It was another great weekend in CLE! On Friday night, a couple CLEfriends introduced us to their favorite Chinese restaurant – Chin’s Pagoda. It’s always interesting to try someone’s “favorite” place – for my CLEfriend, his family would always take him to Chin’s and his memories of it are as strong as his love for the food.
But Chin’s isn’t just good because of the nostalgia factor. The food was genuinely a cut above your average Chinese food. We ordered the family style dinner and stuffed ourselves with wonton soup, egg rolls, pork fried rice and 4 different entrees (pork lo mein, sweet and sour chicken, sesame chicken, and orange chicken). We left Chin’s full and with plenty of leftovers for the next day.
From Chin’s, we headed over to Corks Wine Bar. The atmosphere at Corks is quiet and intimate – I like being able to actually hear who I’m talking to – and the wine list there is outstanding. We enjoyed a bottle of 7 Deadly Zins as the perfect end to the week. I always enjoy downtown Willoughby – so many fun locations within walking distance and it has that cute, small town feel to it. Also, I noticed that Corks has a great deal that I’ll be checking out on an upcoming Tuesday – $20 for a bottle of wine and an appetizer.
On Saturday morning, Hungry in Cleveland and I headed down to the West Side Market to work on one of my Blog-olutions – shop at the Market once a month. The Market is one of the best answers you can give when asked “Why Cleveland?” This bustling (even in the cold) Ohio City landmark will be celebrating its centennial in 2012. Last year, the Market was named Best Food Lover’s Market by Food Network.
First, Hungry in CLE and I perused the produce. I had some things that I knew I needed to buy and other things just jumped out at me. That’s one of the best things about the Market – unique, fresh items that will simply jump out at you when you shop there. The great-looking green peppers prompted me to add stuffed peppers to this week’s dinner menu. I also bought Brussels sprouts in another attempt to get CLEguy to like them.
We then headed inside to The Cheese Shop.
The helpful staff let us try several different varieties before we finally made our selections. After stops to buy garlic parmesan bread and some sweet treats, we headed over to Ohio City Pasta. Hungry in CLE selected two varieties of ravioli – pumpkin and Cajun crawfish – while I picked two kinds of gnocchi – porcini mushroom and sweet potato.
After all this shopping, we were “hungry in CLE,” so we headed over to Crepes De Luxe. We each enjoyed the Citrus Creme crepe, a blend of lemon curd and marscapone cheese that is light and fresh.
Go to the West Side Market for their great food, the fact that it’s a Cleveland institution, and for the interesting people (make time to talk to the vendors). It’s a fabulous way to spend a Saturday morning!
To keep the fabulousness going, I headed over to Lilly Chocolates for some sweet treats. I chose a mixed box of six truffles to take to CLEparents’ house before dinner for CLEmom’s birthday. Of course, all the truffles were a hit…the hardest part was not eating them all before we got there!
Today, CLEguy and I decided to create our own version of Melt at home. We whipped up some homemade tomato bisque and fired up the panini press. Using our fancy bread and cheese from the Market, we created a really yummy dinner.
To cap the weekend off, Hungry in Cleveland and I have a volunteer meeting at our alma mater, John Carroll University (yes, we do just about everything together). One of the best answers for me to “Why Cleveland?” is being close to the people and places that were important in my past and being able to still give back to them.
What new answers to “Why Cleveland?” did you discover this weekend?