So I wrote this post over a month ago, and never finished it to properly post. It was about my trip to Columbus, which I felt I had so much to write about. Now that six weeks have passed, things have faded a bit but seeing that I am just trying to build up content for my site, I wanted to make a post of it anyways. The detailed descriptions stop half-way through my trip, but perhaps that is a good thing… Here it is:
Last week I took a quick trip to Columbus, Ohio. Yes. Columbus, Ohio. The few people whom I told that I was going there seem shocked, and usually, looking mildly confused, said something to the effect of, “why are you going there?” or “what is in Columbus?” My answer would be “to explore.” It was the first on a list of cities I want to travel to this summer, as I am plotting a possible move from the BK. It seemed natural to choose there first as my sister who is a Director at Bath & Body Works, spends a significant amount of time there for her job. I would have a free place to stay (the Hilton in Easton, Ohio) and company at night (sistey) so why the heck not? I took a little plane from JFK via Delta (Note: I used milage as direct flights to Columbus are actually ridiculously expensive. I would really like for someone to explain this one to me…). Anywhoo, after landing and thanking some greater being that the violently shaking plane did indeed land safely, I took a taxi to one of The Limited Brand compounds to get a tour of the Bath & Body Works offices and to also pick-up her rental car so that I could get myself around to the to-be-determined destinations. Upon meeting a couple of my sister’s colleagues who were Columbus transplants from SF and NY, they even questioned I was visiting. I told them I was determined to find some good things. I thought us life-long NewYorkers were supposed to be the cynical ones? It turns out that there is a lot going on in Columbus. I was only there for two days and I now have a list of food and drinking establishments I would like to check-out as I didn’t get to on the first go round. There is also a museum or two thrown in there, as well as what is apparently an awesome Zoo, that I would may or may not add to a list of potential attractions. For me though, I just wanted to get a feel for the city. I’m not a planner when it comes to travel, I like to wonder, talk to people ( my cab driver told me about a local hot sauce!), look at local food magazines and just see where it all takes me. This trip was a great example of that. I started off with a recommendation from Megan of CakeNWhiskey, the North Star Cafe, one of whose outposts was conveniently located across from my hotel. It wouldn’t be a place I might typically choose. It looked kind of “chainy” even though that isn’t a real world, you know what I mean. While there are a lot of chain restaurants in Ohio, there are also just a bunch of big ones, such as North Star that actually have good food and even better service and company values. One side of the building has windows into the prep kitchen, where you see cheffies mixing, blending and chopping away. Upon walking into the cafe, the first thing I saw was a lady weighing and shaping oatmeal raisin cookies that would later be baked off and sold by the hundreds. While they were very nice looking, I could tell they weren’t going to be my type of cookie so I decided to pass, only to go back the next day and buy one just because I was so curious. I was right. Flavorful but way too sweet for me (as are almost all cookies) and chewy rather than crispy which is my preference.
I ordered some guacamole, a veggie cheese burger and an almost local Cincinnati-based Mad Tree Brewing’s PsychHOPathy. When placing my order I told they lady I was allergic to nuts/peanuts, just in case they were sprinkled on something. At North Star, you place an order, take a buzzer, find a seat and then you are brought whatever it is you have ordered. The same lady who took my order came to drop off my chips and guac, mentioning the chips had been fried in peanut oil and asked if I was ok with that-I told her I couldn’t eat the chips, but I would take the guac no bigee. She brought back the guar on a separate plate and removed it from the bill for me. This was my first encounter with what I am going to attribute to MidWest hospitality. Also to note, there was three different types of free water on tap, complete with a bowl of lemon hunks to garnish if desired; Organic Heinz Ketchup (I don’t put it on my burgers but noted) and a I finished my meal; chunky guac (+) with corn in it (-) was flavorful and fresh, perhaps a bit too “chunky” as I would refer to it more as cubed and more of an avocado salad than guac. I would imagine if I had those chips, that it would be difficult to scoop up and I’m all about the scoop. Burger came with nicely melted cheddar, shredded kale, tomato, chopped white onions and what looked and tasted like a house made dijonaise. Beer was hoppy and delightful. Adding Mad Tree to the list of reason’s to visit Cincinnati. I proceeded to walk down the block and wonder into a couple of stores including a beer bar, where I tried the famous Kentucky Brewing Company (thought it was kind of flat) and a local store where I bought Ohio made chocolate, two types of cheese and what I was most excited about-a bunch of bracelets made out of antique spoons as well as a necklace made from an antique spoon with a Tulip carved into it. I was loving Ohio already.
I wanted to get to the botanical gardens before they closed, as that was on the list of attractions that was a priority to me, especially because it was a warm and sunny day. There were lots of fruits and veggies planted there, I saw gooseberries, it was great. On the way back I stopped at “The Hills” market. Saw some local beer and locally roasted coffee as well as some pastries that not so much interested it. There was the now ubiquitous Jeni’s which except for the minis, you can get in a number of places in NY. That night my sister and I went to Harvest Pizzeria and Curio at Harvest, which is a specialty cocktail bar connected to the pizzeria. I had read about Harvest in the brief research I did, as well as Curio. Plus she she they had outdoor seating which I always enjoy weather permitting, which it was. However, en route to parking our car we passed by Katzermen’s Deli and I got so excited as I have heard about this place. It was “famous” in Columbus. I had to go in. So we parked and went into what is my Columbus specialty store heaven. If I lived in Columbus, it would be my BKLYN Larder equivalent. Brews, locally made bread, pretty solid cheese selection, chocolate (including Raaka from the BK), prepared foods, coffee, little tables. Less fancy than some of the ones here in NY but as is par for the course, above price on items such as Beer. Yes even after 8 hours in the city I had already noted the prices of local Rockmill Brew in the multiple places I had seen it. Overall, very charming and B-Cubed friendly place.
It happened to be Negroni week when I was in town. The Negroni is my all-time favorite classic cocktail. My tastebuds lend themselves to like freakishly bitter things, therefore Campari and I are friends, therefore I love me a good Negroni. The one I got at Curio had locally made Gin, beet and thyme infused sweet vermouth and Campari of course. Attached to Curio is Harvest Pizza, where sistey and I ate outside at a communal table on a porch. I ordered an extra-large chopped italian salad with chickpeas and classic Italian dressing which I haven’t tasted in a really long time. The pizza was solid. I was able to make my own, which was a shocker as in NY I find that customization is rarely met kindly, at least at most of the pizza places I go to. Sauce, runny egg, Calabrian chilies, spicy gardienera, arugula. That was my pie. Sis got an all veggie pie sans cheese. I ate most of hers after mine, as I needed it to attempt to cool my mouth down after the heat of mine which was HOT in spice world. We naturally made our way to Jeni’s after dinner, as I had to get a real live scoop. Eight years ago I ordered 6 pints of Jeni’s to my Manhattan apartment. Everyone thought I was a freak but really, I was a genius, way ahead of the curve. I got Key Lime Frozen yogurt with extra salty graham crumble. I had already tried most of the flavors they had available via pint purchases in NY. Plus, in all honestly I really can’t stomach ice cream anymore. It makes me feel awful but sometimes I decide I just want it and I suffer. This was one of those. I thought the frozen yogurt aspect would soften the blow, with the cultures added to the heavy cream and milk, but in reality, it tasted good but was not my friend. Can check that one off the list however:)
Wednesday morning was gray and with rain in the forecast for that afternoon I decided to go right to High Street in downtown Colombus to explore. Specifically I wanted to check-out the newly opened Native juice, a cold-press juice shop. I’m not a big juicer but having worked for Organic Avenue I was especially curious. Felt raw, natural, hard-core is a good work to describe it. There was a vintage boxing bag hanging from a wooden ladder. Empty glass bottles lining the shelves, juices in a cooler, large chalk board with the selections and a seating area with wooden tables and benches. I bought three juices as I knew this would be my only time there and wanted to taste. They were all well balanced and enjoyable. After that I made my way to North Market…and then I stopped writing in detail…I will make sure to post some pictures, you can also follow most of my trip on Instagram.
Below is a list of some of the places I visited:
Seventh Sons-didn’t visit but drank their beer and wish I had visited
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