Archive for January, 2012
Since the disappearance of The Grapevine in the Cedar – Fairmount shopping district, Jeff has struggled to buy wine. Bob at the Grapevine was a great help and always stirred him to the best bottle for the money, even while money was never pushed. After having helped with his wine selections over 20 years, he understood Jeff’s palate and made wonderful recommendations. In the subsequent months, wine purchases have been hit or miss. Most of the bottles bought at the Legacy Village Giant Eagle were a disaster. He found a few lucky breaks at Zagara’s wine area, but mostly because he remembered the names and labels from past conversations with Bob. A young man at Whole Foods recommended a delightful bottle of Thief Pinot Noir, but when he went back to talk with him again, he wasn’t around. Such are the problems with corporate retail, especially with something as complex as wine. So it was with a great deal of enthusiasm that Jeff welcomed the news of a new wine store taking over the Seitz-Agin storefront on Lee Road.
From the moment Jeff entered the store, he was made to feel welcome. The owner Adam Fleisher greeted him and discussed the store, his philosophy on wine and beer and some of his preferences. Jeff explained his history with wine and the price levels he prefers. It was an engaging conversation and the two began to assemble a case of wine to replenish his severely barren rack.
The Wine Spot is different than the Grapevine in that Mr. Fleisher has wine from around the world and Jeff has spent 20 years concentrating on wines from western USA (California, Oregon and Washington.) He was going to need a lot of help and Fleisher was willing to provide it. If the first bottle sampled is any indicator, this looks like it will be an excellent relationship. Eve a Chardonnay from Washington State (you’re right, he didn’t stray too far from his comfort zone on the first bottle!) was about as close to perfect as Jeff has had. It was crisp, clean and with just a touch of effervescence. He can’t wait to crack the next bottle!
If you live in the Heights (like us!) have found uneven service and selection at the local supermarkets and miss the Grapevine, the long, dark days are over. The Wine Spot is now here. Give the Spot a shot! We’re sure they will steer you in the right direction, as they did for Jeff.
2271 Lee Road Cleveland Heights,OH 44118 216-342-3642
Located on the powerhouse East 4th Street strip of culinary Cleveland, between Michael Simon’s Lola’s and Jonathan Sawyer’s Greenhouse, it is easy to overlook La Strada. Were it positioned elsewhere, it might have had a chance to earn some buzz, neighborhood walk-in traffic and maybe a little clout. For no other reason but locale, La Strada could be destine to a life in second place. That is unfortunate.
Prior to a Lake Erie Monster’s game we decided to try this place. We arrived early and really enjoyed our meal. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones looking for a new restaurant. By the time we left, most every seat in this warm two-story trattoria was taken. The Monsters may have lost, but we won, with another good Cleveland restaurant.
Michele started with the Wedding Soup, a rich, vibrant version of this traditional Italian favorite. Jeff enjoyed the Buffalo Mozzarella, full of flavor with a nice dense tomato base topped with cracked pepper and olive oil. We both ordered daily specials, despite having already picked a menu item. Michele passed on the stuffed chicken that sounded good with prosciutto and chevre cheese. Instead she had the grilled Bronzini with fennel salad. The fish was perfectly moist with the fragrant fennel salad as a perfect counterpoint. Jeff decided to wait on the menu’s hanger steak and ordered the short rib orchietta that exhibited a touch of almost Marsala sweetness with the raisin sauce. The evening’s only shortcoming was the dessert. We did not ask if it was pre-packaged, but it had a plastic taste and Jeff swears Hershey’s chocolate sauce.
We’re going back to La Strada. We both have a menu item picked out. We may get sidetracked with specials, but we’re also unlikely to order a dessert. We also want to see if something other than Federico Fellini’s “La Strada” is projected on the restaurant’s upper wall.
2050 East 4th Street Cleveland, OH 44115 216-861-3664
After a visit to see the massive wood sculptures of Ursula Von Rydingsvard at the Museum of Contemporary Art– Cleveland, we headed downtown for some Pho. Before eating, we stopped into the new Asian Market on East 38th Street between Payne and Superior. The Market is a huge complex filled with galleries, offices and a supermarket dedicated to foodstuffs used in the preparation of food found in Asia. The vegetables and the seafood looked fresh, prices were very fair and the WIDE variety of things needed to make a great meal makes it a fun place to visit and browse. By the end of our tour, we were hungry!
We have heard and read so much about Superior Pho, we thought it was time to forego our favorite No. 1 Pho and try its next-door neighbor. We are, unfortunately not in agreement with the rave views.
To start, we split the Summer Rolls (with shrimp) and did not finish them. The wrapping was VERY rubbery, but the sauce was indeed good, so much so that Michele scooped out a bit more after abandoning her roll.
Michele had a tough time finding something on the menu, so she ended up with Shrimp Fried Rice and found it flavorless and “greasy.” Jeff ordered a Pho, similar to that which he enjoys at No. 1 and it simply offered less flavor. Good, but not enough to warrant a second visit. This was a disappointing experiment.
Some things were good, but next time we have a hankering for Pho, we’re heading to No. 1 Pho.
3030 Superior Avenue, East Cleveland, OH 44114 216-781-7462