From Indy to Columbus via Columbus: A Sweet Return Home

A beautiful morning in the Village of Broad Ripple greeted us for our return home
Our final Indy trip threesome of destinations on our recent road trip are by far, in my humble opinion, the sweetest of our group. It was so sweet, in fact, that our experience was actually enhanced by encounters with a traitor and several (soda) jerks.

Let’s start up modestly with a little coffee shop action. The history behind the Village of Broad Ripple isn’t too unlike Columbus’s Clintonville or even Grandview Heights - established along the banks of the White River in 1836, the community was annexed into Indianapolis proper in 1922 and eventually transformed into a hip, artsy district with a big youth component due to its proximity to Butler University.

Indy In Threes: Fiber Hugs, Small Pugs, and Big Lugs

The unique Indianapolis Cultural Trail provides a convenient way for
people to travel to the city's cultural districts without an automobile
Many of our destinations on our recent trip to Indianapolis ended up near either the Monon or the Cultural Trails. The Monon Trail is not too unlike Columbus’s longer bike trails like the Olentangy or Alum Creek, providing people a chance to bike or run/walk between different parts of the city or different cities altogether.

However, the Indy Cultural Trail was the one that really caught our eye as an eight-mile-long wide connector between some of Indy’s most popular and significant districts and attractions. This trail essentially borrowed a lane from existing roads to create a more-or-less separate but easily accessible route for bicyclists, pedestrians and other non-automobile users to travel between the city's major districts. While we did not ourselves ride it, the sight of numerous folks zooming by on this trail was a constant, and it is something my spouse and I would love to test out next time in town.

As it turned out, Rook (which we wrote about on the last blog post) is right on the trail, as was our “fiber hugs” source in the Mass Ave Knit Shop.

Indy In Threes: Oldskool, Old School, and just Plain Old

Silken banners and windsocks made for a colorful display at this
impromptu art exhibit near the Fountain Square area of Indy
Founded in 1820, Indianapolis isn't too much younger than its fellow capital city of Columbus, which was established in 1812. In other words, Indy has its share of the old.

But in this second of four Indianapolis-related blogposts, the meaning of old is stretched out a bit, from the oldskool (a sleek, modern eatery that has earned "Best of" honors) to the old school (a former facility to treat mentally ill patients turned museum) to the just plain ol' old (antiques in an antique building.)

Indy In Threes: Beer and Wine and a Voice Divine

Midtown Carmel, located to the north of Indianapolis. Not unlike Columbus,
parts of this city are undergoing a massive redevelopment effort
Indianapolis, the state capital of Indiana, has been a city that we have dabbled in on previous journeys, but have rarely dug in as deeply as we might like. With our current status of having to having to stick a little closer to home due to job-related duties, easy weekend jaunts to places like Indy (in this case, a mere straight three hours west on I-70) have a very high desirability factor.

This first post of this mini-series is composed of highlights, but only in the sense that these three destinations either inspired our trip to Indiana's capital city in the first place or stuck out in our minds immediately as definite must visits. As it turned out, we found much more to keep us entertained during our stay, with the realization that we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of things to do here.

Broad & Delicious: Our Dream Casual Columbus Culinary Street Corners

The Short North has many naturally occurring delicious culinary street corners
that threaten to increase your waistline more than you'd like
Back when my spouse and I were still officially in our long-distance dating phase, we would talk a lot about local neighborhoods and where ideally we'd like to settle down in, had we the choice. One of the common positive aspects to us were houses that were within easy distance of numerous instances of delicious eats (we also thought it would be a bit dangerous too, as the temptation would always be there to go forgo the kitchen and dine out again and again.)

Even though we've settled down (alas, nowhere near easy walking distance to culinary bliss), discussion on this "dream culinary street corner foursome" concept has continued to this very day, and across numerous categories (breweries, pizzerias, coffee cafes, etc.)  It was only recently, after a particularly long work day, that I figured out that this would make a fun topic for a blog post.

Columbus Pizza-politan Adventures: Ohio Pizza Cage Match! (Pt. 2)

Cincinnati's Dewey's Pizza sports a decent inventory of craft beer,
including seasonal selections from various Ohio breweries
This first of this two part "Ohio Pizza Cage Match" mini-series of blog posts started off by looking at two area locals, both long-time purveyors of the Columbus-style pizza in Donatos and Massey's (for a look at that previous post, please take a look at this link.)

Their opponents, if you will, are the out-of-towners, originating from opposite ends of Interstate 75 on the west side of the state and sporting decidedly different styles of pizza.  While they don't have the combined experience of their Columbus counterparts, they do bring it in terms of enjoyable pies.

Columbus Pizza-Politan Adventures: Ohio Pizza Cage Match! (Pt. 1)

Donatos Pizza has been a familiar name to Columbus residents since 1963
First off, I wanted to announce that the Central Ohio Pizza Map has been recently updated!  With all the spots covered, the changes are subtle, but I did want to specifically point to the following:
Obviously, if you see something that needs updating with the map, I'd love to hear from you - just use the comments section below.

As far as most recent pizza explorations, what folks know as area anchors are still relatively new eateries for me, so these posts may cover some familiar territory.  My last exploration was two national chains in Domino's and Ohio-transplant Sbarro, so this time I thought it was time to focus on some of the familiar names with true Ohio roots.

No Toying Around: Ho-Toy Restaurant

A big tray of Chow Mein or crispy Orange Chicken historically
wouldn't be out of place at any of my big family gatherings
Chinese-American cuisine has, at least in my household, gained an increasingly important role at the family table over time. I was introduced mainly to the somewhat compact sweet side of the cuisine when my family moved to San Francisco, when boxes full of Custard Tarts or Sesame Balls would occasionally make their way home with my parents and grandparents.  Also memorable were the Haw Flakes, which reminded me of a far tastier rendition of a Communion wafer - my Grandpa would sometimes drive us into Chinatown after a day of fishing at the old Municipal Pier to grab a multi-pack, much to the joy of me and my siblings..

Later on, trays of Chinese-American cuisine standards like Sweet & Sour Pork, Chinese Fried Rice and Chow Mein would make appearances side-by-side by the Filipino standards I grew up with, mainly as a way to ease the cooking load off my elders as well as guaranteeing everyone got more than enough food.  After all, it would be a shame if the foam take-away trays stored conveniently underneath the serving tables ended up unused.

Nowadays, I don't actively seek out Chinese-American restaurants on a regular basis, but I'll get the occasional random craving for it.  However, my move to Columbus revealed that something that I thought I had conquered in the pursuit of tasty treats still needed some work.