Veranico Kitchen + Provisions

Veranico Kitchen + Provisions
401 N. Front Street
Columbus, OH 43215
614-670-7423
http://veranicocolumbus.com/

Fast-casual and chef-driven aren’t concepts that you expect to find in descriptions of the same restaurant, but Veranico Kitchen + Provisions is breaking the mold. Healthy, delicious, locally sourced, and fast – what’s not to love about this Arena District joint? Veranico comes to the capital city by way of the same owners as Market 65, the Chipotle-esque salad spot downtown. This association explains a great deal about the tasty vegetables that Veranico is dishing up, but there is a lot more to love than just salads on the menu here.

I’m no interior design guru, but Veranico’s decor is far from cold and corporate. The atmosphere consists of bright pops of turquoise, an artist-created tile wall, weathered wood, succulents, and sunshine. This setting makes it a cheery place for lunch or a happy hour beer. However, the main focus here should be the salads, in suggested combinations, or you can build your own custom veggie tower. Each salad bowl is enormous and piled high with goodies. I am the type of person that likes the toppings more than the lettuce, so this is right up my alley. Furthermore, the ingredients are local whenever feasible, and as many components as possible are created or prepared in-house, such as caramel apple vinaigrette, charred corn cut right off the cob in front of you, Shagbark Seed and Mills bean salad, and just-roasted Brussels sprouts. The signature salads encompass flavors from all over the world, like the Samjoko, filled with Korean BBQ and peppers, the Delhi (tandoori chicken and feta), or the Mexican-inspired Adobo Cobb.  If you choose to concoct your own salad, you get to select every element from lettuce to cheeses to protein. There are so many options that are unique for a salad spot too, such as edamame, pear, curry chickpeas, watermelon radish, buffalo cauliflower, and avocado ranch dressing.

Make sure you don’t fill up on those massive salads though – you’ll want stomach space for the rotating cookie special and the other savory treats. I found an unexpected delight in the Caribbean black bean soup, even though the summer heat topped 90 degrees when I sampled it. Creamy, slightly spicy, and with just a hint of brown sugar, all these tastes meld together for an incredible flavor experience. I will be attempting to recreate this dish (probably unsuccessfully) at home soon. Also available for hungry diners: grain or black bean bowls, as well as fresh panini sandwiches. The day of my visit, the cookie feature was a hibiscus sage shortbread. It was puffy and perfect, and left me wondering why sage isn’t used in desserts more frequently. Other previously offered versions of cookies include coconut cream cheese or brown butter cinnamon. The granola bars are sweet enough to count as dessert, made from scratch with luscious honey caramel.  Take a swig of the fresh mint tea or lemonade to go with your meal too, or mix them together for the best Arnold Palmer imaginable. There is a small bar inside as well, with a few beers on tap, wines, and happy hour specials.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’ll be headed back to Veranico soon. If you’ve been, tell me you favorite salad combo in the comments below!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Disclosure:  The Arena District team invited me to come and try Veranico. All opinions of my experience reflect my own honest views. 

The Half Pint Columbus

The Half Pint Columbus
415 N. Front St.
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 745-1165
https://www.thehalfpintcolumbus.com/

Top Tastes:
1. PBB&J Burger
2. Hangover Burger
3. Cheese Curds
4. Chipotle Bar Bacon
5. Caramel Brownie Cheesecake

I no longer have to trek to Dublin for my peanut butter burger fix! The Half Pint, sister restaurant to The Pint Room, has opened its doors in the Arena District just across the street from the back entrance to the North Market. This modern sports bar boasts some of the best burgers in town and 60 beers on tap. If you work downtown and are seeking happy hour comfort, visit Monday through Friday from 3pm to 6pm for half off craft beers and $2.00 off wine and cocktails.  The Half Pint is also a fun, casual option for pre-concert or game day grub.

But what I really want to talk about in this post is the burgers! I’ve been cherishing The Pint Room’s PBB&J Burger for years, and The Half Pint has this delicacy on the menu. Trust me on this combo. It sounds so strange, but just give it a try: melty peanut butter, candied bacon, jack cheese, strawberry jam, and strawberry slices, all atop a beef patty and sandwiched with a soft, buttery bun. Peanut butter should be in and on everything, if you ask me. The Hangover Burger is another good choice. Lots of restaurants feature a drippy egg on their burgers, but this one benefits from the added treat of crispy hash browns, plus smoked cheddar, bacon, and tomato. Even the Turkey Burger has a mouthwatering twist ( it’s crowned with pepperjack, pickled red onion, arugula, kale, and chipotle-cranberry mayo) and the CBJ Burger, a special feature, sports giant onion rings and BBQ sauce.

Besides burgers, there are a number of other dishes worth mentioning. To start, select the Cheese Curds, dished up with a light, crunchy beer batter and sriracha ranch, or the Bar Bacon trio. The latter is a bacon flight containing 3 types of thick-cut bacon, each coated in a different glaze or seasoning. During my visit, the platter had buffalo, BBQ, and the especially savory chipotle-rubbed variety. Save room for a small dessert, you will heartily demolish the Caramel Brownie Cheesecake to close out the meal. Lastly, I must mention that the large beer list has a constantly rotating variety of taps, so there is a cider, IPA, or pumpkin beer for everyone in your party.

Culinary Clue: The Half Pint is serving up Sunday brunch as well! Starting at 10, select from brunch favorites such as French toast, crab cake benedicts, omelets, and Bloody Marys so you can fuel up for the day.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary meal in exchange for writing my honest review of The Half Pint. The above writing represents my own views.