Sunday, April 27, 2008


ZenCha Tea Salon... the name drives me crazy, along with their okonomiyaki & fruity tea spring blend. Although I didn't picture it, make sure you hit up ZenCha brunch on weekends from 11 to 2PM ONLY, and go early, for their waffles & OKONOMIYAKI! It's my recent addiction. Savory pancakes, cabbage, onion, grilled chicken or seafood, kewpie mayo and okonomiyaki sauce (similar to tonkatsu). Very insanely addictive. ZenCha pleases me because their presentation is always spot on, appealing to the eye and the mouth. For me, for sure, a definite part of eating is the sensory detail. Plating is a big deal. You can make even horrible food "taste" better if you plate it nicely. Fortunately, they don't have that problem at ZenCha because most of their food is ALSO pretty tasty. Behold.

Venus- white choco genoise, berry & choco mousses

Don't remember.. don't hit me

Some sort of chocolate hazelnut thing...

Spring Blend Fruity Tea made w/ black tea

Smoked Salmon Salad

Fig and Parmesan Salad

Last but not least... DUMPLINGS!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A mad craving for dumplings.

Dragon art tea

Sometimes, quite inexplicably, I am struck with a rather intense desire for dumplings. I'm not sure what exactly it is about the little bundles of joy that I love best - perhaps the chewy skin, or the luscious fillings. I just know that from time to time, I would cut off my leg for some dumplings. Maybe I'm weird.

I've been on a quest to find some delicious dumplings in Columbus, and recently I've been hearing good things about Ying's Tea House & Yum Yum, in Clintonville. Seeing as how Clintonville is a mere 10 minute drive from our humble abode, and I was having one of my bouts inspired by Anthony Bourdain's trip into Shang Hai (oh god, soup dumplings... does anyone know of a place to procure good soup dumplings? Talk to me!), we made a trek down and enjoyed a lovely afternoon full of delicious dumpins!! Mmmm, Nom Nom Nom.

Steamed Shrimp Dumplings

I chose an assortment of dumplings - Steamed shrimp dumplings, San-xian dumplings, and steamed pork buns. They were all delicious, with perfect skin and supremely tasty fillings. Not to mention that Ying's is extremely adorable in every sense of the word- attractive oriental furnishings and lovely classical music playing attributed to a great dumpling experience.

San-Xian dumplings

And for the record, I also cannot resist a custard of any sort. From panna cotta, to creme brulee, to the humble Chinese egg-custard tart. When I realized that Ying's had these yummy morsels available, well, you can imagine my excitement. Dumplings AND egg-custard?! ZOMG!

Egg Custard Tart

These were quite good, in a standard probably previously frozen sort of way. Still, a nice way to finish off.

We had quite a nice lunch for less than $30 for the two of us, with Danny ordering sweet & sour chicken which he proclaimed to be better than average. I'd recommend this place for sure for those maddening dumpling cravings... I can't be the only one, can I?

Ying's Tea House & Yum Yum
4312 N High St
Clintonville, OH
11-8 M-F
11-9 S&S

Here's to half year anniversaries.

First and foremost, let me make a heartfelt apology for the recent lack of activity on my part. My grandpa has been in the hospital, and I've started college so I've been running short on the time department.

Secondly, let me just go ahead and raise a toast to celebrating half year anniversaries. Both my boyfriend and I have been drooling over the menu at Rosendale's every time we walk by, so he surprised me with flowers and a text message suggestion of "Rosendale's on the 27th?" last month. To be honest, I was really confused and trying to figure out if I missed an important event or something of that sort, but luckily I have a sappy and equally food oriented love who apparently likes to celebrate 4.5 year anniversaries. Yay!

So we dressed up real good and trott
ed off to Rosendale's post work on that very rainy evening in March, prepared to taste some pieces of heaven. We did not try the tasting menu, instead reserving judgement of this dinner to justify the expense later on. Let me say now, I'm itching to go back already. Here's our evening, in pictures.

le Popcorn

Romaine heart salad with creamy Goat Cheese emulsion, marinated Grape Tomatoes, Basil oil

Chef's soup - Tomato Soup with Parmesan Croutons

48 hour Short Ribs, Crushed Parmesan Potatoes, Red Wine froth, Rosemary Steeped Beef Jus

Short Ribs, ver 2

Honey glaze Pork Loin, Southern fried Spoonbread, Braised Greens, Sweet Potato Puree, Crispy Pork Rinds, Smoky Pork Jus

Pork, ver 2

Lemon Curd with Ginger Ice Cream, Toasted Meringue, Crushed Raspberries, Almond Streusel

Everything we had was just insanely delicious. If any complaints, I'd say that the popcorn was a tad bit soggy as though it had been sitting there just a few minutes too long. The pork was also just a tiny bit dry, but other than those tiny details the whole meal was just really, really good. To be fair, I went in expecting to be less than impressed because of all the good reviews but I understand them. Richard Rosendale knows what he's doing.

My favorite part of the evening? That ridiculously delicious, ridiculously complex lemon curd. It was an explosion of flavor and texture with every mouthful, from the tart curd to the sweet, marshmallow-y meringue on top. It was sublime.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Death by Macaron.

on Gift Box ($15)

Although Pistacia Vera (the bakery formerly known as Pistachio) has been around for a few years, there are still too many Columbusites that are ignorant to its existence. As a macaron-addict, and yet again proud Columbus foodie, I see it as my frank and honest duty to break this ignorance. From coworkers to friends, no one has escaped my fanatical love of these little beauties. I have spent way too much money on savoring the flaky, butter-y goodness. I shudder to think of how many pounds I have put on doing this, in fact. It's best not to think of it. Maybe I should get some more to help numb the pain.

A list of flavors in this box: Caramel Pecan; Rosewater Raspberry; Chocolate Chai; Gianduja; Apricot and something else I cannot remember; and Pistachio Lemon. This box was taken to a coworker's house after she so politely invited my best friend and I over to invade her space with jello shots and complaints about men. These make lovely presents to take for any occasion. Bring me some and I may love you forever. ;)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nutritional expenditures.

Behold Vaughn!

Lately, thanks (or no thanks, depending on your point of view) to a lack of working stove and groceries, I have spent entirely too much money on the fine art of... dining out. Now, I've had a lot of experience in this delicate task so believe me when I say: Short North has some incredible eateries. Incredible, people. So many brilliant and unique culinary perspectives available in a matter of minutes. No, I'm definitely not regretting my decision to move. Starting from the eve of this grand new year to this very night, I have experienced some very, very delicious meals. Is this luck? Or is this just some sort of fluke, wave after wave of culinary brigade aimed to numb my brain and tease my senses? I'm not quite sure but either way, I know without a doubt that I will not be leaving with an empty stomach.

As you will no doubt come to know me through this blog, you will also come to understand that my love for Japanese food runs to a level so deep, it may seem inane. I could happily eat pork tonkatsu and sushi rice every day for the rest of my life. Speaking of which, am I the only crazy person that prefers a nice bowl of vinegar-y sushi rice to normal rice??? Say it ain't so!

As it happens, I tried two Japanese restaurants in the last month. Zen Sushi+ more is across the street from the convention center, and was patronized by me twice. Once, the weekend of Ohayocon in the company of two lovely Bostonian friends. The sushi was yummy, the company was great. Rewind to NYE- I seem to remember 6 of my beloveds gathered around a Japanese table low to the ground, our stockinged feet tucked underneath us and our chopsticks tucked into plate after plate of fresh sushi, crunchy tonkatsu and creamy mayo salmon. This place is quite delicious, fresh and fair priced.

Chicken Teriyaki


Spicy Salmon Roll

Also, I am quite addicted to these tasty morsels of joy. Spicy salmon rolls are a new love for me, but it's already very intense. I'm fond of intense love affairs- what's the joy in being bland? ;)

Now, because I am a proud Columbus foodie who takes the greatest pleasure in sharing deliciousness with others, I fed my Bostonians quite well on the 4 days they stayed before they left me on their little Skybus flight back to MA. I feel that I might have caused at least a 5lb weight gain for each of them. Sorry, loves! Before their flight home, I took them to a little restaurant almost synonymous with the Short North... Betty's! What can I say about Betty's? I'm in LOVE! We had these beautiful, beautiful Potato chip nachos... topped with melt-y cheese and served with a mountain of sour cream. The person who came up with this idea is a genius. I bow down to your greatness. Also eaten were: garden veggie pasta, cheesy hashbrown soup, beer brats, and some noodles. Seriously, I bow down.

Home made potato chip nachos

Beer brats

Also worth mentioning, I am ridiculously in love with Tip Top Kitchen's sweet potato fries. I crave them every day, and cry maniacally when I cannot grasp my greedy little fingers upon their sweet, golden, crunchy perfection. I sound a bit obsessed. I'm NOT. Promise. Don't sue me, please.

For a quick bite to eat, my darling Danny and I met up with beloved Vaughn and Thomas, and went to a little Thai restaurant on the corner of King in Grandview. I cannot remember the name, but apparently it took over the spot of a Tim Horton's. There's your trivia for the night. Quick bites of panang, pad thai, and curry made our tummies happy! Refer to beginning of entry for picture of teh rican.

The last gorgeous, beautiful meal I leave you with was devoured at Due Amici. Darling and I took some of my beloveds to dinner tonight, and after leaving the restaurant I was so inspired that I wrote this entry! Thank god for small miracles! As soon as my eyes landed on the Butternut Squash Ravioli- roasted root veggies, spaghetti squash, cranberry sage butter, I was a goner. I'm a nut for anything Butternut (ha ha, get it?? ... I apologize.) and this just called to me. Do any of you experience this when dining? Certain things just sing to you, taunting you with seductive whispers in your ears, lavishing with you with their... well, you get the idea. In any case, this was a gorgeous dish. It worked, and oh dear, I may be dreaming of it tonight. The rest of our meal included: Grilled Salmon, Chicken Parm, Chicken Alfredo all of which were pronounced quite lovely. For the record, Due Amici may have THE coolest bathroom in Columbus. Just sayin'.

Apologies for the horrid picture, lighting was pretty low. Order this!
Butternut Squash Ravioli.

Til next time!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Date Bars

Oh dear, I'm afraid that it has been slightly longer than I anticipated between updates. You don't mind, dear reader, do you? I have been immersed in the process of moving, packing, finding apartments, working, shopping.... and to be frank, I'm tired! Of course, I am never too tired to pull out the camera and snap a few of the meals I am lucky to savor. In fact, I'm never too tired for food in general. Running on two hours of sleep, and in desperate need of a nap? Mention a trip to Pistacia Vera's and I'm ready to go. No sleep and existing on vitamin energy drinks? Mention a meal at Lemongrass, and I'm your girl. No... well, you get the idea. In any case, here are some random snaps from the past few weeks... I promise that when I have a bit more stability, I will have better content! I SWEARS. On Frank the lolcat. That's a deep promise.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

The humble Rice Krispie treat

Humble spaghetti

Sugardaddy's Auburn Chocolate brownie ends

These delicious, decadent, TERRIBLE FOR YOU brownie ends were purchased at the Factory Store of Sugardaddys Sumptuous Sweeties. They were featured on a Throwdown with Bobby Flay episode that I caught on Food Network a few weeks ago, and I discovered that they are located in Polaris which is about 5 minutes from my house. NATURALLY, for the sake of discovery and food blogs, I had to investigate! I was most curious about their Tahiti sweetie (butter/brown sugar base blondie with cashews, chocolate chunks, coconut, pineapple chunks) and although I got to sample (HEAVENLY), I was not able to purchase as they were running short on supplies. I bought a Nutty Blondie (blondie with pecans, almonds, cashews) and a bag of Auburn Chocolate brownie ends (espresso, walnuts, bittersweet chocolate). Quite, quite delicious, and quite, quite worth the indulgence.

Rainbow sherbert

Steak being seared for Beef Tenderloin with Ginger-Shiitake Brown Butter

I leave you with this recipe for some of the most flavorful, outrageously decadent steaks you will ever have. These steaks are marinated in a medley of Asian flavors, seared to retain a nice crust, and then baked in the oven to finish cooking. The juices are mixed with other flavorings to create a lovely sauce that is poured over. Enjoy!

  • 4 (8 ounce) steaks (the better the cut, better final product)
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons sake (use Sherry if there is no Sake available)
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  1. Marinate steaks in a mixture of mirin, soy sauce, garlic powder, brown sugar for at least an hour, preferably longer.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  3. Season filets to taste with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Sear steaks until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to preheated oven, and cook for about 10 minutes, or to desired doneness. When the steaks are done, set aside to rest in a warm place while finishing the sauce.
  4. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and ginger, cook gently until fragrant and translucent, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the shiitake mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in sake and mirin; reduce by half.
  5. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup of butter. Once melted, reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the butter turns a dark golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in chives. Serve sauce over steaks.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


After quite a long hiatus fueled by the loss of my digital camera, I am back with a vengeance and a vow to keep this updated far better than my last efforts. Since July, I have cooked & eaten numerous meals but have been unable to keep track of them. Tonight, in begging for your forgiveness, I bring you humble offerings from one of my longstanding favorite restaurants, and one of my new.

Otani (
Founded 29 years ago in Mayfield Heights as the first restaurant in Ohio to serve sushi, Otani has since opened two other restaurants in Akron and Columbus. They serve excellent Japanese food, from super fresh sushi and juicy pork tonkatsu to deliciously soup-y house ramen and crispy, light tempura. The service is always fantastic, so don't let the offbeat location in an office building off of 161 deter you... it's definitely worth it. Excuse the poor photo quality as the lighting was a bit off... or you could blame the photographer ;)

California Roll $3.95

Pork Cutlet with rice, salad & miso soup $14.95

Sushi Rice

Tasi Cafe (
The other restaurant I want to tell you about is a new opening in a familiar spot. Located where the old Pistachio Bakery used to be before their rebirth as Pistacia Vera, this tiny spot has seating for about 10-15 people, but again don't let that deter you. Their food is quite worth any wait you might have, but if that is a big issue with you there is always the carryout option. They serve breakfast all day, and also have some delicious sounding heartier options. My partner in foodcrimes and I devoured an order of sausage gravy & biscuits, sourdough pancakes with sweet n' spicy bacon, a chocolate croissant, and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, and were still hankering to try more of their creations. Their moderate prices are also a nice touch!

Sourdough pancakes with sweet and spicy bacon $7.00

Biscuits and Sausage gravy $6.00

I hope this is enough to satisfy your hunger til next time!