Author Archives: Jill

Purse Food: Three Short Stories.


I just found a Killer Brownie in my purse. I’d purchased it at least a month ago for Ben, then promptly forgot about it. It’s been in the “checkbook” pocket of my purse, which, I admit, has been feeling a little bulky as of late. (Killer Brownies are not called Killer Brownies because they are tiny.) Ben says he still wants the brownie, but I’m not sure about the shelf life of these things. I’m leaving the decision up to him.

smashed brownie

Here are two other stories of Purse Food.

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A Friendly Rivalry.

I’m starting 2013 with a version of the Paleo Diet. No bread, no beans, no grains, no potatoes. And only one alcoholic beverage a day. My neighbors presented the guidelines, with the official list banning chocolate, potatoes, corn, sugar, legumes, pasta, bread, rice and other processed goodness. They’re referring to it as the “Stop Eating Sh*t Diet”. I decided to play along. Based on before and after weigh-ins, the person who loses the most at the end of the month gets to pick a restaurant for our first post-diet meal. The person who does the worst has to buy drinks that night.


So far, I’ve gained 1.5 pounds. I hope they pick a restaurant with inexpensive drinks.

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Mayor Inspiration.

I’ve kind of got a thing for Cory Booker. Dude jumps into flaming buildings to save constituents, loves coffee and isn’t that bad to look at. Oh. And he’s willing to try eating for a week on food stamps just to see what it’s like. Swoon.


Take note. I am in no way trying to compare the situation I’m about to describe with that of the 46.2 million people who live in poverty in the U.S. Poverty and inconvenience are very, very different.

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Still Shot.

Monteverde, Costa Rica April 2012

The horses knew exactly where they were going. When to stop for the scenery, when to slow down for the grade. A good thing, as our guide, Jose, spoke no English. Los caballos entendían la brecha en el lenguaje.

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Fried Chicken Find.

I’m not going to lie. I was on the way to Wendy’s for their #2 (regular size, Diet Coke, no mayo) when I saw Mya’s Fried Chicken saddled up to the Super Food Mart at the corner of Pacemont and High Street in Clintonville. I was feeling a little guilty about the whole drive-through thing, and was happy to find a reason to substitute it with a local (and trendy!) business for my lazy lunch.

In a food truck shuffle, Mya’s recently showed up to fill the void left by Ray Ray’s Hog Pit when they moved down to Ace of Cups. They have a basic menu of fried chicken and house-made (truck-made?) sides, and reviews, Tweets and blog posts about the place have been blowing up the internet.

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Sunday Best.

“Let’s go somewhere cheap for brunch.” Except, as a rule, brunch is never cheap. (I can’t not order the mimosa, you see.)

So we stayed in. Because the weather was perfect for open windows and we’d get a great seat without a wait.

I’m not great at cooking morning food. I once made breakfast for a boyfriend who critiqued the entire endeavor before announcing — after he refused to do the dishes — that he guessed he was just used to his mom’s cooking. I wish I could say that I ended it right there. The breakup was awful, but amazing. I never had to watch 24 again.

This brunch was much better. Eggs cooked with Ohio-made pesto (compliments of my roommate’s mom). This-and-that from the Wayward Seed Farm produce bowl. (Plum and tomato.) Wheat toast smothered with lemon curd made by my friend Jenny. And so much delicious coffee.

To have so much local food within our immediate reach? All without having to put on shoes? Somehow upgrading from a cheap brunch to a free brunch made me feel a little rich. (Bonus: I didn’t have to do the dishes.)

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Blue(grass) Balls.

For more than a decade, when I’ve heard the Mermaid Avenue version of Woodie Guthrie’s “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key,” I’ve thought that the word were “Way over yonder in the monarchy. Ain’t nobody that can sing like me.” In my mind, Natalie Merchant was folksily letting us all know, without a trace of arrogance, that she can sing better than pretty much all of the Queen’s people.

This is all a preamble to what were to be the first three words of this post about a meatball.

Way over yonder where Worthington meets Clintonville, there’s a new pizza shop that showcases bluegrass music and coal-fired pizza. Coal. Bluegrass. Sounds like the Ohio river moved a couple hours west and joined us in Columbus. I haven’t spent enough time at this place, but I think that I will like it.

This is a 4-inch meatball covered in tomato sauce, a little Parmesan cheese and some flat leaf parsley for a little color. It cost $6.25 and was their special for the evening. (I love that the special was a single ball of meat and not, say, a coal-fired pizza.) Our server said that they kept running out, that the kitchen was in constant production of giant meatballs.

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Gastronomical Geography.

I never pay attention to where I am when I visit New York City and her boroughs. Instead, I blindly follow the natives — mainly Maya — around from restaurant to bar to coffee shop to bar to restaurant. And the touristy things? They’re pretty low on the list of priorities. I’ve seen more of Buttermilk Channel than I have the Statue of Liberty.

In my most recent trip, we shared Maya (and her one bedroom apartment) with her mom and sister; she wasn’t as available as she’d been in the past. With the exception of a few meals, we would be navigating the city on our own, with heavy reliance on the map function of the iPhone. The result was mixed: more mess-ups on the subway and a chance to do something touristy. (Enjoy the shot above taken from the Staten Island Ferry.) Somehow, though, we managed to stay hydrated and well fed.

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Higher Latitude.

Rooftop. Beer. Garden. Separately, I love all these things. So when the sum is greater than its parts and when the sum’s location is Latitude 41, well, I’m a happy gal. Ben’s astute eye on the goings on of Twitter alerted me of the Latitude 41 Rooftop Beer Garden. The happening was fortuitously rescheduled to align with his mom’s birthday celebration. (Hi, Cindy!)

The premiere event took place next to the fourth floor rooftop pool, allowing for delightful views for folks in love with both slow-roasted local pork and downtown Columbus, accompanied by live music from Jason Quicksall.

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Truth In Food Blogging.

Two quick, painful truths for you on this Monday evening.

1. Most of what I remember about the meal that I had last Saturday evening at Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland is based on Instagram photos. In my defense, see Exhibit A in the upper left hand corner of the photo below. That wasn’t the first one of those, nor was it the last.

What I do remember, however, is that I bit into a jalapeño while eating my pork tacos. (There’s no way to Instagram—or forget—that.)

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