I’m feeling good, really good about Cleveland and you should too. Quite a few of our culinary treasures received enthusiastic ink and media accolades from writers and reporters around in the country this week. I’m taking-in these compliments like a proud parent. Just as adoring moms and dads don’t need anyone to tell them that their kid is amazing, I’m already well aware of how many terrific and unique places there are in greater Cleveland to eat and go food shopping but it sure is nice when outsiders take notice.
Sheila O’Connor of the San Francisco Examiner told travelers to our town that they must visit The Happy Dog to enjoy the chummy ambience, great beers, and the hot dog menu featuring Chef’s Eric Williams’ incredible array of gourmet condiments and toppings.
Former Washington Post editor Maryann Haggerty, now freelancing for her old employer, was lured here by the Springsteen exhibit at the Rock Hall. But she devoted many words to her Ohio City restaurant finds- both those she actually tried (Great Lakes Brewing, Flying Fig) and those she plans to try next time (Bar Cento, Momocho) …because she liked it here so much she wants to come back. The highlight of her trip however was the West Side Market. You'll stand a little taller after reading the whole story.
The Market is also included in a four page spread in the October issue of Saveur. Veteran road trippers Jane and Michael Stern penned a love note to northeast Ohio ethnic dining. Among the places they mention are Balaton’s, Perla Homemade Delights, State Meats, Little Polish Diner, and Babushka’s Kitchen and Al’s Corner Restaurant. I had no idea the article would be there. The magazine arrived in the mail on Friday. I flipped through it while eating lunch, got to page 30, and this header caught my attention: Midwestern Charm. So I stopped turning pages and read the teaser: An Ohio road trip leads to some of the country’s best Eastern European fare- and more. What a nice surprise to dig in to their story and murmur to myself “been there,” “uh huh,” and “got that right!”
And one other thing is worth noting in this round-up of the good press our culinary scene has earned. It’s a bit self-promotional (sorry) and a Columbus rather than a Cleveland triumph (same state however). I contributed to a story in the October issue of Cooking Light. My job was to nominate forty of the best artisan food products from the Midwest. Different writers did the same for other parts of the country. Judges tried them all and picked eight from each region to feature in the magazine. Jeni’s Splendid Cherry Lambic Sorbet was among those selected. It’s an Ohio win and like the other articles, it just makes me want to crow (braggy gloating) and kvell (Yiddish for joyful boasting). You know what I mean?