Monday, February 29, 2016

Twisted Olive -- North Canton, OH

Things have been incredibly busy over here at Ohio Wanderlust, but I have been going to locations, it's just a matter of sitting down to write the review.

Dave and I recently moved our home base from Ravenna to Uniontown which puts us temptingly close to the Twisted Olive. I had been to the Twisted Olive once before with some of my friends, but this was Dave's first visit. I knew from my previous night out that the Twisted Olive would be an excellent Valentine's Day dinner location so we went out the evening of the 13th.

The Twisted Olive was packed when we arrived, I would recommend making a reservation if you plan on going on the weekend. 

Dave recommended that I order the Red Sangria since it was Valentine's Day -- "Truscano, Pomegranate Vodka, Pomegranate Syrup, Cranberry Juice." I prefer sweeter wines and I think that I would have been better off with a different cocktail, but Dave didn't mind finishing this up. I had also just gotten over being sick, so I wasn't much in the mood for drinking.

To drink Dave ordered an exclusive Gervasi Vineyard Craft Beer brewed by Thirsty Dog in Akron. Our server told Dave that the beer was only a few days old and that the keg had been tapped earlier in the week...that's all it took to sell him on the Milkhouse Stout. He loved how fresh the beer was and was happy with his order. 

To start our meal Dave and I split an order of the Veg "Meatballs" served Naked (3 meatballs with sauce and cheese only). If you don't want Naked meatballs you can order them Smashed (2 meatballs smashed over garlic toast). These eggplant "meatballs" were delightfully spicy and we enjoyed sopping up the extra sauce with the rolls we were served.

For dinner I ordered a small Strawberry and Brie Salad -- "Mesclun Greens, Cashews, Raisins, Smoked Honey Vinaigrette." It tasted good, the smoked honey vinaigrette was nice, but compared to the soup and eggplant meatballs, this salad was just okay to me.

I also ordered the Chipotle Potato Soup -- "Birra, Pepper Jack Cheese, Mustard Croutons." This soup was so fabulous, it might be one of the best things I've ever eaten. It was spicy, but it had a velvety smooth texture and the flavors paired nicely together.

Dave ordered the Spinach Fettuccine for dinner -- "Roasted Red Peppers, Garlic EVOO, Squash, Artichokes, Feta." I was craving pasta, so I might have eaten a little bit more than half of Dave's while he finished off the rest of my salad.

Despite the restaurant being very busy due to Valentine's Day, our server was attentive and knowledgeable about the menu. Although there were things that I didn't love, it wasn't due to the quality of the items, but rather my personal taste. We both loved the meatballs and the soup which really helped to round out our evening. Overall we had a wonderful night and can't wait to celebrate more events at the Twisted Olive.

My rating for the Twisted Olive:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

TownHall -- Cleveland, OH

TownHall is a hip restaurant in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood touting a menu of "sophisticated swill." Although TownHall was already on my radar due to their menu being vegetarian friendly, we got the push to actually go check out the restaurant from Dave's sister who lives in LA who sent us an e-gift card for Christmas after searching for vegetarian friendly restaurants in the Cleveland-area. After I scoped out the menu we opted to make the drive to Cleveland on a Monday night to check out the special Vegan Night Menu (available Monday night only). The regular menu is still available during Vegan Night as well, so if you're craving something different, you can still order non-vegan items.

Being that I'm not a city person, I'm always worried about what the parking situation will be like when we want to go somewhere in Cleveland. We lucked out last night getting a spot pretty much in front of TownHall. Since we arrived a little after 5:00, it only took fifty cents to feed the meter for the hour until 6:00 when the meters stop being used.

The hostesses were incredibly friendly when we entered TownHall and we were promptly seated at the end of a large, family style communal table. During the hour and a half we were there, no one was seated next to us though.

To start our meal Dave ordered a Sam Adams Belgian Session Nitro from the Brew List (which he described as drinking bread dough, but in an enthusiastic way which led me to believe he thought that was a good thing) and I ordered the Vigor smoothie described as "dragonfruit + raspberries + strawberries + reishi/enoki + c2O + YOGURT + lime | anti-fungal+essential mineral."

I have a problem ordering things at restaurants and not bothering to look up the ingredients...which is how I ended up with a smoothie that includes mushrooms and mushroom powder, but I digress. The smoothie had a slight sweetness to it, but overall the enoki and dragonfruit gave it a sour after taste. Probably not my favorite, but it was good for me. 

Dave and I decided to tackle the Vegan Night menu head on and order two appetizers and two entrees. 

One of our starters was the Fresh Jalapeno Poppers "filled with kale + white bean hummus | avocado | cilantro | tempura battered | TownHall vin."

Dave struggled to believe that these were actually jalapenos, because they were really large peppers. They certainly were jalapenos, and they had quite a kick to them. The TownHall vinaigrette was pretty sweet and helped temper the spicy jalapenos.

We also ordered the Crispy Tofu Wings "Choose: Korean BBQ -or- Spicy Buffalo Sauce | matchstick celery + carrots." I'm not sure why these made me so irrationally happy, but they did, maybe because I haven't had wings in over ten years since becoming a vegetarian? These would have been nice with some ranch or blue cheese, but that would have killed the vegan vibe we had going on.

Dave and I liked both appetizers, but the Crispy Tofu Wings were our favorite. I would love to try the Korean BBQ next time.

For dinner we were both intrigued by tacos on the menu, I went for the Beer Battered Avocado Tacos "chia seeds | black bean + corn salsa | cilantro-lime vin. | vegan cheese."

Each taco was small, probably about three bites, but paired with half of two appetizers and a side of fries the portion was plenty. The fried avocado was lovely, and I enjoyed every bite of these tacos.

Dave ordered the Sweet Potato + Cashew Tacos "charred corn | black beans | smashed avocado | pico | house harissa | vegan cheese." These tacos were great as well, there was a sweet element in them that must have been part of the harissa, but it helped to round out the flavors.

What's dinner without vegan dessert? TownHall offers a different vegan dessert every Monday, they also have a vegan brownie sundae on their menu made with vegan salted caramel ice cream from Mitchell's and vegan whipped cream. Dave didn't love the brownie, but I really enjoyed it's crispy texture paired with the ice cream. Both of us enjoyed the ice cream, if I hadn't been told that it was vegan, I may have never known.


Our server Jessica took excellent care of us and was attentive throughout the evening. She was knowledgeable about the menu and helped us figure out how to pay with the e-gift card which was on my phone. From start to finish, we were nothing but impressed with our night out at TownHall. A co-worker had great things to say about TownHall's brunch, so we will need to make a second trip during brunch hours to check out that menu, but for now, we'll be recommending Vegan Night to our friends and co-workers. Neither of us is vegan, but as a ten-year vegetarian and a two-year vegetarian we had a blast at TownHall eating off of the Vegan Night Menu.

My rating for TownHall:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Diletto Winery -- Canfield, OH

Our close friends recently moved back to the Canfield area, which is somewhere that neither Dave or I has spent much time. We're excited to check out more locations in Canfield as time goes on, we found Diletto Winery by doing a quick Google search of "wineries in Canfield." Dilettto Winery was the first place to come up, so we decided to give them a go.

Diletto Winery is located in a "dry" township and is only permitted to sell what they produce, so all of the alcohol is made on site. They produce wine, sangria, hard cider, and fruit brandy.

When we arrived there was a Sip and Paint going on, but there was plenty of room at the bar as well as in some of their side rooms. Our group of five fit nicely in the Peacock Lounge.

Diletto offered several fruit wines, so for the most part our group stuck with those -- pictured below is the Shirazberry and Elderberry.

Dave and I also split an order of the baked brie -- there are almost 30 toppings that can be added to an 8 ounce wheel of brie which is then baked until it's oozy and delicious. Being the weirdos that we are, we decided to try a little sweet and spicy pairing and went with strawberry jam and jalapenos. 

Two new features that Diletto Winery is offering are Murder Mystery Dinners as well as Escape Rooms. Escape Rooms are a hot new trend, we recently heard about a place in Canton before heading out to Diletto Winery. Your group is locked in a room for a certain amount of time and must find all of the clues and decipher them in order to successfully escape before time runs out. The escape rooms are constantly being monitored by a staff member, so there is a lifeline to the outside, but the fun is in trying to beat the clock by solving the riddle.

Diletto was quite a hike for us from Uniontown, but it was fun to meet up with friends and to explore some of the area goings-on closer to where they're located. We received decent service and it was nice to be in a little private side room.

My rating for Diletto Winery:

Saturday, February 13, 2016

91 Wood Fired Oven -- Canton, Ohio

Last weekend our group of friends made reservations at 91 Wood Fired Oven to celebrate a friend's birthday. 91 Wood Fired Oven is owned by the same people who own Table Six Kitchen + Bar and although each has a totally different concept, I'm always happy to invite friends to eat at either restaurant, because I know that we will have a unique experience each time.

I started off my dinner with a grapefruit martini...

We love when restaurants give us bread before our meal -- we were served Italian bread and focaccia, I don't think whoever took this photo realized that the balsamic glaze said "91."

For an appetizer we split the Risotto Cakes "house parmesan risotto / panko crusted / 91 marinara / basil chiffonade." The cakes were nice to split between two people as a starter, they were nice and crisp on the outside and filled with creamy risotto on the inside.

For my meal, I had the Buffalo Tofu Tacos "buffalo tofu / jicama slaw / blue cheese drizzle " which were delightful little tacos filled with spicy tofu. The jicama slaw added a nice fresh, crisp bite to each taco. There were three on the plate and after splitting the appetizer and knowing that I was prepared to order dessert, I thought the portion size was quite nice, especially for the price.  

My brother ordered the Lobster Risotto (pictured below) which he really enjoyed and another friend had the Drunken Zoodles, "fresh cut zucchini spirals / sautéed shrimp / artichoke hearts / vodka, tomato cream sauce / mushrooms / basil." I love that 91 offered zucchini noodles on the menu, we love to make them at home and I thought their creative take on zoodles really helped to elevate the dish.

Dave ordered the Five Cheese Ravioli Marinara "Large, tender ravioli / overstuffed with five cheeses
91 marinara / spinach / mushrooms / parmesan." They're not kidding when they tell you that the ravioli are large, we were served two gigantic ravioli. Dave and I like to split dishes whenever we go out, so that we each get to try several things. Both of us enjoyed these ravioli, I thought it was nice that they were over sized, I had not seen that at a restaurant before and you're really still getting the same amount of product.

For dessert my brother and I split this delicious peanut butter filled treat. I'm a sucker for desserts including peanut butter and this really hit the spot. It's a large, still warm peanut butter cookie, filled with warm peanut butter sauce, and topped with vanilla bean ice cream. 

We received great service at 91, our waitress kept the drinks coming and was attentive to our needs throughout the evening. We didn't have too many people in our party, but with six of us needing something every time she came to the table, I think she did a wonderful job. Everyone was happy with their order and we're glad to know that we can always recommend 91 to people and know that they will have a unique and pleasant dining experience.

My review of 91 Wood Fired Oven:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Peace, Love, and Little Donuts -- Hartville, OH

The first time I tried Peace, Love, and Little Donuts was at the One Bite Taste event hosted by the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce back in October. Now, Dave and I are living a lot closer to Hartville, so we stopped at Peace, Love, and Little Donuts on Saturday after running some errands in the area. Peace, Love, and Little Donuts started in Pittsburgh and now has thirteen locations including five in Ohio.

The menu works like this: a Groovy Donut is any little donut with sugar/glaze;  A Far Out Donut has just frosting; ​​A Funkadelic Donut has frosting plus everything else. The prices are based on how many of each variety you order. Remember that these donuts are little (it took us about four bites to finish one), and not a traditionally sized donut.

There was a wide array of options, but we decided to go with a half dozen of the Funkadelic Donuts, because those are the most fun looking options. We would have gone for a dozen of them if there wasn't just two of us taste testing. There is a display case of donut, but once you order an employee will add the frosting and toppings to each donut individually.

We ordered a Samoa, Coconut Creme Pie, Caramel Creme, Mocha Choca, Cinnamon Roll and Boston Cream donut.

Dave liked the Samoa, Boston Cream, Coconut Creme Pie, Cinnamon Roll, Mocha Choca and Caramel Creme (in that order).

I had a little bit of a different perspective, I liked the Caramel Cream, Samoa, Boston Cream Pie, Cinnamon Roll, Coconut Creme Pie, and Mocha Choca (in that order).

Let's be real though, they were all incredibly delicious and it was difficult to choose. 

My rating for Peace, Love, and Little Donuts of Hartville:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Press Grill -- Columbus, OH

Last Tuesday we traveled down to Columbus for a concert and took that opportunity to visit with a friend from law school while we were in town. Dave and I haven't spent too much time in Columbus, but are looking forward to visiting our friend again soon to check out more of the city (this is actually my first Columbus post). We didn't have too much time before our concert, so we asked Kayla to select a fun local restaurant. She knew Press Grill had a few vegetarian options and would be able to get us in and out pretty quickly. We met a little before 6:00 p.m. which seemed to be a good time to meet there, when we left Press Grill was pretty full.

There are no drink menus, but there's a full bar, Dave ordered beer, Kayla and I both ordered Moscow Mules.

The three of us stuck to sandwiches for dinner, Kayla ordered the Pesto Chicken Sandwich. Although she perused the menu for a while, she said that she always orders the Pesto Chicken Sandwich, because it's so good, it's become an item that can't be missed for her.

The Pesto Chicken Sandwich is described on the menu as "griddled chicken filet + bacon + fontina + portobello mushrooms + housemade walnut basil pesto + leaf lettuce + tomato + red onion + mayo on toasted italian roll." Kayla also added a side of fries.

I am a grilled cheese fanatic and decided to order the Grilled Havarti described by Press Grill as "creamy dill havarti + sliced tomato on grilled texas toast. It was pretty good, but I think that it would have been even better if the pesto from the Pesto Chicken Sandwich was added to it. With so much bread, it just needed a little something extra.

Dave ordered the Open Faced Veggie Sandwich which I was pretty jealous of...the Open Faced Veggie Sandwich included "oven-roasted roma tomatoes + roasted red pepper + griddled red onion + fontina + portobello mushrooms + housemade walnut basil pesto on grilled sourdough." This sandwich was heavenly, when Dave asked me if I wanted a bite, I was ready to dive in and eat half.

Press Grill is located in the Short North area of Columbus surround by art galleries and other restaurants. They describe themselves as "the Short North's casual neighborhood bar / restaurant serving drinks 'til 2:30am and fine food 'til 1am. Open for lunch, dinner and late night featuring all the comfort food you crave." I can't help but agree with their self-description, their comfort food was on point, I was thrilled that everything was smothered in cheese. Press Grill is certainly a casual joint, but our waitress was friendly and the service was prompt. 

My rating for Press Grill: