Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week 2014

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I have been MIA for the past year and a half and I really don’t have a good excuse.  But, I am happy to be returning to the blogging world and what better way to come back during Cleveland Restaurant week!

Restaurant week is a great opportunity to experience what Cleveland’s booming culinary scene has to offer.  During restaurant week restaurants are offering $30 three-course  dinner menus with some restaurants offering $15 lunch options.

There is still time to join the fun! Restaurant week ends Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Click here to check out the participating restaurants and menu selection! (I recommend you make a reservation)

Jordan and I went to Lola Bistro, located on East 4th Street in downtown Cleveland.  Lola is owned by the famous iron chef and The Chew cast member, Michael Symon.

Jordan and I arrived a few minutes early and waited over at the bar to grab a drink.  One thing that is very different than most restaurants is that you order your drink with an iPad!  Jordan and I found this helpful so that you’re not yelling over someone who is seated at the bar.

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Wine case behind the bar.

 

We were seated on time in a comfortable spot in the restaurant.  We both started out with the mixed greens salad.  For our entrees Jordan tried the Beef Hanger Steak (that came with Lola Fries).  I tried the Scallops (with leek, sweet potato, mustard, and lemon).  Jordan and I were both very impressed with our selections!

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Scallops

For dessert Jordan had the Key Lime Tart and I had the Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Salted Carmel Ice Cream (YUM!!).

Jordan and I were very pleased with our restaurant choice for restaurant week.  We always try to participate every year and the past few times Jordan and I walked away disappointed.  Lola is definitely a place we will come back to!

Molly Jean

Melt Bar and Grilled (and the Akron Marathon!)

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This past Saturday I ran the Akron Marathon relay with my co-workers.  The only other “race” I have ever done is the Color Run.  A marathon as big as Akron’s was very new to me!  I am currently training for my first half marathon- which is next weekend!  The Akron Marathon was a great warm-up to what’s to come this Sunday!

The Marathon was so much fun!  I must say that my co-workers are AWESOME!  I don’t know what I would do without them 🙂

Here are a few pictures!

Stephanie, Angela, and I before the race!

Angela approaching the finish line!

4/5 of our awesome relay!

The Results!

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After the relay we headed over the Melt Bar and Grilled for a well deserved lunch.  One of my interview questions for where I work now was “Do you like Melt?”  I was also asked if I like to run because it was already decided that they were participating in the Akron Marathon Relay far before I started working.  My answer was “yes!” to both questions of course!

I have eaten at the restaurant multiple times and just have never remembered to take a photo for my blog!

This time I ordered the “Parma, Italy Melt”- crispy breaded chicken breast, sun-dried tomato pesto, roasted garlic, provolone.  It was delicious!

Parma, Italy Melt

I have yet to be disappointed in any of the sandwiches I have tried!  This might actually be my favorite sandwich on the regular menu.  My favorite Melt sandwich over all was this past July’s Melt of the Month- “Fire Cracker Chicken Melt”- blackened chicken breast, grilled pineapple, avocado slice, pepper jack cheese.

Make sure you arrive hungry!! I always go home with the other half of the sandwich.  If you end up taking it home make sure you heat it up in the oven- NOT the microwave.  Or you can always share a sandwich with someone!  The sandwiches also come with plenty of fries and coleslaw!

There are three locations in the Cleveland area: Lakewood, Cleveland Heights, Independence.  There is a 4th location that will be opening up in Mentor by the end of the month!  Be prepared for a wait at all locations– It is definitely worth the wait!

Molly Jean

La Strada

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Groupon provides an excellent opportunity to try restaurant’s that you have not tried before.  I stumbled upon a Groupon for La Strada a couple of months ago and have been eager to try it out! Another restaurant to cross off my list!

La Strada is located in the Gateway district of downtown Cleveland on East 4th st- a street filled with many restaurants and night life.   La Strada is composed of Mediterranean inspired dishes inspired by Italy, Turkey, Morocco, Spain, and Greece.

The restaurant had many large tables.  There were many large parties dining at the restaurant with only a few couples.  Jordan and I were seated upstairs where most of the tables for 2 are located.  The food and atmosphere were great.  The sword fish that I ordered for my main entree was some of the best sword fish I have ever tried!  My only complaint is that there was a major temperature difference between the first and second level.   Jordan and I were uncomfortably warm for the first 10 minutes after being seated, but once we were served our beverage we cooled off a bit.

Check out what I ate below!

 

Appetizer

Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, olive oil, cracked papper, and crostini

Main Course

Fish of the Day- Sword Fish with roasted red pepper puree and roasted vegetables.

 

Complimentary Fruit

Courtesy fruit plate

successful date night!

Molly Jean

BRGR 9

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BRGR 9 (pronounced “Burger 9”) is located in the Warehouse District of downtown Cleveland on West 9th street.  BRGR 9 is locally owned and has created a new image for burger’s, taking them to the next level!  Burger toppings include short rib, porkbelly, fried chicken finger, jalapeno jelly, bratwurst and lobster, just to name a few!

I was very overwhelmed by how many different types of burgers there were, so I asked the bartender what her favorite was and she insisted that I get the Turkey Time!

“Turkey Time” Burger

I was very pleased with my decision!  The Turkey Time is a fresh house-made grilled turkey burger topped with baby arugula, tomato, feta, cucumber aioli, on a wheat brioche bun.  The burger was perfect, not too heavy at all.  The burgers to not come with fries but you can order a side of fries to share!  Jordan and I decided to order the sweet potato tater tots instead of the fries.  I am not a big tater tots fan, but there were AMAZING!!! I love sweet potato fries, and this just took sweet potatoes to the next level.  The tater tots are dusted lightly with cinnamon and served with a side of cajon mayo and roasted orange mayo!

Check out the rest of the menu HERE!

Molly Jean

Crop Bistro and Bar

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I’m so sorry for the lack of posts!  The internet has been down at the house.  It’s finally up and running and I have a lot to share!  The first thing I want to share is my birthday dinner!

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My birthday was this past Wednesday, August 15th, and I finally went to Crop Bistro and Bar!  I have been waiting to try this restaurant for quite some time, but wanted to go on a special occasion!

Crop Bistro and Bar is located in  an old bank in Cleveland’s Ohio City historic neighborhood and is known to be Cleveland’s Best restaurant according Cleveland Scene Magazine!  The space is very impressive, open, with high ceilings.  The architecture reminds you of the old historic Cleveland there once was.  The restaurant focuses on using local food crop and therefore the menu changes frequently!  So what you see below may not be there when you decide to visit this fabulous restaurant!

 

Jordan and I with my gorgeous new birthday necklace!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom and Dad!

Mussels to share between the 4 of us

Burrata Salad- shared between Jordan and I

 

 

 

Grilled Lamb Lion, Local Ratatouille, Lebanese Couscous (my main course)

 

Seared CAB Ribeye, summer tomato salad, smoked blue cheese, grilled sourdough (My Dad and Jordan’s main course)

I did not get a picture of my mom’s but she had the Braised Short Ribs with bacon smoked campfire baked beans, slaw, cherry chipotle BBQ sauce.

S’more What? (picture does not do justice. If you like chocolate and s’mores- this dessert is for you!)

 

Crop Bistro and Bar is definitely one of Cleveland’s best.  Everyone loved everything they ordered!  The only complaint I have is the noise.  At times it was hard to hear our waitress.  I wasn’t sure if it was because she had a quiet voice or just the echoing of the other diners due to high ceilings.  But, there was no issue in hearing my parents or Jordan.  I definitely am looking forward to dining here again!

Molly Jean

The Taste of Tremont 2012

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This is a long over due post!! But I wanted to share my Taste of Tremont experience with all of you!

Tremont is one of the oldest areas of Cleveland.  During the 1850s, Cleveland University occupied the area before the neighborhood of Tremont came to be.  Now the area is filled with art galleries, shops, and restaurants.  It is also home to “The Christmas Story House” from the famous 1983 holiday film.  Another point of interest is Iron Chef winner, Michael Symon’s restaurant, Lolita.

Restaurant’s that I have tried in the Tremont area that are posted on my blog include: The South Side, Tremont Tap House (for dinner and brunch), and Grumpy’s Café.  Other restaurants I have tried previously, before starting my blog include: Fat Cat’s and Ty Fun Thai Bistro.  Check out the list of restaurants in the area at http://www.urbanspoon.com/n/16/1543/Cleveland/Tremont-restaurants.

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Jordan and I arrived noon sharp, as soon as the Taste of Tremont began.  We took a walk all the way down Professor street before deciding which restaurant stands we wanted to try.

On our way down the street Jordan spotted a homemade blueberry lemonade from The Treehouse Café.  There was a lot of sugar, but it was quite tasty!

Our first food stop was the Farenheit food truck to get a smoked pulled pork taco.  I do not have a picture of this because I was very intrigued by the dark clouds in the sky.

Rain rain go away…

Jordan and ran to get under cover just before our food became soaked.  A lady at a consignment shop was very generous, allowing us to stand on her porch for about 15 minutes until the rain had stopped.

Once the rain had passed we ran over to something that caught our eye almost immediately as we stepped foot onto Professor St.- The grilled corn!

Grilled Corn!

This was another thing that caught our eye…. a 2 pound hot dog.  We did NOT order this but Jordan took a picture.  I thought foot long hot dogs were a little much… Not quite sure what to think of this….

Next we went over to Lolita to check out what Michael Symon had in store for The Taste of Tremont.  I must say- I was NOT impressed.  He only had food option of mac and cheese and the other option was a mint lemonade.  It was about 95 degrees out with almost 100% humidity- so mac and cheese was just not appealing at the time.  So I opted for the mint lemonade.  It was very refreshing!

Mint Lemonade- Lolita

Barrio’s stand was our next stop where I got the black bean taco with a mango slaw in an avocado cream sauce. YUM!!

Barrio

And last but not least, dessert from A Cookie and a Cupcake!  Carrot Cake Cupcake and Double Chocolate Cupcake.

A Cookie and a Cupcake

We also picked up a few goodies to take home! Blaze salsa (the guy who owns the company went to OU, so Jordan and I got a discount!), Kettle corn, and fresh popping corn (named “magic mushroom.”- yes, strange name, I know. haha)

The Taste of Tremont was an awesome experience!  Already looking forward to next year! The date is already set for July 21, 2013!! Check it our HERE!

Also, I would like to announce my first giveaway on my blog tomorrow from SlimKicker app!!! Make sure you tune into tomorrow’s post so that you can participate!

Molly Jean

Burntwood Tavern

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There are three locations for Burntwood Tavern– Chagrin Falls, Rocky River, and now Solon!  The first time I tried Burntwood Tavern was at the Chagrin Falls location.  My parent’s took the family when the restaurant first opened on a Friday night.  The placed was packed!! The wait was about 2 hours, but luckily we were able to sit in the front/bar area on some couches in front of the fire place, which was perfect for the snowy and cold winter night.  There was a coffee table, so the manager allowed us to stay put and order our entrees.

My first opinion of the restaurant was that it was just OK.  I was not impressed with the food and I felt as if the menu did not have many choices-  I had ordered the Salmon Spinach fettucini and it was very bland.  The salmon was poached and did not have any seasoning.  The tomato garlic cream sauce was also tasteless.  However, I was very impressed with the decor and the atmosphere.  It was definitely the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night!

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This past winter the Rocky River location opened.  I met my friend Kara there.  This location was also just as packed as the Chagrin Falls location, but it is a bigger space!  I noticed that the menu had changed, and there were many more options to choose from.  Kara and I decided to split a few appetizers over some Great Lakes Christmas Ale!  I loved all that we tried- The Hummus Plate, Butternut Squash Ravioli, and the Artichoke Fondue.

A few weeks later my friend Erin had her Bridal Shower at the Rocky River location.  There is a room that you are able to reserve that can seat a large crowd of people!  It is secluded, away from the dining area.  I was very impressed with the menu.  There were three courses- We were able to choose from 2 different side salads, 3 different sandwiches w/ a side of fries, and dessert.  The shower was beautiful and the food was great!! If any of you in Cleveland are planning a wedding shower or any other private party, Burntwood Tavern is definitely something to consider! (I also noticed the Solon location has a room, too!)

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Finally a Solon location opened up about a month ago!  At first I questioned why the restaurant would put a location so close to another (Chagrin Falls), but after going, I love that it is so close!  I went with my parent’s a week ago.  Despite how crowded it was, we were able to grab three seats at the bar immediately.  The bar wraps around to the outside patio.  We were sitting inside, but it felt as if we were outside with no wall in front of us!  The patio is covered and therefore you are still able to be seated outside when it is raining.  Below is the view to the patio from my seat (with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc!).  There was also a live band playing out on the patio.

Burntwood Tavern- Bar/Patio

For dinner I ordered the house salad and the Margarita Flat Bread.  The Flat bread had a light and airy crust.  There was no sauce, the the tomatoes and basil provided enough flavor.  The pizza was not heavy at all.  I could have eaten the entire pizza, but I wanted to save room for dessert!

Margarita Flat Bread

Burntwood Tavern’s dessert menu consists of what they call “After Dinner Delights.”  These are small sample sizes, similar to the dessert “shooters” you would find at P.F. Changs or Applebees. I ordered the the Apple Crostada with Salted Caramel Ice Cream- YUM!!

“After Dinner Delight”- Apple Crostada w/ Salted Caramel Ice Cream

My opinion of the restaurant has definitely changed since the first time I went!  This is definitely a place to check out if you haven’t already!

CLICK HERE to view the menu!  Another favorite of mine is the Grilled Tavern Steak Salad.

Molly Jean