Short trip to Akron/Cleveland

Took a short trip to B’s mom’s house in Akron last week. Mercifully, we didn’t encounter any RNC craziness (had I seen Trump in the street, I would have been tempted to do something very foolish). It was nice to see all the Cavs pride. Nothing great food-wise on this visit, but we had some decent experiences. Arrived Wed around lunchtime. Knowing that there wouldn’t be any food for us at the house, we stopped by Earth Fare and stocked up on wild salmon (on sale for $10/lb!), very sweet corn, other veggies, some prepared foods (a quite good vegan chicken salad was a stand-out). At the house, I made a salad of couscous, grape tomato, arugula, and corn cut off the cob, very lightly dressed to go with the prepared foods. Dinner was salmon was roasted in butter (a Mark Bittman recipe) since there was no working grill with leftover couscous salad.

Thursday we took cipoillini to the Great Lakes Science Center. Lunch first, at the Great Lakes Brewing Company. We were amazed at how many restaurants have popped up in Ohio City since we were there last (a few years ago). B loved his pulled pork sandwich. I went with “pub bites” (fried-up cod nuggets) and the big Bavarian pretzels. Dinner was left over salmon lying atop of pasta with a quick tomato sauce (Marcella Hazan’s). Arugula salad on the side.

Friday we meandered around while cipollini slept in the car. We ended up in Peninsula since B wanted to show cipollini the old-fashioned passenger train, which he loved. The Winking Lizard was right there at the depot and we have enjoyed the Akron location in the past. A bit worn around the edges, but the service was young and earnest and the little game area was perfect for letting cipollini explore, giving mom and dad a chance to eat together and not wolf our food down. My veggie burger was surprisingly flavorful and B liked his meal as well (cannot remember what he had). Good beers on tap. Late lunch, so we picked on stuff for dinner.

Saturday was our last day and we wanted to hit the aquarium (which was awesome). B showed me around the Flats area and we stumbled upon the new-looking restaurants/apartment complex. We decided on Coastal for lunch since we were in the mood for tacos. It looked really quiet from the outside, but inside and out back was a different story. Again, another great place for cipollini to run around, playing cornhole and jenga with some older bros, who loved him. B got 3 tacos (didn’t get a chance to ask him which he liked), salsa sampler (even cipollini dug them – they weren’t too spicy). Taro chips were a nice alternative. My black bean soup was huge – it needed a vinegar hit, so a few shakes of hot sauce brightened it up. The crispy shrimp bowl was probably the best dish of the bunch – fried shrimp on top of brown rice. It, too, was huge. Service was a little weird – I got the feeling that there is a lot of pressure on the wait staff. I can’t quite explain it – the whole scene all felt a little too forced. But everyone doted on cipollini and again, we got to relax a bit and cipollini chowed down on everything.

Until next time Cleveland/Akron!

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Very glad you enjoyed your visit! I’ve heard Coastal Taco has service and sometimes food quality issues. I don’t think they can keep up with the crowds. Next time try Merwin’s for a great spot on the river. Cheers!

Another trip to Akron last weekend on the sad occasion of lovely MIL passing. We arrived from Boston just in time to say our goodbyes. Dinner that night for 12 at a favorite of MIL, Papa Joe’s in Cuyahoga Valley. My gnocchi with mushrooms was a special that night and quite good. There was a huge amount of food, very attentive service. Nothing earth-shattering, but it was just what we all needed after a tough day.

Lunch the following day at Mustard Seed. Huge and good salads topped with salmon and Gardein “chicken” hit the spot, as did the wine and local beers. The kids’ grilled chicken meal actually looked and tasted like real food. Spring onion and I left to hit the hotel pool and the restaurant let the sibs sit for a couple of hours while they discussed the unpleasant but necessary details of mom’s death. Dinner was takeout veggie pizza from Donato’s, the pizza of my hubby’s youth.

Lunch our last day (mothers’ day) at Melt because spring onion requested mac n’ cheese. Did I mention big portions already? Well, this topped them all. My good burger (veggie) was just ok - had the mushy texture that most veggie burgers suffer from. Mac n cheese and beef burger were scarfed up by my companions. Very on-top-of-it service. Loud and raucous (in a good way) atmosphere.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold