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PTR: larrygator's road to Cedar Point - Parks and Food

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An invite to take part in the Travel Channel shoot at Cedar Point coincided with me recently being laid off from work. It's never good to lose your job but it does create some free time so I said WTF and drove out to Ohio.


I had not been to the area for a while so I decided to include Kennywood and Kings Island on the itinerary to hit up some of newer coasters that I had not previously ridden at those parks. I also made a decision to visit a few highly regarded eateries serving awesome comfort food.


On Friday May 11th I drove my New York to Columbus where I stayed for two nights. Why stay in Columbus? For those that do not know there is a area of town called German Village that offers a couple of great places to eat. It's also a nice location between Kings Island and Cedar Point.


First stop was Schmidt's Restaurant and Sausage Haus.


The restaurant is located in an historic district with very narrow streets and brick paving blocks. Drive slow to save your suspension.


New no construction is allowed in the area. So you have a lot older houses.


And there is Schmidt's


With a 20 minute wait for a table I walked 1/2 a block to Schmidt's Fudge Haus.


A purchased two of those homemade giant dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Absolutely decadent.


Upon leaving the Fudge Haus I heard my name called over the loudspeaker so I returned for my seating. I passed the bar area. Most of the serving staff wears traditional German dress.


Being in a German restaurant I had to get a German wheat beer.


Although I love schnitzel I opted for the sausage sampler as that is the signature of the Schmidt family. The sides of German Potato Salad and Chunky Apple Sauce were insane. And the sausage didn't suck either.


Just because I'm part german doesn't mean I like sauerkraut. Otherwise - CLEAN PLATE CLUB.


Even though I had a giant dark chocolate peanut butter cup melting in my pocket I had to get a dessert. Besides their sausage, Schmidt's is known for their cream puffs.


My choice was a chocolate cream puff. It was a size of a baby's head but since I didn't have a baby's head to use as reference, here is it relative to my fist.


I'll be posting pictures from King's Island next. Enjoy!

Edited by larrygator
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I've heard of Schmidt's, too, but I've never eaten there. The food looks great!


The next time you're in the Asheville, North Carolina area, you might want to check out the rather unimaginatively named Bavarian Dining Restaurant in Weaverville: http://www.bavariandining.com/. It's owned by an actual old Bavarian named "Doc" who makes his own sausage and sometimes offers "wild boar steak" as a special. I ate there last year, and it was great.

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On Saturday morning I headed to Kings Island for opening. I purchased my ticket online with a combination meal included, it was $8 additional for the meal but the price of the meal combo would have been $18 otherwise so I'm glad I adding it, even though the food was inferior to the food I had in Columbus.


Not surprisingly the parking lot looked to be filling up quickly and I also saw a lot of school trips heading in. This sealed the deal that I would buy a Fast Lane wristband for the first time. I don't know how many Fast Lane wristbands were sold that day but while the regular lines were crowded, there were never more than 4 other people in the Fast Lane queue at the same time as me for any ride. Since I was at the park alone, it pretty mush served as a single rider line into most loading areas. Technically, I never even held up a line on the coasters as I always paired with a single rider.


What the Fast Lane allowed me to do was walk around the park at a leisurely pace, take in some rides I would not have done otherwise, sit down and eat and get additional rides on the major coasters. My camera conked out early in the day, so pictures are sparse, but everyone knows what Kings Island looks like anyway.


Besides about a dozen rides on Diamondback, I rode Racer (both sides), Beast (2x), Invertigo, Boo Blasters (2x), Adventure Express, Delirium, Drop Tower, Stunt Coaster, FoF, Train and the Dinosaur 3D Movie.


Fast Lane also allowed me the opportunity of leaving Kings Island early to further support the local economy by spending more money at local businesses in Columbus.


Fast Lane became my friend on Diamondback as the lines were over an hour most of the day.


This wait time was for Diamondback when I got to the ride right after opening, but would be much longer the rest of the day.


Hey Fran! They have ducks at Kings Island.


Good luck finding an Islamic Beer Garden.


I rarely do water rides when I have to drive, but I will take pictures of them.


Everytime I tried to get a shot of the Adventure Express train in this picture I failed. I embrace my mistakes.


Since I had Fast Lane I rode both sides of Racer. I probably would not have ridden it at all without Fast Lane.


Since I rode it twice, you get two pictures of Racer.


I took this shot of Diamondback from the train.


This train to be exact. I did not realize how long the train line was at Kings Island.


Yes, I really did watch the Dinosaur 3D movie, here's a shot from the outdoor waiting area. Notice my skills of catching Diamondback cresting a hill. The movie was more educational in nature than I expected, but this further syncs up with my thoughts that the Dinosaurs Alive addition are driven by a need to continue attracting school outings.


Even the Scarmbler has a Fast Lane entrance, but I only took this picture because I realized we needed the ride sign for the Park Index.


I never really looked at it too closely before, but Kings Island does have a very nice kid's area with rides that the whole family can enjoy. I took this picture for Kristen. I heard that she likes Frog Hoppers.


OK, subtract one point for the kid's area for having a mini George Foreman grill ride. Speaking of food, my next update will be from two more dining establishments in Columbus.

Edited by larrygator
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The next time you're in the Asheville, North Carolina area, you might want to check out the rather unimaginatively named Bavarian Dining Restaurant in Weaverville: http://www.bavariandining.com/. It's owned by an actual old Bavarian named "Doc" who makes his own sausage and sometimes offers "wild boar steak" as a special. I ate there last year, and it was great.

We'll be in the area next week, but unfortunately I'm not real big on German delicacies. I could go for a bier though. Thanks for the suggestion, Chuck. And thanks for another awesome trip report, Larry.

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Of course this whole trip report is building up to the ultimate establishment of fine dining... TGI FRIDAYS!!!!


Great TR so far, Larry! With the Fast Lane, I may just have to get the credits I am missing at Kings Island now.

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I've been to Columbus a ton of times, and had no idea that this German Village even existed. My mouth is literally watering after looking at those giant peanut butter cups. Looking forward to the rest of your report, Larry.
Larry, this is awesome! Looking forward to seeing more. Columbus...who knew? Glad there's a reason to not just drive by anymore.


I have been living in Columbus since 2005, originally from Cincinnati. If anybody is passing through the area, I would really give the city a chance. Everyone just assumes "meh middle of Ohio...nothing there." But it's entirely not true. Columbus has some of the best historical neighborhoods I have ever seen, like German Village and the Short North, and some of the best examples of urban revitalization, like the Arena District. All have their own feel and personality and are always extremely alive. They all also have a large assortment of bars.


Along the lines of food, not only is Schmidt's amazing, they offer a buffet that is something like $10 or so, which gives you a large variety of german meals to eat, and you then get a discount on a creampuff (yes, they are amazing). Also, as someone said, German Village is also home to Thurmans, which is home to the Thurmanator. Check out this beast:


1.5 pounds of burger meat alone.. with fries, buns, and toppings (including ham) we guessed it to be around 3 pounds of food. This is my cousin, our server, and myself.


The end result of the ridiculous amount of food:

I wanted to die for a day. However, it really is a "hole in the wall" type place, where you can wait 2-3 hours to get sat anytime on the weekends since they only have a bar and 10 or so tables. The do have a fairly large waiting room where you can drink a few pitchers while waiting.


Anyway, both of these restaurants were on the Columbus edition of "Man vs Food." I won't hijack your thread anymore, but I'd suggest people spend a few days in Columbus, it has plenty to do!


Sorry to hear about your job, but good luck with the upcoming job search! Great TR so far... I love seeing my home parks.

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Thurman's Cafe. Yes, Thurman's Cafe was the next stop on my trip. But where did I go for dessert? Keeping reading.


Very unassuming building.


I took a seat at the bar to save some time. At this point I thought I had to leave Columbus at 4:00AM to meet up with Robb for the Travel Channel shoot real early on Sunday morning.


I ordered the Big 3 "undressed" with bacon added. I think this was 3/4 lb meat, 1/4 of three mixed cheeses. I added a personal touch by covering in hot sauce. I finished the burger but didn't touch the chips. Undressed = no veggies, I'll leave that for the rabbits.


Next Stop


Dessert at Jeni's Spendid Ice Cream. It was about a 20 minute line to get in the door. But oh so worth it.


Full menu board


Signature flavors. Jeni's has little plastic spoons and let's you try as many samples as possible, the rule seems to be they give out samples until they run out of spoons.


The scoops aren't huge as this is gourmet ice cream. It was $5.50 for three scoops. I think the volume was about half the size as three scoops at Toft's at Cedar Point, which almost killed me.


For the record those three scoops are Dark Chocolate, Ugandan Vanilla Bean and Queen City Cayenne. The Queen City Cayenne has been featured on Food Network as one of the "Best Foods I've Ever Had"

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Columbus is a party town full of 40-year-old guys that never got the memo that they no longer attend Ohio State. Short North is where most of the action is and would be a great place to live because there are countless bars, shops, coffee shops, and restaurants all within easy walking distance.

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^^So what did you actually think of the ice cream!?!


Very Very Good! Rich and flavorful. The spicy bite on the Queen City Cayenne is a winner if you like spicy food, very unique sensation. I sampled a couple of other flavors, but they just weren't right for me.

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I love that everyone was suggesting Thurman's, Jeni's and Short North, and that's where you had been/ended up! I would also recommend North Market.


Jeni's Ice Cream is good, but overpriced IMO. That line is pretty much the norm for the Short North location. While it doesn't have all the extreme flavors that Jeni's has (maybe it's me, but I have no desire to try spicy ice cream), I'd take Graeter's (a Cincinnati product) over Jeni's any day. There is probably 4-5 of them in Columbus too. I'd say calling Columbus a "party town full of 40 years old who haven't gotten the memo they no longer attend Ohio State" is an EXTREME generalization. While I agree that Columbus doesn't have some of the personality as some of the great cities, and is definitely basically a large college town with a mix of government, I really don't notice the "40 year olds" all over. I do agree about the Short North assessment.


Admittedly, I preferred Cincinnati in the beginning, but living in Columbus for 6-7 years, you realize how much of a variety of things there is to do. Again, I'd tell everyone to give it a chance for a weekend, it has definitely surprised me!

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Nice to read about your food stops amid the theme parks. I saw Thurman's Cafe on the Travel Channel's Amazing Eats show - the food looks incredible! I wish we had burgers like that in New Zealand.

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Sunday morning I woke up at an ungodly hour to meet at Cedar Point for the first day of the Travel Channel shoot on Top Thrill Dragster. Monday morning the shoot was on Millennium Force. I believe most of the pictures were taken on Monday but I'm posting them all together.


On both days I had a Fast Lane wristband and on the second day I spent quite a bit of time exploring parts of the park I had not paid much attention to on past visits.


I don't have a picture of the three enormous scoops of ice cream from Toft's I mentioned earlier in this PTR because I was floored by how much ice cream was put in front of me. Somehow I didn't get sick in finishing it


Robb, no balls, Eric and Niki were chosen for extra camera time during the shoot. I wasn't but that gave me time to ride Power Tower. And if you think Niki is attractive you should really donate to her Coasting for Kids page. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/r0flcoasterniki/CedarPoint


Fast Lane on to Power Tower.


While the chosen ones got more of this.


Giant Snoops is clearly bigger than TTD.


I did some learning about the choo choo trains.


and then took a ride to get pictures from different angles


One of the infamous killer Intamin cables.


I accidentally captured a train in the picture, a rare occurence.




Since no one posts pictures of Cedar Creek Mine Ride, I will.


This would be a nice picture if there was a coaster train.


SkyHawk through the trees.


This guy is admiring the photo he illegally took from the top of MF's lift hill. I really should have accidentally knocked the phone out of his hand.


The Wave Swinger was being taken apart on Monday morning.


I like to emulate Robb, so I took an exclusive one of a kind photo myself.


I completely forgot that CP had an area with animals.


I had never visited the park museum so I took a look.


Lots of interesting stuff.


But I would have preferred if they had a better presented section on the amusement park's history.


I did learn CP used to have a helicopter on a stick ride.


But there were too few pictures like this for the amusement park and coaster geeks.


The stadium by Wicked Twister is being set-up for this summer's Extreme Sports Show


Since Robb pointed this out I felt compelled to take a photo of remaining themeing form the old Pirate Ride.


For my last ride of the day I visited Dragster Girl in her native environment.


I'm finished but you are not until you support Niki while she is Coasting for Kids. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/r0flcoasterniki/CedarPoint

Edited by larrygator
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