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Beyond the Latte: I put pumpkin spice on everything and it was really weird

Chris Manis

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Spice World
Illustration by Anastasia Markova  
Originally in (614) Magazine October 2016


This year I’ve decided to stop making jokes about Pumpkin Spice Lattes and join the bandwagon.

No, I’m not talking about simply ordering a PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) from Starbucks, I’m talking fully embracing the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Life). What was once reserved for coffee drinks and actual pumpkin pies is now a full on revolution that has invaded nearly every food and drink category imaginable. To become a true Spice Head, I needed to bring the sweet flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger into every meal.

Entry One: A Song of Spice and Fire

On my drive home today, I saw some fellow Spice Heads waiting in a long line at the Starbucks drive through. Were it not for the traffic making an already long drive nearly unbearable, I would have stopped and blessed them with my PST (Pumpkin Spice Tin). Upon arriving home, it was time to begin dinner. I’ve been trying to eat somewhat healthy, and I had some boneless skinless chicken breasts and some green beans in the fridge, so my dinner was pretty much set. Normally I would brush a little olive oil on the chicken, and roast them in the oven, with some salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning, however tonight was going to be special.

I brushed on the oil, and instead of reaching for my usual spices, I grabbed the PST (Pumpkin Spice Tin) from my bag. I added a healthy dose of my new life force (a teaspoon or two) and put them in the oven to focus on the haricot vert. I like to steam my green beans, and so I got some water boiling and set up my steam basket. I was worried that the spice wouldn’t stick to beans, so after they were finished I tossed them in some olive oil, before sprinkling on the PS (Pumpkin Spice). This did the trick. I could smell my PSC (Pumpkin Spice Chicken) roasting in the oven, and I was pretty excited. When my chicken was finished, I plated it nicely with my PSGB (Pumpkin Spice Green Beans) and dug in.

I have to say, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this meal, and it could have gone sideways really easily, but it actually turned out pretty nice. Both the chicken and green beans were cooked well, and the PS (Pumpkin Spice) didn’t detract from the meal at all. It wasn’t off-putting and almost reminded me of thanksgiving when you fill your plate with 5 different things and the flavors bleed together.

Chicken & Green beans: 3 Pumpkins Out of 5

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Entry Two: Spice Head Picks a Peck of Pumpkin Pizza

I found myself hungry today in Clintonville, and decided to stop in for the lunch special (half salad and a small pizza) at Harvest. It’s one of my favorite lunch specials in town because their Kale Caesar is maybe the only salad I ever crave, and pizza is well….pizza. I was tempted to leave my PST (Pumpkin Spice Tin) in the car, but I chose this life, and I wasn’t about to give up. I spoke with sous chef John Franke briefly after I arrived, and though he was skeptical, he agreed to spice up my usual special. I handed over my precious PST (Pumpkin Spice Tin) into his capable hands.

Moments later my Kale Caesar arrived and Chef Franke explained that the dressing had been infused with some PSL (Pumpkin Spice Love). This salad was a bit of a struggle, Diary, because the bites that included hazelnuts were quite pleasant, but the bites with lots of parmesan were not ideal. I scavenged around for a bit looking for hazelnuts, but in the end, I just don’t think this will make it onto the fall menu.

Next to arrive was my PSPP (Pumpkin Spice Pepperoni Pizza). It had been sprinkled with a bit of spice before it went into the oven, so it could really get that flavor incorporated into the cheese. You could tell immediately from the smell that this was no ordinary trip to pizzaville. Chef Franke asked how it turned out and I was happy to report that it was a success. The Pumpkin Spice worked well with the salty pepperoni, and really just gave it a more savory note. It seems counter-intuitive, but if you think of ham instead of pepperoni it makes perfect sense. When you roast a glazed ham for the holidays, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger make perfect sense, and they work well with pepperoni too. Definitely an enjoyable pizza. I would eat it again. Plus the crust basically turned into those cinnamon stick dessert things that chain pizza places serve.

Caesar: 2 Pumpkins Out of 5
Pizza: 4 Pumpkins Out of 5

Entry Three: Spice Head and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Eggs

Maybe I got too greedy, or perhaps I’m just foolish, but I’ve made a terrible mistake, Diary. I want to be very clear when I say this; PSSE (Pumpkin Spice Scrambled Eggs) are truly awful. They are the absolute worst. Very jarring and altogether unacceptable. It’s like when you’re a kid and you think you’re about to take a sip of apple juice, but really it’s your dad’s warm beer. You expect one flavor, and what you get is just a fucking mess. The color is a murky brown similar to the dregs of a week old PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte).

Run as far away as you can. These are as bad as it gets.

I’ve covered three meals, and I think it’s all I can do, Diary. I hate to cut it short, but the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Life) just isn’t for me. I thought I could live it, truly embrace it, but it is yet another failed experiment.

Scrambled Eggs : 0 Pumpkins Out of 5

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Food & Drink

10 unique vendors announced for Hilliard’s community market

614now Staff

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They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but that's not the case with one local city. A brand new community market is coming soon to Old Hilliard!

Center Street Market, a new community market, set to open next month with the intention to support local food and retail vendors, according to its Facebook

So far, 10 vendors have been announced: Al’s Delicious Popcorn, Bakes by Lo, the Cheesecake Girl, Coffee Connections of Hilliard, Dumplings of Fury, Legacy Station (from the owners of Legacy Smokehouse), Meatball Mafia, Pitabilities, Rime Time Curiously Crafted Pops, and Serendipity.

Scroll down to see photos and learn more about these vendors.

For more information on the Center Street Market anchor, Crooked Can Brewing Company, click here.

Al’s Delicious Popcorn

Al's Delicious Popcorn offers 60+ flavors of gourmet popcorn in a variety of colors and sizes.

Bakes by Lo

Serving up specially handmade decorated cookies to satisfy your sweet tooth.

The Cheesecake Girl

Creative made-from-scratch cheesecakes made locally and deliciously.

Coffee Connections of Hilliard

Fresh locally roasted coffee and espresso, teas, chai, bagels, donuts, muffins, scones, cookies, full catering services and more.

Dumplings of Fury

Tender, succulent, traditional dim sum.

Legacy Station (from the owners of Legacy Smokehouse)

Experience the Tradition of Central Texas Barbecue at Legacy Smokehouse. Bringing a little taste of Central Texas to Central Ohio.

Meatball Mafia

Two-time Food Truck Fest winner, Meatball Mafia offers hot, juicy meatballs smothered in cheese and sauce.

Pitabilities

Mediterranean and American flavors at Pitabilities, with fresh ingredients made-to-order just the way you like it.

Rime Time Curiously Crafted Pops

Creative popsicles Seasonal produce, specialty ingredients, and creative pops. Made with science, delivered on wheels, eaten with love.

Serendipity

Serendipity; The art of happy discoveries will offer vintage, repurposed, and handcrafted home decor, gifts and furniture.

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Food & Drink

Insanely creative ice cream shop now treating Short North

614now Staff

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A Mexican-style ice creamery is now open in the Short North.

Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory opened its doors for the first time Thursday at 1127 N High St. 

The unique, family-owned ice cream shop specializes in unique, fruit-forward treats like the "Crazy Pineapple," berry paletas, and Mangonada. Dulce Vida also serves hot foods like Mexican Street Corn, tamales, walking tacos, and tortas.

Dulce Vida also has locations at 4201 W Broad St. and 6140 Cleveland Ave. See way more offerings on Instagram.

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Food & Drink

Hilliard’s 1st brewery is finally tapped

614now Staff

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Hilliard's first brewery is officially open! Hop heads can now gather at Crooked Can, an Orlando-based brewery located at 5354 Center St.

The 4,000-square-foot taproom currently has a handful of brews available, with plans to roll out a total of 16 in the future.

When the weather improves, guests can enjoy their High Stepper American IPAs and McSwagger’s Own Amber Ales on Crooked Can's 7,000-square-foot patio.

The brewery anchors Hilliard's Center Street Market, expected to open in March.

Through final construction projects, Crooked Can will be open 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu.; 4-11 p.m. Fri.; 2-11 p.m. Sat. and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.

For more information, visit crookedcanohio.com.

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