CMH Gourmand

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

Flat Top Pizza Company: New to the Streets

Posted by cmh gourmand on May 20, 2014

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Cuisine: Pizza, Ice Cream, Soda and Seasonal specials

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614.285.4309

We begin with a bit of Columbus Mobile Food culture. You may have heard of Mikey’s Late Night Slice, a guy named Mike started the first mobile pizza empire in the city. Then you may have heard of Pizza Mike, Mike Evans owned the first restaurant (pizzeria) in Westerville to serve booze in the dry city. Then his pizzeria burned down. Mike was on the Great Food Race and used that experience to start a food truck last year. And then there is Mike and Other Mike. In 2012 a couple of lads working on a food cart decided they needed to do something different to stand out from the cart crowd, so they started doing a grilled cheese style pizza on a cart. The concept worked but they found a cart limiting so they started working on a truck. It took a lot longer to build out the truck than expected so Mike opted for full-time employment while Other Mike continued plugging, painting and paying away on the Pizza Truck. Other Mike is owner/operator/dough slinger Mike Cyan. The lesson of this paragraph – if your name is Mike you are probably running a pizza truck. The name of the truck is an homage to how the pizza is crafted, on a flat top grill.

Flat Top pizza is much more than pizza. The menu also includes truck made ice cream and craft soda. Future menu items may include pepperoni rolls, cinnamon rolls and soups.

The pizzas start with homemade dough and high grade ingredients. The sauces and pesto are made from scratch.

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The ice cream is made in small batches and served in scoops or floats.

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The soda pops are hand crafted as well with a mix of traditional with not so traditional flavors. Mike makes special syrups and flavorings for each pop, which are mixed to order.

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As for the name, Flat Top Pizza is made on a grill not in a pizza oven. The end result still combines pizza with a little grilled cheese char.

We like the look of the truck as well (as do many of the other food truck owners in town). Mike spent a long time crafting his truck, doing almost all of the work on his own. There is a cool retro look to the Flat Top (a Grumman truck, older than Mike is) with wood doors integrated into the design. Adding to the retro, pizza to go is served in paper bags (the way pizza was served back in the 1940’s and 1950’s). Flat Top officially launched in May 2014 so keep an eye out for truck as it starts to build a following at the usual spots. The easiest place to find Flat Top in action will be at Zauber Brewing Company, check with the truck and the brewery for schedule information.

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Posted in gelato, ice cream, Locally Sourced, Mobile Food, pizza | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Rambling House Soda Pop: The Toast of the Town

Posted by cmh gourmand on May 17, 2014

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Rambling House Soda Pop is definitely a family affair. The business is owned and operated by husband and wife John and Jen Lynch. John’s brother works in operation full-time crafting soda and all of the many tasks that are needed for soda making and bar management. John’s dad is involved in the business as well. It was a long rambling road to get to Rambling House. John has operated a nano brewery in a garage at his house for about a decade. He made great craft beer and soda to share with family and friends. Every year John and Jen host a party with beer and soda as the focus of the evening. I was able to attend once and I was instantly enamoured with the beverages.

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The family had planned to open a brewery and eventually secured a building they thought would be a great location to grow a small brewery and taproom. However, even a small brewery requires a large amount of capital and over the course of the last two years many other breweries have tapped into the local market making the scene much more competitive. John has always been dedicated to his dream so he picked up a job at growler shop and started working for a local brewery to expand his knowledge and experience. Last year, the family decided to take a different path on the way to their dream. They decided to focus on craft soda and operating the building as an event space.

Last year, during Comfest, they decided to roll out their sodas and use the festival to get feedback on their different flavors and recipes. The sodas were a hit. Shortly after, they started transforming the space into a production facility, bar and music venue. Rambling House now offers a full service bar with a focus on local spirits and craft beers as well as cocktails which highlight their craft sodas. The space itself has become a destination for bluegrass and folk music with the place popping four to five nights with great local and regional acts. The Lynch’s have also partnered with Paddy Wagon and Tatoheads to provide food on peak days. It is a great venue. (Sidenote: Galaxy Cafe fans of yesteryear will be happy to know that Ricky Barnes plays Bluegrass in the house on occasion – se blurry photo below).

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A few months ago I interviewed John on Foodcast so you can listen and learn more at the link -> HERE.

You can find Rambling House straddling the border between Old North Columbus (known to some as So Hud) and Clintonville at Hudson and Indianola. Since the John and Jen are long time Clintonvillians the space also shows their committment to keeping their business uber-Local. Soda selections include Cola, Root Beer, Sasparilla, Orange and Ginger Ale. The sodas can also be found at Weilands and The Ohio Taproom where they can be purchased in growlers. They drink well on their own or in a cocktail.

The best place to check out the sodas is at Rambling House itself before, during or after a show.

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Rambling House Soda Pop
310 East Hudson Street
SoHud

Posted in beverages, Clintonville, cocktails, events | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 »

An Ode to Tobias: The Best Beer You May Never Have

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 26, 2014

Tobias Stout

So…..three weeks ago I got hitched. It may have been a surprise to some that had not seen me in a while. For others, it was noted that the past winter had been historically cold and frozen with some speculation that perhaps hell might be freezing over. Let me assure you such was not the case. I got the better end of the deal.

While all of the wedding planning was unfolding (this may be a future post) something else was going on behind the scenes. Angelo from Barleys Ale House was getting information from a few of my friends – in particular the Dining Duder – and he contacted Colin from Seventh Son to work on a collaboration beer in honor of my nuptials. All without my knowledge. The final product was a marriage of Barleys Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale and Seventh Son’s Oubliette Russian Imperial Stout. Kegs were available at each of the wedding venues, Barley’s for the Friday night pre-game and Seventh Son for the Saturday wedding and reception. It packed quite a punch with the result that those that imbibed heavily on the beer Friday night limited themselves to one pint on Saturday. It was a perfect covert operation, I had no idea all of this was going on until we walked in to Barley’s with some supplies at 5 pm on Friday. Well done Angelo, Gabe, Jason, Colin and all others involved in this worthy project.

The greatest honor of this entire endeavour was the naming of the beer. In honor of my esteemed dog and because this is a “beast” of a beer and blending of two great beverages it was christened Tobias! Long time readers are aware of my Appalachian Porch Hound, Toby, also known as CMH Tobias on Twitter. While Toby has been on many adventures with me, having a beer named in his honor is the greatest tribute I can think of and the largest exposure of this exceptional porchhound to the masses.

There is a small amount of Tobias held in reserve and it will be released for a Studio 35 Beer Tasting sometime this year. Having the last of this nectar served in the heart of the Ville is a fitting Bon Voyage.

Posted in beer, FooderHero | 1 Comment »

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.

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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 Zen State – Brunch: Purple Chopstix; Athens, Ohio

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 4, 2014

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Over the last few years, I may have gotten a bit cocky about my knowledge about eating in Athens – my North American Home away from Home. In fact, as you will read in a later post, I developed a very happy rut of a cycle of places that I visit over and over again. Until one day when Dr. Balbo, Medicine Woman mentioned “why didn’t you go to Purple Chopstix?” “Purple what the who?” Apparently it is the Bees Knees of downscale hippy dining in the locavore mecca of Athens. Not only had I never eaten there, I had never heard of it. On my recent Bachelor Sabbatical to Athens, I was determined to try out the place. Unfortunately, I started my journey of discovery in a non Zen like state. Purple Chopstix Sunday hours on their website indicated that were open to 1 p.m. and I was running late in picking up my companion for the trip, the vice president of marketing and creative endeavours for Ohio Pop. In theory, we did not have time to make it before closing, but I was focused on meeting my need to dine at this place. Thank goodness for the Nelsonville Bypass, light traffic and good weather because we made it a few minutes before 1 pm. I was happy to see that the proprietors had hand written on to the hours sign closed….1:30 pm which allowed me to not feel like a complete douchbag for coming just before the door shut.

Upon arrival, my companion was a bit skeptical about my choice of dining establishment for first lunch. He was very hungry to the point of pre-crankiness and by nature he is very focused on the appearances of things and design. The exterior of the place would best be described as unassuming. While I am a variant of hippy my companion is anything but and I think he experienced minor discomfort when we saw the sign below.

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So of course I banged the gong. We waited quite some times and the gong was not responded to so I barged into the room and asked the most hippy looking person if it was OK to seat ourselves. It turned out that person was a customer but a very pleasant young lady then took care of us and gave us her favorite table for two. You can see the table below, the booth we sat in reminded us of an old train car dining station. I am happy to report I could fit in. Looking out the window I saw a peaceful, babbling brook, many trees, some interpretive art and an odd assortment of eclectic items decorating the landscape including numerous block pavers (expect a post about that in Bricks of Ohio Blog soon). I knew the second I sat down I had found my new spot.

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However, Purple Chopstix only offers a buffet on Sundays and we were arriving at the end of service. Some of the dishes were already wiped out and the rest looked unassuming at best. I was concerned that my dining companion would be displeased but to the contrary after we loaded up on our first plate he was completely in a blissful state I rarely see him in unless we are both intoxicated. The first item he sampled was a mini crepe which was exquisitely well executed. My first bite was a curry dish with vegetables and tofu. We quickly devoured our first round of breakfast items, salads and biscuits and returned for more. While my dining companion enjoyed coffee, I went out the patio area to explore and check out the landscape. I was pleased to see there were a few patio tables for use in better weather. I was pleased indeed.

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I’d write more about the food but our friendly server shared that the buffet is different every week. We stared at the regular menu long and hard then made a verbal pact to come back in the future for three days in a row so we could explore the dinner menu in the depth it deserved. My colleague Jared from Nothing Better to Do, wrote a fine post on this spot a few years ago which I will share -> HERE. The next day we ran into our server again at Farmacy, where she also works and she once again served us well by helping us find the best place in town to restock our supply of spirits for the rest of my sabbatical. I look forward to writing about Purple Chopstix in-depth later this year. In the meantime – please share your experiences here and let me know what to order on day one.

Purple Chopstix on Urbanspoon

Posted in Athens, Locally Sourced, Ohio, restaurants, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Back on the Donut Trail: McHappy’s, Athens Ohio

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 2, 2014

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While this is bad news for the Dining Duder, the donut trail is back. And this was as unexpected for me as you. I was minding my own business with no intention of consuming a donut when I noticed that McHappy’s offered donuts. I was visiting a new Athens favorite, Purple Chopstix (suggested by Dr. Balbo, Medicine Woman) when I noticed that McHappy’s was open via a sign advertising donuts. While I have driven this stretch of Richland Ave. many times, I never noticed McHappy’s nor did I have an inclination to look – I was always on my way to somewhere else. I’m glad I dropped in.

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Dropping in was a pure whim. In fact my passenger tried to dissuade me from doing so because we had just filled up on a buffet. The place does not look like much from the outside and we had a challenge finding the door since is largely a drive through business. However, I was focused on finding out what this bakery was all about and I needed to stockpile provisions for our next several days at Lake Hope State Park. The moment I waked through the door, I was glad I did so. The first doughnut my eye spied was an Ohio classic – maple glazed cake donut. It was at this point I decided a full dozen was in order. In addition to two maples, I added several other varieties including a new one for me – Applesauce. I also picked up a cinnamon roll, a apple fritter and a peanut butter egg. This mass of sugar was a good value. If you are even more value oriented, McHappy’s sells bags of day old doughnuts for $1.99.

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To cut to the chase, in comparison of all of the other Ohio Donut Trail entries, McHappy’s rates a solid B. None of the regular donuts stood out or where craveable. I expected a lot, perhaps too much from the Applesauce donut since that style was new to me. It was good but what I think I liked the most was it’s star like shape. The winner of everything we tried was the apple fritter. It may place in the top five in the fritter category to date. I should note a few disclaimers about McHappy’s. We purchased the donuts around 1 pm and we did not try any until about 5 pm so they were not at their peak freshness. McHappy’s is a five location chain operating in Athens, Belpre, Marietta and Parkersburg. And for some reason, which no longer makes sense we nicknamed the lady that served us Biscuits McGillacutty.

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McHappy's Donuts and Bake Shoppe on Urbanspoon

Posted in desserts, donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | 2 Comments »

Tyler’s Pizzeria and Bakery

Posted by cmh gourmand on March 29, 2014

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I’m not sure when I first heard of Tyler’s. It was brought back to my attention when my esteemed colleague at Columbus Food Adventures shot me an e-mail that highlighted the wood-fired aspect of the business. I then put Tyler’s on my very long and never completed to scout list. A month later, after dropping off some friends at the airport I found that I had time to kill and was much closer to Reynoldsburg than I ever get so that was the day.

Tyler’s is located deep in the heart of Reynoldsburg, in fact, I think it was the first time I been to the burg other than any sections attached to 270. That being the case I was hoping that Tyler’s would be a destination, because otherwise, I knew I would never have any legitimate reason to return.

Tyler’s is located in a nondescript building with simple signage. It could have easily been Tyler’s Barber Shop or Tyler’s Comics if one was driving by and did not know to look for it. I parked then spent a few minutes to search the web on my phone to see if I could find any suggestions on what to order. (At this point you are thinking….order a pizza idiot) but I do have an obligation to be thorough so I wanted some guidance, even from Yelp. I found very little on the place. Also, I must admit, when I see the term wood-fired I initially get very excited then quickly recall the many wood-fired disappointments I have experienced to date. Wood-fired often means wood flavored or wood smelling or would have wished I had gone elsewhere. I did not want to be disappointed but I was ready for it.

Walking in, the inside looked much like the outside – simple and plain. There was a sample board from which the sole employee cut off some items for me to try. There were all good. Then, I spied a Pepperoni Roll. I knew I would get one of those haven just spoken to Gary Seman at This Week about the subject a few days before. I saw many things that I wanted so I take home with me so I started with my initial order and then when I was given the price…which seemed like a steal, I added several more items to my bag of goodies.

So you are asking yourself, dude, where’s the pizza? Well in seems that Tyler was not in when I was there. The young lady at the counter has worked for him for two years and has learned a lot about baking but she was still learning the art of making pizzas in the oven so she suggested that I hold out until I could have one made by Tyler. I am sure that his apprentice could have made a fine pie but I respected that she wanted me to try one from the master so I opted to get some more bakery items instead.

This was my final stockpile of goods: butterscotch chip scone, chocolate croissant, blueberry muffin, pepperoni roll, Cornish pastry and a cookie bar. Verdict each one would finish best in show or close to it in their respective categories. A few highlights from above. The croissant was light, flakey and perfectly balanced in the proportion of chocolate to croissant. Cornish pastry, who in the heck makes these in Ohio? If you have never had one, go here to fix that little problem of yours. Mine had exceptionally buttery and flakey crust with a fine mix of spiced and seasoned meat and vegetables inside. As Jimmy Fallon might say…So Good, So Good.

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And let me back track to the pepperoni roll. While Omega Bakery is still my favorite place to get this West Virginia staple, Tyler’s comes a close second. One bonus on the roll I tried was a strip of charred cheese about the length of a dollar bill and the thickness of my little finger attached to the bottom and never removed after it came from the oven.

Based on the baked goods, I have no doubt that the wood-fired pizzas will not disappoint me when I do get back to try them. One more thing gave me hope. Having gained the confidence of the apprentice I was allowed to get a close up look of the wood fired oven. Take a look. Doesn’t that give you hope and a warm feeling inside?

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Tyler's Pizzeria & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Posted in bakery, desserts, pizza | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

A Deal, a Shill and an Appeal

Posted by cmh gourmand on March 7, 2014

DealDeck

We begin with the deal. It is the Dine Originals Deck. For $20 you get 52 cards, each with a pretty good deal. Most of the deals are $10 off a certain dollar amount of food purchased. So, if you use two cards, you get your money back. Anything over is saving you money. There are a few non restaurant deals, one is a buy one get one free tour of Watershed Distillery. It is a bargain at full price so well worth consideration. Reviewing the deals in the rest of the deck the best offers are from Basi Italia, Bodega, Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant (Brunch only), Deepwood, Katalina’s, Pistacia Vera and The Top. So doing some quick math, I will probably save at least $50. Get the deck.


And now, the shill…….

In seven plus years of CMH Gourmand, I have been pretty hardcore about NOT shilling. I receive about one offer per week from someone asking me to hawk their wares, try out their restaurant, link their product to the website, etc. In 99% of the instances I say no thank you. On occasion I have accepted an offer for a meal or a product I already believe in and when I do, I disclose so in the post.

In the case of E-bates, I was not approached at all. Well not really. Mrs. (soon to be) Gourmand hooked me up with E-bates shortly after we hooked up. The concept is pretty straightforward. You sign up with E-bates and use their site as a portal for the other online shopping you do. So when I shop at L.L.Bean, Amazon, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Peets Coffee, Ghirardelli, etc. I can expect to get 2 to 4% of the purchase price back and sometimes more.

As a person who freely self admits that there is at least a 50% chance that my obituary will read “was struck by a car while bending down to pick up a penny” my Scottish heritage kicks in hard when a deal is to be had. As Mrs. to be Gourmand and I often say, “only a sucker pays full price”. Well I say that and she rolls her eyes in agreement. Since I do most of my shopping online the cash back accumulates quickly and can be paid to me by check or paypal.

So why I am sharing this other than the fact it is a good deal and only loosely food related? Well, Mr. Gourmand is saving up for a honeymoon to Italy and a new house in Old Worthington or Clintonville. Any referral I make for E-bates puts $15 in my savings account and saves you money. And any referral you make….puts money in your pocket. Bazinga!

Click the link below to make a donation to a worthy cause – extensive gelato research in Italy and extensive home improvement in central Ohio.

Show Gourmand the Money


And now the appeal.

I am listed as a candidate for best blog in the community for 614 Magazine’s ColumBest. It may be debatable if my blog is the best but it is one of the oldest. So I humbly ask for your consideration in the voting process. I would like to place third this year. You can vote -> HERE.

I’m CMH Gourmand and I thank you for your support.

Posted in Gastronomic Stimulus | 1 Comment »

 
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