As the cliche goes, sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder, and sometimes returning somewhere makes you appreciate it even more. I enjoy living in Columbus. I love my neighborhood and being able to walk to countless great restaurants and bars in the Short North, Goodale park, the North Market and downtown. I like the ease, the convenience and that there is enough variety, without overwhelming choice. There are obviously some stand-out places and you can hear about some of these in the latest Columbus Foodcast – how to eat your way through 48 hours in Columbus. Brainstorming with the other contributors made me appreciate Columbus. As you can tell, there are way more places than you can fit into 48 hours, (even for someone with the appetite of CMH Gourmand) but hopefully it will inspire Columbus residents to try somewhere new in 2009 and entice some others to come and visit us!
One of the places that was at the top of my list to try in 2009 was Kihachi, a Japanese restaurant that is acclaimed as the best in Columbus but is hidden out in the burbs. I went last week as a belated birthday treat and it really was a treat. It is certainly not your average sushi bar and the food and presentation are exquisite. The sushi was superlative and my other favorite dish was the blazed eel. As well as the excellent food, the patience of our server as she translated all of the specials (written in Japanese) was wonderful, as was her enthusiasm as she waxed lyrical about the persimmon that had been soaking in sake for a week. Of course we had to try it.
One of the things that I am really appreciating about Columbus at the moment is the fact that I can buy local Ohio foods even in January. It is easy in the summer to buy local foods when there is abundant local produce but in the winter it is much more harder to find local foods, and more exciting when you do. Luckily the Greener Grocer makes finding local foods much easier. Over the last couple of weeks, I have noticed the following local Ohio foods: carnival squash (Northridge Farm), potatoes (Wayward Seed), apples (Eschleman Fruit Farm), sprouts (Sunsprout farm) mushrooms & greens (Green Edge), maple syrup (Bonhomie Acres), honey (Honey Run Farm), milk & cream (Snowville Creamery) and eggs (Two Silos) as well as wheat flour, spelt flour and corn meal from the Flying J Farm.
This is in addition to being able to buy freshly baked artisan breads from Omega at the North Market or Eleni Christina at Tasi, as well as Jeni’s splendid ice creams, proudly made in Columbus. As well as countless restaurants and a few food shops I want to try or revisit, something else on my list for 2009 is to visit the Krema nut factory, where they have been making peanut butter since 1898. Anyone else want to come?
Yesterday I attended a Slow Food Columbus planning meeting and heard the wealth of ideas people have for Slow Food events in 2009. It is exciting that Columbus has such a dynamic food culture and I am excited for the culinary delights and discoveries that 2009 holds in store.
Lunch today: Leek, Potato and thyme frittata made with Green Mountain russet potatoes from Wayward Seed and Two Silos eggs both purchased at the Greener Grocer. The thyme was frozen from my summer herb bonanza. Recipe from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, which continues to be one of my favorite cookbooks. This is one of the best frittatas I have made to date (and you may have noticed I make them quite a lot!) – Leek and Potato is a winning combination, not just in soups!