Monday, October 26, 2009

The Suisse Shop

Where was The Suisse Shop when I was choosing wedding cake? The answer is: Polaris Parkway, where they've been located since 2003, quietly dominating the Columbus wedding cake market. And actually, wedding cake is just one thing they've perfected. Perfection is the name of The Suisse Shop's game and as much as it sounds like hyperbole, all of The Suisse Shop's offerings are flawless. They hit a magical point of balance with each product, never being overly rich or cloying texture while still offering an amazing flavor profile.

In The Suisse Shop's nearly 27 year history, European pastries have been their specialty, offering an authentic product made with the highest quality ingredients available. We sampled a beautiful array of cakes, pastries and cookies during our visit, here are a few of my favorites:

Chocolate Decadence Torte - This comes as close to chocolate cake perfection as one can get. The cake has a delicate texture with deep rich chocolate flavor and the butter-cream frosting's impossibly smooth texture make for the perfect finish.

Pumpkin Walnut Pound Cake - Normally, i can take or leave things that fit into either the "pound cake" or "pumpkin" categories, but this was really tasty. The pound cake highlighted the delicate flavor of the pumpkin, allowing the spices to play a supporting role in the background - right where they belong.

Sugar Cookie - The sugar cookie is the bar by which i judge baking. so simple and yet so easy to get wrong. The Suisse Shop's sugar cookie is just slightly chewy, having the perfect amount of body that plays well against the light and heavenly icing. Not one hint of the overly sugary "so sweet it will make your mouth ache" some sugar cookies can be guilty of (I'm looking at you Cheryl's Cookies).

Suisse Almond Torte - If The Suisse Shop had a signature item, this would be it. And signature worthy, it is. The pure, rich flavor of natural almond really translates in this torte, providing a rich background for the raspberry filling, which sings on top of it all.

What impressed me about The Suisse Shop was the painstaking and impeccable detail that goes into creating their product. Only the best ingredients are sourced from around the globe (you won't find any crisco in this kitchen), recipes are researched and perfected (sometimes for years!) before they hit the cases and quality and consistency are never compromised. Another thing I love about The Suisse Shop is that their products are priced appropriately. What you're paying a fair price for is quality, not pretension or trend. Five inch versions of their tortes, called "Cute Cakes" are available for $15. Speaking of trendy, Columbus Monthly named The Suisse Shop's cupcakes the best in Columbus, and considering the competition, that's no small feat.

And even though this gem just recently hit my radar, The Suisse Shop has plenty of loyal clientele who have been worshiping them for years. Seasonal orders for pies and cookies book up quickly, so if you'd like to serve The Suisse Shop goodies this Thanksgiving, you should get on the phone now. Pictured (from top, clockwise): Chocolate Chip Cookie, Princess Bar Cookie, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie and Coconut Triangle.
The Suisse Shop
2119 Polaris Parkway
Columbus, Ohio 43240

*This review was completed upon request for Columbus Underground. Thanks for asking me, guys!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

the thurmanator

mark lyle has done it again. on saturday, march 28th at three in the afternoon, mark lyle "the human vacuum" consumed two entire thurmanators with all the fixings. showing up with his requisite bottle of sports drink, he bellied up to the table and got it done. for those not familiar with the thurmanator, it is (from the bottom up): bun, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, hot peppers, 12 oz burger, bacon, cheddar, another 12 oz burger, sauteed onion, mushroom, green pepper, ham, american and provolone cheese, and a bun to top it off. this monstrosity is served with a huge pile of greasy thurman's fries. even half of one thurmanator is enough to bring a grown man to his knees. here's a shot of mark with the first thurmanator:mark never ceases to amaze. keep an eye on my twitter feed for announcements on when he'll strike again.
a word of advice to anyone who would like to tackle a thurmanator (or any of thurman's other delicious offerings) be prepared to wait! thurman's popularity has grown exponentially since the man vs. food episode featuring the thurmanator aired.

Friday, March 27, 2009

thurmanator announcement

mark lyle, the human vacuum, will attempt to set a record for "most thurmanators eaten" at thurman's this saturday at 2:30pm. come down and cheer him on, or watch my twitter feed for live coverage.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

dagwood record conquered!

much to my horror and amusement, mark "the human vacuum" lyle has beaten the dagwood world record.

dagwood lore: the dagwood challenge began when a customer ate the dagwood in 13 minutes and then finished it off with pie. the next milestone came when one josh matko finished it off in 6 minutes. then in march 2008, a valiant young group of columbus underground guys took the challenge as a group. thanks in no small part i'm sure, to the internet infamy of the columbus underground group, the dagwood was subsequently featured on man vs. food. then, flying under the radar, an unnamed amateur swooped in and beat the 6 minute mark by 30 seconds, raising (or is it lowering?) the bar to 5.5 minutes.

and so we arrive at present day. mark "the human vacuum" lyle is ready to kick off his pre-retirement tour, his "adventure in gluttony", by beating the dagwood record. driving to the ohio deli, i was nervous. i wasn't sure it could be done. and i didn't want mark to fail. and i wasn't sure just how bad the carnage would be.

the waitress brought out the dagwood, mark settled in and was off to devour the dagwood. he quickly disassembled the sandwich and the meat was gone in under 50 seconds. he spent less than 2 minutes each on the bread and then fries and in just 4 minutes and 44 seconds, it was all gone.
mark finishes off the deli meat

and when it's over, he takes a victory lap with two pieces of chocolate cream pie

notice the gaping whole on the wall of champions -it's where mark's record will be posted

a 4 minute, 44 second record is an auspicious start to his pre-retirement tour and i've got to admit, i'm hooked. mark is a fierce competitor, entertaining to watch and extremely gracious. i'm looking forward to more adventures in gluttony.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

think you can eat a dagwood in under 6 minutes?

mark "the human vacuum" lyle does. and he's going to prove it at 2:30pm this saturday, march 21st.

as a refresher, the dagwood is a monster of a sandwich, containing 2.5 lbs of deli meat and accompanied by a healthy portion of fries. but the real kicker is the bun. it's huge and it doesn't go down easy. you have 30 minutes to eat the whole thing, and if you prevail, you get your picture on the wall and a tshirt that reads "i defeated the dagwood".
when foodie friends from columbus underground decided to tackle the dagwood, only 7 out of 11 could meet the challenge, the best of them finishing in 12 minutes.
and while i have my doubts that this record can be beaten, if anyone can do it, that person is mark.
i'll be tweeting it, so tune in!

the ohio deli and restaurant
3444 south high street
columbus, ohio 43207

Sunday, March 15, 2009

i heart competitive eating

i love competitive eating. it's a real spectacle. it's exciting and a little disgusting to watch. and it's fun for the whole family.
there's a feeling of empathy all spectators feel for professional eaters that doesn't exist in other competitive sports. i don't have any idea what it's like to get tackled, score a home run or slam dunk a basket ball. but everyone knows what it's like to eat too much, and witnessing people eat past the boundaries of sane and safe consumption is a horrific thing of beauty.

so when mark "the human vacuum" lyle (ranked 5th in the world according to AICE)announced he would be setting out on a pre-retirement "adventure in gluttony", i knew i had to watch.

as a warm up to defeating such behemoths such as the dagwood and the thurmonator, this weekend mark entered in an all you can eat coney contest put on by the dublin skyline chili.

the contest:
30 minutes
as many coneys as you can eat
no vomiting
the winner gets free skyline for a year (52 certificates for a 3-way & coney)
$20 entry fee goes to a local food pantry -way to go skyline!

mark came out swinging, polishing off 12 coneys in the first 14 minutes:
the crowd immediately began to buzz as people realized mark wasn't your average competitor:
one contestant was especially cute, and a fierce competitor to boot!:

about 20 minutes into the contest, it became apparent that mark would be the winner. he slowed down a bit and watched the runner up, who was stalled around coney number 10. mark was feeling good, speculating that he thought he could probably do 25 coneys if he needed to.
when it was all said and done, mark won by putting down 15 coneys. the runner up ate 11 coneys.

after being awarded the "free skyline for a year", he graciously gave it to the little girl who did such a great job of competing earlier.

i've got to say, this was a really fun event. the kind folks at skyline did a great job putting it on and raised $265 for a local food pantry. it was nice to meet mark and chat with him a bit. i'll be following up shortly to talk more about the IACE, mark and the details of his next conquest.

on a side note, i really spend much more time on twitter than blogger these days. i'm mostly tweeting about & twitpic'ing what i eat with other random thoughts thrown in. i've been (and will be) tweeting the food events i attend. so if you don't tweet, give it a try and check me out.