Dinner with Carrie: Pecan Penny's BBQ

Carrie and I finally made it to a BBQ spot we've been meaning to try a few blocks away from our apartment, and the weather decided to cooperate tonight. 

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I decided to try as much as I could for this review, so I ordered the "Downtown Sampler", which for $21.99 gives you generous portions of brisket, pulled pork, and a 1/4 chicken plus two sides. For my sides I chose to go for the carbs, adding hush puppies and mac & cheese.

The meat arrived unsauced but perfectly prepared, giving me the opportunity to try all five sauces on the table. The Carolina vinegar sauce was almost straight vinegar instead of  the spicy vinegar sauce I was expecting. The Memphis tomato sauce was good, but a little sweeter than I prefer. The Daddy-G, their house BBQ sauce was good but didn't have enough spice to rise above the tomatoes and brown sugar. The spicy grandpa, a spicy version of their house sauce was better at rising above the tomatoes but still wasn't great.  Surprising me was the eastern Carolina mustard sauce, which gave me everything I was looking for on all three meats.

Turning to the sides, the mac & cheese was good but not great because the cheese broke during preparation leaving clumps of cheddar and oil. The hush puppies were perfectly cooked, served light and fluffy as they should be but rarely are.

In all it was a good meal with better company, but I'm still looking for perfect BBQ in Columbus. You can try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Pecan Penny's

So, I obviously had to eat while I was in Columbus right?

It just happened to be restaurant week in Columbus, Ohio this week while I was there with Carrie and we had the opportunity to sample some great food from some restaurants that we might not have otherwise tried.  We also tried some new pizza places and delivery services to get a better idea of the food options in a downtown area that is pretty quiet after dark.

Our first delivery option was pizza, and we decided to give OH Brew & Pizza a try.  It was a Friday night and ended up being the first night of OhioCon which just happened to be a couple blocks away from the restaurant we ordered from.  This led to a 90 minute delivery time, which was less than thrilling for us but the restaurant was good about keeping us informed.

The pizza itself was pretty good, with a crisp crust and just enough sauce to add good flavor without overwhelming the cheese and toppings.  Meat quantity and quality was great, with even coverage and solid flavor.  Overall quite good and we will order from them again.  We tried a couple of their side items, both loaded tots and fried crustables.  Both arrived a little cold and a lot greasy.  The fryer temperature was too low and they took too long to arrive for them to be any good to me.  We may try them again at the restaurant but won't order them out again.

The next night Carrie had a working dinner so I had dinner with my cousin and his wife at a popular Mexican restaurant near the OSU campus called MadMex.  I went with the carnitas burrito and I was pleased but not wowed.  After growing up with so much great authentic mexican food Midwest college town versions of Mexican food don't excite me.  There was ok flavor but no heat, and the citrus was nowhere to be tasted in a dish that normally would hinge on it being front and center.  Portions were huge and quality was decent but uninspiring.

The Carnitas Burrito is served with r oasted green chilis inside, blue cornbread, pico and sweet-n-sour slaw on the side.

The Carnitas Burrito is served with roasted green chilis inside, blue cornbread, pico and sweet-n-sour slaw on the side.

The only other real meal out that we had was our last night in town.  Quite a few restaurants had special three course menus at reduced prices to encourage people to try new places for restaurant week, so we gave BareBurger on High Street a try.  Located just across from the convention center at the beginning of Columbus' Short North arts district BareBurger has quickly made a name for themselves serving organic and free range menu items while being careful to cater to dietary and allergy restrictions.

 

While limited the 3 Course menu BareBurger featured for Restaurant Week actually presented quite a range of options

While limited the 3 Course menu BareBurger featured for Restaurant Week actually presented quite a range of options

Since I cant have onions my first course was the Pickles & Slaw appetizer.  Featuring bread and butter, sour, garlic, and hot pickles along with a brussel sprout slaw it is actually a great sampler if you like pickles (which I do).  All of their pickles are made in house and are very good.  I love a good bread and butter pickle and BareBurgers offering reminded me quite a bit of the pickles my grandmother used to make when I was a kid.  The sour and garlic pickles were about average, and the hot pickles could have used more pepper and less garlic but were quite good as well.  In all it was a good start to the dinner.

The Pickle & Slaw sampler

The Pickle & Slaw sampler

For my second course I had the Wiki Wiki - a wild boar burger with duck bacon, gouda, and grilled pineapple on a brioche bun.  The boar was perfectly seasoned, allowing some of the gaminess of the meat to come through without allowing it to overpower the sandwich.  Their duck bacon is a treat.  Crisp and just the right amount of fatiness it adds just the right amount of flavor to the sandwich and is cut just right by the acid of the pineapple.  This is a well designed and balanced sandwich.

In all our dining experiences in Columbus were again pretty average.  Next trip I'll try to hit some of the more trendy spots in the Short North and Downtown, but we haven't had a bad meal in our visits yet.

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Athenian Grill: Greek Bistro & Market by Ilias Pappas — Kickstarter

 When we were in Kentucky, I wrote about the Ambassador Day at Makers Mark on day two of our visit.  One of the great things about that day was the amazing greek food we had from Athenian Grill in Lexington and their booth on the food court there.  Now Athenian Grill is working to open a permanent location in Lexington, and has turned to Kickstarter for funding.  While most of the awards for backers are only going to be valuable to people in the Lexington area, the $50 reward includes shipping of their scratch-made pastries anywhere in the U.S.

If you are in Lexington, or really anywhere in Eastern Kentucky, I encourage you to consider supporting Illias in getting this restaurant built, you will love his food and his passion.

Source: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atheni...