The 614ortyPlatter: It's Never Too Late For Chocolate

What can't you do with chocolate?  These chocolate-coated strawberries
from Clintonville's Eagle Family Candies were divine

While most people really don't need a reason to enjoy chocolate, the national holiday calendar gives us multiple days to at least give an excuse for indulging.  National Chocolate Cake Day just passed us by, and National Hot Chocolate Day comes at the end of the month. Other days that await chocolate lovers throughout the year include (but are not exclusive to) National Chocolate Chip Day (May 15th), National Fudge Day (June 16th), National Chocolate Milkshake Day (Sept. 12), and the all encompassing National Chocolate Day (Oct. 28th.)

Ohio itself has its fair share of chocolate makers, from the old-school producers (Canton's Ben Heggy's, Dayton's Esther Price and Winan's, Cincinnati's Fawn Candy, Findlay's Dietsch Brothers, Cleveland's Malley's, and Columbus's Eagle Candy and Anthony Thomas, among others) to newer purveyors like Maverick, Coblentz, Michael's Artisan, Coco Cat, Pure Imagination, and many many more.

So yeah, this playlist is a pretty sweet one, so to speak, one that you should let melt in your ears and not in your hands.

The 614orty Platter: Invested in Italian Village

Cosecha Cocina, one of the culinary bright spots in
Columbus's Italian Village before the COVID pandemic
forced it close in 2020.

I've always thought Columbus's Italian Village neighborhood was older than it was; in reality, the truth is it is and it isn't.  The Italian Village moniker isn't even 50 years old, but the area dates back to the 19th century.  And contrary to its current moniker, the area, just outside of downtown proper and bordered by High Street on the west, the railroad tracks on the east, East Fifth Avenue to the north, and I-670 to the south, has been home to a number of ethnic groups over its lifespan, including Italians, obviously.

Back in the old days, Italian Village was home to a wide variety of industries, including Wonder Bread, The Clark Grave Vault & Auto Equipment Company, Smith Brothers Hardware, and the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company.  Remnants of that industrial past still remain (namely, the Smith Brothers and the Wonder Bread buildings), but the focus of the neighborhood nowadays has changed, become both a residential and culinary destination area for locals and visitors alike.

For this week's 614ortyplatter, I thought I'd give a bit of a musical guided tour what exists culinarily in this up-and-coming Columbus neighborhood.  As Italian Village overlaps with Columbus's Short North neighborhood, I will focus mainly on the more exclusively Italian Village eateries with this list, and I promise it will be more than a tasty-enough list.

The 614ortyPlatter: Trust Falling The Top Of The Pops

Columbus Food Adventures' Trust Falls, such as this one from
Yemeni Restaurant, has become one of our favorite pursuits

One of our favorite developments of 2020 in the local food scene was one made of necessity.  Built around guided tours, Columbus Food Adventures (note: I was slated to be one of the tour guides last year) pivoted to the Trust Fall with the COVID pandemic putting a halt to the traditional tours.  Essentially a delivery service, the Trust Fall delivered meals to your doorstep many international and other intriguing restaurants around the area.  The only catch, if you can call it such, lies in the name - you don't know what restaurant you will be getting for your meal.

As noted on their blogpost, their Trust Fall proved to be quite successful, bringing 3600 meals representing 40 nationalities.  Discovering staples from various nationalities and countries has always been one of our favorite things while dining out and traveling, and the Trust Fall proved to be a great way of doing that last year in a low- to no-contact manner.

Taking that desire for discovery in mind, this latest playlist takes some of the countries/restaurants featured on the Trust Fall last year and gives you a small sampling at what was popular in music in those countries during 2020.

Exploring Egg-Free Breakfasts in Columbus (Guest Blogpost)

Pattycake Bakery's Sticky Buns are but one of many
delicious egg-free options available for the diner

(Note: This is a guest blog post from my favorite dining partner in the whole world Kris - you can catch what she posts on her Instagram account @aimless_rambling)

During the summer of 2020, I discovered that I was allergic to eggs.  I had experienced symptoms of itching and occasional hives for at least 6-7 years but only in June did I make a connection to eggs (versus other suspected culprits such as soaps/shampoos).  Testing confirmed the egg allergy and a few others which were also a surprise.  My allergist was surprised as well, since egg allergy is rare in adults and even then usually develops in childhood. 

To my knowledge, I had no food allergies in childhood though there is a family history in both children and adults now confirmed in five generations.  I am fortunate that my symptoms are mild and mostly annoying rather than dangerous.  I’ve had no anaphylaxis symptoms though I do now carry an Epi-Pen. 

What it has done is made eating out a bit more tricky, especially since we have always enjoyed going out for breakfast and brunch.  Do you know how hard it is to find breakfast and brunch options that don’t include egg?  Even pastries that do not include egg in the dough or filling are often coated with an egg wash to make them nice and shiny.  And many of the egg-free options are things like granola.  Guess what else I’m allergic to?  Almonds, oats, and strawberries (and I suspect a few other things that weren’t on the test).

I thought about challenging our fellow blogger Nick Dekker of Breakfast With Nick to come up with a list of Columbus area options of egg-free breakfasts, but decided to explore the subject myself.  My goal was to find breakfast/brunch items that did not require me to ask for “no egg” (though when I’m in the mood to do that, the corned beef hash from Delaney’s Diner is the best in town IMO).  In no particular order, here are 10 to try if you are looking for egg-free options yourself

The 614ortyPlatter: Toodle-oo To 2020

Durian may or may not be your bag

During the usual Times Square New Year's Eve celebrations, I always liked to spot souvenir glasses worn by folks at the event reflecting the year to come.  2020, with its convenient round zeroes, was a perfect template for these souvenir glasses, and I remember thinking at the time that 2020 might turn out to be a pretty good year all around.

Boy, was that notion shattered beyond recognition.  The couple months of relative normalcy at the beginning of this year was quickly eclipsed by a seemingly two-year long stretch of travails, disruption of the normal, and some challenges that threatened to be majorly disruptive for an extended period of time.  As the saying goes, what does not kill you makes you stronger, and the small silver lining I'll take from the past 366 or so days is that we both have been strengthened in ways that we never would've suspected before.

In honor of this dumpster fire of a year, my end-of-year playlist contains food items which are considered by many to be culinary dumpster fires.  And to save you all from extreme torture, this appropriate-length (13 songs) set clocks in at a very svelte 28-minutes plus, enough time to immerse yourself in the awfulness but short enough to avoid any lasting damage.