Thursday, May 31, 2012

Golfing at Browns Stadium Fore Charity

Celebrities Bill Martin, Betsy Kling, Mike Cairns and Tony Zarrella teed it up at Browns Stadium for charity.

Where's Phil Dawson when you need him?

The Browns reliable field goal kicker could have been a good caddie Wednesday afternoon as four local media personalities teed it up from an unusual green: the 20-yard line at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Bill Martin, Tony Zarrella, Betsy Kling and Mike Cairns each had three chances to make a chip shot through the goal posts during the Bridgestone Invitational Media Day. A Dawson-like shot through the uprights earned each celebrity $1,000 for a Northeast Ohio charity. While all four downplayed their golf skills before taking their swings, we couldn't resist handicapping their games (all in the name of charity, of course).

Bill Martin, Fox 8
Playing for the HUGS Foundation 
What kind of golfer are you? Competitive. "The talent is there. I need more time to play."
When did you start golfing? "I really got serious about it about 10 years ago. I played as a kid then stopped for a long time."
Best part of your game? "My driving’s gotten really good — nice baby draw, about 280 yards."
Worst part of your game? "Right around the green — chipping."
His shot: Martin swung for the fences, lofting his first shot high into the air, through the goal posts and into the upper deck of the stadium.

Tony Zarrella, 19 Action News
Playing for The Up Side of Downs of Greater Cleveland 
What kind of golfer are you? Competitive. "I can play and put a 90 on the card. I could get 85 on a good day, but that’s about it."
When did you start golfing? About 20 years ago.
Best part of your game? "I got a great short game. I can get out of trouble, and I think it’s because I’ve done it so much. I’m always in trouble."
Worst part of your game? His tee shots. "I just bought a new driver and the [salesman] tried to talk me out of buying it. He said, 'Really? You want to spend $400 on this driver.' "
His shot: Maybe because of those issues off the tee, Zarella took a careful approach, driving the ball safe and low through the uprights on his first attempt.

Betsy Kling, Channel 3 
Playing for Hattie Larlham  
What kind of golfer are you? Duffer. "Bad. I usually don’t even keep score."
When did you start golfing? In college about 15 or 20 years ago.
Best part of your game? "My cheering ability — cheering on the people I’m golfing with."
Worst part of your game? "Probably my swing, which is probably a bad thing to have as your worst part. But golf is just a great game to get out and enjoy the weather anyway."
Her shot: Kling’s first shot was wide right. On her second attempt, her chip skipped short in the end zone. But with pressure on, she lofted her final shot successfully through the posts.

Mike Cairns, News Channel 5
Playing for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 
What kind of golfer are you? Competitive. "I can shoot 85 or I can shoot 105, depending on the day."
When did you start golfing? "I started late. My dad was actually a college golfer, and I played a lot of baseball as a kid. I didn’t pick up a club until I was about 16 or 17 years old."
Best part of your game? His pre-swing mechanics. "I can tee the ball up better than anybody. ... That means put the ball on the tee better than anybody, not necessarily hit it. But I drive the ball really well. I can hit the ball far."
Worst part of your game? The mental part of the game. "Sometimes you start making some bad swings and it’s like all over, and it gets in your head."
His shot: Cairns, who was worried he might hook his shot into the owner's suite, split the uprights right down the middle on his first shot.

Thirteen-year-old Evan Steigerwald from First Tee of Cleveland also got a shot at winning money for his organization at the Bridgestone Invitational Media Day. Evan, who says he’s been golfing since he was 3 or 4, put his ball through the posts, earning $1,000 for First Tee of Cleveland, a youth group that builds character and values through the game of golf.

Phil would have been proud.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lucy's Lives On

After two decades on Buckeye Road, Lucy’s Sweet Surrender, the Hungarian bakery that had been at that address since 1950’s, has moved to bigger and better digs on Chagrin Boulevard. The new place is the former Chandler and Rudd, a gourmet market that closed in 2009 after 145 years in business. The two iconic food spots with long histories and deep local roots are a good match up. Lucy’s officially re-opened May 16. The renovations took much longer than expected, as these things usually do. Now that the hassles and headaches are finally behind them Michael and Marika Feignbaum are free to enjoy the change of scene.

Besides being in a better, and hopefully much safer neighborhood- the couple was robbed and mugged multiple times- they have much more space for making the wonderful Old World style breads, cakes and pastries that are their stock in trade. Customers can see them at work and even shout out a greeting while picking up strips of strudel or a luscious multi-layered torte. The vintage display case from the old store has been positioned in the center of the large open room. The workspace is right behind it.
photo of Michael and Marika courtesy of Susie Sharp

There are a few tables and chairs inside, and a couple more outside, for when you want to sit down and eat a pogacsa (a flaky biscuit with bits of bacon ) immediately rather than wait to bring the bagful home, or if you just feel like grabbing a cold drink from the cooler and kibitzing with whoever else is hanging around. There could be more seating to come. They put in a kitchen, separate from the baking operation, and hope to find a partner willing to work with them to create a true cafĂ©. A collection of cookie jars adds a sweet homey touch and three photos of Michael’s sweet creations by my husband Barney Taxel grace the walls. Take a moment to inhale deeply- the yeasty smelling air is a treat.

Michael’s kneading a batch of Jewish rye when I stop in for a first visit. I get the penny-tour: the new Vulcan stove, shelves filled with containers of golden raisins, poppy seeds, nuts, and 50-bags of flour. He talks non-stop, happier than I’ve seen him in a long time. “It was hard to say goodbye to the old place,” he admits. “But this move means a new life for Lucy’s and a new chapter for us.”

Finding your way in can be tricky. There’s no entrance on the side facing Chagrin Boulevard at Warrensville despite the big sign on what appears to be the front of the building. Take Lomand, a side street, and go around back, where there’s also a parking lot. Address is 20314 Chagrin Blvd, Shaker Heights (note: Lucy's website still has old one up), 216-752-0828.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beef Encounter

Being a food writer has put me into all kinds of interesting and unusual situations. The morning I spent buckled into a belly protector handling a huge hunk of steer and a big sharp blade called a “Texas butter knife,” is among the more memorable.

I was at the recently opened Certified Angus Beef Education & Culinary Center in Wooster with a bunch of media people from around the country. The organization- a non-profit information and marketing group for ranchers that raise this registered cattle breed- had invited us to come see the new place. The itinerary for our weekend featured a night of feasting in Cleveland, a hands on class in meat cutting, and a visit to a real Ohio ranch. It was great fun and I came home knowing more than before.

The kick-off event was a downtown dine-around that started with appetizers at Hodges. It was of course a beef-centric menu, as was the dinner that followed at The Greenhouse Tavern, and- so I don’t have to repeat myself- I’ll state the obvious here: all the red meat was Certified Angus Beef, which means it was premium quality- intensely flavorful, juicy and tender. Needless to add, both places did an outstanding job and the food was fabulous. Chris Hodgson served it as tartare; on skewers; and shredded in fried rice. But the most memorable presentation was a 6 foot long board loaded with roasted marrow bones, big ones split lengthwise: it looked a caveman’s buffet. More tartare at Greenhouse along with 40-day aged ribeyes, braised shin and strip steaks. I didn’t pace myself properly and bailed when everyone else headed next door to Lola for desserts but I heard they were fabulous.
It was early to rise next morning for the drive to Wooster. The Center, in a converted restaurant, is large, attractive and incredibly well-equipped. There’s a spacious dining area/classroom with a handsome and well-equipped demo kitchen that would get most chefs drooling, and behind that an industrial-sized prep kitchen plus a meat fabrication space with rails and hooks to accommodate “swinging” beef (half and quarter carcasses)…and this is where we gathered for Butchery 101.

It was led by the highly entertaining Dr. Phil (Phil Bass, PhD) who delivers one-liners about rumps, flanks, and roasts with the skill of a polished comedian. We suited up for his performance in the aforementioned belly guards, plus kevlar sleeves and gloves on our non-cutting arms and hands, white coats, hair nets, and chain link belts to hold scabbards for our knives. He taught, we tried, working in small groups to break down the full loin in front of us. Thanks to David O’Diam, CAB staffer who watched over us, making sure we did no harm to man, woman or meat. It was fascinating to learn a bit about the science behind why specific parts cook and taste the way they do and the variety of less familiar cuts like a tri-tip, an excellent steak for grilling from the the bottom half of the sirloin that CAB chef Michael Ollier served us for lunch. Chris Kick, a reporter for Farm and Dairy Newspaper, was on my team. He wrote about the session and put a video and pix on the Social Silo blog.

We spent the afternoon in Rittman at Chippewa Valley Angus Farms. Owners Rod and Laurie Ferguson are breeders, raising animals they sell for “seed stock” not the slaughterhouse. They took us out to the pasture to see the cattle grazing. The ladies, myself among them, also appreciated the appearance of the very cute cowboy on horseback- the real deal, we were assured, though it looked like they recruited him from a Hollywood casting agency.

The Center was built primarily for business to business gatherings aimed at food industry professionals and ranchers. But in the future they hope to welcome consumers in too for information sessions, tasting events and cooking demos. When they do, it would definitely be a trip worth taking.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Eating in The 'Burgh

Clevelanders flying to or through Steelers territory will soon be able to get a taste of home. Michael Symon’s Bar Symon will be opening in the Pittsburgh International Airport in mid-June. The menu will feature some of his beloved signature items like the burger with fried egg on top and over-the-top mac & cheese. But if your travels take you beyond the concourse and into the city, there are some excellent dining options.

The husband and I discovered a terrific year old spot last weekend in the cultural district while visiting our son and his wife. It’s called Meat and Potatoes. The name is meant to signal that easy to love accessible understandable comfort food is served here. But Chef Richard DeShantz also uses the phrase-which can be something of a slur, denoting a certain lack of culinary sophistication- facetiously. Because he defines this as a gastropub and in keeping with that concept these most basic of ingredients are the foundation for interesting, inventive, high quality scratch made fare. The four of us gorged on a platter of roasted marrow bones, fried pickles with spicy ranch dipping sauce, smoked chicken wings, Yukon potato skins with cheese and a thick slab of pork belly pastrami on top, a huge bowl of mussels cooked in white wine with a side of frites, gnocchi Bolognese with pancetta and short ribs, and fat smoked pork chop with spicy slaw.

The bar stocks the best artisanal spirits including locally produced Boyd and Blair vodka. Craft cocktails are a house specialty- my Tequila Fizz, a mix of Cazadores Reposado, fresh lime, foamy egg whites, agave, and orange bitters was wonderful. The bar has a great selection of boutique beers and offers absinthe, complete with the requisite ice water and sugar cube.

It’s a handsome cozy space, with chairs so comfy we didn’t want to leave and an appealing urban patio. The crowd was a mix of hatted hipsters and guys in knit golf shirts. The place was packed and full of energy at 11 PM, with people still arriving at that late hour for dinner.

Another downtown Pittsburgh restaurant I want to mention is Elements Contemporary Cuisine. The food is very good, especially the house cured meat and cheese presentations, but what sets them apart from any place in Cleveland- and beyond- is the dessert menu. My daughter-in-law, who would rather eat chocolate than pretty much anything else, literally gasped with delight when she saw the build your own chocolate plate option. There are truffles of every description, solid chunks, bars, brittles and barks, caramel crunch and petit fours. You can opt for three pieces, six, or (just imagine) a full platter.

Pittsburgh’s only 2 ½ hours away- not far for an overnight getaway, even a day trip. The kids just bought a house there so no doubt it’s a drive we’ll be making often. As I continue to explore that city, I’ll periodically share my eating and drinking discoveries.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stadium Mustard on Ice

As last night's Dinner in the Dark at Washington Place Bistro was about to round third and head for home, everyone at our table was wondering what Adam Bostwick's baseball-themed dessert was all about.

The monthly dinner, which benefits a different local charity each time it's staged, holds lots of secrets. Diners don't know who'll be cooking until they arrive or exactly what's on the menu until each course shows up at their table. The brainchild of chefs Jeff Jarrett (Amp 150), Brian Okin (most recently of Fountain) and Ellis Cooley is a lot of fun, especially as one attempts to decipher the clues on the evening's menu card.

The cow under Fabio Mota's name (Club Isabella) was self-explanatory, as was the fish under that of John Roskowksi (Washington Place Bistro). (Fair warning: It's unwise to even guess what the exact preparation will be, because you will be wrong. The beauty of Dinner in the Dark is the chefs get to stretch out and offer creations that are often vast departures from the cuisine for which they're known). But still we wondered: What was up with that baseball?

The answer ...

Take Me Out to the Ballpark
Stadium Mustard Ice Cream, Soft Pretzel Bread Pudding, Beer Caramel Sauce and Homemade Cracker Jack 

Yes, please. I wasn't embarrassed to be the first at my table finished.

And, yes, the Stadium Mustard ice cream works — if you like Cleveland's famous condiment, that is. (And, yes, we know Bertman Ballpark Mustard is what's served at Progressive Field, but we're going to allow for a little artistic license.)

Bostwick was most recently a chef at the now-shuttered Melange. I'm just putting this out there to the universe: I'd love to see this on someone's summer menu ... soon.

Here was the rest of the evening's menu that led up to Bostwick's bases-clearing creation: 

• Cocktail by Joe DeLuca and Tobin Northrup
Botany Collins: Watershed Gin, Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Cointreau, Rhubarb Bitters, Lemon, Herbs, Soda Water 

• Amuse Bouche by Washington Place Bistro
Savory English Pea and and Coconut Cream Panna Cotta, Dressed Pea Tendrils, Black Truffle Honey

• Matt Anderson (Umami Asian Kitchen)
Cold-water Lobster, Vine-ripened Tomatoes, Baby Swiss Chard, Tomato Sriracha Vinaigrette

• Nate Barker (Welshfield Inn)
Seared Scallop, Michigan Fiddlehead Ferns, Pickled Beets, Onions and Shiitake with Star Anise, Chili and Peppercorn, Roasted Fennel, Micro Celery 

• John Selick (Ahuja Medical Center)
Asparagus Salad with Sliced Radish, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Truffle Oil

• John Roskowski (Washington Place Bistro)
Salt-crusted Bronzini, Smoked Red Pepper Coulis, Squid-ink Polenta, Micro Fennel, Mezuna, Basil 

• Intermezzo by Washington Place Bistro
Durlan Mousse, Blueberry and Limoncello Gelee, Thyme Pastry Chip

• Fabio Mota (Club Isabella) 
Rare Sirloin Ramen Noodles, Poached Egg, White Cabbage Slaw, Shredded Nori, Dried Bonito Broth

Jeff Jarrett announced at the end of the night that the next Dinner in the Dark is set for June 11 at Fat Casual BBQ in Macedonia and promised some "twists and turns" with this one. Visit the website for more information.

Friday, May 11, 2012

SPACES Opens Mock City Visitors Bureau Tonight

Wearing your city on your chest has become the motto of every local clothing company lately. They're selling shirts decorated with everything from area codes to state outlines to local rappers' lyrics. The experimental contemporary art gallery SPACES joins the trend tonight with on-site silk screen-printing at their mock Cleveland Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“People don’t often think of Cleveland as a tourist location," says SPACES Executive Director, Christopher Lynn. "People don’t know what we have to offer. What causes people to linger and look at Cleveland in a different way?” Tonight’s mock convention of all things Cleveland offers one answer.

The night is designed for guests to see the “creative, funky side” of the city through a visitor’s view. SPACES' front gallery will host a tearoom with postcards and brochures from local Cleveland hot spots. Artwork from Cleveland SGS, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Temporary Travel Office and The Think Tank That Has Yet to Be Named will take guests deeper into the exhibition

Local screeners and artists will be fashioning T-shirts with two different screens, including the SPACES event theme “Rust is the New Black.” Bring your own T-shirt and screen it for $8, or buy a pre-printed for $12 and rep your Cleveland pride.

SPACES is located at 2220 Superior Viaduct, a block from the corner of Detroit Avenue and West 25th St. The free event goes from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The City Gets Dressed up for Fashion Week

Cleveland is known for many things — Great Lakes beer, the Rock Hall, the first casino in Ohio -- but fashion isn’t one of them.

Yet every year since 2002, Cleveland has hit the runway with the third-largest Fashion Week event in the country, behind only New York and Los Angeles.

Fashion Week Cleveland’s climactic moment comes Saturday: a runway show and black-tie gala at the Halle Building downtown. Friday night brings another major event, a screening of the documentary Dressed.

The film, showing at the Cleveland Museum of Art, tells the story of Cleveland-born Nary Manivong (pictured), who reached his goal of becoming a designer, but only after he struggled with ruthless competition.

Director David Swajeski calls Dressed a realistic depiction of the fashion industry, not the idealized version of fashion-based reality shows. Project Runway and similar shows don’t accurately portray what it’s like to try to make it in the industry starting from scratch, he says.

“It shows you that if you really believe in yourself and you have a dream, you can accomplish things,” Swajeski says, “despite not having some of the things other top designers or design firms have.”

Dressed has also screened in New York City, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco and Columbus.

Saturday’s runway show includes designer Lotty Lewis, who spent most of her life on Cleveland’s West Side. Kent State University fashion instructor Trista Greider’s collection of wedding gowns for the modern woman will close the show.

“Cleveland has a great group of designers, and they really make [Fashion Week Cleveland] a special occasion,” says Swajeski. “It gives them a stage, a place to get recognized. Now, talent is coming from everywhere. It’s not just coming from New York, Paris, or Milan.”

The film is screening on Friday, May 11 at 6:45 pm in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Morley Lecture Hall. Tickets are $9, or $7 for seniors, students, and CMA members.

The runway show will take place at 9:30 pm on Saturday, May 12 in the Halle Department Store Building Fountain Room, 1212 Huron Road. VIP tickets $100, Special guest tickets $40. Cocktail party begins at 8. Tuxedo required.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Great Meal at a Great Lakes Bistro

It had been far too long since I’d been to Americano, that place on the ground floor of a Bratenahl apartment building. I blame the out of the way location, though in truth its 12 minutes from Cleveland Heights, and easy to access from the east or west sides via the Shoreway. The fact that it’s outside the boundaries of Cleveland’s trendy dining districts is really no excuse for not eating here. Because this is a terrific restaurant that deserves attention, a truth confirmed by my recent Saturday night dinner there with husband and friends. It was the other couple’s first visit and by the end of the meal there was no doubt they’d be back, often.

Much of what we ate were the daily specials. And I wasn’t taking notes. So I contacted chef and co-owner Vytauras Sasnauskas and asked him to give me some details about each dish. His description of the ingredients as well as the thought, effort, sensibility behind the food not only explains why everything was so delicious but also makes clear that he’s a true culinary artist.

To start there were dates, stuffed with smoked gouda, wrapped in local bacon, glossy with a pomegranate molasses maple glaze. Then a big bowl of amazing Moroccan style harissa spiced mussels and a tomato- ras al hanout aioli to share. He’s very picky about the scallops he serves, getting only the best, when available, from a small supplier in Massachusetts. I ordered them and the superior quality was evident in the texture and the taste, highlighted with a simple searing and just touch of soy and lime reduction. Carrot chipotle caramel paint (fresh carrot juice and chipotle reduced and caramelized and then emulsified with little grapeseed oil) was brushed on the plate. There was also cabbage and cucumber slaw in a gingery lime and fish sauce dressing; black squid ink pearl couscous cooked with garlic and anchovies; and spinach and peas for some seasonal color. The husband devoured to the last bite a huge long bone pork chop sided with mustard dulce-de-leche, a sweet potato waffle with pecan-maple butter, and apple-poppy seed slaw. The friends both chose the "Lake Erie Monster," walleye and a fried soft shell crab with sauce gribiche (a French tartar sauce made with mustard, pickle, and hard cooked chopped egg) and crisped Yukon Gold potatoes cooked in vinegar water, coated with potato starch and fried, and grilled asparagus.

Of the three desserts, ( the others were chocolate lava cake and chocolate peanut butter caramel tart), I was most taken by the panacotta, made with Greek yogurt and cream, honey, and lemon plus a topping of .fresh strawberries tossed in sugar and bourbon.

Cole Davis, co-owner, host, and wine guru confirmed that the Mauro Veglio Barolo we selected was an excellent choice and a great buy for the price, and he decanted it while we sipped cocktails so it was ready when we were. The setting looks formal the service is what you'd get in a swanky restaurant but the atmosphere is actually relaxed. Our server Merle was both efficient and entertaining and took excellent care of us for 2 1/2 hours.

Americano, which has been open since 2008 (I gave it a rave review in Cleveland Magazine in January, 2009), is still not everyone’s radar, but it should be. I have no doubt that one you’ve had Chef V’s food, you’ll be a fan, just like me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Meat Up in the Flats

I haven’t found myself on the East Bank of the Flats in quite a while. But the promise of some amazing food had me driving down the steep hill that is W. St. Clair and onto Old River Road last Wednesday afternoon. Roc Bar, a six year old music venue and as of now the only operating entertainment venue on this stretch, has partnered with the Walter Hyde and Scott Slagle, the guys behind Fat Casual BBQ out in Macedonia, and from now until the fall you can reinvent lunch and dinner with some seriously delicious smoked meats and poultry.

I’d been hearing about the great food these two were making for the past year and am embarrassed to admit I just hadn’t set aside time to do the 46 mile round trip yet. So I was pretty pleased when I learned that I didn’t have to. This is a trial run to gauge interest. If the response is good, the arrangement could become permanent.

Roc Bar doesn’t have much of a kitchen. Put one cook in it and the little room's crowded. Equipment is limited, though Walter does hope to fire-up an outdoor grill during the summer. So for now at least only a selection of items from the Macedonia menu are available. The beef, pork, and chicken get their hard wood smoke on out there and are driven in, along with all the house made sauces and sides. Final prep is done to order.

Seating inside and out is limited. They expect much of the food will be ordered for take-out. But when I showed up the sun was shining, the temperature was mild, and my spot on the deck was a perfect place for a finger licking, sauce dripping, three napkin feast. My tour d’taste, courtesy of Walter, included a slab of ribs, slices of Texas brisket, a pile of Carolina style vinegared pulled pork, and samples of smoked chicken salad, mac & cheese, and chili. It was all fantastic, the spicing was spot on. These dishes were clearly the work of people who pursue flavor with a passion and know a thing or two about what it takes the rule the pit.

The presentation is uber casual, featuring disposable utensils and dishware. But what’s being served is prepared with all the care and finesse of an upscale restaurant. So I thought it was funny when two young man-you know the type, t-shirts, baseball caps on backwards, shades at the back of neck- at the next table weighed in loudly with their personal “review.” Taking in the scene-the river view, blue sky, and swooping seagulls- and the frosty beers and huge sandwiches in front of them, one says to the other, “Dude, now this is what I call FINE dining.” His buddy, who already had his mouth wrapped around that loaded bun, could only nod in agreement.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Occupy Cleveland protesters recall men accused in bridge bomb plot

At the Occupy Cleveland tent on Public Square today, members of the movement were talking about the guys they knew as Tony, Connor, Brandon, Doug and Skelly – the five men arrested today and charged with plotting to blow up a bridge over the Cuyahoga River.

All five, they said, had frequented Occupy Cleveland’s tent, its protests, and its gathering place on the city’s West Side.

“I know all those gentlemen – I don’t want to call them gentlemen anymore,” said movement member Robin Adelmann. Some of them spent time with him, manning the tent. “I never really expected that from any of them.”

Protesters were reading the FBI affidavit about the five men and confronting the fact that five guys who’d joined their peaceful, loosely organized movement had been arrested by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and charged with conspiring to use explosives to detonate a bridge south of Cleveland.

“Occupy Cleveland is all about non-violence and spreading a message of love,” Adelmann said. “If we had any inkling of an idea, any time ago, we would have kicked these guys out, bar none.”

Anthony Hayne, known to the protesters as Tony, had started to upset some Occupy members, protesters said. Adelmann and another protester said they suspected him of stealing from the donation box in the movement’s tent on Public Square.

Michael Maples, an Occupy protester from Cleveland, says he hit it off with suspects Hayne and Brandon Baxter at first, until stories started to spread about Hayne getting arrested and Baxter getting involved in confrontations with police. Maples says he eventually came to see Hayne as shady, only out for himself. “I could’ve pegged him to do anything at all.” As for Baxter, he says he felt that “at some point, he was going to go a little nuts.”

Protesters recalled some of the suspects in a somewhat more positive light. Adelmann was trying to reconcile his good memories of Joshua Stafford, known among the protesters as Skelly, with news of his arrest.

“He was a really nice guy,” Adelmann said. “He used to come to me for relationship advice. If anybody ever tried mess with me, or anybody else, he’d jump in front, and try to help.”

The FBI began to follow the suspects in October, according the affidavit, when it dispatched a confidential informant to an Oct. 21 protest in Cleveland. The description matches the city’s Oct. 21 removal of the Occupy campsite from Public Square. (Since then, the protesters have maintained their tent across the street. They have a permit for it, but can’t stay overnight.)

The affidavit describes a small group of suspicious men joining the gathering. Some wore walkie-talkies around their necks and carried anarchist flags. Many were covering their faces with masks, scarves or towels. “The whole group appeared to be together and was constantly moving through the crowd expressing displeasure at the crowd’s unwillingness to act violently,” the affidavit reads.

When organizers “emphasiz[ed] that they wanted everyone to conduct peaceful civil disobedience,” one of the men “turned away and said ‘f—k that’ before the group of men walked away.”

At least one of the Oct. 21 anarchists, Doug Wright, is among the alleged bomb plotters.

Matthew Revelt, a Cleveland protester who said he was in Public Square on Oct. 21, said the affidavit’s description was accurate, except that the anarchists didn’t advocate violence. “They wanted to get people to get rowdy. They wanted to get people to get loud. They didn’t ask people to act destructive. We might’ve all turned on them [if they had]. They wanted people to get arrested that evening. They wanted to encourage that.”

Cleveland city councilman Brian Cummins, who has supported Occupy Cleveland, said he knew four of the five suspects from his time spent with the protesters. He bought supplies for the occupiers with Wright this fall, and had met Hayne, Baxter, and Stafford.

“They wore their anarchist beliefs on their shirt much more than anyone else did,” Cummins said. Baxter and Stafford didn’t talk to him, probably because he was an elected official, Cummings said.

“None were very much involved with the strategy of the movement,” Cummins said. “They were more fringe members of the group. People were perturbed with them occasionally.”

Like the guys in the tent today, Cummins had begun hearing that Hayne was a “troublemaker, a pain in the ass.” The councilman noted that the Occupy Movement’s open, often leaderless nature makes it hard to kick people out.

In the Occupy Cleveland tent and on a nearby fence, multiple banners sport slogans: a “Veterans For Peace” flag with a giant dove on it, an American flag with corporate logos for stars and the message “I’m down with takin down corporate America” in the flag’s stripes, and a red and gray banner that reads, “No War Except Class War.”

The protestors all emphasized Occupy Cleveland’s nonviolent approach to protest. Revelt said he’d joined to combat the foreclosure crisis and CEOs’ high salaries. Randy Ball said he wanted to oppose bailouts and outsourcing and protect Social Security and student loans. He recalled his talks with suspect Baxter.

“They were both peaceful conversations,” he said. “They were about outreach, mainly, street canvassing. Letting people know not by force, but having a one on one conversation that we’re all under the same umbrella. We want to be free. We’re done being oppressed.”