Category Archives: Taco trucks

Restaurante Salvadoreno

As far as I know the Restaurante Savladoreno (or Cafeteria Salvadorian) is the only Salvadoran restaurant in Columbus. It is located near the Port of Columbus airport on the same street (3208 Allegheny Drive) as El Tacorriendo. Located in an otherwise deserted strip mall it is the only beacon of light in a very dark parking lot. The interior is basic but cheerful and the walls and menus are decorated with maps and photos of El Salvador. The restaurant seems to do a good take out business.

We had come across pupusas the national dish of El Salvador during our taco truck research as they are served at Mr Grill Tacos and were a feature of the short lived Pupuseria y taqueria Usuluteca. When we heard about a pupusa restaurant we were intrigued to experience more Salvadoran food.

Pupusas are a thick corn griddle cake stuffed with a filling such as cheese, refried beans or chicharron (pork rinds). Our favorite of the three we tried was cheese with loroco (an edible flower). The pupusas were thinner and more delicate than the ones we have had at taco trucks and not at all greasy. They are served with a dish of curtido – a cabbage salad that is pickled and a little spicy, the salvadoran version of sauerkraut. You can see it in the top left corner of the photo below.

We tried a tamale and tamilito. Salvadoran tamales are wrapped in a banana leaf instead of the corn husks that are used in Mexican cuisine. This tamale contained chicken (with bones) in sauce and the corn meal was moist but dense. It was similar to the Colombian tamale that we tried at El Manantial. The tamalito was like a corn bread, very light and airy but much drier than the tamale. It was served with Salvadoran crema which is similar to sour cream but milder. Next were the platanos fritos, ripe fried plantains also served ‘con crema’. The plantains were beautifully caramelized and one of the high points of the meal.

We chose two main dishes from a long list which consisted mainly of variations of beef and chicken. There was at least one pork dish and a few of seafood dishes, including grilled fish and shrimp. There are also a few soups (sopas) and we tried the sopa de mariscos which had a rich fishy broth and pieces of fish, shrimp and shellfish. There were a lot of bones in the soup so eating it required attention but the broth was very flavorful.

Our other main was carne guisada, a rich beef stew served with potatoes, rice and refried beans. The beef was very tender and I thought the sauce was really tasty. We were also given a plate of Salvadoran tortillas which are thicker corn tortillas and I’m not sure which dish they were supposed to accompany but they were perfect for dipping into the beef stew.

The menu has very little description of the dishes so I think there is plenty more to discover. I already have a list of other dishes I would like to try including the pollo encebollado (chicken with onions) and the pupusa with chicharron. I am also tempted by their breakfast dishes. Salvadoran food seems to be less spicy than Mexican cuisine with mild, sweet flavors and is therefore a good option for those who don’t like too much heat. The Restaurante Salvadoreno is a no-frills destination with house made food, it’s a good place to head to when the weather is too cold for taco trucking.

The Restaurant is open 10am-8pm except Tuesday. It is cash only.
(614) 338-0552

Here are some references on Salvadoran Food: Whats4eats.com, Wikipedia.

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Ethnic Columbus

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Columbus is often thought of as a white bread town, territory of generic chains and home of the fast food giants White Castle and Wendy’s. Dig around though, and between the Olive Garden’s and Applebees you can find some fantastic independent restaurants and (the point of this post), some ethnic gems.

Last week in two days we ate Colombian, Korean and Vietnamese food and had some proper boiled bagels for breakfast. Stretch that time period out to a couple of weeks and you can add in Thai, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Mexican. Columbus also has plenty of Middle Eastern and Greek offerings as well as a wealth of small Somali and Ethiopian restaurants. This winter I am hoping to start exploring Somali cuisine and would love any recommendations of places to start. The only cuisines I haven’t been able to find in Columbus are Sri Lankan and Moroccan. If anyone knows of any please let me know. In the mean time here are some recommendations of places that I love and you should try.

Yau’s Asian Bistro (1493 N. High Street) was recently reviewed by G.A. Benton in Alive. Conveniently close to campus it offers many of the standard ‘Chinese take-out’ offerings but lots of more interesting dishes as well. They also serve bubble tea and plenty of good vegetarian options. The dish pictured is the famous spicy salted squid, one of my favorites. Yau’s, as many of the restaurants in this list, is somewhere you go for the food and not the stylish interior and like most of these restaurants they do not have a liquor license.

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Arirang Oriental Market (1526 Bethel Road) was recommended to me by a reader (Thank you Molly). You would never guess that it has a restaurant in the  back. You order at the front counter and then find a seat and wait to be signaled to when your food is ready. The menu was mostly translated from Korean but we did ask for some guidance. It is extremely clean, good value and I am looking forward to going back and trying some more dishes. I ordered the hot and spicy beef soup with noodles and we also shared a Korean (mung bean) pancake. The soup was perfect for a frosty night and the pancake the best I have had. We were given three side dishes including the requisite kim chee. I had previously wondered why Korean restaurants give you the side dishes at the same time as your food (usually I would prefer them to nibble on while I wait). When my cauldron of soup arrived still at a rolling boil, I was glad to have sometime to eat while it cooled down.

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Mi Li Cafe (5858 Columbus Square) is our go-to for Vietnamese food. Usually we head there when the craving for a bahn-mi sandwich hits but I have eaten everything on the menu including sam bo luong, a drink made with seaweed and ginko nuts. Friday was a pho dac biet day  (noodle soup with beef, tripe and meatballs) although I was secretly coveting Donna’s bo kho (beef stew). I have heard great things about Indochine but I haven’t made it there yet. Soon.

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The Columbian food I mentioned was from the taco truck El Manantial Latino which has just moved to a new location at Lane and High. On this visit we had the Colombian tamale – larger than a Mexican tamale with more meat and vegetables inside. It comes wrapped in a banana leaf rather than a corn husk. The menu offerings vary daily so it is best to ask what they have.

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If I want to make an effort for Thai food I go to Bangkok on Refugee Road which also has an eclectic grocery store. Apart from the drive they also close early, so more often than not I find myself eating Thai food at Nida’s Thai on High. As well as being extremely convenient Nida’s has the advantage of serving cocktails and sushi. It is the most atmospheric of the restaurants I have mentioned. The dish pictured is the tasty appetizer Mee Krob.

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I haven’t yet mentioned Mexican Food — and you know what I am going to say: yup, taco trucks. Many of these will stay open this winter serving steaming hot atole to go with your tacos. Don Pedro’s are currently offering a Thursday special $4 pambazo’s and the pambazos alone are worth the drive. Seriously craveable. My other favorite trucks include Los Potosinos, Los Guachos, Taqueria Jalisco and Taco Nazo, but there are over 30 to choose from. Closest to down town are Junior’s (on 5th Avenue) and Chapis tacos (near Broad and Souder).

I should also mention Japanese, of which my favorites are Sushi Bistro Masa and Kihachi. Both of these are in Dublin and whereas most of the other restaurants I have mentioned are places I would go on a weekday evening. The Japanese restaurants are for more of a special occasion, especially if you want to take full advantage of the more exotic offerings. Pictured are some fried salmon balls from Sushi Bistro Masa.

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Last but not least bagels. Blocks Bagels, with two locations in East Columbus are the closest thing I have found to New York bagels in Columbus. Boiled before they are baked, Blocks have been making bagels in Columbus since 1967. They have over 20 flavors as well as a sandwich counter and the bagels are as dense and chewy as they should be.

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So there you have it, plenty of places offering hot steamy bowls of soup, spice and carbs to keep you warm this winter. I know that this list is far from extensive, so please feel free to share other ethnic favorites and hidden gems.

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Night of 1001 Tacos

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Yes, its a sequel, but we think this is one time that the sequel will be even better than the first. This time we will have the movie showing of The 3 Amigos and we have refined the route and learned a few lessons and have a few improvements from the first Night of 1000 tacos. If you missed out on the fun last time you can read about it here. The trucks were amazingly hospitable and taco truck veterans and novices all had a great time.

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The tour is organized with Columbus Rides but is open to all kinds of transport. For cyclists I would recommend helmets, lights and something warm as it gets cool by the end. For cars, car pooling is great as it makes parking easier. We will provide maps and a ‘field guide’ with some taco terminology to help people who are new to taco trucks. The whole Taco Trucks Columbus team will also be at the trucks to offer assistance with ordering.

Tacos cost around $1.25 each depending on the truck and the filling and all of the trucks have other offerings if you want to move beyond tacos.

If you can’t make the ride, you are still welcome to come to the movie. It starts at 11.30pm and we will have some prize give-aways before the movie starts.

Last time we raised $200 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and this time we hope to raise a lot more. Studio 35 is kindly donating the movie so please come and watch, have a beer (or two) and laugh at Steve and Chevy.

For more information and a printable flyer please visit tacotruckscolumbus.com

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Night of 1000 Tacos

This post is also posted on tacotruckscolumbus.com

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Before an event I always worry about how it will turn out. I worry about whether enough people will come, or too many people and I worry about the weather and traffic and toilets. I am usually told that things will work out fine, and in the case of the Night of 1000 tacos they did. Actually better than fine. It was a wonderful event. We raised $200 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, we converted some new people to the pleasures of taco trucks, we had a fun bike ride and made some new friends. Some of the riders came all the way from Wheeling!

We assembled at Studio 35, waited for stragglers and with our motley crew of 30+ cyclists, 2 scooters and the red caboose, we headed north for the first taco truck. Our first stop was at Taquikin on Morse Road.

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Taquikin had brought their ‘A’ game for the event and had four people working in the kitchen. They turned around orders quickly and efficiently and the only thing that took time was for people to choose from the array of offerings. I kicked off the evening with a couple of tacos and some horchata. The carnitas taco was fantastic – really tender and juicy. My favorite interaction at Taquikin was talking to the young son of the owners.

Him: “Are you guys doing a race or something?’
Me: “No, we are just riding bikes to different trucks and eating tacos”
Him: “That sounds like fun”

He was right, of course. Taquikin were really welcoming and warmly thanked us for coming. The whole crew piled out of the truck to wave us off into the night. We headed north on Cleveland to stop number 2: Taqueria Jalisco.

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I have to admit that I have a soft spot for  Taqueria Jalisco as it was the first truck we visited when we started researching taco trucks. Jalisco is run by brothers Jorge and Oscar and they have always been great to us, even when we once accidentally forgot to pay before leaving. Everyone thought someone else had paid and we were a couple of miles away before we realized.

The Jalisco crew were sporting new-that-day polo shirts for the occasion and you could tell they were enjoying the event. I went for a carnitas sopita, a thick corn base topped with meat, sour cream, lettuce and cheese and it was really satisfying. I could have easily eaten another if there weren’t two more trucks on the route. Once the taco peloton was fed and watered we headed north again, this time on residential streets and past a high school football game. Our destination was Taco Nazo on 161.

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The other trucks had impressed us with their speed and service, but Taco Nazo welcomed us like celebrities with a special poster, balloons and flags and insisted on a group photo before we left.

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As if that wasn’t enough, there were free drinks, special prices and two enormous cakes – one with a bicycle on top and the other with a motorbike. The motorbike even revved when you pressed down on it.

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Owner Quicho had done us proud and we were so touched at the effort they had made to make our visit so special.

Quicho hard at work but all smiles
Quicho hard at work but all smiles

I ordered a campechano taco (a mix of pork and beef )- a speciality of Taco Naco and had a generous slice of cake. Most people were getting pretty full by this stage and I definitely heard mumblings of ‘we really have another truck?’ Luckily Taco Nazo is next to a large Walgreens and so those who needed a pit stop were able to use the bathrooms there. Thank goodness for late night drugstores! Heading north again we made our way to the last truck, greeted on route by cheers from a neighborhood cook-out of ‘Go, Green’.

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Our fourth and final stop was at Don Pedro’s on Cleveland Ave. Taco Nazo had raised the bar so that we almost expected a Mariachi Band at the last stop. Some of the group disappeared into the neighboring Mr Big’s Garden Inn for tequila shots but one of our group, Amber appeared inside the truck and was using her spanish skills to help translate orders. Service was a little slower at the other trucks, but some people were too full to eat any more. I found room for a pambazo, which is a speciality of Don Pedro’s. It is a hot sandwich filled with meat and potatoes and the bread is dipped into a salsa and then grilled. Really tasty. I also had some fresh mango agua fresca (their drink servings are huge). Well fueled by our Mexican food overload we pedalled back to Studio 35. Too late for the movie, but I don’t think anyone minded.

The atmosphere on the ride was great, not just from the warm welcome we received from the trucks, but also the camaraderie of the riders, looking out for each other and waiting when anyone got left at a light. We are going to change the route a little for the next ride to make sure that we can make it back in plenty of time for the 3 Amigos and maybe have the cyclists only go to 3 trucks. It would still be plenty of food.

Thanks to Ray for the idea, Ray, Jim and Andy for all the help with logistics and planning, everyone who donated services and time to make the ride possible and of course everyone who came and rode and ate and donated money to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Stay tuned for details of the Night of 1001 Tacos & showing of 3 Amigos on October 9th.

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Too Many Food Events

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September has been a month jam packed with food events and it shows no sign of abating. I don’t want you to think that I am complaining, I’m not, I’ve been having a great time and lots of wonderful experiences. The title is a homage to the first event I want to mention, a panel of Columbus Food Bloggers at Wild Goose Creative. This post is going to be an overview of a lot of fantastic food events that could all have been posts in their own right, if I wasn’t so busy going to food events that I don’t have enough time to write.

Back to Wild Goose. The Food Bloggers on the panel were Columbus Foodie, Dave from Weber Cam, CMH Gourmand, Rosie from Bitchin’ in the Kitchen, Zach from Columbus Foodcast, myself and Nick from Breakfast with Nick, a selection of the active food bloggers in Columbus. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people came to listen to a group of food bloggers. Each blogger introduced themselves and explained why they started blogging and the focus of their blog. It was interesting to share stories and it didn’t take long before we were sharing recommendations for new places to eat. There were some thought provoking questions including how blogging interplays with traditional media and it was a shame that time prevented a more in-depth discussion of the issue.

Each of us brought some food to share that related to our blog. Marmite seemed the obvious choice as it appears in my Hungrywoolf logo, is British and is one of my favorite foods. I remembered a recipe for Marmite cheese straws from the last issue of BBC Good Food magazine but unfortunately being a voracious recycler, the magazine was already gone. Internet research provided some ideas but of course, I am not sensible enough to do a practice run and thus on the afternoon of the event I was still hoping that they would all turn out alright. I tried hearts, pinwheels and eventually found that twisted sticks worked the best. The recipe was simple: frozen puff pastry, mature cheddar cheese, butter, marmite, a hot oven and a prayer that people would like them.

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I didn’t see too many left on plates, so it seemed that they were well received and I think I may have converted some people to the joy of Marmite.

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Labor Day was spent laboring. Not a food ‘event’ but certainly food related, we spent the day helping to pick and wash pumpkins at AD’s parents Farm. His Father grows over 50 varieties of pumpkins and squash, so I was in squash heaven and came back with a huge bag full. Some of the varieties I wasn’t familiar with and I was excited to discover that one of them, Green-striped Cushaw, is an Ark of Taste Food.

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I hadn’t thought much about squash and pumpkins needing to be washed before they are sold, although it seems obvious now. I grew up in a city, so this was a novel experience for me. My fingers were like prunes all day, but I found washing the squash meditative and enjoyed chatting to the family members who had also been enlisted.

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Back to Columbus and Dine Originals Restaurant Week was in full swing. I attended a Columbus Metropolitan Club Restaurant Week event featuring a panel of Dine Originals restaurant owners and chefs. Restaurants represented were Barcelona, The Refectory, Alana’s, Katzinger’s and Trattoria Roma. The speakers were all effusive about the benefits of being part of the Dine Originals group. Kamal Boulos the owner of The Refectory and the new President of Dine Originals had some great insights into the development of the Columbus restaurant scene. There were a lot of questions from the audience, of which ‘what do you wish you had known when you started out?’ elicited the most interesting and humorous responses.

I didn’t have a chance to experience any of the Restaurant Week dinner menus, but I did have lunch at two of the participating restaurants, Deepwood and Cafe Corner. My Restaurant Week highlight was tea for two at Pistacia Vera. Their Restaurant Week tasting plate made a perfect birthday treat for a friend. As usual it was all divine, but the lemon tart was so perfect that I am in need of an excuse (however transparent) to return.

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Wednesday was the monthly Slow Wine event at the Twisted Vine in Grandview. It is an intimate gathering, always thoughtfully put together and a pleasant way to spend an evening sipping wine and chatting to old friends and new acquaintances. The Twisted Vine offers a couple of wine flights, some complimentary food and wines by the glass or bottle. This month’s food offering was a real treat with a selection of meats, fish and cheese from Thurn’s.

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I think that AD and I have worked our way through almost half of Thurn’s extensive menu. The selection at the Twisted Vine included a few favorites as well as some things we had not tried. The tongue was so tender and buttery that the taste could convert people to offal but my new *favorite* thing is the 5 year old smoked cheddar. I went to buy some the next day but they were sold out. Hmpf.

The North Market have revamped their Dispatch Kitchen Cooking Classes with Robin Davis, the Dispatch Food Editor now manning the helm. There is a great range of classes taught by Robin herself and other Columbus Chefs. There is even a timely Thanksgiving boot camp designed for people cooking a holiday dinner for the first time. I am particularly tempted by the class with Spencer Boudros of Pistacia Vera on September 30th and I believe that there are spaces left in some of the classes. They make a fun evening out or a great Christmas or birthday gift. I was a volunteer assistant at one of Robin Davis’s classes last week, on making sushi rolls at home. Robin is an informative and sympathetic teacher and it was a lot of fun. I wish I had remembered to take some photos.

Friday night was a fundraiser dinner for 500 people at the Frankin Park Conservatory, part of their weekend long Field to Table Festival. Somehow I had agreed to volunteer, little realizing what that would entail, and never imagining that AD would score an invitation to the dinner. Jealous – moi?! I ended up as a sous chef to Richard Rosendale, preparing salads and plating food for 200 of the guests. Having never worked in a professional kitchen I was somewhat out of my depth, but at the same time right in my element. It was a real adrenalin rush working in a very MacGuyver-ish tent-kitchen.

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It was a stunning event, as befits the $300 a ticket price, with tables set out around the sculpture and the back-drop of the Conservatory illuminations. Guests arrived at the new Community Garden Campus for drinks and hors d’oeuvres which included pizza, lamb kebabs, sliders, an Ohio cheese board and Jeni’s ice cream. If they weren’t already full they walked over towards the Conservatory for a lavish 7 course dinner, including tomato and cucumber salad, ratatouille, roasted chicken, pork ribs, polenta, succotash, roasted pork loin and pork belly and for dessert apple crisp and ice wine sabayon from Pistacia Vera.

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Sunday we were back at Franklin Park to volunteer at the Slow Food table, promoting food that is good, clean and fair and handing out samples of paw paws and ground cherries. I hope that you will have a chance to visit the Community Garden Campus at Franklin Park if you have not already. I know that they are planning a lot of programming. It is beautifully done.

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One of the highlights of the Community Garden Campus is the live fire cooking theatre which includes a fire place, a hearth and the only green roofed pizza oven that I have ever seen. I was lucky enough to get a slice (or two) or Jim Budros’s amazing wood fired pizza topped with spinach and goat cheese. The crust was made using Peter Reinhart’s dough recipe and I can attest to the results. I am sure it helps when you have a 600º wood fired oven!

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As if it wasn’t a busy enough weekend, we had to find time for some taco trucking. Night of 1000 Tacos is coming up this Friday, September 18th and we had to forewarn the trucks, and drive the route so we could produce a turn by turn sheet for cyclists. We will be hitting four trucks in the Cleveland Avenue, Morse Road area and it should be a lot of fun.

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Last night was Taste the Future, the annual culinary showcase of Columbus State Community College. It is a huge event with around 50 Columbus chefs showing off their wares. Some of Columbus’s finest restaurants were there along with a number of hotels and catering companies. The event was held in a large courtyard area over looked by the towering statue of Christopher Columbus. There was music and wine and throngs of people.

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There was a lot of food and it was fun seeing what everyone had to offer. Some of the restaurants did a good job of projecting their identity and giving you a sense of their menu. With so many offerings, things started to blur but there were some interesting trends. Popular ingredients included: mushrooms, truffle oil, scallops and shrimp. There were several variations on chocolate tarts and a number of plays on gazpacho and chilled soups. Two of my favorite dishes fell into this category, a white gazpacho from the Brewers Yard Bistro at Kroger and a local tomato gazpacho with crab and corn salad from Aramark at the Columbus Convention Center. I also really liked the Scallop Pomponnette from The Refectory.

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It was a prefect evening for an outdoor event and great for taking photos. For those wanting more, there are a lot more photos on flickr and with several bloggers and photographers floating around, I am sure there will be a lot more online too.

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And so that brings us up to date. Next on the agenda is the Night of 1000 Tacos, closely followed by the Ohio Paw Paw Festival. I will be heading down to Lake Powell near Athens on Saturday for a celebration of all things paw paw. I am honored to have been invited to judge the paw paw cook off contest and I can’t wait to see what the competitors have come up with.

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For those of you wondering what a paw paw is – it is the largest native fruit in the United States and the official native fruit of Ohio. It is like a cross between a custard apple, mango and banana and surprisingly tropical for something grown in Ohio. I am sure that I will be writing a lot more about Paw Paws next week.

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Filed under blogging, British foods, North Market, restaurants, slow food, special events, Taco trucks, wild goose creative

Night of 1000 Tacos

Please note the change of date to September 18th and that there is no longer a screening of The 3 Amigos on this date. Check back for details of more taco events in October.

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Click here for full size (printable) version of flyer

Taco Trucks Columbus and Columbus Rides invite you to join us for a charity taco truck tour on Friday September 18th (please note change of date). We will  be exploring some of the taco trucks on the North Side of Columbus. The tour will start from Studio 35 (3055 Indianola Ave) at 7pm and will be approximately 20 miles. We encourage you to bike, but you are welcome to use any means of transport. Then, full of tacos, we will return to Studio 35 where you can enjoy a beer (or two). Studio 35 will be screening the movie Saved at 11.30pm  as part of ScootaQue.

We have been talking about this event for months so I am excited that it is now actually going to happen. Apologies for the changes in dates and movie – sadly beyond our control. But it  will still be a lot of fun and for a good cause too.

For the ride we are requesting a donation of $5 which will  go to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. The Foodbank have told us that for every $1 donated they can provide $8 of food.

If you are biking please wear a helmet and bring lights. We will have a waiver for cyclists to sign.

T-Shirts for the tour are available from our Skreened Store and there is a Facebook event page if you want to rsvp.

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July 4th Weekend

Not quite red, white and blue but you can tell it's summer!

Not quite red, white and blue but you can tell it's summer!

Our holiday weekend turned into three days of food, fun and feasting. Friday night was an al fresco dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday with delicious treats from Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, spicy capicola from Thurn’s, foie gras pate from France, smoked oat cakes from Ireland, local tomatoes with basil and Blue Jacket Dairy Mozzarella and french rose. It was a ‘picnic’ beyond compare!

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Zingerman's treat number one, acorn fed coppa.

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Treat number two: Kunik cheese

Kunik cheese from Warrensburg NY (via Zingerman’s) is a wonderful uber creamy cheese made from a mix of goat milk and jersey cream. It is a white mold ripened cheese with a buttery interior and I hope that it is available somewhere in Columbus.

Thus fortified it was time for Red, White and Boom fireworks and our al fresco evening continued with Dark and Stormies (ginger beer and dark rum), my favorite firework watching drink, on a warehouse roof downtown.

Thurns - various meats including capicola

Thurns - various meats including capicola

Saturday we were hosting a post doo-dah parade cookout. We had purchased the meat the day before at Thurn’s and chosen a range of burgers, brats (smoked and garlic) and frankfurters. Once you are in Thurn’s how can you resist the bacon?

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Saturday morning saw my usual trip to the farmers market but I rather unwisely rode my bike. Bikes are fine when shopping for one or two, not for twenty and not when you can’t resist buying 13 ears of corn. I had a wobbly ride home with bags hanging off each handle bar. You really can tell that the growing season here is in full swing, with so much more variety than a month ago. Blueberries, raspberries, apples, tomatoes, snow peas, cucumbers, beets, carrots and all sorts of greens. My highlights were red skinned pontiac potatoes, orange cherry tomatoes and the first corn of the season!

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Somehow I was too busy at the cook out to take any photos. I made the veganomicon quinoa salad with black beans and mango that I made a lot last summer, a potato salad with a mustardy dressing and a blueberry cake (a favorite recipe from the Lompoc Cafe Cookbook). We also made a roasted tomato salsa from 101 cookbooks that was a huge hit. It disappeared before everyone had even arrived.

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Lompoc cafe blueberry cake with lemon frosting

Sunday was some more taco trucking – and after one failed lead, we found a new truck in Hilliard (great chorizo tacos) and took a trip to Potosinos, which was busy with Latinos in their sunday best but as welcoming as always. I had some wonderful barbacoa sopes and horchata.

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Tacos at Nayarit

The finale of the weekend was an opening party at Kogen’s restaurant in Powell. Kogen’s is a Pan-Asian restaurant owned by the Mark Pi family with a mixture of sushi and other Asian dishes. IMG_3929

We stuck to the sushi menu and tried some of the interesting sushi appetizers such as Asian poke, seafood sunomono, spicy octopus with kimchi sauce and Asian ceviche. We also had some sushi a la carte and not surprisingly ran out of space for any entrees. The Asian poke and the octopus were our favorite appetizers.

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Asian ceviche was a refreshing mixture of marinated fish with cucumber, fish roe and seaweed salad.

We also really enjoyed some of the interesting mixed drinks. The favorite at our table was the Cappa martini, sake shaken with cucumber and sour mix. A perfect drink for a hot summer evening and a great accompaniment to the sushi. Isn’t one of the signs of a good cocktail that it is way too easy to drink?

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Photos of Red White and Boom and the Doo Dah Parade are up on Flickr.

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