A dining editor reminisces about the indulgences of the past year
My food intake ramped up greatly in 2016 after I was hired as Columbus Monthly's dining editor. My exercise intake will need to do the same in 2017-at least that's the plan. So before talk of resolutions to dine out less frequently or eat more healthily take hold, allow me to reminisce about the indulgences of the past year. There was a lot to consider, but here are the 16 dishes I most enjoyed this year (in no particular order) at Columbus restaurants, food trucks and dining events.
Corn and blackberry soup at Veritas Tavern. The best thing I ate in 2016 for its simplicity, playfulness and ability to capture the essence of Midwestern sweet corn. Veritas makes its move to Downtown Columbus this spring.
Dry-fried beef and water spinach with garlic at Hong Kong House. My boyfriend and I braved 315 in a snowstorm on Valentine's Day to trek to this Henderson Road restaurant for its warming Sichuan Chinese fare. It was worth the white knuckles.
Crispy chicken sandwich at Kraft House No. 5. A tall sandwich–of which there are many lately–doesn't guarantee a good sandwich. This one isn't of the trendy hot chicken variety, but it's juicy, crispy, with great ingredients and arrives at the table stacked to Jenga-like heights.
Thanksgiving dinner croissant at Dan the Baker's Toast Bar. A feat of engineering brilliance that folds turkey and cranberry sauce into a perfect herb-infused croissant. Do not miss it when it comes around again.
Strozzapreti at La Tavola. I can't recall the ingredients in this dish that was on Chef Rick Lopez's board of specials. I just know it was one of the best pasta dishes I had all year.
Jhol momo and baara at Momo Ghar. On a day off, I sat down at the teeny Momo Ghar counter with a book and treated myself to these Nepalese dumplings, scooping up the red sauce with a crispy lentil pancake. This place is small but fierce.
Five-spice short rib at The Sycamore. Short rib has been omnipresent on Columbus menus this year. The Sycamore's was my favorite.
Graham cracker souffle with burnt marshmallow ice cream at The Service Bar's pop-up event. All the food at this pop-up hosted by Fox in the Snow was exciting, but rarely do desserts really wow me. I'm hoping it's on the menu when Middle West's restaurant, The Service Bar, opens in 2017.
Loaded schmaltz potatoes at Challah! at Woodland's Tavern. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and totally addictive. Chef Catie Randazzo's food is a great reason to visit Woodland's.
Banh mi hand pie at Lineage Brewing. I'm a sucker for the Vietnamese sandwich, and this twist stuffs flaky pastry with loads of flavor and pork meatballs.
Ribeye with duck pate and sherry jus at The Guild House. A bit naughty and unctuous, the pate sits atop the steak like a crown. It's a dish that begs for red wine.
Chawanmushi, fried lotus root stuffed with shrimp, sashimi assortment at Kihachi. Simply masterful Japanese cuisine. Please don't retire, Chef Mike, please.
Razor clams by Chef Kevin Sousa of Superior Motors (Braddock, PA) at James Beard Chef's Tour Dinner hosted by Gallerie Bar & Bistro. Just look at it.
Tater tot chaat from Horn OK Please food truck. Such a fun idea that combines American nostalgia with Indian street food. It goes perfectly with beer.
Fried branzino with fried pork rinds at Rockmill Tavern. Chef Andrew Smith hit this simple fried fish dish paired with bright salsa verde out of the park on opening night. Pork rinds are everywhere now, and Rockmill's are top notch.
Sweet potato gnocchi at Angry Bear Kitchen. Gone too soon but not forgotten. R.I.P., Angry Bear.