Saturday, September 25, 2010


Location:  Short North, Columbus, Ohio
Date:  September 25, 2010

I was planning on going to North Market's Microbrew Festival, however, hubby was not in the mood for beer tasting.   And so I suggested to walk by Short North and dine out to whatever we fancy.  I was actually thinking of Knead already since it's pretty close and we haven't tried there yet.

We walked up to the place and it was almost full.  There were still a few empty tables but we opted to be seated on a bar-like seating just off the bar where we can also watch tv.   Our bartender approached us noticed we were first-timers.  He seemed very nice.  He gave us a few background about the restaurant.  He said their dishes are made from local ingredients,  they're seasonal and thus their menu keeps on changing.  I'm always proud and impressed of restaurants which utilize local ingredients.   Since then, I got a feeling that I already like this restaurant.

Since I was kinda craving for beers, hubby and I tried their drafts.  Their beers are also proudly brewed here in Ohio.  Hubby had the Summerteeth lager ($5), the one on the left, which is brewed here in Columbus.    And I had the Buckeye beer ($3), which is brewed in Toledo.   Both are very good, not complicated but I like mine better which has a light and sweet taste.  It surely quenched my thirst!  Their beer list is vast, each will be able to find one that will suit their mood and taste.  But next time, I'll try the Buckeye martini.  I heard it's good.

As I've mentioned, the place is pretty packed at that time, probably because the Microbrew festival just ended and people are starving.   I guess that's the reason why our food didn't arrive as soon as we expected.  I think the wait was 30 minutes.  But, when it arrived, we scarfed down our food fast!  I just ordered one of their small plate menu which is the pan-roasted scallops  ($12).  Oh, they're soo good!  It's a case of sweet and salty, salty and sweet, you can't stop.  The apple carrot ginger sauce with the vegetable pancake like sweet potatoes had a sweet taste, it worked perfectly with the saltiness of the scallops. The serving is just right for ladies like me who's trying to limit their food intake lol!  Plus, the beer already helped in making my stomach feel full.

Hubby ordered steak tagliata ($20) from the large plates section of the dinner menu.  It's a seared Bison flatiron steak, sliced in 5 pieces, rubbed in ancho coffee.  Again, with an urban twist of delicious blue cheese quesadilla with arugula greens and balsamic dressing.  Tasted good!!!   I'm always a fan of blue cheese so this quesadilla joined with arugula balsamic vinaigrette is definitely a hit for me.

We didn't have seconds on our drinks but opted in ordering tiramisu ($6) instead.  Their desserts are being displayed seductively inside this pie case and been calling us to eat them the moment we took our seats.  Anyways, our server said their tiramisu is the best in the city and he didn't lie!  It is uniquely prepared, served with ladyfinger, with a smooth balance of coffee, liqueur, spongecake and mascarpone. Y-U-M-M-O!

Though, their prices are quite high, it is justified by the quality of food that they'll give.   I'm looking forward in exploring the rest of their menu.  Maybe, I'll try lunch.  It may not be too busy by then.

Knead on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 20, 2010


Location: King Ave. Columbus, OH
Date: Sept. 19, 2010

All you gyro lovers, this is the new place to be! Just recently opened, around 2 weeks ago, Loops offers the best gyro, chicken and steak specialty wraps at a very affordable price.

Hubby and I were going to visit my newborn godchild at Riverside hospital and we planned on bringing Pad Thai from Nida's for his parents.  However, they were already closed.  We weren't aware that they close at 5pm during Sundays.  Good thing I remembered Loops which we saw while we were on our way to Stauf's for brunch.   We wished their gyros are good.

I remember Chipotle upon entering Loops because of it's setup.  Except Loops have flat screen tv.  Yes, very convenient for all sports fans out there.  

The classic gyro ($5.50) that we ordered was soo good.   It didn't disappoint us with our friends.  It was huge!  A true comfort food.  Wrapped in a puffy pita bread, there was a very generous amount of flavorful gyro with lettuce, tomato, onions and tzatziki sauce.   This sauce is made of a homemade traditional Greek and cucumber sauce which complimented very well with the gyro.  The deep-fried spicy gyro roll ($1 / 2 rolls) is also a hit!  It was just a little spicy for me but you can notice it.  It is a combination of 3 cheeses, gyro, onions, peppers and Greek herbs and spices.  If you just needed a snack, these rolls are already enough.
I couldn't wait to try the rest of their menu.

Loops on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 18, 2010

M at Miranova

We chose M to spend our dinner to celebrate our first church wedding anniversary.  We had a great time during our first time here and since then it became one of favorite restaurants for special occasions.

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon.  Might as well enjoy every chance we get till its gone.  So, I passed the beautiful decorations and sheer fabric that were hanging inside the restaurant and chose to be seated outside.  The view outside was not bad at all.  We were seated on the side where we can see a view of the river and the bridge.     

The half bottle Merlot from Napa Vallley ($45) that we had was great.  It was not heavy or strong but still full of flavor.  Just like the way we wanted.  

We skipped appetizers this time.   After having a few discussions with my hubby on what to try, I ordered the Chilean Sea Bass with shrimp dumplings, water chestnuts and thai broth ($34) and 10 oz filet mignon for him ($37).  He also got lobster mashed potatoes ($14) on the side. 

Once again, M didnt disappoint us.  The sea bass was indeed an excellent choice as what our server had said after I told him my order.  It was so fresh like it was just caught.  It was soft yet its chewable like its a chicken and it's full of flavor (describe flavor).  I loved its color too and the size was just enough.  Though I wasn't so much impressed with the shrimp dumplings.  I actually think it didn't go well with the fish.  But overall, I'm so pleased.  The filet mignon was a winner too.   They are consistent with what my hubby had before.  Their plate is a work of art too.  And did i mention the mashed potatoes?   They were fantastic! The Maine lobster sure did give that extra flavor to the yukon gold mashed potatoes.

The service was also great.  He mentioned us the specials.  Though we were only the people outside, the servers didn't forget to refill our glasses and ask if we needed anything.  He handed the dessert menu.  Though we're already stuffed, we couldn't resist to try a moscato dessert wine ($5 / glass) which was fabulously sweet!

I'm really glad that we celebrated our first year anniversary here.  I don't mind going back here every year to celebrate and try their other dishes.  Probably, on the next restaurant week again and do a full circle :).

M at Miranova on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 10, 2010

Banana Bean Cafe

Location:  Brewery District, Columbus, Ohio
Date:  Sept. 10, 2010

It was our first time in this "Floribbean" restaurant and we actually missed it because there's no sign along the side of the street.  I just saw it when we just passed it and had to make a U on the next block.  As we pulled in the parking lot, I noticed that they have a patio seating but I didn't feel like seating outside as the weather couldn't decide if its going to be cool or warm.  It's one of those September days again.

I felt a relaxed and laid back atmosphere the moment I came inside Banana Bean Cafe.   It's like I stepped inside a restaurant along Florida's sunny beach waters with my scarf and in an almost fall-like weather.  This picture I took doesn't do justice at all.

My hubby and I went there around noon time so it was great that they have a   brunch menu.  I've noticed in their drinks menu that they have a signature roast coffee.  When I ordered this, our server, Jennifer, said their coffee is from Stauf's thus, it must be good!

I've heard that their Eggs Del Mar ($14) is very good.  It has two poached eggs put on top of a house-made creole cornmeal-dusted crab cakes,
with seared spinach & roasted tomato hollandaise.  I've never cooked poached eggs before ( I didn't know how to)  and they made it amazingly soft and perfect.  The crab cakes are so tasty.  I've never thought this combination would work out perfectly.  This is highly recommended!

A meat-lover, hubby ordered Espresso Steak & Eggs ($15) which is cocoa & coffee rubbed 6oz Filet Mignon with two fried eggs and skillet red skin potatoes.

We also tried their Buttermilk Pancakes ($2).  It's like a dessert already as it came in late.  Jennifer apologized and said the chef had ran out of crushed almonds used in the pancakes batter so they had to make a new batch.  Their pancakes are rich and thick it made us full. I think they gave us 3 pancakes instead of just 2 which is specified in their menu.  Maybe to make up for its 'late arrival'.

It would seem that the 2 brunch items we ordered are not generous enough.  Maybe it would be a more satisfying meal if there are a couple of toasts on the side.  Good thing hubby thought of ordering the pancakes.  I want to try other items in the menu.  I'll be back!

Banana Bean Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Location:  Grandview Ave, Columbus, OH
Various dates starting late summer to early fall of 2010

It has been quite sometime already that I got hooked in watching tv shows that features Jamaica.  So one day, I checked out where in Columbus can I have a taste of Jamaica.  I found out that Stauf's offers Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.  Jamaica is a big coffee producer but it's people are not coffee drinkers.  Though, they were out of stock ($55.00 for a bag), I decided to go there and see what else I can find.

This is what you will see when you come inside Stauf's, a wide variety of premium coffees, espressos, teas, mugs, even coffee makers and pressers.  When you approach those walls of coffees and start to browse, after a few seconds a staff will approach you and offer help.


I used to work close to Grandview Ave. and how I wished I've discovered this place while I was still working there.  How could I ignore this place!  They have an ample space, outdoor seating and free wifi for all of us who like to sip a good cup of coffee ($1.95 for 16 oz) while surfing the internet.  The espresso muffin is really good.  The dark roast coffee goes well with it.  The muffin has chunks or chips of espresso they're like dark chocolate. I was lovin' it!

I've been craving for their sausage, gravy and biscuits (one of their weekend breakfast menu) but they were out so I settled for Stauf's omelet ($6) instead.  Actually, they were out of it several items including pancakes.  We got there around 2pm on a Sunday.  I guess that was too late for a brunch already but nevertheless, their omelet is very good.  With ketchup and hot sauce, it's a winner.  The serving is also generous, I had to share it with hubby.  I also like the hashbrowns that goes with it.  Their chai latte is just ok.  I was looking for more spice I guess.  I think I like Starbuck's better.  Hubby ordered french toast with sausage which are also very tasty.  Their sausage is like McDonald's.

This place is truly a haven for coffee lovers.  This is going to be my new hang out place, where I can have a rich-flavored coffee while blogging, reading and just simply relax.   Maybe one thing that I wish they should do is when they give you the cup of coffee from the counter, I wish they put a lid on it.

Just a tip that I got from their website that I didn't know (duh!):  Never refrigerate or freeze your coffee.  Coffee absorbs flavors and aromas of other food products!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Northstar Cafe

Location:  Easton Mall at Columbus, Ohio
Date: Aug. 8, 2010

Recently opened at Easton Mall, Northstar Cafe features American cuisine with healthy, organic ingredients.  And with modern ambiance and relaxed atmosphere, surely, this restaurant will earn fans in downtown Columbus.

At first, I thought this is a vegan restaurant because I remember when we went to their Short North location, I had a vegan burger.  Some of their dishes may just have veggies, but those items with V on them, can be prepared with meat and if you want dairy free as well.    

I ordered Shooting Star ($3.50) which is a blend of orange, organic carrot, lemon and ginger.  It's not sweet at all and it actually tastes healthy.

Oh and btw, when you come in, give your order on the registers before you take your seats.  And after you place your order, they will give you a number that you will put in those things on top of the dining tables.  Those things have instructions in them.  So it's ok even if you don't remember what the lady says in front.  This is how the food is going to reach to your table.

I had a Meatloaf dinner with french fries and they're yummy!  Hubby had BBQ rib pulled pork sandwich.

Their sodas are organic too.  Hubby got the cane cola.

The next time we went there, I had Buddha Bowl with roasted chicken ($9.50). It has lots of long grain organic rice with peanut sauce, a generous serving and I couldn't finish it.  The broccoli and cauliflower are very soft and tender and can almost melt in your mouth literally! I wish I can make my vegetables that way.  I accidentally deleted my picture, but if you're a peanut butter lover, this one's for you.  My hubby had a very crispy BBQ flatbread ($12.50).  I just realized that we both ordered dishes with peanut ingredient on them.  It was a peanut night.

Northstar Café (Easton) on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wicked the Musical

Location:  Ohio Theater
Date:  July 31, 2010

I've been hearing a lot of good comments about this musical even before it came here in Columbus and it really made me curious.  With no idea what the story is all about, I went ahead and bought tickets as soon as it went on sale.  And I wasn't disappointed.  It was WICKED indeed!  The music is fantabulous! The cast is superb! The costumes and stage are gorgeous!  I have been to a few Broadway shows and so far, this is one of my favorites.  I just love everything about it! I wouldn't hesitate to see it again!

Without giving too much spoilers, the story conveys the social message of "Don't judge the book by its cover".  It is also about pursuing your dreams and taking a stand to follow your principles and moral sense.  But I wasn't expecting that it would also be about friendship.  A friendship that found a way to go beyond the tests and challenges thrown upon them and ended up having a mutual love and hope of good for both of them.  Everyone can really relate to the story.  This is an excerpt of Glinda's part from the song "For Good":

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who helped us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

My favorite scene was when Elphaba is lifted up from the stage like she's flying.  This is when Elphaba discovers the wizard's true and evil character and decided to change her dreams and not to join his kingdom.  So, the wizard ordered the people to kill her because she's wicked.  Despite social rejection and separating from her best friend Glinda, Elphaba took a stand by following her inner moral sense.  In this scene, I could really feel the character's passion and emotion taking a stand, pursuing her dreams, flying high and defying gravity.

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky
As someone told me lately:
"Everyone deserves a chance to fly"
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me:
Tell them how I am defying gravity
I'm flying high defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!

As I was looking at the cd's pictures, I noticed familiar faces in Elphaba's and Glinda's characters from the original Broadway cast.  So, I googled it and lo and behold!  They were Rachel's mom and Will's high school crush, April, respectively, from the hit television show "Glee"! I feel so stupid as I'm the last one in the whole world to know.  Anyways, it would have been cool to watch the original cast.  But Jackie Burns did an awesome job!