Friday, September 28, 2012

Goat Banana Oreo Carrot

Goat Banana Oreo Carrot
Goat cheese and fig, banana, Oreo, and carrot cupcakes

The special cupcakes of the day at a Cookie and a Cupcake were Oreo and goat cheese and fig. Second to their date pudding cupcake, the goat cheese and fig is one of my favorites. Goat cheese (chevre), not feta, works marvelously as a cupcake topping with its slightly sour and satiny texture. Slightly sweetened, I would eat mounds of this. Moist figs top off an already delicious cake.

- Cassaendra

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


We recently went for breakfast at Lucky's Cafe in Tremont.

Short version:
We won't return.
1) Food is decent.
2) Service sucks.
3) Prices are laughable.

Long version:
We ordered biscuit with sausage gravy ($14) and pierogi with sauerkraut (~$19) -- price of my pierogi dish was calculated from the total check of $40. No drinks were ordered (I'll discuss this later).

Luckys Biscuit Sausage Gravy
Biscuit with sausage gravy

First, the flavor of each dish. Scallion biscuits and sausage gravy together were fine. Texture was fine, neither under nor overcooked, floury, greasy, nor lumpy. Bug thought it was all right, but not out of this world. The one cube of potato I tasted, tasted like...a potato. It wasn't as crisp as I would prefer. I didn't want to take another cube or I would have eaten one-fourth of them.

My pierogi were all right. I should have known better than to order something new from the menu. There probably wasn't much time to perfect the platter. The pierogi were doughy and bland. I admit that I am being picky on this point, but I also prefer pierogi to be crisp in such a way that they have a light crackle on the front end of the bite, followed by a chew, similar to gyoza.

The corn and peppers were all right. Texture was at least spot-on, crisp. The sauerkraut was fantastic - not too sweet or sour. The orange rind sprinkled atop was a creative idea. We took this idea home when we made our batch of red cabbage sauerkraut.

Luckys Pierogi
Pierogi and red cabbage sauerkraut

The service wasn't serviceable. I'm not sure why I left a tip. I usually walk out of a restaurant if we are not acknowledged within 5-7 minutes and it is sufficiently staffed; what we have done here previously.  If we're interrupting someone's day by our presence, then why bother?

Bug was very patient and asked me to calm down. We waited 15 minutes before we were acknowledged and inquired about our drink order. As a result, even though he wanted to order coffee with his breakfast, he decided against it fearing that he would end up choking down his meal on a bone dry coffee mug.

Granted their niche is local sourcing of ingredients. Even if the potatoes, wheat, corn, cabbage, and grapes, were organic and sprinkled with droplets of Himalayan water from a leaf, this breakfast experience wasn't worth $40.

We're lucky to be in Cleveland where there are an abundance of restaurants to not have to return to unsatisfying establishments.

- Cassaendra

Lucky's Cafe
777 Starkweather Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 622-7773

Monday, September 17, 2012


Kinako Dango
Kinako dango

Received a gift (thank you!) of freshly made kinako dango from Japan, nonexistent in Cleveland. While I can procure mochi here, it's usually shipped from China or Korea so they are made to last for many months and oftentimes frozen.

This mochi was incredibly soft, not very sweet, with generous portions of kinako. I could eat this every day!

- Cassaendra

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Crust Chorizo Spanakopita
By the slice

We walked in during the soft opening at Crust in Tremont. Various slices were available, including pepporoni, Spanish chorizo (shown, left), and spanakopita (shown, right) pizzas. The crust is thick, which is not my preference, and toppings too profuse to support the weight. However, I enjoyed the flavor of the sauce. The pizza crust needs a bit more work. Once that is perfected, they'll be a fine alternative in this neighborhood.

- Cassaendra

1020 Kenilworth Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 583-0257

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Aim High

A trip to Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, where the National Museum of the United States Air Force is located, was due so we headed out early but after a pit stop at the Autobahn. No, not in Germany, but in Columbus, at Schmidt's Sausage Haus - in time for the lunch buffet.

The museum starts chronologically from the beginning of flight through to modern fighters.

Early history

Along the way, there are other more interesting aircraft like the autogyro, a gyro-copter.

WPAFM Early Autogiro

There are two jets I looked forward to: SR71 and F-117.  The SR71 Blackbird was used in the 1960s through 1990s, as well as being used by the X-Men (comics). F-117 Nighthawk was used in the 1980s through the 2000s.


With hundreds of aircraft and missiles, this is a great place for an aircraft enthusiast, not just fighting machines. The displays related to each time period are artistic and museum quality, not what I expected from a government facility (sorry). This is a beautiful exhibit and free!

- Cassaendra

National Museum of the United States Air Force
1100 Spaatz St
Wright-Patterson AFB OH 45433
Tel: (937) 255-3286

Friday, September 14, 2012


Panera bread is a hit and miss affair with us. My first visit over 10 years ago was enjoyable with a well made sandwich. Five years ago, several ingredients were out and the service, or lack thereof, left a bad taste so we didn't feel a need to return.

Before we set out for our drive to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, we decided to grab a bite to eat. Actually, this was going to be my second breakfast (shh!). Panera was on the way.

Panera Sausage Egg Panini
Sausage egg panini

We ordered sausage and egg panini and sausage gouda egg souffle. I took a few bites of the panini. It tasted like it looks - a bit dry. The egg was not bland, fake tasting, nor rubbery as many other fast food restaurants.

Panera Sausage Gouda Souffle
Sausage gouda egg souffle

My sausage gouda egg souffle, on the other hand, was much tastier -- saltier, buttery, flaky, and warm. I would order this again, but the price teeters at just barely acceptable, around $4.50, for a pastry around the size of a hockey puck.  

- Cassaendra

Panera Bread
17090 Royalton Rd
Strongsville, OH 44136
Tel: (440) 846-0377

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


52-07 Akemi Scolded
Week 07/52

Akemi was scolded for hanging out in the kitchen trying to scavenge for any dropped goodies while Bug was chopping and cooking.

- Cassaendra

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bubba's Q

Bubba's Q is a local rib joint in Avon, OH created by a former Cleveland Brown football player, Al "Bubba" Baker. We didn't expect to see the restaurant sitting on a gravel lot in a metal building. It reminded me of the great rib places in Tennessee. Upon walking in, the restaurant appears smaller with around 20-25 tables.

Bubbas Q Building

We were seated quickly; however, it took ~8 minutes to be acknowledged, followed by a ~5 minute wait for water service. A rough start, but the service was all right once the food order was placed. Our bread basket with dinner rolls and corn muffins arrived a few minutes later. I should have waited until after the food arrived to devour my warm, puffy corn muffin. Barbecue sauce and chili with corn muffins are like fried Spam slices with white rice, a cosmic food pairing.

Bubbas Q Bread Basket

We ordered a sampler ($14.99) of beef brisket, fries, barbecue sauce, pulled pork, ribs, and chili. The brisket was fattier and not as smoky as expected. Doused in tangy, sweet, and smoky barbecue sauce, the pulled pork and ribs were all right but tough. Bug was forced to eat most of the sampler, with the exception of the zesty chili.

Bubbas Q Sampler

Since we ordered the sampler, I wanted to try something different so I ordered the TurQue dinner ($13.99) despite not being a big fan of turkey. It wasn't very smoky, so I doused a few bites with barbecue sauce. The salty green beans were my favorite. I'm not being sarcastic (I'm very sensitive to salt). There was something about it that was addictive.

Bubbas Q TurQue Dinner
TurQue dinner

As expected, Bug made a bee-line for their baby back ribs. Of course, since he's a guy, he ordered a full rack ($22.99). When the plate arrived, I laughed loudly. It was a ridiculous amount of ribs. He was only able to eat 4 pieces of ribs -- partly due to being full from the sampler and mostly from the tough and bony ribs. We left with a heap of leftovers. Bug ate my TurQue and gifted me with his ribs, so I ate a few bones.

Bubbas Q Baby Back Rack
Full rack of baby back ribs

The food at Bubba's Q was fine, just not our glass of sweet tea. While I prefer to support very small independent restaurants, etched into the flavor center of my brain are Famous Dave's tender Memphis style dry rub baby back ribs; smoky, lean, and very tender beef brisket; a variety of tasty sides; hot custard-like bread pudding with pecan praline sauce and vanilla ice cream; their very affordable prices; good service; and convenience. It's quite an insurmountable hurdle.

- Cassaendra

Bubba's Q
820 Center Rd
Avon, OH 44011
Tel: (440) 937-7859

Monday, September 10, 2012

Candy Corn Cookies

Oreo Candy Corn Half
Candy corn fun

Seasonal food gimmicks are fun like candy corn, cocoa cat Peeps, Reese's pumpkin peanut butter cups, and, now, candy corn Oreos, a Target exclusive. Since I prefer the sugary filling over the chocolate cookies, the candy corn filling not having that caramelized honey flavor wasn't particularly horrid but disappointing. I have a feeling we won't be seeing these on Target shelves in a couple Halloweens.

- Cassaendra

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


A much anticipated box arrived from a good friend of mine that included one of my favorite foods -- noodles! I tore open the box and discovered packets of Koka brand curry and mi goreng noodles from Singapore. These were high recommended by a local Singaporean while he was there.

Koka Curry Noodles Wrapper
The packet

Since we've signed up for Fresh Fork Market (CSA), we always have fresh vegetables and eggs. This was our first week receiving Brussels sprouts, Hungarian peppers, and yellow pattypan squash. Corn and eggs were part of our bag the previous week.  Leftover bamboo shoots and a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi, and I was good to go.

Koka Curry Noodles
Steamy bowl of yum

The amount of noodles packed was twice as much as expected and not as temperamental as some instant noodles are, with an ample al dente window. For a powder only base, the soup had a rich curry flavor that was pleasing to my palate. Cumin was neither overpowering nor bitter, with a nudge toward the sweet curry spectrum. How fortunate I am to have such a sweet friend! He took great care in transporting this fragile cargo to the US evident by the noodles arriving in perfect condition. (Thank you!)

- Cassaendra

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Strip

Pennsylvania is one of my favorite states to drive through with multitudes of lush mountains resulting in quaint villages and a variety of bridges to cross through, over, and under.  Since we had a couple of places to go to in Pittsburgh and just half a day to accomplish this, we didn't have much time to smell the roses.

One of the PA Turnpike Bridges
Somewhere along the PA turnpike

We weren't sure what to expect when we arrived at the Strip, a district of repurposed warehouses converted into clubs and shops in downtown Pittsburgh along two streets -- Smallman St and Penn Ave.

The Pittsburgh Public Market takes up several loading dock spaces. Brightly lit, the small market is a busy place, but not obnoxiously so. The walkways were clean and wide enough without having to rub shoulders walking along stalls of fruits, vegetables, soaps, prepared foods, and textiles.

A little further along were a couple of nifty looking buildings with clubs and a haunted house. It would have been interesting to walk into one to see how or if the upper floors are utilized.

The Strip Clubs
Clubs along the Strip

Further along Smallman St, I noticed a crowd snaked into a small door leading into a hole in the wall and people trickling out of another door with containers of doughnuts. I stood in line and found out it was a line for doughnuts at Peace, Love, and Little Donuts.

The regular doughnuts were dry, so I ended up eating the toppings and leaving the a bit of topping and the rest for Bug. Maple bacon and Treehugger (granola) toppings were good - no surprise. After we got home, I was disappointed to find out this was a national chain and one in the west side of Cleveland had been open for several months.

Peace Love Little Doughnuts
Mini doughnuts

Grudgingly, Bug toted around the box of doughnuts as we came across the breakfast place he had heard about and wanted to try. Packed with people waiting to get in and being carbed out, he decided to pass it up.

Adjacent to a McDonald's along Penn Ave is a church converted into a nightclub. Bug and I have often joked about opening a club in a large old church. The older and more gothic, the better.

The Strip Altar Bar
The Altar

It would have been great to catch Rammstein when they played there, or My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, scheduled to play on Monday, October 22nd!

- Cassaendra

The Strip
Smallman St
Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA

Monday, September 3, 2012


We didn't hear the trumpets as we entered Ikea on our second visit like we...I...did on our first visit.  Because we don't have room in our postage stamp place to buy furniture, Ikea is a different store for us -- a place for contemporary, interesting, and/or inexpensive doodads and utensils, and, most importantly, a dining destination.

Ikea sits atop the highest hill in the ~100 acre Robinson Town Centre, a mega shopping mall. Their dining hall is a spacious cafeteria on the second floor, surrounded by two walls of glass and outdoor seating with a gorgeous view. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture.

At the front of the line are self-serve refrigerated cases with plates of desserts, salads, and appetizers, followed by warm items served upon request, then a self-serve salad bar. Cups are given for water and soda at the register.

Beckoning from behind the cold glass door was a beautifully dressed plate of Najad salmon ($4.99), cold smoked and cured with dill, served with lime-marinated root vegetables. Along with a small bowl of salad greens, the substantially thick slices were supple and filling; a perfect traveling lunch that did not weigh heavily in my belly. The vegetables were decorative and didn't add much flavor.

Ikea Najad Salmon
Najad salmon

Bug ordered the Swedish meatball meal ($3.99), which includes mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. For $1.00, he received another 5 meatballs. The meatballs are firm but not rubbery, evenly textured, and have a spiced and oniony flavor. Lingonberry jam augments the meat with a sweet and tartness that is akin to a bite of a Thanksgiving feast with dressing, gravy, and cranberries.

Ikea Swedish Meatballs
Swedish meatballs with lingonberry

Apple pie with vanilla sauce ($2.99) concluded our trip to Ikea. The vanilla sauce doesn't have very much flavor just sweetness so it is unnecessary to enjoy the spiced apple pie. On our first visit, the apple pie looked neater, but this was still quite presentable.

Ikea Apple Pie
Apple pie

A nice incentive at the store is a free meal when $100 is spent. The price of the meal is taken out of the total purchases made.

I am not going to say that the food is "just like grandmother's," but the dishes are tasty and phenomenal for its price point. We don't normally purchase soda, but I had to try the lingonberry soda offered from their drink dispensers. I regret not buying lingonberry syrup so we could make the sweet-tart soda at home.

- Cassaendra

2001 Park Manor Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
Tel: (412) 747-0747

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cleveland Street View

Recently, we took a few snapshots of the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood in Cleveland's West Side.

Gordon Square has always been a busy neighborhood. A few years ago, the area went through extensive renovation including the Capitol Theater, one of several destination businesses in the area, at least to us, along with Sweet Moses, our favorite soda parlor. Yum!

Capitol Theater
Capitol Theater

A few minutes away towards Lake Erie is a housing development along Father Caruso Drive with a view of Lake Erie and a working railroad, where I stood to take the picture below. Highway Route 2 and Edgewater Park are beyond the railroad tracks, below a cliff. The airy space, architecture, and manicured greenery stand out amongst the clutter of Detroit Ave and the older homes up the street, as if space was folded along the New England coast.

Father Caruso Drive
Father Caruso Drive

Just a minute down the street (or train track) sits Battery Park, a housing development built on the former site of an Eveready battery plant. Only small sections of the plant remain, like its distinctive smokestack.

Battery Park
Father Caruso Drive, Battery Park in the distance

Instead of a Cape Cod atmosphere, the Battery Park townhomes have a modern "green" appearance. Some homes appear right out of a movie set or housing cluster on a terraformed planet with paneled square blocks, while others are painted in modern alternating colors - oxblood, mustard, maccha.

Several minutes west and inland from the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood along West 101st St and Detroit Ave are the Boulevard Terrace Apartments. With its distinctive appearance and proximity to public transportation (Cudell station), these apartments could easily go for a pretty penny once completed; however, these historic apartments are apparently earmarked for public housing.

Boulevard Terrace Apartments
Boulevard Terrace Apartments

The Cudell station is an area bus hub and train stop that leads right into Downtown Cleveland. There is a lot of parking for people to commute without having to deal with Downtown traffic, as well as the airport and other East Side . The fence between the station and Detroit Ave is funky and has a 70s lollipop appearance. It is probably hideous to some and nifty to others.

Detroit Ave W 101 St Fence
At the Cudell rapid station parking lot

It'll be interesting to see this area once the development is complete. We'll definitely visit Sweet Moses.

- Cassaendra

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sweet Moses

After seeing "Iron Sky" at the Capitol Theater, we stopped by nearby Sweet Moses, a beautiful soda fountain shop right out of the 1950s located in the Gordon Square district of Cleveland.  The parlor is brightly lit and polished to a sparkly shine.

There are so many treats to drool over offering ice cream churned on-site, malts, phosphate sodas, milkshakes, egg cream, sundaes, floats, egg shakes, candies, and sweet snacks.

Sweet Moses Prep
Temptress behind the counter

We shared a Temptress egg shake made with egg, milk, orange syrup, raspberry syrup, and cherry bitters. This isn't like a "milk" shake, thick and icy, but a deliciously complex, eggy, creamy, crisp, effervescent, and sweet elixir with a foamy head.

Sweet Moses Temptress Egg Shake
Egg shake

On our first visit, we ordered a blackberry phosphate soda. Phosphate soda is made with phosphoric acid, which contributes a tangy flavor. The skill of the soda jerks make these drinks addictive. It has taken a lot of willpower to keep us from visiting more often.

This was our second time here and our second time devouring a Gordon Square sundae. Made with Bananas Foster ice cream, caramel, and hot fudge served over a brownie. Each time, the brownie has been fantastic. The dense, rich chocolate retains its texture to the last bite.

Sweet Moses Gordon Square
Gordon Square

"Iron Sky" is an outrageously funny movie about Nazis having fled Earth in 1945, built a base on the dark side of the moon, then attempting to take over the world in 2018. While this is a comedy science fiction, this isn't a flat, cheap looking film. It has a great steampunk art deco feel. Also, one of my favorite bands from Ljubljana, Laibach, worked on the soundtrack.

- Cassaendra

Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop
6800 Detroit Ave
Cleveland, OH 44102
Tel: (216) 651-2202

  © Blogger templates Brooklyn by 2008

Back to TOP