Alana's Food and Wine Columbus & My Food Blogger Confession
I had the pleasure of eating at Alana's Food and Wine for lunch a few weeks ago during the Ohio AEP gridSMART presentation. I consider previous dinners at Alana's as some of the best I've had in Columbus and, honestly, I will listen to damn near anything so long as it includes lunch at Alana's.
What first attracts me to Alana's is the colorful witty decor. Serving plates include a rainbow of fiesta ware. The sign above the bar proclaims, in cross-stitch no less, "home is where the vodka is". The artwork varies; Rick Borg's eclectic folk art was on display when I dined.
The warm indulgent environment may betray the delicacy of Alana's food to some but I feel like I belong in her dining rooms, having my own off-beat, alcohol-loving, well-worn style.
Our lunch was served family style during talks by Silver Spring and Ohio AEP. Unfortunately this arrangement allowed very little communication with the server and chef or among myself and other guests. My description of dishes is based on the loose menu provided and my hopefully accurate palate.
Lillet marinated pineapple served in adorable kumquat cups started the meal. Tasty breads of a few varieties were served in denim baskets. A second starter of a bean? puree on Parmesan and rosemary focaccia followed. This is the dish I most wish I knew more about as I could not identify the puree.
As appetizers were passed among the guests, we selected drinks. I choose the lemon quince fizz, wanting to enjoy the ne'er-offered local fruit, quince. It was sweet and refreshing. I caught an intoxicating whiff of the spiced hot cider as it was passed to my table mate.
Soups were distributed among the guests. I was served a smoked turkey soup and traded another blogger for the pumpkin soup as she didn't prefer cream soups. If my tastes are correct, the pumpkin was flavored with goat cheese and nutmeg in an interesting and delightful takeoff on the expected spices for a squash soup.
The entrée course was a little confusing, to be honest. Chopped frisee salad with local apples came out of the kitchen at the same time as pepper stuffed mushrooms and crab stuffed fingerling potatoes. Immediately following were heaping plates of mushroom risotto and shrimp puttanesca. The family style dishes barely fit on the table and I had trouble savoring this course as there were so many disparate items to consume in succession.
That said, the mushroom risotto was perfectly cooked and seasoned. I was surprised at first to taste crab in the potatoes; with no explanation from the server or menu I had assumed they were cheese stuffed. The pepper stuffed mushrooms were fantastically flavored. I chose not to eat the shrimp puttanesca as I was getting full and shrimp are not my favorite meat.
In the name of food blogging, I tasted both desserts. ;) The short cinnamon-spiced chocolate brownie was full of flavor without over-the-top richness. I wanted to eat more of the crunchy deftly spiced nut pie.
In all, it was a fabulous lunch. I was wanting more time to talk and focus on the food but we were there to learn about the gridSMART program. I am so pleased that MomCentral supported a small restaurant that features local seasonal ingredients when it might have been easier to host a catered lunch at a bland corporate site.
Now, for the food blogger confession I know you have been waiting for: I have no pictures from other Alana's meals because I don't usually take pictures of restaurant food. I love dining out but taking pictures while I eat delays and inhibits the restaurant experience for me. I have great respect for those who write dining blogs because they do interrupt their meals to take a few shots.
If y'all like my restaurant reviewing and want to read more of it, I might be persuaded to take pictures and write up more restaurants. Just slip a check in the mail or insert gratuitous comments below. ;)
2333 North High Street | Columbus, OH 43202 | 614-294-6783
Open Tuesdays - Sundays for dinner from 5 pm.