Monday, October 21, 2013

Northstar Café (Columbus, OH)

As I had mentioned in my last post, I spent a few days in Columbus over the summer. Having previously lived there for six years, I had certainly developed a list of favorite local joints, and tried to hit as many of them as I could on this particular trip.

One such favorite is Northstar Café, known for its veggie-friendliness, and emphasis on locally-sourced, organic ingredients. Northstar had its start in the early 2000s in the trendy Short North neighborhood had has now expanded to three location. I met up with a friend at the newer Beechwold (Clintonville) location, which is larger than the original Short North space with easier parking (lot in back)—at least when it is not terribly busy, which it often is!

My go-to dish at Northstar had always been the Buddha Bowl, but this time I decided to try the Thai Burrito, stuffed with seared organic tofu (or choice of chicken) with peanut sauce, crunchy slaw, and organic brown rice, served with tortilla chips & a Thai dipping sauce. OK, so the concept is similar to the Buddha Bowl (also featuring tofu or chicken in a peanut sauce), but the whole peanut-tofu combo works for faux-Asian and faux-Mexican dishes alike (and now that I think about it, also faux-Italian) other words, the Thai Burrito was great! Hopefully I will get to be back again soon to try some of the other items on the menu!

Thai Burrito at Northstar (Columbus)
Thai Burrito

Restaurant info:
Northstar Cafe
(Beechwold location)
4241 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214

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Northstar Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Jeni's Splended Ice Creams (Columbus)

Some time ago I had written an extensive post detailing why, in my opinion, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams makes the best ice cream in the world. So when I got to spend a few days this past summer in Columbus, Ohio, it probably wouldn't surprise anyone that my very first stop was Jeni's Grandview Heights scoop shop, an old haunt of mine.

Jeni's had just introduced its "gravels,"which are basically create-your-own sundaes with Jeni's amazing ice cream flavors paired with sauce, "gravels" (toppings), and accoutrements. Customers are encouraged to give their sundae a unique name, snap a photo, and share on social media.

Gimmicky? Maybe. But oh so much fun!

Truth be told, I had already created six different gravel sundaes in my head in the week leading up to my three-day trip to Columbus! As a result, I went to Jeni's A LOT. In all, I visited six different scoop shops in seven total trips. Here are my creations:

Jeni's Gravel - Sweet and Hot Bahama Mama
Sweet and Hot Bahama Mama at Grandview Heights shop

"Sweet and Hot Bahama Mama"

Ice Cream Flavors: (1) Double Toasted Coconut, (2) Bananas + Honey
Sauce: Honey Butterscotch
Gravel: Hot Benneseed
Accoutrements: Amarena Cherry, Waffle Wedge

Jeni's Gravel - The Coco-Cocoa-Nut
The Coco-Cocoa-Nut at Powell shop

"The Coco-Cocoa-Nut"

Ice Cream Flavors: (1) Double Toasted Coconut, (2) The Milkiest Chocolate in the World
Sauce: Salty Caramel
Gravel: Chocolate Blackout
Accoutrements: (1) Smoked Almonds, (2) Hand Whipped Cream

Jeni's Gravel - Summer Shaggin'
Summer Shaggin' at Dublin shop

"Summer Shaggin'"
(Flowery and fruity, like a fun summer party)

Ice Cream Flavors: (1) Chamomile, (2) Lemon & Blueberries Frozen Yogurt
Sauce: Roasted Strawberries
Gravel: Shagbark
Accoutrements: (1) Waffle Wedge, (2) Amarena Cherries

Jeni's Gravel - The Yinzer
The Yinzer at North Market

"The Yinzer"
(A black & gold tribute to Pittsburgh!)

Ice Cream Flavors: [Black] Black Coffee; [Gold] Savannah Buttermint (would have used Mango Lassi if it had been available!)
Sauce: [Black] Extra-Bitter Hot Fudge; [Gold] Honey Butterscotch
Gravel: [Black] Chocolate Blackout; [Gold] Salty Graham
Accoutrements: [Black] Amarena Cherry; [Gold] Waffle Wedge

Jeni's Gravel - Buckeye Breakfast
Buckeye Breakfast at Grandview Heights shop

"Buckeye Breakfast"

Ice Cream Flavors: (1) Black Coffee; (2) Buckeye State
Sauce: Extra-Bitter Hot Fudge
Gravel: (1) Everything Bagel; (2) Donut
Accoutrements: Amarena Cherry

Jeni's Gravel - Heaven on Earth
Heaven on Earth at Clintonville shop

"Heaven on Earth"
(so named because it consists of all my favorite Jeni's flavors!)

Ice Cream Flavors: (1) Double-Toasted Coconut; (2) Brown Butter Almond Brittle
Sauce: Salty Caramel
Gravel: (1) Chocolate Blackout; (2) Hot Benneseed
Accoutrements: (1) Amarena Cherry; (2) Waffle Wedge

Jeni's Gravel - Strawberry Coconut Cheesecake
Strawberry Coconut Cheesecake at Short North shop

"Strawberry Coconut Cheesecake"

Ice Cream Flavors: (1) Double-Toasted Coconut; (2) Cloverton
Sauce: Roasted Strawberry
Gravel: Salty Graham
Accoutrements: Waffle Wedge