Category Archives: Cleveland

Truth In Food Blogging.

Two quick, painful truths for you on this Monday evening.

1. Most of what I remember about the meal that I had last Saturday evening at Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland is based on Instagram photos. In my defense, see Exhibit A in the upper left hand corner of the photo below. That wasn’t the first one of those, nor was it the last.

What I do remember, however, is that I bit into a jalapeño while eating my pork tacos. (There’s no way to Instagram—or forget—that.)

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Craving Cleveland.

[Editorial note: We’ve inadvertently covered this restaurant before.]

I’ve been hearing about the Greenhouse Tavern for quite some time. (Follow the Columbus Slow Food Crew on Twitter, and you’re bound to see a word or two about the offal-loving joint in downtown Cleveland.) The plan was simple: arrive in Cleveland early on a Saturday, have lunch at Greenhouse Tavern (and avoid dinner prices), then meet up with our friends for an Ohio City dinner within walking distance of our bed and breakfasts. And it went something like that. Except for the lunch part. We eagerly arrived at the eatery to find it nearly empty. They were not open for lunch on the weekend.

It’s not the Itinerant Foodie style to write a piece on a place we’ve never been, so it’s safe to assume that I did not let this lack of foresight in trip planning stop me from dining at the tavern. Instead, after he’d been plied with a beer at an Indians game on Sunday (combined with a ton of sun; he’s not a complete lightweight) I asked Ben if we could have dinner at Greenhouse before we left town. He approved of the plan and I was a happy gal the rest of the game.

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Not Just a Pretty Face.

The Market Garden Brewery, the newest brewery in Cleveland’s Ohio City, had crowd control barriers outside its front door when I visited a few weeks ago. My general philosophy when I see roping outside a bar is to avoid. See-and-be-seen venues are for other people, people who wear rompers and who start getting ready to go out as I’m turning in for the night. If there had been a line outside the place, I would have seriously considered arguing for a change in plans. Happily, we arrived just before it opened, at four in the afternoon, and were given a choice of seats in the large, airy and trendy restaurant and beer garden.

From a retail design perspective, I was in love. The place was minimalistic with a dash of everything a Ohio-livin’ locavore could love. Before I even tried the beer, I’d mentally committed to purchasing swag from the front of the bar. (I left with a lovely blue t-shirt. Congrats on the effective merchandising, Market Garden.)

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Flying High.

I wrapped up my recent trip to Cleveland with brunch and a ballgame (Indians vs. Reds). Thanks to the magic of grandparents, some friends were able to relieve themselves of the duties of parenthood and join up north for this portion of the trip.

I’d heard a few good things about Flying Fig, and when I realized that they had pork belly on their brunch menu, I knew, in an instant, that we’d be dining there. It was conveniently located across the street from Great Lakes and was within walking distance of our place. (I’m still amazed at how everything fell into place for this trip.)

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Lights, Camera: Beer!

While the initial inspiration of the trip to Cleveland was to see Metropolis with its expanded footage, a visit to Great Lakes Brewing Co. was not far behind on the list of things that would lure us onto I-71. (Technically, the film will soon be shown at the Wexner Center, so one might deduce that the brewery did – in fact – play a major role in the production of this trip.)

As soon as we knew the trip was a go, we (wisely) booked our bed and breakfast to be within stumbling distance of the brewery and downloaded the menu from the restaurant, to, you know, study. Great Lakes offers free tours of their facilities every hour, on the hour on Fridays (5 to 9 p.m.) and Saturdays (1 to 8 p.m.)

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Cleveland Snapshots.

As I’m still slowly recovering from my long weekend, here’s a little amuse bouche to whet your (and my) Cleveland appetite. The next course, our visit to Great Lakes Brewery, will be up shortly. But in the meantime, here are three images of Cleveland for you to peruse.

I love this picture. It says to me, simply, “Welcome to the Rust Belt.”

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Escape on the Lake.

In the past few years, my perceptions of Cleveland, our neighbor to the north, have become increasingly more positive. What used to be – in my mind – the city of expensive bars (the flats), a contrived museum (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) and the morgue (my cousin works for the Cuyahoga County Morgue; it’s an association thing) has now become a city of diverse culinary treats, professional entertainment and a historical and cultural playground.

In short, for me, Cleveland has become a tourist destination instead of a duty, and I blame three things. For one, I’m getting older and my interests have changed. Two, there’s a glimmer of hope that there will be passenger rail from my city to theirs; I’ve – dangerously – allowed myself to imagine myself using said rail. And finally, one of my favorite National Public Radio programs, Marketplace, has featured Cleveland’s restaurant scene not once, but twice. If Marketplace loves Cleveland, than surely I can, as well.

The two-day trip was not a gastro-tour, but more like a well-rounded array of some of Cleveland’s highlights, her Greatest Hits. Even so, our trip started with the West Side Market in Ohio City, minutes away from our bed and breakfast. Cleveland is unique in Ohio as being (be ready to be impressed as I throw out my grocery store knowledge) the only city where independent markets and locally own chains do better than their national grocery counterparts. With a giant ominous bell tower, West Side Market seems to say, “Giant Eagle Beware: I will crush you.”

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