Five Years in the Books

Filipino Halo Halo is but one of the culinary treats you can get at
Columbus's Asian Festival, held annually during Memorial Day weekend
Columbus’s Asian Festival, set again for Memorial Day Weekend this year on May 25th and 26th, represents a couple of important reference points for yours truly. One was finding out how truly few of folks like me were here during my first visit: the city where I grew up in California, despite having numerous times less folks than Central Ohio's population, has roughly eight times more folks with my background.

The second is it marks off another notch on the years I’ve been doing this blog. With this upcoming weekend, that will have been five in the book, the furthest I’ve ever taken a blog.

There are hundred of ways I could branch off from here, but I thought I’d just leave it simple. Thanks to all of you who have followed along, and I hope I can keep you entertained by our ventures and my writing as we go into year six.

Columbus Iconic: Whither The Lettuce Wrap?

Iconic eats?  P.F. Chang's has made it three years in a row topping the
(614) ColumBest Reader Poll for "Best Asian Restaurant"
I acknowledge that the winners of many of media-sponsored reader polls are as much about name recognition and popularity as it is food quality when it comes to restaurants. That is certainly case with the fairly recently released 2019 edition of the (614) Columbus 2019 ColumBest poll.

But some results just sort of make you shake your head, and perhaps none does it more for me than the now three-year run of P.F. Chang's winning the "Best Asian Restaurant" category in the in the (614) ColumBest poll, claiming the top spot in 2017 when previous winner Haiku closed its doors in late 2016.

Conventional wisdom would make you think a national chain like P.F. Chang's (which has its origins in California in San Francisco and, later Beverly Hills) shouldn't be coming close to placing in these types of polls. Columbus's culinary scene has made wonderful strides over these past three years, with burgeoning coffee, craft beer and now distillery scenes (the latter sporting some great food components); the increasing emergence of upscale and creative eateries; and an increasing palette of international cuisines in general. This evolution has garnered its fair share of national notice - prominent media outlets like Food & Wine, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and Forbes have featured the city in the past six months alone.

Life Is A Big Steaming Bowl...Of Home

Fancy and oats, such as this McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal, weren't
a thing for me until much later in my life
Growing up, oatmeal was neither fancy nor glamorous. Soup could be sublime and occasionally spectacular, but generally wasn't the headline grabber either. But those two items remind me a lot of home in the olden days, because they were family staples in one fashion or another.

A lone familiar aluminum pot on the stove accompanied with a set of bowls on the counter top beside it became the familiar sign that oatmeal was available.  Sometimes, I would venture into the breakfast cereals, or I knocked out a grilled cheese when I felt ambitious. However, despite not being a fan of mushy textures (like many others), I grabbed a bowl of steamy oatmeal more often than not.

All Signs Point to High (Pt. 2) - Keep Calm, Eat Donuts, and Have Pun

Part 2 of our trip up High Street (Part 1 can be accessed at this link) gets us to the campus area, where the march of progress has transformed this once character-laden section of street with generic suburban-styled functionality. However, one of the few holdouts is thankfully both an institution with both students and locals alike in Buckeye Donuts, which turns 50 years old this year. Jimmy Barouxis' shop of sweet and savory treats, open 24/7 for your dining pleasure, looks to be around (cross fingers) for at least fifty more years.