29 July 2011

Dog of the Dead

I post incessantly about the Rad Dog cart. I don't eat here as often as I did when they were Downtown five days a week and also stationed at a bar in my neighborhood. Nonetheless, I have eaten Rad Dog more times than I can quantify.

Earlier this summer, though, I sampled the Dog of the Dead, a monstrosity so destructively delicious that I had to try and photograph it in its native habitat (which I did for lunch today). It is a worthwhile addition to the compendium.

A giant Bretzel pretzel hot dog bun is stuffed with a butterflied Tofurkey Italian sausage that is drowned in textured vegetable protein Sloppy Joe, Vegenaise and shredded Dariya cheese. It is a delightful mess that is well worth wearing.

Rad Dog (mobile truck) on Urbanspoon

21 July 2011

Harvest Pizzeria

Harvest Pizzeria opened last week in German Village. The wood-burning oven turns out great pies topped with high quality ingredients accompanied by small plates and exciting cocktails.

The pizza ingredients are locally sourced when possible. Vegetables come from a Canal Winchester farm in the summer. The hickory and apple wood-fired oven cooks the crust to a perfect well done consistency.

Small plates include lavender honey and ricotta crostini and a seasoned olive plate. It is also possible to exclude meat from the meat-and-cheese plate.

The ricotta spread is flecked with orange zest and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It has a great range of sweet and sour flavors. The bread adds a toasty element to the dish. The crostini were served with two slices of toasted bread the second time I ordered it, and the first order came with four. Four crostini work much better than two to enjoy the delicious ricotta spread.

The olives picked up the sage in which they were served. The cerignolo olives were mild and firm. The castelvetrano olives were soft and fruity. The giaraffa olives had a beautiful purple-red color and a bright salty flavor.

There are four meatless pizzas on the menu. The choices are Margherita, cheese, mushroom and mixed vegetable. You can also construct your own pizza.

The cheese pizza is made with Canal Junction Lock 21 cheese, mozzarella, provolone and parmesan. The sweet tomato sauce adds a great complexity to this gem of a pizza.

The vegetable pizza is topped with red onions, black olives, oven roasted red peppers and mushrooms. The combination of veggies goes together very well.

The mushroom pizza is made with various 'shrooms, the Lock 21 cheese and truffle salt. The earthy cheese's flavor explodes with the punch of truffle salt.

The cocktails are crafted as artfully as the pizza. The Front Porch tea is a John Daly -- sun tea and lemonade are blended 50/50 and spiked with Oyo vodka. The house margarita is sweet and peppery, made with El Jimador blanco tequila, Cointreau, grapefruit juice and habanero simple syrup. Harvest Pizzeria also has a nice selection of wine as well as a few house taps and beer in cans.

Harvest Pizzeria makes nice use of its space. The open kitchen is a fun view for those who order in. Service was capable if at times a little overbearing. Take-out orders travel surprisingly well.

Harvest Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

14 July 2011

Yabo's Tacos

Yabos' Tacos is a Mexican-American taqueria. Service is brisk at this new fast-casual Mexican operation.

Yabo's is located in the Delaware County portion of Westerville in the old Giammarco's Pizza location. The menu has interesting international accents. This works more as a frame than a limitation, and the vegetarian items at Yabo's are flavorful if not exactly authentic.

Tacos come with a choice of soft corn or flour tortilla for $2. The grilled veggie taco had a great smoky flavor that was nicely complemented by the burst of fresh, cold vegetables. The feta cheese in the taco acts much like cojita cheese in traditional Mexican preparations. The tacos can easily have their flavor augmented by the great house hot sauces (I like the serrano lime, a sauce with spicy citrus accents).

Lime was also a main flavor component of the guacamole in addition to cilantro, garlic and delicious avocado. Although it tasted excellent, the dish would have benefitted from more guacamole or less chips.

The beans are vegetarian. The refried beans are served with melted cheese.

Yabo's has a full bar with a focus on cheap beers. The plan for the restaurant is to expand to multiple locations in the next few years.

Yabo's Tacos on Urbanspoon

13 July 2011

Custom Chef Gourmet Cafe

Custom Chef is the latest sandwich shop operating in the former home of the Pickle and the downtown Quizno's. The menu has a vegetarian sandwich, build-your-own salad and sandwich options and classic deli sides like bagged chips and soup.

There are a decent amount of ingredients available to construct a sandwich or salad. While there are more items available in terms of veggies and dressings at Market 65, Custom Chef actually is priced comfortably lower than Market 65.

Sandwiches can be ordered as a wrap or between five types of bread, and they come cold or toasted in a panini press. Some of the more interesting toppings include roasted portobella mushroom, smoked provolone cheese and black bean hummus spread.

The nine-grain bread is thickly cut, and the panini press brings out a lot of its rustic flavor. The black bean hummus has a nice Southwestern taste that adds a hint of smoke and spice to a sandwich.

There are limited breakfast options at Custom Chef. There are bagels, muffins, coffee from Stauf's and fruit parfaits for early morning customers.

The low price point combined with a high-traffic location might help keep Custom Chef in business where Quizno's and the Pickle failed. The menu is different enough from the other downtown sandwich shops to give the place a niche in which to fit.

Custom Chef Gourmet Cafe on Urbanspoon

12 July 2011

Radhuni Indian Cuisine

Radhuni Indian Cuisine is the sibling of Downtown Columbus' heralded Indian Oven. The younger brother lacks the formality of Indian Oven, but delivers just as much character as its pricier sibling.

As with most Indian restaurants, Radhuni features many options for vegetarians. The buffet is a good value with pakoras and naan accompanying three vegetarian entrees.

The navratan korma is explosively flavorful, with cashew adding a savory note to the bright tomato base. Potatoes, peas and onions add texture to this Indian classic.

The cabbage and potato curry was fresh and crunchy. While its flavor was clean, the dish was somewhat bland.

The palak aloo (spinach and potatoes) was creamy and mild. It had a rich flavor with turmeric and garlic combining with ginger to create gustatory harmony.

The naan was also excellent. The veggie pakoras and tandoori bread made great tools to enjoy fantastic condiments like the coriander chutney and raita.

The fruit custard is made with mango and orange cubes. In addition to being delicious, it is also an excellent fire extinguisher for spicy food.

Radhuni Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

05 July 2011

Eastern Wok

Eastern Wok is an inexpensive Chinese take-out on Columbus' far south side. It is a fast food operation with prices reflecting its quality.

There is a limited vegetarian menu at Eastern Wok. The diner is limited to entrees, which come in small and large sizes. Nothing is more than $6.25.

The five vegetarian entrees are sauteed broccoli, mixed vegetables, home style bean curd, Szechuan bean curd and broccoli with garlic sauce. The small portion is reasonable, while the large is absolutely massive.

The tofu in the Szechuan bean curd was cut into long, thick chunks. It was soft, and it soaked up the mildly spicy brown sauce. The carrots and peas added nice color and starchiness to the dish. Overall, it is competently prepared take-out at a reasonable price.

The restaurant has seating for less than 20. Orders are prepared quickly. Eastern Wok is geared toward nearby workers and locals.

Eastern Wok

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