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Playing The Host: A Kid-Friendly Tour of Columbus (Pt. 2)

A bloom hangs on against the impending winter cold at Columbus's Park of Roses
As noted in the last blogpost, we don't get to play host very often to family members, so when we do it becomes a special occasion, especially when there are kids (in this case, a 10- and a 13-year old) involved. This kid-friendly (though, in reality, an all-ages-friendly) excursion continues in this blogpost with another German Village staple.

After we had our macaron date at Pistacia Vera, we walked mere blocks down in the German Village neighborhood to The Book Loft (which I had previously blogged about here.) Operating as an independent book seller for more than 40 years, this bookstore has continually attracted locals and visitors alike as well as attracted national attention (such as this article in U.S. News and World Report.)

On this visit, we noticed some slight rearranging of certain sections, but for everyone involved, we were more than happy to get that lost-but-not-really-lost feel you get wending through the passageways that connect the 32 rooms holding close to 500,000 books in this iconic bookstore for an hour or so.

From here, we ventured up to Whetstone Park in the Clintonville neighborhood to visit the Park of Roses. Founded within the park in 1953, these rose gardens have been a draw to flower lovers, wedding parties, and simply those who want beautiful grounds to stroll through on a warm day.

With the cold winter months not too far away, the rose garden is obviously not at its peak glory, but that mattered little to our group, as we got two goals accomplished. First, we donated to a food drive to benefit the Neighborhood Services Food Pantry, and our youngsters got to strengthen their Pokemon Go collections by catching some formidable characters (or so we're told) roaming around the park grounds, like dozens of others.

After a brief visit back home to drop of our purchases and take a bit of a breather, we headed met up with a mutual family friend for dinner at what would be a new destination for us all in Tomatillo's Authentic Mexican Restaurant, located in the Linworth area of town.

Opened in early 2018, Tomatillos is essentially the fast-casual member of owner Sergio Munoz's mini-collection of restaurants around the metro, blending a full bar (with what looked to be impressively-sized margaritas) and a warm, roomy interior with a fairly trim menu of street and gourmet tacos, appetizers, and other familiars like fajitas and burritos, as well as a kid menu section.

With the exception of our friend's order of a Tomatillo's Rice Bowl (which was okay as bowl-style offerings go) and our youngest (who scarfed down a taco he ordered off the kid's menu), the gathered majority went for various tacos off the gourmet taco menu. All the tacos had something to recommend them, but by far the favorite of our group was the Tropical Carnita Taco, which adds a fresh pineapple salsa blend to pork carnitas and mayo on corn tortillas.

Tomatillos proves to be a double-threat, courtesy of the owner's uncle Jose Torres, who graciously opened up a branch of his very popular Diamonds Ice Cream shop (which I blogged about previously here) right next door.  While the two businesses share the interior (the Diamonds space contains spillover seats for its neighbor), any pursuit of dessert must be handled at the Diamonds counter.

The basic sweet treats that make Diamonds so attractive in their ice cream and paletas are all accounted for here, along with some other sugary temptations (Dulce De Leche and some decadent-looking chocolate desserts) and a small section of pre-packaged candies and similar. For us this night though, we were all about the ice cream, and Diamonds offers a nice option of exploring up to three different flavors in their small size containers, or just one in the case of this delicious Kiwi Sorbet.

The next morning, we dropped by a place that seems to be an ever evolving but always delicious destination to grab some amazing food creations and products (including breakfast) in the Short North-located North Market.

The past year or two has been pretty audacious for this popular Columbus destination, mixing in an upcoming development project (the addition of a multi-story tower, public plaza and grand atrium to the existing market) to an ever-changing vendor list.  We spotted some of these newcomers during our morning stroll, from Coco Cat Bakery and Chocolates, the Mini-Super food market, Penny's Meats, and the second location of the popular Tibetan dumpling place Momo Ghar.

My wife and I, along with youngest, had donuts on our mind, and the North Market has one of the best around in Destination Donuts. You would never suspect based on their taste and their colorful presentation that these beauties are vegan; coupled (for the adults, anyway) with some coffee drinks from the nearby Stauf's Coffee stall, we three were set.

On the other hand, my wife's sister and her daughter ended up at a place that we always forget about but is more than worthy destination in Taste of Belgium. With locations in both the Cincinnati and Columbus areas, Taste of Belgium offers diners a wider-than-you-might-think selection of galettes, sandwiches, crepes, and an espresso bar along with their signature Belgian Waffles. On this morning, a large package of pre-packaged waffles didn't stay terribly long in the bag.

From here, we bid adieu to our family members to let them do some shopping in the Polaris area of town before heading back home. We had fun showing off some of the best this city has to offer, and we hope we get to do it with faraway family members more sooner than later.

Featured Places
The Book Loft of German Village
631 South 3rd St. (German Village - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43206
(614) 464-1774
Facebook     Instagram     Twitter     Website

Columbus Park of Roses at Whetstone Park
3901 N High St. (Clintonville - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 645-3391
Facebook      Instagram     Website (Friends of Park of Roses)     Website (Columbus Metro Parks)

Tomatillos Authentic Mexican/Diamonds Ice Cream
2285 W Dublin Granville Rd #123 (Google Maps)
Worthington, OH 43085
(614) 987-7999
Facebook     Facebook (Diamonds)     Instagram     Website (Tomatillos)

North Market (including Destination Donuts, Stauf's Coffee, and Taste of Belgium)
59 Spruce St. (Short North - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 463-9664
Social Media Links:
North Market           Facebook     Instagram     Twitter     Website
Destination Donuts  Facebook     Instagram     Twitter     Website
Stauf's Coffee          Facebook     Instagram     Twitter     Website
Taste of Belgium     Facebook     Instagram     Twitter     Website

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