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Trip Report - Cleveland: 24 hours and two dinners (long)

On our way to Ann Arbor this child of the 70's and Deadhead was not going to pass on the opportunity to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, awesome. I also had to eat so ...........

Sunday night driving in from New York and just about everything in Cleveland is either closed or has a kitchen closing at 9. I cancel my 8:30 at Lolita from the road and realize that the Aloft has an Italian restaurant with a kitchen that closes at 10. It was a beautiful night so we sat outside and enjoyed the little train going by every few minutes and sort'a water view. Welcome to the Midwest,land of huge portions. Started with the arancini, three huge balls.Tasty,perfectly fried. The burrata was another huge delicious piece with two rows of tomatoes slathered with basil pesto. Tomatoes tasted like summer tomatoes should so it was all good. Next up was Lasagna, meaty, gooey goodness and a nice shrimp fettuccini,clean and simple. Skipped dessert and with a couple of micro brews it was a nice delicious relaxing meal.

After a long day at the RRHOF, with lunch at the cafeteria that stunk but an outdoor seating area that was lovely with a view of the lake, we went to Lola for dinner.

Sat outside on another stunning evening, yes I am obsessed with eating outdoors. Excellent meal. Well worth the hype. Started slow with a Bellini that was terrible, bartender poured in a liqueur not peach puree. Wines by the glass were good. The first appetizer, bone marrow was odd and just not the right prep for me though my young son who loves anything fried buried virtually the entire dish. It was pieces of marrow breaded and fried. To me it could have been anything breaded and fried, I didn't really taste the marrow. I believe it is supposed to be crispy outside with a molten interior but it didn't happen that night. It is served with a boatload of condiments that to me just continued to mask the marrow taste. However, the beef cheek pierogi was one of the best things I have eaten this year. Long simmered,then shredded, inside a just the right thickness skin, dragged through the horseradish crème fresh. Perfect. Our other appetizer was a nice mixed green salad. Entrees were solid. Duck with a delicious rye spaetzel, cabbage, caraway and currants. I had to try the local fish, sturgeon, having only had it smoked, on a bagel or in scrambled eggs. It was very mild in flavor and greatly benefited from the bacon wrap. Scallops and lamb were delicious and the proteins rose to excellence with the accompaniments and sauces. Finished with the delicious 6 a.m. special, a Lola S'more, and an underwhelming,too subtle for me, peach dish.

A good friend just moved to Cleveland so I anticipate more visits to my friend, restaurants, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

about 5 hours ago
stuartlafonda in Great Lakes

bagel recs

Probably should be on the Florida board or General Topics, but............
how are the bagels, how similar to the original? If they are indeed similar does that destroy the old idea that its the water that makes the difference?

bagel recs

Utopia Bagels
1909 Utopia Pkwy
Whitestone, NY 11357

Sep 19, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

"Shake Shack Eyes New Hyde Park" (LI)

At least that is the headline on the front page of the local (Anton News)newspaper, New Hyde Park Illustrated News, citing Shack reps. Says they are looking for a fall 2015 opening in the recently departed and sorely missed Deli King spot in the Lake Success Shopping Center.

Sunday Brunch on Long Island?

You would love Lola in Great Neck. Delicious, somewhat adventurous cuisine with the highest quality ingredients.

http://www.restaurantlola.com/lola/br...

Black Seed Bagels

Uh, a term used by legions of born and raised New Yorkers to refer to a newspaper. Particularly one of the tabloids. I have to say for 'hounds having difficulty getting a hot bagel, ask. I find the young girl taking orders to be a bit of a throwback in that she usually turns and hollers at the baker in front of the oven about what is coming out next or what was last pulled from the oven. Be a pushy New Yorker and ask for exactly what you want.

Sep 16, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Black Seed Bagels

I go there about once every two weeks though more often lately and I really like the bagels. My criteria is small, well done and crusty exterior still warm from the oven. I get all that there as I always asked the girl taking the order what is coming out next, or what was last pulled out. As for price, with a simple cream cheese spread and coffee it cost $5.75, not that far out of line. Once I add the cream cheese, I do not taste the honey water bake. Smoke from the wood oven is occasionally detectable. I sit in the window on a cool clear morning with my meal and the paper and all is right.

Sep 15, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Best Ice Cream in NYC

No Turkish cofee tonight but a great black mission fig and a passion fruit gelato that was like a tart punch in the chops. The key lime pie was too suble in the lime department for me though the graham cracker crumble was a nice touch.

Sep 09, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan
1

Best Ice Cream in NYC

I had the chocolate nocciola at Il Lab yesterday and it tasted like a cold Baci candy, delicious.

Sep 09, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Detroit suggestions for lunch and dinner in the Motown Museum /Institute of Arts area

No need for sorry, you were helpful and you did write " ..despite its maddening inconsistency..." and suggested a host of middle eastern alternatives. So as we like to say, it is what it is. Curious though, was it just us or is that "Detroit Pita", and is that the way they always serve it? Not sure if next time,Parent's Weekend, we will get back to Detroit as Ann Arbor looks like it has a ton of places to check out. I do want to take my son to the Ford Museum so I will use all the local hounds suggestions on middle eastern eats in Dearborn. Thanks for the help.

Sep 08, 2014
stuartlafonda in Great Lakes

Detroit suggestions for lunch and dinner in the Motown Museum /Institute of Arts area

First, thank you to all the local hounds. I dropped my daughter at Univ. Michigan to start her freshman year so over the next few years I expect to make some contributions here in return for all the good information you guys provide.

Started at the Motown Museum and loved it, and quickly came to understand why walking to DIA was not a good choice. It does not appear to be a walking city, though I certainly never felt unsafe at anytime. So for lunch we went to.............

Byblos.
I had high expectations for a middle eastern restaurant in Detroit and lunch was a mixed bag. The downside, and it was stunning was when they served us a bread basket that contained two small clear plastic bags knotted at the top that contained some of the worst pita I have ever eaten. My son laughed and reminded us how we have seen that on those Kitchen Nightmare/Impossible shows where the clueless owner portions and bags food. But even then, it is never served to customers that way.Room temperature, thin, chewy and stale. My wife actually asked if they has anything fresh and they said that was all they had. There must be a bakery nearby from which they can pick up fresh pita each morning, isn't there? Anyway, the baba ghanoush was smoky and excellent. The hummus was delicious as was the perfectly fried non greasy falafel. The tabbouli was way to "grassy"for me with virtually no grains, but my near vegetarian wife loved it. My son enjoyed the sambousik and spinach pie made with a pastry dough and not the phyllo dough exterior we are more accustomed to. I was pleased to see the shawarma was not the cheap block of preformed meat but layered protein. I had a lamb shawarma that was made into a panino, grill marks and all, that was overwhelmed by the "white sauce" that drowned out the flavor of the meat. I broke it apart and ate it as a platter, which is what I should have ordered. Finished with a date cookie that was fine, my son wanted to go to the Tim Horton down the block. Service was not very sharp, we were served food without plates or utensils, but it looked like our young waitress's first job so she gets a pass.

Detroit Institute of Arts was enjoyable as well, though a bit dated. I'm sure it was stellar into the 1980's. For dinner I could not pass on the critically acclaimed and much loved .....

Slow's.

Excellent, delicious can't say enough good things about the entire experience. I say that despite the "aggressive pan handling" we experienced on our way back to our car parked across the street. Started off poorly though as the Chili was a waste. No discernible chili flavor, bland and no heat. We had excellent brisket, though I would have liked it "moister", and the reheat left no trace of a smoke ring, as a side to the rack of baby backs. The ribs had a good exterior rub and smoke ring,pulled from the bone nicely and not mushy. Everything as it should be and again, delicious. One side of mac and another of green beans, both were solid.We enjoyed some nice drafts and finished with a brownie and a Zingerman"s pecan pie. Service was perfect, friendly and helpful.I am very glad I did not miss this opportunity to try Slow's.

Again, thanks to the local hounds on this thread and all the other threads I read in preparation for the day. I will post some more trip reports from Ann Arbor and Cleveland and look forward to dining in the Great Lakes region.

Sep 04, 2014
stuartlafonda in Great Lakes

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

"Oh man", you just made me smile at the mention of Exterminator Chili. Indeed, the corner of Church and Walker current home of Los Americanos. The interior is virtually the same. Great Chili and one of the all time best logos, a walking, wise aleck chili better in green cowboy boots. I still have the matchbook at home.

Aug 22, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Detroit suggestions for lunch and dinner in the Motown Museum /Institute of Arts area

Thank you all. I saw on line,The Essential 38,something about a Good Girls Paris Crepes that looks very close to the museum, allowing me to park at the museum and walk over. Most importantly,my wife and son love crepes. I called a few of their numbers and got no answer, what's up, and,is it worth it? Also, after the museum can I stroll over to "Midtown" and pick one of the aforementioned spots or is it better to drive, and then walk. Is it a pleasant area to walk around? Again, thanks for the help.

Aug 21, 2014
stuartlafonda in Great Lakes

Detroit suggestions for lunch and dinner in the Motown Museum /Institute of Arts area

The family will spend the morning at the Motown Museum and the afternoon at the nearby Detroit Arts Institute...............

Lunch or dinner suggestions please. Haute to Hot dogs, what should we eat? Bonus points if I can park the car in the morning and leave it 'till we head back to Ann Arbor.

Thanks in advance.

Aug 20, 2014
stuartlafonda in Great Lakes

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

Rusty's Ribs. Nothing like La Grand Orange stopping by the table and saying to a young Met fan, "You went through those ribs like Sherman went through Atlanta"

Royal Canadian Pancake House, pancakes as big as manhole covers, only slightly better tasting.

American Place (33rd just west of Park)Larry Forgione opened my culinary world.

Aug 20, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

We did the duck at Charda's Hungarian restaurant in the 70's

Aug 19, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Cafe Sport (Portuguese in Williston Park, Long Island)

I ate there about a year ago and it was fine. Nothing memorable but the food was good,as was the sangria. Not sure it is better then the other couple of Portugese restaurants in the area.

Hey,where else has your group been? Would love to hear reports about great local restaurants.

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Outer Borough Memories

Queens:
Bob, is the mansion restaurant you refer to the old Rudolph Valentino home and originally named,Café on the Green? Still there in the umpteenth incarnation, still serving lousy catering hall quality food.
I miss,
Holly Inn on Holly ave in Flushing. Half bar, half restaurant, all character. Great old Italian tavern food. Sunday nights were some of the best family restaurant meals we enjoyed.

Stork's in Whitestone and The Cakebox in Bay Terrace.

Every queens deli now gone. The one on Utopia next to the current Utopia Bagels, the one that was on Francis Lewis across from the Milk Maid, also great and gone.

Scobee Diner in Little Neck and the Howard Johnson's a few blocks west. Seville Diner, for late night meals.

Aug 19, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

Favorite Xiao Long Bao ( soup dumplings) in Queens?

howdini, different name same owners.

Peter, I think of all the ones we are discussing, Kung Fu is the best as well. I have never had the soup dumplings at Shanghai 33 just saying the sister restaurant ones are excellent, and for me a convenient lunch spot.

Aug 06, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

Favorite Xiao Long Bao ( soup dumplings) in Queens?

Shanghai 33 Cuisine up the block has a branch on Mott, at the corer of Mosco. That spot has become my go to lunch spot for soup dumplings.

Your favorite place to get a slice of NY pizza?

Now your talking good pizza. One of my all time favorite slice joints, can't be nearby without grabbing a few. Often a little too floppy, but they get it right and no slice is as light. Razor thin, good balance of not sweet sauce to cheese.

Aug 04, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Your favorite place to get a slice of NY pizza?

I use their first names where appropriate, rather then say, Mr. Demarco. I do not claim to be a friend though I am friendly. They are both very nice people, Maggie in particular always has a smile and is as helpful as she can be in the midst of all the chaos and anger. The pizza is not always perfect. Sometimes it is, and for me it is my favorite. I don't think awful is a fair description of what a typical diner is likely to experience.

Aug 03, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Your favorite place to get a slice of NY pizza?

I am a regular at the 7 Carmine street location, and have been for a long time. I was there yesterday. I don't think the sauce is particularly or noticeably sweet. They do a great job of keeping it thin and crisp despite the larger then normal size.

Aug 02, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Your favorite place to get a slice of NY pizza?

MacGuffin:
You missed the point, he was wearing the hat because one of his violations was for not wearing proper headgear, he was not closed because he was wearing the tam o'shanter.
Yeah, thanks for letting us know that you think DiFara pizza is awful. It allows us to understand what kind of pizza you would enjoy. Based on that opinion, I suggest one of the dollar pizza spots. Any of them, as I consider them awful.

Aug 02, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Best eats near Laguardia?

Little Pepper is close by cab and unique. I love Biang. Maybe Ayada which is also close by cab going off the BQE.

Jul 29, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

Khao Kang in Elmhurst?

Overall I would say excellent,for what it serves. Not quite amazing though as you can get this dishes as good other places. Just can't get them this way or this inexpensively. Poo do you think a place like this, particularly at this price point and allowing customers to bring their own alcohol could open, let alone survive in Manhattan or Brooklyn?

Jul 28, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

Your favorite place to get a slice of NY pizza?

If you really care,check to see what the violations actually were. I remember visiting one time and Dom was wearing a tam o'shanter. When I stopped laughing asked why a guy from Italy had chosen such headgear,Maggie told me that they got clipped for Dom not wearing a hygienic plastic hair net. Yeah the place is not always that clean but I have never felt my health was in any danger.

Jul 25, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Di Fara Pizza HORRIBLE

Yes.
$30 per person, includes tax but not a tip.
20 people minimum 30 maximum, approximately.
They serve from 6-9.
Price includes all you can drink from the refrigerator case and you can bring your own alcohol, and dessert. We buy some babkas from across the street. They arrange all the tables and chairs into one long banquet table down the middle.
You tell Maggie what you want. Round or square with any toppings, in any combination. She will make good suggestions on combinations. Whatever they have, you can have on your pie.
You reserve by phone, they do one or two a week. Tuesday and some Thursdays. The wait is now months. We have two reservations, one in October and one next March.
For those of us that love DiFara pizza it is a unique and fantastic experience. The pizza is spectacular. Dom is at his best. No lines, no pressure no complaints makes Dom seem younger. He will tell you stories and ask about the group. Maggie is a perfect host. We appreciate how well she runs things and tip her well. They will box up what you can't finish. No waiting as the pies come flying out once Dom gets warmed up and he is a quick starter.
Enjoy

"Artisan" Western-style bread in Flushing

Maybe the biggest advantage is that between OP's location and Cannelle is some of the world's greatest chow. Can't say as much for Forest Hills.

Jul 22, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

"Artisan" Western-style bread in Flushing

I used Flushing Town Hall as my reference point for Main and Northern as the old RKO Keith movie theatre is no longer in Google maps and I get this:
Town Hall to La B 4.8
Town Hall to Cannelle 3.7
So really no difference. Why not do both?

Jul 22, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs