Why? Weekends, Part 1!

This past weekend, two of my best out-of-town girlfriends came to Cleveland for a whirlwind trip and some great Garth Brooks music. Since we had so many adventures and ate so much delicious food, I figured I’d split the weekend recap into two posts. This one is all about the food…

When I picked up Whitney from the airport on Friday, we wanted to grab some lunch without filling up too much, as we had a big dinner coming. So we stopped at Townhall for a delicious non-GMO lunch (including a sample of their bone broth, which will be perfect in the coming cold days).

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Whitney and I both had a salad with chilled zucchini noodles and shrimp that was both flavorful and healthy. Jeffrey enjoyed his grilled cheese and fruit, but I suspect he really just loves the balloons at Townhall!

Before the Garth Brooks concert on Friday night, Matthew, Whitney, my mom, and I had dinner at Lola Bistro. It’s been awhile since I had dinner at Lola and I was left wondering why I stayed away so long. We started with an order of the bone marrow. If you’ve never tried this dish, be daring on your next visit and give it a shot.

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The bone marrow is dredged in flour and sauteed, then served with crostini and a host of accompaniments from sea salt to bacon date jam. Our server clued us in our her favorite way to eat the bone marrow, with just a bit of lemon and sea salt, and I have to agree that this simple preparation was my favorite as well.

For dinner, I chose the pork shank and Matthew had the strip steak, because no one does meat like Michael Symon. The pork shank fell off the bone just by looking at it and was so flavorful.

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Dessert for me was the Lola S’more. There are a lot of elements to this dish that all add up to a decadent delight that elevates the s’more from a kid’s campfire staple to an adult treat.

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Saturday morning, before taking Whitney to the airport (when I say whirlwind, I mean whirlwind), we brunched at Dante Next Door. None of us could resist the crab cakes Benedict. Just order it. Trust me. Your weekend needs this.

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Saturday night, before Garth Brooks Round 2 (yup, Round 2), our crew headed to dinner at The Greenhouse Tavern. Matthew chose the gnocchi and beef tartare to combine for quite the delicious (and beautifully plated) meal!

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Andrea and I couldn’t resist the combo of a country concert and fried chicken, so we shared the bucket of Tabasco fried chicken. I love being in a haute cuisine restaurant and ordering a bucket of fried chicken. It’s that fun and playful attitude that keeps me coming back to The Greenhouse Tavern.

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Well, that and the incredibly amazing, James-Beard-Award-winning food. The girls all shared desserts, with the buttered popcorn pot de creme (a classic there), the pumpkin cake, and the hazelnut torte.

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Somehow, Andrea and I found room for a burger and beer at Market Garden Brewery on Sunday before she left. I highly recommend the Franklin Castle pumpkin beer…not too sweet and just the right amount of spice! Paired with the breakfast burger, it made for a tasty lunch!

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And there’s always room for Mitchell’s

More tomorrow, but there’s nothing like sharing time with good friends over good food. And I think I managed to show off some of the best Cleveland has to offer.

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Where are your favorite restaurants to take out of town guests?

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