Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
The Taste of Tremont is the one day in the year Professor Ave in Tremont is closed to vehicular traffic and thousands of Clevelanders pack a 2-1/2 block area from 12:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Hordes made their pilgrimage as early as 11:30 a.m., welcomed by the scent of incense presented by Ty Fun, a Thai restaurant on Jefferson Ave.
Ty Fun's food offerings this year were spring rolls ($2), kai kra prow ($6), vegetarian pad thai ($5), and beef panang ($6), which we didn't try. Bug had his eye on Fahrenheit's cheese steak sandwich that he woefully passed up last year.
Amidst the thumping music and black bar tables brought out from the restaurant, Chef Rocco Whalen drummed up Fahrenheit's offerings on his bullhorn: Chinese chicken salad ($5), "Loaded" chips ($6), and Tremont cheesesteak ($7).
Bug ordered his cheesesteak sandwich "wit provi" (with provolone). It was salty and dry with nothing for cheese so it wasn't worth it for me. Bug was disappointed with the dryness and scant amount of cheese, but was satisfied to finally cross that off his to-do list. How could it beat a year of anxious anticipation? What can one expect for only $7? I am glad that I no longer have to hear about the one that got away! :)
What I missed this year was Fahrenheit's tacos. The truck was around, but it wasn't givin' up any tacos.
Lago's pizza was pretty popular. The restaurant recently put up some interesting weekly specials like vegetarian Mondays; Tab Tuesdays, where the restaurant picks up a portion or all of the tab; and Taste of Thursday where several special dishes are created, centered around a particular ingredient. For example, this week's ingredient is strawberries so the dishes being prepared are strawberries, goat cheese, and spinach salad, pan-seared duck with strawberry-apricot compote, and strawberry cobbler with mascarpone zabaglione.
While I would like to eat Fahrenheit's lobster pizza this week, that strawberry menu sounds delightful. Guess we'll see when Thursday comes around.
Yet another year went by where my thirst wasn't quenched by Lolita's mint lemonade. The line here was the longest of all the booths. I didn't feel like waiting through 30 people, which probably went quickly as only 2 items were offered -- their trademark mac and cheese ($5) along with the mint lemonade ($2).
Bug scrounged up a dollar in change so we walked by the booth 10 minute 'til closing. The stand was vacant. Maybe next year.
Grumpy's offerings were centered around chips -- chips with salsa, chips with Texas caviar, and nachos. With the sun's rays beating down on the asphalt, that Arnold Palmer sparkled like liquid gold.
In a not so busy end was Roosevelt Post 58 Polish Legion of American Veterans. They offered kielbasa and sauerkraut in a hot dog bun for $3. I was extremely pleased with the sausage packed with juicy, smoky, garlicky spiciness wrapped in a firm casing. The sauerkraut was probably cooked with some kielbasa, since it was mellow (the way I like it) and smoky. Being an exclusive club, I felt fortunate to sample their food!
A couple of new restaurant names appeared in the mix -- La Fuega and Istanbul Turkish Grill.
La Fuega has a cute logo that reminds me of nose art from World War II warplanes. Their representative to the event was a "New Mexican style" green chile mini-cheeseburger ($5).
Istanbul Turkish Grill served chicken fillet or kofta with rice or bulgar ($6) and baklava ($3). I look forward to seeing their full menu, as I love Mediterranean food despite an aversion to raw onions and cilantro!
Good luck to the new restaurants! Hope to see the 22 neighborhood restaurants that participated, as well as the other local businesses, grow to more next year!
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Looking for some activities around Cleveland? The Cleveland MetroParks Zoo is a great way to spend the day and is one of the greatest deals in town.
During April through October, the admission is $10 for adults (12+ years of age), $7.00 for children (2 - 11 years), and kids under 2 years enter free. During the months of November through March, the admission is $3.00 and $2.00 cheaper for adults and children, respectively. The Rain Forest is an additional $5.00 and $3.00 for adults and children. Parking is free.
These are pretty reasonable rates to roam the world, exploring lush forests under a canopy of trees, plodding through savannas, and wandering the desert. From what I've read, you're allowed to bring outside food and beverages. We didn't bring any food, but we toted a small bottle of water during our recent trip.
A significant deal takes place on Mondays when the zoo is free. The Rain Forest is an additional fee, as well as the Dinosaurs! exhibit ($1.00). If a holiday lands on a Monday, the free ride takes place the next day. I took the day off in mid-May so we could go when the weather was tolerable, with temperatures in the 50s, instead of during the summer amidst heaving throngs of human flesh in the oppressive heat and humidity.
We unfortunately missed The Scoop on Poop exhibit that began its run at the end of May and will end in mid-September, as well as Flutter!, under construction when we visited. It is advertised to be an exhibit where hundreds of African, Asian, and South American butterflies freely flutter in the Public Greenhouse. Of course, we can always visit the zoo again, but Cleveland is still very warm in September.
Dinosaurs! is an exhibit of 15 detailed animatronic dinosaurs represented by a roaring Tyrannosaurus Rex that stands 20 feet tall, Iguanodon, an herbivore from Europe, Brachiosaurus, and others from Europe, Australia, North and South America, and Africa.
One of the dinosaurs sprays water which appeared to be a favorite amongst the school kids. Even the Iguanodon hatchlings pictured above move.
While it is a rather small exhibit, at only $1 the detour through the forest and lake to the Australian Adventure exhibit is an interesting trip back 65 to over 200 million years ago. Dinosaurs! is available through September (2010).
Aside from the koala, wallaby, and kangaroo habitats, the Australian Adventure offers a rather immersive experience. We explored a homestead with place settings at the dining room table. Of course, I peeked into the cabinets and uncovered some cooking supplies and ingredients.
Signs everywhere were Aussie themed and were rather cheesy, but that made it quite endearing. The Boomerang Line is a train ride around the 8-acre exhibit. The New Guinea singing dogs live near Kookaburra Station and Ballarat Theater. I took several pictures of them, but they didn't come out well.
The zoo has snakes, wolves, beavers, bears, a spiffy aquarium, and other animals in their own habitats without being a part of a thematic area.
Every time I see a polar bear, I think of our fifth ferret, Kumori. Kumo loved to nap. All ferrets love to snuggle up and nap, but he was our chill ferret.
If it were safe and they allowed us to bring dogs, I would jump on the chance to take Akemi on a brief tour. I have a feeling that she probably wouldn't care about the animals who wouldn't pay any attention to her. However, she soaks up the adoration showered upon her by humans every time we walk outside of the house with her. She barks when people do not stop to pet her.
Zoo Music Girl by the Birthday Party
Cleveland MetroParks Zoo
3900 Wildlife Wy
Cleveland, OH 44109
Tel: (216) 661-6500