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2017: Diary of Dining Disappointment

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott 2017: Diary of Dining DisappointmentPhoto by Lauren Sega.
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Research indicates that grateful people have happier, healthier lives. Being Mary Sunshine pays off in the long run, but a life without disappointments would be…boring. So, without further ado, the Disappointments of 2017:

1) Parking Problems: This is not a gripe about the Short North or Downtown. Thanks to the swanky development plans on Indianola, over 90 parking spaces* have been removed from the tiny lot that serves gourmet grocer Weiland’s. While development is nice and all, sometimes, there’s literally no place to park.

2) Hostile Salads: The salad scene is hot in Columbus. Veranico takes those words seriously with a Sirloin Salad that’s relentlessly picante. The name suggests it’s an item for carnivores, and it does deliver steak with sweet corn and romaine and manchego cheese. But, its jalapeños will sear themselves into your memory, and stomach lining, forever. At the other end of the spectrum was a side salad from Elia Athenian Grill that featured a discordant combo of broccoli and super soggy quinoa.

3) Super Secret Ingredients: Menus often list ingredients in their descriptions of dining options. Sometimes, things on those lists seem to be MIA at the table. Of course, you can never be quite sure: perhaps the ingredients are pulverized or macerated or otherwise unrecognizable. That said, the smoked trout was assuredly missing from the Cardini Salad at Cosecha Cocina.

4) Vegetarian Bacon: The meat-free people have created so many nice, tasty, beany burgers, you’d think that their impersonation of the world’s most perfect food, bacon, would be better. But the offending strips, reminiscent of “salty play-dough” were quickly removed from Eden Burger’s Bacon Ranch Burger. The ranch was better without the fake pig.

5) Turkey: Ground turkey is often marketed as a satisfying substitute for ground beef. This year’s adventures with ground turkey have not been particularly promising. It was chemically and salty at Tiger + Lily in the Tan Tan Ramen. A subsequent turkey trial at Half Pint indicated that, while not objectionable, it’s not nearly as good as a beef burger.

6) Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino: It was fine. It wasn’t magical. I’m not driving all over town to find one again. It essentially proved an economic theory that artificial scarcity can drive demand. And we’re all patsies.

7) Rook’s opened with fantastic barbecue goodness. Then it closed. WTH.

And one non-disappointment. Totally deficient in cocoa butter, fake chocolate is pretty much the ultimate food crime. It tastes like sorrow, or like chocolate, if you were severely congested and lost all sense of taste. Still, more and more companies use it: Butterfinger, Ben & Jerry’s, and locally in Buckeye Crunch.

So here’s to Pattycake Bakery and its Cooperative Cherry Chocolate Chip Bar. It’s been off-the-charts awesome for as long as memory. Not once has it ever used anything except for real-deal chocolate chips, and they’re all over the place. In a world of disappointments, PattyCake will be there to pick up the pieces.

*That’s what the clerk said.

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