Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sabor Miami Cafe

Sabor Miami Cafe and Gallery, a Latin-inspired eatery, opened in Old Brooklyn this winter. The owner had briefly taken over Cafe Miami just a mile away, but left to fully dedicate a cafe to her roots.
The bright and cheery exterior is matched by its interior. The playful and colorful decor is busy, but charming.
A section of the menu is dedicated to "Coffee Therapy" so of course Mr. H had to order a Mayan Mocha (espresso with blend of milk) to start,
I started with a Coconut Lemonade. It was a touch too sweet for my personal taste, but Mr. H happily drank most of it. The shaved coconut on top was a nice touch.
Mr. H had been to Sabor Miami Cafe before and had the Cuban sandwich during his first visit, so this time he ordered the "burger" version of the Cuban. He liked it, but I think nothing can beat the traditional preparation.
So, of course, that's what I had to get.
The Sandwich Cubano had pork roast, sweet ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mayo and mustard ($8.99). It's also served with this wonderful spicy sauce on the side, which reminded me of a spicy thousand islands dressing. I'm no aficionado, but this was a pretty good Cuban sandwich, in my opinion. I'll be ordering it again.

The owner sent us home with a guava and cheese pastry, since it was Sweetest Day. I thought that was very kind of her. She clearly has a lot of passion and love for what she's doing there, and I think it shows in the food and decor.

Sabor Miami Cafe and Gallery
4848 Broadview Road
Cleveland, OH 44109

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Arcadian Food and Drink

Sometimes, you just have to visit a restaurant twice to truly get a handle on your impression, and to see if each experience is similar, or if it varies. This time, it varied, and that ended up being a really good thing.

I went to the newly opened Arcadian Food & Drink in Gordon Square with two friends recently. Instantly, you're impressed with the stunning interior. Three years in the making, and there's certainly a lot of attention to detail.

We were perched above the bar, with a nice view down from the second floor. It was a little quieter up there, and better for our gab fest, but you could still hear the buzz from the main floor.
The Tomato Salad (already no longer on the menu) must have sounded good, because all three of us ordered it, and another friend that I ran into downstairs has also ordered it.
I enjoyed the addition of dill to this salad, and the tomatoes still had some great summer flavor to them.

One of my friends ordered the steak (also no longer on the menu, but she liked it), and two of us ordered the Fried Chicken ($23) with hot sauce, cole slaw, and cornbread muffins (sides have changed on the new menu).
On social media, everyone had been raving about the Fried Chicken. Honestly, I was disappointed. It was ok, but a little dry and the hot sauce would barely come out. It just wasn't nearly as good as I was expecting.

We wandered back downstairs to admire the space a bit more, and to use the restroom. This sounds strange, but check out the sink in the bathroom. Pretty cool.
I was hesitant to write about my experience, because I left feeling confused about what I thought about the place, so I held off. I knew that I was headed back to Arcadian with the CLE Dinner Club last week. Boy, I'm glad that I did, because we had a wonderful meal.
Pictured above are the oyster on the half shell, octopus with hearts of palm and lemon, braised pork with spaetzle and red cabbage, and the chocolate bread pudding. All previews of the fall menu, which has now started at the restaurant.

The pork alone is worth a visit, and I'd order the octopus in a heartbeat. Seriously, everyone in the group was raving about the pork. Do yourself a favor and go get some!

Since it's a new place, I think that they are still working out some kinks with the menu. Refining dishes and making changes, as it should. They'll figure out the duds. But, if this CLE Dinner Club meal is any indication, then they've convinced me it's a great new addition to the dining scene. Now, I can confidently recommend it.

Arcadian Food & Drink
6416 Detroit Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44102

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Craft Beer Bar

Ok, a fire has been lit under my butt. It's time to take the 2016 To Dine Challenge seriously, as the end of the year looms.

Mr. H and I found ourselves furniture shopping in Akron on Saturday evening, and on our way back to Cleveland, we decided to stop in to Craft Beer Bar in Cuyahoga Falls. Not an area that we get to that often.
Easy to find on the main drag of Front Street, we were able to score a parking spot across the street at a meter. There was also a parking lot across the street, and there seemed to be ample spots, even though it appeared to be homecoming night (based on the tweens and teens running around in formal ware).

It's a small place, with mostly limited high-top seating and the bar only. Luckily, the staff asked a guy to move down so that two bar seats next to each would be available. I always hate asking people to move!

The beer list isn't super extensive, but it's full of craft beer options and you'll easily find something. We went right for a rare stout at 14% ABV, woof.
We decided to share a few things, since several things on the menu sounded great and we wouldn't likely find ourselves in the area again anytime soon.

We started with the Smoked Salmon Crouton ($11) with a pretzel crouton, smoked salmon, chive cream cheese, arugula, and raspberry walnut vinaigrette.
The sweetness of the raspberry balanced the saltiness of the pretzel and smoked fish well, but I had wished there was a little less of it on the plate. Some bites, it dominated a bit too much.

We also shared the Pulled Pork Cornbread ($12) with jalapeno cheddar cornbread, BBQ pork, house slaw and pickled onion.
Again, the flavor profile was nice and balanced, a little sweetness from the BBQ and heat from the jalapeno. Pulled pork is always great with a slaw. The cornbread was just a little dry, and the dish overall is larger and heavier than you'd think for a "shareable." So, great price point for making this your meal, but I didn't eat too much of it because we also had the Craft Burger ($12) coming.
It is an 8 oz. brisket burger with red onion jam, blue cheese, and horseradish mayo on a Portuguese roll. This was my first time having a burger on a Portuguese roll, and it worked! Overall, I liked the flavors and textures of the toppings together and the meat was seasoned well. I'd order this again.

So, it was a quite enjoyable time at Craft Beer Bar. It reminded me of the Tremont Tap House or Beer Engine in the Cleveland area. A great casual spot with exceptional craft beers and solid bar food to wash them down.

Craft Beer Bar
1846 Front Street
Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Red Lantern in Kamm's Corner

You guys, I've been absolutely terrible at tackling the 2016 To Dine Challenge. I've only been to THREE. Yikes. I've come to realize that seven more before December 31st is just not happening, but I'll head to as many as I can before the year comes to a close.

However, Mr. H and I did get to one this past week. After shopping for a sleeper sofa (oh joy), we needed a quick and casual bite on the way home. So, we headed to Red Lantern Kitchen & Bar in Kamm's Corners.
Unassuming-looking in its strip mall storefront, it was surprisingly nice and sleek inside. Pops of red were appropriate, given the name. You had your choice of bar seating, high tops, or booths.
We settled in to a booth, each ordered a drink (hello, alcohol-infused milkshakes, I'm coming for you next time!), and decided that we couldn't choose from the menu so we must split a few small items.

We ordered the Fried Asparagus ($6) with red pepper aioli and lemon garlic aioli.
Reuben Tater Tots ($8.50), which apparently a lot of you like as well, based on the tweets I got that evening!
We then asked our server to choose between the Tuna Lettuce Wraps and Tenderloin Crostini ($12). She chose the crostini, and I honestly wish she hadn't. It was not very good.
Finished the meal off with an order of the Baked Onion Soup ($5).
For the price point, I thought that each dish's portion was generous. We loved the tater tots and enjoyed the tempura asparagus. However, the tenderloin was served cold, and the texture of the cold meat just wasn't appetizing and the dish was a little bland. Even room temperature could have gone a long way with this dish, and I expected more pop from the horseradish aioli. The soup was not very good either. The cheese was barely visible, it had too many crispy onions, and the broth was overpowered by a seasoning (Italian, oregano?) that you don't normally taste in a classic onion soup.

So, the food was 50/50 for us. We really liked a couple, but were disappointed in others.

Parking is great, because you have access to the large lot at the strip mall. Kamm's Corners parking can be tough at times, so this spot is accessible and free to park near. Not sure if we'll be back though. It didn't leave me wanting more, unlike Thai Elephant down the street.

Red Lantern Kitchen & Bar
17446 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, OH

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Event Recap: Harvesting Hope

On Monday night, Mr. H and I attended Harvesting Hope to benefit the American Cancer Society at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. This was my first time attending a fundraiser at the venue, and it made for a stunning backdrop.
In between eating, drinking, and bidding on auction items, we wandered the gardens before the sun went down.

Speaking of eating, the event featured 8 of Cleveland's best chefs, including some of my favorites like John Selick from UH Ahuja Medical Center and Jeff Jarrett of US Foods. Both just consistently have some of my favorite dishes at any charity event that I attend.
Each chef did two dishes, and pictured below is the Multi-grain Salad from Jeff Jarrett.
Chef Adam Bostwick from Graffiti: A Social Kitchen and Cork & Cleaver (two of my favorite Cleveland restaurants) was also there, serving up his playful food. He had a Cuban-style Rillette and Farm Tomato Salad. I went back for seconds.
Another dish that I enjoyed was the "Deviled Egg" with smoked salmon on a bagel chip from Red/Moxie. It reminded me of a bagel and lox in NYC, and had me longing to go get one.
We had fun mingling, and I even ran into my ticket giveaway winner, Laura! I always love it when you guys come up and say "hello" at an event.
Also, any evening that I get to spend with my foodie and fellow blogger friend Crystal from Eat*Drink*Cleveland is always a good one.
A friendship born over a shared love for good food, supporting local, and giving back to the community. We, and our husbands, had a great time at the event. The evening was topped off when Mr. H and I were the wining bid for an amazing live auction package. We get to have chefs John Selick and Jeff Jarrett come to our home to cook a five-course dinner with wine pairings for 12 people! Sounds like the perfect housewarming party once we get settled in at the new house, and the funds all went to a good cause.

This is the third annual Harvesting Hope event, and it's just continued to grow each year. All funds raised at Harvesting Hope benefit the lifesaving mission of the American Cancer Society, and support the American Cancer Society Joseph S. and Jeannette M. Silber Hope Lodge community in Cleveland. Learn more about the Hope Lodge here.

Disclosure: I was provided with four tickets to the event in exchange for hosting a ticket giveaway and this post. All opinions are 100% my own.