Kolache Republic

IMG_5973Well, on the day before we celebrate the founding of the American Republic, Kish and I discovered Kolache Republic.  It was a pleasant discovery, indeed.

Kolache Republic is one of those restaurants that you hear about through word of mouth.  It’s located in an unassuming brick building on South High Street, on the western edge of German Village.  It’s legendary among German Villagers for serving the best inexpensive breakfast in town.  We’ve been meaning to give it a try, and today we finally got there.

IMG_5976Unfortunately, we did not get there in time for breakfast.  Kolache Republic is one of those places that makes its fare and sells it, and when it’s gone — it’s gone.  By the time we arrived around noon, the breakfast kolaches were gone.

Fortunately, however, the KR was still serving lunch, and that meant that one of the two stalwarts running the shop told me about the Cuban sandwich kolache, made with shredded pulled pork and sausage.  The meat is baked inside the bread, and the result is incredibly moist and flavorful.  Served with some spicy, bright-tasting mustard sauce on the side, it was ridiculously good — in fact, it was one of the best meat and bread concoctions I’ve had in years.  It was so good I can’t wait to spring it on Dr. Science, who usually is the person who is in-the-know on great restaurants that are off the beaten path.  And, the Cuban sandwich kolache was a downright bargain at only $6.95.

The whole meal, which also included a blueberry and sweet cheese kolache, a pecan kolache, and two excellent cups of coffee, was a steal at about $15.00.  It made me more than happy to contribute to the “college fund” tip jar next to the register.

As I said, Kolache Republic is one of those hidden gems that you hear about only through word of mouth.  Consider yourself clued in.

Independents’ Day, 2011

Independents' Day, as seen from my Gay Street office window

Today, September 17, 2011, is Independents’ Day — on Gay Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio, at least.  It’s a day worth celebrating.

Every year, on a selected autumn Saturday, various Columbus “independents” — cultural organizations, food truck operators, local crafts people, beer sellers, restaurants, artists, musical groups, and many other — gather on Gay Street and in nearby Pearl and Lynn Alleys to put on what has become part party, part street festival, part music venue, and part general zaniness.  It’s one of the things (along with the presence of our law firm, of course) that makes Gay Street by far the coolest street in downtown Columbus.

This is, I think, the fourth year that Columbus has celebrated Independents’ Day.  I last went in 2009, and the event has grown considerably since then.  Once the music started at the Athens Business Remixed Stage, which is right beneath my office window — a really fine band called Enrique Infante that played Caribbean/Tex-Mex music that made you want to dance — there was really no point in trying to continue with work, so I did the circuit.

A food truck with a great sense of humor

There were dozens of food trucks, food stands, and places where you could wet your whistle with beer and wine.  Culinary offerings ranged from chocolate covered bacon and deep-fried peaches to vegetarian hotdogs to gourmet pizza to hot off the griddle grilled cheese sandwiches to fine food cooked by some of the local restaurants.  I like the humor you find in most food trucks, too.  Any pizza truck that can lampoon the ever-present “Eat.  Play.  Work.” ads for new mixed-use developments gets my support.  I bought some pastries for Kish from a Czech food stand called Kolache Republic and she gave them an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

There’s also a stand that combines a useful public service with point-of-purchase marketing:  at the intersection of Gay Street and Pearl Alley, those imbibers who might be concerned about their continuing compliance with Ohio’s impaired driver laws can take a free breathalyzer test, courtesy of Hastie Law Offices, which specializes in DUI defense.

"Pander Bear" stands guard in Lynn Alley

Lynn Alley, which runs parallel to Gay Street, is largely devoted to Craft Alley, sponsored by Crafty Cotillion.  Here you can find local comics, folk artists, and other crafts people showing off their wares.  I learned that Columbus has a vibrant independent comics community (who knew?), heard the story of “Pander Bear” — created to pander to passersby and lure them into the comics tent — and bought issue number 1 of Nix Comics Quarterly.

I was there right after the celebration started, but already the crowd was building.  The musical acts will be performing all day, and the event runs until midnight, C’mon, Columbus!  It is a perfect day to head to Gay Street, listen to some fine music from any one of five — five! — stages, eat, drink, and rub elbows with your fellow Columbusites.  Let’s show everybody that Columbus really celebrates Independents!