Quick Visit to Cleveland

This past weekend, I flew into Cleveland to attend a funeral in Plymouth, Michigan.  My sister’s father-in-law, whom I’ve known since I was 12 years old (I still can’t believe that!), was taken away from us too soon from ALS.  It was a wonderful funeral, and Howard would have loved it!  The food and drinks were flowing and the laughs never stopped.  The photograph above is from Christmas 2008.  My brother-in-law, Tom, and his father, Howard, are in the foreground.  My dad, father-in-law, and husband are in the background.  Howard will be missed by many.

I arrived into Cleveland Thursday night.  There was just enough time to check out Michael Symon‘s B Spot in Crocker Park.  I had a hard time deciding which burger to order and settled on Breuben ($9) – a burger topped with Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, Swiss, and Russian Dressing. I can’t leave Ohio without having at least one Great Lakes Brewery beer, so the Dortmunder Gold ($5) was a perfect complement to my meaty burger.  It was a perfect meal.  I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be full because it looked small.  Looks are deceiving!  Along with a side of Rosemary Fries and Onion Rings my parents and I shared, I was just fine!  Next time, I might opt for a Bad A** Shake, possibly the Chocolate Banana Marshmallow with a shot of dark rum ($9), perhaps?

B Spot Burgers on Urbanspoon

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On Sunday, I had a full day free with my parents and brother in Cleveland before I flew back home to San Diego, and we made the most of it.  We met my in-laws for breakfast at Lucky’s Cafe in Tremont (Chef Heather Haviland).  We got there as soon as it opened because the place is small and very popular.  (Good thing to know: If you have a large party, they’ll take a reservation. Otherwise, get there early or else expect to wait.)  What I really loved about Lucky’s is that even though they were super busy, they let us linger at the tables.  We never felt rushed, and we were able to relax and enjoy our breakfast.  A few of us ordered Gingerbread Waffles surrounded by roasted apples and topped with delicious whipped cream drizzled with caramel sauce.  It truly was a dessert, and I loved every bite.  I ordered a Hot Apple Cider since I rarely get the opportunity.  All of their hot beverages come in huge mugs which I greatly appreciated.  It was the perfect cure for the chilly weather we had that day.  A couple other people ordered “Shipwreck” which was a mix of hash browns, eggs, vegetables, cheddar cheese served with their house baked toast and fruit.  I’m definitely going back, and I think I might get that next time!  It’s a little pricey, but in exchange you get house made breads and pastries, food from local farmers, and a home-like ambiance.  For 6 of us, including food and beverages, the total bill was about $100.

Lucky's Cafe on Urbanspoon

After my gluttonous meal, my family headed to The Cleveland Museum of Art.  If you are reading this and are not living in the Cleveland area, make a point to visit the city and make sure the museum is number 1 on your to do list.  And if you live in Cleveland, and haven’t been recently, go!!!!  One of the best summer jobs I ever had was being a security guard there.  I was paid to look at art (and to tell people to step away from the artwork) all day long.  I loved it!  However,  I did get tired of people saying “I could do that”.  If you say that, just make sure a security guard isn’t around.  But I digress ( I do that a lot!).  The special exhibition is “Rembrandt in America” and runs through May 28th.   Rembrandt’s works are often under scrutiny by Art Historians.  Is it or isn’t it by the Master?  This exhibition allows the viewer to compare a number of paintings that had originally been attributed to Rembrandt but were later determined to have been done by a student or someone copying his work.  There is a room devoted entirely to showing visitors how scholars study a painting in order to properly (hopefully) identify the artist.  I found it amazing to see the life Rembrandt brought out of a work – or put into it!  There are 2 paintings that really felt like the subject was in the room with me.  I could go on and on, but just do yourself a favor and check it out.  It’s the best $14 you’ll spend.  And there are two paintings in the exhibition that are from San Diego!  Woohoo!  I thought this was interesting, too:  the maker of Glidden is a sponsor and each room in the exhibition is painted in a different color influenced by Rembrandt’s works.  Before you enter, you can pick up a color palette sheet.  If you happen to love the green used in one room, you know exactly which paint to pick up at the store!  And speaking of Glidden, if you are a visitor and need a hotel room close to the museum and many other attractions, check out Glidden House.  It’s a mansion that was built in 1910 and is now a very unique hotel.   There are so many things to do just steps away!  Another tip, the tickets for Rembrandt are timed.  (Only special exhibitions have a fee.  The rest of the museum is free year round. Love CMA!!)  I recommend getting there when it opens so that you can immediately go into the exhibition, and there will be fewer vistors which is always nice!  Otherwise, you may have to wait to enter.  If that’s the case, there’s plenty other galleries to visit, but just remember your visit may take longer than you orginally planned. (Check out this video about “Rembrandt in America”:  666BnpAxTBY)

The time I spent at The CMA made me work up an appetite!  Hey, that’s a lot of walking and standing!  My family decided to head over to Presti’s Bakery and Cafe in Little Italy for some doughnuts, coffee and hot chocolate.  In my younger days, my friends and I loved going to the original Presti’s location (which used to be up the street a bit) after the bars had closed and stock up on some freshly made doughnuts.  Those were the days!  Before we left, I picked up one of their Pepperoni Rolls to bring back to my husband back in San Diego – one of his favorites.  I highly recommend getting one of those, too!

Presti's Café and Deli on Urbanspoon

It’s amazing that I was only gone for a few days, but I have so many awesome memories from my trip.   As always, I am already looking forward to going back to Cleveland to see family and friends – and to eat great food!!

As always, take care and happy eating!