Now I'm going to describe a place that's been around for a while, and let's see how long it takes you to figure out which terrific establishment I'm talking about. I bet only a few of you get it right.
It's a quirky little indie that uses only the absolute best ingredients -many fresh from Ohio farms - to make incredibly delicious and deeply soulful food. It has some of the best-tasting, cheap and rib-sticking brunch dishes in Columbus (everything from a huge Cuban breakfast to Chinese rice porridge served with pickles and "tea eggs" to a stunning chicken and waffles).
They cook their carrots in duck fat. Their Snowville Creamery-enhanced scalloped potatoes are an embarrassment of riches. Their complex, award-winning chili could well be the best in town, and their dynamite cassoulet (which might have, say, goose meat in it) will transport you to France or a heretofore unexplored plane of hearty happiness.
Alright, enough clues. Now uncover the photo and know that Kitchen Little is the prepared-food side of the business for those venerable Ohio-proud sellers (of turkey, bison, rabbit and other assorted high-quality carnivorous delights) called North Market Poultry and Game.
And, frankly, if their barely-a-counter, ready-to-eat operation had tables, chairs, a street address and a liquor license, it would create a citywide sensation. I know I'd be there all the time. Here's some highlights.
Chicken and Waffles Assembled with: The incomparable waffles made by next-stall neighbor, Taste of Belgium; Ohio maple syrup; a thick piece of "alive two days ago," lightly breaded and fried, tender, juicy, Ohio-raised chicken breast (no bones!); and Frank's Hot Sauce.
Bite into this and expect the unexpected - a sweet and vinegary, carbo-crispy and pleasingly meaty, spicy and salty, absolutely insanely wild party in your very surprised mouth!
Cuban Breakfast Two patties of homemade chipotle-flavored sausage, two organic eggs, avocado slices, crisp and meaty plantain chips plus the spunky raw counterpoint of an unspicy pico de gallo lay above a base of freakin' great soupy and mildly spicy black beans cooked with carrots, onions and smoked turkey.
Biscuits and Gravy A sinfully rich, black-peppery, herby and mildly sweet sausage-style gravy made with cream, onions and chicken was slathered over a sort of flat, crackly and terrific homemade buttery biscuit with a soft and fluffy interior.
Cassoulet This meat and bean casserole might look homely in its plain metal tray, but make no mistake, it's a powerhouse dish. A veritable entire butcher's case of various meats - chunks, lumps, hunks, bits and pieces - lend immense flavor to long-cooked white beans. Slightly leavened with herbs, it's a rich, hearty and smoky cure for the common cold-weather blahs.
Bison Chili Made with big chunks of lean ground and stewy bison meat, this chili rules! The stuff was dark, beery and surprisingly complex in an almost Mexican mole-like way (due to the presence of chilis such as ancho and pasilla). It's seriously spicy but balanced. It has sweetness but it isn't sweet, it has tomatoes but isn't tomatoey, it's easy to eat but hard to stop.
Gumbo Celebrate the Saints' victory with a super bowl of this big-time winner. A tawny-colored, herby and black peppery broth with bold, real New Orleans flavor buoyed up okra, big chunks of turkey and lots of bell peppers.