All posts filed under: Wander

Tree-lined paths in Brooklyn, New York; Columbus,Ohio, other places

We Should All Be Forest Bathing

Lately, I’ve spent many weekend mornings wandering passed towering steel tracks and shuttered auto shops on the way to Highland Park. Situated on the border of Queens and Brooklyn, Google Maps reveals its a large island of green surrounded by cemeteries of all kinds. Jewish, Christian, non-denominational. It’s not quite an escape from the city — the sounds of the Jackie Robinson expressway and nearby church bells commingle with those of the birds, insects, and wind in the trees — but walking the leaf-strewn paths allows me to ponder and process the current state of things. Wiki tells me that Highland Park is one of the tallest points in Brooklyn (makes sense, given the name), but more importantly, it’s a verdant escape from its humming urban surroundings. For me, it’s the perfect place to practice the art and science of forest bathing. What is forest bathing? I first heard about “forest bathing,” or shinrin-yoku in Japanese, from a podcast Hurry Slowly a couple of years ago. The idea is that by disconnecting from modern life …

Signs of Life Well-Lived in Columbus, Ohio

There’s a particular genre of food writing that I just love, that always gets me right in the feels: Odes to grocery stores. But not just regular, American-style supermarkets, with glaring lights, wide aisles and wild shoppers. Definitely not places Whole Foods, or Fairway, or Wegman’s, or even the Jewel-Oscos or Associateds of the world. I’m talking about international stores, once dubbed “ethnic,” a word which has since (thankfully) fallen out of favor. Whether they’re a one-off mom-and-pop shop in a suburban strip mall, or they’re part of a larger chain — H-Mart, Seafood City, Patel Brothers — the presence of an international-focused supermarket in a community tells me so much about a place. Who lives there, what kind of food nourishes that community, the families and lives of a region, even how time and place have shaped that city or town’s economies. On Saturdays, my family went to 99 Ranch Market in City of Industry, or Greenhills in Diamond Bar — both about 45 and 30 minutes, respectively, from our home in Orange County. …

Sipping October

This article was originally published in the Chicago Tribune. One of my best friends was in town for the first time, so I was showing her my sleepy little corner of Ravenswood Manor. “There are a few breweries nearby,” I offered after we’d walked enough to work up a thirst. “Show me!” she said. We set out east on Wilson Avenue, taking us through Lincoln Square into Ravenswood proper. We stumbled upon Dovetail Brewery and Begyle Brewing Company, which were jointly hosting a cheery little block party. As families and Cubs-clad 30-somethings mingled, we nibbled on golden pretzels and sipped golden ale, happy with our discovery. We could have stopped there, but I’m glad we didn’t. Our glasses empty, I suggested we leave behind the jolly crowd for quieter confines, heading a few blocks north to Band of Bohemia, the brewery-meets-beautiful-restaurant opened last year by two Alinea veterans: former head sommelier Craig Sindelar and former baker Michael Carroll, who has turned his talents toward brewing. Settling in at the bar, we ordered more snacks and a …

Escape from New York: Long Island

  There we were, just wandering through Greenport, Long Island, looking for oysters and wine, when we stumbled upon this buzzy little shack upon the waterfront. Oysters? Check. Wine? You betcha. Owned and operated by Little Creek Oyster Farm, this little bait and tackle shop was the wheelhouse of a whaling ship in a past life before being brought to shore. Sitting mostly empty for the last few years, its current iteration is bright, laid-back and personality-filled as the headquarters and shipping center for the oyster producer. As soon as our group walked in, we were greeted with, “Are you my gin-and-tonic people?” Turns out the girl behind the counter was mine and Fiona’s regular server when we used to frequent Two Boots in Grand Central Station for a post-work happy hour drink! It was a pleasant surprise to run into her so far from New York; she recently moved to Greenport toescape city life, and who can blame her? The village, with its waterfront and smattering of shops and restaurants, is at once charming, welcoming and relaxed. …

World’s Largest Collection of World’s Smallest Version of the World’s Largest Things

“I love finding the bizarre and unexpected that many people pass up because they don’t want to be ‘taken in’ by a tourist trap. I want to see!” So says Erika Nelson, founder and creative mind behind the wandering World’s Largest Collection of World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things. Tourist traps are Nelson’s stock-in-trade, having navigated the country’s backroads and highways in search of the monuments to eccentricity, creativity and good-ole Americana. World’s Largest Things is exactly what it sounds like: curated by Nelson, it is a collection of models resembling those “World’s Largest” things you see on the road when traveling. The World’s Largest Thermometer, Penny, Turkey… You name it, Nelson’s most likely seen it, not to mention created a miniature version of said thing. Eccentric? Absolutely. But to Nelson, it’s much more than that. What started as a childhood way of navigating distance to Grandma’s house became an artistic pursuit involving many logged hours on the road, collecting stories from around the country. Nelson, who’s seen 200 of around 350 “World’s …