Since this past weekend was all kinds of busy and crazy, I split my usual weekend recap into 3: yesterday’s TEDxCLE post, today’s recap of showing my dear friend and bridesmaid Jen around CLE, and tomorrow’s bridal shower recap. Phew!
I was so excited when Jen told me she’d be coming into town for my bridal shower. Not only would I get time with a friend I don’t see often enough, but I would get to show off Cleveland! After picking Jen up at the airport, I decided to start our day with some yummy eats. We headed to BonBon Pastry and Cafe.
We started out with the cinnamon donuts: little puffs of lightly fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar and served with fruit compote, chocolate, and marscapone for dipping. At only $2.50, these were a tasty deal! Jen had the bacon, bacon, and eggs and I went with the granola crisp.
The bacon, bacon, and eggs has not only regular bacon, but pork belly as well, along with eggs and focaccia bread. The granola crisp was delicious: hot apple cubes, granola, nuts, dried cranberries, some chocolate chips, and a bit of marscapone on the top, served warm. It was hearty and satisfying.
BonBon is a great spot for a tasty weekend brunch, while giving you the chance to show off the West Side Market, Great Lakes Brewing, and Sam McNulty’s expanding empire.
On Saturday evening, Jen, Matthew and I headed to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.
For those of you who remember going to the Improv and Howl at the Moon, it’s pretty interesting to now see fish and families occupying the same space. I always thought of aquariums being very open and light, but this winds you through the historic brick hallways of the Powerhouse, with tanks scattered throughout.
Many of the tanks in the “Ohio” and “Exotic Freshwater” areas are open, letting you get up close and personal with animals like this turtle.
One of the cool exhibits as you work through the “Coastal Region” is the petting tank, where you can pet sharks, stingrays, and various tiny sea critters.
I may have jumped about ten feet when I touched a stingray! My other favorite exhibit was the shark reef tunnel where fish and sharks swim all around you.
It’s great that Cleveland has a stand-alone aquarium and hopefully the popularity will only increase as the Flats continues its revitalization.
After the aquarium, it was off to dinner. We were a bit early for our reservations, so we popped into Treehouse for a round of drinks.
One of the things I love most about Tremont is how many great locations are in such close proximity to each other.
Jen told me to pick wherever I wanted for dinner, thus beginning the “what place do I most want to show off” challenge. There are so many great restaurants in CLE and I could only choose one. So, I went with a place where I love not only the food, but the atmosphere and the neighborhood: Lolita.
We started our meal with the duck meatballs, a fantastic call on Jen’s part.
The tomato sauce was spicy and provided a nice bite to accompany the juicy meatballs. I decided to keep the duck theme going and ordered the duck confit.
My mouth is watering just thinking about this dish! The duck was fall-apart tender, yet the skin was deliciously crispy. It was served on top of butternut squash puree, with cherries and a mustard vinaigrette. I of course chose the fried brussel sprouts as my side. It was all so good. So very, very good.
Jen and Matthew also enjoyed their entrees: the macaroni with goat cheese, rosemary, and chicken for Jen and the swordfish special for Matthew.
Unable to pass up dessert, Jen and I each chose the chocolate raspberry pot de creme and Matthew chose the coconut lime cake.
From the decadent to the refreshing, our desserts were delicious! Lolita lived up to all my praise and made me even more convinced it is my go-to dining destination.
All in all, it was a pretty perfect day showing off CLE (and getting to visit some of my favorite spots too). Where do you love to take out-of-towners to show off our city? If you could only pick one dinner spot, where would it be?