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