Category Archives: Restaurants

An Egg Sandwich that is Simple, and Absolutely Delicious!

No matter how you put it together, an egg sandwich is simple and absolutely delicious. It’s a whole meal in one neatly wrapped package. I’ve been enjoying egg sandwiches for a long time – since high school in fact. In those days it was an English muffin with an egg in one hand, and books in the other as I ran out the door to school. I think handheld meals are the best way to enjoy a healthy breakfast when pressed for time and let’s face it, there are so many variations and are so yummy! With Thanksgiving just around the corner, and recipe websites blitzing every holiday recipe known to mankind, I thought I would go a different route and offer a healthy breakfast alternative for you my wonderful readers. This is a two for one, as I’m also giving a shout out to one of my favorite coffee places here.

Recently I had an egg sandwich I can’t stop thinking about! It was at Fox in the Snow and not the kind you want to eat on the run. Instead, you want to sit and savor every bite with a steaming hot cup of coffee. Fox in the Snow http://www.foxinthesnow.com/ is a bakery/coffee shop here in Columbus, Ohio. Cute name right? It’s located in an old garage and has a cool urban feel – which for me is a plus! It doesn’t hurt that the owners are Brooklyn transplants – something this New York girl was happy to find out! The menu is simple – great pastries and great coffee. I went in last week for a quick bite. A friend told me about their egg sandwich and said it was a must have so I ordered one with a hot mocha and as I waited listened to the album playing in the background.

The fluffy egg soufflé which is so light and rich sits on top of fresh crusty bread. It is topped with cheese (which I think is gruyere or Swiss), arugula, and a Dijon spread. (It ordinarily comes with bacon but not for this girl) Since they are a little far from where I live, I had to come up with something to tide me over until my next visit, so I decided to try my hand at making a lower fat version.

That was last Friday and I have made two of them since! Of course it’s not exactly like the one I had at Fox in the Snow. However, it has all of the components and is quite delicious in its own right and something I don’t feel guilty having a couple times a week. I think you’ll really enjoy it too!

The Sandwich
1 ciabatta roll or other fresh roll of your choice lightly toasted
3 to 4 egg whites*
1 slice of good melting cheese (gruyere, Swiss, or white cheddar)
handful of arugula
salt and pepper to taste

The Spread
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (use your favorite brand, I like Maille)
2 teaspoons Hellmann’s mayonnaise (you must use Hellmann’s)

First prepare the spread by mixing the mustard and mayo together in a small bowl, and set aside.

Place a small nonstick frying pan on the stove on medium heat. Spray it with canola oil or add 1 teaspoon of butter if you wish. Crack 3 to 4 eggs in a bowl and discard the yolks (or put them in a container for later use). Whisk the egg whites quickly with salt and pepper to taste and place in the prepared heated pan.

Lightly toast your roll while preparing your omelet. After you flip the egg, place the cheese on top to melt while the other side is cooking.

To build the egg sandwich, spread both pieces of the bread with the mustard, then place the egg with cheese on top, the arugula, and finally the top of the bread.

*You could use two whole eggs if you prefer. Crack them in a bowl, add a dash of milk, a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk till fluffy then continue with the recipe)

Did my Husband and I Invent the Food Crawl in the 80’s? I Think we did!

If you search for the term “food crawl” on the internet you won’t find too much information. However, on the Food Network, Cooking Channel and in many culinary magazines you hear and read about it quite frequently.

I would define a food crawl as follows: where one goes on a culinary tour to different restaurants to sample food. For example, you can do one in search of the best restaurant, or specific food such as coffee crawl, or taco crawl. There is also a progressive food crawl where you might have drinks and appetizers at one restaurant, dinner at another, then dessert and coffee at different location. Living in NYC, food crawls are a part of daily life. Any big city will afford you this opportunity. My husband and I were doing food crawls since we met without even knowing it – we’re such trend setters! More often than not, we had dinner one place and dessert at another. Recently we were in NYC and while waiting to be seated at Lombardi’s Pizza (just had to get in another pizza plug!), my husband showed up with a tray of Melissa’s Cupcakes for us to nosh on while we waited 45 minutes for our table! After dinner, we went to Rice to Riches for rice pudding for dessert. That was a food crawl too.

When my husband and I first met, I remember one time we decided to walk to dinner from  his apartment on West 53rd and 8th down to the East Village (around 10th street) where we would end up at a place called PizzaPizza. It was about an hour walk to get there. We were starving so we decided to stop in at Luigi’s Pizza across the street and share a slice before we headed downtown – just the fuel we needed! On our way, we passed so many pizza places it seemed there was one on at least every other block! Somewhere along the way we stopped in at one of the Ray’s* Pizza places just for fun. We each took a bite but didn’t really like it. It was very cheese heavy so we tossed it and kept walking. Then we came across Lazarra’s Pizza on 38th street By the time we got to PizzaPizza, we were very happy to sit down, and very ready to order a pizza! In the end, Luigi’s was the best of the night and we had invented the food crawl!

So why am I telling you all of this? Saturday my family did a local pizza crawl in honor of National Pizza Week and so that I could share it with you. We chose 3 places that are in the top 25 here in Columbus. It was my son’s last day of winter break so we chose pizza places near the bus station that would get him back to college. Ironically, they are in the top 4 of that list! First stop, Harvest Pizzeria in German Village. We have been there before and absolutely love their pizza. We thought just like with Luigi’s we should start out with something tried and true – just in case! We ordered two pies – one with mushrooms and the other vegetable. The pizzas are baked in a wood burning oven and the crust was light and delicious with just the right chew and char on the crust. It’s not NY pizza, but that’s more than okay, it doesn’t have to be. It’s unique and stands on its own. I always get the almond pesto on the side, just to drizzle on top – so good, I started making it at home! We’re Harvest Pizza lovers in my house as you can tell!

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Harvest Pizzeria in German Village

An hour later we headed over to Yellow Brick Pizza in Old Town East. We have heard so much about it, we wanted to give it a try. We ordered a regular cheese pie so that toppings didn’t get in the way of taste. This was my husband’s favorite place of the day. It was a good solid pie. The pizza had a nice crispy crust, just the right amount of cheese, and a great tasting sauce. What more can you ask for? Tater tots apparently because they’re on the menu with a variety of toppings! Of course we got those too! They were good, probably better with toppings and a drink but we were there for the pizza.

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Yellow Brick Pizza in Olde Town East

Last but not least was Bono Pizza. Bono Pizza was my white whale (you know as in Moby Dick – the one that got away)! About 6 years ago we passed a small little place in the Short North that had a sign in the window – Bono Pizza to go. They were closed but I wrote down their number so I could get their hours and pick up a pie to try another time. I went there again a couple months later and the sign on the window said sorry, ovens are out. 3rd time will be a charm – right? A few weeks later I went back and they were closed; they had moved to a new location. I forgot about them for a while, then one day I was driving my son to baseball and saw a sign for Bono Pizza. I quickly pulled into the parking lot. They were located in a convenience store and had pies to go after 5pm. We missed them again!

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Bono Pizza in Grandview

This past summer, while in the area, I saw a sign that said we’ve moved. For some reason I felt compelled to follow the signs to their new location – I didn’t want pizza but wasn’t giving up. I found them located in an apartment complex and yes they were closed for lunch but now I knew where they were. It’s an odd location, very small, and less than fancy but there’s something warm about the place. Saturday, I finally caught the white whale! We dropped Jarred off at the bus, did a few errands and headed over for dinner (of course I called them on the way to make sure they were open!). I couldn’t believe after 6 years we finally did it. Was it worth it? Read on to find out!

The restaurant is located in an apartment complex which is a little unusual but seems to work. One thing we loved was the red and white checkered tablecloths. It reminded us of NYC pizza places. We ordered three 10 inch pies and loved the Margherita pizza with extra garlic they call The Caroline. It really was delicious. The dough was crisp and tender and had a nice wood charred flavor, add in the fresh mozzarella – it was a winner! As for the other two, we just ordered the wrong pies. So we are going to judge solely based on the Margherita pie which was amazing.

End of day results… You can see why all three are among the top 25 best pies in Columbus. All different, all very good in their own right. Ethan and I selected Harvest Pizza as our favorite. My husband’s favorite was Yellow Brick Pizza. Bono was a top contender but I think at a disadvantage, it was the last pie of the day, we were a little full, and I guess after 6 years, my expectations were just too high. Jarred’s favorite was Zen Cha Tea (no pizza), but that’s another story! All in all it was a really fun day. I finally caught the white whale, we had some great food, and so many laughs along the way and I would go back to any of them in a heartbeat! Can’t wait until next year’s National Pizza Week! I have so much more to share, more recipes, more stories, I may not be able to wait! In the meantime, check out the places I’ve mentioned plus these I have been to (also in the top 25) … Mikey’s Late Night Slice, Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, and Borgata Pizza Cafe. Only 19 more to try!

*There are dozens of pizza places with the name Ray in it all claiming to be the first and one and only original. There are often debates as to whether they are related in some way. Off the top of my head, there is Ray Bari, Original Ray’s, Famous Original Ray’s, Ray’s, I think there is even a World Famous Ray’s Pizza. Check out this blog to find out more about Ray’s pizza and for a funny clip on Seinfeld about Ray’s thepizzasnob.net/2012/07/08/a-slice-of-new-york-city-the-real-rays-pizza-5/

A Day in Brooklyn… Sal’s Pizzeria

At first you might wonder how this classifies as one of my favorite things on a food blog. It won’t take you long to see why.

In 1989 I moved back to Brooklyn for a few years and shared an apartment with my sister. I’d have to say they were really fun years, probably some of the best in my life. We lived on Court Street in what is known as the Cobble Hill/Carrol Garden’s area. Back then, the neighborhood was rich in Italian culture and walking home from the train at night from the hustle and bustle of the city was like really coming home. You could pass by the fish store and the owner would wave to you from the window, Jim or Andy from the fruit market ran out to tell you what came in fresh that day, and the smell of bread from the many bakeries permeated the air in the street.

Saturday was laundry day and my sister and I would walk a few blocks to the laundromat put our clothes in a machine and walk across the street to Sal’s Pizzeria for a couple slices of pizza while we waited for the clothes to wash. In my mind, this is some of the best pizza there is. My sister and I love pizza, always have but it has to be really good pizza. Back then no one worried about eating too many carbs, or food allergies, or about eating dairy – you just ate and enjoyed. In addition to their pizza, the pasta is so fresh and light – don’t even get me started on how delicious the eggplant parmesan is!

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In April, we were in NY and had what we called a “Brooklyn day” with my sister and her kids. We try to do that whenever we can. Each time we do, having a slice at Sal’s is a must. Sal’s son John is the owner now. Both of his parent’s have since passed away. The restaurant was opened in 1957 and his father bought it in 1970 when John was just 10 years old. He told us how cool he and his siblings thought it was that they owned a pizza place. They would go there after school, eat there, do their homework there, then he and his brother and sister helped serve dinner. He still lives around the corner. This guy is the salt of the earth and whenever we go back to Brooklyn and eat at his restaurant (which is every couple of years) he always remembers us and that is something special; especially since we haven’t lived there in over 20 years.

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Going there really is like coming home. The pizza is just as delicious now as it always was. While the area around his restaurant has changed, the high quality and integrity of their food remains the same. On this visit we sat in the extension of his restaurant, Mama Maria’s named after his mother. We ordered a delicious black kale salad with pine nuts, and wish I had the recipe for the dressing – one of the best salads I have ever had! Of course we had to have pizza so we ordered a plain cheese pie. In addition to that we had the bruschetta pizza filled with sweet teardrop tomatoes and garlic. My son ordered fettuccine Alfredo that was so light and fresh with just the right amount of everything. Finally we had to have a cannoli but sadly found out that it’s no longer on the menu. It was his mother’s secret recipe. Instead he offered us tiramisu – who could say no to that? It was light, creamy, and had just the perfect hint of cocoa, espresso and cinnamon.

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Now we are into the next generation of our family. As you can see, they love it as much as we do and always look forward to going back. With the changing landscape of Brooklyn, Sal’s Pizzeria is a refreshing historic gem. I only hope the gentrification of this area can appreciate what they have and support him. I know I’m doing my part all the way from Ohio!  Sal’s Pizzeria/Mama Maria’s 307 Court Street, Brooklyn, New York. 718-852-6890

Lunch with a Friend at Harvest Pizza

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I haven’t quite figured out how to file this post in the eating out section of my blog, but don’t want to let that stop me from posting. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and I will figure it out sometime this week!

Today was a really great day. I had lunch with a good friend, the sun was shining, and it was the perfect temperature outside. Considering there was a snow storm on Saturday, the weather was miraculous and much needed. To top it all off, we ate at the new Harvest Pizzeria in Clintonville. Now if you’ve read about me in my blog you know two things about me. One, pizza is one of my favorite foods, and two, I’m from New York. That being said, the combination makes for one very tough pizza critic! I will not eat mediocre pizza – period. It’s so bad that before I moved here, I taught myself how to make pizza. I read books about pizza, watched shows about how to make it and even went to my local pizza place in NY to ask some of their secrets. That being said, Harvest makes some of the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had. The crust is thin and crispy, the dough is light and has just the right chewiness and the sauce a perfect amount of spices. I always get the “get creative” which is a make your own combination. Today was red sauce, goat cheese, artichokes, garlic and arugula – pizza perfection. I also had the side salad which I love. It’s just a couple of dollars to add to your pizza and just the right size. I’m so glad they have opened this second location, I suppose I can say I now have two favorite pizza places in Columbus! If you live in Columbus, you have to try it – take my word for it!