Saturday, May 31, 2008

cafe lola

working downtown, i start to salivate every time i hear of a new restaurant opening within walking distance of work. so when cafe lola popped up as part of the nbc studios extravaganza at broad and high, i had to check it out. adding to my anticipation was the news that cafe lola is a kevin ames restaurant. past ventures of his are two places i still miss: frezno and dagwoodz.

cafe lola does a great job of serving speedy, straightforward cafe food. lunch offerings are expansive, covering sandwiches, quesadillas, pizzas, salads and soup. and while the menu, atmosphere and service may not the swankiest in town, they really seem to have lunch down to a science. service is quick (study that menu before you get in line or you'll wind up stammering and staring up at the huge menu like i did) and food is brought out to your table when it's ready. i chose the turkey, roasted red pepper & provolone panini and wasn't disappointed. the bread was perfectly toasty and the turkey, veggies, and cheese were fresh, tasty appropriately warm and gooey. i had a side of the pasta salad and found it to be decent.

other items on the menu i've made a mental note to return to try: blt pizza (kryptonite!), italian sandwich, spicy thai noodle salad, and the grilled lime chicken pizza.

patio seating will be a treat when it opens, cafe lola is in the heart of columbus' ever improving downtown.
cafe lola
12 e. broad street
columbus, ohio 43215
p 614.754.8804

Monday, May 26, 2008

annual salmon roast at the hills market

even though salmon is not my favorite protein, the idea of a fresh fish being grilled for hundreds about a mile from my house was too good to resist. and i'm a sucker for food events. so the husband and i jumped in the car, met a friend at the hills market and got into a line that stretched almost to the end of the shopping center. the line moved quickly and hills had ingeniously set up product demos the entire way. the salmon sandwiches are served with the hills coleslaw and an onion sauce, both complimented the salmon well. this was a tasty sandwich! the aroma of the grill, the beautiful sunshine, live music and relaxed family picnic atmosphere really added to the experience. we chatted with the young men grilling the salmon, who told us the aroma of grilled salmon seeped into their pores enough that they didn't plan any dates for the couple of days following the roast. thanks for your sacrifice guys, it was well worth it.
the hills market maintains an excellent website where you can get tips on future food events (like wine tastings), read about featured products and all sorts of other tasty tidbits.

the hills market
7860 olentangy river road
columbus, ohio 43235
p: 614.846.3220

Sunday, May 18, 2008

i heart sauce cartel

sauce cartel is a fantastic local purveyor of hot sauce. i've gushed about them in the past and here's a review of two of their best sauces:

green wave
this is a great sauce. it is so enjoyable i’d suggest that sauce cartel start selling it in at least 10 oz jars. the peppery notes are the first thing you’ll notice upon smelling green wave, they hit the pepper just right in this sauce with both jalapeno and black pepper prominently featured. the second thing that I noticed about green wave was the slightly sweet taste of pineapple. the lighter citrus flavors of pineapple are the perfect foil to the darker, more complex pepper of the jalapeno. for those who don’t want to hurt themselves when eating hot sauce, this is great. you get a nice middle-of-the-tongue heat that just builds slightly the more you eat. as tempting as it is to eat directly from the bottle, i really wanted to use it in a way that highlighted the excellent flavors. using the green wave, i came up with this recipe for fresh pineapple salsa:

pineapple jalapeno salsa

2 cups diced fresh pineapple

1/3 cup diced red onion

¼ cup diced jalapeno

¼ cup chopped cilantro

juice of 1 lime

2 tbs green wave sauce

locura mayan
locura mayan really highlights sauce cartel’s flair for flavor. these guys aren’t afraid to make a really mild sauce, the complex flavors stand on their own, with no need to hide behind a million scoville units. this sauce has a savory, smoky aroma, but that’s just where locura mayan begins. the balance between the smoky and sweet is what really stands out about this sauce. in the background there’s the magical complexity of sun dried tomato and the slight bite of vinegar. my husband commented he’d love to pour it on a chipotle burrito. hey sauce cartel – want to wholesale to chipotle?