Thursday, December 14, 2017

Xinji Noodle Bar

I've been hearing great things about Xinji Noodle Bar since it opened in Ohio City not too long ago, so Mr. H and I finally made our way in to try it for ourselves. On a cold night, it hit the spot right away.

The space is larger than I had thought it would be, spilling over into two storefronts with table seating and a bar area. A family-friendly atmosphere too, so that means ramen for everyone!

We wanted to try a little of everything, so we split the kimchi balls (select 3 for the trio tasting, or order by piece). These were certainly decent, but maybe not really my thing. I missed the creaminess of a risotto ball, so I'd pass next time and do more bao.
We also each got to try the Fried Chicken Bao ($7), as one order comes with two steamed buns. The chicken was super crispy and the other crunchy textures were awesome, but I had wished the bun itself was warmer to really make this pop.
Lastly, we had to order the ramen. I went for the Shoyu Ramen ($12) and added a Soy Egg ($1). The noodles were cooked perfectly, with a nice chew to them. I also thought my broth was wonderful. Mr. H's seafood special ramen wasn't quite as good as mine, but he still enjoyed it.
Overall, we really liked the meal and restaurant, and want to go back. They also serve brunch!

Cleveland seems to be on a ramen kick recently, and I'm not mad about it.

Xinji Noodle Bar
4211 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Your CLE Foodie

It's Deeeeecccceeeemmmmbbbbeeeeerrrr! One of my favorite times of year, with plentiful holiday cheer, twinkling lights, parties to attend, food and drink to be had, giving. I keep a list on my phone using the app Wunderlist year-round, and it's been a life-saver for years now. When a loved one mentions something that they need or want, or I come up with a gift idea, I just add it to the list and then reference it when it comes time for a holiday or their birthday. Highly suggest doing this!

Today, I'm going to round up some of my favorite CLE-themed gifts for the foodie in your life.

Sausage Making Class at Saucisson
We did an in-home version a couple of years ago with our favorite lady butchers, and it was beyond fun (and educational, and delicious). They now offer the classes at their brick-and-mortar butcher shop in Slavic Village.

Tickets to Supper Club at Gatherings Kitchen
Always one of our favorite "interactive" dates related to food in Cleveland, Gatherings Kitchen offers a hands-on cooking class on Fridays that ends with a beautiful multi-course meal and the recipes to take home with you. We've been 1-2 times a year since discovering it, and we're busy planning to attend in February with friends! They just released their menus through June (each month has a theme) and they sell out quickly, so don't miss out. $85 a ticket, and it's BYOB.

3-Pack of Spices from Fire Spice Co.
Pick up a pack of spices from this local company, founded by chef Doug Katz of fire. food + drink in Shaker Square fame. $26.75 (other quantities available).

Custom Crate from DistinctCLE
We received one as a gift from our realtor when we closed on our house last year, and it was FULL of great Cleveland-based food products. $45 - $150 for the food-related curated crates.

Or, create your own gift basket of Cleveland food items by shopping at Ohio City Provisions, Tremont General Store, or The Grocery!

Cleveland-themed Canvas Tote Bag from CLE Clothing Co.
Pick up this canvas tote bag ($30), or another version from your favorite local retailer, to show off your Cleveland pride while grocery shopping, hitting up the West Side Market, or visiting one of the many local farmers markets.

Full Measure Bitters
For the craft cocktail lover that wants to create their own masterpiece at home, check out these locally made bitters by a friend of ours. You can order them online through Amazon, or shop locally at places like Happy Hour Collection in the 5th Street Arcades. I gave some to Mr. H last year for Christmas, and he loves using it.

So, what's on your "foodie" wish list this year? Any great gift ideas that you're excited about giving?