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XO: Alicia & Alexis


Bruegger’s Giveaway Winners

Happy Thursday! We’re excited to announce the winners of our Bruegger’s Gift Card Giveaway!

Insert drumroll here…our winners are:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.09.54 PM

Congrats Laura and Mary! We’ll be contacting you shortly with details on redeeming your gift cards. Thank you to everyone who participated. Have a great day!

Festival Latino


This past weekend, Columbus hosted its annual Festival Latino, and after living here for nearly two decades, I was finally able to attend. The festival’s roots go back to the late nineties, so it was about effing time.

Festival Latino, Columbus, OHConsidering my husband is half Costa Rican, you would think this is something he would have gone to at least once. WRONG. Since he’s been to the Asian festival with me a hundred times, I made it my business for us to go to his counterpart. We were both pretty excited–mainly because we both like to eat all the things. This is my priority whenever I go to something like this. Luckily, there was no shortage of delicious food at the festival. I mean…

Festival Latino

Oh hai, skewers of meat.

There were roasted meats as far as the eye could see. I’m talking turkey legs, chicken and pork skewers, carne asada, ceviche–it was madness.

Festival Latino

Observe the meat on a spit.

We ate our way through chicken skewers, red beans and rice, fried chicken, plaintains, and elote. It was awesome. If we didn’t have dinner plans with Thom’s parents that evening, we probably would have kept on going.

Festival LatinoCould you blame us?


That corn though.

Here’s the deal with elote. It’s roasted corn brushed with mayonnaise and rolled in cheese. I’m not even a mayonnaise fan, but this corn was insane. If anything, it tasted like buttered popcorn.

For refreshment, there was the usual tokens for booze or soda, but the biggest draw were the drinks served in a hollowed-out pineapple. Even non-drinkers could partake in some mocktails and juices.

Festival LatinoThere were also the usual booths of shirts, crafts, and jewelry, but I had my blinders on once we hit the rows of food, so sorry, not many photos of that. Well, here’s one.

Festival Latino Columbus Ohio

Along with food and wares, the festival served up live entertainment. Here’s a taste:

I’m not sure where the festival was held in the past, but I really like that it took place at Bicentennial and Genoa Park. Scioto Mile lends itself well to an event like this, especially when the weather is as perfect as it was on Saturday. If you weren’t able to make it out this year, keep an eye on the organizers’ Facebook page for future updates.

Doggy DNA


Yes, it’s that time again: Time for another installment in the charmed life of Indiana Bones. He’s been a fixture on this blog since its inception, and we’re all better for it. I’ve told the story of his adoption here before, but since he was a rescue, we never knew what breeds his parents were. Everyone in the family has had a guess: My mother was convinced he was part Irish wolfhound, and husband swore he was a border terrier.

GUESS WHAT. Now we know! For Christmas, husband bought me a DNA testing kit for canines, by Wisdom Panel, and we FINALLY got organized and sent it in.

So this is your last chance: What is the genetic make up of this beast?

indiana bonesAny guesses?

I swore up and down I knew what he was, and guess what — I was right! Indy is half soft-coated wheaten terrier, and a quarter each beagle and short-haired dachshund.

Shocking, right?

Well, not the wheaten. His hair is almost exactly the same, and explains why he doesn’t shed.

cream-soft-coated-wheaten-terrier-wallpaperIndy has a differrent (okay, cuter) hair cut, but they look pretty similar. And here’s the beagle:

Beagle_892289Those are Indy’s eyes! When he really, really wants whatever it is you’re eating, he knows how to use those big, brown eyes. The dachshund is what really surprised us, though:

dachshund-puppies-standard-long-haired-dachshund-puppies-ashbourne-derbyshire-picturesHe doesn’t really have the long body, but he’s got the longer tail and similar ears.

I know we’re crazy dog people, but the DNA test was SUPER fun, and I have dubbed myself a breed-identifying GENIUS since I got the wheaten right. Just another perk of rescuing a pooch — doing a little digging into the family tree is always a good time!

A Week in the Thumb


Apologies for my absence over the last week, readers. We packed our car full of bathing suits, shorts, and Schmidt’s sausage and headed to Michigan, and eventually, to the thumb. Port Austin, to be specific.

My family has had a house on Lake Huron for longer than I’ve been alive. I know “vacation house” sounds very fancy. Let me be very, explicitly clear: OUR HOUSE IS NOT FANCY. This is one step up from camping. Yes, we’ve got indoor plumbing, but we’ve also got critters, cobwebs, and a draft that would kill you in any season other than summer. To be sure, I’m not complaining: You can throw a paper airplane from the house to the Lake.

What follows is a photo essay of sorts. We took the big girl camera, for once. The sun sparkling off the water in the late afternoon and the dog’s lolling tongue demanded it after all. Let me offer you a tour of the magic of the Great Lakes.

We pulled up on Monday afternoon (exhausted from an all day cowgirl/American Girl birthday party with 30 six-year olds) and it was already gorgeous. We ran outside immediately with the camera, and the dog made a beeline for the lake (is this my dog, or what?).

lake huron heatherstoneThis is a relaxing place. I read three books over the course of the week, and took more than my fair share of naps. My biggest concern every day was the number of cocktails I could consume at 1:30 pm while still enjoying my current novel. As I mentioned, the dog is also a fan.

lake huron island in broken rocks beach at broken rocks indiana bones fetch

We also made friends with a Screech Owl! Our new avian buddy lived in a knothole (this is so To Kill a Mockingbird I will fall over) outside along the drive to my grandparents’ compound. Check him out!

screech owlSweet, isn’t he? Amidst all this fetch and dog-paddling, we made it to downtown Port Austin for the festive, Fourth of July Parade. This is just what you were expecting of a small town, and I’ve got the tractors and Bean Queens to prove it.

downtown Port Austin Port Austin 4th of July Bean QueenCharming, yes? They threw candy and ice pops, and we cheered for the veterans when they marched by. Once the sirens closed the show, we headed home for happy hour number three, nap number six, and eventual fireworks. This is bliss, no?

I always cry when I leave. Living in Columbus, I’m now six hours from Port Austin, as opposed to the two hour drive I’ve been used to. If we can get up there once a year, it’s a small miracle. You know why, right? This place?

broken rocks

broken rocksYou can understand that, right? At the very least, I hope I’ve softened your opinion of that state up North. It was a place made for summer time. And those lakes. They’re a gift, you guys. Go enjoy.

El Arepazo Latin Grill


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. 



The past couple weeks have provided me with enough material to write ten lengthy posts, but for the sake of time and my sanity, we’re going to whittle it down to one. Most of this is stolen from my Instagram, so bear with me if it’s repetitive. I’ll try to add some jazzy descriptions here and there, but sometimes, it’s best to let the pictures do the talking.

Dutch Baby at The Table, Columbus.

Until a couple Sundays ago, I had never heard of a Dutch baby. Okay, semi-lie, I ate poffertjes in Amsterdam which were technically Dutch pancakes, but those were more like puffed pancake balls. The foodporn above is from The Table (separate post on this later), and it’s a flatter affair, thin in the middle, with fluffy edges. Just imagine a hybrid of a pancake and popover covered in fruit–amazing, right. I want one post haste.

I’ve been doing a lot of number-crunching lately (profit and loss statements are the work of the devil), so my brain has been a little crispy. I am not a numbers person, and tend to get frustrated over math, so my husband kindly wrenched me away from the computer to get me a decent lunch. A trip to Northstar helped take my mind off gross margins and sales to plant ratios (I hate that I even know what this stuff means), at least for a little while. Delicious Cane Cola also helped.
Northstar Cafe Chopped Salad in Columbus

Salad cancels out ice cream, at least in my world, so a trip next door to Jeni’s was a done deal.

Jeni's Ice Cream Columbus

After sampling the new Cultured Key Lime Pie Frozen Yogurt (a bit too tart for my tastes), I ordered a scoop of Buckeye State and Savannah Buttermint (peppermint ice cream with white chocolate stracciatelle). Thom got his usual (Buckeye State and the Milkiest Chocolate in the World), and we hunkered down on a stoop to eat ice cream in the sun. As I sat there, catching drips of ice cream running down the cone, I forgot for one blissful moment that I had to go back to my budgetary doom. Being an adult is hard sometimes–that is, until you remember why it’s kind of awesome. We can do whatever we want! I woke up on Saturday and declared I wanted to have breakfast at Starliner Diner and visit the giraffes. So we did. Take that, numbers!

Giraffe at the Heart of Africa, Columbus Zoo

I’ve got to hand it to the Columbus Zoo–they have done a phenomenal job of reconfiguring its layout and adding this Heart of Africa exhibit. The habitat is huge (43 acres), and at certain hours of the day, you can feed the giraffes ($3). Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stand in this line, but it wasn’t a problem as there were polar bears to squee over.

Polar Bear at the Columbus Zoo

Speaking of bears, I finally made my way to Bareburger, and it was everything Alexis said and more. I can confirm the ketchup is tasty (the lack of HFCS makes a difference), and that they are planning on adding the brunch menu and spiked slushes soon. I was pretty disappointed that I couldn’t have a slush, so I dragged everyone to Denmark Hall after our meal.

A cosmopolitan at Denmark HallThis is a snazzy little spot overlooking High Street, and a perfect place to sip something cold and people watch. We were in and out for a nightcap, but there’s plenty of low couches and high tables if you want to hang out for awhile.

What is the opposite of a nightcap? I’m serious. Is there even a word? Whatever it is, I had one in the way of a doughssant from Auddino’s Bakery somewhere along my travels. Remember the cronut craze of 2013? As if you can forget that madness. Columbus has been harboring its own version for twenty years now. And here’s the rub. You don’t have to stand in a batshit line or pay an arm and a leg to try it. It’s a swell…morningcap?

Doughssant and treats from Auddino's.

Doughssant, coconut-filled cookie, and chocolate chip cookie.

Challenge of the Day: Twenty house points to the person who gives me a satisfactory antonym to “nightcap” or at least a hilarious made up version to add to my vernaculary (also a made up word).

Update: Eyeopener, deoch an doris (not made up, but from Gaelic), and anti-fogmatics.