Archive for December, 2009
Every time we pass Flavors on the Avenue, the restaurant is packed. Like bugs to a flame and humans to an auto accident, we could not resist. We had to try this place. Like watching TMZ, we should have stopped there.
This packed restaurant is the epitome of “trucker influence.” They used to say, if truckers ate at a restaurant, it must be good. That might be the case with “Flavors”. This is cheap plentiful food. We left full, but not satiated. Nothing about this restaurant should attract customers except the price. Food is marginally better than fast foods and in some case poorer. Avoid the animal instinct to gravitate toward the marginal foodstuffs and find a better place.
Save your money, buy good food!
List Status: NOT added
30133 Euclid Avenue Wickliffe, OH 44092 404-347-0174
Michele always enjoyed Krazy Mac’s and when they decided to close the restaurant on Detroit Avenue, we were upset. It was a nice cozy place with cozy comfortable food. The tears have dried. La Boca has taken its place and we couldn’t be happier.
We wandered over to the Westside to attend the Bizarre Bazaar at the W78th Street gallery in the new Gordon Square Arts District. It was a very exciting collection of artists/craftspeople selling handmade goods. We of course loaded up on jewelry, cards, soap and handmade candies. We stopped at La Boca for a late lunch/early dinner, a very typical eating time for us on the weekends. This restaurant is perfect for our particular eating pattern as they have only one menu throughout the whole day. Our waiter told us the calamari and the Mussels were both very popular, but we decided to share the new appetizer, Crab & Shrimp Fritters. They were good, a little light in the seafood and heavy on the filler, but an enjoyable introduction to the new place. Dinner was a wholehearted success. Michele had the Grilled Salmon. It was served with paprika potatoes and a white wine, capers and tomatillo sauce. At $13, this bargain did not last long. No doggie bag tonight! Jeff had the pork tenderloin with plantain and rice. Each of the chunks of pork were seared perfectly so they were soft with just the right amount of crunch on the outside. The apple, walnut, raisin and rum sauce was a perfect complement and not a drop went to waste, either embracing the pork or the rice. Dessert was flan. This is one of Michele’s favorites and when it is this dense, rich and creamy, Jeff’s too!
About halfway through eating at a new restaurant, one of us inevitably asks the other, “So, are we coming back?” Neither of us can remember who asked this time, but both of us remember the answer, “Yes!” We hope to see you there!
List Status: Added
http://www.labocabarrio.com/ 5800 Detroit Avenue Cleveland, OH 44102 216-981-5800
Who needs fast food when your local Whole Foods grocery store has a fabulous dinner counter serving freshly made food in a cheerful environment?
We live near the University Heights Whole Foods store. Tucked at the edge of the wine department and next to the cheese section is a counter with a number of stool-high chairs. Behind the counter is a small kitchen. A menu rests at each place setting with plenty of low-cost appetizers, entrées and drinks. There are also a series of daily specials. With a number of appetizers in the $3 to $4 range and a few entrées in the single digits, you would be right to worry about quality. That is the surprise. The food is good. It is the perfect antidote to burgers and fries.
The menu changes a lot, but there is always a number of interesting options that usually include a chicken dish, a few pasta plates, a daily risotto, at least one vegetarian offering, some salads and other creative options. We usually have an appetizer and entrée, but this time decided on entrée and dessert instead. Jeff had the pasta special, Carbonara with Ohio City lemon pepper linguini and apple wood smoked bacon. While we sat there, the day’s allotment was exhausted three hours before closing. Michele had the maple-glazed salmon served over creamed sweet potato and vegetables. We finished the meal with a shared piece of toasted almond cream cake.
Two entrées, one dessert, one glass of wine, one cup of tea, a plate of bread with olive oil balsamic and a great show watching the chef prepare plate after plate and only $30, no tip necessary. Can you do better than that? It is unlikely, especially based on this quality.
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/cleveland/downloads/osteria.pdf 13998 Cedar Road University Heights, OH 216-371-5320
We like Paladar and try to eat there whenever we’re close. After an afternoon movie (Fantastic Mr. Fox – and it was fantastic) we decided to have a late lunch/early dinner. Sometimes we start with guacamole, sometimes the crab and mango fritters, sometimes just chips and salsa. This time, it was cold outside and we both decided on soup. Jeff had their version of black bean soup. Paladar’s black bean is not as thick as most and not as spicy as some. It also has a few veggies not typically found in this soup. If you’re a purist, you may not like it, but if you don’t let the name influence you, this is good soup. Michele had the Smoked Butternut Squash Soup – think tortilla soup with a butternut based stock instead of chicken broth. The smoky sweet taste was a nice balance with the tortilla chips. As always, a successful first course.
Michele really likes the Slow Cooked Chicken; Jeff is typically drawn in by the Rum Glazed Pork Cubano or the Brazilian Lamp Stew. Because it was “officially” a lunch menu and the chicken is not available, Michele ordered the Chipotle Chicken BBQ Quesadilla. The dish was spunky, but not too spicy for her. She finished all four segments of the quesadilla. Jeff opted for El Cubano traditional Cuban sandwich, theirs being a very good version. The plantain side was perfect. A second clean plate and satisfied customer. Mom would be proud.
As a reward, we ordered the Coconut and Caramel Flan, a particularly thick and rich, dense version. We’ve had a few other dessert offerings, but usually fall back on flan, because of the nice way it caps these sometimes complex meals.
As always, good food in a nice space capped a good afternoon on a cold day. What could be better?
List Status: Existing
http://www.paladarlatinkitchen.com/ 28601 Chagrin Boulevard Woodmere, OH 44122 216-896-9020
Prior to opening The Greenhouse Tavern, Chef Jonathon Sawyer ran Bar Cento, a great little bar that served some of the best meals, bar food and snacks in Cleveland. Jeff loved the place and Michele was lukewarm. It wasn’t the food. She always loved the fabulous moist and tender roast chicken. The problem was the limited selection. While Jeff tried almost everything on the menu, she had roast chicken every time we went because nothing else appealed to her. Fast forward to The Greenhouse Tavern.
Michele usually orders hot tea with her meal. The Greenhouse Tavern serves a pungent green leaf in a French Press. Jeff remembers the type as a “worker’s tea” popular in China. She didn’t like it and quickly ordered a diet cola while Jeff finished the tea. The cola was a natural brand named Cricket that Michele never had before and she really enjoyed it. For lunch, unfortunately, finding nothing else to her liking, she ordered the chicken pallards salad. Jeff ordered the French Dip sandwich and the beef vegetable bean soup. Like Bar Cento before it, this was great food. The sandwich was flavorful; the gruyère a perfect complement to the dip’s braised beef, the chicken was tender and the soup hearty. The chocolate dessert was a perfect end cap. Based on the experience, Jeff was eager to try some additional menu items. Michele was hard-pressed to imagine the next visit not consisting of chicken.
On our way out of the restaurant, we asked to see a dinner menu. Jeff looked it over with anticipation. Michele noted that with the exception of the daily fish special, the Coq au Vin looked good! While this place serves wonderful food, we are unlikely to return very often. The limited menu will appease only half of us and when a pair of eaters doesn’t find common group at an eatery, dinner hour is not satisfactory.
One additional note. If you decide to visit, be warned that every time the front door is opened, a cold wind whips through the room. We were seated ¾ of the way back and even at this point, felt a cold shot. Don’t forget your muffler!
List Status: Existing, recommended, but not used very often
http://thegreenhousetavern.com/ 2038 East 4th Street Cleveland, OH 44115 216-443-0511