Posts Tagged ‘park & vine’

our version of break the chain day took us back downtown (is it remarkable to note that i’ve driven to and parked downtown exactly three times, and each time i’ve parked in exactly the same spot?). our best bets for christmas gifts:

at park & vine:

for your too-cool auntie: super-absorbent flour-sack tea towels, 2/$18

for your mobo bicycle co-op loving bff: “i rode my bike to work today” t-shirts, lusciously soft and surprisingly thick: $5

for the garden-loving friend: greeting cards with wildflower seeds embedded in the paper. plant the whole biodegradable card for a cornerful of cheer next summer.

at mica 12/v:

the most gorgeously luxe felted scarves (felted but, i’m pretty sure, not knitted) from super maggie: $58 (and worth every penny!)

for your upscale holiday party hostess: porcelain-like tree ornaments in the origami shapes of a reindeer and a swan: $6

for your bare-walled iconoclast: b&w photo of “the god squad” — a funny, funky and slightly freaky collection of jesus and mary icons: $300 (unframed)

at metronation:

for the tot you know: the cutest, locally-made socks you can find. i can’t remember the name of the company or the price for a box, but just go in and ask. the staff is friendly and will be happy to help.

but the real highlight of our adventure was finding the coffee emporium on central parkway. i did not expect it to appeal to me even as much as the location on erie and victoria, but i like it even more. it is big. wide open. comfy-industrial. and the aztec moka — hint of coffee, hit of chocolate, and a tongue-zap of spices — can not be beat.

the service will be slow, however, if while you are waiting for your coffee the mayor of cincinnati comes in. we ordered. the barista started our order. the mayor came in. the mayor chatted with the cashier. the mayor ordered. the barista tried to give the first drink of our order to the mayor. the mayor politetly noted that it wasn’t his drink. the barista tried to give the drink to me. i politely noted that it wasn’t what i had ordered. the barista tossed it. the barista started working on the mayor’s drink. the barista chatted with the mayor. some more. the barista finished the mayor’s drink. the barista chatted with the mayor, again, some more. the mayor left. the barista made my drink. the barista took a break to chat with the cashier. the barista returned and made s’s drink. twenty minutes later, we had our two 90-second drinks.

still, i’ll go back. on my bike. with my shopping list. if for nothing else, to see what else the sign will say.

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my enthusiasm for exploring downtown cincinnati has never been very high. before we lived here, when we “were just visiting,” i would ask, not very politely, where the skyline was. (i did not mean the chili-dog joint, either.) downtown seemed dead to me. granted, that was the impression i got driving past it on 71, or on the early saturday morning visit to findlay market. i never really entered it. i never seemed to have reason to. and while i may not be the most urban girl at the party, i do like a lively city center.

as a result of some recent explorations, however, i have fallen in love with vine. just the other night driving up vine we passed a guy washing his car. it took me a few seconds to process what i was seeing: disheveled man washing car. disheveled man washing car late at night nowhere near a streetlight (or any other source of illumination). disheveled man washing car late at night nowhere near a streetlight (or any other source of illumination) on dingy block of city street.

it wasn’t until we were past him that i fully processed it: disheveled man washing only bumper of car, late at night, on street with shady reputation.

this didn’t make me want to live on vine, but it did make me want to see more of it. so the other day i made my way downtown and parked in the first spot i found in the vicinity. this left me around the corner and one block over from the giant sign for ETC — ensemble theatre of cincinnati — that reminded me we’ve had reliable recommendations to go to the know theatre of cincinnati as well as the new stage collective. for a brief moment i imagined myself meandering through a vibrant theatre-district, triple cappucino in-hand, as i made my way from my tapas to my mezzanine seat. and then i remembered “nah, you’re in cincinnati now.” home of race riots and deflated downtown.

what a chump! i spent the next 30 minutes chatting with the owners of park & vine and mica12/v. both gave me an enthusiastic earful about current and future downtown developments. i heard all about 3cdc and its plans to help connect the river to the shopping district to over the rhine. about the grocery store and adjacent butcher shop going in right down the street and the dewey’s pizza opening soon. about the number of condos being developed and sold, and the projections for cincy’s future urban population. about the streetcar that can help connect all the downtown dots.

driving away all i could think about was how much i would want to live in a city like that.

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dan at park & vine got me all hyped on this.

my favorite part of the idea is that some (all?) of the vendors are honoring gift cards from chain retailers. got $20 you’re supposed to spend at target? head to park & vine instead. and don’t forget to check out their clearance shelves toward the back, where super-soft all-cotton t-shirts sporting current-retro designs are priced as low as $5.

if you’re flush, though, buy this chair. and if you’re flush and generous, have it gift-wrapped and drop it off on my porch.


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