Dim Sum Crawl – Part Two

May 3, 2015

My friends and I did part two of last week’s dim sum crawl today. We met at E. 30th Street Cafe at 11:30. It is at the back of Asia Plaza, off the parking lot with Park to Shop grocery store. We were the only table for a little bit, but a few other diners came after us. To be honest, I was nervous about the dim sum here, because no one ever talked about this restaurant or its dim sum. Last week there were only a few occupied tables, while Li Wah on the other side of the plaza was packed. I did some reconnaissance the night before and was pleased to see a very extensive dim sum menu of 50 items. I picked some ones that I knew no one else offered and was quite excited about the idea of a steamed chicken bun or cilantro shrimp dumpling; however, when we started ordering we were told that the restaurant had new owners and they had gotten rid of a lot of the dim sum. In fact, they were closing on Monday so they could renovate for 10 days and reopen as a new restaurant (if I understood her correctly the new place will have Szechuan something in the title). We stuck with the dim sum, which was prepared in the kitchen and brought out as it was done.

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The original plan was to go light here anyways, so it made it easy to just stick to a few items. We ordered the stuffed eggplants (which were good with a quite chewy texture), sesame balls (smaller than what I am used to but good red bean filling), cilantro shrimp dumpling, and chiu chow dumplings. The chiu chow dumplings were my favorite dumpling here. They were filled with peanuts, chopped vegetables and pork. They tasted like the filling of a lettuce leaf wrap, and everyone really enjoyed them. Our two vegetarian friends split the curry vegetables off the regular menu and had a separate check. The bill for seven of us was $34.67, or $6.00 each with tax and tip. We left comfortable but not full, which is exactly what we planned.

The second stop was Bo Loong. This was our cart experience for the day. The service here was pretty lacking, but that might have been because we were off the main room. We asked for a knife to cut the buns, which we never got. They gave us forks and we had to ask for chopsticks. I ended up using the forks to cut the buns and to serve things like the sticky rice. We ordered Pu Li tea to start, because someone on Yelp had recommended it and I like trying new teas. It was okay, but most of us preferred the black tea they served us automatically. There was no lazy susan, which meant we needed to pass the dishes around and I had to keep reminding one of my friends to stop talking and pass the food.

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Food service was quick as the carts came around, but our poor vegetarian friends who ordered off the menu finally got their food almost when we were finished. And we had to remind the waiter that I had also ordered pea shoots with garlic. The dumplings were good and we had a ton of them, ranging from Sue My (aka shu mei), Fun Goa (steamed dumpling with chopped veggie, shrimp and pork), a dumpling with scallions and some kind of meat, xiao lao (soup buns but they had sat too long and the soup had escaped from them – they still tasted good though and was the favorite dumpling for most of us) and Sin Joe Gin (fried tofu skin stuffed with sausage). We had two buns – 4 Sue Bough (baked BBQ pork buns) and 4 Guy Me Bough (a bun with coconut). I cut them up into four pieces each so we could all try them. We also ordered one sticky rice in a lotus leaf, which I normally love, but I was really disappointed with here. Despite being packed with various meats it lacked profundity and most of all flavor. The pea shoots and garlic was delicious and it came with a side of rice. Our bill came to $60.75, which broke down to $10.50 a person including tax and tip.

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One of my friends wanted us to stop at Asia Food Company – specifically Asia Tea House, which is tucked away in the back. I was completely unaware of the Asian Town Center complex until today. I’ve driven by it several times, but have never really paid attention to it. It has several parking lots, and I was glad they had a sign pointing to the main entrance. I had read about Asia Tea House several months ago when Doug Trattner wrote about it in the Scene Magazine, but I still hadn’t checked it out. The grocery store was huge and had a wide variety of items. I plan on going back again soon to take my time and browse the aisles. The fruits and vegetables were huge (including a jackfruit that was bigger than my head) and looked very fresh. They sell live crabs and lobsters, butchered meats, fresh kim chi, frozen and dried rice noodles, and a wide selection of sodas and juices, just to name a few. We were more interested in the little restaurant tucked in the back. At this point none of us were hungry and some of my friends were done for the day, so we just popped in to check things out. They had roasted meats hanging as well as a huge variety of dumplings (and samples!), savory and sweet buns, and pre-wrapped bahn mi sandwiches. If you want to sit in the table area you order your soup or from around 17 entrees at the register and they will bring you tea and your food when it is ready. I grabbed a sticky rice and a bahn mi to go for tomorrow. Some other friends grabbed a couple of buns to go. We were too full to order anything and sit down. I’ll be back soon to try some of their soups.

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Five of my friends continued with other plans, while four of us decided to stop at Koko Bakery. My vegetarian friend had left after Emperor’s Palace last week and lamented having missed the desserts, so I wanted to make it up to her. I thought about ordering a smoothie, but decided to order a Taiwanese shaved ice ($5.35 including tax) instead. One of my friends thought it sounded good and ordered the same thing I did. They shave the ice, top it with three toppings (I ordered lychee, mango and kiwi), and pour condensed milk over it. It was very refreshing on this 78 degree day. I also felt I was getting some vitamins to balance out the dumpling overload. My vegetarian friends split the mango cheesecake, which I had a bite of and really liked.

Overall, it was a successful dim sum crawl spread over two days. We got to try some old favorites as well as some new dim sum offerings and discovered a couple places along the way. I would recommend doing it all the time because it is really filling, but this was a great way to spend an early afternoon on a Sunday. I highly recommend it.

Contact info:

E. 30th Street Cafe
Asia Plaza
2999 Payne Avenue #142
Cleveland, OH 44114

Bo Loong *Warning: the website is really bad. A more extensive menu is here.
3922 St Clair Avenue NE
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 391-3113

Asia Foods/Asia Tea House
Asia Town Center
3820 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114


The Velvet Tango Room

May 1, 2015

vtrThe Velvet Tango Room (or VTR) was just named one of the ‘Best 150 bars in America‘ (hint: it’s no. 90) – and for good reason. I love the VTR. Proprietor Paulius Nasvytis is just coolness personified, and the bartenders there really know how to shake a cocktail. The VTR opened in 1996 in a building that was once a speakeasy. It is located on Columbus Road on Duck Island, just a block or two from the West Side Market and the RTA station in Ohio City.

There are more than 80 cocktails on the menu. They serve classics like Manhattans, the Flip, Tom Collins, Sazerac, the Highball, the Ramos Gin Fizz, the Old Fashioned, and sours like the Pisco Sour and the Amaretto di SaronnaIMAG1751 as well as their own house creations like the India Lime Fizz (which Michael Symon talked about on the Food Channel’s The Best Thing I Ever Drank), the Lady in White, the Apricot Lady, the Cleveland Rose, and the Rust Belt. There is a drink to match every taste and mood. Every cocktail is completely fresh and made from scratch. Each cocktail uses the finest ingredients, the juice is squeezed as they make your drink, and mixers like bitters are made in-house. The ice cubes are made in a special 100_0395machine to be 1.25″ square and are frozen at -30 degrees, so that they stay cold longer and dilute the cocktail less. The cherries are imported from Italy. Once you taste them you will never eat maraschino cherries again. They’re delicious!

My favorites include the Lady in Red (vodka blended with the Tango Room’s own red wine reduction and adorned with marinated grapes), the India Lime Fizz (a rich, creamy, and powerful cocktail that combines gin, rum, flora India limes, vanilla, and a whole egg), the Moscow Mule (in the metal cup of course), and the Pisco muleSour.

Even if you are a hater of eggnog, their version will change your mind. It is the third drink photo here. It is so dense it casts a shadow on the cocktail napkin. Paulius whips it up during the holidays with fresh cream and eggs, brandy and dark rum. I had it during the holidays, when Paulius makes gallons of it and runs out, but they are happy to make it for you any time.

If IMAG1753you can’t decide they offer cocktail flights. As the menu explains, the “flights are groupings of three signature cocktails designed to create a harmonious progression of flavor experiences. Each cocktail’s flavor profile and finish, gently introduces and compliments the next one in the series. The opening cocktail is full-sized, followed by a slightly smaller tasting size cocktail before the final coup-de-grace, another full-size cocktail.” It’s a great way to try several at once. I’ve had the White, Light and Spicy (Lady in White, Rangpur Gimlet, and Dark ‘n’ Stormy) and the Fruits, Herbs and Spices (Lady in Red, Lady in White, and Bourbon Daisy).

The joint is classy 1929284_89667701349_7751357_nfrom start to finish, but it isn’t pretentious. There is a dress code (no shorts, t-shirts, or anything disreputable), but as you can see in the photo to the right they don’t ban jeans. The customers are friendly and not at all pretentious.

The ceiling has bullet holes from its speakeasy days. The bar and back bar are made of refinished mahogany. There is a sitting room with a grand piano where live jazz musicians play. The back room is tucked away in a hallway and to get to it you have to walk through a mirrored door in the coatroom. lastwordYou need reservations for the back room, and there is a two drink minimum. The backroom has buttery soft leather chairs and sofas and a fireplace for the winter months and a great patio for the summer months. There is another baby grand piano in the back room for special events. You can check out the photos on their website.

The food is limited, but high quality. You can order savories like Warm Olives and Almonds, Speck on Rye (which I highly recommend), an Artisanal Cheese board, Swine and Cheese (local goat cheese with Courvoisier fig sauce IMAG1598and a mound of prosciutto and crackers), or a Charcuterie plate or sweets like gelato, chocolate truffles, chocolate fondue, and Bananas Foster. We were lucky enough to be treated by Paulius to his Crepe Suzette, flambeed table side. It was a treat for the eyes and the taste buds.

There is no other place in Cleveland serving fine cocktails like the VTR. They serve cocktails and only cocktails, so check out the menu before you go to make sure you like what they are selling. There is no beer, shots or wine served here. The drinks are pricey ($18 for one drink), but they are only $10 during Happy Hour. The Happy Hour at the VTR runs from 4:30-7 pm on weeknights (my friends usually meet there on Fridays). There are no reservations in the front. It’s first come, first served. There are sometimes free nibbles put out during happy hour, but don’t count on them. As one Yelper said, “It doesn’t have to be a “special occasion” for a stop at VTR. VTR is its own occasion and can make any day better.”collage-2015-05-01

Contact info:

The Velvet Tango Room
2095 Columbus Road
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 241-8869


Dim Sum Crawl – Part One

April 27, 2015

My friends and I did a dim sum crawl yesterday. I got the idea from a blog post describing a dim sum crawl in the San Gabriel Valley. The original plan was to hit all four restaurants that serve dim sum here in Cleveland – Emperor’s Palace, Li Wah, E. 30th Street Cafe, and Bo Loong – but we only made it to two of them before we cried ‘uncle.’ I can’t just order two things at a dim sum place. There is too much deliciousness. Everyone brought cash, and we carpooled and left four cars in Emperor’s Palace’s spacious parking lot since parking can be tight at Li Wah. We could have walked, but Bo Loong is a bit too far from the other places.

crawl1The first stop was at Emperor’s Palace. We met there at 11:30, because I wanted to order the Shanghai juicy buns and I know they run out early. Shanghai juicy buns (or xiao long bao) are a steamed dumpling commonly called soup buns because they are filled with pork and broth. The characteristic soup-filled buns are created by wrapping solid meat aspic inside the skin alongside the meat filling. Heat from steaming then melts the gelatin-gelled aspic into soup. Also on the menu were tofu skin rolls, egg custard buns, pumpkin cakes and their absolute stand-outs – shrimp dumplings (har gow) and turnip cake (law bok gow). Since we needed to save room we didn’t order some of my other favorites, but that’s okay. I go there enough to satisfy my cravings. Our bill, split among six diners, was $29.95 – which amounted to $6 per person including tax and gratuity.

crawl2Our second stop was Li Wah. There are two completely different kinds of energy at these two restaurants. Emperor’s Palace is more laid back and relaxed. The food is ordered from the photo-filled menu and prepared fresh. The dishes are served as they are ready. Li Wah was packed with diners and we had food on the table within a minute of sitting down. In fact, we were still getting our plates and chopsticks and our water glasses filled as the first cart stopped. We ordered in a blur. The choices we enjoyed at Li Wah included shu mei, spare ribs in black bean sauce, roast BBQ pork, turnip cake (Li Wah’s is softer and creamier than Emperor’s Palace, but the unanimous verdict was that Emperor’s Palace’s cake had the edge flavor-wise), baked BBQ pork buns, beef ho fun, and steamed rice crepes with ground beef. We wanted to get a roasted meat because Li Wah has outstanding roasted meat, some of which are hanging in a cart near the entrance. We also enjoyed a lovely chrysanthemum tea with real chrysanthemum petals steeping in the water (see photo below). Our bill here came to $44.25 – or $9 a person including tax and tip.

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At this point we decided we were too full to continue our crawl. We decided to do E. 30th Street Cafe (in the same plaza as Li Wah) and Bo Loong another day. Instead, we headed to Koko Bakery for something sweet. Koko has something for everyone – cream buns, savory buns, hot dogs wrapped in pastry dough, soup, sandwiches, rice bowls, salads, chocolate covered strawberries, mousse, tarts, brownies, cakes, tiramisu, shaved ice, coffee, tea, smoothies, and bubble tea. The cases are a feast for the senses. I opted for a chocolate mousse topped with a chocolate covered strawberry. My friends ordered mango mousse, passionfruit mousse, triple chocolate mousse, a green tea bun and a sponge cake with almonds. Everyone left happy.

crawl3If you want to try something different on a Saturday or Sunday consider doing a dim sum crawl with some friends and enjoy some new flavors. Feel free to use some of these suggestions or branch out on your own. We didn’t do as much shrimp because we had someone with a shellfish allergy with us. I tried to order one piece for each person and took the allergy into consideration when ordering – an extra egg custard bun or beef something for her while some got to enjoy two shu mei or shrimp dumplings. We split several choices in half at Li Wah because we were getting full. There are no rules other than enjoy yourself, gorge on dim sum, and drink lots of tea. Oh, and bring cash. Preferably in small bills. It makes life easier.

To be continued…

Contact info:

Emperor’s Palace
2136 Rockwell Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 861-9999

Li Wah
2999 Payne Avenue (Asia Plaza)
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 589-9552

Koko Bakery
3710 Payne Avenue (next to Map of Thailand)
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 881-7600


Slyman’s Restaurant

April 21, 2015

IMAG1875Is there anything more quintessentially Cleveland than Slyman’s? Would you believe that I (a native Clevelander) had never been here until a couple months ago? Whenever people talk about “musts” in Cleveland a corned beef sandwich at Slyman’s is always on the list. The sandwiches are monstrous. There is a reason they offer a side of bread on the menu – to make another sandwich with whatever falls off the monster you are currently eating. The carry out line is usually longer than the IMAG1869dining in line, with downtown workers grabbing their food to go eat at their desks. The place is tiny and cramped, but service is exceptionally quick. They have their service down to a science – a very efficient science.

This place is a family-run institution. They celebrated 50 years in 2013. Joe and Mae Slyman opened the restaurant in 1963, and now their sons are working behind the counter, slicing the meat and grilling the sandwiches. Slyman’s is located on St. Clair Avenue at E. 31st Street. You can park along St. Clair and E. 31st, but there is also a parking lot across the street off E. 31st.

One reason I had never managed to make it here before are the limited hours and the talk of long lines. They are only IMAG1870open during the week until 2:30 and on Saturdays until 1:00. They aren’t open on Sundays. I finally made it here for the first time on the Saturday afternoon after Christmas. I figure it would not be as crowded as it normally is, and I was right. There was still a line, but it moved quickly. They were able to seat our table of 3 quickly in the small dining room to the right of the door. Once we ordered our food, service was even quicker. I don’t think more than 5 minutes passed before our food was brought to the table.

Since Slyman’s is known for their corned beef, I had to get a corned beef sandwich on my first outing. I ordered a Reuben. IMAG1872The Slyman’s Reuben is not like any other Reuben I have ever had. It is 99% corned beef with just a bit of sauerkraut and one slice of Swiss cheese on the top and bottom. That said, it was pretty damn delicious. The corned beef is not too salty and is shaved very thin and piled high. If you are not a fan of sauerkraut never fear. It doesn’t overwhelm, and I can’t see it in the sandwich. I think there might be a thin layer at the bottom with the cheese. The rye bread is buttery and crisp from the grill. They don’t put condiments on the sandwich. The ketchup, mustard, horseradish, hot sauce and Thousand Island dressing are on the table, which allows you to doctor it up just how you like it.

I ordered a Sprite and a side of potato salad to go with it. The Sprite came in a can along with a small glass of ice. Order two right off the bat if IMAG1873you are particularly thirsty that day. And since corned beef tends to be somewhat salty you might need it. The potato salad was out of this world. It was creamy and had small shavings of carrot and onion. It was not overwhelmingly mustardy if you like that kind of thing. If you do, just add a splash from the table condiments. It was just a good, solid potato salad that I would happily order again.

My dining companions ordered the french fries, and they were really good for IMAG1874food service fries. The serving size was plentiful, and the crinkle cut fries were crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.

On my second visit I was craving a Tuna Melt. I had heard good things about the tuna melt, and the tips did not steer me wrong. This was a delicious tuna melt. I ordered it on the requisite rye bread with Swiss cheese. I wanted to have soup, but the choice that day was beef barley, which isn’t necessarily the best accompaniment. Potato salad it is! The tuna melt and potato salad were delivered within one minute of ordering (I kid you not). I also can’t believe IMAG2247I ate the whole thing! I didn’t eat for the rest of the day.

You can also order roast beef, pastrami, turkey, ham, egg salad, salami, BBQ beef, a hamburger or cheeseburger, hot dog, patty melt, grilled cheese and several salads. If you really want a challenge, their hot turkey (below), hot roast beef or hot BBQ sandwiches are served closed face along with home fries or french fries and come smothered in gravy.

If you come here and know you won’t be able to finish your sandwich, you might want to bring some kind of container with you. They bring you parchment paper to wrap up your sandwich, but it doesn’t work real well if you have a wet item like potato salad, cole slaw or tuna fish.

Breakfast is served from 6 am to 11 am on the weekdays. I have a friend from high school who raves about their corned beef hash. I’m tempted, but let’s be honest – I am likely to never make it here for breakfast. If you do be sure to order the corned beef!IMAG2975

There is a reason they bring your food so quickly. With space at such a premium you are not encouraged to linger. Order, eat, and get out to make room for the next person. Don’t take it personally. People are clamoring to get in here.

They just opened a Slyman’s Tavern on Rockside Road in Independence, and it seats 150. It is open every day from 11 am to midnight. Maybe it will decrease the crowds downtown, but I doubt it. If anything it will satisfy all the cravings of all business folks in Independence.

Contact info:

Slyman’s Restaurant
3106 St. Clair Avenue NE
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 621-3760


Pho & Rice on Coventry

April 12, 2015

IMAG2171Pho & Rice opened up in August 2013 in the former Winds of Change-Game Exchange-Record Exchange space next to Grum’s. It has been serving up pho to the masses ever since. It serves Vietnamese and some Thai dishes as well as bubble tea and Vietnamese iced coffee and tea. There are a dozen phos, both small ($8.95) and large ($9.95), with the usual noodle, beef, chicken, shrimp and seafood add-ins. The broth is made in house. The pho is not as good as Superior Pho, but it is a decent pho and conveniently located at the intersection of Coventry and Mayfield. The pho is served with a good sized portion of bean sprouts, some Thai basil, a few jalapenos, and a lime wedge.IMAG2173

The Crispy Roll appetizer features 5 small, tightly wrapped vegetable spring rolls and a sweet chili dipping sauce. I ordered it expecting one roll, but it was a nice surprise to have 5. I brought several home with me. They came out of the kitchen piping hot, so I was glad I had been given some water. They left a small sheen of grease on the doily but not enough to make my fingers too greasy. The flavor was good.IMAG1076

The first time I ate there I ordered my usual bahn mi and beef pho order. First of all, the bahn mi is listed under Salads as “Vietnamese Sandwich Salad.” It isn’t a salad at all, but when I ordered it I thought it might have been a deconstructed bahn mi as a salad, which I would have been okay with. The bahn mi was your basic bahn mi with roasted pork, cucumber, carrot, cilantro, and jalapeno, but had a sweet cream mayonnaise. It was quite good, and I particularly liked the pickled vegetables. They did not overwhelm the pork. The sandwich came out warm, the bread was crispy but not dry, and the sweet cream mayonnaise sauce was a nice addition to IMAG1078the pork and vegetables. My vegetarian friend was thrilled to hear that the bahn mi is available in a vegetarian version and has since made it a regular stop for dine-in and carry-out.

The beef pho hit the spot. The beef was not overly cooked, and the rice noodles were the perfect texture. The broth was well-seasoned, if a little sweet. The bean sprouts, basil, jalapenos, and lime were fresh. A squirt of sriracha stirred in made it perfect.IMAG1077 I like the idea of having pho within walking distance.

My friends ordered the Drunken Noodles with tofu and the Pad Thai with shrimp and liked them a lot. The drunken noodles were indeed delicious and very flavorful. I had several bites from my friend’s order because I loved them so much. She went back and ordered it again a few days later.IMAG1080

The Pad Thai was a bit deconstructed, but once my friend mixed it all up she was a very happy camper. I can’t say I tried it, but it looked fresh and the shrimp did not smell fishy to my nose. If given the choice I would probably go to High Thai’d for their country pad thai, but if you are out with friends who want pho and are in the mood for pad thai this isn’t a bad choice.

I was in the mood for pho again recently, but didn’t want beef pho. I was toying between the chicken pho and shrimp pho when the Pink Noodle Soup caught my eye. At $10.95 it is only available as a large, but I didn’t have any trouble finishing it. In addition to IMAG2175pink noodles, it came with two shrimp, two mussels, two squid and two fish balls. It has a different flavor and was a little fishier than I expected, but once I added sriracha it hit the spot and made me perspire, which is the sign of a good soup.IMAG2174

The Thai Tea bubble tea was really delicious. I have never seen Thai Tea bubble tea on other menus. You usually just see fruit flavors or flavors like taro. They are on the menu too, but you can also order Thai Tea, Thai Coffee, Mocha or Black Milk Tea here. If you like bubble tea you should definitely give them a try. If you value loose leaf tea don’t bother ordering hot tea here. It is served as a tea bag in a tea cup.

The place is tiny, but the servers are friendly and welcoming. With big windows overlooking Coventry it is bright and cheerful, but there is a draft in the winter.

Contact info:

Pho & Rice
1780 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights
216-563-1122


Quintealia’s Tea Parlor in Burton

April 2, 2015

IMAG0940Quintealia’s is a darling little tea room on the historic town square in Burton, serving up delicious scones, tea sandwiches and high afternoon teas. Quintealia’s is named after one of the owners’ grandmother. As the website explains, “The parlor’s name was selected in honor of Annette’s grandmother, Quintilia, who was of Italian decent. Quintilia was renamed “Clara” because her given name was deemed too difficult for others to pronounce. IMAG0228A slight variation in the spelling of her name gave Annette and Renee an opportunity to play on the word “tea” while paying homage to a woman who’s inner strength and brave spirit epitomized their own leap of faith. Quintilia’s photograph, along with the first tea set she gave Annette as a child grace the mantle in the main parlor.”

From the owners to the servers, they are warm and welcoming and really make you feel like an honored guest. I have been there several times, and they quickly recognized and acknowledged me as a “regular.”

IMAG1034Quintealia’s is located in the historic Ford House, a beautiful 1891 mansion built by George H. Ford, Burton’s first mayor. The Victorian mansion is on the National Register of historical places. Quintealia’s features delicious tea and friendly service in a quaint and charming atmosphere. The Main Parlor boasts a fireplace, an 1880s Queen Anne velvet settee and matching ladies chair, and is decorated with rich gem colors and dark woodwork. The soft and feminine French Room is draped in lace and pastel pinks, and the table service is set with gold cutlery. IMAG1032The Ford Room, named after George Ford, the grand old home’s original owner, is adorned in quarter-paneled wood walls, old trunks, oversized wingback chairs and accents reminiscent of Old England. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Quintealia’s offers a wide variety of loose leaf teas brewed at the perfect temperature. The servers are very knowledgeable and will happily help you choose the perfect tea for your tastes. The wide variety ensures that everyone can choose their favorite tea. Pots are happily refilled with hot water as needed.

One of my favorite new finds at Quintealia’s are the wine-inspired tea blends by Vintage TeaWorks. IMAG0230The line of teas was developed by a lawyer in Akron who was passionate about both wine and tea and set out to blend the two. His non-alcoholic blends are deliciously aromatic and do a great job mimicking the notes of the various wines. The teas were voted Best New Product in 2012 by WorldTeaEast. From the light and playful White Tea Riesling to the dark and decadent Pu-Erh Cabernet, each of the six wine-inspired teas stand out in their own right. I attended a tea tasting of the line at Quintealia’s hosted by the personable Vintage TeaWorks founder, and each tea was better than the next, capped off with his delicious Bourbon Chai. IMAG0231I ended up buying the entire line and enjoy them at home cold brewed as well as hot. He suggested cold brewing the Rooibos Noir overnight in the refrigerator, and it quickly became my favorite thing this past summer. Although the Black Tea Merlot is my hands down favorite hot tea. Order one when you visit Quintealia’s. I promise you won’t regret it!

As for the food… my favorite thing to order here is the Savory Sampler for $10.95, which features four assorted tea sandwiches (although there are five in the photo on the right – I think the two cucumber sandwiches counted as one) and choice of a cup of soup or salad. Their soups and sandwiches IMAG0232vary with the season, but they have been delicious each and every time I have ordered this. I particularly love the cinnamon raisin swirl bread with a carrot and cream cheese spread. The mint cream cheese on the cucumber sandwiches is also a great pairing that you wouldn’t expect.

The scones are small but very flavorful. They also vary depending on the day. The white chocolate scone with raspberry was delicious, as are their savory herb scones. IMAG0389They serve Devonshire cream and jam with their scones as their Cream Tea for $7.95 that comes with a pot of tea or simply the Scones and Cream dessert selection for $3.95.

The crispy flatbread ($10.95) is topped with melted Asiago cheese, artichokes, and your choice of sweet peppers or sausage. They served these as nibbles at the Vintage TeaWorks tea tasting, and we couldn’t get enough of them. They were delicious and addictive.

I was less enthused about the Seafood Puff Pastry ($12.95), which features shrimp and whitefish tossedIMAG0388 in a delicate dressing with fresh Parmesan cheese, baked in a puff pastry and accompanied by soup or salad. I was expecting a puff pastry, and it was more like a pot pie. If you like the idea of a seafood pot pie you’ll love it.

When I went here with my tea group the table was groaning with tea caddies loaded with savory and sweet selections (Full Afternoon Tea for $22.95). It features a three-tiered assortment of tea sandwiches, petite sweets, freshly baked scones with Devonshire cream and jam and a bottomless pot of tea. The scones were on the top tier (photo on the right). The middle tier had the tea sandwiches. The bottom tier featured the petite sweets. Most of us had to ask for boxes to bring some of the sweets home. IMAG0390They are very generous with this afternoon tea. The petite sweets alone are seven two- or three-bite desserts with choices ranging from cheesecakes, petit fours, brownie bites, tarts, lemon bars, bread pudding, cookies, and a variety of tea cakes and breads. The lemon meltaway bars and bread pudding are to die for!!!

If you want a place to relax over a nice cup of tea and tasty food, a catch up with an old friend or a special place to celebrate with girlfriends be sure to check Quintealia’s out.

Contact info:

Quintealia’s Tea Parlor
14585 East Park Street
Burton, Ohio 44021
(440) 834-1777


Heimatland in Brunswick

March 25, 2015
heimatland

Photo from the Heimatland Facebook page

Heimatland is a quirky little German restaurant that is putting out some pretty good German food. It’s located in a German business center off the main drag just off the highway. The dining room is dominated by murals of Germany and austere wooden tables and chairs.

hi_3The food is affordable, filling and plentiful. Their sandwiches are definitely unique – served on thick slices of Italian bread and accompanied by chips and pickles. Their German Panini features German bratwurst, piled high with shredded cabbage in a house vinaigrette, topped with provolone, and fried potatoes. The Croatian Panini is one of the more unique “knife-and-fork” sandwiches – stuffed cabbage topped with shredded cabbage, tomato and fried potatoes. I ordered the Croatian hi_13Panini and loved the fluffy Italian bread it came on. The stuffed cabbage was tender, moist and fell apart easily when I bit into it. The fried potatoes were actually more like French fries, but they paired well with the stuffed cabbage. Some of their other sandwiches feature Polish kielbasa, beer battered tilapia, or grilled knockwurst as well as a Reuben, German style chicken salad, a club sandwich, and a BLT.

The Koln Burger is a 6 oz. beef patty topped with Shi_14wiss cheese, sauerkraut or red cabbage, and a side of Thousand Island dressing. The Berlin Burger is a burger with Swiss cheese, grilled onions, and mushrooms. The Salz Burger features jack & cheddar cheese, bacon, and BBQ sauce. The name cracks me up, because I used to live in Salzburg and Salzburgers are citizens of Salzburg.

The Heimatland salad (photo above) is one of the most unique shi_9alads I have ever seen on a menu. It features mixed field greens topped with chunks of chicken simmered in a secret sauce, seasoned fries and jack & cheddar cheese and served with creamy BBQ ranch dressing. It looks like a big hot mess, but the person I was with really enjoyed it. Who knew fries on a salad would be so appealing?

The dinner entrees include standard Eastern European fare such as chicken paprikas,hi_6 stuffed cabbage, Wiener Schnitzel (veal) or pork schnitzel, a German sausage platter, two different pierogi dinners (one with knockwurst and haluska), and beef goulash – among other things like honey fried chicken or liver and onions for those of you who like that. Dinners are served with your choice of two sides – including mashed potatoes, haluska (aka cabbage and noodles) cole slaw, sauerkraut, hi_1German potato salad, French fries, spaetzle, red cabbage, home fries, buttered noodles, applesauce, green beans or a side salad.

I was here with a large group of Germans and German speakers. Everyone was very pleased with their meal. The service was friendly and attentive. We certainly had no complaints.

They serve German beer on tap as well as Pepsi products, juice, and other normal beverage offerings. Desserts include a thick slice of Black Forest cake and apple strudel (3 flaky slices topped with powdered sugar and caramel drizzle).

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Contact info:

Heimatland Restaurant
3511 Center Road
Brunswick, OH 44212
(330) 220-8671


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