Past Lives 2

     On the eve of our anniversary I started thinking where we were last year at this time. Usually we go away for our anniversary. Due to schedules and the fact that Eric has a lot of school projects he has to finish up we decided to go on a vacation after he graduates. He is attending YSU pursuing his BFA majoring in graphic design and will be graduating this May!  These next few months are going to be very busy ones for him so we made the decision to stay home this anniversary.

     But last year, itching to get away and with a limited budget for travel we decided on Cleveland. Why Cleveland you may ask? Why not is what I will respond. We actually go to Cleveland every year but it is not a site seeing touristy kind of trip. However driving through the city on these yearly pilgrimages I have noticed there are so many unique neighborhoods. I pass by cute shops, coffee houses, and many diverse restaurants to choose from. Also of note is The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Botanical Gardens.  Every year I think to myself how I would like to take the time to explore these things.  Last year that is just what we did.

Frank Gehry Architecture  

     We decided on a bed and breakfast in the Ohio City neighborhood. It was a great place to stay. We chose the extended stay apartment the B & B offered due to the fact that it had kitchen as well. The Ohio City neighborhood is home to one of the greatest indoor markets I have ever been to, the West Side Market. We were interested in channeling our inner cook with some of the fabulous ingredients that are available there, so a place with a kitchen fit the bill.  If you ever find yourself in the Ohio City neighborhood and need some grub there are many fabulous choices. Of course there are many choices of prepared food vendors at the market but here are a few of my recommendations if you are looking for a sit down establishment. ( There is one sit down restaurant in the market the West Side Market Cafe ).  One is the Great Lakes Brewing Company which has a nice size menu of bar food, pizzas, and delicious entrees. Also as their website says an exceptional family of beers. Another superb choice, which I hope to try next time I am in town, is The Flying Fig. Its farm to table commitment is legendary. The Flying Fig’s menu changes based on what is available from local farmers. They know where the food is coming from and so do their guests as they source their local farmers.  I hope to make it there this summer.

Great Lakes Brewing Company

Inside the West Side Market, Fabulous Right?

      

     Another trendy neighborhood we were able to explore was Tremont. Here is one of my favorite Cleveland spots Lolita’s, a Michael Symon restaurant.  We highly recommend the Big Board for an appetizer, it is a selection of the restaurants own cured meats and accompaniments.  Pizzas there are divine and all of the entrees and sides are fabulous. My faves are the Brussels sprouts (the Chef makes them crave-able) and the soft polenta made even more wonderful with mascarpone and parmesan cheese.  Lolita’s trendy comfortable atmosphere pulls you in without being pretentious or uptight, and the staff goes above and beyond to answer questions and make recommendations. Plus it has something for everyone.  Our most recent trek to this establishment was last August and we took a woman in her 70’s (although you would never know it) nicknamed Perk. She was thrilled to see the crispy chicken livers and roasted asparagus on the menu. Drinks there are also very good.  Eric recommends the Hot Dirty Bird, Lolita’s twist on the classic martini.  Check out their happy hour specials where you can get a burger for $5 and drinks for $5 and under. We had one local recommend it to us, she followed it up by stating it is the best happy hour in Cleveland. Now that is a recommendation.

Leaving Lolita’s

  

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