Thursday, June 24, 2021

Tommy's Restaurant

There are a handful of restaurants in Greater Cleveland that if you tell people you haven't been there, they will gasp and shame you. Tommy's Restaurant in Coventry became one of those in my life. 

So, I had to remedy that by adding them to my 2021 To Dine Challenge list, and we recently grabbed our east side buddies to dine there for dinner on a weeknight.

The menu is hefty. So I had taken to Twitter a few days in advance to ask for everyone's favorite menu item.
One rose to the top, the Donovan ($8.99) with falafel, veggies, sesame sauce, cheese, mushrooms and baba. While the flavors were all satisfying, I have to say that feeling overwhelmed on how to properly eat this took away from my enjoyment. I did not see a way to pick it up safely, so I knife and forked it.

But who are we kidding, we were really there for the famous French Fries ($4.99). They are purposefully not seasoned, and a neighbor gave us the hot tip to order a side of the Loui sauce (thinner version of Thousand Islands dressing) to dip them in.
To get a taste of several items, Mr. H tried the Wellson ($11.89) sampler platter with 2 falafel balls, mini spinach pie, 1 scoop of hummus, 1 scoop of baba, a side of sesame tahini and pita. The spinach pie was our favorite. 
No trip to Tommy's is complete without a milkshake. I love a simple, classic Vanilla, but they have more than 15 flavors to choose from if you're more adventuresome. 
Look, this stop is all about a piece of culinary history in our area. It's right on Coventry, within steps of other great restaurants and shops, and full of tradition in the family-owned and operated business. Was it the best Mediterranean influenced meal I've had? No. Best diner food I've had? No. But it was a fun excursion, and one that I'm happy to now say that I've done. 
1824 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
(216) 321-7757

Monday, June 21, 2021

Keep the Change Kitchen Collective

It's rare that a new-to-us restaurant shoots to the top of our "favorites" list, but it happens. Keep the Change Kitchen Collective, from the masterminds behind Spice Catering Co., Spice Acres, Spice Field Kitchen, and the former Spice Bar + Kitchen did just that.

In fact, we've already ordered multiple times since our first takeout meal from there.

Currently, you place an order on their website for curbside pickup or from one of the third-party delivery platforms they've partnered with (UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash). You place one order, but have access to more than one culinary concept! 

We placed an order from Leif for Shiitake Storm with Adobo Rubbed Chicken Thigh ($15.50) with grains, marinated greens, roasted mushrooms, chili piperade, herby broccoli, marinated onions, furikake seeds and cider-fennel vinaigrette.
Then from Woo! Noods and Rice we ordered the Shiitake Mapo Tofu Udon ($14.50) with Cleveland tofu, shiitake + button mushrooms, and GGS (garlic/ginger/scallion) over udon noodles.
Lastly, I was intrigued to try the crispy gluten-free chicken tenders from Winner Winner, so we shared the Little Ones ($8.50) with 2 crispy, gluten-free Ohio Amish chicken tenders, choice of 1 mini side + 1 sauce. Because the list of house made sauces is ah-maze-ing!
Don't forget to add on a canned wine for the perfect picnic.

No need to go into detail on the dishes, because they were each fantastic and we've enjoyed everything else we've ordered so far as well. The only thing I didn't care for was the Marinated Cucumber Salad because it didn't have enough vinegar flavor for my taste.

Keep the Change Kitchen Collective
5601 Tillman Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
(216) 465-1133

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Valley Villa Custard

Ok, I know it's not "official" yet...but with consistent 80+ degree days and lots of sunshine lately, it feels like summer in Northeast Ohio! So after a glorious pool day with friends, the mere mention of ice cream had us interested.

Our friends grew up in Chesterland and recommended that we stop at Valley Villa Custard on the way home. They know I'm a sucker for soft-serve. 

And it delivered! Rich, creamy...everything I want Vanilla Soft-serve to be. I'm a minimalist when it comes to my ice cream, so I wasn't ready to commit to a loaded up serving...but get the special crunch topping there. It's crushed peanuts, sprinkles, puffed cereal...a little bit of everything you could ever want all rolled into one.
They also have a very extensive list of frozen custard flavors, sundaes, flurries, milkshakes, and more.

Just be aware that they are a cash-only operation! This spot is definitely worth a stop if you're in the Chesterland area. 

What's your go-to ice cream order in the summer?

Valley Villa Custard
8200 Mayfield Road
Chesterland, OH 44026
(440) 729-4124

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Daily Press

I recently discovered that the owner of Daily Press lives in our neighborhood. We got to sample some of her cold-pressed organic juices at a community clean-up event, and we were hooked.

She previously had a brick-and-mortar juice bar in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland, but made the decision to close the shop and pivot to home delivery during the pandemic. 

Shortly after meeting her and sampling a couple juices, we were ready to place our first delivery order! 

I had been dreaming of the Spicy Apple since I first tried it, and yup...it's still my favorite. 

Here's what we tried:
  • Spicy Apple ➤ green apple, extra extra ginger, lemon, cayenne
  • Sweet Heat ➤ cucumber, pineapple, cilantro, jalapeno
  • Dragon Berry Punch ➤ amla berry, camu camu, dragonfruit, carrot, beet, watermelon, pineapple, green apple, extra ginger, lemon
They run $9 - $10 a bottle, and there's discounted pricing if purchasing a cleanse pack. 

There are many health benefits to raw, organic, cold-pressed juice. And nothing tastes quite like it! Our minds headed in a different direction, and started dreaming of craft cocktails to mix with these. 

Here's a refreshing cocktail Mr. H created that is just perfect for the summer ahead:
  • 4 oz. Spicy Apple Daily Press juice
  • 2 oz. Mezcal
  • 1 oz. Lemon Juice (lime juice would be tasty too!)
  • .5 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • .25 oz. Agave Syrup
  • Place in shaker with ice, shake, and strain over fresh ice.

Head over to her website and check out the full list of products. Place an order, mix up that cocktail, and share if you liked it! 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Wicked Lobstah and Blue Monkey Brewing Co.

Blue Monkey Brewing Company opened in North Royalton just over a year ago. I had heard about it from friends that know the owners. We don't find ourselves out in that area much, but all it took was a Facebook post about a certain food truck scheduled to be there.

First, we settled in on their small patio with a Colobus PBP (Peanut Butter Porter) and Salted Caramel (Blonde Stout). They were already speaking my language! Both were pretty good, but I enjoyed the porter more. 

Then it was time for dinner at the Wicked Lobstah that was in from Columbus for a few days around Greater Cleveland.
There just aren't enough good lobster rolls around Cleveland, and I couldn't wait to dig in. We had to try The Plain Ass Roll ($18) with warm buttery lobster on a toasted bun.
But they have a list of specialty lobster rolls with everything from guacamole, smoked salmon, blue crab, and sriracha. We ordered The High Society Roll ($20) with black and white truffle mayo. 
Both were quite tasty and brought me back to our Maine trips. I'm not a huge potato chip person (unless they are Lay's Salt & Vinegar), but the seasoned chips with these were good too.

I'm glad that we caught the food truck while it was in town, and it was fun to check out the brewery. You can tell they have a loyal bunch of regulars. While I won't be going out of my way to head there again, it's a nice option if in the area. They rotate food trucks or you can bring in your own food. There's often live music, and plenty of parking since it is tucked on the side of Discount Drug Mart.

Blue Monkey Brewing Co.
5540 Wallings Road
North Royalton, OH 44133
(440) 628-9152