Wednesday, December 21, 2011


1776 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118-5226
(216) 321-4781

by Fidel Gastro

It is raining. It is raining so much that I don't dare go out. If it were a proper December I suppose it'd be snowing. Pedestrians – we're better suited to snow than rain – I know it's different for drivers but I know that the streets are plowed and the sidewalks are never shoveled so I have anger and class consciousness toward drivers.

So stay home and count your petty ducats! you say, and I respond by telling you angry things that you don't care to hear and soon we're not friends. So let's pretend that instead you said, with concern in your voice - well why do you need to go out so bad?

First. It is Christmastime and this Christmas I have made the acquaintance of the long walk to the long wait at the post office. I'm not the sort to hate. A lot of people will tell you that they have a sick-sick anger for the USPS but I think – someone sent me an important paper from across the world for $.44. I don't mind waiting in a line for a little while to get it. And also, if there was a crowd of people watching you do your job, they'd probably make fun of you too, jerk. Anyway, I'm not going to brave the roads today and suffer the gross indignity of being surfed by cars. It is a bad thing that happens.

Second. I can't go and get a sandwich. It's a rarity and a strange one, where The Sandwich is not preeminent in my world of earthly demands. But that is the nature of Christmas. Gifts first, Sandwiches second. On the matter of sandwiches, and on walking for that matter I have some words.

My love of sandwiches has governed my choices regarding where I will live. Because I prefer the constitutional savor of a brisk walk over the harried disruption of driving I have a smaller scope of available sandwiches. So I made certain to live in the midst of the greatest concentration of sandwich shops that I could find.

A strong man, a man only half as strong as me (and therefore pretty damned strong) could throw a stone and strike no fewer than seven sandwich shops.  Eight – if you count the Burrito as a sandwich, which I am told by Mr. Cadiyo, I shall not ever do. Nevertheless even in the narrow confine of sandwich definitions allowed me, I am up against an embarrassment of sandwiches. Now, I may some days savor the soupy vegetable cocktail added to the turkey of Dave's Cosmic, and I may sometimes humble myself before my fellow men and deign to eat a Panini. I might even steel my iron guts yet steelier for a sample of the Winking Lizard's barbecued fare. In desperation I may count pennies to afford the lettuce and mustard melange of the gas-station Subway. But on any day, regardless of circumstances, regardless – really, of consciousness – I find that I crave for the Hot Grumsteer.

Many arguments can be posed and settled only with fistfights over the superior merits of hot or cold sandwiches. I find that circumstances largely dictate my preference – but in general that a sandwich is sometimes aided by a modicum of fire, and sometimes hindered. But given the choice between the hot or the cold Grumsteer – you must choose the hot. All things being equal, the roast beef is made to come alive, is alchemically altered by the application of the 'sandwich herbs' that Grum's applies so judiciously. The cheese and the meat interweave into a massy substance that gives each vigorous bite its own tactile satisfaction, but in the midst of the occassional mushroom, the periodic onion – there is the lingering heavenly potence of the horse's aromatic radish. Like a medical tincture applied to the beast, the large Grumsteer solves your sinus complaints and salves your stomach's recurring wants. There is no sandwich that may better serve the wants and hungers of anyone, of everyone really, than the Hot Grumsteer.

Alas it is raining and I must test my sandwichmaking audacity with the spare contents of my cupboards. Is it a sandwich if you smear canned frosting over graham crackers and liberally apply shredded coconut? What about a congress of Nutella and marmalade between slabs of raisin toast? Will Sandwich Science™ ever be granted the opportunity for sleep? For rest? For the fundamental answers to necessary questions?

Grum's Sub Shoppe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Winking Lizard

6111 Quarry Ln
Independence, OH 44131

(216) 524-2226

by Beau Cadiyo
“I think it’s good for the city,” Frank said. 
I let out an incredulous bark. 
We were meeting over burgers at the Winking Lizard in Independence.  I’d brought up the new young adult program being pushed by Fitzgerald.  Frank, a famous skeptic of county government, had just said he thought the program was a good idea. 
“No,” he corrected me, “I think it is good for the city.”
What’s the difference?
“OK,” he said, gazing up at the ceiling as if figuring out the best way to explain something to a child.  “We are dedicated to Cleveland, believe it is an incredible city, and want to make it as good as it can be, right?
“We can agree that government in Cuyahoga County is despicably corrupt and wholeheartedly ineffective, right?”
“We agree that if, say, the government was kicked out wholesale, everyone would benefit?”
“We can agree that the way they’ve been doing things needs to change?”
“We can agree that the system itself is a corrupting influence, and that the people within the system can change but they are not going to change the system?” 
Well, what’s the point?
“It’s simple,” he said, as if he’d been waiting for me to get annoyed.  “This program is going to make it easier to identify the enemies of our city.  This program is specifically designed to catch the people who are young and to co-opt them into the system that needs to be destroyed.  It is going to appeal to people who are ambitious but not smart enough to think about what they’re doing, who want to change the system but aren’t smart enough to escape it.  And then we know who the enemy is. 
“See, kids are going to apply for the program, and then they are put through a selection process, which makes them feel special. It is custom-MADE to sound like it is selective, and it is.  It is selecting for the most promising leaders that the government can find.  These kids are then brought into the system.  They meet the so-called leaders of our communities.  They are taught who controls the government and how they should act.  They’re taught where to go to meals to impress people, how they should look and most importantly what bribes they should accept.  They’re taught how to bow and how to bend over, and they’re shackled to the old way of doing things.  In ten years, twenty years, these kids with their fresh-scrubbed faces are, like Orwell’s pigs, going to look exactly like Russo and Fitzgerald and all the rest of the politicians ruining this city.  I mean, do you think that any of these young “leaders” are going to try to buck the system as soon as they are the system?”
“Exactly.  So it’s good for the city.”
But how, if they’re taking the crème-de-la-crème and co-opting them and preventing them from revolting?
“Ah, but that’s where you again don’t understand me.  They’re not the crème-de-la-crème.  The people who apply for this program are already going to be the kinds of people who blindly do things for the baubles that result.  They’re going to be the kinds of people who pin nametags on their chests and look at the new line on their resumes and say, ‘I’m somebody.  Hey, look at me, I’m important.’  The thing is, the real leaders of tomorrow aren’t going to care about these baubles.  They’re going to care about improving the city.  These young executives are trying to get into government so they themselves can benefit; the next generation of leaders are going to care about destroying these young executives and saving our city.” 
What do you mean?
“There’s a revolution -”
A black revolution?
He smiled.  “A Cleveland revolution, afoot.  People are disgusted by politics and the politicians.  They are not looking for a new voice, a new leader or a new regime.  They are looking for a new system.” He pounded the table.  “FitzGerald and his boys and girls know this, and they’re going to fight it.  The county executive – I mean, Fitz is the one who opposed the executive passionately because it went against the old system, and then he’s the one that the system put in place to make sure that nothing really changed.” 
I took a bite of my burger.  It was ok. 
“But we actually do have a new generation rising, and they can’t stop it.”
Because they didn’t start it.
“You can feel the anger and the passion in the air.  There are social networks forming independent of the old guard, and it’s making them furious because they can’t tap into these networks as easily as they are used to doing.  They’re used to the old ways of doing things around here.  With these new groups, they realize that they can’t get access.  This young executive program is a dying gasp – a fighting gasp, yes, but a dying gasp, and anyone who helps out with this, who applies, is going to have a black mark on themselves.  We’ll be able to mark them out as functionaries, as servants.  Fitzgerald is trying to use them to keep the others in check, under control, keep them passive, keep them peaceful and nonviolent.” 
I heard echoes. 
“They’re going to use these young executives as pawns to try to control us.  These kids are the chameleons, the courtiers, who betray our city and each other in order to preserve themselves."
I still didn't get how it was good for the city.  
“Well, I think it’s good for the city, because it is going to help us identify the people we can’t trust to run this city, this county or this state.  Soon we’ll have mug shots and resumes of the very people who are being willingly put in place to prop up the current regime, the current system.  We will, in effect, have a line up of the traitors we can’t trust.  And when the time comes, we’re going to have to deal with these people the same way we’ve always dealt with traitors.” 
He looked at me for a difficult moment.
“Even if they’re trying to run this county like a third-world colony, this is still America, and we’re still Americans.  We’re Clevelanders.  It’s not easy to live here, and it’s not easy to love this city.  It’s not easy to deal with the system, and it’s not going to be easy to overturn the system and turn all of these traitors out into the streets.  But it’s coming.  Yes, it is.  It’s coming, and it’s people like us who are going to lead the charge.  We’re going to take a whole generation of these so-called leaders and, when we know who they are, we’re going to make sure that they don’t have a place at the table.  They play tough, and they’re going to be playing tough in order to stay in power.  But when push comes to shove, we’re still willing to create a revolution.”  Then his voice lowered, and he got the pace.  “‘A revolution is hostile.  A revolution knows no compromise.  A revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way.’” 
“‘And you, sitting out here like a knot on the wall saying ‘I’m gonna love these folks no matter how much they hate me,’’” I said, laughing. 
“No, YOU need a revolution!” he roared, and it felt like Cleveland was looking at us and not just the waitresses and the people at the next table, and I suddenly had hope again, and the burger tasted just that much better.  
Winking Lizard/Independence on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tim Horton's

2000 Talbot Rd W
Windsor, ON N9A 6S4, Canada
(519) 966-1656

by Beau Cadiyo

Groggy, I walked to the Caesar's lobby in an effort to get my bearings.  The man behind the courtesy desk allowed me to ask the question that had been marinating in the back of my mind ever since we’d crossed the border:

"What's that one Canadian fast food place that people love so much?"

He was perplexed.  "Arby's?"

The ridiculousness of his statement shocked me so much that I paused.  Arby's?  Canadian?  It's beef, dude.  And bread.  And corn sugar-based sauce.  They have salted, seasoned curly fries and milk shakes.  They have coupons that give you five roast beef sandwiches for five dollars.  There’s no way it could be anything but American. I knew I could never trust him ever again. 

Instead, I said, "No - they send food to the troops in Afghanistan.  I heard that they have really good coffee."

"Oh, Tim Horton's!" he exclaimed.

"Yes!  Where's the nearest one?"

The woman waiting behind me looked intrigued at this exchange.  That didn't surprise me.  I'm Beau Cadiyo.  I know sandwiches.  Maybe she, too, thought Arby's was Canadian, and I blew her mind with truth.  Regardless, I ignored her immediate and intense attraction to me.  Sandwich Science can do that to a girl; you - or, rather, I - get accustomed to it. 

He gave me directions, to which I nodded and smiled and didn't pay attention.  I walked through sweltering streets, sweat soaking my shirt, skivvies and shorts.  The core of downtown Windsor has the distinct feeling of an abandoned tropical tourist town.  There are bars and restaurants, weathered facades and a few empty storefronts.  Trees line the street, there's not much traffic, and there were far more young, attractive women than there were men of any age.  Indeed, the paramedics we saw were women, and the first three cops I saw were women.  Very young, very, very attractive women.  I stopped to ask for directions from each of them.

Upon walking in, Tim Horton’s seems to be a mix between Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's.  There were several people there even though it was mid-afternoon, and three staff members seemed busy, although I was the only one in line.  I was told that four Canadian dollars and ninety-seven Canadian cents would get me a chicken salad sandwich, a donut and a drink.  That’s what I got.  I’m a sandwich man; I’m not an economist.

The first difference I noticed was that Tim Horton’s used real flatware and silverware – a beautiful sight in a fast food joint.  Second, Tim Horton’s is quality.  The toasted bread was hearty, the chicken salad was excellent, the lettuce was crispy and the tomato tasted both fresh and ripe.  My donut was unlike any I’d ever had before; it was chewy and dense and had an aroma that indicated they used real, fresh blueberries in it.  It was solid, offered resistance to my teeth, and was still warm from being cooked.

I thought of California when I was driving back across the border into Detroit.  I heard once that there is nowhere in the world where the difference between a developed and developing nation is so starkly laid out as the border between San Diego and Tijuana.  I think that the border between Detroit and Windsor is the fast food equivalent: on the Windsor side is high-quality food, with reusable utensils and real fruit, represented by Tim Horton’s, and on the Detroit side is crap that makes people obese, represented by Arby’s, which is American, by the way, and maybe I shouldn't be proud of that fact but I am. 

Num Pang

21 East 12th Street Map
New York, NY 10003

by Beau Cadiyo

Walking through crowds is an art. Some people approach CrowdWalking™ as an opportunity to join the masses, just going along with what everyone else is doing, moving at the crowd pace. Some people bumble along even more slowly, disrupting and inconveniencing everyone else. Others successfully move through the crowd at a faster or slower speed at will, cutting through an otherwise solid mass swiftly and easily, without interrupting other peoples’ courses; they react to the movements of others and respond accordingly in order to maximize their own speed and avoid collisions. When they do get in the way of other people, the others may feel momentary annoyance, but then they realize that they’re in the presence of a Super Walker™ and don’t fault them for this transgression.

I am a Super Walker™. I’m really fucking good at walking.

It took these skills to get from Union Station to Num Pang Sandwich Shop. Union Square was packed on a Saturday morning; artists set up their tables everywhere with farmers, a sexual harassment exhibit staffed by nubile college-aged coeds was attracting half-shaved middle-aged men, and people lounged around on stairs, benches and fences, blocking everything up in a sea of humanity.

I meandered through the streets; for a city, New York feels safe and, as a tourist, it’s hard to imagine that these streets are considered “hard.” Suddenly, I passed a sign advertising Bahn Mis. I started, immediately flipped through my New York Moleskine and located the shop on my list of potential places to try. The window was open, as was the door, and I walked in only to be told that it would be another 15 minutes until they actually opened. Dejected, I went to buy fruit at a grocery store, then returned. I ordered a peppercorn catfish sandwich for $7.50 – a very good price – and rubbed my hands in anticipation.

They handed me a bag, and I brought it back to Union Square. I was salivating, the heat was permeating the bag in a teasing way. Sitting on a somehow-vacant bench, I pulled it out of the bag and popped open the cardboard container expectantly.

I was again dejected.

The bahn mi was actually pretty good – delicious, really. The chewy bread had a nice crust and the filling was delectable – simultaneously sweet and salty and spicy, all of the elements mixing in perfect balance of tastes and textures. The problem, of course, was that the price may have been low for a bahn mi in New York, but was nevertheless exceptionally high for the amount of food I actually got. It was barely bigger than a dinner roll, and, while the filling was good, there was not much of it. My paradigm may have made an adopted New Yorker blush, and a native New Yorker scream, but if I’m going to pay that much for a sandwich, it better be big enough to satisfy me. This was barely a cocktail appetizer, much less a $7.50 sandwich.

I’d feel bad about these expectations, or at the very least embarrassed in front of my New York readers, except that these sandwiches are a ripoff. If people want to tell me that I’m a backwoods hick, well, that’s fine. As a New Yorker at Time once wrote, “There is no provincialism so blatant as the metropolitan who lacks urbanity.”

Num Pang on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 23, 2011

Port Deli

681 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
(212) 245-2362
by Beau Cadiyo

So there have been a few more shootings in Cleveland recently. As with all of the shootings in this city, there was an initial flurry of political attention and television coverage after each incident, followed the next day by radio silence.

Whenever something like this happens it reminds me of a debate I had with Frank Ciepiel over whether it was a more pressing priority to fund education or security; he argued the former, I the latter. It was during a discussion with a few friends over the weekend that I realized again that Frank is completely wrong and I am completely right. Two important points came up in that discussion, and the subsequent ruminations that such discussions always provoke: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the living example of New York City.

A while ago, a psychologist named Maslow formed a theory about how we progress as human beings. It said that we all have basic needs, and only after basic needs are met can we move on to secondary needs that are less important to survival but are important to our happiness and sense of self-worth. Among these basic needs: food, water, shelter and security. If we don’t get these, we will be so preoccupied with getting them that we won’t begin to think about whether we are truly happy, or what our purpose in life might be. Education? Seriously? It’s not even on the radar. Security, however, is very important; if we don’t feel secure, we will put up with threats without realizing our full potential, fight for our security until we ARE secure or flee to a place where we are secure.

Here’s the thought that Andrew Samtoy, our media representative and bon vivant, had: just as there is a personal hierarchy of needs, there is a societal hierarchy of needs that is necessary for a society, on any level, to function properly. At its most basic level, before anything else, a city must provide citizens with security.
This played out in New York City over the last twenty years, and shows us a clear path to where we must put our energy, attention, time and money. New York City was a dangerous place twenty years ago. It was so dangerous that people living there were leaving and people not living there were staying away. The critical need of safety wasn’t being provided, and New York City was falling apart.

So what did they do?

The police stepped up their game and the citizens got themselves some security.

The cops started to work better and smarter. They secured the streets and the subways. They fixed broken windows, and then they went neighborhood by neighborhood to stop crime. The result? Murder rates fell. Violent crime rates fell. Actually, all crime rates fell, and they continue to fall . People felt safer because people were safer, and soon they were able to think about other things besides their personal safety. They were able to do more, to think creatively, to achieve, and to invest their time in things like education without worrying so much about their safety. The most important thing is that they stopped moving out and others started moving in.
Frank Todoroff and I saw this first-hand last week. We took the train into Penn Station and walked up toward Central Park, through sidewalks absolutely packed with New Yorkers and tourists. We saw a sign for the Port Deli and I went in and ordered a corned beef sandwich. The man behind the counter carefully prepared it – rye bread, heated corned beef, Swiss cheese, mustard, lettuce, tomato. He wrapped it carefully and handed the package over. It was medium sized, and warm, with well-marbled beef, perfectly melted cheese and good rye; it wasn’t Slyman’s, but then, you can only hope for so much. Back outside, we joined thousands of people rushing around, New Yorkers and tourists alike, flooding the restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, parks, subways, and pounding every inch of concrete, overflowing into the streets.

Many years ago, when we came together to create the modern form of social groups, we delegated certain tasks to society in order to focus on doing other things well, things that we found more interesting and rewarding. The most basic need we delegated was safety; we set up a societal security system where we created a police system and, in exchange, we rewarded the people who served. As a society, we can’t and shouldn’t feed and clothe all of our citizens; history shows that that’s a fool’s errand . We can and should, however, create a system where people can do this for themselves, and this can only be accomplished by making sure they are safe to pursue their chosen vocations. I am not arguing that Cleveland should be like New York; I am arguing that if we want the vitality of a city, we’re going to have to change a few things to make Cleveland better for Clevelanders.

Right now, our citizens aren’t being provided with enough security - the recent shootings are proof of that. If we do not meet this need, we, as a city, will continue to lose our citizens to cities that provide security, and we won’t attract replacements for them.

Port Deli on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 26, 2011


Someone in Russia just visited us, leaving the following on our Feedjit:

Posad, Novgorod arrived from on "The Cleveland Sandwich Board: Freddie’s Southern Style Rib House" by searching for restroom ratings blog "walking into a cave".

Sir or Madam: I don't know what you're looking for, but I hope you find it.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Freddie's Rib House

Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Freddie's Rib House
5361 Mayfield Rd
Lyndhurst, OH 44124
(440) 449-9400
by Beau Cadiyo


Since picking up the Fukuyama book of the same name, I’ve been consumed by the idea of how important trust is in our society. Fukuyama makes the compelling argument that the degree of trust that exists between people and people, or people and institutions, determines the economic position and power that the society as a whole can hold, and the economic output that that society can produce. On the surface, it is a deceptively simple argument, but I’m surprised that nobody has apparently made it so eloquently before – and seemingly few people have paid attention to it since it was first published in 1995.

Trust, Fukuyama argues, determines the size of companies in an economy. Why? Because without some level of trust between strangers, companies cannot grow larger than one’s family and immediate associates, which automatically limits the ability of each entity to grow. Take the example of a family business in Italy, for example. Father starts the business. The children grow up in the business and, later, are expected to work in the business. When they want to expand their production, they turn to their family members first, because they can trust them. Then, they might incorporate their friends into the business, and then maybe their friends’ family members. Trust between strangers there is low, for a variety of reasons. The consequences, though, are staggering: very few businesses in a low-trust society will grow into world-changing behemoths.

There are more dire consequences as well. For example, if the family decides not to participate in the business, it will eventually die because there won’t be any workers. If the family is small, it can’t do more business than its individual members can do. If these individuals are lazy, stupid or incompetent, or simply ignore the business for their own personal pursuits – prostitutes, strip clubs, drinking – then the business will rest on the shoulders of others, or go down with the scions, taking advantage of the unearned, undeserved support of the kin. Similarly, if a generation leaves the business, or the old guard dies out, then the knowledge of how to run that business leaves or dies with them; anyone who purchases a business in these circumstances must know about it, because they can’t trust that the old guard will stay on to help teach them how to work.

Compare this to how most of America works. Frank has a business. He wants to expand it. What does he do? He puts out a job posting. People send in their resumes; the company trusts that these people are truthful and can do the work. They interview and hire the best candidate or candidates for the position and, if the work is done well, they prosper. Then, they hire more people. And more. And more.
Most of America.

The place where this doesn’t seem to work, strangely enough, is in government, and there are predictably dire consequences. Think about the disgusting things that Republicans have done over the last few years. Strike that – think of the things that the Republicans have done for much of their party’s history, but lets focus on the last ten years. They started unnecessary, unjust wars based on fabricated evidence (remember Colin Powell’s nice drawings in front of the UN?) and then hand juicy, no-bid contracts to their Halliburton and Blackwater, reaping millions while the country sunk deeper into debt. Here in Ohio, right now, Kasich is trying to figure out a way to give state assets like the toll roads to his business buddies, who will re-vamp the labor contracts and reap billions for taking these out of state hands.
What happens when this occurs? People naturally turn against politicians and political institutions. They accuse them of corruption, and this all leads to a breakdown of – you got it – trust. They don’t put any faith in the government because they know it can be – and constantly is – corrupted; the government of laws, not of men, is actually a government of men making up laws.

So, really, what record to the Democrats have in Cuyahoga County, and do they deserve to be voted in again, time after time?

Cleveland’s Democratic party seems to have some sort of party policy that it’s OK for people to hire their family members and friends; nepotism is smiled upon, because people have to look out for their own. They seem to feel that it’s OK for political figures to hand out juicy government contracts to their friends while denouncing the hypocrisy of Republicans (the hypocrisy that Albert Pike described long ago). Democratic party leaders and politicians look the other way when there is rampant corruption and systemic abuse; then they feign surprise and incredulity when their closest friends and workmates are hauled away, say a quick prayer that the bleeding stops there, and then continue on with business as usual. Again, this destroys peoples’ trust in local government. Citizens and voters don’t trust government because government has done everything to destroy that trust; politicians are viewed as being out for each other and themselves. In the instances – perhaps not rare – when politicians are on the square, they are also not whistleblowers to the misdeeds of their peers, doing nothing to divest people of the notion that they are all complicit in corruption. Why did it take the FBI to come in and arrest Dimora, et al? Why didn’t their peers stand up to question their behavior?

Why should we trust them?

What is needed, always, is transparency and accountability. Short-term, there must be rules against hiring kin; a mayor’s parents should not be on the mayor’s payroll, and neither party – nay, no party – should tolerate nepotism of any kind. Long-term, our political culture must fundamentally change; government must be run so that it avoids even the appearance of impropriety. Any hint of corruption or unfair dealing must be dealt with swiftly, harshly and publicly. It is like a garden with weeds; if you want to grow vegetables, fruit and pretty flowers, you absolutely must destroy the weeds as soon as they appear.

You must also keep them from popping up again.

I was checking on some fruit trees on my estate when I spotted some trash caught among the hostas. I became annoyed as soon as I recognized it as a flier – “these people, leaving trash in my yard just to try to sell something,” I thought. A phrase caught my eye just as I was about to crush it. That flier had been dropped, as if by the will of God, on my doorstep, and only a handful of others in the area would have recognized its significance.

Freddie’s was back.

Also, it was less than a mile away.

The next day, Frank Brown and I played nine holes at Manakiki and then drove over in a two-car caravan. We walked in to a small space with four tables and, in the back, a massive kitchen – easily five times as large as the dining area. A girl walked to the counter to greet us.

“Is this the same Freddie’s that was downtown?”

“Yep – the very same exact one,” she said.

Frank looked at the menu; I didn’t have to.

The assembly took a long time. When they did come out, I started getting nervous again. She could have been lying and just said that it was the same restaurant without expecting us to know. Maybe they just stole the name. Maybe the recipe changed. A million things could have happened. Now it was like meeting up with the good ex after twenty years, not having seen them in that time, with the express purpose of getting back together again - but not knowing how that might play out.

There wasn't any problem - they were still the same. And they were amazing.

The sausage was what set them apart. First, it’s huge – the “large” is twice the size of the regular, and $1 more. It is still almost black on the outside and, 1/3 of a millimeter under the skin, it’s a bright, uniform sausage-red. Frank thought that the sauce was the best of any Polish Boy he’d ever had. The coleslaw was fresh, crispy and creamy and the fries were soft and a little limp, but still good. The bun was perfect; it soaked up juices and its sponginess contrasted perfectly with the solidity of the sausage. I started matching each bite of sausage with some bread or a French fry just to make sure there was a contrast. It made me remember the first time I’d had a Polish Boy, and something inside of me – a memory of my youth, perhaps – was rekindled. Maybe it was simply love that worked out after all. I thought that, perhaps, I might not be able to go back to any of the other places I'd tried out since that first (and last) fateful day.

The old Freddie’s was dirty. I think that it was the dirtiest restaurant I’ve ever been in. The new one is clean and sparkling, and the food is the same. I was back in there two days later, and I'll be back again tomorrow. Politics, though, is, and always will be, a filthy, disgusting game; no matter who the Executive is, no matter who the Legislators are, and no matter where you're talking about, it'll always be the same, and the few good people who participate in it – well, they’re touching pitch.

Freddie's Rib House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Caddilac Challenge

Cadillac contacted me to see if I would be willing to judge an upcoming food competition between Chef Kaplan of Dragonfly and some celebrity chef I have never heard of (eschewing television sometimes means I'm not up on celebrity culture). It is part of a tour they're running of the country, pitting celebrity chefs against local heroes, and they wisely asked us to participate as judges. Unfortunately, I will be in Cinque Terre with a couple of accommodating, adventurous Austrians and tragically won't be able to be attend. Luckily for them a number of our writers will be there as judges. Here are two videos that Cadillac suggested we show to our readers; neither involve sandwiches, but they are instructive.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sixth City Diner

1265 West 9th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 619-1600

by Beau Cadiyo

When I was young in Cleveland a girl invited me to a salsa dancing class. I remember nothing about the girl, or the class, but every time I walked through the alleyway past that bar I would look through the windows and stare. Those windows were huge, it seemed, and inside the bar it was inevitably dark and romantic, like a 1930s gangster haunt, and couples always seemed to be in the middle of dance lessons of their own - young men and women dressed more formally and beautifully than the West Sixth crowd. There was music in the air through the summer nights, horn-heavy music, and the awkward movements that come with amateurs taking tentative steps forward and back, back and forth, adding affected flairs and garnishes which made them as ridiculous and attractive as three-year-old girls trying on their mother's makeup.

Tonight, I returned to the Waterstreet Grill - for it was the Waterstreet - and found it different inside. Someone had widened it and modernized it and taken out the old, elegant fixtures and replaced them with modern pieces. Gone was the dark, mysterious, danger-charged atmosphere; an airy lightness had descended, a little less threatening and a little more sterile. Gone were the dancing couples, or future couples; besides the one occupied table I sat at, three guys and one girl were clustered close to the bar and it was otherwise empty.

I don't remember the old menu, or if there even was an old menu. Maybe it was just a bar, a legendary, gangster-looking bar. This time, we were there to eat, and there was only one thing on the menu I could consider: the Peanut Butter and Bacon Burger.

It should be a rule that if you are in a restaurant you should eat something you've never had before or something you wouldn't or couldn't make yourself. Me, I would have never thought of mixing a burger with PB and bacon. I mean, Peanut Butter and Meat? Bacon? Why settle for so much saltiness; why not add some brie and strawberry jam, or, better yet, aged cheddar and apple butter to make it more like an Apple Pie burger? (SOMEONE STEAL THAT IDEA, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.) But just as we fight the war with the military we have, we order our burgers from the sandwich menu we are given.

To be totally honest, it was pretty good. The Peanut Butter they used melted all over the burger as oily condiments are wont to do, but rather than be annoying the combination surprisingly worked - it wasn't too thick or too oily. The bacon was at just the right point where it was crisp yet retained a satisfying, fatty chewiness. The lettuce and tomato were slightly wilted and dry, respectively, and the bun was made for a burger twice as large in circumference. Even these failings sufficed, though, and besides, nobody would order such an improbable creation for roughage or carbs. The sweet potato fries on the side were among the best I've ever had, and I hate sweet potato fries; they were a bit salty, but well-cooked. Everything on the plate benefited by generous dollops of ketchup and mayonnaise. The service, too, was excellent - over the course of the meal no fewer than five people came to check on us, one guy stopping by three times.

I never stepped foot in the Waterstreet after the first salsa lesson; perhaps it reflects more on my dancing or the girl than on the bar itself. I will certainly be stopping by Sixth City again, though. If they could come up with a PB and Bacon Burger, I'm very interested in finding out what else they have that I'd neither think of or make myself.

Sixth City Diner on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 22, 2011

Is the Polish Boy a perfect food?

I am currently sitting in my office eating a Polish Boy from R. Ribs that I got last night as part of their "buy one, get second for 99 cents" Thursday deal. In my office is a bottle of Sriracha which goes on virtually everything I eat - pizza, chicken, vegetables, breakfast sandwiches, salads, yogurt, apples, bananas. I sometimes even squirt it in my mouth to get a taste, I love it so much. A long time ago, after I got my first bottle, I remember eating something - an omelette, perhaps - and thinking, "this could go on any food and improve it."

Until today, that was true.

The most recent bottle was sitting on my desk next to my coffee, and when I reached over to take a sip I saw it. A few fries had fallen out of the Polish Boy and were lying forlornly on the plate. I reached out and, as an experiment, I squirted a bit of Sriracha on them, scooped them up with my fork, and chewed.

Sriracha can go with fries, of course, and with virtually any other potato product - Spanish omelettes, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, microwaved potatoes, potato salad, etc. But when I put these into my mouth, I knew I had made a mistake. The Sriracha was there, and had the same old familiar bite, but instead of improving the taste it somehow clashed in a way it has never clashed with any other food before. My face scrunched up and I immediately separated the now-contaminated fries from the rest of the Polish Boy and ate them quickly, then moved on to the deliciousness that is R. Ribs' sausage/coleslaw/fry/sauce/bun combination.

My mind couldn't process it immediately, but about three minutes later I had the thought: if, as is indisputable, Sriracha can improve anything, and that perfect things cannot be improved, and that Sriracha does not improve a Polish Boy, does it not follow that the Polish Boy is a complete and perfect sandwich? Is that not logic, complete and unbreakable and pure?

I submit to you that it is, and I suggest to you that you find yourself a Polish Boy this weekend, cut two small portions off of it, eat one small portion, eat the other with Sriracha, and then eat the rest of the Polish Boy understanding far more about logic, balance, perfection and indisputable facts than you ever did previously.

Have a lovely weekend, my friend.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Sadness

To be frank, one of the best things about the Cleveland Sandwich Board is the opportunity we have, each and every day, to provide immense and increasingly important aid to people around the world. Occasionally we receive emails from visitors, like the one below, and we respond directly to them, respecting their privacy and maintaining our own integrity. However, this writer asks us to address a subject of such seriousness, a source of such sadness, that we decided to make our response public - for the greater good.

We will be in Cleveland next week and wanted to make sure we tried several Polish boys. I saw a comment someone recently made on yelp or chowhound that said Freddie's was closed. Do you know if they are still in business? Any one else you would recommend? Thanks.

Frank -

Thank you for writing, and for recognizing that we are the single most important sandwich reviewing organization in the general vicinity.

Sadly, Freddie's closed; they appear to be putting in some sort of bar now. For alternatives, I'd suggest the following:

- Battiste & Dupree
- R. Ribs
- Just Like Mom's
- Hot Sauce Williams
- B&M Barbecue
- Seti's

Enjoy your stay, and your food!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Philadelphia - Pat's, Tony Luke's, Campo's

From Abroad

Where 9th street crosses Wharton and Passyunk Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19147

39 East Oregon Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 551-5725

214 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 923-1000

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: two of America's great sandwiches in one of America's great cities. Oh, and Campo's is kind of ok.

It should be obvious to anyone who visits Chicago that a city can thrive despite bitterly cold weather in the winter and rampant and odious corruption year-round; visiting Philadelphia, it’s evident a city can still have a strong heartbeat with widespread poverty and record levels of crime just over the border. Cleveland bears both of these curses, and could thrive, but for how it is planned. What I don’t get is why the city planners don’t follow Jane Jacobs’ lead and actually look to see what in a city will help it succeed.

Unlike Cleveland, Philadelphia has lots of mixed-use buildings and row houses and bars and restaurants. In many ways, it’s like East Fourth, but a whole city of East Fourths, open late and packed together. People want to be on top of each other – not just in the reproductive sense but in the no-man-is-an-island sense. We want to be around other people; we crave it; we are secretly most comfortable when we are crammed together in an apartment and we can hear our neighbors breathing.

So it was no wonder to me that Frank Kojouri wanted to move back to her hometown after law school. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years, but she was still the same – just more energetic and adult. She picked us up outside of the 30th Street Station and we zipped around while she showed us sights – alleys, famous punk venues, historical buildings. At one point, I saw a lot that was about eight feet wide and thought, “They could put a house there.” That’s what it’s like.

As she drove, she prepped us: there is a traditional divide between Geno’s and Pat’s for cheesesteaks. Geno’s is all glitz and glamour, Pat’s is where locals actually eat. Verily, they were right across the street from each other, and it was true: Geno’s was covered in fluorescent lights, flashing bulbs and bright colors, and was virtually empty; Pat’s hadn’t been painted since 1978 and was surrounded, the way that a bee hive buzzes with activity, little drones dancing and wiggling and moving. We queued up to the window and Frank ordered; as soon as she said we wanted Cheez Whiz, they were served, and I had to pay. It took less time to get the food and pay than it took you to read that sentence. I’ve never seen service that fast, and it wasn’t a fluke – they turn over huge amounts of food very, very quickly, and it was a miracle that we walked right into an open table, considering how many other patrons were trying to sit down.

According to Frank, what makes Philly cheesesteaks special in Philadelphia is the bread; it is baked by a local baker, and is uniform throughout the more famous and popular places. The cheeze whiz is standardized, too, so restaurants can’t differentiate much on that critical ingredient. What they CAN differentiate themselves on is the steak; also, each restaurant had a big vat of pickled peppers, and Pat’s also had some dried, smoked ones that made my ears ache when I ate one plain (not recommended). We tore ours apart, literally, so we could share them, and I tried mine plain. Then I did what Frank recommended and put some ketchup on. The difference was incredible: plain, they were good, but a tiny bit dry. With the ketchup, though, there was suddenly a sweet saltiness that complimented everything else well.

At the rate that we paid for our food, or $20 in about ten seconds, they would be making $7,200 per hour at peak times. When we drove out, we passed Geno’s. It was empty despite its lights; esse quam videri.

Frank drove us past some developing areas, past an abandoned cruise ship, past an Ikea and on to Tony Luke’s. Again, Cheesesteak, Cheez Whiz, and pickled peppers, but this time we weren’t hungry and there was a much longer wait. I grabbed a table while the girls ordered, and took the time to look at the other patrons. Many of them were fat. Not curvaceous, not thick, not heavy, not big-boned – they were fat. Fat fat. Cheesesteak fat. They didn’t look like locals; many seemed to be tourists, just like us, ill-clad for the weather and waiting around for the famous food.

I kept waiting, drawing post cards to my family, fending off other patrons trying to sit down, and then waited some more. Finally, Frank was called and the girls brought the food over. If the bread was the same, I wouldn’t have known it; this time it was far more crusty, as if they had scooped out the soft middle, all the better with which to hold the meat. It was greasier, too, which I liked; there wasn’t as much of a need for ketchup, although I did put some on. The meat was more tender, too, although I’m not sure it was worth the drive or the wait.

We had some grinders at Campo’s that don’t bear mention other than that they didn’t include oil on it at first, then got salty when we requested some. Then we walked the streets, dodging people and dogs, passing rooms where famous events occurred and the liberty bell. We played craps on Ben Franklin’s grave and left the dice there; we went into a Quaker meeting house which also hosted Franklin’s freemason meetings and talked to a period actor for an hour. It struck me that the buildings were just buildings; they didn’t have any special qualities, any special wood or floorboards or paint or roofs or windows that differentiated them from other buildings. Instead, they were distinguished by people who did great things in them. They saw things that were wrong, or that could be improved, and they worked to fix them. Nothing more, nothing less.

We’d run around the city that morning – from our hotel around City Hall, then to Chinatown, past the market, then up to the art museum. I thought of my mother. When I first saw Saturday Night Fever, she explained to me the significance at the end: Travolta’s character crosses THE bridge, which to people from New York was some big deal. “People spend their entire lives in four blocks of New York, and they never get out; when he crossed the bridge, it was like. . .woah.”

The first time she saw it, she cried – not the little tears that well up when the old lady suddenly recognizes her husband in The Notebook, or when the young lady decides to tell her parents to sod off, again in The Notebook, or when you think she's going to get married to the rich asshole, again in The Notebook, but giant sobs, the kind that might be even more embarrassing except she was in a theater in New York and everyone was sobbing. I imagined what it must be like to be from Philadelphia, knowing what it meant for Rocky to run from his neighborhood all the way up to the art museum, then to stand at the top and look down at the city and think about conquering it.

Pat's King of Steaks on Urbanspoon

Tony Luke's on Urbanspoon

Campo's on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ontario Street Cafe

2053 Ontario St
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 861-6446

by Beau Cadiyo

The TSA recently revised its methods of patting down children at airports. The practice has lots of critics; after all, how many five-year-olds are going to kick down the door of a cockpit, fire bullets into the heads of the pilots and commandeer the plane for terrorist activity? The answer: very, very few (I've learned recently that anything, really, is possible, and not to underestimate children.)

This video starts out with John Pistole, the head of the TSA, proving that he deserves to spend eternity in a special hell of being molested by TSA agents armed with metal-detecting tridents and rubber gloves slathered in hot sauce. Then Rand Paul, Ron Paul's son and current US Senator from Kentucky, has a nice little monologue where he accuses the TSA chief of "not getting it" and "missing the boat" in targeting TSA searches.

For the most part he's right, but his justifications are absurd. He indicates that the children aren't going to be the terrorists and, of course, he's right. What he somehow misses altogether, and what Pistole corrects him on, is that these children can make effective weapons when deployed by adults. In addition, they are usually traveling with adults, all of whom might be capable of carrying out a terrorist attack as ably as the Saudis of 9/11 and can use the children as mules for everything from weapons to drugs; the adults traveling with those children might be the ones that the TSA actually has their eyes on.

Then he goes on to say, "I think you ought to get rid of the random patdowns. The American public is unhappy with 'em; they're unhappy with the invasiveness of 'em; the internet is full of jokes about the invasiveness of your patdown searches; and we ought to just consider is this what we're willing to do." I guess this goes to the heart of democracy; what is the role of the government? Is it to do what is right or to perform the will of the people? If it was to do the will of the people, some might say that government should stop whatever it is doing and serve ice cream to everyone if the temperature hits 90 degrees. If it is to do what is right, though, then the justification of "people are joking about this on the internet; get rid of it" is ludicrous. I suppose it must be somewhere in between, where politicians perform the will of the people to the extent that they feel it is beneficial.

These things need to be discussed and hashed out every few years by the new generation of leaders, preferably in dingy bars with intimate booths that lend themselves to conversation, random friendly strangers stopping by to contribute to the conversation and, most important of all, good food and cheap drinks to stimulate and lubricate the flow of ideas. The Ontario Street Cafe fits that bill perfectly. When I first walked in it was loud - VERY loud. Beyonce was on the jukebox and all of the ten or fifteen women sitting around the bar or shuffling drinks to patrons was singing and dancing; the men were sitting back laughing. Frank Meuti and I - wide-eyed and somewhat disoriented by the onslaught of visual and auditory information - found a booth in the back corner and sat down; the music was loud, but they had somehow found the volume level that matched Jordan Baker's requirements for parties: it was loud enough that you could have a private conversation.

The Dos Equis lagers we ordered were brought within thirty seconds; the hot corned beef sandwich was brought within three minutes. I am usually not impressed by quality when I am impressed by speed, so it was with some amount of trepidation that I bit into the first half of my sandwich. It was, like Slyman's, packed high; unlike Slyman's, they gave me the choice of various sauces, of which I chose the mayo/horseradish.

If there is any sauce that should be consumed with a corned beef sandwich, this is the sauce. It was creamy and moist and spicy, adding to what was already incredibly tender corned beef that I suspected one might be able to gum to edibility. The bread was standard white bread; some Swiss cheese was melted perfectly on top. I forced Frank to eat some, at which he took half of the other half, devouring it in between observations on developments in Cleveland he either was a wholehearted supporter of or was deeply skeptical about. We were approached, at various times, by people who were very sorry to interrupt our conversation but wanted our opinions on something; rather than get annoyed, the fact that we were fish out of water made us open and accepting, which made them the same way. Then, we went back to discussing the role of creativity in economic development, intelligent city planning versus unintelligent city planning, the Medical Mart and the Cuyahoga County Democrats. A few Dos Equis bottles later, we got up from the table and headed out the door. Frank pointed out the price chart on the wall: $3.25 for top shelf drinks, and much less for well. I scanned the shelves; Dewar's, Black Velvet and Jack all had representative bottles, and I made a mental note that I'd be getting those next time instead of the flash $3 bottles.

The key statement that Senator Paul makes toward the end of his monologue is that "no one's thinking." With the TSA and the state of government in our city, county, state and nation, he hits the hammer right on the head; with the future of our democracy, though, I think there's a younger class rising up who will prove him wrong.

Ontario Street Cafe on Urbanspoon


Sometimes we get interesting search alerts via Feedjit. I just noticed this one:

Birmingham, Alabama arrived from on "The Cleveland Sandwich Board" by searching for: sex "j steward johnson".

Birmingham, Alabama - I am not sure what you're looking for, but I sincerely hope you find it.


Deagan's Kitchen & Bar

14810 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 767-5775

by Beau Cadiyo

Des Ayuno brought up a good point in her criticism of Just Like Mom's: why is Florida only proposing to test welfare recipients for drugs and not other recipients of government largesse - bankers, say, or farmers, or anyone whose lifestyle has been partially or wholly subsidized by taxpayers - i.e., politicians themselves? The logic follows the same patterns as it would for welfare recipients:


1) Drug use is illegal.
2) Because it is illegal, people should not be using drugs.
3) Unlike many illegal activities, drug use leaves some of its evidence in a person’s body, meaning that we can test for past crimes by testing the person’s body.
4) Drugs cost money.
5) Bailout money was money given to banks approaching bankruptcy so that they could afford to stay open, not only supporting the economy but also providing necessities to millions of Americans.
6) If bankers people did not have the bailouts, they would not be able to afford food.
7) If banks had money, they would not need bailouts.
8) If banks had money, they should spend it supporting the economy and the government which saved them and not on salaries which would go to drugs (an illegal luxury).
9) If banks had money, then the bailouts freed up money for them to spend on drugs.
10) If banks had money, spending it on drugs means that they are not spending it on the economy/government, so that’s money they should be spending on the economy/government and the government is supplementing the bankers' drug use/illegal activity.
11) The government should not supplement illegal activity – here or abroad.
12) Thus, to the extent possible, the government should be doing everything in its power to avoid supplementing activity that violates its own laws.

1) Drug use is illegal.
2) Because it is illegal, people should not be using drugs.
3) Unlike many illegal activities, drug use leaves some of its evidence in a person’s body, meaning that we can test for past crimes by testing the person’s body.
4) Drugs cost money.
5) Farm subsidy money is money that is given to farmers people so that they can afford to run their farms "profitably."
6) If farmers did not have subsidies, they would not be able to afford food or other necessities.
7) If farmers had money, they would not need subsidies.
8) If farmers had money, they should spend it on food and other necessities and not on drugs (an illegal luxury).
9) If farmers had money, then subsidies free up money for them to spend on drugs.
10) If farmers had money, spending it on drugs means that they are not spending it on necessities, so that’s money they should be spending on food and the government is supplementing their drug use/illegal activity.
11) The government should not supplement illegal activity – here or abroad.
12) Thus, to the extent possible, the government should be doing everything in its power to avoid supplementing activity that violates its own laws.

1) Drug use is illegal.
2) Because it is illegal, people should not be using drugs.
3) Unlike many illegal activities, drug use leaves some of its evidence in a person’s body, meaning that we can test for past crimes by testing the person’s body.
4) Drugs cost money.
5) Political salaries are moneys given to politicians so that they can afford food.
6) If politicians did not have salaries, they might not be able to afford food.
7) If politicians had money, they would not need salaries.
8) If politicians had money, they should spend it on necessities and not on drugs (an illegal luxury).
9) If politicians had money, then salaries free up money for them to spend on drugs.
10) If politicians have money, spending it on drugs means that they are not spending it on necessities or their public service, so it is money they should be spending on necessities and the government is supplementing their drug use/illegal activity.
11) The government should not supplement illegal activity – here or abroad.
12) Thus, to the extent possible, the government should be doing everything in its power to avoid supplementing activity that violates its own laws.

Indeed, if anyone should be tested for drugs it should be politicians, who propose to set the laws of the land that the rest of us are supposed to follow. The voters of Florida should be amending the statutes so that politicians are held to higher standards than anyone else as regards drug use and policy and obeying the laws.

Having said that, if I was a politician, farmer or banker, I would take my government funds and go to Deagan's. We had a table for ten on Sunday afternoon and hit their brunch menu; three of us ordered burgers and the rest ordered a variety of breakfasty or healthy items. Frank Todoroff got the chicken salad plate, an amalgam of chicken salad (light on the mayo and heavy on flavor), fruit (berries, grapes and melon slices) and crackers (the wheat kind). My Ohio Beef Burger was barely overcooked and thoroughly juicy; the bacon maintained an incredible level of crispiness throughout, and the fries, while warm and soggy rather than hot and crisp, were ok with the ketchup served in a little tin cup. Babies were held aloft around many of the tables; one little kid had learned to flip his shirt up in order to get beaded necklaces, and he tried to get the others at his table to join in. We sucked down mimosas and coffees and food and left full and content for Sunday evening shenanigans. All in all, it wasn't the best burger in Cleveland - as some amateurs have alleged - but it was reasonably good, and came with a great atmosphere. Bravo, Deagan's - you deserve our welfare, bailout, subsidy and salary cash more than most of the actual recipients.

Deagan's Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

5 Star Subs

27575 Euclid Ave
Euclid, OH 44132
(216) 732-7750

by Kingtycoon Methuslah

So yesterday I didn't want to wake up. Man I didn't. I came to just up on five and discovered that my head and shoulders had found the sweet spot in the bed after probably all night of searching and they did not want to surrender. I did though because I'm fairly responsible, eventually. This did mean though that I missed out on having enough coffee. Having enough coffee is a real concern for me in the mornings because I'm out too early to stop and get some anyplace and on the two hours of bus I take every morning - there's not a lot of useful stops anyway - so it's on me to be properly supplied for my odyssey.

Which got me to seriously thinking. What if I was my grandfather? There's a story in our family. Long ago, when the British still ruled Egypt my Great Grandfather Methuselah would go to the city to work on the docks for ten piasters a day. Then when my grandfather was big enough - like ten? He came too. He unloaded a boat for his ten piasters and then went and bought fruit with it - the next day he sold the fruit to all the longshoremen and came away with twenty piasters and on and on. In this story I guess it's important to remember that the piaster is some fraction of a penny.

But I was standing around at the stop on 276th and Tungsten thinking about it - I could, when I get a paycheck - I could just go and buy a jug of coffee... I could buy a carton of self-made cigarettes and box them up - I could take donuts - I could merchant it up - be a merchant - maybe after a while work my way up to getting a food truck - like the roach-coach... Go from bus stop to bus stop in the early hours? I was thinking and imagining this. And counting up the people at each stop. Could I get a dollar out of each? Average a dollar? How much money do they have anyway? Taking the bus? Is this a sensible business?

I finally figured it's probably not as much as I make doing my data entry job. I don't know - maybe I'll still buy a jug of coffee one morning and some cups - give it a shot. It's not like I can't just drink all the excess.

On the second leg of my three legged trip I just read my book about the Crimean War - which is very, very good. It was an alright trip I guess? The driver looks at me with some kind of wary suspicion - she wanted everyone to fill out a survey about her the day before but I declined because I'd never ridden with her before - so who knows what I think - I believe she lost her competition about this survey because she seems ill - well not ill - because she's plenty friendly - but I guess indifferently disposed toward those of us who thwarted her efforts.

On the one hand I'm not protestant enough to respect people who value their work performance. Mainly because - you're still working for someone else - for crumbs from the big table. On the other hand - I can see that there's a lot of functioning that happens in the world based on that dynamic so I guess I value it, as a consumer. Could I keep the coffee warm enough? Would people care if I mentioned in passing about General Raglan's performance at the battle of the Alma? Could I, would I sell people the donuts?

Leg three - the kids everyone knows by name don't ride today which means - silence - relatively anyhow. Sometimes there's singing. Nobody remembers any part of "Three Blind Mice" besides those three words - so those three words are chanted forever in a way that loses its endearment quickly. So in silence. I have a good idea and am writing and scribbling, fast as I can, racing the bus to get it all down, or most of it - I'm writing a book you know - on the bus - it's alright - 10,000 words in week #1 - which is an alright pace.

Work is... work. I like it fine - there are many malingerers, malcontents and I'd say - Malefactors. Really this is a job I could do from home - I could do it as a contractor - say. In week #1 I've knocked out a thousand records - the old man who sits dexter is up to 200, the young man who sits sinister is up to 400. We all started on the same day. I'm thinking - I don't have to be here to do this - I should do it at home, heck, I should get another job and just do this on the side - at night when I'm bored anyway and just watch old tv shows - that's how it should be. They could make a deal with me to do a certain amount in exchange for a certain amount that's how it should be.

Talking to the man in charge afterward while waiting on my bus he says that in the spring that was sort of how it was - but that these complaining malefactors - they'd abused the system to the point that exists now - where breaktimes are enforced with draconian alacrity, and clocking in and out and mandatory hours of operation are strictly enforced. That's the way of things you know. This is the pattern of complaint: "We aren't treated in the way that we want to be treated humbug!" And to me... Waiting on the bus I decide that this is the x-y axis. You have dignity and you have comfort - you sacrifice one to have the other. I ride the bus because I think asking for rides and looking for assistance is undermining of dignity. I think getting in a car and paying all kinds of money and having that kind of responsibility etc... is a big trade up in exchange for comfort that comes at the expense of having some dignity and self determination. "Man, I gotta sell my blood, my car payment is due." That kind of thing. So I have no expectation of comfort at work and certainly don't complain about being asked to take out the trash because... Because it's just pathetic and shitty to complain about that - while it's virtuous and correct to do what is needed without comment.

Complaining - fie.

Going home I get to a neat stretch of the war in the Crimea and am engrossed. On leg #1 Wayne comes on the bus.

The day before I'd made his acquaintance - a nice enough guy - Wayne. He's a displaced person, crippled by a life of hard work and recent family deaths. He tells me stories about the people at the hobo jungle at 185th - naming names and gossiping lightly and good naturedly about who's a grouch and who's friendly. Mentions how the fishing is good but hard in the runoff stream.

This boy gets dropped off at the stop while we're sitting around and I'm sharing my cigarettes. He's one of the... I dunno - aggressively hillbilly-gay boys that you see a lot around the area? Very WT and super aggressive with the staring and gross attempts to flirt. "You're really tall!" He shouts at me from across the parking lot. Approaches and insinuates himself into me and Wayne's conversation. "I sure am." I reply.

True story - I hate flirting and really don't like it when a dude gets the predatory smile on me. Anyhow kid wants to now dominate the conversation and starts going on about how he's a karate badass and then calls attention to a big scar on his eye - "My ex did this to me."

Wayne is supportive. "Well why'd that happen buddy?"

"He was drunk."

Wayne: "He?!"

Boy: "Is that a problem?"

Wayne: "Looks like it was for you." Which raises a laugh - because it's a nice day and smiles all around.

Bus is caught and on to the penultimate stop. Waiting at Tungsten and 276th again. It's a long dull wait, and people there - they're all grouches - we all say to each other: "RTA runs when she wants to." - Except I say "... runs when he wants to..." Because I think buses are boys.

But tired and hungry I run to the sandwich shop on the block and the Palestinian(?) guy there sells me a sandwich with a long sales-pitch. "Hey bro - it's better than Subway - you get a lettuce and tomato sandwich at Subway bro - I got the real thing - one pound of meat on each one. I know. I used to work there. You tell your friends bro, you come back every day okay. Hey bro - I take food stamps for these sandwiches - you remember - hey! Hey, Schaadi! Get him a menu. You don't forget right bro?"

I realize - you understand - that this is what my grandfather would do. He would figure out this sandwich shop.

So I get a sandwich and finally get up on the 28 and head back home- past the apocalyptic windmill at Lincoln Electric - there's always gossip about it - is it really the biggest one in the country? For all I know - I only know what I overhear on the bus. I have an all day pass but don't want to go anywhere else so I hand it over to a kid who wants one - the first person to look up when I offer it. I have a pang - I mean, is it virtuous to give it away? Isn't the RTA in some kind of trouble- should I make everyone pay their share? Or is it benevolent to share what I have? Realizing that my grandfather would have sold it and not given it away.

I go home and eat what turns out to be a great sandwich - a pound of roast beef - which was the ration of beef given the British at Balaclava it so happens. A pound of beef each - the better to fight the Russian heretics.

So these things happened.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Colorado Sports Bar

8400 Pena Blvd # B
Denver, CO 80249-6213
(303) 702-4685

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: If you’re stopping in Denver, try one of the other places – Wolfgang Puck’s or, if you’re feeling healthy, the Jamba Juice. Give the Colorado Sports Bar a miss.

It sucks that this needs to be said:

1) There are solid double-yellow lines in the middle of many roads. These lines mean that you’re not supposed to cross them – not to make a left turn while you wait in the middle of a lane of traffic, not to pass, and not to sit in the middle of a lane of oncoming traffic while waiting to make a left turn.
2) You know the shoulder on the highway or interstate? It is for stopping on in emergencies. It is not a buffer for drifting down when you’re texting, it is not for passing, and it is not for going down at 65 mph just because you want to get around heavy traffic. It weighs on our hearts to have to say that if you are driving down the shoulder trying to get around traffic, and someone has an emergency and pulls over, don’t be shocked if people think you’re an asshole and don’t let you back into the actual lanes.
3) If a car is stopped at a light and is going straight, do not drive into the other lane and make a right turn around them. God, if only I haven’t seen six people do this in the last year.
4) In fact, just because many people don’t seem to get this, it is unacceptable to drive into oncoming traffic. For some reason, drivers seem to think that this is ok. It is not.
5) Take the Bluetooth headsets out of your ears when you are driving. In fact, take them out of your ears whenever you’re not on the phone. Wow, you’re wealthy enough to afford a Bluetooth headset. You look stupid.
6) Especially in movie theaters. Why do we have to write this, people?
7) Use your turn signals when changing lanes and, yes, when turning. So you are clear on this, the turn signal knob is located on the left side of the steering wheel. The left side is the side where, if you point your forefinger and thumb out at a right angle, it looks like a capital “L.” Push it up to signal right and down to signal left. The person you don’t see might be the one who sees your signal.
8) Do not go straight or make a left turn when your light is red. I know you’re important, and the government owes you special recognition and the right to ignore traffic signals. Wait your turn.
9) Keep playing your music really loud – so loud, in fact, that other cars’ windows rattle when you’re driving down I-90. It will all be worth it when, in 20 years, most of your sentences consist of the word, “what?”
10) Don’t spend gobs of money on rims, LEDs, chrome and anything else that costs money on your car to make it more beautiful. Don’t, under any circumstances, invest or save for the future. China’s economy depends on your stupidity…er, spending.

For an airport with an unusually high number of cowboy hats, low-rise jeans and whale-tails, the Denver Airport has surprisingly few burger joints. I ended up at the Colorado Sports Bar in hopes of getting served quickly, since the other looked like crap. Vancouver was up 3-2 in the NHL finals, which many people seemed to care about, including the older, overweight attorney who tried to pick up the single, traveling doctor mother in the seats behind me on the plane, standing at the bar, cheering the plays on television and then looking around to see if anyone had noted his crucial support of one of the teams.

Five minutes after sitting down, a Hickory Burger was in front of me. The speed of a burger’s delivery tells you a lot; if it takes a while, they’re cooking it fresh; if it’s out quickly, it was pre-cooked and just waiting for some sucker to order it. This one was slathered in hickory barbecue sauce and topped with cheese, onion rings, lettuce, tomato and pickle. The toppings added a lot, as did the delicious fries, but a few hours later I was suffering stomach pains – sure sign that the meat was of extremely poor quality. It tasted about as good as burger meat can taste, but that, of course, isn’t saying a lot.

If you’re stopping in Denver, try one of the other places – Wolfgang Puck’s or, if you’re feeling healthy, the Jamba Juice. Give the Colorado Sports Bar a miss.

Stevenson's Bar and Grille

23749 Lakeshore Blvd
Euclid, OH 44123
(216) 731-7671

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: Probably the best dive bar food in town.

A few weeks ago, Cleveland saw two shootings within a week of each other. The first, in a club on Public Square, happened early in the morning on a Friday, after the clubs got out and before people started going downtown to work; the second, again on a weeknight, happened in a bar on Saint Clair.

My mind went wild. Who the hell is out at 2:30 a.m. on a Friday morning? Don’t these people have jobs to go to? If not, how are they affording alcohol and cover charges and weapons? Why are people going out with guns to clubs in the first place, and who knows that they have these guns yet lets them walk around with them without comment? Don’t they realize that this can only escalate?

If there’s any one good thing that comes out of all this, it may be that there weren’t any race riots or accusations of white paternalistic instincts hurled about. I’m in the middle of the new, beautifully written biography of Malcolm X, and one cannot read it and not be more sensitive to issues of race. Also, now that it is summer, many people are probably being reminded of the controversy last year over Cleveland police officers discriminating against blacks in clubs on West Sixth. In light of the allegations of disparate treatment, it is thus particularly interesting that all of the victims of these shootings appear to be black; there is no mention of the race of the alleged shooters, but in one video the handcuffed man being paraded around by police is also black. We don’t know the race of the security guard, but all of the people filmed watching the scene on St. Clair are black. All of the people calling for the club to be shut down appear to be white, though, and it looks like many of the police officers are also white. There are no apparent accusations of racism in either of these instances, or of whites unduly oppressing blacks by calling to close down majority-black clubs or arresting people who allegedly assaulted a security guard. There are no calls for whites to leave the majority black communities alone and to let these communities take care of themselves. Instead, there is complete silence about the race of the perpetrators, victims and the government agents.

Is this good or bad? I think it’s probably great. The race card is easily, and often, played in situations where it is actually inapplicable. The reaction to these shootings indicates that people are deciding not to play this card for once, and instead are focusing on what we know: the Public Square club had numerous violations and was being recommended for closure before the shootings occurred, and the deceased on Saint Clair were, apparently, beating a security guard and dragging him to a back bathroom to assault him in other ways (whether this was turning into a sexual assault is not clear, and reporting since the shootings has been minimal). In a sense, then, the fact that white people are calling for the club to be shut down without charges of racism being levied against them indicates that perhaps racial animosity, or beliefs about inherent racism, don’t have to come up when race might play a factor, and I think that is a positive. At the same time, though, we must be afraid that some will argue that this is justification for more disparate treatment between majority-white and majority-black clubs; we must also recognize that this could escalate to the point where many people will feel that they have to carry weapons around for safety.
Safety. The shootings also reminded me of a debate I had a long time ago about what Cleveland needs. A classmate of mine argued that education was the top priority for Cleveland; I argued it was security. He came from the standpoint of long-term thinking, he said; education would bring people to the area, help convince them to stay and also add to the economy, long-term. Education is important; don’t get me wrong. However, if kids can’t walk to school because they’re afraid they’re going to be shot, the greatest schools in the world are worthless because the students can’t get to them.

Similarly, security downtown is of primary importance. Of course, the ideal is to have a vigilant citizenry that will police itself and prevent these sorts of antisocial villains from perpetrating crimes. Second best, though, and what is actually realistic for our downtown, is to have the police do everything that they can to prevent crimes from occurring. Whether their numbers need to be increased, their pay needs to increase, or some other factor needs to occur, we need more cops on the street preventing crimes whenever they can and arresting criminals whenever they can’t. The statements made about downtown’s reputation speak to this: when crimes occur, people are driven away. Security, then, is of the utmost importance in the city’s revitalization.

We were recently at a dive bar, Stevenson’s, which is perhaps one of the more dive-y bars I’ve ever been to. It used to be a bait shop for fishermen, and then added a bar and food capabilities. We had a few burgers and a pork sandwich, all of which were prepared right behind the bar in full view of everyone; they also have a decent beer selection. The sandwiches were delicious for dive bar food; the burgers were well-done but the lettuce and tomato were fresh and the buns were of the hard-to-mess-up variety. The best part: it’s pretty cheap. If you’re in the area and you’re hungry, this is one place you should consider. The only caveat is that there is almost no parking in the bar’s parking lot, so you may have to drive around the corner to find a spot.

Stevenson's Bar and Grille on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just Like Mom’s

3030 Superior Ave E
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 685-5555

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: Good Polish Boy.

A proposal by Yum! Brands – owner of such brands as Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut – would allow people on welfare to use food stamps to purchase fast food. While we at the Cleveland Sandwich Board are, generally speaking, encouraging of all efforts to increase the percentage and number of people who have easy and affordable access to sandwiches, we have found ourselves generally against this use of taxpayer funds intended to help those who cannot afford food to buy it.

You are incredulous. Here: if the point is to allow people to eat, then allowing them as much choice as possible in their food selection seems to be an intelligent thing to do; let them get the food that they want, when and where they want it, and don’t try to dictate to them what they choose to consume. The problem, though, is in “choice.” America is the land of the free and liberty is a great ideal, and that with freedom and liberty comes great responsibility. However, we cannot support the idea that liberty and freedom should exist absent responsibility, and, no matter how much fast food companies would love to claim otherwise, choosing fast food is not a responsible food option, because Yum! Brands food sucks, being marginally better than prison food, and their food is the cause of, or at least a major contributor to, obesity and obesity-related diseases. We understand that sometimes life kicks you in your balls/ovaries, and that nothing can be done to prevent that, and that society has an interest in making sure that nobody is allowed to hit bottom without some support. However, we can’t fathom allowing people to make poor food choices when better food choices – and virtually everything is a better food choice compared to what Yum! Brands puts out – are available. The fact that Yum! will itself be one of the major beneficiaries of the program makes us even more suspicious. (The idea that this is part of Yum!'s oft-rumored "Soylent Green" project remain unsubstantiated.)

Nobody paid us to write those things. As importantly in this day and age, nobody paid us not to write them. The Cleveland Sandwich Board is an incorruptible, unimpeachable force of honesty and goodness in the world – as at least three ESPN commentators have opined, perhaps the last. If nobody pays us not to say something, we will say it, and damn the consequences.

This ties in to a more recent debate that we’ve been witnessing in Florida regarding testing welfare recipients for drug use. As far as I can tell, the reasons for doing so are pretty straightforward:
1) Drug use is illegal.
2) Because it is illegal, people should not be using drugs.
3) Unlike many illegal activities, drug use leaves some of its evidence in a person’s body, meaning that we can test for past crimes by testing the person’s body.
4) Drugs cost money.
5) Welfare is money that is given to poor people so that they can afford food.
6) If poor people did not have welfare, they would not be able to afford food.
7) If poor people had money, they would not need welfare.
8) If poor people have money, they should spend it on food (a necessity) and not on drugs (an illegal luxury).
9) If poor people have money, then welfare frees up money for them to spend on drugs.
10) If poor people have money, spending it on drugs means that they are not spending it on food, so that’s money they should be spending on food and the government is supplementing their drug use/illegal activity.
11) The government should not supplement illegal activity – here or abroad.
12) Thus, to the extent possible, the government should be doing everything in its power to avoid supplementing activity that violates its own laws.

Am I wrong? Am I wrong? Please tell me I’m wrong, because if not, I agree with Republicans and Tea Partiers, and my mother would be so, so ashamed.

To be fair, we wouldn’t want them spending money on many things otherwise available in restaurants but not that good for you. Polish Boys, for example. Recently, we were asked to compile a list of the top Polish Boys in Cleveland for Fox 8, and to have amateur yacht racer/professional rake Andrew Samtoy present them on New Day Cleveland. This city has many amazing Polish Boys, and we were asked to limit our choices to five.

Five Polish Boys. Try it sometime. It’s not as easy as you think.

There were many good ones we had; after all, it’s difficult to go wrong with sausage, barbecue sauce, coleslaw and French fries. You could put that in a bowl and mash it up and sell it as a Polish Salad and people would suck it through straws, it would be so amazing. One of these good ones that didn’t get on the final list was the one at Just Like Mom’s.

A group of us got together to eat one Friday night at Superior Pho. We went to the Indians game, where a bottom-of-the-ninth walk off home run was the perfect reason to celebrate with cartoon-themed fireworks; a sobering walk through the crowds (after three flasks of whiskey and brandy) and a miraculously easy exit from the parking structure got us back to Superior, where we ordered a Polish Boy, split it up, then started eating.

The sausage was huge, and juicy, seemingly having been deep-fried; the fries were standard and had some sort of seasoning on them; the bun was well on its way to soaking up much of the barbecue sauce (reasonably good) and the coleslaw (fresh and creamy). I finished mine far before Scarlet did, and sat back, holding Frank’s hand as Scarlet slurped up the last few pieces. Then, as I always seem to do after eating Polish Boys, I burped; later, a small fart would escape as well, more pungent than most, something I attribute to the sausage.

Good? Yes. One of the greats? No. Those were listed on the air the following Tuesday, and, as I was out of town, I wasn’t able to watch it. Since eating it, and putting significant thought into nutrition, I’ve started to have a change in heart: if I know that it’s not good for me, and that there are better, healthier options available, it is stupid to go with the worse, less healthy option over the better, healthier one. What one should do should take precedence over what one can or wants to do. Something tells me that’s the height of civilization, or discipline, or religious devotion, or some ineffable quality that is generally seen as beneficial. Choosing salads over sausages is like choosing Jesus over Satan; it is the narrow path of overcoming temptation which leads us to the promised land, not giving in to transient desires.

Someday, somewhere, a grad student is going to write her thesis on reading Milton as an instructive text on how to combat Type II Diabetes.

UPDATE: 6/21/11 - Yum! Brands just scored low on customer satisfaction in a report issued this morning. It looks like they probably realized that they needed to tap new markets, since the customers they have been relying on are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with what Yum! is putting out.

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