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Truckin’ Tuesdays: A Food Highlight of Ninja Bowl

614now

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Originally in 614 Magazine, written by Kim Leddy

Nothing brings hordes of hungry people downtown like the Columbus Food Truck Festival. From its debut five years ago, the eatery-on-wheels celebration has grown into one of the biggest events of the summer. The convoy of trucks from all around the Midwest will set up in the Columbus Commons August 12th and 13th.

Each year is also an opportunity to try out new trucks as they pull up to the bumper of old favorites. Three we’re excited about this year are all locally-grown: and this week we’re talking about Ninja Bowl.

 

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Ninja Bowl has been rolling around the city since the turn of the year and will pull up to the Columbus Food Truck Festival with all bowl menu for meat lovers and veggie folks alike. Add some edamame, harumaki, and gyoza, and you have a passport to Japanese street food. Run by husband and wife, Andre and Amanda Setiawan, you can’t miss their colorful truck wrap making its way across the city.

What inspired Ninja Bowl? My daughter inspired us to open Ninja Bowl because she loves Japanese food. When we watch the The Great Food Truck Race, she is always asking how we can win the prize. And with a food truck, we make our own schedule so we can have family time.

When did you start cooking? I learned to cook since I was little to help my aunt open a restaurant. I got to the United States at the end 1994 and I worked at a Japanese restaurant in New York City and became a head chef in 2004 cooking traditional Japanese, Asian fusion, Japanese fusion, and sushi. In 2012, we moved to Ohio; I was still passionate about cooking. And then I decided to open my food truck to bring my Japanese kitchen on the street.

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Are these your own recipes? Our recipes come from my experience working as a chef, and then I alter them in my way to fit in Ohio taste and, of course, to fit in the food truck world.

What’s the best and worst thing about running a food truck? The best thing about owning the food truck is that we can introduce ourselves to clients through food we sell; it is like having the kitchen on the street and it is pretty cool. The hardest thing is moving everyday—I mean, it’s like moving your kitchen everyday.

What’s Ninja Bowl’s signature dish? Our special dish, is our signature/best seller, is the chicken bowl—our special babekyu chicken on the bed of white rice, served with sautéed fresh vegetables and drizzled with our signature teriyaki sauce.

Follow Ninja Bowl on Facebook to keep track of their whereabouts. 

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Food & Drink

Game of Cones: New ice cream contender coming to Short North

Mike Thomas

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It seems a new challenger is emerging in the race to claim the Columbus ice cream crown.

CRMD, a new ice cream spot opening soon at 1190 N. High St. in the Short North, is being teased for a “summer 2019” launch on the company’s website.

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The same site shows the brand’s flavor offerings, which will include matcha, Viet coffee, and cereal + milk. Upon opening, CRMD will also be slinging puffles – a spherical egg-based waffle cone popular in Hong Kong and Macau.

For more information and a full list of flavors, visit www.getcrmd.com.

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Biz + Dev

Update: Cajun food fans disappointed by Ned’s Bayou development

Mike Thomas

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UPDATE: While concrete information regarding the mysterious Ned’s Bayou is still unavailable, signs seem to indicate that the retail space will serve as a popup store for Twenty One Pilots merchandise when the duo comes to town for a double-header at Nationwide Arena on June 29 & 30.

Exhibit A: searching “Ned’s Bayou” on the Ohio Secretary of State’s online database shows an address on Worthington Galena Rd. for the business’ registered owner. The members of Twenty One Pilots are themselves former Worthington residents.

While this in and of itself says little, the group’s de facto mascot (seen here in the music video for the song “Chlorine”) happens to be named Ned.

Mere coincidence? I guess we’ll find out by the end of the month. For now, it seems fans of cajun food might have to look elsewhere to get their fix!

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A brand new awning sporting the words “Ned’s Bayou” has appeared over the former Blick’s Art Supplies location at 612 N High St in the Short North.

While initial searches have turned up little information about this forthcoming business, we can only assume that this will one day be the sight of a Louisiana-inspired restaurant of some sort.

Then again, the word “Bayou” carries other connotations. Maybe this will be the Short North’s first-ever spot for gator rasslin’. Only time will tell!

614NOW will keep an eye peeled for more info on this business as it becomes available.

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Food & Drink

614NOW Fried Chicken Trail: Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken

Mike Thomas

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First came the 614NOW Donut Trail. Then, there was the Mac & Cheese Trail. Now, 614NOW is on the hunt for the best fried chicken this city has to offer. Welcome to the 614NOW Fried Chicken Trail!

Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken

1333 Northwest Blvd

This unpretentious Grandview-area joint is serving up the same fried chicken that made its first location in Warren Ohio a hit since its opening in 1956.

It’s no surprise that the central Ohio Nick’s location is slinging classic fried chicken worthy of its old-school pedigree. Nick’s Greek is exactly what many people long for when they think “fried chicken” – pressure-fried bird that is crispy on the outside and delectably juicy inside.

Be warned – this chicken is so good, you will be locked in that hopeless balancing act of trying to take bites without burning the inside of your mouth.

The crust on Uncle Nick’s chicken is so crispy, it seems like it would never go soft even if you left it in a closed container for an hour. This also means that the juices inside the meat have nowhere to hide, and are perfectly preserved within.

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Fried chicken places are notoriously tight with their secret recipes, but if I had to guess, I’d say that much this chicken’s seasoning comes care of a generous brining. As a result, the meat is salty and mild, allowing the natural flavors of the chicken to shine. Notably, a motto hanging on the wall of the place states, “If the Colonel had our recipe, he’d be a general.” I find no fault in this statement.

Was there just grease on the lens, or was this chicken actually glowing?

Uncle Nick’s is the kind of spot you’ll want to take a friend who has never experienced “real deal” fried chicken. While I preferred the dark meat (owner/operator Andrew Cleary was kind enough to hook me up with a half-bird’s worth of pieces) all of it was head-and-shoulders above any fast-food chains in terms of texture and flavor.

Ratings:
Aroma:🍗🍗🍗🍗 (4/5 drumsticks)
Flavor: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)
Seasoning: 🍗🍗🍗🍗 (4/5)
Crispiness: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)
Overall Experience: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)

Uncle Nick’s Fried Chicken scores a hearty 23/25 on our rating scale. Get out there and see for yourself why this spot is a favorite catering option for the Ohio State Buckeyes Football squad!

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