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.

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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!

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.

Looking Back on 2014

It’s been quite a year for us! Since meeting you, we’ve learned a lot, grown a lot, and made more than a few changes between the two of us. We’re grateful for all of you, readers, as well as the wonderful people we’ve met in this world of Columbus bloggers. Tonight, we’re going to eat too much, wear a few too many sparkles, and toast with too many glasses of champagne. But, before it’s entirely behind us, here are some highlights from 2014.

{Alicia’s Year at a Glance}

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 8.12.48 PM

February: First blog post on Wander & Whine
March: Anniversary trip to New Orleans where I ate and saw all the things
May: Roadtripped to Nashville (Pt. I + II)
July: Spent a day in Savannah | Lounged in Hilton Head | Fell in love with Charleston | Ate everything in sight
August: Started a new job
September: Looked back on an amazing summer
October: Took in the beauty at Hocking Hills
November: Wandered to NYCProceeded to eat everything

*My Most Popular Post: Made LOCAL Market
*My Favorite Post of Alexis’: Helloween at Double Comfort. She was live texting me during the event, and the sheer drama and YELLING made me laugh out loud. Plus, the gif she uses from Clue–“Flames on the side of my face”–was too perfect.
*My Favorite Post to Write: I had a lot of fun compiling my favorite places in Las Vegas #tbt. Rereading it makes me want to plan another visit!


{Alexis’ Year at a Glance}

village lights | wander & whine

February: First blog post on Wander & Whine
March: St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago
May: Had some hits and misses in San Diego | Birthday celebrations left and right
June: Started a new job | Was an audience member at Cash Explosion 36 hours in Vegas
July: Spent a week in the Thumb
September: Cheered on the Columbus Clippers
October: Toured Bourbon Country | Ate well in Louisville | Bachelorette Party in D.C.
November: Further adventures in D.C.

*My Most Popular Post: Fried Chicken Heaven at Double Comfort
*My Favorite Post of Alicia’s: I have to say I love Alicia’s obsession with Tacos Hass. I STILL haven’t made it up there (Dublin, why are you so far!), but when I get there I know exactly what to order!
*My Favorite Post to Write: Has to be my visit to 16-Bit Bar + Arcade and Dirty Frank’s. It’s my favorite bar in Columbus, and, NBA JAM.

Thanks for reading, today, and all the days. We promise to keep it coming in 2015, and we hope you’ll go along for the ride!

Presents to Self

{by alicia + alexis} It’s the time of year for the gift guide, no? We’ve posted one, and some of our favorite bloggers have posted their own versions, too. But what you don’t often see is what the bloggers are buying themselves. In this post, we’ll both list the treasures we picked up for ourselves while shopping for the other folks in our lives.

{Alexis’ List}

things I bought myself | wander & whine

one. This is the season for warm, over-sized sweaters, and, in my opinion, no one does it better than Vince. I picked this up on Gilt during Black Friday sales and paid next to nothing. Pro tip: do NOT size up. Not a member of Gilt Groupe yet? If you’re curious enough to give it a go, consider using my invite link; then I could buy more sweaters!

two. These are the Dannie pants from J.Crew. You hear a lot about the Minnies, and even the Curators, but these are the true unsung heros. In total, I’ve got four pairs of these pants, including a version with leather details. I like a work pant that’s slim, but not tight around the ankle. They come in three flattering dark colors, and the best part? They’re machine washable!

three. Ask Alicia: I’ve been hunting for a planner for MONTHS. After all the searching, I ended up buying the first one I looked at, which is this spiral bound beauty from Paper Source. It’s got enough room to write, and keeps the monthly calendars together and separate from the weeklies.

four. Anthropologie is my kryptonite. I was NOT disappointed by this beautiful blazer, though it needed a good steaming once it arrived.

five. I’ve been trying to hold off on buying any home goods till we buy a house (STILL LOOKING), but I couldn’t resist this gold constellation tray from C. Wonder. It can catch jewelry, nightstand minutiae, or even mail.

six. This is the Kate Spade cupcake skirt I’ve been lusting after forever, and I can’t wait to wear it on Christmas eve! Don’t worry — I did not pay as much as you see on the link. This was another one of my Gilt finds.

seven. Sephora has been running a good amount of deals this month, and I’m always more than happy to pick out a present for myself. I’ve been into masks lately, and here’s a collection of trial sized goodies that won’t break the bank.

eight. Speaking of breaking the bank…I have been coveting this Tory Burch York Buckle tote, but it has been excluded from literally every sale she’s run on her site. Cue dramatic tantrums and epic frustration. But! Shopbop saved the day with their sitewide discount, and I saved myself a cool $50. (Still expensive, I know but it’s something.) This bag is the workday BOMB.

nine. Another Paper Source purchase! This personalized notebook is perfect for throwing in my bag for on-the-spot notes. I chose the “bombshell” font for a more whimsical look. No, I didn’t order one with the name Jeremiah Potter on the cover.

ten. Anthropologie strikes again. This removable fur collar won me over, and it’s coziness earned it some space in my closet. It will be perfect Christmas morning present-opening and pup-snuggling.

{Alicia’s List}

things i buy | wander & whine

one. Since I’m all about comfort these days, I have been living in this furry hooded parka from ASOS. It’s warm without being bulky, and I got it for an absolute steal during the madness of Black Friday.

two. Francesca’s is my go-to shop for statement necklaces, and it didn’t disappoint when I was looking for some sort of bauble to jazz up my holiday frock. I especially like this one because of the multicolor beads–it complements so many outfits! It’s also great for ramping up your everyday look without being too dressy.

three. My skin is hideously dry in the winter, and this light cleansing oil from The Face Shop gives me an extra surge of moisture while melting every inch of makeup off my face. Don’t be afraid of putting oil on your face. This cleanser doesn’t clog your pores in the slightest, especially when you follow up with a gentle foam wash.

four. I work at a startup, so the dress code is pretty lax. Though I try not to be a total slob, I took my footwear a step further and adapted these moccasins into an office slip on. The furry lining keeps my feet extra warm which is great for those of us with poor circulation, and I’m cozy all day long!

five. Do I even need to explain this one? It combines all of my favorite things into one perfect shoe. Cake! Polka dots! Pink! Conversation starter! I can’t wait until spring when it’s warm enough to bust them out every single day.

six. My mother is Korean, therefore my skin regimen is super Korean (she’s in her fifties and her skin is to die for, so my night routine is like 10+ steps). This also applies to my makeup regimen. There is a total difference between real BB cream imported from Korea, and the stuff I find in the states (which is more like tinted moisturizer). So, I tend to sway towards Korean brands like Skin Food and Tony Moly for my fix. Target is now carrying Laniege (another awesome brand), so I had to try their BB Cushion. This handy compact makes it easy to swipe on in the morning and touch up during the day. PLUS, it has SPF 50! Bonus!

seven. I love how this watch from Rakani is reminiscent of Dali’s melting clocks. Plus, I wanted a cheerful color for these gray winter days and this pink and rose gold combo fits the bill nicely!

eight. Philosophy’s  3-in-1 washes are the best. Not only do they smell delicious (I always want to eat the bottle), but they multitask, and take up less space in the shower. When I saw the Pink Frosted Animal Cracker scent (I almost wrote “flavor”), I had to have it!

nine. Blanket scarves are a game changer. Between these and my sweater cape, I am authorized to go into public swathed in a throw. You guys, blankets are parading as clothing and it’s socially acceptable! What’s crazier is that I get daily compliments on my said blanket outfits. Comfort fashion for the win!

ten. Adult onesies are genius. Don’t we all secretly want to revert back to childhood? Sure we do! I unabashedly rock a plush, cat-print version on the weekend (no shame), and it’s like I’m a cozy bear. I hear you laughing. Don’t knock it until you try it!

Cravings Carryout

{by: alicia} Every weekend, I try to find an excuse to go to Italian Village. I can’t help it. It’s where my favorite coffee shop lives, and it’s the only place in town you can find a bronut.

No, it’s not some douchey pastry. It’s brioche + donut, and the geniuses at Cravings Carryout serve them up the second Saturday of each month.

Cravings Carryout Bronut

A glazed bronut with gingerbread coffee. To live for. Also, that polar bear. I can’t.

Cravings Carryout is about the size of a shoebox, but if you’re lucky, you can snag one of the few seats indoors. Otherwise, do as the name suggests and take your food to go.

Cravings Carryout

Though it’s small inside, it’s big on personality.

Cravings Carryout

Cravings Carryout

Did Ron Swanson build this table? GIVE.

I went to the last Bronut Takeover with a friend, which is always a bonus because that means I can sample multiple flavors. Maria got the blackberry, which was so delicious, that I forced her to trade me. Sorry friend. I didn’t even KNOW I liked blackberry that much until this happened.

Blackberry Bronut from Cravings Carryout Columbus, Ohio

At this point, you’re probably wondering what a bronut tastes like–it’s more about the consistency, really. I’m not a baker, but from what I can tell, the brioche dough lends a rich and tender crumb. I like airier donuts as opposed to dense/cakey, but this was something in between. Just try one.

Since my motto is “eat all the things,” we ordered breakfast to round things out. I am a sucker for burritos, which is fortunate because this was one of the tastiest breakfast burritos to ever hit my palette. It’s so ridiculously simple: scrambled eggs, cheese, peppers, scallions, salsa, potatoes, and avocado, but it’s executed so well.

Breakfast burrito from Cravings Carryout

Maria was beyond happy with her choice of a breakfast roll. I mean, there’s bacon, so it’s already going to be good, and it positively oozed cheddar cheese all over the place. Since I’m a good friend, I allowed her to eat this without my cries of “tradesies!” (It’s okay, she has a child, she’s use to it.)

Breakfast sandwich from Cravings Carryout

STOP TAUNTING ME.

So, you see what I’m dealing with here? Since you’re obviously amped on going, I must insist you plan your first visit around Bronut Takeover. If you’re already an aficionado, let’s have a moment and stare at these photos together. Oh, and I’ll see you in January.

Cravings Carryout is located at 227 East 3rd Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10a-5p, Saturday and Sunday 9a-3p, and closed on Mondays. Bronuts are only available the second Saturday of the month–put it on your calendar.

Fox in the Snow Cafe

{by: alicia} The next time you’re in Italian Village, and in the mood for a pick me up, do yourself a favor and check out Fox in the Snow Cafe.

Since opening its doors in October, this cafe has amassed quite a following (myself included) thanks to its amazing atmosphere (so much natural light! so open and modern!) and wondrous drinks and pastries (HOMEMADE POP TARTS–hand pies if we’re being literal). It makes me curse my decision to live up north.

When I first heard about Fox in the Snow in late summer/early fall, my interest was immediate. THE NAME ALONE. I mean, have you SEEN a fox in the snow? It looks something like this.

Courtesy of zastavki.com

Courtesy of zastavki.com

Did you hear that? I apologize for shattering your eardrums. It was me making this loud “eeeeee” sound I do when something too adorable for words. Then I saw the official logo and knew I had found something special.

BEST LOGO.

BEST LOGO.

There is nothing better than a pouncing, hoppy fox. NOTHING. Exhibit A:

Sometimes, I overhype things in my head and end up being disappointed. In this case, my first visit confirmed my suspicions: THIS PLACE IS BOMB.

Pastries from Fox in the Snow Cafe Columbus

Fox in the Snow Cafe

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On my last visit, we made sure to get a variety of pastries and unanimously declared everything amazing. Cinnamon rolls? AMAZING. So soft, perfectly spiced with cinnamon, and the icing wasn’t cloying in the slightest. Also. The lattes (AMAZING) were beautiful and a perfect complement to our baked goods.

Fox in the Snow Cafe drinks

Also amazing were the egg sandwich and hand pie (aka the homemade Pop Tart). There were rave reviews on these, my friends. Look at the flaking crust on that pie. I can hardly contain myself.

Fox in the Snow Cafe Hand pie and egg sandwich

Now let’s take a gander at the doughnut, plump with various fillings and dusted with sugar. I know. By now you are filled with longing and don’t know what to do with yourself. I understand. Scroll on down to get the details to plan your own visit!

Fox in the Snow cafe doughnut
To experience the wonder that is Fox in the Snow, head down to 1031 N. 4th St. Tuesday through Friday from 7a-5p and the weekend from 8a-6p. Parking is available in the lot and on the street.