CMH Gourmand – Eating in Columbus & Ohio

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Pearl Valley Cheese Please!

Posted by cmh gourmand on February 27, 2021

I love cheese. I like to support local foods. I’m also proud of any award winning Ohio food. Putt all of these things together and you have, Pearl Valley Cheese. I first discovered the company by accident. In the 1990’s I spent many weekends roaming the back roads of Ohio looking for places to hike and bike. One day while enjoying the hilly roads of State Route 93, I spied a sign for Pearl Valley Cheese Company. I braked hard, back tracked and saw a small red building and a deserted parking lot. I figured it must be a manufacturing facility closed for the weekend but I drove on anyway and saw an open sign so I popped into a turophiles wonderland.

When I arrived it was close to closing time but the staff were generous with samples and suggestions therefore I happily left with several sampler bags and pounds of cheese. Later that day, I had a mini-cheese tasting somewhere along the backroads of Holmes County. Pearl Valley is far off the beaten path in Amish country but it became a mandatory stop for any adventure in that part of the state.

Pearl Valley is not as as well known as the other Amish / Swiss Cheese makers and destinations in Ohio but the company is no less distinguished. It has won countless awards at the state, national and international level for a variety of their cheeses. Pearl Valley is a perennial winner at the Ohio State Fair, which offers stiff competition in all cheese categories.

The company has a almost of century of cheese making experience, dating back to 1928. The company is still family owned and was started by Swiss immigrants. While the company follows traditional recipes and techniques, it has never been reluctant to be innovative and progressive. In 1969 they started a whey drying facility that allowed them to recycle waste from the cheese making process into a useful commodity. In 2010, they built a wastewater treatment plant which uses the waste water from cheese making and the methane created to generate 1/3 or more of the electricity for the operation.

Life, world travels and parenthood curtailed my Ohio roaming but I still sought out Pearl Valley cheese where I could. At this point, I am going to take us on a detour to share the story of my latest trip to Pearl Valley. In the summer of 2020 during the mid point of covid quarantine, cabin fever and a 5 year old with too much energy and too little world exposure prompted our family to get out of the house to do something that would be different, far away and contactless. We typically do a mini adventure every July for CMH Griffin’s birthday. In the summer of 2020, we decided to visit a drive through petting zoo in Amish country. When CMH Spouse presented the idea my face lit up. I made an expression that she is all too familiar with because she saw the wheels turning in my head as I was making a PLAN. I asked if we could tag on a trip to Pearl Valley Cheese since it is on the way and would give us some nice scenery to look at. I proposed that I would maintain distance, double mask and just go in and out quickly so we could cheese up of the afternoon. She reluctantly agreed and the deal was done. (For other plans gone awry, please refer to past posts where I went somewhere with the grumpy old man)

The journey started with high spirits and jubilation until we came across a detour sign on the way to Fresno, Ohio, the home of the cheese company. At this point I “heard” my wife direct a LOOK at me so I averted my eyes and tried to assume the fetal position as best as I could in the passenger seat. As it turns out CMH Spouse has a medical condition that involves vertigo, this makes hilly, twisty, up and down driving a neurological nightmare for her. I could not offer to drive because she gets car sick on long drives if she is not the driver. So we endured about 15 minutes of narrow, gravel-roaded terror as we made our way to Pearl Valley Cheese company. When we pulled into the parking lot there was silence. I very quietly said I would be back in 5 minutes and slinked to the front doors and safety. With great haste and focus I gathered as much cheese as I could carry. As I was checking out I asked if there were any detours for the rest of our journey, I was relieved to hear that we were done with our gauntlet run for the day. I was gifted with a map that highlighted a route that would ensure we had smooth sailing on the way home. I returned to the car, delivered the news and we proceeded on. Our destination was the Farm at Walnut Creek. The Gourmand family highly recommends this drive thru petting zoo with two caveats: 1) Get twice as much animal food than you think you will need 2) Carefully read the instructions that warn you about what animals to avoid on the route BEFORE you start your drive down the road.

In light of the above, it is unlikely I will travel to Pearl Valley Cheese again with my wife in this decade, however, I have a good alternative. You can order online from Pearl Valley Cheese. Here are a couple pointers for ordering from them. First, sign up for their mailing list, they sometimes have promotions that offer 10 to 15% off. Second order in the winter months. In the summer, they include cold packs to keep the cheese at temperature, so this adds weight to the box and thus more shipping charges and extreme heat in the summer could lessen the flavor of your cheese. Lastly, looking at shipping charges, your best value is getting 4 or more cheeses which is the weight point where the price per wheel percentage starts to decline to create a good value. Using these strategies you will get a wider variety of their cheeses for less than you would pay at a store if you can find it (often you can not).

Over the years, I have identified my favorites Pearl Valley Cheeses: Lacey Baby Swiss, Smoked Swiss and Farmers Cheese. I have never consumed any of their cheeses I did not enjoy, but these are the three I always order. The quality is very good. I have eaten Swiss Cheese in Switzerland and our Ohio Swiss cheese is as good or better than what I had in the mother country.

Here are a few fun facts about Swiss Cheese in Ohio:

– Ohio produces 61% of the Swiss cheese in the united states

– All of the large Ohio cheese producers are family owned

– Pearl Valley makes 35,000 pounds of cheese per day, five days a week and all
milk is sourced from ohio dairy farmers

Since our July excursion I have had two boxes of cheese delivered to me and was highly satisfied with what I received. I even shared some.

Posted in cheese, culinary misadventure, Locally Sourced, Ohio, Road Trip | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

gosun Portable Solar Oven: Kind of Cool, but Still Hot

Posted by cmh gourmand on February 14, 2021

Here I am writing about another gosun product. How did this happen? Last summer I was asked if I wanted to try out the gosun Solar Oven for free. I said, yes of course. In addition to being a recycling nerd and zealot, I am also a huge sustainability fan with a trace of survivalist thrown in. There was no way for me to resist this offer, especially since the opening pitch mentioned hot dogs. As it played out, the item was on back order for a while so I ended up getting it in the late fall. Due to the delay I was asked if I wanted to try our the gosun Flatware. I ended up getting both at the same time. I am late on reviewing both products but review the oven I will with no good excuse for the delay other than a lock of no free time until recently.

Let’s start with the cool factor. This oven is portable and lightweight (2 pounds). This is easy and intuitive to use. The oven is the size of a small purse. It also comes with easy to understand instructions and sample cook times based on the amount of sun and the type of food being cooked. There is also a lot of stuff that comes with the stove – a nylon bag to carry everything including a tube cleaner and silicon food trays to hold food in the tube.

The diameter of the tube is a bit more that the typical paper towel cardboard cylinder. You are not going to cook a meal for a family of six with this oven and you are not going to get anything as quickly as a microwave. In this case the journey is more important that the destination. The stove does work! It worked during an Ohio winter (I have photos to prove it!).

The only downsides I have identified for the solar oven in my first uses are tubular in nature. I think cooking 6 hot dogs (as noted in the book) is a bit optimistic and may not be logistically possible. Also, I wish at least one of the silicone tubes was the length of a hot dog. Otherwise, all is good.

How do I see people using this? This would be great for a picnic where you had enough leisure time to add a warm entree or side for two. This would be great for ice fishermen looking for an extra source of hot water. The oven is also a great way to teach teach kids about the power of solar – this would be a fun experiment for an elementary school science class.

Because I like the Swiss army knife aspect of gadgets, I would love to see the addition of a cell phone or USB charger added to the product. Otherwise, as long as you have reasonable expectations and some time on your hands, this oven will be something you can enjoy for a long time.

P.S. You are probably wondering how you boil water with the oven – set the item vertically with the cap on the top and you have created a no spill container for the water to heat up. It has a boiling capacity of 13.5 fl. ounces.

If you live in the Columbus area and want to borrow this for a a while – shoot me an e-mail. My hope, is that I can lure the Instagram legend, @Seligmansdog to try this oven out in a series of mad science experiments. If so, we will report the outcomes via Instagram.

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gosun: Flatware – Be the Change

Posted by cmh gourmand on February 7, 2021

An uneducated guess would suggest that your eating habits have changed over the last year.  In the tradition of Carnac the Magnificent, I predict you have experienced a surge of take out eating.  If you are like me, you are more often eating in your car or in good weather, in an outdoor spot distanced from the crowd.  Sometimes it can feel like an epic picnic until you discover, you have nothing to eat with.  This has happened to me at least three times over the last year.  As a professional eater, I am aways ready for this circumstance because I have an “emergency kit in my car with a cork screw, zip lock bags, pocket knife, hand sanitizer and misc. plastic ware.  So I can save my own day. However, I have still had to improvise on my own a few times and when I’m not the driver, I am at risk for the “no flatware blues”. If you do not want to get “forked over” to you, try gosun Flatware.

This handy kit is the size of a credit card, dishwasher safe, and reusable.  A statistic on their packaging states that the average American uses 322 disposable plastic utensils per year.  So in addition to always being prepared to enjoy a meal on the go, you can also help reduce the massive amount of plastic filling our oceans and landfills.  Here is yet another spin for you to consider.  Yes, it can suck when you don’t get the needed plasticware for your takeway meal but in my case, more often than not, when I am eating I home, we get more than we need so what we receive gets wasted (we have an in-house Moratorium on filling our overflowing “emergency” plasticware box with anyone more spares).  When possible I will ask restaurant to “hold the plastic” if they can or they don’t ask themselves.

Many of us have been trying to figure out ways to help locally owned restaurants during the pandemic, it may seem like a small thing but asking them to hold the plasticware is not only good for the environment, it saves them money.  It may not seem like much but each disposable plastic spoon, fork and knife as well as every napkin, sauce pack and straw adds up to a lot of money over time.  I found this -> article breaking down the costs of your carry out meal.  Every bit makes a difference.

So if you are a tree hugger and equal opportunity eater like me wanting to do right by the environment while helping our my restaurant friends just say no to disposable plastic utensils and yes to an option like gosun flatware. It is a win win.

I did receive a complimentary set of gosun flatware for my services.  As mentioned in other posts, I don’t write about something I do not like.  In this case, there is a lot to like about this flatware. I mentioned the size before, and this product makes good use of space by being credit card sized.  Convenience is the key to behavior change so having your own flatware wherever you go makes doing the right thing that much easier.

The flatware set is the thickness of 4 credit cards, so it will not fit into the typical credit card slot in a leather wallet but it does fit snuggly in the the pocket that is typically underneath the slots or in the billfold section of a wallet. If you have a badge for work with a plastic holder, this would fit in with many work ID’s.

The fork works great.  The knife / spoon combo can cover the basics.  The knife does not have much of a serrated edge but it will cut cheese, donuts, and spread butter.  I’m not going to complain because a sharper edge would mean slicing my tongue.  The spoon is good for mashed potatoes, hummus, pudding and the like but trying to eat soup with it would be an exercise of Sisyphean futility.  Overall, this is a good option to have with you at all times.  I also like that the company practices what it preaches.  The packaging and the utensil holder are recyclable. The inside of the packaging has 6 detachable information cards featuring their website and a recycling fact (every day, enough plastic forks, spoons, and knives get thrown away to fill more than 3000 garbage trucks).

In a nutshell: Save your meal, save the environment and help our restaurant friends some money, by saying hold the plastic and using gosun flatware.

Now if they could somehow make a combination straw, ketchup dispenser and salt and pepper shaker that is the same size, I will be ready for any food emergency.

(No plastic spoons, knives or forks were wasted in the production of this post.)

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Paulaner: Pils in a can, Weizen-Radler and Salvatore – A Bavarian Rhapsody!

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 31, 2021

I recognize that you might be confused.  Yes, you did come to the right blog.  Why am I, a local beer guy, that used to run our local brewery tour company writing about German Beers? Let me explain. I receive a lot of offers to write about food related things.  Most offers go straight to the trash can.  However, when an offer catches my eye or provides an opportunity to learn, I will accept a product to write about.  If I don’t like it, I don’t pretend to do so and the content shows it or more often I decline to write about it.  In this case, I replied back twice to two opportunities from Paulaner and I ended up at least twice removed from my promised deadline. In the case of Paulaner there are four reasons why I said yes: Memories of my youth, a Covid-caged wanderlust, a love of history, and well, duh, free beer. Well, nothing is free, writing about these beers took several hours as well as dedication to objective research.  (Side note:  The return address on each package sent to me listed a contact with the last name Stout – how appropriate).  I’m glad I said yes to my offers, because I like these beers.

Let’s start with memories of youth.  Back in the 20th century, before the second wave of craft brewing began, finding a Paulaner in a local beer shop or restaurant was a sign of luck and persistence.  The act of drinking a real beer from Germany was downright progressive.  I spent some time in Germany after I graduated from college drinking my share of Paulaner in Munich.  Paulaner was hard to find in Ohio “back in the old days”.  Today, Paulaner has a Beer Finder, which means you are one click away from discovery.  Just type in your zip code, click search and Bam!, beer.  In the case of my zip code, 37 locations have Paulaner products within 10 miles of my house. The finder even lets you drill down to which type of beer you want to find, so I typed in Paulaner Weizen-Radler to find 4 locations.

My next reason for saying yes to Paulaner, I love to travel. Parenthood combined with Covid means I’m lucky to leave my house to go pick up a pizza. Drinking a Paulaner, in a very small way, transports me to Germany for a few moments. Any beer definitely connects you to the place it was brewed through the water used, the people that crafted it and the tradition they follow. The Paulaner brewing tradition goes back to 1634.  There is some deeply hidden component of my Scottish / German ancestry that resonated with these beers (Scottish – Free, German – Beer) but more important to me was the history of the brand itself.

On the history front, Paulaner offers plenty of history, about 400 years worth.  The oldest (still operating) brewery we have Columbus is Columbus Brewing Company which has all of 40 years. Paulaner was started by monks in Munich.  When the monastery had leftover beer it was given to the poor or served in the cloister pub. In 1773, a monk commonly known as Barnabas started to brew for the order and developed techniques that were quickly adopted throughout Europe.  There are some beers named in his honor to this day. Paulaner beers were served at the first Oktoberfest celebrations and are still poured to the masked, socially distanced masses today.

Whenever I drink a new beer, I consult our local sage of fermentation, Pat Woodward of Pat’s Pints. Pat KNOWS beer.  He is a chemistry professor, home brewer, trained beer judge and prolific drinker. He has also traveled extensively writing about beers all over the world.  I found a few of his posts were helpful in my research for this review so the student (me) texted the master (him) to get some thoughts on the Paulaner Salvatore I dropped off to him.  I will include some exclusive Pat’s Pints content on the Salvatore later.

My next thought was to contact a real German.  Constantin is my former Clintonville neighbor who returned to Germany in 2019.  I contacted him for his spin on Paulaner but I made a critical error, I forgot that “Connie” is from Hamburg and living there now. In Germany, beer drinkers are fiercely locally loyal.  A real Hamburger would not be caught dead drinking a beer from Munich, unless they were in Munich.  Connie did say that if he was in Munich, he would drink a Paulaner and that is about the best compliment to be expected in this situation.

I had a brainstorm after this.  What is the next best thing to a German living in Munich?  In my case it was Cameron Lloyd, American brewer at Endeavor Brewing and Spirits.  Cameron received his brewing training in Germany so when he was not making beer, he was drinking it in travels around the country.  Although Paulaner brews massive quantities of beer, as in millions of hectoliters, much more than most German breweries, he said their quality is well respected.  It makes sense that Paulaner would distribute to 70 countries around the world, due to the uber-loyalty to local brands in each of the German states, their only way to grow is to sell outside of Germany.

Having completed my baseline investigation research, it was time to start drinking.

I started with the Paulaner Weizen-Radler (Non-Alcoholic).  This is a Hefe-Weizen with the alcohol removed (well most of it, less than .05% ABV (alcohol by volume) blended with lemon juice.  Paulaner brewed the first non alcoholic Weissbiers in the world and the radler originated in Germany, so I had high expectations for this non alcoholic malt beverage.  I was not disappointed.  This transported me to sitting in a beirgarten in Munich without the threat of a hangover or the monotony of a layover.  The Weisen-Radler was a pleasure to consume, as much as I loved it, I did to share some with my wife.  She liked her sample and was disappointed we did not have more.

Next, I moved on to the 1 pint, 9 fluid ounce, Paulaner Pils in a can.  This beer has been off the North American radar for some time.  After years of living under the shadows of mega hopped beers of the US IPA wars of the 2010’s, the Pils (Pilsner) returned to the US market in November of 2020.  The canned Pils comes in four packs. The ABV on this is 4.8% so it is very sessionable as a smooth drinking, palate pleasing all purpose beer. Pat’s Pints provides a good insight into this style he describes as the “rock stars of the lager world.” (It should be noted that while Pilsner originated in the Czech city of Pilsen, it was Bavarian brewer Josef Groll who created it there in 1842). Today Pilsners are ubiquitous as the dominant beer style around the world.  However, we have lost our appreciation of what makes this style so good because it has been dumbed down through decades of macro-level mass production (Budweiser). Drinking the Paulaner Pils did remind me of what I like about well crafted Pilsners. It was true to style, well balanced and epitomized the Paulaner motto of Gut, besser, Paulaner. (Good, better – Paulaner).

Last, and absolutely not least, I sampled the Paulaner Salvator (Double Bock). This comes in a 11.2 fluid ounce bottle with an ABV of 7.9%.  Having led brewery tours for seven years, one of the most common points of confusion came up when discussing bock beers.  They are not as common around town today, but many older beer drinkers fondly recall the bocks of their youth and those memories have faded over time. In a barley shell, Bock is essentially a lager beer that is darker due to the type of malt selected. This makes for a rich, hearty beer.  A double bock even more so with a bit more alcohol to boot.  The Bock name, derives from the style of beer that started in the northern German town of Einbeck.  As the style traveled south to Bavaria, it was misheard as ein-bock which means Billy Goat.  Concurrently Northern Italian monks found their way to the Munich to set up a monastery.  During Lent, they were not allowed to eat solid food so they started to make a lager that was darker in color using what is now often called Munich malt.  This created a darker color, a higher alcohol content with a much needed caloric boost in the beer to sustain them through the lingering days of winter.  When the monks provided some leftover bock as alms to the poor, other local brewers were outraged and started to write letters of complaint.  This dark beer push back occurred in 1634 which is considered the birth of the brewery and why the Salvatore style is strongly associated with Paulaner.  The monks originally called their creation “blessed father’s beer” and “holy oil of St. Francis,” before changing to a simpler latin term for savior – Salvator.  I’ll be turning the tasting notes over to Pat’s Pints for this beer, the bottle I drank taught me that my alcohol tolerance has declined steeply during Covid.<

Paulander Salvatore Tasting Notes from Pat's Pints:
What is the sensory experience associated with the modern iteration of this historic beer? Visually the beer is tawny brown, with reddish highlights. Running somewhat counter to my expectations for a German Doppelbock, the beer is slightly hazy. I lean in for a smell and am greeted with the aromas of caramelized sugar with background hints of fig, plum and a bit of booziness. Enough with the prelude, it’s time for a taste. The rich caramel flavors come to the fore, accented by dark fruits, something in the vein of black cherries or plums. Peeling away the layers of flavor I find something suggestive of nuts. The beer sports a medium body, not as thick as the flavors might suggest. For a beer that clocks in at nearly 8% it’s dangerously drinkable, but there is a subtle warming sensation that lingers after the first few sips. The overall impression is that of a flavor-packed winter treat, one that might just get you thinking of sugar plum fairies. Despite the perceived decadence it still retains a surprisingly high level of drinkability, just right for pairing with a hearty winter meal.

Backtracking to wanderlust, my post procrastination has allowed me to add a bonus for my loyal readership.  Paulaner is sponsoring a contest to win a trip for two to Paulaner’s Salvatorfest,  March of 2022 in Munich.  This annual festival celebrates Paulaner’s / Munich’s Stark biers (Stark being strong),  it is the oldest beer festival in the region even predating Oktoberfest. For second place, ten people will win six Paulaner glasses and a scarf.  I hope to win this trip because I really need to get out of the house.  If, not, I would be happy to see one of you win (feel free to take me as your number two).

If you are looking for Paulaner beers out and about it may take a while for old time fans to find them.  The company launched a new bottle style and labeling last year (it looks really good) which includes the Paulander name embossed on the bottles.  I am still a local drinker so when you pick up a 4 pack or six pack of Paulaner grab another six pack of Land Grant, Seventh Son, Outerbelt, Wolf’s Ridge, Endeavor, Sideswipe…… you get my drift.  Our local brewers still need our support and you could all use a drink so doubling up on your beer supply is a good way to go for 2021.

Posted in beer, Product Review | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

What are your 12 Eateries and Drinkeries for Covid Christmas?

Posted by cmh gourmand on December 13, 2020

On the first day of Covid, Corona gave to us…. the equivalent of a tactical nuclear strike to our local food and beverage industry.

I can still recall the early days of March vividly – everything became very surreal super-fast. I remember sitting at the bar of Rockmill Tavern talking to the manager about what the future might bring. We had just cancelled our Brewery District Walking tour for the foreseeable future, and called off our guide training for the day.  I was hanging out to pass out historic beer bottles to my team as a thank you for their work the previous year. When I left, and looked out at Front Street and across the Brewery District to an empty neighborhood I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach.  That feeling never left.  At the time, we hoped that things would be better by summer and PPE would keep some places going until then. Well, you know the story from there.

This time of year is typically the bread and butter season for restaurants – holiday parties, family gatherings, corporate gift giving, events, etc. Such is not the case for this December. You have probably heard dire / grim numbers about how many restaurants have closed so far this year, we know at least 100,000 have already closed nationwide. Looking at the end of this year to the first quarter of 2021, reliable data suggests about 30% of existing restaurants will 86 their dreams and shut down. This might be an optimistic estimate, independent local restaurants will see a higher rate than that. Typically January and February are the dead zone of sales. So after a lean year with no icing on the cake in December, the light at the end of the 2021 tunnel is dim until March at the earliest when patio season may return.  Right now our eateries and “drinkeries” are the Tiny Tim of local businesses and need much more than a lump of coal to persist.  

For our local breweries and distilleries – the glass is not looking one half empty or even an eighth full. The better analogy is trying to scrape enough peanut butter out of the bottom of the jar to make a sandwich. These businesses do best when you visit them on site so they can reap the rewards of selling you pints and cocktails directly instead of the cut they get from retail sales at bars and stores. If you are a local beer fan you know our taprooms are now lightly visited, those with patios have lost that option for the winter and for those that package their product there is a looming shortage of aluminum cans for most except the the large players like Budweiser.  Bars like St. James Tavern and Little Rock have shut down until Covid goes away.  A few breweries and taprooms are very likely to make their last call in early 2021. 

If what you have read here so far and elsewhere seems dire, I have bad news for you, it is worse that what you have seen in the media. The bulk of my friends are brewers, distillers, taproom bartenders, restaurant owners, and such. In my day to day interactions with them the situation is greater that what we see on the surface. Salaries have been slashed, rent renegotiated or unpaid, staff laid off, any corner that can be cut, was slashed months ago, bills are piling up, and many are thinking long and hard about their future not knowing what next year brings. For many what the ledgers look like at the end of this month will determine their path forward. These folks are my extended family and I feel like a war time medic without a medical kit. Most are putting on a good face and going day by day however the hope of a last minute PPE or other stimulus funding funneling down the chimney for a last minute save is long gone.  Stimulus tends to go to big business and rarely trickles down to a small business.  In my life-time we have bailed out Savings and Loans, the Auto Industry and Big Banks – all of these businesses made bad decisions in good times and did not have to pay the price for their greed.  Our Mom and Pop businesses were hit hard by a once in a hundred years pandemic that has knocked them to the ground.  They don’t have the lobbying power to get the help they need.  

So what can we do? Money is tight for many of us, so much so that today one on four children in Columbus is not sure where their next meal will come from. We can still do something. If you don’t have the deep pockets to do carry out every day there are still ways to contribute. You can like social media posts and share them with your network. If you forgot to write a glowing review of your favorite spot, now is the time to do it. If you are still stumped for holidays gifts – give the gift of gift certificates. If you have an old gift certificate from a local, independent restaurant consider “losing it” and make not using it a gift to the restaurant when you order without using it. When you can, tip well.  While many have shifted to delivery services for their meals keep in mind that delivery costs more that what you pay in fees, most delivery services charge the restaurant as well, often that fee is most of their profit – they would rather sell you a meal and break even than have you take your business somewhere else and not come back.  So when you can, and where a business does a good job of safe / contactless pick up, – go get your order and get out of the house. 

Small businesses do matter.  I wish I could eloquently pitch to you the gravity of the situation in the style of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life….  it is these small businesses that are taking the hit and (“Mr. Potters of Columbus”) these restaurants and other businesses I’m talking about… “they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community”.  These are the business that support little league teams, that give a starving artist a place to work, that add character to our neighborhoods and tend to buy local from farmers, suppliers and etc. 

For your twelve days of Covid Christmas pick a different restaurant, brewery or distillery to support each of your twelve days in any way you can.  Even sharing this post can help, if you want to share this to twelve people even better. 

If you are stumped in filling in your list of twelve shoot me an e-mail because I have hundreds more suggestions I have not covered here, these are the first twelve that came to my mind in no particular order. 

Barley’s

Was one of the original micro breweries in town. If you are a beer person in Central Ohio you have hoisted a beer at Barleys.  Covid hit Barley’s harder than most.  Their location, directly across from the main entrance of the convention center was a boon since the center opened….but conventions are gone.  Riots scared others away from Downtown.  The brewpub is running on skeleton crew with long time manager Jason cooking, cleaning, hauling out spent grain and much more seven days per week.  The food and beer have always been good.  The business did a great job redoing their space to be socially distant and they do a fine job on curbside pick up.  If none of this calls you to action, them do it for Angelo, dang it!  

Smokehouse Brewing

Lenny Kolada at Smokehouse Brewing had guided the business through over twenty fives years of highs and lows. This year is different.  This year is the flatline on an EKG looking for that first bump up.  His son Alex juggled brewing and kitchen duties for months.  If you want a perspective of life on the frontlines check out the restaurant’s Instagram account Smokeandbrew for a day by day take – as I type. this is Day 275.  The wings are good, the beer is great in person or in a growler and they have a gift card special through the end of December. 

451 Spirits 

Chad at 451 has a very different take on just about everything.  His spirits are unique and carefully crafted. This little gem is hidden behind a United Dairy Farmers, in a former car wash building, in Clintonville and if all that makes sense to you and you have not been to 451, what is your problem? They (Chad) does a great job on curbside pickup.  And just before Thanksgiving Chad broke ( as in really shattered) his right arm requiring a massive surgery….and his is still distilling away.  Buying some of his spirits in the holiday spirit would give him some cheer. 

Rockmill Tavern 

Rockmill Tavern is fighting the good fight in the Brewery District.  In fact, they are about the last food business standing in their section of the neighborhood.  They do a good job with their online ordering system and curbside pick up is easy via Liberty Street. Matt Barbee and the Rockmill team have more than just Covid to contend with. The Brewery District was on an upswing going into 2020 with plenty of new businesses and energy in the area. Covid took the steam of that economic engine.  Rockmill is also in between a rock and a hard place with the road construction and other projects churning around it.  It is worth the effort to order from Rockmill and they have some killer beer to boot. 

Echo Spirits

Timing has frequently been against the gang at Echo Spirits but they aways press on. They opened their bar to the public on December 10th. The bar offers several unique and flavorful cocktails. Like our other local distillers they quickly shifted to making sanitizer when Covid kicked in. They would like you to drop in so they don’t get kicked to the curb. The tagline of Echo Spirits is know your distiller so -> HERE <- you go.

TAT Ristorante

The Corrova family has operated TAT Ristorante since 1929. The location has changed over the decades but not the family that runs it. Jimmy Corrova has been a fixture at the restaurant since he was 8 years old. The restaurant is his pride and joy but due to health problems and protocols he has not been at TAT since March. One good reason to crush the corona virus is to get Jimmy Corrova back in his favorite booth to greet guests when they start to pour through the doors again. In the meantime, they do have distanced dine in service and do a great job on curbside pick up. Their food is very good and their pizza is among my favorite in the city. Let’s help them sustain to 2029 so they can ring in their first century of business with a bang.

Gatto’s Pizza

Gatto’s is not the oldest pizzeria in town, but it is really close. It is the oldest pizza place in the same location run by the same family since 1952. They make their own sausage and they have made some changes for 2020 – Gatto’s takes credit cards, engages in social media and for those outside of Clintonville you can order via Doordash and Grubhub (but please just go pick it up).

Preston’s

A lot of people think Preston’s makes the best burger in town and they are right. However, many more have never tried Preston’s and that needs to change. I love Preston’s but I LOVE the guy that crafted the concept, Mr. Matt Heaggans. I have followed his career since the day he came back to Columbus and I can tell you no one is as obsessed with getting everything “just right” than Matt. This is a tough time to open a new location and the North Market is not as busy as it once was but for the sake of an excellent burger, we need to treat Preston’s like a national treasure so we can keep eating their tasty burgers, chicken sandwiches and even more the special dinners created for pick up that are just now starting to come from Matt’s spell book of recipes.

Columbus Food Adventures Trust Fall Dinners and Gift Baskets

What do you do when your award winning food tour company can’t do (many) tours for the foreseeable future? You pivot as fast as you can to meal delivery with a twist. The company’s Trustfall dinners deliver a hearty meal for two from restaurant the diners have probably never heard of. You place your trust in them that they will select a meal that you will enjoy. In the process, you avoid the mundane rut of eating the same euro-centric food day after day. In the process Columbus Food Adventures has helped support 60+ local businesses by selling food and gaining exposure to new customers. Their themed gift baskets do the same – showcasing the best foods of the city.

Ray Ray’s

Everyone knows Ray Ray’s…..well almost everyone but that was not always the case. No so long ago, in parking lot in Clintonville no one knew Ray Ray’s BBQ. Jamie “Ray Ray” Anderson is not a man of many words but he can let his food do the talking. Jamie is passionate about his craft, so much so that he raises his own hogs. Chef Bill Glover came on board this fall. The two have known each other for about a decade and together they have showcased the best of Columbus to the James Beard crowd. Let’s keep this dynamic duo together by keeping this empire going so we can all have nice things AC (After Covid).

Lavash Cafe

Nasir Latif is no stranger to the restaurant business and in the 1980’s he brought one of the first ethnic restaurants to Columbus. He came back to Columbus to bring us Lavash Cafe in Clintonville. The location does an excellent job with curbside pick up. Even more importantly the menu is authentic, the quality is exceptional and price is reasonable. Lavash is a type of bread common to the MiddleEastern region of the world and the lavash and pita breads mades in house are worth a trip on their own.

Hounddogs (Pizza for the People)

The hallowed halls of Hounddogs have been quieted by covid but the iconic Old North Columbus hangout still offers pick up and delivery of their beloved pizzas both earlier and later in the day than most pizza purveyors. On my last visit I saw signs of interior construction / redesign in the works which could indicate that owner and craftsman Jeff Stewart is working on some distanced solutions to get people back inside.

These are twelve of countless local restaurants, breweries and the like you can support and we wrap up the year and try to regift it to the trash can. If you want to jump on this band wagon – share this with your friends. If you are a social media user consider tagging you works in this task with #My12RestaurantsofCovid (sorry everyone else – breweries, distilleries, farmers markets, The Hills and Weilands, there just is so long a hashtag can be).

For some more name dropping here are twelve more places you can rotate in if you are stumped for twelve of your own: Endeavor Brewing, Lineage Brewing, Iaconos Pizza, Teritas Pizza, Emelio’s Pizza, Bexley Pizza Plus, Mama Mimi’s Pizza, Ange’s Pizza, Studio 35, Punk Pigs, Portia’s Diner and Hisham’s Food Truck.

These are tough times. Do what you can, when you can. If you can be kind to someone please make that choice. This pandemic is a war and we can only win it if we stick together (at a distance).

Posted in Behind the Counter, Food For Thought, Gastronomic Stimulus | Leave a Comment »

Columbus Pizza: A Slice of History -> On Sale TODAY! – (and backstory of writing the book)

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 9, 2020

Here we go! In December of 1950, the first pizzeria in Columbus opened. Seventy years later – the story of pizza in Columbus is here.

Today is the day. My book, Columbus Pizza: A Slice of History is officially released to the world…… to buy, purchase, gift, re-gift, barter, etc.

If you have already purchased the book, thank you. I’m told Amazon is a bit backed up, but you should get your copy soon.

If you don’t have a book – they should start to appear in large bookstores – like Barnes and Noble this week. You could purchase the book on Amazon. online. If you want more money going to a non mega corporation you can order directly from the publisher History Press / Arcadia Publishing.

I’d also ask you to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc. I won’t make a lot of dough no matter how many books are sold but please consider sharing this link and let’s hope the book sells like Preston’s Burgers. Here are a few reasons why selling books is important to me.

Reason 1: There was a lot of skepticism that pizza in Columbus rates a full book – a large volume of sales would be a very good – “I told you so!”

Reason 2: I have been blogging since 2006. To the best of my knowledge I am the last of the O.G. food bloggers that is still blogging at my original site – which is where you are. I’ve also stayed true the to original concept of a blog – a personal web log. I have not monetized the site. I have not weaponized CMH Gourmand by going for click bait of negative reviews, etc. In my opinion, most importantly this has always been a food first site not a place to build my brand, stroke my ego or try (and surely fail) at any type of cult of personality. If this post gets a lot of exposure I will finally cross the 1 million views mark for this blog – fourteen years and a few months after posting my first post. Blogs are no longer the darling of your spare time in a world where you are tempted by so many images and bright shiny things. Reading beyond the first few sentences seems like a forgotten skill nowadays. Blog traffic in general had nosed dived over the last five years, even for really good blogs that post multiple times per week. etc. It would be nice to wrap up 2020 on a strong note and hit the million view mark.

Reason 3: The most important reason has nothing to do with me. Mom and Pop Pizza shops that serve what I call Columbus Style pizza are an endangered species of business. For many, but unfortunately not all, Covid has increased their business, it a few lucky cases, two times more traffic than normal. However more than a handful of independent pizzerias are looking at their accounts and wondering if they can keep the doors open in 2021.

Independent Pizzerias have stiff competition from chain/macro-pizzerias that have the deep pockets to ride out the Corona Virus. They can bring on more staff, saturate the market with coupons, pay for advertising and offer free delivery. In the book I detail the reasons why many shops may not make it to the third or fourth generation. I truly want people reading this book to make a conscious effort to support or discover their local mom and pop pizza shop.

As with anything I have done in my life I have analyzed, rethought, dissected and otherwise outlined things I might have done better or wish had played out differently in the course of writing this book. I will share some of these musings below.

Interviews: Throughout my writing career, I have never found it a challenge to get someone to talk about their restaurant. When I had my business, I would gladly accept interview requests from anyone knowing that press is free advertising. The one exception to this rule turned out to be pizzeria owners. For many I contacted you would have thought I was this kid from Better Off Dead. Calls – don’t work. E-mails – nope. Dropping in on the business on a slow day and at an off peak time….zilch. Mailing a letter, yes it happened. NO INTERVIEW FOR YOU. I did not get a return to sender but no reply. One person received a free copy of the book Columbus Italians, which comes from the same publisher – to provide a sense that this was a serious endeavor. Negatory. One business that I have a long relationship with never responded to any requests. Another person missed our planned interview three times. A large local pizza enterprise which was contacted several times sent me one low quality image and told me to read the owners book. This was truly a chase.

On the flip side some were more than generous with their time. Rich Folk from Massey’s pizza was always quick to get back to me with questions, images, and etc. He set up an interview with the Pallone brothers, the semi-retired owners of Massey’s which was a blast for us all. One of the things that Jimmy Corrova of TAT has learned from his almost 90 years in the business is hospitality. He could not have been more helpful. His daughters were gracious when we were in the doing a photo shoot during a lunch rush. When all was done I brought my photographer lunch only to find out that Jimmy comped the bill – needless to say our server received a very good tip. The Panzera / Lombardi family, especially Nick Panzera were very helpful and all it cost me was a copy of the 1969 yellow pages listings for hotels in Columbus. The extended Angeletti of Ange’s Pizza were helpful and very supportive cheerleaders for telling the story of pizza in Columbus.

Brock, the general manager of Tommy’s in Dublin was able to connect me with some helpful contacts and information from the Iacono family and long time employees. Jeff Aufdencamp of Mama Mimi’s was my first interview and has continued to be a supporter. Not to give away a surprise but we are working on a project readers may enjoy. Brad Rocco of Bexley Pizza Plus – who I would call the Dean of Pizza in Columbus, was generous with his time and remains a vocal supporter. Tom Iannarino of Terita’s Pizza was the first person I interviewed that I cold called. If you have not had Terita’s Pizza you should try it, it is worth the effort. There are many more to mention and for those that are not listed – thanks.

The two interviews I wanted the most, I was destined not to have. Richie DiPaolo was regarded by many to be THE pizza historian of Columbus. I can never fill his shoes and I wish I would have had the forethought interviewed him for an article I wrote about Columbus Pizza years ago, just before he passed away. The other interview I wished I could have squeezed in was Doral Chenoweth, the Grumpy Gourmet. He was my inspiration and my friend. I followed up on an interview request with him just days before he died, so I missed that deadline. I still miss him.

Leonardo’s Pizza was the first pizzeria to go to up to 9 locations before anyone else. It was a training ground for several pizzerias we enjoy today. I tried, and tried, and tried to get an interview and could not make it happen. I found some information using other sources including auditors records but I did not get the story I wanted. I think that is loss for us all.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library Main Library: Libraries are the arsenals of democracy and we need them now more than ever. In my case, I was one trip shy of completing all of my research for the book. My planned trip to get some more images from 1963 to 1975 was cancelled by Covid, so I had to do without.

Photographs: Plan A was to have the magnificent Jodi Miller shot some of my key photos for the book starting in February of 2020. A new baby in the household and Covid put the kibosh on that. We did get the photograph I wanted the most for this book, the mural explaining the history of the TAT Airline at TAT Ristorante. It was an almost impossible shot, but she got it. She also comped me an older shot she had of pizza at the Italian Festival. That photograph inspired a section of the book I had not planned on. In the end, I had enough photographs to get the book to print from my blog archives, friends and a few favors called in. At one point if I had just a few more high quality color images I could have had a “centerfold” of color photos in the center. That did not happen and that is OK.

There were a photos and images that did not make it into the book due to size, clarity, and etc. There is one photo I really wanted to have in the last chapter but I missed the deadline – I have it posted below. Dante’s during Covid.

Here are a few others I would have liked to have seen in the book.

Terita’s Pizza Man
Jimmy Massey’s Drive In circa 1958 – courtesy Whitehall Historical Society

Go forth and tell your friends and let’s sell a bunch of books to keep Columbus Pizza on the culinary map!

You can buy from the publisher Arcadia Publishing / History Press

I’ll be posting other places where you can buy the book on my Instagram Account @CbusPizzaHistory Vendors include book shops, pizzerias and The Ohio Taproom.

Posted in Best Pizza in Columbus, Columbus style pizza, culinary knowledge, food, restaurants | Tagged: , , | 20 Comments »

UDF – United Dairy Farmers serves UDF – Ultimate Donut Fans! (The Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 22, 2020

One downside of the Ohio Donut Trail (for readers) has been that many of the places I have written about are off the beaten path, hard to find and sometimes have quirky hours. Fans of the Ohio Donut Trail will be happy with this new addition, because a UDF is easy to find throughout Ohio and they all have very convenient hours.

United Dairy Farmers (UDF) started in 1939 in Norwood, Ohio at the time it was an innovative concept. This was a place where people could pick up milk on the go for less than the cost of having it delivered. Over the years, the company grew, locations expanded to close to 200 in three states and the range of products offered increased exponentially including the award winning Homemade Brand Ice Cream. In 2019, UDF started their own bakery with a product line including donuts. The donuts debuted in November of 2019 and consumers found they were definitely different – most are square!

Most people in Ohio are familiar with United Dairy Farmers. I have a long history with UDF, the first ice cream I recall eating came from a UDF in Clintonville. I recently wrote about some of my favorite food things and one was UDF Homemade Brand Ice Cream. I was contacted the next day by UDF thanking me for picking their Ice Cream as my favorite. I was asked if I had tried THEIR donuts. I said no so they offered to send me some samples and I said YES!

They took the delivery very seriously. UDF makes donuts for most of their locations at a new state of the art production facility / bakery they constructed in 2019. The site includes a bakery proofer made in Germany that required a flatbed semi to deliver it to its new home in suburban Cincinnati. Delivering donuts to me was much easier but I will say I was impressed. The head of their Central Ohio distribution center delivered them to me personally after calling to make sure I was home. The donuts were freshly baked that morning and I had my samples by early afternoon. My entire experience made me feel like I was dealing with a small family business instead of a moderately sized regional business empire.

I love donuts. My son LOVES donuts. My wife likes most donuts. I was hoping for a box but I received four! UDF makes thirteen varieties of donuts. I did not receive samples of each type, but I did have an opportunity to try most of their top sellers. My family and I took the responsibility of taste testing very seriously, that is after my impatient son and patient spouse observed the first directive of food writing – no one eats until the photos are finished. It was almost a photo finish for our favorite. The Sprinkle donut was exceptionally good, while that was my son’s favorite and my number two both my wife and I were smitten by the glazed croissant. Some people call them doughsants, others cronuts, we just call them delicious. We were both devastated when my wife’s dog (Stella the Destroyer) ate 1/2 of one. The dog still lives with us but is on triple secret probation. I can certainly understand her desire to steal. I am typically a cake donut eater but in this batch I was pleased to find I really enjoyed their yeast donuts as well. Also very noteworthy, our few remaining donuts still tasted good the next day and the day after that. In my experience many donuts tend to have a shelf life of about one day, these have some longevity to them which is good because I can’t see myself getting less than a dozen at a time.

Another endorsement for these donuts, I was happy to pay money for them the next time I was at a UDF. Unfortunately, there was only one glazed croissant left and yes, it was amazingly good. Thanks UDF! If you are an Ultimate Donut Fan you will want to give these a try.

Posted in donuts, Ohio Donut Trail, Product Review | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Pizza Tour Confidential

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 8, 2020

Pizza Tour(or) Stories

Columbus Brew Adventures merged with Columbus Food Adventures at the beginning of this year. It was win win for everyone, then Covid. I’m still a guide emeritus when tours resume but it will be a while before some of the tours come back. The pizza tour I created called Pitchers and Pizza had a final run at the end of 2019. One of the sites has closed for good, so that version of the tour as it was operated will never return. I do have a couple routes in mind for the future but a lot needs to happen for me to guide a new version of the pizza tour. I usually enjoyed the diverse groups of people that joined me on my Pitchers and Pizza Tour from 2013 to 2019. There were a few experiences that led me to question my profession. I can now tell the untold Tour(or) stories of the tour.

The scariest moment in tour operation occurred in 2018. A mentally disturbed gentleman screamed about the dangers of pepperoni as I was talking about the history of Late Night Slice with my guests. He would not disengage from me or my group and his voice got louder and louder and his proximity to my face became closer and closer. I used every mental health trick in my book to get him to disengage from us but none of them worked. Eventually, I gave up. As I was trying to escort my tour guests out of Ledo’s the bar staff had to step in and throw the man out just before we made it out the door.

My favorite story involves Meisters. I showed up one day about 10 minutes before the tour which is late for me. A few of my guests had already arrived. I noticed the kitchen was dark and that is when “E” came out to see me. He had come in for his shift to find the oven was broken. He thought someone had called me (nope). He was waiting around just in case I came in. By this time most of my guests had showed up. At this point he said he did not want to leave me hanging so if I could find him an oven, he could make the pizza for my group. I spent about a minute racking my mind about what to do. I then made a call. Iacanos was our second stop and the manager Chris was a stand up guy. I explained the situation and he said E could come to cook his pizza on their ovens….if he could get a slice. The deal was done. I told E where to go and who to talk to, then I stalled to give him time to cook his pizza. I had about 30 minutes to kill so I covered my normal content at Meisters then took the guests in to see the small kitchen and talked about pizza peels. When we arrived at Iaconos, we had Meisters and Iacono’s pizza waiting for us. E made two pizzas in case there was an issue with the ovens. There was not, so we had double the normal amount of Meisters minus a slice which ensured everyone could take some home.

Another Meisters story involves the Cleveland Browns. Meister’s has long been a Browns Backers Bar. This typically meant a good sized crowd on Sunday afternoons and I would have to come early to help clean up the Bird’s Nest where we started the tour. The crowd kept staying later and later and seemed to get drunker too, so I kept pushing back the start time of the tour. In 2018, the Browns were having a good season and the place was now packed to capacity. One Sunday, I was threatened by a couple of the fans in front of our guests which did not make the best impression but I asked my customers to stick it out. A few weeks later, I was dreading going to Meisters. I do not follow sports but that morning I decided to check on the game. It was a playoff game, the first the Browns had in a long time. Initially it was to start at 1 pm and would have a TV blackout but as I read more, it turned out the TV black out was cancelled and the time had been changed due to fan protests……too shortly before our tour start time. I had to change my plans quickly. I contacted all of my guests and told them we would still meet at Meisters but outside instead of inside and we would end the tour there.

When I pulled up the Brew Adventures van to start the tour – all of my guests had beat me there and a few looked terrified. The visual at Meister’s looked a lot like a scene from Lord of the Flies. The place was beyond packed and there were no parking spots on the length of the street. Two of my guests had to park at Kroger, almost one half mile away. I assured my guests that everything would be OK by the time we returned. Ledo’s was our second stop for the night. As I watched the game there, it appeared that it might go into overtime and the Browns might win. I was terrified of the vision of what Meister’s might look like if the Browns won. I was even more terrified of an overtime option that would place the game as still going on when we were to arrive at Meisters. I have never hoped for the Browns to lose but I did that night. At Houndodgs I snuck away to watch the game and with a few seconds left, it looked like the game might go into overtime. I decided to stall as long as I could. As we were leaving, the Browns lost in the last few seconds and no overtime happened. I still took my time getting to Meisters. When we arrived it was still busy so I asked my guests to wait outside while I checked out our area. I found one person semi- conscious in a chair and crushed PBR cans at a depth of two cans covering the entire floor of the Birds Nest. It took me ten minutes to partially clean up the area before I could lead my guests in. E saved a pizza just for my group – all of the food had been wiped out long beforehand. I vowed never to run the tour during a Browns game again.

My last best story involves Late Night Slice. In January of 2015 a few hours before tour time, I received an email from the manager of Clintonville Late Night Slice. He wondered if anyone had told me that they were having their all company holiday party that night therefore all of the locations were closed. Nope. I had just over two hours to figure out my game plan. I could not cancel because most of my guests were coming from out of town and were already on the road. My wife saw the wheels spinning in my head and suggested I sub in Adriaticos, one of our favorites and the pizza we served as the late night snack at our wedding. Initially I said no, because they would be too busy and did not have craft beer which was a part of the tour. After considering all of my other options, I determined that Adriaticos was my only possibility. I also figured that If I called they would just say no. So I went in person to beg. I also needed to be on site to figure out where I could park a 14 passenger van on a crowded campus. I explained the concept of the tour and how much I would pay. The manager thought it was a neat idea. But he said no. When we saw the look on my face he elaborated, “next Sunday is one of our busiest days of the year, that is when all the students come back”. I smiled. I told him, I was looking to arrive in just a few hours….today. The manager said that would be perfect because this particular Sunday was probably the slowest day of the year.. So for one time only, the tour featured Adriaticos – with cans of Seventh Son and Four String to take home since I did not have a craft beer to sample at Adriaticos. Mission accomplished.

Posted in Food For Thought, pizza | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Columbus Style Pizza Not Your Thing? Try These Other Regional Styles Inside 270

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 1, 2020

Columbus has changed a lot over the last twenty years. Franklin and Delaware counties are among the fastest growing in the country. Today, many residents are transplants to our city. This may come as a surprise to some of you but there are some among us that do not like Columbus style pizza – thin, cut into squares and piled with pepperoni. There are others that do have an affinity for our preferred pizza pie but want to expand their horizons while staying in place this summer and fall. If you can’t travel to the style of pizza, I’ll tell you where you can find it here in Columbus.

New York Style Pizza

The first pizzeria in the United States was most likely Lombardi’s in New York City opening in 1904. Over the years, New York style pizza became defined as a pizza with the thin, floppy crust with a thick, dense and chewy crust ring and high gluten flour. Can cut into big triangle slices. Most New York transplants assume a good version of this style is not be be had in the capital city. They are mistaken. Here is where you can find bona fide New York slices or pies.

Paulie Gee’s

The Paulie Gee’s in the short north is the first westward expansion of Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn. Terry Gibbs crafts authentic NYC style pies with high end ingredients and some of his own variations as well.

Borgata Pizza

Borgata Pizza now has two locations. In the early days, it was a little known spot on the Northeast side of Columbus. Today, even expat-New Yorkers make an effort to find their way to the doors of either Borgata.

Sarafino’s
This long time North Market fixture continues to please the taste buds of even the more hard core slice eater. Grab a slice while you support other North Market merchants on your next shopping trip.

Late Night Slice

Unicorn (formerly Slut Sauce) need I say more?


Detroit Style Pizza

Detroit Style pizza is definitely different. The origins of this style go back to 1946 at a place called Buddy’s Rendezvous (still open today as Buddy’s Pizza). This style has some relationship to Sicilian style pizza – it is rectangular in shape, thick like focaccia bread and originally baked in drip and parts pans used by automotive dealerships. It is also typical to char the ends of the crust to make it extra chewy and crunchy.

Paulie Gee’s

The aforementioned Paulie G’s also makes incredibly good, albeit pricey, Detroit style Pizza. The quality of the ingredients justify the price but $20 for six slices is hard to swallow on a regular basis.

Jet’s

Yes, I am mentioning a chain. Jet’s Pizza makes a respectable Detroit style pizza and I have heard many local foodies quietly admit that they have a hankering for the Turbo Crust at Jet’s.


Sicilian

Adriaticos

Adriaticos’s makes three types of pizza, the most beloved is their Sicilian Pizza in the form of a Buckeye Pizza. The Buckeye is a large 18 x 24 sheet of Sicilian style pizza that can feed 10 – 12 or more people with ease. It is offered at a bargain price on Mondays and Tuesdays.


Chicago Style

Chicago style pizza has origins going back to 1943. Ike Sewell had a vision to make pizza a family meal and as thick as a pie so it could be eaten with a knife and fork. The guy back in the kitchen figuring out how to make this new style work was John Malnati. Ike’s place changed names a few years later to Pizzeria Uno. Lou Malnati’s took his fathers know how and recipes to start a chain of his own. Chicago style pizza is thick. It is cooked at lower temperatures for a longer period of time, typically about 40 minutes. The order of ingredients is typically different that other styles – sauce on top, then cheese, then toppings resting on the dough in that order.

Yellow Brick Pizza – Tristano’s Chicago Stuffed Pizza

Tristano’s Pizza in Grove City closed in 2016. Before the end, Yellow Brick apprenticed with Lou Tristano to learn how to make his version of Chicago style pizza. I considered Tristano’s among the best in Columbus. Lou made a good pie. He started working in his family’s Chicago area pizzeria before high school. The Yellow Brick version is about 94% as good as his, I will take that any day.

Giordano’s Pizza
Yes, the legendary Giordano’s pizza has a location in the Columbus area located near Polaris. I like their salads more than their pizzas. They are good but something is lost in the move to Columbus.

Meister’s Pizza

Meister’s Pizza is hard to find, tucked in the back corner of Meister’s Bar but it is worth the effort to find.

Massey’s Pizza
Massey’s does a respectable version of Chicago style pizza which I need to try again.


Rhode Island Style Pizza

Typically served in strips – this pizza sometimes features a sauce with a kick. It has roots in what is called Tomato Pie.

Yellow Brick

Yellow Brick has Rhode Island roots and inspiration but not quite a true to style Rhode Island Pie.


New Haven style Apizza

New Haven style pizza goes back to the 1920’s at a place called Frank Pepe’s. This is a thin crust pizza, coming out of a coal fired oven. Traditionally this is served as sauce with some pecorino romano sprinkled on. If you want mozzerella you need to ask for it (this is similar to the early pizzas in Columbus). White Clam Pizza is a signature style at Frank Pepe’s which was adopted by other pizzerias in the area. It is white style pizza (no red sauce) with littleneck clams. Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s Apizza are the most famous of the shops. I went to both in one day. I like Frank Pepe’s better.

Taft’s

Oddly, you can find a good version of this style of pizza in Franklinton, at Taft’s Ale House which is based in Cincinnati.


Steubenville / Ohio Valley Style Pizza

DiCarlo’s

Steubenville style pizza, also called Ohio Valley Pizza, originated in the 1945 in Steubenville by the DiCarlo family. It is a thick crust, rectangle shaped pizza that has a layer of sauce and a dusting of cheese when in comes out of the oven. Cheese is then dumped on the hot pie with the original concept being that it will melt by the time the customer gets home. In the old days this was not always the case. Today DiCarlo’s has a Columbus location and you can decide if this style works for you or not.


Cincinnati – not really a style

If are from Cincinnati, you have heard of LaRosa’s Pizza. If you miss it, there is a location in Dublin.


Let me know what I missed.

Posted in culinary knowledge, pizza | Tagged: , , , | 15 Comments »

The Perfect Summer of Covid Gift?

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 20, 2020

My guess is you are still living in some sort of stay in place lifestyle. You may be using spaces differently, spending a lot more time with fewer people and trying to multi-purpose any room you can to have some sense of variety. That is what I am doing.

I receive a multitude of press releases and one caught my eye recently. It was for a company called 30 Watt. They now offer Capski, a self adhering wall mounted bottle opener you can take anywhere. The back of the bottle opener uses a special technology (think of a post it note on steroids) that allows it to stick on many “shiny” surfaces.

Two full disclosures: 1) I was sent a free Capski to try out (if I do not like a product, I don’t write about it but I do send feedback). 2) CMH Gourmand is a now a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for this site to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. I have never done this before but wanted to see how and if this works. If you click on Amazon links in this post it could put money in my pocket. If you buy this product from Amazon, even better.

30 Watt is already well known for their Sudski Shower Beer Holder and Joeski Shower Coffee Holder.

The Capski is a perfect gift for people that are constantly changing their minds about where things should go. This could work well for those that do not want to commit to screwing something into their walls or perhaps someone that is in the go all the time that needs a bottle opener that requires minimal contact and is easy to wipe down.

Of course you can find the Capski on Amazon.com and have it just in time for your next socially distanced cook out or as a belated Father’s Day gift.

I liked the packaging of the product – with a strategically placed “Beer Me” located on the back tab. The product can be placed in locations that would be helpful to have a bottle opener including refrigerators, metal tool boxes, a grill (not sure if the heat will make it fall off, I’ll find out soon) and more.

The instructions for this product are straightforward and located on the removable and reusable cover on the back side.

If you get your own Capski let me know the most unique spot you used it.

#StaySafe this summer

Posted in Food For Thought, Gastronomic Stimulus, Product Review | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »