A few things I discovered about Cleveland

My feet at the lake
This is far as I get into Lake Erie.

1. Lake Erie is one polluted lake.

For the longest time, Lake Erie, the lake which Cleveland sits on, had the reputation of being the most polluted of all of the Great Lakes. I don’t know if that’s still the case but there are beaches along that lake where people actually go into the water. Sometimes even surf. The Cleveland beach I went to was crowded but I resisted the urge to touch the water. Mainly because I knew I would be eating shortly afterward and didn’t want to be disfigured later on.

Signage for the Christmas Story House
Can you say tourist trap?

2. One tourist attraction besides the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame is the house from “A Christmas Story.”

There are only a few movie/TV houses I can recognize: the house from “Psycho” and the Brady Bunch house. But if you were to show me the house from “A Christmas Story,” it wouldn’t light a spark in this old noggin of mine. Still I don’t get why they have tours of this house year round and a gift shop right across the street. And yes, that leg lamp is in the window.

Butternut squash ravioli with brown butter
We all fought over who would get the last ravioli.

3. One of Cleveland’s most-celebrated chefs is a Food Network Iron Chef.

I have no idea who Michael Symon is or that he’s an Iron Chef. But my brother thought it would be fantastic to take me there for dinner, especially since I like writing about food and stuff.

We specifically went to Lolita, one of two restaurants owned by Symon. The other is called Lola and was featured on No Reservations when Anthony Bourdain visited Cleveland.

But one thing I do have to say about Symon is that he knows his food. I drooled after his pillow-tender gnocchi with pork ragu, his ravioli had me fighting over the brown butter to dip my bread in, and even the crispy chicken livers with pancetta made a believer out of a person who fears and detests liver.

Big board for two at Lolita

The only downer in this meal was Symon’s Board for Two: a selection of cured meats. It would have been a perfect accompaniment to drinks, but it got lost when served with the entrees. And for all of those who go to the restaurant to see if Symon is working in the open kitchen, he is, shiny head and all. But don’t expect an Iron Chef competition but you may hear his maniacal laugh from the dining room.

7 thoughts on “A few things I discovered about Cleveland

Add yours

  1. Having lived on the East coast where "going to the beach," meant the ocean, I found going to the beach at Lake Ontario when I was in NY kind of strange.

  2. Jodi–I agree. Considering the lake as "the beach" is just bizarre.Anonymous–Unfortunately my feet hardly get any sun since they are tucked under my desk all day at work.

  3. Hi Darlene – Looks like you ate well. Being the market geek that I am…I have fond memories of walking around the West Side Market in Cleveland. My friends wedding reception took place on thr banks of Lake Erie….and being from Hawaii, I couldn't imagine swimming in that water.

  4. KirkK–I agree. Westside Market is a great place to visit. Glad to hear I'm not the only one fearful to go into the lake.

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