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#1 Ron Johnson

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 04:29 PM

Spent last weekend in Cleveland, Ohio.

This is a very cold city. The wind that blows off Lake Erie is arcticesque.

The people are very friendly. I was shocked by the hospitality. From retailers to restaurants, everyone was extremely gracious.

The downtown is in the midst of a comeback. Much improvement has already happened, and it looks like the trend is continuing.

One Walnut is an amazing restaurant. We had the four course prix fixe, and we were very impressed with the food. I think that this is mandatory dining destination for anyone visiting Cleveland. We had:

Lamb Cassoulet: A single chop perched over a tiny crock of beans cooked cassoulet style.

Horseradish crusted grouper over potato puree with haricot verts.

Lobster with saffron vanilla sauce and brussel sprouts and fried potatoes.

Roasted pheasant over wilted greeens.

Hanger Steak

Meyer Lemon Squares

Composed cheese course.

We also dined at a few inexpensive places and had drinks at some of the bars. It was really too cold to walk around downtown for too long.

#2 Caseophile

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 03:48 AM

Ron, thanks for the post. I find myself in Cleveland once every few Decembers, and now I'll have a place to eat, rather than just picking up a sandwich on the Ohio Turnpike.

I can't imagine being there at this time of year. In December, that wind off the lake is enough to freeze me solid. I think Clevelanders are built of stronger stuff than I am.

#3 Ron Johnson

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 03:56 PM

It was a very different kind of cold with the wind coming off the lake.

I am going to make a summer visit to catch an Indians game and another dinner at One Walnut.

#4 Daisy

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 03:58 PM

If you do, go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's fun.

I like that stadium, too.
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#5 Caseophile

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 12:15 AM

I've gone to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times now. I love it. It happens to be right next to the lake, for maximum frigidness. And next to the football stadium, too. Once I was there on the day of a Browns game, so I could look into the open end of the stadium and watch all the people sitting out there exposed to the elements all day long. Mighty impressive. Those folks must really love their football team.

#6 guajolote

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 01:12 AM

cleveland isn't really that cold, and the lake keeps it warmer in the winter. they do get a shitload of snow.

#7 Caseophile

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 02:46 AM

cleveland isn't really that cold, and the lake keeps it warmer in the winter. they do get a shitload of snow.

Folks, I looked it up on the internet (which is always right, of course), and Guajolote speaks the truth. Cleveland's average temperature in February is 27.2 degrees, only 6.4 degrees colder than New York's. And Cleveland gets 12.0 inches of snow in February, compared to New York's 8.6. Must be that lake effect.

In any case, that wind sure made it feel awfully cold to me. The other thing that bugged me was that Cleveland is the only place where I've seen a police car bearing a large sign promoting a particular presidential candidate. That really didn't seem right. I mean, do they only give speeding tickets to cars with bumper stickers supporting the other guy?

Other than that and the chilling wind, I had no complaints.

#8 Ron Johnson

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 03:30 PM

cleveland isn't really that cold,

dude, that wind froze my ass off. the snow was the least of my worries.

#9 guajolote

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 03:58 PM

cleveland isn't really that cold,

dude, that wind froze my ass off. the snow was the least of my worries.

i guess i'm a little biased b/c i live in chicago where it's 6 degrees colder on average than cleveland. the wind is bad here when it's coming down from those fucking canadians, but when it blows from the east over lake michigan it's much warmer. the surface temperature of lake michigan rarely gets below 40 F b/c of temperature inversions. lake erie might be different b/c it's much shallower.

a few years ago i worked in cleveland in the summer and there were millions of big flies.

#10 Ron Johnson

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 05:03 PM

coldest city I've been to was Madison, Wisconsin on New Years Eve. There were warnings about going outside after midnight because of exposed flesh freezing. Fortunately, I was well fortified for the climate with armagnac.

#11 Ron Johnson

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 10:07 PM

I was in Cleveland last night for business. I happened to see in the Plain Dealer that Michael Symon had finally opened the downtown location of Lola. The former Lola space in Tremont is now Lolita and serves tapas style food.


Fortunately, they were open on a Monday night, and I could eat dinner at the bar.
Lola downtown is kickass. I really had a nice meal there. The space is gorgeous combining sleek dark surfaces with large art installations, all of which focuses on a huge open kitchen. The place looks good.

The menu covers a lot of ground with a relative short slate of appetizers and entrees. I was tempted by several of the appetizers, but could not pass up fresh bacon with frisee, chanterelles, and a poached egg. This take on the classic salad preparation was notable for focusing on the meat and eggs . . . fuck the frisee. A seriously tasty slab of pork belly was just crisped on the outside, and succulent with fat inside. It was adorned with a mere sprig of frisee, some chanterelles and a perfectly poached egg. Execution is this restaurant's strong suit. Throughout the meal I kept noting that everything was cooked just right and seasoned with a deft hand. The main course was squab. Two breasts with wings attached were crispy on the outside and beatifully rare within. Alongside was a slab of foie gras large enough to slap your mama, and cleverly fried cake of rillette made from squab bits. I like rillettes, but crisping the outside added greatly to the experience by giving a second texture. The foie gras was charred like a creme brulee and added a lovely richness and refinement to the squab meat. All of this was bound together by a pair of sauces, one being a straightforward demi-glace reduction, the other showing pear with a hint of curry flavor.

I am not a dessert eater, but I was on such a roll here that I decided to go for it. Good thing. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw bacon ice cream. Yes, maple bcon ice cream comes with the french toast dish that is know as the 6 a.m. Special. Because I had some red wine left to finish ( a Jermann Pinot Noir), I opted for something chocolate. The Dark Day in Cleveland was a molten chocolate cake topped with blackberries and served with a quenelle of Guiness ice cream. Molten chocolate cakes are so ubiquitous that I am surprised they aren't sold at Applebees, but this was different because it tasted . . . GOOD. Funny, how making a decent cake elevates this dessert. At any rate, it was a fine end to a very very good meal. It has been a long time since I was so utterly pleased with every part of a meal. Service was friendly, yet professional.

If you are in Cleveland, eat here.

#12 Jaymes

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 03:32 AM

coldest city I've been to was Madison, Wisconsin on New Years Eve. There were warnings about going outside after midnight because of exposed flesh freezing. Fortunately, I was well fortified for the climate with armagnac.


True partiers know that if you haven't spent New Year's Eve in Nome, you haven't lived. Doesn't get any wilder. For one thing, most of the Indian villages around, like Kotzebue, prohibit alcohol. And the party in Nome is legendary. So most of the state heads for Nome.

And warnings? When it's 40 below for months, we don't need no stinkin' warnings.

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#13 Ron Johnson

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 11:42 AM

It is worth mentioning again what a friendly city Cleveland is. It is shocking. Cab drivers, waiters, shop clerks, barkeeps, people on the street, you name it. Everyone is upbeat and courteous. This town has had a bad reputation that it does not deserve.

#14 Vital Information

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:59 PM

It is worth mentioning again what a friendly city Cleveland is. It is shocking. Cab drivers, waiters, shop clerks, barkeeps, people on the street, you name it. Everyone is upbeat and courteous. This town has had a bad reputation that it does not deserve.


YES!

I just spent an extended weekend in Cleveland. Because of family committments, we did not get to too many places. Still, Mr. Johnson's words so aptly describe what we saw. At the West Side Market, one of the great foodie destinations in the USA, everyone was so damn nice, and in an incredible honest way. I mean I've been to Morocco (no offense to any Moroccan's) but it was not that kinda market nice. One of the butchers happily let me watch him cut up a lamb, answering questions along the way. That kinda nice.

Otherwise, they have especially good coffee in Cleveland. Dewey's in Shaker Square being most notable, but everywhere else we went, the coffee seemed good.

Corky and Lenny's has the schmooze down, pretty good corned beef and soup, below average pastrami (which is harder to do well it seems).

Go to the cafe off the West Side Market just for their version of hash browns.

Mitchell's peach ice cream is worth seeking out.
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#15 wleatherette

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 09:05 PM

QUOTE(Vital Information @ Aug 14 2007, 05:59 PM) View Post
Corky and Lenny's has the schmooze down, pretty good corned beef and soup, below average pastrami (which is harder to do well it seems).


i loved c&l's as a kid, but i think it's really gone downhill. jack's in university heights is my hands-down favorite for hardcore deli, although slyman's on st. clair wins for corned beef. two very different experiences, but both are great.

mitchell's ice cream is great, and i beg my family to stock up on their peppermint stick around the holidays. nothing beats east coast custard, though. i dream of that stuff. the shake shack just doesn't cut it.