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Breakfast with Dr. Breakfast: The Inaugural Columbus Food Adventures Breakfast Tour (Pt. 2)

(Note: Part 1 of this report can be found at this link)

Our tour group continued the inaugural Columbus Food Breakfast Tour, hosted by "Breakfast with Nick" blogger Nick Dekker, at a place that offered an ethnic twist on the first meal of the day.

Clockwise from Top Left: Cuco's Tacqueria sign; the Mollete Roll; Cuco's chilaquiles;
the newly installed outoor patio; a shelf of hot sauces for sale
Cuco's Taqueria: This Mexican eatery on the Northwest section of town started off over a decade ago as a market with a food takeout counter in the back; in fact, you can still pickup some assorted market items at their Henderson Road location, However, Cuco's has in roughly a decade's worth of existence emerged from those modest beginnings into a full service restaurant that is still evolving; the latest upgrades completed late this summer have added an extra dining area and an outdoor patio to their total dining space, and they have launched a food truck to introduce their eats to even more Columbus diners.

Cuco's offers the restaurant-goer the added bonus of both American and Mexican breakfast standards at fairly inexpensive prices (items range from $5 to $8.) On this day, our tour participants were treated to their rendition of traditional chilaquiles and a mollete roll. The chilaquiles, tortilla strips cooked in salsa verde and topped with eggs and cheese, were a hit with everyone; even owner Juan Martinez admitted it was his favorite dish during his chat with the group. The mollete reminded me a bit of the Stouffer's French Bread pizzas I gobbled as a kid, except freshly-made with typical Mexican cuisine ingredients.

My spouse and I had the pleasure of visiting Cuco's prior to the tour and sampled two of their other breakfast items on that visit. Our host Nick had actually considered my choice that day, the Oaxaqueña, for sampling on this tour, but decided against it. It was a wise decision: these tasty potato enchiladas, topped with a black bean sauce, with lettuce, tomato and sour cream on the side, is a definite tummy-filler and wouldn't have been the best on day already full of food. My spouse opted for the El Tapatio, a platter containing a very nicely spicy chorizo and potato mix served with two barbacoa tacos and refried beans.

Cuco's Taqueria
2162 W Henderson Rd (Northwest - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43220
(614)538-8701
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Clockwise from Top Left: Co-owner Hilda Garcia-Mandriotti and tour host Nick Dekker speak
to the tour group; the Barnstormer Diner sign; the unusual sight of the V-22 Osprey on the runway;
and the mini-version of their famed Gutbuster
Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner: This diner, located at the Ohio State University Airport along West Case Road near the Sawmill Drive corridor, had already earned a regular spot on our breakfast rotation with its straightforward yet solid diner-style breakfast fare as well as unique location before our visit this day. The various omelets, wraps and special items (like their chorizo scramble) we've eaten are all well made and reasonably priced.

But even though one might think they know a fair amount about a place on a Columbus Food Adventures tour, the hosts usually come through with more interesting insight. Here, our host Nick added plenty of such, explaining that current owners Geno and Hilda Garcia-Mandriotti, proprietors at the typically jam-packed Columbus breakfast institution Jack and Benny's, jumped at the opportunity to acquire this space when it became available, mainly due to Geno's love of flying (in fact, he earned his pilot's license at the OSU Flight School in the 1990s.) In doing so, this Peruvian couple basically brought the same menu from Jack & Benny's over to the Barnstormers space, and created a typically much more relaxed and less hectic experience for this eatery's diners as compared with its Old North Columbus-located older brother.

A neat surprise on this visit was the use of the observation tower, a feature of the airport we had not known about before, to sample our food. Members of the public can visit the airport to watch planes takeoff and land (a couple families with excited kids were viewing the planes on this sun-laden day); getting to sample the Barnstormer's signature Gutbuster and Buckeye pancake in this space made it an even more fun experience.

Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner
2160 West Case Rd (Northwest - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43235
(614) 292-5699
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Clockwise from Top Left: Auddino's Storefront; tray of chocolate chip cannoli;
Ray Auddino whips up some cinnamon twists for the tour group; the delectable Doughssant
Auddino's Bakery: This bakery, the last stop on our tour, was a complete surprise to my spouse and I in the fact that we never knew it was there. I personally had driven around that curve on Fishinger Road at the Mill Run Shopping Center many times and had never seen Auddino's storefront until the CFA Tour Van pulled into its parking lot on this day.

Indeed, this bakery, essentially the expansion eatery of the original Auddino's that has been providing wholesale bread products to Columbus retailers at its current location since 1990 (the original bakery itself started in 1968), has been open at this location for more than two years. For my spouse and I, it felt like we had stumbled upon this place by accident on our own.

Inside, the tour group was treated to cases of all manner of delicious looking pastries; gelato, coffee and packaged baked goods are also available to diners. We found out later from Taura, the bakery's co-owner, that lunch items such as sub sandwiches, salads and take-and-bake pizzas are also available.

Tour-goers got to sample their Auddino's breakfast sandwiches on bagel or croissant bread. While these were good (much better than any fast-food version for certain,) the jewel of this visit was their famed Doughssant, a glazed croissant that head baker/owner Rosario "Roy" Auddino has been putting on the shelves since 1991 and way before the so-called "cronut" made its debut (word of warning: do not try to order the "c" word in this bakery.) This sweet treat, explained Roy, is a difficult thing to get right, but it's heaven when you do get a good batch.

This particular batch was good, real good. By this time of the tour, all of us were pretty stuffed from the other samples we had eaten, but most everyone made room for at least one piece of the Doughssant.

Roy topped off the day by giving the group an impromptu treat: a baking demo showing how he turned what were essentially dough scraps into useful (and tasty) cinnamon twists. These flaky toppers, baked up in barely over 10 minutes and fresh from the oven, were packed in a box for the group for our trip back to the start. They had cooled down just enough by our arrival to provide one more tasty reminder of a very successful inaugural Columbus Food Adventures Breakfast Tour.

And oh yeah, we will be back very soon to Auddino's...mmmmm, Doughssant.

Auddino's Bakery and Cafe
3560 Fishinger Blvd
Hilliard, OH 43026
(614) 850-0099
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Update: Auddino's Mill Run location closed at the end of December, 2014. However, the bakery still sells its goods from a small cash-and-carry store located at its main production facility at 1490 Clara Street in the Milo-Grogan neighborhood.

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