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The Market Report – What You Are Missing.

Posted by CMH Gourmand on February 24, 2009

Hills MarketPistacia Vera Dessert Pairing with 5 wines and 1 beer (Cherry Lambic), February 12th

It was a wonderful night. Pistacia Vera now sells select items at the Hills. They make a multitude of memorable macaroons, some of which you can savor at Hills. Several of my usual suspects finally joined me for a night at the Hills, including Hungry Woolf so I will defer to her excellent post.

Hungry Woolf at the Hills

New eventful evenings are on the horizon at the Hills Market including a cooking class with the Restaurant Widow – Lisa Dillman. Sign up – you will not be disappointed. Sometime before Spring passes by I plan to have Hill’s Cheesemonger, Kent Rand on Columbus Foodcast.

The North Market – 4th Annual Fiery Foods Festival (February 21st)

I found myself at the North Market on official business as judge for the Professional and Amateur chili contests. There were eleven samples ladled by the professionals then a taste off between two at the end to decide second place. This was the chili contest cast of characters.

Kevin Bertschsi – Alana’s Food + Wine
Jerry Bullock – North Market Poultry and Game
Stephani Janel Hedgepath – Barley’s Brewing Company
Rocco Valentino – Pasteria
John Dornbeck – Basi Italia
Justin Shoults – Handke’s Cuisine
Matt Prokopchak – Trattoria Roma
John Skaggs – (formerly of Northstar and L’Antibes)
Anthony Frazier – Urban Chefs
Ken Smith – Catering Consultant
and I apologize – another really good chili maker disappeared from my notes, done in by a kidney bean

Under the kidney bean, the name was (Thanks MM) Tom Hoover from Happy Trails.

Chef Chili Challenge – Prize: (see photo a little farther down) and $200 in North Market gift certificates.

Chef John Dornbeck and wife Trish Gentile serving chili

Chef John Dornbeck and wife Trish Gentile serving chili

Each chili blended different ingredients and styles to create very unique flavors – savory and sweet; mild and wild: hot and really hot. My favorites were crafted by Jerry Bullock, John Dornbeck and a name smudged out with chili sauce that was a spicy southwestern chili with corn and zucchini. John Dornbeck always has a wild card up his culinary sleeve for North Market contests (he would make a great Iron Chef contestant). His version of chili included chorizo and espresso. If it had a fried egg on top (known as Estilo de Colleen) it would be the perfect breakfast dish. (By the way, Basi now has an incredible 1/2 price deal Monday to Thursday early evenings, check it out – but don’t steal my seat.)

The chili champion (in a very tight race) was Jerry Bullock from North Market Poultry and Game. If you have not sampled the cuisine at his side counter, try it next time you visit – his crew always have several slow cooked surprises to serve.

Customer Chili Cook Off – Prizes: first place winner $100 and the runner up $50 in North Market gift certificates.

This was another competition with narrow margins between victory and defeat. There were 15 chili recipes to sample, including chili from The Restaurant Widow (Lisa is everywhere).

My kudos and respect go to Robin Davis, Food Editor for the Dispatch. She and I were the only judges to sample all chili concoctions in both contests. We both survived. I plan to sit next to her at any future competition because she always packs an epinephrine pen with her for unforseen ingredients. As a judge with a fish allergy unsure if he was allergic to shark chili last year, Robin is a handy person to have within arms reach.

Other events at the Fiery Foods Festival:

Wings of Fire Wing Eating Contest; Two divisions: “Hot and Extremely, Insanely Hot”

Cajohn’s took over the upper level kitchen all day for their Fiery contests and for cooking. Chef Steve Lawrence and I go back to Kindergarten so it is a personal and professional pleasure to sample his culinary creativity.

There were also free fiery foods galore to sample while exploring the market festivities.
Mary Martineau knows how to make the North Market fiesta like it is 2099. Thank goodness she does not make it Macarena like it was 1989.

Cheeses sampled by Curds and Whey - including Satanic Goat - no joke

Cheeses sampled by Curds and Whey - including Satanic Goat - no joke

Stop missing the good stuff. Both the Hills and The North Market have plenty more in store for March and beyond. Take a reusable bag, support local business, meet the people that keep Columbus on the culinary radar, take a cooking class and enjoy.

A Gourmand disclaimer:

(Pardon the lack of advance notice for these events, my wireless connectivity has been frequently foiled this winter. I love living in Clintonville – (although Victorian Village has been calling my name for months) however the ancient electrical grid in my neighborhood and the bone numbing cold has not been friendly to my high speed connectivity. It has encouraged some hefty weight gain but I guess polishing off pancakes, sampling 20+ chilis, scouting 4 taco trucks and hosting a Mardi Gras party in a 12 hour period will facilitate fatty tissue).

2 Responses to “The Market Report – What You Are Missing.”

  1. Thanks for lending us your tastebuds and tummy Monsieur Gourmand! You beaned out Tom Hoover from Happy Trails! Chili Mix. Until we eat again…

  2. Susan W. said

    I’ve heard that ice hockey burns calories!

    CMHG Comment: Playing hockey with a Hungry Woolf can be hazardous to one’s health.

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