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Fried, Smothered, & Loaded: Vegetarian Junk Food

Mitch Hooper

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Whenever the words “vegetarian” or “vegan” are thrown around, people’s defense walls go up as they instantly imagine bland salads or unseasoned tofu. Since both diets have become wildly popular trends in the world of eating, they are often associated with exclusive, healthy, clean, natural, raw, whatever…eating.

As a vegetarian, I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. Sure, we vegetarians eat our share of salads, and occasionally tofu is substituted for chicken on our health-conscious dishes, but that’s not the full picture of our plates. Whether it’s loading up on carb-heavy sides, covering things in cheese (or vegan “cheese”), or living off the appetizer menu; living a plant-based diet can be just as much fun and games as any other fare – and here are a few dishes from around Columbus to prove it.

AM Philly

Angry Baker Olde Towne East | 891 Oak St.

Angry Baker has found a way to cover things in cheese and still please the vegans. The AM Philly comes loaded with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and peppers with tofu scramble atop a fresh and soft hoagie bun. To keep it in true “cheese/steak” form, they top the entire masterpiece with vegan cheddar cheese and a little vegan mayo. The sandwich is every bit as flavorful as a regular Philly, plus it’s just as messy to eat. I recommend a few squirts of Sriracha on it, but then again, I recommend that on everything

Buffalo Mac

Woodhouse Vegan Pop-up | 1038 N High St.

Keeping it cheesy, but plant-based, comes from the vegan pop-up at Oddfellows with the Buffalo Mac. The entree is relatively simple, but that just means more chances to really focus on flavor. The Beyond Meat “chicken” strips are marinated in buffalo sauce to really pack a punch and then is topped with more buffalo sauce and dairy-free ranch dressing with a bed of dairy-free mac and “cheese” to dig into. It’s finished off with some raw red onion and scallions to fully recreate that buffalo-style experience. Keep an eye out for Woodhouse’s first brick-and-mortar location setting up shop in the Italian Village.

Fried Cauliflower 

Hadley’s Bar + Kitchen | 260 S Fourth St.

Cauliflower is the new favorite vegetable amongst dieters for being low-carb. It’s inviting to a variety of flavors, and it can be used in many creative ways. At Hadley’s, the fried cauliflower resembles the bar-style boneless wings you might be craving since ditching meat. It’s the little things you miss as a plant-eater (like dipping sauces). So finding a place that offers three different sauce options—Dr. Pepper barbeque, house hot, and General Tso’s—is quite a gratifying moment. Dunk these addicting suckers into Hadley’s house-made ranch or bleu cheese and you’ll be fighting your carnivorous friends off as they ask to try a bite.

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Parma, Italy

Melt | 4206 Worth Ave. & 840 N High St.

Usually Melt’s sheer amount of dairy usage is enough to scare off any vegan within a 10-mile radius, but that all changed once Melt added an entire menu dedicated to vegan options. There are tons of options to choose from, but the Parma, Italy might take the caloric crown when it comes to plant-based indulgence. The sandwich features vegan chicken (or fried tofu) smothered in basil marinara with roasted garlic and vegan mozzarella cheese all in between two crusty pieces of garlic toast. It might not hurt to park a little further away from Melt just to burn a few extra calories on the way to and from devouring way too much food. 

The Joe Vegan Sloppy Sandwich

Lineage Brewing | 2971 N High St.

“Have some more sloppy joes! I made ‘em extra sloppy for you!” If that scene from Billy Madison still haunts you any time you go to break out some Manwich from the cupboard, put that canned sauce down and go to Lineage. Immediately order a beer to wash away the memory of the lunch lady, and then snag the Joe Vegan sloppy sandwich off the menu. It’s a hearty combination of lentils and kidney beans in the iconic sloppy joe sauce, and it’s topped with raw onion and your choice of vegan cheese sauce or cheddar cheese. Throw in a side of potato chips and it’s like being a teenager all over again except this time you didn’t have to steal your dad’s beer.

Vegan Barbeque Jackfruit

Alchemy | 625 Parsons Ave. 

& 1439 Grandview Ave. 

Jackfruit is a delicate fruit that tastes almost nothing like fruit. It’s a great vessel for sauces and flavorings, but if it’s not cooked properly, it can turn into a mushy mess. Thankfully, Alchemy has perfected this process with their vegan take on a classic barbeque pulled pork sandwich. The jackfruit is tender, but stays in form on the roll. For added texture and taste, the sandwich is served on a crunchy ciabatta roll with carrot cabbage slaw in an herbed cashew cream.

Brussel Sprouts

Barrel On High | 1120 N High St.

Don’t turn your nose up on Brussel sprouts, these green brain-looking vegetables are great for absorbing flavor and they have that “meaty” taste. At Barrel on High, these Brussels are oven-roasted and tossed into a Thai chili sauce making them potentially your new favorite thing. While the Thai chili brussel sprouts are worth tripling up on and calling it a dinner, might I point you in the direction of the Impossible Burger as well. The Impossible Burger has grown to fame because it resembles every aspect of meat while remaining plant-based, and Barrel’s straight-up approach of making an American classic go vegan will have you double checking the menu to make sure it’s not actually beef.

millennial | writer | human

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All The Way Up: My experience at Lincoln Social rooftop

Regina Fox

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It was 3:35 p.m. on a Tuesday when people began lining up beside the velvet rope at 711 N High Street. A smartly-dressed concierge escorted me to the elevator and hailed me a ride with a swift wave of his hand over a small screen. I rode the elevator up nine stories and was welcomed into Columbus’ newest rooftop bar by a floral wall with neon cursive writing that read, “Lincoln Social.”

Cameron Mitchell really outdid himself with this one, I thought as the fresh air swept me into the lounge. Where walls would normally be found, huge open windows revealed stunning views of the Short North and beyond. Foliage hung from beams of the translucent retractable ceiling that allowed sun to spill onto the ornamental rugs below. The room is anchored by a bright, white bar in the middle. 

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Beyond the bar are several half-circle booths covered in white fabric and textured pillows. An ivy wall runs the length of the booth area, giving guests an opportunity to “grab the perfect Instagram picture,” according to the Lincoln Social website. It’s in these booths where customers really bring Lincoln Social’s upscale lounge experience to life. Parties have been booking these booths since the bar’s opening and patronizing the sections of Lincoln’s menu meant for parties: bottle service and shareable cocktails. Booth guests are often frequent flyers to another portion of the menu entitled “All the Way Up,” which is a hat tip to the bar’s lofty location, and also the prices—these specific bottles of bubbly and wine start at $160 and end at an
even $1k. 

And past the booths is the true al fresco experience. The completely roof-less terrace is home to a fire pit, wrap-around flower beds, plenty of comfortable seating, and, most importantly, one of the most spectacular views of downtown Columbus. 

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At this point in my exploration, the clock had struck 4 p.m. and the downstairs floodgates opened. A steady stream of people excitedly poured through the doorway. Some went straight to the bar for a cocktail, others took seats at the long community table or at high tops, but most rushed to the terrace to take in the vista. I sat at the bar and watched the iPhones pan, tilt, and flash at every nook and cranny of the bar. Cameron Mitchell was going for Instagrammable and social media, and I’d be damned if he didn’t nail it. But, the photogenic nature doesn’t stop with the aesthetic.

Nearly every one of Lincoln Social’s cocktails come in their own uniquely beautiful glass. “When Mary Met Arnold,” Lincoln’s take on a boozy Arnold Palmer tea, is served in a dainty blue and white teapot and poured into a matching teacup over dry ice (say hello to the perfect smokey Boomerang). “You Had Me At Hello” is made from Lillet Blanc, aloe, peach-chile, citrus, and served in stemware with a red lipstick kiss on the side, which is actually a scented stamp bartenders press on the glass—a play on the classic service industry faux pas. And “Luke Skywalker,” my personal favorite, is sipped out of a fancy etched rocks glass and garnished with colorful flowers (shoutout to Chloe Emmons at Potion Matcha Bar for hooking up the tea in this tasty drink!). “Tokyo Drift” gets an honorable mention because of its fresh and spicy taste, and its patronization of Watershed’s award-winning Guild Series Gin. 

You’re probably feeling pretty hungry after all that booze talk, huh? Lincoln Social kept their menu short, swimming, and even a little bit sweet. I highly recommend Lincoln Social’s Wagyu Beef Sliders. At only $4 a pop, these tasty little beefy buns are worth their weight in gold. But, there are also some standout seafood options, too, like the Lobster Corn Dogs, Shrimp Ceviche, Tuna Poke, and Peeky Toe Crab—all under $15! You just have to promise me you’ll end your Lincoln dining experience with the Birthday Cake Cone, okay? It’s the cutest thing this side of Fiona. 

I could spend a few hundred more words describing the knowledgeable and well-groomed staff, the attractive lighting, or how the two modestly-sized TVs above the bar satisfy sporto customers, yet do not distract from the overall ambiance, but I think seven little words will do the trick: people of Columbus absolutely adore Lincoln Social. It’s fresh. It’s unique. It’s the high-end, crowd-pleasing Short North experience you can only get when a rooftop concept and Cameron Mitchell collide. So, get in line Columbus—you’re going to want to see this for yourself.

Lincoln Social is located on 711 N High St.
For more information on the menu and offerings,
visit lincolnsocialrooftop.com.

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Coming Soon: New High St restaurant to focus on tapas, cocktails, wine

614now

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There will soon be a new place to nosh on High Street. Nosh on High, a chef-driven restaurant focused on American tapas and shareables, craft cocktails, and wine will open at 149 S. High St. this summer.

The restaurant, opening in the space previously occupied by Cup O Joe across from the Columbus Commons, is brought to you by Mike Campbell and Kevin Jones, formerly of Milestone 229.

“We really want to appeal to the businesses around us for lunch meetings and private events, and also the people that live and visit downtown who want a fun night out,” stated Jones. “Nosh on High is a place where you can enjoy really good food and drinks and even better conversations together.”

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The restaurant will focus largely on lunch and dinner service with most menu items under $25. Guest can book the private dining room for parties of up to 30 people.

“We spent a lot of time traveling around the midwest to different restaurants and we found that more and more people were sharing plates and enjoying smaller bites together, ” stated Rusty Scarberry, General Manager of Nosh on High. “We have created a special menu that emphasizes American tapas, and our chef, Benjamin Kershaw, has really used his experience and expertise to create an exceptional menu.”

Nosh on High will be open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner service beginning at 11am, and for dinner on Saturdays. For more information, please visit www.noshonhigh.com.

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8 local seafood dishes to send your palate on a vacation

Kevin J. Elliott

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“You can’t get good seafood in this town…”

Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before. But, these eight dishes prove that Columbus is trying to buck the trend with inventive dishes that prove that theory all wet.

Make the most of no-coast Columbus with these seafood standouts.

Paella Mariscos | Barcelona, 263 E Whittier St, Columbus

The menu of Barcelona has stood the test of time and weathered Columbus’s ever-shifting palettes. If you’re craving a bounty of seafood, there’s no better refuge than the German Village mainstay. Especially considering their Paella Mariscos as the be-all, end-all feast. Their take on the Spanish rice tradition features fried soft shell crabs, lobster, shrimp, squid, clams, mussels, and plenty of spice. If you’re in search of seafood, this should have all of your bases covered.

Mussel Escabeche | Lupo on Arlington, 2124 Arlington Ave, Columbus

Lupo has quickly become a new gem in Columbus’s dining scene, and fans of seafood and Spanish-inspired tapas should take particular note. In addition to frequently having a variety of oysters on the half-shell, their menu is packed with fresh, delicate, seafood dishes. The mussel escabeche is relatively foreign to Columbus menus, but here it’s done to perfection. Served cold, the mussels are first cooked in a citrus and vinegar marinade, before being presented with saffron, white wine, and garlic. It’s a perfect summer delicacy, best enjoyed on Lupo’s scenic patio.

Grumpy’s Gumbo | Frank’s Seafood, 5249 Trabue Rd, Columbus

We’ve spotlighted this Hilliard fish market and their subsequent restaurant in the magazine before, but we wanted to highlight them once again. Beyond the fresh fish and shellfish you can order to-go, or their expert boils, Wil Mendez’s award-winning gumbo—chocked full of shrimp, crab, and andouille sausage—is a genuine crowd-pleaser and the only gumbo you should order outside of New Orleans. Frank’s has a definite seaside vibe, even within is confines among a west side industrial park.

Lobster Bisque | Lindey’s, 169 E Beck St, Columbus

Lindey’s and lobster bisque are basically synonymous. This menu mainstay is a creamy concoction of sherry chantilly, chives, and diced shrimp. It would be irresponsible to start your meal any other way. And speaking of your meal, Lindey’s is a sanctuary for seafood. Market fresh fish, crab cakes, trout, Australian sea bass, sixty south salmon and more swim through the menu daily.

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Coquilles St. Jacques | Windward Passage, 4739 Reed Rd, Columbus

For the ultimate seafood dining experience, there’s no better place to visit than the timespun Windward Passage. Eating in the windowless, scrimshaw filled Henderson Road fixture is akin to eating on the stern of a pirate ship. Among their staples is the Coquilles St. Jacques, served in a colossal shell, it’s a French-inspired recipe that bakes scallops into a decadent casserole of mushrooms, breadcrumbs, and cheese. Save room for all the oyster crackers between courses.

Read Gary F.‘s review of Windward Passage Restaurant on Yelp

Charred Octopus | Cosecha Cocina, 987 N 4th St, Columbus

Perhaps seafood’s trendiest dish, octopus has been spotted on menus all over town as of late. But the charred octopus starter at Cosecha is a simple dish accenting the texture and bubblegum-of-the-sea flavors of the centerpiece. Over a bed of tomatoes, pepitas, olives, and potatoes, the charred octopus is a must-order on your next visit to the Cocina.

Oysters | The Guild House, 624 N High St, Columbus

We know that Cameron Mitchell gets most of his oyster press from The Pearl across the street, but you’d be wise not to overlook the Guild House’s version, served with champagne mignonette, grape granita, black pepper, and shaved grapes. It’s somehow simple and decadent at once, and tastes twice as good as it looks—which is crazy, because it’s one of the best-looking dishes you’ll see.

Gouda Grits and Shrimp | Momma Can Cook

Try to track down Momma Can Cook and you’ll get hip to their most popular menu item with a couple rudimentary scans of their reviews. While the culinary crowd is lighter in the seafood sea, there are food trucks everywhere, so when people are dropping lines like “one of the best meals I’ve ever gotten from a food truck,” we’re lining up to taste that gouda, tomatoes, bacon, scallions, and of course … shrimp!

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