CLEGourmand: The Itinerary and The Challenge
Posted by cmh gourmand on October 6, 2012
I am at the 1/2 way point in my Palette to Palate Tour of Cleveland with Positively Cleveland. I am touring with writers from LA, Detroit, Baltimore, Toronto and Columbus. Our collective opinion so far, we love Cleveland. Not a big surprise for most of us. What might be a surprise is that in spite of all I am doing, there is so much more to do and see and especially eat, that I am not even scratching the surface of this city. Another surprise, I have now been up here enough times to feel like I can advocate for what is great about this community with some authority. In the back of my mind, I can’t avoid the inclination to compare and contrast Columbus with Cleveland. My track record shows that I am a champion of my city of birth but on this trip, even though not completed, I will say that the culinary community of Cleveland kicks that of Columbus in the ass. Cleveland may have a little more in the quantity, I would say a head to head tie for quality, but where the win occurs in the spirit of collaboration and cheerleading among chefs here for each other and a desire to keep raising the bar. I had similar thoughts two years ago but now I say this notion is a firm belief.
This is my itinerary:
Breakfast at Muse in the Ritz Carlton
West Side Market tour with Richard Sören Arnoldi from Muse
Tour of the Ohio City Urban Farm
Lunch at Sokolowski’s University Inn
Visit to Aperature in Tremont
Dinner and tour of Crop Bistro
Ohio City Brewery Hop with Sam McNulty (Market Garden Brewery, Nano Brewery, Speakeasy & Bar Cento)
Breakfast at Presti’s Bakery
Tour of Lakeview Cemetery
Lunch at Accent
Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Dinner at Fire Food and Drink
MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art
Melt Bar and Grilled (late night snack)
Breakfast at Lucky’s Cafe
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
West Side Market Street Festival (in honor of the centennial of the market)
drive home with car stocked with West Side Market purchases
What else do I bring home with me? I have a too long list of places to visit that can not be done in a weekend. My must dine list includes: Lolita, Spice, Black Pig, Fahrenheit, Dantes, Happy Dog, Momocho, Pura Vida, Bar Cento, Speakeasy (when in session), a return to Tommy’s, SOHO and more.
The question coming up I-71 was how did I fee about going to some of the places a second time. My answer was I was happy to revisit the past when the names were Greenhouse, Lucky’s, Muse and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I can also say that I have another revelation on this trip. As a person that never thought I would always live in my home city, I can can say that I have truly come to love it over the last decade. I have also mentioned that Athens has become my second home. I can say with authority that if fate was to find me placed in Ohio City or Tremont, I would gladly plant my roots and call this area home. That does say something because after 48 states, 16 countries and too many cities to count, there are just a handful that would consider living in for the long-term and Cleveland is now on that list.
This CLEGourmand Series will feature several restaurant reviews but a healthy heaping of philosophy too. There is a different food culture up here (I am writing this post from University Circle) and it is something I want to better understand, dissect and bring back to the Capital city because Cleveland is kicking our ass when it comes to collaborations.
On a final note: If you are reading this late Saturday night or early Sunday morning (Oct 6th or 7th), come up to the Cleveland for the Centennial Celebration for the West Side Market. The planned festivities look amazing.