Monday, November 1, 2010


Bug and I traveled to Columbus to meet with Michael and Bill visiting from the Northwest. The months couldn't come quickly enough when I first heard they were planning a visit.

We met in German Village and strolled the beautiful rows of European brick apartments and alleys that were made more stunning by the searing red and golden brilliance of the fall foliage.

After catching up a bit and getting lost within the eclectic Book Loft's maze of 32 rooms stuffed from floor to ceiling with books, we headed to Northstar Cafe's Short North location.

Northstar storefront

Northstar Cafe is a fast food restaurant that serves locally sourced (as possible) New American organic dishes with vegetarian, vegan, and free range poultry options at a modest price.

When ordering, no one can miss the flames flickered in the large pizza oven churning out ~14" flatbreads ($7.50 for tomato and cheese + $2/topping) behind the counter.

Despite the reasonable prices, I was taken aback by the price of a single glass of ginger ale ($3.50). What arrived was not a tan bubbly fountain drink, but a translucent off-white effervescent slurry of crushed ginger and a touch of sugar. Bill liked the drink as is, but Michael would have preferred it sweeter.

Michael enjoyed his smoked turkey breast sandwich with applewood bacon, rosemary aioli, and focaccia baked on the premises ($13.00). A blend of wild rice, brown rice, red peppers, nuts, and parsley accompanied the sandwich that went half eaten.

Northstar Turkey sandwich
Turkey sandwich with rice

Having food remaining was not a sign of displeasure, but a result of the humongous serving size. This is not a complaint!

Bug and Bill ordered the sweet basil burrito ($9.50 each). Bug ordered the rotisserie chicken, while Bill ordered his with seared tofu.

Northstar Chicken Sweet Basil Half
Chicken sweet basil burrito

Both were pleased with the freshness of the red onions, lettuce, and red peppers, the tofu/chicken filling, and the basil pesto. We all agreed that there was quite a bit of brown rice.

Bug loves tortilla chips and salsa, but didn't eat much of it, so I figured it was probably not particularly exciting. I figured right.

The aroma of my bowl of chicken korma ($9.50) was probably a tease (or curse) to those who could smell the spicy cumin and tomatoes.

Northstar Chicken Korma Bowl
Chicken korma bowl

The tangy sauce with cashews was ladled over chunks of roasted Bell and Evans chicken and brown rice, and topped with blanched broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and red cabbage. With the discrete flavors of each ingredient and crunchy (yet cooked!) vegetables, it was as if someone created this dish just for me.

I, okay, Bug must make this dish at home!

Northstar's dining area can be a bit loud from the music and other patrons, but the food was tasty and fresh. Had we been from the area, we would have all had enough to eat 2 full meals for under $50 -- not a bad deal for four adults.

- Cassaendra

Northstar Cafe
951 N High St
Columbus, OH 43201-2406
Tel: (614) 298-9999

2 deep thoughts:

Michael 21 November, 2010 23:57  

After our wonderful experience at Northstar, I'm actually looking forward to the turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving this year!

Cassaendra 25 November, 2010 13:10  

Hi Michael,

I would grab the bibingka from someone's hands if they touched it. :P

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of leftovers!

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