I had the opportunity to do some work in the heart of downtown for a couple weeks and made my way around the city for lunch. Man did I take advantage of that time. It was horrible weather but I was luckily able to warm up at some of the best lunch spots in Cleveland.
Greenhouse Tavern: I stopped at the Greenhouse on pretty much the worst day of the year. I had the Grilled Ohio Lamb Burger with chips. The burger was cooked to a perfect medium rare, nice and juicy with stinky cheese fondue. The burger itself was pretty no frills but the flavors were absolutely amazing. Not a backyard burger loaded with a bunch of condiments, but a grown up burger with outstanding and complex flavors. I wasn’t expecting much out of the chips, but they had a nice vinegar bite and complimented the burger very well. The specialty iced tea was excellent, even on a cold winter day.
Noodlecat: I came for the ramen but really wanted to try to Tempura Veggie Plate and one of the buns. The ramen was great. I tried the Shio College Ramen with poached chicken and dried vegetables. It was the classic I remember only with this amazing silky rich chicken broth. I should have went with the full rather than the half, but the half is a meal in itself. I was taken aback by the pork bun, because it was served cold. I didn’t know what to expect never being to a ramen joint before. I just think it would have tasted better warm, but what do I know? The Tempura Veggies were abundant. You get a little of everything in there, unfortunate for me I felt it was a little on the oily side. Yeah, I know it’s fried food, but just because it is fried, it shouldn’t taste like the fryer. I would absolutely stop in again given the chance because the ramen was truly that good.
Hodge’s: I am no stranger to Hodge’s having one of the best dinners of 2013 there with some friends. I came in to check out the c.a.b Burger. It comes with Tillamook cheddar, smoked bacon, tomato jam, bibb lettuce and served on a pretzel roll. You get a cup of tots on the side with their highly addictive house aioli. The burger could have been cooked a little better, as it tasted a little charred but the center was absolutely fine. Just a minor issue on the preparation there. Still a very good burger and worth checking out.
Rothschild Farms: Another Hodge venture, Rothschild is a counter style sandwich shop that serves a variety of options. Everything comes served in a little iron skillet for that down n the farm experience. It fills a huge void for the lunch crowd because there really isn’t much to eat from 9th to 14th heading east on Euclid. I liked my Gobbler; rotisserie turkey, great lakes cheddar, avocado, local bacon, heirloom tomato, great lakes growers butter lettuce, herb aioli served on thick farmhouse wheat. Outside of a little runny tomato and a pretty bland potato salad it was a nice lite lunch. The turkey and bacon were the all stars. It tasted like a nice after Thanksgiving party in my mouth.
Stonetown: Brought to you by the folks at Zanzibar Soul Fusion, and Jezebels Bayou I was able to get a nice taste of the south in the heart of winter. The place was dead, probably because of the weather. More people need to find out about this place because the food is nothing short of amazing. I had the Catfish Po’Boy. The catfish is deep fried in corn flour, nice portion too, served on ciabatta with slaw and BBQ sauce. On the side were the most amazing shoestring sweet potato fries. This place is a hidden gem. You need to try them out if you are downtown this is southern style soul food at its best.
Cleveland Pickle: The Pickle is a very small shop right on Euclid and 9th. They make a variety of hot and cold subs. 20 times better than Dave’s, a little on the pricey side for a sub (but it is downtown I understand that). I did the Classic Pickle; capicola, sopressata, prosciutto, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onions, oil and balsamic reduction. It was a great sub, but in the end, it’s a sub. The pickles were interesting, and was expecting a little more punch of sour from them or something. They just came off a bit tame for me. Service was super friendly, and I was content with my sandwich. I didn’t leave hungry. It is worth mentioning the pasta salad they serve as a side is spectacular.
Good To Go: Love this place. Tucked away in the IMG building is Good To Go, and Anna In The Raw. A little sit down deli that specializes in healthy and organic foods. There are many vegetarian, vegan and raw options. However they still cater to the carnivore as well. I had a giant Roast Beef sandwich on wheat one day and on another I did a chicken bacon wrap with a side of tomato soup. The soup is pretty much the best I have have had in the city. The roast beef is cooked to perfection and sliced deli thin. It was amazing and I would put it up against any deli sandwich in the city for value, and taste. I actually liked my roast beef as much or more than getting a Slyman’s hot corned beef sandwich. I found a new favorite in the city in Good To Go.
Colossal Cupcakes: Meh..I tired the toasted coconut and the one that tastes like a Ho Ho. Both kind of dry, and the Ho Ho one was really overpowered with the dark chocolate. If you are into dark chocolate that is the one for you. What looked like a cute Ho Ho cupcake I couldn’t finish because I am not a dark chocolate guy. For the price $3.75 a cupcake (decent size one, don’t get me wrong) I just wasn’t overly impressed. Its a novelty at best.