It's Not The Journey, But The Destination That Matters

The above photo highlights one of the first times I got to sample the creations of Columbus' "Donut Queen" aka Heather Morris, owner and force behind Destination Donuts.

At that time, Columbus (a very under-the-radar donut town, if I do say so myself) had little in the way of more fancy donut creations, and Morris saw the opportunity in the market for her more upscale, gourmet creations. Her pop-up made regular appearances at the North Market, and her creations were just starting to make her way out to local shops like The Hills Market and Luck Brothers Coffee in Grandview Heights. The locations she regularly stopped weren't necessarily easy for us to get to in those days, but we made it a point to grab her inventive flavor creations like Raspberry Hibiscus, Thai Peanut and Caramel Apple. Even better: the simpler flavors like her Dueling Vanilla and her vegan creations are equally as flavorful and addicting as those fancier models.

The Happy Ones Are Here: Baba's

The current mural outside Baba's in Columbus' South of Hudson (SoHud) neighborhood
My spouse and I are generally fairly unabashed menu surfers. Not that we have our don't have our favorite menu items at the eateries we attend regularly, but it's fairly rare that we settle on one dish without fail. For example, my spouse and I pretty much gravitate to the Vermicelli with Grilled Pork and sliced Spring Rolls on every visit to Buckeye Pho, which has in many ways morphed into a comfort dish for us.

When it comes to Baba's in the South of Hudson neighborhood, we are still working through all the menu, but there's one item that is quickly falling into that must get on every visit.

The Greater Columbus Pizza-politan Area

The Ohio State University Campus: a heavy (unsurprisingly) pizza area
As covered in my last blog post, a simple question about Worthington being the pizza capital in terms of ratio of pizza to people proved to be a lot more complicated than I would have thought at first glance. A lot of it has to do with geography - ragged city borders from years of annexation and the normal flow of business means some popular destinations for the city's residents are actually not in Worthington proper.  But as a countering force, there is a hometown pizza aspect that does drive diners to prefer one pizza place over another.

With obviously other factors at play like price and convenience, I figured that a bigger picture was needed and that all pizza places in the area needed to be mapped. Who knows, similarly sized suburbs like Bexley or Grandview Heights might be more pizza-rich than Worthington, or maybe I could pinpoint some relative pizza hot spots. So a couple weeks after I started looking into the topic, I broke out my Google Maps and centered it on the Columbus area and punched in the word "pizza".

Worthington: Pizza Capital of Central Ohio?

The downtown Worthington location of Cincinnati-based Dewey's Pizza
"Is Worthington the pizza capital of Central Ohio?"

This rather simple notion that I overheard in casual conversation awhile back seemed to have some merit on my casual remembrance: this smallish Columbus suburb does seem to have a fair number of pizza purveyors within reach of the area's residents. And like that intoxicating smell of melting cheese, tomato sauce and browning dough in the oven, the question grew more alluring in my mind.  Finally, early last November on a day I wasn't doing anything else in particular, I decided to dive in to the topic.

Little did I know that that quest would be almost like answering the bigger, oft-debated questions related to pizza, such as what style of pizza rules supreme, and this quest's eventual result was not anything like I was expecting at the beginning...

Petal-er of Tasty Treats: Flowers and Bread

An insurance commercial I remember from a couple years ago (all my attempts to verify the actual company behind it have gone for nought) focused on some rather dubious-sounding business combinations ("Kevin's Plumbing and Hot Dogs, may I help you?"), with the ultimate lesson being that you should trust the focused specialist.

Clintonville's Flowers & Bread, created by Sarah Lagrotteria and Tricia Wheeler roughly one year ago, seems to go against that train of thought, offering up the charms of both flours and, well, flowers underneath the same roof.  It sounded like an intriguing combo (not that I would be interested in the floral aspect all that much) but I did wonder on another level whether this would come off as gimmicky in any way.

Thankfully, my spouse and I have found this not to be the case at all.

The Sounds of Bronuts: Cravings Cafe

When I initially started writing this post related to the return of Cravings Cafe, I kind of got the feeling that I was adding to the chorus of those pleased to see the creations of Matt and Lindsey Tewanger available to the public at large again.  Media sources like the Columbus DispatchColumbus Underground, Columbus Alive and our the city's own breakfast guru Breakfast With Nick and have documented the Tewanger's longer-than-expected saga (roughly two years) to rehab the long-idle Saigon Palace space in downtown into their third iteration of their business.

I could tell you that their seasonal creations are just as tasty as they are (and they are), and that the downtown crowd has made Cravings a go-to spot for breakfast and lunch (the place has always been buzzing on my visits), and that their space, while still relatively cozy, is much more functional and appealing than their old Italian Village home, and that their once specialty item in their Bronut becoming a regular menu item.

But frankly, I think that would be rather rote, and since I'm feeling a little creative on my return back to the Columbus food scene, I figured I oughta' sweeten this post up with a little poetic license.