Featured Post

Ice Cream Chronicles - New Interactive Map

As you may have noticed, a new interactive Google Map containing all the location and links to all my Ice Cream Chronicles posts is now acce...

The 614ortyPlatter - Kitchen Island Discs (Laura Lee, Ajumama)

Tower Records, one of my favorite haunts as a teenager
(Photo from The Outline.com)

I'm finding as I'm continuing this playlist theme, I'm learning a lot of history along the way.  Take this week's playlist, which was based on a concept I first encountered as a teen but I found has a much older origin story.

As a teen, the local Tower Records, which was founded in 1960 by Russell Solomon and existed in brick & mortar form in the United States until 2006 (a new online version of the store was opened up November of last year), proved to be one of my favorite haunts as a teen and young adult. One of my favorite past times was to grab the latest Pulse! Magazine and read through reader's submissions of "Desert Island Discs", music they'd take with them to play were they stranded on a desert island. 

Little did I know until I did some research that the BBC in the UK has run a radio-based "Desert Island Discs" segment since 1942, with each guest imagining themselves as castaways and choosing 8 recordings to keep themselves company.

The 614ortyPlatter - Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler

Even the local supermarkets like Kroger have gotten into
the Fat Tuesday groove of late...

Fat Tuesday (or, depending on where you are in the world, Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, or Carnival/Carnaval) has become essentially a day of excess pleasures for the public at large.  Historically, it marks the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten period for a number of religions, including Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Anglicans. Typically, for those who observe this period, Lent involves 40 days of self-reflection and -denial, moderation, and reflection on the life, sacrifice, and rising from the dead of Jesus Christ.

In that light, Fat Tuesday essentially is the last day to let out all your excesses, and observing Lent is not required to join in the festivities.  On the food side of the equation, many regional specialties are typically in plentiful supply, and in terms of Columbus, some of these treats have slowly but surely gained shelf space in a number of eateries, bakeries and supermarkets in the area in the past decade.

So in that spirit, we share with you a nice dozen's worth of songs that hint at some of the food traditions found around the world on this decidedly unique tradition celebrated (and ingested) by millions of people.

The 614ortyPlatter - Rhythm Kitchen 1811

The sign outside Columbus's Ace of Cups, one of the many music
venues/bars which has managed to eke by during the pandemic

I must say, these food-meets-music playlist have all played off the various food themes from last week's chocolate to holidays to "dumpster fire" foods to local neighborhoods have been very fun for me, and in many ways it's the perfect intersection of two things that have been my main pathways of exploration the past several years. 

However, one theme that hadn't occurred to me until it was pointed out to me (and I thank Bethia of Columbus Food Adventures for doing so) was the very obvious intersection of music business and food ventures.  Some of the ventures familiar to many include Sammy Hagar and his Cabo Wabo Cantina, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, and the Wahlberg Brothers and their Wahlburger fast food chain. 

In many ways, this diversification works on both the celebrity and the local level.  For the celebrity (musician or otherwise) restaurant owner, it offers exposure to the public in another multi-billion dollar industry. For those whose fame is more locally based, there's a sense of community ties as well as an added source of income (this article from Inside Hook has a nice perspective on this side of things.)

Interestingly, if I had just known a little more about the local music scene, I could've had even had a Columbus-based band represent in the Italian Village playlist I released not too long ago. So I figured this would be the perfect week for hitting on that theme for this week's playlist, with a perfect split of local Columbus flair blended with some familiar (but not TOO familiar) musicians and their ties to this intersection of food and music.

The 614ortyPlatter: It's Never Too Late For Chocolate

What can't you do with chocolate?  These chocolate-coated strawberries
from Clintonville's Eagle Family Candies were divine

While most people really don't need a reason to enjoy chocolate, the national holiday calendar gives us multiple days to at least give an excuse for indulging.  National Chocolate Cake Day just passed us by, and National Hot Chocolate Day comes at the end of the month. Other days that await chocolate lovers throughout the year include (but are not exclusive to) National Chocolate Chip Day (May 15th), National Fudge Day (June 16th), National Chocolate Milkshake Day (Sept. 12), and the all encompassing National Chocolate Day (Oct. 28th.)

Ohio itself has its fair share of chocolate makers, from the old-school producers (Canton's Ben Heggy's, Dayton's Esther Price and Winan's, Cincinnati's Fawn Candy, Findlay's Dietsch Brothers, Cleveland's Malley's, and Columbus's Eagle Candy and Anthony Thomas, among others) to newer purveyors like Maverick, Coblentz, Michael's Artisan, Coco Cat, Pure Imagination, and many many more.

So yeah, this playlist is a pretty sweet one, so to speak, one that you should let melt in your ears and not in your hands.

The 614orty Platter: Invested in Italian Village

Cosecha Cocina, one of the culinary bright spots in
Columbus's Italian Village before the COVID pandemic
forced it close in 2020.

I've always thought Columbus's Italian Village neighborhood was older than it was; in reality, the truth is it is and it isn't.  The Italian Village moniker isn't even 50 years old, but the area dates back to the 19th century.  And contrary to its current moniker, the area, just outside of downtown proper and bordered by High Street on the west, the railroad tracks on the east, East Fifth Avenue to the north, and I-670 to the south, has been home to a number of ethnic groups over its lifespan, including Italians, obviously.

Back in the old days, Italian Village was home to a wide variety of industries, including Wonder Bread, The Clark Grave Vault & Auto Equipment Company, Smith Brothers Hardware, and the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company.  Remnants of that industrial past still remain (namely, the Smith Brothers and the Wonder Bread buildings), but the focus of the neighborhood nowadays has changed, become both a residential and culinary destination area for locals and visitors alike.

For this week's 614ortyplatter, I thought I'd give a bit of a musical guided tour what exists culinarily in this up-and-coming Columbus neighborhood.  As Italian Village overlaps with Columbus's Short North neighborhood, I will focus mainly on the more exclusively Italian Village eateries with this list, and I promise it will be more than a tasty-enough list.