Here’s the thing: today is my birthday. That means I can write about whatever I want. And you know what? It might not be JUST about breakfast. Also, because it’s my birthday, I’m expanding the Three To Try into NINE! Mwa ha haaa!
1. Kolache Republic – I don’t get to KR often enough (even though my breakfast tours go there regularly). The sweet kolaches remind me of dinner rolls at my grandmother’s, and the breakfast sandwiches are perfect little hand-held treats. I angle for the lunch specials, particularly that Thanksgiving kolache that comes around two days a year.
2. Da Levee – Oh, how I love cajun and creole fare. I also don’t get to Da Levee often enough, but their etouffee is one of my favorite lunches. And the jambalaya. And the maque choux.
3. Studio 35 – Studio 35 is the answer to both “what’s your favorite bar?” and “what’s your favorite movie theatre?” Forty taps of beer. A comfy spot to see movies. We love going there just to grab a drink, even if we’re not catching the movie.
4. Starliner Diner – Chilaquiles. I would like a bowl of them now, please.
5. El Arepazo – Easily one of my top five favorite spots in Columbus. Arepas, arepitas, burritos, empanadas, patacon, and a great chilaquiles special. Oh, and the cilantro sauce. The cilantro sauce…
6. Helen’s Asian Kitchen – Our favorite Chinese spot. Funny location (it’s a former strip club). The best dumplings, and that uh-mazing Szechuan stir-fried cauliflower.
7. Los Guachos Taqueria – When Food Network called Los Guachos’ al pastor tacos the third best in the nation, they were just discovering what we knew all along (although we’d put it at #1). Their tacos are one of the best examples of “simplest is best.” Mexican street tacos are simply corn tortillas, meat, onion, cilantro. Well seasoned meat carries all the flavor, and everything else supports it. Also, the tortas and the gringas. And that cilantro sauce… (Pro-tip: 2-for-1 al pastor tacos are Mondays, and $2 gringas are Wednesdays.)
8. AJ’s Cafe – One of the unsung heroes of downtown breakfast and lunch. Ajay Kumar’s family once owned Taj Mahal, our favorite Indian restaurant. His cafe downtown is one of my little havens on busy days. Ajay is always a joy to chat with, and his sandwiches go beyond the average lunch fare. He incorporates some Indian flavors in his menu; my personal favorite is the Chicken Tikka Masala.
9. Buckeye Donuts – It’s a classic. The people there are great. They’ve been making donuts the same way since 1969. Taking my breakfast tours there is always a joy, getting to see behind the scenes. And nothing beats their donuts: the custard-filled, the red velvet, the Buckeye, the maple bacon longjohn, the pumpkin, the German chocolate, the— you get the picture.
Honorable Mention: Cravings Cafe – I miss Matt and Lindsey’s brioche breakfast sandwiches. I can’t wait for them to re-open downtown this summer.
Ha ha – that was actually TEN. But it’s my birthday!
Last week’s Three To Try: Christi’s OSU Edition