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REPORT: Short Cleveland OH jaunt

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Quick jaunt to Cleveland OH for the holiday. This was not a foodie trip. I spent most of the time hanging out with friends and parties at their homes. However, I did manage to have some good meals at a few restaurants. Here’s my report.

Pier W. What an incredible venue, and amazing view. If I’m still single and lives in Cleveland, this is definitely a top choice for a marriage proposal. We all got dressed up and had a rollicking night. We asked for a window table, so had to wait over an hour despite the reservation. But the sparkling rose kept flowing at the bar, and no one seemed to mind. The room is modern and elegant, very simple and tastefully done. The food is very well executed. It reminded me of a lot of fancy seafood places like Shaw’s or Riva in Chicago, Water Grill in LA, or Crustacean in San Francisco. We had the Calamari Fritti for starters. The squid were on the tiny side. It had a very light batter, and was sprinkled with gremolata (an interesting touch that I haven’t seen elsewhere). The sriracha aioli had the perfect blend of hotness and richness. A few of us had the Bouillabaisse for our main course. Nothing out of the ordinary, but the seafood were fresh, and the tomato broth was both tart, sweet, with just a subtle kick. The cedar plank salmon was grilled perfectly in the right temperature. I love salmon skin, and was glad that they left it on. A non-seafood lover friend got the seared chicken breast with bacon/goat cheese polenta. The polenta collectively got the most praise. Overall, the food is perfectly executed. They won’t get points from me for innovation or creativity, but good food is good food. The space is really amazing. To think, we were floating over the lake.

Flying Fig. This small restaurant off the Westside Market is such a gem. We went there for Sunday brunch and again, had the most amazing time. I really love farm-to-table restaurants, and at Flying Fig, they go to lengths to list out all the local farms they support. We started with plates of the antipasto and cheese platters to share. The La Quercia meat was excellent (as usual). The brie on the cheese plate was so gooey and delicious. The spice mix in the house-made Bloody Mary was super delicious. For my main, I had the Crispy Eggs with Chickpeas and Chorizo, smoked paprika sauce. I have never seen eggs prepared this way, and it definitely has a novelty, wow factor. So, egg is poached, rolled in panko, and then deep fried. So you get this crispy exterior, then the bouncy egg white, then the gooey yolk. Mixed with the rest of the dish, the yolk gave a richness and good counterpoint to the chorizo and paprika. Very creative. Would definitely want to go back for dinner the next time I’m in town.

Grumpy’s Café. I love neighborhood breakfast places, and Grumpy’s is definitely a find. Food wise, they have the usual breakfast fare one can find anywhere, really nothing unusual or creative. But then, the food was well done, and the place is cute. For a casual breakfast on holiday with friends, that is more than satisfactory. The owner was very gracious and stopped over to talk to us despite a busy morning. The staff were all very friendly and efficient. Most customers are regulars, and they treated us like regulars too. This is my first time in Tremont and we explored a little bit afterwards. I would definitely like to check out some of the restaurants on another visit.

Presti’s. Special shout out to Presti’s. I’ve been there several times and it is such a great family place to visit. We got there late afternoon, and the pizza special is sausage and peppers. Literally, half a whole sausage on top of the thin crust, with sautéed peppers draped over the sausage. Almost like eating an open face hero. The cookies as always are excellent.

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Flying Fig
2523 Market Ave., Cleveland, OH 44113

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    1. Presti's desserts are one of the things I'll miss about my sister graduating and moving away from Cleveland. :-)