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Sep 5, 2006 07:04 PM

My Cleveland report (long)

A group of friends and I were in Cleveland for Labor Day weekend (joining thousands of other Badger fans for a football game). Thanks for some great recommendations from chowhound, we ate well!

Friday lunch. We stayed in downtown and walked a few blocks to the Warehouse District to the Little Bar for some burgers. They were terrific -- perfectly done. You could even get that ballpark mustard they use at Jacobs Field (but I stayed with a little onion). A couple bottles of the local Great Lakes Brewery's "Elliot Ness" ale and we were good to go.

Friday dinner. Met up with a friend who lives in Cleveland at Osteria di Valerio & Al -- also in the Warehouse District. They had a nicely priced wine list of mostly Italian wines, so were started with a bottle of red. Shared appetizers of beef sirloin carpaccio (tender and flavorful) and calamari in marinara -- these were among the best we've eaten in ages -- they were not breaded and fried -- just light and crisp in the tomato sauce.

Entrees were half a roast duck (for me) -- crispy skin in a carrot and olive sauce (heavy on the chopped carrots -- could have used a few more olives); our friend had the special: veal scalopini with shrimp and lobster (I'm not a veal fan, but the taste I had was good) others had pasta: gnocchi in gorganzola sauce; cavatelli with wild mushrooms (for some reason we don't find that shape of pasta much out here in DC). The bread they served was nothing special -- reminded me of soft "italian bread" one can buy in the supermarket bread aisle.

Our Cleveland friend took us in her car for a little tour of the near west side -- we ended up at Lola in Tremont for dessert. Nice scene -- we sat in the lounge area -- the desserts were small -- like a tasting menu -- standouts were a raspberry tart with rose cream and rose granita; chocolate semifredo; and lemon cake scented with thyme and served with fresh berries. I was the only one who liked a sort of panzanella -- thin slices of peaches with candied fennel, cubes of toasted cake and little chunks of a firm goat cheese.

Saturday breakfast -- after those big meals we needed a long walk -- and we headed down past Jacobs Field to Juniper Grill for breakfast -- and a great breakfast it was. I had a nice bowl of oatmeal followed by mixed berry pancakes; my friend has a sort of toad in the hole -- eggs cooked in a hole made in some great toast.

Saturday lunch /dinner was brats and beer at a Wisconsin tailgate party before the game. The Cleveland part of that was again the tasty Great Lakes Brewery beer.

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  1. Ah, you hit some of the best places in town. Actually, you were at Lolita (which occupies the former space of Lola, the latter of which will be reopening soon on Euclid Avenue, if it hasn't already). The Juniper Grill is awesome for both breakfast and lunch. Osteria is an oft-overlooked gem, and I'm glad you made it there. Come back again soon!

    1. you hit some good ones. JUNIPER is a breakfast fav (but my newest brunch find the hyatt's 1800 in the arcade beats it). LITTLE BAR is classic old cleveland. OSTERIA always entices but ive never been in yet always hear its pretty good.

      just a clarification, the new LOLA is in the middle of downtown's newest mini restaurant/nightlife strip, e4th street, bet euclid and prospect. it's not open yet, but last i heard it's getting there. micheal symon is one of cleveland's star chefs, he knows his stuff. if you ever get into nyc he also has PAREA near union square, a great nouveau greek restaurant.

      nice report thanks. ps -- ya sure cant say us bgsu alum are poor sports about it either - haha!

      2 Replies
      1. re: mrnyc

        I thought Lola was going to be on Euclid, just east of East 4th, but I could be mistaken. At any rate, it's definitely part of the East 4th "scene."

        1. re: ClevelandRandy

          nope, its right in the middle of the e4th strip and almost completed. it's directly across the street from pickwick & frolic on the westside of the street aka the house of blues side. maybe you are thinking of hob, which has entrances on both euclid and e4th?