Monday, April 30, 2012


365-302 Flower Bells
Day 302/365

These flowers reminded me of flowing Japanese hair ornaments (kanzashi), which reminded me of my Girls Day dolls from my childhood. My mother was meticulous about unveiling the glass case of 4 rows of life-like ceramic dolls dressed in brightly ornate brocaded layers of kimono each year and covering it by evening, so I wouldn't end up an old maid. :)

- Cassaendra

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tiramisu Time

Last week, a coworker mentioned going to Alesci's, an Italian grocery store, for fresh ricotta instead of purchasing paneer. At $3.00/lb, that's quite a bit of a price difference, where we have paid $8.00 for ~1/4 lb of paneer. The cost of ricotta is near the cost of making paneer at home.

365-301 Alesci's 2-Topping Pizza
Day 301/365

Instead of buying the ricotta, we bought a slice of two-topping pizza ($3.25) and a piece of tiramisu ($3.99) to share for dinner. Three bites of the pizza was enough for me. While this may be authentic pizza, I do not feel the need to buy another slice, not because it had been sitting on the counter for some time, super doughy and weepy crusts are not my preference.

365-301 Alesci's Tiramisu CrossSection
Day 301/365

My feelings toward the tiramisu is quite the opposite. In one bite, the rich coffee-laden ladyfingers, sweet eggy mascarpone, and the mildly bitter dusting of cocoa were an orchestral delight. This may or may not be the ideal tiramisu, but I would serenade for more if it didn't sound like someone strangling a cat.

- Cassaendra

4333 Mayfield Rd
Cleveland, OH 44121
Tel: (216) 382-5100

Fresh Squeezed

After we bought this box of chocolates at Lilly, we discovered that they have been introducing new flavors each month for a limited time. Of course, this news is both wonderful and torturous as I will feel compelled to try out the interesting ones, the whole point of introducing new flavors.

365-300 Lilly
Day 300/365

Top row: Lime (lime juice/clover honey) - Frou Frou (blood orange juice/freeze dried passion fruit) - Boozie Suzie (Kirsch soaked cherry ganache)

Bottom row: Hot Mama (cayenne pepper/Sichuan peppercorn honey) - Forty Winks (fresh lavender ganache/candied violets) - Fresh Squeezed (lemon juice/raspberry puree)

Past favorites include Lime and Frou-Frou for their intense citrus rush that always WOWs (yes, with capital "W-O-W") us. One of the monthly flavors, Fresh Squeezed, is a beautiful gem with a sweet and tart burst of lemon and raspberry. While it is not as sensorily captivating as Frou-Frou, it comes in a close second with Lime. I will miss this flavor once April flits by.

A bite of Boozie Suzie is met first with a smooth chocolate flavor and texture, then followed soon after by a rich coating of cherry. Hot Mama has an innocuous bite that would be tolerable even for those very sensitive to heat.

I wonder what new flavors May will bring?

- Cassaendra

761 Starkweather Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 771-3333

Strawberry Balsamic

A Cookie and a Cupcake's special of the day (Thursday) was a strawberry balsamic cupcake. Balsamic vinegar in a dessert was a foreign concept to me so I could not pass up trying this combination. We were engorged from our feasts the past couple of days, so we decided to savor our cupcake the next day.

365-299 Strawberry Balsamic
Day 299/365

The chopped strawberries atop the cake are similar to the sweet strawberry filling in [Cleveland] cassata cake or strawberry shortcake. The sweetness is moderated by the tart dried strawberry slice and the buttercream with its essence of balsamic vinegar, enough not to scare off the unconvinced or uninitiated (like me) yet subtly present for fans of the combination.

- Cassaendra

A Cookie and a Cupcake
2173 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 344-9433

A Beast

Accustomed to the crowd at Melt on weekends, the three of us arrived in Lakewood at 10:40 taking no chances even on a Thursday morning. When we walked into the restaurant 2 minutes after the posted opening time of 11:00, 3 tables were already seated.

After some deliberation, Michael chose the Godfather melt ($11.50), garlic bread stuffed with provolone and a 3-cheese lasagne made with layers of fresh fennel-oregano pasta, along with marinara and pesto served on the side by request.

365-298 Melt Godfather
Day 298/365

The lasagne, with its mildly spicy tomato zip, could stand on its own. One would expect the contents to be extruded from all sides after a bite, but the sandwich was constructed well enough that it neatly held its form.

Bug ordered the gyro melt ($11.00), shaved beef and lamb, tzatziki, tomatoes, onions, feta and Muenster cheeses. Since it had a lot of sweet onions, I didn't take a large bite of this sandwich and, instead, pinched off a piece of meat. The seasoned morsel tasted no different from what I've eaten at a gyro place.

365-298 Melt Gyro
Day 298/365

My choice was made on April 2nd when I received an email notification of their specials for the month -- the Corny Beast ($11.00), grilled beef hot dogs sandwiched between American cheese and bread, dipped in cornbread batter, then deep fried. Bug suggested that I double the dose of grilled goodness ($2.00), so I obliged.

365-298 Melt Corny Beast
Day 298/365

When my plate arrived, we all gasped at the behemoth, the beast! The size of each half of the ridiculously sized sandwich was as large as a cornish game hen. Of course, this went to the smallest person sitting at the table...

I was only able to finish one-fourth of my crisp mega-corndog oozing with cheese, half of the fries that I dipped into the accompanying chipotle ketchup, and my mug of soup. Ah yes, the soup.

Instead of coleslaw, I ordered the soup of the day, a bisque of wild mushroom and black barley. Despite being a touch salty for my taste (even air is salty to me), I immensely enjoyed my creamy soup packed with mushrooms and firm, nary a squishy or bloated grain of black barley. 

365-298 Melt Corny Beast CrossSection
Day 298/365

Before the month is up, I hope to try their cheesecake of the month, cappuccino crunch cheesecake, a coffee cheesecake embedded with chocolate and toffee bits, topped with chocolate ganache, crushed toffee, and mocha cream sauce. I have yet to try one of their cheesecakes, always opting for their monthly bread pudding special.

- Cassaendra

14718 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107
Tel: (216) 226-3699

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sweet Teeth

My best friend drove several hours out of his way to spend some time with us recently. We ate and ate and ate and ate!  I feel full thinking about it, or it's the leftover Korean dinner we shared two nights ago that I ate half an hour ago.

365-297 SoHo Wall
Day 297/365

After our Korean dinner, we did a bit of sightseeing for a few hours then had a hankering for dessert. With so many options, I thought SoHo would be a nice place. While they have a short list of desserts, I was pleased with the food and service during our last visit earlier in the month.

We decided to order one of each dessert on the menu to share: banana beignets, pecan pie, and dark chocolate torte.  I ordered a bottle of Hank's vanilla cream soda.

365-297 SoHo Hanks
Day 297/365

We all savored the vanilla goodness of the soda -- sweet with a generous punch of vanilla. I can't go back to regular cream soda after this bottle. What I have had up until this point seems like diluted 4th generation photocopies.

Presentation aside, the pecan pie with bourbon ice cream was just as good as the last time. The filling was firm, pecan-filled, and not cloying. I wonder if molasses was used as a sweetener?

365-297 SoHo Pecan
Day 297/365

When I have my own home, no bills, and nothing else to buy in the kitchen (I'll probably never get past #1), I would like an ice cream maker to make my own bourbon ice cream, maccha ice cream, pistachio rose water ice cream, ... 

Next dessert on deck: dark chocolate torte. Drizzled with a sweet, yet slightly tart blackberry preserves and a scoop of cream cheese, each smooth bite of the intensely dark chocolate enveloped me in profound pleasure.

365-297 SoHo Chocolate Torte
Day 297/365

This would be a difficult dessert to finish alone, especially after a dinner here, due to its density and richness. It is perfect to share between three people.

On the flipside, the beignets were warm, fluffy wisps of fried banana dough accompanied with caramel, vanilla creme, and strawberry sauces. Of the three, I preferred the strawberry and vanilla creme; however, the puffs were wonderful on their own that we requested another order.

365-297 SoHo Beignet
Day 297/365

Since we had a few hours for our dinner to settle, we were able to consume what we did. We should have scaled it back to sharing one dessert, health-wise, but I can't justify taking up a large table at a restaurant for over an hour sharing just one dessert. When we walked in, I felt bad mentioning we were there for dessert only.

We never felt rushed to leave and, actually, felt relaxed during our time there. Misty was our gracious server again. We look forward to seeing her and this mural again!

- Cassaendra

1889 W 25th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: 216 298-9090


Ironically, I have been on vacation since Wednesday and find myself several days late, catching up on posting pictures and text for my 365 Project. :)

365-296 Gave Wood
Day 296/365

A photograph can easily change the context and freeze an event in time. Passing by the tree for the past month or so, I wondered why someone would do this to a beautiful 3-story tall tree. When I took this picture, I assumed an apparently tenacious vandal with a chainsaw did this.

In a coincidental turn of events, I took this picture a day before the city chopped this tree down. It is now a stump leveled to the ground. As with all things in our lives, within a few months, no one will remember this tree ever existed.

- Cassaendra

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


We were on our way to Target to get some supplies when we drove by Guthrie's, a southern fried chicken finger restaurant based in Alabama, and noticed colorful balloons floating in the dining area as they celebrate their grand opening. After we finished our shopping, we turned into their parking lot. As soon as I opened the car door, the scent of fried chicken hijacked our car -- we have had wind gusts of up to 50 mph for the past two days.

365-295 Guthries
Day 295/365

We ordered a family dinner for $28, which included 25 chicken fingers, 4 orders of crinkle cut fries, 4 orders of cole slaw, 4 slices of buttered garlic toast, and 5 cups of sauce. Available sauces are Guthrie's sauce, ranch, Italian, and honey mustard. Guthrie's sauce is a super smooth mixture of essentially mayonnaise, ketchup, Worcestershire, and seasonings.

A single serving of the family meal with Guthrie's sauce is pictured above, with the exception of the fries where only one-third of an order is shown. Seven hours later, and I am still stuffed!

With a light and crisp texture that doesn't leave your fingers oily, the cuts of white meat, not processed then formed pieces, were pretty good. The chicken tastes like it has been brined, then dipped in a buttermilk batter with a seasoning mixture of pepper, paprika, garlic, and onion. With my sensitivity to salt, the strips are too salty for my tastebuds to eat more than five. They should be fine for most people, however.

The cole slaw is exactly the way I love my slaw, creamy, on the sweeter side, and without large chunks of onion. If there were no ramifications, I would eat a large bowl of it, just give me a fork. The crinkle cut fries and the buttered garlic toast met my expectations. As a mayonnaise fiend, of course I dipped my fries in the Guthrie's sauce!

The women at the counter were helpful and exuded that first-day enthusiasm. I hope that continues as it would definitely set them apart. This is Guthrie's first store in Ohio. In fact, this is their first franchise reaching this far north. The bulk of their restaurants are in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. I wish them good luck!

- Cassaendra

3465 Steelyard Dr
Cleveland, OH 44109

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ry B and Grey

365-294 Townhouses
Day 294/365

When I took this picture of a row of chic townhouses, I planned on showing the entire structure. As I sat down and studied the image I captured, I noticed plants, a satellite dish, torches, and chairs. Each home became too dissimilar. It's not a bad thing to show individuality in a cluster of similar looking homes, but what drew me was their same-difference...copy-paste, click-paint can.

- Cassaendra


365-293 Red
Day 293/365

This looks a bit gory or, perhaps, nauseating. Nothing nefarious here, just red paint on the sidewalk at the park. I really don't know why someone was lugging a can of red paint to the park.

- Cassaendra

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Meh, this isn't a post about the phone, but something a lot better. The cupcake special at A Cookie and a Cupcake is a delightful combination of fresh blackberries and white chocolate chip cake.

365-292 Blackberry White Chocolate
Day 292/365

The plump and tart berries were marvelous gems set in a beautifully sculpted fruity frosting. I am a fan of white chocolate, as well as very dark chocolate, so the white chocolate cake was a treat, especially without macadamia nuts. I enjoy macadamia nuts, but not with white chocolate -- something to do with false expectations.

As much as I write about them, I ought to invest in them. Wait...

- Cassaendra

A Cookie and a Cupcake
2173 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 344-9433

Friday, April 20, 2012


365-291 Robin Partial
Day 291/365

If there is a holiday related item that I am interested in, for example, Whopper Robin eggs, I'll wait a few days after the holiday to see if there are any left in the 90% clearance bin. I suppose that doesn't make me a hardcore flying overhead for the last breath sort of scavenger; perhaps more of an after-after-after holiday forager.

- Cassaendra

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Right around rubbish day, it's like the week before mid-term examinations. With only one pick-up per week, I frantically rummage through the refrigerator looking for items that have gone bad or determine whether the ingredient rides along the safe end of the cusp of deterioration. I'm stupidly adventurous in that vein and rely more on smell. Although, pink cheese is a toss-out unless it has port or cranberries. Spores are out, too. The smell test isn't very helpful with fermented food, so I am probably tossing these items out too soon. It probably balances itself on a food karmic scale.

365-290 Paldo Hwa Ramyun Hot Spicy
Day 290/365

A week ago, I bought a packet of hot and spicy flavor Paldo hwa ramyum. The noodles are like other instant Korean noodles, bleached flour, thick, and good if you don't overcook them...except, it is very easy to overcook. I typically cook the noodles until they are half-done, then rinse with cold water. When the vegetables are almost done cooking, I add the noodles, stir for half a minute, then turn off the heat.

We've had a pouch of fresh peas, a carton of mushrooms, and a bag of aspagarus for nearly a week so I've been using them in everything from omelettes, soups, sandwiches, and salads. The surimi was nearly freezer burnt so I used the last two sticks. Konbu, ginger, red peppers, and eggs are a staple in our kitchen.

Phreddie from Flickr recently posted pictures of different bowls of noodles and once explained that he loves to add grated ginger. This sounded like a phenomenal idea, so I tried it here. Ginger adds a clarity to a dish, like just-polished silver or glass. I've added beni shoga to my Okinawa soba and tonkotsu broth with noodles, but grating ginger never crossed my mind.

I didn't expect the soup to be very spicy, which it wasn't, so I added some minced bird's eye chili peppers. With the sesame oil that I added in the pot just as I turned off the heat, the bowl of noodles were quite satisfying and could easily serve two, especially after reading the nutritional facts. As you see pictured above, I gobbled the bowl of noodles myself.

- Cassaendra

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


These pods are found all over the ground beginning around March. I'm not sure if they continue to fall or if people haven't been cleaning their yards. I've also been guilty of kicking these along the sidewalk for a block or two.

365-289 Spike Sepia
Day 289/365

I wonder what kind of alien would spawn from something like this?  It's like a coral ship from the 8th dimension! [Buckaroo Banzai]

- Cassaendra

Monday, April 16, 2012


Popchips are my new pleasure. Made with potato flakes, the flavor is reminiscent of Pringles. The package mentions the chips are healthier and tastier because they are neither baked nor fried. The textured crisps are "popped" by adding heat and pressure.

365-288 BBQ PopChips
Day 288/365

Perfectly sized to pop in your mouth one or a few at a time, they are a neat snack without necessitating breaking the chips to pieces or having a hinged jaw, thus preventing Heath Ledger's Joker mouth syndrome -- sawing the sides of your mouth. The size and shape remind me of senbei, so they have also honed in on my snack genes.

- Cassaendra

Kitchen Sink Pizza

There are potentially infinite incarnations of my kitchen sink (in more ways than one) pizza. I'll also state my disclaimer that this is as Italian as my wonton noodles are Chinese, so I'm labeling this experimental, even though I'm not delving into funky funghi that I foraged in the forest down the street.

365-287 Market Pantry Pepperoni Pizza
Day 287/365

On our fairly frequent trips to Target to look for 1-2 necessities like toothpaste, zipper storage bags, and *shifty eyes* potato chips, we will inevitably walk past the frozen pizza section. For $2.50 each, Market Pantry (one of Target's two store brands) frozen pizza is a fairly economical, quick, and filling dinner.

When I look at the flat, frozen two-tone pizza, I want color! To Bug's dismay, I'll root around the refrigerator clanking bottles and mumbling while rummaging through the vegetable drawer examining fresh and not so fresh ingredients.

On this day, I set aside red peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, bird's eye chili peppers, goat cheese, kalamata olives, and sun dried tomatoes. As I chopped a wee bit of this and a tad bit of that, a few minutes later, my chopping board was covered and I felt guilty. That simple pepperoni pizza sitting on the counter that Bug wanted to munch on would not be the same.

I liked it, but Bug wasn't thrilled about the goat cheese. No goat cheese next time, at least not on the entire pizza.

Oh, and the other reason why it's a kitchen sink pizza? I wasn't raised by a pack of wolves, but I will frequently eat my pizza over the kitchen sink since I typically eat just one slice.

- Cassaendra

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Southern Hospitality

Even before we received a gift certificate for $40 over 4 months ago, Bug and I talked about going to SoHo, shortened for Southern Hospitality, in Ohio City because Bug is a fan of Southern cuisine and I was interested in the midwestern-modern-urban twist. I admit that modern-urban [insert rustic cuisine here] has been done to death and often with pomp, then stumbling into obscurity.  Each week, we would talk about going "later in the week," until we finally agreed to go "now."

365-286 SoHo Menu
Day 286/365

I have mixed feelings about presenting gift certificates because I want to let the server know up front that we have one so we're not being dodgy, but I also don't want them to think we're going to stiff them on their tip based on the paid total and ignore us. As always, I flashed my certificate as our server seated us and verified it would be all right to use. It was.

Having several months to review their menu, my mind was set on the chicken and waffles. My next choice was shrimp and grits in the event it was not available. I had never had grits before but was told it is somewhat similar to Malt-O-Meal. I like Malt-O-Meal.

Menu prices are standardized -- soups ($6), appetizers ($9/$7), salads ($8), suppers ($17), po'boys ($12), side dishes ($5.50), and desserts ($6). There is a happy hour special in the early evening.

After we ordered, a plate of warm and fluffy petite biscuits baked onsite arrived with butter and homemade blackberry-apple curd that had a similar texture and flavor to firm guava paste. This was a welcome, tasty, and appropriately sized distraction between ordering and receiving our first course. We're not here to be hogs lined along a trough, after all.

365-286 SoHo Biscuits
Day 286/365 - Biscuits with blackberry-apple curd and butter

My steaming bowl of duck gumbo arrived with chunks of flavorful and tender duck, andouille sausage, and shrimp, along with firm okra and rice. The soup was peppery, complex, and bold, as one would expect with dark meat, but did not feel heart-clogging greasy nor were the textures like death simmered over. The zing was pleasant, but may be too spicy for anyone who cannot tolerate any kind of spicy food. Misty, our server, warned us as well.

Bug makes a better gumbo, but this is the first restaurant gumbo that he has wanted to take a third sampling. I would order this filling soup alone in the future, after trying all the dishes on the menu, likely to the dismay of the server, as it is only $6. Perhaps I'll order a soup and salad.

365-286 SoHo Duck Gumbo
Day 286/365 - Duck gumbo

While I was quietly enjoying the gumbo, Bug crunched through one of the fried green tomatoes with fresh cut corn, red peppers, cheese curds, green onions, and okra remoulade. They were presented beautifully.

After he finished his first slice, I pushed the remaining half-bowl of gumbo across the table so he could enjoy the soup while it was piping hot. As he enjoyed the soup, I had my first fried green tomato. When I have heard "fried green tomatoes" in films, I never expected them to be breaded and fried.

365-286 SoHo Fried Green Tomatoes
Day 286/365 - Fried green tomatoes

The texture was similar to eggplant, meaty and substantive, simple to eat without a stringy or sloppy mess. The nutty, perfectly crisp breading did not leave a greasy residue and complemented the fresh and crisp corn and red peppers. I expected the tomato to be tart (it was green, after all), but it was delicate. The cheese curds added a nice heft without being overwhelming. 

One of the diners next to us ordered a fried green tomato BLT po'boy. It was large enough to feed two people. The sandwich was stacked high, stuffed with several fried green tomatoes, thick cut bacon, and crisp lettuce. I look forward to trying it some time in the future!

Bug's charred ribeye steak arrived in a large platter. Stacked on top are fingerling potatoes and spinach, pickled vidalia onions, Tabasco hollandaise, and a fried egg. The dish was executed well technically, but I would take my dish over this any day. Perhaps I would feel differently if I ate more than a bite of each component.

365-286 SoHo Ribeye
Day 286/365 - Charred ribeye steak

At the last moment, I decided to order shrimp and grits instead of the much anticipated chicken and waffles. I'll have to save the waffles for next time. What can I say about the grits?  They were velvety, buttery, and creamy. The corn, asparagus, and red peppers were firm and distinctly flavored, while the mushrooms added depth.

365-286 SoHo Shrimp Grits
Day 286/365 - Shrimp scampi and grits

The shrimp were larger than I anticipated and retained its tenderness while being fully cooked. Whoever was in the kitchen tonight nailed everything perfectly. The shrimp and grits is another dish I'll revisit.

Bug enjoyed the pecan pie immensely. The filling was densely packed with pecans, not some overly sweet cheap goo. I loved the bourbon-brown butter ice cream with it's boozy, smoky, thick and creamy texture.

365-286 SoHo Pecan Pie
Day 286/365 - Pecan pie and bourbon-brown butter ice cream

It was only after returning from our meal that I read reviews online that spanned from fanatic to disgruntled with contradictory complaints of too much or too little food for the price. I felt the amount of food commensurate with the price considering the freshness of and attention paid to (consistent spot-on food doneness) the discernible ingredients.

Our server, Misty, was phenomenal. I can't think of anything that I could offer to improve our experience. She was attentive, prompt with our water, and clearing off our table, including used utensils. In my nearly 20 years in Cleveland, this is the first restaurant that removes used utensils and immediately replaces fresh utensils; commonplace in similar restaurants I've visited in other cities.

Service in Cleveland is generally dismal. Receiving the food as you ordered, a server who stops by once to ask how your meal is and brings your check in a timely manner is above average service. Unfortunately, those who strive above that are few. 

The only other restaurant that quickly comes to mind with outstanding service in Cleveland is right down the street at Flying Fig. There is the possibility that I could be resting my utensils in the wrong restaurants, on the wrong nights, with the wrong server.

I look forward to eating through SoHo's entire menu!

- Cassaendra

SoHo Kitchen and Bar
1889 W 25th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 298-9090

Friday, April 13, 2012

Simply Red

Should this dish be filed under Chinese because the noodles are wonton? Or American because the concoction was created in America? I doubt a Chinese person or an American person would want to claim this messy dish. I wanted to devour some wonton noodles NOW.

365-285 Messy but Filling
Day 285/365

One thing I learned tonight is that slacking off reading the ingredients list may lead to mysterious results. As I was about to serve these noodles, I noticed the bottom half of the noodles in the pan was red. I wondered if something was wrong with these noodles, as I've never bought these wonton noodles before. Was it the red peppers?  They have never had their red rub off to cause surrounding food to discolor. It surely wasn't the mushrooms, the green and orange bird's eye chili peppers, or the macadamia nuts.

I pondered on the seasonings used -- sweet curry, garlic and onion powders, smoked salt. Nothing red there. The sauce was made with shoyu, chardonnay, sesame oil, grated and minced ginger, and dried shrimp. Nothing unusual there. I didn't use the usual suspects: ketchup, cayenne, sriracha.

As I emptied the dried shrimp into a small bag from its original packaging that was just opened, I noticed one of the ingredients -- strawberry dye. Hah. We use beetles to color strawberry drinks, and strawberries to color shrimp. I suppose the ingredient could have been mistranslated. *shrug* Case closed.

Regardless, it satisfied my wonton noodle craving. I suppose that's all that counts, since I don't cook for a living and it isn't poiso...*ack...cough* :)

- Cassaendra

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Apricot Ginger

Cupcake of the day at A Cookie and a Cupcake: Apricot ginger

365-284 Apricot Ginger
Day 284/365

The candied ginger was great. Unfortunately, I gobbled that up first so I didn't taste very much for a wee bit after munching on them. I believe the topping was vanilla buttercream. The cupcake was made of a moist chocolaty chocolate cake with a delightful apricot frosting filling that was slightly tangy. I must make the filling some time.

- Cassaendra

A Cookie and a Cupcake
2173 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 344-9433


Housebot, transform!

365-283 Housebot Transform
Day 284/365

I love this house. A shame that it's not in a more secluded area. It would be nice to keep the windows unobstructed with such a beautiful view of the Downtown skyline and below.

- Cassaendra


365-282 Hurdles
Day 282/365

Life is riddled with tiny hurdles.

I suppose it is better than being a box of chocolates, especially if you're diabetic.

- Cassaendra

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


365-281 Stump
Day 281/365

Getting Akemi to stay on a tree stump, sit still, and not face every which way but straight was a test of my patience. I almost gave up.

- Cassaendra

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kimchi Noodle Soup

Since last night, I was in the mood for some kind of noodle soup. Not in the mood to eat a carbohydrate laden meal after we had settled in for the evening, I reluctantly pushed the idea out of my mind.

This morning, while looking through some pictures of my contacts on Flickr, I saw a delicious bowl of noodles. Argh! Not wanting to duke it out with frantic last minute Easter meal planners, I scanned the refrigerator expecting to make a fried noodle dish. 

365-280 Kimchi Noodle soup
Day 280/365

While foraging for ingredients and ideas with the refrigerator door agape, a large, ancient bottle of kimchi (forgotten for at least a year judging from the July 2011 ?expiration date) came into view. A red container of gochujang sat to my right in a cubby along the refrigerator door. The gears in my head began to creak. I knew I had a container of miso in the vegetable drawer, but no tofu. Koji ajitsuke baby clams that my father sent me were staring at me from the second shelf. I dug into my dried noodle stash and found a few bundles of buckwheat noodles and oat flour noodles.

Like a puzzle falling into place with a few missing pieces, kimchi jjigae inspired soup with oat flour noodles became the functional plan. Due to the impromptu nature of this dish with rummaged ingredients, I do not have an exact recipe to share. The amounts listed are a rough approximation. As is frequently the case, even when cooking with recipes, I sampled intermittently and adjusted to taste.

several cups of water
several pieces of konbu
1 Tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 Tbsp yellow miso
1/4 c infused water from two rehydrated shiitake
2 tsp grated and minced ginger
2 shiitake, rehydrated and sliced
1-1/2 c kimchi, sliced
1/2 c koji ajitsuke baby clams (Japanese seasoned baby clams)

For the broth, simmer the water with konbu, gochujang, miso, and shiitake infused water. To create the shiitake infused water, I heated 1/4 c of water in a small microwave safe glass cup for 45 seconds, then soaked the dried mushrooms for approximately 10 minutes.

When the edges of the broth form tiny bubbles, add the sliced shiitake and ginger, then simmer for a few minutes. Add the kimchi and baby clams, then simmer for a few more minutes. This is a good point to ascertain whether the soup needs more miso, ginger, gochujang, or a different flavor like shoyu, as desired.

The remaining ingredients were what I had on hand and not traditional at all to kimchi jjigae. Well, the seasoned baby clams added above are not traditional, but it did add shoyu and some body to the soup.

As pictured, I added:
4 bird's eye chili peppers, seeded then minced
1 c edamame, steamed then shelled
1 c asparagus, sliced
1 c red peppers, sliced
2 bundles of oat flour noodles, cooked just short of al dente
1 egg
shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7-spice, literally, "7-flavor chile pepper")

Most of the bird's eye chili peppers were added to the soup, with a pinch reserved as garnish. Since the edamame were already cooked, and asparagus and red peppers take only a couple minutes to cook, they were incorporated into the soup just a couple minutes prior to turning off the heat.

When I have eaten kimchi jjigae at restaurants, the egg appears to be added in the kitchen last so it arrives poached in its bubbling cauldron, or at the table. I added the egg in my bowl, then sprinkled shichimi togarashi and a pinch of the minced serrano peppers.

As listed, this makes around 5-6 servings.

A couple of things to note:
1. Oat flour noodles have a subtler flavor than buckwheat noodles, but are gluten-free.
2. Do not boil miso, as it kills the healthy enzymes.
3. Tofu is part of kimchi jjigae and would have been desirable had I not forgotten to re-stock our supply.

This was my first time making this dish. While it didn't taste exactly like the kimchi jjigae I've had at restaurants, it was close and I quite enjoyed it. Along with clam and squid bits, I'll often find bulgogi pieces in my jjigae at restaurants, so the sweetness of the seasoned clams, which was barely noticeable, was not alien.

Bug enjoyed his bowl apparently, since he asked that I make this again. However, he suggested that I add more miso next time. In addition, I'll set aside more bird's eye chili peppers to add more heat to my bowl so the soup is not overly spicy for others.

- Cassaendra

Saturday, April 7, 2012


365-279 Table
Day 279/365

I'm not sure why I like utterly abandoned or heavily used empty spaces. The silence when structures are abandoned seem wistful and aching to tell a story, while heavily trafficked rooms seem to sigh in relief.

- Cassaendra

Tulips and

These tulips grow right across the street from a school. It's amazing they still look beautiful; that is, in one piece. I do not expect very much from adults with regard to respect for public property, and even less of children. Good to see evidence of respectful humans.

365-277 Tulips
Day 277/365

When I took a picture of the purple flowers beside Loop (coffee shop), I wondered if they were lavender - even though they aren't even close to being in season. I've never really looked at lavender in person to be able to identify their petals and leaves. I have a pouch of dried lavender flowers for cooking, but they look like light purple rye seeds so they don't really help me identify petals.

365-278 Meadow Sage maybe
Day 278/365

Looking up purple flowers online, there are quite a few purple flowering plants. Even though the leaves don't look quite right, are these meadow sage plants?  I wonder if Loop reused their coffee grounds to grow these?

- Cassaendra

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Play Ball

It's that time of year!  The crack of wooden bats, the aroma of hot dogs...

365-276 Baseball
Day 276/365

...icy winds from the north, frost on the windshield, and everyone bundled up and huddled in the stands warming their hands on bags of warm Peterson's peanuts and hot coffee. Tomorrow is the start of baseball season in Cleveland.

A baseball laid in the grass waiting for a curious dog to pass by. Akemi snagged her prize quickly -- a leather chew toy that she couldn't crush with her jaws easily, a rolly soccer ball, and a trophy she toted for all of 3 minutes.

365-276 Akemi Play Ball
Day 276/365

Just as quickly as she claimed the ball, it was forgotten. An interesting clod of grass followed by a shower of white petals that rained from above took center stage.

- Cassaendra

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


365-275 Greek Orthodox
Day 275/365

Between West 14th and West 11th Streets, Greek flags brightly line Fairfield Avenue in Tremont as 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Cleveland.

- Cassaendra

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
2187 West 14th St
Cleveland, OH 44113

Monday, April 2, 2012


365-274 Husk BW
Day 274/365

Lying along the sidewalk, I picked up this cigarillo-shaped husk, shaking, squeezing, and rolling it between my fingers on the way home. Akemi peered up at it inquisitively. I feel like a bird carrying seeds to a foreign land. After taking a couple of pictures, I tossed it in a recently dug area of the yard.

- Cassaendra

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sausage Egg Casserole

At the end of each year that we have been a member with Costco, they have distributed a cookbook. This is the first recipe we decided to try of the numerous interesting recipes in their cookbooks.

365-273 Frittata
Day 273/365

Inspired by the vegetarian recipe, Cheesy Veggie Sausage Breakfast Casserole, in A Decade of Cooking the Costco Way contributed by MorningStar, we used a meat breakfast sausage, added red peppers, altered the type of cheese and amount, removed green onions and several ingredients used as garnish.

1/2 lb turkey breakfast sausage
8 large eggs
1/4 c milk
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/5 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 c cottage cheese
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly squeezed
1 c red pepper, chopped
2 c shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese

1. Cook breakfast sausage in a frying pan, break into small pieces.
2. Drain grease from cooked sausage. Spread across paper towel and pat to absorb extraneous grease and cool.
3. Preheat oven to 325°F.
4. Grease or spray 9"x13" casserole dish with oil or nonstick spray.
5. Beat eggs in a large bowl, then mix milk, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
6. Mix cottage cheese, sausage, spinach, red pepper, and cheese to the egg mixture until incorporated.
7. Pour bowl ingredients into the baking dish and bake to desired firmness (35-45 min).

I ate my servings with salsa, while Bug ate his with chipotle Tabasco. This was a colorful and tasty dish. Plus, I didn't have to pick out any onions.

We will try an egg substitute next time to gauge if the flavor and texture hold. Why pack on the fat and cholesterol if the flavor remains the same?

- Cassaendra

Caramel Corn

At A Cookie and a Cupcake, their cupcake of the day on Saturday was Caramel Corn. Crafted with yellow cake, caramel frosting (filling), browned butter frosting, and, of course, topped with a few pieces of caramel corn, I could eat five of these moist cupcakes with just the nutty browned butter frosting in one sitting. 

365-272 Caramel Corn PB
Day 272/365

To the left is the PB Lovers, a chocolate cake with a peanut crunch topping, peanut buttercream topping and filling, and a sliver of Snickers. The crunchy roasted nut crumbles are not sweet with a very slight bitterness that nicely offsets the sweet chocolate cake and buttercream to make quite the nutty treat.

- Cassaendra

A Cookie and a Cupcake
2173 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 344-9433

Spicy Jack

Suggestive sales works. When I called Donatos to order two large pepperoni and Mariachi pizzas, I was greeted with: "Would you like to try our Spicy Jack pizza?" I inquired about the toppings, which included pepperoni, sausage, pepper jack cheese, and Zinger Shake.

365-271 Spicy Jack
Day 271/365

We were already in the mood for something spicy and we enjoy their pepperoni pizza, so trying this didn't take much arm twisting. The only unknown was the degree of spiciness. We knew it wasn't going to be too spicy.

One of the ingredients that sets Donatos apart is their sausage, spiced possibly with caraway or fennel and other spices, not round pieces of rubbery salty meat product. The pepper jack cheese provided a slight zing. In addition to the provolone, a pretty cheesy pie is created. I don't know what is in the Zinger Shake. While it didn't pack any heat, we didn't realistically expect it to. We scarfed this pizza, so there were only 3 pieces left for the next day (we liked it).

We always order their thin crust, a crispy but not cracker-brittle crust. It is enough dough to carry the edge-to-edge toppings with a sauce that adds a layer of flavor, acts as a tasty, not overly sweet, adhesive, and is sufficiently distributed to moisten, yet not so much to overwhelm and ooze everywhere. Their pizza is one of the best pizza chains around: tasty, consistent, and reasonably priced. 

We've tried some local chains that people have raved about like Angelo's and Romeo's Pizza. Angelo's was okay, but not worth the effort to make a return trip after 4 years. Romeo's Pizza was the worst. The pizza was cold when we arrived at their store within 10 minutes of ordering it, and the tomato sauce was mediocre -- too sweet for our palate much like Papa John's. I wouldn't eat Papa John's or Romeo's Pizza if they were offered for free. Although, at least Papa John's pizza is hot when *delivered*.

- Cassaendra

5461 Ridge Rd
Parma, OH 44129
Tel: (440) 843-6861

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