Ever wonder how the Nom Life duo gets down? Here’s what our ideal night on the town looks like.
Jeromy likes to fit in a light work out to get the metabolism going (in anticipation of that evenings over-indulgence). I don’t. I like to lay around the apartment for an hour or so while he works out; dilly-dally, starting the process of trying on 10 different outfits, asking Jeromy what outfit he likes and then ignoring his opinion to put the first outfit I had back on.
We’ll start the night out with cocktails at Curio, as to feel fancy for a little bit. Then, we’ll try to make up for spending $24 on drinks by eating $4 burgers at Club 185 down the street. Drinks here are relatively cheap, so we’re basically saving money at that point. Once sufficiently full and boozed up, we’ll head to 16 bit arcade. Here, Jeromy will inevitably beat me at all of the games as I get mad and pout. If we need a snack, we’ll grab some hot dogs at Dirty Frank’s or some tacos and margaritas at El Camino Inn.
Next we’ll head down to Oddfellows in the Short North to meet friends, hang out and probably grab a slice of Mikey’s. Around the 1:30am mark, Jeromy will get hit with the sudden urge to sing karaoke and persuade everyone else to come along. We’ll head to The Voice Karaoke bar near OSU campus and grab a private room. It’s more fun if you bring a bunch of people from the bar with you because more voices will drown out the low quality of singing. The owners always hook it up with some light snacks (and Henny shots) too.
When they boot us out at 2:30am, we’ll grab a ride to Tee Jaye’s Diner in Clintonville for some late night grub. Everything gets hazy from here, but if you can remember, try to chug plenty of water to avoid a hangover. Pass out in the car on the ride home and stumble to your front door. Make sure to take off your shoes before going to bed…on the floor.
There are two types of Asian restaurants. One features a giant fish tank and a 3D moving image of the Great Wall; the other doesn’t give a f*ck and the various menus plastered on the walls count as decoration. Taco Pho is the latter. Pho Asian Noodle House and Grill, or as we lovingly refer to it — Taco Pho — was once a Taco Bell. This is evident by the Taco Bell shape of the building and the drive through that they continue to utilize. T. Pho offers all types Chinese and Vietnamese food at a cheap price and full of great flavor. It’s also super speedy, so if you’re real hangry or have the munchies, you won’t have to wait long.
Huong has been around forever; you can tell by the old VHS concerts they play on the small TV in the back. The oldest restaurants are the most legit. This is evident in Huong’s pho broth. This place is the ultimate hangover cure because a good bowl of pho can bring you back from the dead. Huong’s packs up quickly on the weekend so make sure you get there and grab a lace-covered table by the window before the lunch rush. Don’t forget to admire the interesting fish decorations on the wall.
Must try item: #2 Goi Cuon Tom Thit & #20 Pho Dac Biet
For great pho, also check out: Mi Li’s, Tot Vietnamnoms, Indochine
This is our annual post-NYE tradition. Go into Lucky Dragon looking like the Gollum thing from Lord of the Rings reeking of alcohol, order a large bowl of Hong Kong Wonton Soup (with the tasty BBQ pork), burn mouth from eating it too quickly, heal from the soup and become a human being again. They are also very generous with their drink pours if you’re trying to get crunk at dinner.
Must try item: HK wonton soup, shrimp sauce ong choy, stir-fried shrimp & egg
We go to Tensuke at least once a week. If you haven’t seen us post about it in a while, you can probably assume we are dead. You’d be remiss to go to Tensuke and not grab a bowl of udon or ramen with a variety of toppings. We love the pork katsu or the tempura shrimp. Pro tip: take your crispy meat out of the soup while you are eating it so it doesn’t get soggy.
Must try item: Udon, ramen, curry, a la carte sushi
The aptly named Chinese Beef Noodle Soup restaurant serves a great beef noodle soup. This broth warms you up on those chilly Ohio night when you don’t have a boo (or if you’re boo has really cold feet and keeps trying to touch you with them under the blankets). Not speaking from experience or anything… Plus, they’re on Uber Eats.
These tasty noodles from Aromaku are a great accompaniment to Seventh Son (when the truck is there). This is the food that you didn’t even know was missing from your life. The minced pork, slight kick from the noodles and crunchy spring rolls will even make the resident Cat Manager at Seventh Son jealous (he may come to inspect your food). These guys are also on Uber Eats for your lazy days.
Tucked in the back of a Korean grocery store is this little restaurant. It’s like going to your friend’s house but then being asked to pay for the meal at the end. The dishes are cheap and tasty plus, Korean food comes with bon chon, which are small snacks prior to the meal. The bon chon is always a good mix of whatever they feel like serving for the day — hopefully you get some fish cake when you go. Their spicy soups will clear whatever is ailing you that day.
Must try item: Spicy Pork Hot Pot, Korean style rice roll
When you are looking to grocery shop, fix your jewelry and grab a nice hot meal—look no further than Bangkok Grocery & Restaurant. Your quintessential one stop shop, this restaurant has authentic Thai & Chinese Food. Caution to the weak, even the regular level of spice is HOT here. Even when it’s burning though, it’s still amazingly delicious. Their glass noodles are packed with flavor and spice. Don’t worry, you can ask for no spice or low spice, we won’t judge you…too much.
A famous ramen spot from Australia that landed over the ocean to Columbus, this joint specializes in 7 main different types of ramen. While ramen can be a pretty tricky food to pull off, we enjoy this spot for their perfectly cooked eggs, fried chicken (karage) and friendly service. They’ve also got some great soft serve for when you’ve saved room for dessert after all that steamy ramen.
Must try item: Tonkotsu ramen, Chicken Curry, Japanese Fried Chicken Rice Bowl, and ice cream
In the last decade, sushi has become a relatively common staple here in Mid-Western Columbus. In the search of something new, it’s time to switch things up a little. Introducing the next step in the evolution of sushi; or is it more of a deconstruction? Poké has been popular on the West Coast and among the pacific islands for ages, and now it’s touched down on the shores of the 614.
The 2 captains of this ship are Mico and Nile of Hai Poké. As the first to introduce this dish to a broader audience in Columbus, these guys are making a big splash. The duo started out in 2015 slinging Poké bowls out of various local joints (which they still do to this day). The concept started picking up so much momentum that now, 2 short years later, they have their very own food-truck. They’re opening a brick and mortar very soon right in the Short North. Dem boys on the come up!
So what exactly is poké?
This delicacy is comprised of a fish centerpiece (usually marinated tuna or salmon), rice, toppings and sauce. While the foundation is pretty standardized, the toppings and sauce are where each pokéman can distinguish themselves from the crowd. Hai Poké outfits their bowls with avocado, jalapeno pepper, cucumbers, seaweed flakes, sesame seeds, scallions, aioli sauce and lime for garnish. They also provide a fried tempura chip on the side for some texture.
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The fish is marinated very well (I wish there was more in each bowl, since I’m a voracious carnivore) and is just the right amount of savory. The toppings all work very well together, with the sesame seeds, scallions and seaweed flakes providing that distinctive Asian flavor. My only call-out is that I would like more rice vinegar on the rice, but that’s just my preference.
The bowls go for $8 – $15 depending on the protein and customization options you choose (such as double meat). Coupling a bowl with a nice brew from the Oddfellows (one of their pop-up spots) on the patio is quite a pleasure. Make sure that you bring some friends because poké is meant to be enjoyed together (gotta catch em all).
We both grew up in the food industry so food and cooking have always been central to our lives. My father has worked in restaurants for 25 years while Jeromy’s family opened and ran a Chinese restaurant in Cleveland. Growing up in the food industry is tough — holidays are seen as the most profitable time to work rather than a chance to relax at home with family. Every evening is the dinner rush. We both started working in restaurants as soon as we could hold dishes without dropping them. We even met during a shift at a Chinese restaurant. Shout out Ho Wah and to Donna, the true OG of Cleveland Asiatown!
With this background, starting Nom Life was very organic for us. Through our content, we try to showcase the food made by people who pour their blood, sweat, and tears into culinary passion; and the places that serve as a hub for a shared food experience. In the past three years, this account has grown from a tiny following of friends and family to an audience base of over 18,000 people. We don’t know all of our followers personally, but we feel an enormous amount of gratitude for their continued support.
We love seeing people tag us in their images, or telling us that they tried a restaurant for the first time because of seeing it on our account. We also love meeting the people behind the bar, in the kitchen, running the tables and everyone who helps the food industry thrive. Everyone has a story and we’re just happy to share it. Food brings people together — whether it’s a first date, old friends catching up, family meals and so much more. If we can help to create that moment between restaurants and people, who could ask for more. We’re excited to continue to see the Columbus food scene grow and to get people to try new things!