I absolutely love scones. LOVE them. So, when I went to visit a friend of mine in Columbus, Ohio, she mentioned a local bakery in Gahanna that had…scones. So, it only seemed natural that I go and check them out. I mean…scones for breakfast make any day better. Mark my words.
So, we headed into Gahanna and dashed through the rain into Bread Basket Family Bakery. Their mission: To make the best baked products possible. To serve our customers, our community, and our families to the best of our abilities. Seems noble enough. And, for a bakery that does everything…EVERYTHING…from scratch, well, it has to be good.
Myself and my two friends were set on scones, although contemplated a loaf of bread for a moment. Realizing we had much to do before heading back home, we opted just for the breakfast. Each of my friends got a chocolate chip scone. I opted for the strawberry cream cheese scone.
The one thing I absolutely loved about this bakery was the glass walls. Honestly, I could look back behind the counter and see the staff preparing the breads, the scones, the cakes…I could see it happening. I could see how the food was prepared and the people who were making it. No hidden kitchen in the back. It was out there and it was fascinating.
With scones in hand, we headed out with great anticipation to dive into them. I was informed the chocolate chip scones were awesome. The chocolate chips just melted away as you popped bits into your mouth. One of my friends got one with icing on it and she loved it. My strawberry and cream cheese scone was good…but it didn’t wow me. It might have been a texture thing. That being said, it was good. Delicious. And, despite the very large size of the scone…I ate every last bite of it. I kind of want to go back and try another kind…and maybe get some bread.
I’m very particular on scones. When I travel overseas, it’s my go-to breakfast for the most part. It’s filling, it’s delicious, it’s just…a warm piece of heaven that goes well with tea or coffee. Yes…scones are amazing. And the Bread Basket Family Bakery does a good job with their recipes. Good enough that I really want to go back and have another one…
That’s right. I am. But this is Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. After watching an episode of Man v. Food on Netflix one night, my roommate saw this place featured. After Adam Richman’s suggestion that everyone try the Bahama Mama sausage, Schmidt’s signature one, she knew we had to go next time we were in town. And, lucky us…we just happen to know people in Columbus.
Me? I totally wanted one of their half-pound cream puffs. Yes…you read that right…HALF A POUND OF CREAM PUFF!! They are known for them and I can tell why.
We went early on a Friday night to Schmidt’s, knowing that it is a really busy place on weekends. But, we got a table immediately and were given time to look over the menu before placing an order. The waitress was informed of my vegetarianism and immediately began pointing out what on the menu could be done for a vegetarian, depending on how strict one is. I am really strict when it comes to that, so anything with chicken broth was out, but there was still plenty out there.
I opted on the appetizer of Pretzel Nuggets with a side of the Potato Pancakes und Apple Sauce. To drink, I got the hot tea, which just happened to be served in what looked like a tube for a science experiment. It was different…and I love different.
The food was amazing. I absolutely fell iin love with the potato pancakes. The pretzel nuggets were perfect…crispy and chewy. The right texture. And the apple sauce had so much fresh flavor…it was delicious. I sampled a couple of sides from my roommate’s plate, as she opted for the big buffet, known as “The Autobahn.” The macaroni and cheese was delicious!! My roomate sampled a bit of everything…and the mild and hot versions of the signature Bahama Mama sausages, prefering the bite of the hot one to the mild. It may have still had a bit too much spice as soon she was just mixing the sausage in with her macaroni and cheese, but I give major kudos to her for stepping out of her usual comfort zone and trying something different!
And then came dessert. The half pound cream puff. As it wasn’t a Saturday or Sunday, we didn’t get the option for a specialty, but that was fine. Our choices were vanilla, chocolate, and peanut butter. My roommate went for chocolate. I wanted the original. The Vanilla Cream Puff. And when it was delivered…I was in dessert heaven. No, I didn’t eat it all then. I had maybe 1/3 of it and saved the rest of it for another time. Rich. Delicious. Creamy. The pastry was the perfect compliment to the creamy topping. Half a pound of deliciousness. I already crave another one.
So…if you find yourself passing through Columbus, Ohio and want to try out an awesome place to feast…check out Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant. It’s vegetarian friendly, despite it being meat-heavy and specializing in sausage. And the food is far and away some of the best to be served up anywhere.
And…save room for that cream puff. You know you want one!
Sometimes, grabbing food on the road can be difficult when you are a vegetarian. So many restaurants cater to the meat and potatoes crowd. If you aren’t a carnivore, well, have a salad and, perhaps, some soup…if we’re featuring one without meat in it today. Those soup of the day can be tricky as a lot of the cream-based one have cream of chicken soup in it anyway. So…what is a vegetarian to do?
There are some cities in this world that offer up quite the offering for the meat-eaters and the vegetarians alike. In Nashville, Tennessee, Taco Mamacita is one of those places.
Upon entering, it’s a friendly environment. The staff is cheerful and helpful. Drink orders are taken as you settle in, and when they are put on the table, you are asked if you’ve ever been there before. Since neither my roommate or I had, our waiter was really quick to offer suggestions. I love hearing what people who work there like to eat. If it’s good enough for them, well…it’s gotta be good enough for the general public, and foodies like myself.
Of course, I threw the monkey wrench into the circuits with the declaration that, “I’m a vegetarian.” Have no fear, my veggie-loving friends. Taco Mamacita has its own vegan menu. Not even kidding. An entire menu with vegan selections, all of which made it very difficult to choose one thing to have. In addition to that, they have gluten-free options as well. Could this place get any better?
If the chips and salsa were any indication…yes. Just enough spice to heat up the mouth without being uncomfortable, their salsa was the perfect consistency and the perfect heat. And…was it ever delicious!
My roommate and I placed our orders. She decided to start a Travel Channel war, and chose a pork taco, the Carnita, in honor of my chef hero, Anthony Bourdain, and a steak taco, the Royale, in honor of Adam Richman. Her side? The cilantro-spinach rice. She really is branching out these days!
As for me, I ordered off the vegan menu, a delicious order of the vegan enchiladas. These delicious treats are corn tortillas that were stuffed full of cilantro spinach rice, yellow corn, diced tomatoes, black beans and cilantro. They were liberally doused in their homemade salsa verde. They looked amazing when they came out. They tasted even better. I enjoyed every last bit…and splurged and got my favorite side with them – sweet potato fries.
Taco Mamacita is doing what more restaurants need to be doing. They are catering to the average diner, but also have separate menus for vegetarians/vegans and those with a gluten intolerance. What’s even better…they love it when these special cases come in. They enthusiastically grab the alternate menu and begin to make suggestions for the new diner. How awesome!
There are a lot of good restaurants in the Nashville area, but it’s going to be difficult to get me to go anywhere other than Taco Mamacita now. They serve up delicious food on top of everything else. It’s a place that needs to be on more people’s maps. Especially if you are craving a taco…and not those fast-food Taco Bell ones either. Real tacos. Real food. Really damn good.
When people think of Alabama, they think of barbecue, grits, okra, and maybe even collard greens. None of which I would touch with a ten-foot pole. Most people, when they travel through this state wouldn’t think they’d find this little gem of a restaurant, family owned, and operated, very Italian restaurant. Authentic Italian. Yes…here in Alabaster, Alabama.
I came to know about Joe’s Italian thanks to a good friend of mine who suggested it when I was home for the holidays one year. He and his family went there for dinner with friends as they were passing through and they fell in love with the food. I know why. Family recipes, family operated, family oriented, good, old-fashioned authentic Italian food. This isn’t Olive Garden or those chain Italian places. No…this is the real deal. This is the food that Giuseppe and Elvira Bertolone (Joe & Mamma) served when they opened up their first restaurant in California. It’s a family tradition…and so is their food.
The menu is authentic Italian. Pastas of every walk and flavor, paninis, soups, sandwiches, and yes…pizza! And because it’s Italian, plenty of options for a vegetarian. Always a plus!
Every other time I visited, I have gotten the eggplant parmesan. But I went for something different this time. The Spaghetti Aglio, Olio and Peperonicino (which I ordered with mushrooms and broccoli) sounded like spicy Italian goodness. I opted for the salad, rather than the soup, but my roommate ordered their tomato basil soup with her Tortellini al Pomodoro and I sampled it…delicious! Their salad, crisp and fresh!
Portions are big so come with a big, hearty Italian appetite. Savor the flavors, the atmosphere, the way the staff really wants to get to know you. And when you fill up on their delicious food, find a little more room for one of Mamma’s famous desserts. Keeping with tradition, we tried the cannoli…and it was different. Not as good as the one I had back home, but it was good. The prize however came on Mamma’s Sampler, a plate full of pieces of her homemade cakes. The Strawberry Cake is her most famous and the most popular for a reason. It was the most amazing cake I have ever had, and since I’m not big on cakes, that’s saying something. I even had a second sampling of that one.
Come hungry, leave full. That’s a good Italian motto. Even better…it’s a good Italian restaurant run by good people who really want to give you a good time and serve you a little bit of their history through their delicious food.
It doesn’t get any better than that. And I’ll be hard-pressed to find a better Italian restaurant anywhere where the food and desserts can leave you as full and satisfied as the story and the people who operate, run, and serve you there.
A little bite of Italy with big taste in an unexpected location – Alabaster, Alabama. It’s worth the trip.
In a world full of Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme’s…it’s a donut eat doughnut world out there. Everyone having their own claim to fame. Everyone having their own gimmick.
So, what makes Donut Joe’s, located in Pelham, Alabama, so special? I knew it had to be something when moments after pulling into the lot, it was filled and people were already streaming in. It’s a crazy, fast-paced, donut world inside and you gotta be quick to get in on the sugary treats that await.
The best way to sample anything at Donut Joe’s is to make your own dozen. It’s simple. You just look through there selection and choose what looks good, sounds good, or just looks interesting. I even treated myself to an entire order of their yeast donut holes. Yes…an entire serving. They melted the instant they hit my tongue. That’s some good donuts! My roommate tried one of their cinnamon twists, which I took a sample from and, hit-the-mark delicious.
I’m not the biggest donut eater. While I love them, they tend to be overly sweet. While these donuts, yes, do come frosted, glazed, and packed with sugar…they really are good. In fact, on top of my order of a dozen donut holes, I also found one of the most delicious donuts I have ever had the chance to eat. The blueberry donut – which was like eating a blueberry muffin…but taken to the next delicious level. I wish we had more of them waiting downstairs with what remained of the leftovers.
If you are needing a delicious breakfast treat, and just happen to be passing through the Birmingham, Alabama area, take the time to sing by Donut Joe’s. Treat yourself. Indulge a little. You only live once…might as well enjoy every cream-filled, glazed, frosted, cakey, delicious bite.
If you’re going for donuts…do it right. Eat at Joe’s. You won’t be disappointed. Just on a bit of a sugar rush. But every bite is worth it. Every sugary bite.
Nothing says “home” like a trip to The Depot, a little diner in between two railroad tracks in Helena, Alabama. When I go home to visit my family, this is the place to eat. The locals swear by it. And there is a reason people come back over and over again. Good, old-fashioned diner food in a really cool setting.
Is The Depot a vegetarian-friendly place to eat? No. I’m pretty certain the grilled cheese is grilled on the same grill as the meat. But…I’m a big fan of the BLT, no bacon, extra tomato, with the tater tots on the side. Good, old-fashioned, Southern comfort diner food. And my roommate, well, she goes there for the onion rings…hand battered, hot, big, and sweet. They are fabulous. The best around. Their food is what you would expect of a “greasy spoon” kind of diner, but it’s what I love. It’s the food I only wish small places where I lived served.
The atmosphere only lends to the food experience. The people who work there get to know you…especially if you go there often. They know your order before you place it. For example, my brother-in-law LOVES the buffalo chicken tender meal. It’s spicy. It makes him cry, but he loves it. And they know he wants it with extra ranch…because he also uses the dressing for his fries. This is what I’m talking about. Small town, big love, awesome food.
So…while very little on the menu could be served to me, a vegetarian…there is always something that can be made and just the onion rings or tater tots alone would be enough of a reason to stop in. Oh yeah…home town restaurants outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Good food, good service, good people…and most of all…more good times.
When I come in town…this is always my first stop and it always will be. Vegetarian friendly or not…it’s my go-to hometown, favorite place to go when I’m with the family. It’s like being at home…eating awesome comfort food…with good conversation over hot, hot onion rings and tater tots…and a sandwich of choice.
If you find yourself traveling through Birmingham…head to Helena, Alabama…go to The Depot…and taste the reason so many people continue to make this one of their traditions.
My roommate loves fish and chips. LOVES them. If we go to an Irish pub, I already know what she’s going to order. And we do love our Irish pubs. Oh yes…yes we do.
Interesting thing with Irish pubs when it comes to this my eating habits at these establishments…as a vegetarian pub grub isn’t always the easiest thing to navigate around. Honestly. It’s greasy, it’s fried, and not every pub offers much in the line of foods for vegetarians.
But almost every pub has something, be it a burger, a sandwich, a pasta, or a wrap, that incorporates portabella mushrooms. And that will do for this veggie-lovin’ girl!
We ventured off our normal pub routine in Louisville, deciding to give the others in the area a try. After all, while we are quite happy with our ‘home’ pub, it’s always good to branch out and see what else the Louisville area has to offer in the line of Irish pubs and the food they serve.
The Irish Rover came recommended to me ages ago by a co-worker at a law firm I used to work at, so I finally made my way down there. The building itself is just how I would picture a pub. On the inside, upon entering, you have the definite pub atmosphere, greeted by a large, fully-stocked bar. The tables are scored and scratched. The floor is wooden and showing signs of wear. Yes…this is a pub.
But the expanded rooms are not as dimly lit, and while the atmosphere is still pub-like, it’s a more family-friendly feel. Not that it’s a bad thing…just not how I picture a pub. But this blog isn’t a critique on architecture and interior design, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: their food.
The Irish Rover offers up a good selection, better than most pubs, for vegetarians. I had it down to a possible four choices: the Cashel Salad, consisting of lettuce, walnuts, Cashel blue cheese, cheddar cheese made near the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland, and dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette; the Veggie Gratin, a mix of eggplant, portabella mushrooms and other in-season vegetables, baked in a curried tomato chutney and topped off with parmesan, all served with toasted foccacia; the Veggie Sandwich, two thickly sliced pieces of homemade bread, filled with diced sautéed vegetables and melted cheddar cheese, served with a side of Irish chips; or the Portabella Sandwich, a large mushroom cap, topped with marinated, roasted red peppers and melted swiss cheese, served on a toasted bun with Dijon aioli and a side of Irish chips.
I love a good portabella sandwich, so I went with this option. However, since my body tends to despise being filled with fried foods, I substituted a side of fresh fruit for the Irish chips. And I got the Barry’s hot tea for my beverage.
While we waited for food, we were brought a basket of their homemade bread, a combination of white and soda bread. I’m an Irish soda bread fiend, so I dove right in. And it was good. It was VERY good. The white bread, while I only sampled a bite, was a bit sweet and still tasted of the yeast. I wasn’t a fan of it. And since I do bake my own breads, I can be a bit of a bread connoisseur and snob at times. It just wasn’t to my taste. But yes…more of that Irish soda bread, please!
The drinks and food arrived in good time. The portion sizes actually weren’t overwhelming, as I find to be the case at a lot of pubs. Everything was cooked to perfection, including my roommate’s fish, which fell apart when her fork would slice through it.
The portabella sandwich was good. The Dijon aioli spread was quite tasty, and a nice touch to the sandwich as a whole. The peppers grilled peppers and cheese worked well with the sweetness of the perfectly cooked portabella mushroom cap. It was just releasing its juices, which made for a dripping mess. But I eat these sandwiches with a fork and knife…always! The fruit I was given was fresh, ripe, and so good. I almost wanted to order another serving. Everything tasted really, really good and I was quite happy with the service, as I was given refills on my hot tea whenever needed.
I do admit though, a lot of amusement was taken at watching my roommate tackle a pint of Guinness. We had just watched an episode of No Reservations, where Anthony Bourdain went to Ireland. He had Guinness everywhere…so she figured…maybe it tasted better with food. She learned – it doesn’t. But seeing the faces she made while trying to knock it back with her fish and chips did offer up a nice bit of entertainment that afternoon.
The Irish Rover in Louisville, Kentucky does offer up a great menu of great pub grub and a nice selection for those who go meatless. That’s refreshing. However, don’t go in there expecting a classic pub atmosphere. What you find is more of a restaurant than pub.
And that’s okay…because their food comes with an Irish brogue and packed with flavor. It’s authentic Irish…without the run-down appeal of a pub. Great for a lunch out, but if you want to watch the rugby match choose your pub more wisely.
Come for the food and service…and you won’t be disappointed.
While I’ve already reviewed Toast on Market for their breakfast…I actually went there and enjoyed one of their lunches.
When I raved about their breakfast, the three egg omelet that I get every time I go there, I didn’t realize what a delicious treat I was missing out on by only limiting myself to fluffy stuffed eggs.
I returned to Toast on Market for lunch, and while breakfast is served throughout the day while they are open, I had a craving for some soup and a sandwich. I ended up ordering the caprese grilled cheese, which included sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, a light basil pesto all sandwiched between two slices of bread and pressed Panini stile. The grilled cheese comes with a bowl of their roasted tomato soup.
The soup is ornately given a touch of class with a swirl of oil and basil. The sandwich was oozing cheese and piping hot. Once the soup was stirred to incorporate the basil oil, I took my first taste of it. And while the texture was purely soup, the taste of it reminded me of a good pasta sauce. It had that bit of smoky flavor, just begging to be poured over el dente pasta noodles. It was good. It was damn good!
I took my time, savoring each bite of the sandwich. The cheese was mild, the tomatoes adding a bit of tang, and the basil pesto a touch of flavor. I’d break off pieces of the gooey sandwich, dip it in the soup and savor the flavors together. With the choice of cheese in the sandwich and the Italian flair to the tomato soup, it was a little slice of Italian heaven.
And it was gone far too soon.
With a name like Toast on Market, you expect and find great breakfast food there. But this restaurant also delivers on flavor and on quality with their lunch menu. The sandwiches aren’t just limited to grilled cheese. They offer up a hearty selection of meat-filled options, and for the vegetarian…a veggie sandwich as well. While those usually come with a potato salad, a pasta salad, or chips, one can substitute for either their tomato soup (I recommend this!) or their black bean soup (how very vegetarian friendly of them!) for only an extra $1.50. The lunch menu also boasts a large selection of salads to choose from, which can also be substituted as a side with the sandwiches for an extra $2.50.
It’s this type of service, this type of food, and this type of atmosphere that keep people coming back. And this is one of the reasons I continue to go there, and take people who come in from out of town with me.
Behold! I bring you the epicenter of mouthwatering treats. Not just a bakery, but a café as well. Ladies and gentlemen…I offer up Adrienne & Co.
Located in Jeffersonville, Indiana, I probably never would have even contemplated stopping in at this little bakery. Except they are the ones who bake up the scones for the HobbKnobb Roasting Company, and on a whim one Saturday, I went down there to order half a dozen of them. While there, I spotted their menus for their café…and their prices are unbeatable.
Only adding to my surprise was the quality of the food.
My roommate and I went into Adrienne & Co. on Valentine’s Day for lunch, to escape the onslaught of mushy-mushy, lovey-dovey going around our office. It was the greatest escape ever. We opted for an Italian meal. She decided to give the spaghetti a try. Me? I went for the gnocchi.
The portion sizes were perfect. The service was awesome. The bread was huge…but cooked just right. The crust had just a little crunch, the center was soft. The pasta was cooked to perfection. And their signature red sauce was beyond incredible. We had a short wait for our food, but, damn…was it ever worth it!
My first bite of gnocchi melted in my mouth. I couldn’t believe how tender the potato-y bits of pasta were. I couldn’t wait to stab another piece with my fork, mop up some of the red sauce and have another go at it. This was food porn on a plate. None of that sauce went to waste either. While I’m normally not one who takes bread and mops up sauce, I did here. Every bit of it. Nothing went to waste.
And despite having a pleasantly full stomach, keeping with the Italian theme, my roommate and I each indulged in a cannoli. She had never had a cannoli before and now I think she’s hooked. The mix of mascarpone and ricotta cheese in the middle…the sweetness of the fried pastry around it…and the chocolate chips…just blended and only wetted my appetite for more.
It was a good thing I was full.
I’m looking forward to venturing back to Adrienne & Co. in the near future. Every Thursday they offer 9¢ spaghetti. Yes…you read that right…9¢ spaghetti from 5-8 p.m. Refills, by the way, are only $0.99 for more spaghetti if that doesn’t fill you up! The prices are reasonable. And I think the next time I’m there for lunch, I’m giving one of their grilled sandwiches and some soup a try. With a delicious pastry for dessert, of course. Go hungry…leave full.
The food is worth the journey. The atmosphere is worth staying for. And you will savor every bite and leave no crumb behind.
There is this little café in downtown New Albany, Indiana that I love to take people when they come into town. Their hours are ideal for breakfast, brunch, or lunch only so it’s usually an early stop. But the food has always been super good.
I’m taking about Toast on Market. And the New Albany location is the satellite restaurant of the one that is located on Market Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.
And this is one of my favorite places to go…and to take people.
I have yet to see any of my friends, who admit to being picky eaters, walk away without falling in love with this place. The atmosphere is awesome. The servers are all very friendly. And the food…well, for me, the food beyond fantastic.
I have yet to find a place that makes a fluffier omelet. And you can build your own if you don’t feel adventurous enough to try the South of the Border, Mediterranean, or Atlantic. If you don’t want the garlic aioli sauce on your BLT scramble…no problem. If you don’t want “all that stuff” in your French toast…hey…they’ll be more than happy to serve it to you with only what you want. No request is too big, too small, or too weird. You get your food how you want it and that is a wonderful thing.
The fact that everything I’ve had there has been delicious speaks very highly of their products. One of my friends tried the lemon soufflé pancake, one of their signature flapjacks, and now she’s hooked. For the first time, I had their sugar-free caramel soy latte with my breakfast and it was one of the smoothest lattes I’ve ever enjoyed.
If you don’t like your American standards for breakfast/brunch/lunch…well, maybe this place isn’t for you. But don’t discredit it without trying it. I mean, the menu has four different types of grilled cheese to accompany a bowl of tomato soup. There are hot and cold sandwich offerings. French toast, eggs, pancakes…served up with different flavors, different toppings, different…from anything you would get at Waffle House, IHOP, or Cracker Barrel.
Why go to a chain when there is a local business that serves up far superior food of better quality for a better price in a far better atmosphere?
Never again for me, my friends. I’d prefer to eat at a local place. Thankfully, we have Toast on Market. And thankfully, they have the perfect ambiance and the perfect blend of food that blows those big pancake houses off my foodie map.
So…who wants to come into town to visit? I know this great breakfast place…