In my world of food, the opportunity to try out new recipes and restaurants is quite plentiful. And for those who know me well (as a food blogger, at least) know that I aim to use my blog (and how up-to-date I am with it) as a metric when it comes to accepting such opportunities for learning through food. Well, with the semester quickly winding down, I haven't done the best job keeping up with this thing and I certainly haven't stopped cooking and eating, as has hopefully been evident in my recent swing of catch-up posts. (If it's not evident yet, it should be in the next few days.) This being said, I wanted to make sure I include here my restaurant experiences at Arch City Tavern and Mac's Café.
In mid-March, the newest group of incoming anthropology fellowship recipients came to visit the department [as an aside, I can't believe it's been a year since I was in their shoes]. On the evening prior to their campus tour, they met with other graduate students at Arch City Tavern (862 N High St). The bar, which opened a bit over a year ago, has been named as "definitively 'Columbus'," its name referencing the city's Arch City nickname from yesteryear (1888). I eventually joined everyone there after class with little anticipation on trying out their food menu. It doesn't take much to break me down apparently, and so I asked the server if they're particularly known for anything. With very little hesitation he named one dish: the Lobster Mac 'n Cheese.
If the above plate is any indication, I hands-down absolutely loved this dish, and would certainly go back for a few more plates. The macaroni was cooked perfectly with just the right amount of al dente-ness. And I find it difficult to fathom not liking anything smothered in a smoked gouda béchamel. Add in some tender lobster meat and oh.my.yum. This being said, Arch City's crafted menu appears to have many a fine offering, especially one which seemingly pairs well with its crafted drink list (1,2). My quick take: a return to Arch City seems inevitable.
The following day, Brianne and I walked up and down High St trying to figure out what to eat for lunch. After one too many minutes spent making a decision, the impulse reaction was invoked and we settled on Mac's Café (693 N High St), which Google maps describes as a "Scottish spot for American pub grub."
We began with glasses of Crispin Cider, which was perhaps not the best way to start off our experience there (or mine at least anyway). Its pale, light, watered-down taste is undoubtedly one of my least favourite cidres of them all.
But, bring on the pub food and we're more or less good to go. Brianne got the Breaded [deep-fried] Chicken sandwich which was served on a toasted sub bun. As you can see above, it came with an inordinate amount of fries. Upon first look, they seemed a bit undercooked (or at least under-developed in terms of colour). Upon first taste, there really wasn't much there, as it seemed to lack any sense of seasoning.
As for me, I got the Chicken Salad sandwich which, given my more recent meals of fried and/or cheesy (not that there's anything wrong with either of those), tasted refreshing and filling without being incredibly heavy. Speaking of cheese, I did find it a bit strange to find shredded cheese in this chicken salad mix (especially as it didn't add much in terms of flavour), though I can say I loved the addition of sweet green peas to replace the sweetness I'd expect from grapes. In terms of grapes, a bowl of them was a side option, which in retrospect I wish I had gotten instead of the mac 'n cheese. Overall, the chicken salad was more than an enough to fill me up, overflowing at times to the point of needing my knife and fork. My quick take: this one seems to be rather hit-or-miss.