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Columbus Comfort Classics: Winter Edition

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

South Village Grille’s
Shrimp bucatini: artichoke hearts – tomato – baby spinach – herb cream sauce

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.

Indian Oven’s house-made paneer

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.

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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

Tuttle Mall getting a lot sweeter thanks to 2 newcomers

614now

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Malls have changed a lot over the years. Remember Waldenbooks? Was KB Toys your go-to as a kid? Heck, even Sears will soon be nothing more than a memory.

While mall establishments are frequently lost to the sands of time, it’s rare that you see a former retailer return to a mall it’s already vacated once. Well brace yourselves, sweets fans, because a gooey, sugar-frosted favorite is making a comeback at Tuttle Mall.

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Of course we’re talking Cinnabon, which was last in operation at Tuttle some years ago, and is now listed as “coming soon” on the mall’s directory. But wait! As tempting as it will be to fill up on cinnamon rolls after this long absence, you’ll want to save room for this other coming attraction: it seems Duck Donuts is also setting up shop in Tuttle.

Hop on the treadmill and give your dentist a heads-up, mall lovers—sweets are back at Tuttle in a big way!

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Food & Drink

Dive into Guy Fieri’s picks for best BBQ in nation, including one local spot

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Columbus native and mayor of Flavortown Guy Fieri has always had a soft spot for his hometown, especially its BBQ. He’s been around the country to enjoy some of the best food America has to offer for his show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, but it’s right here in Columbus where some of the meats are being smoked: Ray Ray’s Hog Pit.

The Food Network recently posted a list of Fieri’s top barbecue picks from DDD including James Anderson’s smokin’ hot food truck.

Guy Fieri just named us to his “Best BBQ from DDD” list. Thanks for the massive honor Guy, come back and see us anytime. http://bit.ly/DDDBestBBQ

Posted by Ray Ray's Hog Pit on Thursday, July 18, 2019

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“Chef and Owner James Anderson raises his own pigs for the succulent smoked offerings at Ray Ray’s Hog Pit, a one-of-a-kind barbecue truck in Columbus, Ohio,” reads the Food Network description. “Guy tried the super-moist Mangalitsa Brat Burger and St. Louis Spare Ribs.”

Ray Ray’s was originally featured on the “College Town Champs” episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in 2017.

Click here to view Fieri’s 59 top BBQ picks.

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Food & Drink

Sips of Summer: 12 picks to quench your thirst

614now

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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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