Dough Mama

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

Irish Stew: A Childhood Recipe

St. Patrick’s Day was a beloved, celebrated holiday in the McGillicuddy household when I was growing up. I can remember my parents drinking booze as my siblings and I would mock the Irish Stepdancers that came to our school that day.

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We later retracted our judgments after coming across this family Christmas photo.

Nevertheless, I have fond memories of St. Patrick’s Day, mostly due to the traditional Irish Stew that was served for dinner. Recently, my mother (an exceptional cook) passed on the recipe. And although I’m a few months off, I’ve decided to tackle mom’s Irish Stew because it’s getting cold outside and I need comfort food.

As my boyfriend and I walked up and down the aisles of the grocery store, gathering each ingredient necessary for a perfect Irish Stew, he turned to me and asked, “So it’s Shepherd’s Pie?” to which I responded, “Uh… uh… yes?”

But alas, I was wrong. There is a difference… I think (I’m still trying to wrap my head around it). I suppose the crucial difference between the two is one is a “pie” and one is a “stew” (duh). I guess one is soupier than the other. I also think Shepherd’s Pie is cooked in the oven with mashed potatoes on top.

I don’t know, here are the Wikipedia pages for each:

Regardless, my mom used to cook Holiday Potatoes to spoon on top of the stew after it was done cooking. Holiday Potatoes are basically cream cheese, sour cream, butter, and mashed potatoes all mixed together and thrown into the oven to get kinda crusty. Since I don’t feel like clogging my arteries today, I decided to use regular mashed potatoes to spoon on top.

You can either use a sauce pan or a Crock Pot to make the stew. I chose the Crock Pot route because there’s no flame involved and I could keep this simmering for hours without a worry in the world (keep in mind, the longer the flavors meld, the better). Just make sure to brown the stew meat in a skillet before combining everything together.

Another note to keep in mind is that you can choose to thicken the stew by slowly adding a cornstarch-water mixture (but that might cross into the realm of Shepherd’s Pie, and then you’d be a traitor).

 

Sloppy goodness

Overall, the recipe is very straightforward:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. beef stew meat (they usually have this in chunks for you)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 can beef broth (13 3/4 oz.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper (I know, I thought it was weird, too… but it exists)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 6 medium carrots, cut in thirds

Directions:

  1. Brown beef in oil.
  2. In a saucepan or Crock Pot, add beef broth, water, parsley and salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 1 hour (or more).
  3. Add onions and carrots; simmer for 30 minutes more or until beef is tender (if using a Crock Pot, you can just do steps 2 and 3 at the same time). You can simmer for longer, if you’d like. The longer these ingredients cook together, the better.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare mashed potatoes (Tom and I use pre-made Yoder’s Mashed Potatoes. It sounds sketchy, but it’s awesome).
  5. Spoon mashed potatoes over stew and sprinkle with peas and Parmesan to taste.

‘Twas a glorious meal; one that can be served any time of the year. But you may find yourself eager to make this on St Patrick’s Day, Irish jigging around the house as God frowns upon you. At least your tummy will be full of delight.


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

DK Diner (My Happy Place)

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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

Korean Beef Bulgogi

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I was a picky eater as a kid. My parents had to tell me everything was chicken so I would finish my dinner (those slyboots…). Luckily, as I grew older, my palette began to change for the better and by my junior year of college, I was gorging on anything Americans consider “ethnic.”

So now I’ve decided to challenge my skills in the kitchen with traditional Asian and Indian recipes.

In lieu of my recent interest in Korean cuisine, my boyfriend bought me a few cooking essentials, including a hot stone pot, or a dolsot. If you’re from Columbus, you’re fully aware of the latest Bibibop craze, but I urge all of you to venture out to Japanese Oriental for a real dolsot bibimbap. I’ll give you a brief description: think rice, vegetables, marinated beef (or, bulgogi), and a fried egg, all mixed together in a 350 degree pot, topped off with some spicy korean sauce. While I’m eager to attempt the almighty dolsot bibimbap, I have to master beef bulgogi first.

Beef bugogi is a fairly easy dish to master the first time you make it, but I learned a few tricks along the way. I used this awesome cookbook as my guide:

Behold! The Korean Bible of your (my) dreams...
Behold! The Korean Bible of your (my) dreams…

I didn’t follow the recipe verbatim, but I have to give credit where credit is due (buy it here). I’ve added a few personal touches of my own, along with some tips that were not listed in the book.

Serving Size: 6-8, Lactose-free

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds flank steak (ask your butcher to slice it into thin strips)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (Note: To make this recipe gluten-free, you must purchase specific gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • Jasmine rice

Directions:

  1. Mix soy sauce, sugar, and garlic together. Add the mixture to your thin strips of flank steak. Let this marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight (Note: I chose to leave out the sesame oil until it’s time to cook everything, since I read somewhere that it hinders the flavors from being absorbed into the meat properly)
  2. Once marinated, throw steak, sesame oil, and leftover marinade into your skillet on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, turning steak occasionally.
  3. Add onions and black pepper and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until onions are soft.
  4. Once everything is done, be sure to turn heat off and let the bulgogi sit for a few minutes to absorb some of the juices. I made the mistake of serving it almost immediately, which takes away from the flavor. Don’t worry about it getting cold; your hot jasmine rice should keep it warm in your serving bowl.

Caitlin