Why it’s important to do your homework before moving to another city, and why Columbus won’t disappoint.
At least I was, 10 years ago when I came to Columbus for my undergraduate degree at THE Ohio State University. But when do you actually start saying you’re from a city, not just living there, not just going to school there? Is it when you can tell someone new to the city where the best pizza or sushi in the city is? Or is it when you found your own little secret place that even someone who has lived their entire life here has never heard of? These were the kinds of things I needed to know, wanted to know before I moved out here.
I had my reservations about coming to Columbus. I was a little bit of a snob, (hey, my high school was the basis for 90210. Can you blame me?) a burgeoning foodie, and a shopaholic. Growing up in DC/MD, I had access to all the best shops, concerts, cultural centers and an ethnically diverse population that demanded not only an incredible variety of restaurants but that these restaurants be top of the line. Moving to the Midwest was not as glamorous as moving to NYC or Malibu like a lot of my friends were. But I wanted an adventure and I wanted my wanderlust to take me somewhere I had to work without a safety net like classmates or family.
Before I took the plunge and said yes to OSU, I did my research. I wanted to know all about the shops, concert venues, restaurants, the gay scene, campus life, public transportation, etc. I wanted to have jump off points as places for me to start exploring this city and make it my own. I was not disappointed.
That’s the great thing about Columbus. We have such a diverse population that if you’re a hipster or a punk or a prep or an alt or a gay or a jock or a college kid or a foodie or an art snob or anything else under the sun, you can not only find a niche here, you can carve out a whole new scene and watch it flourish.
Did you notice I said we? Yeah, it slips sometimes. Now and then I say, “Oh yeah, I’m from Columbus,” instead of saying “I live in Columbus” or “I go to school in Columbus.” I have definitely made this city my home for the past ten years and at least the next two years as I return to OSU to pursue my MLHR degree.
Over the year I’ll be taking you to places around the city that are definitively Columbus and to some places you may not have even heard of, so you can make this city your home and whatever else you want it to be.
Expenses on food are the largest portion of my living cost besides rent. And the major account related to food is Inventory (raw material, work-in-process, and finished FOOD in Fridge). How to keep cost low, increase inventory turnover, while still maintaining your finished food’s quality become the main concern in the kitchen. Here are some tips followed by examples.
1. Refurbish leftovers.
If you have some meat left from last meal or some leftovers from your doggie bag, mix them with fresh ingredients and create a new dish. Example: Roast chicken sandwich. I used the roast chicken left over from previous meal, and layered them with veggie and cheese on flat bread.
2. Diversify your products.
Example: Garden corn chowder. I figured I could never finish the milk I had in fridge before its expiration date. Coincidentally some fresh corns were on sale. This dish added delights to my day and also reduced the obsolete cost in production.
3. Look at what you have in the fridge.
Many people like to stock up on-sale items in their fridge to lower their raw material unit cost, so do I. However, many times I found these goods deprecate faster than I can consume them. So based your production on what you have in the fridge, instead of on what is on the shelves in store. Example: Apple kiwi grape smoothie. I opened my fridge one day and saw the drying grapes. The kiwis were there for weeks and the bottle of ginger ale was occupying the space of my fridge. Simple enough I put all the peeled fruits and drink in the blender, adding an apple to increase the thickness.
4. Last but not least, Bento!
If you cook too much, just pack everything in your lunch box (a bento). It will save you time from running back and forth to grab lunch plus the food is totally homemade!
Lately I’ve been pigging out a lot and this weekend was no exception. We tried out a new Italian place this time called BRIO Tuscan Grille. This is a new one for Tiffany and I, since we don’t have BRIO in Texas. For starters, in addition to the bread, we got some Calamari Fritto Misto or simply fried calamari dripped in some really yummy mayonnaise (I’m guessing) sauce.
Then, for the main course, I had my eyes set on the Garganelli Carbonara the moment I opened the menu because I have really low resistance for white sauce mixed with bacon and extra cheese. However, Tiffany beat me to it and picked this one so I had to improvise. After requesting extra time twice with our waiter, I decided to settle for some Lasagna Bolognese Al Forno. And man this lasagna turned out to be a big food coma inducer.
We were kind of shocked when the waiter brought the entrees over. 1) They were gi-normous, and 2) they weigh like a ton. My lasagna weighed at least 20lbs and when I joked with the waiter why he didn’t say anything when we placed the order, he goes “well you look like you can eat a lot”. LOL. gee thanks~ Nevertheless, we initiated contact with the food and put up a fight. I threw in the towel with about 1/3 left and I was ready to take a nap at that point because of all the cheese and pasta. Tiffany couldn’t pull it off either so we had 2 to-go boxes with us on the way home. As for the rest of the day I was sort of half-asleep and half-awake and reading the FASB Codification certainly didn’t help. So I told my laptop to go hibernate and I grabbed a blanket and also made up some Zz’s that I missed in the past couple of weeks.
One last note, you can get gift cards for these restaurants at the union for $15. The gift cards are good for $25 so it’s quite a bargain. You can only get them once per quarter so go get them while they last!!!
If you are like me, Lunch is probably the highlight of your school/work day, it is the delineation from being really, really tired in the morning, to being exhausted in the afternoon. But at least my tummy won’t be growling. This far in my Fisher experience, lunch usually means Free Food! Which Usually means Free Papa John’s Pizza! It hasn’t gotten old yet, but I suspect that it may soon. In the off chance that free pizza may get boring, I decided to see what other operations were available to me around Fisher. Luckily, as I was staring wistfully out a third-story window in Gerlach, I saw the enticing red block lettering of Tommy’s Pizza and Subs.
I made the 5 minute walk across Lane Ave with a member of my cohort to the homey and cozy interior of Tommy’s, which reminded me a lot of the inside of a bowling alley, without the whole bowling part. The menu is pretty standard for your general neighborhood pizza/sandwich place, but what turned me on this very day was the lunch special: Half an oven toasted sandwich, side and drink for just under 6 dollars.
I got a turkey sandwich and french fries with a coke. In all honesty, it wasn’t the best sandwich I have ever had, but it wasn’t the worst either. However it was much superior to the Subway in the quickie mart next-door or the pre-made wraps sold in the cafe in the nearby architecture school, even though all 3 options were sold at basically the same price-point.
I’ll probably be going back the next time there isn’t free food during lunch… which I hope doesn’t happen for a long time. Tommy’s has a website… just in case you want to plan ahead before your trip.