Thursday, September 29, 2011

Taco Loco

Bug had a serious craving for American Mexican food, so we went to Don Ramon. I gladly agreed, despite not being a fanatic of the cuisine like he is.

I just wanted a picture of their Taco Loco.

365-110 Taco Loco
Day 110/365 - Taco Loco

The last time we were at Don Ramon, I grudgingly walked through the doors and ordered the Taco Loco just to see how loco this taco was.

When the platter was brought to my table, I was astonished at the size. It was easily a foot long, stuffed with chicken, beef, shrimp, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, lots of cheese, and Mexican rice.

I wouldn't be surprised if the taco weighed in at 2 pounds. Unfortunately, it was saltier this time around, so Bug inherited my leftovers. Oh, no.

- Cassaendra

Don Ramon
6278 Pearl Rd
Parma Heights, OH 44130-3062
Tel: (440) 886-0566

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2 Birds

We stopped by Asian Town Center on Superior Ave to shop for some groceries for our dinner -- sriracha, sprouts, and Thai chile peppers.

It took a lot of willpower to not walk in to Miega and order dolsot bibimbap.  A couple appeared enthralled with their meal when we passed by. The building could crumble around them, but as long as the table remained horizontal, their chopsticks would continue to dance quickly between their lips and food.

These two birds are one of numerous large and small art pieces displayed along the spacious walkways.

365-109 2 Birds 
Day 109/365

Walking through this plaza is enjoyable, even though several spaces remain unfilled. The architects did a tasteful job with the exposed brick walls, large walkways, high ceilings, exposed ductwork, and glass. It's not perfect (the lighting needs improvement), but this place has a lot of potential.

- Cassaendra

Asian Town Center
3820 Superior Ave
Cleveland, OH 44114
Tel: (216) 235-9766

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


365-108 Rejected
Day 108/365

Akemi is rejected by her new friend, who runs off protecting his prize nuts.

- Cassaendra

Monday, September 26, 2011

Burger N Fries

The burgers at Steak N Shake are pretty decent, and for the price, phenomenal. There are several burger 'n fries combinations in the $3.99 price range. The service, on the other hand, is hit or [mostly] miss.

Bug looked through the menu and wanted to get something heftier than a regular burger so he ordered the guacamole double steakburger and fries ($4.99). The mention of chipotle weighed in pretty heavily, and the placemat MAY have helped a little.

365-107 SS Guac Steakburger
Day 107/365 - Guacamole double steakburger

I chuckled when the burger was presented at the table. With Bug holding the bun, it was an improvement. He commented that it tasted like a "burger with very little guacamole on it." The chipotle did not come through, nor did the cilantro mixed with the guac.  Extra toppings are rarely worth the additional cost.

We don't come here very often, so saying I ordered my usual is a bit awkward but true -- a double steakburger with fries ($3.99) - no onions, of course.

365-107 SS Double
Day 107/365 - Double steakburger

The smashburger was cooked as expected, lettuce and tomato were fresh, and instructions were followed (no onions); as a result, I had no complaints.  It's not a B Spot burger, but I also didn't drive 30 minutes, pay $7+ for a burger, $4 for fries, nor did I wait 45 minutes to be seated.

I am a fan of the skinny fries, probably because it's worse for you than pudgy steak fries, my least favorite type. What you don't see is the plate of mayonnaise -- my favorite condiment for fries. I like to mix mayonnaise with ketchup and a bit of yellow mustard.

Our waistline, heart, and liver are thankful the service is so poor at the area restaurants we've visited.

- Cassaendra

Steak N Shake
A million locations

Sunday, September 25, 2011


365-106 Treehouse
Day 106/365

Downtime earlier today at Tremont's Irish pub, Treehouse, before opening its doors.

Hours later, a crowd gathered in the patio dancing and yipping around DJ Kishka's polka music.

- Cassaendra

The Treehouse
820 College Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 696-2505


Every few years, we rebuild one or both of our computers. It is inevitable that over time, internal hard drives have had to be replaced. The discarded drives have been collecting dust waiting for the right time to be destroyed.

Since it is not every day that I am able to see the guts of a hard drive, so I grabbed the opportunity to document what one looks like.

365-105 Hard Drive Turntable
Day 105/365

I took these pictures outside. The splashes of green and blue on the platter, where the information is stored, is a reflection off some shrubbery or the sky, respectively.

With the platters removed, all that remains (below) are actuator arms and heads attached to a very, very strong magnet, and a spindle where the platters and rings would be stacked.

365-105 Hard Drive Shell 
Day 105/365

I don't think I've ever seen anything quite so clean and reflective as a hard drive platter. Not soon after opening up a hard drive, it's as if the dust was offended having not been introduced earlier, and would fly to the surface of the platters.

365-105 Hard Drive Platters
Day 105/365 - Platters

The rings below attach and act as a guide, separating the platters so they do not touch one another.

365-105 Hard Drive Rings
Day 105/365

Bug destroyed a total of 6 hard drives this afternoon. I believe 5 drives worth of platters are pictured below, destroyed by folding them over like tacos.

365-105 Hard Drive Shells
Day 105/365

I'd love to keep a few of the platters the next time we feel like destroying disk drives. I am still amazed by the reflection.

- Cassaendra

Friday, September 23, 2011


365-104 Muddyshroom
Day 104/365

This has been the year of the mushroom for me. I've never seen such a variety of fungi as I have this year, from sprawling slimy goo to dainty tendrils to fleshy monster sacs.

I suppose I'm a few months late in ordering a mushroom guide through the library with winter at our heels.

- Cassaendra

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Tremont

365-103 Tremont Sub
Day 103/365

In addition to serving decent to superb pizzas, Edison's has a nice selection of hefty, man-sized sub sandwiches.

While it may not look pretty (sorry), the Tremont is a toasted feast of a sandwich filled with warm roast beef, Genoa salami, Virginia ham, honey roasted turkey, mozzarella, and hot banana peppers with cool romaine and tomato slices drizzled with Italian dressing is a delectable deal at $9 -- a spicy, tart, salty, warm, crunchy, smoky, sweet, cool, and meaty meal.

As much as I enjoy this sandwich, I would like to try their other selections. Perhaps I'll try Tom's Favorite, made of turkey, gouda, pesto mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomatoes.

- Cassaendra

Edison's Pizza Kitchen
2373 Professors St
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 298-4484

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Aww, Nuts!

365-102 Squirrel Snacks_1
Day 102/365

With fall fast approaching, the squirrels are out! By the end of fall, I'll probably post 50 squirrel pictures because it was only a few years ago I was concerned the guys were going to die out because the oak trees weren't producing a bounty of acorns.

I've been tempted to rake the acorns in a pile under the stairwell so there is a stockpile, but Akemi would raid the trove. Maybe I'll dig teeny tiny shallow pits so they keep dry and out of sight from the acorn thief. I've warned that hooligan, one day the squirrels are going to gang up and maul her.

- Cassaendra

Show and Tell

I was surprised to see these magnificent mounted police horses up close. The officers kindly obliged when I asked if it would be all right to take a picture. They were headed home, so I didn't want to delay them further by asking too many questions.

365-101 Mounted Police
Day 101/365

The horses were quite a bit taller than me. As I stood near the larger of the two horses, I came up to the upper thigh (horse on the right)!  With their shiny coats, they appear well loved.

When I asked if they were patrolling the area, they pointed to the park and mentioned having attended an event. I asked if it was for the farmers market. They replied that the bomb squad was at the park.


365-101 Bomb Squad AV
Day 101/365

There was a small gathering of people and an announcement of what sounded like a raffle. Of course, this behemoth stood out, sitting on the lawn in the middle of the park along with a bomb squad truck, a sheriff's car, and a gigantic German Shepard. One of the bomb squad officers spoke with us and answered my many questions.

The armored vehicle pictured has been with the Cleveland Bomb Squad for approximately 10 years, at a purchased cost of $350,000.  It is literally built like a tank, and is a pretty good deal when you consider its cost over time.

The vehicle is heated and air-conditioned. It can also drive 70 mph and navigate in water.  There is a ladder on the outside that can extend to the 2nd story to rescue someone, as well as a battering ram.

365-101 Bomb Squad AV Inside
Day 101/365

On average, the bomb squad is dispatched weekly for various dangerous situations like hostage crises, in addition to diffusing bomb threats. While I am not rooting for anyone to lose their job, it is a sorry state their services are needed so often.

- Cassaendra

Monday, September 19, 2011

Salmon and Miso Hotpot

365-100 Murata Salmon Miso Hotpot
Day 100/365

I recently received a gift from my sister -- Japanese Home Cooking with Master Chef Muratabilingual version published 03/29/2011. The format of my version is slightly different from the link, but the recipes are the same.

It has been quite some time since I last had yellow miso. I grew up enjoying light miso in glazes on fish, as a marinade, salad dressing, and various other preparations.

This was Bug's first experience cooking with miso aside from [red] miso soup. At first, he didn't know what to think of the combination -- salmon in a light, slightly sweet broth. Partway through the meal, he proclaimed his fondness for this dish and looked forward to making it again. The inclusion of butter provides a rounded and richer flavor.

Salmon and Miso Hotpot by Chef Yoshihiro Murata
7 oz (200 g) fresh salmon, skin removed
1/4 head cabbage
1 large all purpose potato
4 green beans
2 large fresh shiitake
1 oz (30 g) enoki mushrooms
1/2 c (120 ml) chicken broth
1-1/2 c (360 m) water
2 Tbsp yellow miso
1 Tbsp butter

1. Cut salmon, cabbage, and green beans into bite-sized pieces.
2. Peel the potato, cut into thick, bite-sized rounds, blanch, and then drain.
3. Remove shiitake stems. Trim the roots off the enoki mushrooms and rinse.
4. Pour chicken broth and water into a large pan and mix the miso. Add the salmon and vegetables to the pan, cover, and bring to a simmer.
5. Add butter and allow it to melt partway before serving.

We made a few minor changes to the recipe: 
1. Salmon was cooked skin-on, since I love eating salmon skin.
2. Red potatoes were used for its texture and color.
3. Dried shiitake were used instead of fresh, since we couldn't find fresh shiitake over the weekend.
4. We multiplied the ingredients! 

The next time we make this, I would like to try bean sprouts, bok choy, and spinach. I am sure carrots shaped into flowers would work well with this dish also.

- Cassaendra

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bird and the Bees

The Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival was held this weekend represented by many artists, restaurants, churches, support groups, spice and organic/global textile vendors. I am glad to see the festival flourish with many in attendance.

Cleveland MetroParks Zoo brought a red tailed hawk. I'm sure after two days the handler was weary of telling the same story to each person who passed by. I inquired what their lifespan is and whether they eat carrion. She answered that in the wild, they can live 8 years feeding off live kills. There was also a large snake lady.

365-99 Red Tailed Hawk
Day 099/365

At a honey tent, there was a display of bees busily buzzing in a box. Behind the case, there were little bottles of various types of preserved bees and a very large, dead beehive that was extracted from a tree.

365-99 Beehive
Day 099/365

The food looked great; however, since we had just eaten, we did not indulge as we did last year. Along with the restaurant offerings, the aroma of seasoned gyro meat on a spit, japchae, deep fried potato balls, empanada, pierogi, and other cuisines from their respective churches were quite tantalizing!  Perhaps next year, we'll attend before eating.

- Cassaendra

Wash Me

365-98 Yoru
Day 098/365

Akemi is beginning to blow her fur and Yoru, well, he seems to shed all year 'round, so everything is covered in fur. My clothes, canned goods, spiderwebs, inside our computers, everything.

Yoru enjoys sitting in the sun whenever it shines into our place. You know he is in bliss as he slowly blinks and looks up at you hazily.

Akemi is a bossy and nosy dog. When she sees Yoru on Cloud 9, she shuffles her way over to him relaxing peacefully in the sun, and bullies her way into the same spot.

365-98 Akemi Shadow
Day 098/365

When Akemi finds out that the spot isn't really special, e.g., not covered in peanut butter, she meanders off in search of the next adventure. Should Yoru return to snoozing in the sun, Akemi will soon follow. Rinse and repeat.

One of these days, we'll invest in a Furminator. Right now, $40 is just too steep for us.

- Cassaendra

Friday, September 16, 2011


365-97 Pipeline
Day 097/365

When I saw this, the first thought that floated into my frazzled brain was a motherboard, at least the CPU cooling unit.

It's amazing to imagine these large units shrunk down to fit in a computer case to cool a postage stamp-sized microprocessor. Or are we all just playing the part of electrons and positrons?

- Cassaendra

Thursday, September 15, 2011


365-96 Playground
Day 096/365

One couldn't ask for a more beautiful fall day. The temperature was in the 50s and bright puffy clouds danced across the sky.

While walking along a tree-lined street shielded from the sun, the breeze delivered a mild chill. Between patches of shade made by the lush-green treetops, the fuzzy warmth of the sun felt like being wrapped in your favorite blanket that magically makes you feel safe and warm. The very same blanket your significant other wants to toss out as soon as you turn away because it looks so ratty.

Outstanding with such lovely weather: where are all the kids?

- Cassaendra

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


365-95 Foiled Again
Day 095/365 - Food Truck - Food = Truck

Nobody home. One of these days, we'll catch someone in the truck. I am convinced it is parked there to show off the new colors.

Of course, this prompted me to check out the new menu. My heart fluttered.

Butter poached lobster macaroni and cheese.

Butter poached lobster macaroni and cheese!

Rigatoni, brie, goat cheese, and chives with cognac reduction for $24. I'll bet it's all melty and the pasta is giggly, not dry or tough. If it is as gooey as I prefer, the dish will likely be 300 g of fat and 10,000 carbs...per bite.

While I am typically not a huge fan of garlic, the pepperoni, roasted wild mushroom, fresh basil, roasted garlic, and pesto pizza for $14 also sounds fantastic. I enjoyed a bite of their wild mushroom pizza with roasted garlic, caramelized onions (!), and goat cheese, so I'm sure the pepperoni pizza would be quite memorable, as long as toppings cover more than half the surface area.

(Drumming my fingers together) Now to devise a way to try both dishes without appearing more selfish and pushier than usual.

- Cassaendra

2417 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 781-8858

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


365-94 Ukrainian Museum
Day 094/365

I am going to make it a point to visit the museum in the near future -- probably not this weekend since there appears to be an event taking place.

I would like to learn more about the beautiful glazed scenes embedded in their granite sign. My favorite image is the snowy scene located on the upper left.

- Cassaendra

Ukrainian Museum-Archives
1202 Kenilworth Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 781-4329

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Card

We visit libraries frequently. For a change in scenery, we went to the main Cleveland Public Library located Downtown. Meandering in an ornate building with soaring ceilings surrounded by lovely fixtures from the 1920s transports me to a different time...until I walk into a room and  hear the tap-tapping of computer keys.

365-93 Main Library Globe
Day 093/365 - Main Library entrance

With two aunts and an uncle who were teachers, a grandmother who was a professor, and a mother who devoured books (history, horror, political philosophy, suspense, military, and more!), it shouldn't be surprising that I grew up with my own library of books, find the fragrance of old books relaxing, and enjoy the tactile turning of deckled pages. Surrounded by so many books, you'd think I'd write better!

365-93 Main Library Window
Day 093/365

In stark contrast, the adjoining building (not pictured), a modern extension to the main library, opened its doors in 1997. Aside from books, it houses a vast collection of Blu-Ray, DVDs, and CDs.

With a Cleveland Public Library card and a computer, we have access to ~30 libraries within the Cleveland Public Library system, as well as the ~30 libraries in the Cuyahoga County Library system. The Lorain Public Library system is also directly linked. We are lucky to have available so many resources for learning and entertainment!

Our bounty on this trip was 20 books, DVDs, and CDs -- a taiga drama (Japanese historic drama), a couple of Japanese suspense series, German World War II documentaries, metal and techno CDs, and several food literature and science fiction books.

- Cassaendra

Cleveland Public Library - Main Library
325 Superior Ave, NE
Cleveland, OH 44114
Tel: (216) 623-2800

Sunday, September 11, 2011


365-92 Morning Rain
Day 092/365

Cleveland has been beautiful the past few days -- overcast and rainy with daytime temperatures in the 60s. If this trend continues, it will likely be two or three weeks when we begin to see the leaves turn.

This is our favorite time of year. Akemi enjoys late fall and winter. She loves the dried leaves but could do without the rain. Oddly, she loves running amidst snow drifts. We'll have that to your heart's content soon enough, kid.

- Cassaendra

Saturday, September 10, 2011


365-91 Rain
Day 091/365 - First picture

It has been over 15 years since I worried about the aperture and shutter speed when taking photographs, having taken a Photography 100 type of course in college to break up the tedium of graduate coursework.

I contemplated fiddling with my camera's manual settings for about a year now and have had my camera for nearly 3 years, a gift from my father who bought it with the hope that I would grow into it.

Father, the sleeper has awakened!

365-91 Downtown Posts
Day 091/365 - Posts Downtown Cleveland, not Arrakis

Back to my mundane life...

My first wade into the kiddie pool has been interesting. I realized quickly that I may need to lug around a tripod if I want to take the pictures I really desire. While I have seen some very nice blurred pictures; logically, motion blur works when something that can potentially move is captured.

365-91 Rocco Shortrib Food Truck
Day 091/365 - Hot, hot, hot!

DSLRs are fantastic for the student. Having instant verification is of tremendous help -- no more lag time and uncertainty returning to the dark room to process the negatives. Mistakes don't seem as costly, even though those pearls are lost when photographs are poorly executed regardless of method.

Developing negatives was a stressful yet somewhat meditative experience for me. I was always afraid that I would mess up hours of work to find out I miscalculated something during processing, or my film was bad or exposed, all of which happened.

I have a feeling there is no comparison with the clarity of real, very large scale photographs.

- Cassaendra

Friday, September 9, 2011

Rocky Road

365-90 Akemi Waits
Day 090/365

Like a lot of dogs, Akemi likes to claim stuff. When she has found a prize worth flaunting, she totes it proudly until she forgets about it after dropping it to concentrate on dropping uhh it, or when she has grown weary of lugging her swag. This devotion to her loot usually lasts 1-2 minutes.

365-90 Akemi Rocks
Day 090/365 - 2 minute rock

She appears to have a loosely rigid random criteria of what is worthy of carrying more than two steps. Like a gourmand, I believe it has to do with texture, flavor, sound, and rollability -- how well does it react when kicked, rolled under her paws and in her mouth.

Just when I think I've figured out the type of rock she likes, she proves me wrong and doesn't give my gift a second sniff. It sometimes elicits a snort.

Her rock this afternoon lasted 2 minutes; not bad for Miss Short Attention Span.

- Cassaendra

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mushy Moldrooms

365-89 Mushrooms
Day 089/365

When I see stuff like this, I can't help but wonder what people were on when they first decided mushrooms would be good to eat.

I didn't touch it, not even with a stick, nor did I inhale when I took this picture. It could very well smell like Nutella. Just a hunch -- I doubt it.

By the way, I love mushrooms, so this isn't a mushroom hate post.

- Cassaendra

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Akemi knows a few words like dog park, friend, and sit; however, her favorite words are peanut butter and snack.

365-88 Dog Biscuits
Day 088/365

I recently uncovered a recipe for peanut butter dog biscuits sitting in my inbox, dated a couple of years ago. It didn't denote from where the recipe was copied. With my master sleuthing skills (Google), the recipe was likely from The Daily Drool.

4 c whole wheat flour
2 c oatmeal
1/2 to 3/4 c chunky peanut butter
2-1/2 c hot water

1. Mix all ingredients, adding more hot water if the mixture is too sticky.
2. Knead dough, then roll flat to 1/4" thickness and shape cookies with a cookie cutter.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a cookie sheet.
4. Bake cookies for 40 min.
5. Set baked cookies on a rack to cool and dry for several hours.

This made a heap of doggie dough! After baking two batches, approximately 20 biscuits, Bug had only used up half the mixture, so he threw the unbaked dough out.

Akemi loves these treats! The bones are a little over 5" long, so we have been giving her a third as as a treat, breaking that piece into three pieces so they are bite-sized for her.

- Cassaendra

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


365-87 Cough
Day 087/365

While stuck in traffic along West 25th Street in Ohio City, this scribble drew my attention. I scratched my head, shrugged, then took the picture. Perhaps s/he is coughing from all the exhaust caused by the parade of cars.

- Cassaendra

Monday, September 5, 2011

Turbines of Your Mind

While driving eastbound along I-90 to Mentor, we noticed an unfamiliar object along the horizon, a towering turbine in Euclid. It may not appear very tall in the picture, but the topmost tip of the blade to the ground spans 443 feet!

365-86 Turbines of Your Mind
Day 086/365

Lincoln Electric paid $4.4 million of the $5.9 million total to erect the wind turbine manufactured by a German company, Kenersys. According to Lincoln Electric's website, the output is 2.5 MW which can provide power to 686 homes.

The reason why we were traveling this way was to pay a visit to Half Price Books to find out if there were any interesting books, since they were celebrating the Labor Day weekend with a 20% discount off everything in the store.  I walked out with an unused copy of The Best International Recipe from Cook's Illustrated for $12!

Bug was hankering for a burger on the way home, so we stopped at Hardee's.  Our experience from previous trips to Hardee's were impeccable.  The sandwiches we received looked better than the posters hanging on the wall with fresh vegetables and presented well.

Our trip this time around was disappointing. Service was fine, as always. The 1/3 lb burger was not as skillfully put together as our previous sandwiches, but it tasted fine. The seasoned curly fries were made to order, so they were crisp and delicious. I had no beef with our burger and fries.

365-86 Hardees Burger Curly Fries
Day 086/365 - 1/3 lb burger with seasoned curly fries

The chicken sandwich was a disaster. The lettuce and tomato were fresh, but the chicken was chewy, dry, and tough, not crisp at all. I had to clench the bun tightly, smashing the bread down, in order to keep the chicken stationary in the sandwich when I took a bite. If I didn't, the entire chicken would have pulled out of the sandwich.

365-86 Hardees Chicken Sandwich
Day 086/365 - Worst chicken sandwich ever

After two bites, I tossed the chicken sandwich in the basket and didn't want to touch it again. Fortunately, I ordered the hamburger without onions, so Bug ate half of the burger and gave the rest to me.

Despite the disappointing chicken experience at Hardee's, I was ecstatic with my book purchase and the hamburger was all right so I arrived home content.

- Cassaendra

36900 Vine St
Willoughby, OH 44094-6341
Tel: (440) 953-9722

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tied Up

I am still weary from my 12 hour marathon that ran last night through this morning watching Unfair (アンフェア), a Japanese detective drama that aired in 2006.

The main character is an attractive end-justifies-the-means driven female detective who is the top rated detective in the region. As expected, she has earned the ire of many in a predominantly male police force and the public appalled by her investigative approach.

When she was involved in a shooting that occurred several years earlier during a hostage situation where the man who was shot by her had killed 5 people earlier and taken 1 person hostage. Police shootings are apparently rare.  As a result of the shooting, she is mistrusted amongst her peers as a renegade, and her daughter of 5-6 years of age is bullied daily in school.

The series begins when 2 people are murdered at a park and is the start of a chain of murders. Each crime scene she approaches is conducted in an unusual manner -- she lies in the same way the victim is found to see what they last saw before they expired.

As time passes and the investigation deepens with each murder, clues left behind by the murderer creates more questions centered around "Who is unfair?"

365-85 Tied Up
Day 085/365

What is bound under the tarp? Is it a gigantic cat head -- Hello Kitty, as my stepsister remarked? My first thought, absurd as usual, was 2 gigantic people struggling to break free. :)

Hopefully, it will be obvious once it has been installed.

- Cassaendra


Bug gave in and finally took me to Noodlecat, a ramen-ya located near the heart of Downtown Cleveland.

I knew I was going to be in for a tough time two minutes into the visit after Bug perused the menu. He adores Tokyo style (shoyu) ramen, and Noodlecat does not serve any traditional Japanese dishes. I suggested that it was not too late for us to walk out, but he was adamant about staying; perhaps to collect ammunition for all the times I've lead him astray throughout our food adventures.

Before coming to Noodlecat, I made up my mind that I wanted to try the octopus and bone marrow takoyaki since this was highlighted in a broadcast I saw online. The broadcast also noted that the chefs spent some time in Japan, which raised my expectations rather high.

365-84 Noodlecat Octopus Bone Marrow
Day 084/365 - Spherical pancakes ≠ takoyaki

I didn't find "takoyaki" on the menu when I arrived, but came across an entry for octopus and bone marrow spherical pancakes. It sounded similar enough, even though the texture of takoyaki does not resemble pancakes. I proceeded to order it along with a Kyoto udon. Bug, not finding anything of interest on the menu, settled for the pork miso ramen.

The takoyaki arrived prettily arranged. I poked around and noticed that four were served -- an unusual number to be presented in western dining since odd numbers are preferred for aesthetic reasons. In Japan, the number 4 is pronounced, "shi," which is a homonym for death. As a result, presenting someone with four items is to be avoided as much as possible. I've been told this number convention is practiced in China also. I don't expect a non-Japanese person to know this, so this wasn't a deal breaker.

Now for the taste. Where shall I start?

The texture was like pancakes, so they came through as advertised. Unfortunately, I had takoyaki in my mind. Takoyaki does not have the same texture as pancakes.  These spherical pancakes also had a slight sweetness that reminded me of the last time I had buckwheat pancakes. This did not sit well with me. Nowhere on the menu did they say this was takoyaki, so I accepted that this was their vision. Fine.

The katsuobushi was appropriate with the mayonnaise. Takoyaki traditionally also comes with a sprinkle of aonori (laver) and a Worcestershire base takoyaki sauce. This sauce caused me to swear off of takoyaki and okonomiyaki for the past 22 years, except for the one instance when I was in Hiroshima and was taken to a renowned okonomiyaki restaurant by my family.  Aonori was not served, but shichimi togarashi is available at the table along with chili sauce and shoyu. Instead of the traditional takoyaki sauce, an ume sauce was served. A bit on the stingy side, but I have no complaints on the pleasant, piquant flavor and the vibrant color.

After finishing up the pancakes, I was apprehensive about the rest of the meal. Bug was annoyed but remained silent.

My bowl of Kyoto udon arrived. I did not expect a black kombu broth, but it was presented as well as seaweed in black broth could be presented. When I make broth with kombu, it results in a transparent green-yellow tinged broth. The broth had a very strong prepared hijiki flavor and was tepid. It wasn't what I expected, but it wasn't bad.

365-84 Noodlecat Kyoto Udon
Day 084/365 - Kyoto udon

Shiitake and nameko were a pleasant find. The tofu was unexpectedly sour. It must have been poached in vinegar. As a result of the being poached, the skin was tough. I'm sure this was done to make it easier to grab. Silken tofu can be difficult to pick up with chopsticks.

The noodles were hard and chewy, probably 3-4 minutes away from being al dente. I decided not to return the bowl because I detest overcooked noodles. I would rather eat raw noodles than limp, soggy, overcooked noodles.

Bug hated his bowl and choked his food down. My recollection of the broth was that the miso was very, very subtle and lukewarm. It didn't resemble tonkotsu broth either. Again, it wasn't what I expected, but wasn't vile. He didn't care for the spinach and hated the noodles because they were served tangled in such a way that it was difficult to slurp or grab them without lifting the contents of the entire bowl.

365-84 Noodlecat Pork Miso
Day 084/365 - Pork miso ramen

I explained to Bug that he was served Chinese noodles which were probably not meant to be slick and slurped.  On the bright side, the noodles were not overcooked. This has been an issue that has plagued all Cleveland Japanese restaurants. I have yet to figure out if the blame falls on the wait staff or the kitchen. This was the first time I have been served undercooked noodles. We drive to Columbus for decent ramen.

Our server was fine and water service was fantastic. We were asked five times how our meal was. Each time, I twitched and replied that everything was fine. Bug glared at me and didn't say a word.

Even though it has been stated the chefs spent time in Japan, there is little to corroborate this. I suppose spending 1 week in Japan would still qualify that statement, especially for a chef who I expect to have a discerning tongue. In no way has Noodlecat said what they serve is authentic Japanese food. This was the reason why I did not say anything each time I was asked how the meal was going. Taste is subjective.

Bug does not wish to return. I am more forgiving and would like to return in 6 months. I likely caught the kitchen on a bad day. The ideas are interesting and I trust the creators of the Greenhouse Tavern.

- Cassaendra

234 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44114
Tel: (216) 589-0007

Friday, September 2, 2011


365-83 Anat Photoshop revisited
Day 083/365

We strolled across our threshold an hour ago after a pleasant dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. It is hot and humid out, which has hastened the heavy eyelids, even after a leisurely walk.

Longhorn has an outstanding dinner for two priced at $29.99. It includes a choice of salad for each person, an appetizer or dessert, and two entrees. While the selection is truncated in comparison, included in the list are dishes we normally would have ordered -- no major duds.

We ordered tossed salad, Wild West Shrimp, 7 oz sirloin, and 7 oz salmon. The tossed salad seems a lot more generous than I recall. The Wild West Shrimp appetizer was very good -- spicy, sweet, peppery lightly battered fried shrimp.

Bug ordered his sirloin medium well and shared half of his steak with me, while I shared half of my grilled salmon and pilaf.  The sirloin was prepared what I would consider well done, grey through and through. It tasted beefy and almost tangy.  I had my "flavor" after 2 bites and returned the remainder to Bug. I tend to order my steaks rare, however. The salmon was charred a little, so it had a nice smoky flavor. The pilaf was too salty.

I would have posted pictures of what we ate, but only one picture came out (my entree) as all of my pictures were taken after dusk without a tripod, with the exception of this shot of anat. taken early this afternoon. A disappointing evening as far as picture taking is concerned.

- Cassaendra

1017 Fairfield Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 849-1284

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Why do I do this to myself?

We went to Kumo Japanese (loosely) Seafood Buffet in Parma, a large beautiful Chinese buffet that serves sushi and udon.

My eyes are always bigger than my stomach! As a result, Bug and I end up sharing some of my booty like the sushi.

When we come here, I am drawn to the surimi salad, pickled daikon and carrots, and the seaweed salad.  I'm generally not tempted by the hot case -- 2-1/2 hot cases of food one would normally find at a Chinese buffet -- or the made to order stir fry.

365-82 Kumo This is Why Youre
Day 082/365

My favorite dish here is the udon. It is very simple, not high quality, but made to order so the noodles are never overdone. A bowl of laver and shichimi togarashi to add to your bowl at your belly's desire is a nice touch. I always add too much shichimi togarashi.

The availability of shrimp tempura would greatly augment the udon. Oddly, they do not serve any type of tempura here. Too bad.

Adjacent to the udon station sits a large crepe maker where plain, chocolate, and fruit crepes are made to order.

Occasionally, there is a dish that makes you step back and do a double take.  I noticed a heaping platter of shiny brown and white elastic strips.  I peered at the sign above it and it read "Pig Ear."

365-82 Kumo Crawfish Pig Ear
Day 082/365

I've never had pig ear before so I was intrigued and snagged a couple of strips -- one each for Bug and me. When I told him what it was and explained the rubbery yet crunchy texture that tasted like char siu (slightly sweetened five spice powder), he politely declined.  I'm not a fan of char siu myself, but I ate both not wanting to be rude. Whose feelings am I hurting? 

I don't feel the need to eat pig ears again, but I won't turn it away if someone's mother made it.

My favorite dessert items are their fruit salad with basil seeds and haupia. The fuzzy basil seed pods are so cute and make them look alien. Also served is a smooth, gelatinous coconut dessert similar to haupia -- a Hawaiian coconut dessert.

We always walk out feeling bad that we succumbed yet again. In several weeks, we'll be back again, and I'll look forward to eating another bowl of udon and more basil seeds with my haupia.

- Cassaendra

Kumo Japanese Seafood Buffet
1975 Snow Rd
Parma, OH 44134
Tel: (216) 741-3038

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