Tuesday, December 4, 2012

home from columbus

Mindy and I drove home from columbus in the rain today.  We stopped in
Portland to drop off some goodies for my mother, brother, and grandfather, and to pick up our cat.  We ended our little trip to columbus with some good, but expensive eats for brunch at a french bakery/dessert boutique, the pistacia vera,  in German Village.  I know, why eat french food in the German neighborhood?  But it was damn good, and even if it was a bit overpriced,  I at least feel like I had fresh, quality food.  Our eggs and smoked salmon, served with sides of fresh croissants, were delicious and I don't mind paying a bit extra for quality (however it pisses me off to over-pay for US Foodservice, Cisco, or GFS garbage posing as quasi-decent 'food').

brunch at Pistacia Vera

Good food aside (for the moment), Mindy and I are always on the look out for street art when we are in a new city. Unfortunately, there seems to be a very sterile vision of art in the greater Columbus community, with only lame murals and very very little graffiti.  The mini murals that adorned the Short North arts district are reproductions of actual works that can be found in the galleries. Every one is a similar size, and every one, equally weak. The use of vinyl paste-ups were chosen to recreate the illusion of a painted surface. But from what we saw, all the paste-ups were pixelated, glossy, and appalling.  The galleries we visited were nothing special, as were much of the art, craft, and aesthetic environments in general.  and for a city that claims to be the independent arts capital of the country, that was a major disappointment in this city.

6 of the 10 murals scattered along the Short North
the next 4 pictures are details of a graffiti wall by a parking lot. we liked this mishmash of styles better!
Union Station
panaromic view of Trains by Greg and Jeff Ackers, 1989
American Gothic mural on714 N. High Street

While i must admit that the Columbus art scene is a joke, i also must admit that the foodie scene is wonderful.  There are several farm-to-table places and options from damn near every culture in the world, along with whatever chain shit one would want to gorge themselves on (but we, as a rule, skip that shit). Surely the fact that Ohio State University has the largest student population in the country, has a lot to do with all the great ethnic eats. So after having Cajun/Creole and Persian on Saturday, we ate lunch at Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant in German Village on Sunday.  Schmidt's has been a Columbus classic since they opened their doors in 1886.  They make all their German style sausages in house, and if you've never had a freshly made sausage, you're missing out.  That packaged stuff at the market is dogfood by comparison.  The kraut was wonderful too.  Everything they had was just good German soul food that warms you from the belly.

mindy had cabbage rolls with a side of corn, potato pancakes, and applesauce
the sausage sampler with applesauce and potato salad

And for dinner, we ate at an Asian fusion restaurant, Blue Ginger, on Sunday. Mindy stuck to a traditional sushi and sashimi combo with thick cuts of fish while I ate a Thai green curry with seafood and a side of rice.

Last night, before we went to the concert, we were lucky to find a place called 'Merlion' (the symbolic mythical animal of singapore) which featured all singapore and malaysian dishes.  we both ate laksa (i ate singapore style (except w/ chicken [because i imagine cockles are hard to come by in the midwest] and mindy had asam laksa [a bit of sour with the heat]) and had chicken satay.  all was good (though not as good as in singapore), but still good enough to be nostalgic and satisfy our (more mindy than me) cravings. We were only there for a short time so we didn't get to sample a lot of the ethnic fare, but there is something there for anyone to enjoy.
Since the art in Columbus was mostly disappointing, Mindy and I decided to seek out our other love: books.  We had read about the Book Loft in German Village, so we had to stop in.  It is 32 rooms in an old building, each one stuffed to the ceiling.  It is an experience to go and see that place.  and everywhere we went felt like exploring.  The only problem, is that they only sell new books, and I must admit, that was disappointing.  So instead we yelped for a used bookstore and found Acorn Books, and what a find it was.

Acorn is a used bookstore with a friendly and personable staff that seemed to know everyone that came through the door.  They had everything we were looking for:  good out of print, out of date, and out of this world books that we would be hard pressed to find anywhere else, and that is what we were seeking.  The place smells like an old library and the owner's taste in topics and interests seems to jive well with ours.  We found a ton of children's books, many art books we'd never seen or even heard of, and they had a great selection of rare and VERY difficult to find works.  We spent the entire afternoon on sunday perusing through their collection.  And while we spent more than we probably should have, we felt comfortable and just could't help but continue to discover new-to-us books.

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