Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Best Restaurants for the Origins Game Fair – Places to Eat Before and After the Games

Every year I go to the Origins convention, once I hit the streets of Columbus, Ohio, I am reminded that one of the best things about the show is the many excellent options for food in between gaming sessions or after visiting the exhibit hall. With the show starting in earnest tomorrow, I'll take this opportunity to talk about some of my favorite places to grab a bite at the show.

Really Close, Really Convenient – The Convention Center Food Court.

The best thing about the food court is that you don't have to leave the convention center to grab something to eat. In years past, I've had amazing peanut butter sandwiches (they really are good enough to warrant a mention) from the Krema Nut Co. very good breakfast from Chikn 'N Eggs (best place in the morning for food court breakfast) and mostly standard fare from italian, chinese and burger stalls. There is one place that is particularly good and deserves a merit all its own.

A few years back, I got it into my head that I like gyros enough that I wanted to find the best one I could buy. I'd try every place I knew of and every place I drove by every few weeks for years, evaluating price, quality/quantity of food, sauce, fries, everything... The best one I found was sadly not in Chicago. My very favorite gyro plate is served at the Mykonos Gyros stand right in the food court. Inexpensive, best balance of meat, sauce, pita, tomato and onion in a sandwich that doesn't fall apart or leak everywhere, and very good fries, to boot. I still have gyros in any new restaurant I visit around here to hopefully find a place that tops Mykonos, a place I'd have to drive 12 or so hours to visit.

Across the Street – Barley's Brewpub

Awesome beer, short walk, amazing appetizers.

Man, I love Barley's. Convenient, great atmosphere, excellent beers brewed on-site, and my hands-down favorite sit-down restaurant in Columbus, OH. Hamburgers with ale-washed onions, solid pasta dishes and consistently interesting specials. One year I had an order of jerk-seasoned ribs with a blueberry barbeque sauce, something I'd never heard of before or since. I'm also a fan of “Mildred's Sauerkraut Balls,” an appetizer with sausage, sauerkraut, and cheese rolled up, breaded and fried. Even though I'll spend a bit more there than in the Food Court, I know at least one meal there is a must this year.

A Short Walk – The North Market

My favorite stall at the North Market, Nida's.

Just a few blocks away from the convention center you have the North Market, a place with food stands, stalls and small restaurants. I've gotten great deli sandwiches, perfectly cooked barbeque and an omelette with Andouille sausage in years past. The place I try not to miss annually, however, is Nida's Sushi. I've had sushi on both coasts of the US, in Las Vegas, and here in Chicago, I've had enough to know what I do and don't like, and what I expect to pay. Nida's is as good as any sushi restaurant you can find in the Midwest without breaking your bank, convenient and extremely inexpensive. I've paid twice what I expect to pay at Nida's for sushi that isn't half as good, and they also serve a very tasty Pad Thai.

If you happen to be at the show this year and visit one of these fine places, go ahead and tell them I sent you. They won't know who the hell I am, but they'll likely have served me recently. This is the first of my "auto-posted articles" while I'm out of town.  I'll check comments and such from wherever I can get Wi-fi on the Kindle, the rest of this week will be similarly short and sweet, and I'll be back with a surprise guest blogger next Monday!
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Sarah said...

Cannot believe you didn't mention the baklava at Mykonos! For shame, husband!

Alpha said...

Ah, it's always difficult to find good food in a foreign locale.


totally agree on barley's - only went there once but great food and beer

RedHeadRob said...

Looks like a great time :D

Zombie Ad said...

Always good to know.

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