Event: Taste the Future 2009

Event: Taste the Future 2009

posted : Thursday, September 17th, 2009

tags : columbusfoodie_com from_feed

Restaurant Week Fall 2009: Katzinger’s: 
Unfortunately, just like spring, we didn’t have much luck with the free pickles – this is usually my favorite part of eating at Katzinger’s, but this time around, the dills were way beyond salty, and the garlic pickles were barely pickled at all.

The deal this time around was 2 Sandwiches + 2 Salads + 2 Desserts from the choices on the menu for $20.09 (or $10.04 for one of each).
For what it’s worth, my sandwich was very good. Nice big pieces of turkey paired well with sweet caramelized onions, the tang of blue cheese, crisp slices of Granny Smith apples, all tied together with a balsamic dressing and then grilled. My salad, however good, was quite a bit underdressed, so Paul ended up eating since I have trouble eating salads that are on the dry side.

I absolutely loved my dessert, a dense, almost ganache-like flourless chocolate bar with toasted pine nuts and fleur de sel sea salt. I love the combination of sweet and salty, and this was one of most successful executions of this that I’ve encountered.

Paul chose the Pulled Pork Sandwich with caramelized onions and white Vermont cheddar on an onion roll. This was a great sandwich, and the roll added texture that it definitely needed. Paul also opted for the mesclun mix, and his was dressed adequately. His dessert was a pumpkin pie bar with caramel pecan topping, which tasted just like Thanksgiving.

Before we left, we got the one sandwich that we hadn’t tried a la carte. The Roasted Eggplant sandwich, which pairs roasted eggplant slices with fresh mozzarella and house made tomato jam which is then grilled on fire bread. Quite savory and spicier than expected, this is the perfect choice for vegetarians, because it doesn’t compromise flavor for a second.

We weren’t disappointed with our choices at Katzinger’s – it’s somewhere we don’t eat at nearly enough. I’m hoping we’ll return soon – with all the celebrations for their 25th anniversary coming up in October, hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.
If you’d like to go: Katzinger’s Delicatessen, 475 S. Third Street, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-228-DELI
Restaurant Week Fall 2009: Katzinger’s:

Unfortunately, just like spring, we didn’t have much luck with the free pickles – this is usually my favorite part of eating at Katzinger’s, but this time around, the dills were way beyond salty, and the garlic pickles were barely pickled at all.

Pickles from Katzinger's

The deal this time around was 2 Sandwiches + 2 Salads + 2 Desserts from the choices on the menu for $20.09 (or $10.04 for one of each).

For what it’s worth, my sandwich was very good. Nice big pieces of turkey paired well with sweet caramelized onions, the tang of blue cheese, crisp slices of Granny Smith apples, all tied together with a balsamic dressing and then grilled. My salad, however good, was quite a bit underdressed, so Paul ended up eating since I have trouble eating salads that are on the dry side.

Oven Roasted Turkey Sandwich and Mesclun Mix from Katzinger's

I absolutely loved my dessert, a dense, almost ganache-like flourless chocolate bar with toasted pine nuts and fleur de sel sea salt. I love the combination of sweet and salty, and this was one of most successful executions of this that I’ve encountered.

Flourless Chocolate Bar with Toasted Pine Nuts and Fleur de Sel Sea Salt from Katzinger's

Paul chose the Pulled Pork Sandwich with caramelized onions and white Vermont cheddar on an onion roll. This was a great sandwich, and the roll added texture that it definitely needed. Paul also opted for the mesclun mix, and his was dressed adequately. His dessert was a pumpkin pie bar with caramel pecan topping, which tasted just like Thanksgiving.

Pulled Pork Sandwich, Mesclun Mix and Pumpkin Pie Bar from Katzinger's.

Before we left, we got the one sandwich that we hadn’t tried a la carte. The Roasted Eggplant sandwich, which pairs roasted eggplant slices with fresh mozzarella and house made tomato jam which is then grilled on fire bread. Quite savory and spicier than expected, this is the perfect choice for vegetarians, because it doesn’t compromise flavor for a second.

Roasted Eggplant/Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich from Katzinger's

We weren’t disappointed with our choices at Katzinger’s – it’s somewhere we don’t eat at nearly enough. I’m hoping we’ll return soon – with all the celebrations for their 25th anniversary coming up in October, hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.

If you’d like to go: Katzinger’s Delicatessen, 475 S. Third Street, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-228-DELI

posted : Saturday, September 12th, 2009

tags : columbusfoodie_com from_feed

Restaurant Week Fall 2009: The Top Steakhouse: 
The one benefit to Restaurant Week being held in September vs. being held in March is that almost all of the restaurants we’ve visited have their patios open. The Top was no exception – I love eating out there because inside, it’s so dark you can barely see your food. Outside, you get to see how beautiful the presentation is under the full spectrum of daylight.

The Top’s menu for Restaurant Week is virtually unchanged from March’s menu – with the exception of one of the desserts, it IS the same. Not a problem, since we were so incredibly pleased with our meal in March. And in a twist of fate, we had the same server, too. We were thrilled that Emily remembered us, along with some of our preferences during that meal.

Every meal at The Top starts out with a relish tray. We love this, as unusual as this seems.

We loved, loved, loved the bread basket that night – fluffy pillows of honeyed yeasty deliciousness that we couldn’t get enough of. This may be part of the reason I filled up so quickly, even though we only had 2 rolls each. They were served with a soft whipped butter that spread so easily and melted slightly into the still warm rolls.

For his appetizer, Paul chose the escargot. Neither one of us had ever had escargot before, and we both absolutely loved them. The snails themselves are reminiscent in taste and texture of a really earthy mushroom, and they are swimming in a garlic-butter-cheese combination that totally rocks. Once you’ve plucked the escargot out, you dip the accompanying toast into the garlic butter to soak up the evilness that is the combination of all the flavors.

I went with my eternal favorite at The Top, the French onion soup. I’ve been known to stop in for this soup alone. Imagine a slightly boozy, beefy broth, chock full of sweet caramelized onions and croutons, and topped with melted cheese. Theirs is easily the best version of this dish I’ve had.

For the salad course, Paul went with the House salad, which tops salad greens with all manners of veggies, blue cheese, and an Italian dressing. Simple, but delicious.

My Caesar salad could easily be an entree unto itself. Mounded high on a dinner plate (yes, that is not a salad plate!), the crisp romaine lettuce is tossed in a mayonnaise-based creamy Caesar dressing, croutons, and Parmesan cheese. With the addition of a little salt and pepper, it was very satisfying. So satisfying that I got full about halfway through eating it. I realized then I should have passed on seconds on those rolls. 

We both went with the Surf & Turf for our entree – in both cases, the lobster was slightly overdone and the steak was very underdone (I like mine still mooing, essentially, and it was less done than that). Paul sent his back to the kitchen to be refired, which they did without question, and it came back out perfectly the second time around. Since I was taking my steak and potato home to eat later, I chose to have mine boxed as is, so that when I reheated it later, it would be done to medium rare.

Not part of Restaurant Week, but my husband absolutely had to have the Potatoes au gratin side – he’s had this before at Taste of the Independents and loved it.

For his dessert, he chose the Funnel Cake with ice cream and fresh strawberries. Fair food kicked up a notch, this was like an ice cream sundae on steroids.

I went with a classic creme brulee, and found it amusing that Emily had remembered what I said last time around about the sugar not cracking properly if you do it in advance of dinner service. This time around, it was absolutely perfect.

I’ll never, ever turn down a meal at The Top – and to dine there with a discount? Bonus!
If you’d like to go: The Top Steakhouse, 2891 E. Main Street, Columbus (just east of Bexley), 614-231-8238
Restaurant Week Fall 2009: The Top Steakhouse:

The one benefit to Restaurant Week being held in September vs. being held in March is that almost all of the restaurants we’ve visited have their patios open. The Top was no exception – I love eating out there because inside, it’s so dark you can barely see your food. Outside, you get to see how beautiful the presentation is under the full spectrum of daylight.

The Patio at The Top Steakhouse

The Top’s menu for Restaurant Week is virtually unchanged from March’s menu – with the exception of one of the desserts, it IS the same. Not a problem, since we were so incredibly pleased with our meal in March. And in a twist of fate, we had the same server, too. We were thrilled that Emily remembered us, along with some of our preferences during that meal.

The Top Steakhouse Restaurant Week Menu

Every meal at The Top starts out with a relish tray. We love this, as unusual as this seems.

Relish Plate at The Top Steakhouse

We loved, loved, loved the bread basket that night – fluffy pillows of honeyed yeasty deliciousness that we couldn’t get enough of. This may be part of the reason I filled up so quickly, even though we only had 2 rolls each. They were served with a soft whipped butter that spread so easily and melted slightly into the still warm rolls.

Dinner Rolls from The Top Steakhouse

For his appetizer, Paul chose the escargot. Neither one of us had ever had escargot before, and we both absolutely loved them. The snails themselves are reminiscent in taste and texture of a really earthy mushroom, and they are swimming in a garlic-butter-cheese combination that totally rocks. Once you’ve plucked the escargot out, you dip the accompanying toast into the garlic butter to soak up the evilness that is the combination of all the flavors.

Escargot from The Top Steakhouse

I went with my eternal favorite at The Top, the French onion soup. I’ve been known to stop in for this soup alone. Imagine a slightly boozy, beefy broth, chock full of sweet caramelized onions and croutons, and topped with melted cheese. Theirs is easily the best version of this dish I’ve had.

French Onion Soup from The Top Steakhouse

For the salad course, Paul went with the House salad, which tops salad greens with all manners of veggies, blue cheese, and an Italian dressing. Simple, but delicious.

House Salad from The Top Steakhouse

My Caesar salad could easily be an entree unto itself. Mounded high on a dinner plate (yes, that is not a salad plate!), the crisp romaine lettuce is tossed in a mayonnaise-based creamy Caesar dressing, croutons, and Parmesan cheese. With the addition of a little salt and pepper, it was very satisfying. So satisfying that I got full about halfway through eating it. I realized then I should have passed on seconds on those rolls. ;)

Caesar Salad from The Top Steakhouse

We both went with the Surf & Turf for our entree – in both cases, the lobster was slightly overdone and the steak was very underdone (I like mine still mooing, essentially, and it was less done than that). Paul sent his back to the kitchen to be refired, which they did without question, and it came back out perfectly the second time around. Since I was taking my steak and potato home to eat later, I chose to have mine boxed as is, so that when I reheated it later, it would be done to medium rare.

Surf 'n Turf at The Top Steakhouse

Not part of Restaurant Week, but my husband absolutely had to have the Potatoes au gratin side – he’s had this before at Taste of the Independents and loved it.

Potatoes au Gratin from The Top Steakhouse

For his dessert, he chose the Funnel Cake with ice cream and fresh strawberries. Fair food kicked up a notch, this was like an ice cream sundae on steroids.

Funnel Cake from The Top Steakhouse

I went with a classic creme brulee, and found it amusing that Emily had remembered what I said last time around about the sugar not cracking properly if you do it in advance of dinner service. This time around, it was absolutely perfect.

Creme Brulee from The Top Steakhouse

I’ll never, ever turn down a meal at The Top – and to dine there with a discount? Bonus!

If you’d like to go: The Top Steakhouse, 2891 E. Main Street, Columbus (just east of Bexley), 614-231-8238

posted : Saturday, September 12th, 2009

tags : columbusfoodie_com from_feed

Restaurant Week Fall 2009: Banana Bean Cafe: 
And they’ve really fleshed out the back patio, it’s got loads of character now. Love the outdoor grill.

And I love the tables they built, the decorations, and the paint job that matches that on the front of the building.

As an aside, one thing I don’t love is the fact that the Ohio smoking ban doesn’t extend to the back patio of the place – when we started our meal, there was no one else out there, but by the time we left, there were 3 cigarettes and a cigar going at a table near ours, and we had to get out of there because the stench was really starting to get to us. I’m usually fairly tolerant of smoking, but not so much when there’s so much of it going on that it affects the taste of my food.
Banana Bean Cafe has great drink deals – they offer $2 margaritas all day long, and I always get one or two when I eat there. Although not the best margarita I’ve ever had, it’s pretty solid, and pretty strong.

And if you get there during happy hour (4-6PM), one of the perks is a free basket of freshly fried chips and a nice spicy salsa.

Even though it’s not part of the Restaurant Week menu, Paul opted to get a cup of their Cuban Black Bean soup ($3) a la carte – he enjoyed it so much during the last Restaurant Week, that he wanted it again today. This is a hearty, stick to your ribs, full of flavor soup, which if one had gotten as a bowl, would be a meal unto itself.

For our starter, even though there are tons of new appetizers on the menu, we got one of our old favorites – the YaYa’s Eggplant Fries (normally $7). You can’t really tell these are made out of eggplant, as they’re just savory and crunchy on the outside, while moist and non-descript on the inside. They normally come with a spicy but sweet chile dipping sauce, but we love tempering the heat of the chile sauce with a small cup of the creamy Ya-Ya sauce.

For my brunch item, I went for one of the new menu items, the BB Ranchero (normally $12), which consists of two fried eggs, grilled tortillas, house potatoes, black beans, sweet fried plantains, avocado mash, Mexican crema, and red hacienda sauce. While the serving size was substantial (but mostly potatoes, unfortunately), and the flavor fairly solid, this one didn’t quite resonate with me – I’m not sure if it’s that it seemed to be missing something (meat? heat? not sure), or because the potatoes seemed to overwhelm the dish and drown out the other flavors, or if because the tough tortillas made eating it unwieldy, but I probably wouldn’t order it again.

Paul’s choice, the Lobster Hash (normally $15), another new brunch item, absolutely was the bomb-diggity. An almost insurmountable mountain of griddled lobster, red bliss potatoes, two poached eggs, and a green chile hollandaise, this dish was flavorful, spicy, and downright decadent. We did notice, after the fact, that it was completely missing the simple salad it was also supposed to come with. Not that he would have had room for it in his belly, mind you. As it was, he had to take a good portion of the hash home with him.

There are tons of new dishes on the new menu, which has only been in effect for a few weeks. With the spectacular bargain that Restaurant Week offers, run, don’t walk, to give one of the 7 new (in addition to the 8 existing) brunch items a try at a great discount. We’ll probably be going back ourselves before the week is up – I have my eyes on the North Shore Seafood Omelette (an open faced griddled omelette with scallops, gulf shrimp, and blistered vegetables sauteed in a garlic butter tomato sauce), while Paul is all geared up to try the Grandaddie’s Chicken and Waffles (buttermilk fried boneless chicken breast with an almond scented Belgian waffle and apricot honey syrup).
If you’d like to go: Banana Bean Cafe, 340 Greenlawn Ave., Columbus, OH 43223, 614-443-2262
Restaurant Week Fall 2009: Banana Bean Cafe:

And they’ve really fleshed out the back patio, it’s got loads of character now. Love the outdoor grill.

Banana Bean Cafe's Patio

And I love the tables they built, the decorations, and the paint job that matches that on the front of the building.

Another View of Banana Bean Cafe's Patio

As an aside, one thing I don’t love is the fact that the Ohio smoking ban doesn’t extend to the back patio of the place – when we started our meal, there was no one else out there, but by the time we left, there were 3 cigarettes and a cigar going at a table near ours, and we had to get out of there because the stench was really starting to get to us. I’m usually fairly tolerant of smoking, but not so much when there’s so much of it going on that it affects the taste of my food.

Banana Bean Cafe has great drink deals – they offer $2 margaritas all day long, and I always get one or two when I eat there. Although not the best margarita I’ve ever had, it’s pretty solid, and pretty strong.

Margarita from Banana Bean Cafe

And if you get there during happy hour (4-6PM), one of the perks is a free basket of freshly fried chips and a nice spicy salsa.

Chips and Salsa from Banana Bean Cafe

Even though it’s not part of the Restaurant Week menu, Paul opted to get a cup of their Cuban Black Bean soup ($3) a la carte – he enjoyed it so much during the last Restaurant Week, that he wanted it again today. This is a hearty, stick to your ribs, full of flavor soup, which if one had gotten as a bowl, would be a meal unto itself.

Cuban Black Bean Soup from Banana Bean Cafe

For our starter, even though there are tons of new appetizers on the menu, we got one of our old favorites – the YaYa’s Eggplant Fries (normally $7). You can’t really tell these are made out of eggplant, as they’re just savory and crunchy on the outside, while moist and non-descript on the inside. They normally come with a spicy but sweet chile dipping sauce, but we love tempering the heat of the chile sauce with a small cup of the creamy Ya-Ya sauce.

YaYa's Eggplant Fries from Banan Bean Cafe

For my brunch item, I went for one of the new menu items, the BB Ranchero (normally $12), which consists of two fried eggs, grilled tortillas, house potatoes, black beans, sweet fried plantains, avocado mash, Mexican crema, and red hacienda sauce. While the serving size was substantial (but mostly potatoes, unfortunately), and the flavor fairly solid, this one didn’t quite resonate with me – I’m not sure if it’s that it seemed to be missing something (meat? heat? not sure), or because the potatoes seemed to overwhelm the dish and drown out the other flavors, or if because the tough tortillas made eating it unwieldy, but I probably wouldn’t order it again.

BB Ranchero from Banana Bean Cafe

Paul’s choice, the Lobster Hash (normally $15), another new brunch item, absolutely was the bomb-diggity. An almost insurmountable mountain of griddled lobster, red bliss potatoes, two poached eggs, and a green chile hollandaise, this dish was flavorful, spicy, and downright decadent. We did notice, after the fact, that it was completely missing the simple salad it was also supposed to come with. Not that he would have had room for it in his belly, mind you. As it was, he had to take a good portion of the hash home with him.

Lobster Hash from Banana Bean Cafe

There are tons of new dishes on the new menu, which has only been in effect for a few weeks. With the spectacular bargain that Restaurant Week offers, run, don’t walk, to give one of the 7 new (in addition to the 8 existing) brunch items a try at a great discount. We’ll probably be going back ourselves before the week is up – I have my eyes on the North Shore Seafood Omelette (an open faced griddled omelette with scallops, gulf shrimp, and blistered vegetables sauteed in a garlic butter tomato sauce), while Paul is all geared up to try the Grandaddie’s Chicken and Waffles (buttermilk fried boneless chicken breast with an almond scented Belgian waffle and apricot honey syrup).

If you’d like to go: Banana Bean Cafe, 340 Greenlawn Ave., Columbus, OH 43223, 614-443-2262

posted : Thursday, September 10th, 2009

tags : columbusfoodie_com from_feed

Restaurant Week Fall 2009: Pistacia Vera: 
I’ve always been impressed by the beauty and simplicity of the store. Everything looks so darn appetizing that I guess it’s a good thing that the Restaurant Week menu is a set one. 

And what a menu it is – a sampling of almost all the great stuff on their menu for $20.09, designed to be a dessert and hot beverages for two (or one very hungry, very sugar tolerant person).

And here’s a picture of the selection. You get to choose what macarons and pate de fruit you want – since their menu will be changing for fall in a couple of weeks, we picked summer flavors like Strawberry Rose and Raspberry. For the pate, we chose Cherry Kirsch and Strawberry Lychee. Everything here is so decadent and rich, I had a hard time finishing my portion of the dessert.

So, if you’re on the way home from one of your other Restaurant Week visits, don’t hesitate to stop in, even if you’re not hungry at the moment. Because if you’re not in the mood to eat in their charming boutique? You can have the lovely ladies pack it in a package to take home with you instead. 
If you’d like to go: Pistacia Vera, 541 S. Third Street, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-220-9070
Restaurant Week Fall 2009: Pistacia Vera:

I’ve always been impressed by the beauty and simplicity of the store. Everything looks so darn appetizing that I guess it’s a good thing that the Restaurant Week menu is a set one. :)

Display Case at Pistacia Vera

And what a menu it is – a sampling of almost all the great stuff on their menu for $20.09, designed to be a dessert and hot beverages for two (or one very hungry, very sugar tolerant person).

Restaurant Week Menu at Pistacia Vera

And here’s a picture of the selection. You get to choose what macarons and pate de fruit you want – since their menu will be changing for fall in a couple of weeks, we picked summer flavors like Strawberry Rose and Raspberry. For the pate, we chose Cherry Kirsch and Strawberry Lychee. Everything here is so decadent and rich, I had a hard time finishing my portion of the dessert.

Restaurant Week Selection at Pistacia Vera

So, if you’re on the way home from one of your other Restaurant Week visits, don’t hesitate to stop in, even if you’re not hungry at the moment. Because if you’re not in the mood to eat in their charming boutique? You can have the lovely ladies pack it in a package to take home with you instead. :)

If you’d like to go: Pistacia Vera, 541 S. Third Street, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-220-9070

posted : Thursday, September 10th, 2009

tags : columbusfoodie_com from_feed

Restaurant Week Fall 2009: Milo’s Deli: 
Upon walking in, we saw that the Dine Originals special was prominently displayed. We went around the side to order, talking to the slightly standoffish but otherwise helpful cashier. After paying for your order, you seat yourself, and wait for them to call you.
The special this week is 2 Milo’s Reubens, 2 side salads, 2 drinks and 2 cookies for $20.09. While this is very similar to their regular price (you can buy the sandwich/side/drink combo normally for $9.75), it is one heck of a value for the amount of food. Both Paul and I left there absolutely stuffed. The Milo’s Reuben that was the centerpiece of both of our platters was one of the better ones I’ve had – good meat to bread ratio, nice combination of meats (corned beef, turkey and pastrami), nicely grilled, hearty rye bread that had properly chewy crust, and good balance among all the other toppings. It is very similar to the sandwich offered by a well known deli in town, but at a fraction of the price. The sandwich is a static offering during Restaurant Week, but there are quite a few other choices otherwise – about 6-8 different types of drinks including fountain soda, several different potato and pasta salads to choose from for your side, and about 6 different types of cookie.

I went with the combo of Reuben, Redskin Potato Salad, Chips and Sugar Cookie. The redskin potato salad is sour-cream based, with a bit of dill, and the generous portion was quite enjoyable. The requisite dill pickle was crunchy and had good flavor. And the sugar cookie was the size of a softball, and extremely moist.

Paul went with the tortellini salad, which is cheese tortellini with fresh veggies and an Italian dressing, and an oatmeal raisin cookie, which was also huge and full of traditional oatmeal raisin flavor.

The regular menu at Milo’s is huge, and we hope to go back soon to experience more of it. I was surprised that such a deli existed in Franklinton, and can see why it’s extremely popular with hospital employees. I can only hope that people won’t be put off by the location and venture over to give it a try. It certainly is worth a visit.
If you’d like to go: Milo’s Deli & Cafe, 980 W. Broad St, Columbus (Franklinton), OH 43222, 614-224-0104
Restaurant Week Fall 2009: Milo’s Deli:

Upon walking in, we saw that the Dine Originals special was prominently displayed. We went around the side to order, talking to the slightly standoffish but otherwise helpful cashier. After paying for your order, you seat yourself, and wait for them to call you.

The special this week is 2 Milo’s Reubens, 2 side salads, 2 drinks and 2 cookies for $20.09. While this is very similar to their regular price (you can buy the sandwich/side/drink combo normally for $9.75), it is one heck of a value for the amount of food. Both Paul and I left there absolutely stuffed. The Milo’s Reuben that was the centerpiece of both of our platters was one of the better ones I’ve had – good meat to bread ratio, nice combination of meats (corned beef, turkey and pastrami), nicely grilled, hearty rye bread that had properly chewy crust, and good balance among all the other toppings. It is very similar to the sandwich offered by a well known deli in town, but at a fraction of the price. The sandwich is a static offering during Restaurant Week, but there are quite a few other choices otherwise – about 6-8 different types of drinks including fountain soda, several different potato and pasta salads to choose from for your side, and about 6 different types of cookie.

Special Menu at Milo's Deli

I went with the combo of Reuben, Redskin Potato Salad, Chips and Sugar Cookie. The redskin potato salad is sour-cream based, with a bit of dill, and the generous portion was quite enjoyable. The requisite dill pickle was crunchy and had good flavor. And the sugar cookie was the size of a softball, and extremely moist.

Reuben, Potato Salad, Chips & Sugar Cookie at Milo's Deli

Paul went with the tortellini salad, which is cheese tortellini with fresh veggies and an Italian dressing, and an oatmeal raisin cookie, which was also huge and full of traditional oatmeal raisin flavor.

Reuben, Tortellini Salad, Chips, and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie at Milo's Deli

The regular menu at Milo’s is huge, and we hope to go back soon to experience more of it. I was surprised that such a deli existed in Franklinton, and can see why it’s extremely popular with hospital employees. I can only hope that people won’t be put off by the location and venture over to give it a try. It certainly is worth a visit.

If you’d like to go: Milo’s Deli & Cafe, 980 W. Broad St, Columbus (Franklinton), OH 43222, 614-224-0104

posted : Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

tags : columbusfoodie_com from_feed

Restaurant Week Fall 2009: Black Creek Bistro: 
As they did in the spring, Black Creek Bistro is one of the only participating restaurants that is offering four courses instead of three, but with the addition of a couple of new chefs since then, it inevitably was going to be a much easier thing to pull off. I had already made my choices before we even walked in the restaurant door.

I was glad to be able to take a couple of minutes to catch up with Chef Kent Peters, who I had not seen since Taste of the Independents. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s one class act. I have the utmost of respect for the sustainability he incorporates between farm and restaurant – to know that most of the vegetables eaten during the meal were grown on the farm made my little locavore heart happy.
Bread service (not pictured), were run of the mill dinner rolls, but they were nicely warmed and crispy on the outside, and served with a rather delicious compound butter.
To start, I chose the chili relleno, which was a fiery, roasted hot banana pepper stuffed with melted queso fresco, dipped in what tasted like a beer batter and fried until crisp, served on top of a cold ragu of tomatillos and other veggies which added a sweetness, tempered the heat of the chile pepper, and just paired wonderfully. Although the dish was at the very edge of heat level I can tolerate, it still was a starter that I’d look forward to ordering again if it were on the regular menu.

Paul chose the Tri-Color Seafood Carpaccio,  in which raw tuna, scallop, and salmon was pounded thin and given a treatment similar to ceviche (with lime juice and olive oil). The roasted garlic was an especially nice touch, but I think the crostini was a bit of a distraction and not even necessary to pull this dish together.

For the salad course, I went for the Heirloom Beet Salad, which topped farm fresh mixed greens with roasted red beets and 4 different kind of heirloom tomatoes. A nice crumble of goat cheese and feta, a flavorful pesto, and cucumbers just made this a perfect example of the farm on a plate. It doesn’t get much better (or fresher) than this.

Paul opted for the Bistro Salad, which was a nice simple composed salad of mesclun mix topped with strawberries, gorgonzola cheese, red onion, walnuts and a slightly sweet balsamic dressing. While not the least bit complex, it was absolutely delicious.

My entree was a perfectly seared red snapper, paired with a triangle of au gratin potatoes, fresh spinach, and balsamic roasted red pepper relish that was studded with olives. Although I’m not a huge olive fan, the flavor wasn’t overwhelming, and just added a bit of brininess to the dish.

Paul’s entree was the most unusual dish of the evening, a Peanut Butter and Jelly Duck. A perfectly seared breast of duck is sliced, and topped with a slightly sweet berry sauce. The noodles are tossed in a slightly sweet peanut sauce. Combined, the sauces truly do taste just like peanut butter and jelly. The portion size was perfect, because this dish could easily get cloying in a larger quantity.

We both opted for the Bacon Apple Tart for dessert – it was a simple apple tart, served with house-made buttermilk ice cream, and sprinkled with crispy lardons of bacon. I love the combination of salty and sweet, and this did not disappoint. I especially loved the ice cream.

In short, our experience this time around was the polar opposite of our last experience, and I can now see why it’s both a media and local foodie darling. I can see myself visiting much more often, especially during the growing season.
Our server, Katie, was absolutely awesome. Engaging, friendly, non-obtrusive, and anticipated our every need without us even needing to ask.
If you’d like to go: Black Creek Bistro, 51 Parsons Ave, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-246-9662
Restaurant Week Fall 2009: Black Creek Bistro:

As they did in the spring, Black Creek Bistro is one of the only participating restaurants that is offering four courses instead of three, but with the addition of a couple of new chefs since then, it inevitably was going to be a much easier thing to pull off. I had already made my choices before we even walked in the restaurant door.

Restaurant Week Menu from Black Creek Bistro

I was glad to be able to take a couple of minutes to catch up with Chef Kent Peters, who I had not seen since Taste of the Independents. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s one class act. I have the utmost of respect for the sustainability he incorporates between farm and restaurant – to know that most of the vegetables eaten during the meal were grown on the farm made my little locavore heart happy.

Bread service (not pictured), were run of the mill dinner rolls, but they were nicely warmed and crispy on the outside, and served with a rather delicious compound butter.

To start, I chose the chili relleno, which was a fiery, roasted hot banana pepper stuffed with melted queso fresco, dipped in what tasted like a beer batter and fried until crisp, served on top of a cold ragu of tomatillos and other veggies which added a sweetness, tempered the heat of the chile pepper, and just paired wonderfully. Although the dish was at the very edge of heat level I can tolerate, it still was a starter that I’d look forward to ordering again if it were on the regular menu.

Chili Relleno from Black Creek Bistro

Paul chose the Tri-Color Seafood Carpaccio, in which raw tuna, scallop, and salmon was pounded thin and given a treatment similar to ceviche (with lime juice and olive oil). The roasted garlic was an especially nice touch, but I think the crostini was a bit of a distraction and not even necessary to pull this dish together.

Tri-Color Seafood Carpaccio from Black Creek Bistro

For the salad course, I went for the Heirloom Beet Salad, which topped farm fresh mixed greens with roasted red beets and 4 different kind of heirloom tomatoes. A nice crumble of goat cheese and feta, a flavorful pesto, and cucumbers just made this a perfect example of the farm on a plate. It doesn’t get much better (or fresher) than this.

Heirloom Beet Salad from Black Creek Bistro

Paul opted for the Bistro Salad, which was a nice simple composed salad of mesclun mix topped with strawberries, gorgonzola cheese, red onion, walnuts and a slightly sweet balsamic dressing. While not the least bit complex, it was absolutely delicious.

Bistro Salad from Black Creek Bistro

My entree was a perfectly seared red snapper, paired with a triangle of au gratin potatoes, fresh spinach, and balsamic roasted red pepper relish that was studded with olives. Although I’m not a huge olive fan, the flavor wasn’t overwhelming, and just added a bit of brininess to the dish.

Snapper from Black Creek Bistro

Paul’s entree was the most unusual dish of the evening, a Peanut Butter and Jelly Duck. A perfectly seared breast of duck is sliced, and topped with a slightly sweet berry sauce. The noodles are tossed in a slightly sweet peanut sauce. Combined, the sauces truly do taste just like peanut butter and jelly. The portion size was perfect, because this dish could easily get cloying in a larger quantity.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Duck from Black Creek Bistro

We both opted for the Bacon Apple Tart for dessert – it was a simple apple tart, served with house-made buttermilk ice cream, and sprinkled with crispy lardons of bacon. I love the combination of salty and sweet, and this did not disappoint. I especially loved the ice cream.

Bacon Apple Tart with Buttermilk Ice Cream from Black Creek Bistro

In short, our experience this time around was the polar opposite of our last experience, and I can now see why it’s both a media and local foodie darling. I can see myself visiting much more often, especially during the growing season.

Our server, Katie, was absolutely awesome. Engaging, friendly, non-obtrusive, and anticipated our every need without us even needing to ask.

If you’d like to go: Black Creek Bistro, 51 Parsons Ave, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-246-9662

posted : Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

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posted : Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

tags : columbusfoodie_com from_feed

posted : Sunday, September 6th, 2009

tags : columbusfoodie_com from_feed

Garden Update: August 2009: 
My red peppers, although full sized, are super slow to start changing colors. Not even a hint of changing for weeks to come.

The muskmelon is almost full sized now, and just starting to develop the webbing on the outside. I’m quite pleased at the way the vine trained itself up the trellis, and the good job the trellis is doing supporting the melon.

Eggplant, now that it’s gotten going and set fruit, is giving me a steady supply of 6-8 eggplant each week. This has to be the most problem-free thing I’ve grown all year.

What I thought was kohlrabi when I planted it is most obviously cabbage at this point. With the exception of some bug-eaten outer leaves, this is doing great.

The sweet corn is just days away from harvest (you harvest it when the corn silk starts turning brown). For some reason, I expected the ears to get a bit bigger than this.

The blueberries have looked like they’re on the cusp of ripening for over a month now, but no such luck. I think I won’t have much blueberry output this first year since the bushes are getting established.

August 13th
It seems like overnight, the basil went from not growing at all to doubling in size. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Perfect timing with all the tomatoes ripening now.

And there’s a real steady supply of Sungold tomatoes now. Good thing, since I’m putting them in just about everything. Plants are still looking good.

Cabbage is just about ready to harvest now that the center of the heads have filled out. These will be small heads, since I planted them 4 to a square foot because I thought they were kohlrabi.

I could have sworn I planted just one variety of eggplant, but I’m getting a couple of different shapes. This one is almost flat instead of round.

The last of the corn, ready to harvest. See how the silk is brown now?

The strawberry patch has really filled out, although it’s not producing much in the way of berries.

And now that I know rainbow chard regrows, I’ve been clipping it regularly. This is about a week’s worth of regrowth.

The muskmelon is almost completely webbed now, and is starting to slowly ripen.

My early girl tomato plant has been a steady producer for me, giving me very high yields starting very early on. And they have surprisingly good flavor, too.

You know, earlier when the zucchini first started producing, I contemplated getting a second plant next year for higher yields. Now that it’s producing regularly? I can see why people give away zucchini so readily.

The box in my garden I’ve nicknamed “tomatoes gone wild” is a jumbled mess of different varieties of tomatoes. I pulled all the vines outward so that I could actually have access to harvest them all once they ripen.

See? Still no hint of color change on those bell peppers.

August 14th
Big harvest day – I took the cabbage, corn, some zucchini and tomatoes. What am I going to do with 4 heads of cabbage (albeit small heads?)

August 23rd
My biggest harvest yet – for point of reference, this basket is 2-3′ long, 6 inches deep, about 18″ across.

August 27th
Another big harvest, mainly melon and ripe tomatoes.

Here’s a pic of the inside of the smaller of the muskmelons? Doesn’t it look sweet and juicy and delicious?

Stay tuned for September, which has us tearing out a bunch of tomatoes and squash plants (powdery mildew on the leaves has really done a number on the zucchini, and my tomatoes have been developing late blight), reconditioning the soil for fall and winter crops (one box will be nothing but garlic for next year, while another will be crops for winter (which I can harvest throughout winter by laying down a layer of straw to keep the soil warm enough to store the veggies and  workable, and yet another will be lettuce and other greens.
Garden Update: August 2009:

My red peppers, although full sized, are super slow to start changing colors. Not even a hint of changing for weeks to come.

Bell Pepper in Our Garden 8/2/09

The muskmelon is almost full sized now, and just starting to develop the webbing on the outside. I’m quite pleased at the way the vine trained itself up the trellis, and the good job the trellis is doing supporting the melon.

Muskmelon in Our Garden 8/2/09

Eggplant, now that it’s gotten going and set fruit, is giving me a steady supply of 6-8 eggplant each week. This has to be the most problem-free thing I’ve grown all year.

Eggplant in Our Garden 8/2/09

What I thought was kohlrabi when I planted it is most obviously cabbage at this point. With the exception of some bug-eaten outer leaves, this is doing great.

Cabbage in Our Garden 8/2/09

The sweet corn is just days away from harvest (you harvest it when the corn silk starts turning brown). For some reason, I expected the ears to get a bit bigger than this.

Sweet Corn in Our Garden 8/2/09

The blueberries have looked like they’re on the cusp of ripening for over a month now, but no such luck. I think I won’t have much blueberry output this first year since the bushes are getting established.

Blueberries in Our Garden 8/2/09

August 13th

It seems like overnight, the basil went from not growing at all to doubling in size. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Perfect timing with all the tomatoes ripening now.

From My Garden: Basil 8/13/09

And there’s a real steady supply of Sungold tomatoes now. Good thing, since I’m putting them in just about everything. Plants are still looking good.

From My Garden: Sungold Tomatoes 8/13/09

Cabbage is just about ready to harvest now that the center of the heads have filled out. These will be small heads, since I planted them 4 to a square foot because I thought they were kohlrabi.

From My Garden: Cabbage 8/13/09

I could have sworn I planted just one variety of eggplant, but I’m getting a couple of different shapes. This one is almost flat instead of round.

From My Garden: Eggplant 8/13/09

The last of the corn, ready to harvest. See how the silk is brown now?

From my Garden: Sweet Corn 8/13/09

The strawberry patch has really filled out, although it’s not producing much in the way of berries.

From My Garden: Strawberry Patch 8/13/09

And now that I know rainbow chard regrows, I’ve been clipping it regularly. This is about a week’s worth of regrowth.

From My Garden: Rainbow Chard 8/13/09

The muskmelon is almost completely webbed now, and is starting to slowly ripen.

From My Garden: Muskmelon 8/13/09

My early girl tomato plant has been a steady producer for me, giving me very high yields starting very early on. And they have surprisingly good flavor, too.

From My Garden: Early Girl Tomato 8/13/09

You know, earlier when the zucchini first started producing, I contemplated getting a second plant next year for higher yields. Now that it’s producing regularly? I can see why people give away zucchini so readily.

From My Garden: Zucchini 8/13/09

The box in my garden I’ve nicknamed “tomatoes gone wild” is a jumbled mess of different varieties of tomatoes. I pulled all the vines outward so that I could actually have access to harvest them all once they ripen.

From My Garden: Tomato 8/13/09

See? Still no hint of color change on those bell peppers.

From My Garden: Bell Pepper 8/13/09

August 14th

Big harvest day – I took the cabbage, corn, some zucchini and tomatoes. What am I going to do with 4 heads of cabbage (albeit small heads?)

Garden Harvest 8/14/09

August 23rd

My biggest harvest yet – for point of reference, this basket is 2-3′ long, 6 inches deep, about 18″ across.

Harvest 8/23/09

August 27th

Another big harvest, mainly melon and ripe tomatoes.

Harvest from my Garden 8/27/09

Here’s a pic of the inside of the smaller of the muskmelons? Doesn’t it look sweet and juicy and delicious?

Muskmelon from my Garden 8/27/09

Stay tuned for September, which has us tearing out a bunch of tomatoes and squash plants (powdery mildew on the leaves has really done a number on the zucchini, and my tomatoes have been developing late blight), reconditioning the soil for fall and winter crops (one box will be nothing but garlic for next year, while another will be crops for winter (which I can harvest throughout winter by laying down a layer of straw to keep the soil warm enough to store the veggies and  workable, and yet another will be lettuce and other greens.

posted : Friday, September 4th, 2009

tags : columbusfoodie_com from_feed