cleveland rocks!

October 3rd, 2008 · 55 Comments

warning: all photos in the following post are from an iphone.  proceed at your own risk.


it’s lola bistro, and i can prove it…

i went to cleveland. cleveland… of all places. and it was good. 

i went to visit my misspent youth at the rock and roll hall of fame where i saw keith moon’s velvet suit, james taylor’s first guitar and marveled at how freakin’ tiny jagger, prince, tyler and bowie are. i mean, they’re like a woman’s size 6. i’d totally break them all in half…  anyway, i had met terry stewart, the president of the ‘rock hall’ when he was visiting nashville and we talked for awhile – mostly about food, and he was kind enough to invite me to visit the museum if i was ever in cleveland. i kindly thanked him while chuckling softly, inwardly rolling my eyes. like i’d ever be going to cleveland… and then a year later he got the phone call and made good on it. and it was a fun couple of hours for which i am grateful to both him and patrick, director of guest services, for showing us around and treating me like the vip rockstar that i’ve always believed i should be.

but i mostly went because on occasion my friend carol and i devise a plan, book a ticket and then we tend to get off a plane and eat something extremely memorable. if you recall, we went here and then here – and now cleveland. let it be known upfront that i knew next to nothing about this city, let alone ohio. i even somehow forgot that cleveland is on lake erie – i must have been sick that day in 5th grade geography. and i never imagined that it was a city with great museums, a top notch symphony and restaurants and markets and well, then there are the actual clevelanders – a few in particular that i quite like. i suppose all this to say that i need to get out more – or perhaps just back to cleveland.

now, not to knock cleveland, as i personally fault the hiltons (who clearly care nothing for the little people) for this artistic travesty, but this was what i looked at for 4 days straight…

yes, residing happily side by side, literally the very same print - each precisely as unattractive as the other. although the coloring may appear to be slightly different, it was merely the lighting in the room. luckily for me this was not to be representational of cleveland. at all…

…but this was. this is a dish that was brought out by the chef de cuisine of lola bistro, derek clayton. he called it ‘fergus henderson meets thomas keller.’  all i know is that you take a hunk of the crispy bone marrow and you slice it onto a piece of toasted baguette and then top it with a good flaky salt along with parsley and then either pickled onion or the salsa verde and a squeeze of lemon and well, boys and girls – it doesn’t get much better than that.

and hey – next time could someone PLEASE remind me to forgo the vanilla pear ginger martini? because i get smashed on liquor and then you add the really, really good barbera – la spinetta ca di pian barbera d’asti ’05 – that we were drinking and well, i tend to forget things. more and more… but i could never ever forget the first dish that michael brought to our table.  it was a cold sausage of forced duck meat, studded with foie gras. ruhlman later told me the proper name for what the studded thing is, but i can’t recall. regardless, it was truly exceptional. one of the better sausages i’ve ever eaten.

this is a picture of michael symon’s entire head next to about 18% of mine.  it is the single worst photo of me ever taken in the history of my entire life. believe me, this crop job was beyond necessary and i did us all a huge service. but that really is me cradling symon’s big bald head and i can assure you the rest of his body was in fact well attached. he is, by the way, an absolute doll. totally adorable. michael symon, i love you. and when things slow down a bit in your life – like in 20 years, let’s hang out. mwah!

after the sausage and marrow, there were sweetbreads and berkshire bacon, and lamb and halibut and the righteous lola fries… and only then did michael send over the 3 desserts – which i proceeded to eat most of… and then i died. happy.

this trip, carol was arriving 2 days after me so i found myself in the amazing care of heidi robb from life in recipesshe works in culinary media and is currently involved with symon on his upcoming book as well as being a personal chef. and in the midst of all of that, she was kind enough to volunteer to schlep my ass all over town for 2 days. we had a lot of food, and a lot of fun. thank you heidi. kindred spirits and friends forever. 


heidi from life in recipes - my lola dining partner and ace tour guide

the next day we went to the cleveland museum of art and feeding maybelle gave us a private tour. she works there and is incredibly knowledgeable of the collection. sadly, we were a few weeks shy of the new exhibit that’s coming in, but still, we got the grand go around and i loved the building which has undergone the first stage of a major renovation, to be completed in 2012. after, we hit chinatown. 

this was the best dish – a petal shaped rice noodle with pork and vegetables. the 3 of us loved it.

then we went experimental and decided to get the bitter melon and shrimp with egg. there is no way to measure the sucktitude of this dish. it was both bad and boring.

white tripe with black bean sauce.  because when heidi and i mustered up whatever it took to order the tripe, she figured black bean sauce was the way to go.  those little fermented beans tend to make anything taste all right. all in all i’d have to say that it was - ummm, textural?  can you see the little villi attached to the little flaps which are attached to the bigger flap of stomach? no? look closer. yep, pretty gross. but we ate some, felt that we could then conquer anything and then went on with our bad selves. but i really took this photo so i could taunt carol (see this), and got great pleasure waving my iphone in front of her face, over and over. because i am her friend and that’s what friends do.

west side market is what’s missing in nashville. trader joe’s may be opening here next month, but they won’t be offering beef hearts and lamb tongues and hungarian bacon and tons of sausage AND cannoli.  ok, we actually have good cannoli. but STILL, we don’t have one butcher that sells calves liver or veal bones or, see below on the very left?  that’s a lamb head.  ok, so maybe i can live without the lamb head but if the brain were still inside i might be interested.

 

heads and hearts and livers and kidneys and tongues… as it should be. heidi bought 6 lamb tongues for pickling and it was under $5.

the happiest, nicest produce vendors in the building. i loved these vendors. they were truly enjoying themselves and it was contagious. that woman’s melons were outrageous. 

you slice this and eat it as is – cold on a good dense eastern european bread shmeared with garlic. so i’ve been told.

that night, heidi and i were joined by ‘feeding maybelle’ for a dinner at moxie. we had a cheese course that included a briny brau kase from wisconsin that i loved and am trying to track down, as well as a duck confit with pear mostarda that i thought was excellent. there were scallops in creamed corn with nueske bacon, a tomato salad with mozzarella and lemon overtones – and there were 2 bottles of a wonderful argentinian malbec.

more pork for you. ruhlman comes by his love of the stuff honestly… i think cleveland has more pork per capita than any city in america.

speaking of ruhlman, the next day carol and i made it a point to stop by the botanical garden to see donna turner ruhlman’s photography exhibit entitled ‘leaf designs in black and white.’  the prints were stunning and we were lucky to catch it.

the garden has this two level glasshouse.  downstairs, you’ve got yer costa rica – upstairs, yer madagascar.  this plaque (above) was near the elevator and for some reason it CRACKED ME THE HELL UP. poor carol… i wonder how she stands it. but c’mon! i never tire of watching leaf-cutter ants? get a life…

 

the botanical garden entrance, looking out to the cleveland art museum.

and then finally, that evening – my first negroni. but ruhlman? without the orange slice? we sampled 3 of his recently made sausages and i surprisingly voted for the chicken, a true taste sensation, (turkey with cherry and bratwurst were the others) which michael assured me was loaded with fatback – because i was worried i might not get my daily cleveland pork allowance…

anyway, this is michael, carol and myself (fat again and FRETTING) - photo by donna. we had a wonderful wine soaked evening and as much as i adore michael, and i really do adore michael, his wife is what makes cleveland rock. i’m sure of it.

so for that last night we chose to have dinner at the baricelli inn, owned by chef paul minnillo. we nestled into a table for 4 in a glass encased corner and began with some champagne as paul sent out a tray of salumi and a platter of the last of his garden grown heirloom tomatoes in vibrant green, yellow and red. it wasn’t a night for taking food photos but for those of you who may wonder, we had the 5 spice lamb ribs that came with a chutney slaw that was really quite good and a chilled sugar snap pea soup that didn’t quite rise to what it could have been. we also had a simple salad of greens from the renowned farmer jones, and another that had asparagus, potatoes, mustard greens, a poached egg and bacon vinaigrette – both excellent if not slightly overdressed. for our entrées we had a corn risotto with bacon and sweet peppers, a saffron linguine with lobster and pea tendrils and the duck breast with stone fruit compote, wild rice and figs that seemed to be quite well received. but well, by that time i was ever so slightly blurry, exclaiming "no, i’m fine" just as my elbow slipped off the table. charming. (le sigh…)

besides the great food, the baricelli inn is also known for its cheese and boasts a state-of-the-art affinage cooler, home to about 40 different varieties. so the evening ended with a spread of beautiful cheeses, one in particular that was made with goat, cow and sheep milk. there was a dessert that didn’t quite matter and scotch and some muscato, perhaps the other dessert wine was a sauternes but by this point – what’s the difference? you get the picture. if not, allow me to spell this out. cocktails, champagne, 2+ bottles of wines, dessert wine and hard liquor. and i lived to tell the tale and did not puke, although at 4am it was touch and go…

sunday was a bit tough for me to face. but we slept in, admired the hotel artwork a bit longer, packed up and then rallied, only to hit fire for brunch with heidi. i hate to say it, but even in my delicate state, nothing we ordered qualified as all that good. the chef doug katz did come by and totally seemed like a very nice jewish boy. admittedly, by that time, food wasn’t exactly high on my priority list. and i was hung over. but still, just fair at best. fire has a wonderful reputation and if i find myself back in cleveland, i’d love to try it for dinner.

when you descend upon a city that you’ve never been to before, and you’re there to suck the life out of it, drawing all it has to offer into your brain, your stomach, your heart – sometimes it can overload your senses. but somehow this was not the case with cleveland. somehow, despite the self induced fast pace, it felt homey and comfortable – the kind of place where it’s easy to just ‘be’, the kind of place where you could live. after all my earlier notions, the "rock ‘n’ roll capital of the world" proved itself to be a worthy destination in ways i had not imagined and i know i’ll be back sometime. and when i am, it will be because of the most important thing that any town, village or city can offer you – it will be to see my friends.

Tags: restaurants · travel

55 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Diana // Oct 3, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    This is SUCH a valuable post. I’m planning this very same vacation as a mini-road trip (via Canton, OH for a trip to the football hall of fame) after we hit up Pittsburgh in December to watch the Steelers. Minus the VIP treatment, natch. Fun fact: Did you know Cleveland is NORTH of Pittsburgh? I suck at geography.

  • 2 cfd // Oct 3, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    sounds more like ascending than descending!!!!

  • 3 maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) // Oct 3, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    So much of this post is wonderful–and we loved seeing you. All of it is truthful except the comment about your weight. I can attest that you were not so at all in person…

  • 4 lifeinrecipes // Oct 3, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Kindred spirits. friends forever, and partners in TRIPE. God, I was feeling super until I saw that photo.

    Can’t wait until you schlep MY happy ass around Nashville….oh yeah.

    Come back and do it again, anytime. And ditto what Maybelle’s Mom said.

  • 5 claudia // Oct 3, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    you guys… spoken like true friends. but i know the truth. and the truth will set you free…

    and the truth has put my ass on a diet…

    cleveland ROCKS!

  • 6 Robert // Oct 3, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Fret,

    It is clear how you got from the begining, “clevelandÖ of all places”, to “cleveland proved itself to be a worthy destination”. And, you got there for all the right reasons. Sounds really fun, you are a lucky young lady.

    Its good that you didnt puke.

    Oh, and somebody needs to fix Carol some real tripe. You cant Fru-Fru tripe, so dont try. Grandma Laughed………… Thanks.

  • 7 FrenchLaundryatHome // Oct 3, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    I bet tripe never tires of watching leaf-cutter ants…

  • 8 Indeoluv // Oct 3, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    i.am.beyond.jealous.
    absolutely fabulous post! for the first time, ever, cleveland looks like a promising cure for wanderlust…

  • 9 NOBLE PIG // Oct 3, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Ummm, can i go on a trip with you? Who knew cleveland was such a hot spot! You dived in with two feet, I love that.

  • 10 Ethel // Oct 3, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Cleveland? Cleveland? Yes I rolled my eyes too but after your wonderful travelogue it could get on my “to see list” but I’d have to get that Claudia VIP treatment. So now I have “unrolled” my eyes, one never knows when I’d go for a few days. Cleveland???? YES. You made it come alive. Food, ants, art et al.

  • 11 claudia // Oct 3, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    thanks mom! you’ve always been my biggest fan. i love you.

    your comments KILL ME – in the very best way.

  • 12 Peter // Oct 3, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    HELLO CLEVELAND! HELLO CLEVELAND!

    Seriously, this makes me feel even worse that I couldn’t meet you in NYC.

    Did you see the 30 Rock Cleveland montage a while back?

  • 13 Karen // Oct 3, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    I just found this on a random search of Cleveland activities. What a surprise! I never knew the Botanical Gardens had changing exhibits. I clicked to the site and the photography show looks like a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Thank you and I will be sure to bookmark this website and check back often! I also love to cook and my husband took me to the Baricelli Inn for my birthday last year!

    Karen Lovenger in Cleveland

  • 14 GARY // Oct 3, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    HI – I READ YOU R BLOG BUT HAVE NEVER COMMENTED EXCEPT I AM FROM CLEVELAND AND THIS POST ROCKED JUST LIKE CLEVELAND

    GO BROWNS!!!

  • 15 Traci @ Soup of The Day // Oct 4, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Donna is such a great photographer. That is a fantastic picture of you three :)

    And you don’t look fat! You’re cute as a button!

  • 16 ntsc // Oct 4, 2008 at 6:13 am

    My wife and I, with 8 on-line food friends went to Cleveland this past June.

    http://blog.charcuteire.com/2008/06/10/cleveland-2008.aspx

    We also got to meet Ruhlman and ate lunch with us, which we had prepared.

    Two weeks prior to that we had been in Nashville.

    http://menu.vldyson.com/2008/05/26/montecellor-nashville-the-hermitage-and-richmond.aspx

    Both trips we drove from the New York City area. Would do either or both again.

  • 17 Jennifer Hess // Oct 4, 2008 at 7:21 am

    I wanna travel with you. Just sayin.

  • 18 Steph // Oct 4, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Great post! You’ve got me thinking about the cheese at Baricelli – some of the best I’ve ever had, and Paulie and Lisa are so much fun.
    I can’t wait to go back to Cleveland – this time I must get to one of Michael Symon’s places and the West Side Market.

    Glad you had such a fulfilling (and filling!) trip.

  • 19 evil chef mom // Oct 4, 2008 at 9:10 am

    looks like ruhlman got a haircut.

  • 20 Anna // Oct 4, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Go Cleveland! Sounds like you had fun. That Michael Ruhlman is too handsome. I have always wanted to eat at Lola. I only live 2 hours away so maybe I will take a trip.

    Thank you for taking the time to put this out there.

  • 21 The Italian Dish // Oct 4, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Wow! I’ve always wanted to eat at Lola’s, ever since I read Ruhlman’s book, “The Soul of a Chef”. Lucky you. What a fun trip.

  • 22 Mari // Oct 4, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Claudia, if you’re fat, then I want to be fat too.
    Stop FRETTING, you’re gorgeous!

  • 23 Lauren // Oct 4, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    I LOVE Michael Symon too! He’s too cool. So yeah, Cleveland sounds cool. The Chinatown pictures reminded me of how much the smell of Chinatown in NYC is not appetizing. Aside from that, the food looked and sounded great. Meat rocks!

  • 24 Marie // Oct 4, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Michael Symon’s got the cutest laugh and smile!
    What a great trip! the food and your company was amazing! Lucky you! BTW, stop fretting, you look great!

  • 25 Mal Carne // Oct 5, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Wow, night and day from my Cleveland culinary experience. Then again, I was on tour and rather broke.

    Got pointed to a little late night joint down the street from the club. The specialty: chili dog loaded with chili, cheese, bacon, onions, sauerkraut, AND coleslaw. But it did amount to a proper Cleveland quota of pig for the day (and an overdose of cabbage).

  • 26 Heather // Oct 5, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    You crack me the hell up. My husband is from Columbus, and in our four years together I have managed to avoid ever setting foot on Ohio soil. But now I can see I’ve been wrong. Plus, that whole Cincinnati-style spaghetti thing. Those people put CHILI on SPAGHETTI. Can you believe it?

    Those little rice noodles – I saw those in the store yesterday labeled “mochi flakes”. First time I ever saw such a thing. Now here you go.

    Next stop should be Portland. I can’t promise any doll-faced celebrity chefs but I’ll show you a good time.

  • 27 Samantha // Oct 5, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    What a great post you wrote! Makes me want to get on a plane. Maybe this spring a little side trip will be in order.

    That West Side market looks like heaven for the nasty bits.

  • 28 MangerLaVille // Oct 5, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    What a star studded trip, and Cleavland of all places. I think all you missed was Skyline Chilly (Rhulman took Bourdain to this chili joint on the Cleavland episode) and its my boyfriend’s favorite. (to be honest, you should be happy you weren’t dragged there…)

  • 29 Caroline // Oct 5, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Interesting to see my city through your eyes. Next time you must try Bar Cento. I am curious to see the DTR photographs. I clicked over to the exhibit and I will make it a point to go very soon.

    Lola is a fun restaurant but I am a true fan of Lolitaís.

    I hope you make it back to Cleveland soon but perhaps you might want to wait until spring. Itís stays rather grey around these parts.

  • 30 Peter // Oct 5, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    How cool is that…you met Ruhlman and Michael Symon. Cleveland’s just 5 hr. drive from here…I should go.

  • 31 Jeremy // Oct 5, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed Cleveland, but seriously, I get so tired of all the “Cleveland?? Really???” comments from people. Not all of the U.S. is contained in NYC and LA (I should know. I live in LA and would rather be in Cleveland). People, step off your front stoop more often. There is a whole world out there and most of it is “flyover.”

  • 32 chefectomy // Oct 5, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Fantastic post Claudia. The petal shaped noodles look extremely cool. You look lovely in the last photo, stop fretting!

  • 33 lifeinrecipes // Oct 6, 2008 at 7:05 am

    To Caroline: I really, really wanted to get to Bar Cento as it’s become somewhat of a weekly habit for me….and I keep Lolita near and dear to my heart. However, there was a lot of ground to cover; schedules, timing, convenience, and fatigue to consider. Hopefully, when Claudia returns (hear that, missy!), Bar Cento Chef Jonathan Sawyer’s Greenhouse Tavern will be open.

  • 34 jim voorhies // Oct 6, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Heather, you can (or used to be able to) find that here – it’s called three-way chili and it combines spaghetti noodles, chili and tamales (both straight from CANS!). It was “featured” as a special at Varallo’s restaurant.

    I think I just set a new low for culinary comments on ceF.

  • 35 Jack // Oct 6, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Well Iíve never been to Cleveland
    But I kinda like the BeatlesÖ
    Looks like you really painted the town! That must have been some itinerary to see, drink and eat so much in one visit. Iím sorry, Iíve eaten live baby octopus and giant clam, but tripe is something that will probably never grace my palate- not even to impress three hot looking women! And Heidi with those lamb tongues for pickling? No buzzard eggs?!! Wow! Get away! Hearts and livers and brains Oh My! You are scaring me with food and Halloween isnít till the end of the month. Seriously, what a fun-filled adventure and so well written. The Ohio dept of tourism should pay for a link.

  • 36 Rebecca // Oct 6, 2008 at 10:05 am

    This looks like mission accomplished. A yummy visit to Cleveland, and the uplifting of Michael Ruhlman’s spirits. Thanks Carol and cookeatFRET!!

  • 37 lisa // Oct 6, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Cleveland’s coolness is going to ruin the midwest’s bland reputation!

  • 38 Julie // Oct 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Certainly sounds like you had the grand tour. Cleveland sounds great. I’ve never been but I have a large soft spot in my heart for aging industrial cities so I’m sure I’d love it.

  • 39 Lesley // Oct 6, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Little did I know I was clicking into vegetarian hell! :)
    You know, I don’t know where Cleveland gets the bad rap. I’ve even been there in the snow and loved the place.

  • 40 robin @ caviar and codfish // Oct 6, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Gawd, those paintings are horrid. But looks like you had a wonderful time despite them.

    Love living vicariously through you on all your vacations, Claudia!

  • 41 Tina // Oct 6, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    I am a huge Ruhlman fan and never even knew he had a blog. I have read 6 of his books and I look to him as my food guru. I don’t have a blog but a friend of mine told me about yours and THERE WAS MICHAEL RUHLMAN. Too cool. I don’t have the nerve to comment on his blog but I will be reading his and yours and Carol’s too!

  • 42 Melissa // Oct 6, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    I bet maybelle’s mom is right and you looked as beautiful as ever. And I’m sure you were a charming drunk. ;P

    Cleveland is definitely not somewhere I have ever considered going. You certainly highlighted some wonderful reasons though. Glad you had a nice time with good food, good art and great friends.

  • 43 The Urban Eater // Oct 7, 2008 at 9:20 am

    PLEASE tell me that is ice in your wine tumblers!

    I absolutely enjoy the picture of the produce vendors. You can see their happiness and I love that you cropped your own face out of the Symon shot b/c my dear, I have done the same thing with my Keller shot b/c well, I did not look as spectacular as I am and I am not ready for the world to know my imperfections.

    LOVE u, honey and when are you coming to Tampa?

  • 44 Hillary // Oct 7, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Sounds like a wonderful trip. I’m surprised to hear the shrimp and bitter melon dish was boring – it looks anything but! Thanks for the trip recap, I’m jealous of the company you keep :)

  • 45 Brittany // Oct 7, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Please come to Seattle sometime. You are a girl who I am dying to get drunk with

    (your first negroni EVER? or just the first of the night? Negroni is my total fave).

    That tripe dish looks seriously scary. And I actually kind of like tripe in that Mexican soup- the name of which is escaping me…Does that make me gross?

  • 46 jodycakes // Oct 7, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    This is EXCELLENT info about Cleveland…and love all your pics, even if on iPhone!!!

  • 47 yveala // Oct 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    how could rock and rolling on the shores of lake erie be bad?!?
    add in “the next iron chef”, ruhlman, the ants, that vip treatment and yes, even the melons looked outragious, wow! when you go again, take me..and have my vanilla pear ginger martini waiting…and iphones rock.

  • 48 fluffernutter // Oct 7, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    You met Feeding maybelle’s mom? I wish I’d known — tell her Fluffernutter from Tupperware Avalanche wishes she had been along for the eatin’.

  • 49 Daniel from Chi-Town // Oct 8, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I came across this quite by accident while googling something entirely unrelated (funny how that happens) and boy am i glad that I did. My wife and I will be in C-Town next month and now I know exactly what we’ll be doing and what we’ll be eating. I like your web site. Very nice design. Rock ON!

  • 50 Francis // Oct 8, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Long time lurker here. Thought I’d say hello and that this was an inspirational post. I just read Ruhlman’s Soul of a Chef and loved it. What a cool book. I’m absolutely putting Cleveland on my go-to list.

  • 51 democommie // Oct 8, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Claudia:

    Welcome home!

    I was in NH and MA about the same time. Not nearly as much fun as you had, although I did get to see some friends.

    I spent a few days in Cleveland some years ago and saw lots of possibilities. I usually wind up driving through there at about midnight on my way to or from Omaha–the “Jake” is usually lit up like something from “Close Encounters”.

    A few more weeks and I’ll have my stove in ( I had to go with something less than I wanted, but compared to a hotplate it will be heaven), then I can start making strange dishes on four burners instead of one!

  • 52 We Are Never Full // Oct 9, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    WONDERFUL post! my dad lived in Cleveland for years before i was born and loved it. when i moved back east from colorado, he flew out and we drove my car together home and stopped in cleveland for the night. he showed me around what he remembered and we did the R&R hall of fame (which i LOVED). cleveland is a great town, that’s for sure. You def. did it justice.

    ruhlman is hot. usually i try not to reduce myself to talking about food-related people as if they are brad pitt, but seriously, that guy is SEXY hot. i love that you showed a bit of shoulder on your date w/ him – you work it girl!

    great post. i’m hungry.

    ps: why is the font so small in the comment section? maybe it’s my computer but i need glasses to read them now!

  • 53 furlinedteacup // Oct 9, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    I am a huge fan of Lola Bistro as well. Well worth a trek to Cleveland!

  • 54 Jessica // Jun 27, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    I do not recommend going to Fire Food and Drink for dinner. Or any meal. Ever. Most of their food is unquestionably sub-par. However, I do highly recommend Bodega in Coventry for a light dinner. It is a tapas restaurant and I have never had bad food or bad service there.

    I have lived within an hour of Cleveland nearly all of my life, and I have to say that it is one of the best cities I’ve ever been to. There is a place for everyone there. I do hope you come back and check more of it out.

    (Michael Symon also happens to be opening Bar Symon soon in Avon Lake. I hope you make it there once it’s open!)

  • 55 Heidi Robb » Beer me a Season // Aug 9, 2009 at 6:53 am

    [...] goodness to praise: Claudia of cook eat FRET is in town, so on to what she missed from her prior Cleveland visit: Breakfast was flaky, buttery, Paris-worthy croissant from On The Rise Artisan Breads. Karen caught [...]

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