Splendour at the ‘grass…Lemongrass!

I’ve walked, biked, and bused past Lemongrass Fusion Bistro in Columbus’ Short North innumerable times, and I finally made it in for a quick bite. I was not disappointed! Since we stopped in in the middle of the afternoon, we were the only customers there. Our waiter was more than helpful — he helped us make our selections, and accommodated our unusual eating and drinking habits (these included one vegan, one vegetarian, and one alcohol lightweight). Eating at Lemongrass was tasty, and it was also fun. The three of us passed an hour or two in a table by the window, experiencing fantastic food and impressive service. While we ordered mostly desserts and drinks, Lemongrass also boasts an impressive sushi menu, and serves lunch and dinner as well.

I ordered the Mango Teardrop (why dine when you can dessert?), which was incredible. It was light and fluffy, and nicely flavored. As you can see (pictured below), it was also beautifully plated.

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A friend of mine ordered the Fresh Berries with Chambord (also on the dessert menu; pictured below), which was not only beautiful but also delicious — she let me try a few bites. The fruits were fresh and ripe, and the Chambord and whipped cream were excellent complements to the fruit.

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I also ordered the Partly Sunny, Mostly Lemon to drink, which is typically served with gin, tessera lemon liqueur, simple syrup, and “fresh lemon squeezes.” However, since I’m a total lightweight, I requested that the gin be left out. Our waiter, also the bartender, took it upon himself to modify the drink so that it was well-balanced, and he really delivered. The result was a splendid, mildy-carbonated, refreshing treat that actually went with my Mango Teardrop surprisingly well. If you have the chance, you should definitely swing by Lemongrass.

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Lemongrass Fusion Bistro on Urbanspoon

Knead More?

I’ve been wanting to try out the food at Knead for several months now, and finally made it downtown for the experience. Knead is a comfortable and friendly restaurant with helpful staff and good food. I split this salad (pictured below) with a friend, and loved the fresh yellow beets and avocado. It was a refreshing appetizer on a hot and humid summer day.

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After the salad, we moved on to the Easy Cheesy pizza (pictured below), which came on Knead’s house made whole wheat crust. It was delicious, and we devoured it in less than ten minutes. The cheese was nice and melty, and all the ingredients were well-proportioned (you know how sometimes pizza can come out imbalanced, with so much cheese it’s gloopy, or too many/few toppings — this pizza wasn’t like that).

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Perhaps my favorite part of the meal was the beverage: I ordered the root beer float, and it came with Boylan’s root beer (a personal favorite of mine). Again, the portions were right, as they gave me enough ice cream for it to be a true float, but not so much that the vanilla overpowered the root beer. If you’re in town and looking for a good meal at reasonable prices, Knead’s a great option for you.

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Knead on Urbanspoon

incredible edibles

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Mouton is one of my all-time favorite places in Columbus, Ohio. It’s an intimate space with fun artwork on the walls and a really fabulous staff. They specialize in “vintage cocktails” and serve up a fantastic assortment of European-style tapas (my favorites are the artichoke stems and the castelvetrano olives). They also have these delicious little individual-sized cheesecakes that come in little jars (pictured above), which are super-tasty!

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I always order the Chef’s Board (pictured above), which basically comes with a random assortment of cheeses, spreads, and veggies (they come with meat, but we order them without since I’m a vegetarian). I also always get a dish of olives and an order of Dan the Baker‘s bread (pictured below) because they’re just sooooo good.20120520-142344.jpg

On top of that, I usually don’t know what I want as far as drinks go. I’m quite a lightweight, so I can’t handle the cocktails that have 2 or 3 different kinds of liquor in them. Luckily for me, the awesome staff is always willing to humor my broad requests. Recently, I requested a cocktail with some sort of fruit juice, sparkling wine, and whatever else the bartender wanted to put in it, and the result was incredible (pictured below). I don’t know what to call it, but it was one of the best drinks I’ve ever had.

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Mouton on Urbanspoon

Zen Lunch

Zen Cha Tea Salon in Columbus, Ohio’s Short North district is one of the best places to go on a snowy winter day. It’s warm and steamy inside, and the staff is always helpful and friendly. It seems that every time I visit Zen Cha I’m offered a free sample of the day’s featured tea, complete with a brief but illuminating explanation of its flavor and benefits. I usually linger for a few hours working, socializing, or both, and the staff is always pleasant and nice. They never try to hurry me along, and appear to be quite happy to host me for as long as I stay.

The tea selection at Zen Cha is hard to beat. They have Chinese, Japanese, Indian, French, and English teas (And more!) and a delightfully creative menu to complement this selection. I’m a fan of their hazelnut chai, personally, and get it almost every time I’m there.

This time, I also ordered the Earl Grey Apple Brie sandwich (above), which comes with tea-infused apples, cinnamon, cranberry compote, walnuts, and lettuce. It was absolutely incredible: warm, sweet & savory, and flavorful without being overpowering.

For dessert, I split the Tea Cookies (a set of 2 for $2.50, pictured above) with a friend. We got 1 lavender cookie and 1 chai cookie, and they were well worth the small cost.

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Edible Mojo?

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The new Cup O Joe and MoJoe Lounge in downtown Columbus, Ohio, is a great place to do some work and eat some quality, inexpensive grub. I have been bringing my work there on Fridays, and have found the staff to be friendly and laid back, and the food surprisingly good. I ordered the house salad (which comes with a wonderful lemon vinaigrette dressing that’s the perfect blend of sweet and tart) on the side of a grilled cheese. The salad was light and refreshing, and not skimpy like some side salads can be. The sandwich was made with three kinds of cheese (none of that weird American cheese junk), and was pleasantly non-greasy — a difficult feat for some grilled cheese sandwiches. The lunch rush isn’t too bad, and the floor-to-ceiling windows and clean & contemporary decor (see some of my photos of the place here) makes it a pleasant place to while away those workday hours.

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Cup O Joe & MoJoe Lounge Downtown on Urbanspoon

Winter Warmth

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Once again, the Northstar Café in Columbus, Ohio came through for me. This vegan tomato soup with olive tapenade and bread was served up as a daily special at the Northstar located in Easton Town Center. In the background, you can see the winter salad I enjoyed (and boy did I ever enjoy it!). Notice the hearty chunks of butternut, the modest cubes of beet, and the nice mixed greens. This place never disappoints!

Sweet Surprise

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So I ended up at the Brown Bag Deli in Columbus’ German Village…again. This time, it wasn’t the amazing custom-made sandwich that got me drooling (well, okay, it was that, too) but this amazing peanut butter cookie with two Hershey’s kisses snuggling up together in the middle of it all. What a delicious and happy surprise this was! This was not the first time that the Brown Bag’s selection of baked goods reeled me in. Give dessert at the Brown Bag a try sometime!

Commonwealth

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There’s a new sandwich shop in town in Columbus, Ohio — a little place called The Commonwealth Sandwich Bar in Columbus, Ohio. It is, quite likely, the tiniest food joint I’ve ever been to, aside from a food cart. There are three tables in Commonwealth, and they’re usually full. However, it’s a nice shop. The service is friendly, and the menu is creative. I had a sandwich called the Haute-Hippie — one of two vegetarian options on the menu — and it didn’t disappoint. The flavors were incredible, and it wasn’t greasy or overly rich. It was definitely worth the visit.

Commonwealth Sandwich Bar on Urbanspoon

A Chocolatey Christmas

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I recently found myself in Winan’s Fine Chocolates and Coffees in the German Village in Columbus, Ohio. It was a cold, gloomy day, and I was delighted to discover that not only did Winan’s have beautiful holiday decorations up, lending the already-cute shop a cheerful ambiance, but they also had a nice assortment of special holiday drinks. I ordered a hot chocolate drink that had milk- and white-chocolate in it, and it was the perfect way to warm up on a cold Columbus winter day. I also got some of their handmade peppermint bark, and it was both beautiful and tasty: the perfect balance of peppermint-crunchiness and chocolatey-richness. Next time you’re in the German Village, stop by Winan’s and treat yourself to something special. You’ll find plenty of things to eat and drink for less than $5, and you’ll leave feeling happy and satisfied.

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Winans Chocolates and Coffees on Urbanspoon

Italian delight

I’m a sucker for olives, and boy does Marcella’s Ristorante have the perfect appetizer for me! Just look at this iron serving dish filled with several different varieties of olives, warmed up and covered in flavorful herbs and olive oil.
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This is a great way to start a meal off, and I was not disappointed when my meal came. I ordered the eggplant parmesan, and it was cooked very well. The eggplant was still firm (I hate it when it gets all mushy from being overcooked…or worse yet, unfrozen and reheated), and the flavors were really nice.

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And the dessert. Oh, the dessert. Tiramisu. One of my favorite desserts…this one was pretty good. Not the best I’ve ever had (a bit firm and non-cake-like for my taste), but it was also gone before 5 minutes had transpired. So I’m not really complaining, but trying to explain how this tiramisu was a little different than others I’ve had.
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The atmosphere at Marcella’s was really fantastic. Very romantic. High quality and speed of service. Candlelit. Nicely decorated. All of the things I love most in a date-restaurant. If you like Italian food and a little bit of romance, this is a great place to go.

Marcella's Ristorante on Urbanspoon

going up…

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I had to start with a photograph of the interior of the Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus because it’s so beautiful inside. The building is a historical landmark, built in the late 1800s as a billiards hall and maintained to near-pristine detail in the decades since. That being said, I have to comment on the food, because it was gooooood. So I’ll start with the free bread:

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This homemade multi-grain bread was hearty and light. It’s served with an herb butter that makes for a nice topping, adding scrumptious flavor to the simple “dish.” And the appetizer…

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…ARANCINI! Oh how I love these delicious dumplings (if that’s the right word). They were made perfectly (warm and moist on the inside, crispy and breaded on the outside. They were lying in a pool of rich cream sauce, with a small dish of house-made marinara to accompany them.

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For dinner I had a relatively simple salad. This is where the restaurant’s shortcomings come into play: their menu was relatively limited when it came to vegetarian options. Of course, I say that while knowing full well that there was supposed to be a dessert order at the end of this meal, but I was far too full to even consider placing such an order. So with the robust serving of bread, the perfect appetizer, and this light salad with pine nuts (one of my faces!) and a mustard vinaigrette (really tasty, and I don’t even like mustard!) I’d say vegetarian options or no, Elevator is a great place to go on a date!

Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus on Urbanspoon

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