I've been hearing rumblings about Darista Cafe for what seems like forever. Turns out I have a lot of friends in common with Dara Schwartz, the culinary mastermind behind Darista. And so more than a year ago, I started getting a lot of "Oh! My friend Dara is getting ready to start her own restaurant and she's an amazing cook and you're going to love it!" Well, sometimes it takes a long, long time to get a restaurant up and running.
Schwartz's ultimate vision is a brick-and-mortar restaurant, but for now she's attracting loyal followers through occasional street food gigs (I sampled some of her better-than-it-should-be cucumber gazpacho at last summer's Hills Market Foodie Fest) and a regular pop-up lunch gig on the Hills Market Veranda. I can only hope she perseveres and eventually opens her own restaurant because, well, this food is really worth raving about.
I made it up to The Hills last Friday and was lucky enough to snag the very last serving of this Patacon Maracucho, a brilliant dish consisting of cilantro-spiked pulled chicken topped with sandwich fixings like tomatoes, mozzarella and avocado puree, served between two crispy planks of deep-fried plantain. This Patacon is getting lots of love (you may have read about it in this week's Alive, in fact).
But it's far from the only reason to drive up to Worthington immediately.
Here's that cucumber gazpacho I mentioned, a lovely cool bowl topped with just enough crumbled goat cheese to make for a substantial snack.
In fact, combine it with an order of this great guacamole (homemade, of course, as are those gorgeous golden-brown chips) and you've got a light summery meal.
Darista Cafe at The Hills Market
7860 Olentangy River Rd., Worthington