Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's Greetings!

Happy Holidays!

I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday; whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever holiday you are celebrating!

Holidays are a time for family, friends and good food. Always good food :-) At our house Bob and I do the cooking for Christmas Eve and my sister, Elaine and her husband Tom do the cooking for Christmas day. This arrangement works great for us. Christmas is Elaine’s birthday so we celebrate two birthdays on Christmas Evening!

This year we are blessed to have Jenny and her family join us. For those of you who might not know, Jenny is my oldest and dearest friend. OH! She’s not my oldest friend; she’s only a year and three days older (but she is older). Certainly what I meant to say is that Jenny and I have been friends since I was 6 months old! And this is the first year her family will be with us for Christmas Eve. We are very excited!

For us this year Christmas Eve will be all about being together, hanging out…and eating! No gifts. So the food had better be good. I hope our menu will measure up!

We plan to start with a small assortment of appetizers. I’ve made homemade French Onion Dip (Martha’s recipe to go with crudités, cheese straws and a surprise appetizer (perk those ears up, Elaine) of lobster claws with drawn butter. The main course will be served with a green salad, fresh steamed green beans, and organic roasted garlic bread. The entrées include Ina Garten’s Five Cheese Penne Pasta (from our Padova dinner in September, grilled beef tenderloin, and smoked turkey breast (provided by David Miller, owner of Werner’s Fine Sausages and Jenny’s big brother For dessert we have Graeter’s vanilla ice cream with brandied cherries and cookies and cupcakes from Ganache Dessert Kitchen

So I’d better get in that kitchen and start cooking! I’d love to know what you are having for dinner. Leave me a comment and tell me the good things coming out of your kitchen.

Wishing you a most blessed holiday,
Jean Bugs

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hania's Olde World Cuisine

There is a new gem in the North Market’s crown of jewels. Hania’s Olde World Cuisine would be the place. They claim to be “Your home for authentic Polish food!” And are they ever!!! When I heard about them I could not wait for them to open. I was so excited that we actually arrived a day before they opened. I was bummed, but this only made me more anxious to get my hands on some of their specialties.

Returning to the North Market a few days later, I first tried the cabbage rolls, pierogies and cucumber salad. The cabbage rolls, or “Golumbki” are stuffed with beef, pork, rice, garlic, and baked in tomato sauce. They were a little different than I am used to, but I found them to be quite tasty. They are $6.00/each.

The pierogies are made from scratch, and stuffed with combinations of potato, cheese, onion, mushroom, cabbage, sauerkraut and chicken. The dough is tender and screams “homemade”. The first day I was there I had the sauerkraut. They were good. I was a bit disappointed because my first choice was the potato and cheese. They were out on several occasions. Bad for me but I guess good for them! When I bought them the first time they were $1.25/each. Yes, I know they are homemade. And I sprang for them as a special treat. Now they cost $1.50/each. Ouch. I kind of have a hard time with that. But I know every once in a while I will weaken.

I was given a taste of the cucumber salad on my first visit. Yum! This was really good. It is cucumber, garlic and sour cream. It is so refreshing and just what you need against some of the heartier dishes.

On subsequent visits Bob and I tried “Bigos” (sauerkraut stew), “Grochowka” (split pea soup), “Polish Gulasz” (goulash), and little potato filled dumplings that I don’t know the name of but I was totally smitten with! Everything was absolutely delicious. I even liked the Grochowka and I am so totally not a fan of peas. I thought they were lentils!

There are several items that I really need to get back to try that look absolutely delicious. The chicken looks wonderful ($4.00/legs & thighs, $10.00/whole chicken, $6.00/half chicken) as does the breaded pork cutlets ($5.00) and sausages ($4.00). This is stick-to-your-ribs food, folks. Hearty food. Polish food. Just downright good food!

It is well worth your while to stop at the North Market and see what Chef Hubert and Molly (Eva, too) are offering on any given day. Not all dishes are available every day. But they do introduce new items on a regular basis. You can call for special orders and you can buy the pierogies frozen by the bag.

Hania’s Olde World Cuisine
At the North Market
59 Spruce Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 220-8771

Hours of operation:
Tues-Fri: 9am-7pm
Sat: 8am-5pm
Sun: noon-5pm

Hania's Olde World Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Noon-Time Travels: Bake-n-Brew

It seems to me that my best loved restaurants tend to be family owned “Mom & Pop” kind of places. A place where you walk in and are comfortable and just know you’re gonna get good food.

Well, Bake-n-Brew is that kind of place. Oh yeah. Their premise is “pretty ok food”. It’s even on the sign out front. But I’m here to tell you that it’s a lot better than “pretty ok”!

Bob has been telling me about them for some time now. They did a stint in the Techno Bistro (aka “Nerd Café”) at Owens Corning. Bob was very sorry to see them go. So he decided a blog needed to be written. And you all know that L3 and I have not done a Noon-Time Travel for a very long time. We were certainly up to the task!

L3 and I headed out along 161 to pick up Bob at OC. He jumped in the car and off we went to Newark. The Bake-n-Brew is pretty easy to find. It sits in a strip across the lot from Wal-Mart, just off 21st St in Newark.

Walking up to the door, you see a lamp in the window…kind of a welcoming beacon in the cold. Why, it’s that lamp from “The Christmas Story”! Yes, that sultry leg in the fishnet stocking. You know you always wanted one! And any establishment that has this lamp and proudly displays it in the front window, well that’s my kind of joint!

The service is incredibly friendly. There are always specials, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner. And the food has such a wide range. You can go anywhere from country fried steak, to soup and sandwiches, to lobster ravioli. I’m lovin’ this place already!

Bob ordered the bacon wrapped meatloaf special. It came with smashed potatoes. Yes, I tasted it…twice. I had to be certain I had a good take on it so I could write this post! It was so yummy! Who would think to wrap bacon around meatloaf? Evidently that answer to that would be Dave. "Inspired", is all I can say! It was absolutely delicious.

Laura ordered the spicy chicken. The dish consisted of pieces of tender, melt-in-your-mouth chicken served over rice with vegetables and a sauce that reminded us of General Tso’s chicken. It was good! A little too spicy for me, but we all know that I’m a major wuss when it comes to spicy.

I ordered…oh come on! I know you know what I ordered. Once I see country fried steak on a menu I have a very difficult time seeing anything else! It came with the smashed potatoes as well. I also put in an order for the fried green beans for all of us to share.

Okay, first of all the country fried steak was spot on! Perfectly cooked and smothered with gravy…oh my. The potatoes were a work of art. This is just good down home cookin’. And then the fried green beans! I have been hearing about these and when I saw them on the menu I knew the time had come. We cleaned that plate in record time. They are delicious!!!

Did someone say pie?

My two dining companions had cherry pie and I opted for the chocolate cream. While I don’t think these were homemade, they still finished the meal for us quite nicely.

There you have it! Visit the Bake-n-Brew (pretty ok food) in Newark. Make sure to say “hey” to Dave and Flo. These are some hardworking people that have gotten it right! And check out their website. You can see the daily specials, their regular menu, and what is really cool is that they do “Dinner & Music” nights. “Music with a mission. Your $3 cover charge on music nights goes to local charities and service organizations.”

They also have open jam on Thursday nights 8-10:30pm. Any musician is welcome! How fun is that????

I definitely want to go back. Hope I see you there!

Pretty OK Food!
1285 Log Pond Drive
Suite 160
Newark , OH 43055

Bake-N-Brew on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions

Have you been to Carfagna’s? Oh my…if you haven’t you really should!

Carfagna’s is “Family-owned and operated since 1937, Carfagna’s is the place for the freshest hand-cut meats, the best homemade Italian foods, the freshest local produce, the finest imported foods, beers, and wines, and the nicest gift baskets. Carfagna’s also offers a comprehensive range of catering options and serves many restaurants and food service operations through its wholesale division.”

Their meats are absolutely the best. Exceptionally good. The last time I was there I picked up a couple of their chicken sweet Italian sausages.

Today was rather cold and blustery so I took those babies out of the freezer for dinner. I sliced up a sweet onion, green pepper and a red pepper. This was so gorgeous in the pan I just had to take a picture of it before it got all cooked. And I don’t even like peppers! But isn’t this pretty?

I cooked some pierogies along with the peppers. These are a new one for me. They have potato, broccoli and cheddar. Boiled and then sautéed with butter...mmm.

I added some garlic toast and we were good to go. This turned out to be a filling, warm dish for a night like this.

Visit Carfagna’s as soon as you can. There is so much that you’ll want to try that you’ll probably find yourself going back again and again.

1405 E. Dublin-Granville Road
(at I-70 & 161)

Open 7 days a week
Mon. thru Sat.
10am - 7pm
10am – 5pm