The 614ortyPlatter – Supporting The Locals

 

Take home food and cocktails, like this Fried Chicken and Fixings
from Ambrose & Eve, have been sources of joy for us this year

Like many others, we have been disappointed that our travels have been severely curtailed by the COVID pandemic. One small silver lining in that, however, is that the normal money we would\’ve laid out during this time traveling for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays is money we can focus toward our favorite local businesses and eateries.  

Indeed, we have bought our share of local goods for both our own use and gifts for friends.  Of course, before the holiday season, we have done more than our share of takeout meals, with generous tipping and no use of any discounts or coupons – restrictions related to the pandemic have been incredibly tough on food establishments, bars and breweries, as well as the workers who have made that industry their living.  We also have arranged for pickup ourselves – the fees that many delivery services take from restaurants border on exorbitant at times.

A recently released report by the National Restaurant Association shows that over 110,000 restaurants and drinking establishments have closed their doors due to the pandemic, and that number is certain to increase with the winter months on the horizon.  I think many folks who have the financial means to help out already are doing their darndest to shop local as much as possible, so the question is ultimately will it be enough?  Sadly, I think it won\’t be for quite a few businesses we\’ve come to grow and love, but we will continue to do our best to support when we can and as much as possible.

With that in mind, I wanted this week\’s playlist to be a tribute of sorts to the eateries who made this crappy year for most a lot more tolerable, and definitely a lot more tasty, and hope we get to see when things turn for the better.

1) \”Ice Cream Castles\” – The Time: One of the many bands to come from Prince\’s stable, Morris Day and The Time are perhaps the most prominent, playing a big role in Prince\’s \”Purple Rain\” movie and receiving reverence in the cult favorite \”Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back\”.  Of course, Columbus and Ohio itself is a bit of an ice cream fortress, and we\’ve enjoyed more than our share of frozen confections this year from Jeni\’s, Tom\’s Ice Cream Bowl, Indulgence, Graeter\’s, Coppa Gelato, CRMD, Dulce Vida, and this lovely Pista Kulfi Indian-style ice cream from Mardi Gras on Hard Road.

2) \”Sassafras\” – Rising Appalachia: Founded by sisters Leah and Chloe Smith, this band has blended traditional Appalachian and Atlanta-based hip-hop rhythms with the sisters\’ world travels for a totally unique musical pastiche. This song for our purposes is a reference to an all-time favorite in Worthington\’s Sassafras Bakery, a consistent destination for us.  Other brick-and-mortar bakeries we\’ve enjoyed have covered the gamut (the vegan Happy Little Treats and Pattycake Bakery, coffee and baked goods hot spot Fox and the Snow, the macarons of Pistacia Vera, the gluten-free goods of Bake Me Happy, the all-around menu of Dough Mama, Japanese pastry-maker supreme Belle\’s Bread, and the return of Kolache Republic, among others.) However, home baking has seen a boom due to the pandemic, with bakers already-established (Dan the BakerUncle Giant and Patisserie Lallier) and new (Three Bites and Tulip Cafe) adding to the equation. And let\’s not forget the convenient home delivery offered by Sammy\’s New York Bagels, which has made our breakfasts much better on numerous days.

3) \”Thanks For The Pepperoni\” – George Harrison: Off of his 1970 album \”All Things Must Pass\”, Harrison found inspiration for this instrumental jam track from the Lenny Bruce comedy album \”Religions, Inc.\” Many pizza places are geared for takeout, so the pandemic has not necessarily hit them quite as hard as other restaurants. But that fact doesn\’t mean we can\’t have our share of the area\’s pies, and this year has been no different, with visits to faves like The Pizza House, Donatos, Harvest Pizzeria, Dewey\’s and Natalie\’s Coal Fired joining newcomers for us like Paulie Gee\’s Short North, Yellow Brick Pizza, and Linden-area staple Terita\’s Pizza (pictured below), which earned a spot on the Top 101 Pizzerias in the U.S. by The Daily Meal. Also notable was the release of \”Columbus Pizza: A Slice of History\” by local author/food guru Jim Ellison, which detailed the history of this area\’s pizza scene to great effect.

4) \”Food Truck\” – 2D: You want Indonesian rap? Well, you can find it here with this ditty from 2D, whose name is derived by group members Dian Pramana Poetra and Deddy Dhukun. Food trucks have especially had to scramble during this time with many reliable hotspots basically abandoned due to the shift to work from home status for many businesses, so we\’ve made it a point to try to hit up as many food trucks as possible during this time. Explorer\’s Club, Kenny\’s Meat Wagon, Hisham\’s, The Hot Mess Food Truck, Seven Little Sliders, Schmidt\’s, Fetty\’s Street Food, Pitabilities, Ninja Bowl, Dos Hermanos, Los Agavez, The Little Kitchen, La PoblanitaStreet Thyme, Paddy Wagon, and Machi Hibachi have all received visits from us, but perhaps our anchor food truck through this pandemic has been Ajumama, whose non-contact, creative family-style meals have become a staple for us (like this Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) with all the fixings.)

5) \”Barleys Drinking Team\” – The Barley Hops: This Irish…er, Indonesian(!) outfit breaks off a convincing-enough sound to break out a Murphy\’s and sing right along. Of course, here in Columbus, the venerable Barley\’s Brewing (whose tasty Sauerkraut Balls and Wings are pictured below) is just one of numerous state breweries who have had to scramble to make things meet, with measures such as beer delivery and beer bonds introduced to keep the suds flowing.  Breweries both local (Combustion Brewrery & Taproom, Powell breweries Ill Mannered and Nocterra, Land Grant, Lineage, North High, Olentangy River, Seventh Son/Antiques on High, Smokehouse, and Taft\’s Brewporium) and within Ohio (Black Frog, Branch and Bone, Devil\’s Kettle, Mother Stewart\’s, Phoenix Brewing, and Warped Wing) have been breweries we\’ve either visited or got delivered/takeout beer from this year.
Of course, beer hasn\’t been the only get either – meads from Brothers Drake, ciders from West End Ciderhouse in Athens, OH, and spirits from Watershed, Middle West, and 451 Spirits have also filled our glasses this year.

6) \”Cravings\” – Marina City: This Chicago-based Indie Pop outfit has been described as having shades of Michael Jackson, Prince and Bruno Mars with a sound all their own. The song is a reference to the beloved Cravings Cafe (with one of their delicious breakfast creations below,) one of many downtown and other close by Columbus restaurants who have had it especially hard from the switch to work from home for the usually bustling region. Tiger & Lily, Pierogi Mountain, The Woodbury, Cafe Illyria, Elia Athenian Grill, Pat and Gracie\’s, Charmy\’s Persian Eats, Pecan Penny\’s BBQ, and Schokko Cafe from the downtown area have also graced us with tasty eats and drinks this year.

7) \”The Pit\” – Silversun Pickups: An alternative radio staple, this Los Angeles outfit has had its share of success with tunes like \”Panic Switch\”, \”Lazy Eye\”, and their cover of Martika\’s \”Toy Soldiers.\” Locally, The Pit BBQ (with their delicious Polish Boy featured below), owned by former Ohio State University football players, and other black-owned businesses received more focus as a result of the summer-long protests against police brutality across the nation. For us, they along with Afra Grill, Bake Me Happy, Dabakh Senegalese, Ena\’s Caribbean Kitchen, Hoyo\’s Kitchen, JNA Bread, Lifestyle Cafe, Links N Lemonade, Preston\’s Burgers, Upper Cup Coffee, and Willowbeez Soulveg have all earned our business this year.

8) \”Tupelo\” – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: proof that country music can be thoughtful, Jason Isbell has taken a different trek than most of the bigger names in the industry which has earned him a respect that cross multiple musical genres. Much like Columbus\’s bakers, Tupelo Donuts is one of many great doughnut makers in the area – their sweet rings, along with Der Dutchman, Destination, Honey Dip, Schneider\’s, and the venerable Buckeye Donuts have made their presence known in our household.
9) \”Bonifacio\” – Pink Lemons: Located just outside of Harrisburg, PA in Annville, Pink Lemons\’ alt rock sound has led to one album, the 2019-released \”Pinkys Out.\”  For Columbus folks, Krizzia Yanga\’s Bonifacio (featured in the photo below) might be their first taste of Filipino eats ever; thankfully for everyone, this city sports a whole host of eats from Asia, including another Filipino eatery (Kuya Ian\’s Bistro), Korean (Diaspora and Min Ga), Chinese (Helen\’s Asian Kitchen, Hong Kong House, Jiu Thai, NE Chinese, and Xi Xia), Indian (Aangan Bistro, Bawarchi, Cumin and Curry, Dosa Corner, Egg-O-HolicLayla\’s Kitchen, Mirchi, and Neehee\’s), Vietnamese (Buckeye Pho, Mi Li, and Huong) and more (Bangkok Kitchen, Fukuryu RamenTensuke Express and Everest Cuisine.)

10) \”Lavash\” – Arman Aghajanyan: we find the unique ones with these playlists; in this case, Aghajanyan comes from Armenia and brings a modern funky bent to this tune. One thing Columbus is strong in is Mediterranean offerings, and Lavash Cafe has been a return favorite of ours. Others which have seen our dinner table include Pita Hut N Grille, Aladdin \’s Eatery, Pita Int, Mazah Mediterranean Eatery, Yappy Greek, and Gyro Express.

11) \”Yemeni Jade\” – The Allah-Las: Another Los Angeles outfit, The Allah-Las blend of psychedelia and garage (which just a little splash of surf) was at its most pure on their first two albums, including this track.  Here, we want to thank Columbus Food Adventures on their Trust Fall meals, allowing folks to explore the area\’s best international eats from the safety of their own home with only one catch: you never knew what was coming your way until it came to your door.  Yemeni Restaurant (whose dishes are pictured below) was a new restaurant to us as was Afra Grill and Mama Mimi\’s Pizza along with some off-the-menu explorations from places like Bonifacio and Si Senor.  All experiences proved to be tasty and delightful in their own unique ways, and we look forward to exploring more.

12) \”Ramble and Roll\” – The Dropkick Murphys: we end our dozen-songs-long playlist with a one from the Boston-based band which winningly blended traditional Irish music and American hardcore for two decades. Ramble is a reference here to the Columbus coffee scene, of which Ramble Coffee is one of many fine purveyors of java in the area. If nothing else, this pandemic has increased our need for freshly roasted beans for home brewing, and we\’ve explored the gamut from Roosevelt to BriosoOne Line to Jennings JavaFlorin to Stauf\’s/Cup O\’ JoeThunderkiss to Yeah Me TooCrimson Cup to Coffee Connections; and Upper Cup to Mission Coffee.
The Columbus Coffee Festival, held virtually this year, proved to be a great value and alerted us to even more local options out there like Savorista, Flatlands, and Black Kahawa in terms of beans. In addition, places like Highline Coffee, Grandview Grind, Bottoms Up Coffee, Community Grounds, and Cafe de Nook were destinations which put out some quality coffee drinks throughout this time.

And if you can believe it or not, this playlist hasn\’t covered all the restaurants we\’ve sampled – notables missing from above include breakfast/brunch destinations (Basic Biscuits, Cafe Elena, Cuco\’s Taqueria, Katalina\’s, Lox Bagel Shop, and Starliner Diner), Mexican/Latin-oriented places (Arepazo, Barroluco, Dos Sabores, Los Guachos, and Tula Taqueria); special meal flings (Ambrose and EveAtlas TavernChapman\’s Eat MarketNicola, Service Bar, Skillet, and Whitney House) and a whole host of places from just outside of downtown (Brown Bag Deli, Hangover Easy OTE, Hot Chicken Takeover, Hubert\’s Polish Kitchen, and Katzinger\’s Deli.)
If we missed mentioning you, forgive us – it\’s been a long year for everyone.  We\’re hoping that we get to meet you and everyone else mentioned on a (crossing fingers) a 2021 that brings an upswing for all.

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