Date Night at The Guild House

Thomas and I like to think of ourselves as a “let’s eat pizza in bed” type of couple, but this past Sunday, we put on our fancy hats and hit the Short North for a date night. Ohio received some beautiful weather this weekend, so we weren’t about to take that for granted. That being said, I was exhausted yesterday from exposing myself to so much sunlight. It’s like I was a vampire over the winter – I chose to wear a dress to blind everyone with my pale legs. Needless to say, I am ready for this warmth and sunshine to stay!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Bourbon and grapefruit juice… this may become my summer drink

I wasn’t sure where Tom and I were headed the other night; he made surprise reservations, though, so I knew it would be something good. Not to my surprise, it exceeded my expectations.

The Guild House is one of the many Cameron Mitchell restaurants popping up in the Columbus area. And to be perfectly honest, this one is the best. I’ve been to almost all of his restaurants and I can attest to their accommodating service and impeccable eats. We were greeted by the maitre d’ with warmth and enthusiasm. He checked on us periodically and made sure I had everything I needed in terms of my gluten allergy. Speaking of which, the gluten-free rolls were incredible – moist, flavorful, and fresh. I love the bread Cameron Mitchell uses in his restaurants. They never taste too grainy or spongy, like most do.

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset
Perfectly sculpted hair, Tom

It should be noted that the food here is exceptional, and I’m not just saying this because Thomas knows the executive chef, himself. Sure, we expected the food to be delicious, but this blew our minds. The scallops were as soft as butter, and melted in your mouth as such, bursting with flavor. I had to hold myself back from throwing the fork behind me, grabbing them all with my hands and shoving them into my mouth like a barbarian. But I’m a lady sometimes and people were watching. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t in the sanctity of my own home, dipping garlic bread in butter and binge-watching Bob’s Burgers.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Finally, something that isn’t bread, tomato sauce, and pepperoni.

Thomas ordered the chicken roulade, easily the star of the show. Our fabulous waiter informed us that this chicken takes about three days to make, and we understand why. Chicken can be very boring, but it can also be very flavorful, depending on how you marinade it, etc, etc… However, this was matchless. You cannot make this at home, guys. The best chicken I’ve ever had. Period. End of story. Need I say more?

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The price is high for smaller portion sizes, but this is quality dining and to be expected. My suggestion would be to order side dishes in addition to your meal, however, you’ll obviously be paying more for this. In terms of parking, there’s a parking garage right across the street where you’ll pay around $5, but they do offer valet for $10. Otherwise, the Short North can be highly trafficked so be sure to arrive early enough to scour the area for a spot.

I think I’ve said enough to lure you into a date night at the renowned Guild House. John Paul Iacobucci’s Italian heritage and artistic approach to food is a genius addition to Cameron Mitchell’s unforgettable dining experience. Bravo. Beautiful interior design, outstanding service, incredible cuisine… This is the new Columbus staple, no doubt.

  • Food = 5/5 Stars
  • Price = $$$
  • Service = 5/5 Stars
  • Location = 5/5 Stars
  • Atmosphere = 5/5 Stars
  • Website
  • Menu

Caitlin

Advertisements

Dough Mama

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Tom and I discovered Dough Mama about a month ago while eating at Cornerstone Cafe. It seemed to pop up in a day’s time… either that, or we’re totally oblivious of what happens in Clintonville. In any case, we vowed to ditch DK Diner the next weekend and give Dough Mama’s breakfast a try. We weren’t disappointed.

This tiny bakery with its yellow exterior has a great atmosphere. It’s cozy, simple, and refreshing. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to eat anything off of their menu since I have a gluten allergy, but they were very accommodating. The oatmeal didn’t make my stomach sound like an old man grumbling and it tasted great (I don’t usually have a problem with oatmeal, but some Celiacs advise against it). Tom really enjoyed his meatloaf sandwich, too. I suppose our only disappointment involved the side dishes. They serve their breakfast with salad, which is great if you’re healthy and cool, but Tom and I are lame and want potatoes dipped in grease… or, you know, any kind of potato dish will do.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset
This lamp took me places I’ve never been… if you know where I can find it, lemme know

Their coffee is top-notch. Have you ever heard of Thunderkiss? It’s based in Columbus and it’s the best coffee I’ve ever had. Well, Dough Mama has it. So thank you, Dough Mama, for contributing to my coffee addiction.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
A well-groomed man, Tom waits as the caffeine courses through his veins and those children behind him become real

Tom decided against buying a pastry since we were full from breakfast, but I’d love to go back and see what they’re all about. Unfortunately, they don’t have any gluten-free baked goods on the menu, so in the meantime, I’ll just have to sit and watch Tom enjoy them *cue the sad violins*.

Dough Mama is located right on High Street, about a block away from North Broadway, so the location is great. You’ll have to park on the street, I believe, but parking is free.

Prices are a little high, but it’s worth it. The food is fresh, the coffee is outrageous, and the atmosphere is relaxed… we’ll definitely be back.

  • Food = 4/5 Stars
  • Price = $$
  • Service = 4/5 Stars
  • Location = 4/5 Stars
  • Atmosphere = 5/5 Stars
  • Website

Caitlin

Review: German Village Coffee Shop

It’s no secret that Caitlin and I LOVE breakfast. A lot of the reviews and recipes we post revolve around the most important meal of the day. What’s not to love about a “balanced” meal complete with eggs, bacon or sausage and some sort of carb? Extra points for grease! Lucky for us, Columbus is a breakfast Mecca. Recently I ventured over to German Village to try the highly-rated German Village Coffee shop.

This tiny diner has a DK-Diner or Nancy’s feel, complete with a crowded counter, the greasy aroma of meat and potatoes frying and line cooks preparing your food on over-sized griddles right in front of you. After a night of drinking, this is the perfect place to cure your hangover and enjoy a classic breakfast.

The atmosphere is casual and full of regulars and German Village young professionals. It’s safe to show up in your sweatpants, or your cloths from the night before. I’d recommend arriving at noon or before because the space is very small and tends to fill up quickly. Parking is street only and can be tricky. There were luckily two spots at the counter available for Brian and I when we got there at noon.

The menu is very basic and does not feature many items. The traditional breakfast favorites such as eggs, bacon, sausage, western omelets, hash browns and French toast are available, along with a few lunch sandwiches and burgers. Typically they feature a special written on a small chalkboard above the cashier. When we went, they were serving a bourbon French toast.

I opted for a classic scrambled egg breakfast with bacon, toast and cheesy hash browns. While simple and not difficult to prepare, this breakfast was downright delicious. The hash browns had the perfect amount of crisp and gooey cheese while the eggs were scrambled to perfection. In my opinion, the bacon was crispy and delicious but to some it could be a tad on the salty side. Brian’s western omelet was just as amazing and packed to the brim with green peppers, onions cheese and ham.

The service was average but what I would expect for a casual, short-staffed diner. While it took a while for our waiter to spot us and walk over, he made up for it in friendliness. We only waited about 15 minutes to get our food which wasn’t bad for the crowd.

Pricing were very reasonable and inexpensive and I left feeling full and ready for a nap. Bottom line: If you’re looking for a cheap, casual, greasy place to enjoy a hungover breakfast, The German Village Coffee Shop is one of your best options.

Pictures to come later!

  • Food = 4/5 Stars
  • Price= $
  • Service = 3/5 Stars
  • Location= 3/5 Stars
  • Menu
  • Website

CATIE

Q2 Bistro: Home of the Perfect Food

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

My co-worker and I recently decided that Ritz crackers are a “perfect food.” This is not to say that it’s the best food that ever existed; it just means that it cannot be improved upon. It’s very difficult to achieve such an honorable mention, and very rarely have I stumbled across such a realization. However, I feel it my duty to report those victories, hence the creation of this blog.

I usually pack my lunch for work, but every once in awhile, I’ll eat at one of the millions of restaurants at Polaris. My absolute favorite is Q2 Bistro, home to one of the “perfect foods” on my list. Their firecracker chicken is out of this world, and their other food isn’t half-bad, either.

If you’re shopping at Polaris, you’ll have to drive down the street to get to Q2, but I assure you, it’s worth it. Located off of Polaris Pkwy., this tiny Asian bistro will make your mouth water just by looking at the picture above. Although the space is small (you’re literally rubbing elbows with the person next to you), this is still a great place for a casual date… but many like to come here on their lunch break. Translation: if it’s noon on a weekday, beware of a packed house and a sea of suit-coats. You may even see me in there, hanging out with the waitstaff because they’re the coolest people I’ve ever met… and I make sure to hug them as soon as I walk in the door. Not to mention, these people are FAST. I mean, you’ll get your food within five to ten minutes, no joke.

The food here is untouchable. You will never be disappointed. But if you’re ordering for the first time (and you like spicy), order the firecracker chicken with white onion, AKA a perfect food. In addition, each rice bowl comes with two small egg rolls. The portions are big, but not too big, so you don’t need to split a dish. If I have anything leftover, I take it home with me… because I get extremely greedy with Q2 and can’t imagine sharing any of my meal. Not to mention, the prices aren’t too shabby; I pay around $10 every time.

In conclusion… run to her…

  • Food = 5/5 Stars
  • Price = $$
  • Service = 5/5 Stars
  • Location = 3/5 Stars
  • Atmosphere = 4/5 Stars
  • Website
  • Menu

Caitlin

Hot Chicken Takeover: A Drama

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

I hope you enjoyed that jolt of motivation from reading Catie’s last post on the benefits of cooking your own meals… because I’m about to spoil it for you. Ladies and gentlemen of Columbus, get ready for yet another blog post dedicated to Hot Chicken Takeover.


It was a quiet day here at GSW Advertising. Word of Hot Chicken Takeover arriving for lunch had quickly spread around the office. As I sat outside at a picnic table, working on my laptop, I patiently awaited the infamous food truck. It was 11:20AM; it would open in exactly ten minutes. I could see the truck in plain sight and knew I had a chance to be one of the first in line to eat the delectable, savory chicken. I had only one task left in my inbox and then I would be home-free… but disaster struck. My emails weren’t sending.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Panicking, I rushed inside to find a better internet connection. With tears welling in my eyes, I clicked send again. Success! Just as I was about to walk outside, I felt a rumble. I looked at the clock; it was 11:30AM. Suddenly, a stampede of co-workers flew past me. I was too late. The line was longer than any I had ever seen. I fell to ground, looked up at the sky and screamed “WHY?!” I had been defeated.

As I walked towards my car, I heard a fellow co-worker yell my name:

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“Earth Fare… the line isn’t worth it.”

Contemplating my life choices, I sobbed uncontrollably over sushi, thinking how often life mistreats me. At 1PM, I grabbed my purse, and headed back to the office.

Upon my arrival, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Hot Chicken Takeover was still in the parking lot. I ran towards that beautiful truck and placed my order: four hot drumsticks with a side of coleslaw. A smile spread across my face as they handed me the chicken. Like a maniac, I instantly became paranoid. “I must hide this tender, spicy chicken immediately,” I said to myself. I thanked the two nice men and scurried back to the office, where I hid my dinner for that evening.

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset
“Just smile and give the girl her chicken… you know the drill”

Later that evening, my boyfriend and I opened the fridge and unwrapped the chicken from its foil – its golden goodness glowing! We heated it up in the oven and prepped our tongues for a spicy treat. We sat down at the table, looked each other in the eyes, and took a bite.

It was terrible.

I’m kidding, it was amazing.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Although I didn’t actually go to Hot Chicken Takeover (rather, it graced me with its presence via food truck), the experience was a good one. The chicken was juicy, salty, and spicy! HCT has four spice levels: cold, warm, hot, and holy. If you don’t like spicy, you might want to go for the cold option, since I heard the warm option is pretty intense. I got the hot option and my lips were stinging (in the best possible way). Also, you have to have a taste for salty food in order to enjoy this chicken.

The food truck is difficult to get, so jump on the opportunity if it’s presented to you. Otherwise, you’ll have to drive to the North Market. Beware: their hours are wonky. They’re open Wednesday-Sunday, 11AM-3PM, but closed Monday and Tuesday. While I can’t comment on the atmosphere, I will say that the two men running the truck were very nice and very funny.

Alright… so if you haven’t thrown your computer across the room after reading my over-dramatic account of Hot Chicken Takeover, here’s what I can offer in terms of my limited experience with the food:

  • Food = 5/5 Stars
  • Price = $$
  • Service = 5/5 Stars
  • Location = 4/5 Stars
  • Website
  • Menu

Caitlin

DK Diner (My Happy Place)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Sometimes I wonder if my family hated me as a child. When we’d go on vacations, I’d make everyone eat their McDonald’s breakfast inside the restaurant because I couldn’t stand the smell of a McGriddle in the car. Luckily, I’m not an idiot kid anymore. Also, I actually look forward to breakfast now, so much so my friends and I created a weekend diner tradition.

Columbus is an excellent city to explore local restaurants, especially those in the breakfast realm. If you live in Clintonville, you have Nancy’s, the Crest, Jack and Benny’s, Wildflower, and that’s only the beginning of what you’ll find in just one town. But I have to admit, when I find a good diner, it takes a lot of persuading to get me to move on to another. DK Diner is totally that place for me right now.

Located in Grandview Heights, DK Diner is tucked away in a neighborhood right near 5th and Kenny Rd.  This concealed location isn’t enough to deter customers, though; everyone in Columbus seems to know and love this exceptional, noteworthy restaurant. However, since the diner is located in the middle of a neighborhood, parking is difficult. If you’re lucky enough to find a spot in its tiny parking lot, I speak on behalf of everyone when I say congratulations, you lucky jerk. The streets around it are narrow, but it is possible to find a spot on Elmwood Avenue. My secret is to go on a Saturday when there’s a home OSU football game; the place is dead and you can eat all of the home fries your little heart desires.

Speaking of home fries, let’s move on to the food. It’s unreal, even if you order off of their lunch menu (but for the love of God, do yourself a favor and order their breakfast). Whenever I visit any new diner, I usually order their traditional breakfast to see if it passes the test (scrambled cheesy eggs, extra crispy bacon, potatoes, and sourdough bread). DK Diner went above and beyond my expectations. Their eggs are soft, their bacon is perfectly crisp, and their home fries are basically just mini french fries. Let me repeat: their home fries are miniature french fries. Plus, you can get them loaded.

Feast your eyes, hungry ones
Feast your eyes, oh hungry ones

Since that pivotal day when I sunk my teeth into DK Diner’s “Teny” Little Breakfast, I’ve investigated some of their other menu items (equally as good, if not better). The boyfriend is a fiend for their Donut Sandy. This delectable sandwich features two over hard eggs, melted American cheese, and bacon all on a glazed donut.

DK's donuts are one for the books and will go down in history
DK’s donuts are one for the books and will go down in history until the end of time

The service at DK Diner is very laid-back. Drinks are self-serve (did I mention how much I love their coffee?) and the waitstaff is very nice, but not entirely talkative. If you’ve read some of my restaurant reviews before, you know how insouciant I am about service in the first place (read: I don’t care as long as you feed me good foodstuff).

If my pictures haven’t elicited strong desires to bathe in a pool full of DK Diner’s home fries, then just take my word for it: this place is the bomb.

  • Food = 5/5 Stars
  • Price = $
  • Service = 4/5 Stars
  • Location = 3/5 Stars
  • Atmosphere = 5/5 Stars
  • Website
  • Menu

Caitlin

Honest Opinions: The Crest

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

There are a lot of conflicting reviews concerning the Crest Gastropub. It’s received a high 3.5/5 stars on Yelp, Facebook, and Zomato, but I find there’s slight ambiguity towards the establishment.

To catch you up to speed, the Crest is an upscale, casual restaurant located in Clintonville. While “upscale” and “casual” are paradoxical in nature, I’d consider them appropriate contradictions to describe the gastropub. Per their website, the Crest “focuse[s] on craft beer, local spirits, and fresh quality food” (emphasis on fresh). The ingredients used in all of their food are sourced and grown locally; in fact, you can see the majority of these herbs and vegetables surrounding the perimeter of the restaurant.

So why all of the mixed reviews? I’ve heard it all: while the food may be fresh, the taste isn’t worth the price; the rooftop garden, while appealing and very cozy, smells like garbage (the dumpsters are located right next to the building); the service is “mehh”, etc… In other words? It’s overrated.

I’m here to set the record straight, or at least attempt to set the record straight. Catie and I live a block away from the restaurant, therefore, we frequent the establishment every so often (there’s your hint, everyone… we keep coming back).

I’ve experienced the Crest in almost every facet (breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks in the evening, etc…) and my reviews are similar across the board:

First and foremost, I love the atmosphere. Its rustic, yet farm-to-table decor (this post is full of oxymoron’s) fits the Clintonville, hipster aesthetic perfectly. During the daytime, the multitudinous windows let a beautiful natural light fill the space (sans being overbearing). There’s usually a band playing during brunch, too, so that’s pretty cool. At night, the dimmed, ambient mood-lighting is perfect, but the noise-level is a little high due to the volume of Crest-goers. And I hate to say it, but the garbage-smell rumors are true. A group of us experienced it first-hand… but it wasn’t enough to deter me from the space. It’s beautiful and very intimate up there and it’s definitely suitable for your family gathering (on a smaller scale) or for a group of friends. It’s almost perfect for a romantic date night… but I’d clear the air on where the smell is coming from.

The service is sub-par, but I’d consider it adequate for the high-volume of traffic coming in and out all hours of the day/night. Needless to say, every single server I’ve ever had has been gracious, kind, and considerate. It might just make up for the small mistakes they make along the way (rest assured: the mistakes are nothing major).

Location is obviously a huge win for me and Catie; we live a block away, so parking isn’t even on our radar. The restaurant is situated on one of the main streets of Clintonville, Indianola Ave, and if you have the pleasure of living in the neighborhood, the walk is pretty great and the neighbors are the best in Columbus (I think 50% of my neighbors are cats). If you don’t have the luxury of living down the street like we do, parking can be a little obnoxious, especially during the winter or when it’s raining. The parking lot is small, but I think there’s valet available. Parking on Crestview is limited (it’s the street perpendicular to Indianola and alongside the Crest), but you can park on the next street, Tulane Rd.

OKAY. Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: food and drink reviews. Having a gluten allergy, I love that they carry Omission (a beer specifically crafted to remove gluten… I’m pretty sure those are the exact words on the label). In my personal opinion, their drinks are great. They’re expensive, but that’s what you get when you’re not chugging Nati a few blocks away on campus. As far as food is concerned, I am only a fan of a few items on the menu. I love their veggie burger (make sure to add avocado), fries (I’m especially partial to the sweet potato fries with the dipping sauce), breakfast skillet (I think they got rid of this, though… for shame!), nectarine and prosciutto salad, pub chips, and veggie plate (their coffee is amazing, too). They’re very attentive to vegans and those with gluten allergies (you can substitute with gluten free bread and buns). Everything else is fine, but many items lack some key flavors for me. Speaking on behalf of my boyfriend, the chicken and waffles were bland; the drummettes apparently tasted “gamey.”

They may not taste the best, but they photograph well...
They may not taste the best, but they photograph well…

All in all, unless you’re my friend Ben who boycotted ever going to the Crest after the Crestview Tavern closed down, it’s well-worth a shot. So now that I’ve given you one of the most involved, long-winded reviews the Crest Gastropub has ever seen, I’ll sum it all up for you:


Caitlin