Author Archives: paulboyer

Review: Flipside Burger Easton

Recently B. and I had a doctor’s appointment at a practice located at Easton. Since we were famished and knew we were going to go grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s later, we decided to get a late lunch from a restaurant we’d never tried before. The restaurant B. suggested was FlipSide Burger.

FlipSide Burger is a small Ohio chain (only five restaurants; four are in the Cleveland area) that’s trying to be a somewhat upscale casual eatery that offers interesting takes on traditional pub grub (burgers, salads, appetizers, sandwiches) and a fair selection of adult beverages.

The appearance of the restaurant was a somewhat Spartan sport bar, with flatscreen televisions scattered throughout the establishment displaying various games. The restaurant has an outdoor patio adjacent to the surface parking lot off the street; it’s reachable through a nifty floor-to-ceiling sliding patio door. All in all, a decent, if not particularly inviting, environ in which to enjoy our food.

With no further delay, let’s get down to business and talk about the food!
We started by ordering beverages. B. got her usual ice water; I decided to try FlipSide’s take on my favorite mixed drink (the Bloody Mary), their BLT Mary-Tini ($10). This is a Bloody Mary in a martini glass topped with a crispy bacon garnish; the vodka (a double pour, apparently; this puppy was good and strong) is a house-infused Applewood smoked bacon vodka. Its flavor was nicely bacony, boozy and “bloody”, but I’d probably get a good strong ale next time.

flipside_bloodymary

We chose a single appetizer to share between us, the Chef’s Made Chili ($6). This was a sizable tureen of chili; its liquid component was a bit thin but very flavorful, and it was dotted with rustic-cut chunks of carrot and celery as well as beans and the hero of the dish, deeply seasoned fork-tender braised beef. The chili was topped with an aged white cheddar cheese and minced chives. We agreed that this was a very good chili, neither too bland nor too spicy. The split bowl left us with a warm feeling in the belly yet ready for the main event – our burgers.

flipside_chili

B. ordered FlipSide’s signature burger, the One Red Door Burger ($10.50). This sandwich has seven ounces of medium-rare Ohio grass-fed beef topped with crispy shallots and brie cheese on a toasted brioche bun, with lettuce, tomato, onion and a bacon-date aioli on the side. We agreed that this was a fine choice, and easily one of the better burgers we’ve eaten in Columbus.

flipside_onereddoorburger

I decided to take one for the team, so I selected the Sandwich of the Month, which was the Thanksgiving Turkey Burger. This sandwich consisted of seven ounces of well-done but still juicy all-natural ground turkey, stuffing, house-made mushroom gravy and crispy shallots on a toasted brioche bun with cranberry chutney served on the side. I’ve made something similar myself at home (Thanksgiving Burgers with Cranberry Mayo), and this just as good – instead of putting stuffing IN the burger itself, it topped the burger, and the mushroom gravy gave the stuffing the savory moistness it would’ve otherwise been missing. B. agreed that it was, indeed, a good sandwich.

flipside_thxgivingdayburger

As a side with our burgers, we ordered the Triple Cooked Fries with Truffle Oil and Grana Padana cheese ($6) to share between us. The fries were crisp, hot, and tasty, but lacked even the slightest hint of truffle aroma or flavor. If truffle oil had touched these pommes frites, it had been chased through at a full gallop. Still good, but without the truffling, we might as well have gotten the plain salt-and-herb fries ($4).

flipside_trufflefries

Our verdict? A pub that does a few things and does them well. Worth a second visit, absolutely.

If you’d like to go:

Flipside Easton
3945 Easton Station
Easton Town Center

Tel: 614-472-FLIP

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

B. had a hankering one weekend for an apple bundt cake. Now, our go-to apple bundt cake has always been the Jewish Apple Cake, but she wanted something more interesting this time, so she found this recipe. It turns out that this cake is even better than the Jewish Apple Cake, and looks like something a professional bakery might sell. I’m not the only one who loves this recipe — thousands of rave reviews can’t be wrong.

This is about as foolproof as it gets; I made absolutely no changes to the recipe and it came out perfectly.

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
recipe courtesy of Southern Living

CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

APPLE CAKE BATTER:
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 1 1/2 lb.)

PRALINE FROSTING:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Preparation

1. Prepare Filling: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla; beat just until blended.

2. Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Stir together 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 3 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples and pecans.

3. Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan. Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of pan. Swirl filling through apple mixture using a paring knife. Spoon remaining apple mixture over Cream Cheese Filling.

4. Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).

5. Prepare Frosting: Bring 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 Tbsp. milk to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly. Pour immediately over cooled cake.

Review: Yocco’s, The Hot Dog King (Allentown, PA)

There are places that bring back memories, good or bad. Allentown has, and had, a number of restaurants (okay, grease pits) that were known to and loved by most Allentonians. Sadly, most of these are gone now (Vince’s Cheesesteaks, anybody? J’s Hoagies? Take-A-Taco? Bueller?… Bueller?…)

One that’s still around, and as iconic as ever, is Yocco’s, the Hot Dog King. Owned by the Iacocca family (yeah, THAT Iacocca family), the locals had trouble pronouncing their name correctly, so they named their shops after the locals’ unintentional mangling of “Iacocca”. Now there’s a bit of useless trivia…

Yocco's Menu

It looks like Yocco’s has a total of six location in the Lehigh Valley. The Original shop at 625 Liberty Street has short hours and doesn’t sell any food that requires the use of a deep-fryer, alas; still, you can get anything else on their menu, which includes various permutations on burgers, sausage sandwiches, a fairly authentic steak sandwich (remember, they’re just an hour north of Philly via the Northeast Extension), and of course their signature offering, the Yocco’s Hot Dog.

Yocco's Hot Dogs

Yocco’s dogs were, and are, my favorite take on what Ohioans and other Midwesterners refer to as the Coney Dog. A Yocco’s Hot Dog consists of a Hatfield brand hot dog, grilled well-done on a flat-top grill, in a soft steamed hotdog roll with spicy brown mustard, chopped white onions, and a shmear of Yocco’s Chili Sauce. The cheese dog is the same, with a slice of white American cheese inserted beneath the dog where it melts nicely. B says, and I concur, that the regular (non-cheese) dog is the better of the two; we’ve been out here in the land of cheddar-topped cheese coneys, so American cheese on a coney dog seems… weird.

Yocco's Bag

When I stopped at Yocco’s last time we were in Allentown, I got what many people refer to as Yocco’s Allentown Traditional Lunch. That gut bomb consists of three Yocco’s Hot Dogs (with or without cheese), an order of three golden crispy lightly-salted deep-fried pierogis, and a bottle of chocolate milk. Yum.

Yocco's Allentown Traditional Lunch

Speaking of yumminess, I’ve only ever gotten deep-fried pierogis as a side order with fast food in and around Allentown. Nowhere else seems to offer that. Given a choice between limp, bland French fries or crispy golden pierogis, I’ll take the pierogis every time.

Yocco's Pierogies

If you’re ever passing through Allentown, check ‘em out. They’re definitely worth the stop.

First Look: TOM + CHEE Soft Opening

Well, it certainly has been quite a while, hasn’t it?

Sorry for our extended absence, but Ms. Foodie’s had some health issues (again) and while attending to her needs I’m afraid website updates have gone by the wayside…

HOWEVER, today I chanced upon the soft opening of the new Tom + Chee restaurant — the second one in the Columbus area — on Hilliard-Rome Road at the location of the late unlamented Ruby Tuesday’s.

I must say, it’s a vast improvement over that corporate abomination. B and I have never gotten a decent meal at a Ruby Tuesday’s (or TGI Friday’s, or sundry other corporate chain-hell restaurants, for the most part; Olive Garden excepted, but that’s a story for another time).

As I said, I was running errands for B, who remains in the hospital recuperating. My errands brought me to the Meijer’s on Hilliard-Rome Road and the Bath & Body Works, and thus my fate was sealed — I had to pass by what I had thought was a soon-to-be-opened Tom + Chee restaurant. Imagine my surprise when I saw PEOPLE inside, buying food! Needless to say, I was lured in by the promise of fancy-schmancy grilled cheese sandwiches and their mutant offspring.

Exterior of TOM+CHEE (Hilliard, OH)

Upon entering the premises, I called B and informed her where I was and that they were in fact holding a soft opening at that time. She told me to get whatever I wanted, and to get her a particular sandwich (more on that in a moment), so I did as she instructed. I ordered two different sandwiches; one I was sure she’d partake of (the Tom + Chee plus bacon), and one I was sure she’d never touch in a million years (the Armagoetta). I also ordered the creamy tomato-basil soup. B’s special request was the Barbara Blue, a “grilled cheese donut sandwich”.

Menu at TOM+CHEE (Hilliard, OH)

Service was quick and accurate, surprising for a soft launch (usually the soft launches experience glitches and serve to troubleshoot problems with their ordering, cooking, and serving processes). Bravo, Tom + Chee. 🙂

Seating at the Hilliard-Rome location is ample both indoors and out; the patio out front offers some protection from sun and weather. Orders (at least during the soft opening) are brought out to patrons’ tables by the staff.

Seating at TOM+CHEE (Hilliard, OH)

Now, to the sandwiches themselves. B’s chosen poison was the Barbara Blue ($3.95). That sandwich consists of a glazed donut cut in half with the inside surfaces of the donut becoming the grilled outside of the sandwich (the “pieces of bread”, so to speak). Between those pieces of glazed evil yeasty sweet “bread” was a blueberry compote, a generous portion of ham, and slices of brie cheese. ‘Twas messy indeed, but quite tasty — almost a “dessert sandwich”, though it retained a satisfying savory note thanks to the ham and brie.

Barbara Blue Grilled Cheese Sandwich from TOM+CHEE

Second to be consumed was the Tom + Chee ($4.95) (plus bacon for $2 extra). This was also a generously-sized (though not ridiculously huge, like Melt’s) sandwich comprised of two slices of grilled sourdough bread surrounding fresh large-diced tomatoes, garlic seasoning, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese. The bacon as requested for the sandwich is added in the form of a copious quantity of small pieces of crispy pig belly that distribute the bacony goodness throughout the sandwich instead of being concentrated in a few strips that might accidentally be pulled out during a bite (thus denying the bacon to the rest of the sandwich). This was also quite good, especially paired with the Creamy Tomato Basil Soup, a slightly chunky concoction that’s perfect for dipping any one of these sandwiches.

Tomato, Cheese and Bacon Grilled Cheese from TOM+CHEE

Finally, we came to the Armagoetta ($7.95). What can you say about it that Adam Richman hasn’t already said on Man vs Food Nation? Well, for starters, it’s not insanely spicy — you can actually eat it and taste the ingredients rather than go running for the nearest pitcher of milk. It’s a slice of sourdough and a slice of rye surrounding a thick slice of goetta (a Cincinnati specialty not unlike scrapple, that uses the squeals & heels from your basic swine combined with pin oats; scrapple is similar but uses cornmeal as its grain base), a liberal slathering of sliced spicy cherry peppers, fried onions, sweet hot mustard, and pepperjack cheese. I enjoyed it greatly, since no single ingredient overpowered anything else in the sandwich and it was a well-balanced sandwich; I’d order it again in a Cincinnati minute.

Armagoetta Grilled Cheese Sandwich from TOM+CHEE

My verdict? If their soft launch is any indicator, they should do well in Columbus as a less-expensive and less pretentious alternative to a certain Short North grilled cheese emporium. Their offerings are original, tasty, well-conceived, and most importantly, REASONABLY SIZED AND PRICED.

Tom + Chee will be opening officially on Friday, July 18th. They’re located at 1844 Hilliard-Rome Road, Columbus, OH. Hours will be 10:45AM – 9PM Sun-Thu and 10:45AM – 10PM Fri/Sat.

Tutti Frutti, So Yagööty!

yagootplated

We were invited — nay, challenged — by the nice folks at Yagööt to use their wonderful frozen yogurt creatively.  Yagööt’s specialty is their tart Original Flavor frozen yogurt.  They also make sweet yogurts; their strawberry and their caramelized pineapple are fantastic, and they offer a variety of other flavors which change regularly.  Yagööt was founded in 2008 by the owners of Cincinnati’s Busken Bakery; they expanded into the Columbus market about two years ago with a scoop shoppe at Easton Town Center, and have been a huge success. Personally, we prefer it to the other yogurt shops in town – their yogurt contains a little bit of fat (1%, as opposed to the non-fat offerings at most others), so it has a creamier mouth feel. We’ve talked about them before on this blog, and we’re happy to say they haven’t changed one bit since our first visit, except that they now offer about 6 different flavors in take home pints in addition to their regular menu of soft serve creations. Although we got at least one of each flavor available, we settled on our three favorites that we felt would be complimentary to both the toppings and to each other (thus, the Tutti Fruitti moniker – because of the “many fruit” flavors that make up the bulk of the dessert’s flavor).

yagootpints

Now, back to the challenge:

We finally decided to make petite frozen yogurt cakes, which we dubbed “Tutti Frutti, So Yagööty!”.  We made three varieties — Strawberry with Oreo Crust and Homemade Milk Chocolate Magic Shell with their Yomance topping; Caramelized Pineapple with Graham Crust, Cajeta (Goat’s Milk Caramel) and their Alligator Crunch topping; and Original Flavor with Granola Crust, Honey and Candied Pecans. Since these are tiny little cakes (they pack a lot of flavor in a small package), we’re considering three of them a modest dessert. We tried, for the most part, to use toppings that are unique to Yagööt, so technically the only ingredients that would require an outside trip are the graham crumbs, the butter, and the sugar. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to combinations of ingredients – we also played around with the idea of doing an oreo crust with pistachio yogurt, topped with a peanut butter magic shell, some mini peanut butter cups, and a few Heath sprinkles.

Before you start, make sure you have the tools for the job.  We used a Mini Cheesecake Pan from Chicago Metallic (see link below to purchase one for yourself – this is no unitasker) to form the ice cream cakes, and to freeze them. Like tart pans, they have a removable bottom metal plate that allows the cakes to pop right out of their forms. We also used parchment paper to prevent the frozen yogurt from sticking to the pan’s walls during the freezing/forming process, which would ruin the finished product.  With no further ado, here’s the step-by-step to make all of these little gems:

yagootpancollage

1.  Make the crusts.  Each crust used the same ratio of crumbs to melted unsalted butter — 1/2 cup of crumbs, 2 Tbsp butter.  For the graham crust, mix in 1/4 cup granulated sugar before adding the melted butter.  For the Oreo crust, pulverize 12 whole cookies.  For the granola crust, pulverize 4 crunchy granola bars (2 pouches).  You can use your food processor or “mini prep” chopper, but I find doing it the manual way to give better control over particle size, and to be a lot more fun.

yagootcrusts

2.  Press approximately 1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp  of crust into the bottom of each tin.  Use a shot glass or something similarly flat-bottomed and small to compact the crumbs.  Place the entire pan in the refrigerator for 45-60  minutes to give the crumbs time to set properly.

3.  Cut 12 strips of parchment paper long enough to encircle the inner wall of each tin, and wide enough to rise out of each tin by at least half an inch.

4.  Take the pan out of the refrigerator and get the frozen yogurt one flavor at a time from your freezer.  (Note: if you have a freezer that can reach -10 to -20F, store the Yagööt there.  It’ll be, and stay, more solid.)  Insert a loop of parchment into a tin and drop a scoop of Yagööt inside the paper loop.  Press down on the frozen yogurt with the bottom of a shot glass, preferably one that’s been chilled in the freezer.  You’ll do this to spread out the yogurt to occupy the width of the tin with the parchment between the yogurt and the walls of the tin.  This will let you properly shape each cake.

(Note:  I put the pan back in the freezer after each flavor and allowed the already-filled tins to freeze for 20-30 minutes before filling the next four tins with the next flavor.)

Repeat until all twelve tins are insulated with parchment and filled with Yagööt frozen yogurt.  Place pan back in freezer and allow to freeze at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

yagootparchment

5.  Make the homemade Magic Shell[tm] topping.  (Recipe below.)  If you’re feeling particularly lazy, you can just go to the store and buy it off the shelf.  It’s not the same, though.  Trust me.

yagoottoppings

6.  Take the pan out of the freezer again and top each mini Yagööt cake with the appropriate topping(s).  We figured that by using something sticky (honey, caramel, magic shell), it would let the toppings stick to the yogurt better. We were right. When using the Magic Shell[tm], distribute the Yomance topping on the cake before the Magic Shell solidifies.  You’ll have a ten second window while the topping is still liquid.  Once all the toppings are in place, put the pan back in the freezer one last time.  Allow the toppings to solidify for at least 30 minutes.

yagoottopped

7.  Remove pan from freezer.  To serve individual cakes, simply push up on the bottom of each individual tin (there’s a metal disc at the bottom of each tin) to pop out each cake.  Using a sharp knife, separate the metal disc from the bottom of the crust (it’s very buttery, so that shouldn’t be difficult to do).  Remove the parchment ring, and serve.

yagoot3cakes

Homemade Magic Shell

150g finely chopped chocolate (milk, dark, white — your choice)
100g refined coconut oil (I used Louana brand)
Pinch of salt

Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a Pyrex bowl.  Microwave for 30-45 seconds then stir.  Microwave an additional 15-30 seconds and stir again.  Once the chocolate is liquified, whisk the oil and chocolate together until they form a uniform emulsion.  Whisk in a pinch of salt.  Transfer the emulsion to a squeeze bottle.  Use exactly as you would the store-bought variety.

Yagööt was also kind enough to provide two $20 gift cards to give away to readers of this blog. You can enter below, through the Rafflecopter widget. Since you would need to redeem these in person, ideally you will live in the Cincinnati or Columbus metro areas.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclaimer:  We were invited to participate in a blogging “event” sponsored by Yagööt Frozen Yogurt.  They graciously provided gift cards which covered the cost of the ingredients. If you’d like to buy the special pan we used to make these, we’d appreciate your use of our affiliate link below so you can help support the costs of running the site. 🙂 )

Event: Slice of Columbus 2011/2012

I love pizza.  Okay, I admit it.  Is that so wrong?

I’m not talking about big corporate pizza chains like Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesars, etc.  I love *good* pizza.  There are plenty of good independent pizzerias in Columbus.

Those pizzerias, as well as some of the chains, are represented at Slice of Columbus.

 

Slice of Columbus is an annual competition amongst the best of Columbus’s pizzerias. B. and I attended Slice of Columbus 2011, where she judged and I — as usual — captured the event for posterity on one of our digital cameras.

Slice of Columbus is a charity event which benefits Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This year’s event is open to the public at a cost of $15 per person at the door or $40 for a family pass (2 adults and up to three children plus five free Pepsi products).  Slice of Columbus 2012 will be at Columbus Commons downtown, from 5pm to 9pm today.  Attendees will be able to try all the competitors’ pizzas, if you’re willing to wait in a couple dozen fast-moving lines.  Trust me, you won’t leave hungry.

 

Last year’s Slice of Columbus was held at Huntington Park in the Arena District. We had a lovely view of the outfield from the press box…

A Slice of Columbus 2011 at Huntington Park

 

We’re not sure whose pizza this was, but it certainly rocked.

Good Pizza

 

And then there was the Dire Pizza[tm].  Definitely a congealed, greasy mess.
Bad Pizza

 

This pizza looked perfect to me, but made B. reach for the Rolaids…
Spicy Pizza

 

If you want more information about this year’s Slice of Columbus directly from their website, go here.

 

All proceeds from the Slice of Columbus benefit Pediatric Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, so you won’t just enjoy pizza — you’ll be doing a good deed!

See you there!

Event: Taste the Future 2012

B. and I have gone to Taste the Future every year since 2006. It’s always great to see the best that Columbus restaurants have to offer, and this year was no exception. It was a shame that the threat of inclement weather forced the event to be held in the parking garage; alas, a dimly-lit parking garage doesn’t allow for good photos.

Taste the Future is, of course, the annual fund-raiser for Columbus State Community College’s Culinary Apprenticeship program. This three year program produces graduates who have gone through 4000 hours of apprenticeship at a sponsoring restaurant while completing their Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts at the College. Graduates, in addition to earning their degree, also earn ACF certification as Certified Culinarians.  They are usually in high demand throughout the region.

Many of the restaurants which participate in Taste the Future employ Culinary Apprenticeship students during their apprenticeship; those participating restaurants who do not apprentice, hire the program’s graduates.

There were plenty of highlights at this year’s Taste the Future. One of my favorites was this Liptauer Cheese Crostini:

Crostini from Metro Cuisine Catering

Costco represented themselves well with this Tuxedo Cake:

Cake from Costco

Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a good picture of my single most favorite item, Bob Evans Farms’ Braised Pork Belly “Cones”. I went back for more than one of those.

Blackwell Inn of Ohio State University’s Fisher College had a nearly-as-irresistable offering in their Confit of Duroc Pork Wonton with Pickled Red Onion, Micro Greens, and Herbs:

Duroc Pork Wonton from The Blackwell Inn

Bob Evans did offer up Mashed Potato Doughnuts, which were very good. It’s a pity I’m not a huge fan of coffee, they might’ve been even better dunked in some java…

Doughnuts and Coffee from Bob Evans

The Easton Hilton delighted my palate with one of my favorite proteins: Duck Three Ways. Didn’t see the cherry risotto that they were supposed to offer, oh well…

Duck from Hilton at Easton

Last, but certainly not least, is The Kroger Company’s Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a good mousse cake (think Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake from the Cheesecake Factory and you’ve pretty much hit the mark). This was worthy of comparison. In fact, this was BETTER.

Cake from Kroger

If you’d like to see all the photos I took of the event, take a look at the slideshow. Until next time…

FTC disclosure: I was provided with a free pass to the event, along with extra tickets to give away.

May 2010 Roundup

The first of many of these that I need to post in order to have a snowball’s chance in hell of catching up…

In savory recipes, Pappardelle with Spiced Butter from 101 Cookbooks, Cheddar Ale Potato Soup from 28 Cooks, Blackberry Vinaigrette from $5 Dinners, Perfectly Seared Scallops and Pasta from A Feast for the Eyes, Cumin-Spiced Pork Sliders with Peach-and-Sriracha Citrus Salsa from A Food Coma, Rosemary Focaccia from Above an Italian Restaurant, Spinach and Bacon Souffle from Adventures in the Pioneer Valley, Egg Salad with Caramelized Shallots and Chives from Always Order Dessert, Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlic Aioli and Herbs from Amuse Bouche, Seafood Gratin and Spicy Shrimp Po’ Boys from Annie’s Eats, Grilled Chile Lime Chicken and Eggplant Rollatini from Beach Eats, Skillet Lasagna from Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen, Sweet ‘n’ Sticky Baby Back Ribs and Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Nuggets from Black Girl Chef’s Whites, Tag Team Skillet Gnocchi Casserole from The Blog That Ate Manhattan, Seared Scallops with Creamy Spring Ramps from Burp! Where Food Happens, Chili los Mariscos from Cara’s Cravings, Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pie from Carly’s Kitchen, Grilled Tandoori Chicken and Poutine with Mushroom Gravy from Closet Cooking, Matt’s Breakfast Tacos from Coconut & Lime, Chipotle Cheeseburgers from Cooking with Court, Southwestern Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing from The CookMobile, Apple and Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops from Crepes of Wrath, Toasted Orzo Chicken Soup from Culinary in the Country, Loosemeat Sandwich from eatingclub vancouver, Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Sumac from eCurry, Cream Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers and Steak, Anaheim Chile, and Scallion Tacos with Guacamole and Cotija Cheese from For the Love of Cooking, Turkey, Chourico and Bacon Kabobs from Full Bellies, Happy Kids, 10-Minute Shrimp and Tortilla Soup from girlichef, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas from guinnah, Risotto Cake with Crispy Ramps from Herbivoracious, Guacamole Bread from Lobster and Fishsticks, Easy Tuna Casserole from Lynda’s Recipe Box, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas from mimi on the move, Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork from mocha me, Mini Souffles with Fontinella and Black Forest Ham from More than Food, Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish with Greens & Mustard Vinaigrette and Swiss Chard & Sun-Dried Tomato Skillet Mac from Perrys’ Plate, Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu from Pink Parsley, Aunt Trish’s Salad Dressing and Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Apricot Sauce from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Asian Turkey Burger with Sriracha Mayo from Serious Eats, Baby Beet Greens with Lardons and Red Wine Vinegar from she’s in the kitchen, Spring Succotash from Simply Recipes, Butterflied Stuffed Rack of Pork from Thibeault’s Table, and Chinese-Style Blood Orange Chicken from What We’re Eating.

In sweet recipes, Strawberry Almond Cream Tart from Above an Italian Restaurant, Strawberry Panna Cotta from Ambika’s Kitchen, Pistachio Creme Brulee from Bonbini!, Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes from CookiePie, Scrummy Carrot Cake from The English Kitchen, Goat Butter Honey Caramels with Sea Salt from Flavorista, Bourbon Peach Bread Pudding from Inn the Kitchen, Snickerdoodle Pie from Jenny Mac’s Lip Smack, Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries from Lemons & Love, Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberries and Syrup from No Fear Entertaining, Vanilla Custard Strawberry Tart from Not Derby Pie, Mixed Berry Scones with Meyer Lemon Glaze from Peanut Butter and Julie, Pancakes with Raspberry Coulis and Mascarpone Whipped Cream from The Pink Peppercorn, Mini Lime Cheesecakes from The Sporadic Cook, and Pistachio-Cherry Gratin from Zen Can Cook.

List update; NQF issues new serious events report. go to website jaundice in newborns

Modern Healthcare June 20, 2011 Byline: Maureen McKinney New evidence about the gravest healthcare errors and where they occur has driven the National Quality Forum to update its list of “serious reportable events” for the first time in five years.

The NQF’s Serious Reportable Events in Healthcare report, used by many state organizations as a tool for public reporting of adverse events such as wrong-site surgery, patient falls and late-stage pressure ulcers, was first released in 2002 and last updated in 2006. A newly revised list includes new events and addresses patient safety in settings outside of hospitals.

“The first two iterations focused on accountability among hospitals, and it was becoming increasingly clear that was a small part of the safety picture,” said Dr. Gregg Meyer, senior vice president for quality and patient safety at 907-bed Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and co-chair of the NQF committee that produced the updated report.

The latest list, which is open for public appeals until July 12, features 29 serious reportable events, four of which are new. For instance, one of the new events focuses on patient injury or death associated with the introduction of a metallic object into the area where an MRI is being performed.

“We knew anecdotes about this happening back in 2002,” Meyer said, “but we did not appreciate the scope. Now with new evidence, we know this is a problem.” Other newly added events include patient injury or death resulting from the loss of a biological specimen, and death or injury of a newborn baby associated with labor and delivery in a low-risk pregnancy.

Some of the adverse events that made the list in 2006 have been incorporated into other, broader categories, Meyer added. One event–death or serious disability associated with failure to identify and treat jaundice in newborns–was removed from the list because it will now be covered by a fourth new adverse event that addresses failure to follow up on test results. go to website jaundice in newborns

“We tried to put like concepts together,” Meyer said.

Other events remained on the list but with changes. The 2006 list contains a serious reportable event, for example, related to infants being discharged to the wrong person. But in the newest list, that event reads: “Discharge or release of a patient/resident of any age, who is unable to make decisions, to other than an authorized person.” That change reflects the focus on other settings of care, such as skilled nursing facilities, office-based practices and ambulatory surgery centers, Meyer said.

Sally Tyler, a health policy analyst with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and co-chair of the NQF’s serious reportable events committee, praised the expanded focus on nonhospital settings.

“The inclusion of three new settings for the serious reportable events represents a significant stride forward in ensuring quality across the continuum of care,” Tyler said in an NQF release. “This updated report and the work that will flow from it should inspire both healthcare consumers and purchasers to be confident that improved outcomes will result.”

A Brief Note From Mr. Columbus Foodie

Hello all. It’s me, Paul. Columbus Foodie’s husband.

Becke’s been in the hospital for several weeks now, and likely won’t be out of the hospital for quite a while. She’s currently unable to update columbusfoodie.com, so this blog will remain in archive mode until Becke’s able to begin posting again. I might post some articles she’s got in the queue ready to go, and I’ve got a couple of articles that I sent to her which were ready for publishing. We’ll see.

I’ve got a CarePages webpage up which has been tracking Becke’s condition since April 11th. It is located here.

Please keep Becke in your thoughts and prayers for her complete recovery.

Review: T.A.T. Ristorante di Famiglia

Have you ever gone to a restaurant, and then, for some reason, never got around to going back again for quite a while? Then, when you finally do return to that restaurant, you wonder why you hadn’t returned for so long?

Last week, we returned after a ten year hiatus to T. A. T. Ristorante de Famiglia. In all honesty, I think the reason we’d avoided returning to T.A.T. was because our last meal there (ten years ago) had been unremarkable at best for both of us — I’d ordered the Baked Ziti With Eggplant, which had been not at all what I’d been expecting, and B. had ordered pork chops (from an Italian restaurant; go figure) that underwhelmed her.

A brief aside, first, about the history of T.A.T.:

The Corrova family, specifically Pete and Philomena, opened their first restaurant in Columbus in 1929 on Goodale Street in what used to be known as Flytown during the Depression era. Due to city planners’ ambitious “improvements” to downtown Columbus, they were forced to move their restaurant… and move they did, to the far east side of Columbus. Eventually in 1980, the family combined all their businesses into a single operation at the corner of South James Road and East Livingston Avenue, where they have remained ever since. On our visit, at least, we noted that the restaurant attracted a much older clientele, probably because they’ve been going there for decades.

The last time we’d dined at T.A.T., we had both ordered entrees that didn’t showcase what T.A.T. does best… this time, however, we decided to dive headlong into T.A.T.’s specialty, which is homey, homely, but satisfying Southern Italian and Sicilian fare.

We arrived in the early evening around 5:30pm, before the dinner rush. Since it was a Sunday, we couldn’t get the Early Bird Special(s), but that was fine; we’d come with a game plan, and stuck with it.

We were seated promptly and our beverage orders were taken. Beverages were brought out promptly. We placed our orders — both of us chose the Sicilian Delight, described in T.A.T.’s menu as a “ten course meal!”. I don’t know if, strictly speaking, it’s a ten-course meal, but it was certainly huge, and exposed us to much of the best of what T.A.T. has to offer.

We were given a choice of a half-pour (3 ounce glass) of either a burgundy, a rose, or some variety of red wine. B. and I both selected the rose, which was brought out presently. It was a nice enough house wine, dry with a hint of sweetness, and very light.

Rose Wine at TAT Ristorante

Our server also brought out a bread basket with whipped butter. It was typical Italian bread, crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside. No complaints there.

Italian Bread at TAT Ristorante

Our first course was the soup; I’d chosen the minestrone while B. chose the Italian Wedding Soup. B. reported that her soup met all the requirements for a proper Italian wedding soup, and was a fairly good and straightforward interpretation of the dish.

Italian Wedding Soup at TAT Ristorante

My minestrone was thick with mixed vegetables and a robust tomato broth, and was very satisfying (and vegan-friendly, heh).

Minestrone Soup at TAT Ristorante

The second course was an individual-sized italian salad. I ordered mine with the house Italian; B. ordered hers with Country French dressing. The salad itself consisted predominantly of bite-sized pieces of iceberg lettuce with some romaine scattered throughout and some chunks of winter tomatoes (read: pale and flavorless; not their fault, tomatoes are out of season). The salad was crunchy enough thanks to the iceberg lettuce. The house Italian (made in-house and in fact bottled and sold through T.A.T.’s takeout operation) was exceptionally good, elevating what would have been an afterthought into a solid little appetizer salad. B.’s Country French selection was definitely a Marzetti product, and as such was quite good though not my cuppa tea. Note that when I asked the server what dressings they had available for their salads, she began to rattle off a list of at least 33 varieties — several made on-premises, the rest typical Marzetti bottled fare.

Salad at TAT Ristorante

The third course, if it can be referred to as such, was what the menu referred to as “Sicilian bread”, which was a well-seasoned, toasted garlic-and-butter bread made from a loaf of Italian bread split lengthwise then slathered with butter and garlic (probably garlic powder; I didn’t detect any fresh minced garlic) and baked under the salamander until crunchy and brown. It was quite good.

Sicilian Bread at TAT Ristorante

The fourth through ninth “courses” were served together on one large (and I do mean LARGE) plate. These were the homemade spaghetti, the veal parmigiana, the meatball, the meat-filled ravioli, the Italian sausage, and a ricotta-stuffed manicotti.

Sampler at TAT Ristorante

The spaghetti and its accompanying red sauce are both freshly made at the restaurant, and it shows. I’m partial to the onion- and oregano-heavy red sauce, which is thick and tart yet slightly sweet. B. found the sauce less to her liking, but still acceptable. The spaghetti, as mentioned made in-house, are fairly thick strands of boiled semolina pasta. We both noted that the spaghetti was more cooked than we prefer; had we read the menu more closely, we’d have seen that T.A.T. cooks their pasta fully by default and that we would have to specifically request for it to be cooked until al dente. I attribute the restaurant defaulting to fully cooked pasta to its sizable contingent of older diners amongst the clientele; they probably find al dente pasta a bit difficult to chew and/or digest.

The veal parmigiana is a by-the-book presentation of a pre-formed, breaded veal patty baked and covered in red sauce then crowned with melted and browned provolone and parmesan cheeses. It was good but nothing I haven’t made at home just as well.

T.A.T.’s meatballs are a thing of beauty. They are of decent size (between 1-1/2 and 2 inches in diameter) and nicely seasoned. I believe these meatballs are actually better than my old standby for homemade meatballs, Carfagna’s Kitchen.

T.A.T.’s meat-filled ravioli is, in fact, a pierogi-sized pouch of homemade semolina pasta surrounding a simple filling of browned lean ground beef, salt, pepper, and a bit of wilted spinach. Each ravioli is pressed shut using either a handheld ravioli press or, from the looks of it, a fork. It is very large. It is also very good, making Carfagna’s beef-filled mezzaluna pasta pale in comparison. Note that a full dinner order of ravioli consists of four (yes, four) in the house red sauce along with soup or salad and bread service. These ravioli are VERY large, VERY dense, and VERY filling.

T.A.T.’s italian sausage as presented on the Sicilian Delight meal consists of a half-link of their in-house mixture of ground pork. Italian seasoning and a touch of red pepper flakes then pumped into a sausage casing and (for this meal) pan-fried or baked thoroughly. I found the heat from the red pepper flakes to be a welcome addition to an otherwise inoffensive sausage (there appeared to be a total absence of fennel in the sausage mixture, which is NOT a problem for me or B.). B. found the sausage to be too spicy for her tastes.

The manicotti was exactly as advertised — a boiled manicotti tube filled with a mixture of ricotta, egg, and herbs. Nice, but not something that would alone compel me to return to T.A.T.

In addition to the above mentioned platter, we got to choose a side dish as well. B. and I both went with the pickled beets – I thought they were just fine, but B. didn’t enjoy them because she thought they tasted like canned beets.

Pickled Beets at TAT Ristorante

Ever accommodating, the server brought out some cole slaw for her to enjoy instead. While not the best specimen of the dish she’s had, it was a nice palate cleanser to cut through all the red sauce on the platter.

Cole Slaw at TAT Ristorante

The final course of the evening was dessert. Spumoni ice cream was not available on Thursday, so we chose among the available selections, which were one of two types of iced sheet cake (yellow cake with buttercream frosting or a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting) or a small bowl of ice cream. B. and I both chose the yellow sheet cake with buttercream frosting. The cake was good though unremarkable.

Yellow Cake at TAT Ristorante

All in all, the dinner represented a fantastic value at $20.99 per person; you get a good sampling of T.A.T.’s available fare without breaking the bank, and you in all likelihood will take some home with you to finish later that night or the following day. B. and I both agreed that we would be returning to T.A.T. to try their other old-school Southern Italian/Sicilian fare.

If you’d like to go: TAT Ristorante di Famiglia, 1210 S. James Rd., Columbus, OH 43227. 614-236-1392