Monday, December 21, 2009

Catching Up

by Beau Cadiyo

I'm on vacation and had a few bites to get out. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!!

Radisson Hotel and Suites Cleveland-Eastlake
35000 Curtis Boulevard
Eastlake, OH 44095
(440) 953-8000

Frank Hoxha and I ended up at the Radisson Hotel with the goal of scoring reduced-price iPod shuffles from StoresOnline (well, we paid $15 for shipping and handling). Yes, I know it's a scam, but I'd gotten a iPod from them before and I wanted another. We stayed for the presentation, and then they served a “dinner” of a sandwich and a small dessert.

There is a concept in America that buttery croissants must be butter-heavy. This is not true; one can have a buttery croissant which is not butter-heavy but, instead, is light, airy and fluffy while still tasting of butter. Go to Europe and eat! Alternately, go to Eastlake; the Radisson understands this. The croissants were buttery and airy, compressing perfectly in response to incisors. Frank then pointed out that there are two types of chicken salad: chunky and creamy. Creamy chicken salad smells like chicken, but is almost entirely pulverized, leaving a paste behind. Chunky...has chunks. This chicken salad was chunky, which Frank prefers; I’m still on the fence as to what I think makes for a superior sandwich. However, these were very good – especially since the kitchen was preparing food for 150 people at one time. We were very, very impressed all around.

Mantel's at the Radisson on Urbanspoon


Diner on Clifton
11637 Clifton Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44102
(216) 521-5003

I met Frank McMahan here for dinner one night and had the Yellowfin Tuna Steak sandwich – a triple-decker served with sweet potato fries. While I really liked the 1950s diner feel at the Clifton, I was not overly impressed with the sandwich itself. The tuna was exceptionally dry, almost powdering during bites, and leaving a fibrous mash in between my molars. The toast was reasonable, and the vegetables and sauce added a lot of moisture, but it was not enough. I’ve never liked sweet potato fries, and these did nothing to sway me from that position, but we had cheddar/bacon fries for an appetizer which were supurb. Frank McMahan’s open-faced pulled-pork sandwich was sauce-heavy. All around, it was ok, but I think there are better places to eat in the area.

Diner on Clifton on Urbanspoon


What About Bob’s?
38233 Glenn Avenue
Willoughby, OH 44094
(440) 951-9700

I’m consistently impressed with WAB’s. On my second and third visits, I had their off-menu chicken salad; it is more toward the creamy side, and, with the tough crust of their bread, is perfect. This last time I had a Turkey sandwich, packed as usual with sandwich goodness. The turkey, of various textures and parts, was stuffed in with lettuce, tomato, cheese and sauce; at $3.99 for a 12-inch sandwich, it’s still one of the best deals I’ve seen in Cleveland, and would still be reasonably priced at $6. At $3.99 for any of their sandwiches, I would nominate WAB’s as the standout of the year – exceptionally high quality sandwiches for bargain basement prices.

What About Bob's? on Urbanspoon


Crop Bistro
(216) 696-2767
Warehouse District
1400 W 6th St
Cleveland, OH 44113

I’ve not had much success with events. Early on, I volunteered with them, and found that two of the three events I helped at – one at Blossom, one in Akron - were neither cool nor in Cleveland. I also volunteered with them at a festival, where my job was to ask people to sign up for the mailing list in return for being entered in a drawing for an iPhone – I never did learn if they actually had such a drawing, and I suspect it was just a gimmick and the drawing never occurred.

It was thus with trepidation that I went to a CoolCleveland-sponsored launch of some Christmas present social networking business which I don’t understand whatsoever. The big draw for me, of course, was a chance to taste their lamb sliders – as many as I could eat for $10. That’s value.

Or, at least, that’s what I thought. The sliders were just ok. The lamb was actually very good, cooked on industrial sized sheets and doused or marinated in some delicious sauce in their open kitchen. However, the bread was absolutely mediocre. To test whether I was being hyper-critical, I asked the five people in my immediate vicinity about their opinion. Each of them said it was a fine filling on a bad bun, which tasted like they were mass produced in some white bread factory in the suburbs. It was far from what I would have expected from Crop Bistro, considering all of the good things that I've heard about it before.

We also had truffle egg salad sandwiches on the same mediocre bread as the sliders. The result was not as good; the truffle egg salad probably tasted amazing on its own, but the flavor was so delicate that it tasted flat when mixed with the buns. The eggs were also over-boiled, leaving the whites leathery. Between the two, go for the sliders - and ask them for some sort of better bread.

Crop Bistro and Bar on Urbanspoon


Bruegger's Bagels
Cleveland Airport
Concourse C
Cleveland, OH 44135

The last place one would expect to find good food at a reasonable price is in an airport. Cleveland Hopkins not only challenged this myth, it drop-kicked it in the face and gave it a combination wet willy/noogie to boot.

I ordered the Tarragon Chicken Salad from Breugger's in a new modern food section which looks more like a sweet mall food court than an airport. It was a tough choice; there were plenty of other good restaurants around (and, when we were walking to Gate C, there was even a Panini's!). There was also a total lack of Starbucks, which was a brave, daring move on the Port Authority's part. Anyways, the chicken was tender and chunky; the almonds added occasional surprises of texture without being overpowering; the red onions added a delicate taste; the cranberries added tartness; the lemon mayonnaise was a tiny bit too watery; the tomatoes were under-ripe but juicy nonetheless; the lettuce was fresh and crispy; the wheat bread was perfectly toasted, and stayed crunchy despite the watery mayonnaise; and Jonathan, behind the counter, was extremely pleasant to talk to. The most incredible part, to me, was that the sandwich only cost $5.99. There was another sandwich, the veggie melt egg sandwich, for $2.99, which I only saw after I'd ordered. When I fly home, I'm definitely going to get one of these.

You can now get a very good meal at a reasonable price at the airport. Nicely done, Cleveland Port Authority!

Bruegger's Bagels on Urbanspoon

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