Miega Korean BBQ

November 25, 2015

IMAG3311Miega Korean BBQ is located on the second floor of Asian Town Center just off E. 38th and Superior. Korean BBQ is a lot of fun with a bunch of people and I plan on having my IMAG3304dining out group here soon, but I wanted to report on my past couple of visits by myself.

I went here for supper before a recent vacation and ended up eating the leftovers on the road. There’s always a great variety of different banchan, which fill you up even before you get your entree. The banchanIMAG3307 here weren’t as varied as the ones at Seoul Garden, but they were still delicious. I enjoyed sigeumchi namul (parboiled spinach dressed with sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce), jap chae (stir fried glass noodles), sweet potato, ojingeochae muchim (dried squid), sukjunamul (marinated mung bean sprouts), rice cakes, boiled peanuts in a sauce, Kim chi, oi sobagi (cucumber kim chi), and miso soup. I enjoyed all of them, but my absolute favorite IMAG3308was the jap chae.

The Kim bob (pictured with the banchan) were a fun take on a Korean sushi roll. It was much sweeter than Japanese sushi rolls, but I enjoyed the flavor a lot. The pickled vegetables and meat were very good together.

I ordered Kalbi (marinated beef spare ribs) that came out of the kitchen grilled for me. At that point I was so full that I ended up taking most of them home with me. They were good cold and reheated.IMAG3309

I also enjoyed the barley tea they serve and ordered a glass of plum wine based on the server’s recommendation. The plum wine was very refreshing. The bill with tax and tip ran me $39.00. Not bad for all that food.

Some of the tables have a bell on them to ring for your server. This is a great little feature, and the Korean people do not think it is rude at all. I also reallIMAG3303y liked the metal chopsticks. They were definitely much fancier than anything you get at a Chinese restaurant. Most Korean chopsticks are metal. Unless you are there for lunch, then you get the wooden disposable chopsticks.

Lunch is a great deal here at Miega. You can order a lunch box featuring one of their six entreesIMAG3306 and it comes with fried rice, jap chae, salad, two fried dumplings and the ever-present banchan. I ordered the bulgogi, which was nicely prepared, thinly shaved, with some nice vegetables, and in a light marinade. The fried rice was nice and warm, with fluffy chunks of scrambled egg and fresh vegetables. I loved the Gun Man Du (the Korean dumplings). They were crispy with some kind of meat filling. I would definitely order those again! I was extremely pleased with my lunch here and was not able to finish it completely. Although the web site specified that the lunch box was $10.95, they charged me $12.95, so do not rely on the website for recent prices. It was still cheap though; my bill was $13.99 ($17 with tip).IMAG4786

Contact info:

Miega Korean BBQ
3820 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 432-9200

#1 Pho

November 13, 2015

IMAG1947#1 Pho is open 365 days a year, which is comforting to know when I am craving pho and Superior Pho and Minh Ahn are closed. It is also helpful when you are craving pho on New Year’s Day, because they are sure to be open. I usually choose the other pho places because they serve bahn mi, and I am bahn mi’s bitch. Like seriously love it. Unfortunately #1 Pho does not serve bahn mi. They do, however, have lots of other tasty items on the menu.

The first IMAG4003time I went I ordered pho. I think it might have even been my first time trying pho. It’s good pho. The broth is a well-balanced bone broth with subtle flavors. They serve the usual meats – rare beef, meatballs, brisket, tendon, etc. The meat is always tender and melts in your mouth a bit. They serve lime here, which is a plus, in their side dish of add-ins (bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime, and jalapenos). I have also had the chicken pho (Pho Ga – pictured on the right), which is also good. It features a rich chicken broth and IMAG2876pulled chicken along with the rice noodles. The last time I was here it was very apparent that there are many regulars, who are greeted like old friends and were asked if they wanted their usual. I like that.

I have also tried their wonton noodle soup with roast pork (H5) and really enjoyed it. It has both egg noodles and wontons and thick strips of IMAG1943roast pork in a nice broth. I would definitely order it again if I was in the mood for a fun noodle soup. It was filled with all kinds of noodley and dumplingy goodness, and I loved the wontons, which were perfectly cooked.

The appetizers also have some good choices on the menu. The crispy spring rolls (A4) are filled with pork and mushrooms and served with a dipping sauce and some fresh vegetables. My niece, who is a serious shrimp addict, really loved the crispy shrimp (A3), which came with a sweet and sour dipping sauce and veggies. I am lessIMAG1944 impressed with the fresh spring rolls. The filling just tastes bland, and I need a lot of savory peanut dipping sauce to brighten it up. That said, the pork spring rolls (A8) with charbroiled pork, lettuce and bean sprouts are a bit more flavorful than the shrimp spring rolls. I learned how to make these in a Viking Vietnamese cooking class, and mine tend to be much more flavorful. Probably because mine include fresh mint leaves and a few things other than just lettuce and vermicelli.

They have a very nice selection of vegetarian choices, which makes life easy when you go out to eat with vegetarian friends like I do. The first time I went my boyfriend at the time, who was a vegetarian, he ordered the stir-fried clear noodles and really liked them.IMAG1945

I like their iced Vietnamese coffee and they serve a variety of bubble teas. I tried to get my nieces to try the bubble tea, but they were not as impressed with it as I was. It is apparently an acquired taste. They also serve a wide variety of juices and smoothies, including fresh orange, fresh coconut, jack fruit, mung bean and durian.

Contact info:

Number One Pho
3120 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 781-1176

Seti’s Polish Boys

November 4, 2015

IMAG4771Cleveland’s original food truck has been serving up Polish boys and grilled dogs since 2000. They have been at their current location, the parking lot of Dean Supply on the corner of E. 34th and Woodland Avenue, for the past nine years. The truck is equipped with a grill, deep fryer, steam table, 3 prep tables, 2 refrigerators, 4 sinks with hot and cold running water, exhaust system, and serving window. They serve IMAG4774magic. Having been featured on the Food Network and lauded by folks like Michael Symon on The Best Thing I’ve Ever Ate, Rachel Ray and Andrew Zimmer of Bizarre Foods, I knew I had to try it.

The Polish Boy is Cleveland’s iconic sandwich. It IMAG4775features a slow-grilled and then fried jumbo style hot dog and is topped with cole slaw, french fries and BBQ sauce. Seti’s is known for having the best in town, and Food and Wine Magazine said their Polish Boy is one of the best dogs in the United States.

It was a total mess to eat, but it was worth it. I bit in and the hot dog had a great snap. IMAG4809The creaminess of the cole slaw, the perfect buttery french fries and the sweet BBQ sauce melded together to the perfect meal. I used every single one of the four napkins they gave me and then cleaned up with a wet wipe I had brought with me. Next time I’m bringing a new shirt to change into too.

They serve lunch at Dean Supply Monday through Friday from 10 to 4. The service is fast and courteous, the price is right and the food is delicious. If you haven’t been there yet what are you waiting for? Just be sure to bring wet wipes.


Seti’s various offerings – official photo by Seti on Yelp

Contact info:

Seti’s Polish Boys
E. 34th & Woodland Avenue
At Dean Supply
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 240-0745

Patterson Fruit Farm

October 27, 2015

IMAG4794Patterson Fruit Farm in Chesterland is great year-round, but it really shines in the fall. Families flock there for the pick-your-own apples, pumpkins, apple cider, doughnuts and apple fritters in a fall wonderland of changing leaves, corn stalks and bales of hay. One of my friends raves about the apple fritters. IMAG4793The place gets packed on the weekends, and they have overflow parking across the street. I made a spontaneous decision to check it out on a Tuesday to see what all the hype is about, and I’m so glad I did. I enjoyed every minute of drive out to Chesterland amid the colorful leaves and crisp air. Driving home through Gates Mills I even got to IMAG4798enjoy the smell of a bonfire. It truly is a quintessential fall experience and is just one more reason that Cleveland Rocks!

There are a ton of pumpkins to choose from outside, along with stands offering fresh kettle corn and lemonade. Inside the barn you can find all kinds of local culinary delights, from apple butter and Amish jams and jellies, pies, IMAG4796doughnuts, apple fritters, dried soup mix, pancake mix, maple syrup, popcorn toppings, and all kinds of cooking implements. The doughnuts, pies and apple fritters are made fresh using the fruit from the farm.

I ended up buying six doughnuts, because I couldn’t choose just one. They all looked amazing IMAG4797I ordered the maple bacon, apple cider, pumpkin roll, Samoa, chocolate glaze and salty caramel. I loved the maple bacon and apple cider doughnuts. The maple bacon doughnut was a nice blend of savory and sweet and the apple cider doughnut had a hint of autumnal spices to it. And the apple fritter is indeed divine – soft on the inside, crispy on the outside and with chunks of apple in the dough.


Photo by Jaime P from Yelp

But the apples are the star of the show. Refrigerated cases hold apple cider, honey crisp apple cider (apparently only available for a limited time), milk and other refrigerated meats and cheeses. Hot apple cider is also available for purchase. You can buy their apple cider in most grocery stores in Cleveland, but there is just something special about drinking a hot apple cider at the farm.IMAG4804

If you are looking to buy some apples there are a ton of kinds to choose from, ranging from Winesap and Honey Crisp to Macoun and Jonagold and everything in between. They let you sample all of the apples available for purchase. They also offer big bags of seconds, which are great to use for apple sauce. I bought two kinds to make some apple sauce. I was so excited about trying the different kinds I forgot to take photographs. I boughtIMAG4801 winesap and honey crisp apples. I will use the winesap together with my apples from Fresh Fork Market to make the apple sauce. The honey crisp are just because they are my hands-down favorite apple to eat plain.

The orchard allows you to pick your own apples as well and features almost 20 different kinds. Not all varieties are available at once, but there are always several to choose from. They also offer pick your own strawberries and blueberries in season. The pick-your-own location is just down the street from the farm market at 8765 Mulberry Road.


Contact info:

Patterson Fruit Farm
11414 Caves Road
Chesterland, OH 44026
(440) 729-1964

L’Alabatros Brasserie & Bar

October 18, 2015

When asked what their favorite restaurant is a lot of people will answer “L’Albatros.” This Zach Bruell restaurant features fine French dining in the University Circle area. Be warned that you will most likely have to pay for parking in the lot, because street parking is almost non-existent on the CWRU college campus. It is a popular choice before a Cleveland Orchestra concert. L’Albatros offers cozy indoor seating (including by a fireplace or tucked in alcoves) as well as an inviting patio in the warmer months. You can also choose to sit at their bar and enjoy some hand-crafted cocktails if that is what you prefer. The cocktails are delicious. Try the signature L’Albatros, featuring absinthe, pineapple juice, fresh lime and mint or order a special cocktail featuring lavender or any number of delicious ingredients.

Cheese!The most popular menu item is hands down the cheese board. It is legendary here in Cleveland and is now being carried on at EDWINS, where the original cheese guy now works, as well. The cheese board offers a huge variety of cheeses – from stinky, soft cheeses oozing deliciousness to cheeses studded with amazing IMAG0033molds to slivers of harder cheeses. There is something for everyone’s taste.

The first time I ate here I ordered the cassoulet. It was a cold wintery day, and I was craving comfort. Well, the cassoulet certainly provided it. Cassoulet is a traditional French preparation of beans, pork belly, duck, lamb, sausage and vegetables. This is L’Albatros’ most popular dish for good reason. The white beans are perfectly cooked and creamy and served as a bed for the 101_0168expertly seared pork belly, homemade sausage, duck confit leg with crispy skin and softened root vegetables in a stainless steel skillet. It was filling and made some nice leftovers the next day. Please pardon the blurry picture.

I also love their mussels with pomme fries (moule frites) here. The mussels are cooked in a white wine sauce, and the musselsFrench fries are crispy and drizzled with a creamy, spicy aioli sauce. This dish is always a delight – no matter how many times I have ordered it. Pure comfort – every time!

One of my all-time favorite meals here was enjoyed on their patio. Eating out on the patio in the summer is a different experience from sitting in the intimate indoor IMAG0027seating, but it is equally lovely. I started off with their peach salad, which featured perfectly ripe peaches, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and heirloom tomatoes, drizzled with Zach’s amazing olive oil (I love it so much I buy it at Heinen’s!). It was heavenly. My tablemate ordered the smoked salmon as an appetizer and it too was lovely, served with some cornichons, pickled onion and IMAG0030lemon slices. My entree that day was a special. It was a seared trout served over a bed of fresh squash and zucchini and creamed corn and topped with microgreens. It was absolutely divine. The fish was perfectly seared and the creamed corn did not disappoint – although I would have preferred a few more corn chunks. It was more puree than the creamed corn I was hoping for.

What meal is complete without dessert? Well, L’Albatros certainly offers some good ones. You could be like the French and order the cheese board for dessert. That’s always a good choice. If you prefer something sweeter, I recommend the Chocolate Napoleon or the Crème Caramel. My photo of my Napoleon is worse than the cassoulet, so I won’t torture you with it. Trust me when I say it was divine – crispy thin wafers layered with chocolate mousse and raspberries on a pool of raspberry coulis.

Contact info:

11401 Bellflower Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 791-7880

Geraci’s Restaurant

October 8, 2015

IMAG4417Geraci’s is family-run restaurant with fresh Italian cooking from scratch. They have been in business since 1956, so they must be doing something right. It is also popular with John Carroll students, and they have a special section on the menu for them (billed as “late night dining” – although they are only open until 9 PM and 10 PM on Fridays and Saturdays). Geraci’s is known for its pizza, so muchIMG_20120830_133307 so that it was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

The bread service features crusty and soft Italian bread with a dusting of sesame seeds on the crust and packets of soft butter. The House salad dressing is a good choice if you like red wine vinegar. It’s pretty overwhelming. You can order it with and without grated mozzarella on it.

The only thing I have ordered here that disappointed me was the spaghetti and meatballs. I thought the meatballs and sauce were pretty bland. I’ve learned not to IMG_20120830_133257order spaghetti and meatballs in Italian restaurants around here. However, they offer a lot more than spaghetti and meatballs. They are known for their Geraci’s sauce, which is a red sauce. You can also order spaghetti with fresh mushrooms, meat sauce or marinara and upgrade with a meatball or Italian sausage. They also offer gluten-free pasta and whole wheat pasta for an upcharge.

The spinach ravioli are absolutely fantastic. IMG_20120830_134524The ravioli are large and the sauce is a tomato cream sauce that really complements the cheese ravioli. It is a creamy delight. I didn’t even miss the meat.

Geraci’s also offer veal and chicken entrees. The Chicken a la Tosca was out of this world. I wasn’t expecting such a large portion. It came with three chicken cutlets IMAG4410dipped in egg batter and lightly fried and served over a bed of garlic spinach and diced tomatoes. The chicken was really moist and tender. The heavenly smell as they were frying it permeated the restaurant (I was the only table left after their lunch rush), which made me really anticipate the meal. It was served with a side of spaghetti. I was able to upgrade it to the meat sauce for an extra dollar. I had been wanting IMAG4422spaghetti that day, but didn’t want a huge plate of it. This was perfect – and I was able to bring two of the three cutlets home for later.

Everyone raves about the pizza, however. I have friends who travel all the way from the far west side for a Geraci’s fix. Reading all the suggestions for the pepperoni pizza on Yelp I felt the need to order one even though I am not a huge pepperoni pizza fan. My friend who loves it suggested I get the large with extra pepperoni, because she feels it is their best one. It was okay, but it didn’t thrill me. The sauce is a little sweeter than most, and the crust is a little stiff (I prefer a little doughier, chewier crust). And it was more burned than I like. I’ll stick with the chicken and pasta here in the future.

Make sure you come with cash though. This is a true Italian restaurant. Cash or check only.

Contact info:

Geraci’s Restaurant
2266 Warrensville Center Road
University Heights, OH 44118
(216) 371-5643

Zoss the Swiss Baker

September 28, 2015

IMAG4073Zoss the Swiss Baker is a high quality European bakery in Cleveland Heights. It does not serve beverages. It does not have seating. Instead, it has the most delicious European breads and pastries. Real, honest to goodness European pastries. It’s enough to make me cry.

They use quality ingredients here – real butter, chocolate, flours, etc. You can taste the quality in the first bite. The pastries IMAG4818are light and flaky, while the bread is as dense and crusty as it should be.

The Krustenkrone alone has assured my patronage for as long as they are in business. I have never seen it offered here, despite being a staple at parties in Germany. The Krustenkrone consists of small bread rollsIMAG4074 that are shaped in a ring. You pull apart the Krustenkrone and get a crusty crust with a tender inside. The ones I am familiar with from Germany have a variety of different toppings, like sesame seed, poppy seed, parmesan, etc. I’m sure if asked they could make it that way as a special order for a party.

Zoss is located in an unassuming brick building on Cedar Road, tucked away just past Nighttown. Even though it faces out to IMAG4075Cedar Road, it is in an easy to miss location. They have their own parking lot with free parking, which is a plus in Cleveland Heights. I go here when I know On The Rise will be crazy busy with nary a parking space in sight.

Kurt and Barbara Zoss have been in Cleveland for nearly two decades, now Apfel im Schlafrockmanaging four employees and making ten bread assortments and various pastries, baked goods and tarts every day.

I first learned about Zoss at the North Union Farmer’s Market on Shaker Square. They were selling a pastry called Apfel im Schlafrock (apple in a nightgown), which caught my eye. The marzipan flavor when I bit into it won my heart.IMAG4077 This pastry is amazing. The pastry dough is buttery, tender and flaky and the apple filling is creamy and delicious.

I love their ham and Swiss croissants and German Bretzel (pretzel) as well. Since the tastes skew more European than American, the baked goods are not as sweet as you might expect, and that is a good thing! Everyone raves about their Chocolate Papillon, with good reason. It is a light, delicate and airy pastry brimming with quality IMAG4817chocolate goodness. It is absolute perfection.

They sell a wide variety of breads. I always have a hard time deciding. I narrowed it down to the Country Sourdough or the Rustic Italian this time and asked the woman behind the counter which she recommended. She recommended the Rustic Italian and then asked if I wanted it sliced. I prefer slicing my own bread, but I appreciated having the choice all the same. Their Semmli also make me smile. These little balls of goodness are smaller than the Semmel or Brötchen IMG_20150917_122454I am used to from Austria and Germany, respectively, but they are a nice choice for a small variety of open-faced sandwiches that European breakfasts are known for.

Their IMAG4504_1savory tarts are quite lovely as well. I bought a spinach and onion tart and was not able to eat it until the following day. I didn’t even heat it up. I simply ate it at room temperature. It was just as delicious if it had been fresh. The tart was packed with lots of spinach and it had a nice oniony/garlicky flavor to it. It was almost quiche-like. I would definitely recommend giving their tarts a try.

They run out of baked goods fairly quickly, so get there early if you want to get their best stuff. They are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Also, they have a $10 minimum for credit cards, so bring cash if you can.

Contact info:

Zoss the Swiss Baker
12397 Cedar Rd
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 368-4055


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