Macarons @Coquette Patisserie

salted caramel, cassis with black currant and mango.

Coquette Patisserie is a little french pastry shop that also serves wine, beer and oysters.  It opened up earlier in the year on Euclid Avenue on the northern end of Uptown in University Circle.  I have been there a handful of times and always have to bring the girls home some macarons.  Last Friday’s selection were all very tasty.

Lemon square @Presti’s

I walked over to Presti’s for lunch on Friday. I tried one of their lemon squares – not your typical lemon square – more like lemon cake – but outstanding with real whipped cream, lemon icing and lemon chocolate garnish

Felice Urban Cafe and Town Hall

We went to two new hot eating spots in Cleveland this past weekend.  Friday evening we went to hear the Cleveland Orchestra perform Mozart’s Requiem with the Hiti’s and Monroe’s.  John was able to get his firm’s box at the last minute so we had superb seats right above the action.  The concert was amazing as always.  The first Friday at Severance is always early at 7:00PM followed by another band in the lobby.  This Friday it was a full gospel choir.  There were several bars set up throughout with the Hall beautifully lit and cocktail tables all over.  Very nice.  We then hopped over to Larchmere to Felice which is a converted house made into a nice restaurant.  There was a nice big porch, the bar was on the second floor and we sat up on the 3rd floor.  It was still totally full at 9:30 when we go there.  Courtney and I split an order of mushroom crostini, I had a really good cheese burger and a side order of sauteed Brussels sprouts and Courtney had a pasta with butternut squash and mushrooms.  While the service was a bit spotty, I felt sorry for the poor girl as she had to run up three flights of stairs the whole night.  Definitely a place to go back to in the summer as they have a great patio.

On Saturday we all went to Town Hall on West 25th for brunch.  We have been meaning to go here forever and had a great time with Claire, Sean, Jack, Rachel, Grace, Nicole and Sophia.  The place was hopping as all places on W25th are these days.  I had a draft from a brewery in California that I forget the name of that was very good, Jack and Courtney had Bells Oberon.  The girls all got crepes from the crepe bar, I had grilled cheese and tomato soup and Courtney had a veggie burger that was very good – made mostly with beets.  Everyone’s meals were great and we really liked the vibe – again they have a great patio that will be great in a few weeks if it ever gets warm here in C town.

The Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus right before they started
beautiful ceiling of Severence Hall
celebrating Saturday at Town Hall
right side
left side
Superman manning the crepe station
Jack and Rachel
stopping at the Market afterwards to buy some bacon from our favorite women butchers: The Pork Chop Shop

Chicago: 2014

Long time no post. Bring it on Spring.

We were in Chicago for a few days last week visiting colleges, visiting family and of course eating. A few of the fun places we went:

Farmhouse.  I was looking around for somewhere good to go a few weeks ago and made a reservation here for our first night as it looked casual but good.  Located a bit farther than I thought it was – about a half hour walk – but it is always fun to walk in Chicago.  Farmhouse bills itself as a farm to tavern concept with a local seasonal focus on craft beer, food and liquor. It was the hip and happening place to be at 8:00 on a Wednesday night.  I’m glad we made a reservation as we got a table right away amongst the crowd of hipsters.  I had a New Holland Brown ale (I think?) that was really great.  They also had several different wines on draft which was pretty cool.  We split an order of deep fried cheese curds which were the star of the night – lightly crispy with nice gooey cheesy inside.  I had a leek and mushroom risotto, Courtney had kale and sausage soup, Grace had the fish and chips and Sophia had some mac and cheese… all very good.  I’m happy to say the walk back seemed much quicker on a full and happy stomach.

Grace relaxing

Shout out to chick-fil-a where we wolfed down a whole tray of fried goodness in 2 seconds after spending all morning on Michigan Ave.

the aftermath

The Berghoff.  We met Courtney’s friend Chris at Berghoff’s downtown for lunch.  I have never been to this Chicago institution before but have heard many stories.  It is a German restaurant over 100 years old.  It used to be a men’s only institution with beer and sausages served by good German fraus… but of course has modernized… a bit.  It was good to see Chris as we haven’t seen him in quite a while.  We had a nice big table, shared some beers and bratwust and enjoyed the German hospitality and Chicago history.  Will definitely make this a permanent stop when in Chicago.

I didn’t take any pictures. This is sort of where we sat.

Homeslice.  We visited George and Carrie in Lincoln Park on our last night and went out to their local favorite Pizza place.  Like everywhere, the place was packed.  Lots of young people relaxing on a beautiful Friday night.  Windows raised wide open.  I drank Goose Island Green that I have never tried before and it was very good.  We wolfed down three really good thin crust pizzas and it was great spending time with them.  Also stopped at Floriole bakery on the way back to get some dessert.  I had a tasty lemon cupcake, Sophie had a slice of s’more pie, and they had a ranger cookies – just like Dairymens.

I copies this picture from the internet… the bathroom walls and floors were tiles with pennies. cool.

Cowell and Hubbard

We celebrated Courtney’s birthday last Tuesday with a night out at Playhouse Square.  We headed west after work. (thanks Mom and Dad for taking in Grace and Sophia for the night) and checked into the Wyndham where we were greeted with a glass of wine in the lobby, very nice, and quickly relaxed in our great room overlooking playhouse square.  We walked across the street to Cowell and Hubbard around 6:00.  Cowell and Hubbard is Zack Bruell’s latest that we haven’t been to so were  excited.  The restaurant used to be a high end jewelery store back in the day when Euclid Avenue was the place to be.  After decades of neglect the space is beautiful now, very modern, casual, an open kitchen and totally packed and hopping on a Tuesday evening.  Yea Cleveland!  We were psyched to see Zack in the kitchen when we walked by when getting seated.  In fact, after the hostess walked us to our table I asked if we could move to a different table where we had a good view of the open kitchen and Zack in action.  Yes I’m a loser, but definitely got a better table.  Dinner was great.  Courtney had a kale salad with pistachios and prosciutto followed by shrimp linguine.  I had a romaine wedge with blue cheese and then cod over pureed parsnips, spinach and beurre blanc.  Everything was great… the cod was the star.  We splurged and split a mocha creme caramel for dessert that was awesome as well.  I highly recommend and am looking forward to going back.  They were great at making sure everyone was on time to make their curtain time as well.

We had tickets to Once and enjoyed it very much.  Courtney is a big fan of the movie and the sound track so was particularly excited.  The set was great, the mood was casual, the songs were great.  It’s hard to explain.  Sort of the anti-Wicked sort of musical.  Again…I highly recommend.

view of Playhouse Square out our hotel room window. sweet suite.
creeper shot of Zack Bruell from our table. Courtney wouldn’t let me ask him for a picture when we were walking out 🙂
shot of the “Once” stage pre-show. Musicians and actors are playing and talking to people, there’s a bar on the stage that you can buy drinks at and the show just sort of fades in. Cool stuff.

Johnny Mango

We went to Johnny Mango for an early Sunday Brunch this past Sunday.  Johnny Mango is a small place in Ohio City that we have been wanting to go to forever.  It has a nice casual vibe with not many people there as we were there by 9:30 AM.  I had their whole wheat waffles with a plum/lemon sauce.  They were excellent.  Courtney had a chorizo, potato and cheese omelet and Sophia and Grace each had a breakfast quesadilla.  They are known for their fresh made juices.  Sophia and Grace each had a huge orange juice that they gulped down and I tried the apple, cranberry and ginger that was great as well.  We will definitely try to go again when we are in the neighborhood… hopefully for their Taco Tuesday and margaritas.

After breakfast we sent for a quick walk through the zoo as we were down the street and it was a beautiful fall morning.  Other than the hundreds of people walking around for a diabetes walk, it was a nice to be out and about.

Courtney, Sophia and Grace enjoying the fall morning and late summer flowers at the zoo. I like the parsley in the border.


Jack happy with his paramageddon: pierogis, sauerkraut, onions and cheddar cheese

Courtney, Grace and Sophia were at Waldameer on Wednesday so Jack and I decided to meet Claire at Melt for dinner.  We went to the one on Cedar and Taylor.  I think there are 4 Melts now in Cleveland.  Jack got the above lovely, I had the chicken parmesan which was great and Claire got the smokey russian.  We all could only eat half as they are humongous.  Very good though and a cool place to go.

trying to figure out how to eat this thing

…and down in beautiful Erie, PA:

Sophie, Emily and Lucy having fun at Waldameer


Taste of Tremont

stuffed cabbage and pierogis

Courtney and I went to Taste of Tremont yesterday afternoon as it finally cooled off some and we had the afternoon free.  Although it was our first time there it was the 11th annual event where they close all of Professor Street and all the Tremont restaurants, bars, churches and others sell small portions of food and drinks.  We went early and there were already thousands of people there.  Great food, great bands, lots of different beer gardens and great people watching.  We didn’t eat much.  We had some crispy fried asian shrimp with a sweet dipping sauce and then even though there were gourmet delights of every kind I couldn’t resist the stuffed cabbage and pierogi from the Croatian church.  They were perfect – no rice just meat and 1 cheese and 1  kraut pierogi. Lots of stuff going on in the neighborhood.  Claire is possibly looking to move down there – I hope she does so we have a good excuse to go more often.

Fresh Fork – our CSA – was there selling fresh corn on the cob
the beautiful St. Theodosius
the old Croatian ladies selling the stuffed cabbage
always interesting

Eat Out: L’Albatros

Friday was a ridiculously long stressful day at work…. and my birthday to top it off. The only thing that got me through was knowing that Courtney and I were going to L’Albatros in the evening. We were going to go to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens before dinner to have a cocktail and view the orchid show but I was stuck on a conference call and didn’t get out of the hospital until six.

A nice way to start the evening

L’Albatros is Zack Bruell’s french bistro restaurant. Bruell is by far our favorite Cleveland chef. We have been to L’Albatros quite a few times over the years, especially enjoying it in the summer as its patio is perfect. We quickly made our way to the bar where I had a Maker’s Mark manhattan and Courtney had a Palm on draft. We made our way to our table about 30 minutes later. We ordered a nice bottle of white burgundy which is our celebratory wine of choice these days… especially when eating French bistro food. Courtney had a chopped salad full of sous vide chicken, blue cheese and other goodies. I had the spiced carrot soup which was nice and creamy and garnished with roasted almonds. Both were excellent. Courtney had the salmon and lentils for an entree and I had a platter of raw oysters. We have dreams about the salmon and lentils. It is so simple: roasted salmon, perfectly cooked green lentils and a bit of Bearnaise sauce. It is always so good. Perfection. We decided to skip dessert as we were on our way to the Cleveland Museum of Art for some more drinks and culture.