Condado Tacos

{by: alicia} If we’ve learned anything from the Columbus Food Adventures’ Taco Truck Tour, it’s that we are surrounded by delicious Mexican cuisine. Whether it’s the al pastor from Los Guachos or ANYTHING off the menu at Tacos Hass, I’ve been hard-pressed to find bad Mexican food in the capital city.

Tacos are hotter than ever, and it seems there’s a new spot opening every month. Condado is the latest to catch my eye. Originating in Cleveland under the name Barrio Tacos, its make-your-own concept proved so successful that it expanded right into our neck of the woods.

Also, it’s batshit in the best way possible.

Condado Tacos Columbus

Every inch of wall is decked in art, and there are little touches everywhere you look. Think black and white with pops of color, a Día de los Muertos theme, and a sprinkling of style throughout. The layout is well executed with seating along the walls, counters along the windows, high tops here and there, and two long community tables.

Condado Tacos Columbus

Remember when I said make-your-own concept? It’s as simple as filling out the menu sheet, or selecting one of Condado’s suggested combinations. There’s also an extensive drink menu, so you are totally covered if you’re feeling a marg or cerveza. Also, peep the heads up about the fresh toppings potentially cooling your tacos:

Condado Tacos Columbus

Order them on the side if you aren’t into that jazz!

In case you missed it:

ATTN: TACO LOVERS
Welcome to Condado! When you are here, expect some crunch–even if you order a soft taco…Our vegetables are chopped fresh. We have a strict No Wilted Lettuce or Mushy Tomatoes Policy here at Condado. Our fresh toppings include house made salsa and guacamoles and sometimes those items cool the warm taco fillings. If this is not your thing, just ask your server for the protein on the side.

I appreciate the notion of “building your own” anything, but for nutjobs like me, this can be an intense process. My eating companion, Thom, deftly made his selections while I agonized. Years later, I decided on two different tacos: brisket on a flour tortilla with queso, cilantro + onions, lettuce, and tomatoes; and chicken on a “Goody-Goody” (soft flour tortilla + guac + sour cream with crunch for a $1 up charge) and the same toppings as the brisket plus salsa verde. Exhaustion.

Once that ordeal was over, I commenced with the usual photo snapping. Maybe it’s a blogger thing, but I no longer feel weird when I stroll up to the bar or middle of the room to take pictures. What am I supposed to do when everything in the restaurant is so cray?

Exhibit A:

Condado Tacos Columbus

I was drawn to the bright, shiny lights.

And B:

Condado Tacos Columbus

Our food was out in a flash, so I scurried back to inhale everything in sight.

Condado Tacos Columbus

Thom had also ordered chicken and brisket tacos (copycat) and tacked on a side of black beans and rice. I sampled both and found them to be divisive. Sometimes Mexican restaurants go overboard on seasoning. Maybe that’s what the people want, but I’m not into a heavy-handed salting (ahem, place-that-will-remain-nameless, I’m looking at you). These were a tasty foil to our wonderfully loaded tacos. The toppings were as fresh as promised, and while I enjoyed both of mine, the brisket was so melt-in-your-mouth that I wanted ten more. What followed was a tremendous food coma, but what are Saturdays for if not hours of napping?

Condado is located at 1227 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43201, and open Mon-Fri 4pm -2am and Sat-Sun 12pm-2am. They recently added brunch to the lineup, so check that out on the weekend between noon-3pm.

Alexis’ Latest Adventures in Eating

{by alexis} We all get busy, right? Sometimes, when life is especially hectic, I forgot to do things, like the dishes, sort the mail, make dinner, take the dog for forty walks a day. Guess what I don’t forget to do? Eat. I’m pretty much always eating. If I’m not eating, odds are I’m planning my next outing, poring over menus, and sending links to Alicia. What follows is a collection of the things that have been tickling my fancy in the food department these last several weeks. Grab a cup and scroll on down!

A few weekends ago, we tricked some friends of ours into having brunch with us. “Dutch babies!” I insisted. Joe was pretty sure I was suggesting a geographically specific adoption, but no! I had my eye on The Table.

The Table | Wander & Whine

This tasty infant came with warm pears folded into the center. Delish! We had cocktails, coffee, and the most beautiful roast beef sandwich I’ve ever seen.

The Table | Wander & Whine The Table | Wander & Whine The Table | Wander & Whine

You didn’t believe me, did you? That a roast beef sandwich could be so…attractive. Well, The Table just proved you wrong! That bun looks pillowy and soft and I want to make it into a sleeping bag.

On a Friday night a few weeks later, I found myself tucked away in a dim booth at Curio with Alicia and Miche, from Buttons & Birdcages. After a clumsily choreographed pizza order, we sat back with our cocktails. And I have to tell you about this amazing thing I ordered: A BOURBON MILKSHAKE.

curio | Wander & Whine

But please promise me you won’t go in and order the bourbon milkshake — that’s not what it’s called. I gave it this delightful nickname after it’s deliciousness knocked me out of my booth and I sent several frenzied, all caps text messages to folks announcing that such a cocktail exists. I can’t tell you what it’s really called because they keep their menu under wraps. What I CAN tell you is that it contains bourbon (shocker, right?) almond, cream, and soda. It is so, so good.

Late last week, one of my coworkers decided we needed a pick-me-up, and HE DELIVERED. Look at these beauties!

wander & whine

They are chocolates! Each is about the size of an egg, and they have unique flavors. I happened to sample the chocolate AND the strawberry (why stop at one!), and they were delightful! He said he grabbed them at Costco so keep your eyes peeled!

This past weekend found Joe and I both of work and without plans, so after bullying him into buying me a new pair of running shoes (I’d had my old ones since 2008!), we took ourselves out to our perennial favorite 16-Bit Bar + Arcade. I finally gave into the siren song of the Hulk Hogan, with its popsicle stirrer. NO REALLY.wander & whine

It was the bomb. And I loved how the flavored changed as the pop melted. And yes, I ate the leftovers.

We live in a beautiful city with so much crazy food to sample. Get out there and eat!

When Bloggers Bounce

{by: alicia} We don’t pretend to be fitness queens. In fact, we openly abhor exercise, but as Alexis mentioned in a previous post, it’s a necessary evil. I tend to shy away from anything high impact. I prefer light movement in the way of yoga or doing a handful of crunches in front of the TV–sorry, not sorry. Exercise in general just bores me, so I’ve never looked into anything beyond what I already know. Bad move, me. Apparently, I’ve been missing out.

Thanks to Classpass, I’ve been able to explore different types of workouts and learn about my preferences. So maybe things like spinning and barre aren’t my jam, but I actually like hot yoga (which used to scare me) and FIT JUMP. Until recently, I didn’t know such a thing existed. But after seeing the class added to the Classpass rotation and realizing we’d be JUMPING ON A TRAMPOLINE, I quickly signed up. Alexis and our blogger friend Miche followed suit, and we had the happy coincidence of running into fellow Cbus blogger Morgan for some shenanigans.

The Bounce Club Powell Ohio

We showed up early to sign all of the usual waivers and swap our street shoes for appropriate footwear. Since we were the first arrivals, we had a chance to walk around, take pictures, and get acclimated to the trampolines. Our instructor for the night was also the owner, Trisha Rich, a former Ohio State cheerleader who parlayed her love of fitness into this multi-faceted studio. We were there for a workout, but they also offer everything from private parties to dodgeball (YES) to sports conditioning and Mommy and Me.

The Bounce Club Powell Ohio

Once inside, you’ll see two separate areas. One with the foam pit and mats, and the main attraction.

The Bounce Club Powell Ohio

This was awesome. I want one.

The Bounce Club Powell Ohio

Alexis doing her thing.

We spent time on both, which was nice, because jumping is actually quite tiring. At first, I was like, how hard can this be? Then Trisha put us through our paces, and holy crap. We got a total body workout which included planks, donkey kicks, sprints (where Alexis and I promptly wiped out, luckily we were on the trampoline), weights, medicine balls, and floorwork. Yikes, and here I thought we’d just be casually jumping around for an hour. This is how delusional I am.

By the end of it, we were all sweaty wrecks, but felt a sense of accomplishment–especially after Trisha told us we had done the advanced version. Spend an hour at Fit Jump, and you’ll burn 700-1000 calories (women) with men burning even more. Though this was a tough class, there were plenty of switch ups to keep things fresh, the soundtrack was upbeat, and I liked the sense of community. There were a lot of repeat customers, many of them with relationships with Trisha and each other. Everyone was also very encouraging, which was kind, because the Wander & Whine team was pretty much the worst in the room. Don’t let the workout scare you. And if you’re thinking an indoor trampoline facility is just for kids, you are wrong, my friend. This class was no joke (though I did feel like a kid again at points).

The Bounce Club Powell Ohio

The party room.

If a class environment isn’t your thing, there’s Open Jump and you can make reservations for a private party. No matter how you decide to do it, just do the damn thing.

jeanralphio-bounce

The Bounce Club is located at 3967 Presidential Parkway, Powell, OH. Visit the site for more information on classes, schedules, etc. And have fun!

Jury Duty

{by alexis} I know a lot of people grumble when they receive their jury summons in the mail. My mother has been on a few juries, and my brother is always going on and on about what a sweet gig it is. So, when I received the missive, I was excited! It’s sort of like getting your admission to Hogwarts! Okay, maybe not, but I was looking forward to it. I served in the jury pool and eventually on a jury the third week of January at the court of Common Pleas, and have only positive things to say about the experience.

First of all, you get out out of work. Don’t get me wrong — I like my job, but who wouldn’t enjoy switching it up a bit! With the summons you’ll receive clear and explicit instructions on how to be excused if you think you’re eligible, in addition to the answers to the questions your mind is already preoccupied with, like parking, payment, whether there will be coffee. So just read your darn summons.

Common Pleas pool service is one week and Municipal Court asks you to hang tight for two. And really, it’s not so bad! They’ve got super comfortable leather chairs, they offer coffee and tea, and even a small kitchen so that you can bring your own food. They play movies during the week while you wait, and there’s a separate quiet room for those who wish to work, or would prefer to stick their nose in a book for four blissful hours on a Tuesday afternoon. Can you guess which group I belong to?

jury duty | wander & whine

I got called for jury selection on Wednesday afternoon. I was finally seated on a jury on Thursday morning, and the case wrapped up by Friday afternoon, including our deliberation.

Once you get up to the courtrooms, you get a lovely view of downtown Columbus.

jury duty | wander & whine

jury duty | wander & whine

jury duty | wander & whine

They’re going to tell you that a real courtroom is not like TV, but I’m here to say they’re wrong! Maybe I got “lucky” on the case, but there was enough drama to keep it interesting. Fortunately, I wasn’t placed on a case that dealt on something like rape or murder, so it wasn’t too disturbing to listen to, even though it was a criminal case. The judge and lawyers were extremely smart, and friendly — even to each other!

Deliberation was an interesting process. It took us about two hours to come to a decision, and everyone took seriously the instructions of the judge. We talked out a million different perspectives on almost every detail of the case. By the time we walked back into the courtroom, I was 100% confident that our verdict was the right one. Before we left, the judge thanked us, and the attorneys allowed us to ask questions about the case. They also asked us a few questions, too.

jury duty | wander & whine

The moral of the story is that your jury summons is not a sentence in itself — take the opportunity to interact with your local government, and learn more about the system we’re all subject to. It’s pretty exciting to see it all in action.

Dinner at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing

{by alexis} I love when my parents come to town. There’s always a lot of toasting, hugs, laughter, and more than anything else, a ridiculous amount of food. Joe and I have enjoyed showing the spectacular Columbus food scene to my folks during each of their visits, and I don’t believe we disappoint too often. For their latest trip, I had booked a table at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing weeks in advance. It’s possible that this was their favorite restaurant to date.

Alicia has paid Wolf’s Ridge a visit for brunch, and had only good things to say — which, in Alicia’s native tongue, is a lot of nodding and emphatic one-word affirmatives. I hoped dinner would hold up.

If you haven’t been yet, you should go. The space has high-ceilings and an minimalist feel. And of course, they offer beer flights. You get five tasters for $8, and we were sold. Everyone picked their own and we went from there. We had an embarrassing amount of glasses on the table, but it was such fun. We had a great time reading the detailed descriptions and seeing if we could pick out the flavors.

 

wolf's ridge brewing | wander & whine

wolf's ridge brewing | wander & whine

wolf's ridge brewing | wander & whine

wolf's ridge brewing | wander & whine

Once we were nice and toasty (or as my mother would say, half in the bag), our food arrived. Joe went with the special of the evening, the lamb. I went with our other farmhouse favorites in the lamb and beef burger. My mother ordered root vegetable risotto, which doesn’t SOUND like the most interesting thing, but it was the BOMB, and my father ordered his beloved grits with shrimp. BEHOLD.

wolf's ridge brewing | wander & whine

wolf's ridge brewing | wander & whine

wolf's ridge brewing | wander & whine

The risotto (not pictured) had SO MUCH flavor. Sometimes, I feel like risotto is a success only because people love the texture, especially in the winter, but this dish outdid itself with each bite. Joe would hardly share his lamb. He said it was cooked to perfection, and the seasoning was stellar. My father’s grits were technically a small plate, but more than enough (especially when paired with a beer flight)! And my burger was beyond. I used to think I didn’t even like burgers, but I know now that I only like fancy ones made with bison or lamb, and this one fit the bill. Smooth, juicy and flavorful, it was a success. And let’s discuss the garlic fries, shall we? GARLIC FRIES. Stop reading. Go here now.

Actually, if you do, you’ll find they’ve recently put out a different menu. So if you go, call me. The new escargot and head cheese on the menu are CALLING MY NAME.

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing is located at 215 N 4th Street. Tu-Thu 10:30am-11pm; F 10:30am-12am; Sat 10am-12am; Sun 10am-10p; Mon closed.

Birthday Celebration at the Chintz Room

{by: alicia} I’ve always had an affinity for the Lazarus department store. My great grandmother Esther was an employee, and loved the company, even long after retirement. It was where she selected our birthday and Christmas gifts, and where she obtained many of the items that decorated her house. So, it was bittersweet day when the brand was absorbed into Macy’s.

Since my father was in the military, and we bopped around so much, I never got a chance to eat at the original Chintz Room. I had heard about it, as a place where ladies lunched and families went for special occasions, and maybe because of the Lazarus connection, I felt a nostalgic connection to it.

When I heard the Columbus Food League was bringing it back (in the Lazarus building, no less!), I was excited to finally try it. They had a soft open in November, and the timing was perfect because my birthday was in December. So, I pulled rank with Alexis and (blog fave) Megan to have my birthday lunch there.

The picture-taking started the moment I approached that revolving door–a nod to the old department store. There were a lot of little details like that, which I appreciated.

The Chintz Room

This entrance is so clever. I can’t take it.

Once we got inside and settled in, we got started on the difficult process of selecting what to eat. Although we were given a brunch menu, we were feeling more “lunchy” (wow, I am so eloquent), and elected to pick from the regular menu.

Everything sounded so good that it was tough to make a decision. What wasn’t difficult was Alexis’ suggestion of toasting with a bottle of prosecco. Okay, twist our arms.

The Chintz Room Menu

While we waited for our bubbles, I took a moment to soak in my surroundings. Remember those little details I mentioned earlier? The restaurant was chock full of Lazarus memorabilia and nice touches:

The Chintz Room

The Chintz Room

Our drinks were out before we knew it, and we wasted no time in clinking glasses and yelling all sorts of cheers.

Toasting at The Chintz Room

It was lovely to sip drinks, open gifts, and linger. Since we no longer work together, there was much to catch up on, and all sorts of excellent gifts to exchange–LIKE DUVET SLIPPERS. WHAT?!

I have to thank our server for dealing with our shenanigans. There was wrapping paper and boxes everywhere, and once our food arrived, the table got even more chaotic.

The Chintz Room

Chaotic in the best way possible.

We ended up ordering the Midwest Poutine to share, twin chicken salad sandwiches for Alexis and Megan (house specialties), and a turkey club for the birthday girl. All of us felt obligated to get a side of the dressing (another famous dish from the hey day). I don’t know how this stacks up against the original, but I enjoyed my food, the space, and the company. I think it’s safe to say we had a great experience.

On our way out, I took a snapshot of the other dining room and bar area. Do you see the mannequin in the the corner with the jaunty Santa hat? So random. So excellent.

The Chintz Room

Ignore my box of presents in the foreground.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you about the dessert. I wanted to try the bourbon bread pudding (bookmarked for next time!), but I had a dessert of another kind waiting for me at home. Enter Golden Delight’s Fresh Strawberry Cake–the stuff of dreams, and my annual birthday cake.

Golden Light Fresh Strawberry Cake

Though my birthday isn’t an ideal date (the day after Christmas! How can I compete!), I feel blessed to have so many great people in my life who make the effort to separate the two occasions. As I mentioned before, I associated Lazarus with the holidays, and this birthday lunch brought things full circle for me. We can never go back in time, but for an afternoon, it was nice to pretend.

The Chintz Room is located at 121 S. High Street, Columbus, OH. Open from 11a-11p seven days a week. Parking is on street.