Have a recommendation? We'd LOVE to hear it!
Salutations Readers!

Kalamazoo has good food.
Great food, in fact. We have made it our mission to check out all the local eateries one at a time - and more for our own poor memories than any other reason, we'll be chronicling our adventures in food here. And some places float our boats way more than others, which is why we have developed the very scientific
five golden forks rating scale. Ok. It is not scientific at all. It is actually quite unscientific. But, it is something. And now, you can search all of our reviews by the forks rating. YAY!

But, wait! There's more!
Kalamazoo Foodies no longer just eat at restaurants then review them. There are recipes posted, some easy, some less easy, all delicious. There are, or will be, book reviews, the new
Foodie Movie Review-y which will focus on movies about food or ones that have a lot of beautiful food in them. There are other food musings, and hopefully soon contests and so much more. But, Foodie Friends, it is all about food. Because we love it!
And, we want to hear from you!

We want to hear your comments on our recipes and reviews. We want to know where you love to eat. And, we are looking for GUEST bloggers to broaden our horizons a bit. And, if you haven't found us on Facebook, you should do that too. Like our page for other fun Foodies stuff like photos, polls, and more.

SO KALAMAZOO PATRONS - where do YOU love to eat? Because we'd love to check it out and share our thoughts here. Give us a comment below, and quickly! Our tummies are grumbling in anticipation.

A Note from the Foodies about our typical fair:
So, you may notice as you read our blog that we often order the same thing wherever we go. OK, maybe not quite, but we do often order similar things. Kristin has her caprese salads and mushroom dishes. Kate has her baked goat cheese and things with tofu. Well, readers, we wanted to let you know that this is absolutely intentional. A) We love those things, so why not order what you love? And, B) It is a lot easier to compare apples to apples than it is to compare apples to comquats. So, we like to order similar things to have a good sense of how to compare them. Just wanted to let you in on that little secret. Bon appetit!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Gastronomic Excursion... Columbus, Ohio

I can't think of a better way to celebrate a birthday than to go to Columbus, Ohio and eat my way through the city. So, that is basically what we did. I mean, we spent time with our friends as well, but really, we ate, and ate, and ate. Here's a snapshot of where we ate, what I had, and why you should go there and check it out!

The Eateries

Dirty Franks

That's right! Dirty Frank's hot dogs. I have blogged on this establishment before with mixed reviews, but Paul was pumped to go back, and who am I to keep anyone from a craving?

I did order the Chicago Dog this time, as I noted I would in my previous post, and was happy that I did. It was good, I'm not gonna lie. My other dog was alright, but I should have heeded my previous advice. I really don't like their vegetarian coney sauce. It just doesn't taste that good to me. So, NEXT time, I will make sure to order only non-coney sauce dogs. Noted.

But, this place continues to be a cool spot. It is definitely a dive. Its tiny. You are going to have to wait. But, I think it is for sure worth it in the end. And, why would I keep a place that my husband loves from him? I wouldn't.

Northstar Cafe

We had a breakfast meeting at Northstar Cafe. There are several locations in the city and we were visiting the Clintonville one. This was my recommendation because I knew Paul would like the food here. I kept describing it as food like Food Dance but cheaper. Plus, any chance to have their fresh squeezed orange juice, which I am fairly certain is the best you can get, I will take.

Paul ordered the turkey and sweet potato hash and I had the breakfast burrito. We were both very pleased with our choices. The burrito was stuffed with roasted vegetables and eggs. Plus, their house-made salsa is incredible.

Definitely a spot to check out for breakfast or lunch while in Columbus!

Smokey's BBQ

So, the eating continued and we met our friend, Dan, for lunch at Smokey's. I will be honest, I wasn't really that hungry, having stuffed myself with the Northstar burrito, but, I was a trooper and managed to eat something.

Smokey's is also a micro-brewery. And, I was excited to see a DELICIOUS sounding beer on the menu. In fact, it was called Katie's Summer Wheat (though I did not spell my name that way when I was Katy, but that's not the point). Get this, it was a summer wheat WITH Michigan cherries. I love fruit beer. So, total score! But, they were out (WHAT!?!), so I had another of their brews instead, which wasn't bad.

I ordered their smoked wings and only ate 5 of them (see I was good). The smoked wings were EXCELLENT! They smoke a lot of things there, which is probably good since they are called Smokey's, but these were fantastic. The sauces were a nice compliment. But, the wings had such great flavor, they really didn't need any sauce.

Vino Vino

Another spot that has been blogged on before and continues to be my favorite spot in Columbus. I was concerned that the food would let me down since I have it so built up in my head. BUT, it sure did not. And, Paul now knows why I talk about this place all the time and compare any other baked goat cheese dish to theirs.

I will admit, I did not venture to get news things. I stuck to the ones I love. The chopped romaine salad and the baked goat cheese (of which I ordered a whole order for myself while the table shared another one). We also had the brie bruschetta for the table. And, everything was OUTSTANDING. Just like I remembered it. I was in heaven.

THEN, as if that wasn't enough. The chocolate flight (a standard on their dessert menu that changes every few months) was all about creme brulee! There was a white chocolate, a dark chocolate with cherries, and (my favorite) a milk chocolate with espresso. Holy cow! I would go out on a limb and say that this was the best dessert I have ever had. It was perfection from the first bite. I have never had a bad chocolate flight there, but this was their crowning glory!


Described by Brandlyn as "the Italian Chipotle", I had heard about, read about, and was excited about Piada. So, we had to grab lunch there. We couldn't miss it on this trip. And, I am kicking myself for not trying it on a previous trip.

You can choose a salad, pasta bowl, or a piada, which is like a super thing pizza crust used as a wrap. Then, just like Chipotle (or Qdoba for those with that loyalty) you choose your protein, sauce, veggies, cheese, etc. They have arugula, eggplant, feta, parmesan, mozzarella, and many more options. There are cold sauces (basil pesto) and hot sauces (pomodoro), so many choices. And, I am not sure you could make a bad choice here.

The quality of the ingredients was outstanding. OH, and I forget, just like at Chipotle, you can add a bit of starch to your wrap... but instead of rice in a burrito, you add a touch of spaghetti to your piada. GENIUS! This was, by far, the best fast food concept I have encountered, and Paul and I would seriously think about franchising in Kalamazoo if we could. They are only in Columbus so far. But, I believe there are 4 or 5 locations already, and a few more opening soon.

They also serve beer, wine, and peach bellinis. AND, dessert (which we did not try, but will on our next trip) is cannoli chips, which I understand is cannoli shell broken into chips served with the cream to dip it in. Again, genius.

So, long story short, drive to Columbus RIGHT NOW (if you aren't already there) and try Piada.

Cap City Diner

Cap City was one of my stand-bys when I lived in Columbus. Paul had not been able to check it out yet, and we needed a place for brunch. I sold everyone on brunch there when I said that instead of serving hot rolls, they serve hot SWEET rolls for brunch. So, reservations were made (which we didn't really need) and we were there.

I had yet another breakfast burrito. And, I can't compare it to the Northstar one, they are just too different. This one was great. Less stuffed with roasted vegetables and more about the delicious sauce it was drenched in. I had a clean plate by the end of that meal. And, I didn't even have the chorizo in mine.

Cap City is a fun spot. Styled like a classic diner but way updated. I have never had a bad meal there. They are great for dinner and for brunch. (Though their fresh squeezed orange juice paled in comparison to Northstar's. Just sayin').

Other culinary fun

Jeni's Ice Cream

You can't go to Columbus without having some Jeni's. And, Jeni's is now EVERYWHERE! It's exploded. And, good for them. So, we made our usual stop, but I tried a new flavor... Brown Butter Almond Brittle. WOAH! So good. Paired with the Salty Caramel (my server's recommendation), a winning combination. You just can't describe how good Jeni's is to someone who has never had it. The flavors are unique and well balanced. It is creamy. It is really some of the best ice cream in the world.

And, for all you Kalamazoo Foodies (other than Kristin and I), YOU CAN BUY JENI'S ICE CREAM BY THE PINT AT FOOD DANCE. Should I repeat that? I can. Seriously. They discovered it and have brought it here to share with you! Its a little pricey ($10 a pint) but an occasional splurge on something so outstanding is worth it.

Graeter's Ice Cream

And, yes, we got Graeter's too! We kind of had an excuse because I had a coupon for a free sundae for my birthday. And, really, it is hard to visit Columbus without visiting Graeter's too. I had Graeter's before I had Jeni's. So, while I, clearly, absolutely love Jeni's. Graeter's holds a special place in my heart. And, the chocolate chips are the best chocolate that I have tasted.

And, more good news for Kalamazoo Foodies... YOU CAN BUY GRAETER'S AT SOME AREA MEIJER STORES! So far, I have for sure seen it in the one on Gull Road. You have to get a kind with chips in it if you are a chocolate person. The chocolate is so rich and creamy. It melts when it hits your tongue. The flavors are a little more traditional, but here's something to know... Jeni (of Jeni's) got her ice cream start with Graeter's. That is where she learned her trade. So, they are intimately linked, but are two separate things that both deserve a spot in the foodie hall of fame!

P.S. Graeter's from Meijer is a little more affordable than Jeni's from Food Dance. But, you really should try both!

Trader Joe's

We love Trader Joe's. We love everything about it. And, we are sad that there isn't one closer to us. So, we made our usual pilgrimage to the Easton Trader Joes and loaded up on some essentials. We bought wine (of course). We bought some cheese. And, we bought some recommended items including Tofu Turkey Sausage and Soy Chorizo. Having tried both of them now... the chorizo is fantastic. Paul made an omelet with it the other day and it was great. The turkey sausage was pretty good, but the chorizo blew it out of the water.

But, I am sure most of you know the wonder that is Trader Joe's. Kalamazoo folks... you should help us get one here. You can join a Facebook group AND, you can submit a form on their website (find it here: http://www.traderjoes.com/about/location-requests-form.asp) requesting a store in your area. Maybe if we get more people to do that, we will finally get one. It would do SO WELL here in Kalamazoo. Join the fight!

Bert's Bakery Birthday Cake

My sweet husband ordered a birthday cake from Bert's Bakery (Almond Poppyseed, of course!). It traveled to Columbus with us, and we thoroughly enjoyed it there. Just thought I would share it and remind you of how great Bert's Bakery is. And, its right here!!!

Favorite Recipes

And, I made the Avocado and Feta salsa as well as a new favorite, Giada's Edamame and Cannelini bean salad for my friends. Both were big hits. And, both could not be easier. Try them both. You will not regret it!

So, that pretty much wraps up our total eat fest. Now, to find a few new places here in Kalamazoo! Keep suggestions coming. And, HAPPY EATING!

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