Wednesday, January 29, 2020

KCC Carry-out

Kelly Catering Co. (KCC), after more than 20+ years in the catering business in Cleveland, decided to open a brick and mortar carry-out restaurant in a small storefront on Broadview Road in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood.

Family, faith, and "serenity food" are at the heart of this business' menu and décor. Step inside, and you're welcomed by a heart-warming wall of the family's portraits done by a local artist that does a lot of work in the Hough neighborhood.
"Good food takes time." greets you, and yes, be prepared to wait for your takeout order. Because everything is made to-order. You can call ahead to speed up the wait once you arrive, but we didn't have to wait an unreasonable amount of time with even two orders ahead of us.

What drew me in even quicker to try out this new spot in the neighborhood was a posting on social media about Day's Deep Fried Deviled Eggs ($7). Umm, yes please!
We wanted to try a few different items, so the best way to do that is the Jerry and Cooney's Snack Pack Combo ($6.50) with two wings, four rib tips, one piece of fish, and fries. Came smothered in their BBQ sauce, which became so popular with their catering customers that they are now selling it by the jar. We'd buy some!
We decided to forgo the fries so we could try two of the other Sides, because let's be honest. Good BBQ and Southern food...the sides are just killer.

That included Tay's Mac n Cheese ($2 small, $4 large)...
...and Greg's Southern Style Baked Beans.
Both sides were great, and I enjoyed everything but the fish in the Snack Pack. It was totally fine, but not as good as the other meats so I'd skip it in the future.

A great little addition to the neighborhood for fast causal food, and right around the corner from the zoo for hungry families in the area. BBQ would make a fantastic picnic at the zoo!

3312 Broadview Road
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 862-0009

Monday, January 27, 2020

Ushabu Omaske

Mr. H and I hadn't been to Tremont's Ushabu in quite some time, so when a silent auction package came up this fall for a 7-course Omaske Tasting with premium sake pairings for 2 people...I scooped it up, and we decided to use it to kick off his birthday celebrations there. It was a milestone birthday (shh), so I wanted it to be extra special.

The meal kicked off with certainly the prettiest of presentations.
Each chef's whim dish was very different from the last.
And there wasn't a bad bite to the whole thing.
The next two courses were my favorite, with flavors of mushroom, truffle, beef, marrow, and more.
The little Japanese "pancakes" made a lovely sweet vehicle for the rich bone marrow.
Homemade udon noodles with charred fennel and soy paired well with the fish course for our last savory course of the evening.
The chocolate pot de crème and matcha whipped cream was the only course I didn't care for. But I think matcha in general is not a flavor I enjoy, and dessert is always my least favorite thing of any meal.
The sake we sampled was selected perfectly by Matt Spinner, and our buddy Chef David Kocab (formally of The Black Pig) had just stepped in to take over the helm in the kitchen just days before we dined there. You'll see some menu changes on the near horizon, and we're excited to see what these guys come up with next.

2173 Professor Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 713-1741

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Half Moon Bakery

You may remember, The Half Moon Bakery was on my 2019 To Dine Challenge list. But as the December days wound down, they still hadn't opened their doors on West 25th Street. So I "replaced" it on the Challenge list with something comparable, but was then delighted to learn that they would be ready for business just DAYS into the new year.
We headed there soon after its opening, and the charming bakery immediately won me over. You order at the counter as soon as you walk in, and then there is a large "sweets" display off to your left. Don't overlook it as you focus on ordering their delicious empanadas like we did! Everything looked very tempting.
There is a counter along the window for some seating, if you prefer to eat there. But there was a lot of takeout happening. There's a small parking lot on the side of the building.

The Empanadas range from $2 - $3. We ordered the Pepperoni Pizza (pictured in back below), and then two Tacos. The tacos use the empanada shell, and they were so freakin' good. I'll be getting one every time. Pictured below is the Chicken Taco, but we also ordered their specialty Beef Argentina.
Mr. H also couldn't resist trying the Cuban ($8.99) from the Sandwiches section of the menu (all served with fresh cut fries). They also have a small list of Salads to choose from.
Just look at how thick-cut that pork is!
I had Half Moon's food catered at a meeting once, about three years ago. It was just as good as I remembered! I'm so thrilled that they were able to overcome the hurdles of opening, and that it is so close to home. Do yourself a favor and get in there to try it for yourself.

3460 W. 25th Street
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 772-2499

Monday, January 6, 2020

Irie Jamaican Kitchen Opens West Side Location

The popular Irie Jamaican Kitchen in Euclid opened a west side location in the heart of Old Brooklyn recently, and the neighborhood was anxiously awaiting for its doors to open.
Located just moments from the zoo on Pearl Road, and with an approachable "build-your-own" style of menu, it will be a perfect option for families and quick takeout in the neighborhood.
Pictured here is the Jerk Chicken ($9.99) from their "Box It" section of the menu. A generous helping of two meats, it was perfect for splitting for lunch. All "traditional" plates come with a side of Rice and Peas (red beans), Cabbage, and Plantains.
All of the sides were very good and helped enhance the spicy kick of the jerk seasoning. My mom used to cook jerk chicken quite a bit when I was young, so I love it!

We also ordered a side of the Mac & Cheese ($2.50), which was only ok. It just wasn't creamy enough for us.
However, one section of their menu features Mac & Cheese and you top it with any of the meats. I saw one order come out from the kitchen (instead of from the warming trays the side dish was served from), so perhaps the fresher Mac & Cheese is creamier. Something tells me that Mr. H will be trying this soon.

Overall, the food was incredibly flavorful and with generous portions at a low price point. I think it will do well in the neighborhood. I also look forward to customizing my order a bit more with their "Jahpotle" style of choosing up to 4 toppings like cucumber salad, mango sauce, and pineapple coleslaw. We just wanted to stick to the basics this time to get a real feel of the flavors. 

4162 Pearl Road
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 291-7488

Irie East
621 East 185th
Euclid, OH

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 To Dine Challenge

It's here. It's here! The new year.
Over here on the blog, that means another annual To Dine Challenge launches.

During the month of December, you all submitted your restaurant suggestions. I narrowed down the list to just 10, and I will challenge myself to dine at all of them before the year closes. Thank you again for participating and sending in all of the great restaurants to choose from. You always make it difficult to pick, but that's a good thing. So, here we go...

1. Batuqui Cleveland (flavors of Brazil on Larchmere)
2. Capo Steaks (best cheesesteaks in town, according to an Uber driver, on St. Clair)
3. Bistro Du Beaujolais (French bistro in Olmsted Falls)
4. Literary Tavern (new spot in Tremont from the same owner of D'Agnese's and Cantine)
5. Lock 15 Brewing Co. (Akron brewery)
6. Salted Dough (new pizza joint in Broadview Heights from former chef of Touch and Crust)
7. Stevenson's Bar & Grill (bar known for their burger on East 200th Street)
8. Tapitas Taqueria (Mexican on Lorain Avenue)
9. Vento la Trattoria & Wine Bar (Italian in Bay Village)
10. Warren's Spirited Kitchen (contemporary dining in Burton of Geauga County)

Ok, who's coming with me? Leave a comment on this post or message me on social media (@BiteBuff) if you'd like to join me for any of these dining adventures. I'll keep track.

2019 was the worst year of my life. Between losing my dad, facing work challenges that forced a major mind-shift, and seeking the peace and relief that I needed mentally and emotionally to survive, it wasn't an easy 12 months to say the least. I didn't set any big goals for myself and just wanted to get through the year. But I'm certain that even brighter days are ahead in 2020. My personal goals are to focus on my physical health (we purchased The Mirror for a connected fitness system in-home), travel more (hello, 3 trips already scheduled!), and learn at least one new hobby (well on my way with Christmas gifts of a calligraphy kit, chess set, tarot cards, and a pasta maker). Have you set any goals for the new year?

I just want to say "best wishes" to you for the new year and "thank you" for your interest in following along on my dining adventures. This blog celebrated 10 years in 2019, and it has always brought me joy, new friends, and amazing opportunities that I am forever grateful for. Cheers to the new year! Now, where should we hit first on the 2020 To Dine Challenge list?