Archive for ‘Skillet’

August 9, 2011

Summer’s Gone | Flying J Dinner

I had a lovely summer vacation.  Complete with my adorable parents (Zeus and Demeter) and my sweetest nephew visiting and plenty of fantastic time outdoors, with good food, sunshine and heat.

The apex of all this fun was Slow Food Columbus‘s Shake the Hand that Feeds You out at Flying J Farm.  Longtime readers of this blog will know that I dearly love the farmer, Dick Jensen, and his organic, grass-fed cattle in Johnstown, Ohio.  And the dinner that the Slow Food Chapter plans every year out there is truly the best food event in the city, bar none.  It was, in fact, one of the main catalysts for me starting this blog.

This year, the Caskey family from Skillet commandeered the farm kitchen to turn out mouth-wateringly delicious courses.  Sous vide beef tongue, anyone?  Please, sir, I want some more.  Demeter managed to score seconds.  Lucky.   Nicolene Schwartz custom created the Flying J, an OYO vodka based cocktail with quick pickled peppers and tomatoes from the farm.  All the vegetables for the dinner were harvested earlier that day, from the fields at the farm, by wonderful SFC volunteers.

The tables groaned under wildflower bouquets, homemade pickles of all kinds (wasabi green beans, dill pickles, chow chow), candles, oodles of wine and chilly Columbus Brewing Company beers.  We even had a buttery, whole-roasted, whey-fed pig course.  Did you know that comes right after dinner?  Right before dessert.  Of hand cranked Snowville Creamery ice cream with roasted peaches and balsamic.  Ice cream churned by happy children that spent the rest of their time playing chase in the meadows, petting ponies and the donkey, messing with a farm cat and feeding the farm dog under the table.

There wasn’t an unhappy creature in the whole bunch.  Laughter spilled over the hill and up to the barns.  Friends crowded around the table to share a meal, a laugh and a glass (or two?) of wine, a sip (or three?) of pawpaw-cello and connect over the importance of food in our lives.  It is what not only feeds us, but sustains us and connects us all.

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Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was perfect.

For more pictures of the lovely evening check out Hungry Woolf’s flikr stream or add Ely Brothers as a friend on Facebook.

Playlist included Summer, by Buffalo Tom.

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November 4, 2010

Dine Originals Week | November 2010 Menu Previews

Dine Originals Week starts this Monday, November 8th and runs through Sunday, November 14th.  Truly, this is one of the best times of year to visit one of the 53 independently owned and arguably best restaurants in Columbus.  At all 53 you will find specially designed three course meals for $10, $20 or $30.  Perusing this year’s preview menus, I’ve staked out a few (just a few, really…) that I’m wanting to try.  Give a click to any of the restaurant names below to link to the proposed menus.

For $10 you can sample of the tremendous fare at Tasi for lunch, lose yourself in a dreamy, sugary collection of six pastries from the elegant folks at Pistacia Vera or enjoy real New York-style deli fare at Katzinger’s.  Or head to Bodega, one of my favorite bars (Persephone has favorite bars, I just realized this.) for an inexpensive dinner.  These are all for ten bucks, people.  Get out there!

For a bit more at $20 a person you have a wealth of choices.  Dinner at Columbus Brewing Company is a good choice, especially if you opt to try some of Eric Bean’s (CBC’s skillful brewmaster) new beers while you’re there.  The Sticke Alt and the Winter Warmer are two that would pair pretty well with this week’s menu.  Or for a warm, cozy dinner head to Figlio, for a great menu with several choices for each course.

For $30, you’re really starting to get into some serious culinary fireworks.  I stalk the folks at Skillet (they know I do, it’s a friendly kind of stalking…) for menus such as the one Chef Caskey has proposed for this week’s dinner.  I also will admit to kind of a restaurant crush on Rigsby’s Kitchen and G. Michael’s Bistro, both have really luscious looking menus.

And for absolute fun, for the love of Pete, head to Surly Girl Saloon.  For $30 you get dinner for two!  And they have a choice of menus: a little bit trashy or a little bit classy.  I think I’m partial to the trashy side of things.  Anyplace that serves Frito Pie as an appetizer and ding dong cupcakes for dessert is ok in my book.

To top it all off, dine out next week at these wonderful places because a portion of the proceeds benefit the educational programs run by Local Matters.  Eat good, do good!

Have fun next week, kids.  See you out there!

October 6, 2010

“Eat at a Locally-Minded Restaurant”: Let’s go to Skillet!

A great suggestion for one of the things you can do to participate in local foods week is eat at a “locally-minded” restaurant.  So to make sure we touched as many points on the Eat Local Challenge Pledge Card as we could this week, my family visited the cheerful Caskey family at Skillet for lunch today.  Even home-body Persephone loves a good meal out.  

Hades started with the Red Beans and Rice.  Chef Kevin Caskey really nailed the smokey, French Quarter flavor of this creole classic.  Sadly, we dug in too quickly and have no photo to prove its existence.

Mommy told Cherub the grilled cheese was a real winner.  So she ordered the grilled cheese and pumpkin and black bean soup for herself (she’s a very confident three-year-old).    

While we have worked hard to make sure she tries all types of foods with different flavors and textures, I have to say, I was shocked to see how much soup she vacuumed up.  Then I tasted it.  Well, of course.  It’s a fantastic combination: silky pumpkin with perfectly cooked and seasoned black beans.  What’s not to love?

I am no stranger to Flying J Farms beef.  It’s some of the best we’ve tasted.  I had to order the Diner Burger: made with ground beef from Flying J Farm‘s grass-fed and finished cows, on grilled brioche, topped with fontina,  a fried egg and peppery arugula.  The egg still had a delicious thick yolkiness, that  further “sauced” the burger (and my shirt, since Persephone is nothing if not a graceful eater).  It was tremendously good.  But what really set it off was the lovely tomato marmalade.  In a word: finesse. 

Hades ordered the Fried Green Tomato BLT, topped with a fried yard egg, a pretty ruffle of frisee and oo-wee sauce.  Let me tell you: oo-wee, it’s good sauce and a good sandwich.  I think fried green tomatoes can be kind of pain to do right.  And Chef Caskey does them right.  Nice, thick, meaty tomato (you can easily screw them up and make them mushy, not so here), along with thick, meaty bacon made a wonderful fare-the-well to summer sandwich.

Both Hades and I had small sides of different, but perfectly paired, potato salads.  His a homestyle and mine a cold German-style. 

All sandwiches were $9.  Not much for locally sourced, creatively conceived and downright delicious fare.

I really do love this restaurant.  It’s the kind of place that if we go out, which is rarely, we want to go here.  Make sure you visit them this week.

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