elf? So do we. And when it gets cold in Columbia, you have plenty of places to get your fix. Stop by Lakota for locally roasted beans, the Coffee Zone for their super strong rocket fuel blend or Kaldi’s for the perfect holiday themed concoction. No matter where you choose, the jolt of caffeine will mean you won’t have to stop your holiday shopping anytime soon!

Get Active

We know it’s cold, but don’t be afraid to get outside and get active! Columbia’s beautiful trail system provides serene settings all over the city to walk, jog or cross country ski once snow falls.  You could also take a stroll around the lake at Stephens Lake Park. If the cold air just isn’t your style, head to the ARC and swim a few laps in their indoor pool. Now if your parents accidentally leave you at home over Christmas and someone tries to steal all your presents, you’ll be in prime physical condition.

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See? Winter in Columbia is great! All you have to do is follow these simple steps and you’ll be ready for the cold. We’ll see you in line for coffee.

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Thanksgiving in Columbia

November 15, 2012

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We’re only a week away from Thanksgiving, and whether your tradition is dressing up and baking pies or watching football in your stretchy pants (yes please!), you’ll need a feast to make the day complete. If you’re visiting from out of town or even if you just don’t want to cook, Columbia has plenty of restaurants open on Thanksgiving to make your holiday memorable.

The Whole Shebang

Looking to get that traditional, fill-your-plate, turkey and sides fix? Plenty of places in Columbia will be open on Thanksgiving for you to dine in or carry out. You can even take the credit…we won’t tell!

Cracker Barrel: Near the intersection of Highway 63 and Interstate 70, Cracker Barrel is serving up the traditional feast all day long in Columbia. From turkey to cornbread stuffing, you’ll be right at home.

Grand Cru: In south Columbia, Grand Cru will host a Thanksgiving brunch from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., so make your reservations now!

Holiday Inn Executive Center: Just off I-70 on the west side of Columbia, the Executive Center has an exceptional Thanksgiving buffet. Carving station, decadent desserts and traditional sides highlight this feast.

The Wine Cellar and Bistro: In the heart of Columbia’s downtown, the Wine Cellar and Bistro offers carryout orders for pickup on Thanksgiving day. Executive Chef Craig Cyr’s menu ranges from turkey to ham, whipped potatoes to pumpkin cheesecake. Give them a call to reserve your order!

To Keep Warm

Cooking a family feast can be exhausting! If you need a pick-me-up or an extra jolt to make it through the festivities, head to Kaldi’s for a maple pumpkin latté or a rosemary and brown sugar latté. It will keep you perked up until the turkey’s carved.

The Sweet Stuff

For our money, there’s no better Thanksgiving dessert than pie. Here’s where you can get yours if you’re like us and can’t figure out how to make a darn pie crust.

The Upper Crust: Pumpkin pie, bourbon pecan pie, chocolate caramel pie, pecan, banana and more! Reserve yours today online!

The Velvet Cupcake: Located next to the Tiger Hotel in downtown Columbia, the Velvet Cupcake offers pies, cupcakes (naturally) and cake rolls (pumpkin or pecan!). Switch up dessert a little this Thanksgiving with something special and sugary from the Velvet Cupcake.

Hot Box Cookies: Made to order and hot from the oven, Hot Box Cookies always has a variety of flavors to choose from. You can even take home their dough and bake them yourself!

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This Thanksgiving, make your meal a Columbia affair! There’s something for everyone’s taste and price range. Now that we have you salivating (please tell us we’re not the only ones!), what’s your Thanksgiving must have? Tell us in the comments!

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Artrageous Weekend in Columbia!

October 12, 2012

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If you’re going to be in Columbia this weekend, get ready to get artrageous!

Artrageous Fridays are a quarterly event that celebrate the vibrant and ever-growing art scene in Columbia, and once a year they extended it to an entire weekend of arts and excitement! All weekend, The District and the North Village Arts District as well as Columbia’s college campuses highlight all of the artistic opportunities that Columbia has to offer. Businesses from galleries to shops to banks all open their doors to art enthusiasts to expose them to music, dance, theater, pottery, painting and more!

Get details on each venue’s special events for the weekend here. You’ll also be able to enjoy performances and art while you eat in Columbia’s fantastic restaurants. Have an artrageous weekend!

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Uniquely Columbia: Main Squeeze

October 2, 2012

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Do you enjoy delicious food? Of course you do!

How about delicious vegetarian food that promotes sustainability in an artistic atmosphere? Not sure? Trust us on this one, and check out Main Squeeze Natural Foods Café and Juice Bar in The District.

Believe us when we tell you that Main Squeeze could quite well change how you feel about eating vegetarian food. Everything on the menu is fresh, flavorful and unique, with daily specials and desserts that will surprise you and keep you coming back. Sip on refreshing 100% fruit smoothies like the Strawberry Manilow (Strawberry, Bananas and Orange) and Give Peach a Chance (Apple, Peach Banana) or incredible juices like the Ring of Fire (Apple, Orange, Beet, Ginger) and Elvis Parsley (Carrot, Celery, Spinach, Parsley, Beet).

Once you’ve quenched your thirst, dive in to one of Main Squeeze’s delectable dishes. Choices range from tofu tacos to the Hail Kale salad.

Dive into this flavorful place of tofu tacos at Main Squeeze. Photo by Patrice Raplee.

When you visit Main Squeeze, not only will you enjoy incredible food, you’ll be supporting a business that supports the community. Main Squeeze works with over a dozen local farms, creates less than one bag of trash each day and displays local art, with 100% of sales being passed along to the artist. It’s food that makes you feel good and that you can feel good about eating.

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Columbia Side Trip: Rocheport

July 11, 2012

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We know there’s enough to do in Columbia to last you for your entire trip, but mid-Missouri has lots to offer when you head outside the city limits. Today we’ll explore Rocheport, a beautiful town just 15 minutes west of Columbia set on the Missouri River.

Start your day with a walk, run or ride on the statewide Katy Trail. The area around Rocheport is home to one of the most picturesque spans of the trail as it winds its way along the Missouri River under giant bluffs. If biking is your thing, stop by the Trailside Café and Bike Shop at the Rocheport trailhead. Open April through October, the Trailside can outfit you with a full range of bikes and get you on your way fast!

One of these bikes is waiting for you!

Once you’ve taken a spin on the trail, you’ll have worked up your appetite. Head into Rocheport and check out Abigail’s. Opened in 1996, Abigail’s is housed in a historic building and the menu rotates every single day. Take your seat and your server will present you with a board featuring that day’s options. You’ll never go wrong with their variety of delicious dishes made with fresh ingredients.

After lunch, take time to explore the rest of downtown Rocheport. Filled with historic buildings, delightful bed and breakfasts and unique shops. Check out the Rocheport General Store, small antique shops, art galleries and enjoy all the charm Rocheport has to offer.

Explore the Rocheport General Store!

Next, head back up the road to Les Bourgeois Winery and Bistro. Take part in a wine tasting to take in all the flavors of this award winning Missouri wine. Take in the sunset over the Missouri River with a glass of wine at their outdoor A-Frame and then devour an incredible dinner at their blufftop bistro, where the chefs create spectacular seasonal menus for every taste.

So while you’re in Columbia, make the short drive to check out Rocheport. It’s combination of old-fashioned charm, beautiful scenery and delicious dining make it a worthy stop on any trip.

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Uniquely Columbia: The Columbia Star Dinner Train

June 26, 2012

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During your next trip to Columbia, plan for a ride on the rails. The Columbia Star Dinner Train is an uniquely Columbia attraction that’s getting rave reviews for both delicious food and a wonderfully scenic experience.

Begin by making your reservation with a Dinner Train representative. They’ll check availability during your visit and help you pick out your menu for your ride. The Dinner Train has Friday and Saturday night dinner runs, with brunch runs on Sunday mornings. Once your reservation is made, you’re ready to ride!

The Columbia Star Dinner Train

When you arrive, take in the beautifully restored 30s and 40s passenger cars headed up by 50s streamlined passenger locomotives. Boarding begins 30 minutes prior to departure, so find your seat in the nicely appointed cars and prepare for your leisurely journey through a serene rural landscape. You’ll be treated to a delicious multi-course meal prepared on board the train and featuring choices ranging from trout cakes to prime rib. You can also enjoy drinks from their fully stocked bar or have roses on your table for an extra romantic touch on a birthday or anniversary.

Make your ride on the Dinner Train extra special.

The Dinner Train also hosts special events throughout the year. From ‘Polar Express’ themed runs for families during the holidays to murder mysteries that thrill and entertain, the Columbia Star Dinner Train adds a special element of fun. Whether you take advantage of one of these themed events or just a lovely Saturday evening ride on the tracks, the Columbia Star Dinner Train will be an experience you’ll remember for years to come.

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