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The thing about Cleveland…

Oh geez, I just found this in our drafts! Shame on me.

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Husbandman and I have just returned from a three day weekend in Cleveland involving border crossings and long boring stretches of motorway, but what a three days it was. We went from thinking ‘wow the drivers here are rude’ to ‘where the hell is everyone?’ to ‘Oh my god, this is place is a gem”.

There are a couple of reasons for our mixed reactions, it appears to be a very industrial town, and we stayed downtown where apparently no one lives, and it just didn’t feel… welcoming. I am not sure how else to put it, but we figured once we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and get some shopping done, it will have served its purpose.

Firstly, the Hall of Fame….. is brilliant. We spent 2 hours roaming its exhibits and could have easily done more had we the energy (and not had so many beers & long island ice teas at Winking Lizard the night before). I would love to go back again.

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Afterwards we were hungry so we head to where we knew there were two breweries in close proximity to each other (stumbling distance, one might call it). So we rocked up at the Great Lakes Brewing Company for some lunch and a pint or two, but while at the bar waiting for our table, the lights went out, and the fire alarm pierced our poor hungover ears and it was time to get out.  We were pretty bummed and considered waiting but decided to leg it to the other brewery before the crowds did. So that’s how we ended up at the Market Garden Brewery for some pretty awesome tacos and the most amazing hot sauce I have ever tasted.  This place had such a chilled vibe, great music, and easy customers, it just seemed… right. And I can’t give the hot sauce enough kudos to do it justice. It was the shit.

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The afternoon involved a nap and cancelled dinner plans as neither of us were up for it, but we cruised on downtown anyway just to see what was happening. In some of the research I had eyed off a dinner venue, but didn’t count my chickens as we didn’t have a dinner reservation. Yet when we stumbled across it, we thought we would try our luck, and were positioned promptly in the window. We were stoked, and for good reason.  I give you… The Greenhouse Tavern.

Holy shit this place was awesome, and the menu divine. I started with stuffed semolina pasta with prunes and pecorino, which was nothing short of lush.  My main was mushroom & oxtail risotto, which was ridiculous.  Just thinking about my entire meal makes me salivate and miss it like an old friend.  Lee’s starter was something that changed his life – black walnut soup with duck meatball. This soup was something else. It was out of this world. Lee had angry eyebrows he was so seriously into it, and I think finally he understood the quote from Kung Fu Panda – I wish my mouth was bigger! Unfortunately however Lee was not overly smitten by his main which was a lamb burger with stinky fondue cheese. I think maybe the soup, and my entire meal set him up for a wee bit of disappointment. He said ‘Yeah, its good, like, yummy and stuff, but I dunno. Its just a lamb burger’. Personally, when I had a (pretty big) bite, I thought there was a lamb burger party in my mouth and other lamb burgers didn’t make the VIP list.  But each to their own, he still loved his meal so there were no regrets.

We were really sad to leave just after tapping into a whole culinary world going on in Cleveland, with much creativity and green & ethical initiatives, I wish we had another day or so just to try a few others out. But alas, the road was calling, as was our cat Franklin (we could hear him whining from Ohio), and we were beckoned home.

I approached Cleveland thinking it would be a one time thing. After all, it was deemed as the most miserable city in the US (thanks dad, haha).  However, we left feeling like we should go back, and have something else to eat.  So next time you get an inkling to go somewhere and Cleveland is an option? Don’t dismiss it. Embrace it and wear loose pants.

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