With Thanksgiving right around the corner and a bevvy of creative chefs, mixologists, product makers, and other great minds in town, we decided to put together a little list of great recipes you can include in your Holiday feast.
A great holiday cake recipe from the queen herself… because what goes better with ice cream than cake? Coquito is also known as “Puerto Rican Eggnog.” It is a coconut twist on the holiday classic and Jeni’s cake is covered in a thick layer of Coquito-flavored frosting.
Cara Mangini has been chopping vegetables for a long time.
You may know her as the genius behind local staple Little Eater. But Cara has traveled and worked all over the world, including her training as a vegetable butcher at Mario Batali’s Eataly. Now you can add author to her list of accolades… and a pretty good one at that.
We asked her some questions about this recent honor and for some pro tips for eating in this zip code.
You’re on there with some serious legends… we’re talking Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Fannie Farmer and Alice Waters. How does it feel to be listed amongst culinary royalty?
I am honored and so grateful! This particular list is really special because so many of the cookbooks are classics and I look up to many of the chefs and authors as my culinary heroes. To be in their company and receive recognition as an all-time best, hopefully will get The Vegetable Butcher into more hands and ultimately, help people celebrate vegetables and cook more intuitively with them every day. That’s my goal always.
What do you think your book adds to the cannon of food lit?
I designed The Vegetable Butcher to be the ultimate guide to cooking with vegetables—how to select, store, prep, slice, dice, and masterfully cook vegetables throughout every season. It’s a resource that demystifies produce with my tips, tricks, techniques, and how-to information that somehow no one ever taught you. It’s also a traditional cookbook, with over 150 recipes, that makes vegetables less intimidating, and more exciting and practical for everyday cooking. I think it gives vegetables well-deserved recognition for flavor and abundance, not sacrifice or obligation. My hope is that my cookbook will prove to be timeless and inspire readers to put vegetables in the center of the plate and most importantly, find the joy and beauty in cooking with seasonal ingredients.
What is your favorite cookbook? Is it on the list?
I could never choose a favorite cookbook! There are so many books on the list that have influenced my cooking and that I admire including, but certainly not limited to The Silver Palate, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, The Art of Simple Food, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The New York Times Cookbook, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, The Victory Garden Cookbook and The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Dorie’s Cookies and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home (instant classics) have become more recent favorites.
Why write a cookbook these days when you can have a YouTube cooking channel or a food blog?
There is nothing like a cookbook to have and to hold! Cookbooks, good ones, have been tested thoroughly and designed to teach, inspire, and to get messy and to use. Most people, myself included, find inspiration and culinary education in so many different ways and certainly different media channels, but a thoughtful and well-curated and researched cookbook (the kind you know was a labor of love for the author) will always be my number one.
Can you talk a little about the difference between inventing food and cooking it for people (like you do at Little Eater) and teaching people to cook your food (like you do in the book)? Do you prefer one or the other? How do you feel about releasing that level of control over the outcome?
When I was in the recipe-testing phase of writing The Vegetable Butcher I didn’t sleep much! I would test and retest a recipe even if it was the middle of the night. I felt the pressure of getting it exactly right to ensure that my science experiments could be repeated over and over by anyone who picked up the book. At a certain point, I had to recognize that most cooks will make a recipe their own and not follow the recipe exactly… and that’s okay. There are so many different variables in the kitchen. I have had to get comfortable with giving up control. Knowing that I put in the work to write recipes that work gives me some peace of mind.
Cooking for people at a restaurant is equally terrifying to me, but I appreciate being able to control the outcome and the whole experience. I always want people to be happy with the food on their plate whether I taught them how to make it or whether it was a dish I created for them in my restaurants or at home.
Thanksgiving is coming up, what recipe from the book do you recommend for the holiday table?
I have a ton of favorite Thanksgiving recipes from the book. It is the end of harvest season—one of the most exciting times to cook with vegetables. Some of my favorites are Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Parmesan, Celery Root Pot Pie, Sweet Potato Latkes with Cranberry-Chipotle Jam, Parsnip-Ginger Layer Cake with Browned Butter Frosting, and Spiced Winter Squash Chèvre Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust.
Where do you grocery shop in Columbus (besides Little Eater of course)?
Honestly, I really only shop at Little Eater Produce & Provisions at North Market for local produce, pantry basics and all of my favorite food items from artisan makers in Ohio and beyond. (It’s all the stuff I can’t get anywhere else!) I buy cheese at the Black Radish at the North Market. I buy Dan the Baker bread at the farmers’ market. Right now, with our new restaurant opening in Clintonville I am not cooking much (at all) at home so there isn’t a need for a lot of groceries.
Apparently it is National Sandwich Day, which we absolutely did not know was a thing until this morning. But now that we know, we have lots of opinions on the matter. Here’s our roundup of outstanding sandwiches, or “outstandwiches” if you will, in Columbus.
Challah Crispy Chicken There is no conversation about sandwiches in Columbus that doesn’t start (and sometimes just end right there) with Catie Randazzo’s chicken perfection. Chicken, onions, house made pickles, Challah bun, no bullshit.
Deli Boys Chicken Philly The bread makes these bad boys top notch, chicken is a nice twist on a traditional philly, plus there’s jalapeños for a little kick. Nothing to not like.
Rockmill Tavern’s Chicken Sandwich This is a spicy chicken chicken sandwich made with Gerber chicken and topped with some sort of bewitching spicy honey butter. It ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it.
Tip Top’s Blue Ribbon Pot Roast Sandwich A Columbus classic. This one follows the “keep it simple, stupid” rule. Pretzel bun, savory slow-cooked pot roast, Swiss cheese.
The Sycamore’s Ohio Beef Cheeks This is barely a sandwich. But holy lord… It’s like if the classic blueplate diner special open-faced roast beef and some fancy poutine had a baby. Bread, fries, beef cheeks, gravy, cheese curds. Overwhelming.
Little Palace Slider This is a delicious little unpretentious slider. It is greasy, there are pickles. Do you need more information? (Look, this isn’t a contest about the best burger in the city. This is a nice beef sandwich.)
Cafe Brioso’s Veggie Delight (with modifications) Since we’re talking about opinions, I’m gonna stick some of mine in here. Get this bad boy with 2 modifications: 1. ask for foccacia instead of wheat. 2. make mozz your cheese. You will have to unhinge your jaw to take a bite, but it will be worth it.
Philco Breakfast Biscuit There’s something about the chorizo on this bad boy that makes it unforgettable. Plus it has “shallot preserves.” Fancy.
Press Grill Salmon Sandwich This is a simple go-to. Great grill flavor on yer salmon filet, mixed greens, buttery toasted bread. If you’re big league, then get it with the balsamic, blue cheese and strawberry salad as the side and then put some of that right on top.
I am a lover of some controversial candy. Sign me right up for all things black licorice flavored– Good N’ Plenty, black jelly beans…I’ll take them all. I love me a Bit O Honey and I’ll gladly accept those Smarties if you’re not down. But there are some candies that just don’t deserve the title and have no place in the sacred ritual of beggar’s night.
Here they are, along with photos that accurately display the sadness they induce:
You just don’t want teeth anymore if you eat these.
Here’s a photo of someone who is ready to get rid of all their teeth tonight:
4. Tootsie Pops
What. A. Pain. In. The. Ass.
Look at this sad lineup:
3. Anything from the Brach’s Bulk Section
You know those gummies that aren’t gummy bears or gummy worms, and they’re not sour…? They are often covered in visible sugar, they have a color but are lacking any discernible flavor.
Oh god they call them “fruit jellies”
2. Raisins and/or Raisinets
C’mon man. You clearly hate Halloween, just turn the porch light off and shut the door for the night. There’s a whole new season of stranger things you could be watching.
1. Boston Baked Beans
Several questions: Couldn’t you have at least picked a name that made them sound remotely appealing? How are they still in business? Why are they so hard? Is it because the factory has actually closed and they’re just selling up what’s left?
So begins another day at Hot Chicken Takeover, the former pop-up shop serving up authentic Nashville hot chicken in Columbus. The phrase, delivered today in a booming voice reminiscent of a boxing ring announcement, has become something of a daily mantra before the waiting crowd is herded in every morning. These rituals are part of what makes HCT unique, including daily team huddles where employees air any grievances, give accolades to their coworkers and focus on an affirmation. This morning’s focus? Teamwork.
“Fried chicken is this great social equalizer in so many ways,” said Joe Deloss, founder and head fryer. “That’s why we have these giant communal tables, because it’s food for everyone and an experience for everyone.”
Each meal starts with your choice of chicken and spice level ranging from Cold, Warm, Hot and Holy. The faint of heart may choose “Cold,” which offers up a more mild heat. The true risk takers can order “Holy” if they’d prefer to see through space and time. The chicken is brined, deep-fried and coated with a spicy cayenne paste, piled on white bread and topped with pickles. To tame the heat there is cool, tangy slaw, mac n’ cheese and sweet tea, recipes handed down from Joe’s grandmother (lovingly referred to as “Ma”) and “battle tested through four generations of people.”
Part of the enthusiasm surrounding Hot Chicken Takeover was the idea that they may run out at any given moment. Similar to the insanity surrounding the cronut or rainbow bagel craze in New York, lines trailed out the door as people clamored in to get their hot chicken fix. But Joe insists this was not a gimmick.
“What’s interesting with the whole run-out thing, the reason it started is because we just didn’t know how to make chicken,” he said. “And so making 20 pieces of chicken was a challenge, then making 50 and 100 and 300. So we always ran out mostly because we just didn’t know how to make any more than that number that we were putting out on the board. We have matured as a company and have tightened it up a bit.”
From its humble beginnings serving chicken out of a window in Olde Towne East, Hot Chicken Takeover has grown to locations at North Market and Clintonville as well as a food truck. They’ve also earned a reputation for being a particularly compassionate company. Proceeds from t-shirt sales routinely go to different charities and they offer gainful employment to those who may need it the most.
“For the last 10 years I’ve been committed to fair chance employment, which intentionally means providing work opportunities to men and women who’ve been affected by incarceration or criminal record,” said Joe. “What that gets us is a team of people that are absurdly engaged and productive. High integrity, high character and just deliver on a crazy experience for our customers.”
As demand continues to grow, Hot Chicken Takeover shows no signs of slowing down, with a third location opening up at Easton this fall. Joe attributes their continued success to a good workforce and a positive response to feedback.
“We talk a lot about bold humility,” he said. “We are willing to lean in to what our customers are telling us because we don’t wrap ego up into the means of what we do. We keep improving because we’re willing to listen.”
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.
Annie Williams Pierce on the future of Columbus’ Cocktail Scene
Bartender Annie Williams Pierce shakes up unique drinks at Curio at Harvest in German Village. But she’s also helping to spread the word about Columbus’ growing cocktail scene to the rest of the world. She recently won the 11th annual Most Imaginative Bartender competition, which took place in London this year. She beat out bartenders from much larger cities like New York City and Los Angeles. She spoke with 1812 about how bartenders in Columbus can continue to innovate and hone their craft.
Part of the fun of my Eating Books shtick is exploring aspects of literature that aren’t typically of the academic pursuit, namely the food. While my primary focus is bringing fictional food to life, in this column I’d love to examine Columbus through a literary lens. My latest obsession has been the Song of Ice & Fire series by George R. R. Martin, which I devoured as a way of satiating my Game of Thrones withdrawal. Now that winter has come, I am at the height of nerddom. So without further ado, here are my tips for eating like a Westerosi in Columbus.
Lemon cakes are Sansa Stark’s greatest guilty pleasure. Pattycake Bakery offers a variety of vegan delights, including their Lovely Lemon cupcakes. These large, fluffy cupcakes are topped with a zesty and sweet lemon icing, perfect for nibbling as you plot your course to seize the Iron Throne.
The Hound is always on the prowl for his next meal and noshing on everything from pigs’ feet to rabbit stew, but he’s mostly associated with brawling for chicken (a perfectly reasonable past time.) The Pint House’s beer battered chicken tenders are certainly worth dying for. Wash it all down with a glass of stolen ale.
The actor who plays Hot Pie recently opened a Game of Thrones inspired bakery in London called “You Know Nothing John Dough” (a missed opportunity to call it “Hot Pie’s Hot Pies”) where you can actually purchase his famous dire wolf bread. In Columbus you can find similarly decadent loaves at The Toast Bar, courtesy of Dan the Baker. Almond croissants, apple cider glazed cinnamon rolls, slices of fresh bread with spreads of jam and butter. Dan’s baked goods rival Hot Pie’s any day.
From Dornish reds to Arbor Gold, wine is the drink of choice from the Red Keep to Highgarden. Wolf’s Ridge Brewing satisfies not only your wine requirement, but the aptly titled Dire Wolf beer is a can’t-miss for any fan. Try Dire Wolf’s Russian Imperial Stout, Coco Joy or Coffee Joy on tap. Trust me. I drink and I know things.
Shortly after moving to Boston, I booked a ticket on the Amtrak and met up with my friend in New York. We ended up in a little pizza shop in Brooklyn, the lighting so dim we could barely make out our hands in front of us. We ordered four pizzas at the insistence of our friends, Brooklyn natives who continued to rave about the “best pizza in New York.” We drizzled Mike’s Hot Honey on thick cuts of pepperoni, gooey cheese and flavorful crust, the perfect blend of fire and sweetness, sliding slice after slice down our gullets in an uncanny imitation of ducks swallowing bread.
So when the news hit that Paulie Gee’s was coming to Columbus, I was excited to relive my experience. But while the ambience and the pizza remains the same, owner and head pizza maker TJ Gibbs doesn’t plan on making it a carbon copy of the flagship. This includes menu offerings specific to the city.
“There is no recreating the density of a place like New York. You want to make things organic to Columbus,” he said. “Paulie did a brisket pie in Brooklyn, and I went to OSU and was at Ray Ray’s all the time, so there was really only one person I could call for that. We’re also working with Katzingers. We do a Reuben pizza with them, which I think is one of the top three on our menu for sure.”
TJ is Paulie’s protégé of sorts, having met the pizza maker shortly before graduating with a degree in hospitality. He took a train from Toledo to New York and spent a year learning from the master before opening up shop in Columbus.
“He’s been voted one of the top pizzas in the city, and New York is arguably one of the most, if not the most, competitive pizza climate in the world,” he said. “So it speaks really highly of what he’s doing there. I hope we can replicate that here.”
The dome-like oven, hand-made and imported from Napoli, is a vital part of what makes their pizza taste so unique, in addition to their dough (made in-house every day) and eclectic flavors. But getting the oven to Columbus was a feat in itself.
“They put it in a storage container and then they put it on a boat, so it was at sea for like 64 days,” said TJ. “You have these awful nightmares about a big storm hitting the ship or the container falling into the ocean. We had to tear off the front of the building to get it in there.”
The pizza still tastes just as good as I remember. I highly recommend the happy hour pizza flight for your choice of three different pizzas, which should include my personal favorites: The Monte Cristo topped with Canadian bacon, mild gouda and Ohio maple syrup, and The Hell Boy made up of Italian tomatoes, hot sopressata, fresh mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano and Mike’s Hot Honey (just put it on everything, okay?) TJ has his own preferences.
“The Hellified Porkpie White is a pretty special combination of flavors, “ he said. “I really like white pizzas. Not that I have anything against tomatoes.”
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).