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Columbus is a Foodie City. No, really.

I spent a lot of time in previous blogs detailing food in cities along the west coast. After I returned home, it occurred to me that I’ve never highlighted the food city in my back yard–Columbus, Ohio. But where to start? I could tell you about Cameron Mitchell, a self-taught chef turned entrepreneur who flipped the town upside down and singlehandedly started the high-end restaurant craze with his mix of well-thought-out concept restaurants. Or perhaps I should spend some time at the North Market, downtown Columbus’s mish-mash of artisanal foods. Hmm, where to begin? I know, how about here:



Okay, this has nothing to do with food. (Well, almost nothing. It is across the street from my favorite cupcake bakery in the entire world, The Pink Moon.I’ll feature them in another post some other time, perhaps.) I threw this in to start the blog because it’s where we started our day and because it’s free. After surviving on one salary for most of my married life, I have come to appreciate free things. Especially free things that are awesome. This particular gem is in Powell, Ohio, home of the Columbus Zoo. (Yes, the Columbus Zoo is as good as you’ve always heard and worth a visit from anywhere.) Moving on.

I think we can all agree that the best part of any fair/festival/carnival is the food. (Unless you’re in love with a carnie and the fair is the one time a year you get to see him. In that case, may I suggest a little thing called a background check? You’re welcome.) What if there was a place where all the best food from the carnival came together? A magical Nirvana of grilled onions, tater tots, and melty cheese.


Did you know Columbus has food trucks? No? Well, Columbus has food trucks. Today we attended an annual event that features said trucks and carts along with some local crafters and musicians.


The hardest part of this concept is the torturous indecision of where to eat. Finally I picked the longest line and ended up with a Philly pita.


My husband chose a burger with fried egg and smooshed tater tots.


Finally, no foodie sojourn is complete in Columbus without stopping here.


You can’t talk food and Columbus without mentioning Jeni’s, mostly because it has become a national phenomenon, receiving recognition from celebrities and critics alike. I’m the first to admit that Jeni’s is expensive. In her defense, have you priced heavy cream lately? How about heavy cream from a local dairy that only feeds their cows grass? Because that’s what Jeni uses, along with a bevy of other local and top-quality ingredients. This is my dark chocolate and brown butter almond brittle waffle cone. It was 6.50. (Next to it is my husband’s White House cherry cone.)


Is it worth it? A simple yes or no won’t do. Every day? No. Every week? Maybe. Once a year as we go? Definitely. This is the best dark chocolate ice cream I’ve ever tasted, and you know I’ve tasted a lot.

Traveling the country was a wonderful experience I hope to repeat someday. In the meantime, I’m heartened by the knowledge that there are treasures to be found in my own back yard.


About vanessagraybartal

Author. Eater. Wife. Mother. Not necessarily in that order.

4 responses to “Columbus is a Foodie City. No, really.

  1. Val ⋅

    First of all, props for mentioning the mecca of all bakeries, Pink Moon. Secondly, did Mira travel wtih you? Did she get a cone, or lunch? Third, where was such festival located- don’t remember you mentioning where it was with all the food trucks. Back to the original subject. I believe Pink Moon deserves a blog all unto itself. And I would volunteer to be a guest taster to weigh in (pun intended) on my favorite flavors. Because I care. About the cupcakes.

  2. We miss Columbus, but it is great to explore a new city too. Here is a post I wrote on the Somali restaurant that Sarah and I loved to visit (still looking for a great East African restaurant in Managua). We miss you three a lot!

    • I’ve heard Somali food is delicious, but it’s one of those cuisines that intimidates me. I need to go with someone who knows what to order. Still mourning that I didn’t get to have Sarah introduce me to Indian food before you guys left. We miss you guys, too! Love seeing the pictures, though.

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