by Brian Chiang, writer and foodie extraordinaire
Ask 10 different people and you will probably get 10 different answers as to what states of America can be considered part of the American Midwest. As a lifelong East Coaster, I considered Ohio the gateway to the Midwest and with a not so eloquent segue, where my most recent trip occurred.
I got a chance to indulge in my love of flight again and continue my insatiable quest for food in the birthplace of aviation. All of which occurred with great company in a humble, yet mighty hatchback.
With a little help from some connected friends, our first stop was a tour of a C-17 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The amiable commanding officer that gave us the grand tour of such a huge cargo plane provided insight and anecdotes about the inner workings and journeys made in such a contraption. I'm not sure what pictures I could take of the outside, but I did manage to snap this part of the inside:
Not in the same day but on a subsequent journey into Dayton, we also visited the National Museum of the United States Air Force. I was way too excited to take any pictures of any of its airplanes, but as one can imagine, the museum was chock full of artifacts and feats of the men and women that compose the history of the U.S. Air Force. Personally, I thought the highlight of the whole tour was the flight simulator. For about $16, you and another brave/foolish soul can shoot down enemy jets and do aileron rolls in the fighter jet simulator. Be forewarned, the simulator is not for the faint of heart or those who are prone to motion sickness.
Cincinnati and Newport, Kentucky
It wasn't planned but Day 2 of our trip just so happened to be a tour of 2 cities in 2 states. In addition to being headquarters to various sports teams and an interesting take on chili, Cincinnati boasts a growing beer scene. More specifically, we visited the Over-the-Rhine beer scene and enjoyed some libations at Rhinegeist Brewery. I would definitely recommend Rhinegeist if one enjoys a drink with rooftops views of the city or in old buildings given new life.
After the Rhinegeist and seeing how it was just across the Ohio River, the hatchback crew rode about 10 minutes, crossing state lines into Newport, Kentucky. It was too late in the day to check out the Newport Aquarium, but since it was dinner time we headed to the Hofbräuhaus Newport for food and more beer. Immediately south of Cincinnati and right on the northern tip of Kentucky, Newport is host to the first American Hofbräuhaus outside of Germany. HB Newport is modeled after the original public house in Munich and strives to keep the Münchner tradition alive.
I got the Münchner Mettwurst, which comes with a side of mashed potatoes and sauerkraut:
The last leg of my recent tour of the Buckeye State took place in the heart of Columbus. In aiding my constant pursuit of satisfying my stomach, the hatchback crew sated that need with this excursion:
Food Adventure Tours: German Village edition
As an avid lover of all things food, I highly recommend this touristy outing. I am not sure how the other food tours of Columbus are conducted, but our tour guide of German Village (highly recommend booking it with “Logan” if he's still providing tours) provided insight into the history, architecture, and all the nuances that one normally would not think twice about in a neighborhood with such a storied past.
Here are some of the foods we got to sample, including Margherita pizza from Harvest Pizzeria, knish from Katzinger's Little Delicatessen, and a duck sausage patty on a bed of spinach from G. Michael's Bistro and Bar.
Interesting sidebar: During our food tour we also encountered this place.
Franklin Art Glass Studios was the vendor chosen to create the glass decorations that used to adorn the Wendy's fast food restaurants in years past all across the country. You're a person of a certain age if you can recall these decorations first-hand!
What more can I say other than, I'm coming back, Ohio!
Brian is a "pseudo"-New York native with deep roots in Virginia who caught wanderlust ever since he could read a map.Among other reasons his travels are often dictated by his stomach, but he will also stay to explore everything else in between. No place (or cuisine) is off limits!