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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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

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What’s for Dinner? My Version of a Kid’s Meal

I can’t take any credit for the star of my dinner this week. Catie and her boyfriend have been kicking butt with Whole30 lately and inspired me to make THESE:

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Theeeeeeese.

They look like ordinary chicken fingers. They smell like ordinary chicken fingers. But they’re even better. They’re HEALTHY. Yeah, yeah, I know, you’ve heard it all before, but I mean it. My nutritionist even made these after I told her about them. That’s a huge win, everyone! Dietitian recommended (I probably can’t say that…).

In any case, I got the recipe from Generation Y Foodie after my two little love birds ate a similar dish a couple of weeks ago. They’re paleo almond chicken fingers, with a little bit of a kick from the added cayenne pepper and paprika. If you want to make them unhealthy, dip them in maple syrup. It sounds insane, and it is. The sugar really balances out the salty (read: A Balancing Act of the Sweet and Savory and you’ll see what I mean).

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Alright. Now what? The obvious side dish for chicken tenders would be french fries, right? Of course. Try breaking out the ol’ cast iron skillet and roasting up some red-skinned potatoes. Throw in some Brussels sprouts and onions, while you’re at it. This may not be deep-fried goodness, but it’s a healthy twist on a classic side dish.

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Okay, so maybe my potato-to-Brussels sprout ratio is off…

I love a colorful dish like this – especially when it includes green (lookin’ at you, Brussels sprouts). You can use any skillet you want with this, but the cast iron gives the potatoes a nice sear. Caramelized onions can add a lot of flavor without you having to reach for too much salt. I’ve included the recipe below.

I know I’m being my mother right now and not including exact measurements for each ingredient, but it’s really up to you how much you want to make. There are no wrong answers here.

Ingredients:

  • Red-skinned potatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Red onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut up the Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and red onion. Make sure your potatoes and sprouts are cut into bite-sized pieces and your onion is diced into much smaller pieces.
  2. Heat a 10-inch or larger cast iron skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Meanwhile, put your potatoes and onions in a mixing bowl. Add olive oil and mix. You want these to be pretty coated, but not too much. Just enough to lightly cover most of the mixture.
  3. Throw your potatoes and onions into the cast iron skillet. Using a wooden spoon, spread the mixture so that it’s evenly distributed across the skillet.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. After 15 minutes, add in your Brussels sprouts and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the potatoes and sprouts are soft.
  6. Take your skillet off the heat and let it cool. The potatoes usually soften even more during this time.
  7. Serve with almond chicken tenders…

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There you have it. A healthy twist on a kid’s meal. A happy meal, if you will…


Caitlin

4 Random Weekend Realizations

While everyone else was out having a life this weekend, I spent most of mine in pajamas, practicing new tips and tricks in the kitchen and watching TV. All within three days, Tom and I managed to cook the best breakfast for dinner we’ve ever had, screw it up the next morning, cut up a chicken for the first time, watch 90s Nickelodeon commercials for hours, and sorta-kinda fail at frying chicken (it ended with me ugly-crying in Tom’s arms and hoping we didn’t get Salmonella – spoiler: we didn’t).

Tom and I woke up Monday morning exhausted, yet all the more educated. Here’s what we learned:

1. Cutting a whole chicken into eight pieces is difficult

I was really grateful to have Tom in the kitchen with me this weekend, especially when it came time to cutting a whole chicken. I must have watched an instructional video five times before actually doing it, and I STILL needed to watch it as I went. So, you can imagine how nice it was to have someone press play and pause on command. But the most challenging aspect of cutting a chicken was lacking the right set of tools. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chef’s knife, so we had to put some elbow grease into it. Make sure you do the following when cutting a chicken for the first time:

  • Use a chef’s knife for almost all of the cutting
  • Poultry shears come in handy when cutting the breast bone
  • When cutting for the first time, have an assistant in the kitchen with you while you watch this ten times:

 

2. Millennials don’t eat cereal anymore – and it’s not because we’re too lazy

I read an article on Friday saying Millennials didn’t eat cereal anymore. The reason? We’re too lazy to wash our spoon and bowl. Crazy, right? I didn’t buy into it, either. Well, after gorging on 90s commercials this weekend, I was convinced the article was a fallacy. There’s a reason we aren’t eating cereal anymore, and it’s not because we’re too lazy… it’s because we were eating dessert for breakfast. I mean, come on, do any of you remember what a “complete and balanced breakfast” was considered in the 90s? A bowl of sugar and milk, orange juice, and a plate full of buttery toast. Sure, it was delicious, but no wonder I was sleeping at my desk by 10AM in grade school – I was crashing.

“Here’s your balanced breakfast, honey. Oh, and I packed you a cold, floppy, Lunchable pizza to help you get through the rest of your day.”

But don’t blame mom. She thought SlimFast was a meal.

3. Water in the skillet is the best trick for cooking perfect bacon

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Part of your balanced 2016 breakfast

Cooking bacon in a skillet can be really messy. But I read a little trick to eliminate the majority of splatter from bacon grease sizzling on the stove: adding water. What you want to do is start off with a cold skillet. Line your bacon up in the skillet and then pour enough water in to cover the bottom. Then, put your skillet on the stove, turn to medium-high heat, and wait for the water to boil off (about eight minutes). Make sure to flip your bacon once within those eight minutes. Then, once the water is almost completely evaporated, turn your heat down to medium and flip until crispy. Easy-peasy.

4. The most frustrating way to cook chicken is by frying it

But it can have a yummy outcome, if you do it the right way…

Hey, here’s an interesting fact: oil heats up quicker than water because the heat capacity of oil is lower than the heat capacity of water. I’m really smart and totally knew that…

Yeah, so frying chicken can be easy if you can get the oil at the right temperature, which is really difficult to measure. Tom discovered an easy way to do it, though. Try dipping a wooden spoon into the oil – if it bubbles, it’s ready. I suggest turning your heat to medium and testing with the wooden spoon a couple minutes into heating the oil. Then, once your oil is ready, give the chicken 10-12 minutes to fry. The trick is making sure the oil isn’t too hot, or else your breading will burn and your chicken won’t cook thoroughly… (cue my ugly-crying)

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In short: This weekend was an emotional roller coaster in the kitchen. Let’s face it – teaching yourself how to cook isn’t a walk in the park; you’re going to fail at times. But it’s important to laugh at the failures and celebrate the successes – even the minor ones.

Oh, and one last tip: if all else fails, old Nickelodeon cartoons are always the best remedy for a happy ending.


Caitlin

Q2 Bistro: Home of the Perfect Food

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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

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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