I finally went to Katzingers! ::and back to Pistacia Vera::

So Caroline and I had planned a lunch date at Skillet today, but once we got there we saw they were closed for a private event :(. Since she had a Dine Originals gift certificate we looked up other close restaurants that accepted the certificate and decided on Katzinger’s Deli. Caro has been there many times (and loves it) and I, for whatever, reason still had never tried it. So we drove over there-around all the detours and construction- which I’m SOOO sick of this summer.

Anyway, I already knew I loved this place when we walked in and first thing you see is fresh bread, butter, jam, and dipping sauce samples. Of course they were all delicious- challah, rye, sourdough, and a creamy dutch butter. After the distracting maze of butter, bread, and cheeses I saw the massive menu. They conveniently organize it by category- turkey, ham, vegetarian, Jewish classics, etc. and they mark which ones are best-sellers.

I decided to go with the best seller “#70 Kahrl’s Killer Club” which came with oven-roasted turkey breast, honey ham, Applewood smoked bacon, Vermont white cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and Hellmann’s mayonnaise with 3 pieces of toasted poppyseed challah bread. Ohmygod SO good. I love challah and honestly picked this sandwich because of it but everything else was perfect too. All the flavors literally melded together into one perfect flavor. A little of the bacon’s saltiness was really the only distinctive ingredient. And I loved it.

I also ordered a side of the macaroni salad that was staring at me from the delicious deli display cases they have at the counters. It was pretty good. I’m not actually big on macaroni salad (I think most places make it with way too much dressing) but I could tell this was a little dryer and it was made with cavatappi noodles and red peppers. mmmm.

After a discussion on the latest crazes planking, owling, and (my favorite) horse-maning, we had our leftovers wrapped up and walked down to Pistacia Vera. Caro was craving some iced coffee and since they brew Cafe Brioso coffee I couldn’t say no. We also each got a macaron for dessert (strawberry amaretto and caramel pecan) and as expected they were so so good.

I can’t wait to go back- actually now after writing this I think I’m going to have to break into my leftovers!

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Milestone 229 ::Restaurant week #2::

I think Milestone 229 is my new favorite restaurant atmosphere. Its open, bright, and casually upscale. It’s in a great locale, has great patio with a bar and cushioned seating (including a few couches.) The circular shape of the building and wall-to-wall windows make for great views. Not to mention the beautiful new fountain park just outside.

Being a new restaurant they’re still working out some kinks and had been overbooked for the night. The majority of their seating can only accommodate 4 people but reservations were being made for larger parties (including our party of 6.) We had to wait about 20 minutes but they were super accommodating to us, seated us as quickly as possible, and apologized with a round of drinks!

I ordered the Island Refresher which had pineapple, coconut water and, if I remember correctly,rum. It was very light and refreshing. I believe Court had a light glass chardonnay (what a classy lady.)

My mom and Molly ordered the Patron margarita (and as you can see in the back left of this pic it was good size too)I don’t even like tequila but this was really good. Not too sour and that Patron was smoooth. Sally had the Key Lime Martini. This would definitely be my first recommendation. It wasn’t that lime-y and actually tasted more like creamy coconut than mine did. It was De-lish!

For an appetizer we ordered the soft pretzels with “whole grain butter” AKA whole grain mustard mixed with butter. Literally my mouth is watering just thinking about them. They were so good and of course went fast.

None of us decided to do the actual Restaurant Week (RW) menu, I just couldn’t handle 3 courses after all the food Caro and I had at Confluence Park the night before. I did order the RW entrée of Mustard Glazed Pork Loin that was bacon wrapped and soo yummy. Medium well, tender, and just the right amount of mustard. The sides were German potato salad which was basically red skin potato wedges with a similar mustard-y sauce and sautéed brocolinni. Definitely my favorite entrée last week!

Courtney and I decided to split the chocolate cake dessert. It was huge, fairly moist, had a good chocolatey icing, and came with these adorable jugs of milk on the side. I love touches like that. Martha Stewart would be proud of you Milestone 229. My sister ordered the banana pudding which was equally adorable and came in mason jar with vanilla wafers on top. It was also delicious and she was talking about it for days.

 

Needless to say I approve! We had good service, yum food, and beautiful views. As we were leaving we saw  Mayor Coleman there hanging out, being his usual social butterfly self, AND I caught a glimpse of the fabulous Mark Ballard, co-founder of Sugardaddy’s Sweets. I’m sure it would be a great date night, I definitely want to go back this fall, and I want to sit on the deck!

Ohio State Fair!!

Yesterday afternoon Caroline and I went to the Fair– Im weird and love fairs so I go every year but Caro had never been so it was fun to do everything with a newbie!

We managed to hit all of the good attractions including:

The Skyride

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Deep fried S’mores

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The Big Yellow Slide

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We stopped to get a lemon shake-up and walked through the entire Expo Center (didn’t buy anything though)

Stopped by to see the butter sculpture cow and space station

Browsed through the sheep barn, watched some kids showing their sheep AND learned how to weave on a loom!

Then we stopped and watched a Ron Diamond the hilarious hypnotist on the Main Stage-
I have a video that I’m apparently unable to upload because of the file type for “security reasons” but at the very end of his act he started talking about Beetlejuice (I immediately got excited and pulled out my recorder, knowing exactly where he was going) and then directed all of the hypnotized people to dance exactly like a stuffed monkey to the song “Day O.”  Hilarity did indeed ensue.

Next we made our way to the Natural Resources Center where they have fishing, kayaking, archery, etc. as well as butterflies, an aviary and basically a small zoo of animals found in Ohio.
Unfortunately we got there after 7 when they closed so we just sort of walked through and looked at the animals- but there’s always next year!

On our way out we needed on more food fix- Fried Buckeyes! They were conveniently on a stick and perfectly sweet. I’ve had about five different fried desserts and these may be my favorite!

All in all it was a very successful fair trip. I think Caroline enjoyed it too, and you should read all about it here where you can see more/better pics!

The River Club Restaurant at Confluence Park :Restaurant week #1:

This beautiful walkway is leading up to the River Club Restaurant at Confluence Park. I’ve wanted to go there forever, since hearing my mom talk about it, and hearing how great the view from the deck is. And it is.

Anyway, this all started when I saw 614 magazine was giving away dinners for Restaurant Week Columbus on their Facebook page. They said something like “leave a comment about where you’d like to eat this week and you could win dinner for two.” So I of course left a comment that “I’d love to eat out on the deck at Confluence Park this week.” A few hours later I got a text from Caroline telling me they had chosen me to win a dinner for two at River Club! Since she always tries to win also, and had seen that I won (I would never have remembered to check back), AND she’s my blogging P.I.C., I of course asked her to be my plus-one!

We made reservations for Monday of Restaurant week (no use in wasting time and I had 2 more dinners planned.) As you can see walking in the restaurant has a very boathouse/somewhere more exotic than Ohio feel. It reminded me of this beautiful restaurant I went to with my family in Santa Cruz, CA called Shadowbrook.

We had requested to sit on the patio but they had booked a private party last-minute and moved us inside. Since the lovely Columbus weather was around 95 degrees, and muggy as hell even at 8pm, we didn’t mind. They sat us along the edge of the dining room next to the windows looking out at the deck so it was the same great view but with a/c and some good people-watching! The view really is great, I’d love to see it later at night when the buildings are lit up or in the winter with snow all over the river. The inside is beautiful too. Lots of space, big rustic wood fixtures, some couches, and multiple fireplaces. I’d love to see it decorated all cozy for Christmas!

On to the food! The Restaurant week menu had some yummy sounding choices so as usual we both ordered different things so we could try everything. First thing they brought out some bread (thank god because we were starving.) It was a soft sourdough baguette sliced with butter and freshly made pesto. De-lish!

For the first course we did order the same salad, which came with Mixed GreensApples, Spiced Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, Manchego Cheese, and Raspberry Vinaigrette. Of course it was just as good as it sounds. I’ve  never had Manchengo cheese before, and I’m not really sure what it is, but it was good. These fruit/nut combo salads have really become my new favorite thing.

Caro was a vegetarian until maybe 6 months ago so she was excited to order her first steak entrée. She chose the Bleu Cheese Crusted Center Cut Strip, with Caramelized Onion Whipped Potatoes, Ohio Zucchini & Squash, and a Demi Glace. Not being a big fan of bleu cheese though she skipped that part. I don’t even think it mattered, this steak was so goood. I don’t know why but I never order steak and I definitely should because this was SO yummy. The veggies, as pretty as they were displayed, were a little undercooked (I like my squash basically mushy) but the potatoes were very good. Caro doesn’t even like mashed potatoes and enjoyed these.

I ordered the Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken Breast with Whipped Potatoes, Ohio Zucchini & Squash, and a Lemon Butter Sauce. The chicken was tender and juicy, and like I said the veggies and potatoes were quite good. Lemon Butter Sauce? I mean come it was obviously as rich and delicious as it sounds.

The whole “mediterranean stuffed” part was maybe more literal than I assumed. Which of course is my own fault. There was a lot of red pepper and olive (maybe some cheese) in this chicken. Unfortunately I don’t care for olives so it wasn’t my favorite dish, but like I said, my own fault. I don’t what else I was expecting in “mediterranean chicken.” I guess I was just too hungry to think it through :p 

 Somehow we still had room to fit in dessert. Caro ordered the Chocolate Jeannette (which was a big brownie), Chocolate Mousse, and Raspberry Glace. I love the combo of raspberry and chocolate so I thought this very yummy. But surprisingly, I liked mine even better. I had the Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with a Rum Reduction, Chocolate Sauce, and Whipped Cream. Caro perfectly described it as “a big, spongy, chocolate chip cookie.” It was so good and the rum reduction just made it. I have no idea why (because I hate to drink liquor) but I love liquor flavor in my desserts.
We couldn’t have dessert without coffee, so we both ordered one, and with tax it brought our grand total for a 3 course meal to…. $3.15!! Of course we tipped our lovely server well but it was still a great treat! Thanks again to 614 Magazine, it was a great “date night” with my P.I.C. who is leaving me soon :( …maybe I’ll have to find a real date to take next time ;)

I’m so impressed with myself…

So this time I decided to do the cooking! My mom has had some time off work recovering from surgery so I’ve been hanging out at her house a lot. On Thursday we decided to make some cut out sugar cookies. During a trip to Amish country a few summers ago I bought some really cute cookie cutters at Lehman’s that I had not used in forever.

We used this great recipe I found on allrecipes.com (my favorite.) I wanted them to be just like Cheryl’s sugar cookies so after reading a few different recipes I chose this cookie mix and another for the buttercream icing. And made a few other alterations. I don’t follow directions well. ;)

First we mixed up the dough (we changed the measurements only because we accidentally started with too much butter, and I added almond because I always add it to any dessert that I make- it’s just so good and adds that extra sweet flavor. We attempted to be impatient and start cutting out the cookies immediately after mixing the dough but it was way too soft and impossible to work with so we broke down and put it in the fridge for an hour.

While making the icing my mom decided to use the smallest bowl possible which I don’t recommend because as you can see she was spraying little balls of icing all over us and the counters. We decided to dye it blue because its my favorite color, and we added almond to it of course.

After cutting out the shapes and baking them for 9 minutes, they were perfectly golden and ready to be iced. We had 6 shapes- an ice cream cone, a music note, a letter “B”, a flower, a heart, and this adorable heart of Ohio cutter I bought at the fair last year. All of my favorite things!

note: the icing knife at the top was apparently my grandma Joann’s favorite and my mom still always uses it on desserts. As sweet as that is, especially since my mom usually has no sentiment, it was way too big for these cookies and I had to switch to a smaller knife but I snapped a pic of it anyway.

As you can see they turned out great and are SO good! better than Cheryl’s and needless to say im quite proud!

…In addition to these yummy cookies, I impressed myself again this morning with this awesome breakfast sandwich I made. I went to Rife’s Market in Grandview yesterday and bought a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies as well as Amish butter and Pumpernickel bread (two of my faves.) I grew up going to Carfagna’s which is basically the same thing and I’ve driven past there a million times and never gone in. It was great, well priced, and now I’ll never buy produce at Giant eagle again.

Anyway I made a sandwich this morning with the pumpernickel bread, eggs, avocado, cream cheese, and fresh tomato that I bought there yesterday. I also added a few strips of bacon I stole from my roommate. It was Ah-may-zing. Like so so good. The combo of cream cheese and avocado (which I always get in sushi) is just so creamy and compatible. I will definitely be thinking/talking about it all day!

South Carolina

3 weekends ago Joelynn, Kristen, and I drove down to Columbia, SC to visit USC (where I went my freshman year.) We stayed Thurs-Saturday in Columbia and spent a day in Charleston. I wanted them to have a full USC experience so we had some of my favorite fooods, drinks, went to all the college bars, and spent a day at the beach.

The first night we went to Five Points which is a five way intersection with strips of bars, restaurants, and boutiques. Since it is legal in South Carolina, I had to make sure they tried some Everclear- so, we went to Dr. Rocco’s and I ordered us some Everclear slushies. Obviously they were super strong so we only had one drink each and I would recommend to anyone else not to have more than one. ;)

I had to make sure we ate at IHOP for some of their scrambled eggs with pancake batter mixed in and I also had to get some Pop’s Pizza with cold banana peppers on the side just like I would freshman year. On Thursdays after watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Nip/Tuck” with Dan and Jon we’d walk over for a slice of pizza and some fried Oreos (which weren’t on the menu anymore.) I may be a little nostalgic. I didn’t get a chance to have any Carolina pulled pork or boiled peanuts, but there’s always next time!

Anyway after eating at IHOP on Friday we drove to Charleston, which is a little over and hour away. First we went downtown and walked around the shops at King street which is the main strip with restaurants and lots of local and designer boutiques. It was super hot so we went into a fro-yo place called Yogurt Mountain where you can choose from 16 different flavors of yogurt and at least 30 toppings. It was sooo good. I know we have some similar places around Columbus but I have never seen a variety of flavors and toppings like they had.

 

Then we went over to Folly Beach and spent the rest of the day in the sun!

After hanging out at the beach and showering on the pier (we didn’t have a hotel there :) ) we walked over to the Folly Beach Crab Shack for dinner. It was right off the beach and looked like your typical beachy, seafood grill which is exactly what we were looking for! and yes, that is a hammock chair in the picture <3

We decided to sit inside since it was still really humid out and the tables all had cutouts in the center of them where a trash bucket had been inserted! It was genius! They also had their own napkin dispensers which I appreciate and think is essential when eating shellfish.

First we ordered appetizers, I got the fried green tomatoes topped with yummy parm and red tomato and chives. Jo and Creal split the warm crab and artichoke dip with pita. Both were reallly good. I personally like my own fried green tomatoes better but I mean I didn’t have a problem finishing these :) The hot crab and artichoke dip was delicious! Not too strong of a crab flavor, creamy, soft pita. Mmm they literally clean-plated that dip.

Next we ordered our main dishes- Jo went with the Poor Man’s Crab Bucket which was literally a big bucket of snow crab legs which were on special that night for $11. They were ok. I personally like blue crab better, but I still like Alaskan crab and I know that “Poor Mans bucket” is supposed to mean they are the legs that fell off the other dishes and get collected. These kind of tasted like they had been sitting there a few days. They smelled funny and were really sticking in the shell. Jo ate the whole bucket and none of us got stomach aches or anything but I could only have a few bites.

Creal and I decided to order two different sandwiches and split them. I ordered the Carolina Crab Cake sandwich which also came with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and this kind of mayo/tartar sauce on a toasted bun. It was delish- I love crab cakes and this was a little bit mustardy, a little spicy, and so fresh. Creal ordered the Fried Tilapia sandwich which also came with fresh veggies on a toasted bun, as well as actual tartar sauce. It was good, the fish was so fresh and flaky. Even Jo who doesn’t like seafood thought it was good, a little bland though. (I’m not sure how we managed to not get a pic of it, but I’m sure you’ve all seen a fish sandwich)

I opted for the squash on the side instead of fries. I was thinking I was being healthy but I obviously forgot I was in the South because they came out drenched in butter. I mean they were still good but I actually like the taste of zucchini, not mushy butter dripped zucchini. Creal ordered the fries though and they were delicious, not too thick, crunchy, so good. We all couldn’t stop eating them and Creal swears they were the best fries she’s ever had.

Needless to say, it was a successful day!!!