28 February 2012

Red Hot Food Truck

Red Hot Food Truck was featured last Monday at St. James' Mobile Mondays. The retro trailer makes tacos, quesadillas and various other Mexican sides.

There are vegetarian tacos and a few quesadillas on the menu. Some ingredients and menu items change seasonally.

The vegetarian tacos were made in soft corn tortillas with black beans, lettuce and salsa. It came with lime and a side of crema.

The quesadillas were excellent. Both were served with crema and salsa. The bean and cheese quesadilla was remarkably filling with a smoky flavor. The goat cheese, pumpkin and asparagus quesadilla was spicy and delightfully tangy.

Like other mobile food vendors, Red Hot can be tracked on Twitter, Facebook and Hungerly.

Red Hot Food Truck on Urbanspoon

22 February 2012

Sidebar 122

Sidebar 122 is a tapas bar in Downtown Columbus. It offers Mediterranean and South American small plates alongside an impressive array of artful mixed drinks.

The restaurant makes great use of the old Brownstone on Main space. There is ample bar seating in addition to the tables in the dining room.

The menu at Sidebar has limited vegetarian options. The kitchen will, however, omit meat from selected dishes to expand vegetarian choices.

The hummus with pita triangles that is served as a bread course is good enough to eat by the truckload. The pitas are warm and scoop up the perfectly seasoned dip so well that it seems to almost disappear.

The goat cheese salad saw the cheese baked on bread rounds rather than crumbled on the salad in the traditional way. Raspberries add a sweet, bright flavor and walnuts bring a nice crunch to the greens.

The vegetarian fettucini is served in a mushroom sauce with roasted portabella, peppers, spinach and artichokes with parmesan cheese. Ultimately, it's a dressed-up steakhouse pasta primavera.

The vegetarian menu at Sidebar 122 is a little bit formulaic considering the possibilities available when fusing cuisines with flavorful vegetarian fare. It is nowhere near as exciting as the cocktail menu.

Drinks at Sidebar 122 are fantastic. There are classics like the French 75, a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned as well as house original drinks made with great ingredients. The staff easily navigated the large list of drinks to find what drinks suit which tastes.

Sidebar 122 on Urbanspoon

03 February 2012

Till Dynamic Fare

Till Dynamic Fare is the latest project from Magdiale Wolmark and Cristin Austin. Dragonfly, their last endeavor in this space, was one of the country's most heralded vegan fine dining establishments.

The menu at Till is about fifty percent vegetarian and vegan, unlike its predecessor. The focus is on fresh local ingredients.

The menu changes regularly. Specials are written on a chalkboard behind the long bar.

Starters include vegan poutine, cheese puffs, salads and sometimes the soup of the day.

The vegan poutine is shoestring French fries soaking up mushroom gravy with "cheese" curds of the house made tofu. The flavor is deep and addictive. The tofu was the weak link when eaten alone, but it picked up the proper balance when combined with the fries and gravy.

The cheese puffs were made with gruyere and cheddar. They were light, airy and had a long, subtle flavor.

The vegan black bean soup was drizzled with a mildly seasoned "crema." Layers of smoke explode in each bite supported garlic and chili peppers.

The Ohio goat cheese mac and cheese was tart, rich and delicious. The apples provided a nice sweet contrast to the dish.

Entrees included tofu and festival rice, the vegan meatball smash and tempeh fricasse. The vegan sandwich made appearances at On the Fly, as well as at Dragonfly's ComFest booth during the summer.

The tempeh had a great texture. It was served with creamy mashed potatoes, green beans and carrots. While the dish was well prepared, the sauce was too similar to the poutine gravy, making the dish's flavor seem repetitive when following the poutine.

Dessert options included vegan parfait and vegan gelato sandwiches.

Cocktails were excellent. Ingredients like caramelized lemon peel and chamomile tincture add interesting flavors to gin and whiskey. The bar also serves cask wine and six draft beers. Selections included Elevator Three Frogs IPA, Stoudt's pilsner, Great Divide porter, Schneider Aventinus dopplebock, and Belgian amber and sour ales.

The weekend brunch menus, which for now are available on Saturday and Sunday, also have vegan and vegetarian options. Coffee is from Clintonville roaster Thunderkiss Coffee.

The interior is white with dark wood accents and equally dark lighting. Music volume was loud enough to make conversations challenging.

Overall, Till looks like it should continue to provide high quality vegan dining in the fashion that Dragonfly did. The only standout negative was that the server seemed to be slightly unfamiliar with everything on the menu, and sometimes seemed out of place during service. The visit was during a soft opening period, and hopefully this can be chalked up to trial-run jitters.

Till on Urbanspoon