Monday, May 21, 2018

Daybreak

A new diner opened in Old Brooklyn in the former Suzie's Family Restaurant on Memphis, Daybreak. Look, I fully respect that they just opened and they'll need to get their feet wet and take some time to address issues, but they aren't off to a good start based on our experience and what I've read so far on our neighborhood social media groups.

The menu has a nice selection of classic breakfast items, with a handful that appear "elevated" based on the descriptions.
I went with a classic, eggs with sausage gravy over biscuits. Pretty flavorless gravy, and the biscuits are dry and too dense. Mr. H ordered a biscuit as a side, and didn't even eat most of it.
Mr. H went with one of the more "elevated" items, the breakfast tacos. While the salsa appeared to be homemade and had some heat to it, the rest of the tacos were average at best. The description also stated that they are served on corn tortillas, which clearly they are not.
Service was a big issue. They clearly don't have a system down yet for station assignments (four different servers tried to wait on the table next to us), we waited for a very long time before anyone approached our table with menus and to take drink orders, we didn't have silverware when our food arrived, and our bill was incorrect at the end of the meal. Other diners were complaining about service and food around us as we were dining, so it seems to be a common experience right now.

My expectations for a classic diner breakfast are relatively low, and I do acknowledge that they just opened a couple of weeks ago, but this experience did not leave me wanting to rush back for a second try. I will, but in time. I just hope they are receptive to customer feedback, work quickly to establish systems, and improve the food.

We have several great diners in our neighborhood, so there wasn't really a need for another one. I always want new businesses in our neighborhood to do well, so I hope they can make some changes and stand out in the "crowd" here soon.

Daybreak
6212 Memphis Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44109
216-862-1004

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Larder: A Curated Delicatessen & Bakery

Larder Delicatessen and Bakery opened its doors in Ohio City's Hingetown neighborhood just weeks ago, and it's already becoming a popular destination for Cleveland foodies.
The from-scratch Eastern European deli relies heavily on techniques like koji culturing, fermentation and foraging, led by Jeremy Umansky.

Its 1800s-era firehouse heritage is honored through the decor and refurbished space.
They are focusing on a rotating menu of sandwiches, boards, soups, sides, and bakery items.
You can also shop for locally sources products...
...that just add to the charm of this place.
I was eyeballing several of the delicious looking sides and bakery items, but we didn't want to fill up too much at lunch. Next time!
Mr. H and both of my parents ordered the Pastrami ($12) sandwich, one with a side of chips and one with a side of fries.
While this sandwich was good, my Daily Special sandwich of Fried Chicken on a Buttermilk Bread with greens and pickled red onions was even better. That bread!
They are open Tuesday - Saturday from 10AM - 7PM, and Sunday from 10AM - 2PM. Already seeing lines out the door and no seating available, you'll want to make sure you're not in a rush if you hit at key dining times. But, it's worth the wait, and this is only just the beginning for them.

Larder Delicatessen and Bakery
1455 W 29th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 912-8203

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Weekend Bites

The early bird catches the...ramps? Mr. H and I got our butts out of bed early on Saturday morning to head to the North Union Farmers Market for the Shaker Square Market to get our hands on some of the delicious wild ramps that hit Ohio this time of year.
I also needed to stock up on the Roasted Garlic Jelly from Crooked Creek Farm that I was turned on to at the annual Garlic Festival two years ago. This stuff goes on anything! Pork chops, burgers, a cheese board, sandwiches...get your hands on some. They are a weekly vendor at the Shaker Square Market.
Then we headed to South Hills Hardware after seeing these big, beautiful ferns on social media. They were the exact size I was looking for to add to our front porch!
My parents were back in town for a visit, and Sunday provided a picture-perfect day for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. We even got to see the new baby rhino, Lulu!
After making a big batch of ramp pesto to freeze, Mr. H and my mom whipped up a Sunday feast of smoked ribs, cole slaw, and ramp cornbread. Delicious end to the weekend!
Hope you got to enjoy the gorgeous weather this past weekend in Cleveland. We live for these weekends, and the time period of this perfect spring weather is so short in Ohio. I'm soaking it all in!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Kintaro Sushi and Hot Pot

Kintaro Sushi and Hot Pot opened in Ridge Park Square in Brooklyn, and I admit...I judged a book by its cover. The dining options in that area are almost all chain restaurants, and this joint did not look like something I'd enjoy from the outside. But, I started to hear and read some good things online and through social media from other Cleveland "foodie" folks, so it suddenly was on my radar since we live nearby.

Now, the inside is exactly what I expected.
But, the menu offers an all-you-can-eat option ($25.99) for their sushi, appetizers, hibachi, tempura, noodle soup, fried rice, and teriyaki. You simply check next to the items as you go (or by numbers if you want more than one order of something), and the server brings back the same menu if you order other rounds of food. You never lose track of what you ordered, which sometimes can be a problem for me when trying new sushi rolls. What was in that again?
I ordered the Mercedes-Benz (left) and the Acura (yes, they all have car names in the Special Rolls section). I also just ordered some salmon, tuna, and red snapper sushi pieces.
I didn't care for the Acura roll very much, but the Mercedes-Benz roll was enjoyable. What was great was that if you didn't like something, you could leave it and order something else with the all-you-can-eat. Just be careful to not be too wasteful, because they will tack on a fee.

Mr. H just ordered a hodge podge of appetizers, sushi, and one roll. He even ordered the Chicken Nuggets to see what they were like. Just what you expected, classic frozen nuggets. I can't take this guy anywhere.
There was a bit of confusion over whether or not you have to order the all-you-can-eat. You don't, but the menu is the same and you just pay per item. The hot pot seemed to be very separate from the sushi section of the restaurant, and we weren't even asked if we wanted to do hot pot. I'm not even clear on if it's offered all the time or not.

While in some ways it was better than the low expectations I had set, the sushi rolls still do not compare to the quality at Mizu Sushi. Which is just minutes away. I felt dirty cheating on my favorite spot, haha. But, for the price point, you can certainly get a lot of food and a wide variety of items. Our server was also beyond adorable and helpful.

Kintaro Sushi and Hot Pot
7325 Northcliff Avenue
Brooklyn, OH 44144
(216) 459-8862

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Market at the Food Bank 2018

Approximately 1,100 attendees gathered last Sunday for the 2018 Market at the Food Bank to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank's annual Harvest for Hunger Campaign. Sadly, I ended up not being one of them. My parents were visiting and we snagged Cavs' Game 7 tickets. I immediately wondered if I could swing both, but I just couldn't miss the opportunity! What a nail-biter it was, but thrilling to be there in the crowd as the Cavs took home the final win needed to advance. But, we got home around 5PM, and Mr. H and my parents immediately crawled into bed for a "20 minute" nap. I saw them 2.5 hours later, and well after Market at the Food Bank had started. I barely had enough energy myself, so I certainly wasn't pounding on the bedroom door to wake them up, so I lamely kept up with fun event photos and video on social media and watched the silent auction bidding through Gesture from my couch.

Attendees may come for the food (50+ restaurants and beverage purveyors)...
...and wine (and beer)...
...but they are truly there to raise important funds for the Campaign. The Food Bank had set a goal of raising $334,000, and they were able to exceed that fundraising goal!
I did my part by remotely bidding on a couple of auction packages, and ended up winning a Sushi and Lobster Dinner for 6 Guests at Pearl of the Orient. Who's coming with me?
I've only missed one other Market at the Food Bank event since I moved here 10 years ago, so I was sorry to skip out. But, man, that Cavs' game! Worth it, this time. But I won't next year, and you shouldn't either.

Disclosure: I was provided with four tickets to the event in exchange for hosting a giveaway and posting a review of the event. I am a former employee of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. All opinions stated are 100% my own. All images provided by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Brunch at Punch Bowl Social

Looking for a brunch option this weekend? I encourage you to consider Punch Bowl Social in The Flats.
Mr. H and I headed there on a rainy Sunday, and kicked off an indoors Sunday Funday with a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar.
You should also order one of their fresh juices. We sampled The Purist, The Freshest, and The Latest (pictured). All were delicious, but my favorite was The Latest ($5) with grapes, apple, celery, and lime.
You also start the meal with housemade biscuits and jam. Yuuum.
The menu has had a complete overhaul since the last time I was in, and they partnered with celebrity chef Hugh Acheson. So, there is certainly a Southern take on many of the dishes, including the Hugh's Pimiento Cheese ($7) with a tender belly bacon marmalade and Pullman toast.
Mr. H and I then split the Mushroom Buscuits 'n' Gravy ($10) with buttermilk biscuits, white mushroom gravy, cornmeal fried tomato, crisp potatoes, avocado, and eggs any style.
I was also happy to see the Impossible Burger on their menu, because I hadn't tried one yet. Have you? This came with a vidalia onion jam, bread 'n' butter pickles, lettuce, tomato, and boursin cheese on a sesame bun ($13) with a side of fries.
We ended the meal on a sweet note, with one of their milkshakes. The Almond Joy Milkshake ($6) tasted just like the candy bar!
Determined to burn off some of our brunch calories, we headed out of the Diner area and into the main bar and game area.
I love their mix of old and new games, and there is truly something to keep everyone of all ages entertained.
Mr. H and I choose to go bowling. I started off strong by bowling a strike, but then it all went downhill.

Particularly for that rainy Sunday, this brunch spot was great because we got to eat, enjoy some adult beverages, and entertain ourselves with games and activity...all without going out in the rain. This is a family-friendly brunch option, but you should also check out their Happy Hour deals and the lunch/dinner menu too.

Punch Bowl Social
1086 W 11th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
(216) 239-1508

Disclosure: I was invited to review their brunch menu and all food, drink, and one round of bowling was provided in exchange for this post. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Brewnuts

Brewnuts hit Detroit Road with quite a splash, and has continued to be one of the most common places I see snapped in photos on social media. It all starts with this adorable, cheery door with a rolling pin handle...
...a kick-a$$ neon sign and Instagram-worthy wallpaper...
...to the quirky details in the bathroom, like this flamingo wallpaper.
But, let's be honest.

We're here for the donuts.
Where they combine the hospitality of the corner donut shop with the comfort of your favorite watering hole. Not only are they craft beer based donuts, but thanks to their collaborative relationship with Cleveland’s brewery scene, they regularly carry sixteen carefully selected local brews on tap which is complimented by a robust bottle and can program. I'm looking forward to trying a Bloody Mary there some weekend too!

I remember having my first Brewnuts donut when they had a small pop-up shop in Tremont for a short while. How far they've come since then! It was great to see the full-blown shop, and enjoy a local craft brew and donut.

They do custom donuts, letter donuts, catering, and more. The menu changes daily.

Brewnuts
6501 Detroit Road
Cleveland, OH 44102