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In the center of Ohio, we find the capital of the state, Columbus, which is also the seat of Franklin county. This is a gorgeous city with a beautiful skyline of modern buildings along the Scioto River. The downtown area is very well preserved with many attractions such as the Center for Science and Industry (COSI), the Columbus Museum of Art, in addition to many art galleries on High Street and an extraordinary international culinary experience by many gourmet restaurants. The Ohio State University (OSU) main campus, which is one of the three largest in the nation by enrollment, is located within the city. So, there is a young vibe to the city for the many college students that live here. The German Village and Clintonville are located in the vicinity. Columbus is within an hour ride from Cincinnati through I-71 or Dayton through I-70. My family and I spent a weekend getaway in Columbus and it was a fabulous experience.
On Friday night we hopped on the food adventure ride (Alt Eats Tour). This ride visited five authentic ethnic restaurants with a tour guide. Mi Rancho Kitchen offers the experience of trying out food from El Salvador. We tried out pupusas salvadoreñas, which are a thick flatbread filled with either cheese, chicharrón (a paste of pork rinds), or a paste of beans. These are topped with pickled and spicy cabbage and carrots (cut very thin). This topping has some resemblance to sauerkraut. We also had larger chunks of chicharrón with yucca. At Panaderia Guadalupe we had “churros,” which we enjoyed with the other people riding with us in the van. For the first time, we tried out the bánh mì thịt, an authentic Vietnamese sandwich with French influence. You can get this delicious sub containing Vietnamese baguette and cold port cut from Mi Li Café. The only “Yemeni Restaurant” that offers Middle Eastern Halal food in the entire state of Ohio is also found in Columbus. We tried a dish that had seasoned rice Basmati with tender lamb. We ended the night at Wycliff’s Kitchen where we tasted a delicious sauteed beef stew served with rice and broiled coleslaw. The entire tour lasted nearly four hours, but it is an exciting experience that I highly recommend to those looking out for alternative dishes. We ended up the night by resting very well in our hotel suite.
On Saturday morning we continued our culinary experience by visiting Katalina’s Too Cafe in Clintonville. This restaurant was located about twenty minutes (by car) from our hotel. The experience was unforgettable and even though I have not even told you what I ate I want to go back soon. I had huevos rancheros and Katalina’s pancake balls. Without any doubt, my husband and I had agreed that these are the best huevos rancheros we had ever eaten, and I’ve eaten huevos rancheros from many places. I really wish to know how to make them because they knock out of the park. The dish has two huevos rancheros with chips, sauce, chorizo, and queso fresco. Okay, the pancake balls were new to us and we tried those filled with Nutella and others filled with Dulce de Leche. These were mouthwatering too and unbelievably delicious. Katalina’s blew my mind and my taste buds and I’m glad that Columbus has two locations as they are equally great and they are really busy when we visited.
After the amazing breakfast at Katalina’s Too we enjoyed the crisp morning at the Clintonville Farmer’s Market, which happens to be next to Katalina’s Too Cafe. At the Clintonville Farmer’s Market, you will find fresh produce and fruits as well as flowers, honey, hummus, and coffee! After enjoying a yummy cup of coffee at the Clintonville Farmer’s Market we headed to Saraga International Grocery. This international grocery has almost everything from each country. I love that the aisles are organized by the countries/regions, so you can easily find the products you are looking for!
We also visited the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, which was a blast. This was the first time my daughter, Luciana, visited a zoo. We all enjoyed walking through the park watching the animals. There are animals from all continents such as giraffes, camels, elephants, bats, bison, rhinoceros, lions, tigers, boar, koalas, ducks, polar bears, etc. The list is endless, and it does not matter how many times I visit the zoo, I believe the Bengala tiger is the most striking of all the animals. The orange color and black stripes combined with the gigantic size is stunning. The Halloween theme (Boo at the Zoo) at the park made other kids and Luciana very happy. This was amazing as the Columbus’ Zoo was not only about seeing the animals, but it was also about getting into the Halloween spirit. The zoo and aquarium are very safe and offer a relaxing time to spend with family. There are food stands throughout the facility. We had some hot-dogs with fries and a veggie black bean burger.
For dinner, we headed to the German Village to go dine tapas with sangria at the Barcelona restaurant. The restaurant itself is very elegant and offers a very refined cuisine from Spain. This restaurant makes you feel like you were in Catalunya. The restaurant is decorated with these large mirrors along the wall and dimmed ceiling lights. The restaurant also offers inside seats and outside patio, but because of the low
On Sunday morning, we had brunch at the North Market, which was walking distance from our hotel. This market offers several restaurants with cuisine from many countries such as Mexico, Japan, Somalia, Poland, Nepal, Tibet, among many other places. We ate tacos from Dos Hermanos and double-fried chicken with Chimichurri sauce from Satori Ramen Noodles. Again, these simple dishes were just perfect to start the day with the right foot. There is a good variety of food in this market. The market also offers fresh meat and fish, produce, flowers, cookware, gifts, bakery and as mentioned above many dining options.
After we had so much deliciousness at the North Market. We departed to enjoy a pumpkin spice latte from Stauf’s Coffee Roasters. The freshness of the coffee combined with the foam of the milk and the pumpkin spice flavor was just what I needed to finish my food adventure in Columbus. To end our weekend getaway in Columbus we had to make a last final stop at Short North Art District. If you visit the Short North Art District, you will find a huge variety of local shops, arts and galleries, bars, restaurants, coffee shops and so much more! I highly recommend that you should walk in the streets, so you can enter the different shops and galleries. Plus, you get to experience the art and the happy and charismatic atmosphere. We really enjoyed some local galleries such as The Studios on High. My husband was really impressed by the Columbus city paintings. I also loved visiting other shops such as The Candle Lab and the Karavan Treasures from Turkey store. The Karavan store was just amazing! All the vibrant colors of the lamps from the ceiling to the floor will make you feel like you’re in Turkey. Once you enter the store, you’ll just want to buy everything!
Because I know most of you will love to know about more places to visit in Columbus, I’m sharing the list below with some places you should visit to experience Columbus at its best!
Places to visit:
Other Shops and Art Galleries at Short North Arts District:
As you can see there is so much to experience in Columbus! I hope you get the chance to enjoy a weekend getaway with your family and/or friends. Hopefully, you find this blog post useful for reference to the best things to do and places to visit while in Columbus, Ohio.