Thursday, April 21, 2011

nkyin kyin: ALA Conference in Ohio

Saturday, April 16, 2011 - Columbus, OH

Dan & Allison at Home
When we woke up on Saturday, it was pouring, and we'd missed the free breakfast at the hotel. (Luckily, I still had some leftover pizza, so I was much less cranky about the lack of breakfast than Roger was!) We packed up our backpacks (Roger's birthday gift from me was a new one, which he admits is more comfortable than his 10-year-old Jansport), and headed out into the rain.  Once we finally managed to get out of Athens, the drive went smoothly, and eventually the deluge subsided, breaking into warm sun at one point before turning gray again just as we wandered into Columbus.  We were early, and hadn't gotten a hostess gift yet, so we drove around the city for a bit, and searched out a bottle of Maker's Mark for Allison and Dan, who kindly let us stay with them on Saturday night.

This is how adults live.
When we arrived on their doorstep, we found that, not for the first time, we'd forced Dan to come home early from the gym to let us in.  He brought us on a tour of their enormous apartment, which happens to be the second floor of a former convent.  Dan promised us it was haunted, but we didn't see any ghosts while we were there.  I don't think I've ever been in an apartment so large belonging to anyone under the age of 35, so the whole thing - from the full-size dining room table to the bookshelves to the (oh my god) separate offices for each of them - was incredibly impressive to me, and placed our good friends quite specifically in the world of Adults (as if they weren't already there...).  After dropping off our things and taking the house tour, Dan drove us on to campus to meet Allison, who was attending a conference of her own.

Goodale Park
After heading back to the apartment to drop off the car and let Dan shower, the four of us walked through Goodale Park, where pink trees were blooming over adorable couples and dogs ran free on the grass, to the North Market, a big covered market with a variety of vendors, for lunch.  Roger had the biggest samosa I have ever seen, and I had a large and delicious bowl of pho.  We walked up High Street and window-shopped at what looked like some great stores.  We're all broke, so we only stopped in one place, Funky & Functional, this really amazing antique and vintage shop.  It seems that the Midwest is the place to be for awesome pre-owned goods!  They had some really amazing things, including a set of china that looked like a more ornate version of the china I inherited from my grandmother, and a display bowl and candle-holder set that looked exactly like a display bowl I inherited from my grandmother.  Basically, the entire store looked like my grandmother's house must have in the 60s, and, um, that's amazing.  I wanted to buy the candle-holders, but they couldn't be sold without the bowl, so I left empty-handed.
North Market

We wandered a little longer, and walked back to the Allison and Dan's place once the neighborhood started to fall off.  We stopped for beer and I bought a six pack of Columbus Brewing Co.'s IPA.  I wasn't a big fan of it, but it's always nice to try something different.  The four of us hung out for a while at the apartment, catching up.  We hadn't seen each other since Christmas, and most likely won't see each other again until the summer, so it was great to be able to sit down and talk for a while.  Between her first year at grad school and my life suddenly getting busy this year, Allison and I don't speak anywhere near as much as we used to, but I still consider her a very dear friend, and I was so happy to hear about how well she's doing at OSU and in Columbus.  She and Dan (and their two cats - Weezy and Leo) seem so happy there!

The Burgundy Room
After voting on a place to eat, we headed to the Burgundy Room for a really great meal.  This wine bar has a nice selection of "tapas," which are more or less traditional appetizers, kicked up a notch and made with local ingredients.  The food was really good, and the prices were amazing.  For $27 each (including tip), we shared: a pitcher of sangria big enough to give us each three water-glassfuls, truffle oil fries, wild boar corndogs with molasses ketchup, super-flavorful pork sliders, crab cake with poached egg, shrimp & grits, and steamed mussels.  It was the perfect amount of food and wine, and we followed it up with Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, which really lived up to its name.  Aside from having really incredible flavors I've never considered (I had olive oil with sea-salt pepitas and Savannah buttermint - to die for - and Roger had a spicy Bangkok peanut and corn-syrup custard with whiskey and pecans), the man behind the counter was incredible.  Not only did he explain each flavor the way you might at a wine tasting, when he heard we were from New York, he told us the exact location of the Dean & Deluca in Manhattan that carries their pints.  I am a real sucker for knowledgeable customer service, but really?  That guy is fantastic.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
We ended our evening with more chatting, and a viewing of the incredible documentary, Wolverine: Chasing the Phantom.  Who would have thought wolverines were so awesome?  We headed to sleep right after the movie (and, okay, I fell asleep during the movie, because apparently I am 85-years-old) and saying goodbye, since we had to leave at 7am the next morning (because Allison and Dan are not 85-years-old and awake at 7am on Sundays).  The drive home was mostly uneventful, except for a good breakfast we had on the road at Panera and getting stuck waiting to get on the GWB for 45-minutes (about as shocking as the fact that it rained for some of the way home).  Overall, the trip to Ohio was a really nice one.  I think Roger and I have agreed that we won't be doing any more conferences in the Midwest for at least a few months (two within three weeks of each other felt like a lot), but the ALA was really interesting, seeing Roger speak was amazing, and we're so grateful to Allison & Dan for opening their home to us.

1 comment:

  1. Burgundy Room sounds DElish! And how wonderful to see friends. :)