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Photos: North Market Coffee Roast 2014

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Yesterday North Market hosted the third Coffee Roast on a perfectly beautiful spring day. This year the event moved outdoors to the farmers market plaza (and the date was pushed back from March), with the roasters lined up in front of the market. Together as a family we beat most of the crowds by hitting up the event just as it started.

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We strolled up and down the lines, saying hello to some favorites and trying a couple new roasters. Like every good event – and every day, let’s be honest – we started with a stop at One Line Coffee. Mrs. Bfast w/Nick is there often enough that she knows the baristas by name; they were pulling delicious, delicious shots of espresso.

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Down on one end stood Das Kaffee Haus‘ table, complete with their modified ambulance (labeled the Emergency Kaffee Unit) parked nearby. DKH is located in Lithopolis, but their coffee can be found around Columbus at places like Milestone 229 and the Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant. Amy and Joe (aka Frau Burkhardt and Herr Joseph) told me their place is modeled on the European coffee shops they’ve encountered while traveling and serving abroad in the military.

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And of course we were on the lookout for Jason and Emily from Thunderkiss Coffee. They’re the coolest. Also, their coffee is great. Some of my favorite in town. Jason has a small but mighty roasting operation; you can find his beans at restaurants and on store shelves all around town.

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Strolling down the line we took in brews from Crimson Cup, Backroom Coffee Roasters

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…plus Silver Bridge and the newer Roaming Goat Coffee. The fun thing about this event is that everyone is excited to talk about coffee – and not just their coffee, but coffee in general. And you could witness nearly every type of coffee prep available.

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Dayton-based Boston Stoker has established their presence in Columbus with a shop near OSU’s campus. Like a couple other places, they displayed coffee beans for smelling or to reference the colors of the roasting process.

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Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, one of the mainstays of the Columbus coffee scene, was on hand with a tiny electric roaster. The portable setup roasts in small sample batches, allowing them to treat the same beans in different roasting lengths quickly.

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Rich the roaster showed me samples of his roast in progress. The machine roasts in 80 gram batches.

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The most unique offering of the day came – not surprisingly – from Cafe Brioso. They served two excellent hot brews – some of the standouts from the morning – but they also featured coffee sno-cones.

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Yes, coffee sno-cones. J. J. explained they used a rare Ethiopian Nekisse bean, cold-brewed, mixed with a dash of Ohio honey, and served over shaved ice. It was as delicious as you’d expect. I think we have a new definition of summer in Columbus.

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Further down the line – right next to Snowville Creamery with their samples of milk and yogurt – we found Actual Brewing‘s roastery crew in full swing.

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They make superb beer, really strong coffee roasts, and they’ve got some of the best beards in the biz.

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The event space indoors was dedicated to coffee education, with Brioso’s crew kicking off a demonstration of espresso preparation. On the other end of the room, baristas from a mix of shops made espresso drinks for customers.

We couldn’t have had a better day for the event. The move outdoors and to a Sunday (see photos from 2012 and 2013) offered more space and prevented longer lines. The one thing that confused me was the branding of it as a “brunch.” When I hear “brunch” I assume there will be food involved, but what that really meant was “you can go into the market to find food.” Many vendors had special $5 brunch bites, but the market opens at noon on Sundays (the Coffee Roast started at 10), so a majority of the stalls were closed during the first half of the event (although the newly moved and re-branded Taste of Belgium was hopping). I was also a little disappointed that attendees were given generic North Market mugs, and not the fun branded ones with colorful Clinton Reno artwork like years past. I know it’s gimmicky, but I like having a memento that references the specific event.

Aside from those details – it was a wonderful event that really featured Columbus’ great coffee roasters and brewers. We have much to be proud of, and our coffee keeps getting better and better.

Photos: North Market Coffee Roast 2013

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Saturday was the second North Market Coffee Roast. Last year’s event was an overwhelming success, and with a few additions and re-organizations, this year saw sold-out crowds lining up to taste the fares of Columbus’ amazing coffee culture.

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It’s always hard to fault an event for being popular – especially those events at North Market like the Microbrew and the Ohio Wine Festivals. North Market is a central location, and their continued role as an incubator of small businesses makes them ideal for showcasing a cross-section of Columbus specialties. I arrived about fifteen minutes after the event started and found pretty long lines already. But I think the key to going with the flow is to have good company with you. That way you can chat and enjoy each other while waiting to sample everyone’s roasts.

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I started in the southwest corner and sampled a decent amount of the coffees available.

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I got to start with one of my favorites: One Line Coffee. I first discovered them at last year’s festival, and I look for any excuse to stop by their Short North shop.

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You can almost think of One Line as coffee scientists, with their bubbling, steaming glassware and Kyoto-style cold drip towers. Soon enough they’ll begin selling the cold brew in bottles. They had it at the event, too – I enjoyed a small mug of it over ice. The Kyoto-style is a 12-hour process that results in rich and concentrated cold coffee, usually served on the rocks almost like a coffee cocktail.

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Next to One Line was Upper Cup Coffee with a smaller (but no less impactful) setup. I still have not been to their shop, but my chat with owner Michael and his sister reminded me that I’ve been missing out.

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The Impero table was swamped with eager coffee drinkers.

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Most of the roasters had whole beans available, too.

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Jason from Thunderkiss was busy, as you might expect. One of the best parts of the event was experiencing the passion of all of these roasters and brewers. They wanted you to like their coffee, of course, but even more importantly they wanted you to like coffee.

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I got sample LTown Coffee out of London, Ohio. They were keeping the pour-overs rolling.

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Another of my favorite roasters, Hemisphere, had a table, too. It was hard to get a picture of Hans and Joelle, as they never stopped moving!

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One of the busier corners included Backroom Coffee Roasters and Silver Bridge.

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The main event space of the Market was split in two. One end was dedicated to different talks, presentations, and demos about coffee. Here’s Jeff Davis of Cafe Brioso and Mark Swanson from Stauf’s/Cup O’ Joe discussing coffee sourcing.

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The other end of the room featured two carts pulling shots of espresso and making lattes and cappuccinos. This showcased the work of Columbus’ great baristas. It seemed like a collaborative effort, although I saw coffee evangelist J.J. (seriously, that’s what his business card says) from Brioso overseeing things. They also had a table with self-serve coffee from Boston Stoker. This was a smart addition: if someone just wanted a cup of coffee without having to wait in line, they could help themselves.

Overall, another great event. It demonstrated again how awesomely well Columbus does coffee. I’ll be there next year. I think what’s most telling is that when I went home I was craving even more coffee (despite having more than enough at the Market), so I brewed up a French press of Hemisphere beans. That’s the point of the Coffee Roast: you’ve discovered these new places, now go visit them for a cup of coffee or a bag of beans.

Photos: North Market Coffee Roast

In case you weren’t one of the 1500 people who descended on the North Market this past weekend, I snapped some pictures of their first (hopefully of many) Coffee Roast. The Coffee Roast was designed to feature over a dozen Columbus roasters (plus two Ohio dairies). Many people have been championing the excellence of Columbus coffee culture, and this event went a long ways towards exposing our incredible roasters, brewers, and baristas to new audiences.

The excitement of the roasters and brewers was palpable. Every single table was run by people passionate about what they’re doing. They spoke with customers. They described flavor profiles. They demonstrated brewing techniques. They advocated. I ran into J.J. from Cafe Brioso, and when I asked him how he was doing, he said he was right in the middle of what he always wanted to do.

The event took place on the upper floor of the Market. In the main event area, a series of speakers discussed and demonstrated coffee brewing techniques, origins, and roasting. A handful of roasters were situated there, too, along with the home roasting competition. Pictured here is head roaster Jeff Davis from Brioso speaking.

The rest of the roasters were spread out around the upper floor. There were some long lines, but that’s to be expected with an event like this. Especially the first time around.

Each roaster had a table. All of them sampled their coffee, mostly hot, some iced. Some were selling whole beans as well. Here’s Backroom Coffee Roasters tucked into a corner.

The joy, of course, was getting to sample so many different brews. This is the brew bar from Stauf’s.

Most of them were serving pour-over coffee. This generally meant smaller batches of coffee (and slower lines), but it also meant that guests got to taste coffee properly. This sample above is from the Bexley Coffee Shop.

Here’s the crew from Brioso sampling both a Columbian and an Ethiopian blend.

They kept the coffee a-flowing.

Of course, milk goes well with coffee. And if we’re talking milk in Ohio, of course you’d expect Snowville Creamery’s Warren Taylor to be there. He was preaching the Snowville gospel.

Jason Valentine from Thunderkiss Coffee was there, too, serving up the good stuff and selling small batches of his coffee. His story is a great example of the strength of our coffee scene. In addition to our established coffee shops, small roasters are working hard, many of them without storefronts to sell their beans, and yet they are succeeding admirably.

And if you’ve tasted their coffee, you know why.

Overall, this event amounted to more than a hill of beans (sorry, had to). The crowds were big, but that just showed that Columbus loves its coffee and is willing to get to know it better. I hope that the festival was successful for all of the roasters and brewers, and that they see a rise (not just a spike) in sales from it. And I know for sure I’m looking forward to next year’s event, too!

Kitchen Little | Columbus, OH

Kitchen Little (Facebook / @KitchenLittleOH)
59 Spruce St. (in the North Market)
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 221-7327
Open Tues-Fri, 10:30-4; Sat, 9-5 (bfast on Saturdays ONLY)
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/Y (both occasionally)

Date of Visit: Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.

IMPRESSIONS: Ah, Kitchen Little. A mainstay of the Columbus eat-local scene, a worthy stop in our wonderful North Market, and one of the defining comfort food havens in town. Kitchen Little has been around as an operation for some time, although the name is relatively new. All along, they’ve been a part of North Market Poultry and Game; I wrote an early review of their Cuban breakfast years ago.

The food service area can be found on the western corner of the Poultry & Game stall, which is in the northern section of the market itself.

There are two important details to recommend Kitchen Little’s food: 1.) Their connection to a poultry and game market that features a wide selection of locally-raised meats. 2.) Their location in the market itself, with access to all sorts of fresh produce, baked goods, and spices.

This is the man behind Kitchen Little: Dan Bandman. If you’re at all hesitant about ordering something, just ask Dan to describe each of their dishes.

FOOD: Indeed, I was lured over to Kitchen Little this particular day by Dan’s description of the French toast.

That day, he took challah bread from Omega Artisan Baking down the aisle and soaked it overnight in maple syrup, eggs, cream, and vanilla.

Keep in mind that the options may change by the week, depending on ingredients available. The other dishes available that day included freshly-made buttermilk biscuits

… paired with a rich chicken sausage gravy.

Something new for me: breakfast sliders with eggs, sausage, veggies.


Grits!

My father-in-law ordered the cassoulet (one of Kitchen Little’s hallmarks) with a couple eggs and a side of grits. Kitchen Little is also known for their chicken and waffles, but I didn’t order that today because I’ve had them (and written about them) before. But the chicken and waffles – made using Taste of Belgium‘s waffles – is well worth the taste.

Instead, I ordered a little bit of everything. First, the potatoes fried in duck fat. Very crispy, well seasoned.

Close-up of the French toast. Although it was a little floppy from soaking in the goodness, it was still custardy and rich.

Chicken sausage gravy ready for launch.

Biscuit at the ready.

It’s go time! Biscuit was soft, gravy was chunky and full of flavor. I keep using the word “rich” to describe the food here, but it just fits. That’s comfort food for you: packed with flavors, filling, and using simple ingredients to win you over.

Also got a breakfast slider. The bun was the tiniest bit soggy, but the flavors lined up just right. Would be an easy grab-and-go breakfast if you’re swinging through the market.

SERVICE: Dan and his crew are very friendly, and love to engage their customers with their mission. They can tell you all about the sources of their meat, eggs, bread, cream, spices, and more. That, to me, adds a bonus element to the comfort food: you can take part in the process of your food coming together. So eating breakfast (or lunch) there is a little celebration of what’s great about the market as a whole.

OVERALL: Run, don’t walk, to Kitchen Little. You can find all manner of breakfasts at North Market, be it pastries, sandwiches, coffee, or juice (or pizza!), but Kitchen Little offers you the only full breakfast experience there: French toast, sausage gravy, eggs, potatoes, and the like. Tap into the locavore inside you, and dive right in.

OTHER LINKS:
-> North Market Poultry & Game’s website
-> my (614) Magazine write-up on chicken and waffles (including Kitchen Little)

Kitchen Little on Urbanspoon

Clever Crow Pizza | Columbus, OH


[UPDATE: Clever Crow Pizza is now closed.]

Clever Crow Pizza (Facebook / @clevercrowpizza)
59 Spruce St. (in the North Market)
Columbus, OH 43215
Open Tues-Fri, 9 am – 7 pm; Sat, 8 am – 5 pm; Sun, 12-5 pm (bfast served Saturdays from 8 – 10:30 am)
Accepts cash and credit cards
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Date of Visit: Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.

IMPRESSIONS & ATMOSPHERE: Pizza on a breakfast blog? Why, yes, I believe I will. Clever Crow Pizza has rapidly become one of the favorite pizzas around Columbus. Despite their original location inside the Circus bar in Short North, they’ve garnered enough attention to be featured in Anthony Bourdain’s and Michael Ruhlman’s now-notorious visit to Columbus for No Reservations. (For a full discussion of Columbus’ reaction to his visit, see here.)

Just recently Clever Crow upped its profile by opening a space in North Market, too. Anyone who knows North Market knows that it’s a fantastic incubator for small businesses, so I hope that even greater things will come to owners Gary and Brooke Robinette.

FOOD: This past Saturday, Clever Crow offered up breakfast pizzas for the first time, so I hopped in the van and headed down to a fairly quiet North Market.

Brooke says that the breakfast pizzas will become a standard for Saturdays, and maybe for Sundays, too. They offer two types. The Traditional Pizza features your bacon, eggs, cheese, and potatoes. The Vegetarian drops the bacon and adds onion and goat cheese.

Both slices are served on a bed of arugula, with a dash of (I think) a vinaigrette dressing.

This is the Traditional. In some ways, it was surprising, in some ways, not. Clever Crow’s crust one of their benchmarks – a unique cornbread and sourdough mix – and they handled the breakfast ingredients well. I’ve seen some breakfast pizzas that overload the toppings, resulting in a chunky mess that falls apart, but not so here. The bacon was the right crispiness, the eggs hard boiled and sliced thin (including the yolk), and the potatoes were sliced the right size, too. So in most ways: it was exactly what you would expect a breakfast pizza to taste like. The arugula helps add a special tang of flavor. Overall, not bad, but not as surprising as some of Clever Crow’s other offerings.

Same with the Vegetarian (on the left). Ingredients handled well, good flavors, excellent crust, but about exactly how you would think a vegetarian breakfast pizza would taste.

SERVICE: I chatted only briefly with Brooke, but both she and Gary seem to be doing well with their venture, and they clearly deserve the success. You can read more about their story on their official merchant page of the North Market website.

OVERALL: Great pizza, interesting take on breakfast. I wouldn’t necessarily rush back every Saturday morning for it, because it’s not quite as uniquely awesome as their other pizzas. But I’m excited to see where this will go, and it’s always nice to have another breakfast option in North Market.

OTHER LINKS:
-> Clever Crow’s appearance on No Reservations
-> page for the “Heartland” episode of No Reservations

Clever Crow Pizza on Urbanspoon

Photos: chicken and waffles photoshoot at North Market


I’m looking over the title of this post and re-reading the phrase “chicken and waffles photoshoot.” Hmmm… yes. Yes, food porn, indeed.


Consider this post a little “behind the scenes” about the latest (614) Magazine article, all about three spots where you can pick up chicken and waffles around Columbus. Part of the fun and mission of these articles is to find out more about these restaurants and get to know the enthusiastic owners behind them, and this is a way to share a little more!


We met up with our trusty (614) photographer Chris Casella, and were joined by Jean-Francois Flechet of Taste of Belgium and Dan Bandman from Kitchen Little.



[Emperor Palpatine voice]: You want this…

This edition of chicken and waffles sprung from the collaboration of Kitchen Little and Taste of Belgium, part of the busy crowd at the North Market. They began the chicken and waffles collaboration in January 2010.


Kitchen Little has been serving delicious slow food for some time, although the name itself is new. I reviewed them as North Market Poultry & Game three years ago, early on in the life of this blog.


Dan from KL gave me the low-down on their side of the chicken and waffles meet-up. They get their chicken every other day from an Amish co-op in Kidron, Ohio. Their cutlets are prepared daily, pounded thin and soaked overnight in a buttermilk and hot sauce mixture. It’s breaded in panko and given a quick pan sear. The result is a tender piece of chicken with an amazingly tasty crust.


Contributing the waffles is, of course, Taste of Belgium. ToB has been in the North Market since June of 2009, and their arrival prompted everyone in Columbus to reevaluate how they thought about waffles. Jean-Francois and his team crank out waffles based on a family recipe from the Liege region of Belgium. The batter’s packed with beet sugar, leaving the waffles crispy and caramelized, and a perfect match for Kitchen Little’s chicken. Combine the two and top with Frank’s hot sauce and maple syrup, and you’ve got a sweet and savory combination that’s worth tracking down the next time you’re in Franklin County.



Taste of Belgium moved recently from their original location on the south side of market, to right across from Kitchen Little. The new location has been much busier, and has thankfully led to collaborations like the chicken and waffles.


We also had the opportunity to chat with R. J. White, the general manager of the North Market Taste of Belgium (they have another location in Cincinnati’s Findlay Market, too).


A. J. plugged their Fiesta Friday specials, and whipped up a sample version of their Waffles Rancheros. The Rancheros start with the standard waffle, topped with eggs, a black bean and corn salsa, peppers and onions, chorizo, and cilantro.



If all of that hasn’t tempted you, don’t forget that Taste of Belgium still does crepes well, too!

If you want these chicken and waffles:
Taste of Belgium (@TasteofBelgium) & Kitchen Little (@KitchenLittleOH)
in the North Market
59 Spruce St.
Served every day, Tuesday through Saturday.

Taste of Belgium | Columbus, OH

Taste of Belgium (Facebook / @tasteofbelgium)
59 Spruce St. (in the North Market)
Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 224-0986
Open Tues-Sat 9am-7pm; Sat 8am-5pm; Sun 12-5pm
Accepts cash & credit/debit

Date of Visit: Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 1:00 p.m.

IMPRESSIONS: “Oh, here we go a-waffling…” As usual, I’m finally now getting around to visiting Taste of Belgium, despite it opening months ago in North Market.

Taste of Belgium was a great addition to North Market’s already-diverse crowd of food stalls. I was excited to hear of it’s arrival, and shame on me that it’s taken so long to get here.

ATMOSPHERE: As one of the many stalls in North Market, Taste of Belgium is busy and open. They just recently moved to the northwest corner of the market, in the stall formerly occupied by Lac Viet. This is a great location – high visibility, with lots more space.

Standing at their stall, you get a good look at the operations, including the waffle iron right up front…

…and rows of delicious waffles just tempting you.

FOOD: Their signature piece is the Authentic/Plain waffle (a super deal at $3.75). This waffle is made from a family recipe belonging to Jean-Francois Flechet, the owner, who grew up near Liege, Belgium. I knew that I had to try one of the waffles, because it’s a staple of the breakfast carb arena.

I don’t know about you, but when I thought of getting waffles, I expected a hand-held version of the standard breakfast Eggo waffle: thin, dry, crispy, and desperately in need of some syrup. Those of you who have had a Taste of Belgium waffle know already that that’s exactly the opposite of what you’ll get. These waffles are thick, rich, heavy, and sweet. They’re made with a thick dough (just watch them dab it onto the waffle iron), with Belgian beet sugar mixed into the batter. The sugar carmelizes in the iron, giving it a rich, sweet texture, almost like the syrup is infused in the waffle. And sweet heavens, these waffles are good.

I also nabbed a Banana and Nutella crepe. Here’s the play-by-play of it being made:

The crepe was warm, thick, and delicious as well. I love the folded layers, how each bite is a discovery. The Nutella melts nicely in the warm crepe.

Taste of Belgium serves other waffles, too, including ones with fruit, cream, and chocolate. They also have savory crepes (plus other sweet ones), salads, and coffee.

SERVICE: Nice and friendly. I asked the folks there if I could take pictures, and they seemed to appreciate me asking first.

It was fun to watch them work – there’s something interesting about seeing waffles and crepes being made.

OVERALL: All I can really say is that my wife and I have found a new addiction in town. From now on, every time one of us stops by North Market, we have to pick up a couple waffles. Their portability is dangerous, the taste tempting. This is a lethal combination, one to which we will gladly the submit in the future.

Quick side note: they also have locations in Cincinnati’s Findlay Market and now at Easton Town Center (in the small shack by the fountain, just outside Bon Vie). I’ve been told they only sell the waffles at the Easton location.

OTHER LINKS:

Taste of Belgium on Urbanspoon

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