Wednesday, October 26, 2005


After the gun store, it was onward to lovely Columbus, Ohio. Definitely more mellow. I've been there a few times over the years, and it's very sweet there. Very community-ey. I know that's not a word, but it should be. There are sweet little art events every time I go. This time it was sidewalk art.

half a frog

Different local groups and companies were allotted squares and chalk and they went to work. Here's one almost done:
fleur de sidewalk chalk

Here's a kooky theme one by a bar:
Martini Dress

Parked nearby were these cool art cars:
Art Car


See? Community-ey. And very sweet.

Does it seem like I am trying to butter you up on how arty and cultured Columbus is so I can cushion the blow of something less so? Because I totally am. Try to think of all of your stereotypes about Ohio. I am going to blow them out of the water.

Or not.
I wonder why
Yes, that's really a Wonderbread Factory. You can smell the sweet scent from a few blocks away.

Who remembers this gem?
Chateau Blanc
If you know what a White Castle is, you're already grinning. Sacks of tiny square burgers with grilled onions on top. That's about all you need to know. I was sorry to see that they'd been taken in by the newfangled fast food combo-trend, but then again I was just reading in some book how the big castles in Europe back in the day used to have their own built-in church. So this corporate merger was actually kind of inevitable.

Here's a classic:
The Royalty of Milk Products

I've always liked Dairy Queens, because they remind me of the midwest. More precisely, they remind me of the imagined midwest I created in my head as a california child listening to my father's stories. It was a fuzzy dull colored place, like the photos from the 70's he'd brought with him when he came out west. The midwest of my imagination was always sunny with golden wheat fields and beige bellbottoms and then sudden insane blizzards and twelve foot snowdrifts out of nowhere that usually cropped up when I was complaining about my long (but sunny) walk to school. When I actually went to the midwest as a teenager, I was surprised there were still Dairy Queens present- it seemed like a quaint artifact.

Dairy Queens are cool, but the name doesn't make any sense at all. Who the heck is a Dairy Queen? And what in the world about that name makes you want to eat ice cream?

The Unionized Milk Growers
This is basically a 7-11 with gas. But it's called United Dairy Farmers. Clearly there was some kind of political shift from the Dairy Monarchy to a Dairy Farmer's Union. The secret lives of milk cartons are not for us to question or understand.

The mart of milk
Ack! Will it ever end? What is it with these people! How much milk could they possibly be drinking?!?

Dari What??
You can't fool me! Spell it wrong all you want, I still know what you're trying to say! You all HATE vegans! I get it!

Moving right along.

Ohioans clearly love dairy, they also LOOOOVE their Ohio State football team, the Buckeyes. They love a team of sweaty college students who are on a team named after... a nut. A nut that grows on a local tree and just so happens to be poisonous. Go Buckeyes!

Folks all over town have these flags depicting said poisonous nut:
Ohio State
And also the the T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs... everything. On game day, the campus area is FULL of red t-shirts. It's hard to picture a town so gung ho about other poisonous things, you never hear thousands chanting, "GO ARSENIC!" but these Ohioans make the best of every situation. They've transformed their deadly mascot into a nutty treat:
That's the version done by one of the town's gourmet chocolatiers, with organic ingredients and everything. Looks fancy, right? It's basically a homemade peanut butter cup, but a little bit rounder. They are delicious. (Note the unnecessary butter in the ingredient list, looks like the Dairy mafia got to them, too.)

More chocolate! Columbus is a jewel of the midwest, with amazing cultural delights.

Or, Fine "Dinning" if you prefer:

Let's see, that takes care of food and sports, what else... oh right! You may have heard that Ohio has some percentage of churches that have a conservative bent. But see here, they are actually totally open:
We love you right back, weirdo church people
Seriously, I have no idea what that church is thinking. Is this supposed to be marketing? If I wanted to join their church and I walked in the first day and they were all REALLY nice would I suddenly feel self conscious? That particular sign was across the street from where we stayed, so each morning I'd have a wave of wanting to go up and walk in with like caked dirt in my hair and cuss words flying out of my mouth and tell them that I loved them too, and I'd be staying for dinner. Somehow I never quite got to it.

Speaking of kooky churches:
Church of the longest name ever
I felt I had to display this sign here in Iomi's Computer Written Chok Full of Bad Jokes Blog of Fire and Mirth of California, Hawaii, and Some Other Places.

That name too esoteric? Here's your straightforward:
The only two things you need in life
Smoke n' Page! Brilliant! I had always hoped someone besides street vendors would corner that market on items that are in that grey zone between "solidly out of style" and "quite a few years left until it's retro." Smoking and Pagers. I love it. Do they have those spray painted denim "dress-up" overalls in there with a bedazzled picture of a sunset and Debbie Gibson's face on the back? They even accept checks. They are so cornering that market.

If any of the things I've shown you are driving you to drink:
Drive thru liquor store
A drive through liquor store. You drive up to a vinyl-sided warehouse looking thing, and then drive right in and that's what you see. Workers run up to your window and ask what you want and then hand it through your window as you palm them the cash. Maybe it's the Oakland girl in me, but it really felt like we were driving up to buy stolen VCRs or something instead of a sixer of Tecate. But look there, they have chips and candy, so you know it's legit.

All in all, we had a great time in Ohio. One last thing: my friend told me about this pate she'd eaten at a party. She said it was delicious and I know you don't know her, but trust me, she has good taste. I was interested in the story because she was obviously going to share the recipe with me. She giggled and explained that she had been impressed that this other partygoer was responding to compliments by explaining that she'd made the "Chateau Blanc" pate at home... fancy. Then, in secret, she revealed this regional recipe with my friend, which I will now share with you lucky readers:


1 bag White Castle burgers, wrappers and bag removed, pickles, onions, and buns included
1/2 bottle affordable white wine

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, blend until smooth. Shape on a serving platter and serve with crackers.

Serves: everyone who doesn't know the recipe.

Viva Ohio!


At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the description of the mid west through your dad's memories! More recipes please.

At 6:33 PM, Anonymous kathleen said...

oh my god dude, that drive through liquor store is HILARIOUS.

At 2:43 AM, Blogger Sith Snoopy said...

This was totally awesome!

If all you'd posted was the Dairy Queen and the drive-through liquor store, it still would have been totally awesome!

Ok, and the White Castle pate recipe. ;)

Suddenly I'm hungry for White Castle and Dairy Queen! I can't remember where in California we still have Dairy Queens. I can only get White Castle in the frozen section of the supermarket. :(

At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Katie M said...

That's home! Yay!

At 6:44 AM, Blogger xine said...

you left out that the drive through liquor stores are on every corner that a ridiculously named church is not. Very Very Very convienient. I don't know how people live without them!! you can buy sunglasses and paintings of native americans on shelacked tree trunks and everything!
Oh, and an expert's tip on the recipe for pate du chateu blanc: its really best if you use 2 buck chuck from trader joes, and never never use a cheeseburger


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