Cafe Elena | Columbus, OH

Cafe Elena | Facebook | IG: @cafeelenas
2054 Crown Plaza Dr. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43235
(614) 726-0726

Open Mon-Sat, 7a-4p; Sun, 7a-3p
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/Y/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 11 a.m.

It goes without saying that times are tough in the restaurant business, so amidst the closures – temporary and permanent – we’re taking joy in any restaurant taking the bold step of opening during a pandemic. And that makes us especially delighted to be able to go out (safely!) and try a new breakfast place.

Enter: Cafe Elena.

Cafe Elena is a mother/daughter affair, tucked into the Crown Plaza strip on Bethel Road on the city’s northwest side. The front is pretty unassuming except for a brightly colored sign. The interior, as you can see, extends far into the building. It’s brightly lit, with natural woods accented by oranges, greens, and aquas.

The real treat is how the menu takes a stroll through international breakfast dishes. You’ll find flavors from the U.S., Mexico, Russia, Great Britain, the Mediterranean, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and beyond. The breakfast menu on their website just begs for multiple visits to experience it all.

But we had to pick four things for this first visit, and we touched on American, British, Mediterranean, and Russian flavors.

Owen chose the Full-Course American: eggs your way, caramelized bacon, home fries, a buttermilk pancake, and a side of oatmeal or granola yogurt parfait. All well executed, although they accidentally brought him scrambled versus fried eggs (which they quickly remedied), and the home fries were a little undercooked and under-seasoned.

Kudos to the hearty bowl of oatmeal made with rolled oats.

Beth went the Mediterranean route, essentially an excellent and well-seasoned frittata with red onions and shitakes, served with sides of fresh pita, hummus, olive oil, olives, feta, cucumbers, and tomatoes. (She added a couple falafel, too.) This is her favorite way to eat, almost like a charcuterie board, with small bites of meats, cheeses, olives, and dips.

I’m always searching for a good English breakfast, so I dove into that. It’s not a true English; for instance, you’re getting American breakfast sausage links and not bangers, but it still comes together. Props to the grilled tomato, mushrooms, and the especially caramelized bacon. My toast arrived barely buttered, and the home fries were again undercooked and under-seasoned.

Will loves everything sweet, and our server suggested the Elena’s Specialty crepes to him. They were a highlight of the meal: two giant crepes stuffed with a Russian sweet cheese and topped with a bourbon berry compote.

We can certainly say we left satisfied, even if there were some minor misses. And the menu invites further exploration: nova lox crepes, a Spanish frittata skillet, pancakes with sweet ricotta cannoli cream, brioche French toast, buckwheat porridge (called the Russian Grandma), and something called the Super-Charged Netherland – scrambled eggs with chia seeds, coconut milk, spinach.

And who can forget that Cafe Elena is also a bakery, with a display case loaded with beautiful confections! We took home slices of tiramisu – they were delectable.

One final note about COVID safety: the experience felt very safe. We wouldn’t have gone (or would have ordered carryout) if it wasn’t. Everyone in masks, tables very well spaced out, paper menus, single use condiments, etc.

I’m excited to make some return trips to Cafe Elena, and I’m especially looking forward to the days when places like this can be bustling and full of activity once again. I can see Cafe Elena becoming one of those city favorites, where people pack in the waiting area on weekends.



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Friday Food Bites: July 31, 2020


My name is Nick Dekker, but you can call me “Dr. Breakfast.” I’m a food/travel writer, tour guide, and arts administrator. With my wife Beth and our two boys Will and Owen, we chase down breakfast everywhere we go. You’ll find us exploring coffee, brunch, donuts, beer, bourbon, travel, the arts, and our amazing city of Columbus, Ohio.



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12 Pizzas We’ve Tried While Staying at Home

Pizza has been an easy go-to for family meals during the stay-at-home order. It’s an easy choice – everyone loves it, and the businesses are already geared toward carryout and delivery. Here are 12 we’ve tried during the shutdown!

1. OH Pizza and Brew

18 Dilmont Dr., Worthington
946 Galloway Rd., Galloway
88 E. Broad St., Downtown
ohpizzabrew.com

I’ve long known OH Pizza from their downtown shop, but they have branches in Galloway and Worthington, too. The Worthington one is tucked down the side of strip mall. We sampled the Founder and the Wild Mushroom pizzas.



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Friday Food Bites: June 5, 2020

Chef Henry Butcher at Creole Kitchen

Hi, friends – There’s a lot of work to be done out there. We all have a different role to play in this, but we should ALL play SOME role, and our goal should all be the same: to stand up against racism, to call it out for what it is, and to put an end to it – from individuals, businesses, and the system as a whole.

One small way you can show support is visiting black-owned restaurants and other businesses:

This is only the tip of the iceberg, but if you have the time and money and are looking to show support, visit these businesses. Order takeout, tip well, spread the word. These are our friends, our neighbors, our community.

Now here’s the latest in the Columbus restaurant world:

Want to keep up with more? Check out the news archives, follow our Current Cravings, or sign up for my weekly newsletter: 8 Things to Eat, Drink, See, & Explore This Week!



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Friday Food Bites: July 24, 2020


My name is Nick Dekker, but you can call me “Dr. Breakfast.” I’m a food/travel writer, tour guide, and arts administrator. With my wife Beth and our two boys Will and Owen, we chase down breakfast everywhere we go. You’ll find us exploring coffee, brunch, donuts, beer, bourbon, travel, the arts, and our amazing city of Columbus, Ohio.



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Friday Food Bites: July 10, 2020


My name is Nick Dekker, but you can call me “Dr. Breakfast.” I’m a food/travel writer, tour guide, and arts administrator. With my wife Beth and our two boys Will and Owen, we chase down breakfast everywhere we go. You’ll find us exploring coffee, brunch, donuts, beer, bourbon, travel, the arts, and our amazing city of Columbus, Ohio.



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Friday Food Bites: July 3, 2020


My name is Nick Dekker, but you can call me “Dr. Breakfast.” I’m a food/travel writer, tour guide, and arts administrator. With my wife Beth and our two boys Will and Owen, we chase down breakfast everywhere we go. You’ll find us exploring coffee, brunch, donuts, beer, bourbon, travel, the arts, and our amazing city of Columbus, Ohio.



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Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

We understand that for some, baking is an art. There are delicious recipes out there that involve sifting, chilling and the use at least 5 different KitchenAid attachments.

I’m more of a one bowl and one spoon kind of girl. A couple of measuring cups won’t kill me. Although I have a food blog, I really like to keep things as simple as possible.

So let’s talk cookies. These Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies don’t get much easier. They are made from three ingredients mixed together in one bowl, and then baked for 10 minutes. They come out soft, chewy and so delicious. 🙂

Enjoy 🙂

maria-signature

Gluten Free Peanut Butter CookiesGluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

2016-11-22 19:14:16

  1. 1 cup of natural peanut butter (make sure to stir the peanut butter well before measuring out one cup. It also helps if you place it in the fridge to firm before baking)
  2. 3/4 cup of organic coconut palm sugar
  3. 1 organic egg
  4. 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all four ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Scoop out dough and form 1 inch balls on the cookie sheet.
  5. Use fork to press down on the dough to form crossing lines.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes (watch the bottoms carefully)
  7. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

Spinach for Breakfast https://www.spinach4breakfast.com/

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Sweet Potato, Spinach and Black Bean Quesadilla

Sweet Potato, Spinach and Black Bean Quesadilla

I live for quesadillas because they are simple and the combinations are pretty endless. They are a great vessel for leftover veggies, which is one of my main fillers! 

This Sweet Potato, Spinach and Black Bean Quesadilla is probably my go-to combo. I make roasted sweet potato weekly, so it’s almost always in the fridge. Then adding in the greens and black beans take little to no prep. I use shredded cheese in mine because- I love cheese 😉 But I’ve also made dairy free quesadillas using hummus instead!

 

Sweet Potato, Spinach and Black Bean Quesadilla

Sweet Potato, Spinach and Black Bean Quesadilla

2020-04-20 12:19:36

Serves 1

  1. 1 tortilla
  2. shredded cheese (I like a Mexican blend)
  3. roasted sweet potato
  4. black beans
  5. spinach (lightly sauté before if desired)
  6. olive oil
  1. spray a baking sheet with olive oil
  2. add the tortilla and sprinkle a light layer of shredded cheese to cover
  3. broil the tortilla on low until the cheese is just melted
  4. remove from the oven, and layer the sweet potato, spinach and black beans on one half of the tortilla
  5. sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the sweet potato mixture and fold the tortilla in half
  6. lightly spray the top of the tortilla with olive oil and place back in the over to broil on low
  7. remove from the oven when the cheese has melted and the top of the tortilla is lightly browned

Spinach for Breakfast https://www.spinach4breakfast.com/

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