CMH Gourmand

Culinary Discovery & Misadventures in the Ice Cream Capital of the World (Columbus)

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Archive for the ‘sandwiches’ Category

What’s New at Smokehouse Brewing?

Posted by cmh gourmand on May 7, 2014

Smokehouse Brewing

So what’s new at Smokehouse Brewing? Well a lot. But I suppose I should backtrack a bit. Smokehouse Brewing is the new name for Barley’s Smokehouse and Brewpub. First, I should caution you not to panic. The Smokehouse Brewing of today is largely the same as the Barley’s Smokehouse and Brewpub of last week. The owner is the same, so are the staff, so are the brewers and the beer. And what may alleve the most panic….so are the wings. The wings are still brined, smoked and grilled before they are served to you. So now that I have made things a bit more clear and reduced the likelihood of an anxiety attack, let me go back, back in time to the origins of Smokehouse Brewing.

The building has a long history in Columbus dining. It was once Jack Bowman’s Suburban Steakhouse home of the nation’s first salad bar (although a few other places debate this). Then it was a B.J. Salvi’s…oh, Pasta Salvi, how I miss you. In 1997 (or 1998 depending on a few interpretations of various things) Barley’s Smokehouse and Brewpub was born. Most of you know of Barley’s Ale House #1 located downtown. And 95% of those folks that know, know that Barley’s Smokehouse and Brewpub was connected to Barley’s by ownership until 2012. Smokehouse Brewing is still owned by Lenny Kolada. Angelo Signorino Jr. is still the head brewer in the house. While the name change was announced a few weeks ago, today, May 7th, is the day that Smokehouse Brewing decided to go big and stay home with a new menu. Many menu favorites of the last 15+ years are still on the menu but if you are a regular afraid of change, I encourage you to take the plunge into these new selections. If you have never visited, this is your opportunity to see what a brewpub can deliver (this is not a fish and chips joint).

I visited on the first day and as a rule, I never write about a first visit or a new menu. It’s not fair to anyone, but I’m OK breaking my rules in this case. With the assistance of Mrs. Gourmand, we tried out three of the new menu items. First on the list, Smoked Bahn Mi. As a disclaimer, the Bahn Mi is a favorite sandwich of mine so my standards are unrealistically high. As an additional disclaimer and sidenote, my favorite Bahn Mi’s are at Mi Li and Indochine and my favorite Bahn Mi inspired sandwich is the Bahn Meanie by Green Meanie. Those three are stiff competition for any contender. Smokehouse Brewing’s spin on the Bahn Mi involves: a thick pile of smoked ham, ample roasted pork, pickled vegetables (mostly onions), a light slathering of sweet chili sriracha aioli, shredded carrots and jalapeno, a dash of cilantro and mint on a Dan the Baker Baguette. If that sounds good, let me assure you it also tastes good.

Bahn Mi

Next on the table, the Greek Lamb Burger. To begin, I must admit that I made a rookie mistake with the new menu. I did not look at the add on’s for the burgers. While it was not needed, I wish I had asked for Double Smoked Thick Cut Bacon on this burger. The lamb burger was simple which made it simply good – the ground lamb was well seasoned, cooked just enough and served with tzatziki sauce and crumbled Feta cheese. The burger was skewered with a toothpick impaling two of the house made pickles on top of the bun. Good Burger but some bacon….and a fried egg and maybe something else…..might have made it even better.

Lamb Burger

Finally, under the subheading of Traditional Barbecue: Smoked Pork Barbacoa Three Way. This includes: pork shank on Asian slaw, pork belly swimming in honey chipotle BBQ sauce, pulled pork butt on a bed of lettuce (makes a convenient wrap on the fly) and with my serving, I had baked beans and cole slaw (while the menu says grilled asparagus and barley risotto). I think the substitution was an error on my part for not reading the menu in detail combined with my server working hard to give me what she believed I wanted. I’m glad I made an error because I really enjoyed both the cole slaw and the baked beans. I’m frequently disappointed by both so I am happy to report both sides were among the best of their style I have tried in town. As for each single part of the three way, as a Kansas City BBQ Society Certified BBQ judge I’d say they were each executed well. I first encountered the pork shank as a tasty snack prepared by our local Manbeque Chapter at a beer event in February. It made an impression on me as well as Lenny who was at the event as well. I am a proud convert to the pork shank. I will be eating that again and again. The pork was perfectly prepared and with the bone retained it adds to the flavor and makes it very easy to eat like a lollipop. The pork belly was neither cooked too much or too little, a tough balance for some. As for the pulled pork butt – it was well done but I would have enjoyed it more served in the barbacoa style I’m more accustomed to with some more spice and juices mixed with the meat. I’m a Butt man what can I say.

Barbacoa

All in all for day one and based on only three brand new menu items, I’d say Smokehouse Brewing is well on the way to defining (and maybe refining) their new name with this menu and truly making a new name/mark for themselves which will please regulars and converts alike.

Pork Shank

Barley's Smokehouse & Brewpub on Urbanspoon

Posted in BBQ, beer, restaurants, sandwiches | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Belgian Waffle Chicken Sandwich at White Castle & and An Editorial

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 28, 2014

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First, old school advertising still works. At present, I live near a White Castle which I drive by 2 – 6 times per day depending on where my projects take me. Over the last week I perpetually passed by a sign for the new White Castle Chicken and Waffle sandwich. I did not want the sandwich. I needed the sandwich. How could I resist trying a fast food interpretation of an American classic, Chicken and Waffles.

So, I made my move, picked one up and brought it home to evaluate and rate with my able assistant CMH Tobias. My first thought was that the waffle was good. I had expected a Leggo my Eggo style waffle but the sandwich features a real deal, Belgian style waffle. It was neither too soft nor too hard. It fell in to the Goldilocks zone of just right. (A bit of post consumption research indicated the waffles originate from a company in Belgium which had been in the business since 1932). The gravy and bacon bits were an afterthought on my sandwich but complemented the flavor profiles well. Their true purpose is to serve as a brick and mortar to hold the sandwich together. The chicken patty was lightly breaded and kind of meh but still palatable. All together it was an acceptable fast food sandwich. I would not rush to get it again but I don’t regret my choice. I respect the effort made to try something different and off the beaten path. The only negative I can hone in on is the price. It was not worth $2.69. I’d say $1.99 might be fair market value.

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I offered CMH Tobias an opportunity to try the sandwich. His approach was different from mine. He ate the waffles first and the chicken second. I can’t say he wolfed it down as quickly as other items, but from our long-standing relationship and shared understanding, I believe he would rate the sandwich a B. (For future reference Tobias’s hierarchy of food starts at ice cream, then cheese, rawhides, almonds, beef, squirrel meat, other meat by products and then dog food). Since Toby refuses to participate in the labor economy he had no opinion on the price of the sandwich.

And now the editorial. White Castle gets a lot of snarky comments and snickers from a significant segment of society. I don’t think it is deserved. I’ve always had a soft spot for this underdog in the fast food wars. For the most part, the company has quietly gone about its business under the shadow of the Wendy’s, Burger King and the like. However, White Castle has done a lot of earn my respect. I’ll highlight a few of the items of note.

The company started in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas. It moved its corporate headquarters to Columbus in 1934 and has remained here as a family owned business for 70 years. That’s pretty local in my book.

White Castle was among the first employers to hire women and minorities. It was the first fast food restaurant as we know it. It has countless patents and food service inventions credited to the company. It has no franchises, each location is company owned. White Castle inspired a movie. So next time someone snickers at a slyder let them know you are proud that a local company has continued to stay in Columbus and stay true to its origins.

Posted in Columbus, culinary knowledge, Food For Thought, sandwiches | 2 Comments »

Whoa: Moe’s Original Bar B Que exceeds expectations

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 21, 2014

It has been a long time since I felt I had a new discovery or that I had beaten to the scene the other online and offline choices you have for your culinary voyeurism. After a long dry spell, I have a scoop. The thrill of the chase is the ultimate reason why most food writers blog. That moment of discovery when you walk through the door and find that you have found something worth writing about and that you get to be that person that opens a door to a new adventure for someone else. So here we go with Moe’s.

Moe’s had a few things going against it. It is a BBQ joint. So many in central Ohio have tried but so few have succeeded at doing BBQ well. And by doing it well, I mean doing it right. BBQ joints frequently excite me at the beginning then quickly disappoint me at the end. The next challenge is the space. Moe’s is in a spot in downtown Granville has witnessed several concepts come and go. The one successful concept in the spot occupied by Moe’s was long ago a place called Brew’s Cafe. You may have heard of that place – everyone loves it and fills the place day after day after it moved down the street.

Business took me to Granville and one of the bonus’ of owning your own business is being able to pick where you meet and who you dine with. The original plan was to meet at Brew’s but while checking the hours of operation I found that a new BBQ place had just opened down the street. This changed the plan.

I hoped for the best but prepared my palette for the mediocre. It is not fair to visit a restaurant open less than 2 weeks and rate what they can or can’t do, but I was ready to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m happy to report this rookie delivers.

The first sign of potential was the sign at the front door – see below.

thanksgiving sandwich

That’s right a Thanksgiving sandwich! Take the best food day of the year and compact it into a sandwich by using a simple bun as a base then adding smoked turkey, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce and a drizzle of white BBQ sauce. I had to get this….but I was conflicted. I mean I can’t properly judge a BBQ place by a smoked Turkey Sandwich so I decided to go in-depth into the menu. Fortunately, Moe’s menu is set up to make grazing easy. So here is what else I ordered in half pint servings: baked beans, mac’n cheese, marinated cole slaw, potato salad, banana pudding, collard greens, skillet corn (relish) , Mississippi Mud Pie (Pudding), squash casserole, corn bread…..and a side of ribs.

Take a look at my spread below:

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Before I go into detail on the above let me share with you why some people consider me the devil. My lunch companion is working with a personal trainer and by ordering the same sandwich as I did – he had already broken all of the rules he with given for the day for calorie consumption. Then I had him help me try the sides. (Then later in the day I took him to wineries and a Moonshine Distillery). Maybe I am the devil, all I know is the devil in the details and Moe’s does the details right. I did offer to write a note to his trainer explaining that his client had no chance by hanging out with me.

The place looks and feels like a BBQ joint (or kind of like a BBQ themed Chipotle restaurant). There are rolls of paper towels on each table – all real BBQ places add that touch. The aesthetics are all rural, industrial and music themed. The furniture is sufficiently wooden, etc. Moe’s could be in North Carolina, Texas or ……Alabama. That’s right greenhorns, Alabama. There is an Alabama style of BBQ which I was schooled in several years ago by the Coop Dawg and O’Pa (might sound like a sitcom but they are real people). Moe’s does “Bama BBQ” as intended. Want a sandwich “Bama style”? Here is how you do it add: BBQ Sauce, White Sauce, slaw and pickles. White sauce uses Mayonnaise as the base instead or tomatoes and/or vinegar.

The owners go by the name Gallagher and they have bounced around BBQ country a bit but they missed Central Ohio and wanted to come home. The way for them to return was through owning and opening a BBQ restaurant. So taking stock of their different backgrounds the menu reflects their history by mixing several styles. The main dish BBQ entrees are Alabama style. The side dishes are inspired by the kitchens of North Carolina and the ribs are strictly St. Louis style. Regardless of what style you subscribe to the whole of the menu is greater than the sub of the parts, or the sides.

So back to the food. The Thanksgiving sandwich was exceptional. The turkey was perfectly smoked – just enough smoke in the meat to add flavor but not enough to dry out the turkey. As for the sides each one reflected the style one would expect at a picnic in North Carolina. My favorites were the Mac ‘n Cheese and the corn relish. Both were properly seasoned and flavored and if going up against other of their ilk they would have come in best of show. The mac in particular, had just enough sear and crunch caressing the cheese to make it just right for me.

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The slaw was a mix of long shards of cabbage and a sweet yet sour dressing. The banana pudding featured an out of the box vanilla wafer on top in a manner I would describe as old school. The St. Louis style ribs were true to the style, expertly rubbed and with meat that was tender and easy to pull from the bone. The cornbread had a corn muffin quality (which is how I prefer it) and paired perfectly with all of the sides and all of the sauces.

And about the sauces – there are several styles and levels of heat and all are made in-house. Also in the house – a great bar on the second floor and plenty of local beer including Buck’s from Newark and Homestead from Heath. There as a lot to like about this new kid on the main block of Granville and I look forward to the Gallagher’s growing their business and refining the menu to meet the meat needs of the community. I think this place is going to be a hit. And I was so glad to find a Bar B Que joint that did not disappoint.

Moe's Original Bar B Que on Urbanspoon

Posted in BBQ, Ohio, restaurants, Road Trip, sandwiches | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

The Ice Man Cometh: Dan Kraus – That Food Truck

Posted by cmh gourmand on February 14, 2014

Some of you have heard of That Food Truck. The name might not be memorable but the owner is. I met Dan when he first started building the truck in 2012. I’ve watched him finish out the truck, saw his first day serving to the public and was happy to see him featured on Nightline and noted as a Tastemaker in Crave Magazine back in 2013. Dan is the real deal. His guiding passion is the art and craft of cooking. He butchers his own pigs, smokes his own meat and never considers cutting a corner that would compromise his “order up”.

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For the last several months, Dan has been hanging his hat at Seventh Son Brewing Friday nights and Saturday Noon to 5 pm. Dan loads up his smoker with wood on Friday and keeps smoking through Saturday afternoon. Out of those hallowed smoker doors come brisket, chicken, pork and occasionally lamb. Oh, the lamb. The food is amazing. But the story behind the meal is even more intriguing.

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You may have noticed it has been very cold all winter. That has not hindered Dan. Schools and businesses may close. Seventh Son was even hit by a truck – but Dan has continued to press on. Rain or shine, cold or colder, Dan monitors his smoker all night and throughout the morning. He checks on his meat every 45 minutes to one hour. You may be scratching your head at this point so let me elaborate. Dan takes cat naps in his truck all night, getting up to check his temperatures every hour. If he loses his fire or his temperatures go under his target mark, he will need to cook an additional four hours to make up for every 1 hour he loses. So how exactly does one comfortably sleep in a food truck? Well, one does not. See the photo below as Dan demonstrates how he spends his late night Fridays and early morning Saturdays.

Before
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After (Dan places himself on the counter, note it is shorter than he is)
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One night the interior temperature dropped below 20 and Dan could see ice on some of his inside equipment. Is he tucked under layers of blankets and buried in expensive Arctic explorer style parkas and snow pants? No way. Only one thing protects him from the elements – Carhartt. So next time you grab something to go from Dan or complain about the walk from your office to your car, think about the journey your sandwich made to get to your belly and throw an extra dollar in the tip jar. Dan earned it.

Posted in culinary misadventure, Food For Thought, FooderHero, Locally Sourced, Mobile Food, sandwiches | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Kuhlwein’s Farm Market and & Deli

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 30, 2013

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As some of you know, I have often said that there are only two reasons to go to Hilliard: Starliner Diner and Olive Tree. I have now added a third – Kuhlweins. I went there in search of two items. Jami’s Cheesecake and the Kulhwein’s Sub. I was only able to get one, we will get to that in bit.

Kuhlwein’s has evolved from a farm stand to an almost-suburban farmers market destination. The market is located next to some of its fresh produce, in particular, farm fresh corn. Visitors have come to that for years. The recently expanded their deli and it’s offerings to include a wider range of sandwiches and lunch meats. My goad was the Italian sub, but they were out of subs. How could this be? Well it seems that they serve the sub with a special multi-herb and seasoned Italian dressing that uncle Kuhlwein has crafted about 6 months ago (according to his nephew). This is liberally doused onto an Auddinos (home of the cronut) sub bun then piled high with freshly sliced deli meats, fresh lettuce and tomatoes then topped with mix of mozzarella and provolone cheeses which melts while the bun is toasted. They start making them fresh daily at 11:00 am.

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Sounds like the perfect sandwich right? Well, as it goes, it may be. However, I did not eat it. They generally run out of sauce and ingredients early in the day so it is suggested that you order ahead. I was told they would make more sauce but they have two people picking corn full-time right now and if they had enough people they would have two more out there. So no extra hands to increase sauce production. The sandwich was described to me by a combination of employees and nearby customers – they all love the sub and say they have sworn off all other subs.

I’ll be back for that sub.

Also at Kuhlwein’s are large scoops of ice cream, a lot of produce. homemade baked goods from many nearby bakers, canned and pickles vegetables, groceries, a lot of corn, on the day I arrived a sign for free rabbits and much more.

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I did find Jami’s Cheesecake – there were a few left. I sampled the Oreo. It was exquisite. Dense, moist, fresh, with a very tasty crust. Every rating area on my cheesecake index scored in the 10 out of 10 level. Thank goodness they had the cheesecake. And thank you Jami – whoever you are, you make a great product.

When I have the sub sandwich, I am sure I will tweet about it and hope to write about it too.

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1859 Walker Rd
Hilliard
614 876-2833
Kuhlweins.com

Posted in bakery, culinary misadventure, desserts, pies, Road Trip, sandwiches, Sub Dude | 2 Comments »

Firehouse Subs

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 3, 2013

firehouse

Last month I was invited to an event at Firehouse Subs. I get invitations like this all of the time. I rarely accept them. Most offers are generally generic invitations (with an “insert blogger name” here tone) to try a new location of a large chain or a new menu item. Typically there is a quid pro quo implied – we will give you a meal and you will write glowingly about us.

The Firehouse offer was worded much better than the typical pitch. The person that sent it to me seemed to have read at least a couple of my posts before contacting me. The offer also presented something I do not get often, a chance to meet the owner and a lot of one on one question and answer time.

I had only been to Firehouse Subs once. I liked the sub I had and loved the Coke Freestyle Machine so since the time of the event was convenient to me and I would have the chance sample six subs while speaking with the owner, I took the offer.

I have to say, I was impressed with Robin Sorensen. His presentation was ad lib and unscripted. His care for his brand and employees was authentic and genuine. He has grown a company to over 600 locations quickly but also intelligently by screening of franchisees and providing lot of help as they start out. The company focus on quality was impressive. They source their brisket from a purveyor in Texas that I think has some of the best product in the country. Their pickles, which are a small thing to most people, but a big deal for me, are sourced from the same company that supplies Carnegie Deli in New York….and the pickles are fresh with a snap….that is hard to find. I enjoyed my time with Robin and felt I learned something in the process. I also learned much about their community giving programs and commitment to helping local fire departments and first responders.

(Contest was closed July 6th) Now, to my giveaway. I want to get my readership up during the summer slump. Here is what you can do to win a $10 gift card for you and for a friend.

Send one of your favorite CMH Gourmand Blog posts to a friend that has not read my blog. Ask them to read it. Then have them comment on this post and mention you (It can just be your first name) and which post they read. The first comment I receive gets two gift cards. The subsequent comments will be entered in a drawing to get one gift card. Your odds are pretty good. The highest number of comments I have had for similar contests was 15….so if you want a very good chance to get a free lunch, forward one of my links to one of your friends.

Posted in sandwiches | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

CLEWeek Quick Byte: Bogtrotters Doorstep

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 13, 2013

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As a food enthusiast a walk down West 25th Street in Ohio City can be overwhelming. I mean not that the West Side Market is not enough for a meal or ten but there are so many good choices for beer, sandwiches, beer and gastropub grub, higher end fare and more, and more are more. It is easy for your brain to freeze from sensory overload or on some days – long lines. If quick and easy suits you better, then Bogtrotters Doorstep maybe the recipe for your respite from deciding.

The place is less than a hole in the wall, it is a nook or cranny, just a service counter sandwiched in the former side entrance to The Old Angle bar next door. Business is carry out with the exception of two stools and a shelf for eating in. The menu board is small but impressive in the depth of what I would call craft sandwiches. The owner Nate Williams honed his craft for over a decade at the Flying Fig and seems to have put a lot of thought into what might look like a simple sandwich shop. While these sandwiches are perfect for the next door bar crowd they serve as well as late night eaters on the sidewalks (as late as 3 am on the weekends) there is more to these creations that a stack of random ingredients.

You can have a good sandwich with great meats but your can’t have a great sandwich without very good bread. The Bogtrotters bread selections are fresh and meld perfectly with the meat and toppings they house. The bread base also stands up well to the (highly suggested) option to get your sandwich dipped, infused or just soaking wet in Au Jus. The meats are long roasted and freshly sliced. All of the ingredients are of the highest quality. These are not generic sandwiches to eat alcohol, these are hand crafted works of culinary art that are a meal by themselves. Ending your sandwich selection process you have the option to order with or with out crunch. The crunch is kettle style chips piled high on the sandwiche to add more crunch to soak up the juices. I say, go with the crunch. I say order two sandwiches.

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Bogtrotters Doorstep
1848 West 25th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
(Ohio City)
216.861.5515

Bogtrotters Doorstep on Urbanspoon

Posted in CLEGourmand, sandwiches | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

CLEWeek Quick Byte: Mr. Brisket

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 12, 2013

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About 95% of my eating discoveries are not random – they are places I have heard of from valued sources, the result of intense research or a referral. In the case of Mr. Brisket, it was pure, blind luck I found this gem. While looking for a parking space near Melt, I caught a glint of the sign out of the corner of my eye. I was not sure if the place was wholesale or retail but it exuded “exceptional hole in the wall aura” from my street side view. I had promised my road trip companion a trip to Melt but I added, “I hope you don’t mind, but we have to go over and check out the brisket place afterwards”. The duder agreed. I have to admit, I much as I like Melt, I could not get Mr. Brisket off my mind. I was worried we might dawdle too long and miss out on something. When I did finally walk through the door, it was love at first sniff. In retrospect, I am peeved with my friends that hail from Cleveland for never mentioning this meat based business to me. How could my cured meat loving pals from Willoughby, Euclid and elsewhere have never thought to mention this mecca of meat to me? Yes, I felt hurt, rage, many strong emotions.

Sanford Herskovitz started in the fine meats business in the late 1970’s. It was not his plan (most great things are not according to agenda more often that are a muted calling), he has just earned his Ph.D in psychology and had not yet found a teaching job. He was helping his mother manage some accounts she was working and found a taste for the meat business. He has not relented from his trade since. In the mid 1980’s a new member was added to the team, Hank Kornblut. He followed s similar path as his salami sensei, he was working in the shop while looking for something else…and found a higher meaning in meats.

The background above, sets the stage for why I am such a fan of Mr. Brisket. I decided I liked the place before my first bite. If I had the time and a chair to sit on, I would sit in the shop all day to listen to and observe the banter back and forth among the owner, employees and customers. These guys behind the counter are a wealth of knowledge and prize customer service over all things. I was stuffed from my previous lunch but still determined to order a sandwich. I ended up ordering two. I ordered a standard corned beef (a benchmark of ethnic Cleveland) and “The Duke” a giant combo sandwich which ensured I did not miss out on anything the shop had to serve. The Duke is: one pound of corned beef, turkey, salami and brisket with swiss cheese – served with the motto – “You Can’t Handle the Duke!” Well I did, but by converting the meaty mass into two different sandwiches – half for the road and the other half when I arrived back in Columbus hours later.

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There are other strong indicators that this place is the real deal: blackboard menus, lots of cured meats sliced to order, no tables or chairs, a non stop string of regular customers rotating through the door and many, many wisecracks, back slaps and words of wisdom in between. I wish I could visit more often but between trips, I can keep up on all things brisket by signing up for their e-mail list (often entertaining) and reading the Mr. Brisket Blog.

Want some other incentives? How about some featured sides that might make a hardened Brooklynite weep:
Chopped Liver, Potato Knishes, Matzo Ball Soup, Potato Pancakes, aged pickles, jars of Aged Pickles and of course Stadium Mustard on request. Another item of note, Rumanian Pastrami. Where else in Ohio would one find that other than Mr. Brisket. Make the trip and take a cooler if you hail from out of town.

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Mr. Brisket
2156 S. Taylor Rd.
Cleveland Hts
216.932.8620
Closed Sundays and Mondays

Mister Brisket on Urbanspoon

Posted in CLEGourmand, Ohio, Road Trip, sandwiches | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

QuickByte: Vincenzo’s Pepperoni Bread

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 10, 2013

My pepperoni roll research continues. The presence of pepperoni rolls is limited and I believe the first one I found at Omega Bakery is the best in the capital city and most likely the state, with the possible exception of the ones made by Kevin Cordi‘s West Virginia raised mother in his home city of Akron. During a Twitter discussion, Matt “Pork Slayer” Swint of Per Zoot suggested Vincenzo’s as a possible pepperoni roll purveyor.

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I should briefly mention what Vincenzo’s has to offer. It might be described as a gourmet Italian convenience store or a deli on steroids. The place carries a selection of Italian wines and beverages, a larger variety of homemade pastas, sauces and breads as well as a selection of ready to eat meatballs, sausages and other dishes. It is a place to stock up for dinner or drop in for a snack.

I did find what looked liked a giant pepperoni roll and what I might describe as a pepperoni loaf but what Vincenzo’s would call pepperoni bread. A few of the bites had a pepperoni roll balanced flavor but most did not. The core ingredients of each (bread, pepperoni and cheese) are the same but the proportions are significantly different. With a little bit of modification by the creator in the kitchen or the purchaser at home this bread could transform into a very respectable pepperoni roll. In its current form, it would still place on the upper part of the pepperoni bell curve. I will continue to look for this culinary icon of central West Virginia in the capital city but I will not be looking too hard, because I already found the best at Omega.

Vincenzo’s
6393 Sawmill Road
Closed Sunday
614.792.1010

Vincenzo's Convenient Elegance on Urbanspoon

Posted in culinary knowledge, sandwiches | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Quick Byte: Thurman to Go

Posted by cmh gourmand on December 26, 2012

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I was surprised but not shocked when I saw the ad above. I knew that Bakery Gingham had recently closed (ending the chapter on the local cupcake fad) next door and I had wondered what would become of the vacant store front. It was not left idle for long.

Since the Thurmanator became a Columbus icon via the show Man vs. Food and the book Hamburger America the lines at the Thurman Cafe have been long and the belly aching extended: “I was going to go to Thurman’s but the wait was three hours” and “The place is full of tourists”.

Now – you can get a Thurman Burger or a Thurmantor to go. The space is simple – an order counter and some menus, there are no chairs and outside some cool posters, no decor. Thurman To Go exists entirely for the production and distribution of Thurman Burgers. These oversized burgers teetering with toppings on the edge of collapse can be ordered by phone and picked up on the go. This should please some, especially those that are looking to add a notch to their food eating trophy case but don’t have the stamina to wait in line at a place that takes no reservations.

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I say hurrah for Thurman’s and for those that can get their fix and add to their weight without adding to their wait. Consider this announcement a gift for those of yourwho have out-of-town guests in for the holidays in dire need of a famous burger or for those of you that have fled our city but are back on break hoping to reconnect with your past. If getting this burger to go fills your fix that is great. But you are missing the point and the real essence of Thurman’s.

The Thurman Cafe has been family owned business since 1938. Little had changed in the space since I became aware of its existence in the early 1990’s. At that time, the place was always crowded on the weekends but if you timed it just right you could pop in with a group of friends with a minimal delay. Back in those days, you had to wait outside on the sidewalk until your table was ready. In the late 1990’s or early aughts they bought the building next door and turned it into a waiting area with bathrooms doubling the size but adding no seating. Now the tavern has taken over a third building but still has not added a single table, chair or booth to add to the dining area – as the square footage increased the number of people served stays the same and the intimacy of the place as well as the pace of the staff remain timeless. I think there is something cool about that – how many times has a restaurant in Columbus over expanded, lost the quality of the product and the consistency of service by getting too big? I would say countless times.

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If I have to wait to have the full Thurman experience of being squeezed into crowded two top that used to be a table from Wendy’s hamburgers in the 1980’s – then so be it. The experience I have at Thurman’s today (well last Saturday) was the same I had in 1992. And I like it that way. It is perfectly OK to get stuck in a rut as a restaurant and stick with tradition. I hope they don’t change a thing again if/when that take over another section of the building. In the meantime, when people feel that have had to wait too long, they go to Easy Street Cafe next door and have a perfectly good meal and a memory of not getting into Thurman’s and a desire to go back and try again.

Thurman Cafe
183 Thurman Avenue
German Village
614.443.1570

Thurman to Go
189 Thurman avenue
614.443.1570 x 1

Thurman Café on Urbanspoon

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