The second oldest park in Columbus is named for Friedrich Schiller, a towering 18th-century German poet and playwright. A towering park statue of old Schiller looking overheated and overdressed in his stockings, cape, overcoat and severe expression bears a dedication date of July 4, 1891 - it's just one attraction to this sprawling and beautifully landscaped something-for-everyone outdoor space.
Other draws include tennis courts; a little kiddie playground; flying Frisbees and trotting dogs; a fairy tale-like wooden bridge spanning a duck and geese-stocked pond; and plenty of shade trees and picnic tables where you can get your al fresco chow-party on.
My favorite blanket space is near the stage where Actors' Theatre does its free Shakespeare in the Park thing. That's where I'll be when "If music be the food of love, play on" begins the appropriately feasting and drinking-heavy (though far be it for me to suggest that wine bottles are blithely tolerated during plays) comedy "Twelfth Night," which runs throughout July.
Alive's readers' poll champion for best sandwiches is a local institution. It's also a smartly curated market selling food-friendly wines, crackers, olives, excellent cheeses, chocolates and so on.
Naturally you've gotta score a famous Katzinger's Reuben. Starring warm, juicy, lacy-sliced but boldly flavored corned beef on yeast-tangy grilled rye, it's wonderfully rich and salty and maximizes its sweet and acidic accents. All sandwiches (like the terrific #12 with tender and moist, house-roasted turkey and rosemary-scented roast beef) come with access to barrels of fetch-your-own, killer whole dill and garlicky pickles.
Other picnicky musts are: fresh, creamy cole slaw; addictive redskin potato salad (with oil and vinegar, no mayo); homemade mini-knishes (garlicky mashed potato pastries - oily but irresistible); plus nutty and lovely little raspberry rugelach dessert pastries. Adventurous and/or literary types might symmetrically bite into Katzinger's strong-tasting herring right when Twelfth Night's outrageous Sir Toby Belch casts a plague on them.• North Market + Goodale Park • The Hills Downtown + Columbus Commons • Vincenzo's Convenient Elegance + Field of Corn
Photos by Meghan Ralston