Monday, November 5, 2012

West Side Market Centennial Celebrations

This post is going to be difficult to write. I couldn't possibly capture all of the wonderful memories, food, and sightings from participating in the West Side Market's Centennial Celebrations this weekend.

It all started with the People's Party on Friday evening. Held at Crop Bistro (just across the street from the West Side Market), the event was hosted by our area's local chefs. Approximately 1,000 people flooded the lower vault level, the kitchens, and the main dining room and bar of the restaurant. Just under 30 restaurants donated their time and talent to serve up tastings, and there were quite a few good ones. Some of my favorites included the papaya salad from Tremont's Bac...
...beef brisket and polenta from Crop Bistro, pork sandwich from Flying Fig, Skye LaRae's butternut squash bisque with diced apples and bleu cheese crumbles, and the fried chicken from Mahall's 20 Lanes (a newly opened bowling alley, and the biggest surprise of the evening).
We were out until around 12:30AM, enjoying friends and feeling quite full from the food and drink at the People's Party. While I didn't agree with some of the decisions that they made about executing the event, it was quite a deal for just $25 and we truly loved kicking off the weekend celebrations at this event with our friends. $25,000 was donated from the ticket sales for this event to the West Side Market.

Saturday evening brought "R" and I to the West Side Market Gala. At $250 a ticket, my expectations were high...and the event beyond exceeded them. We got all dolled up ("R" wore a suit for the first time in the five years that we've been dating).
A giant (heated) tent was set up just outside the West Side Market, and guests wandered in between buildings and the tent to sample food from an all-star lineup of national and local chefs. I am proud to say that some of my favorite dishes of the night were from Cleveland chefs! Hodge's beef was the best thing that I had (Chris--can we get that on the menu, please?!), but I also enjoyed Lola's sweet potato pierogi, Fahrenheit's lobster tempura, and Momocho's tuna chip. Other standouts were the chicken liver toast from April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig in NYC, and Top Chef Master Jonathan Waxman's lamb meatball.
Celebrity chefs were certainly in attendance, and I had my second "star-struck" moment of my life (first was Ruth Reichl last summer). I realized that I only really geek out over chefs or food writers. Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Will Smith...who cares? I couldn't wait to grab a photo with culinary icon Waxman...
...and Top Chef contestant and The Chew's host, Carla Hall.
After a few more bites, we headed into the main tent for the program, auction, and champagne toast.
The live band was hysterical, and really worked the crowd. Everyone was laughing, toasting, and celebrating the history of the West Side Market. About 1,000 people were in attendance at this event as well, but we never had to really wait in line for food or felt crowded. The flow of the event was great, and it ended just in time for us to grab our commemorative brew from Great Lakes, and then hit the streets of Ohio City for some more cocktails.

We rolled home around 1:00AM again, and I was certainly paying the price yesterday. I wasn't vertical for long-- I slept in, and I took an hour nap on the couch. It was so worth it. What a weekend! I am honored to have participated in the Centennial Celebrations, and to take part in the West Side Market's history. It was worth every penny, and the contact high that I'm enjoying today helps erase how tired I still am. The memories from this weekend will not be forgotten.

Cheers, West Side Market! Here's to another fantastic 100 years serving the city of Cleveland. We love you.


Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

Great post! so happy you got to be a foodie groupie at the Gala!!!!! What a fun weekend for an amazing little market :)

Jen @ Why CLE? said...

The Gala looks incredible! So glad you had such a great time! Good seeing you at the People's Party.