I quizzed the local coworkers on the best dining options in downtown Cleveland, and second after Lola was The Greenhouse, a modern-eclectic gastropub. It has two floors of drinking, generous patio seating for nice warm summer nights, and a dark interior decked out with reclaimed wood and stacks of HVS tapes, and a fleet of hipster bicycles hanging from the ceiling.
After an extravagant culinary orgy of bacon two weeks ago, I’m still wary of pork, but I’m glad I ventured into the territory. I started with “Devils on Horseback”: Soft bacon-wrapped dates are lusciously stuffed with bittersweet chocolate. Salty and sweet and rich all at the same time. As if it could get more interesting, it’s served with a rich light onion sauce and a smokey red pepper paste. Overall it paired amazingly well with my single-malt.
For the main course, a small, but thick cut ribeye steak. Perfectly brined and cooked, it has a rich pan-drippings sauce am served on a bed of the most amazing creamy smooth mash potatoes that taste exactly like pirogues, which are a polish potato dumpling commonly found in the area. This being the land of meat and potatoes, there’s also a generous helping of fries and a tangy house-made mayo. With a mayo like this, I can actually enjoy it on frites without feeling disgusted, which I don’t think I have ever enjoyed before.
For desert, a luxurious corn-flavored custard, topped with a light fresh caramel and just a sprinkle of sea salt to enhance the flavors.
So if you ever find yourself in Cleveland, check out The Greenhouse for a popular bar scene and great food.
After a very filling brunch, the little missus and I spent the afternoon wandering the French Quarter and the waterfront, eventually making our way to the Southern Food and Drink Museum. Afterwards it was nigh on suppertime, so we made our way back to the French Quarter with the intention of enjoying K Paul’s. Unfortunately they were closed on Sundays (as is most of this city), so we headed back to the hotel to cool off and wait for our appetites to return. After a few hours, we prepared to venture out to Camelia Grill, but a quick web search showed us they too were closed. At this point we were reaching closing time and decided to search for 24/7 dining options. Just down St. Charles Avenue from our hotel is The Avenue Pub.
We strolled the 4 short blocks and found a dingy gastropub with 47 different beers on tap, all of them smaller craft brews. The wife chose the Fox Barrel Pear Cider, and I went for the Steiner Weiss while we waited for our orders. The weiss had an incredible head that took the bar tender 5 minutes to pour and another 5 to fully settle. It was wheaty, as expected from that kind of beer, and a bit on the thick side. It stayed nice and cloudy throughout my entire meal and left no sediment.
Shortly our food arrived, a burger for the wife, and the grilled cheese club for me. Having seen mixed reviews, I was happy with the results, and the prices were quite reasonable. The grilled cheese had goat cheese, cheddar, and a heavy dose of a soft feta all melted into gooey yumminess. Along with bacon, tomato, and a fresh pesto, the whole thing was served on some nice thick slices of artisinal sourdough and grilled on a pannini press. The burger was good as well, tasty beef and cooked perfectly with all the juices intact, but otherwise nothing too special. Disappointingly, the burger was supposed to come with pecan crusted onion rings we wanted to try, but these were replaced with good, but generic cross-cut fries.
For late night dining, it was surprisingly good, and I would go back to sample more of the beer list, that being apparently scarce in the Big Easy where rum drinks abound.
Located on the 12th floor above Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis, the Skyroom is a lunch cafeteria that Richard Myer would be proud of. Curving white walls, white furniture, and even a white piano surround a soup and salad bar, and stations for pasta, burgers, Mexican food, and American deli sandwiches. Of course, being from LA, I passed on the Mexican station and made my way to the deli counter. Top of the list: a smoked turkey with applewood smoked bacon sandwich on cinnamon-raisin bread with cranberry aoli. The bread, pullaway style, cut thick and toasted, was sweet and packed with cinnamon. Unlike many delis, both the bacon and the turkey were rich with smokey flavor. The turkey portion size was a little small, but the ample amount of bacon made up for it. Coupled with a peppery coleslaw and your typical pickle wedge, this made for great way to spend a warm lunch watching the cold snow fall.