Sangria y Tapas

July 10, 2017

I apologize for the delay between posts. My real job has been keeping me very, very busy, and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and have enough time to craft a decent review, which this place definitely deserves.

I first heard about Sangria y Tapas on a New Day Cleveland feature. I am a sucker for sangria and paella. Especially good paella. I quickly organized a dinner there with my dining out group.

The more I examined the menu beforehand, I decided to eat my way through the tapas menu instead of ordering the paella. Everyone at the table ordered tapas that night, and we passed the dishes around and got to taste everyone’s choices. I went in determined to order the Spanish tortilla, which is a simple omelet of eggs, onion and potatoes, and a couple other small plates.

We started off the evening with sangria. Oh, that sangria. I ordered a half pitcher of the white sangria since most of my tapas choices called for a white wine. I loved every single drop. I got to taste the red sangria and the champagne sangria, and they were both great too (in fact on the second visit I ordered a single glass of the champagne sangria instead of a pitcher). But I really, really like their white sangria. One of my friends used the straws like chopsticks to fish out the chunks of fresh fruit, which I thought was a much more elegant solution than sticking a fork or your fingers in.

They brought out baskets of bread with oil to nibble on while we decided what to get. The bread was quite tasty, and if I remember correctly I believe it was from Blackbird Baking Company. The dipping oil was nice, but the oil was a little off on the second trip.

I went a little overboard and ordered a lot of dishes. The Tortilla a la Espanola was perfectly cooked and was exactly as I expected it to be. Fluffy and flavorful with creamy potatoes.

The Camarones a la Cancun (shrimp cocktail with avocado, cilantro and onion in a tomato sauce) was a little sweeter than I expected, but I enjoyed it. I wish it had come with a few more crackers, because I was left with a lot of tomato sauce left over once I ate the shrimp and avocado out of it. If you plan on ordering this save one or two pieces of bread.

The Aceitunas Marinadas (marinated olives) were a delight. They had a kick to them from lots of balsamic vinegar. I ended up taking them home with the leftover tortilla and eating them for lunch the next day. I think they were even better the second day! I would definitely get them again.

I also ordered the Vieras a Cebon (sea scallops stuffed with short ribs). I wanted to love them and they were good and perfectly cooked, but the other dishes were so flavorful that these were just kind of underwhelming. If you order them try to eat them first while your palate is still fresh.

Another standout was the Croquetas San Miguel (potato fritters stuffed with serrano ham and drizzled with honey). The honey really complemented the fritters and was a great addition. I loved these!

We ordered so many other small plates. One of my vegetarian friends was thrilled with her Patatas Bravas (spicy potatoes), mushroom risotto, and the Vegetales a la Parilla (medley of grilled vegetables – pictured here).

The bacon-wrapped quail, meat and cheese platter, and stuffed mushrooms with crab meat were also very well-received.

The desserts were also amazing. They bring around a tray of all the available desserts, and diners choose. I ordered the creme brulee cheesecake, which was superb.

The flan was also a standout. Creamy and delicious with an amazing caramel sauce. If I remember correctly someone at the other end of the table ordered the Almond Cake, which was also delicious but was not photogenic by the time it came to me.

The desserts capped off a perfect meal, but one really nice touch is the complementary chilled almond liquor they serve as a digestif. They showed us the bottle at our request so that we could buy it to drink at home. It was really lovely.

One thing that absolutely should not be missed is their Cafe a la Espanole. It is made with coffee, Kahlua, Grand  Marnier, Bailey’s and whipped cream. It’s really a dessert in itself. They make it table-side, and it is a sight to see and delicious to boot. The sparks coming off the glass are great.

Everyone was so thrilled with the meal that they were talking about coming back soon, which is something we never do. I scheduled a follow-up for Paella Valenciana a few weeks later.

We had such a delightful time the first time that we were able to give the service a bit of a pass the second time. Even though I called to reserve a table and called back to add two more with plenty of notice they seemed surprised when we arrived. They were very booked up with a huge birthday party that day and a couple other larger tables had come and added people without giving them notice, so they were fairly in the weeds. They eventually managed to seat us together at one table after a bit of a wait and after bringing in tables and chairs from the patio (it was raining, so there was no one seated out there). The loud live music also wasn’t conducive to chatting, so we were happy that they moved us out of the main room to our final destination in a side room.

Our waiter was noticeably overwhelmed, and I’m sure the kitchen was as well. He forgot to mention a couple of specials that one of our fellow diners would have ordered if she had known about it. We had already ordered when he approached a neighboring table and told them the specials, including the missing ones. The photo below is the Seafood Special, featuring langostino, scallops, clams, calamari and mussels. Three of my dining companions split this as well as a couple other small plates and enjoyed it. The entree in the rear of the photo is the Fideuà, which is similar to paella but made with noodles instead of rice.

Since the kitchen was in the weeds, our paella didn’t wow us as it probably would have otherwise. I enjoyed it, but some of my dining companions were less impressed. I will definitely be going back and ordering it again, because I just love paella and this was a very good version of it. I also enjoyed the leftovers the next day.

Everyone was served a side salad, which surprised us. One salad came out without dressing (oops), but a side of dressing was quickly requested and brought to the table. We also enjoyed the housemade potato chips that apparently come with dinners. We all nibbled at the crisp chips, which were perfectly seasoned. I think they might have also brought a platter of vegetables to the table, but it never got down to my end.

I also ordered the garlic soup and didn’t love it, but that might have been just me. There was a boiled egg in it acting as a kind of dumpling, and I am not a fan of egg since I’m allergic. I ate around it.

The overall consensus was that Sangria y Tapas is a hidden gem. The tapas menu is extensive and has something for everyone. I highly recommend it! I only wish it were closer.

Contact info:

Sangria y Tapas
27200 Detroit Avenue
Westlake, OH 44145
(440) 617-6476


Cleveland Jam and Old Brooklyn Cheese Company

June 20, 2017

IMG_20170801_135244Cleveland just keeps getting better and better. Old Brooklyn has two of those reasons with two very cool artisan food shops. I learned about Cleveland Jam on New Day Cleveland and had heard about Old Brooklyn Cheese Company since the day they opened and Bite Buff wrote about it. I combined both of them one day in early March when I needed cheese for a grilled cheese party I was attending and decided to buy Cleveland Jam’s Elliot Ness Fig Apple Jam to bring as well. I’ve been back several times since.

Since it is a start-up, Cleveland Jam is only open in the evenings (Tuesday to Friday) after 5 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM, but you can also order it online and find it in some local stores (click here for their store locator). Imagine my surprise to find out that the conservatory and retail shop were literally across the street from my grandparents’ home on West Schaaf Road. If I had moved into the house instead of selling it after my uncle passed away a few years ago I would have been aware of them a lot sooner. I’ve always loved that property, with its cool greenhouses and copper roof on the home. Those greenhouses are now housing grape vines, and the property features a retail shop, where owner Jim Conti sells products made with local beer and wine. Conti hopes to eventually turn the greenhouse into a winery. A graduate of viticulture and enology studies at Kent State University, Conti carried on his family’s tradition of winemaking and was looking for a way to reuse the leftover sediment. He came up with the idea of making jams and jellies. He stocks jellies made with white zinfandel, merlot, cabernet, shiraz and chardonnay. That then spun off to using the sediment from Great Lakes Brewing Co. beers to make his Eliot Ness Fig and Apple Jam and Burning River Pepper Jam and from Catawba Island Brewing Company. All of their products are available to sample in the retail store, and they also sell products from Cleveland Popcorn, Bearded Buch, Cleveland Tea Revival, and Randy’s Pickles there.

I have four jars of Cleveland Jam in my refrigerator. His Rock and Roll Merlot is a favorite, but the Bangin Blueberry IPA is my absolute favorite. I use them a lot on toast with or without cream cheese, but you can also cook with them. Their website has quite a few recipes for chicken and meat. I paired the fig and apple jam with brie and candied walnuts from Old Brooklyn Cheese Company at the grilled cheese party I went to that weekend, and everyone loved the combination.

When they heard why I wanted the jam they told me I had to go to the Old Brooklyn Cheese Company. I was pleased to tell them that was my next stop. I hopped in my car and headed down W. Schaaf, took a right on Pearl Road and found parking right in front of the storefront (there is also a parking lot in back). It is located on Pearl just before the bridge. Owner Michael Januska has opened a great little artisan cheese store selling his own cheeses as well as lots of very well-known brands like Cowgirl Creamery and Kokoborrego and area favorites Lake Erie Creamery and Yellow House Cheese. I also bought a pound of raclette since I was having some friends over for raclette that weekend. Januska funded much of his production kitchen for Old Brooklyn Cheese Co. through contributions on Kickstarter, which surpassed its goal. In addition to selling aged cheeses, Januska is making his own products like the Chupacabra in a state-of-the-art production kitchen and aging others on site in one of three cheese caves. Januska has partnered with Hartzler Family Dairy in Wooster to supply its grass-fed, non-GMO, raw milk produced within 50 miles from where it will be transformed into cheese. The staff, which includes Januska’s fiance Angie, really know their stuff here and gladly serve samples so you can taste before you buy. One of their employees, Morgan, makes the most delectable spreads like one with goat cheese and apples or feta and olive. I brought the feta and olive spread to the grilled cheese party, but also bought a tub for my own consumption. They also sell local products like Old City Soda, Hartzler milk, Randy’s Pickles, Cleveland Jam, Montana Girl Mustard, candied walnuts, baguettes from Blackbird Bakery, and handcarved cheese boards shaped like Ohio (to just name a few) as well as Losada Olives (which I have loved since Counter Culture last year), infused oils and vinegars, and other artisan brands.

I started following them on Instagram and when they announced their raclette grill had arrived to make sandwiches I was the first customer to order one. The grill melts the cheese, which is then scraped onto a baguette and served with prosciutto, Randy’s Pickles and my choice of Montana Girl Mustard or a Old Brooklyn Cheese Company mustard. I choose the OBCC mustard. I picked out an Old City soda and waited for my sandwich to be ready. It was very good, if a little salty. I definitely think it is a treat that most people don’t know about, despite it being extremely popular in Switzerland and other European countries.

Contact info:

Cleveland Jam Conservatory
1300 W Schaaf Road
Cleveland, OH 44109
(440) 390-1170

Old Brooklyn Cheese Company
4138 Pearl Road
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 860-4000


Saucisson

June 10, 2017

Since I wrote about The Red Chimney in my last post I decided to stay in Slavic Village for the next one as well. Started in 2013, Saucisson’s mission is to provide unique and hard to find products. From hand cured meats to specially spiced sausages, Saucisson supports local farms that are humane and hormone free. The lady butchers at Saucisson, Melissa Khoury and Penny Barend, made a name for themselves selling at the local farmers markets, hustling at pop-ups, and providing their bold rillets and charcuterie for restaurants around town. After working out of the kitchen at the Katz Club Diner, they recently opened a storefront on Fleet Avenue just off I-77. Full disclosure: I was a Kickstarter backer (“Babs backer”) to help them fund the storefront, and I am really pleased with what they have done. I stopped in on the day they opened on March 16 and have been back several times since. They were serving nachos that day (see photo right). I have been buying their sausages, mortadella and currywursts since before the place opened, but I love seeing their thick and nicely marbled pork chops and strip steaks as well as all the other meats they are butchering there. They made a Canadian bacon that was absolutely perfect a little while ago, and they are known for their tasso ham and beef jerky. The freezers and coolers are stocked with their frozen soups made with their products, rendered lard, ground meat, and soup bones as well as other products from other local vendors like LeCracker, Cleveland Kraut, and Montana Girl Mustard.

They are open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11-7 (and processing and prepping in their huge, clean kitchen in back on the other days) and serve a tasty lunch special as well. They also advertise their pop-ups at local restaurants and cafes like brunches at Rising Star or most recently their Memorial Day picnic at Terrestrial Brewing Company. You can follow them on Instagram to find out what they are serving each week and where they will be holding their next pop-up.

When I stopped in for lunch a few weeks ago I enjoyed their BBQ chicken sandwich with pickled pepper and red onion slaw and their homemade smokey sausage navy bean soup. The chicken was moist and delicious, the kraut was not at all overpowering, and the soup had just a hint of smoky spice to it that I loved. They have a few tables where you can sit and enjoy your meal. The place is light and bright, with floor-to-ceiling windows. The neighborhood is excited they are there, and they are talking with some urban farms in the area to sell their products. So be sure to check them out and support them!

Contact info:

Saucisson
5324 Fleet Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44105
(216) 303-9067


Joe’s Deli

April 26, 2017

Joe’s Deli is a popular restaurant on the West Side of Cleveland. It is so popular that they built a larger restaurant, and it still has waits. If I lived closer I would be there all the time. As it is, I go when I visit my tax preparer. It seems like no matter when I go I have a wait (and I try to go at non-peak hours to avoid a long wait). They have a large vestibule that is usually packed with people waiting for a table. You go in, get your name on the list with the hostess, and get a flashing beeper-type thing that tells you when your table is ready. In the meantime, you can either sit or stand along the walls or admire the gorgeous cakes in the counter cooler. I have yet to have room to order dessert. Maybe some day, because they look amazing.

You can also glimpse inside their open kitchen, which is spotless, and you can see the kitchen staff working hard. The servers and staff are extremely efficient. The bussers are very polite when removing diners’ dirty plates. My waitresses have been friendly and quickly fill up my ice tea without my having to ask. They masterfully handle large tables and small. The first time I was there I was seated near a loud and obnoxious table of diners, but it has proven to be the exception to the rule. I take my Kindle and enjoy a nice meal in a nice setting.

Joe’s is a Lebanese family-owned restaurant serving up amazing American and Lebanese fare. They are cousins to the Slyman family, so you know it’s going to be good. They also happen to serve the absolute best matzoh ball soup in Cleveland in my opinion. The broth is smooth, the matzoh balls are perfectly cooked, and the soup is chock-full of carrot, celery, onion, chicken and parsley (not typical but still tasty). I order it every single time I go, and then get a bowl to go for later that day. The portions are huge, and I have yet to eat a full sandwich there. I bring it home and eat it later with my bowl of soup.

One of my friends from high school met me in the parking lot to drop something off the other day, and he reminisced about how much his mother used to love their German dumpling soup. I did a little research and discovered that is their soup of the day on Saturdays. According to Yelp the place is packed all day, but it might be worth it to go on a Saturday to try the soup. What I found were rave reviews.

The first time I went I got the Matchmaker – a bowl soup paired with a half portion of any of their house salads. It also came with a muffin. I ordered the Joe’s Chef Salad, which features fresh tossed greens topped with turkey, ham, Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheeses, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and black olives. The ingredients were extremely fresh and crisp. It was beautifully plated, and I ordered the hot bacon dressing and loved every bite. The muffin that day was a strawberry muffin. It was moist and delicious. I ended up taking half of the muffin home for later. It was a lot of food.

On my second visit I ordered a simple tuna sandwich and a bowl of matzoh ball soup, thinking it would not be as much food. It was, but oh so good. The tuna was fresh, the bread was perfect, and I loved the pickle. Their pickles are firm and have a really nice crunch to them. Of course I still ended up taking half of the sandwich home.

On my third visit I ordered the Chicken Philly sandwich and a cup of matzo ball soup (trying to save room – it didn’t help). I wasn’t as in love with the Chicken Philly as I was with the other things. The bread was a little tough from the broiler, and the filling just seemed kind of bland. The peppers were definitely fresh, but they didn’t have much flavor. Maybe they were off-season. They have an aioli mayo that they serve on the side that jazzed it up a bit, but I don’t think I’d order it again. The French fries are good, but nothing to get truly excited about.

I had a cup of matzoh ball soup and the California Chicken Club on my most recent visit. It was wonderfully prepared with a thin grilled chicken breast, a hunk of fresh avocado, fresh lettuce (almost too much – it seemed like 1/4 of a head of lettuce and I had to remove some) and mayo. They served an herby sauce on the side, which I slathered on the sandwich as well. The juices dripped down my hand. It was an absolutely delicious mess. I nibbled on the fries and took half of the sandwich home for later (leaving most of the fries).

As busy as they are in the restaurant, they also do a booming take-out business. They have two dedicated cash registers just for carry out. The phone is ringing constantly with new orders. This photo is of their Dawali (stuffed grape leaves). I wanted to try them, but knew I couldn’t eat a whole portion and a sandwich. so I got them to go. It was a good decision. The pickled veggies, feta cheese and cucumbers accompanying the grape leaves were super fresh.

They are open Monday through Wednesday from 7 to 9 PM and until 10 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They are closed on Sunday.

Contact info:

Joe’s Deli
19215 Hilliard Blvd
Rocky River, OH 44116
(440) 333-7890


Fish Fry Friday #2 – St. Gabriel’s

March 11, 2017

My favorite fish fry in the Cleveland area is without a doubt St. Gabriel’s in Mentor. It runs from 5:15 to 7:30 every Friday during Lent. Located in its school building on Johnnycake Road near the Concord border, it is a bit of a hike, but it is so worth it. There is a sign indicating the entrance. Plan to walk far from and to your car, but there is plenty of parking (even with douchebags taking up two parking spots). It is run by over 100 volunteers each night, including adorable tykes in Boy Scout uniforms manning the roving garbage cans, and all proceeds benefit the St. Gabriel’s Day School Tuition Assistance Program.

It is extremely popular, so you need to get there early to ensure you get served and can enjoy all the goodness. Some friends went last week at 7 PM and were turned away because they had run out of food. This all-you-can-eat feast will run you $14. They also offer take-out and ala carte items. Click on the link below under “Contact info” for the Fish Fry page on the church website. There are two dining rooms – the main dining room has a shorter line between the cash table and the food, so we chose that one this year. We got there at 6 PM and were in line for about 20 minutes until we were sitting down with our plates. I needed to save six seats, so I jumped out of line to reserve them right after six together cleared and were cleaned off. The gymnasium has no line for the cash table, but the line for the food circles the room. We waited in line for 45 minutes last year. There is more seating, but also more people.

There is a lot of food to choose from, so I was extra judicious this year. I eschewed most of the carbs and saved room for the fish and mussels. Let me see if I can remember everything on offer… starting with salad, cole slaw, applesauce and rolls and butter (which I somehow overlooked), then moving on there were baked potatoes, french fries, mac n cheese, cheese ravioli, fresh green beans in butter, pizza (always popular with the kids), hush puppies, and cheese pierogi, fish choices included baked tilapia, fried cod, baked cod, butter crumb baked cod, mussels, breaded cocktail shrimp and peel-and-eat shrimp and at the end was a pot of seafood chowder that ran out just as I got there. I tried to keep an eye out for when it came back out, but they ran out of it fairly early. They always do. There was a small table in the corner with tartar sauce and cocktail sauce. They ran out of tartar sauce several times. Beverages were along another wall, including tea and coffee and unsweetened ice tea, lemonade or ice water. Dessert (on the same table as the beverages) was chocolate or white cake, which ran out by the time I went back for some. Grab it when you can! They eventually brought out a tray of brownies, which were excellent, and when that ran out they brought out orange slices right at the end. I don’t know who makes the food, but every single item is great.

This year I asked for extra mussels and stuck to the battered and baked cod and the shrimp. Like I said, I skipped most of the carbs, but I did get some ravioli and pierogi (because it isn’t a fish fry in Cleveland without pierogi). The pierogi were extra cheesy and well-cooked. The dough was moist and nicely steamed. They had some sauteed onions as an accompaniment. I also really enjoyed the green beans.

From last year:

Contact info:

St. Gabriel’s
9925 Johnnycake Ridge Road
Concord Township, OH 44060
(440) 352-8282


Citizen Pie

October 28, 2016

copy_imag0533Sorry for the lack of posts here. I have not been going out very much lately, and when I have I have been going to places I have already posted about. Money has been somewhat tight with some travel and a very expensive vet bill. I’ll try to be better, but I can’t promise anything.

I have been a fan of Vytauras Sasnaukas’ pizza for a while. I had been hearing about his pizzas back when my friends would gather on the patio at Americano for pizza night. When Americano closed and before Citizen Pie was born, he did some pop-up pizza nights in a gas-fired pizza oven at The Velvet Tango Room, where he started conceiving plans with Claudia Young imag3197and Paulius Nasvytis. He got his start making pizzas when he was growing up in Lithuania (his story is really interesting and worth a read) and has been experimenting with various fermented doughs for a while now. His dough really makes his pizzas stand out from the crowd! He bought a wood-fired brick oven and opened Citizen Pie in the Waterloo District across from the Beachland Ballroom. Citizen Pie makes napolitano pizzas and is definitely one of the best pizza places in Cleveland. The pizzas come out fast and hot. They aren’t laden with toppings. There is just the perfect balance for a taste explosion.

I recently met some folks at Citizen Pie to try their Summer pizza special, which featured sweet Ohio corn and poblano cream, Andouille sausage, cherry tomatoes, and green onion finished with a spicy honey drizzle. This pizza was absolutely out of this world. The thing I like most about the pie was the corn cream balanced with the honey drizzle. It was just a great pizza.

My second favorite was the Cacio e Pepe pizza, which is topped with mozzarella, pecorino and straciatella cheese, garlic, black pepper and basil. It is a very simple pizza, but it explodes with flavor. I can’t wait to have it again.

I had been wanting to try the Americano pizza for a while as well. Named after V’s Bratenahl restaurant Americano, the Americano features mozzarella, pistachio cream, Italian sausage, red and green onion and Calabrian chiles. It has a bit of a kick to it, but I love the idea of pistachio cream and it goes really well with the sausage.

The mushroom pizza is also a crowd-pleasure. It is topped with mozzarella, brie, porcini duxelles, bacon, red onion and truffle oil. I love mushrooms and brie, and the truffle oil was not as off-putting as I usually find it. Again, it is just a well-balanced pie. I took a piece of this one home to enjoy later that night.

One of the group ordered a Tartufo, which I was familiar with from the Italian restaurants in Germany. It is a ball of frozen dark chocolate with rum and amarena cherry. As you can imagine, it is delicious. We passed it around the table, and everyone swooned. Claudia is also known for her Migliaccio, which is a ricotta cheesecake with lemon, orange and vanilla. She worked hard to come up with the perfect cheesecake, which Michael Ruhlman has raved about.

I was also extremely excited to see that they serve Stiegl beer here. Stiegl is brewed in Salzburg, Austria and the monks have been brewing it there since 1492. It is a nice smooth lager and goes very nicely with the pizza. I was also pleased to see San Pellegrino, Illy espresso drinks and cane sugar Coca Cola. It’s the little touches like that that just impress me.

Chef V is constantly coming up with new and exciting pizza ideas, like a recent eggs benedict pizza. So if you like good pizza be sure to make a trip to Citizen Pie. They will be opening a second location in Ohio City in the near future – bringing Pizza to the People.

Contact info:

Citizen Pie
15710 Waterloo Road
Cleveland, OH 44110


Porco Lounge and Tiki Room

September 8, 2016

2016-08-05-05_43_25I love a good cocktail, and I tried to get here for several years. Plans would be made and then fall through. Finally I got a chance to go there for happy hour with some friends, and I fell in love with the place. The drinks are strong, the music is from the 1980s and the ambiance is top notch. The ambiance is also dark, so I had to use the flash to get the photos to be halfway decent.

We ventured our way right before the Republican National Convention hit Cleveland because we heard the “Love Trumps Hate” billboard was nearby. IMAG6356In fact, it was on the left side of the bridge heading south just before you reach Porco. As far as I know it is still there. Whether Mr. Trump or his campaign staff saw it is doubtful.

All of the drinks here are hand-crafted and incredibly tasty. My first choice was the Planet of the Apes, which features banana, pineapple and orange flavors and three rums. I loved it. I’m all about fruity drinks, and if they are garnished with a plastic mermaid all the IMAG6348better! My friend ordered a Gin Mai Tai off the happy hour menu. We all loved it so much we ordered it for our second round. It was super refreshing. Since the drinks are so potent and I was driving I ordered a non-alcoholic tiki drink for my third drink. The waitress had them make up some kind of fruity drink that was heavy on coconut and pineapple flavors. I left a very happy camper.

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Photo by my friend Edsel because mine was too dark

I was hungry, so I wanted to order something to nibble on. I decided to order the Closing Time Nachos, which are advertised as having pretty much everything in the kitchen on them. This includes tortilla chips, black beans, jalapenos, pork rinds, melted cheese, BBQ sauce, chorizo, salsa and pulled pork. I ordered them with “no meat” and they came without the chorizo and pulled pork, but with those lovely pork rinds. Our vegetarian just didn’t eat those. More for us! The nachos were IMAG6353absolutely magical. I loved the addition of BBQ sauce, which gave it a hint of sweetness. I was craving them the next day.

We soon went back for another happy hour at Porco a few weeks later. The nachos weren’t as magical because I ordered them “vegetarian” this time. Everyone agreed that something wasn’t the same. I think it was the lack of pork rinds and the light hand with the BBQ sauce. They also appear to have added pico de gallo. We weren’t as hungry as we were IMAG6543the first time, and there were only two of us. Luckily my friend’s boyfriend showed up and was drunk and hungry, so he ate half of them for us.

This time I ordered Heart of Darkness, which features passion fruit, honey and citrus with some alcohol. I love me some passion fruit. My second drink was a Limon Dee, which they bill as tasting like a key lime pie. It did not disappoint and came in a fake coconut, which I was particularly thrilled about.

I can’t wait to try the Fogg Cutter, complete with dry ice.

Pro tip: go early, if you can. We try to arrive between 4:30 and 5:00 and have managed to park in their small parking lot and get seats in the air-conditioned main room. It has been too hot to enjoy the patio, but once the weather cooled we enjoyed a lovely night on the patio as well.

This has quickly become my favorite bar in Cleveland.

Contact info:

Porco Lounge and Tiki Room
2527 W 25th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113