When I had breakfast with Josh Ozersky earlier this month, he said that one of the food trends that excites him most is the increase in house-made condiments. This may strike some as being a slightly quirky focal point, but we have to admit that it’s one we share with him. At minimum, house-made condiments show an attention to detail and a desire for the restaurants to control the entirety of the experience. At best, they can transform the meal to a surprising degree.
Fortunately, fantastic house-made condiments abound in Columbus. Here are a few of our favorites:
We love the fresh homemade salsas that the taco trucks offer. Most trucks offer two salsas – a red (chile de arbol-based) and a green (usually tomatillo/jalapeno). Some, like Mr Grill and La Popular offer more, and we’d encourage you to try their spicy avocado salsas. The avocado and cilantro salsa at Los Guachos is really mild but equally seductive and if you want heat, try their onions with habañero. For more heat, head over to Los Potosinos for some of their sought-after habanero salsa.
Other Street Food
Probably the most well known street food condiment is Mikey’s infamous ‘slut sauce’, which is so popular that people regularly try to steal bottles of it. The Pickled Swine uses a spicy bacon aioli on some of their sandwiches including their signature sandwich ‘The Pickled Swine’. Offering the largest range of condiments is Tatoheads truck with seven dipping sauces at last count, including horseradish ranch, red pepper cilantro ketchup, shallot truffle aioli and spicy buffalo honey.
Some of our favorite condiments include the bright yellow aji chili sauce at Fito’s, the addictive and spicy cilantro sauce at El Arepazo, the heat-sneaks-up-on-you coconut chutney at Udipi Cafe and the tangy cilantro and lime sauce at Solay Bistro. We are also big fans of the Korean ‘mom sauce’ at Fresh Street.
With increasing frequency, french fries these days are accompanied by something other than a bottle Heinz. Often, you’re more likely to be offered an aioli (garlic mayonnaise), spicy ketchup or house made ranch dressing. Check out some of the great condiments at Tip Top Kitchen (spicy mayo with sweet potato fries), MoJoe Lounge downtown, Gallo’s Kitchen or on L’Antibes patio menu (a trio of dipping sauces come with their frites). The prize for range and creativity goes to Sage for their unexpectedly exceptional blackberry ketchup (one of 3 ketchups on the menu) and their chili-lime and black peppercorn mayos. I am also enthused about Knead‘s fennel ketchup but I know it’s not for everyone. Knead also make fruit based jams for some of their sandwiches and have some fantastic hot sauces.
One of the best condiments around is Latitude 41‘s homemade white cheddar cheese ‘whiz’ served with Brëzel pretzels. Skillet also makes some great condiments – their homemade hot sauce packs both a flavor and spicy heat punch, and you should order anything that comes with the tomato jam.
Condiments aren’t just for fries and sandwiches. Homemade jams have also become popular. It’s hard to resist a freshly baked croissant with home made preserves. You can find this treat at Pistacia Vera or Tasi Cafe. Flavors vary with the season but at the moment at Tasi you can find peach vanilla and blueberry lemon and at Pistacia Vera they currently have a wealth of flavors including pear vanilla, blueberry vanilla, berries Chambord and orange cardamon.