Alsatian Tart flambé at Spagio Cellars
That's right. I ended the the post title with a preposition. I was getting my pizza delivered the other night and was thinking, "Hounddog's probably doesn't need any more business, but I should still give them some ink. or pixels. or whatever." So, in that spirit, I thought I would reveal a few things I love but, for one reason or another, haven't documented. I know you want to think we eat nothing but the finest vegetables and the happiest animals, and, while we do try to do so, life occasionally gets in the way. So, without further ado:
- Hounddog's pizza. Located in Clintonville (or more properly "Hudsonville/far North Campus), Hounddog's is home to 2 styles of pizza: the regular Hounddog pizza, which features a nice thinner crust and is cut into squares (the scandal!), and the chewy, butter & herb basted crust Smokin' Joe's style pizza, which is cut into pie shapes. We are quite fond of the Smokin' Joe's style pizza topped off with Italian sausage, green peppers, onions, and jalapenos. A large pizza with aforementioned toppings is about $16, and delivery has always been faster than the quoted time, which is an extra bonus. There have been many Sunday afternoons which were made even better with the addition of a Hounddog Pizza. Resist the urge to get a salad to go along with the salad. Info: Hounddog's Pizza, 2659 N. High St (North Campus) 614.261.4686.
- Speaking of pizza, if it's during normal business hours and I want a pizza which is ostensibly healthier than the above, it's Mama Mimi's all the way. We love Mama Mimi's, and have been fortunate enough to live close to one at 3 of our 4 last places of residence. The owners are great people who have won all kinds of awards for their pies. Their pizzas are take & bake, and are best if you preheat your oven for awhile before you bake the pizza (one at a time, please). What we like to do is set the oven to 450, call our order in, and then when we get home from picking it up, the oven is ready. Their salads are great, and I've heard good things about their lasagna, but we've never tried it. The wheat pizza crust (Clintonville location) is excellent; very sweet and chewy. We love the BBQ chicken and their veggie pizza is really great as well. Info: Mama Mimi's (Multiple Locations) 2923 N. High St (Clintonville) 614.261.0800.
- Hm. I guess this is going to be a pizza post. As a general rule, I don't like the prepared foods at Whole Foods. First of all, they are bland and amazingly overpriced. Every time I have made a salad from their salad bar, it has been $20. No joke. Granted, I am usually getting it for Husband & I to share, but still. $20?! I have to keep reminding myself it isn't worth it, and force myself to resist every time I stop in. Their sushi is terrible - *shiver* - and don't even get me started on their overpriced in-store trattoria; but, all of that being said, their pizza by the slice might be some of the best in Columbus. I usually get a few slices to go for Husband and I, and every once in awhile if I flirt with the pizza oven boy, I get a free slice. The free slice probably has more to do with the fact that most of the shoppers at Whole Foods are horribly selfish and rude line-cutting sorts (ah, the suburbs) - who are always snapping and stamping their feet when told they'll have to wait 12 minutes for the next cheese pizza, or get livid when the person in front of them orders the last slice of brie/apple/pancetta nonsense. So, when I get in line and am nice and say "May I please have," and "thank you," the poor abused pizza oven boy is so relieved to wait on someone who is grateful for his services that I get a free slice just for being nice. Seriously, what is with the shoppers at Whole Foods? Every time I go there I get run over by some donkey and their shopping cart, and the parking lot is a nightmare of people who don't seem to know the rules of parking lots, and would just back into you because they are more important than you, and no one can put their cart away, even if their car is right next to the cart return. It's amazing. Every time I go there I am blown away by the other shoppers. What is wrong with people? Don't you get a better feeling when you can make someone's day better by being nice than having to assert to everyone what a horrid and impatient person you are? My blood pressure is creeping up just thinking about it, and all I'm doing is sitting on the sofa watching football with a few cats lying about. Every once in awhile I've thought about getting a job at Whole Foods, and then I think about the clientele and reconsider. I don't know what sort of strength it takes to work there, but everyone is always really nice. Maybe they take Xanax before work. From the fish counter to the cashiers, they do know how to train their employees in customer service.
- Whew. What a diatribe. Number 4 is a chain restaurant, and I don't normally write about chains, but I love the sandwiches at Potbelly. Specifically, I love the Italian sandwich on wheat with tons of their yummy hot pepper medley. Their macaroni salad and chili are also tasty. On par with the delightful hot peppers is the young staff (I always go to the campus location), who always make my day by saying things like "what year are you?" or "have you declared a major yet?" At which point, after I stop choking, I tell them I just graduated, try not to take their idealism away by telling them I'm a waitress with an English degree, and then float on clouds for the rest of the day thinking I could pass for someone far younger than me. I love those kids. They are probably trained to say that sort of thing, but I love any 20 year old who thinks I'm still a student, and not one of their professors!
- I love the Alsatian tarte flambe at Spagio. A crispy, probably butter-rich crust is topped off with nothing more than a little crumble of goat cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions. It's really good. It seems to be frequently sold out, so I can't be the only one who loves it. (Recently when I was in they reminded me that it's also spaetzle season again. Why does spaetzle season always come right after it's-the-holidays-and-I-gained-five-pounds season? *sigh*)
- Mid's pasta sauce (and it comes from Ohio!!). My former sous chef turned me on to Mid's, and I am forever grateful (oh, how I miss that egg salad with the scallions and bacon...). I have friends who would never dream of using pasta sauce in a jar, but sometimes you're tired and lazy and you still have to eat, and that's where the Mid's is priceless. Well, it does have a price, which is significantly more expensive than other jarred sauces, but the jar is much bigger, and the quality is far superior. I like all of the flavors, but especially Italian sausage and Mushroom basil.
- Speaking of pasta, the Garofalo brand of pasta at Costco is really, really good. For being so reasonably priced (a pack of 8 pound packages of spaghetti is something like $6), it is a true bargain, especially for a food snob on a budget. It is nice and starchy, resists overcooking, and likes to stick to pasta sauce. Other good pasta choices at Costco are their frozen raviolis. I've enjoyed both the spinach & ricotta and the crab raviolis. The take around 5 minutes to cook in boiling water, and are good with just a pinch of butter and red pepper flakes (or some sauteed greens or Brussels sprouts), so they are a fantastic choice for people with not a lot of time, and a $10 bag has about 15 servings or something like that, so again, perfect for someone on a budget with a freezer.
- As much as I love Jeni's Ice Cream, I still have a special place in my heart for Graeter's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. Mint Chocolate Chip is probably my all-time favorite ice cream flavor, and Graeter's makes their chocolate "chip" ice cream by pouring liquid chocolate into the freezing ice cream, resulting in irregular chocolate bits - many are huge. Nothing is better than digging into a pint and getting a 2-ounce chunk of chocolate. For some reason, it only works for me in the mint flavor. Yum!
- Hm. Only 8? I had hoped to make it to 10. But I'm drawing a blank.