Category Archives: Bakery

Tea Zone

korean food columbus, korean bakery, tea, shaved ice
Cuisine: Korean
5025 Olentangy River Rd
http://www.teazonebakery.com
614.326.0489 or 614.582.2409
Hours: 10am-8pm (9pm on weekends)

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It may be Tea Zone by name, but it’s a bakery/cafe/restaurant/tea shop by nature. The address is also a little confusing – they’re tucked away deep in a strip mall, between Gallo’s Tap Room and Micro Center off Bethel Road.

Tea Zone’s offerings struck us as largely bakery-centric with Korean-style bread and pastries as well as cakes to order. The pastries range from kimchi rolls (surprisingly sweet and very good) to piggies in blanket (a hot dog in a slightly sweet bread base) to sweet pea and red bean paste (both enjoyed). There is a large variety, especially earlier in the day.

korean bakery columbus

There are three traditional low tea tables, set on a raised wooden platform with a submerged area for your legs to dangle. Not unlike a Japanese tatami room, you must take off your shoes. There are also some regular tables and chairs and a brisk take out business.

Tea Zone’s food menu is limited and includes popular Korean dishes such as bulgogi and bibimbap (not stone pot). While the bibimbap was fine, the bulgogi was far from the best in town. Each came with soup, salad and kimchi. You can also order udon, cold noodles, spicy seafood with rice even spaghetti with garlic toast.

korean food in columbus, tea zone

A pot of tea (shared between two) is $4.25 and comes with some little Pocky-esque cookie sticks. There are over 20 teas to choose from and Tea Zone also serves bubble tea, smoothies, hot chocolate, juice and coffee. Most of the teas are loose leaf, although I did notice some herbal tea bags. Our Pu-er tea came in a scoop accompanied by a flask of hot water and a 3 minute timer.

korean tea columbus
Perhaps one of the best reasons to go to Tea Zone is for the bing soo, a Korean shaved ice dessert (although it is listed on the drinks menu). Tea Zone offers 3 varieties: fruit, regular and green tea. We opted for the regular. It is a large dish of shaved ice topped with condensed milk, sweet red bean paste, tapioca pearls, fresh and canned fruits, and ice cream. The fruit option has less red bean paste and the green tea option has green tea ice cream.

Korean shaved ice, tea zone, columbus

Bing soo is similar to other shaved ice desserts found in Asia. Tea Zone’s version is definitely large enough to share. It is quite sweet but refreshing and would be wonderful on a hot afternoon.

Golden Delight Bakery


1516 Bethel Road
Columbus, OH 43220-2004
614-459-6888
www.goldendelightbakery.net
Tuesday-Sunday 8:30am-6:00pm, closed Monday

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If you are exploring the Bethel Road area for an alt.eats adventure, a great place to satisfy a sweet tooth is Golden Delight Bakery. Known far and wide amongst many ethnic communities for their light and fluffy fresh Strawberry Cake, this Chinese (by way of the Philippines) bakery also offers a dizzying array of individually sized sweet and savory treats.

The cakes are Golden Delight are less like cake and more like a pillow-y souffle complemented by an equally light whipped icing. For a quotidian treat, cake rolls are $7.95 and for special occasions (weddings included!), cakes range from a diameter of six inches to large sheets. The fresh strawberry cake is the most popular but there are other flavors such as mango mousse, mocha cappuccino, and taro.

Golden Delight offers a myriad of Cantonese styled pastries great for a breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack. Above left is a coconut pastry with yeasty, lightly sweet bread swirled with light caramel and toasted coconut flakes. Above right is a hot dog supreme, a sweeter take on pigs in a blanket.

Of course, there is also the quintessential barbecue pork pastry. Golden Delight has two varieties, the fluffy steamed bun, and the above, a braided pastry filled with sweet and savoury barbecue pork. These are addictive!

At a little over a dollar a piece, there’s no reason not to stock up on the small buns, a couple more: above left, ham and egg, with a generous squeeze of mayo; above right, melon (which doesn’t actually contain melon), filled with a light custard and is named for the sweet crumb topping. If they are available, definitely try a taro bun!

In addition to its exhaustive list of pastries, Golden Delight also offers steamed buns (veggie, pictured above, sweet red bean, pork, pork and mushroom). As a testament to how popular these buns were, we were only able to snag a veggie bun. Filled with rice vermicelli, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, and generously seasoned with black pepper, it was both satisfying and delicious! If you have any room left, don’t forget to pick up a couple cream puffs, egg tarts, almond cookies, and sweet loaves of yeasty bread (mixed with cinnamon raisin, coconut, taro, or red bean).

It’s impossible to go wrong with any of these delicious treats. There is always a steady stream of business for cake orders and snack buns. Two of us here at alt.eats may have polished off an entire six inch strawberry cake, without sharing. And others of us may have scarfed four pastries in one sitting, in the name of taste testing. Yes, these baked goods inspire immoderate nomming and we aren’t one bit ashamed of it.

Panaderia Guadalupana

Cuisine: Mexican

1977 E Dublin Granville Road (161)
614.547.7117

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Panaderia Guadalupana opened days before we were finalizing the itinerary for our Columbus Food Adventures alt.eats tour and, mercifully, became the answer to the question of how and where to end the tour on a sweet note. We have long enjoyed the Mexican bakeries on the west side (Otro Rollo and Oaxaquena) but this is the first independent Mexican bakery we have found on the North side of town. It’s a really good one.

Colorful cookies and cakes such as tres leches and chocoflan (vanilla egg custard baked on top of chocolate cake) are found in a refrigerated case on the right hand side as you enter. Breads and pastries are in an alcove at the back of the store.

Panaderia Guadalupana has a huge variety of recipes they rotate among, and on any given day there will be around 25-30 bread and pastry options to choose from. The most popular breads (pan dulce, conchas, bolillos) are ever present but the flavors of the empanadas and pastries vary daily. Prices for most of the breads and pastries range from about $.85 to $1.10. Everything is very fresh and the texture is light and airy. Grab a pair of tongs, a tray and make your selection. Then take it up to the counter to be bagged.

One of our recent finds was this jalapeno, cream cheese and turkey roll which was almost a meal in itself.

Panaderia Guadalupana has a big space with lots of windows, seating, wifi and even a couch area. What they don’t have at the moment is any coffee. Once they do, I think this will be a popular spot for people to hang out and work. At the moment it’s a great place to pick up some excellent baked goods, freshly baked each day.

The cinnamon roll is a hungrywoolf favorite. You can see a few shots of Panaderia Guadalupana and their food in this video.

Luc’s Asian Market

3275 Sullivant Ave
614.274.6757
Kitchen hours – Sat-Sun 9am – 7pm
Market hours – 9am – 8pm every day

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As we walked into Luc’s, I was immediately enchanted by a melange of aromas from the herbs, spices, vegetables, and incense – one deep breath, and I’m flooded with memories of my time in Southeast Asia.

This certainly isn’t coincidental – the owners of Luc’s are Cambodian/Vietnamese, and most of the staff is also Cambodian, Lao, or Vietnamese.  These origins are largely shared by their customer base as well – that’s where I discovered how I can easily get the Vietnam online visa. Why not! And, far beyond just the aromas, Luc’s is probably as close as a Columbusite can get to being in Southeast Asia without traveling.

In support of my thesis, I submit this bit of pure awesomeness:

I ordered a glass of sugar cane juice, and, next thing I know, they’re peeling sugar cane stalks by hand to prepare them for juicing (am literally checking juicer reviews now to get that at home).  While this is flat out unheard of here, it’s an omnipresent part of the street scene in just about any city from Bangkok to Hanoi.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – a quick overview is in order.  Luc’s is first and foremost a grocer, carrying a wide variety of ingredients for the cuisines of the aforementioned locales.  They also function as a quick-bite carryout, providing pre-made banh mi sandwiches, small prepared meals, desserts, house made beverages, and more.  Their most recent addition is the opening of their kitchen, which now allows them to provide a range of maybe 30 dishes cooked to order.

Accomodations, should you choose to eat in, are meager – they have perhaps 8 seats in total, and upon taking one you’ll definitely feel a part of the market scene going on around you.  The cooks, which can be seen through a window (or by peeking around the wall that divides the kitchen from the market) are also there to take your order.

Our bun thit nuong & cha gio (grilled pork & eggroll w/vermicelli)  and chicken laab arrived in short order.


As some of our readers may have observed, bun thit nuong (the name changes slightly from place to place, but it is the same dish) is a staple for us – anytime we’re anywhere that serves Vietnamese, this is a must-order item.  And, perhaps never more so than here.  Luc’s interpretation is a wild ride – the pork and the egg rolls are intensely flavored, with deep lemongrass notes, and intensely satisfying.  We suspect that the intriguingly novel pungency may reflect the multicultural makeup of the staff… to which we say, ‘three cheers for diversity!’.

The chicken laab was similarly satisfying. This is not a subtle dish – the lime and fish sauce assert themselves in no uncertain terms – but is nonetheless a faithful and enjoyable interpretation of a Thai/Lao classic.  We ordered it prepared to a mild ‘heat’ level, but the cook made it clear she’d be happy to bring the pain if so desired.

It was about at this point that the head cook (who is also co-owner) started to take interest in the oddball white folks happily slurping up her noodles and clumsily chopsticking her laab.  “Ever had chicken feet?”, she queried.

“Does it matter?  Bring it!”, we thought.  “We’d like to try it”, we said.

The feet were prepared in a black bean sauce redolent of Chinese five spice, and were about as tender as any we’ve ever had. The texture is of a gummy-meets-gelatinous, ‘you either love it or hate it’ nature, but I couldn’t imagine anyone arguing with the flavor.

As we nibbled flesh off of tarsals, another dish appeared.  “These aren’t on the menu”, she said, and explained that they were Vietnamese crepes rolled with a pork and mushroom filling.  I’ll save you the details… it’d be unfair… but suffice it to say that it’s a damned shame you’ll be unlikely to try them yourselves.

You can, however, sample from their range of unusual and eye-catching Vietnamese beverages.  Check out this basil seed drink:

It looks something like frogspawn and it has the slimy texture that its appearance suggests, but served with ice it is very refreshing. Banana syrup is commonly added to the drink which gives it a somewhat artificial flavor, but apparently it is quite bland without it.

With all of the above said, we still feel as though we’ve barely scratched the surface in describing all that Luc’s has to offer.  From fantastic fresh Asian greens to the largest variety of rice I’ve ever seen to an impressive array of fresh exotic fruits, fascinating offerings abound.

We’ll make it back to Luc’s soon.  Hope to see you there.

Note: Vegetarians will find plenty of satisfaction in the grocery offering, but the meals definitely skew towards carnivore territory.

Edit:

We’ve already made a couple of returned trips to Luc’s unable to resist what we think is some of the best Vietnamese food in Columbus. The spicy beef salad really packs a flavor punch with fermented black beans giving another dimension to the spiciness.

The pho (not pictured) had some of the most tender tendon I have ever eaten and the broth was sweet and fragrant with five spice.

The highlight was the grilled pork chop with lemongrass – essentially the same meat that appears in sandwiches and noodle dish. The pork chop with rice is actually two tender juicy pork chops served on a huge pile of rice with an optional dipping sauce.

Panaderia Otro Rollo

Otro Rollo Panaderia
3866 Sullivant Avenue
614 278 2339

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When we first discovered Otro Rollo bakery last winter, we were instantly smitten by their fresh caramel filled churros. It was a lucky break – the fresh churros have proved to be elusive since then – and we spent months trying to work out the optimal time and day to strike churros gold again. During these repeated trips, we found plenty more to love at Otro Rollo, including the tres leches cake, pig shaped cookies and these chocolate covered, vanilla creme-filled donuts.

Otro Rollo has a wide variety of baked goods, and they supply a lot of the Mexican stores around town. They also make ‘special occasion’ cakes to order.

The breads and cakes are stored in glass fronted cupboards and you take a tray and use tongs to select what you want. Take the tray to the cash register and they bag everything for you. There are no prices displayed but it is good value and almost everything is under a dollar.

Without descriptions it can be a guessing game and freshness is also variable. The conchas (shell cakes, above) are more bread than cake, slightly sweet and are wonderful straight from the oven and not quite so wonderful when stale. I love all of the different designs on the conchas.

In July Otro Rollo opened their own taco truck right next to the store and some excellent offerings including the Mexican hamburgers and the chicken tinga. The truck is open long hours and even serves some breakfast foods including eggs and tamales. Over the winter the taco truck served champurrado, a chocolate atole (like a thick hot chocolate) – just what you need with one of the cakes.