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.

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Birthday Continues at the Farmer’s Market and Harvest Pizza

{alexis}

How is my birthday over a week in the past already? Given my last post, with its dual cakes and fantastic dinner, you’d think I was done celebrating. Not so!

For my actual birthday on Saturday, I forced Alicia and Megan to meet me at the Worthington Farmer’s Market. I suppose I was inspired after our culinary adventure the previous night, and thought I could recreate a masterpiece with the freshest of ingredients. Don’t worry, that didn’t happen, but we did have a lovely morning!

After arriving a bit late (I was literally TRAPPED in German Village due to the Cap City Marathon), we had only an hour to peruse the wares. We started with the brightest produce I’ve ever seen, though Megan and I gravitated toward the green tomatoes.

IMG_9879Alicia, true to form, went straight for the baked goods, and we made our first bakery stop at Sassafras Bakery, where she picked up a giant, soft cookie.

IMG_9882Each with a parcel, we kept strolling. Worthington is so charming, and it is so nice to see all the foot traffic that the farmer’s market brings. I’m jealous of all the folks that can actually walk in from the neighborhood (in fact, we’re looking for a house here! SELL ME YOUR HOUSE!).

So we kept wandering (no whining, at this point), and made a few friends along the way. We were predictably waylaid by Jenn’s Cupcakes and Confections. Her free samples (teeny cupcakes!) were outrageously delicious, and the chocolate-covered Oreos you see below are just too cute for words.

IMG_9883Aren’t they perfect? They look like they’d be great shower or wedding favors. Jenn herself was very kind, and spent a few minutes sharing some information about her business. I’ll definitely be keeping this in mind for future parties and events!

We pressed on, reading boards and familiarizing ourselves with the offerings of the market. I sampled some delicious pickles, while Alicia made a beeline for the Pattycake Bakery stand. She quickly selected the jauntily monocled cookie you see below.

IMG_9942The other cookie is the one she picked up from Sassafras Bakery. At least she went for a variety!

Having made the whole loop around the market, we decided to take our snacks to the car, and go on to the main event: lunch. Husband met us for my birthday meal, and we headed South to Harvest’s new location in Clintonville.

We waited about twenty minutes for a table — this place is not large. It is, however, charming! We slid into the quilted booths and carefully decided on unique combinations for our lunch special orders. Megan went for the fried pickle chips.

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So good. Thick slices made for crunchier chips, and the dipping sauces were delightful and tangy.

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Husband went for the house chop (and a healthy spackling of pepper). Look at those peppers!IMG_9920

Alicia’s Mean Green salad had a healthy helping of avocado. In the back you’ll see my kale ceasar, and you’ll also see my impatient hand trying to eat it. We were all big fans, and I loved my kale; it’s so crunchy and satisfying to eat.

Because we are selfish, we each got our own pizzas, no repeats allowed. Also no sharing allowed.

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Here’s Meg’s pineapple and ham. I’m not one for fruit, but put pineapple on all the pizzas and I am more than happy.

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In the back right, you’ll see husband’s Geary Street selection. Yes, he went for the clam pizza! Actually, garlic pizza is more accurate — it had a strong garlic flavor, and wasn’t too overly seafood-y. To the left, you’ll see my mushroom pizza. A winner in every way. This is my favorite kind of pizza — thin, crispy, and more about the toppings than bread. And the crushed red pepper.

In the foreground, you’ll see Alicia’s Spicy Yuma. Gouda on pizza! And bring on the hot peppers! I’ve had this before and know from experience that it’s a success. As I said, we all dug in and kept the sharing (and talking) to a minimum. We had four pizzas to eat!

After finishing our respective pies, the lovely waitress came by and offered a complimentary dessert for my birthday, which I gladly accepted. Enter the Butterscotch Budino.

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Here I am not sharing again. This was a delightful surprise. I’m generally not a fan of custards or puddings, but this got better as the time went on. The hazelnuts on top were BOMB, and the caramel-streaked butterscotch inside made for a rich, satisfying dessert. Instead of building in sweetness, it built in flavor; literally every bite was better than the last. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much, but enjoy it I did!

Later in the evening, husband and I headed back to 16-Bit Bar + Arcade to cap off the birthday celebrations. I button-mashed on Street Fighter, and beat the living daylights out of him in the hunting game (who knew I was a dead-eye?). We even enjoyed a few sips of Darth Vaderade — it was May the Fourth weekend after all!

It was a wonderful birthday, full of food of all types, and good friends. I’m a lucky kid, aren’t I? Consider yourselves all invited to next year’s festivities; you may as well put it on your calendar now!