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Amuse Bouche — The Coop (Inside of The Hey Hey)

20 Feb

There are some occasions where I’ll go to a restaurant, or make something at home, and while I’ll want to share some aspects of the experience, I don’t feel that an entire post is warranted.  Interested in delivering more content—in a more timely manner—I’ve decided to create a new category of post for this blog.  These posts will be light on written content (there will be some still!) and heavier on things like photos.

I toyed around with what to call them.  The first couple of titles that came to mind, quick bites, short orders, were already in use.  And so I’ve settled on “amuse bouche.”  Literally translated as amuse the mouth, an amuse bouche is the small single bite appetizer that is occasionally served at some restaurants.  Usually every diner on any given evening will get the same thing.  Which is: whatever the chef feels like making.  It seems like a fitting title for this new series.

The first in the series features a well-respected Columbus food truck, The Coop, in a new and unexpected location, the kitchen of Shumaker Place neighborhood bar, The Hey Hey.

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San Diego — Or, What I Did on My Winter Vacation

2 Feb

Tania and I just got back from a whirlwind of a trip to San Diego.  The main purpose of our visit to California was a wedding of some close friends.  (I was in the wedding, ostensibly because the groom and I grew up next door to one another.  But it may also be that I just happen to look damn good in a tux.)  As would be expected of someone who cares enough about food to write about it on the internet, we did our best to eat our way through San Diego as well.

We ate incredibly well at the wedding itself.  The rehearsal lunch was fantastic, and dinner at the wedding reception exceeded all my expectations for wedding food.  As good as those meals were, it’s the many other meals that will be the subject of this blog.

Rather than a chronological listing, I’m going to recount our trip by category.  Looking over those meals, with one notable exception, they appear to break break down into three main classes: breakfast, fish, and drinking.  Because this is a long post, here’s a quick list that will jump you right to each place we went:

The Mission
Mystic Moca
Mariscos German
Oscar’s Mexican Seafood
Hamilton’s Tavern
Stone Brewing Company
In-N-Out Burger

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Premier Pizza — Borgata Pizza Cafe

12 Jan

A few years ago, word began to spread of a new pizza place in town.  Located somewhere along the rather nondescript 161 corridor, it was said that this pizza transcended its unassuming surroundings.  Those in the know, well-versed in Columbus’s other pizza offerings, said that this pizza was special; that it stood out.  Eventually, the trickle became a flood, and it became accepted as common wisdom among a certain set that Borgata Pizza Café made some of the best pizza in town.

I don't know what too me so long to try this pizza! It tastes as great as it looks.

I don’t know what too me so long to try this pizza! It tastes as great as it looks.

Despite all that, despite the recommendations from numerous reliable sources, it took me years to finally make the trip myself.  Every time I thought about getting pizza, my thought was “Oh, that’s too far away.  Let’s just go to [closer pizza shop]. I mean, can the pizza really be that good?”  You know how, as you get older and wiser, you look back and think “If only I could go back in time and tell my younger self what I know now”?  That’s how I feel about my pre-Borgata self.

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Swish Swish — Eating Shabu Shabu at Kihachi

3 Jan

The recently ended holiday season was quite a bit of fun, and it involved countless food-related events that were worth blogging about.  I’ve already written about a few of those, lebkuchen cookies and Swedish rye bread for example.  But for every one blog I wrote, it seems like there were three or four other things I that could write about—indeed that I wanted to write about.  I just couldn’t find the time though.  I was too busy cooking and eating!

In an attempt to make up for the lack of posts over the past month, I’m going to recount one definite highlight from that period of time.

Earlier this year, Tania started working as a part-time tour guide for Columbus Food Adventures.  If you’ve been on the German Village walking food tour any time over the past several months, she’s probably been the one instructing you about the history and architecture of German Village and introducing you to the many awesome restaurants.  Like many companies out there, Columbus Food Adventures has a holiday party.  But unlike other companies, the entire business is built upon introducing people to awesome and interesting food.  So, it’s only logical that the holiday party would be similarly food-focused.

And it was.

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Well Dressed — FlipSide Burger (at Easton Town Center)

6 Dec

About the last place I ever plan on being around the holidays is out at Easton.  One time a couple of years ago I was forced out there because I needed to get a new vegetable peeler, and the only place I knew for sure that would have it was Sur la Table. (It’s an awesome vegetable peeler by the way.)

Just last weekend though, Tania and I found ourselves out there and thought we’d take advantage of the opportunity to try out the (relatively) new FlipSide burger location.  I was especially interested in trying it out because, in the not-too-distant future, the currently vacant former home of Yankee Trader will be home to the second Columbus FlipSide location.

For those of you not already familiar with FlipSide, its first location was up near Cleveland in Hudson, OH.  Their focus is on burgers and shakes, and boy do they have a lot of both.  The list of burger options was quite extensive, and picking one required more than a little bit of deliberation.

2012-12-02 11.57.06

I’m a fan of spicy things, and ultimately decided on the Chili Pepper Burger.  The combination of pickled jalepeanos, pepper jack cheese, smoked chili ketchup, sriracha sauce (not listed on the menu, but described by our waitress and, as you can see, appearing on the burger), and onion rings was the combination that ultimately swayed me.  There were many other burgers, including ones with brisket, shaved prime rib, and brie with date aioli that were also incredibly tempting.

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North-Side Dining — Nazareth Restaurant and Deli

28 Nov

As is obvious from this blog, I love food. And although a majority of the recent posts have involved my own kitchen exploits, you’d be wrong if you thought that meant I confined my eating to the products of my own kitchen.  Indeed, I go out of my way to sample and regularly patronize area restaurants.  In fact, I fancy myself pretty well-versed in area restaurants.

That doesn’t mean however that I’ve been to even restaurant in town.  I’ve not even been to all the places that are consensus favorites—even if they’ve been on my “must try” list for years.  Two such restaurants are Borgata Pizza Cafe and Nazareth Restaurant and Deli.  Both of these restaurants have garnered their fair share of accolades. (See Borgata Pizza here, here, and here. And Nazareth here, here and here.)

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Too Many Cooks — That Food Truck Takes Center Stage

25 Oct

Based on the proliferation of food blogs (like this one) out there, it’d be a safe assumption that there are A LOT of people in the world that really enjoy food.  And not just consuming it.  They enjoy talking about it, looking at it, and hearing from others who share a similar passion for the things that we eat.

Every month on the second Sunday of the month at Wild Goose Creative, an open, eclectic, and ever changing group of people gather to be informed and entertained by someone with a special food story to tell or lesson to teach.  Called “Too Many Cooks,” this regular event is open to all-comers with an abiding, or even passing, interest in food.  (Try to RSVP, space can be limited!)  It starts at 7 p.m. and costs only $5.  (Not only do you get to eat whatever is on offer for the evening, but Wild Goose Creative is a nonprofit, and any proceeds from the event go towards supporting their vast array of other programs and events.)

Too Many Cooks had been on my radar for a while, but I only attended my first event earlier this month.  Honestly, what finally pushed me into attending is that Tania took over organizing responsibilities. (If that’s not disclosure enough, I may have a conflict of interest when it comes to writing this blog post.  After all, if I said bad things, I could run the risk of physical injury.  But, after viewing the photos of the food for yourself, I’ll let you decide whether there is anything bad to be said.)

Although Tania’s involvement was the primary reason I attended, the identity of the featured guest came in a close second.  That’s because the most recent Too Many Cooks featured one of Columbus’s newest food truck all-stars: That Food Truck.

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