Ever since I first learned about Freedom a la Cart, a Latin-leaning food cart helmed by local musician/chef Lara Yazvac, I've been a fan. See, proceeds from the Doma International-run cart go toward supporting victims of human trafficking--how cool is that? I'd tried the food at festivals and during Mobile Mondays at St. James Tavern, where the offerings are typically limited pre-made empenadas.
But I was still surprised as anyone to be completely blown away by everything I ordered Wednesday night during Freedom's regularly scheduled Wednesday-night gig at Double Happiness. Which, by the way, is in contention for my favorite Columbus bar. I love this red-lantern-filled place so much I'm tempted to move to Brewery District just so I can go there more often. I happened to have my daughter with me that night, so I grabbed this meal to go.
Lara is serving her ambitious menu of empenadas, sandwiches, salads and croquettes out of the bar's kitchen space on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, i.e. the nights that Freshstreet guys aren't serving up their awesome yakitori. I'm really loving this whole food-truck-bar-food concept, by the way.
Anyway, this was the best vegetarian food I've had in recent memory, and honestly probably the best food period, vegetarian or not. Here's what I tried:
--Half a Papa sandwich, a vegan delight made with lemon potatoes, white bean relish, roasted red pepper sauce and a vegan garlic-almond aioli.
--A crazy sounding Salad of the Day that I savored every last bite of had: a smoky hibiscus slaw topped with citrus-marinated jicama, roasted jalapenos and tomatillos, plus ripe mango, grapefruit pulp, fresh mint and candied hibiscus flowers.
--Sweet Potato and Masa Croquette stuffed with fresh mango.
I happened to choose all vegetarian dishes, but there are meat options too, like bacon-and-egg empenadas or roast beef and chimichurri sandwiches.
Freedom a la Cart at Double Happiness
482 S. Front St., Brewery District