Our weekly roundup of the noms we can’t stop thinking about
By The Editors
What we’re loving this week: Cold brew, deli sandwiches, a hidden gem in Grandview and a biscuit that’s as good as pie.
We live dangerously close to Brown Bag Deli in German Village, a wonderfully cramped corner neighborhood deli with traditional and atypical sandwiches. That includes The Village Addiction—a sandwich I crave more than any other. It is, simply, a thick stack of smoky turkey slices, gooey Havarti, and lots of cranberry mayo strategically smeared on two slices of grilled sourdough. The cranberry mayo is what makes this sandwich really sing—a spread that playfully hops along the palate. Is it sweet? Is it bitter? Is it savory? Yes, yes, and yes. Pair it with a side of Brussels sprouts and blue cheese and a cold seltzer water on a hot day.
My family isn’t Italian, but when it comes to celebrating (birthdays, graduations, etc.), we usually end up at a spot with good wine and pasta. A recent weekend was no exception, when we toasted to my brother’s birthday at Grandview’s Trattoria Roma. I like that this place flies a bit under the radar. With little planning, we can usually get a table for a group and still enjoy a nice meal together. I encouraged the group to start with the polenta, and frankly, this was the best order of the night. Served with mushrooms and a savory balsamic-gorgonzola sauce, it’s rich and decadent. A few of us (me) were scraping up those last pools of sauce with our crostini from the Stuffed Meatball (also deliciously heavy). After all that, I ordered the salmon, which was served with a strawberry-jalapeno glaze, greens and a potato hash. And I wished for still more polenta.
I love Skillet. I love the food. I love seeing two generations of the Caskey family in the kitchen. I even love waiting for a table outside on a sunny Sunday morning. Now there’s something new to love: Patrick Caskey’s bourbon barrel cold brew, served in stout square bottles. Cold brew is ubiquitous all of a sudden, but this version offers something special: a hint of Milligan’s Maple Products bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup. (The southeast Ohio company produces all the maple products used at Skillet.) The coffee and syrup elevate each other, and that’s a delicate balance to strike. Pour over ice and savor slowly—this caffeine will jolt your heart into action. Take your cold brew straight? Skillet is also serving a version sans syrup.
I’ve tried pies and pastries from Dough Mama in the past, each one better than the last. But, for no reason other than proximity, really, it took me until this week to enjoy a sit-down breakfast at the totally charming Clintonville cafe. This time, I went savory, ordering the Avocado Biscuit (egg, greens, pickled onion and aioli on a cheddar-scallion biscuit) and devoured every last crumb. As with pie, owner-chef Perrie Wilkof knows what she’s doing with a biscuit.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the maker of the bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup used in Skillet’s cold brew. The syrup is made by Milligan’s Maple Products, not Middle West Spirits.