Our weekly roundup of the bites and bevvies we can’t stop thinking about
By The Editors
We’re saying goodbye to food court regret and hello to fresh crab and veggie tacos.
I still love the occasional trip to the mall. (You can take Kristen out of the ’90s but you can’t take the ’90s out of Kristen.) I do not love eating in food courts. So no matter where I shop, I keep a mental list of good, healthful eats, typically at chain restaurants. That’s not always a dirty word! California Pizza Kitchen makes a satisfying vegan split pea soup, and their roasted vegetable salad is better than any pizza on the menu. This week, I explored CoreLife Eatery, across Polaris Parkway from the mall. The menu features greens, grains and broth bowls crammed with proteins and veggies. Calorie counts are low, and the options are plentiful. I loved my Sriracha Ginger Tofu & Ancient Grains bowl with tofu, quinoa, broccoli, carrots, raw julienned beets, freshly grated ginger and a little too much raw kale (even for me). I opted for a light drizzle of the suggested carrot chili vinaigrette and a nice squeeze of Sriracha. And I paired my bowl with a cup of beet lemonade, which I’ve gotta try to make at home one of these days. For less than $8, I got a satisfying lunch that gave me more bargain-hunting energy and zero food court regrets.
Last week, we headed for the East Coast to Annapolis, Maryland. Because we have family there, we get to the quaint bayside town a few times a year. Also because we have family there, exploring the city usually happens in tiny snippets. On this trip, we finally checked off a stop that’s been long on our list: dining at Cantler’s Riverside Inn, a seaside-rustic crab house where butcher paper is taped to every table (because the assumption is someone in your party will be cracking into fresh blue crabs), and the patio overlooks Mill Creek. It’s a must-stop if you’re in the area, and Linda’s Crab Roll (if you’re not in the mood to work for your crab meat) is a must-order. A buttery roll stuffed with crab salad and lots of red onions and served with chips covered in Old Bay seasoning. I’m still thinking about it almost a week later.
I love a good taco, and Tuesday is typically my least favorite day of the week, when a pick-me-up of any kind is needed and appreciated. You might think, then, that I take advantage of Taco Tuesday as often as possible. In reality, it just never works out. Something always pops up, or there’s food in the fridge that needs used now (and would make a really sad taco ingredient). This week, though, I made it happen. My goal was El Camino, my favorite taco spot in town, but the patio was full. That’s the thing with spring in Columbus, right? If it’s patio weather, you’re crazy to sit inside. So I wandered over to Condado‘s spot near the Columbus Commons, where I ordered the best darn taco I’ve had in ages: corn tortilla, chorizo, as much veg as I could order and the habanero-mango salsa, which was way spicier than I thought it’d be … and saved me from devouring the whole thing in 30 seconds flat. Don’t get me wrong — I still respect the simplicity of an El Camino taco. But it turns out, sometimes more is more.
It wasn’t a Tuesday, but that didn’t stop me from craving tacos, too. I know I should’ve ventured somewhere outside of my comfort zone, but Local Cantina never disappoints (also, free chips and salsa). I’ve tried quite a few of their a la carte options, so I’ll rank my top three, which I order now almost every time I go: The Grilled Fish taco has jalapeño slaw, cilantro and a chipotle cream, plus a flaky and flavorful fish that screams summer. The Chorizo and Egg taco is a bit more hearty, but I love that pickled onion. My favorite, though, HAS to be the Veggie taco. Guac, cabbage, pico, black bean corn salsa and chipotle agave pack this thing with flavor. If I’ve overdone it on the chips (which I do quite often), I order two veggies, and I’m good to go.