May 20, 2012
Every Friday is "Pizza Night" at our house, because pizza is awesome and it should be celebrated and eaten on a regular basis. If you don't agree, you are not eating the right kind of pizza.
Never wanting to be in a "pizza rut," we try not to order from the same place two weeks in a row. This week we decided to try a local pizza place that had some vegan options listed on the menu (this means I don't have to sound like a complete brat when ordering, and we don't have to send our pizza back when it comes out doused in cheese). We packed-up the kids and headed to Clever Crow Pizza located in the North Market in downtown Columbus, OH. Tucked-away in a little corner of the bustling market, it would be easy to miss if you weren't looking for it, and that would be a real tragedy because what they make is definitely worth finding.
The menu is relatively small, which is something I generally like in a restaurant. I would much rather have a few options that are executed perfectly than a encyclopedia-sized menu of mediocre food. Three salads are offered, and while their descriptions sound just lovely, I have to admit I didn't even think about ordering one. There is no room for salad on Pizza Night!
I skipped straight to the pizza: The Clever Crow website describes their pizza as having a "cornbread style" crust. While cornmeal makes a strong appearance here, I wouldn't liken it to the sweet, crumbly cornbread you find at a southern barbeque joint. This is a thick and sturdy, more biscuit-like base: perfect for holding some serious toppings.
And toppings are where Clever Crow really shines. Their website details their commitment to local sources, including their meats, grains, and produce, which is just great. But beyond the promise to use fresher (re: more flavorful) ingredients, Clever Crow isn't afraid to use those ingredients in new, unexpected combinations. Sure, they have your standard cheese, sausage, and pepperoni. But how about sweet corn, red-skinned potatoes, and chipotle hummus? Yes, please!
You can order either a half or a whole pizza and have them bake it for you or take it home to bake. We chose to eat there, and we ordered half of a Roasted Vegetable pizza (minus the cheese) and half of a Vegan Corn. It was carefully made to order, and 15 minutes later we had a hot pizza ready to be devoured.
The Roasted Vegetable was just right with it's not-too-sugary tomato sauce, thinly sliced eggplant, and flavorful onions, mushrooms, and peppers. Generously topped, the crust held all those toppings easily without getting sad and soggy. This is a pretty conventional veggie pizza done very well.
But oh! The Vegan Corn. Potatoes or hummus might seem ridiculous to pizza purists, but that would be their loss. This was one of those rare dining occasions where each of the components complemented each other perfectly, none of the flavors overpowering the others. A single piece could easily serve as a meal, but you will wish that your stomach could hold more just so you can have one more taste.
We loved our experience at Clever Crow, and I am already plotting my next visit (the El Cuervo sounds amazing). It is a perfect choice for a family with kids (the North Market has ample seating upstairs and outside and is noisy enough that no one notices our sometimes boisterous crew), and does a great job accommodating a wide range of tastes while remaining true to their creative vision. Well done, Clever Crow...I can't wait to see you again!
May 19, 2012
I have never met a mom who says that her kids eat too many vegetables, and my kids are no exception. It seems like we are always trying to find new, creative ways to present nutrient-dense foods to our families so that they will be eaten without complaint.
Now I am a girl who never hesitates to fill her plate full of spinach, kale, and collards; but even I get bored with the salad bar from time to time. This is when my Stand-by Green Smoothie comes in handy. It is sweet enough to feel like a treat, but has a whopping 2 cups of raw spinach in it. It is a refreshing post-workout snack and has served as a quick breakfast or lunch on particularly hectic days.
But it isn’t just for me! My kids BEG for this smoothie. My two-year old scurries to the kitchen whenever she hears the blender going, jumping up and down yelling, “CUP!” until I give her a sample. And while the boys (including my husband) used to wrinkle their noses watching me drink something so green, they too fell in love once they gave it a try.
I make this recipe almost every single day. The banana adds the perfect amount of sweetness, and the almondmilk and coconut add some richness without adding too many calories. There are an infinite number of ways you can customize this to your particular tastes, and I will be sure to share some of my favorite seasonal variations in the future. In the meantime, embrace the green and drink up!
THE STAND-BY GREEN SMOOTHIE
½ cup frozen fruit (usually either frozen blueberries or a half of a frozen banana)
½ cup unsweetened almondmilk
½ cup water
¼ cup coconut water
2 cups baby spinach
1 Tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
Blend, pour, enjoy.