Lara Pipia has been named one of Columbus’ foodie tastemakers and one of its most eligible singles. She’s sung in bands, owned a restaurant-consulting business and co-founded Freedom a la Cart. Sometime soon she hopes to add Old North restaurant owner to that list of accomplishments. “My husband and I keep looking at spaces. We have a couple concepts percolating, one of which could start smaller and grow into something larger. We feel our little spot up on Summit [Street] is ready for development. We have a really great community and we know a lot of our neighbors,” Pipia said during a recent interview over drinks at Dick’s Den. In the meantime, Pipia’s enjoying the extra time off, including some of the following things she loves.
I use herbs mercilessly. My whole life is an herb-filled existence because herbs make everything better. [Lemon Verbena isn’t] perfume-y in a floral way, but it's bright and summery and you can crunch it up and throw it in a gin cocktail, and it's like summer is here. I use it that way, but one of my favorite things to do is do what I did today: bag a handful of it and give it to someone. I have people who are now planning on putting it in their garden after smelling it.
My parents once asked me if I could have a superpower what would it be. I was like, to speak every language on Earth perfectly, because I feel like once you can speak a language you have access to a culture you didn’t otherwise. I just got married last September, and my husband and I went to Italy on our honeymoon. I didn't know any [Italian], so I decided to start learning. [DuoLingo] is such a cool app. It’s very instinctual, and it goes in this natural path that helps you understand the language well. I didn't have enough time to get through it, but I was able to go to a market [in Italy] and buy cold cuts and really good bread, which for me is the culture right there.
Aromaku food truck
I had their fried chicken at a beer event last weekend and my mind exploded, it was so good. They do Indonesian food, and their fried chicken is probably one of the top three to four chicken [dishes] I’ve had in my life. They also have these rendang chili fries; it's this slow-cooked meat, and I believe they might cook it in coconut milk. It's like a chili fry on crack; it's the best chili fry you'll ever have. I love eating ethnic food, but what's great about their food is it’s not intimidating for the leery who are like, "I don’t want to eat anything weird." Fried chicken crosses cultural boundaries; everyone in the world loves fried chicken, and theirs is no exception. It's like, “dang it, this is so good!”
Girl doo-wop music
Music is very seasonal for me. I listen to all different kinds of music, but in the summer sometimes I just like to come back to doo-wop. I like Shirley Lee, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers. The songs are not complicated — it's love and heartbreak, which are timeless themes and always make for good music — and they have good vocal arrangements and good upbeat tempos. It's good, sweaty summer music. It's simple and happy.
I've been making jewelry that kind of takes cues from hill and mountain culture, like southeast Asian textiles from the Mong culture and the Kutch culture in India. They have these bright palettes in common, and they're so rich. The imperfections make it extra beautiful; you can get lost in that world. I’m really drawn to these cultures that have really bright, vivid colors. And I love that people are still doing things by hand there. There’s this sense about them, this permanence, so it's like an heirloom. I feel like western culture and more developed cultures don’t have that so much anymore.