chilled soup, summer treat

Photo by Anne Jansen

I’ve been to the Cambridge Tea House for afternoon tea, but the last time I went there I went for a regular ol’ lunch. I ordered the crêpes, which I’ve had before, but I also got to sample their delicious cucumber melon soup. The soup was served chilled, and was the most refreshing blend of sweet and not-sweet. The bits of onion celery chopped up and sprinkled into the soup were a nice touch, and I have to admit that this is the best soup I’ve had in a long time. As a cold soup, it was especially scrumptious.

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as fresh as it gets

I recently ended up at Dragonfly for brunch. Dragonfly is Columbus’ favorite all-vegan restaurant, and with good reason, too. Our waiter, who was friendly and attentive, told us about the garden in back of the restaurant where most of the fresh fruits and vegetables found in the dishes are grown. On our way out, we swung by the garden only to find Chef and co-owner Magdiale Wolmark tending to the plants. He warmly invited us in to look around, and talked to us about his biodynamic farming methods (for more on this, see Wolfgang Steiner’s book Agriculture Course, which Magdiale recommended to us). We chatted about his lifelong love of plants, how inspired he is by the produce they grow behind the restaurant, and his philosophies on food and agriculture. He was generous with his time, and when the conversation was over I was so inspired I wanted to eat another meal and go play in my own garden.

Photo by Anne Jansen

I ordered the Pancakes of the Day, which turned out to be blackberry & chocolate chip lying in a pool of wonderfully thin syrup. The pancakes were light and fluffy, with a perfect crispiness to them. The berries sprinkled on top of the pancakes were both sweet and tart, and complemented the blackberries very nicely. Even though I was full after finishing the pancakes, I couldn’t help but order dessert.

Photo by Anne Jansen

I got the Fruit Bisque, which is essentially fresh sliced nectarines, black currant sorbet, vanilla sorbet, and a sprig of pineapple mint in a chilled vanilla soup. It’s a colorful blast of flavor that I ate in less than 15 minutes. Everything about this meal was fresh and adventurous. If you are in Columbus, you have to visit Dragonfly. It’s culinary magic, and the ethos behind the food is refreshing.

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fresh soup

Photo by Anne Jansen

I’ve been to the Cambridge Tea House for their afternoon tea, but until recently I hadn’t explored some of the other menu options. This cucumber melon soup, served chilled, was a sumptuous and tasty delight. It was a daily special, and special is definitely the word to describe it. Refreshing and light, this soup is a testament to the chef’s culinary talents. In addition to their creative and ever-changing scone menu, the Cambridge Tea House’s daily specials are something to look forward to!
Cambridge Tea House on Urbanspoon

natural nachos

photo by Anne Jansen

It’s both a blessing and a curse that the Whole World Natural Bakery and Restaurant is a 3 minute walk from where I live. These nachos, one of their regular appetizers, are the perfect size to be split by two before a cup of soup or a light meal. I’ve found it difficult to get good nachos here in Columbus (Bodega has some good ones too — I did a post on them this summer), but these are definitely tasty.

square meal

photo by Anne Jansen

The Northstar Cafe is one of my all-time favorites here in Columbus, Ohio, and their Square Meal is at the top of my list. The beans are spicy and flavorful, and the organic brown rice underneath it is a hearty base. The avocados and sautéed red peppers and onions add flavor and substance. Plus, the salty strips of tortilla chips provide a savory crunch that tops off the meal. If you visit Northstar, you should give this one a try!

nice ice

photo by Anne Jansen

If you’ve ever been to Columbus, Ohio, you have probably heard of Jeni’s Ice Cream — an amazing local ice cream chain that serves up some of the most inventive and tasty flavors ever. Take the ice cream in the picture above: the top flavor is (obviously) chocolate — Jeni’s signature Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate; the flavor on the bottom is Jeni’s seasonal Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries. The official description of that flavor, taken directly from their website, says that “Buttery, milky sweet corn gives way flawlessly to sweet-tart black raspberry jam. Breath of honey on the finish.” Mmm mmm mmm! And it’s tasty, too! Add to that the company’s policy of using local and organic ingredients, and you’ll understand why this ice creamery is one of the most popular places in Columbus.

whole goodness

photo by Anne Jansen

Lucky for me (and not-so-lucky for my wallet), I live but a 3-minute walk from Whole World Natural Restaurant and Bakery in Clintonville. This amazing little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, boasting a modest 10 tables and booths for its customers, is an entirely vegetarian establishment with a strong local following. The Avocado Croissant (pictured above) is one of my all-time favorites, although I have never eaten a bad meal at Whole World…and I’ve eaten a whole lotta meals there. In addition to scrumptious lunches and dinners (and a Sunday brunch I have yet to experience), the counter houses a wide variety of desserts — about half of which are vegan. Which reminds me, only 5 or 6 of Whole World’s menu items do not come with a vegan option…which means all the rest do! It’s a fantastic little place, and one I will continue frequenting for as long as I live in Columbus. This is made easier by Whole World’s very affordable prices. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or non-veg, you should definitely give Whole World a go!

an old classic

photo by Anne Jansen

I found myself back at Tasi recently when I decided to meet up with a couple of girlfriends for some lunch. We wanted something light but satisfying, and that’s something Tasi always delivers. I went with their grilled cheese this time, and it was a good choice. The sandwich consists of aged cheddar and fresh tomato on a sourdough panini…and it was deeeee-licious. It came with a generous helping of Tasi’s house-made potato chips, which were also light and satisfying. The Magic 8 Ball would say “It is decidedly so” that I will return to Tasi for more culinary adventures!

inspired breakfast

photo by Anne Jansen

The Northstar Cafe in Columbus, OH, is a definite favorite of mine. Their food philosophy is a close match to mine — buy local, go organic, be humane — and their food is always a treat (even though their service is often lacking and their prices are a bit steep). However, I rarely get to experience breakfast there, and was lucky to do so the other day when I got the Big Burrito (pictured above) — a morning meal of sauteed veggies and eggs packed into a tortilla. I also got a side order of the Cloud Nine Pancakes (pictured below), which are definitely a heavenly concoction. They are light and fluffy, topped with banana slices, and they have a surprise ingredient: ricotta cheese! If you love pancakes, you really should try these. They’re one of a kind. Northstar’s breakfast menu is creative and unique — I’d recommend it to any breakfast lover.

photo by Anne Jansen

hidden treasure

photo by Anne Jansen

Tasi is one of my new favorites in Columbus, OH. Hidden in an alley off of High Street in the Short North, it’s a great little place that proudly touts its philosophy in its logo: Fresh, Local, Seasonal. One of my favorite dishes at Tasi is their buttermilk pancakes, which are at least six inches in diameter, and are typically served with a side of bacon. Of course, I’m a vegetarian, but the staff at Tasi is always accommodating and happily allows me to substitute a side of fresh fruit instead. It may be small, but it’s a friendly place with lots of natural light in the room, and lots of natural food on the menu.

naturally delicious

photo by Anne Jansen

These black bean enchilladas from The Natural Cafe in Santa Barbara, California, are not only delicious but also vegetarian. In fact, the entire menu offers a wide variety of options for vegetarians and vegans alike. This is not to say that meat-eaters will have to go without — in fact, the grilled chicken pita (pictured below) proved more than satisfying for one of my dining companions. The portions are more than enough, and the prices are highly competitive. The Natural Cafe is one of my all-time favorites.

photo by Anne Jansen

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