Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pitabilities (Columbus, OH)

Inside MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, OH

Pitabilities is a food truck in Columbus, Ohio, which was one of the food options during the MLS Cup Final inside the MAPFRE Stadium. They serve a variety of salads, desserts, and, obviously, pitas (e.g. falafel, fish, gyros, veggie).

I order an Original Greek Gyro ($6), which is a combination of lamb and beef meat, grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers, and tzatziki sauce in a wrap (I hold off on the feta). It tastes fresh but pretty basic.

VERDICT: 82/100
Typical US-style gyros, but fresh and from a truck.

Seaside Sweets (Tybee Island, GA)

18 16th St, Tybee Island, GA 31328

Seaside Sweets is an old-school sweets and ice cream shop. It is a small mom-and-pop kind of shop full of plastic jars with old-style candy and sweets and a decent selection of homemade ice cream and Italian-style gelato.

I get a cone with two flavors –I have forgotten exactly which ones, but I think one was an ice cream with chocolate pieces and the other a mango gelato. The gelato was much better than I had expected, while the ice cream was ok, not too sweet.

VERDICT: 77/100
Classic seaside sweets shop but with better quality than most.

Stock & Barrel (Knoxville, TN)

35 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902

Stock & Barrel is a new restaurant, which opened up in 2014, and has taken Knoxville by storm. It specializes in burgers and bourbons; it has an amazing range of both. Burgers come in beef, bison, turkey burger, black bean quinoa, salmon. The food is all-natural and mostly local. In addition, it serves various starters, mostly Southern, such as Fried Green Tomatoes and Piemento Cheese.

I get the Ring of Fire ($12): a big juicy beef burger with black bean & salsa, habanero, jalapeno, and garlic aioli on a big soft “specialty flower dusted bun” that soaks it all in. The result is one of the best burgers I have ever eaten (and, as you can see from my page, I have eaten a lot of burgers!). The French Fries were crispy from the outside and soft and potato-y from the inside.

An extra picture of the delicious burger, now from the inside!

VERDICT: 98/100
It seriously doesn’t get much better than this in terms of burgers!

Trapeze Pub (Athens, GA)

269 N Hull St #6, Athens, GA 30601

Trapeze Pub is a Belgian beer café and restaurant in downtown Athens. It has an extensive dinner menu, which serves several salads, cheese plate, sandwiches, and entrees like vegan pasta and pork ribs. It also serves an additional lunch menu with very affordable options. 

I order the Falafel Sandwich ($6) and add French Fries (+$2.5) with “garlic aioli” (don’t call it mayonnaise!). The sandwich includes three big falafel balls, tasty but a bit too moist, with red cabbage, lettuce, humus, tzatziki, on a fresh pita. The French Fries are crispy and tasty, as always. Best in town!
At previous visits I had the Double Pig ($10), a big ciabatta sandwich with braised pork and spiced bacon, pickled green beans, arugula, and a paprika-tomato aioli – delicious but heavy. I also had their Southern Fish & Chips ($12), which is a bit less satisfying – I find the crust of the fish too dry and tasteless.

VERDICT: 92/100
Trapeze Pub is one of my favorite restaurants in Athens with excellent, affordable, lunch and dinner options.

Rooftop (Athens, GA)

215 N Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30601

Rooftop is a small bar and restaurant at the top of the iconic Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens. It is run by the people of The Branded Butcher, an upscale and fairly pretentious restaurant next door. An absolutely amazing venue when the weather is great, as it often is. I went there for lunch with some colleagues. It serves mainly burgers and sandwiches.

I get the Bacon & Egg Burger ($12). The bun and burger are relatively small and quite greasy. The bacon and egg give a hearty taste. I take a side of fries ($5), which are decent but not as good as they look (or cost). Similarly, the mayo is ok and ridiculously expensive ($1.00).

VERDICT: 83/100
Rooftop offer pretty good basic US pub food, but does it at Manhattan prices. While the view is good, it isn’t that good!

Manhattan Chili Co. (New York, NY) – CLOSED

50 Grand Central Terminal, New York, NY 10017

Manhattan Chili Co. is one of several great fast food options in the food court in the basement of Grand Central Terminal. It has a taco and chili buffet with many different fresh options each day.

I had a small bites of the Moroccan Honey Chicken ($5.95), reasonably fresh small chicken nuggets dripped in honey with a slight kick. Pretty tasty if a bit overpriced (as is to be expected in that location).

VERDICT: 82/100
Good place for a quick snack.  

UPDATE: they have since closed that location and moved uptown to Hot Bread Incubates.