A group of friends and I were in Cleveland for Labor Day weekend (joining thousands of other Badger fans for a football game). Thanks for some great recommendations from chowhound, we ate well!
Friday lunch. We stayed in downtown and walked a few blocks to the Warehouse District to the Little Bar for some burgers. They were terrific -- perfectly done. You could even get that ballpark mustard they use at Jacobs Field (but I stayed with a little onion). A couple bottles of the local Great Lakes Brewery's "Elliot Ness" ale and we were good to go.
Friday dinner. Met up with a friend who lives in Cleveland at Osteria di Valerio & Al -- also in the Warehouse District. They had a nicely priced wine list of mostly Italian wines, so were started with a bottle of red. Shared appetizers of beef sirloin carpaccio (tender and flavorful) and calamari in marinara -- these were among the best we've eaten in ages -- they were not breaded and fried -- just light and crisp in the tomato sauce.
Entrees were half a roast duck (for me) -- crispy skin in a carrot and olive sauce (heavy on the chopped carrots -- could have used a few more olives); our friend had the special: veal scalopini with shrimp and lobster (I'm not a veal fan, but the taste I had was good) others had pasta: gnocchi in gorganzola sauce; cavatelli with wild mushrooms (for some reason we don't find that shape of pasta much out here in DC). The bread they served was nothing special -- reminded me of soft "italian bread" one can buy in the supermarket bread aisle.
Our Cleveland friend took us in her car for a little tour of the near west side -- we ended up at Lola in Tremont for dessert. Nice scene -- we sat in the lounge area -- the desserts were small -- like a tasting menu -- standouts were a raspberry tart with rose cream and rose granita; chocolate semifredo; and lemon cake scented with thyme and served with fresh berries. I was the only one who liked a sort of panzanella -- thin slices of peaches with candied fennel, cubes of toasted cake and little chunks of a firm goat cheese.
Saturday breakfast -- after those big meals we needed a long walk -- and we headed down past Jacobs Field to Juniper Grill for breakfast -- and a great breakfast it was. I had a nice bowl of oatmeal followed by mixed berry pancakes; my friend has a sort of toad in the hole -- eggs cooked in a hole made in some great toast.
Saturday lunch /dinner was brats and beer at a Wisconsin tailgate party before the game. The Cleveland part of that was again the tasty Great Lakes Brewery beer.
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