Grub and Swag in Buckeye Country

What better way to spend a fall day by eating falaffel and local cider?

What better way to spend a fall day by eating falaffel and local cider?

In our last post, we touched on some of the delicious sweet treats in Columbus, Ohio, but, really, you should have a nice meal first before wolfing down a cupcake that probably has just as many calories. In this post, we’ll delve into some of the finer veg fare in Buckeye Country, as well as talk about some of the local shopping.

Food – meals

We were only in Columbus for about 24 hours, so logic dictates that we shouldn’t have had that many opportunities to dine, but we made sure to hit up enough of our standbys to tide us over for the next year (or until whenever we venture across state lines again).

Pierogis from Hubert's in North Market.

Pierogis from Hubert’s in North Market.

As mentioned in other posts, we adore North Market. This place has everything: cheesy pierogis, fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwiches, cucumber salad, spicy falafel balls and hummus – all of which we tried while there.

Our favorite stands are Firdous, which specializes in Mediterranean fare. For about $7-$8, you get a meal that can easily be shared among two. Ours came with four falafel balls, greek salad and a ton of delicious hummus with pita. Kitty-corner from Firdous is Hubert’s Polish Kitchen, which has a variety of pierogis that can you order individually.

Tomato-mozzarella sandwich from Pastaria in North Market.

Tomato-mozzarella sandwich from Pastaria in North Market.

On the Park Street side of the market is Pastaria, which offers a HUGE display of stuffed raviolis that locals can take home, including ones stuffed with eggplant, lobster and every sort of cheese on Earth; too bad we live 2.5 hours away! But have no fear! They have some delicious sandwiches that they’ll heat up and press for you on the spot, including the aforementioned tomato-mozzarella sandwich, as well as some salads to help you convince yourself that you’re still trying to be kind of healthy during your binge.

The food’s not bad outside of North Market, either. Unfortunately, our favorite spot, Betty’s, is now closed (tear rolling down cheek), but fast-casual Northstar Café in the Short North district is a vegetarian paradise (it also has plenty of meat dishes). Creative and filling dishes make this place a keeper. We tried the square meal, which was a spicy mountain of beans, rice, avocado, tortilla strips, cheese and more.

Get lost in the 32-themed rooms of The Book Loft.

Get lost in the 32-themed rooms of The Book Loft.

Shopping

One can’t go to Columbus without stopping in the Short North to take in the mom-and-pop stores, boutiques and galleries. Even if you’re poor like us, you can usually still find a good deal or two or, at the worst, fantasize about what your house will look like once you can afford trendy home furnishings.

I won’t go too into everywhere we stopped (as we’ve covered this in previous blog posts), but we try out Le Chocoholique, a trendy chocolate and dessert bar/café, to pick up a few pieces for Caitlyn’s mom, who house- and animal-sat while we were out of town. This place has all sorts of unique – but fancy – chocolates. Gold flecks on the chocolates are the rule, not the exception, at this chocolatier.

We snagged some brownie batter, cookie crunch, espresso and other-flavor chocolates. They’re a little pricey (many are about $2 a piece), but you won’t see candies like this very often.

Mmm ... fancy chocolates.

Mmm … fancy chocolates.

Directly south of downtown is historic German Village. In addition to being the cutest neighborhood in the city, with its brick-lined streets and brownstones aplenty, German Village is also home to The Book Loft, a labyrinth of 32 rooms, each with books pertaining to a different genre.

Now, I don’t normally get stoked about going to book stores, but I get as giddy as a teenage girl being serenaded by Justin Bieber whenever we go here. Perhaps it’s because I feel like I’m in an episode of Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple whenever I’m in there, moving through passages and hallways to find the next great book, but this is a fun place.

Most the books are already on sale, but you can score some extra coupons on its website.

We didn’t go there this time, but Easton Town Center is also a popular shopping destination. This hybrid indoor-outdoor mall features your “normal” stores, but also higher-end places you won’t find elsewhere in the city. Definitely a must-do if you live in an area that doesn’t have access to the likes of Tiffany and Co. or Sur La Table.

It’s a little bit of a drive from downtown, but still within the suburbs and also has plenty of restaurants and even a dine-in movie theatre.

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