Columbus, Ohio

The farming season may be in full swing, but sometimes a girl just needs to get away (especially if that girl happens to be in a wedding in a couple of weeks and there is a bride to celebrate). Last weekend I abandoned my hubby and the fields, and made the seven-hour drive to Ohio for the bachelorette party of my best friend from college!

Why Ohio you ask? Well, little did you know, I had a brief stint in Ohio. At eighteen years old, this Wisconsin girl tried to flee her farming roots and get the heck out of dodge. So I went where any sane person would go if they’re trying to get away from their rural, farming Midwestern roots: I began college at a teeny tiny private school in central Ohio…

Okay, so I didn’t really get away from all things rural or farming or Midwestern, but I did get to explore somewhere new and turn friends into family as home was suddenly an expensive plane ride away. I was lucky enough to meet some of the most beautiful people that walk this planet. My college friends are like no one else I’ve ever met. They are world changers and world travelers and just plain amazing. I’m not sure there’s anything I love more than these gals (other than my husband and my pups and the farm of course) so making the seven-hour drive to Ohio is never filled with anything other than pure joy. Traffic was atrocious, but I didn’t care. I was going “home”.

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The bachelorette party was a whirlwind of giggles, wine, rhinestones and temporary tattoos with old friends and some new ones. There was just enough dancing, too many shots and a handful of temporary mustaches.

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I stayed an extra day after the party to hang with the bride and her future groom at their new home in Columbus. This largely included sitting on the floor of their living room, reading a guidebook to Spain, babbling about honeymoons, and watching Cleveland finally get their championship.. There was plenty of time for fun and catching up sprinkled with just enough time for adventure. The edible highlights of my time in Ohio can be found below:

Mon Ami // Play in the historic winery while waiting for a table, lounge in the sunshine on a picnic table with many bottles of wine, and then stuff ourselves on mussels, asparagus & prosciutto pizza and baked brie with grilled peaches? Yes please!
Quarry Hill Winery // Beautiful setting in the middle of no where with live music, big windows, an event bigger patio and blueberry wine!

Relax! It’s Just Coffee // Halfway between Lake Huron and Columbus lies Mansfield. This post-industrial city is packed with old school architecture and charm. Mansfield’s claim to fame is the Ohio State Reformatory (used in the filming of Shawshank Redemption a.k.a. the most beautiful prison on Earth). It’s also home to a coffee shop way too cool for rural Ohio. Pour over coffee, house-made kombucha, cold brew coffee to go, live music on Friday and Saturday nights, a sprawling bulletin board of artsy happenings. It’s definitely worth the stop and multiple turns down one-ways in the wrong direction. (Damn GPS).

Katalina’s // This is the restaurant where I discovered Columbus, Ohio (yes Ohio) could be cool. This artsy place is tiny with a stellar patio, incredible food and one of the best restaurant atmospheres I’ve ever experienced. Sourced locally, this food is too dye for. Choosing only one item on the menu was near impossible so I chose two and still left sad that there wasn’t more room in my belly. Ms. Katalina’s Migas (scrambled eggs with creme fresh, ranchero sauce, crushed tortilla chips, pepitas and a side of avocado toast) was a meal fit for three, but very tasty. And the pancake balls, well ridiculous as it may sound, the pancake balls are what you come here for. Stuffed with nutella or dulce de leche and served with a side of sweet & spicy bacon, this decadent meal is a perfect way to start the day.

North Market Spices // My first stop at North Market was the spice shop. It never disappoints. Spices are reasonable and they really have every single thing you could ever imagine like hibiscus powder, vadouvan and chipotle apple pie spice. I’m bringing more money when I come back for the wedding in two weeks.

Pastaria // I am not one who can resist fresh pasta when it’s in front of me. At $15 per pound, I’m lucky it’s not in front of me more often. Sweet potato gnocchi was an obvious choice as was the lobster ravioli.

Pistacia Vera // Here, I purchased a creme brulee eclair. A CREME BRULEE ECLAIR! The filling was decadent and rich. The pastry soft and doughy with a crisp exterior. The topping was a sheet of hard caramelized sugar. I rank this eclair in the top 5 things I’ve ever tasted and that is a competitive list. Pistacia Vera also sold macarons in every conceivable color of which I purchased many to take home to my sweet. He let me sample the raspberry hibiscus. It was also damn near perfection. Pistacia Vera, please open a second store in Madison.

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Lots of love,
Leek

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