I had a friend visiting this weekend, so I took Friday off to show her some of my favorite places in Columbus and use the excuse to go somewhere new. It is fun to show someone around your city, especially an enthusiastic adventurer who has similar tastes and interests. The itinerary had a distinct culinary theme. I borrowed a bike for my friend and it really is the best way to see the city. You cover more ground than on foot and you are able to take things in at a better pace than in the car. No worries about parking and more ability to stop and look at things.
Here were some of the places we went:
German Village – Schiller Park, Pistacia Vera, Thurn’s, the Book Loft
(G:”I need another cookbook like a need a hole in the head”. Guess who bought another cookbook).
Downtown – Deaf school Topiary garden, Santa Maria, Tip Top,
Arena District (to see the Fabulous Johnson Brothers),
Grandview- Drexel (The oldest movie theater in Central Ohio)
OSU campus – The stadium, St John Arena, College traditions, RPAC, Mirror Lake, Oval.
Short North – Jeni’s, Northstar, North Market, Goodale Park
We skipped the Greek festival partly due to the weather and lack of time and because my friend lives near the Danforth, the Greek heart of Toronto.
Pistacia Vera, proved to be a wonderful place to sit out a thunderstorm. The staff were busy assembling wedding favors and didn’t seem to mind us drinking 4 or 5 cups of tea. It is a such a wonderful light, open space and great for people watching. It also has a beautiful restroom. As well as indulging in a selection of cookies, this time we tried some of the pate de fruits. There are several fruit and alcohol flavor combinations – lemon & pernod, cherry & kirsch and grapefruit and campari and some just fruit passion fruit (my favorite) and pomegranate and blood orange. The spiced marshmallows also looked good and some of the gateaux looked like they belonged in a milliners. Far too spectacular (and I suspect calorie laden) to eat. My favorite cookie remains the amaretti with the fig and walnut macaroon coming second. The strawberry and balsamic macaroon was surprisingly good too – but very pink!
A wonderful way to revive post-football game. Jeni’s serve Dry Sodas and Josie (who I met at the Rogue beer dinner) gave me the idea of a rhubarb soda and cherry lambic ice cream float (thank you!) It was really refreshing and they complemented each other well. I think the rhubarb soda would be pretty hard to drink alone, even as a rhubarb fan. I now have lots of ideas for other float combinations: lavender soda with wildberry & lavender ice cream; lemongrass soda with lime and cardamom yoghurt, kumquat soda with passionfruit yoghurt.
Somewhere new: Thurn’s
Thurn’s, speciality meats. Not your average tourist destination but purveyors of an amazing range of sausages, bratwurst, smoked and sliced meats. Thurns are only open three days a week and have been smoking their meats on the premises for over 120 years. They may or may not have redecorated in that time. The emphasis is definitely on the product and not the presentation. They use a mixture of maple and mulberry wood and the smell is amazing. The photo is of black leona, a smoked summer sausage. I also bought some garlic brats, two kinds of bacon (pepper and double smoked) and some smoked trout. Thank you to Lisa for suggesting Thurn’s I would never have found it otherwise.
Given the stormy weather we abandoned our outdoor plans on Friday night and went to see the film Man on wire at the Drexel which I highly recommend. Not only does it document an amazing feat (tight rope walking between the towers of the World trade center) but it is inspiring story about the lengths to which someone will pursue their dream. We had a late dinner at Tip Top – pot roast sandwich in a pretzel roll with sweet potato fries. Hard to beat.
A hog roast at Hills Market sounded like a good excuse for a bike ride. You can ride on the Olentangy trail from a few blocks from my house, all the way to the market (somewhere between 10-12 miles). Beautiful day to ride and I have never seen the bike trail so crowded.
The meat was cooked over cherry planks – a 12 hour process apparently and was very tender. The baked beans were also way above par. I hadn’t been to Hills Market before, but will definitely go again. They have an excellent wine and liquor selection and some gourmet food items that you certainly don’t see in Giant Eagle. They had a blackboard in the produce section listing the 27 locally grown produce items that they currently have on sale.