I already discussed the pleasant surprise of Benny’s Pizza in my sojourn to Ohio for the Christmas holiday. While the rest of Christmas was relaxing and luxuriating, some thoughts of a few other munching locations in the Columbus-ish region:
Cap City Fine Diner – Well, there is an inherent joy going to a restaurant on the advice of a fifty-something year old woman, and the restaurant is playing songs like “This is How We Do It” and “Informer“. The atmosphere was also exceedingly diner-y with the ersatz jukebox and booths. They got the look down. Also the presence of iceberg lettuce in the salad menu was retro – although it was a wedge salad (the “fine dining” I suppose). I ordered the soup and salad combo. The soup of the day was beef and vegetable tasted ordinary – maybe from a can, certainly not homemade, and the beef pieces tasted weird, almost like possibly bouillon cubes. The salad (yes, I got the iceberg wedge) was pleasant, though they like blue cheese dressing A LOT. Fortunately for them, I like it too. This still continues my theory though – a restaurant that calls itself “premium” or “fine” almost assuredly is not.
El Vaquero – This was recommended to me by someone who goes there EVERY weekend. Obviously this sounds like a selling point to me – but I was soon corrected that they went principally for the Margaritas. That said, one of the tests I have for a Mexican-American restaurant is the salsa they put on the table – does it have some bite or personality on its own? To be fair the salsa here was good. Also the spinach and cheese dip had some heft, so much so that I could not get enough of it. The dip was so tasty that it seemed like they used proper Mexican queso – it was so good I didn’t even mind that they declined to call it queso. As for the meal, I ordered the very spicy shrimp (camerones a la diabla). It lived up to promise of heat – although the flavor was routine, lacked depth beyond having a lot of hot sauce. My companion’s chilaquiles was all wrong, lacking eggs, which seems like a mortal sin. Given my expectations for Mexican food in Central Ohio, this actually was not bad.
First Watch Cafe – Yep, another chain-ish place. Found this in Dublin, amid a land of strip malls and illusory old fashined decor. However, to its credit, unlike Bob Evans, the breakfast was not leaden in my stomach. I ordered coffee and “The Trifecta” – a belgian waffle, sausage link and two scrambled eggs. The eggs were overdone of course (where is it not?) but not burdensomely so. The sausage was not overworked and actually very tasty. The waffle of course is a weakness of mine, and with syrup my weakness was exploited yet again. They also had healthier options like my companions Chickichanga – which had an unusually high amount of vegetable and well roundedness for a brunch spot. Definitely a place or chain to look out for.