Saturday, June 30, 2007

Big Dogs ‘N’ More

Wade Park Oval
Wade Park Wednesdays

11609 Corlett Ave
Cleveland, OH 44105

(216) 491-3647

Bite: get ready to bend over and take it.

by Beau Cadiyo

We stepped over the yellow chain barrier and seized an empty table in the back corner of the beer garden, which gave the impression of being more adult than the surrounding area. It seemed like a small version of one of Gatsby’s early parties, with groups of people intricately connected to each other in ways we couldn’t know. Ed had just broken up with his girlfriend, so we talked about that as we ogled three girls in spring skirts, aloof and confident, at the next table over. Two people asked to sit with us, and then their three friends joined them. Like vultures, they hovered over us, waiting for us to leave, spreading themselves around the table. When Emily, Kyle, Laura and Mike arrived and agreed to hold our chairs, Ed and I got up to get food.

Ed’s text – and I quote – had promised “live music lots of sandwiches and Sarah Duffy.” It was 33% wrong. Only two “sandwiches” were available from the same stand: a $7 Turkey Croissant and a $6 Hamburger. Inexplicably Croissant-less, they offered bread instead. The sandwich came with chips and soda; Lou asked if he could trade the chips for a brownie, but was denied by the old woman; a brownie was an extra $1.25. The man under the tent, dreadlocks held back by a bandana, energetically put my sandwich and Lou’s hamburger in cardboard boats, made sure we got our small Snyder’s of Berlin chips, let us choose either cans of Strawberry/Cherry or Orange Cotton Club soda and asked for $13. In parting, he asked about the Cavs; I said that perhaps they should just bend over and take it.

Which is what we did. The sandwich had overwhelming tones of Giant Eagle Wheat Bread and mayonnaise, generously scooped from Ziploc Tupperware. The two slices of processed turkey and crunchy tomato were subtle complementary notes. The chips were thin slivers, heavily salted and oiled, with little flavor to speak of, and the soda tasted like Hi-C, heavily diluted with over-carbonated water.

However, most of the vultures had left, and we were firmly in control of the table. A pug ran over and wanted to play; little children were chastised for ripping up grass and throwing it in each others’ hair. The reggae band played for what must have been three hours. When I left, the scene had the “fade to black” quality of an old movie; people would always be drawn to East Egg and West Egg, but my directions were to move on.

Big Dogs & More in Cleveland


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Beachland Ballroom

15711 Waterloo Rd,
Cleveland, OH 44110
By Edward Sandwichhands

The Beachland Ballroom is an old Croatian social club. It smells like a Phish concert, but you know it isn’t because everyone is way too well dressed. My jeans are never tight enough, my shirt is never cool enough, and when I am there for a show I just don’t think I’ll ever be pretty again.

At the bar you have your choice of grilled cheese, a hamburger, and a deep friend peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Deep fried sandwiches are actually the reason my family decided to come to this country. Genetically, I can’t pass up an opportunity to have a complete stranger needlessly deep fry food for my consumption. The sandwich complimented my Pabst tall boy well, but would have been better suited as a dessert. It was very rich and similar to a fried donut. They used crunchy peanut butter, which added a unique texture to the deep-fried mass of oil and bread staring me in the thighs. Just kidding. I don’t care what my thighs look like – that’d be ridiculous.

After the sandwiches we saw “The National.” It was an amazing show. Unlike most other shows at the Beachland, we were able to get up to the stage. After the show I ran into an old neighbor named Vinny. Last I had heard Vinny had gone insane and had to move back in with his parents. I guess he pulled himself together enough to make the show. That’s why the Beachland is so great. We drown our sorrows in music, beer, and comfort food trying to pretend that we aren’t crazy as shit.

Beachland Ballroom & Tavern in Cleveland


Tuesday, June 19, 2007


4500 Mayfield Road
South Euclid, OH 44121-4017
by Beau Cadiyo

When I was four I was sitting in my dad’s new office. My whole family worked for him – I stuffed envelopes for a penny per. My mom asked him about dinner plans; he said, “What about M-C-D-” and I shouted, “Yeah!” He was surprised; it turned out “McDonald’s” was the first word I knew how to spell. I got a hamburger as a reward.

My parents were proud; 23 years later, most would be appalled. The obesity epidemic has destroyed one of the great American experiences: fast food. A halcyon romanticization of the past, perhaps, but I bet that at one time Americans considered McDonald’s a luxury to be taken in moderation. Now, many see only Morgan Spurlock’s excess and react with disgust at how unhealthy the country is. For me, the golden arches remind me of an Anaheim McDonald’s where, holding my 16-year-old hand, Catherine Grace Bell ordered a cheeseburger without the meat and I instantly became a vegetarian. Well, pesco.

Mayfield McDonald’s is wonderfully well-windowed; the view compels consideration of the car-centric culture which grew up with drive-thrus. The lighting is not overwhelmingly bright, and the plants, piped music and uniformed staff add nostalgia. The menu is different from what I remember – the salad options almost made me feel more guilty for being there, not happy that their menu now reflects society’s healthy desires.

My fish sandwich was just like I remembered them, if slightly fishier. My pessimism returned and made me think their chemists overcompensated. The small fries were crisp, the big ones almost soggy, the barbecue and sweet and sour sauce recipes apparently unchanged. The chocolate shake may have been engineered to balance the saltiness perfectly, and to make me burp.

Granted, the patrons next to me were massively overweight. However, watching them laugh made me think that while perhaps fat people should watch what they eat, at least they still understand the magic of a happy meal. Or four in one sitting, as the case may be.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Coventry Panini's Grill

1825 Coventry Rd
Cleveland, OH 44118
(216) 321-6444
By Edward Sandwichhands

Loneliness is a dish best served on two pieces of bread – with a pickle. Panini’s on Coventry is possibly the worst place I’ve ever been. Every time I go there I die – and I am reborn in a puddle of vomit. This time it was different and it was personal. I was there to get sandwiches.

I just can’t go inside Panini’s on Coventry. I think of Panini’s patio as a safe-haven - the last vestige of hope in an otherwise Shitville-Ohio-Yuppie-Frat-Boy-Pull-the-Fucking-Trigger-Already-Bar. So we ate on the patio, despite the protests of a Carol Rubin and a mid-summer chill in the air.

My original plan was to get the cheapest sandwich on the menu because I’m poor as hell. I mean I have some money, but seriously – I’m poor as hell. I went with the patty melt. Rye bread, beef, onions, butter, and Swiss cheese. That’s how I do. The sandwich was great. I always eat the fries first. I thought they were fine. The other people I was with complained that they were cold and undercooked. What the fuck are fries anyhow? Filler. Needless Filler. That’s kind of what Panini’s is all about.

A patty melt is basically a hamburger on bread. If Panini’s had screwed it up I probably would have punched the bartender in the face. However, the sandwich was fine. About 4 hours later I picked a rye seed out of a molar in the upper-left part of my mouth. It reminded me of a satisfying dinner and a bar that makes me think it might be cool to start hanging out at home.

Panini's on Coventry in Cleveland Heights