Rinkside with Raisin Bread: A Local Adventure

Saturday was waking up early after cramming to combine words for a week-long project. On Friday nights, I religiously get little sleep without partying.

Groggy eyes required multiple cups of coffee to be alive and radiant for a journey into downtown Athens, Ohio.

We stopped by the Saturday market at 9:45 am to see vendors just finishing the flourishes on their displays and signs. Piping ladder breads, steaming muffins, and several baskets of butternut squash free of pesticide showers. With the kale, potatoes, and swiss chard bundles, I was in heaven.

My sister and I found a cart selling date inspired sweets, potato candy, and falafel, among other treats at Ali Baba’s food stand. Super local, and I met them initially at the annual Ohio Paw-Paw Festival several years ago. I found a date ling ling: A shortbread cookie decorated in a light dusting of sugar, with an inside texture reminiscent of a fig bar. My sister bought a date log that tasted like an energy bite. We were not disappointed.

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We had planned to meet up with fellow students…who ended up sleeping in.

We decided to find brunch, so I took my sister to a local spot called Village Bakery. It’s a down-to-earth cafe. From the parking lot, you can spot the plants peeping out the cafe windows.

My friend was working that morning, so we exchanged quick smiles while my sister ordered a tempeh taco with grass-fed cheese on local corn tortillas from Shagbark Mill.

I found a spiced cranberry, limited edition flavor of Lapp It Up Kombucha in the cooler. Obviously supporting the local companies all morning.

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We sat and watched a lady review a thesis paper and spotted two students on a brunch date. If I didn’t have both chai and a milk frother at home, I would have ordered my chai latte, as per usual for me.

I peered through the wine and freezer section that the cafe maintains. I was tempted by the bottles of Austrian wine and the brown paper wrappings on handmade plant bacon. My sister curiously eyed a pint of sweet potato and rum raisin gelato from Snowville Creamery.

We left with a bottle of kombucha to settle my stomach recovering after several nights of lacking sleep. (I’m sensitive to an unbalanced sleep schedule.) My sister clutched a flour-less fudge cookie.

Since the Athens Bread Company was just down the way, I elected to stop there for the first time in two years of residing in Athens. It’s a little bean of a bakery.

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There’s barely enough room for a handful of customers to squeeze up next to the glass cases, but the spotless displays and careful rows of homemade bread, beg to be bought.

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I found a loaf of cranberry raisin bread made with hydrated golden raisins and sea salt. A $6 small loaf that made my college budget wince, but the slices before bed this weekend have been a sweet alternative to chocolate peanut butter cups. My belly is happy with the decision.

I also ended up going to Kroger and found a cute boy stocking pineapples. My sister found sushi samples and I eyed the inflated prices of paw-paw beer. A girl can dream of buying all the foodie things.

After ogling food, my sister and I met up with one of our work friends at Byrd Arena for the open recreation skate session. I laced up my skates and prepared to take a fall. I’m quite awful at skating. I don’t know that I’ll be a hockey player anytime soon. So…I elected to take everyone else’s photos. Namely my sister:

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After an hour of not slipping and harming myself on a sheet of ice wearing blades, my sister and I dressed up in black leggings and t-shirts to put in time at the Ping Recreation Center. It’s our university’s fully-outfitted gym.

I ran two miles for all the bread and butter I’d wolfed down in the last week. Exams and projects have kept me from the gym, so I ran 20 laps and did some much-needed core work.

…I came home to eat more bread. Slices of mouthwatering cranberry almond toast. For me, this is living.

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