Seekh The Unique: Everest Cuisine (Worthington, OH)

Lithopolis, Ohio and its roughly 1,600 people have a pretty nice
Mexican restaurant within city limits in El Pedregal
Almost every small town seems to have at least one.

One what, you ask? In this case, I refer to the random international restaurant or two that provides a prospective diner a break from the plethora of fast food, diners, and pizza joints that tend to dominate the landscape. The food, when judged by other similar eateries in bigger cities and towns, may not match up. But as a resident of that town, you take a bit a pride in knowing that something is your hometown Chinese, your local Mexican, or even something even a bit more uncommon.

The Nostalgia Bin: Columbus and Beyond

As this The Book Loft shelf shows, plenty of travel guides exist to places people
wish to go, such as Paris and the country of France in this case
Walking around a place like German Village's Book Loft, I almost always am drawn to their Travel section. But as much as I am drawn to far off places my spouse and I would love to travel, I have never seriously thought about buying one of those books. Perhaps more than many reference books, travel guides have a built-in depreciation factor: attractions, lodging, and eating establishment invariably change or even close outright over time.

However, an older such guide can act as a bit of a snapshot in time. Couple that with a city like Columbus that isn't really a focus of the travel guide producers (I checked - that's a negative, ghost rider) and you have an interesting find from one our recent estate sale excursions: "Columbus and Beyond: Travel Tips and Topics," a 1986 book authored by Fred and Anne Zimmer.

The Beans Are Not Always Greener...

The Carquinez Bridge, gateway to Vallejo and Benicia in San Francisco's east bay
It may be less evident to more and more people as time inexorably marches forward, but there was a time where Starbucks Coffee shops didn't occupy every town, or at least seem that they did.

I can remember a time when the chain was conspicuous by its absence. Vallejo and Benicia are neighboring cities along the Bay Area's Carquinez Strait along Interstate 780, but I can remember when the more highly populated (but less economically well off) city of Vallejo was mermaid-less, but the much lesser populated (but more well-heeled) town of Benicia sported a branch.

With all Starbucks being mostly corporate-owned (save for locations inside airports, supermarkets, etc.), I myself wondered at the time what Starbucks didn't see in Vallejo, or perhaps, did see. Vallejo has one of the more diversely populated cities in the Bay Area (since 1980, the percentages among White, Black, Hispanic and Asian populations have steadily equalized) and I pondered if corporate minds thought that wasn't a money-making formula.

Eventually, Vallejo's residents did get their Starbucks and proved that they as much as anyone can boatloads of Frappuccinos and Unicorn Lattes. Nowadays, the Seattle-based chain is more of a constant (with close to 30,000 branches worldwide, with half of them in the United States) versus a buzzy novelty for which many would clamor. Interestingly enough, while Vallejo currently hosts more locations than Benicia, the higher per capita still resides with the latter (roughly one for every 7,000 residents for Benicia vs. 1 for every 20,000 residents in Vallejo.)