We had what can only be described as a feast at Bear and Colleen’s last night. A truly epic meal that contained a wish-list-esque menu. We ate outside surrounded by candles and mini-kiwis (which incredibly, are edible). It was an amazingly mild evening and the only downside was being able to hear the terrible music of a neighborhood halloween party.
The feast included: Eleni Christina honey wheat bread (which you can buy at Tasi), homemade butter and Ba Ba Blue cheese. We discovered Ba Ba Blue (from Wisconsin and not be to confused with baa baa bloo from New Jersey) at the Short Story restaurant in Granville, and it was one of the most memorable highlights of the meal we had there.
Two of Colleen’s homemade soups – (very) creamy tomato with tasi croutons and broccoli squared soup with broccoli and broccoli rabe.
Extremely tender smoked chicken (also from the North Market), smoked whole over a mixture of hickory and mesquite, pumpkin and barley risotto (my contribution) and a potato latke-esque creation of Colleen’s with mushrooms, which was described as ‘that mysterious dark matter’ but which was crispy and salty and mushroomy.
Dessert was an amazing layered hazelnut and caramel masterpiece from Pistacia Vera, which had their hazelnut macaroons around the outside. Also, some Jeni’s ice cream: heirloom pumpkin with mascarpone and possibly the last surviving pint of the sadly defunct lapsang souchon with armagnac prunes.
The drink list was similarly eclectic and impressive, and included some exceptional whiskies, Marietta brewing company root beer and a homemade soft drink of infused simple syrups (cardamom and szechwan pepper) mixed with seltzer water. As a pepper fiend I loved being able to drink pepper in a glass and it had all the aroma without being spicy. Wonderful.
Memorable cocktails included: a smoky martini with lapsang souchong infused vodka, dessert wine (a montilla-moriles from 1971) and sweetened condensed milk, a homage to the aforementioned Jeni’s ice cream; a Vesper – the James Bond cocktail (with gin, vodka and lillet); A flaming martini with gin, St Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and chartreuse, pink gin (with angostura bitters) and a three meat manhattan with bacon infused bourbon, duck fat infused vermouth and a garnish of Iberian acorn fed ham. The Vesper is definitely going to be a favorite.
Dessert was accompanied by a concoction also inspired by our visit to the Short Story: a mixture of expresso vodka, St Germain elderflower liqueur, honey and cointreau over ice. It has to be said (and indeed, was several times over dinner), that it is hard to think of anywhere that we could have eaten better in Columbus last night.