Friday, 25 January 2013

A Tour of Columbus via High Street

A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from one of my aunts in the Philippines notifying me that one of my cousins, Earl, would be arriving in Columbus at some point this week. Soon after, I learned he'd be flying in on a business trip from Singapore with one of his colleagues, Kevin, and would be staying in Dublin, OH. As if I needed another reason to head over to the Columbus area, the timing worked out perfectly with my schedule as well as Columbus's Restaurant Week (RW). Yesterday, after meeting Earl (for the first time, as far I can recall) and Kevin, we headed over to Oscar's Wine Bar & Bistro (located on 84 N High St in Dublin) [$25 RW menu]. With an hour and a half wait ahead of us, we went further down N High St to Tucci's California Bistro (35 N High St) [$25 RW menu] only to find out it would take about an hour before a table opened up. [Of course, I'm sure RW had something to do with not only the case in point as to why reservations are important, but why it was so difficult to find any parking on a Thursday night]. With this being their first time to Ohio, we quit Dublin and switched over to downtown Columbus, to a different High Street where eating options were much more plentiful and at least more familiar to me. If nothing else, the drive around and throughout Dublin and Columbus gave us ample opportunity to get to know each other. From differences in living in different parts of the U.S. and the rest of the world, to talking about their respective wives and families back home, to language, work, travel and (of course) food, there was plenty to talk about as I eventually introduced them to three of my favourite Columbus restaurants which awaited us with open seats.

When I think of Columbus and a genre of food that one might not typically find living in Singapore, let alone while travelling throughout the world, the first thing that comes to mind is Cajun/Créole. And with the wintry winds bringing down the temperature way below what they're used to, a bit of heat and spice seemed rather appropriate. Ergo, stop #1 was Da Levee (765 N High St) In looking at the menu, I realised in that moment the gastronomically regional jargon used to describe Louisiana cuisine; as an aside, it's rather fascinating to think of the number of words and the kinds of descriptors it takes to try and explain what exactly gumbo or a Po' Boy is. (Thank goodness, Da Levee employee Joel was there to help us out.) In the end, Earl went for a small plate of the Chicken Creole, while Kevin got the bacon Po' Boy; and of course I was most excited of the fact they both got to try the awesome Magic Bread that I could eat every day all on their own. [Each special is served with rice & an order of Magic Bread, whereas the Po' Boy fillings are actually sandwiched between two slices of Magic Bread.]

As I ate what I ordered, I remembered the second thing that made my first visit to Da Levee a memorable experience: the sautéed onions of the Jambalaya with Chicken. Scratch what I said above, I could eat the Magic Bread every day so long as I had those onions to top them off. Okay, well being able to dip that combo in any of the saucilicious dishes (such as the Crawfish Etoufée that I ordered as part of my 1/2 & 1/2) would be the finishing touch to an amazing trio of perfection. [Editor's note: I'm hungry as I type...]

After Da Levee, we made our way across the street to stop #2 and what I would consider to be one of Columbus's culinary icon stops: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (714 N High St), and where I also naturally I felt the need to talk about Snowville Creamery and just how amazing the company is, particularly as the producers of the dairy base of all of Jeni's ice creams and frozen yogurts. This time around, I went with Rainbow Frozen Yogurt (limited edition) and Dark Chocolate Peppermint (perennial flavour).

To conclude our gastronomic tour, we went further down the street to stop #3, Mikey's Late Night Slice (1030 N High St), one of my more recently added favourites. Along with the introducing them to LNS's menu and their "every bit as blasphamalicious" Baby Cheezus, something just didn't seem right without introducing them to LNS's sauces (if you've read recent posts, you'll know which one in particular I was aiming for; giveaway: I finally got around to purchasing a bottle of it).

Sufficiently introduced to the cold weather of central Ohio (and indeed, the Midwest), we stayed in the car as we drove down N High St and crossed over to S High St where I showed Earl and Kevin the Ohio Statehouse and the overall different personality of the Arena District, before bringing them back to their hotel.

At the end of the day, I'm not quite sure when I'll be able to go home to the Philippines or meet more of my relatives around the world; what I do know is that when those moments happen, food will most likely continue to be a helpful vehicle in getting to quickly learn about each other. To view these photos via Facebook, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment