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Sidebar 122 is Like Hotel Dining…

All the techniques are right, the plated food looks fabulous, but when it comes to taste it doesn’t blow your mind or seem very original either. To be fair, it is hotel food @ it’s BEST!

The experience wasn’t too great from the moment we told them we had reservations. Being the conscientious diners that we are, Jason booked us reservations at Sidebar 122 through Open Table (a service we use often) and did have a special request for a window seat – we are both fans of people watching and natural lighting. This apparently annoyed the host, who told us when we got there that he felt that this was like paint telling Picasso what color it is and where to put it on his painting…dramatic to say the least!

So after the very warm welcoming, the nice hostess took us to our table, by a window. Our waitress seemed a little scattered but was dear and very helpful to us as new diners at the restaurant. To start, they bring everyone a delicious serving of hummus and fried pita (and you all know by now how much I love hummus). This was by far the best thing that I ate here and it was damn good.

Next we ordered cocktails – me a Jack & Ginger and Jason got a Negroni. He thought his was a bit strong, but wasn’t complaining. I thought my drink was a little watered down (possibly because our waitress apparently forgot to come back to ask me if I wanted ginger ale or their ginger syrup, which they didn’t recommend, in my drink – so who knows how long those ice cubes sat in that whiskey) and the ale had no fizz to it.

For dinner, I ordered the Roasted Beet & Blue Cheese Salad and the Grilled Beef Tenderloin Skewers (although there is only 1); and Jason got the House Salad and the Pork Filet Mignon. He found his salad to be good and better than expected when he wasn’t sure what a pecan dressing would taste like. I thought the beets were delightful in the salad, but the salad didn’t need to be so bathed in heavy Blue Cheese dressing…even though I do LOVE blue cheese. Jason’s Pork Filet Mignon, which was served with mixed veggies, purple cabbage and mashed potatoes, he found to be good but not amazing…however, good enough to eat all of it before offering me a taste…  The Grilled Beef Tenderloin was served with a Parmesan risotto and mixed veggies. I actually really liked the skewered meat – very tender and the melted blue cheese on it was tasty. As for the sides, I could live without.


At the end of the meal we decided to skip dessert here and high-tail it over to Jeni’s for some real original flavor. (Man, I’m glad that the German Village location opened back up last Friday!) Is the food bad at Sidebar 122? No. But is it original, competitive or even well representative of the cuisine that C-BUS has to offer? The answer to that question is NO as well. I will say, however, that I do plan on going back sometime just to sit and drink at the bar…word on the street is that they give you BACON instead of peanuts to snack on! Just like at a hotel that I am staying at when traveling – I’d rather grab some drinks there than eat there, any day of the week.

Until Next Time,

Nikki
Sidebar 122 on Urbanspoon

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The expression is ‘cook with love’, not ‘bake with anger’… The Angry Baker misses the mark!

I believe the expression is to ‘cook with love’, but there is nothing about baking with anger and I can only think that this is why…the results are NOT good. This is a new kind of post for me, a post of disapproval.

My father instilled in me a loyalty to small business or mom & pop spots and I have carried that with me as I moved out on my own. I think I pay a lot of attention to where I’m purchasing from, what I’m purchasing and making sure that I’m not supporting places that do not share my values. (It’s why you’ll never hear me saying I wish I could shop at Walmart or that I miss shopping at Whole Foods, Target or Best Buy- cheaper doesn’t mean better and there is always a cost to another for that couple bucks you are saving.) I try not to eat at large chain restaurants (I did say try, NOT that I NEVER do…) and I really love the work that Ohio Proud (www.ohioproud.org) is doing so that I can support Ohioans like myself and small businesses as much as possible. So it is with a heavy heart that I blog about one such place that just does not seem to have it together and whose staff do not seem to care.

My first trip there was to pick up some sweets after lunch for later that day. Not knowing what their menu/specialty really was yet, I figured that a safe bet would be that they have baked goods @ a spot called Angry Baker. However, after my experience there, I learned that there is no such thing as a safe bet. Don’t get me wrong, they did actually have baked goods- what they didn’t have was good baked goods. Whenever I go to new locations I like to ask the staff what they recommend or what they sell the most of and at this visit I was pointed in the direction of their Dr. Pepper cake. If this is their specialty then there really isn’t anything special here…

Now with all of that said, I did WANT to like it. Hell, I even wanted to LOVE it! So I decided to give it a second chance, I don’t believe in the screw up once & you’re out rule for small businesses. This time, now knowing that they serve breakfast and lunch items, I decided to grab some lunch from here for the road. Their lunch menu is written on a chalk board & the turkey sandwich (w/mustard, lettuce, tomato & swiss) sounded perfect. You did get to pick a choice of soup, salad or chips and I went with the Zesty Jalapeno chips. I ordered & found it interesting that the sandwich artisan when asked to make the sandwich moved closer to the chalk board & stared at it and then looked at me as if he was unaware that was an option and made a face as if I was troubling him by ordering. After AWHILE, I got the sandwich from the lady who took my order- with no smile, ‘thanks for coming’, ‘have a nice day’ or even a ‘come again!’

But that’s neither here nor there on a food blog, the food is the actual important part. The sandwich did have delicious tomatoes on it and the bread was fantastic as well, but from there it all went downhill… Sadly, the bread slices were thicker than the whole rest of the sandwich, there was barely any turkey or cheese but there was a good inch of whole grain mustard on it (enough for a good 10 sandwiches at least & nearly impossible to scrape enough off- and I really like mustard too).

For eight dollars I expect a little more. Especially when you have Black Creek Bistro down the street or such sandwich options in the city as Brown Bag or Danny’s Deli… So today I give my first two thumbs down, but with the hope to one day write that I was wrong and that there is a reason to stop by and patronage the Angry Baker.

Until next time,

Nikki

The Angry Baker on Urbanspoon