Two quirky, portable creations—from Speck Italian Eatery and Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory—square off

Walking Pasta

Speck Italian Eatery began offering its version of a walking pasta—essentially a pasta sandwich—as a takeout partnership with its downtown Delaware neighbor Staas Brewing Co. Speck’s version takes house-made focaccia bread, splits it and stuffs it with garlic butter, provolone, house-made casarecce pasta and sausage ragu. Parmesan cheese is sprinkled on top. What makes this novelty a winner is the high quality of its components, crafted in Speck’s chef-driven kitchen. Available only on Thursdays (for now), these carb bombs sell out fast. For a walking pasta option closer to Downtown Columbus, Pastaria in the North Market also offers the starchy sandwich daily. 

Utensils required? No, but nice to have on hand 

Ease of eating while walking: If you’ve eaten a sandwich on the move, you’ll catch on quickly. Plus, a bit of exercise is a good idea, because after finishing your handheld pasta, you’ll be headed straight for a nap. 

Messiness factor (0–10): 5 

Speck’s pasta sandwich holds up surprisingly well, avoiding that dreaded soggy bottom that causes lesser sandwiches to fall into your lap. It’s a big mouthful, though: Beware of consuming while wearing your favorite white shirt. 

Maybe no foods better embody the words “carryout” and “to-go” than this pair of ambulatory offerings—one Mexican and one Italian, but both tasty. The winner of this faceoff is in the hand of the beholder. 

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Walking Tacos

Best known for its paletas and ice cream, Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory also offers a variety of savory Mexican street foods. For pure fun, it’s hard to beat walking tacos, a snack category that makes it socially acceptable to eat a meal out of a Doritos bag. It’s believed that walking tacos (aka Tostilocos) originated in the 1990s in Tijuana. Dulce Vida’s Walking Taco is a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos (or you can swap in other chips) that’s been cut open lengthwise and filled with warm, seasoned ground beef, diced tomatoes, lettuce and shredded cheese. Gooey cheese sauce and jalapeños are optional. For a more authentic version, Dulce Vida’s Dorilocos walking taco includes toppings such as cold shredded cabbage, chewy cueritos (pickled pork rinds), Japanese peanuts lightly coated in soy sauce and lime juice. They are the perfect snack to pair with a live sporting event. Ahh, we can dream. 

Utensils required? Yes 

Ease of eating while walking: Eating with a fork while taking a stroll requires coordination. Don’t trip into traffic while digging for that somewhat soggy, flavor-packed Dorito at the bottom.  

Messiness factor (0–10): 7 

Walking tacos certainly look a mess, but the ingredients are safely self-contained in their Doritos bag cocoon. The mess occurs when you invariably reach with your fingers, nacho-like, for a toppings-covered chip. Napkins mandatory.