Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Supporting Black-owned Local Restaurants

There are some powerful things happening in our country, and our city, right now that need attention, and more importantly...action.

I have posted a few things on my social media accounts that resonated with me, but what has felt more authentic is to take action in my personal life. Conversation is important, but it's already been happening. It's taking action that will have true impact moving forward.

However, I wanted to use my platform to call attention to some great black-owned businesses. I'm re-sharing a handful of past blog posts below of local restaurants in Northeast Ohio, and highlighting a few that were either already on my mental "list" to try or have recently caught my attention that I'm committing to visiting soon. Thanks to the foodie community online, I've been able to see and add several new restaurant accounts to my feed recently!

Past Posts:
Kelly Catering Co. Carry Out
Irie Jamaican Kitchen
Johnny Mango World Café
The Rib Cage Bar and Grille
Sauce the City
Taste of Jamaica
Capo Steaks (coming soon!)

Coming Up:
The Crispy Chick
Dreamz Café
Battiste and Dupree Cajun Grill
Zanzibar Soul Fusion
Black Box Fix
Elite Bistro
Brooklyn Soulfood & More

Unfortunately, in looking through my 1,000+ past blog posts, several of the black-owned restaurants that I've dined at in the past have since closed. Local restaurants need our support more than ever right now, so please consider ordering takeout, having any small gatherings catered, or dining in as you feel comfortable.

There are some fantastic lists compiled by The Cleveland Bucket List and Cleveland Scene of black-owned restaurants in Northeast Ohio that you need to check out. Commit to supporting new-to-you businesses and remain loyal to the ones you already loved.

Please leave other restaurant suggestions in the comments below, or share how you are taking action in our community to impact change.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Salted Dough

Even though we're on self-quarantine and many restaurants were either closed entirely or open for limited carry-out/delivery, it was time to get back to tackling the restaurants on my 2020 To Dine Challenge list.

We decided that Salted Dough in Broadview Heights would be one that could travel well and that the dine-in atmosphere wouldn't be one we'd regret not experiencing in-person.
The BURRATA ($13) with caramelized butternut squash, lime pickle honey, pumpkin seed oil, apple cider gastrique, and pavon vermouth may have been the item I was looking forward to the most when we ordered. It sounded unique, and who doesn't love burrata? For me, the spices and "fall" flavors were too overpowering and battled each other. I really didn't care for it at all, and they also didn't package the toasted bread separately so it was very soggy by the time we got home. This dish was a major miss for us. 
They have HAND ROLLED RICOTTA GNOCCHI and you can select from five sauces. We went for the Bolognese with local cream, pancetta, and nutmeg ($18). I'll say it was certainly a good version and worth getting, but not "knock-your-socks off."
I've heard mixed reviews of their pizza, but for us, it was the best thing we got from there. We ordered the SPANISH with Spanish chorizo, pimento goat cheese, fresh rosemary, roasted garlic, fire roasted red peppers, smoked mozzarella, and red sauce. The dough was thin but had a nice chew and crispy edge to it, and the flavors of this toppings combination just popped.
All pizza crust is finished with pecorino Romano, roasted garlic oil, and pink Himalayan sea salt. You can choose from three sizes. They have specialty pizzas or you can build-your-own.

It's in a large complex so there's plenty of free parking. In addition to options on the regular menu that would be kid-friendly, they also have a Kids Menu. They have an extensive wine list, 75 local craft beers, and cocktails. Plus 20 flavors of gelato and tiramisu! Outdoor dining is available.

Overall, I wasn't wild about the experience, but it was solid. If I was in the area, I'd likely still choose a couple of other spots before dining here again.

Salted Dough
9174 Broadview Road
Broadview Heights, OH 44147
(440) 587-1098

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tales from Social Distancing...

As we enter Week 11, it still seems a little surreal that it's been that long. I drove a car this weekend for the first time since March 16. Weird to think about. 

But we're hanging in there in at home. Now enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of full-blown Spring.
There are still a handful of chilly and damp days, so one of those evenings we ordered in Gnocchi al Burro from Trattoria Roman Garden in Little Italy. I can't speak to the rest of the menu, but that gnocchi makes an appearance once a year for us!
Do you remember when I recently visited Tapatia's Taqueria? Well we discovered their sister restaurant Hacienda Tapatia, and it was just as good. I still prefer the Chile Poblano from Cozumel, but their version of Chile Rellenos slid into the #3 spot for me (close behind Luchita's).
We're still supporting The Black Pig once a week, and we recently enjoyed their Pasta Night for 2. Their house made pastas have always been excellent, so it was great to experience them again.
I have always loved getting lost in a good book and used to devour 5-7 books a week when I was a kid on summer break, but as an adult I don't read much fiction anymore because I have a hard time putting a book down once I'm reading. It often leads to staying up into the wee hours of the morning until I finish, and then I pay the price for days. With self-quarantine, I decided it was a perfect time to distract my mind and dive into a couple of books. My new gorgeous bookmark from Oceanne makes it feel extra special. Any recommendations?
One of the things I'm enjoying about takeout these days is focusing on foods that we (by "we" we all know I mean Mr. H) don't make at home. Indian falls into that category, and we enjoyed Chicken Tikka Masala from Tandul in Tremont. They have the best Garlic Cheese Naan that I've had locally.
I'm really missing "my people" during this. So Mr. H and I decided to take a random day off of work, whip up some Ramp & Spinach Pesto (thanks for the recipe, Meghan!), and deliver jars with a note to a few of our favorite neighbors. It felt great to take that time to step away from the stress of work to do something nice for people we care about and miss.
The last takeout experience that I want to share with you is the Walnut Shrimp from Li Wah in AsiaTown. It's always been my favorite dish there if I'm not doing dim sum, and after eating it again, it inspired us to try and make a version at home this week. Fingers crossed!
Stay tuned later this week, because I've been slowly starting to tackle takeout from 2020 To Dine Challenge restaurants to still try and complete the list this year. Only 5 more to go!

Li Wah
2999 Payne Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114

2505 Professor Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

2801 Bridge Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

12207 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106

Hacienda Tapatia
1572 W. 117
Lakewood, OH 44107

Friday, May 1, 2020

Tales from Social Distancing...

For the most part, I'd say we're settling in to our new "normal" these days. I work from home and rarely leave the house for anything other than exercise outdoors, and that helps keep my anxiety lower. Mr. H's business is essential, so he's still at work full-time but finds ways to unwind. Often through fun in the kitchen, like this homemade Ramp Linguini
We also threw some ramps in with a boxed wild rice for a quick, easy weeknight meal with scallops and roasted broccoli. I love that they can really be tossed with almost anything. If you're still looking for some, check out Greg's Produce at the West Side Market.
By Saturday, we knew that we had to stock back up on proteins for our freezer. I was actually pretty proud that we had gone over a month without needing to. But, when we did, we headed to Saucisson. You can order online starting Wednesday for Thursday-Saturday curbside pick-up. The shop is also open for two customers at a time. 

In addition to their locally-sourced and house meats, they have ready-to-eat meals, some pantry items, and even desserts from Dramatic Snax like this Fudge Brownie. It was rich, moist, and HUGE. 
We stay committed to ordering takeout from The Black Pig once a week, and last Saturday we had a decadent night in with Osso Buco over Polenta with Roasted Vegetables, Salad, and Squid Ink Cavatelli with Shrimp & Crab
We're just trying to do our part to support our favorite restaurants during this time, so I was totally shocked and a bit teary-eyed when they had some gorgeous flowers waiting for us at pick-up. It was incredibly thoughtful, and the vase brightened up my home office all week long.
Over the weekend, we also got some outdoor time with the younger pup. She's loving (and so are we) the secluded walks in the woods. 
And we all enjoyed the addition of a fire pit in the backyard! We recognized that we'll be spending a lot more time at home this summer, so it was worth purchasing for those nights when we need some zen.
I want to also put a reminder out there that it is not only the local, independent restaurants that are suffering from the stay-at-home order. Don't forget about your favorite boutiques, specialty shops (I miss you, Lakewood Plant Company!), and other small businesses that you're used to shopping at in-person.

Take a look at their websites and social media accounts, as they may have options like curbside pick-up, online shopping, or delivery if you're not comfortable going there in-person as things open back up this month. 

I've collected quite a few pieces from my favorite vintage shop, Helm Collective. I've had my eye on this sweet (pun intended) little honey jar ever since I saw it on her Instagram account months ago.
I sent a message to ask if it was still available and she shipped it to my house for a small fee. It'll join some of the other pieces from there on a shelf project I'm working on in our breakfast nook. More on that soon! 

How are you doing? What have you been able to get out and do now that the weather is cooperating more? Are you getting into a routine that feels better now?

2801 Bridge Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

5324 Fleet Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44105

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tales from Social Distancing...

What a difference some sunshine can make, especially right now in these more stressful and isolating times. Even though the temperatures were still a bit chilly last weekend in Northeast Ohio, Mr. H and I were able to get outside and it instantly improved my mood.

We headed to the Brookside Reservation to take in the Cherry Blossoms, which bloom around this time each year for only a brief time. We took the pup and had a nice, short stroll through the park.
That left me wanting to see more signs of spring, so we took a drive over to Lake View Cemetery (my first time!) and battled the crowds at Daffodil Hill. This is only a tiny portion of the gorgeous rolling hill of sunny blooms.
The next day, we headed out with the pup again for a 2 mile hike in Richfield.
She got to run through some creek beds, traipse over wooden bridges, and scout out some ramps. Everyone was happy.
We also had some fun with food over the last week, including more of Mr. H's home cooking.

But on Saturday evening, we ordered the Dinner for 2 carry-out from The Black Pig. The meal was fancier than usual, so I secretly set the table with all the fine crystal, candles, and place settings it deserved while Mr. H picked up our meal. 
The filet, crab cakes, roasted potatoes, broccoli, and shrimp cocktail (not pictured) set the stage for a fabulous evening at home that still felt special and "date night" worthy.
I am extra grateful that they started offering dessert carry-out two weeks ago, because it's something that we don't make at home and felt like such a treat. We're both still dreaming of the Peanut Butter Mousse and Flourless Chocolate Cake.
In addition to supporting The Black Pig once a week, we're also rotating in other favorites around town. This past week, it was Thai from Banana Blossom.

They have the best Crab Rangoon I've ever had, because the shape allows for a better filling to wrapper ratio. It's a must-order item when we eat there.
I also like their Pad Thai, and it hit the spot on a chilly, windy day last week. The only dish I don't care for that we've tried is the Massaman Curry, as I've had much better around Northeast Ohio.
During this past week, I also felt motivated to start dabbling with my New Year's Resolution to learn a new hobby in 2020. I was gifted several items over the holidays to help with this goal, including a deck of tarot cards from Mr. H. So I busted them out and did my first reading!
How are you staying busy lately? Anything fun you've cooked up in the kitchen that you'd like to share? Any great take out you're enjoying?