Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sacrifice + Bliss


Today was the opening day for the new exhibit at Franklin Park Conservatory: Sacrifice + Bliss. The artist, Aurora Robson, works with recycled materials, a lot of which she salvaged from rivers and streams (some from our very own Olentangy). Instead of polluting the environment, and ending up in landfill, Robson turned some 70,000 plastic bottles into beautiful unique pieces of art.





It's an impressive exhibit, with a great message echoing from the beautiful artwork that will catch your attention at first sight.

I brought the children along to one of the hands-on workshops for kids given by artist Eric Marlow. We started out with one single water bottle, and ended up with several unique creative items at the end.



As usual, Franklin Park Conservatory did not disappoint. We left with more knowledge and creativity and a regained sense of responsibility for the environment, children and grown-ups alike.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

More Creeking


Another beautiful day. Another morning spent on a river: the Olentangy, this time, at Highbanks Metro Park.


I know, it's embarrassing how long it took us to finally get here. Many people have mentioned this park to us. Many of them very trust-worthy. Molly, for instance, brings her children here, so I know it would be worth the drive from our home in the far Southeast corner of Columbus (to the far Northwest corner)... I know... it's not that far. But I do everything I can to avoid the concrete-ness of the highways.


And yes. It was worth it. It was worth it especially with some friends in tow.


The children spent hours catching and releasing crawdads, fish, and clams. They didn't seem to mind the small amount of water left in the river due from this season's drought. If anything, it was the perfect amount of water for their creeking adventure.


Highbanks Metropark:
9466 Columbus Pike (US Rt 23 N)
Lewis Center, OH 43035
(northern Franklin & southern Delaware counties)
Open 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. April through September / 
6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. October through March


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Freshstreet Diner


Better late than never, right?

It's taken me a long time to visit this sweet establishment, transformed from the beloved food-cart from my early days in Columbus.


I brought an Asian-food-loving friend with me for lunch here today (thanks Donna!), and we both enjoyed eating delicious, freshly made rice bowls and miso soups on the patio. The day itself could not have been more beautiful either!


I am sharing some photos here, but know that there will be future visits to come... We need to return for their infamous Yakitori (only served in the evening). So, stay tuned!

Here is some information about the diner from their Facebook page:


Inside of Double Happiness Bar 

We serve yakitori, kushiyaki, and small portion asian bar food. 
We are open Thu-Fri-Sat from 6:30pm-Midnight. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Clear Creek Metro Park


It was a beautiful day.


A hint of fall is in the air now. One can only guess how long it will last since we have had one of the hottest summers on record.


Never mind the unknown. Our family meeting this Saturday morning concluded with a decision to go somewhere new, somewhere pretty, somewhere preferrably with water. In this case, a clear creek kind of water... however little is left in it after the season's drought.


A little walking in the woods and playing with creatures was just what we needed. We also found plenty of mud (on our shoes), and a lot of crawdads (under rocks).


"We can stay here forever," proclaimed one of the youngest among us. Though we all knew that she didn't really mean it (including the said child herself), it was a sure sign that we were all having fun.


Yes, Central Ohio does have enough to keep us exploring. Today, we found a place equally as pretty as the day itself at Clear Creek Metro Park in Perry County, Ohio.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Agora 2012






I am lucky to know so many different types of people in Columbus, just less than 2 years in. One of these people is a wonderful artist who invited me to Agora at Junction View Studios last weekend.

The stars aligned and I was able to peel away from other home and motherly duties to walk around and enjoy the show from multiple local artists. I loved meeting some of the artists who opened up their studios for the visitors. I also enjoyed the music and food that made the event more complete!

Have you been? If not, it's worth a trip.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mellowing out in Yellow Springs


Yellow Springs, Ohio. Haven't been there?


In the circle of people I have come across in almost-two-year period in central Ohio, they would tell me that this is one of the places left that I needed to visit. "You'd feel at home there," they would say.


Sure enough, on an almost perfect Spring day, the family and I drove west, to a small village that would transport us to a familiar place. Not that there is anything wrong with Ohio, my friends, but we did feel like we were 'outside' of Ohio during our sojourn in this hamlet.


Yellow Springs has the soul and vibe of a small liberal (okay, even crunchy) college town. The small walkable downtown area is quaint, practical (think hardware store on Main Street), and down right vibrant. A young man was playing guitar on the sidewalk; stores had their doors open; children and dogs skip along with treats in hand and paw.


The art scene is alive here, as well as the eat-local mantra. Restaurants and cafes were hopping on this sunny Sunday, serving freshly grown, locally sourced ingredients. On the way into town, we stopped by the infamous Young's Dairy. It was too early (for us) to try out their homemade ice cream, but not too early to say hello to several goats and cows that roamed the kid-and-family friendly property.


Just down the street, on the way back toward Columbus sits Clifton Mill, our lunch destination. Although this other mill has a special place in my heart, Clifton Mill has its own charm with a gorge underneath that is worth a visit on its own.



Our time was limited, so we had to turn around and missed visiting the natural preserve areas in and around Yellow Springs that are supposed to be beautiful with bike trails, hiking trails and gorges. There is sure to be a next time. Soon, I suspect.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Spectacular








We are having quite a show around here, aren't we? It was a year without real winter. And now... a spring unlike no other.

The usual succession blooming of various spring flowers...from small crocuses that are so good at braving the cold nights, to tulips that welcome more day light.  Bright yellow forsythia usually precedes the first round buds of dogwood that slowly open up to greet the warmer days. The fragrant and stunning crab apples come a bit later, and lilacs usually don't waltz in until late April or early May.


Instead... we have a huge, thunderous orchestra of all of the above blooming at the same time. Right now. Daffodils are still here, and the lilacs have also joined all of those in between.

It's spectacular, albeit, nerve-wrecking. Let's hope it's an anomaly...  But by gosh, I hope you are all enjoying it as much as I am!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Crack Heard 'Round the World


I am still here. And yes, there are still cool things around Columbus.

So cool, in fact, that this box appeared in front of my door a few weeks ago, thanks to Tiffany at Whole Foods Dublin. She was inviting local bloggers to send in a recipe using the King of Cheese, the Parmigiano Reggiano. The recipe winner would be invited to help crack a wheel of the said cheese as part of their Guinness Book of World Records specialty event (all of the Whole Food stores in the US were to crack a wheel at the same time on March 10, at 3pm). Cool, yes?


When I saw the hunk of cheese, I looked around the kitchen to see what it could become. We are still in winter-mode here... nothing from the garden, nothing from the farmers market. A good piece of parmigiano like that does not need to be transformed, really. But I could not have sent in a recipe with a blank note card.

So I searched. In the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, I found some left over parsley. In the pantry was a jar of walnuts. Bingo. With a bit of grated parmigiano, some lemon juice and a good amount of extra virgin olive oil (I used my new favorite, The Olive Orchard Sicilian EVOO), I was game.

Two little (pesto-lover) tasters helped me perfect the flavors before I jotted down the measurements of each ingredient (I am well known for not measuring anything at all). I sent a quick email with the newly perfected recipe to Tiffany. I closed the note with my good wishes, and went on about my life as usual. The pesto was tasty. I was thankful for the complimentary cheese and an invitation to participate. But all of that was in the rear view mirror.

Until I found out that my recipe won the taste test!

I had to read Tiffany's email a few times before taking it seriously. I was the winner, she said, among many tasty recipes. Moreover, my presence was requested at the Whole Foods store in Dublin, Ohio, precisely at 3pm on March 10, 2012. The mission: to crack open a parmigiano wheel and break world record". No pressure.


I had never done anything quite like it. The wheel was big, and hefty (about 90 lbs). Thankfully, my Whole Foods cheese friend, Dallas, was there to help me.


At 3pm sharp, he seared the wheel. With two sharp knives, I dug in, pushing and pulling. I could feel my head warming up (wishing I had 3 more inches on me for better leverage), and really could not remember where I was or why I was attacking a huge mound of cheese. But I did it. It cracked with just the right amount of force. The crowd cheered. I felt accomplished, and actually... it was FUN!


The staff at Whole Foods could not have been nicer to me and my family. I felt the warmth and hospitality from everyone I met. Whole Foods in Dublin is clearly a destination shopping place with beautiful produce, tasty treats, and knowledgeable staff.

Apparently the winning recipe was available for sampling prior to the cracking event today. If you were not there to taste, here it is just for you. I do recommend using the real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (like the one sold at Whole Foods) for best results.



Parsley-Walnut Pesto

1 cup parsley leaves, de-stemmed and washed
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 cup walnuts
1 large clove garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (we used the Olive Orchard Sicilian Oil)
1 Tablespoon Meyer Lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Pulse until smooth. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy over pasta, vegetables, as a spread on crackers or toast.