Sunday, March 29, 2009

Semi Homemade Mumbai Style

I can't say I'm a huge fan of this semi-homemade trend EXCEPT when it comes Indian food. I wish I had an real Indian auntie to teach me how to make this stuff, but I don't. So I'm stuck with muddling my way through pre packaged spice mixes and frozen palak paneer trying to learn as much as I can. Thankfully a former co worker and friend pointed me into the right direction towards some high quality pre made items that let anyone make a homemade Indian meal. Which I did this last Thursday night for my hunny for a rare dinner at home.

Using a spice mix for whole chicken pieces, a couple frozen vegetable dishes, frozen naan (bread), and some other pre made items from India Grocery on Cranston and Sawmill I put dinner together in an hour and a half.. Pretty good considering the chicken was still frozen!

First thing first, I bought fresh, pre made samosas and put those out with some bottled cilantro chutney and some little snacky things called mullu muruku for him to munch on when he got home. I did have to add a little Greek yogurt to the chutney to tame the fire a bit, but it was still good.

Next I put one cup of batsmati rice on to cook and threw four cardamom pods and a dash of salt for an extra, subtle layer of flavor.

Now it was time to cook the chicken... Which was still frozen, but thawed enough that I could sear it, skin side down in a non stick pan until I had a nice golden color. I didn't add any salt or pepper since the spice mix I used had salt in it already. This is a pound and a half of chicken thighs, but the package called for only 400 grams of chicken on the bone. Honestly, it worked just fine with the extra amount, we had one thigh leftover and there was enough left that when we reheated it last night for dinner we had plenty of sauce.

Next I opened a bag of broccoli cauliflower and baby carrots, trimmed and ready to go and steamed it with a little butter. Then I cracked open the frozen palak paneer (spinach and homemade cheese) and bhindi masala (okra and potatoes in tomato sauce).

Now all that was left was to heat up the frozen naan, dish up the pickles and make a couple mango lassis with mango juice and Trader Joe's Greek style yogurt. Both mango and yogurt help with digestion, so a mango lassi is a perfect compliment to a spice driven Indian meal. When I was at India Grocery, I asked the clerk about the myriad of sweet cakes in the cast next to the register. He pointed out which ones where his favorites and so I trusted his judgement and got those. I have NO idea what any of these are but there were wonderful!

With everything on the counter it was dinner! We had plenty of food for leftovers a couple of nights later and items like the pickles and chutney will keep for future meals/snacks. Next time you think semi homemade, think Sanghavi and not Sandra!

P.S. Despite the lassi, no Indian meal (and least for hunny and I) is complete without Eno. Similar to baking soda, but tasting nowhere near as awful, a small glass of cold water and a teaspoon of Eno takes down heartburn and indigestion as fast as you can burp. It's also great following pizza, Mexican, Thurmans, Taco Bell and White Castle.....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pizza Mania!!!

Aloha from beautiful Maui!! It's been a little bit since and I think I'll try to make up for a little bit of lost time with this little gem of a pizza. Now with pizza it's really nice to mix, and proof and put a little love into your own dough. I'll include a recipe for pizza dough in case you are feeling extra frisky and leave you with a piece of advice for making good pizza in a standard home oven that will make you swear it came out of a brick oven. What could possibly give you that sort of crispy bottom texture? It's called a pizza stone. They're readily available at Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma in Easton and are fairly reasonable. If you really want to save a little money get yourself a half sheet pan and a couple of ceramic tiles from Lowe's or Home Depot and set one up in the bottom of your oven. It'll give you the same effect. When you start your oven up turn it to 475 with no broiler and get your bricks nice and hot.

In the states we've become accustomed to having our pizza slathered with tons of tomato sauce or cheese sauce. Loads of processed meats and vegetables aren't really what are being consumed. It's a day that in 90% of american kitchens that has come and gone. Luckily for those of you in Columbus artisan meats, cheeses, organic farm-to-table produce and great imported oils are readily available at places like The North Market, and Carfagna's. There's a reason the midwest is known as the heartland of America. That being said here's a great tasting recipe that will take you back to Italy the second you close your eyes. One of the best parts of this recipe is the bagna cauda that coats the bottom of the pizza. Bagna cauda is typically served hot in a fondue pot and local vegetables are dipped in it and cooked while a bottle of wine is enjoyed along with some nice crusty bread, meats and cheeses. This pizza is sort of a combination of all of that. If time is crunched for you by all means find yourself a nice store bought pre-baked pizza crust and enjoy.

Salumi, Asiago, and Bagna Cauda Pizza with Potato and Fresh Herbs

Pizza Dough Recipe

1 tbsp active dry yeast

1.5 cups water
pinch of kosher salt

3.5 cups flour

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl. Add salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cup flour.
Attach bowl and dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix 1 minute. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to dough hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour). Punch dough down. Using a kitchen scale measure out 3 oz of dough and roll into a ball. On a lightly floured surface roll ball into deired shape. For rustic, country style pizza it needn't be exactly round.

Bagna Cauda Recipe

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 cloves of Garlic

8 ea White Anchovy Fillets (optional but recommended)

large Pinch of Crushed Red Chili Flake

salt and pepper

2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves

In a hot pan add a good amount of oil. When the oil gets warm add garlic and turn heat down. Add the anchovies. The anchovies will melt into the oil and as the garlic browns lightly add chili flakes until the toast some and turn off the heat. Add parsley to cook in the hot oil and set aside

For the Pizza

pizza dough


Bagna Cauda

Thinly Sliced Asiago Cheese

Thinly Sliced Salumi

small pieces of boiled or steamed yukon gold potato

chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste (rememeber potatoes suck up salt so season them a little to maintain balance)

If you're using homemade dough be sure to use a little cornmeal on your pizza peel so that it slides off easily. If you're using a prebaked crust you can omit the cornmeal. Spoon on some of the bagna cauda goodness (the solid stuff) and brush evenly. Go lightly on the oil. layer with cheese, salumi and potato. bake (this is where the pizza brick comes in) for 12-15 minutes or until bottom is nice and brown and blistered. Pre baked crust will take roughly half the time. At least 3-4 times rotate and move pizza to a hot part of the stone (fresh dough only) it will help the blistering process.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Duplication Success!!!

I cannot even begin to count how many times I have had something great to eat at a restaurant and wished I could duplicate it at home. I think about a dish and ponder how I could recreate it and then I promptly forget about it; or more likely I'm too lazy to do it! But I couldn't stop thinking about those polenta frites from Bel-Lago yesterday. And I'm not even a huge polenta fan! Guess I'll be re-thinking that now, won't I? So tonight I set out to duplicate those crunchy, golden sticks that were haunting me.

I began by assembling what I thought the ingredients might be. First would be chopping and sauteing the pancetta. I didn't want to make a huge number of fries for just Bob and me, so I diced a nice little pile of pancetta and cooked it off and drained it well. Taking about 2 packed tablespoons of frozen chopped spinach,I thawed it and squeezed it as dry as I could get it. I chopped it up some more. I added 2 1/2 tablespoons shredded asiago (because I had it on hand) and tossed the three of those ingredients together and set them aside.

I brought 1 1/8 cups of water to a boil and slowly whisked in 6 tablespoons instant polenta. As soon as I had the polenta incorporated I added the pancetta/spinach/cheese mixture, a teeny bit of salt (because the pancetta has quite a bit) and freshly ground black pepper. I whisked very quickly. It took all of about 2 minutes for it to come together. I plopped it into a square plastic container and pressed it smooth. Into the freezer it went to quick cool.

(I do apologize for the quality of this picture. Once the polenta began browning it went so fast! I grabbed my camera and only had time for one picture. Of course it would turn out blurry. But you get the idea.) When the polenta had cooled and set up, I popped it out of the dish and cut it into pieces resembling steak fries. I heated peanut oil with a little splash of herbed olive oil that my dear friend Kathy Padova gave all of us at Andrea's bridal shower last weekend. (It's awesome-thank you, Kathy:-) And the frying commenced! I heated some leftover tomato sauce that I had in the fridge. This would have to do, even though it was no Bel-Lago housemade marinara.

I plated the fries on the sauce with a sprinkling of grated asiago. They were absolutely delicious! Bob totally adored them. We're planning a tapas style dinner and right then and there we decided these are a "must" for that menu.

So thanks to Bel-Lago for re-introducing me to an ingredient that I had pretty much decided I didn't like! They made their version sound so appetizing on the menu that I ventured to try something I previously had crossed off my "good food" list.

Next time you have something at a restaurant that is so good it haunts you and you think you might be able to recreate it, go for it! It's a rush! And you can have as much of it as you want without having to send the poor waitstaff back with order after order for more. (I so did not do that, even though I wanted to... Really! Ask Jane!)

Hmm...maybe I should have made the whole darn box of polenta afterall!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bel-Lago Waterfront Bistro

Formerly known as The Hoover Grille (yeah, kinda like the artist formerly known as Prince), Bel-Lago Bistro has one of the most wonderful views in the city. When I learned that the restaurant had changed ownership and had a new chef, I was anxious to try it. While the view wouldn't change, hopefully the experience would. Like many others we've heard about, Bob and I had not had good luck at the Hoover Grille. I had high hopes for this lovely establishment under new owners Dave Bianconi and Jim Meadows, along with Executive Chef Jeff Heisler. So it was with great expectations that I braved wind and rain and headed to Bel-Lago for lunch today.
The decor was warm and inviting on this dreary day. My fellow blogger Jane and I were greeted and shown to our seats by the window; a great view of the choppy waters of the Hoover Reservoir. We requested hot tea to help us shake off the chill.
Our waiter was friendly and knowledgeable about the offerings, although now that I think about it he never did tell us what the soup of the day was!
I had spent considerable time pouring over the menu on the website and already knew exactly what my plan of attack was going to be. Jane, however was not so well prepared (amateur!). I ordered the polenta frites to tide us over while she perused her options. The Polenta Frites are described as "romano cheese, basil, spinach, and
pancetta polenta with savory house-made marinara". As you can see, they were lovely. Steaming hot, the aroma tickled our senses as the plate was set down in front of us. We dug in! And they were delicious! There was a great crust was on the outside of the frites that gave a nice crunch when we bit in. The inside was soft and creamy. The spinach and romano were evident, but we couldn't quite locate the pancetta. Nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed them. The marinara was wonderful!
Jane had decided (huh...finally...) on the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Salad. This was a very generous sized crab cake served on mixed greens with a lemon shallot vinaigrette. It was gorgeous. And may I just say that when Janie bit into the crab cake I do believe I heard the girl moan. For real. After conning her out of a bite I fully understood the moan. That was one heavenly crab cake! Huge pieces of crab, perfectly seasoned with ever so little breading. It really was quite wonderful. But I had other matters to attend to. My Spaghetti and Meatball had been served! Wow, was it pretty. The meatball sat in all it's glory atop the mound of spaghetti. Freshly grated cheese was offered and I accepted!
I had read that the pasta is house made and our waiter confirmed this. The dish looked great. The steam coming off of it told me this dish had definitely not been sitting under warming lights waiting to be served. I twirled my fork around those lovely strands that so obviously were homemade, anticipating delight...
Okay, here is the verdict. The sauce was good. It had a bit too much fennel for my taste, but it was good. The pasta was delicious. There was a clump in the middle that told me they either didn't cook it in enough water, or they slacked off on stirring it to separate the strands (which is really important with fresh pasta). But overall I liked it. The meatball was the best part. The kitchen staff makes the meatballs with beef, veal and pork. It is light; not densely packed like some meatballs reminding you of biting into a baseball (okay, not that I've ever bitten into a baseball, but you know what I mean). Unfortunately, upon biting into it my first thought was, "Too salty!" Those were also my first words. That didn't stop me from eating it though! The flavor was wonderful. But they really need to back off on the salt. There isn't a one of us that is in need of extra salt!
Now, there is one thing I'd like to point out. We were never offered any kind of bread. Neither with Jane's salad nor with my pasta. And we missed it! I even asked our waiter why they did not serve bread. He puzzled over this with us and said he'd pass on our suggestion to serve bread, or at least a bread stick with the pasta. However when I stopped at a friend's table to say hello on the way out and to ask her opinion of the spaghetti & meatball she was having for lunch, there sat a basket of rolls! I asked if she'd ordered them separately and she said the server brought the bread without being asked. Hmm. (And by the way, her take on the meatball? "Too salty!")
The restaurant is new and new restaurants need to work out the kinks. I will definitely return to Bel-Lago. The service was good. Overall the food was good. And I love the atmosphere. You bet I'll give them another go. But next time, I want bread!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bailey's Irish Cream Cake

Ireland was the theme of our CSG (Collier Small Group) dinner last Friday and my task was to create a dessert with that in mind. So off to the Internet I go. I was thinking green initially but I cannot stand, or sit for that matter, lime jello. When I think green, apologies to Al Gore, I think of broccoli. Beside green is my least favorite color. Green was out. As I started my search angst set in my thoughts...would the main ingredient in Irish cakes be potatoes, talk about your racial profiling, oh Jill! On my first hit I found a list of various cakes with Bailey's Irish Cream as the flavoring ingredient, all right!

To start my cake I cracked open the bottle of Bailey's and remembered how much I enjoy the cream. Does a little shot of Bailey's at 9:00 am make me a lush? After I get the cake in the oven, oh the smell, I wanted to see if my beer drinking cat Bailey would like the Irish Cream. Well I don't think Bailey is from Ireland but she loved it. I should have got a photo of her with her nose in that narrow shot glass from Hard Rock Cafe, Atlanta.

The cake turned out gorgeous! I was surprised at the end results. The darn thing looked professional.

This is for all you bakers who want St. Patty's Day to last the whole month of March. Or do you have some Bailey's Irish Cream in the cabinet collection dust, yea right. Well if you happened to have a cup of Bailey's on hand you might try this:

Bailey's Irish Cream Cake



1 cup nuts

1 package yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker's French Vanilla)

1- 3 ounce package Jello instant vanilla pudding (again I used French Vanilla)

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease and flour a tube or bundt pain. Sprinkle nuts on the bottom of pan. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour over nuts. Bake 1 hour. Cool cake completely. Prick cake and pour glaze over top and sides.


1 stick butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream

Melt butter. Stir in water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. REMOVE from heat. Stir in Bailey's Irish Cream.

Note: If using cake mix which includes pudding, omit pudding from recipe, decrease eggs to 3 and decrease oil to 1/3 cup.

Note: The cake can be decorated with s sugar frosting or whipped cream. But I say why cover up the lovely nut decoration!

The evening was terrific. What more could you ask...Rubins, Bailey's Irish Cream Cake and dudes with tattoos!
OK, I'm going to try this. Jean if it goes awry it's your fault, but I'll still love you ;-).

Yes I am the Jill from the Collier Small Group dinner. I do bake. I have since I can remember. But I feel I'm going up against the best. As per request here is the recipe for the Petite Mocha Cakes from, a site my brother got me on to. I wanted to bake something light to finish off an Italian meal. I thought these little cakes with a touch of coffee would finish off a lovely evening. Here goes:

Petite Mocha Cakes

Prep time 15 minutes. Serves 12

3/4 cups or 1 1/2 sticks of butter, cut into pieces
1 pkg. (6 squares) Baker's bittersweet chocolate (I used 1 pkg (4 oz) of Ghiradelli 60% cacao)
(only the best for my friends)
2 Tbsp Maxwell House instant coffee (I used Folger's classic roast instant coffee)
4 eggs
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Microwave butter, chocolate and coffee in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Freeze 5 minutes or until cooled, stirring occasionally.

Beat eggs, powdered sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed 2 to 3 minutes, or until well blended. Add chocolate mixture; mix well. Combine flour and cinnamon. Add to chocolate mixture; beat just until blended. Spoon evenly into 12 paper-lined medium muffin cups.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until cakes are slightly puffed and feel firm at edges and soft in center when pressed with fingertip. Cool 5 minutes. Remove paper liners. Serve warm.

I'm not a fan of coffee in any form, but these were a bit tasty.

Happy baking and enjoy.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quick Quesadillas

We love quesadillas. But for some reason, they're rarely on my radar. I just don't think of them when I'm trying to come up with something different for dinner. Funny, 'cause I usually always have the ingredients for them on hand. And you can do just a bazillion things with them. They're a terrific way to use up bits of leftovers and morph them into a completely new and delicious dinner.

I was recently reminded of these little culinary gems when I borrowed my sister's quesadilla maker to take to Bryce's school. I'd made mini quesadillas for his class earlier in the year, and I was asked to bring them to another celebration. Unlike the making of the mini ones which were an activity with the kids, I was bringing them premade. So after making 20 quesadillas I was quite the expert!

While I had the quesadilla maker I decided to have them for dinner a few nights later. Bob is a fool for anything Mexican so he was all over this :-) I had found some awesome tortillas that are made with corn flour (made by Chi Chi's) and used those as well as regular white flour tortillas. I filled them with a Mexican shredded cheese blend and extra sharp cheddar cheese. I had some rotisserie chicken from dinner the night before. I used that along with some chopped green chiles for half of the quesadillas.

To serve with them, I sliced a perfectly ripe avocado (oh be still my beating heart!) and set out dishes of sour cream and chunky salsa. I felt like I still needed a side to go with it. Well, I dug around in the fridge to see what else was there. Hey! I had Chinese the other night and here was a dish of steamed rice. (We eat very multi-ethnic in our house.) I threw it in a pan, warmed it up and added some chopped garlic and shallots, and then plopped in a couple of hefty spoonfuls of salsa. Did someone say "corn"? Okay! I tossed in a handful of frozen corn and stirred that baby up. Salt, pepper and we were good to go. Mexican rice!!!

Next, I opened a cold beer for Bob, poured it into a frosty mug and called it dinner! It actually was delicious!

So when you're looking for a quick, hearty and yummy meal don't forget the unassuming quesadilla. And have fun with it! We did :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mimi's Cafe at Polaris

Bob and I had never been to Mimi’s Café. So when we were invited to meet Clint & Virna and the boys for brunch we were all over it! (Of course, any time we have the chance to spend time with our godsons, we’re all over it!)

We met on a Sunday morning after church. Fortunately for us, we got there just ahead of a major rush, and got a great table. While I can’t rave about the service, I have to give them the benefit of the doubt. It was after all, a Sunday morning.

The menu is huge! Oh my gosh, I didn’t know how I would narrow the choices down on what to order. Somehow I eventually managed.

I decided that I would go with the Crab & Avocado Omelet. This is a three egg omelet with jack cheese, tomatoes and scallions, topped with bacon and asiago cream sauce. This is served with red skin potatoes, a freshly baked muffin and fresh squeezed juice. Virna (who is a horrendous copycat, just for the record) got the same thing. The choice of muffin flavors was low-fat blueberry, carrot & raisin, and I third that I can’t remember now. I ordered the carrot and raisin. Once again CC-Virna ordered the same.

The omelet was absolutely delicious! Perfectly cooked, too! I simply cannot deal with runny eggs. They totally gross me out, but this omelet was right on. The crab was plentiful, as was the cheese. Both Virna and I thought it was odd that the bacon was laid across the top of the omelet in strips. It might have been a bit easier to eat if they’d chopped it up. The diced tomatoes were fresh and the asiago cream sauce was wonderful. The potatoes were so-so. I am a hash brown kind of girl, so these potatoes didn’t rock my world. (Don’t get me wrong; I ate them okay. Never met a carbohydrate I didn’t like! But I would have preferred hash browns.)

Now the muffin was something else! Aye yi-yi! We are talking muffin here, folks. As in MEGA-MUFFIN! This baby was huge! And so good. But it was served with the tiniest bit of butter. Come on! A muffin this ginormous deserved better! However our server gladly obliged, bringing us extra butter. I don’t know about the other muffin flavors, but the carrot raisin is the way to go in my book!

Bob chose the Shrimp and Feta omelet. This had sautéed shrimp with feta cheese, tomatoes and scallions, topped with bacon & asiago cream sauce. All omelets are served with the same sides. Fresh fruit can be substituted for the potatoes at an extra charge of 50 cents. Bob totally enjoyed it. Umm, yeah I tasted it. Well I had to if I was to blog about it…right?

Clint got the Mixed Berry Pain Perdu Breakfast. This is French toast stuffed with cream cheese and orange marmalade and topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries and strawberry purée. The breakfast is served with two eggs and bacon or sausage. It sounds awesome on the menu and I came this close (*holding her fingers just a smidge apart*) to ordering it. But when it came, we all kind of looked at it and then looked at Clint. Um, maybe he should have gone with his other choice? That would have been the awesome looking Ciabatta Breakfast Sandwich that walked by right before we placed our orders. (Okay, the server walked by carrying it. The sandwich didn’t walk. You are all so picky on details…jeese!) He said it tasted good. However, it looked like Bryce had more on his child’s plate. I think maybe Clint had to go through McDonald’s drive thru on the way home!

Speaking of Bryce’s breakfast, he wanted to make sure I blogged about his Mickey Mouse pancakes and bacon. Sure must have been good ‘cause he tore them up! My older godson definitely likes his pancakes :)

The coffee was hot, the orange juice was fresh squeezed, the service was a bit slow (but after all, it was Sunday morning and we all know that’s when the “blue-hairs” are out in droves) and the food was good. Overall, Mimi’s was a definite thumbs up! Would I go there again? In a heartbeat!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dine Originals Restaurant Week!

Okay, this post might be a little late in the week but you still have a couple of days to enjoy.

Enjoy what you ask? Why Columbus's Restaurant Week from the Dine Originals Columbus group! Formed to promote local restaurants, with over 40 members this is the week to try as many out as you can.

Every restaurant is offering a set menu, some for $15, some for $30 as way to get more people exposed to the local dining scene. Tonight my hunny and I went to Katzinger's for their "Flight of Corned beef sandwiches. For $7.50 per person or $15 for two people you get a half of three different sandwiches, a small side of potato salad, a half brownie and of course PICKLES! Drinks are extra, but two people can still get it all for under $20.

Let me tell you, this was a TON of food for the money! And delicious! The flight included a half of their reuben, Gene's Free Lunch and Jeff's Super Soaring Sandwich. There is an option for three turkey sandwiches or two small veggie sandwiches for those who are so inclined. Available all day for dine in or take out, this is definitely one trip you want to make this week!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


People always ask me, "Where do you go for Korean food in Columbus?"and while there are many good places, the family favorite is Kikyo. Located in the Golden Bear plaza, right next to the Upper Arlington post office on Riverside drive.

Despite the Japanese name, Kikyo is owned by my friend DeeDee who makes everything with love and from her garden when possible. While the menu is a mix of Japanese and Korean, everything is done with a true eye for detail. Mom and I usually go for the dolstbibimbop (rice, veggies and meat in a hot stone bowl) or the kalbi (marinated beef short ribs) I will sometimes join my father in ordering from the Japanese side of the menu with such items as tempura udon, or nabiyaki udon.

The thing that sets Kikyo head and shoulders above other Korean restaurants is her banchan or as it's called on the menu "kimchee set" Traditionally an assortment of many different items ranging from small bites of marinated tofu, potato salad, seaweed salad, cabbage or daikon kimchee. DeeDee has the best in town, and some of the best I've had in the states. Everything is seasonal so you will see things like white kimchee and cucumber kimchee in the spring and summer, and more of the dried and reconstituted root/radish items in the winter. DeeDee's banchan comes with a steamed egg dish, seasoned with green onion, sesame oil it's almost the consistency of flan.. But savory and hot. :)

Mom's favorite is the dolstbibimbop, hot rice topped with various vegetables, bulgogi and a raw egg, which gets cooked from the fact that the whole thing is served in a BLAZING hot stone bowl. Add some spicy fermented bean paste sauce, mix it all up and it's a hearty meal to keep you warm inside.

On this trip I got a tempura appetizer and something I usually don't, soondobu. A spicy seafood soup served bubbling hot with gobs of soft tofu soaking up all the yummyness of the soup. We also got an order of grilled Korean mackerel, and a Kikyo roll. Raw tuna with avocado and a spicy mayo sauce.

Top everything off with a scoop of green tea ice cream with sweet adzuki beans and you've got one hearty meal!
Kikyo is open Tuesday-Sunday 4 pm to 12 am (yes, that's right!) and is located at the corner of Riverside drive (Rt 33) and Fishinger road.
3706 Riverside Drive Upper Arlington, Ohio 43221
Phone: 614-457-5277

Whit's Frozen Custard Made Fresh Daily

I have a confession to make…there is a new love in my life. I never expected it to happen this way. But sometimes fate, karma or whatever you want to call it, steps into your life and takes over. And that is precisely what happened to me Wednesday.

I met Jacob Rapp. No, Jake is not my new love. He just handed it to me. A clear plastic dish housing the most wonderful concoction of deep purple creamy frozen raspberry chocolaty goodness that I have ever tasted in my life. In that split second when the spoon passed my lips and tipped a little slice of heaven into my mouth, I said goodbye to Graeters. I’m sorry Graeters. It was fun. But now I’ve discovered that better things await ice cream lovers in Gahanna.

Welcome to Whit’s Frozen Custard Made Fresh Daily. Wow!

Whit’s is a new addition to the Gahanna area. They’ve had a store in Granville for years, and quite a few Gahanna folks already are acquainted with them. But for many, they’ve yet to have the Whit’s experience. To them I say, “GO NOW!”

So what makes frozen custard any different from ice cream, you ask? Wikipedia defines the history of frozen custard as:

Using a process called overrun, air is blended into the mixture of ingredients until its volume increases by approximately 20%. By comparison, ice cream may have an overrun as large as 100%, meaning half of the final product is composed of air. The high percentage of butterfat and egg yolk gives frozen custard a thick, creamy texture and a smoother, softer consistency than ice cream. Frozen custard is most often served at –8°C (18°F), warmer than the –12°C (10°F) at which ice cream is served.
Another difference between frozen custard and ice cream is the way the custard is frozen. The mix enters a refrigerated tube and, as it freezes, blades scrape the product cream off the barrel walls. The now frozen custard is discharged directly into containers from which it can be served. The speed with which the product leaves the barrel minimizes the amount of air in the product but more importantly ensures that the ice crystals formed are very small.

What does this mean for you? Well let me just say this…prepare to experience a “moment”. The quality of Whit’s ingredients is top notch. The process they use to make their custard is, in my humble opinion, about as close to perfection as you can get. The resulting product really is heaven.

But wait! Frozen custard isn’t all that Whit’s does. Oh no my friends. They do coneys! And they do them well. I fancy myself somewhat of a coney connoisseur. Jake tells me that they blend sauces (one of them coming from Chicago) to come up with their own. If you like your coney sauce a smidge sweet then you are in for a treat. (Ah, food poetry.) The bun is soft, the dog is a full size hot dog, and the sauce is plentiful. Add onion, mustard and cheese to that and you are good to go. Other savory food items include quesadillas, shredded chicken sandwiches and pulled pork sandwiches. They have chili “in season”, but I forgot to ask what “in season” was…my bad.

I digress. Let’s get back to the custard. Vanilla (and I’m talking this is the essence of vanilla) and chocolate are always available, and there is a third flavor that changes weekly. Lucky for me this week is black raspberry chip. However, I suspect I’d have fallen in love with whatever flavor was offered. I’m not fickle, I’m just diverse! In addition, Whit’s has come up with some of the most wonderful concoctions to make with their custard. Whitsers are vanilla custard blended with your choice of toppings. (Think kicked up milkshake.) The sundae menu boasts a list of toppings that’ll make you weak in the knees. And then there are the “Specialties” and “Favorites” lists; including signature sundaes and treats like banana splits and strawberry shortcake, floats, malts, and on and on. Some truly creative thinking from some pretty impressive minds has gone on here.

If you don’t find something you like at Whit's, then you’re just trying to be difficult! Either that or you need to check the “Grab N’ Go” cooler. Maybe you’re looking for a Whittie (ginormous chocolate chip frozen custard sandwich), or a chocolate covered banana, or maybe a jumbo freeze pop! Oh, I know! You’re searching for that perfect custard cake! Well while you’re at it, the Grab N’ Go houses a fine selection of quarts of Whit’s additional flavors. I had the pleasure of tasting chocolate covered strawberry. Oh my…a moment.

One more noteworthy comment here: The inside of the shop is darn near spotless. I was impressed. And the young ladies I met that were working the day I visited were incredibly polite and friendly. It was a pleasure meeting them. Also important to know is that Jake is a real mentor. Now I totally am impressed. And he’s pretty cool, too:-)

So if you haven’t already, take a trip to Whit’s. They are located at 121 S Stygler Road, Gahanna, OH 43230. You can check out their website to see the flavor of the week. When you go, definitely tell them you read about them on “Dishing It Up!”

And by the way, make sure you wave and say hi to me…I’ll be the one in the corner by the Grab N’ Go ...with a spoon ;-)