Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I found an advertisement postcard for Asian Town Center in my belongings yesterday and looked the place up online to discover there is an Asian grocery store, Korean restaurant, Vietnamese restaurant, art gallery and studio, and other small shops within the complex.
We have passed by this structure numerous times but did not think to explore it until today.
The vast two-story space is a converted warehouse with an almost nifty vibe. A lot has been done to make the place look chic, but it's not quite there yet. I love the high ceilings and the freight elevators, but lighting needs to be improved to give the place a sharper appearance.
We stopped by Asia Food Company, the grocery store, to pick up ginger and found some deals on gobo (burdock root), fresh-baked sesame balls with lotus, mung and coconut, and azuki fillings, and oodles of noodles ranging from Mama tom yum noodle soup to Myojo chukazanmai.
Miega, a Korean restaurant, and Negative Space Gallery and Studio are upstairs past a wide spiral staircase that feels out of place. I can't wait to check out the scorpion bike up close at the gallery and try a bowl of soon dubu jjiggae or kalbi bi bim bap. And then there is Pho 99 downstairs...the choices!
Negative Space Gallery and Studio
3820 Superior Ave 2nd Floor
Cleveland, OH 44114
Tel: (216) 470-6092
Monday, August 29, 2011
Glad to hear that most of the East Coast survived Hurricane Irene without incident. When you consider the manic panic over the airwaves, one would have expected the eastern seaboard was joining Atlantis.
I hope the recovery goes quickly for those who did not fair as well.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
We met up with a couple of good friends and their two children for lunch at Melt in Cleveland Heights. What a lovely lunch and day at the zoo!
They ordered the Cleveland cheesesteak melt; 2 Kindergartens (plain grilled cheese); and Wake and bacon (fried egg, bacon, American cheese). I didn't want to be that crazy lady from Cleveland, so I left the kids' sandwiches alone, as far as poking my lens in their food.
Bug ordered the chorizo and potato melt, which is simply as advertised, and includes sharp cheddar cheese. I took 2 bites of Bug's melt. While it wasn't bad, I didn't think it was memorable in the way my sandwich was. What this sandwich did was showcase their bread.
My sandwich was the August sandwich special, the Magically Magnificent Flying Falafel Melt, a behemoth of a sandwich. I was extremely pleased that all of the components individually were well done, not that I didn't have confidence Melt could pull off a falafel melt. The falafel was crisp and filling with an appropriate punch of cumin.
After gobbling up one-sixth of my sandwich, it dawned on me that the thinly sliced faint pink medallions were, in fact, pickled turnips and not turkey. I thought it odd that turkey would be added to this hefty sandwich and did not recall reading of its inclusion. Also, each time I took a bite, it crunched in a very unturkey-like manner.
I would have been happy as a clam at high tide eating a bowl of their falafel and pickled turnips.
While everyone was moaning from distended (full) bellies and cried, "no more!", I ordered chocolate chai bread pudding to share with everyone.
Everyone has room for dessert, right?
This concoction arrived at our table steaming with a scoop of very thick vanilla ice cream. Despite what your left brain says, this is scrumptious. The chai spices work in the same way gingerbread blends beautifully as warm bread with creamy ice cream. I would return and order this alone.
Melt is a fun place to eat as it offers sandwich combinations to suit a full range of funky to conservative moods. Service was fine during the meal and the food was well made. However, it's not an ideal place to catch up with friends. Being in high demand, business is brisk so there is a lot of pressure to push people out; at least that was how we interpreted the three thank-yous for dining with them. :P
13463 Cedar Rd
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
Tel: (216) 965-0988
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Treehouse is another establishment I have been curious to cross its threshold because of said tree "growing" in the middle of the bar with sprawling limbs across the ornate hammered tin ceiling. No, it is not a live tree.
As I do not frequent pubs, I have never bothered. Having recently fired up their stove and after skimming their tongue and cheek menu online, there isn't much of a reason not to pay them a visit or three.
One of their pizzas is named Lipitor (ground beef, sausage, bacon, and pepperoni!). How cool is that? I enjoy places that can have fun, as long as service and quality is not a joke.
820 College Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 696-2505
With this photograph of South Side's patio wall, I realized just how little I truly see, listen, taste, and so forth.
I have never noticed just how much brick is exposed. I don't believe I felt it was a completely contiguous painting, but I did not realize just how much of it had flecked off. Now, all I see are the exposed bricks!
How can we not go through life without making assumptions, presumptions, conjecture, ...?
Even before South Side, when this spot was the High and Dry Inn, I've been meaning to check the food out. In either incarnation, the place is and was busy so the food must be good, right?
2207 W 11th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
Thursday, August 25, 2011
What drew my attention to this flapper-like dress were the black flowers. One of these days, I will have a room with flowers like this stenciled along the bottom half of the wall in black against white, and the top half of the wall painted deep red.
The top of the dress is a bit too Batman for my taste.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
After several minutes of clicking, barking, clucking, snapping, beeping, dancing, smooching, prodding, clapping, begging, ...
Akemi finally looked up when I sneezed.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The the pot of gumbo from yesterday is all gone!
More artwork brought to you by the letters T, S, and G. I found out from the Cleveland Kid that this artist is known as "The Sign Guy." His art is found in the least likely places. Thank you, sir, for nestling little surprises in our lives, from provoking thought to smiles. What a great gift.
I forgot just how much I miss having ferrets as pets. When I saw this lurking in the bushes today, it prompted me to search for weasel images online. :(
Monday, August 22, 2011
Last night, we ordered pizza while Bug cooked gumbo to be consumed for dinner tonight. I could hardly wait!
I always forget the difference between Cajun and Creole cuisine. What I've read from various sites is that a Cajun gumbo tends to be thicker from the use of a roux made from oil and flour, spicier, and omits tomatoes.
I adore Bug's thick, spicy, and smoky Cajun style gumbo. He used a chicken andouille, chicken breasts, okra, bell peppers, onions, and celery.
The roux was a mix of vegetable oil and flour. Several years ago, we learned of a way to make "roux" without the use of oil or butter by cooking flour until it turned the appropriate caramel color. This works very well, and I would imagine that 9 out of 10 people would not be able to tell the difference.
This was first time using chicken andouille from Costco. I was skeptical at first however, andouille is a spicy sausage so I felt confident that the chicken flavor wasn't going to dominate all those spices. Bug added some oil to fry the sausage in the dutch oven as very little grease or water drained during cooking.
We have, on occasion, added nuoc mam or fish sauce to our gumbo to give it more of a seafood flair.
Lastly, Bug seasoned the soup with Tabasco while it was simmering. Shortly afterwards, when the soup was ladled into bowls, a light dusting of file powder was added to give the soup a bit more depth.
A full pot of gumbo in this house lasts no more than 2 days...
Sunday, August 21, 2011
For decades, I detested pizza. It has only been the past few years when I've slowly stepped away from being a hater to standing within arms reach into the liker camp.
Since it was going to take Bug several hours to prepare chicken gumbo (I can't wait!!), we ordered a medium hot bacon spinach pizza ($13.95) and a dozen buffalo wings ($6.95) for dinner at Edison's Pizza Kitchen.
While I prefer very simple thin crust pizzas, what is not to like about bacon, fresh spinach, sweet tomatoes, crushed red pepper, feta, and hot bacon dressing all on a white pizza? Nothing!
All the vegetables are fresh and laid out on the pizza with an abundance of bacon, an appropriate amount of feta, and hot bacon dressing drizzled on top creating a luscious, sweet, salty, tangy, and smoky pizza.
All these ingredients and the pizza survived the trip home without turning into a soggy mess. Had I prepared this pizza myself, it would have probably turned to soup.
The inclusion of honey packets is a wonderful bonus, whether it is to drizzle over pizza or to use as a dip for the bones (crust).
I'm still not too fond of wing pieces because it's a lot of work for a paltry amount of food. It's mostly skin and bones, and I don't prefer to eat floppy, chewy, and fatty tasting skin.
Why order a dozen wings?
It's the lip tingling sinus clearing buffalo sauce and the carnal satisfaction of having food all over your face and fingers. Of course, I'm eating this in the privacy of my own home and not in front of Christian Bale, so it's not quite as appalling as it sounds.
Edison's Pizza Kitchen
2365 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 298-4484
Saturday, August 20, 2011
The simple but unusual logo and art nouveau typeface on the door of the Tremont Rod and Gun Club remind me of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I suppose the inclusion of Captain Nemo in the story helps.
There is no indication that a random visitor is welcome since the storefront is opaque in the same manner as the door that you see here. One of these days, I'm going to turn the knob and enter. Until that time, I'm left to my own imagination of what goes on behind that door.
In the background is a clearer shot of the television set from a few days ago that I thought would be a snazzy computer monitor.
The metallic dog in the foreground caught my eye today. Perhaps the next time the store is open, I'll ask the owner, "How much is that doggie in the window?"
Friday, August 19, 2011
I'm a sucker for black vintage dresses. My willpower prevailed. I didn't buy this dress.
Last week, I saw a long-sleeved black dress from the 1940s with pink trim along the cuff and collar for $20. Too much work needed to be done that asking a tailor to make me the dress from a pattern would have been easier. The waist needed to be taken in, and dress and sleeve lengths adjusted.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The flyer of the Morton Salt girl reminds me of the intro music to This Week in Baseball with Mel Allen hosting, and that memorable whistled tune from black and white episodes of the Andy Griffith Show.
Both shows were often played during extended rain delays during Atlanta Braves baseball games televised on WTBS. An enormous blue tarp would cover the field displaying a large Morton salt logo along with their slogan, "When it rains, it pours."
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
We stopped by Heinen's to pick up a few groceries. It seems every grocery store has an olive bar. "Insert food type" bars must be lucrative, coaxing shoppers with a melange of scents to scratch that olfactory itch and part with a few more coins.
At the olive bar, there were at least a dozen containers, each with olives smiling in their little pools. The $8.99/lb price tag was a little steep for a random purchase. Mrs. Id responded excitedly, "C'mon, they're olives! What could possibly go wrong?" and justified that being a bar, I could choose how ever many I wanted.
These bright green guys caught my eye so I read the label: Castelvetrano green olives. Huh?
Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid. I quickly jiggled a plastic container loose from its tower and plucked these six gems from their bath.
Seconds after we arrived home, the olives were poured into a bowl. I took a bite and was surprised they tasted like, well, olives.
Of course they tasted like olives. Perhaps I should explain better. They tasted like those pitted black olives that I grew up with and stuck on each fingertip.
Had someone fed these olives to me with my eyes closed, I wouldn't have expected them to be green olives. I expect green olives to be a sour and briny leather. Instead, this was smooth, firm, and meaty, unlike the squishy texture of canned, pitted black olives.
I don't know if these olives truly are from Castelvetrano in Sicily. Where ever they come from, you're doing it right!
On a somber note, this bowl had grown to be my favorite dinner bowl but was shattered. *mourn* Nothing lasts forever.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
We were headed home after grocery shopping when we stopped at 5 Guys for dinner.
If you have a severe peanut allergy, read no further!
Each store offers roasted peanuts as you wait to or for your order. A sign is prominently displayed on the glass door warning that peanuts are served in the store. A barrier constructed of sacks of fresh potatoes guides you to the counter.
Intrigued by the "Veggie sandwich," I had to find out. The sandwich consists of all the vegetables and condiments offered minus the patty. A fried plant-based patty is not included.
I ordered a little hamburger ($3.69) "All the Way" minus grilled onions add jalapeno peppers, which meant my one patty burger came with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, grilled mushrooms, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and jalapeno peppers.
With each burger ordered, the number of patties is shouted out to the kitchen.
Bug ordered a cheeseburger ($5.59), which comes with two patties and cheese, with lettuce, grilled onions, tomatoes, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and jalapeno peppers x 2. An order of large Cajun fries ($5.09) was ordered.
Burgers are cooked through so there is no pink. While I prefer my burgers to be medium, these burgers hit the spot with its soft bread, cooked burger, and fresh vegetables.
Their fries are always fresh and done well. If you like crunchy fries that are like potato sticks, you may not like these. They are a nice balance - thick enough that you can dunk your fries in little cups of ketchup or vinegar and scoop, thin enough that you don't feel like you're gorging on whole spuds...not that there is anything wrong with that.
Cajun fries, as is the case in many restaurants, pretty much equates to being seasoned with Old Bay. The serving size is quite generous. A regular order can feed 2-3 people, while a large can easily feed 4 people, which was too much for us.
I have yet to be disappointed in the burgers, fries, or hot dogs served at 5 Guys. Ingredients always appear and taste fresh, and the burgers are made to order.
There is one downside. I am stuffed and so sleepy...
4025 Richmond Rd
Warrensville Heights, OH 44122
Tel: (216) 360-8888
Monday, August 15, 2011
Somehow, "I lost my key in Metro Cleveland" doesn't sound quite as romantic.
Oh, what did I do with the key when I found it? I left it there.
I'd go bonkers if I finally found the key to happiness, only to lose it.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Rain or shine, birdie flies nowhere fast.
I would love to find out who does this artwork. They are always found where you least expect it, so don't waste your time looking for them. You won't find them.
On second thought, better yet, by that logic, I probably don't want to find out who creates these.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
This morning, we walked a bit longer than normal to bask in the beautiful 60°F (15°C) weather.
There was a spring in Akemi's step as she also enjoys cooler weather. Her favorite seasons are autumn and winter. She enjoys chasing after dry leaves in the fall and prancing in a foot of snow, which will come soon enough.
At the park, we bumped into Mika, the youngest shiba to join the neighborhood, and her dad. She came from an animal rescue that saved her from a mill. We first met Mika when she was a shy 8-week-old. She is now a feisty, ornery 18-week-old.
Mika is very engaging and carefree, the way puppies tend to be.
When Akemi was 8-12 weeks old, it seemed like she wanted to be with everyone but us, especially children. I don't recall when she developed into the typical shiba -- aloof and suspicious of strangers. Her suspicion never leads to aggression; however, she doesn't back down when antagonized unless we ask her to stop.
Mika looks very different from Akemi at almost the same age. Maybe it's the time of year. By the time Akemi was 20 weeks old, we had already gone through at least 1 major snowstorm.
Akemi is a princess, but we have never bought her a jacket or boots to wear. She would have been a pupsicle if she didn't shed her soft puppy fuzz and grown into her fluffy, protective winter coat!
Enjoying the morning dew...
Morning Dew by Einstürzende Neubauten
"Morning Dew" is one of my favorite songs from Einstürzende Neubauten.
Friday, August 12, 2011
An old television in the display window caught my eye. Wouldn't it be nifty to have it as a computer monitor? It's so retro that it looks futuristic.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
When I walked past this, I thought it was just some funky looking gears.
The images are probably obvious to 99.999% of the world's population -- mushrooms in Nintendo's Mario series of games -- but I never really played Nintendo games growing up. We played Atari console games, then transitioned to computer games played initially on an Atari computer then on to PCs.
Bug, who grew up playing games on all consoles available, pointed the image out to me. I slowly recognized the gear-smudges. I must confess that I have a bad tendency to not see [somewhat abstract] objects the way they should be seen or the way everyone else sees them.
My logic chip must be slightly dislodged.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
This afternoon was dreamlike with the the funky weather, from sunny and 85°F to hailstorm and 65°F within an hour. For 5 miles, the dime-sized ice pelted our car with such fervor that Bug and I had to scream at one another to hear each other over the din.
As if a part of a disaster flick, we threaded between cars that throttled traffic as people pulled over under narrow overpasses along the highway to escape the bombardment.
I am crashing after the adrenaline rush as I type this. I'll be slipping into dreamland's embrace while listening to Filigree and Shadow by This Mortal Coil...
Morning Glory - This Mortal Coil
...in just a few minutes.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Libraries are a cool and quiet place to seek refuge from the summer rays...even for our feline friends.
As we were waiting near the library for Akemi to do her duty, I noticed an oddly shaped lump under the car several yards away in the library's parking lot. I clicked, shushed, and manically waved my arms. My flapping did not elicit even a twitch from the comatose cat. Not normally a busybody, I grew curious and concerned the cat was dead.
As I tried to creep closer, I felt resistance from Akemi's leash. I turned around to discover Akemi amidst a small cloud of dust, scratching at the sun scorched grass, playing with a rock.
Bug stomped until he was just a few feet away from the car. (There's probably a moral somewhere here about bothering sleeping cats...) The cat lazily opened one eye, rolled from its back onto its side, and lounged, propped up on one of its elbows.
When it seemed apparent Bug wasn't a serious threat to its survival, just some peace and shuteye, the cat laid back down on its side and calmly observed us.
We shuffled away relieved the cat was just enjoying some quiet moments at the library.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
We were shopping for provisions to make Akemi some dog biscuits at Heinen's when I saw dehydrated kiwi for $3.00 for 8 ounces. I usually see them going for $8.00-$9.00 per 12 ounces, which is a bit steep for me since I use them as a topping for cereal in the morning. I am sure they will go well with the oatmeal we also purchased during this shopping trip.
Unlike dehydrated shiitake, where the flavor is concentrated as a result of drying, dehydrated kiwi does not obtain that level of concentrated flavor; only an essence remains. The rind has a stronger flavor. The little seeds retain some of their tartness, but it doesn't have the punch as fresh kiwi seeds. The seeds have not lost their characteristic crunch. The texture is similar to dried mango, firm with a little chew.
I've already snacked on 4-5 pieces and need to savor it a bit longer. It's warm out, but I plan on making oatmeal with chopped kiwi for breakfast tomorrow morning.
18300 Royalton Rd
Strongsville, OH 44136
Tel: (440) 238-2372
Saturday, August 6, 2011
To all nearby garden gnome enthusiasts -- Here is your chance to own a renegade gnome! This rogue is not smoking a pipe, doing yard-ly tasks, or "resting" his eyes. He is on the move with his motorcycle...or at least contemplating it.
As of this morning, he has been sighted at Cleveland Auction Company.
- Cassaendra, Red Flame Irregular
(I don't work at Cleveland Auction Company, nor am I receiving any coins for pimping this little guy out.)
Cleveland Auction Company
2418 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 631-3232
Tel: (216) 631-3234
Friday, August 5, 2011
This hard to ignore sign is our first cue from afar that seductively signals us to come hither.
Before we realize it, we discover ourselves standing before the storefront ogling through the window. It is extremely difficult to walk by and not be drawn by the vibrant colors and the aroma of caaaake *drool*.
As much as a sect of our population despise cupcakes because of its over-popularity, I still enjoy them because they are miniature cakes. Because of their diminutive size, each bite is fresh. I don't have to spend $50 for a nifty flavored cake that I'm stuck with for several days as it dries out in the refrigerator or turns into glop on the counter. Although, I can think of many worse things to be "stuck" with.
A Cookie and a Cupcake
2173 Professor Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113-6104
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Patio dining area before the early bird rush at Fahrenheit in Tremont.
Ack! I no longer see the lobster roll on the menu posted on their website! Noooo!
2417 Professor Ave
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Tel: (216) 781-8858
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
My favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Cleveland is #1 Pho on Superior Avenue. We've been to Superior Pho (when it was Pho Hoa), Minh Anh, and Taydo, as well as a few other restaurants who advertise serving Vietnamese food but fail miserably. None of them come close to the variety of dishes, great flavor, and service of #1 Pho.
Not only do I adore the food, I like the space -- hardwood floors, and a simple, open floor plan.
Our favorite appetizer is the chargrilled pork summer rolls (2 for $4). Since we first came here several years ago, there has never been a time when we have not ordered this. The marinated meat is smoky and thinly sliced so it isn't chewy. Along with the fresh vegetables, these rolls are perfection with the nuoc cham dipping sauce.
Today, we also ordered a meatball summer roll (2 for $4), our second favorite summer roll. Don't let the red color scare you. The meatballs are seasoned, but not spicy. The thicker, sweeter sauce complements the grilled meatball.
Sauces served with #1 Pho's rolls are different for each roll, and complements each ingredient.
While I absolutely adore their pho tai, bun rieu (tomato crab noodle soup), and other delectable dishes, the heat and humidity wilted my desire for them. A cool, crunchy salad and bowl of cold noodles were what we craved.
Our favorite salad is the lotus root salad because it has a refreshing flavor and crunchy texture. Generous portions of tender, young, and slender slivers of lotus root and shrimp are tossed with onions, and carrot slivers in a slightly sweet and piquant sauce that tastes of lime, fish sauce, and vinegar. Crushed peanuts are sprinkled on top.
Thai basil was added since I do not eat cilantro. A plate of cilantro was served on the side for Bug to enjoy. Order substitutions are done without hesitation. If we are not in the mood for pork in our salad, chicken may be substituted.
We usually order the chargrilled pork bun (cold noodles); however, I wanted to try a different bun today -- meatball and shrimp spring roll. The shrimp roll consists of whole shrimp wrapped in rice paper, then deep fried. This roll is much smaller than their spring roll filled with ground pork and rice vermicelli.
The noodles always arrive cool and perfectly cooked. They are served over a handful of crisp lettuce and crunchy bean sprouts. Pickled daikon and carrots, cucumbers, crushed peanuts, and french fried onions are served atop the noodles.
Nuoc cham is served in a cup to pour over the noodles. Manners be damned, I enjoy the flavor of the sauce-soaked rolls so I usually bury a bite of my spring roll at the bottom of the bowl and another bite in some reserved sauce in the sauce cup.
The owner chef is a nice man who is pretty hip, easygoing, and unpretentious. It is always a pleasure to talk with him. #1 Pho is one of our top three restaurants we return to most often in this city filled with what seems like an infinite number of solid restaurants.
3120 Superior Ave E
Cleveland, OH 44114
Tel: (216) 781-1176
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Across the street is a pub and a restaurant with a bar. A few paces further to the left and right are two more bars!
Perhaps this is a perfectly situated meeting place.