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Archive for the ‘kid friendly dining’ Category

Swenson’s Sweeps into Columbus (A Special CMH Spouse Post)

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 29, 2018

Due to a schedule that is a mix of grueling and chaotic this week, I called in CMH Spouse to pinch hit for me to check out the soft open / test drive of the first Swenson’s in Columbus.

Hello CMH Gourmand fans! This episode of “The Gourmand Eats” is being brought to you by Mrs. Gourmand, a.k.a. CMH Spouse. The Gourmand has been super busy guiding beer and ghost enthusiasts around town, so I was asked to fill in for him this weekend at the soft opening of Swenson’s Drive-In, located at 7490 Sawmill Rd. in Dublin. To say that I was happy to serve as his proxy is an understatement. I, and many of my fellow Northeast Ohio transplant friends, have been enthusiastically sharing articles about Swenson’s opening in central Ohio for months.

Originally hailing from Kent, I grew up dining on Swenson’s burgers and shakes. Every time the Gourmand, myself, and CMH Griffin head to Kent to see my family, Swenson’s is one of the locations we always stop at. Their burgers and shakes are deliciously simple and taste like no other burger in the world. (I feel like I can say this as an authority on burgers having dined with the Gourmand at many burger and dog joints around the nation). ((CMH Gourmand Note: We don’t get out much these days, but pre CMH Griffin, investigatory dining as an occupational hazard of being my spouse)). Swenson’s has been open in the Akron/Kent area since 1934 and has been a favorite of my family for many generations. My grandparents were frequent customers, parking in their giant Lincoln Town Car, flashing their lights, and ordering a couple of Galley Boys, the signature and award winning burger Swenson’s is famous for.

The Gourmand himself is a big fan of the Galley Boy. I like to try to steal the green olives they place on the outside of his burger before he eats them, but prefer to order a good old-fashioned cheeseburger. My typical order is two cheeseburgers, with just ketchup and a grape milk shake. (And yes, you read that correctly, a GRAPE shake. Try it, you will love it.) No matter what burger you decide to order, the bun is always lightly toasted. Growing up, rumors circulated that the bun (or maybe the patty itself), had a little brown sugar added to it. I cannot honestly say whether this is a fact, but the burger definitely has a slight sweetness to it, that pairs really well with the heavy coating of cheese that they add to it.


Swenson’s also produces delicious fried side items you can add to your order. Throughout the years, I have sampled fried mushrooms, fried zucchini, French fries and my all-time favorite, onion rings. I don’t often indulge in the Crispy Extras, because the shake and burgers are quite filling, but if you have never been to Swenson’s before, they are a must try.

Another perk of dining at Swenson’s is that you don’t even have to get out of your car. As soon as you pull in, a highly enthusiastic server will already be sprinting to your car to greet you. If you are a Swenson’s regular, they will immediately take your order, if not, you will be advised to turn your lights on when you are ready to order, and the first server to see them will be there to assist you. Orders turn over fast, and will be delivered to your car on a tray that fits over your window (along with your check). When you have gobbled down the last crumb of your meal, you simply flash your lights and a server will be there immediately to take your tray and payment. The servers all share the tips, so everyone is compensated for their hustle. And hustle they do, rain, shine, or snow.

The grand opening of the Sawmill location is November 9th, and I already know that teams of Kent-ites will be arriving to get their Swenson’s fix. If you are a Swenson’s virgin, check it out, you won’t be disappointed. A second location will eventually be opening on Ikea Way in the Polaris area, conveniently located just down the street from the school that I teach at!

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Posted in hamburgers, kid friendly dining, Ohio, restaurants | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Cream & Sugar: A Sweet Surprise

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 13, 2016

Cream & Sugar

Having found myself on the Westside after being stiffed by some “mericans” I took solace in taking the slow way home via Sullivant Ave. Many people in this city have never traveled the full length of this west side byway. It seems like every block tells a story: Westgate, immigrant communities, working class folk and a few down on their luck. There are also more than a handful of taco trucks (including the best in the city – Los Guachos), independent hot dog and pizza shops and at least a couple soft serve ice cream spots. For some, a trip down this road is eye-opening, showing them a Columbus and an America they did not think exists. We certainly do not see much in the media about this strip of the city. I have spent a lot of time in the area and I have a respect for it that goes beyond a meal I had noticed it a few times doing taco truck runs over the last year but never had the time or the appetite needed to do a good research run. I’m glad I dropped in. I might have a pretty big crush on Cream & Sugar.

The first good sign happened as I pulled into the parking lot – I spied a police cruiser. I asked two of Columbus’ Finest what was good and they both said – Coney Dog!! In the voice of George Bailey I said HOT DOG! I’m always looking for a good hot dog spot so thinking I was just going to get some soft serve, I was happy to have a bonus. Walking up to the order window, I quickly found myself overwhelmed with choices. Let’s start with food. They do indeed have coney dogs, served with sauce make by local hot dog singer Phillips Coney Island. I tried one and would have a hard time telling this from the original in a blind tasting. Score one for Cream & Sugar. Roots Poultry in Fremont Ohio is well-known in that part of the state for their shredded chicken which is featured in sandwich form here. I tried one of these as well and also found it to be simple but good sandwich. A bun and finely shredded chicken, that was it and that was all they needed. Score two for Cream & Sugar. Other food items not tried but I found intriguing included a BBQ Pork sandwich, homemade cole slaw and a wide variety of Ballreich’s chips (also from Northwest Ohio).

Moving to the other side of the menu, they offered much more than soft serve dairy product including: giant Freezies Popsicles, sundaes, multiple type of cones, Stauf’s Coffee, and additional options I could not count on two hands. I opted for a simple kid’s size vanilla and chocolate twist cone. I may be a bit of an ice cream snob, but I always get excited about a good twist cone (the best in the state is at Dairy Depot in Delaware). I was pleased as I could be with this simple dairy treat. Also of note, Cream & Sugar is a site for Suspended Coffees where guest have an option to pay it forward by buying a pre paid coffee (or other food) for someone who has need for it. That is a nice offering for a small -> small business.

Cream & Sugar
2185 Sullivant Ave
West Side
Facebook

Cream & Sugar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in hot dogs, ice cream, kid friendly dining, sandwiches | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Rice Bowl: South Side Gem

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 3, 2013


I have driven by Rice Bowl a few times in my day. It is located at the intersection of South High Street and SR 104. The sign looks like it is from the 1960’s but it turns out it is circa 1991. The Rice Bowl has a long history on the south side. It has existed with three owners and two locations since 1962. Rice Bowl 3.0 is a family affair that has operated the restaurant for a few decades. Judging from the outside and the location, I did not have great expectations for the Rice Bowl. However immediately on entering I had a good feeling. Looking at the menu, I had a very good feeling and starting with the egg rolls, I knew that I had stumbled in something very special indeed. You can not judge a book by its cover nor a restaurant by its mailing address.

IMG_0325

So let us begin with the egg rolls. The lowly egg roll rarely gets much respect mainly because they are typically reheated frozen fare. The eggs rolls are made from scratch at the Rice Bowl and are hand rolled each week. They are filed to capacity with to the point of being stuffed. The exterior is soft and crunchy and do not disintegrate with a light bite. The sauces are also made from scratch. The mustard sauce is hot and thick. The other sauce is made with fresh citrus and spices. It is much better than any egg roll sauce I have encountered.

IMG_0326

A staple of Midwestern Chinese restaurants is General Tso’s Chicken. The Rice Bowl executes this dish better than any restaurant I have visited. Each gigantic piece of white chicken meat is drowned in a spicy rich sauce. The portion size can easily feed two people. Looking around the restaurant I saw several other mainstay dishes that looked like they were award winners as well including Wor Sue Gai, Chow Mein and Frogs Legs.

What else did I like? The service was great. Rice Bowl has what looks to be a pretty well stocked bar. If you have kids, they serve burgers, Fried Fish Sandwiches and Grilled Cheese with Bacon.

IMG_0324

I look forward to exploring the menu much more and will gladly be adding an egg roll to each meal.

Rice Bowl Restaurant
2300 South High Street
(South Side)
614.445.8828
Rice Bowl Web site

Rice Bowl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Columbus, kid friendly dining, restaurants | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

CLEGourmand: Tommy’s & the Community of Coventry

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 17, 2010

I have eaten at many of the finest dining establishments in Cleveland including Greenhouse Tavern, Muse, Amp 150, Moxie and more. All of these places must step aside for local legend Tommy’s in Coventry. Why is Tommy’s the place where you must eat in Cleveland and the best meal you will have?

I will build my case with a quote from a tweet I made at the time of my dine: Listening to Tommy tell tales about his restaurant is inspiring. He is so passionate and loves what he does & his community. Tommy’s has always been a business that cares about it’s customers and community. In the eyes of most residents of this part of town, Tommy’s is the heart of Coventry. There is something for everyone – vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, omnivore, locavore, vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, and gluten-free eaters have plenty to choose from here. The decision to have such a varied menu is explained in a very matter of fact way by Tommy. He shared that he keeps adding to the menu because he customers want to eat these things and as long as he can make something they will like, he will try it. Health concerns, profit margins, ecological reasons or trends are all peripheral in the food world of Tommy’s. The customer comes first. The food comes a close second with anything else considered bonus points. This is not something that can be taught at CIA or Johnson & Wales, it is not something you can learn on The Food Network. Either you get and give it or you don’t. Tommy Fello cares deeply about his restaurant, employees, customers, community and anything within this sphere. To have anything other than the best for anyone is unfathomable. Love is the magic ingredient at Tommy’s and it is infused into every aspect of the menu.

Mention Tommy’s to a Clevelander and you will hear the word milkshake within five to ten seconds. Not long after Tommy’s opened in 1972, Rolling Stone anointed Tommy’s as having the best Milkshake east of the Mississippi. There has been no evidence to dispute this in almost forty years. Here are some of the secrets to the magic of Tommy’s milkshakes. The ice cream comes from local ice cream maker Pierre’s. The milk comes from Hartzler Dairy (an organic cow farm in Wooster). The milkshakes are shaken and mixed in old milkshake machines. The thump-thump of a shake poured from the steel mixing cup to a glass is music to my ears. I proclaimed the Chocolate Peanut Butter milkshake the true Breakfast of Champions. In addition to all of the diary goodness I have mentioned, Tommy’s makes their own peanut butter, which is the star of another dish I devoured.

Readers that follow me know that breakfast is not my meal of choice. I am happy to eat breakfast at Tommy’s anytime. In part, because both the restaurant and I count a milkshake as a valid breakfast selection. I ordered Elise’s combo. This is not named after the forgotten Borden Dairy cow but after the first customer that ordered this creation (most of the selections on the menu get their names from customers/creators). The combo is a toasted triple decker sandwich with two eggs, bacon, mayonnaise, American cheese and homemade peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter. It is really good – decadent, satisfying and wholesome at the same time. I could be wrong on my opinion of Elise’s greatness but the thousands of other customers that choose this as their breakfast are clearly correct.

The menu is gigantic so I will just mention a few more highlights from the selections. The mention of Tommy’s often brings up another word – falafel. Tommy learned the recipe for falafel from his first boss (the guy he bought the original Tommy’s from). Many people say this is the best falafel ever. It is definitely served in the most varieties anywhere. There are over a dozen falafel sandwich and meal selections on the menu with additions including BBQ sauce, sesame sauce and a variety of vegetables.

Here are some random facts that might make you feel good about Tommy’s: The drinking water is filtered, fry oil is non-hydrogenated, soups are made every day, their canola oil waste is given to biodiesel folks, there is a backdoor garden and Tommy’s is the largest consumer of Muenster cheese in northeast Ohio slicing, shredding and serving 680 pounds or more per week.

Would you like some more reasons? Attached to the restaurant is a great bookstore called Mac’s Backs so you can read or browse while you wait to graze. Everything is made from scratch tofu, tempeh, stocks, cookies, etc. The Italian sauce recipes are handed down from Tommy’s mommy. Tommy’s may have the best vegetarian French Onion soup in the world made from a base of Shitake mushrooms and chickpea drippings.


Are you hungry yet? Do you have the keys for your car? What time are you picking me up? Yes, this is a place to feel excited about going to. If you have to wait for a table or if you need to burn off calories after your meals, you will find much to hold your interest in Coventry. The neighborhood created itself during the counterculture of the 1960’s and 1970’s. The Coventry community spirit remains today in a very big way. If you run into a resident of Coventry Village (which is just a few streets) you will hear many stories about Tommy – how he used to plow the sidewalks in the winter or other actions he took to support local business. If you ask Tommy he will say the same about his neighbors, he knows them all. The first person he mentions is Steve (the unofficial ambassador of Coventry) at the store Big Fun just a few sidewalk segments from the front door of Tommy’s

Big Fun is FUN. It is packed with nostalgic toys, comics, vintage video game systems, wacky t-shirts and more. If it was something that made you happy as a kid, then Big Fun probably has it or will someday. Every trip in offers something new, different or forgotten. A current Big Fun T-shirt creation is “Cleveland, You’ve Got To Be Tough.” This shirt was seen on Anthony Bourdain while he was roaming around a jungle in South America. You will see a lot of “tough” Clevelanders roaming around with and without these shirts. They have taken some hits and they keep going. In Coventry, they are tough too. A group of people created and sustained a community with tenacity and a lot of kindness to each other. They are still at it every day – serving food and fun to neighbors and visitors alike.

Tommy’s Restaurant
1824 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights
(aka Coventry Village, East Side)
216.321.7757

Tommy’s
Mac’s Backs
Big Fun
Coventry Village

Tommy's on Urbanspoon

Posted in breakfast, CLEGourmand, Diners, kid friendly dining, Ohio, Road Trip, sandwiches | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

Jeni’s Ice Cream in Clintonville: Sundae Bar Blues

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 3, 2010

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream officially opened brick and mortar store number six in Clintonville on October 1st. As a native Clintonvillian I am happy to have this addition to the neighborhood and even more happy that it is within walking distance of my front door. The presence of Jeni’s is good for our community and a needed culinary shot in the arm for north Clintonville/Beechwold.

I have been a fan of Jeni’s ice cream since before there was a Jeni’s. Back in the day, when she was Britton not a Britton-Bauer Jeni had a scoop shop called Scream in the Short North. It was good ice cream, but not the great ice cream she wanted so she stepped back, retooled and set out to build an ice cream empire. She has succeeded. It has been fun and filling to watch and write about the growth of Jeni’s.

Now it is time for me to whine. I received a few advance notices about the opening of the new store – via word of mouth, a press release, twitter and the usual suspects. One phrase burned into my mind: SUNDAE BAR. Oh, yes. I had visions of a sundae bar dancing around in my head. The whole concept seemed radical to me. A sundae bar could only mean one thing: a bar of ice creams and toppings set up for self service like a salad bar. Or maybe it might be called an ice cream trough. Whatever. I thought: Visionary, radical, gluttonous…..VALUE! Since this seemed like a bold idea, I did check my reality a bit and thought, well, maybe they just mean a bar in the style of an old pharmacy counter where one could saunter up to a stool, order a sundae (“Make that a double icecreamkeep.”) and watch the ingredients come together. That would be cool, not as a cool as the ice cream trough sundae bar, but cool. As a kid growing up in Clintonville, I would walk to the Beechwold Pharmacy where a 1940’s soda fountain counter was in place for sandwiches and scooping ice cream. The new Jeni’s was not so far from where the pharmacy used to be. This Jeni’s sundae bar would be a tribute to days of old when soda jerks reigned. GENIUS! I was psyched. I waited. I watched. I…longed. And the day came. I popped in for a preview on September 30th. Anticipation was high. While others screamed for ice cream, I stalked for the sundae bar.

I walked through the door, searched and scoured and found no sundae bar. I felt like a kid waiting for the best Christmas present ever but opening the box to get Garanimals. As the muse would say…meh. There is a workstation of sorts where employees have the space to create sundaes. That is it. That is the sundae bar. And that is why I have the Sundae Bar Blues. Meh.

The next Jeni’s are expected to open in Powell then German Village. If you hear about a Sundae Bar…don’t get your hopes up. However, do hope for sundaes because they are really good.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream website

home of the sundae bar……
4247 North High Street
Clintonville

Posted in Clintonville, ice cream, kid friendly dining | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Phillip’s Original Coney Island – Columbus Hot Dog Heritage

Posted by cmh gourmand on February 3, 2010

I was on my way to Columbus Police Headquarters to complete a parade application for BeerCamp….really. That is not a punchline it really happened. I took a wrong turn and almost drove by Phillip’s. I am not normally downtown at lunchtime and when I am on Broad Street I am programmed to go to Tommy’s Diner since Tommy is a family friend. However, it was late in the afternoon and I needed a fast meal so I turned into the Phillip’s driveway at the last second.

As I walked through the door I instantly knew I made the right choice and I was mad at myself for allowing a decade or more to pass since my last visit. Phillip’s is the quintessential old school hot dog shop and lunch stop. There is a sense of home when you seat yourself that is rare in most restaurants. The servers are fast, friendly and efficient while in constant motion, often working as a team with each table and booth. The terms honey and sweetie are loosely and frequently applied to everyone. Many of the customers are regulars known by name, order or both. In the course of my meal, I was greeted by three servers and the owner so it was very clear that this place cares about their customers and they want you to come back.

There have been several Phillip’s Coney Island restaurants in Columbus since the first location opened in 1912. It can get a little confusing figuring out which is which (two remain but only one is the “Original” and owned by the same family that started the business so long ago). There is a history and family tree on the back of each menu to help you get your bearings on who owned what when. The great grandson, Nick Manus, is the current owner. He is clearly connected to his business; in the entrance there is a photo of Nick, his bride and their wedding party in front of the restaurant.

The coney’s are done right. The buns are steamed. The hot dogs are lightly grilled. The whole package is served with homemade coney sauce (sold by the pint), mustard, onions and cheese on request. That is a classic coney. Other items on the menu fall into the realm of Ohio lunchtime diner fare – bologna sandwich, hamburgers, chili, bean soup and more. A stand out is the Phillips Combination sandwich: fried ham with a fried egg. In the old country that is known as doyenne style. Another item of significant note, they serve Der Dutchman pies.

Ohio Hot Dog historians can appreciate that the family roots are from Greece. Greek immigrants have a long and proud history of establishing renown hot doggeries (especially in Cincinnati) as well as distinctive coney sauces. Phillip’s is the oldest food purveying family in town and in honor of that, Phillips was the first restaurant to be inspected using the new Columbus Health Department guidelines. There is a photo with Mayor Coleman to mark that occasion. If you check out the web site, there is a countdown to 100 years of Phillips which will be in January 2012.

There is a lot to appreciate about Phillip’s. The food is secondary to the experience. The history and the connection the owners and staff have with their community is a slice of life that can not be created by a committee, focus group or consultant, it either happens or it does not. If four generations of a family can maintain a business – they get it.

Phillips Original Coney Island
450 West Broad Street
Franklinton (Sweeneytown to some of us)
614.221.8288
Phillip’s web site

Posted in Columbus, hot dogs, kid friendly dining, restaurants | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Anna’s Greek Cuisine: Sunday Brunch and Dinner Buffet

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 22, 2010

(Warning: There is a long wind up on this pitch)

In the eight years I have owned my house I have cursed the previous occupants many, many times. The husband appears to have been a do it yourself type who did everything wrong, especially if the task involved electricity or plumbing. I found each of the electrical errors the hard way. The plumber that fixed one of “Mr. Frak it up” mistakes used profanity I had never heard as he stated what he discovered in the toilet installation was the greatest act of stupidity he had encountered during forty years in the trade.

Speaking of the bathroom, there was one (and only one) redemptive act the couple made. They (most likely just the wife since she may have not been an idiot) painted the bathroom like a gyro shop with mural that depicted the scene from a Greek seaside temple. Since I had spent a lot of time in Greek restaurants I was not disturbed by the bathroom but the other people that could have purchased the house were bothered by the prospect of a bathroom/restaurant so a bidding war was avoided.

This passive aggressive digression does have a purpose. I recently had the mural painted over to prep my house for a possible sale. Having had a Greek mural in my bathroom to greet me to consciousness most mornings in the last decade I found that when the temple was destroyed, my mojo was off. The mural had served an important role in my social life for years – if someone could not appreciate my bathroom, there was a good chance they were not going to be a significant part of my social life. Now how I am I supposed to exclude people?

It was a Sunday and I was in a penitent mood so I figured the best way to make peace with Apollo, Zeus and the other Olympian gods was to feast on Greek cuisine. I needed to eat a good Greek meal for atonement. One of my favorite Greek restaurants is Anna’s on Sawmill Road. For no good reason, I had not been there in over one year.

If you have never tried Anna’s or have limited experience with Greek cuisine, their Sunday buffet is the perfect introduction. The brunch buffet is offered from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm and the dinner buffet is from 2:30 pm to 7:30 pm. The overlap of dishes for both meals is significant so you do not need to worry about missing the best of the best. Selections include two salads, two soups, appetizers as well as a dozen or more entrees and sides completed with an entire table dedicated to dessert.

The table of desserts

The quality of the food and the service are both excellent. A few of my favorites from the buffet (and the regular menu) include Mousaka (as fun to say as to eat; this is a mix of eggplant, beef or lamb, tomato base and spices), walnut cake, and Lemon Chicken soup (Avgolemono). Anna’s has been open since 1997 and continues to keep standards for food and service at a high standard. When I am not enjoying the buffet, I often just order the spread sampler (a choice of three from hummus, Tzatziki, Skorthalia, Kafteri, Melitzanosalata and black olive spread).

There is another thing I like about Anna’s. Their marketing is well done and their e-mail list is well managed. They occasionally e-mail coupons to customers and most importantly, the restaurant gives blogs their due. Anna’s frequently cites the review by Becke from Columbus Foodie in their promotions. Go social media!

Anna’s Greek Cuisine
7370 Sawmill Road
Columbus/Dublin (just north of 270)
614.799.2207
www.annasgreekcuisine.com

Anna's menu cover, not my bathroom wall...but close

Posted in kid friendly dining, restaurants | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Ann and Tony’s, West Jefferson Italian

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 30, 2009



Ann and Tony’s

211 East Main Street
West Jefferson
614.879.8897
Closed on Mondays
annandtonys.com

Two discussions on Columbus Underground (Great Italian Restaurants and cheap but good Italian food) reminded me I had one restaurant on my to do list for ten years – Ann and Tony’s. Why did I wait?

West Jefferson is not too far away. From the west side of Columbus (where 270 and 70 meet), it is just 10 minutes to “West Jeff” or one could take the long road on West Broad / Route 40 along the old National Road.

The term old school Italian definitely applies here. Ann and Tony’s permeates the feel of a traditional Italian family style restaurant. I knew I would love this place when I walked through the door and there were no reasons to feel otherwise during my meal. I do not get smitten easily, but when I do, I go down hard for the long count.

Many of the items are house made including small things that few choose to do any longer such as salad dressing and croutons. The pasta is made in house and tastes fresh. The sauce is made daily and simmered for a minimum of 6 hours before serving. Ann and Tony have passed on but their son Tom and his wife Judy have preserved the family traditions and recipes which make this a timeless dining destination.

The main menu is on the smaller side but there is an additional side menu of daily and seasonal specials. Even with a limited number of choices, it is still hard to decide so I suggest trying one of the combination samplers. You will have leftovers for the next day and I can attest that the lasagna is good hot or cold.

Spaghetti with meatball, lasagna and penna pasta

Fettucine alfredo, lasagna and Chicken Parmigiana

Ann & Tony's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Posted in kid friendly dining, restaurants, Road Trip | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Calling all Hippies – Free Northstar Veggie Burgers: Earth Day 2009

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 22, 2009

Northstar Cafe – Beechwold – 4241 North High Street – Clintonville, 614.784.2233

Hungry Woolf sent this text at 2:29 PM.

“Free veggie burgers at NS today.”

Of course – it’s Earth Day and both Northstars do this every year – free veggie burgers…if you dine in. I love their veggie burgers. I love free. I like Earth Day. And….maybe not eating hamburgers could save the world (story by some NPR hippie).

I motored by at 4:39 PM, parking lot full, place swarming with hippies.

At 4:43 PM I arrived at the scene of the dine as the last person in line, just inside the door. Every hippie in Clintonville with a child was surrounding me and they brought any kid they could carry along for the free food. Lots of hippie tots everywhere, eating veggie burgers and having the ample left overs packed up for dad’s lunch tomorrow.

I ordered at 4:54 PM. Standing in line I had time to think about what I was doing, look for a free table and read my Gourmet Magazine. I spied Southern Tier beer on draft. Hmm, cold microbrew and a peanut cookie while waiting for free burger and drowning out to hippie kids shrieking. Good plan.

Note: Voluntary donations can be made to the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association for the free Northstar veggie burger. I made my deposit and slid outside to ditch the hippies and read my magazine in peace, love and happiness. I like Saveur much more than Gourmet but since I can get a free subscription for a few airmiles so be it. I found two items of note in my May 2009 issue: 40’s cocktails for the usual suspects and more reasons to go to Montreal for dinner.

At 5:06 PM, my Veggie Burger arrived, it was even better than usual with a bit more sear on the veggie and an ample simple salad on the side. I counted 12 white shirts in the kitchen area – about twice the normal staffing. Northstar was ready for this onslaught. At 5:12 PM the manager passed by and mentioned that 769 burgers had been made so far and the dinner rush had not started. When I left, the line was snaking for several yards outside the door and the hippies were everywhere. Thanks Northstar.

Note: This was a great year for Earth Day events in Columbus. By report, Columbus led the nation in volunteer turn out for projects on Saturday. I had a good Earth Day Dinner at the Hills Market on Monday and there is an event at Studio 35 as I am writing this that I need to get to. I want to hug a tree!

Posted in Clintonville, kid friendly dining | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Pizza Grand Prix III, March 7th 6pm – 8pm, Admission is FREE!

Posted by cmh gourmand on February 28, 2009

Scene from PGP II

Scene from PGP II

Who: Everyone
What: Bring a Pizza and/or eat pizza
When: March 7th, 6 PM to 8 PM
Where: Wild Goose Creative – 2491 Summit Street – Baja Clintonville
Why: Expand your Columbus pizza knowledge and sample pizzas you did not know about
How: Buy a pizza or make a pizza. If you can not purloin a pie drop by anyway but make a small donation to the Haiku Help Fund
Web: Here – CMH Gourmand and Columbus Underground

To keep track of what is going on for this Gran Prix – check out the current Columbus Underground post – Columbus Underground PGP III

When I was growing up in Columbus every March there was an event a the fairgrounds called Extravaganza. The commerial always ended with a cheesy announcer voice shrieking “ADMISSION IS FREE”. Well – admission is free to PGP but the only cheese we offer is on the pizza.

And for a taste of past Pizza Grand Prix events – see below.

Pizza Grand Prix Uno

Pizza Grand Prix Dos

Come out and join us. When you know you are coming – post here or on Columbus Underground so we can track a rough headcount.

We will have a few freebies, a lot of pizza, drinks are BYOB and this time we will have voting in place to so everyone can support their favorites of the night.

Here is the drill – we expect to have twenty plus types of pizza – the volume depends on how many people show up and what time people walk through the door.

We have napkins, plates, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese and a pizza cutter. Sample to your hearts content and perhaps your stomachs regret. All are welcome to bring tupperware to take some pizza to go when we wind things down after 8 PM.

Voting will be in these categories:
Best of Grand Prix
Best Homemade
Best Topping Combo
Best Vegetarian

There will be a prize for the best homemade pizza as determined by voting.

We do ask that you ask to have your pizza cut in squares – aka – tavern cut – this helps with the process of pizza sharing. If you are bringing a pizza from your favorite pizza place – bring some extra menus with you – so other people can support your favorite dough slinger in the future. If you are stumped on where to get a pizza from (could this be?) check out my slice of CMH link at the top of the blog.

Hope to see you there – PGP has been one of the favorite Columbus Underground events and Wild Goose Creative is a wonderful place to host a community event.

BE THERE, BE THERE, BE THERE!

Note: More info to come during the week – I have been hampered by haphazard wireless connection crowded coffee shop internet access so posts have been delayed and rushed.

Posted in Clintonville, Columbus style pizza, events, kid friendly dining, pizza | Tagged: | 1 Comment »