A flying visit to my old home-town Columbus this last weekend, included an unusual opportunity to explore a bit (since my visits are brief and Mom's baking is superlative, there's usually little opportunity or motivation). Whereas 30 years ago there was ONE oriental shop in the entire metropolitan area, today the city is full of korean, chinese and mideast outlets, and there are a multiplicity of exotic sounding and hopefully relatively authentic restaurants too.
Anyway, I headed from NY intending to help Mom assemble a buffet lunch but couldn't pick up pitas to accompany the huummus and other dips I was bringing along. Tooling up N. High Street on my way in from the airport and looking for a supermarket to buy stale pita in, I saw a sign for Eastern Bakery out of the corner of my eye. By some miracle, they had fresh hot pita, including with za'atar, as well as pastries and savory dishes, including a hot, steaming ful porridge, several sorts of kibbe and swiss chard with lemon and fried onions. While I was in there (it was also an excellent mideast grocery) an enthusiastic chowhound wandered in for breakfast and endorsed the place, including their meat pies. Eastern Bakery is in the 4300 block of North High, in a strip mall on the east side of the street.
Sunday my vegan girl insisted on going out for lunch. We did take-out from Annapurna, a south indian and vegetarian restaurant found in the Dispatch Online restaurant listings. Its in a mall on the NE corner of Dublin Granville Road and Cleveland Avenue. The restaurant was full of south indians eating sunday brunch; we were seemingly the only western patrons. We took out respectable masala dosai, vada sambal, mango lassi and samosas; the only negative was that they werent using fresh cilantro so the green chutney, made with some sort of tasteless dried leaf substance, was an abomination, and the coconut chutney which includee the same dried leaves could have been better. ps there was a Nazareth Deli/restaurant selling shwarma right next door, in the same strip mall, unsampled.
Its obvious that there's been exponential growth in foreign cuisine in Cols, accompanying the growth in foreign born population and consequently much for chowhounds to explore and share (these types of places dont get much play in restaurant columns). Hope we can get some more indigenous Columbus chowhound posts!
Now, a couple of challenges for Columbusites: (1) I have heard there is a lot of BBQ around central Ohio these days - where is it good? (2) Where is the good Chinese food hiding?