Noodles & Company restaurants in the Columbus area will host a fundraiser to support the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Conservation Endowment Fund on Monday, October 15. $1 of every dish with Noodles’ new slow-braised, naturally raised pork will be donated to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Conversation Endowment Fund.
свети георгиOn a recommendation from my Columbian friend, I visited El Meson on a trip to Dayton. Actually, El Meson is in West Carrollton, Ohio. That’s two r’s and two l’s if you are checking. If you miss the exit while heading south on I-75, you may also get to explore Germantown and Miamisburg on the way back up. Hey, but that’s the great thing about El Dayton – it’s highly manageable unlike Cleveland. After some backtracking, we made it to “The Inn” for almuerzo. Some sidewalk construction threw us for a loop and we ended up parking at a liquor store and walking around to El Meson’s entrada.
Upon walking around most of and then entering El Meson, it became apparent that it is housed in a large building. We walked down a long hall and entered the lunch rooms. It seemed like most of Dayton was there enjoying el almuerzo en el viernes but there were a few seats open. We found them and were quickly attended to by El Meson’s staff.
After perusing the menu, I settled upon their fresh fish filet selections: (Salmon, Grouper, Tilapia) Served with rice, black beans, and salad. Choose preparation A) Grilled with olive oil and lime B) Crusted in plantain chips C) Mojo Isleno-onions, capers, olives, garlic, and tomatoes D) Creamy Salsa with wild mushrooms. I chose the grouper Mojo Isleno style. Surprisingly the onions, capers, olives and garlic were overpowered by the sweetness of the tomatoes. I was expecting a spicier concoction but got a sweet one instead. The grouper was cooked well and very hot upon service. I also enjoyed the black beans and yellow rice combination – pleasing to both the palate and the eye.
Dayton has always screamed “Midwest” to me and even El Meson cannot escape the Midwestern pull. How about that Midwestern Salad garnishing the edge of the plate? Feels like Sesame Street – “one of these things is not like the other ….”
My guest chose the Empanadas and enjoyed them but was equally perplexed by the out of place salad. Hey but don’t let that put you off. El Meson is definitely worth the trip! Check out their website and enjoy some fine Central American music as well.
I found myself at Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon doing the weekly shopping. As I was passing through the frozen foods aisle at a snail’s pace given the dozen or so other shoppers crowding the lane, I caught a glimpse of Trader Joe’s Lamb Vindaloo with Basmati Rice frozen dinner. All for the ridiculously cheap price of $3.79. I hadn’t eaten and since it was well past lunch, I was in the – if it looks good, grab it and go – mood.
Later that evening, the Lamb Vindaloo caught my eye once more. I cranked up the oven to 375 and popped the dish in there for 25 minutes. I wasn’t expecting much since it was only a frozen dinner. Upon my first taste, I was very impressed. The lamb was tender. The curry sauce had just enough kick to it. The rice was moist. The dish tasted authentic although I would describe the spiciness as medium. For a more authentic taste, I would expect the dish to be spicier. I’m sure TJ’s is trying to appeal to a broader group of people who, for the most part, can’t handle anything spicier than egg nog.
The package even offered a bit of history. “Vindaloo originated in Goa near the southwestern coast of India, where coconuts and chiles grow in abundance to be used for the sauces of spicy curries . . . .”
мека мебелHere are a few short bits about restaurants I’ve visited lately.
Cumin Indian Restaurant 1025 Polaris Parkway Columbus, OH 43240 – I mourned the loss of The Bayleaf India Bistro near the corner of Polaris and Gemini Parkways. Attempting to visit it during lunch one day, we discovered it was closed but a sign directed us to the Cumin Indian Restaurant off of Sancus near Fifth Third Bank. Curious and even hungrier, we headed over there. We were delighted to find an Indian Buffet with a great selection of dishes to choose from, naan served to your table, and chai brought without hesitation. Upon visiting it a few times more, we learned that the Cumin Indian Restaurant would be taking over the Bayleaf’s location. As of the end of January 2011, they had. The Sancus location is now strictly vegetarian which I hope to try soon.
Plantain Cafe 77 E. Gay Street, Columbus, OH 43215 – A trip to El Arepazo Latin Grill and its delicious offerings was sidetracked by the Plantain Cafe. The Plantain Cafe was not nearly as crowded as El Arepazo and after the meal I found that very surprising. I tried the “old clothes” or Ropa Vieja sandwich – “tender shredded flank steak slowly cooked in wine and tomato sauce with thinly sliced onions and green peppers. It was served with plantain chips which were drizzled with lime juice (I believe). A friend had the Masitas de Pollo which are morsels of chicken marinated in lime and garlic, fried and garnished with cilantro served with rice and beans and sweet plantains. He lamented missing out on El Arepazo and its South American dishes until he got a few bites into his Masitas de Pollo. On our way out, we stumbled upon Cafe Sazon off of High Street which may be our next downtown dining destination.
Angry Baker Bakery – 891 Oak St., Columbus, OH 43205 – After only getting a sandwich at Plantain Cafe (as planned), I had saved some room for the Angry Baker as recommended by my Olde Towne Easte friendses. Apparently, the baker was angry as we noticed that she had sawed through her fingernail and part of her finger with a serrated knife. Her anger must have been shortlived as she paid her injury little attention and kept right on baking. I’ve always enjoyed Olde Towne and it’s great to see new businesses opening there. Hey, and there are no meters on Oak Street so parking (at least around lunch time) is no problem – contrast this with the hell that is the Short North. We sampled a muffin, eclair and a couple cookies which cinched a return trip and noted that plans were underway for expanded seating and dining. Can’t wait to return.викСувенириКартини
Here are the chicken and corn enchiladas at Nada. They might be the best thing I’ve had there. Nada describes them as citrus marinated chicken, sweet corn, black beans, fregula, crema, chihuahua cheese, and diablo salsa. So good that I’ve got to get back down to Cincinnati for more.
Nada is definitely worth the trip to Cincinnati.
600 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
I stumbled upon El Arepazo Grill while looking for somewhere new to eat downtown. A friend and I had a habit of meeting at First Watch but First Watch was getting a bit tiresome. While heading to Gay Street, we happened to notice El Arepazo on Pearl Alley. So we stopped in to give it a try. My friend ordered the Beef Arepa and I tried the Tilapia Latina.
I did know something about Arepas from a Venezuelan friend of mine. Arepas are similar to a sandwich but corn cakes are used instead of bread. Arepas can be stuffed with many types of fillings. Many countries in South America have their own version of the Arepa. In Venezuela it is not uncommon for each family to have their own recipe and to make them during holidays, especially Christmas (although I am sure you can get an Arepa at any time of the year). During the holiday, neighbors and family members trade Arepas with each other. My friend would make his Arepas out of beef, chicken and pork although El Arepazo offers their Arepas with only one of the three at a time. They may make a combination thereof if you ask. They also offer a vegetarian Arepa. Anyhow, my friend described making Arepas like we would make a turkey at Thanksgiving. He would simmer the meat all day as well as prepare the corn cakes and other toppings. It wasn’t a dish that you would just throw together in a few minutes (See menu below – mentions their slow cooking process for their meats).
El Arepazo must have making Arepas down to a science because they get the food out to you in a hurry. I tried some of my friend’s Arepa and was impressed. We got their around 11:30am on a Monday and the small restaurant filled up very quickly thereafter. I ordered the Tilapia Latina.
I’ve had my share of Tilapia as above you can see a similar offering I tried at Los Galapagos. I’ve also tried a version at the former Hacienda Real. I enjoyed the offering at El Arepazo. The tilapia was very fresh and their cilantro sauce complemented the meal well.
If you are downtown, it is well worth it to go searching for El Arepazo. It offers super speedy service, good food, and reasonable prices.
47 North Pearl Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Monday-Friday 11 am – 3 pm
Saturday – noon to varies
I stumbled across this Reader’s Digest article. Among the secrets:
We put sugar in our kids’ meals so kids will like them more. Seriously. We even put extra sugar in the dough for the kids’ pizzas.
—Waitress at a well-known pizza chain
In most restaurants, after 8 p.m. or so, all the coffee is decaf because no one wants to clean two different coffeepots. I’ll bring out a tray with 12 coffees on it and give some to the customers who ordered regular, others to the ones who ordered decaf. But they’re all decaf.
Now that I’ve worked in a restaurant, I never ask for lemon in a drink. Everybody touches them. Nobody washes them. We just peel the stickers off, cut them up, and throw them in your iced tea.
—Charity Ohlund, Kansas City waitress
I find it amazing the number of people who shop at Krogers. I imagine convenience is a huge factor. I personally think they kill you on grocery prices but convenience draws me in from time to time for that stick of butter, carton of milk or loaf of bread. I’m going to start keeping track of my price check findings.
While at Costco one day, I came across some Almond Butter. Costco was offering free taste samples and, after having some, I was hooked and bought a jar.
MaraNatha Almond Butter – 26 oz jar for $5.89 or 22.6 cents per oz. (and I only had to buy 1 jar).
Imagine my surprise upon finding the same stuff at K Robbers in their health foods section – only in a smaller jar.
MaraNatha Almond Butter – 16 oz jar for $8.69 or 54.3 cents per oz.
KaPow! Plenty more examples to come.
Classico Spaghetti Sauce – $3.59 a jar at Kroger vs. $6.89 for 3 jars of same size at Costco
Cholula Hot Sauce
K-Robber price – $3.69 for a 5 ounce bottle (0.74 an ounce)
Costco price – $7.69 for TWO 12 ounce bottles (0.32 an ounce)
I’m sure all the K-Robber fans are saying, “But I don’t want to buy in bulk, it’s too hard.” Buy in bulk generally equals less packaging and less trash to deal with. Save the environment.
Alright, I’ll bite and pass on some free publicity (free for content aggregators to steal, err, uh, I mean link to):
Do you have an idea for America’s next great restaurant? Are you sitting on a billion dollar concept? If you think your restaurant idea has what it takes to go national and bring in millions of hungry Americans, read on…
>From NBC and Magical Elves, the Emmy Award-nominated producers of “Project Runway” and “Top Chef,” comes a big-event competition that will award one contestant the opportunity to see their idea turned into reality with a new restaurant chain opened in three cities across America! The contestants’ fate will be decided by a panel of some of the most important names in both the dining and business worlds that will invest their own money in the final restaurant chain and have a huge stake in the ongoing success of the game’s winner.
There are TWO options for you to apply:
1. Attend an OPEN CALL, at one of the cities below
2. Follow the directions on our website for SUBMIT BY MAIL instructions.
(Hint: pitching in person is fun.)
Please go to http://www.nbc.com/casting/ for all information, to download an application and pre-register for an open casting call at one of the eight stops on the nationwide casting bus tour. Along with a filled out and signed application and a photo-ID, we want you to bring anything you feel would help pitch your restaurant concept. Elements could be visual, edible, audible (jingle anyone?) or even wearable. . . Keep in mind you will have a limited time to pitch your idea, so make it count.
You can also can follow the bus tour on Twitter @magicalelves, with photos and video available on nbc.com/america
Good luck and have fun with it,
The Magical Elves Casting Team
OPEN CASTING CALLS FOR AMERICA’S NEXT GREAT RESTAURANT:
Wednesday, March 24
Nashville Film Institute
The Factory at Franklin
230 Franklin Road
Franklin, TN 37065
10am – 2pm
Friday, March 26
4750 Morse Rd
Columbus, OH 43230
10am – 2pm
Sunday, March 28
28251 Diehl Road
Warrenville, IL 60555
10am – 2pm
Tuesday, March 30
6864 Johnson Drive
Mission, KS 66202
10am – 2pm
Thursday, April 1
2760 South Colorado Blvd
Denver, CO 80222
10am – 2pm
Monday, April 5
135 E. Palm Avenue
Burbank, CA 91502
10am – 2pm
Shrimp sauteed in garlic and olive oil at Maca Cafe in Powell, Ohio
If you are looking to get one last shot at fine tapas in Powell, Maca will not be open much longer. We have it from reliable sources that they plan to close operations on December 19, 2009.
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- Noodles & Company hosts fundraiser for Columbus Zoo
- El Meson Spices Up the Midwest
- Trader Joe’s Lamb Vindaloo
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- Nada continues to impress
- El Arepazo Latin Grill – Downtown Treat
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- Price Check!
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