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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Nancy’s Home Cooking to re-open November 1st!

Just announced! Nancy’s Home Cooking in Clintonville will re-open after some renovations. Nancy’s closed on June 1st after the owner Cindy King announced her need to retire because of medical and financial difficulties. The community really came together to try and raise money for Cindy and the restaurant. And the best part about them re-opening? Breakfast served all day!

We managed to make one last visit, just a couple days before they closed. A lot of people were taking pictures of the place, folks who probably had visited more than once over Nancy’s forty-year history. I’m very glad to see this Columbus institution is coming back.

You can read the full article by ThisWeekNews here.

Snowville Creamery milk

We recently started buying Snowville Creamery milk again. We just got sick of buying cheap-as-free milk that really didn’t have much nutritional value to it. Even if Snowville’s milk costs more, it’s more than worth the trade-off in taste and quality, not to mention the support of a local dairy. If you have never tasted Snowville Creamery milk, you need to do so immediately. When God told the Israelites that they were going to the land of milk and honey, this is the milk He meant.

There’s really not a big point to this post, other than to say that I like Snowville’s milk, and that as a common breakfast ingredient, milk like this is important. It makes your coffee better, your cereal better, your scrambled eggs (if you prefer to add milk) better, your waffles and pancakes, and your overall breakfast better.

A fun side note: I had the pleasure of meeting Warren Taylor, owner of Snowville, while appearing on a locavorism panel hosted by WCBE back in July. Before the discussion started, he shared a coffee drink with me called the Snowville Sunrise. It consists of four shots of espresso, with an equal portion of Snowville’s heavy whipping cream. Enough caffeine and calories to keep you going during a busy spell. Warren said you can drink maybe one of those a week, at the most. Wow!

Their information:
Snowville Creamery
32623 State Route 143
Pomeroy, Ohio 45769
(740) 698-2340
Twitter: snowvillecream

Return of the Hash Browns

Third time’s the charm! Using the last of the potatoes, I took some more readers’ suggestions and made hash browns again. This time I didn’t peel the potatoes – trying to preserve more of the nutritional value of the spuds. Much easier that way, and it didn’t seem to affect the final outcome.

I made a lot of potatoes this time. A lot. More than one person should eat in one sitting. Laid them out on paper towels again, and took the suggestion of salting them to draw out more of the moisture.

I think my main problem is that I’m impatient. I know I should keep soaking and re-soaking the potatoes, but I get hungry and throw them in the pan early.

It makes sense, though, when I think back to almost any visit to a breakfast diner. They typically have a lot of potatoes – hashed or chunked – just sitting on the grill. They leave the potatoes there to keep browning, then scoop them up as needed.

That being said, we got our best browning yet. I was little more patient and let them sit in the pan longer. That’s the key, I think, especially if your potatoes are still wet. The color of the potatoes still seems a little off – a little too dark. Any ideas? Is it because of the moisture? Does the butter burn (although I don’t think it did)? But they tasted fine, especially with another fried egg on top. Although I forget to get a picture of the final product. Next time!

Hash browns and eggs: Part the deuce

In my last post I documented my first try at making hash browns. Sounds simple, I know, but I had to try it. This is Round #2, using some suggestions from folks on Twitter. First off, I peeled the potatoes and then shredded them with our food processor. Much faster. Then I laid them between paper towels to dry them some.

I only used two pieces of paper towel, but I can tell that I could have used many more. I’m still surprised that potatoes are so watery!

Into the frying pan. With about 3/4 stick of butter. This is about 10 small potatoes worth.

They’re starting to brown! I used a larger pan to try and spread them out more.

I fried up some eggs, too. This frying pan is a little too rounded, so the egg whites run too far to the sides. They look like the alien ships from the first War of the Worlds movie.

The whole gang cooking together.

And the end result. Another dash of kosher salt and pepper on the eggs. Left the yokes a little runny so they dripped down into the potatoes. Taste was great… I mean, how can potatoes, butter, salt, and pepper be bad? Still, I think I’ll try them again sometime soon. Maybe dry out the potatoes more. And I’m curious what would happen if I didn’t peel the potatoes. Any thoughts?

Hash browns and eggs

I’m surprised that, despite my love of breakfast, how many breakfast foods I’ve never made – or mastered – personally. Sure, I can make a mean bowl of cereal (it’s all in the pour), and my Eggs in a Nest are legendary. But there are a number of dishes I’ve been wanting to try. For instance, I’ve been attempting to poach eggs for years now. Can’t get it right. I’m looking to start trying hollandaise recipes. And I need to work on making pancakes. And then there’s potatoes.

Potatoes, in my mind, can make or break a good breakfast. Eggs, while versatile, are still eggs. They’re the lead singer of the band: dynamic and charismatic. The meat is your lead guitar. Toast is maybe the drummer (okay, this metaphor is getting thin). But good potatoes are like the bassist. They provide a good grounding to the whole band. If they mess up, you lose the beat, you can’t hear the harmonies, and people point and laugh.

This is all to say that I tried making hash browns for breakfast the other day. Never done it before. Figured it couldn’t be that difficult. I took five small potatoes, peeled them, shredded them with a cheese grater, threw some butter in a pan, dumped the potatoes in, and sprinkled pepper and kosher salt. I fried an egg and threw that on top when it was done. (See the bad pic above.)

A couple thoughts and questions:
1. Do I need to peel them?
2. Stupid me, I’ll shred them using the food processor next time.
3. They were surprisingly wet.
4. How can I get them more brown?
5. They were delicious and I’m going to try it again soon.

Northstar Cafe (Short North) | Columbus, OH

Northstar Cafe
951 N. High St.

Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 298-9999
Open 9 am to 10 pm everyday
Accepts cash and credit cards

Date of Visit: Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.

IMPRESSIONS: Once upon a time I reviewed Northstar’s Beechwold location and gushed and gushed and gushed about how perfect the breakfast was. I don’t necessarily retract my praise for the restaurant – it’s still a solid breakfast, a Columbus institution, and a fine example of a restaurant with a well thought out food philosophy – but I like to think that time has tempered my taste (and hopefully my writing style, goodness).

For starters, I used to live within walking distance of this location – the original one, by the by – in Columbus’ Short North. So my wife and I frequented often, especially during the beautiful spring and summer months when we could sit on the patio with our Yellow Lab. Northstar was an easy favorite with easy favorite dishes: the Northstar burger, the salads, the flatbreads, the pancakes, and especially for me, the Big Burrito.

: The interior of Northstar is both large and spacious, and small and close. Depends where you sit. The main dining room is wide open, with huge glass windows looking out at High Street and the patio. Branching off this is a smaller, cozier hallway that leads to the restrooms. The ceiling is lower here, so those tables are quieter and better for the mid-morning coffee-drinking studying crowd.

Seating is a mix of table sizes, a counter along the High Street window, some taller seats and tables around the pillars, and a small lounge area with stacks a magazines. Decor is a stylish modern that fuses the existing building elements with some dashes of new. Mostly light wood accents and modern lighting, accented by the curving slate wall around the kitchen and counter.

FOOD: Northstar has a limited breakfast menu – six or seven main items plus several a la carte – and they hit a few home runs.

Potatoes: big chunks, well seasoned, nice and brown.

The Cloud 9 Pancakes. Made with ricotta, which makes them fluffy and yet dense in just the right proportions. Sliced bananas on top, and real maple syrup. Honestly, some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had.

And the Big Burrito. I always get this when I’m having breakfast at Northstar. It costs $8 ($10 if you add the bacon, like I always do), but you can easily split it between two people. Sweet potatoes, onions, red peppers, cheddar cheese, fried eggs, black beans. And add the bacon. So good: it gets my vote for the one breakfast item that I would eat every day for the rest of my life, if forced. I guess that’s a pretty big vote.

SERVICE: Northstar’s service setup seems to work well. It’s designed to bring you up front to order your food, then move you out into the dining room. You take a number, get your mug for coffee or cup for soda, then find a table, and the food is brought out to you (except specialty drinks like the fresh orange juice or the smoothies). Etiquette (and signs) tell you that you can’t reserve a table until you’ve ordered, which is fair. Besides, even in its busiest moments, the line typically flows quickly enough that you don’t have to wait long. Just be prepared if you come with a big party during prime lunch or dinner time (or brunch time on the weekends).In terms of actual service, I’ve always encountered friendly people at Northstar, although there have been times when I’ve felt hurried out the door during a busy rush.Nothing that anyone has actually said, but just a general feeling. Also, Northstar tells you not to tip the staff – presumably because they’re paying their staff a good enough wage.

OVERALL: Like I said, I don’t visit Northstar all that often anymore, but every time I return – especially for breakfast – I’m reminded why it’s a favorite. I think they could stand to open a little earlier for the breakfast/coffee crowd, but they did expand their hours already. And the prices are a little higher – this is definitely not the place for your $5 eggs/bacon/potatoes/toast/coffee breakfast. But if you agree with their food philosophy of local, organic, sustainable food sources, it’s probably worth the price. And, really, the food tastes excellent.

One last note… I find it funny that Northstar is across the street from a ratty-looking White Castle.


Northstar Cafe (Short North) on Urbanspoon

Another breakfast rebrand: Late Night Eggs = Eggfast

From ColumbusUnderground… Late Night Eggs, created and run by the guys from Cafe Corner, have rebranded the restaurant to Eggfast and are attempting to expand their franchising opportunities. Follow the CU post for a link to an interview with them. I especially like their quote about the breakfast trend being on the rise. Although is breakfast really a trend?


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