This one will be quick! Everyone who knows me personally understand that Northstar Cafe is my favorite place to eat, relax, chill, whatever. Yesterday I found myself without lunch and was considering options when one of my Facebook friends (Moni) shared that she’d gone to lunch with a friend, including the link to the restaurant. I clicked the link out of curiosity (yeah, I’m nosey) and was surprised to find there was a Mediterranean based restaurant in the short north. I am a huge fan of Aladdin and had been feeling a little out of sorts since they closed their Bexley location. I often select vegan options and suddenly I no longer had good choices within short distance for lunch. Seeing hummus and falafel on the menu were all I needed. I hopped in my car and called to place a takeout order. Informed by the associate who answered that the only orders they accept over the phone were for “family style” dishes, I decided to just go in. I was a little perplexed but I understood when I arrived- Brassica is sort of like a Chipotle (but fancier like Pizza Cucinova without the pizza) for people who like lamb, pita, hummus and falafel! As soon as you walk in, the artisan asks what you’d like and you make your selections. So basically, you CAN order to go, you just have to go there to do it. On this first trip, I knew I only wanted falafel and I wanted a sandwich. So, I walked thru, making the choices I wanted which were falafel, pickled cabbage, beets, cauliflower and a sauce. Every thing looked fresh and tasty. The website displayed a delicious order of fries so I order some of those too. The cashier at the end asked if I wanted extra sauce with my fries. I responded, “Do I?” and he answered in the affirmative!
As I awaited my order I had a chance to look around. Brassica is warm and welcoming from the moment you enter the door. Very similar in style to Northstar Cafe’s, there is lots of warm woods but with a light green on the seating. The window seats allow you to look out into the alley or out at the hustle and bustle that is High Street. My food arrived and I happily sat by the window overlooking High (mostly because I wanted to watch my car to make sure the meter police didn’t come to cite me!). I snapped a quick photo of my food before diving in. The sandwich was served beautifully in a gold cylinder and while it looked like a work of art, I had no issue wolfing it down. Everything was fresh. This is no fast food falafel people! It was hearty, and flavorful just as I would expect at other restaurants where it is served. The fries were hot and were seasoned well (reminded me of the seasoning on Grippos). Long story short, I found my life. I forgot I was supposed to rush in and out and take it back to work.
As I mentioned this is a new endeavor from the folks who own Northstar and Third & Hollywood (in Grandview). I expect nothing short of excellence from them. At first glance we sometimes don’t like to deem every baby cute. But, this one is a beauty! I’ll be going back to visit soon! Check out their website: http://brassicashortnorth.com/
As someone who works on the outskirts of downtown, I am always looking for a new place to escape and find lunch. Today I just wanted to enjoy what is likely one of the final remnants of sunshine and lukewarm days in Columbus, Ohio until spring returns. I planned to head to Chipotle but discovered some markers I need for a class were sold at Blick in the Short North. Let’s see (I thought)… markers or Chipotle in the opposite direction? Well, I decided on the markers and headed to Blick. On the way back I remembered that the last time I traveled 4th Street, I discovered the whereabouts of a cafe I’d read about on Columbus Underground. They gave it a write up that was just interesting enough that I’d want to check it out (find it here: http://www.columbusunderground.com/first-look-fox-in-the-snow-cafe-in-italian-village). The main thing I remembered about the review was that it was located in Italian Village (where the heck is that?) and that the pic made it look cool. So on the way back to work, I took 2nd Avenue over to 4th and turned right.
So, I found it and entered in what seemed like the back door (where there is off street parking) and made my way to the front. I’ll be honest- that part is awkward as you do something I absolutely hate: walk physically past food that is sitting out to be served. There was an array of pastries- cinnamon rolls, biscuits with jelly, muffins and a host of other options. I thought about all the hair and skin particles floating in the air and tried not to be grossed out enough to turn back. At the counter were friendly staff who helped me decide on a drink (a mocha) and convinced me to try a pastry despite my previously mentioned concerns. I observed that they serve slow drip coffees. While I was being rung up, I asked the cashier if they were “pretty much a coffee and pastry shop?” and he answered affirmative. But suddenly, a member of the kitchen staff comes out with a BEAUTIFUL breakfast sandwich served on a cutting board instead of a plate. I said- WAIT! We promptly changed my order (thanks for understanding bro!). By the time I finished ordering (interpret – holding up the line) my coffee was ready. It turned out my barista is a latte artiste and fashioned a beautiful feather from the frothed milk just for me. Ok- he does it for everyone. Dang it! Anywho- I danced a happy dance all the way to my table admiring my latte and took its picture.
So, let’s talk about the overall place and atmosphere. I was probably the only non-local person in the place. Fox in the Snow is like the Cheers of coffee houses and folks were familiar and chatting. I’d forgotten that it boasted large windows as it was previously a garage. The wood work is beautiful and there are plants EVERY WHERE! I’m a such a sucker for succulents, hanging and other green plants (I found out some were fake, but that didn’t change my enthusiasm)! I chatted it up with a lady who sat next to me about the plants, particularly since she had some in a bag (she recommended my next field trip http://rosebredl.com/). The kitchen is open (like Northstar) with a glass pane through which you can see the cooks working if you desire.
My sandwich came out hot and delicious (I ate it all). The egg was fluffy and light, the bread fresh with a crunch on the outside and the spinach inside was flavorful. I was not disappointed.
Oh! And I did drink my coffee. It was a different experience, minus all the extras from Starbucks. It was pretty and I will need to reflect later on if I really liked it. I like my milk with coffee if you know what I’m saying.
Overall- great experience. The food was good (Far above most of my daily options one of which is Wendys). The plants, sun-inviting windows and warm wood tones are incredibly inviting. I can see myself going there to hide out from my work peers, enjoy a sandwich from the kitchen and maybe, maybe- one of those beautiful pastries.
**One more thing- while traveling up 4th street, the cafe is actually rather nondescript but you’ll know it by the fox on the wall. >>>>