It’s a dangerous precedent to set, going to Cleveland two years in a row, but Dr. Marc plied me with promises of free hotel, cheap bridge and crowned with a meal at Lola. I had a fun time last year and next thing you know I’m enjoying a snowstorm in Cleveland, the mistake by the lake.
Flying Fig - They have an unbelievable happy hour special: $5 everything on the bar menu, including cocktail and wine specials. We shared a bacon cheese burger, topped with an onion rings, crispy chicken confit legs, Brussels sprouts with pancetta, and fries ($2.5). I also had my first egg white cocktail. It was sweet, frothy, like drinking a loose meringue. The food all really good, with the exception of the over salted sprouts. The bar menu is a great bargain, and the bartender was fantastic.
Melt - I heard about Melt on Man Vs. Food – the challenge was eating a 5 lb grilled cheese sandwich. They have 3 locations, and one, newly opened, down the street from the hotel. It was only by chance that I tried Melt; I was running late and Marc was there getting a lunch. I asked him to get me a sandwich and he offered me half of his, as the service was slow and he was not going to finish it. It was the January special sandwich – Hungry Hungarian Paprikash. It consisted of roasted chicken, dumplings, Paprikash sauce, and provolone. It was so delicious and unusual, that I decided to go back on Sunday. This time, I tried the Gyro Melt (slow roasted beef & lamb, tzatziki, tomato, onions, feta, muenster) and the Parmageddon (2 potato & cheese pierogi, napa vodka kraut, grilled onions, sharp cheddar). Both sandwiches were tasty, but not as good as the paprikash. Melt has taught me that anything can be delicious in a sandwich. Maybe I’ll try sticking some of Mama Tsoi’s wontons in a grilled cheese.
The only problem was the wait (45 minutes on a Sunday night!) and the slooooow service. It took 2 hours total, to get a sandwich and fries. From Marc’s experience and comments on the web, I would say this is a chronic problem.
Lola – I don’t usually re-blog about places, but I did want to write about my dessert. The peanut butter panna cotta was disappointing (too stiff, no wobble), but the bread ice cream it was served with was fun and surprising – they captured the essence of toast in frozen dessert form. Fascinating! The rest of the meal was good – although, remind me not to get the charcuterie anymore. It was only okay last year, and only okay this year. The pork belly and short ribs are great and not to be missed.
Chocolate Bar – We stopped in for drinks before Lola. Our chocolate based martinis (caramel for me, smores for him) were expensive, cloyingly sweet and weak. As I read about the “exciting franchise opportunity available,” I realized that we had inadvertently found ourselves in the ugly love child of Godiva and the Cheesecake Factory. Shutter.
Sadly, I never got to Steve’s Gyro in the Westside market. Crap. Does that mean I have to go back next year?