Picnic Pairings: Vincenzo's Convenient Elegance + Field of Corn
Field of Corn
Standing tall in a grassy field amid bland office buildings near Downtown Dublin, they appear like a mirage, an elaborate joke, the ordinary made extraordinary: 109 ears of white corn, but human-sized and turned to stone. Well, actually concrete (which is metaphorically apt).
Eighteen years ago, internationally renowned artist and OSU professor Malcolm Cochran erected this once-controversial, now-iconic public sculpture some still call "cornhenge." Threading through its 13 mesmerizing, Arlington Cemetery-like rows while cars incessantly buzz by, you realize this former farm is now a stark memorial to a rural Dublin that's all but vanished. It's also a great place for a picnic.
Spread your blanket under the huge and shade-giving osage orange trees - they're an organic part of the art piece. Right beside you, plaques explain the historical importance of corn and osage oranges to Ohio in general and, specifically, to this site's former inhabitants of Native Americans and Sam Frantz, a pioneering corn-hybridizer. The plaques also non-judgmentally expound on Dublin's "metamorphosis from a farm village to a suburban, residential community and corporate office center."
While mulling that over in this past-honoring refuge, you should dig into fantastic Italian food.
Vincenzo's Casual Elegance
The ready-to-eat spread at fittingly subtitled Vincenzo's outclasses the stuff served at most Columbus Italian restaurants. Yeah, Vincenzo's sold-by-the-pound homemade pastas, sauces, bread products and roasted meat entrees are that wonderful.
There are tons of delicious-at-room-temperature options. I suggest you start with in-store-made-daily mozzarella and a bottle of wine, which you can nosh and sip on while shopping (N.B. it's illegal to drink vino in the Field of Corn, even when discreetly lapped from camouflaging plastic glasses).
Some can't miss goodies are: ultra-fresh and veggie-full Castellan Salad with an excellent vinaigrette; crazy-great Lasagna (about 10 layers of mamma mia! comfort); lovely fettuccine in herby Bolognese sauce; summer-tastic Chicken Braciole (tongue-tickling, piccata-sauced poultry wrapped around cheese, prosciutto and herbs); al dente green beans with prosciutto; cheesy, greasy, salty, spicy and awesome pepperoni stromboli; and, naturalmente, cannoli.
Castellan Salad: $7.99/pound
Chicken Braciole: $9.99/pound