About "Eat My Words"

About this blog

"Eat My Words" is a long time in the making. There is no question that my favorite activity is eating, but beyond that obvious fact, I especially like visiting new restaurants and trying new foods.

That's where the "Adventures in Dining" comes in. I won't be reviewing chain restaurants. The food may be fine, but there is no adventure to a Bob Evans, Applebee's, or Olive Garden! The only time I may blog about one of these establishments might be to comment on something unusual - whether it be good or bad - that may have occurred during my visit. Otherwise, I will be focusing on small, local restaurants that feature unique menu items.

I am not a food snob. I do not have any culinary training. I like what I like and will share my thoughts regarding my meal, a restaurant's ambiance, the attentiveness of the staff, and any other thoughts that may come to mind. Hopefully, readers will enjoy my reviews and try these restaurants for themselves.

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to share your own feedback!

Gary Dougherty
November 24, 2010

UPDATE (October 13, 2012): I'm back!! For a variety of reasons (none of them good), I have not posted any reviews for about 18 months. Rest assured, I have continued to eat...just not write! I hope you enjoy my culinary adventures and I welcome any recommendations you might have for me. Bon appetit!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dempsey’s (November 9, 2012)


346 S. High Street
Columbus, OH 43215


Full disclosure – I have known Mark Dempsey, the proprietor of Dempsey’s, for many years since we were both involved in Franklin County politics in the mid- to late 1980’s.  This review, however, is based on the quality of the food, service, and ambiance, not any association I may have with Mark.

Fortunately, my experience at Dempsey’s makes it easy to share that disclosure because my first visit to Dempsey’s was a very enjoyable one.  I had wanted to stop in the restaurant since it opened in March of this year, but it was a Living Social voucher ($20 coupon for $10) that finally got me and Lori in the door. 

The restaurant is located on the corner of High and Mound Streets in downtown Columbus, across the street from the new county courthouse and within walking distance of many government and other offices.  There is definitely a political vibe to the restaurant.  Photographs of local, state, and national political figures adorn the walls, but the highlight is the political button collection that is displayed on the walls of the back room.  The collection, on loan from a friend of both Mark’s and mine, contains memorabilia from the 19th century to the present!

But this is a food blog, isn’t it…

My meal started with the Cream of Mushroom soup ($4.75) that contained button, crimini, and portabella mushrooms.  The mushrooms were flavorful and provided a nice texture to the creamy soup.
Lori selected the Maryland Crab Cake ($8.75).  Unfortunately, my photo doesn’t do the dish justice, but I was assured that it was very delicious.  Actually, I was permitted to have a bite, so I, too, can attest to the tastiness of the crab cake!

For my entrée, I selected two small plate offerings, the Seared Jumbo Scallops ($8.25) and the Lamb Lollypops ($10.95).  I generally don’t order scallops because, more often than not, I receive a plate of bland and rubbery sea denizens that are overpriced and leave me disappointed and unsatisfied.  This was certainly not the case with Dempsey’s scallops!  Without a doubt, these were the most delicious scallops I have ever had!  Served with a black bean and corn salsa, the scallops were seasoned so well that, even after eating my other small plate as well as a dessert, I still had the taste of the scallops on my lips on my drive home!  Scrumptious!

Not to be outdone, the Lamb Lollypops were very tender and very good.  The three small chops were served atop a nice portion of mashed redskin potatoes.  They were so good that, after using my knife and fork to separate the meat from the bones, I had to pick them up and, not so decorously, make sure I nibbled all of the tender meat that I could reach!

Lori once again declared her entrée, the Dempsey Steak Salad ($12.95), to be very good.

Lori and I will often share a dessert and this evening was no different.  We decided to sample the Jameson Bread Pudding ($4.95).  It proved to be a nice ending to a delicious dinner.  The Jameson Irish Whiskey was distinctive, but not at all overpowering. 

Our server, Nick, was very attentive, visiting our table often to ensure our satisfaction.

I highly recommend Dempsey’s and will definitely be back!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Starliner Diner (November 3, 2012)

Starliner Diner
5240 Cemetery Road
Hilliard, Ohio 43026


After dropping my daughter off to babysit her cousins in Hilliard, Lori and I drove through town and, as we passed the Starliner Diner, we decided we were hungry…now!  I’m almost ashamed to say that, having lived in Central Ohio for 27 years, I have never been to the Starliner Diner!  I know, I know…even if it’s true, I probably shouldn’t admit that out loud (or in print).

Every time I have tried to go, there has been a long, somewhat intimidating, line outside the building.  This night, there was no line and only about six or seven cars in the parking lot.  The hunger pangs beckoned a bit more forcefully!

There were two things that caught my attention as I entered the cozy and comfortable diner.  First, the artwork on the entry wall…
Second, the bacon!!  Sitting in a large pan in a work area that waiting patrons can peek in on, was a tremendous pile of bacon with an intoxicating aroma!

We were escorted into the small dining room and, again, were met with quirky artwork and a welcoming atmosphere.  Clearly, we were in a relaxed and happy place!

But, alas, unless the food and service is good, a happy place is not a fulfilling place.

The eclectic menu had a number of tempting offerings plus several specials including the Azteca Chicken (chicken breast stuffed with chorizo and queso) which I came very close to ordering. Maybe next time…

First of all, I chose a cup (actually a bowl) of Jalapeño Soup ($3.50).  I love spicy foods and was looking forward to a bit of a kick start to my meal.  Let me say that, whereas the creamy soup was delicious, it did lack the kick I had anticipated.

I also tasted a bit of Lori’s Starliner Chunky Chili ($5.00) which was a thick beef chili topped with jalapeño cornbread and cheddar cheese.  It was actually spicier than my Jalapeño Soup and very good.

For my entrée, I selected one of the other off-menu specials – the Creole Mac ($14.00).  This was a bowl filled with elbow macaroni, Cajun sausage, chicken, shrimp, onion, peppers, tomatoes, and corn tossed in a Cajun creamy sauce and accompanied with a large slice of bread.  The serving was healthy – and by healthy, I mean substantial – and, whereas there were a number of elements to the dish, the flavors blended well and were quite distinctive.  After hearing the dessert options – crème brulee cheesecake, peanut butter pie, and flan – I decided to box half of my dinner so I could sample the happy endings!

We decided to share the Crème Brulee Cheesecake ($3.50 I think) and was that a good choice!  The cheesecake was thick, topped with whipped cream, and served with a delicious caramel-like sauce.  Believe me, there was none of that left to take home!

Our server (didn’t catch her name – although she reminded me of Felicia, my colleague in Mississippi…well, except for the lack of a Southern accent and bangs, but otherwise they could have been sisters!) checked in on us frequently making sure we were happy (we were!) and satisfied (again, yes!).

Finally, as we were leaving the restaurant, I noticed the large opening into the kitchen.  I'm fascinated by kitchens of busy restaurants and this one was definitely busy.  Unfortunately, the quality of the picture isn't the greatest, but the quality of cooking that was going on was very high!

Don’t make the same mistake I have made.  If you drive by the Starliner Diner and see a line…don’t keep driving!  Stop, find a place to park, and wait for a fun and delectable dining experience!