(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

{by: alicia} Though my travesty of a phone decided to crash and wipe away all of my recent photos, I still managed to cobble together a post. VICTORY. Here’s a peek at what has been going on lately (if you’ve guessed lots of food/eating, you win):

{A wondrous lunch date at Katalina’s}

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Pancake balls and tacos with a mini elote.

Let’s zoom up on those famous pancake balls. Try not to eat your screen.

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Nutella-filled with a side of sweet and spicy bacon!

{Getting some culture with a side of booze}

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{Satisfying a bunch o’ burger cravings}

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Burgers from B Spot with a side of rosemary fries.

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Philco’s burger & fries + slightly obscured huevos rancheros.

{Asian food for days}

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Pajeon from Kaya with some old co-workers.

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Spicy rice cakes and spicy tofu soup with the sis at Silla. Just give us spicy everything.

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Rolls from Rishi Sushi.

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A hot bowl of ramen from Rishi.

{Cold treats because the sun is still shining}

Campfire S'mores milkshake from Steak 'n Shake. ORDER THIS MAGIC NOW.

Campfire S’mores milkshake from Steak ‘n Shake. ORDER THIS MAGIC NOW.

This was mostly an excuse to eat cheesecake bites, but the pumpkin and marshmallow froyo was on point.

This was mostly an excuse to eat cheesecake bites, but the pumpkin and marshmallow froyo was on point.

In conclusion: Always backup your iPhone.

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End of Summer Recap

Nobody on the road, nobody on the beach/I feel it in the air/the summer’s out of reach/Empty lake, empty streets/The sun goes down alone/I’m driving by your house/Though I know you’re not home.

{by: alicia} I’m not at all dramatic; Don Henley is. Ugh, I’m not ready for the summer to end. Didn’t it just begin? I haven’t even finished my Summer Checklist yet! As Alexis mentioned yesterday, how is it already September? Are we the only ones who are panicking here? Though I’m not ready for Old Man Winter to make his unwelcome return, I can at least take comfort in knowing it’s been a great three months. I spent most of it in Columbus:

Columbus, Ohio

But I did make some trips out of town (as you may recall here and here).

Road trip

Don’t be deceived by the loveliness. We were in stopped traffic on the freeway FOREVER and I wanted to Hulk smash everything.

Since I previously talked about my summer vacation in great length, I’ll spare you the details and touch on the road trip in general. It was long. The longest I have ever been stuck in a car (11 hours–I know, some of you are scoffing). To make it easier on me, I required multiple pitstops. Exhibit A:

Cookout Menu

FORTY MILKSHAKE FLAVORS! YEAH YEAH YEAH!

We encountered Cookout in the Carolinas, and I was SOLD by the sheer amount of milkshake flavors. Also, chicken nuggets, wraps, and quesadillas were considered a side dish! #America! This was junk food at it’s finest (and my Oreo mint shake was ah-mazing).

Cookout tray

There was also a major life shift this summer when I quit my job to work at a startup (so far, so good!). I coped with this transition by attending a lot of celebratory dinners.

Korean food

Sister made me a Korean feast complete with soju.

I’ve eaten pretty well these past few months (must bulk up for hibernation, right? CRY). Behold, a photo essay:

Bibimbap from Mr. Sushi

Bibimbap from Mr. Sushi

Chocolate and wine

Wine and chocolate with friends.

Bingsoo from the Tea Zone.

Bingsoo from the Tea Zone.

Rishi sushi

Lovely sushi from Rishi.

Tehku Bubble Tea

Coconut bubble tea from Tehku. SO GOOD.

I guess I did other things besides eat, work, and make the occasional trip out of town. I also went to a handful of concerts (see: Mr. Jones and Me). One night, Alexis and I gathered the troops and spent an evening with the Columbus Symphony and Ben Folds. It was excellent.

Ben Folds with the Columbus Symphony

Hmm, I suppose I did make a sizable dent in my to-do list. I haven’t really thought ahead to autumn (denial and all), but I’m sure it will involve buying a lot of sweaters, candles, and consuming cider/pumpkin treats. Ugh, when I put it that way I’m almost looking forward to it.

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.

A Mental Detox

{alicia}

Happy Monday! (I know, that’s a bit of an oxymoron. Just go with it). With Alexis in San Diego this week, I’m holding down the fort. I have quite a bit of material from the past couple weeks, so this post is going to be a bit of a mishmash.

Lately, life has been chaotic. You know how they say things happen in threes? I’m starting to buy it. In the past month, my husband has shattered an iPhone screen, my washing machine has died, and the contractors who installed the new washing machine caused a slow leak that flooded my bedroom. Blah.

I’ve been surprising zen about the matter (after a meltdown or two), and we are still living in a state of disarray while we wait for the company to process our claim and fix what they’ve ruined. My current mantra is “it could be worse,” and it’s helping me put things in perspective. We’re all healthy, with a roof over our heads, and lot of life to look forward to, like delightful dinners with family.

The Black Orchid at Ocean Club. Made from St. Germain Elderflower Liquor.

My favorite cocktail ever.

Can someone help a girl out and tell me where I can acquire St. Germain Elderflower Liquor in Ohio? The Black Orchid at Ocean Club is my jam, but at $12 a pop, I’d rather consume glasses of this on my patio for a fraction of the price. Though, in order to have drinks on my porch, it needs to warm up again. This spring has been such a tease, hasn’t it?

Work has also been kicking my ass, but I’ve been able to work from home here and there. It’s made for long, but super productive days, and I’ve managed to knock  some big projects off my to-do list. Lunching at home is another bonus.

Piada cannoli gelato

The epitome of a mouthgasm.

Oh, and when I say lunching I mean eating desserts. I saw that Piada added gelato to the menu, and all of my good intentions went right out the window. Worth it though. The chocolate cannoli marble gelato was out of control. Now I need to go back and try the strawberry marble version (vanilla bean gelato spun with strawberries, granola, and strawberry syrup), but there’s a salty caramel version as well–ahh, the struggle.

What they need is a gelato sampler, so that gluttons like me can have it all. Sort of like this awesome bento box lunch I ordered from Akai Hana this past weekend:

Akai Hana Bento Box LunchThis was the bento box of the day ($11) and almost way too much food for me (I said almost). Unpictured is the miso soup and salad that comes with the meal. Thom went with something a bit less compartamentalized.

Spicy shrimp roll and eel cucumber roll.

Spicy shrimp roll and eel cucumber roll.

Afterwards, we went next door to Belle’s Bread where I almost had a panic attack over the sheer amount of goodness. I WANTED ALL THE THINGS. I have more to say about this place, but I’m going to save it for a separate post.

My spoils.

To the victors go the spoils.

We walked away with a cream puff, chocolate croissant, and a slice of strawberry cake. All were demolished in less then five minutes.

After the wonder at Belle’s, we stopped by another wonder. Samba FRESH, a relatively new pressed juice bar that I have been curious about.

SambaFRESH pressed juice

Full disclosure: I know nothing about juicing, but it turned out to be a non-issue. The proprietors were extremely knowledgeable, and we were offered endless samples once it was clear we were newbies. We started with fruity juices before moving onto green juice and finishing with a protein version. The Proteina Plus was actually one of my favorites–it legit tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal milk.

Thom’s favorites were of the fruit juice persuasion, and after deliberating between Hidrate and Sol, he went with the brighter option.

Thom's juice.

Thom’s juice.

Despite my affinity for the protein drink, I looked towards a compromise between fruits and vegetables, and found it in Belo. I recommend this one for those who aren’t huge fans of “green” tasting drinks.

My juice.

My juice.

After the weeks we’ve had, a detox is sorely needed, not just in diet but mentally as well. This is why my sister and I are going to take a road trip to Nashville next weekend. I can’t wait to skip around the different neighborhoods, drink coffee, stalk Jack White, and eat all the things. First, I need to get through this week. Let’s make it a positive one!