Photography at The Wonder Jam

1145 Chesapeake Ave
Building J
Columbus, OH 43212

http://thewonderjam.com

I will be the first to admit that the focus of this blog has never been photography. I don’t have a fancy camera, and didn’t even have an Instagram account in the beginning, now my largest social media channel. My ability to take pictures of food has improved tremendously over the past two years, but it’s always been something I never concentrated on enough. Sometimes I was too starving to take photos, sometimes I got off work late and there was no sunlight left for an ideal setup. I have a long way to go to hone those food styling skills, but I’m working on it with The Wonder Jam!

I connected with The Wonder Jam through Instagram (@thewonderjam), and had been admiring their photography work from afar. Then, a couple weeks ago I finally pulled the trigger and visited their studio for a photography class. The Wonder Jam is owned by the husband and wife duo of Allie and Adam Lehman, and they offer assistance in expanding your small business or “side hustle” in a variety of ways. Some of the services: building your brand, social media coaching, and of course, photography. The Lehmans and their team also prep the food and then shoot it for entire cookbooks, which I learned isn’t as glamorous as it sounds!

The class I took was Food Photography and Styling, essentially an intro to capturing food on film. It was iPhone-friendly (perfect for me!) and the group was a great mix of career photographers and amateurs who just wanted to take prettier snaps of food. At only $40 for 3 hours of instruction and light snacks, this class is such a tremendous value! I took notes throughout the session like a maniac. Allie and her crew set up different food scenes for us to try our hand at capturing, so it was interesting to see how these high-quality shots are developed from the ground up. I won’t give away all the secrets, but I learned how to set up layouts and backgrounds for shooting, how to add texture with napkins, and that painting produce with veggie oil gives it a perfect sheen. I can’t wait to take another class and learn more. Some of my shots have improved already:

Culinary Clue: The studio is in the same industrial strip as Watershed Kitchen + Bar. So schedule a class at The Wonder Jam, then mosey over to Watershed to test your newly-acquired camera talents on their cuisine.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Brunchin’ It Up: The Market Italian Village

The Market Italian Village
1022 Summit Street
Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 745 2147
https://www.themarketiv.com/

The Market Italian Village is one part actual market (buy craft beers, well-priced wines, and local food products), one part bakery, one part restaurant, and a large dash of perfection. The menu at any time of day is always seasonally-focused, creative, and artfully prepared. One of The Market’s best kept secrets though, is brunch. Start your weekend morning right by snagging a stool in front of the open windows and people-watching while savoring some rib-sticking cuisine.

Let’s start with the French Toast and Chicken. Say sayonara to the Chicken and Waffles gracing every brunch menu in town. This dish is immense (hooray for leftovers!) and hits all the right notes: huge slabs of French toast, crunchy fried chicken, creme fraiche, and smoked maple syrup. I’m always partial to a good egg sammie, so the B.E.L.T. is an ideal option. Consisting of thick-cut bacon, a runny egg, greens, garlic aioli, tomato jam, sourdough, and optional smoked salmon (vote yes) this a simple but well-executed dish. Don’t forget the crunchy home fries on the side! Other mouthwatering selections include the Market Waffle (topped with bourbon bananas foster and pecans), Shakshouka (baked eggs, tomatoes, red pepper sauce, crispy chickpeas, and feta with stone-fired pita bread) and the biscuits with lamb gravy. Each dish is familiar with an elevated twist.

Feeling festive? Brunch cocktails are also available, such as the house Bloody Mary, garnished with candied bacon. Fruit fans will flip for the sangria: red wine, Grey Goose l’orange, Copper & Kings brandy, hibiscus, orange juice, and honey, or pry those eyes open with the Espresso Milk Punch (bourbon, molasses, spiced simple syrup, Snowville milk, Deeper Roots espresso, and nutmeg). Pair your meal with a luscious lavender latte, score a pastry for the road, and #brunchgoals are complete.

Tell me more about your favorite Italian Village brunch spot in the comments below!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Balsamic Roasted Grape Pizza

Balsamic Roasted Grape Pizza

My current craving as summer approaches: fruit on savory pizza. Fruit pizza for dessert (you know the one, with the cream cheese layer and sugar cookie crust) is divine, but I’m fancying fruit this season as a topping for a dinner pizza. Figs, dates, and apples are all great additions to flatbreads to add sweetness and texture, but grapes are great because they retain their juice even after roasting. This pizza is a snap to assemble and will disappear in a snap too. Grilling the crust would also be tasty for a quick meal, or cut the pie into bite size pieces for a party appetizer.

Roasted Grape Pizza

Yield: 4 mini pizzas

Ingredients:

For the grapes:
1 1/2 c. seedless red grapes
3 T. balsamic vinegar
3 T. olive oil

For the pizza:
4 – 8 inch prepared pizza crusts (I used pre-packaged mini crusts from Kroger, but feel free to make your own or buy the kind in the tube and roll them out)
1 c. ricotta cheese, divided into 4 portions
2 T. olive oil
2 T. chopped fresh basil
3 T. chopped fresh chives
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c. mozzarella
1/4 c. grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, spread out grapes. Drizzle on oil and vinegar, toss grapes in mixture to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the grapes for 10-15 minutes until the skins are just beginning to burst, stirring once halfway through. Allow the grapes to cool.

Balsamic Roasted Grape Pizza

On each pre-baked crust, spread an even layer of the divided ricotta. Drizzle the oil atop the ricotta layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Next add the mozzarella and Parmesan, then top the cheeses with the garlic and the herbs. Finally distribute the grapes in an even layer, dividing them between the 4 pizzas. Bake the mini pizzas for 15 minutes in the 425 degree oven, until cheese is melted. Cut and serve!

I know grapes might sound crazy, but they add a stellar pop of sweetness. Shovel in every bite and let me know when you try the recipe; find my social channels here: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Balsamic Roasted Grape Pizza
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
For the grapes:
  • 1½ c. seedless red grapes
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T. olive oil
For the pizza:
  • 4 - 8 inch prepared pizza crusts (I used pre-packaged mini crusts from Kroger, but feel free to make your own or buy the kind in the tube and roll them out)
  • 1 c. ricotta cheese, divided into 4 portions
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil
  • 3 T. chopped fresh chives
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ c. mozzarella
  • ¼ c. grated Parmesan
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. On a rimmed baked sheet sprayed with cooking spray, spread out grapes.
  3. Drizzle on oil and vinegar, toss grapes in mixture to coat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast the grapes for 10-15 minutes until the skins just beginning to burst, stirring once halfway through.
  6. Allow the grapes to cool.
  7. On each pre-baked crust, spread an even layer of the divided ricotta.
  8. Drizzle the oil atop the ricotta layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  9. Next add the mozzarella and Parmesan, then top the cheeses with the garlic and the herbs.
  10. Finally distribute the grapes in an even layer, dividing them between the 4 pizzas.
  11. Bake the mini pizzas for 15 minutes in the 425 degree oven, until cheese is melted. Cut and serve!

 

Caroline’s Picks: 5 Sweet Breakfast Treats to Try

Cruffins: Dan the Baker/Toast Bar

http://dan-the-baker.com

This one is simple: croissant meets muffin and has the flakiest baby imaginable. The result is a handheld delight that will satisfy your every breakfast desire. Fillings range from strawberry cream to spicy cardamom. Pick one up at select farmers markets or at Dan’s Grandview restaurant, Toast Bar.

Caramel Mocha Kolache: Kolache Republic

http://kolacherepublic.com
Caramel Mocha Kolache: Kolache Republic

All the kolache flavors are wonderful, but the not-too-sugary filling of the caramel mocha kolache has my heart. If coffee isn’t your speed, these Czech pastries consist of a soft, yeasty dough packed with sweet or savory items like chocolate, bacon, or cheese. Pick up a couple extra for mid-week snacks – you won’t regret it.

Custard Donuts: Fox in the Snow Cafe

http://www.foxinthesnow.com
Custard Donuts Fox in the Snow Cafe

For a place that isn’t a donut shop, Fox in the Snow has created one tasty confection. Basic but not boring, these donuts are bursting with a generous amount of thick vanilla custard, then rolled in sugar. Keep a napkin handy for the superb stickiness that will ensue. I dare you to eat only one.

Red Velvet Croissant: Angry Baker

http://theangrybakerote.comRed Velvet Croissant Angry Baker

Ok so I really like croissants. Mainly because I like butter, and croissants have an indecent amount of butter. But also because the Angry Baker is serving up a red velvet version. With a cream cheese center, chocolate drizzle, and brilliant red hue, you can have your cake croissant and eat it too.

Lemon Blueberry Aebelskabels: Alice’s Aebelskabels

https://www.aebelskabels.comAlice's Aebelskabels

Aebelskivers are stuffed Danish pancake balls, the morning essential you never knew you needed. Alice’s dishes out their take on the treats from a food truck, and can be hard to track down. But the hunt is worth every bite, especially for the lemon blueberry version. Tangy, bright, and with just enough of a dessert edge, you should add this to your wish list.

What do you think is the best sweet breakfast bite in Columbus? Let me know in the comments below!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Sassafras Bakery

Sassafras Bakery

Sassafras Bakery
657 High St, Worthington, OH 43085
Phone: (614) 781-9705
http://www.sassafrasbakery.com/

Top Tastes:

1. Donut Muffins
2. Egg Sandwich
3. Cherry Pie
4. Caramelized Onion, Apple, Cheddar, + Blue Cheese Quiche
5. Bacon Cheddar Scone

Tucked into a small shop in historic downtown Worthington, Sassafras Bakery is churning out delectable sweet and savory items. Arrive as early as you can for the best selection – these are some goodies you won’t want to miss. I’m always ready to gobble on a flaky pie crust, and have mentioned the divine cherry pie before here. Many bakery items are seasonal, but there is always a treat to try any time of year.

Pies are featured front and center, and are available in various sizes for carryout purchases. Each is piled sky-high with toppings and enveloped in a tender crust. Choices range from sugary (Salty Ohio Maple) to creamy (Vanilla Chai Cream) to fruity (Strawberry Rhubarb) and beyond (Bourbon Pumpkin). The donut muffins also keep me coming back. These jumbo muffins are baked to a cake-like texture, then the whole thing is rolled in cinnmon sugar reminiscent of your favorite donut. Granola bars, brownies, and blondies are for sale as well. Last but not least: happy hour for cocktails is all well and good, but have you ever had milk and cookies happy hour? Here, every day from 3-5 pm, Sassafras is serving up free milk and coffee when you purchase a cookie. And when available varieties include triple ginger, salted chocolate chip, and lemon-rosemary, what’s not to love?

Sassafras Bakery in Worthington

On the savory spectrum, you must order the egg sandwich. This isn’t your average breakfast between bread, but is instead bright and herbaceous. Sassafras’ version consists of ciabatta stuffed with egg souffle, peppered bacon, tomato, chimichurri mayo, cheese, arugula, and shaved onion. Veggie lovers will flip for the vegetarian jerk mushroom sammie and even the roasted carrot salad. The seasonal soups are noteworthy as well; during my last visit, the feature was a chilled strawberry soup with olive oil and black pepper. Quiches are made with the same thick and perfect crust as the pies. The Caramelized Onion, Apple, Cheddar, Blue Cheese, and Thyme Quiche is a personal favorite, but don’t forget about the bacon, fontina, and chive version either. Bacon is also the star of the craveable bacon-cheddar scones, with sausage and banana pepper as a close second in flavor. Various other drool-worthy items like asparagus galettes with cornmeal crust rotate on and off the menu board.

Egg Sandwich Sassafras Bakery

Culinary Clue: Stop by the bakery during the Worthington Farmer’s Market. Its location is right in the middle of the market, making Sassafras the ideal spot to take a break in the A/C. You can also visit Sassafras as a stop on the Worthington itinerary of Columbus Food Adventures tours.

Have you tried those ridiculously scrumptious donut muffins? Let me know your take on Sassafras in the comments below!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Sassafras Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Spring So Far

Aside from a few bouts of stormy skies, central Ohio’s notoriously fickle weather has been gracious so far this spring. I’ve been soaking up Vitamin D all around town, from the ‘burbs to Olde Towne East and Italian Village. There were too many shots to share on Instagram alone (@cbusconnect) so a roundup post was the only solution. Get out and explore the beauty of Columbus and its food scene in springtime!

Flowers & Many Breads

Of course, there’s Clintonville’s actual Flowers & Bread Co, a carb-lover’s haven that screams spring. But Kittie’s Cakes has fig and goat cheese scones that pair perfectly with warm days, pile warm ricotta on crostini at Third and Hollywood’s steal of a happy hour, or head to Olde Towne East for the Angry Baker’s avocado toast.

In My Home Kitchen

I’ve been raving about rhubarb, and whipping up double batches of rhubarb syrup for homemade soda and killer cocktails. We’ve also been firing up the grill, enjoying Easter with family, and noshing on pimento cheese sammies for The Masters tournament.

Nature’s Bounty

Think spring when picking out your next meal! Alchemy Juice has the most colorful foods that your body will thank you for eating, Curio’s libations are a cornucopia of flavors, or stop by Cosecha and sample the fresh taste of the Hawaiian poké tostada, bursting with pineapple.

Where else in town do you enjoy spending spring? Let me know in the comments below!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Fetty’s Street Food

Egg Roll from Fetty's Street Food

Fetty’s Street Food
https://www.facebook.com/fettysstreetfood

You likely know about my food truck cravings; after all, there’s a whole section of the blog dedicated solely to the mobile dining scene here in Columbus. But I had never encountered anything quite like Fetty’s Street Food when I sampled it last summer at Newark’s Canal Market District. Owner Damian Ettish is churning out cuisine inspired by Indian, Thai, and South African flavors. What is Indian-Thai-South African cuisine? It turns out, it’s savory and scrumptious. If you can’t catch the truck, watch the calendar at The Commissary – Ettish has taught cooking classes there previously.

Let’s talk dining. If the egg rolls or the crab rangoons are on the menu when you visit, they are well worth the caloric splurge. Each is served with a sweet and sour sauce for dipping and has a perfectly oh-so-crunchy exterior. Ettish spends hours hand-rolling batches of each item; no machines here. When it comes to the entrees, the portions are plentiful and tasty. Try the Thai Chimichanga, a fried burrito filled with rice, chicken, cheese, tomato, peppers, and onion, then bathed in a tangy Thai sauce. Eastern food purists will enjoy the General Tso’s chicken or the Thai egg fried rice, familiar takeout flavors with a Fetty’s twist. Other selections, depending on the day, vary from an Indian-style Pita (stuffed with falafel, lettuce, tomato, cucumber raita, and coriander-mint chutney) to the Bunny Chow, South African butter chicken curry presented in a bread bowl.

Thai Egg Fried Rice | Fetty's Street Food

Have you checked out Fetty’s Street Food? Let me know your favorite dish in the comments below.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Paulie Gee’s Short North

Paulie Gees Short North

Paulie Gee’s Short North
1195 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43201
http://pauliegee.com/short-north/
614-808-0112

Top Tastes:

1. Monte Cristo Pizza
2. Hell Boy Pizza
3. Cherry Jones Pizza
4. The Katzingers Pizza
5. Brisket Marmalade

I’m going to put the most important words in this post out there at the beginning: pizza flight. That’s right – Paulie Gee’s in the Short North is dishing up the best flight you never knew you needed, in the form of 3 mini pizzas. The owner, T.J., is an OSU grad with a passion for pie. He knew that our capital city would be a great fit for the renowned NYC eatery, and convinced the Paulie of Paulie Gee’s to franchise here. There is no bland corporate feeling in the restaurant though. The reclaimed barn wood walls and framed photographs of Cbus keep things local; even the pizza flight boards are crafted by Columbus purveyors.

Brisket Marmalade at Paulie Gees

To start, a must-order item is the Brisket Marmalade. This concoction begins with Ray Ray’s Hog Pit BBQ mixed into a sweet tomato base, piled high and served with Laughlin’s Bakery crostini and microgreens. You can also find the local meat king’s brisket on the Hog Pit Brisket Pizza, BBQ pie plus pickled red onion and mozzarella. Wash it all down with a Columbus by Way of Brooklyn, an OYO Rye sipper made with luxardo liqueur and hopped grapefruit bitters.

Cocktails at Paulie Gees

But let’s get to the pizza. Don’t miss checking out the staff tossing dough and shoveling it into the cavernous brick oven that cooks each pizza in less than 2 minutes. Opt for the flight to maximize your tasting options; if you bring a friend, this means you can sample 6 pizzas and have plenty for lunch the next day. Even then, it is still so hard to choose a favorite. The divine Cherry Jones (Gorgonzola, prosciutto, dried cherries and more) and the sweet and salty Monte Cristo (Canadian bacon, gouda, and maple syrup) have captured my heart. But I can’t forget the Katzingers Deli-inspired pie, consisting of Swiss, pastrami, sauerkraut, and a Russian dressing drizzle. And then of course, there is the Hellboy, its dough spilling over with tomatoes, parm, mozz, hot sopressata, and spicy honey. It indulges my Mike’s Hot Honey obsession completely, a love first cultivated by Kittie’s Cakes. Finally, I especially love that so many of the pizzas are crowned with a dollop of ricotta. Why aren’t more pizzerias swirling on ricotta? Even vegans can get in on the ricotta action – the Red, White, and Greenpeace Pizza has a cashew milk version.

Pizza Flight from Paulie Gees

If you’ve ever questioned whether it’s worth it to go to the Short North for pizza, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

Culinary Clue: Speaking of the Short North, parking can be atrocious. But Paulie Gee’s has its own lot at Wall and 5th Streets during most hours. Look for the sandwich sign with Paulie Gee’s logo on it.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Disclosure: The Columbus Food Bloggers group and I received a free Paulie Gee’s smorgasbord; however, all opinions in this review are my own. 

Paulie Gee's Short North Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Columbus Craft Beer Week 2017

It’s almost time for Columbus Craft Beer Week! This extravaganza of all things brewery-related transcends the hops scene into something that celebrates the culinary arts and local businesses as well. The capital city has embraced its beer-loving roots; after all, we are home to over 30 breweries. Plus, we can boast about the Columbus Ale Trail and the fantastic tours offered by Columbus Brew Adventures. But May 12-20, don’t miss some of the unique opportunities to savor some Columbus-made suds.

First on the roster is the brewing of the annual collaboration ale, consisting of 2 dozen local breweries uniting at Columbus Brewing Company to “mash in” the group-created beer and start the brewing process. The collectively created beer is dubbed Dysfunctionale, and is only available at select locations during Columbus Craft Beer Week on draft and in limited numbers of cans. Here are some shots from the initial mash in:

Throughout the week, your favorite bars and restaurants are also churning out some fantastic beer-centric dishes, having exclusive beer releases, and creating themed dinners. The whole week is capped off with the Six One Pour beer festival on May 20 from 5-9 at Huntington Park, featuring plenty of food, music, and of course, beer samples. These are some of the happenings that have caught my eye:

All week: Small Plate Pairings with The Market and Jackie O’s

All week: Small Plate Pairings with Homestead Beer Co. and The Crest Gastropub

May 12: Rockmill’s Quad Release at 101 Beer Kitchen

May 12: Science on Tap at COSI

May 13: Columbus Craft Beer Alliance – Beer and Donuts pairing at Platform Beer

May 14: Sushi, Sake, and Craft Beer Pairings at the Daily Growler

May 16: Beer and Ice Cream Pairing with Jeni’s and Land-Grant Brewing

May 17: Dog and Patio Beer Party at Zauber Brewing

Learn more about all of the upcoming events here: http://www.columbusbeerweek.com/events/ and see you at Columbus Craft Beer Week!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Magic Chocolate Stout Cake

Magic Chocolate Stout Cake

When I went away to college, I knew one of the things I would miss the most was my mom’s cooking. So that I could attempt (the key word is “attempt”) to recreate some of our family’s meals, my mom created what has become my Bible, a handwritten collection of my favorite recipes in a spiral bound notebook. Included in her guide was this recipe for “pudding cake.” The version below is adapted from my mom’s, replacing the water in the original recipe with stout beer. I call it magic cake, because the cake creates its own hot fudge sauce during the baking process, making it the ideal treat to serve with ice cream. I love the coffee richness that the stout brings, and it’s a snazzy dessert to throw together at the last minute – it doesn’t even require eggs!

Mom's Cookbook

 

Ingredients:

For the cake:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 cup milk
2 T. melted butter

For the topping:
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup of your favorite stout beer

Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees, and spraying a 9×9 inch square pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients for the cake: the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix well to incorporate, and then slowly add in melted butter to dry ingredients, followed by the milk. Spread the cake mixture into the bottom of the 9×9 pan. In another bowl, mix the 1/4 cup cocoa powder and the brown sugar. Sprinkle this topping evenly over the cake batter. Next, microwave the stout for approximately 2 minutes, until just warm. Then pour warmed beer over the topping and cake mixtures. Bake the cake for approximately 40 minutes until cake portion is set. There will still be a “sauce” underneath the cake that will not set. Top with whipped cream or your favorite ice cream and serve warm.

Chocolate Stout Cake

Magic Chocolate Stout Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 T. melted butter
For the topping:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1¾ cup of your favorite stout beer
Instructions
  1. Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees, and spraying a 9x9 inch square pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients for the cake: the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Mix well to incorporate, and then slowly add in melted butter to dry ingredients, followed by the milk.
  4. Spread the cake mixture into the bottom of the 9x9 pan.
  5. In another bowl, mix the ¼ cup cocoa powder and the brown sugar.
  6. Sprinkle this topping evenly over the cake batter.
  7. Next, microwave the stout for approximately 2 minutes, until just warm.
  8. Then pour warmed beer over the topping and cake mixtures.
  9. Bake the cake for approximately 40 minutes until cake portion is set.
  10. There will still be a "sauce" underneath the cake that will not set.
  11. Top with whipped cream or your favorite ice cream and serve warm.