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The Offal Truth

When I was five years old my dad and I would snack on tongue. This may sound like the antics of a sadistic parent giving their child gross food for yuks, but the truth is that we both loved it. Hell, I didn’t know that tongue wasn’t typically consumed by the average American, and even [...]
Danny Hamen

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When I was five years old my dad and I would snack on tongue.

This may sound like the antics of a sadistic parent giving their child gross food for yuks, but the truth is that we both loved it. Hell, I didn’t know that tongue wasn’t typically consumed by the average American, and even if I did, I was really too young to care. Looking back, I can only gather that cultural conditioning was the main reason people steered away from this atypical meat product. If there was a beef tongue Happy Meal served with a Hot Wheels toy back in the day, I am certain that it would have been all the rage.

Much to my mother’s chagrin, eating strange and atypical food items became me and my dad’s thing. Sure, sometimes we chomped on ancient gourmet cheeses because the peculiar aromas made us laugh, but more often than not, we discovered delicious meals in unexpected places—dishes that, while most Americans would wretch at the mere thought of, are sought after delicacies all around the world.

And fortunately for us, Columbus is a haven for rare and exotic dishes—you just have to know where to look.

Tandoori Grill

808 Bethel Rd.
Tandoorigrill.biz

Nestled in a strip mall off Bethel road, the Tandoori Grill has been a popular Indian restaurant in Columbus for nearly a decade, building a reputation among locals and immigrants along the way. (It’s also my personal opinion that a joint with a .biz URL is typically an undiscovered treasure.) My dad and I stopped in because it is one of the few places that served up a popular Indian delicacy that we were both hankering to try: goat brains.

Brain Masala

Mmmm…Brains…

Served in the traditional Masala spices of ginger, and garlic, the Brain Masala looked texturally like thinly shredded chicken. Topped with fresh basil, the brains were creamy, melting in your mouth like scrambled eggs, but squishier and more unctuous. Despite my choice of a rose-flavored basil seed drink—which I can only compare to an old lady’s perfume—the meal was quite appetizing, especially over a yellow rice and a hunk of naan.

Liver Kidney Masala

Though high in cholesterol, goat’s liver is said to be a capital source of Vitamin A, and apparently, a good remedy for night blindness. After marinating in buttermilk to remove the inherent bitterness of the meat, the liver was quite mild compared to other livers we have encountered. Roughly the size of grapes, the kidneys were much more lean and flavorful than I expected, each bite bursting with traditional masala flavor. While these varieties of meats may seem odd, they are considered commonplace and a mainstay of a Muslim diet as they are much more affordable cuts of the animal.

NE Chinese
Restaurant

620 N High St.

Taking over the short-lived Hot Pot restaurant in Old North off of Ackerman Road, NE Chinese’s hyper-traditional menu boasts authentic Northeast Chinese dishes, making them a staple for Chinese immigrants and Columbusites alike. As we walk in during lunchtime, the place is bustling with hungry diners. After ordering a table full of food, the server took our menus, smiled, and said in a thick Mandarin accent, “You’re brave.” I can only surmise that the words that followed in her head was, “white boys.”

Pig Ears

Boiled with aromatic spices until tender, thinly sliced and then marinated in vinegar, the ears were served cold with a side of soy sauce and ginger. The cross section of the ears resembled the lines of a bacon strip, or perhaps a squid-like cinnamon roll. They were firm and almost gelatinous, but tasted quite good when dipped in the sauce, a key ingredient to make the dish a success.

Pig Skin Aspic

Ok, to be fair, this is the one dish that seemed like it could be found in Jeffrey Dahmer’s fridge—thin, cold squares of meat gelation with tiny bits of skin inside. In case you are unfamiliar, aspic is a savory jelly made with meat stock, set in a mold, containing tiny pieces of meat, seafood, or eggs. Think Jell-O salad, except with exotic meats inside. While the bland gelatin dominated the flavor of the skin, the ginger and soy sauce once again championed this traditional appetizer.

Sauté Pig Intestine

The south knows them as chitterlings or chitlins. I’ve always known them as goddamn delightful. At first glance, this looks like a run-of-the-mill stir-fry, as they are sautéed in a traditional brown sauce, paired with green onion, carrots, peppers, and onions. To be fair, intestines is an extremely hard dish to prepare—if they are not fresh, the digestive matter will surely taste like rotting bunghole, and can be texturally unpleasant if cooked for too long. However, our chefs cooked them perfectly. The innards’ consistency is the main attraction of the dish—tender and fatty like short ribs. They were rich with a savory, porky flavor, blending quite nicely with the traditional brown sauce.

That’s just a few to check off me and my Pops’ list.

The goal in writing this article was not to poke fun at strange oddities found around the world—but to relish in their pleasing and exotic flavors. Columbus is a melting pot of people and cultures and our food certainly reflects that diversity. So the next time you are at the store perusing the chicken breasts, stop and think…maybe you would be better off getting the gizzards. Who knows? You might just find your new favorite food…or at the very least have an interesting story to tell your friends.

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Food & Drink

Slice into our top picks for National Pizza Party Day!

Mike Thomas

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May 17 is National Pizza Party Day—a celebration that is near and dear to our hearts at (614). And what better day of the week for an office pizza party than Friday?

To help you and your gang decide which pie(s) to go with on this momentous occasion, take a look at this roundup of some of our most primo pizza content. Bone apple teeth!

The best pizza in C-Bus according to Columbest Voters

The results for Columbest 2019 were announced in the May issue of (614) Magazine, with Harvest Pizzeria taking the top spot in the “best gourmet pizza” category, and Mikey’s Late Night winning “best traditional.”

26,000+ Columbest voters can’t be wrong. Let these hometown heroes provide the pie for a pizza party you won’t soon forget!

Pizza – Columbus Style

Did you know Columbus has its own distinct style? Edge to edge toppings, crispy crust, cut pub-style – these are some indications that you’re dining on Columbus’ own signature ‘za. Not sure what we’re talking about? Refer to this list to see what we mean.

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In Pizza We Trust

Need to grab a pie on the go? Look no further than a Pizza ATM conveniently located at OSU campus. Fair warning, since reporting on this a few months ago, we haven’t been back to see if this still exists. Something tells us this was either too weird of an idea to last, or too brilliant to ever die.

C-Bus pizza on the big stage

At this point, our fair city is no stranger to coverage in national publications – and our pizza is no exception. Earlier this year, food blog Rave Reviews included Columbus’ own Rubino’s and Mikey’s Late Night Slice on their Pizza Road Trip roundup of the best pies in the nation.

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Hey, @fussbucket… Nice #BINOS! #SausagePizza

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Deep dish (if you must…)

Is deep dish more your thing? We (I) think there’s something wrong with you, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the sauce-on-top monstrosity you crave. Check out our top picks for the “best” deep-dish style pizzas in town.

Celebrating National Pizza Party Day? Of course you are! Let us know your pizza of choice in the comments.

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Food & Drink

Outerbelt Brewing: small town, huge brewery

Mike Thomas

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With no end in sight for the craft beer boom, upstart breweries are leaving the city behind for the wide open spaces of the suburbs.

According to a report from Drink Up Columbus, Outerbelt Brewing will be the latest to toss their hat into the central Ohio Craft Beer ring when they open their doors in less than a month.

Located in a former Lowes hardware location at 3560 Dolson Ct. near Carroll, Ohio, Outerbelt Brewing is not far from Lancaster.

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Outerbelt is scheduled to open to the public on either June 8 or June 15, depending on construction deadlines. The new brewery will occupy about 25,000 square feet, with about 5,600 square feet set aside for a taproom. Plans also include a spacious 2,000 square foot patio.

Upon opening, Outerbelt plans to offer 10 beers on tap, as well as cold brew coffee.

Look for Outerbelt this Friday, May 18 at the Columbus Craft Beer Week kickoff party at Giant Eagle Market District, where some of their beer will be available to try. Outerbelt Beer will also be on hand Saturday at the Six One Pour Ohio Beer Festival at COSI.

To view pictures and to learn more about Outerbelt, check out the full story at Drink Up Columbus.

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Food & Drink

4 brewers talk past, present future of C-bus beer scene

Mike Thomas

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With the rise of craft beer, celebrations of America’s most popular alcoholic beverage are nearly as plentiful as the varieties of suds found on supermarket shelves.

Whether it’s a day set aside in honor of a given style (IPA day is observed Aug. 2) or a pseudo-holiday cash grab from a major international brewery, (Arthur’s Day is not a thing, Guinness) beer fans have plenty of occasions throughout the year to toast their favorite drink.

In honor of Columbus Craft Beer Week (May 17-25), (614) spoke to Columbus brewers Colin Vent at Seventh Son Brewing, Dan Shaffer at Land-Grant, Craig O’Herron at Sideswipe Brewing, and Chris Davison, at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing in order to explore the beginnings of brew in the capital city, where it stands today, and what the future might hold.

(614): When you think of Columbus beer history, what comes to mind?

Vent: The recent history is pretty young. We were 7th or 8th six years ago, and now there’s over 50. Barley’s, Smoke House, Elevator, Columbus Brewing Company—those were around for 10 or 15 years, then all of the sudden, Four String, us, North High, and soon thereafter Land Grant popped up, and from there it’s just been crazy. Obviously all of Columbus [beer] history goes back hundreds of years; there used to be major production. Hoster was one of the largest breweries in the country.

Shaffer: I think of Barley’s, CBC, the people that were there at the beginning. We’re all standing on their shoulders. Obviously it’s all come a very long way. I’m trying to think of what the first craft beer I had in Columbus was. It was probably a CBC IPA.

(614): What are some prevailing trends that you see happening with beer in Columbus today?

O’Herron: I feel like we’ve gotten over a lot of the recent trends. We saw a lot of the New England IPAs, and then Brut IPAs to a lesser extent. I don’t know if there’s a trend that’s happening right this moment, but I’m sure we’ll see something new and wacky come around.

Davison: The national trend has been IPA, IPA, IPA, and I think Columbus is a microcosm of that. Ohio is an IPA state, and Columbus is an IPA city even more so than some other cities in the state. We’ve got a lot of the top-tier IPA breweries right now, a lot of people making really good IPA. I think that’s going to continue to rise, and I think we’re going to continue to see more styles [of IPA].

(614): What does the future hold for Columbus Beer? Have we reached a saturation point on how many breweries the city can sustain?

Vent: I don’t know that Columbus could take another 10 or 20 Land Grants and Seventh Sons, but I think it could take another 10 or 20 [breweries] that just want to have an awesome neighborhood brewpub. As many breweries as an area can sustain, that’s what there will be.

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Davison: I think it all comes down to what those breweries are trying to accomplish. Trying to be a production brewery that’s distributing cans across the entire state is going to get harder and harder, not that some won’t continue to grow and do that. I think there’s a ton of room for local brewpubs that don’t even want to sell their beer outside of their own bar. Every bar in this city could theoretically brew its own beer, and there’s no reason the city can’t sustain 500 breweries that are tiny like that.

Shaffer: Obviously people are gravitating towards local. I think it’s really cool that every neighborhood, instead of a watering hole, can have a local brewery. I think we’ll probably see more sours, probably more specialization. IPA’s aren’t going anywhere—there will be more IPA variants. When there is this much competition, you can’t afford to be a generic beer brewery anymore. There has to be something you’re passionate about, whether it’s Belgian or English styles, or pilsners, high-gravity stouts—whatever. There’s got to be something that you can say “this is what we’re all about.”

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