I spent the weekend taking a huge bite out of the Big Apple by visiting culinary white-hot spots recommended to me during a telephone interview (almost exactly a year ago) with Anthony Bourdain. I asked the worldwide food connoisseur which cutting edge places wowed him the most lately, and he quickly mentioned Momofuku Ko and Marea.

Well, I took the dude's advice and wound up having a couple of brilliant meals I'll never forget (I'll blog about them soon--and that'll include a mind-bending pasta dish from Marea made with wine-braised octopus and bone marrow plus a brief description of an intense and epiphanic 15-course, three-hour tasting meal at Ko!)

Anyway, though those NYC'ers were undoubtedly earthshaking restaurants, it's still great to come home to good old Columbus, especially during Dine Originals Week!

Speaking of our awesome local restaurant scene, a friend of mine who sometimes dines with big-time art world and popular cultural tastemakers recently told me that several Columbus places inevitably elicit oohs and ahhs from these sophisticated visitors: Northstar, Rigsby's, G. Michael's and Alana's, among others.

For instance, Simpsons creator Matt Groening was recently treated to this clever edible sculpture of "Blinky," the three-eyed mutant fish from the always-funny Sunday night cartoon made by Alana (who else?!) while he was in town for the Wexner Center/OSU Cartoon Library and Museum's Festival of Cartoon Art last month.

OK, I doubt Blinky will be on Alana's menu during Dine Originals week, but I can guarantee something equally fun, delicious and creative will be, so get out and get some!