31 March 2009
28 March 2009
04.09 SECOND SEDER DINNER
Rabbi Izzy (the chef's Dad) takes the 'stage' along with his better half and co-host Moriah (Mom) for THE 2ND SEDER on Thursday 04.09, an entertaining and satiating evening of neo-kvetching and retelling of the Spring Passover story of 'slavery into freedom' followed by a delicious feast and lots of excellent kosher wine, and soundscapes including Matisyahu's Youth, David Gould's Adonia in Dub, and Ben Perowsky's Camp Songs.
The dinner includes a buffet of traditional (and some not so traditional) Passover dishes, The atmosphere is like a large family dinner. Magdiale prepares his own matzoh, truffled matzoh ball soup, pate 'gelfite fish style', french trumpet mushroom fricasse with 'make you wail' horseradish sauce, potato kugel, and chocolate covered macaroons whoopie pie style.
Kids and families are especially welcome and encouraged to reserve. There are plenty of kid's activities including the tradition of hiding the afikoman; a ritual where the kids 'steal' a special piece of matzoh from the Rabbi and negotiate a ransom for its return.
In addition the gallery becomes a large playroom with plasma cars, scooters, toys, and games.
For those wanting a quick grab and go ON THE FLY will be serving matzoh ball soup all week.
Reservations for the event are required. For details please contact Dragonfly @ 2989986 or visit the website www.dragonflyneov.com
The curried vegetable bowl was made with a vegan curry. Sticky white rice is topped with the mild brown curry sauce and broccoli, potatoes, onions, carrots and water chestnuts. The vegetables were flavorful. I might have liked the curry to have a little more spiciness, but overall, the dish was very satisfying.The star at Bento Go Go is the sushi. The veggie rolls were made with lettuce, cucumber, avocado, burdock, kampyo squash and pickled radish. The rolls were large and well constructed. The flavor was rich with an intensely vegetal undertone.
There is a vegetarian sushi special available as a bento box combination. Bento boxes are essentially Japanese lunch boxes. The box comes with a choice of sides including kimchi and Korean potatoes.
At night, Bento Go Go transforms into a sake lounge. They serve a number of sakes and flavored saketinis. The restaurant is open until 10 pm, and the lounge is open until 2:30 am.
There are a number of choices for vegetarians at Bento Go Go. The counter business is fast casual. Prices are moderate.
|Bento Go Go|
24 March 2009
It is official...there is an association between daily red meat consumption and dying prematurely according a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. According to my interpretation of the data, Ted Nugent actually died 40 years ago.
And earlier this week, the NYTimes published an article about the hopes of proponents of sustainable, local, organic agriculture related to the progressive White House. Although much of these aspirations are essentially pipe dreams, chefs like Alice Waters and authors such as Michael Pollen expect that new leadership can do more to take the quality of our food supply to another level. Ultimately, this change (or stasis) will be directed by Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture. It's an interesting set of competing concepts to ponder.
23 March 2009
22 March 2009
|Grandma's Pizza and Pasta|
20 March 2009
From the Web site:
The documentary Meat the Truth is the first major project undertaken by the Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation.
Meat the Truth is a high-profile documentary, presented by Marianne Thieme (leader of the Party for the Animals), which forms an addendum to earlier films that have been made about climate change.
Although such films have convincingly succeeded in drawing public attention to the issue of global warming, they have repeatedly ignored one of the most important causes of climate change, namely: intensive livestock production.
Meat the Truth has drawn attention to this by demonstrating that livestock farming generates more greenhouse gas emissions worldwide than all cars, lorries, trains, boats and planes added together.
Playing at the Drexel East
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
7:30pm - 9:00pm
2254 E Main St
Come for dinner at "old Salaam" this weekend; it's the last chance you'll get, as we're closing there at the end of the evening on Saturday! We're working feverishly to have the new space at 21 W. Washington ready to open on MONDAY, APRIL 6th.
High Beck Tavern is the quintessential neighborhood bar with pub grub to match. The atmosphere is classic, the staff is friendly and the food pairs well with the selection of taps.
The menu isn't particularly vegetarian friendly. However, the menu includes a veggie sandwich, a hummus plate, nachos and pizza for the vegetarian-inclined diner.
The veggie sandwich is made on a white sub roll. Mushrooms, peppers and black olives are grilled with provolone cheese. The sandwich is topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, banana peppers and a creamy dressing. It is served with a pickle and fries. While the sandwich was good, the fries were rather greasy.
High Beck is a great place on Monday nights. If you buy a drink Monday nights, pizza is free. While not all of the pizza is vegetarian, cheese pizza comes out all night long, and veggie pizzas make more sporadic appearances. Buying a few beers is a small price to pay for free pizza.
16 March 2009
12 March 2009
Barcelona offers their everyday selection of cocktails, tapas and entrees during Restaurant Week. The nine-course tapas degustation is served in three waves with an accompanying glass of house-made red sangria that is soft and pleasant (unlike the majority of punchbowl cocktails passed off as sangria by restaurants).
The restaurant has a great atmosphere which includes a great patio that opens when the weather warms up. The service is attentive and friendly.
The first three courses were a tomato mozzarella salad, almond gazpacho and smoked chickpea hummus. The cheese and oil in the salad were divine. The tomatoes tasted pleasant but looked a little rough around the edges. This was, however, about the only complaint I could register about the tapas, so I'll get it out there first before I start heaping praise on the rest of the meal.
The almond gazpacho was absolutely amazing. The terminology "gazpacho" applies to this soup mostly because it is cold, and it also probably describes some of the vegetables in the soup. However, the almond gazpacho contained no whole veggies. Instead, the soup starts with a garlicky outburst that is roped in by a rich, nutty undercurrent that grows on you with every spoonful. I adored this soup, although I would challenge people with an iron stomach to try and eat an entire bowl of this because it is inordinately rich. Thanks goes out to the degustation portions.
The smoked chickpea hummus adds an extra flavor element to Barcelona's delicious hummus. The smokey flavor adds a deeper finish to an almost perfect dip. It is an intense flavor that lingers long after being swallowed.
The second round of tapas included a cous cous dish, deep fried artichoke hearts and sauteed mushrooms. The mushrooms were shitakes cooked until they were tender enough to fall apart in your mouth. This dish was the first that functioned completely as a side dish.
The cous cous had elements that were Spanish with Middle Eastern and Indian notes filling in the spaces. The cous cous was served cold with raisins, olives, garlic cloves and dried cherries. The spices and raisins gave the dish a Mediterranean flair, and the sweetness and garlic seemed vaguely Indian to my palate. Whatever the influence, the dish was delicious.
The fried artichoke hearts were served in the classic papas bravas fashion--with a side of ailoi. The ailoi was flavored with jalepeños, and the spices bring a great deal of panache to the dish.
The third wave of tapas included grilled asparagus, sauteed spinach and potato chips and blue cheese dip. The asparagus consisted of huge stalks grilled in olive oil and served with shaved parmesan.
The potato chips are deep fried sweet and blue potato slices with a creamy Roquefort dipping sauce. The blue cheese adds richness to the chips, and the salt creates a mouthwatering sensation. They are savory and comforting.
The sauteed spinach is cooked in olive oil with pine nuts, golden raisins and shallots. The dish had an earthy character that was brightened up by the golden raisins, and the pine nuts gave it a nice crunch.
I also got a chance to sample the Spanish cheese plate. It wasn't part of Restaurant Week, but it did provide a satisfying conclusion to the festivities. The cheeses were served alongside marcona almonds and quice paste. The cheeses were manchego (a whole-milk cheese made from sheep's milk), Cabra de Romero (a goat's milk cheese flavored with rosemary) and a soft, very ripe Spanish blue cheese that I am unable to name. The cheeses were great. I nominate the rosemary goat cheese as the grand champion of the cheese plate.
Barcelona is one of Columbus' top restaurants. Restaurant Week should give diners a great shot to sample nine different dishes for a reasonable rate.
|Barcelona Restaurant Week|
Handke's has long been a destination restaurant in Columbus. I haven't eaten at Handke's since Chef Asa Rodriguez took over the kitchen from former captain Hartmut Handke. Throw in the benefit of the $30 restaurant week menu, and it's a hard proposition to resist.
The atmosphere at Handke's is stunning. The dining area is an old beer cellar with stone walls. The service is prompt, attentive and friendly.
The cocktails were interesting. The signature martini is actually an absinthe cocktail. The wine list features many old and new world selections at a variety of price points. By-the-glass selections include the delicious Heitz Cellars Zinfandel and Cuvaison Carneros Pinot Noir, as well as a Schloss Zell Spatlese.
My first course was a cream of white asparagus soup. The soup was reminiscent of a potato cream with layers of asparagus, green herbs and black pepper. It was outstanding.
My main course was gnocchi plated with grilled zucchini, squash and cherry tomato in olive oil and basil. The flavors were perfectly understated and strikingly delicious.
The desserts were also great. I had the fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries in a tuille basket with a chilled zabaione. The clean flavor of the basket coupled with the bright fruit flavors and the richness of the zabione combine into the perfect conclusion of a great meal.
Handke's is still operating in top form. The restaurant week festivities should give people a chance to try places like Handke's even if it might normally be out of their price range. This is definitely well worth the price of admission.
09 March 2009
Jimmy Guaco's is the new burrito joint located on the OSU campus in the storefront where Moe's was located. The menu is very much made up of classic burrito joint fare, and although the decor screams "chain," it's actually the only Jimmy Guaco's in existence.
Jimmy Guaco's (like Chipotle) offers margaritas and beer. You can order pre-fabricated burritos, or build-your-own creation.
The beans are vegetarian. Burritos are available with a wide variety of toppings, including salsa, lettuce, onions, cheese, black and pinto beans, hot peppers, olives, sour cream and fajita veggies. Grilled tofu is also available as a protein source.
The burrito is decent. It's hardly leaps-and-bounds better than most other burrito places (i.e. Qdoba, Chipotle, Baja Fresh, et al.), so they may have to beat the competition by offering more choices and/or staying open later.
Another good idea at Jimmy G's that didn't work as well as planned was the salsa bar. Chips are served as a side with a burrito, and there are five salsas available for free to add spice to your life. They include fire-roasted chipotle, tomatillo salsa, habañero salsa, fiesta salsa and another one that I have forgotten. Although the salsas were fresh, the flavors didn't pop enough to impress me. The chipotle was far too sweet and lacking in smokiness. The tomatillo salsa looked better than it tasted. It's possible that because the salsas are fresh, they may vary by the batch. I can unequivocally say that this batch was mediocre.
Jimmy Guaco's should sell fine because of its captive campus audience. However, I wouldn't make a trip back unless I had no other options (and with burrito joints more prevalent than jobs in Ohio, that's hard to do). Maybe the coupons will help take away some of the sting.
03 March 2009
Magdiale Wolmark, chef at the highly acclaimed Dragonfly and On the Fly, is working on a cookbook set to be published in the near future. In order to promote his work (a cookbook emphasizing garden-to-plate vegan food preparation), Wolmark has started a blog. This is an interesting concept that should be worth monitoring in between visits to the restaurants.
Also on the literature front, NYTimes food critic Mark Bittman has authored a cookbook that proposes his spin on healthy eating--the vegan-before-dinnertime diet. He was featured in a health blog post by Tara Parker-Pope.
At first I hated the idea of part-time veganism. As I contemplated the notion more deeply, however, I realized that I live by the same rules as Bittman without eating the carnivorous dinner. I bargain with myself, eating a vegan breakfast and lunch, and then I eat deep dish pizza for dinner, thus undoing any health benefit I had accrued throughout the day. So who am I to judge somebody else's diet? You'll have to check the book out yourself to see if you're buying what Bittman is selling.
02 March 2009
Phat Wraps is a quick, convenient lunch spot in the South Campus area that features wrap sandwiches. The extra flair at Phat Wraps is that you get to add your own toppings and sauces at a build-it-yourself bar, allowing you to craft a wrap constructed to your own personal specifications.
The menu is Philip Glass minimalistic. There is one vegetarian wrap, and it features a grilled soy patty. I also added melted mozzarella. I didn't ask if the patty was vegan or if it contained egg or dairy. Without the patty (or with the patty if it's vegan), it should be simple to build a vegan wrap.
The topping bar is pretty nice. There is lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, chives, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, red and white onions, scallions, jalepeño peppers, limes, basil and cilantro. There is also an armada of sauces. Phat Wraps' sauces are mayo, spicy mayo and spicy chili sauce. There are also scores of brand name condiments.
I piled jalepeños, chili sauce and Sriracha on my sandwich alongside a pile of veggies. In the past, I've often found that any food can be drastically improved by drowning it in Sriracha. Try it in a stir fry or in your coffee or on your ice cream. I'm sure they'll all be delicious (as was my wrap).
Phat Wraps also is committed to the environment. The take-out containers are biodegradable, as is the disposable cutlery. The beverages are limited to vitamin water and vitamin-less water. There are also chips and vegan cookies.
The food at Phat Wraps is fun and flavorful. It's hardly a four-star destination, but you can be finished with lunch in 15 minutes and not get overloaded with trans fat and MSG.