Thursday, October 15, 2020

Leavened Opens in Tremont

If you haven't heard yet, the head baker at On the Rise in Cleveland Heights, Ian Herrington, has left to open his own thing, Leavened, on the ground floor of The Tappan in Tremont. Nestled in the modern and sleek residential building, this spacious bakery is a stunner.

Besides the literal wall of bread that greets you from behind the counter, you'll also find tempting sweet and savory pastries.
It was hard not to just order one of everything!
In addition to two regular croissants (so freakin' good!) to save for the following days, we couldn't resist the Duxelle Croissant ($3.75) made with locally foraged maitake mushrooms that was a special that day. Buttery, decadent and a pop of umami in your mouth.
We also split a Citrus Cinnamon Bun ($4) that morning that was pure perfection.

The next day we shared another special, the Pepperoni Roll ($4.50) that Mr. H still won't shut up about. I hope it becomes a regular menu item, because it deserves to be. 

Lastly, a loaf of Sourdough ($6.50) lasted us for days of breakfast and this Brie, Prosciutto, and Peach Jam Grilled Cheese that I made for us.
They are also currently offering two sandwiches daily, with plans to add soups and more in the future. Open 6:30AM - 2PM for now, but will expand its hours at a later date. There is street parking available. Masks required, limited number of people allowed in at a time, plexiglass dividers, and distance signs posted, so we felt very safe with the COVID-19 precautions in place there.

Run, don't walk, to this new bakery.
1633 Auburn Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Warren's Spirited Kitchen

As we head into the last couple of months of the year and I scurry to try and complete my 2020 To Dine Challenge list by December 31st, we have to take a brief trip back in time. Pre-COVID. It feels like a lifetime ago. But right before Mr. H and I headed out of the country with my family (and returned on March 13th to a very different world in the United States than when we left), he had taken me out for a birthday celebration at Warren's Spirited Kitchen in Burton.
I've had difficulty writing this post, because of course for a long time life was put on hold and everything was so heavy. Some days, it feels like not much has changed since March. But, this was a positive dining experience that I felt was worth shining a light on in these crazy times. 

It was a freezing cold night at the end of February, but we cozied up by the fireplace and settled in with excitement in trying a new place.
We relied on our server to suggest popular menu items. First up was an order of the Confit Chicken Wings ($13) with 24-hour cured and 12-hour confit slow cooked wings with a choice of maple BBQ, lemon garlic, hot, habanero, Thai ginger, house kc style BBQ or chipotle lime dry rub (our choice). They fell right off the bone, just like the famous ones from The Greenhouse Tavern.
I had their Fish Special with Poblano lime hollandaise, asparagus, and potatoes. Simple, but prepared well. 
Mr. H went for their famous Nashville Hot Chicken & Funnel Cake ($16) that was a brined and breaded boneless thigh, signature hot sauce, marinated kale salad, funnel cake, maple syrup and powdered sugar. Too sweet for my taste, but he enjoyed it and it's a fun play on Chicken & Waffles.
Overall, the food exceeded my expectations and the atmosphere was casual but really pleasant with live music, fresh flowers, and a fireplace. While you'll find higher quality food and service in many of Cleveland's restaurants, this charming spot could definitely hang and it's a real gem in this rural area. 

Thanks for letting me flash back to a simpler time in 2020. I felt it was finally time to go back and give this restaurant the credit it deserves. 

14614 E. Park Street
Burton, OH 44021
(440) 273-8100

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Ohio Pie Co.

 I'd heard nothing but rave reviews of the pizza at Ohio Pie Company in Brunswick...

...but we hadn't gotten out that way until this past weekend when we wanted to try one of their Brunch Pies. All brunch pies come with the signature “everything” crust and a cream cheese-based white sauce (Party Sauce) before being topped with a cheese blend, scrambled eggs, and garlic oil. You had me at everything-seasoning crust.

We ordered a Medium ($16.50) of The Bodega with bacon, egg, and cheese.
It was cheesy, crispy, salty, and oh so good.
But since we don't get out that way often, we also wanted to head home with a Medium ($15) of The Heart of It All with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushroom, onion, and green pepper (a.k.a a deluxe). As good as the brunch pie was, this one was my favorite.
All of their pies are cut into square slices, and the cheese goes right up to the edge so you have incredible crispy edges. I'm not sure what "trademark Ohio Style sweet sauce" is, but it was darn tasty.

I'm very critical of pizza in Ohio (one this I miss about NY), and still haven't found "my" favorite yet. But this was top 3 of traditional takeout pizza spots we've tried. Suddenly, that drive to Brunswick doesn't seem so far.

1315 1/2 Pearl Road
Brunswick, OH 44212
(330) 741-4117

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Sauce Boiling Seafood Express

In the last few years, several seafood boil restaurants have popped up in the Greater Cleveland area. I kept meaning to try one, but hadn't gotten around to it. So when The Sauce Boiling Seafood Express opened their new location in Downtown Cleveland and they invited us in to try the menu, I jumped at the opportunity (thanks, CLEseats!).

While there were a lot of noses popping out of masks, several COVID precautions were in place such as a clearly marked ordering line, hand sanitizer, touchless menu, and a glass divider between customers and the food.
At this fast-causal spot, you order from Sauce Bags, Sauce Bowls, wings and sides. Then they build it right in front of you, ending with your choice of a Signature Sauce.
I was pumped to get home!
I had the new Bunchi Dawg Pound Bag ($51) with a 1/2 lb. Crab, 1/2 lb. Shrimp, (2) 4oz. Lobster Tails, 1/2 lb. Crawfish OR Mussels, 4 Corn, 4 Potatoes, and 7 Sausages. For my sauce, I went with the Sweet Cajun. It had the perfect level of kick to it! Really reminded me of our trip to New Orleans.
Mr. H had the Shrimp Bag ($18) and added Crawfish ($7) with Sweet Hallelujah sauce. There was a lot of sauce left over, and he enjoyed his sauce so much (honey mixed with garlic butter) that he saved it and cooked with it the next day.

Parking can be kind of an issue around West 6th, but we did find a metered street spot one block away on a weeknight evening. The food was still hot in the knotted and double-bagged plastic bag once we got home, and it was a lot of food in each.

Still not dining in at restaurants? You can try them through food delivery services like UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash and Postmates. 

13888 Cedar Road
University Heights, OH 44118

1266 W. 6th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113

272 E. Exchange Street (coming soon)
Akron, OH 44304

*Disclosure: I was invited with a guest to try complimentary food in exchange for sharing my experience. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Lock 15 Brewing Co.

Even though Mr. H and I are still choosing to not dine in at restaurants, we're supporting through takeout and discovering some fantastic new spots for picnics. This led us to a "pandemic date night" in Akron with a walk at the Cascade Valley Metro Park...

...on Overlook Trail (just .5 miles and ADA accessible)...
...with stunning views of the Cuyahoga River (125 feet below, yikes!)...
...and dinner from Lock 15 Brewing Co. in another area of the park that was literally right next to the brewery. The restaurant is on my 2020 To Dine Challenge list, and we'd really been looking forward to trying it.
Overall, even as takeout, it did not disappoint! We had to start with the Bahn Mi ($13) with Pulled Pork, Salsa Verde, Mango Corn Salsa, and Cilantro on Steamed Buns (4 buns included). Mr. H can never resist a steamed bun, and we both love a traditional bahn mi. These were our favorite.
We split the Lock 15 Burger ($13) on a Brioche Roll with Lettuce, Onion, House Pickles, Smoked Cheddar and Horseradish Aioli. All sandwiches are served with house kettle chips. Substitute side salad or french fries for $2. Substitute jalapeno corn grits or snap peas for $3. Gluten free roll available.
The only disappointing item we tried was the Peach Burrata ($9) with Peach Jam and Warmed Grain Bread. The peach jam didn't have a whole lot of flavor and burrata is very mild, so it just wasn't very interesting. Also, if the bread was grilled I think it would have improved it. This one I'd skip. But there are plenty of other tempting dishes to try! Kids menu available, and this brewery felt family-friendly.

Parking and the brewery/restaurant entrance are on the back side of the building, which is a cool renovated tire factory. The place was very busy both inside and out. There was an attempt to have some pandemic precautions in place but this isn't one I'd recommend dining in at right now if you're leery. However, it was just steps away from the park and the canal, and we quite enjoyed the quiet views there at our picnic table. Shhhh, we snuck in a Crowler ($10) of their Swinehart Stout. I'm anxious to get back to try their Pretty Boy Peanut Butter Porter

This one's worth the drive from to Akron from Cleveland with solid food and beers just steps away from a fabulous park system that I hadn't been to before. It won't be our last trip for this combo. 
21 W North Street
Akron, OH 44304
(234) 900-8277