Monday, March 14, 2016

Another fun weekend in Columbus

Another busy weekend largely spent near the OSU campus and the edge of Short North.
Saturday afternoon we drove to the Gateway Film Center with the intention of seeing yet another Studio Ghibli film - this time, "Princess Mononoke." However, as sometimes happens, the dubbed version proved to be very popular. In spite of arriving somewhat early (since I wanted to stop in to Cold Stone Creamery for some ice cream), it was already sold out, so we went to Plan B - see "Zootopia" instead. We were going to see it the next morning while having brunch at The Movie Tavern, but nixed that plan in light of the current situation.
In spite of seeing the same trailer for "Zootopia" over and over again, it still proved to be a delightful film with lots of surprises (including an ending I definitely didn't see coming). My favorite scene was when Judy's parents were telling her how it's good to have dreams, but you don't necessarily have to follow them. Sometimes you have to settle, and settle hard, like we did! Laughable, but true, so true...
After the film we still had over an hour to kill before we had to be in Short North for our 5pm meadery tour and tasting at Drake Brothers. I think the first store we went into was the Hippie Hut - Guitars and Things. The 'and things' refers to pipes (for a "special" kind of smoking), record albums (hopefully I'm not the only one out there who still remembers wax?), t-shirts, etc. I actually purchased a cool-looking b/w t-shirt that has an overlay of circles on it - much like lots of little record albums. For $10 I couldn't resist.
Next door is a similar shop, but with more clothing and novelty-themed items (in addition to more pipes and little hand-made cloth bags to store them in). I loved their awesome collection of retro patches, many with a sort of 'Peace and Love' message. I will definitely have to come back once I decide what to sew them on. The store mascot appears to be a very mellow (female) bulldog who delighted in waddling around the store to personally greet to each of the customers. I liked the necklaces, tie-dyed hoodies and hand made purses. Except for the necklaces, most of these items would have pushed my budget, so we ended up leaving empty-handed.
Across the street and down a little ways we stopped into a retro toy store (called "Evil Twin") that sells pop culture items from perhaps as far back as "Scooby Doo" up to more recent cult favorites like "Walking Dead." A slice of my childhood definitely resided in that store. That's the first time I have ever seen box upon box of movie/TV trading cards like I used to collect. I think I donated my collection to Goodwill, but if I am wrong about that, I know where to take them! Although I would have liked the funky "Partridge Family" lunchbox ($90), I settled instead for a miniature Ms. Easter Bunny Potato Head knick-knack and some McDonald's Happy Meal transformers to add to my collection.
Next door to that is an interesting store that sells a lot of Japanese toys that reference unfamiliar- to-me TV programs or movies? but are super cute (and not cheap!). Had we had more time to kill, I might have selected something. They even had sheets of puffy stickers ($2) for those on a more modest budget.
I also want to give a shout-out to 'Out of the Closet' second-hand store, which we definitely didn't have time to visit (but I stuck my head in briefly to see what it was like inside), but I'd quite like to go there when I have more time to shop. It's a thrift store which benefits an Aids charity, something we don't seem to talk about much today since Aids publicity seemed to go out of vogue once the 80s ended, but sadly the disease still hasn't been eradicated (especially in Africa). There are worse places your money could be spent (I'm looking at you Walmart).
A little before 5pm we made our way over to the Brothers Drake Meadery tucked away behind Out of the Closet. Since our tour included a sampling of the mead, they gave us our glasses (shot-glass size) and filled them up while we waited for our group to gather. Since it was a warm day, the patio was open, so people congregated out there as well as near the Japanese food truck on the other side. After a few sips of mead, all was well with the world!
Eventually our group was shown to the back where the mead is processed and bottled. Since there's lots of different flavors incorporated into the mead, Andrew and I wondered at which point those flavors (like lemon, blueberry, apple, etc.) are added, so I asked when the opportunity presented itself. Turns out it is added early on, left to age a bit, then more flavor is added later. Like many companies in Columbus, they use locally sourced products (the honey, water and whatever other fruit or herbs). However, they did say they're owned by the San Francisco Mead Company, so that's probably how they maintain financial stability.
During the tour we got to sample the Bergamot Blue (which we later purchased), the Apple Pie, Ginger Verve, and either the Blueberry Chai or Scarlet Solstice. I forget which. By this point I was in such good spirits the thought never occurred to me to take notes (or photos). Afterwards we sampled another mead with a very strong coffee flavor. Although interesting, not sure it's one I'd care to have on its own (though they are excellent when mixed with other liquors to create exotic cocktails). It would probably work well in Tiramisu.

We later plan to buy a bottle of the Apple Pie since we think that would be a fun one to share with the family in the autumn. I did learn that mead can be both sweet or dry, depending on how long you age it and what you add (I'm just guessing there since I really have no idea). We sampled both sweet and dry mead and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the samples. I had expected them to all be sickly sweet, but they definitely weren't.
While walking down High Street looking for somewhere to have dinner, I spotted a shop I've always wanted to browse in called "Flower Child." It's an antique store. Half is clothing and accessories (including lots of train cases and other misc. luggage and purses) and the other half is household items. I heard more than one person (including myself) say their grandma had this or that item. Now I know where to take Grandma Goff's salt and pepper shakers. I bought a little handmade (leather?) purse for $10 to add to my "little purses" collection.
Love the funky hat!
We ended up having dinner at Basil (Thai) Restaurant since it wasn't busy enough to require reservations. It certainly lived up to its excellent reputation as both the food and ambiance was good. We split an order of crab cream cheese wontons; Andrew had the pepper steak while I had the pineapple (chicken) curry. They even gave us extra rice to take home with our leftovers.
While walking back to the car I told Andrew how much I missed walking places all the time, like we did in the UK. Of course the novelty eventually wears off and you start to appreciate having a car, but it was still fun walking up and down High Street on the 65+ degree sunny/cloudy day.
I also decided this was going to be like day #2 of my birthday weekend (since we already celebrated day #1 a few weeks ago when we went to the Wex and then to the cinema). Who says you actually have to celebrate your birthday on the actual day? (especially since, so far, the weather is supposed to be total crap on my actual birthday). We did that at Christmas, so I think we're going to keep up this tradition. After all, it is a free country.

To finish off the day we watched another installment of "Back in Time for the Weekend - the 1980s," which was somewhat appropriate having spent so much time browsing in antique stores earlier in the day. This seems to be the decade where electronics took over and put a fracture in quality family time. I love when the Ashby-Hawkins' received their VCR and the two kids (12 and 17) weren't quite sure what it was. Later in the episode 12-year-old Seth and his friend rent a couple movies from a local Blockbuster, which neither Andrew, nor I, are quite certain even still exist in the UK since the last one closed stateside probably half a decade or so ago. Definitely an enjoyable episode with lots of color (blue eye shadow), funky patterns (which I still miss), and a power suit with big shoulder pads (remove the shoulder pads and the suit would still work today).
Daisy, stop stenciling your brother!
We'll probably finish off the series next weekend since the 90s is the last decade covered.
Have a good week everyone!

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