Friday, October 30, 2009

Battiste and Dupree Cajun Grill

1992 Warrensville Center Rd
Cleveland, OH 44121-2635
(216) 381-3341‎

By Scarlet Pumpernickel

The Once and Future Sandwich. That’s what I like to call the sandwich I’m currently dreaming of, even if connecting the sandwich to the legend of King Arthur is a little difficult. Battiste is definitely the Merlin of this story, because he is going to make the sandwich much like the great wizard made Arthur into a king. Also, he experiences time backwards. After that, things become murky. Since I, somewhat sinisterly, plan on consuming the sandwich, am I Morgause?

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I can tell you about the king, I must tell you about his knights, Battiste and Dupree’s Shrimp Po’Boys, and their heroic exploits. At $10.50, it might seem a little pricey, but the sandwich is huge:two halves, each more than 6 inches long and 4 wide, come loaded with shrimp fried to perfection with a Cajun breading spicy enough to make sure you know it’s there. Lettuce adds a nice freshness to balance the fried shrimp, with a Remoulade and slices of cheese giving a dash of creaminess to the sandwich. But the bread is what sets this sandwich ahead of other Po’ Boys I’ve had. Good French bread, it is soft and airy on the inside with just the right stiffness to the crust. Perhaps the best way to understand this sandwich is to read the stories and legends surrounding it.

First, the legend of Lady Scarlet Pumpernickel: when her first Shrimp Po’boy was put in front of her, she was convinced it was more than she could eat that evening. She resolved to eat half of it and save the rest for later. But lo – inconstant women! After eating half of her sandwich, she was indeed full, but she simply could not stop eating the sandwich. She stuffed the whole thing into her body that very night. A few days later, she began thinking about reviewing the restaurant during her lunch break at work. As she sat there thinking about the sandwich, she realized that she really longed for one. She longed for it so much that if the place had been open, she would have abandoned work right then to get one.* Women place passion before honor.

Second, the tale of Strumpet Frank Fu and Pauper Frank Duong: That night, on the way home from work Sir Scarlet ordered two sandwiches to go, one for herself and one for her roommate, Frank Fu. As they were eating them, Frank Duong came over to hang out. Frank Fu begged him to try a bite. At first, he refused because he had already eaten dinner, but after he finally caved and took a bite, he had to admit it was a delicious sandwich. He then ate half her sandwich. Sometimes, strumpets get played.

Third, the tragedy of Fool Frank Lucas: Earlier this week, Sir Scarlet’s good friend Fool Frank Lucas, who she had recently introduced to Battiste and Dupree, messaged her to ask what the number for the restaurant was. He admitted that he was going to get two sandwiches, one for tonight and one for the next day. Later that afternoon he had changed his online status to reflect the fact that he can’t stop thinking about the Po’boy he was going to have for dinner. When Sir Scarlet messaged him about it, he said that if the restaurant was open, he would leave work right then to go get the sandwiches. Fools always follow their nipple rings.

Finally, the temptation of Sheriff Frank Li: Frank Li was traveling to Philadelphiashire to visit a good friend. She had promised him an amazing Po’boy sandwich and had ordered one the night before. However, on the short hour and a half flight, she sat in her seat, thinking about the sandwich tucked away safely in her carry-on luggage. Even though she had eaten breakfast and wasn’t hungry, she couldn’t stop thinking about the sandwich. Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore; she got her suitcase out and released the sandwich from its earthly confines. She ate it, and had to pretend she didn’t have time to get the sandwich before she left Cleveland. Never trust women around food.

The wizard behind these amazing sandwiches is Clarence Ennis Battiste. Jr. Owner, head chef, waiter, and bartender of Battiste and Dupree, Junior is what makes Battiste and Dupree so special. It’s not just because he is an excellent chef, whose food is on every level (flavor, complexity, presentation) amazing, but because he genuinely loves his food, his restaurant, and his customers. He takes orders himself, and if you ask him for recommendations, he will take the time to find the right dish for you. When I brought my brother, Squire Frank Pumpernickel there, Junior had somehow sized up what my brother was looking for and more or less told him what to order. My bother didn’t regret for a second going with Junior’s recommendation, even though halfway through his meal his nose was dripping and he was sweating from the heat (exactly how Junior said he would).

So what then is the king of sandwiches that I have been dreaming of, and which Junior has promised that his alchemy can create? It’s a Po’boy made with oysters. I used to eat them all the time when I lived down south, and I am convinced that an oyster Po’boy made by Junior could be the best sandwich I’ve ever had. The only issue is that it’s not on the menu. Fresh Gulf oysters are not really available in Cleveland. So I hatched a plan and got Junior to sign on. Next time I visit my family down south, I’m going to bring back fresh oysters, packed in ice for the 8 hour trip, straight to Battiste and Dupree. Then Junior will make me my Once and Future Sandwich, I will consume it, and, I hope, I will be sated. Then again, I’m not sure Morgause and her son Mordread were ever satisfied, even with Arthur’s destruction.

*In some older versions of this story, Scarlet does abandon her work rather than just thinking about it.

Battiste & Dupree Cajun Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Closing Bell Wall St. Pub

1524 Demonbreun St.
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 255-6004

by Reuben Dagwood

Having left Louisville, our spirits were all but broken. A huge traffic jam on the way out made matters worse. For the first time throughout the entire trip, music was actually played (loudly) so that we didn’t need to have a conversation. We were wiped out, spiritually and physically.

So, when we finally rolled into downtown Nashville, we were expecting to have everything go badly. Having come from Louisville, we just assumed that no one on the street here would smile either, and that no one would have anything to say to us, besides what their job required.

So, it was more than just a pleasant surprise when, within 15 minutes of arriving in the town we had already been involved in 10 minutes of (constructive) conversation with a local. It was more like a mental jolt of strong coffee than conversation, waking us from our Louisvillian stupor, which was appropriate, as we were, in fact speaking with the barista at a coffee shop downtown.

We were directed to a few different strips of bars at which to have the best times, given detailed explanations of what to expect at each different strip, and pointed in the right direction for finding a cheap hotel close to these strips. We walked down 4th Ave to the visitor’s center and had a marvelous conversation with a good ole’ boy named Frank. On the way there, I accidentally bumped into an older woman, as I was preoccupied with the Ernest Tubb Record Store sign, and with a smile, SHE apologized. Within one hour, we were back at 100 percent and in love with the idea of travel all over again.

Being that this is a sandwich blog, I will spare you all the details of just how much this city kicks ass. Just know that Nashville has officially made it to my number one spot on the favorite city (to visit) list.

In this euphoric haze of city worship, we stumbled into a pub on “Music Row” right about dinner time. I had been trying very hard to eat a damned sandwich at this point, but until now, it had simply not happened. The problem is that after waking so late in the day, and crushing a giant breakfast each day, it was well into the night before any small inkling of hunger occurred again, which was well past the time that the libations had started flowing (hard).

In truth, what sent me over the edge in the sandwich buying department was that I had seen all along the trip south, at truck stop restaurants, diners, and proper restaurants an intriguing side dish: deep fried pickles. I had wanted to get them at a few different places along the way, but the cheapest I had seen them at this point was $10, and I just couldn’t justify paying that much for one sliced pickle, regardless of the breading and glorious grease. But, at The Closing Bell, these wondrous little delights came along with the sandwiches.

So, it was sandwich time. I ordered a Club Melt with the fried pickles and got a great deal on a Yeungling on draft, which is always such a treat. When, finally, I was able to satisfy my curiosity about the pickles, it was with relief. Being an avid fan of pickles, I assumed that I’d have to start adopting the practice of breading and deep frying them once I got back home. I had been mistaken.

The breading and frying of interesting items is nothing new, and as anyone who’s been to a state fair will be able to confirm, the pickle is not any sort of groundbreaking addition to the lustrous roster of fried goods already circulating. The first bite was wonderful. They just looked like thick potato chips, and protocol dictated that I dip them in ranch. It was great. But, very quickly, the allure fell away, and I was suddenly just eating vinegar flavored bread, dipped in ranch dressing, which is as bad as it sounds. Looking backwards, I should have known that a fried pickle would be a horrible idea, but I simply hadn’t seen one before, and was seduced by it’s mystery.

To be fair, this sandwich was everything that it was supposed to have been. It was a greasy Denny’s knock off, made to go well with the booze. If I had been less mentally exhausted, I’d have known this going in. But, when I read the menu, I saw Club sandwich, not Club Melt sandwich. So, in reality, maybe this review is actually a dissertation on shattered expectations. I had a hankrin for a nice, crisp, dry little sandwich, and instead got the club melt. I brought this on myself.

So, what is the Club melt? Well, what it is not is a three layer sandwich, and it is not cut into fourths, and there are no toothpicks, and there are no tomatoes. Does it still deserve the moniker of “club”? No. It is a fried turkey sandwich with bacon on it.

The bread was huge. I was put off by this, because the function of huge fried pieces of bread, half an inch thick each is to soak up as much of the frying grease as possible. So, in your mind, go ahead and substitute lard sponge for bread. Between the grease was a small layer of turkey, covered in bacon and melted all together with American cheese. Again, I feel I must do my diligence and declare that I’d have loved this sandwich, were I deep in the throws of a morning hangover. But, I wasn’t, so I didn’t. And, as a result, especially coupled with the greasy globs that were the pickle chips, I felt like three new zits appeared on my face and I gained 10 pounds.

When I ordered my next Yeungling, I answered the “How was it, guys?” question with a stolid thumbs down, and the classic third grade “pee-yeuh” face. He laughed and apologized and then filled me back up. We stayed there long enough to chat up a nice older couple, help a group of friends finish their “Pub Tower” (self refrigerating 120 ounce beer cups), and get into a playful argument with some Michigan football fans. Throughout all of this, sandwich and all, a smile never left my face.

Regardless of the sandwich, we loved that bar. Hell, we loved every damned bar we set foot in for those three days. So, even having not particularly cared for the damn thing, I still loved it, and was happy to have eaten it.

The Closing Bell on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lady Luck Casa Lounge II Pub & Eatery

19309 Nottingham Rd
Cleveland, OH 44110
(216) 531-8102

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: brilliant burger in a surprising setting.

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself," said FDR, but I feared the Lady Luck Casa Lounge II. I first saw it while driving downtown from my house; it was alone in a large parking lot, looking seedy and ominous. For months I saw cars there but never saw anyone on the premises. My imagination ran away: first I thought it was a private club, with a dilapidated exterior and surely affluent interior, and then I thought it might be a strip club. I was blind; the fact that they advertised beer and a variety of fatty or deep-fried foods, and that it was in a dark, semi-abandoned neighborhood, never made me think that it might be a regular bar that served comfort food. Googling it turned up no information - there were references to another Lady Luck Casa Lounge, perhaps v.I.0, and an assortment of unrelated sites. What were they doing, flying under the radar like this?

Its image wasn't helped when, on a dark, late-autumn night, I was driving to the Cleveland Rock Gym with Frank Hoxha. Cruising past LLCLII, a man suddenly shot out of the parking lot on a bicycle. I would have hit him if I hadn't been looking at the building in fear and awe. I braked hard and honked; he apparently forgot he was on a bicycle, for he turned to look at me over his left shoulder. His right hand, connected to the handlebars, pulled the wheel right, his body went straight and he toppled over hard in the middle of the street. I swerved around him, turned around down the street, and came back. We saw him walking his bike on the sidewalk. "You ok?" I called out, and he mumbled affirmatively, almost embarassed. This incident, plus the summertime appearance of people smoking outside, gave it an even more threatening aura, and thus a new reason not to venture inside.

LLCLII is what Prosperity Social Club wishes to be; it's a true dive bar with great food and cheap drinks. The clientele - working-class, loud and boisterous - are the sorts PSC's hipster patrons might aspire to befriend, if they were not too busy trying on tight jeans and vintage-inspired hats. It is dark inside, and dingy, but not dirty. Men line the bar.When we went in, a lone woman, maybe 75, tended the bar. The TVs blasted sports, a digital jukebox played hits and pool tables stood ready for action. A sign proclaimed that they trusted in God; "All others pay cash."

When the food arrived, we were starving. My fish sandwich was brilliant - the fish was delicious, with a crunchy, breaded crust. The bread was mediocre, if a bit dry, and the fries were better than average. A small debate ensued about what sort of cheese can go on a fish sandwich - is American cheese truly the only one that can be used, or does Swiss work, too? When Scarlet and Reuben dug into their burgers, though, the discussion turned to their pure deliciousness. The buns were, again, mediocre, but the filling was simply amazing - the meat was tender and juicy, the cheese melted perfectly, and the house sauce - I believe it was called "Bull" sauce - went with everything on the table. With a better bun, these creations would easily be in the running for the best burgers in Cleveland - up there with Lolita, Heck's, Five Guys or any other establishment. The buns – a relatively minor, easily correctable element - are all that keep them down.

Recommended? Definitely. It may not look like it, but LLCLII is a great neighborhood bar, warm and friendly, and has incredible food and cheap drinks. Just don't do as I did and let fear get in the way of taking that first step through the door.

Lady Luck Pub & Eatery on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fenton, Michigan - we salute you!

There's a tool on the left side of our blog that shows the cities people are in who read this blog. If you click through, it shows how they got to the CSB. Reuben just alerted me to this gem:

Fenton, Michigan arrived from on "The Cleveland Sandwich Board" by searching for "milf meat in man sandwich".

Fenton, Michigan - thank you for visiting, and we hope you find what you're looking for.


Lewisville, Kentucky

Travel Tales by Reuben Dagwood

Traveling by automobile is both a wonderful experience and a nightmarish horror. Trekking out from your secure home base and slowly plodding through new areas with the excitement of what’s to come is a wondrous time of guessing and anticipation. Most times, the actual destination turns out to be far less than what your mind has built it up to be, and typically, the return trip is a miserable romp at top speed, in the attempt to simply make it home.

I recently accompanied a couple of friends of mine on the first leg of a “musical odyssey down the trail of American musical history”. They flew in from England into Cleveland in the attempt to move semi-backwards through the history of Rock and Roll. The idea was to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, move south to Nashville and the Grand Ole’ Opry, on to Memphis and Graceland, and finally to New Orleans and the roots of Dixieland and Jazz.

I joined up as the driver for the first leg, from Cleveland to Columbus to Louisville, KY to Nashville. In the weeks approaching the journey, my level of anticipation grew to extraordinary levels. By the time the mission started, it was a simple fact in my mind that this would be a soul searching, eye opening, life changing trip. To foreshadow, I was mistaken.

Being that I write for our loved Board, I left with the intention of having a sandwich in each city and writing multiple posts along the way. Sadly, this was not to be. Very early in the trip, a pattern emerged. The evenings were to be spent drinking. Hard. The mornings were to be spent sleeping. The afternoons were to be spent eating breakfast and recovering, and the early evenings were to be spent preparing to drink. Hard.

As a result of this pattern, the sandwich eating became a harder task than I had originally planned. By Columbus, I realized that this trip would probably not have much to add to the blog.

Upon first arriving in Louisville, we were all enamored. As quoted to us, Louisville proudly boasts at having more bars, per capita, than Manhattan. Driving through the small city, we could easily believe this. We all believed upon first glance that Louisville was a Mecca for boozehounds, and would make for a wonderful addition to the trip. We stayed with a stranger on her couch, and I was told that while there, I had to eat a “Hot Brown”, which is an open faced sandwich created by the Brown Hotel there somewhere around a century ago. As a result, every self respecting Louisville restaurant serves one, and all argue that theirs is the best in town.

I made a comment that we had some unique feelings at the Cleveland Sandwich Board in regard to what defines a sandwich, and that the open faced aspect of the Hot Brown may count it out from contention. This was when I got my first real look at what Louisville is. The response I got was “We created it, and we can decide if it is or is not a sandwich. And, it IS a fucking sandwich.”

You see, if I could describe Louisville in one word, I’d tell you that word right now. But, in order to do it justice, I have to use more: Elitist. Overinflated. Pompous. Disconnected. Misinformed. And, above all, unfulfilling. Even the proper pronunciation of their town becomes an entryway into the snobbery of the populace. “it’s Lulville, NOT Lewisville.”

Our first evening there took us to a bar that served over 1,000 beers, and somehow still managed to be pretentious and snobby about each and every last fucking one of them. We spent entirely too much time there, and ended up with a $150 bill. We asked to be taken to a grimier bar, with a smaller, cheaper beer selection, and with some live music, or at least some good music. This bar also fell short of what we were looking for.

At this point, we decided that we needed to just get out and see as many bars as we could and hope to get a better taste in our mouths for the town as a whole, because as of yet, it was more than just the bad bars that were leaving us less than fulfilled. We were still starving for conversation, excitement, and some sort of entertainment. So, we got a ride to yet another bar that would fall short of what we were looking for. At this point in the evening, the highlight of the entire town had been the graffiti on the bathroom wall, instructing “Rape your wife for America.”

We got a ride from this bar, in search of a better one. However, on the way there, the driver nodded off, despite our yelling as loud as we could, due to the fact that the car was travelling very fast and was pointing at a telephone pole.

While walking away from the totaled car, blood running down my face, bruises shared by everyone, we came to our conclusion: Fuck Lewisville.

The next day, our agenda included me finding a Hot Brown to write about. But, at this point, I was so angry at the city, I didn’t think that their shit sandwich deserved a spot on our hallowed pages. With a final middle finger flare, we departed and headed to the brighter skies of Nashville.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This just in from the FDA: some sandwiches are only for the strong.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This is complete BS.

By Beau Cadiyo

I just read this article about FirstEnergy's plans to send out two light bulbs to customers in Ohio. They will be mailed or hand-delivered. Great, right? Nope - the bulbs will be paid for by the customers, who will be charged $.60 per month for the next THREE YEARS. As I calculate it, that's $21.60 for two light bulbs.

This is a rubbish practice, and both FirstEnergy and the state regulators should be ashamed of themselves. Clearly, FirstEnergy stands to gain a lot of money. At this website, bulbs are as low as $1.90 - thus, FirstEnergy is making $8.65 per bulb. Since they're sending out 4 MILLION bulbs, they would clear $34,600,000 - and that's at retail rates, which I'm sure they're not paying. I'm not sure what could have motivated the regulators to approve this plan. They should give customers the option of receiving the light bulbs and paying $10.55 per bulb - they shouldn't impose this exorbitant cost on them.

Write to your state representative, senator and Governor Strickland and tell them that this is unacceptable.