Angry Bear Kitchen

{alicia}

When Sage American Bistro closed its doors last year, my first thought was “Whyyyy” and my second was, “Maybe something just as good will go in there.” Fast forward a few months later, Angry Bear Kitchen moves in and fulfills the prophecy.

Angry Bear Kitchen

Though I have heard conflicting reviews about this place, I chose to take them with a grain of salt. New restaurants take time to iron out the kinks and get into a groove. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t disappointed with my experience (though this is strictly about the brunch). The restaurant is attached to the same storefront as Ravari Room and Hounddogs, so take advantage of the parking lot behind the building and waltz right in.

The bones of the space should look familiar. The Angry Bear team has maintained the vibe of Sage but with the addition of their own charm.

Angry Bear Kitchen

Charm in the way of mason jar light fixtures that we all wanted to steal or DIY:

Mason jar lights  at Angry Bear Kitchen

And here’s a look at the brunch menu. They get bonus points for the adorable bear logo and typography.

Angry Bear Kitchen Brunch Menu

It’s all self-explanatory with the exception of the Midwest Mimosa–I had to inquire about that. This concoction is a blend of Miller High Life (the champagne of beers, you know) and orange juice. In lieu of this, I went for a concoction of fried chicken, brioche French toast, and strawberries–a winner!

Fried chicken and brioche from Angry Bear Kitchen

Quite a few of us went down the fried chicken/brioche path, but I also heard good things about the biscuits and (huge bowl of) gravy.

Biscuits and gravy from Angry Bear Kitchen

The pièce de résistance came in the unlikely form of a $1 donut that Sarah haphazardly added to her order.

Donut from Angry Bear Kitchen.

This little beauty had us all staring, and when she didn’t have room to finish it, I was this close to volunteering my services. My heroic and selfless act was dismissed in the form of a to-go box. Well then. I could have easily ordered my own, but as you’ve probably deduced by now, I like to make excuses to return.

Angry Bear Kitchen is located at 2653 N. High Street, Columbus. Open Tuesday-Thursday 5p-10p, Friday-Saturday 5p-11p, and open for Sunday brunch 11a-2p.

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Hamlet in Schiller Park

{alexis}

I feel like this has been the most beautiful summer already. It must be the hideous winter we just escaped, but I swear, every sunny day makes me happier than the sunny day before. I take walks around my building at lunch, just to remind myself that, yes, Ohio can be lovely. We need to stockpile these days; who knows what we’re in store for come January.

With summer comes one of my favorite traditions: Shakespeare in Schiller Park by the Actors’ Theater. Every year, husband and I unearth the fold up chairs we bought for a performance years ago, chill a bottle of white wine (screw top if you don’t have a traveling bottle opener), and toss together a bag with Tervis tumblers, snacks, and a blanket for the second act. This year, we added a new parcel to the mix, and packed up this little guy.

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Yes, you know Indy. He’s a great lover of the bard, and begged us not to leave him at home. Plus, he wanted to show off his new haircut! The thing about Indy, though, is that he’s not very good. Big crowds are tough for him: so many plants to sniff! So many people to growl at!

While husband focused on wrangling the beast, I focused on enjoying the evening. Schiller Park is a relaxing, bucolic setting for the play. It’s so nice to sit back in the grass, the very grass that six months ago was covered in FEET of snow, and take in a show.

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Did I mention that this is free? Well, I should have! The Actors’ Theater is a troupe that performs a few shows throughout the summer in various outdoor venues. They do accept donations, and we also try to pitch in. You should, too! This year, they’re doing promotions with the local eateries. If you eat at the designated restaurant on the designated evening and mention that you’re headed to the show, the restaurant will donate a portion of your bill. Thursday, the night we were there, they were partnered with Schmidt’s Restaurant. (Which I have recommended before and will HEARTILY recommend again.)

And so Hamlet began. Though I’d read it in college (I swear!), I have never seen the show performed live (though, you should ask me about that time I saw The Tempest in Stratford-upon-Avon starring Patrick Stewart as Prospero — TRUE STORY). This version did something a little different, and cast a female actress in the titular role. I love it! The best actor for the job should absolutely be the one that’s cast, and, after all, Shakespeare did all his shows with male actors. Why not do a little gender swapping of our own?

Indy wasn’t quite as entranced, however, and seemed more interested with the other theater-goers and their snacks.

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Husband had to abandon his seat in the interest of preventing a canine meltdown. Indy has this charming habit of crying often, for no clear reason. Just a pointed whine, here, there, and all over Hamlet’s monologue (though that’s no reflection on the actress!). Eventually, we decided to move our little party to the way, way back, where we wouldn’t disturb anyone else. Lucky for me, it was gorgeous there, too.

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As the sun set, we found ourselves in the middle of a constellation of fireflies. Honestly, there must have been twenty of them, popping up all around us. Indy was thoroughly entertained, chasing after the lights before they blinked out. I took the opportunity to admire dusk in the park.

schiller park

Before long, we were both tired of restraining the monster and decided to call it a night (plus the wine was gone). We didn’t get to see the ending, but I know what happens. Even with a bad dog, it was a lovely evening, and I’m grateful for a neighborhood that welcomes such an event, and for the actors and crews that put the show on. We’ll be back for The Barber of Seville! This time, though, we may leave poor Indy at home.

El Arepazo Latin Grill

{alicia}

One of the perks of working in publishing is flexible hours in the summer. We have the option of putting in extra time Monday through Thursday, and once Friday rolls around, we skip out at 11:30 a.m–well, I skip. Everyone else may be a bit more civilized about it.

I use this time to run errands, read or watch Netflix, take long naps, and have drawn-out lunches with my husband (or all of the above). Since he works near downtown, I like to go to his neck of the woods and visit establishments that I am unable to frequent during my usual hours.

One such place is El Arepazo Latin Grill which is only open for lunch (its Gahanna location specializes in wine and tapas, and does have dinner hours if you can’t make it to Pearl Alley). Naturally, I had to make this our kickoff summer lunch.

El Arepazo Latin Grill Columbus OhioThere was a lot of hustle and bustle going on as the Pearl Market was taking place. The market is in the alleyways between Broad, High, Gay, and Third and runs Thursday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Pearl Alley Columbus

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to browse because we had to claim a spot in line–a line that was spilling out the door. Queuing up isn’t the most fun thing in the world, but please stand in this line for me (and you). It will be worth your while, I promise. Kill some time by looking over the menu because once you make it inside, you’ll need to place your order at the register. Throw in a natural juice ($3) while you’re at it. I know, I’m being bossy again, but just listen to me.

Fresh juices at El Arepazo Latin Grill

Doooo it!

My husband is half Tico, so these juices transport us back to Costa Rica, but at a much cheaper cost. Tico Thom ordered the mango juice, and it tasted like sunshine, pura vida, and beaches. Lies. It tasted like the freshest mango, but you know what I’m getting at.

Mango Juice from El Arepazo Latin Grill Columbus

The space has limited seating, so either get your food to go and have a makeshift picnic outside, or do as I did, and hover. Nobody enjoys being a hoverer or being hovered on, but it’s a necessary evil. Either way, we managed to get a table, and without a second to spare! It didn’t take long for my carne asada ($10) and his Mexican sopes ($8) to arrive.

Food at El Arepazo

My meal included marinated skirt steak, rice, black beans, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and arepita. His lunch involved shredded chicken, black beans, mojito, avocado, and lettuce on top of two deep-fried, white corn shells. Both came with El Arepazo’s famous cilantro sauce (you can buy bottles of it for $6 or $9) which was a perfect complement to the meat.

I won’t try to twist your arm or anything, but the carne asada was muy delicioso (oh hai, elementary Spanish) though Thom would argue his was better. You can’t go wrong either way. There is nothing on this menu that I can find fault with–my only complaint is that I can’t eat here more often.

El Arepazo Latin Grill is located at 47 N. Pearl Street, Columbus. Open for lunch everyday except Sunday. Hours are Monday through Friday from 11a-3p and Saturday 11a-4p. 

Foreign Brews, Football, and French Fries

{alexis}

These past several weeks have been epically busy in our household. We’ve welcomed two beautiful and healthy babies into our lives: a nephew and an almost-niece. Aside from that, our house hunt is taking up 150% of our time, and I haven’t made dinner for poor husband in WEEKS. Almost every night we’re crawling through rush hour to get to a new house that usually already has an offer on it. It is TOUGH out there, yo. Nothing is quite right, and everything is over-priced thanks to the sellers’ market.

Wah, poor house-shopping blogger, right? I’ll stop now.

No matter how busy we are, we always have time for good meal (or seven), and a fun night out. What follows is a brief collection of our more recent escapades.

After a late showing in Upper Arlington, we popped into Royal Ginger at the Lane Avenue Shops. We used to visit a good bit when I lived in Grandview, but it’d been a while since our last trip. We started with light, crisp beer. Just what we needed after another house let-down, and the hot night air.

photo 1(1)Aren’t the little glasses adorable? We tend to go over-board when we order sushi, and this night was no different. Here is our embarassingly full plate.

photo 2(1)On our left we have the Scorpion King with soft-shell crab, next to the Mars, then the Cinncinati roll, and on the right is the Golden Dawn. The last is our staple. The tuna and avocado (and who am I kidding — the cream cheese) is a hit every time. Though it was recommended, the Mars wasn’t our favorite, though it was very well done, and the cream cheese on the Cincinnati made that a great success as well.

Later that week, husband had a fancy work party at Ohio Stadium. With a handful of his wonderful co-workers, we celebrated barefoot on the field just after the sun set.

photo 3We usually sit so far away, it is a trip to stand in the middle of the O. The new turf was soft on our feet. Some of us enjoyed ourselves more than others.

photo 4There’s husband and his, um, appropriately themed shoes, dreaming of first-downs and tailgates, while I looked on. Such a fun night.

This past weekend, after touring two houses we didn’t like, we finally got a chance to try Westies Gastropub. I have been dying to go, and just haven’t found the time. I AM GLAD I FINALLY FOUND IT. We got there early, right after they opened and had our pick of seats. I (predictably) chose a seat on the patio. This place is beautiful! The bar is huge, and the fire place looks so cozy. I will definitely choose this place next time husband begs to watch “the game” (there’s always a game, isn’t there?).

Even though it was still “morning,” we began with a round of cocktails, as one does. I went with the bubbly white sangria (seemed like a morning drink), and husband went for the spicy bloody mary. The sangria was crisp, refreshing, and surprisingly potent. Husband’s bloody mary was wonderful — it had a great spicy flavor, and was beautifully garnished with two stuffed-olives and a delightfully salty slice of salami. Now THAT is a bloody mary.

Drinks at Westies Columbus

For lunch, I went with the marinated portabella sandwich. Of course, I ordered it because it sounded great (chimichurri guacamole and chipotle mayo is a food lover’s poetry), but it was astoundingly delicious. The portabella had SO MUCH FLAVOR. We grill them ourselves sometimes during the summer, but ours don’t compare. I would order this again, and again, and then again.

westies portabella sandwichThe fries were another positive: thin, but not overdone, and with a bit of skin visible. Just how I like them!

Husband ordered the Pork Belly BLTE. This is always a favorite of his, but he was thrilled with his selection as well. He thought the pork belly was full of flavor, but without tough fat that is common on many cuts of pork belly. Plus, a fried egg. QUIT IT.

So though we’re busy, we always have time for drinks, fun, and dinner. The house hunt continues, but at least these late evenings give me an excuse to skip the dinner prep and grab takeout. The chefs around here do it a lot better than I do.

Advance Screening of Obvious Child

{alicia}

Obvious Child

Fellow Cbusers, are you still nailing down your Thursday night plans? Our friends at A24 Films are offering our readers free passes to an advance screening of Obvious Child at the Drexel Theatre!

Description: Starring Jenny Slate (aka Jean Ralphio’s sister on Parks & Rec) as a stand-up comedian who gets dumped, fired and pregnant just in time for the worst/best St. Valentine’s Day of her life, Obvious Child premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews ahead of its June 27 opening date. The Guardian compares the film to Frances Ha or Lena Dunham’s Girls, “but it has a bounce and vitality that is inimitably its own.”

Tomorrow looks to be another hot and muggy night, so why not stay cool at the Drexel with a cold brew? Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and claiming two tickets is as simple as clicking here and enter the code: GAEDPZ

Tickets are limited, so get yours quick! Make sure to show up early as seats are first come, first serve! 

The Drexel Theatre is located at 2254 E. Main Street, Bexley.

An Afternoon with Cash Explosion

{alexis}

There were a lot of surprises waiting for me when I moved to Ohio: crazy football fans, countless local restaurants, and more fun than I knew how to have. But my favorite discovery has to be Cash Explosion.

We moved to German Village a few years ago in March, in the middle of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. We didn’t have our cable hooked up yet, so husband high-tailed it to a local bar, while I laid flat on my back on our couch with our tv propped up on the coffee table. Winston and I (my late furry nephew that we happened to be dog sitting) curled up and flipped through the three channels we could get without cable. It was a Saturday, and there was nothing. Until Cash Explosion came on. I was enthralled! What magic local game show had I discovered!

Ever since, whenever we’re at home on a Saturday night, we scramble to tune into Cash Explosion, and for many months I had been begging my husband to escort me to a filming. Believe it or not, it is hard to get tickets! Every time we clicked to reserve our free tickets, we found they were already filled up. I feel like no one but me is even AWARE of the audience in Cash Explosion: WHO is reserving these tickets?!

One magical day several weeks ago, we were able to get our tickets reserved, and we met at the studio in Hilliard on a Thursday afternoon to live my dream. As soon as you arrive the excitement begins, and a very enthusiastic host underneath an inflatable tent selects folks to play a mini Cash Explosion game for prizes.

photo(2)As we were ushered in, we were given raffle tickets (pro tip: bring nonperishables to donate for an extra ticket!) and stadium cushions for comfort. The view on the walk inside the studio is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.

cash explosion

Once inside you get a lesson on how to be excited on camera! The reader’s digest version is watch the camera guy, follow directions, and yell a lot. Pretty simple. Here’s the hype guy.

cash explosionWe practiced our yelling for a little while, and they got shots of the crowd cheering. I’ve got to tell you, my husband is basically a professional cheer-er (I guess the word here is cheerleader, but I can’t do that to him). The man can YELL. And you should hear his clap — it’s like Zeus himself is applauding from Olympus. Thunder rains down on poor people in front of us. Thanks to his skill, it should be no surprise that he won the “enthusiastic cheering” competition, and took home a cooler, a t-shirt, and a few hats as a result.

Eventually, they bring in the talent. The hosts record a few bits of dialogue while the crowd yells and quiets on cue. Then come the contestants; many of the other audience members are there to cheer on a friend or family member, so this part is fun, too.

cash explosionThey play through the whole show, and record a few more host chit-chatting bits throughout, but the whole thing didn’t take more than an hour and half. We were both hoarse at the end, but it was such fun! They do giveaways at several points in the evening, and we won travel cups and lots and lots of lottery tickets (no big winners, sadly).

If you’ve got an afternoon (and can reserve a ticket!), it’s a fun and different thing to do. Be prepared to yell, and laugh, and have a good time.

And, if you’re a fan of the show, ours airs on June 28. Let me know if you see me!

Brunch at The Table

{alicia}

Another month, another brunch with the book club. This time we read Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace. Well, Maria and Lindsay read it. The rest of us kind of hung our heads in shame. At least we didn’t have any trouble reading the drinks menu. Priorities.
Bloody Mary from The Table, Columbus, OhioWe had some stragglers, so we took our time perusing the menu–a pointless endeavor as the majority of us were gaping at the Dutch Baby.

The Table Brunch Menu

I mentioned the Dutch Baby in my last post, but it’s worth fixating on again. The prospect of a hubcap-sized hybrid between a pancake and a popover was too thrilling for us to deny. There’s even a Dutch Mama if you’d rather something the size of a small child–insert inappropriate joke about a Dutch Baby here.

Dutch Baby from The Table, Columbus, Ohio

Here’s the obligatory photo of something other than a Dutch Baby, which frankly, was the star of the day.

Quiche from The Table

I was assured the quiche was delicious, but compared to the pancake it was of no interest to me. One of our more rebellious members ordered the burger, which is another popular item at The Table. It’s composed of local beef, pickled onions, bacon, cheddar, and lettuce on a brioche bun. If you have your wits about you, you would do as our friend and spring the extra couple dollars for a fried egg on top.

Or, just order a Dutch Baby and call it a day (and victory).

The Table is located at 21 E. Fifth Ave., Suite 101, Columbus. Open Tuesday through Thursday from 11a-10p, Friday 11a-11p, Saturday 10a-11p, and Sunday 10a-10p. Closed on Monday. Parking is located behind the building in designated spots, or at meters along High Street.