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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Pies & Pints…GET SOME!

If you haven’t read many of my past reviews, I’m kind of a pizza junkie and this place doesn’t disappoint- it’s one of the best! Luckily, this place isn’t far from my home. It’s located in the old Worthington Shopping Plaza on High Street, which is coming back to life with a stream of new businesses. The only downside to this is that I doubt pizza will be on my new post-election diet and with the proximity I’m sure I’ll keep coming back. Once you go inside it has a very lively atmosphere; even on a Thursday it was throughly jumping with patrons. Once you start eating the food and enjoying their vast beer collection, you’ll understand why.

They have quite a selection of speciality pizzas but you can also make your own combinations with a laundry list of ingredients. The best part is that the dough for the pizza is made in house daily and comes from a family, New York style, recipe. The crust on this pizza is addictive! They brush it with a garlic infused olive oil and then sprinkle it with kosher salt before adding on their base of a mixture of mozzarella and provolone. So back to that crust, it’s literally so good that I wish they sold baked strips of it to just consume as an appetizer or as a to go item. It’s like eating a good crusty bread that crunches under the weight of your teeth or at the slice of a knife. It’s not a thick crust, but it’s fluffier than a thin crust pizza too. Basically, it’s AMAZING!

Ok, so they had more than crust so I’ll move on… I started off the meal with some of their Char-Grilled Hot Wings. Now they’re not actually spicy at all, but they are still delicious. They have a dry rub on them of cumin with some cilantro, and they have a good smoky flavor and the meat was tasty and moist. To me this would be a great meal in itself if you were looking to eat something healthier than pizza but didn’t just want to eat a salad- who wants to be that guy?!? Anyhow, they’re served with a creamy, house-made Gorgonzola dipping sauce which you’re bound to love. While it has a similar taste to Blue Cheese Dressing that is usually served with hot wings it has a lighter texture, most similar to a tzatziki sauce.

Another great thing about Pies & Pints is their obvious appreciation for Gorgonzola; and as a fellow Gorgonzola lover, I love them for it. The first slice of pizza I tried was their Red Grape Pizza. Now if you’re like me your initial reaction is, “Fruit on pizza? No thanks.” BUT you’d be wrong like me. The grapes were perfectly suited for this pizza with Gorgonzola cheese on top of their standard blend which causes it to not be so pungent for those who dislike it for that reason. If I wasn’t trying to sample as much as possible I would have likely stuck to this pie all night long. This was my favorite by far, and is one of their most popular pies too.

I ordered some samples of their draft beers, of which they have MANY, but got a Golden Belgium named Victory Golden Monkey and Elevator’s Dark Horse. They tasted great with the pizza, and of the waiters/waitresses have a great understanding of all their beers on site. Pies & Pints actually has a beer man, Ryan, for their multiple locations who makes their selections and trains the staff too- so don’t be afraid to ask questions, in fact I recommend it.

Once I had some beer in front of me I was ready to move forward with more pizza. I tried four more speciality pizza slices. The first was their Mushroom Garlic Pie, consisting of :  roasted mushrooms, feta cheese, caramelized onions, fresh roasted garlic and herbs. This was my second piece of pie and my second favorite pizza. Feta cheese is so good on pizza and when mixed with all of these deeply flavorful ingredients it’s PERFECTION. The garlic was never overwhelming and they obviously know a lot about their ingredients what combinations work sublimely together. Next I tried their Classic Pie (Pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, banana peppers and tomato sauce) which for meat lovers is perfect and is understandably a classic pizza. The banana peppers add the perfect amount of heat to meld the flavors of this pie together.

Then there was the Thai Pie. This is definitely a pizza for folks not looking for the classic and looking to mix it up a bit and try something new. This pie has shrimp, toasted coconut, Thai curry sauce, and topped with fresh basil and cilantro. First, I gotta admit that I LOVE toasted coconut, but you don’t really notice it just the hint of sweetness that hits your tongue after you taste and pick up on the curry sauce first. If they added more coconut I think it would just enhance the sweet & savoriness that they’re going for in this pizza. Lastly, was the Chicken Gouda Pie and it was a great way to end my array of pizzas. Anything, especially any pizza, with bacon on it is good bye me…and when the bacon is cooked to mouth watering crisp like this, it’s somehow even better! Besides chicken, gouda and bacon this pizza also has some red onion and a really tasty chipotle crema drizzled on top of it. This pizza has a wonderful balance of grilled chicken cheese and spiciness and I loved it!

Although I could barely breathe I did also take two bites of their Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Terrine, which is made in-house. It’s layers of thin chocolate brownie and a crunchy peanut butter filling that is topped with chocolate ganache. It’s incredibly rich, but it’s a wonderful way to end a salty and savory meal.

Would I come back? DEFINITELY. Over and over again? Yes! I would place this on top of my list for a good pizza in Columbus. The pizza here was so good, as served, that I never even had to add crushed red pepper or sprinkle/parmesan cheese- which is unheard of for me. I have to give it two thumbs up and would recommend it to anyone, whether you live in Worthington or not, to try this pizza. If you can stop by for lunch, they sell their pizza by the slice too for a reasonable price. Go GET SOME!

Until Next Time,
Nikki

Pies and Pints on Urbanspoon

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Landlocked in CBus, but You’d Never Know After a Trip to Rivage Atlantique

I loved this place from the moment I walked in the door. From the outside it just looks like a small place with tinted windows with not much going on, but this is exactly why you never judge a book by it’s cover.

As soon as you open the door you are struck by the brightness and then the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. People laughing and enjoying themselves can be heard all around; it’s infectious. We were sat immediately in the middle room, there are three total. The more ‘bar scene’ is in the back with good live music on Friday nights, the middle room’s focal point is giant fireplace and the main room is where the large groups tend to be enjoying the views of the kitchen and tasty seafood coming from it.

We started with cocktails, because there is no better way to start a night after a long week and an even busier weekend ahead. Jason stuck to his favorite gin & tonic, and I tried their Atlantique Martini with a delightful combination of vodka and citrus…it was so very yummy!

Martini

From there our wonderful waiter went into the specials, of which caused us to change our plans a little to try their Bottleneck Clams in a white wine sauce. However, we still started with an array of raw oysters so we could sample some different kinds (we really have begun to LOVE raw oysters). That night they had three different kinds on their menu and we each got 2 of each kind:  P.E.I. Malpeque Oyster, Wellfleet Oyster, and Apalachicola Oyster. Turns out they are ALL delicious!

Oysters

From there we moved into our second course, which was both the special of clams but also an order of their Maine Mussels. It was all served with crusty bread. You literally could NOT eat just one, we hoovered them all down. We got to the point of forcing the last few down, but they were so good that you didn’t want to waste even one of them. Also, as good as the oil and probably the best olive tapenade I’ve ever had  was, you couldn’t help but soak up the sauce with the bread and love every soggy bite!

When we sat down we had grande illusions of ordering soup and salad after these mussels and clams too, but the reality was…we ate a TON of really good food already. Now Jason being Jason, still left some room for dessert just because he’s tall and thin and can…so he ordered a slice of their Buckeye Cheesecake. WOW, one bite of this incredibly rich and decadent cheesecake is really all you need to get through a rough day and get your chocolate/peanut butter fix. It was very good, but even Jason couldn’t finish this.

Everything about this place was fantastic. I loved the ambiance, feel and energy of this restaurant. The staff were superb! The food was worth coming back for over and over and over again. We will definitely return, most likely on a Thursday night to capitalize on their weekly Oyster Special. I would give this place three thumbs up, if I had them, but I’ll settle for just the two that I have- TWO THUMBS UP!

Until Next Time,

Nikki

Rivage Atlantique on Urbanspoon

Back to life and food blogging! Boy have I missed it, but with no time to write and plenty of places to eat and photos of food backed up…I’m sure you’ll start to hear from me again much more regularly. So, off we go!

Coming here for brunch was my first trip to J. Liu. The Worthington location is very close to where I live, so after seeing it a few times I looked into what they’re ‘known for’ or type of food they do. After some mixed reviews on their Asian inspired menu, but hearing they had a brunch buffet that included some traditional items too- I knew I had to at least try it out on a weekend morning. I wasn’t exactly sure of what to expect besides a buffet, some type of breakfast-y foods and of course a Mimosa…which is really all I needed to hear to make it on my wish list!

It didn’t disappoint, but it didn’t amaze me either. They have a few tables outside (which I always love if the weather is decent at all), so we got to sit out on the patio. A good location, because it is right by the bar area where the buffet is served. The key here is that besides having a lot of good classic items they also had some good American style Chinese food here too. I tried a plate of staples like crispy bacon, home fries, waffle and eggs benedict but also mixed it up with some crispy crab rangoons. Everything on my plate was phenomenal except for the home fries, which were a little too soft and flavorless for my taste. However, nothing tastes better to me than some nicely crisped bacon, so they kind of had me weak in the knees from the get-go of approaching the food buffet with my plate.

Jason basically tried everything! He had a couple of plates and tried, among other things, some lobster buttered white fish, crispy chicken and broccoli and lo mein noodles. While the white fish didn’t actually taste like anything special, the rest of the food was really delicious. Especially, for it being a buffet which you just assume food quality will go down with big food quantity, but at J. Liu that is not the case. The poached egg used on my egg benedict was cooked to perfection.

Additionally, they have a dessert table too! Since both Jason and I have a big sweet tooth, this is something we could not pass up. In fact, I specifically left room just for dessert. The nice thing about the dessert selection was that they were small and even bite size pieces. This is great because it allows the customer (me or you) to have as much variety as they desired for one full serving. Again, we tried a bit of EVERYTHING- which is why buffets are so wonderful! So we tried J. Liu’s chocolate covered strawberries, caramel apple pie bites, a white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake squares, five layer bars, a mocha cheesecake square and lemon bars. Everything was scrumptious, very flavorful, the cheesecakes were creamy, the chocolates were perfection and the lemon was the right amount of tart. I’m always a sucker for chocolate covered strawberries and Jason couldn’t stop with the white chocolate & raspberry cheesecakes (although the boy does LOVE both raspberries and cheesecake so neither of us were surprised). So my recommendation is to definitely save room for a cup of coffee and dessert.

For $17 a person I would recommend that if you can splurge a little on breakfast then everyone should at least try it and see what you think. Due to the location, I’m sure that I will go back. However, if I lived elsewhere in Central Ohio it’s likely that I could easily find a cheaper and even more delicious weekend breakfast favorite. I give J. Liu’s Brunch a one thumb up!

Until next time,

Nikki

J Liu Restaurant & Bar of Worthington on Urbanspoon