Friday, December 23, 2005

It's Not All Cornfields

Christmas the past few years has been at my brother Ben K. and his wife Julie’s house. This is what happens when you have the most room, and you marry one of the most gracious and hospitable women on earth. This year they’ve been remodeling their kitchen. Which means we’ve been going out a lot. Driving around I realized Columbus has quite a few cool things to offer besides Ohio State Football, Blue Jackets Hockey, and Hooters. Here’s a nice list of things to see and places to eat if you happen to somehow end up in Columbus, Ohio.

Growing up I always wanted to live in German Village. It’s a 223-acre neighborhood in the southern part of downtown. The whole neighborhood is quaint brick buildings closely built together with brick sidewalks. They even still have brick roads. There are some great eateries and bars like the Mohawk. But the first restaurant you must visit is Schmidt’s Sausage Haus. This place is genius. It’s all great German food from bratwurst to Wiener schnitzel to the chocolate cream puff pastries. My personal favorite is their legendary Bahama Mama. The Bahama Mama you see is one of the city’s food specialties. Heck, we even have a day called Bahama Mama day. If you ever go, hit the buffet so you can try it all. Or go Wed. or Sat. when the Schnickelfritz band is playing. Also make a quick stop at the Fudge Haus across the street so you can feel even fatter. If you are really lucky you’ll visit sometime between Sept. 30th and Oct. 2nd for the genius that is Oktoberfest. Fat, hammered, and happy is how everyone leaves Oktoberfest.

To take off a few of those added pounds from Schmidt’s walk over to the Book Loft. It’s a two-story building that’s a block long, and it’s all books. There are 32 rooms. Each rooms specializing in a certain category. You can spend hours just browsing and the prices are dirt cheap on both used and new books. It’s a maze of books so take breadcrumbs. Walkie-talkies might be nice to so you and your friends can find each other before the next winter.

The German Village though isn’t the only place in town. When I first moved to LA people were telling me I needed to go to the farmer’s market. So, I went and you know what I thought. This is a lot like the North Market in Columbus. The North Market is a great place to try different foods, and people watch. With more than 30 merchants not including the actual Farmer’s Market you can lose a solid portion of your afternoon.

Close to the North Market is the Short North district. This is your artsy fartsy hip and happening area. There are great boutiques, galleries, and restaurants down High St. I used to always go to great video store here to get my Asian Action flicks. This was back when video stores charged money for memberships, but since this was the only place in town that imported the stuff the price was worth it.

Ohio State University has some things to do as well. It's not the cleanest of areas but that part of High Street should be experienced. Campus was where I went for music. First there’s the historic Newport Hall. It’s been there for ages, and it shows. There are other venues of various sizes around town, but the Newport holds a dear place in my heart. The other concert venue that holds an embarrassing place in my heart is King’s Place. The title of the place should tell you enough about the kind of music that was showcased there. Still think the One Bad Pig concert kicked ass. The dude jumped into a swimming pool of ice cream! But I digress. The other spot on campus that I went for myIt’s not pretty but the OSU campus area has quite a few cool music fix was Used Kids Records. When I was in high school the shop was in the basement of a building. You had to walk down a flight of steps into a windowless shop. The place was weirdly organized. It was cool before I even knew what cool really was. Now they take residence on the second floor of some other building and it’s lost a little of it’s underground charm. Still if you want something they have it from vinyl to CD. It was basically my Amoeba before Amoeba. One little warning if you buy something lame they will call you out on it. I still have emotional scars from when I picked up an old Boston CD. I don’t know if they do this anymore now that they are a little more legitimate.

Downtown has a few things to offer. The Arena district has some pretty good restaurants. I don’t have a lot of info because it’s a newly developed area. There is also COSI (Center of Science and Industry). I used to go about twice a year when I was a kid. They moved it now, and some famous Japanese architect designed the new fancy building. Inside are tons of exhibits and experiments designed to teach and entertain. It’s much more enjoyable than I’m making it out to be. My fondest memory of the place was the huge pendulum clock in the entrance. This giant spike would swing back and forth over the circle that is outlined with pegs. For every minute it would knock over a peg. Also walking into a replica of the eye was pretty cool. And the experiment with the electric eels was badass. For you historians out there, the original Wendy’s restaurant is downtown as well.

There’s a little taste of things to do in Columbus when and if you ever visit. I don’t know why those who read this would, but in case you do. Columbus is a pretty nice and wonderful town. Wait I forgot White Castles!

1 comment:

MOL Junior said...

this christmas posting is genius.