Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Whit's is open, Gahanna!!!!

Photo courtesy of Whit's FB

It seemed like forever that my favorite dessert was unavailable. I know. It was only, like six weeks. But every time I would pass by that darkened building my inner self wept.

But weep no longer! Whit's doors are open once again. And even though there is snow on the ground and it is freezing, that custard is oh-so-good!

As the nirvana that is espresso chip passes by my lips and I smile like a gleeful child, I think how good it is to see my friends, Chip, Annie & Jeff. ('specially Jeff...he messages me when they make my beloved espresso chip:-)

Whit's is doing some really cool new stuff. They have expanded their menu and it's pretty darn good eatin'! We already know the coney dogs are really good; now you can have a slaw dog, too! Or have the works! The slaw is rough cut with a hint of sweetness. Just the perfect compliment. I also had the pleasure of tasting some of the chicken filling for the chicken quesidilla and man was it good! One new item I haven't tried yet is the new chicken salad. But I love this idea .. a "chicken salad boat"! It's the banana boat dish with a scoop of chicken salad in the middle, slaw or cottage cheese and crackers. How fun is that? And today I found out that they are serving soups with bread from Creekside's Bread Basket. Soups will include chili, broccoli cheese, chicken noodle and French onion. I can't wait to try those!

I think we're going to see some fun things happening at Whit's this summer. Plans are in the making for events to be held on the green at the back of the parking area. Ideas are just percolating.

And did you know Whit's caters? With all of this good stuff popping up at Whit's, an event catered by them would be a great idea! Good food, great people, incredible custard and your family and friends. Does it get any better than that?

Simply put, Whit's totally rocks! I know it, you know it ... so get over there and start your summer right now!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bryan!!!

Happy birthday to the best nephew ever!

This next year is going to be such a big huge year. Gavin Alexander Coss is coming into this world in May.

O.M.G.  Bryan, you are going to be the most awesome dad!

You have been blessed with an incredible wife, and it is going to be such a pleasure watching you two begin a family of your own. My wish for you is that you find as much love and laughter and happiness in this little guy as you have given your mom & dad ... and me! I can't even begin to tell you what you mean to Bob and me. Somehow, I think you already know.

So happy 31st birthday, B.

You are so loved!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Piada: Italian Street Food

Piada; my new love. I can’t get enough of it! In fact, I’m seriously afraid it might be becoming an addiction. But what a lovely addiction it is. If you have not been there yet, you really need to go NOW. The food totally rocks!

Piada is the latest venture and creation of Chris Doody, who, along with his brother Rick, created  Bravo and Brio (BDI). I had the pleasure of meeting Chris a few visits ago. He is very involved; very “hands on”. I fear I may have gushed when I was talking with him. Oh well, I really, really want a Piada in Gahanna! The Bexley Piada is under construction, and while that is closer than Lane Avenue, I want one literally around the corner from home. Yes, it’s that good!

The concept of Piada is Italian street food. The layout will remind you of Chipotle. The ordering process is the same. Likeness stops there! Every time I have entered Piada I have been immediately greeted with a huge smile and a big hello. That in itself is refreshing. The staff is just great. And they look like they are having a great time. I chatted with a young man who told me that he and his buddy work at both Piada and Bravo. That speaks highly of the owners, I would say. And the ingredients used are high quality and fresh. This is reflected in the finished product.
So you come up to the counter and first you choose among a Piada (which is kind of a wrap, with or without pasta), a pasta bowl, or a salad. In addition, there are Piada sticks that are already made and are heated on the very hot stone that is used to heat the very good bread used in the Piada. These come in artichoke (my personal favorite), pepperoni, ham & cheese and there might be another one that escapes my memory right now. I like to get one of these babies when I’m getting a pasta bowl. Perfect combination! They also offer a variety of sides, including two soups (tomato basil and lobster bisque-both are outstanding!), artichoke dip or calamari fritto misto.
After the choice is made among the three main options, the next dilemma is which grill item to choose. I say dilemma because everything is so good. My go-to item is the grilled chicken that is prepared with rosemary, garlic and lemon. However, the steak is really good, the crispy chicken fritte is crazy delicious, the salmon is yummy, and the Italian sausage is wonderful. All have been perfectly cooked when I’ve had them. The only thing I haven’t tried is the calamari and I plan to fix that oversight the next time I am there!

Moving on, next up is the selection of sauce. Oh my. The hot sauces include a pomodoro sauce, a diavolo sauce and parmesan alfredo. Cold sauces include red pepper pesto, fresh basil pesto and creamy parmesan. Mix and/or match. It’s your playground!
Next up is where you really make it your own! The array of toppings makes me just want to dance! Did any of you see the movie “Tortilla Soup”? In the movie one of the characters says, “I love toppings. Sometimes I go to a restaurant and just order toppings.” Well, you really could do that here!

Get a load of this list:

Black olives
Eggplant Caponata
Feta cheese
Mixed greens
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan Reggiano
Peppadew peppers
Red onions
Tomato basil relish
White beans
See what I mean? And all of that is there for you to create whatever masterpiece tickles your fancy. This is a steak Piada.
Beverages are not boring, either. The Italian teas & sodas are outstanding. I absolutely adore the peach tea. God, I wish I had one of these fountains in my kitchen!
And don’t think that dessert has been forgotten. Piada has the coolest dessert; cannoli chips with chocolate chip cream. Totally yummy!

Chef Jamy Bolling shines at Piada. You can tell this is his baby and he is very proud of it, as well he should be! He has a great smile that just makes you believe this man loves his work.

In case you might be wondering what my favorite combination is, I have a pretty much set standard order. Every great once in a while I might vary, but I always come back to it. I start with an artichoke Piada stick. Then I get a pasta bowl with fresh basil pesto (sometimes I mix in the alfredo), mozzarella, a smidge of parmesan cheese, spinach, artichokes and black olives. Add in my peach tea and I am a happy girl!
One other thing; Piada has a “pick-up” window. This is not to be mistaken with a “drive-thru”. Phone, fax or order online, and then swing by the “pick-up” window and you’re good to go.


1315 W. Lane Avenue
Columbus, Ohio

Piada Italian Street Food on Urbanspoon

"Black Heels to Tractor Wheels"

There is something HUGE happening in Columbus this Saturday afternoon! I am soooooo excited!!! I simply must tell you about it!

Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman, is going to be at the Lennox Barnes and Noble promoting her new book, The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. The event begins at 2:00pm on Saturday, February 19th.

WOW!!!  This is so cool!

Hope to see you there!


1739 Olentangy River Road Columbus, OH 43212

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sher Bliss Valentine's Day dinner

I hope all of you have had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! I certainly did. First of all I had the pleasure of helping with my godson’s class’s Valentine’s Day party. Wow! Nineteen second graders jacked up on a sugar high. Enough said there. Then my sweetheart came home and we got ready to double date with the Padovas. Donald found a great Valentine’s deal, and I want to tell you all about it.

Sher Bliss is a “wine/candy/epicure/gifts” shop in Gahanna at the corner of Morse Road and Cherry Bottom Road. This was the first time I had been there and I certainly plan to go back! The selection of wine is quite amazing. They also have some very interesting beer. And do they have chocolate! Lots and lots of chocolate! Even chocolate dipped bottles of wine!

But what I want to tell you about is the dinner we just attended. It was absolutely lovely. Each course was paired with a wine chosen to complement the food. Now understand, I’m not that big of a wine drinker (that’s Bob’s thing). However, I was pleasantly surprised! I truly enjoyed three of the four wines that were served. And the one I didn’t care for, well let’s just say I didn’t exactly have to twist Bob’s arm for him to take it off my hands.

The table settings were quite lovely. Candlelight and crystal glittered, waiting our arrival. There were five couples enjoying this intimate, romantic dinner.

The appetizer was not listed on the menu, however for me it was one of the highlights of the meal. It was a mini black bean cake with bits of chocolate, served with white tortilla strips, salsa, sour cream and a slice of perfectly ripe avocado. I know, I know. You’re saying “chocolate in a black bean cake”? It so totally worked. I loved it. I wanted more. It was served with Il Folio Rose Prosecco. This was also the wine served with the first course.

The first course was chilled strawberry soup with white chocolate shavings. First of all, it was so pretty. And seeing how we eat with our eyes first, I wanted to gobble this up! Truly it was the essence of strawberries. (Okay, I stole that line from Bob. He declared this after his first bite and I simply do not know how to say it better myself. And he’s my husband, so I can quote him and call it my own anytime. But I also know he’s likely to read this so I’m giving him credit ... in the interest of connubial bliss ... I’m sure you all understand.) The soup contained some of the prosecco we were drinking and it was a beautiful complement. Pour this in a tall glass with a straw and I’d be a happy girl!

Next was the salad course. This was a pear and spinach salad topped with Roquefort cheese and chocolate vinaigrette. This was served with Morande Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. The salad was incredible. I do not know how the chocolate vinaigrette was made, but I sure would love to! It rocked! The interaction of the chocolate and the cheese and the pear were unbelievably delicious! The chocolate in the vinaigrette was so unexpected. The wine was a late harvest so it was sweet, almost a dessert wine. The pairing was perfect.

I was really excited for the entrée. This was the part of the dinner I was most looking forward to. The entrée was chocolate rubbed chicken breast with peanut sate, served with Indian spiced chocolate cauliflower and rice. The wine paired with it was “Sensual” Cabernet Sauvignon. This was the wine that didn’t excite me. But that’s not to say it wasn’t a good wine! It’s me. I’m just not much of a red wine drinker. The chicken was really good. While I’ve had coffee rubbed chicken, I can honestly say I’ve never even thought about chocolate rubbed chicken. It was very tasty! The peanut sate was oh so good! The cauliflower with Indian spiced chocolate sauce was yummy. And the rice; well it’s a starch and we all know how I feel about carbs. I ate every last grain.
We had arrived at dessert. This was paired with our choice of Port or Choco-Vine. Our whole table opted to go with the Niepoort Ruby Port. I’m awfully glad we did, because it was beyond good. It was good enough to dance with the desserts! We were served lemon mousse on a graham cracker square, chocolate covered strawberries (milk and white) and a chocolate covered grape cluster spritzed with gold gilt. The dessert plate was not only delicious but also gorgeous to look at. The grape cluster was so unique and pretty!

We had a wonderful time tonight. We truly enjoyed the company, truly enjoyed the food, and truly enjoyed the libations.

Thank you, Donald for arranging such a wonderful evening!

Thank you, Sher Bliss for a lovely Valentine’s dinner!

Sher Bliss
1394 Cherry Bottom Road
Gahanna, Ohio 43230
Phone (614) 428-WINE (9463)
Fax (614) 428-9467
Sher Bliss on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Different Pot Roast

My dear neighbor Jean Bugs is always asking me to post some of the things I cook. I talked with her tonight and was telling her about my roast I fixed. She said it would great if I would post it. I really like to just throw things together. I decided to fix a pot roast tonight, my husband's favorite thing. It's not the healthest, but boy was it yummy! I decided to share this as I think you would enjoy it.

Different Pot Roast

1 boneless chuck roast (I used a 2lb roast)

2-3 strips of cooked bacon crumbled

3 tbls flour

2 garlic cloves sliced thick

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can or sm box of beef broth

whole baby carrots(as many as you like)

4-5 small potatoes cut into 1/4 or what ever size you like

1 small to med sweet onion sliced thick

1 container of any type of mushrooms sliced ( I used sliced wild mushrooms mixture)

1/4 cup of red or white wine

Cook the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towel, then crumble, flour roast, salt and pepper to taste, sear in bacon drippings on both sides, remove to plate, let cool enough to handle, cut small slits all over one side of roast, insert garlic into slits, mean time, put mushroom and onions in same skillet, saute until they start to get soft, pour wine in, stir well, and scrape bottom of pan, push mushrooms and onions to the sides of skillet or small dutch over, add roast back to skillet with carrots and potatoes, mix cream of mushroom and beef broth, pour over roast and vegetables, sprinkle crumbled bacon on top, cook coved in a 350 oven until desired doneness. I used a 2lb roast and it took approx 1 hour. Sorry I didn't think to take picture:(

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lentil Soup with Bacon & Sausage

Can I just tell you that I made lentil soup, and it was wicked good? I was so excited because the last time I made lentil soup it was kind of blah.

I started with a recipe that I found in Everyday Food magazine. I planned to add sausage at Bob’s request. After I cooked the bacon I added three links of Italian sausage without the casings. This proved to be a great addition!
I began making the soup and I’m following the recipe to a T (okay, I subbed shallots for the onions; why? because that’s the way I roll) and the recipe calls for 1 ½ cups lentils. So what are you supposed to do with the other ½ cup that is left in the bag? I mean, I don’t know about you but I have nothing that calls for ½ cup lentils. So in they went. Of course, now I’d thrown off the balance of lentils to liquid. I added more chicken broth. And I think I might have thrown in a little extra water. Then I needed to re-season it with salt and pepper and add some more thyme.

In spite of all my tinkering, or maybe because of it, the soup turned out to be delicious! The sausage and bacon together worked really well. We happen to like our lentil soup on the thick side so that was good. If I had wanted it thinner, I’d have just added water or broth. In fact, when we reheated it the next day it did need to be thinned a bit. So we just added water. (Of course Bob added beer to his.)

And I have to tell you, I was a little weirded out about the red wine vinegar at the end. Definitely DO NOT skip it. It added kind of made the flavor just pop!

With all my tinkering, instead of the four servings that the recipe says you'll have, I'm pretty sure I ended up with enough soup to feed all of Gahanna. We sure did enjoy it, though.

I'll give you the recipes as found in Everyday Food without my modifications.

Lentil Soup
Everyday Food Magazine
Serves 4
• 3 strips (3 ounces) bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

• 1 large onion, chopped
• 3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 1/2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (3 1/2 cups)
• 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1.   In a Dutch oven (or other 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid), cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat.
2.   Add onion and carrots; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste, and cook 1 minute.
3.   Add lentils, thyme, broth, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
4.   Stir in vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve immediately.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Eastern Palace - Chinese New Year

Tony Quach and his youngest daughter.

Gung Hay Fat Choy! That means "Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year.” And we certainly did!

One of my most favorite restaurants is Eastern Palace. Of course, if you know me you already know that. :-)  I love it. I love everything about it! I love the people, I love the food, I love the atmosphere, I even love their bathrooms! No kidding! They are the absolute cleanest bathrooms I’ve ever seen. There is always a bowl of water with a fresh flower in it! See? How can you not love that attention to detail? Let me see, what else do I love? I love that Tony loves OSU. I love that when we walk in we are greeted by name! (um, maybe that says we’re there too much?) And especially, I love that we are treated like family.

Don’t even get me started on the dishes I love at Eastern Palace. I could go on all night about them. Let’s just say I’m a big fan of the food. And they did not disappoint on their New Year celebration.
Bob & Oksana

Bob and I went in for dinner on the New Year as we try to do every year. Unfortunately we missed the dragon dance this year. We’ve seen it in the past, but I sure am sorry we didn’t get there early enough to see it this year. It’s always so fun to watch, and a lot of fun to see the kids watching it. Tony sure does know how to do it up right.

This evening they offered a buffet as part of the celebration. Of course you could still order off the menu, but why would you want to? This way I could have a little of this and a little of that. Let me tell you about the buffet. And you might want to get a cloth to wipe the drool off of your chin as you read this.

First there was a gorgeous, enormous sushi boat. And did I get a picture of it? I’m sorry to say I didn’t. You will have to take my word for it that the sushi was absolutely delicious. Then onto the hot dishes. Oh, the crunchy spring rolls right next to the shrimp toasts made me weak in the knees. Two of my favorites right next to one another. (But wait! They all my favorites!) There was sesame chicken, string beans with beef, seafood delight, bbq pork, bbq chicken, fried rice and steamed rice. Every single dish on that buffet rocked.

I’m partial to the bbq pork and the string beans with beef. That of course is following the spring rolls and shrimp toast. Then again, the sesame chicken with fried rice was right up there, too. Okay, there is no way I could pick favorites. No way. It’s just all too good. Oh, don't let me forget to tell you about the cake. Oh my. It was light and refreshing; white cake with strawberries between the layers and frosted with whipped cream. Oh yeah. It was scrumptious!

There is so much more offered on the menu that you must march yourself to EP and find out for yourself what an incredible restaurant this is. The food is just outstanding! Everyone there will make you feel so welcome. Check out this previous post to get a feel for it. http://dishingitup-columbus.blogspot.com/2009/02/eastern-palace.html.

psst...if you’re going, give me a call…I’ll meet you there!

Eastern Palace
6078 East Livingston Ave.
Reynoldsburg, Ohio
(614) 755-8880

p.s. I promise I am going to do a post on just their sushi alone. You won’t even believe it!

Eastern Palace on Urbanspoon