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Illustration by Ryan Caskey.

Columbus Comfort Classics: Winter Edition

Winter is here and per usual, it’s pretty damn dark and cold out. If you are like me, you take pride in gaining ten extra winter pounds because you take comfort in food. And boy howdy, does this town have some great winter comfort food.

Here is our list of Columbus Comfort Classics. These entrees are guaranteed to chase away the Winter Blues, if only for a few hours. Let’s carb out, heat up, and get started.

The Moltansanti at Mama Mimi’s Take ‘n Bake Pizza | Grandview, Upper Arlington, Clintonville

Everyone yearns for Yellow Brick, is familiar with Meister’s mastery, and has experienced the awesomeness of Adriatico’s. However, if you are expecting to get snowed in, Mama Mimi’s offers you flexibility as their pizza can stay in your refrigerator for 48 hours before baking. My favorite is the Moltansanti; a pepperoni, banana pepper, tomato, and roasted garlic pizza that blows competition away, just like the eponymous Sopranos character it is named for.
Pro tip: Order online before 4 p.m. and receive 20% off. Pro tip two: Stop by the Grandview location and ask The Gentile’s Wine Sellers staff to recommend an awesome bottle of wine to pair with your pizza.

Chicken-N-Noodles at Nancy’s Home Cooking | 3133 N High St.

If you haven’t been to Nancy’s Home Cooking, you should probably get your Columbus Card revoked. If you have been to Nancy’s, odds are you have tried the Chicken-N-Noodles. In short, this dish is composed of a mountain of buttery and rich mashed potatoes and topped with all of the Amish style Chicken and Noodles that can fit on your plate. If that wasn’t enough carbs for you, dinner rolls are also served alongside green beans. After finishing this beauty, you will need a nap, but won’t need dinner plans.

Busters at Jack & Benny’s | 2563 N High St.

Certainties in life: taxes, death, and Jack & Benny’s amazing breakfast. You should reward yourself one with of their Busters after you shovel the walks and driveway. You earned it. The Jack Buster comes with two hash browns, one bacon slice, one piece of ham, one egg and cheese all topped with country gravy. The Benny Buster? Sub out the hash browns for two potato pancakes and keep everything else the same. Both busters are only $8.99 each. You’re welcome.

Xiao Long Bao at Helen’s Asian Kitchen | 1070 E Dublin Granville Rd.

Do you know what Xiao Long Bao is? Don’t worry, I didn’t either before I ate at Helen’s. In short, Xiao Long Bao are dumplings and these dumplings rival any other dumpling in Columbus. Even yours, Momo Ghar. Served in a thick and rich sauce, these handmade dumplings have pork and cabbage and come in a hand rolled and steamed bun. They may take a minute to arrive at the table, so relax and enjoy the scenery. Perfection takes time.

Taco Al Pastor at Los Guachos | 7370 Sawmill Rd.

Forget about Taco Tuesday, get to Los Guachos Sawmill location for Taco Monday (Taco Monday isn’t a thing, but just roll with it). The Al Pastor is a corn (the way God intended it) tortilla with slow roasted pork, pineapple, onions and cilantro, and on Mondays they are BOGO. Juicy, hot and bursting with flavor, I recommend ordering four. Oh yeah, there is also a house-made margarita special on Monday. Your Monday just got A LOT better.

Shakshuka at The Olive Tree Mediterranean Café | 3185 Hilliard-Rome Rd.

I recently moved out of Hilliard after living there for a little over two year and I have to say, the Shashuka at The Olive Tree is my favorite Hilliard entree. Shaksuka is not quite a soup and not quite a fork and knife entrée. More specifically, it is two eggs served poached in a rich red sauce with pepper and garlic. I order mine with spicy sausage. This entrée will warm you up and the service at Olive Tree is second to none. Make it out to Hilliard this winter, you won’t regret it.

Carbonara at South Village Grille | 197 Thurman Ave.

You might be surprised to find one of the heartiest and most delicious pasta dishes tucked away in this corner of the German Village. Then again, you might not be. (I’m not psychic.) Carbonara, campanelle pasta, pancetta, peas, pecorino and an egg yolk round out this classic comfort entrée. To call this dish rich insults the upper class and at $19, it won’t put too much of a damper on your wallet or working-class sensibilities. You could even sit at the bar and split this entrée with your significant other, but you may wish you had ordered it for yourself.

Chicken Vindaloo at Indian Oven | 427 E Main St.

Baby, it’s cold outside. Well, at least until you get the spicy Chicken Vindaloo at Indian Oven. Then the world is warm and wonderful. Basmati rice topped with chicken, potatoes, and tomatoes and cooked in a spicy, vinegar sauce makes anyone happier, and, odds are you will have leftovers. Also, you won’t be cold anymore. Well, at least your temperature won’t be cold. I can’t testify for your temperament.

Lobster Bisque at Lindey’s | 169 E Beck St.

Lobster Bisque at Lindey’s…I really don’t know if I need to follow up that heading with anything, I mean it’s Lobster Bisque at Lindey’s. Eat some there and get some to go. Rich, hearty, hints of sherry and shrimp, this bisque has a little bit of everything. My advice? Get a bowl at brunch and follow it with an Irish Coffee. That should warm you up enough to tackle shoveling the walks.

Pho Dac Biet at Houng Vietnamese | 1270 Morse Rd.

Nestled away in a strip mall just east of I-71 on Morse Road is some of the best Pho in the city. A family owned and operated restaurant, Houng is an integral part of the neighborhood, and once you eat their food, you will understand why. The Pho Dac Biet is Pho with rare steak, meatballs, tendon and well-done flank and it is topped with a garden of cilantro and limes. Also, the bowl it comes in is as big as your head. Nice people, budget friendly and piping hot pho. Get there. Get the shrimp spring rolls too.

Burger at The Rossi | 895 N High St.

If you like Philco, El Camino and Club 185 (and who doesn’t) odds are you will like the Rossi as all three concepts are from the same management group. Plus, we have to have a burger on this list, right? A slight variation on the famous Club 185 Cheeseburger, the Rossi burger pulls no punches, because it doesn’t need to. Hamburger, cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle, and mayo. Classic.
*Pro tip: save $6 by going at Happy Hour instead of dinner. Order two burgers and get a bourbon after. Wow, I’m smart.

Fried Chicken at The Whitney House | 666 High St.

This entrée is only available on Sundays, but that just means you have a good omen to start your week. Crispy, airy, and juicy with a hint of spice, this entrée is worth waiting the whole week for and comes with Mac and Cheese, pickled vegetables and a sriracha/honey sauce.

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