Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Greeting passerbys into German Village, Katzinger's is an important landmark, and a food haven for people who like good bread, good cheese, good pickles, or really just plain old good food.
We went here a few weeks ago, actually, as our first outing into the Columbus food world. Of course we knew about its' sibling up north, and so we had to find out what this one was like.
And true to people's positive reviews, Katzinger's is a wonderful deli with almost too many choices to choose from, and too many delicious cheeses to leave without bringing some home.
475 South 3rd Street
Columbus, OH 43215-5701
Monday, August 30, 2010
Chrysalis made by the Monarch catepillars. Jewel-like, aren't they?
I am very impressed by the Metro Park system here.
Blendon Woods was our third park to visit. We went for the program on Monarch butterflies on Saturday at the nature center geared toward kids ages 6-12 (although many younger children came to it as well).
The ranger who led the program did a brilliant job at engaging the children, teaching them (and the parents) about the life/journeys of the magnificent Monarchs. Did you know they can fly over 2,000 miles to migrate from cold climes to warm Mexico? They also seem to fly back to wherever they were born once spring comes around again. Amazing.
The park is just off of Route 161 heading towards New Albany. We have yet to explore the rest of the park (many picnic areas/ a pond, etc).
But the same evening, we did return for the camp-fire story time about the Pioneers who settled in the area from Connecticut. The ranger was dressed in period clothes and had many stories to tell about the old days. She also cooked up Johny cakes and had supplies for s'mores and a big pot of Sassafras Tea.
All for free.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
We visited our second Metropark today: Inniswood.
Who would have thought that I would find real Thai lotus growing in a pond in the middle of Ohio? Stranger things have happened, so I should not have been surprised to see the beautiful flowers reaching high up from the water. Other exotic plants were there too: jasmine, figs, coffee tree, even a cinnamon plant (my first encounter!).
Inniswood is really a botanical garden, a well-looked after one with lots to explore for kids and adults alike. It is one of the smaller Metro Parks here, but the intensive cultivation and ingenious layout of the landscape can keep you wandering around for a long time.
Within the park, there are multiple gardens you can discover: rose garden, herb garden, children's garden, to name a few.
We brought a picnic lunch to refuel after a stroll through the park. Though food is not allowed inside the park, just outside by the parking area, there are picnic tables, and plenty of grassy area to spread out the perfect picnic blanket for the meal!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Did you know that Ohio has the largest Amish population in the world? I honestly did not know that until I moved here. If I had to guess, I would have said that place was somewhere in Pennsylvania.
Holmes county, just 1.5 hours northeast of Columbus, is home to some 40,000 Amish people who have lived and thrived there for the last few centuries. Their lives today is not very different from the lives of their ancestors who settled here long ago.
We drove from Columbus, using Route 62, to get to Millersburg (what looked to be the middles of Holmes County). Silly us, we chose Sunday - their rest day - to visit the Amish country. The people there laughed when we asked about the Amish... Wrong day! They said.
Well, we didn't really need to go into shops or restaurants or anything like that... We just wanted to be in the Amish country, to see the buggies go by, to say hi to a few of the folks whose lives are so admirably self-sufficient, and so very sustainable.
The Amish do not use what we all take for granted today: electricity, computers, cars, any motorized machines. They grow their own food, and communicate with each other via community newsletters.
If you would like to find out more about the Amish way of life, I recommend a great little book, The Amish Cook. The photographs are outstanding, and so are the stories, and recipes included.
Well, as you can see from my photos, we were lucky to have passed a few buggies, and waved to a few friendly folks who waved back with beautiful smiles. But it took going out of the beaten path, for sure, to really get into the Amish landscape. Don't expect to see these horse-drawn buggies in the middle of Millersburg!! I would not be riding through town like that either...
We will go back again, maybe not on a Sunday next time, and take in more of this part of Ohio (and the world!) that I consider a little gem.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
We went here the other day because we wanted to start another composting bin at our new house. We wanted something that was squirrel/raccoon/varmint proof (those guys are vicious around here!), and we were helped by a very nice and knowledgeable guy at the store (Steve?).
Walking in at first moment, I was transported back to our little town of Santa Cruz, California. The scents, the feel, the products...all so familiar. Besides composting materials, Generation Green offers loads of other things, from recycled art, wearable art, cool recycled anything. It's a destination on its own!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Tiny Bexley farmers' market is our current produce market. Though it is not comparable to our previous hometown's multiple markets, it's still nice to be able to bike over there on Saturday mornings, meet the local farmers who grew the food that we can go home with and put on the table minutes later. I would rather have a small market like this, than to go and purchase produce at the supermarket grown back where we came from!
About a dozen vendors meet there every Saturday in the summer in front of the Bexley Town Hall on Main St. A musician or two keep things lively. Many customers bike there, with children in tow. It's sweet scene...a small town kind of scene.
By the way, those tomatoes (the not so pretty ones) in the first photo came home with us and have been turned into a delicious sauce. Not so pretty does not mean not so delicious!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I was elated to be introduced to Slate Run Historical Farm today by our neighbors. Getting out of the city, being on a country road with farmland and corn fields was enough, but to be at a well-run, historical farm like this one was even better!
The farm has several sections: the house, the garden, the working barn. There are also play areas and picnic tables.
The fun part, though, is watching the farm workers, dressed in their 19th century outfit, tending the fields, working the horses, and all of the chores that come with a working historical farm. A whole day can be spent here, with lots to do, and many new things to learn. And best of all, it is free!
Just off of E. Broad Street, a couple of miles from downtown Columbus, sits Franklin Park Conservatory and its very cool Hot Shop. The park itself deserves a post of its own, but today, I want to tell you about the Hot Shop.
This little corner of the conservatory is a glass-blowing demonstration area. We have been there twice now, and have enjoyed being in the audience, watching the artist work with liquid glass, and the 1000+ degree ovens!
The demonstration usually happens in the middle of the day, from 11am to 2pm, I believe. There are plenty of chairs for viewers, and no extra fees for attendance.
All I can say is that our 6 year old children enjoyed this place as much as we did! All the pieces made here are then sold at the gift shop of the conservatory.
I have been meaning to visit the North Market since we first got here in July. I was determined that today was the day, and am I glad that I went!
The market sits north of downtown Columbus, with its own parking lot charging a minimal fee if you get a stamp validation inside the market. Once you are inside, all your senses will be woken up with scents, sounds, and colors.
There were plenty of ethnic foods (Thai, Polish, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, to name a few), locally grown meats and poultry and produce from local farms. Chocolate shops, locally made ice cream, artisan bread, and beautiful cookware also made up this very well run market that opens year-round!
San Franciscans will be reminded of the Ferry Building. But I am going to risk it and say that I preferred this one to the San Francisco food icon. It's a bit more real somehow... even without the San Francisco bay at its door-step.
Each Saturday in the summer, the North Market also hosts a farmer's market. I may have to check that out this weekend, and report back on it!