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Tastebud Trip: Food of Philippines in Grandview

Mike Thomas

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Welcome to our ongoing feature highlighting the best international cuisine in Columbus. Consider this your challenge to try something new!

After centuries of Spanish rule followed by decades of insular governance under US authority, the cuisine of the Philippines is like a living record of the nation’s complicated history. The colonial past of the archipelagic South Pacific nation has resulted in a unique cultural synthesis, combining aspects of Asian tradition and western influence.

Colonialism is a word that carries many negative connotations. Likewise, no one word in the culinary sphere may be regarded with more disdain than “fusion.” Nevertheless, the remarkable Filipino cuisine at Grandview’s Bonifacio shows that a collision of cultures can, it certain cases, yield very great things.

When I visited Bonifacio on a mid-week afternoon, I was treated to a trio sampling from the bar’s stock of fresh-squeezed juice, including familiar topical favorites like mango and guava. The star of show was the juice of the calamansi, featuring a hybrid citrus fruit that is a ubiquitous in Filipino cuisine (think lemon/lime flavor, but with the tartness dialed way down).

Guava, calamansi, and mango juices

The first course served was Tinola, which is a Filipino chicken soup prepared with ginger, garlic, onion, green papaya, and spinach. The rich broth was deep with flavor, and came with two succulent pieces of bone-in chicken thigh hiding beneath spinach leaves. The chicken was somewhat unwieldy in this pool of broth, but for a soup this satisfying, there are worse problems to have.

As a special main course, I was served a mixed sampling of all of the protein choices available in the restaurant’s primary lunch offering, the Bonibowl. Whichever protein you choose, the accompanying side is a sous-vide egg atop a heap of garlic rice. Once you’ve had rice this way, it’s hard to go back to anything else.

Bonibowl

Meat-wise, the Spanish influence on Filipino cuisine shines through in Bonifacio’s Longanisa sausage, which is more reminiscent of a teriyaki preparations in flavor than its latin cousin.

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For the more adventurous, there’s the Sisig: tender chunks of pork shoulder sautĂ©ed with garlic, onion, ginger, and bell pepper, finished with lime juice and chili pepper. This spicy creation is traditionally prepared using meat from the face of the pig, but this Americanized version still packs plenty of flavor.

For first time visitors to Bonificio, or those new to Filipino cooking in general, the adobo is requisite eating. Another word borrowed from the Spanish, adobo refers to a preparation of meat (usually chicken) marinated and simmered in a mixture vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns. Bonifacio’s adobo chicken is tender and juicy. Remarkably, the adobo process manages to create some novel flavors (to the western palate) for America’s go-to protein.

With a full bar, including South-Pacific-inspired craft cocktails and draft beer from Ohio mainstays like Rhinegeist and Brewdog, Bonifacio is just as well suited to a night out as a fast and tasty lunch. Be sure to save room for dessert, whether its in the form of ube ice cream sandwich or leechee flan (talk about east meets west). For the total dessert package try, Halo Halo, a creamy mix of shaved ice topped with with a medley of preserves, ube ice cream, and leche flan.

For anyone who thinks fusion is just another played-out trend in cooking, the OG culinary mashup found in Filipino food may make you reconsider. The fare at Bonifacio combines familiar aspects of Asian, Spanish, and American cooking traditions to create flavors that are truly original.

Is there an international restaurant you’d like to see us cover? Let us know in the comments!

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Food & Drink

Westerville’s Wine Bistro has a new name—reopens Thursday with makeover

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Even though City Brands announced that the Wine Bistro in Worthington wouldn’t be returning, there were initial rumors that the Westerville location also wouldn’t be making a comeback.

Original reports were wrong, and City Brands announced the return of the Westerville Wine Bistro, 925 N. State St.,on July 9 after a light remodel. You can find the (614) report on the City Brands reopenings and closings here.

The remodeling isn’t the only thing that’s going to be new about the Wine Bistro in Westerville, though. Or as we should we say now, NAPA Kitchen + Bar. With locations  in Westerville, Dublin, and Montgomery, Ohio,  NAPA Kitchen + Bar is a sister concept to The Wine Bistro.

“We feel the NAPA Kitchen + Bar concept will really appeal to a wide range of guests in Westerville. We wanted to undertake this conversion for quite a while but never found the right time to close down for the renovations,” Tim Rollins, President of The Metropolitan Companies and owner of NAPA kitchen + bar, said in a press release on Thursday.

The restaurant will be open Monday through Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4 to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 4 to 8 p.m.

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Rye In July

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Rye in July featuring the Algonquin! We teamed up with Brown-Forman, Woodford Reserve, and local bartender Ben Griest from Giuseppe’s Ritrovo for this tasty Rye, perfect for July! Today's Rye is featuring the Algonquin, with notes of spice, tobacco, and fruit balanced throughout this cocktail - it's sure to please!

The Algonquin

**SPONSORED**

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Milestone 229 overcomes 2020 challenges, to reopen soon

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Editors' Note: The originally published version of this article mentioned a revamped venue in the last paragraph. It meant to read revamped menu.

Every industry has taken a hit this year. It’s cliche to generalize it. With that being said, some businesses have taken more damage than others.

Milestone 229, located on the river’s Scioto Mile, was forced to closed in March along with all the other restaurants across Ohio, as the restaurant industry took a hit despite the uptick in carryout orders.

Just as things seemed to be coming back to normal, as restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen, the protests demanding change during the Black Lives Matter movement brought an unexpected rioting component that had devastating effects for Milestone 229.

The downtown, upscale eatery with the playful fountain for kids and adults alike, took an extra hit when rioting, looting, and vandalism broke down the windows of the restaurant on Thursday, May 29. Milestone 229 was supposed to reopen the upcoming Monday.

Photo by Julian Foglietti.

Griggs has tried his best to stay positive through it all, finding some valuable and much-needed help along the way.

“A good friend of the restaurant, Cathy King, executive vice president of Wasserstrom, started a GoFundMe page for Milestone 229. We are using that money to help relaunch the restaurant.  We also had many friends and family come down the morning after the riots to help clean up the broken glass.”

Doug Griggs, co-owner of Milestone 229


Now, recovering once again, Milestone 229 is set to open back up on Wednesday, July 8. The fine-dining establishment will offer patio and dining room seating, as well as a new curbside pickup. Co-owner Doug Griggs said in an email that the restaurant was able to keep the majority of its patio seating and over half of its dining room seating. 

Milestone 229 has a new menu revamped for the summer as well. You can view it here.

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