appetizers galore

Photo by Anne Jansen

Betty’s Fine Food & Spirits is owned by the owners of the Surly Girl SaloonTip Top Kitchen & Cocktails, and Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace. Just like the other places, the menu at Betty’s is creative and interesting. A friend and I went there for lunch and ordered 3 appetizers to split between the two of us. My personal favorite of the appetizers was the order of Hearty Potato Pancakes (pictured above). The potatoes were crispy and soft, and of course the cheese smothering them was melted to perfection.

Photo by Anne Jansen

We also ordered the plantains, which came with a spicy yogurt sauce that was a nice complement to their subtle sweet flavor. It’s rare to find plantains in a restaurant, especially way up in Ohio…but these plantains were fresh and yummy.

Photo by Anne Jansen

Finally, we finished off our order with an old favorite: the Classic Quesadillas. They were, like the potato pancakes, melty in all the right ways. The tortillas were crispy with a hint of butter on the outside, and the herbs and spices were tasty. The service was just as good as the food; our waitress was friendly and the food was quick. It was a great mid-day treat!

Betty's Fine Food & Spirits on Urbanspoon

those things are real?

Photo by Anne Jansen

When the movie Fried Green Tomatoes came out in 1991, I never imagined that the title could allude to a real, edible food. And yet I recently found myself in the Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown, Kentucky, eating real fried green tomatoes. I didn’t really know what to expect, but they were delicious. The house-made ranch dressing (dyed green, although I’m not sure why) was fresh and light, and rounded out the flavor of these tasty appetizers.

There weren’t a lot of vegetarian options at the Talbott Tavern, so I ended up ordering the Talbott Salad for lunch. It was good enough, but certainly nothing special. However, the house-made ranch dressing made it refreshingly yummy.

Photo by Anne Jansen

Just to give you an idea of the other options (for those non-veg peeps out there), I’m including a photo of my husband’s order: the pulled pork sandwich with french fries and ketchup. It was, reportedly, passable (my husband says it was more like a regular BBQ pork sandwich than actual pulled pork). In its defense, the BBQ sauce (which I tested from a fat globule on the bun) was both smoky and spicy — two of my favorite qualities in a BBQ sauce. I can also comment on the fries, which were decent.

Photo by Anne Jansen

Talbott’s Tavern is situated in an old building that was built in 1779. The building is a cool old place, dimly lit and made of old stone and brick. It’s pleasantly cool inside, which was perfect considering it was over 90°F outside the day we went there. I would have loved to have been there at night, but it still had great ambiance during the day.

Photo by Anne Jansen

Old Talbott Tavern on Urbanspoon

 

open air breakfast

Photo by Anne Jansen

In a city as beautiful as New Orleans, being able to eat in an open-air cafe is a real treat. At Pere Antoine Restaurant & Cajun Kitchen, this is exactly what I got to do (see picture below for a better idea of the ambiance of this lovely little restaurant). They serve breakfast all day, and that’s exactly what I ordered — the croissant breakfast sandwich with home fries and a side of bacon (which I gave to one of my table-mates) despite the abundant dinner options on the menu. While the food was only somewhere between average and good, the atmosphere was incredible (and the prices were reasonable). For the rest of the trip, every time I walked by Pere Antoine’s I looked in and wanted to sit at a table and take in the sights. If you’re in New Orleans and you need a quick bite with a nice dose of charm, this is a great place to go!

 

Photo by Anne Jansen

Pere Antoine on Urbanspoon

 

a tofu twist

photo by Anne Jansen

I went to Noodles & Company with a friend, and got my usual (weird-sounding but great-tasting) lunch of a starter salad and Wisconsin Mac & Cheese with tofu. Yes, you read that right. And I know, I know: it sounds gross! But seriously, it is DELICIOUS! Their tofu is seared to perfection, and (to this 6-year vegetarian) tastes a bit like chicken. You should try it if you like tofu at all. In fact, you should try Noodles & Company if you haven’t already — it’s a surprisingly delicious chain that has lots of options to offer veg and non-veg eaters alike.

photo by Anne Jansen

spicy mac & cheese

Bodega is one of my new all-time favorites. I went there in the dead of winter, freshly returned from a trip to California, and scored myself some of the best comfort food I’ve ever had. I mean, I like mac and cheese, but this was 3-cheese mac and cheese with a delightfully spicy kick! Almost enough to make my nose run, which is a good thing in my book.

photo by Anne Jansen

Finish that meal — which came in a rationally-sized bowl instead of a massive dish like so many of the dishes in Columbus — with a light slice of pecan pie with a side of Jeni’s Salty Caramel ice cream and some impressively fresh strawberries (for January in the Midwest, this can be quite a feat), and you’ve got me hooked for life. I always check the specials menu at Bodega now, because they have some delightful surprises that crop up!

photo by Anne Jansen

surly feast

photo by Anne Jansen

The Surly Girl Saloon is a little hole in the wall restaurant and bar, and it’s one of my favorites because of its unique and creative menu. This time, I had the southwestern shells & cheese. It has tomatoes and peppers and corn and black beans in it, and multiple kinds of cheese. It’s one of my favorite comfort food dishes in all of Columbus.

irish surprise

I ended up eating at the Claddagh Irish Pub in downtown Columbus purely by accident. I’d driven downtown to eat elsewhere, only to discover that restaurant was closed. Upon leaving, still seeking a good eatery, I happened upon the Claddagh (which I’ve heard about because of its use by fans of the Columbus Crew) and decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised by their unusual menu. I tried out the fruit and cheese plate (pictured below), which was admittedly limited but also very good (and only $3).

photo by Anne Jansen

And of course, the main course: mac and cheese. It was creamy and cheesy…the perfect comfort food. The bread crumbs on top gave it a nice texture, and the use of corkscrew pasta as opposed to elbow pasta was really refreshing. It was the perfect meal for a rainy day, and the servers were friendly and attentive. A good Magic 8 Ball would say “chances are good” I’ll end up here again.

photo by Anne Jansen

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