Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Happy Cows Group Share

The owner of Happy Cows Group Share reached out to me to share a little about her business and asked if I'd be willing to come in to check out their retail location in Seven Hills.

It is exactly the type of local business that I like to bring to you guys. They offer locally raised meat in convenient, affordable, and customizable shares.
They have bulk pricing, so you buy by the share, instead of by the cut. 
They also have an extensive line of locally produced pantry goods.
Including some of our favorite brands...
...and several that we hadn't heard of yet.

We were gifted a pound of their Ground Beef. Mr. H whipped up some homemade brioche buns for the first time, and wow that was a good Smash Burger!
We also took home Short Ribs...
...that Mr. H smoked...
...and seared...
...before turning it into Smoked Short Rib Steamed Buns. Yum, yum!
You should definitely go check out their retail store and meat shares. When you shop with them, you are supporting local farmers and makers and getting such quality products to feed your family. 

7529 Broadview Road
Seven Hills, OH 44131

Disclosure: I was gifted the meat in exchange for my honest review and sharing my experience on social media. All opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Aqua di Luca Opens in Downtown

This post I'm catching up on from July (whoops), but we headed to the newly opened Aqua di Luca in Downtown Cleveland. Normally, we don't head right in when a new spot opens up. We like to give them time to settle in and fix any opening issues. But this was opened by the folks behind one of our very favorite restaurants in the city, Luca (and Luca West). So we made an exception. 

Plus, we wanted to celebrate a successful first month of my small business! That meant delicious cocktails from their bar. 

Sappy moment...this guy has been so supportive, encouraging, and involved in my starting my dream business. I feel pretty lucky to have him by my side, and there's no one else I'd rather celebrate with!
We started with the Sashimi Grade Tuna ($15) with honeycomb and spicy peppers. It's a simple dish, but one that I think is a not-miss if you're dining there. We were inspired to try making this at home.
We split the Cacio e Pepe ($10), but this dish needs some work before I'd recommend it. There was not enough dressing on the plate, and very little flavor to it. Iceberg lettuce needs assistance. 
Mr. H ordered the Salmone con Ravioli ($45) with Jumbo Lump Bluecrab and Lobster Ravioli. 
I had the Filet Mignon and Lobster Gnocchi ($55).
There were definitely some opening growing pains in food execution and service, but I have no doubt it will settle in to be a staple of Downtown Cleveland dining. The space used to be XO Prime Steaks, but you wouldn't recognize it from all of the gorgeous work they've done inside. Outdoor seating available, and a nice long bar for more casual dining.

I'll give it a little more time, but you bet that we'll be back!

Aqua di Luca
500 W St. Clair Avenue
Cleveland, OH

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Istanbul Grill

 Well, that was an unexpected two-month hiatus from the blog. But not surprising. I have NEWS! I started my own small business, selling vintage housewares on Etsy and Instagram. It's called Evy Lena Vintage, after my grandmother and great-grandmother, and it's been an "if money was no object, what would your dream job be" for a while. This pandemic and other recent big life events really put things into perspective for me, and I decided to stop holding myself back from chasing that dream. But it leaves very little time, energy, and interest for this space of the internet. So the posts will be fewer and far between as I navigate this new phase of my life. Thanks for coming along with me all these years.

In an effort to still complete the 2021 To Dine Challenge, Mr. H and I swung by Istanbul Grill in Avon the other night (I had some estate sale auction winnings to pick up, so win-win!).

This one had made it to the list because there used to be an Istanbul Grill (no relation) in Tremont that made this particular dish I loved, and this restaurant also had that dish on their menu.
We were greeted with seasoned bread and two dips, a cool yogurt-based one and a slightly spicy almost marinara-like one. A mix was Mr. H's favorite!
He ordered the Sultan's Delight "Hunkar Begendi" ($19.99) with tender cubes of lamb, red and green bell peppers in a tomato sauce, served over a creamy bed of pureed eggplant and cheese. The portion was huge, piping hot, and quite tasty. 
I was there for the Iskender Kebab with Yogurt ($19.99) of fresh Doner "Gyro" served with croutons and topped with a tomato butter sauce and a side of yogurt.
I remember liking the Tremont version a bit better (flavor of sauce, texture of pita), but this was very good too and I'd happily order it again.

We don't find ourselves out that way very often, but I'd pop in here again in a heartbeat. Open for lunch and dinner, has a kids menu, plenty of free parking, and lots of vegetarian options. 

35840 Chester Road
Avon, OH 44011
(440) 937-0733

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