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Columbus Comfort Classics: Winter Edition

Winter is here and per usual, it’s pretty damn dark and cold out. If you are like me, you take pride in gaining ten extra winter pounds because you take comfort in food. And boy howdy, does this town have some great winter comfort food. Here is our list of Columbus Comfort Classics. These entrees [...]
Aaron Wetli

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Winter is here and per usual, it’s pretty damn dark and cold out. If you are like me, you take pride in gaining ten extra winter pounds because you take comfort in food. And boy howdy, does this town have some great winter comfort food.

Here is our list of Columbus Comfort Classics. These entrees are guaranteed to chase away the Winter Blues, if only for a few hours. Let’s carb out, heat up, and get started.

The Moltansanti at Mama Mimi’s Take ‘n Bake Pizza | Grandview, Upper Arlington, Clintonville

Everyone yearns for Yellow Brick, is familiar with Meister’s mastery, and has experienced the awesomeness of Adriatico’s. However, if you are expecting to get snowed in, Mama Mimi’s offers you flexibility as their pizza can stay in your refrigerator for 48 hours before baking. My favorite is the Moltansanti; a pepperoni, banana pepper, tomato, and roasted garlic pizza that blows competition away, just like the eponymous Sopranos character it is named for.
Pro tip: Order online before 4 p.m. and receive 20% off. Pro tip two: Stop by the Grandview location and ask The Gentile’s Wine Sellers staff to recommend an awesome bottle of wine to pair with your pizza.

Chicken-N-Noodles at Nancy’s Home Cooking | 3133 N High St.

If you haven’t been to Nancy’s Home Cooking, you should probably get your Columbus Card revoked. If you have been to Nancy’s, odds are you have tried the Chicken-N-Noodles. In short, this dish is composed of a mountain of buttery and rich mashed potatoes and topped with all of the Amish style Chicken and Noodles that can fit on your plate. If that wasn’t enough carbs for you, dinner rolls are also served alongside green beans. After finishing this beauty, you will need a nap, but won’t need dinner plans.

Busters at Jack & Benny’s | 2563 N High St.

Certainties in life: taxes, death, and Jack & Benny’s amazing breakfast. You should reward yourself one with of their Busters after you shovel the walks and driveway. You earned it. The Jack Buster comes with two hash browns, one bacon slice, one piece of ham, one egg and cheese all topped with country gravy. The Benny Buster? Sub out the hash browns for two potato pancakes and keep everything else the same. Both busters are only $8.99 each. You’re welcome.

Xiao Long Bao at Helen’s Asian Kitchen | 1070 E Dublin Granville Rd.

Do you know what Xiao Long Bao is? Don’t worry, I didn’t either before I ate at Helen’s. In short, Xiao Long Bao are dumplings and these dumplings rival any other dumpling in Columbus. Even yours, Momo Ghar. Served in a thick and rich sauce, these handmade dumplings have pork and cabbage and come in a hand rolled and steamed bun. They may take a minute to arrive at the table, so relax and enjoy the scenery. Perfection takes time.

Taco Al Pastor at Los Guachos | 7370 Sawmill Rd.

Forget about Taco Tuesday, get to Los Guachos Sawmill location for Taco Monday (Taco Monday isn’t a thing, but just roll with it). The Al Pastor is a corn (the way God intended it) tortilla with slow roasted pork, pineapple, onions and cilantro, and on Mondays they are BOGO. Juicy, hot and bursting with flavor, I recommend ordering four. Oh yeah, there is also a house-made margarita special on Monday. Your Monday just got A LOT better.

Shakshuka at The Olive Tree Mediterranean Café | 3185 Hilliard-Rome Rd.

I recently moved out of Hilliard after living there for a little over two year and I have to say, the Shashuka at The Olive Tree is my favorite Hilliard entree. Shaksuka is not quite a soup and not quite a fork and knife entrée. More specifically, it is two eggs served poached in a rich red sauce with pepper and garlic. I order mine with spicy sausage. This entrée will warm you up and the service at Olive Tree is second to none. Make it out to Hilliard this winter, you won’t regret it.

Carbonara at South Village Grille | 197 Thurman Ave.

You might be surprised to find one of the heartiest and most delicious pasta dishes tucked away in this corner of the German Village. Then again, you might not be. (I’m not psychic.) Carbonara, campanelle pasta, pancetta, peas, pecorino and an egg yolk round out this classic comfort entrée. To call this dish rich insults the upper class and at $19, it won’t put too much of a damper on your wallet or working-class sensibilities. You could even sit at the bar and split this entrée with your significant other, but you may wish you had ordered it for yourself.

Chicken Vindaloo at Indian Oven | 427 E Main St.

Baby, it’s cold outside. Well, at least until you get the spicy Chicken Vindaloo at Indian Oven. Then the world is warm and wonderful. Basmati rice topped with chicken, potatoes, and tomatoes and cooked in a spicy, vinegar sauce makes anyone happier, and, odds are you will have leftovers. Also, you won’t be cold anymore. Well, at least your temperature won’t be cold. I can’t testify for your temperament.

Lobster Bisque at Lindey’s | 169 E Beck St.

Lobster Bisque at Lindey’s…I really don’t know if I need to follow up that heading with anything, I mean it’s Lobster Bisque at Lindey’s. Eat some there and get some to go. Rich, hearty, hints of sherry and shrimp, this bisque has a little bit of everything. My advice? Get a bowl at brunch and follow it with an Irish Coffee. That should warm you up enough to tackle shoveling the walks.

Pho Dac Biet at Houng Vietnamese | 1270 Morse Rd.

Nestled away in a strip mall just east of I-71 on Morse Road is some of the best Pho in the city. A family owned and operated restaurant, Houng is an integral part of the neighborhood, and once you eat their food, you will understand why. The Pho Dac Biet is Pho with rare steak, meatballs, tendon and well-done flank and it is topped with a garden of cilantro and limes. Also, the bowl it comes in is as big as your head. Nice people, budget friendly and piping hot pho. Get there. Get the shrimp spring rolls too.

Burger at The Rossi | 895 N High St.

If you like Philco, El Camino and Club 185 (and who doesn’t) odds are you will like the Rossi as all three concepts are from the same management group. Plus, we have to have a burger on this list, right? A slight variation on the famous Club 185 Cheeseburger, the Rossi burger pulls no punches, because it doesn’t need to. Hamburger, cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle, and mayo. Classic.
*Pro tip: save $6 by going at Happy Hour instead of dinner. Order two burgers and get a bourbon after. Wow, I’m smart.

Fried Chicken at The Whitney House | 666 High St.

This entrée is only available on Sundays, but that just means you have a good omen to start your week. Crispy, airy, and juicy with a hint of spice, this entrée is worth waiting the whole week for and comes with Mac and Cheese, pickled vegetables and a sriracha/honey sauce.

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Food & Drink

Sips of Summer: 12 picks to quench your thirst

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When it gets hot, you gotta find a way to deal, and we at 614NOW understand and sympathize. Here are our recommendations to help you cool down when the temperatures rise.

16-Bit | Hulk Hogan
What’s more summery than lemonade? Boozy lemonade. And what’s more summery than boozy lemonade? Dropping in a frozen red, white, and blue bomb pop in the center of the drink! The iconic popsicle from your childhood is back and you’re gonna need a front row seat to your own sip down, brother!

Matt the Miller | Blueberry Basil Limoncello Martini
Skip the regular menu. Here’s a martini for brunch instead! Two of summer’s favorite flavors come together in one glass with Stoli Blueberry and Limoncello, along with basil, lemon juice and simple syrup.

The Bottle Shop | Carribean Queen
The Bottle Shop is known to whip up just about any creation you can think of, and their tiki drinks are quintessential summer vibes. Of course, the classic mai tai is available in these aesthetically pleasing tiki glasses, but our eyes are all on the Carribean queen. The drink boasts a savory over sweet flavor profile thanks to the Rum Zacapa 23 as well as the orgeat (almond syrup) which provides a slight nutty taste. The drink also features earl grey tea-infused falernum to add a floral profile, plus some mint sprigs to garnish.

Standard Hall | Red Sangria
Nothing says summer like a cool glass of sweet sangria. Standard Hall’s Red Sangria is a blend of Pinot Noir, Triple Sec, Absolut Grapefruit, lemon juice, lime juice, and marinated fruit. It comes in a single serving, but once your friends catch a glimpse, they’ll want more than a gulp, so go for the shareable size.

Hubbard Grille | Agave Cooler
Now that you’re grown, hopefully you’ve graduated from stealing your mom’s wine coolers and embarked on a new adult beverage endeavor. But, now we’re sending you back to your roots with Hubbard Grille’s Agave Cooler with A New Amsterdam Vodka, pure agave, pink grapefruit and lime juices, fresh basil; served on the rocks. Your mother would be proud.

Oddfellows | Lushie
With new options nearly every week, Oddfellows’ lushies are a sure fire way to beat the heat this summer. This frozen drink is similar to a slushie you’d find at a gas station, but it’s been upgraded with boujee flavors and booze. Options like The Carter have been featured in the past which is a mixture of Bumbu rum, creme de cacao, and lemon making for a bright orange cocktail perfect for the patio.

Asterisk | Asterisk Orchid
Take time to stop and smell the roses (or the orchids) this summer. From the Asterisk proprietary cocktail menu, a choice of vodka or gin, St. Germain, with notes of lime, rose, and cucumber. A flower in a glass!

Local Cantina | Mango Manzana Margarita
How can you go out for Mexican food without getting a marg to sip on the patio? The Mango Manzana Margarita combines Patrón Silver and Patrón Mango Citrónage with agave, lime, lemonade, and is garnished with an apple slice and a luxardo cherry. By our counts, that’s at least three servings of fruit per glass.

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Two Truths | Penicillin
This is one penicillin shot that even staunch anti-vaxxers will won’t be able to resist. With two scotches serving as a base for this ginger and fresh-lemon infused cocktail, penicillin at Two Truths is good for what ails you!

Huli Huli Tiki Lounge | The Painkiller
And if Penicillin can’t solve what ails you, a good old Painkiller should just about do the trick. This island-inspired cocktail features Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum with pineapple, coconut, and orange with the option to have it served on the rocks, or frozen. Beyond a drink that will take your mind straight to the beach, the bright pink flower garnish coupled with a pineapple slice and a speared cherry makes this drink every bit Instagrammable as it is drinkable.

Light of the Seven Matchsticks | Running with Scissors and Playing with Matchsticks
This signature cocktail at this exclusive speakeasy is everything your mother warned you about. One sip of this high-falutin’ mixture of brown-buttered bourbon, Dolin Dry, Benedictine, and a house ancho syrup, and you’ll see why rules were made to be broken.

The Market Italian Village | Barrel-aged Negroni
Go native while visiting Italian village with this twist on the classic drink from the boot-shaped old country. Vim and Petal Heritage Blend Gin join Cynar 70, Sherry, and Apricot in this smoky, barrel- aged cocktail—Maddon’, that’s good!

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Food & Drink

10 Restaurant Week destinations for date night out

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Sometimes just getting out of the house is the priority. Other times, getting out of the house without the kids is the priority. When that time strikes, get the sitter on lock and hit the town.

Restaurant Week July 15-20 is the perfect time to reconnect with your significant other without breaking the bank. Here are our top 10 picks for date night out during Restaurant Week!

South Village Grille | 197 Thurman Ave, Columbus

South Village Grille is a romantic little spot tucked in a happening strip of Thurman Avenue. During Restaurant Week, indulge in oysters (aphrodisiac), scallops, and even pork chops. Round out your night out with beignets.

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing | 215 N 4th St, Columbus

You may have been to the taproom out back, but have you dined in the front? It’s a beautiful space where beautiful food is served, like lamb racks and Black Forest Chocolate Cake.

Trillium Kitchen & Patio | 2333 N High St, Columbus

Trillium is a modern kitchen with a splendid patio, often times hosting live entertainment! Wine and dine your loved one with Trillium’s diverse wine list, tasty Restaurant Week menu, and romantic digs.

The Keep Kitchen & Liquor Bar | 50 West Broad Street Mezzanine Level, Columbus

With the watermelon salad in the first course, BBQ chicken in the second, and strawberry shortcake for the third, this summer-time menu will be the perfect seasonal date. And the dark wood ambiance will make you want to cozy up close to your date.

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The Boat House at Confluence Park | 679 W Spring St, Columbus

Suggested wine pairings with every course during Restaurant Week will help direct you and your lover down a path of sensuality. And if you’re lucky enough to get seated by the fireplace, the heat will turn up even more, literally.

M at Miranova | 2 Miranova Pl, Columbus

M recently underwent a stunning remodeling that is sure to wow your date. The menu features both surf and turf, so your taste buds will be wowed, as well.

Asterisk | 14 N State St, Westerville

This intimate supper club will really encourage you to relight the flame between you and your significant other. And with familiar favorites like ravioli, meatloaf, and chicken pot pie, you’ll go back to your roots and remember why you feel in love in the first place.

Lindey’s | 169 E Beck St, Columbus

We know it’s hot outside, but Lindey’s patio is worth the sauna experience. This restaurant is the epitome of romance and can be yours to experience for just $35 during Restaurant Week.

Spagio | 1295 Grandview Ave, Columbus

Spagio is the perfect spot for a nice dinner and, with a window on Grandview Avenue, people watching. Let the conversations flow over seafood, pastas, and prime cuts of steak during Restaurant Week.

The Market Italian Village | 1022 Summit St, Columbus

For a fun, light-hearted date with lots of character, this is your destination. Exceptional quality, outstanding service, and approachable atmosphere: The Market Italian Village.

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Food & Drink

Newly-remodeled M at Miranova has the most unique cocktails ever

Laura Dachenbach

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After a quick spring break, M at Miranova is back and open to the public with a new look, shedding its old browns and bronzes for pops of purple and elegant, cooling grays. The 18-year-old fine dining establishment is ready to show off a beautiful wooden floor, its terrace with spectacular views of the river and the city, its lounge made for an evening of small bites, an almost complete menu change, and its new line of seasonal signature cocktails.

Two Ships (Photos by Brian Kaiser)

Developed by award-winning bartender Cris Dehlavi and the beverage team, the line showcases the classic flavors of summer: coconut, pineapple, lemon, and rum.

M at Miranova aims to welcome all, and the line covers a spectrum of tastes. There’s something for everyone at your table, from the light, refreshing oral mix to the heavier, spirits-forward drink, all with an emphasis on superb and fun presentation.

“Gone are the days of the plain old glass,” said Dehlavi from behind the bar, bringing forth her concoctions.

Magic Elixer

The appropriately-named Magic Elixir, a beautiful balance of spirits and flavors, comes to your table as a blue liquid (thanks to butter y pea tea) poured over ice and garnished with flowers. Your server will add a vial of lemon tableside and ask you to stir as chemistry turns the drink a beautiful lavender. Botanist gin and an aloe vera liqueur give the drink a taste as sophisticated and surprising as its presentation.

“There’s nothing like the look on somebody’s face when you put something down in front of them like that,” said Dehlavi.

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The AHA!, a simple and refreshing drink combines a California Brut sparkling with pineapple and coconut flavors, and comes served in light- bulb shaped glassware, a nod to its moment of creative inspiration.

“We really wanted a low-proof cocktail, and kept playing with different ideas. Nothing was working,” said Dehlavi. “My daughter loves coconut water and she had coconut water in the fridge one day and I had a swig of it […] and I thought, ‘What about pineapple liqueur, coconut water, and bubbles?’ and it worked.”

AHA!

Ordered solo, the Two Ships combines Don Pancho rum, amaro, banana, and bitters over whiskey rocks. Ordered for two (or as a taster for four), the drink comes in a globe suspended on a wooden stand containing a blown glass ship and a bit of dry ice for effect.

The creamy You’ve Met Your Matcha and the rich Great Vieux round out the summer line. Your server will snap a Polaroid of the latter, but each of the drinks plays to an audience of Instagrammers, so your own phone is welcome, too. After all, it’s an experience—an impressive, yet accessible array of cocktails, and Dehlavi notes a few are already starting to become favorites.

You’ve Met Your Matcha

“I think presentation is super-important,” said Dehlavi. “We take a real culinary approach to our cocktails. Just like a culinary approach to food, you can put a piece of salmon on a plate with some asparagus and there it is, or you can make it gorgeous. And we always think about that with cocktails, too.”

M at Miranova is at 2 Miranova Pl. To book a reservation, visit matmiranova.com.

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