A funny thing happened on the way to the Indians game this past Thursday. I’m told it was an awesome game and that fireworks were set to Michael Jackson (which we did catch thanks to the deck at Pete & Deweys, er, Thirsty Parrot). Maybe this has happened to you? You set out to go to the game, and than the lure of East 4 sucks you in and end up catching the highlights (or lowlights as they seem to be lately) the next day.
With every intention of going to the game with our neighbors and their friends, we decided to stop at Lola first for a drink and a few appetizers. Luckily, and I’m assuming since it was rather early, the chef’s table was open. This is such a fun place to sit because you can watch executive chef Derek Clayton and company masterfully and meticulously prepare each dish for the restaurant.
We decided to split several orders of each of the appetizers. Obviously, the beef cheek pierogis were a hit. But for me personally, I loved the braised Berkshire “bacon” (pork belly) and cured tuna with grapefruit and fennel the best followed by the charcuterie plate which I grazed on most of the evening until there was nothing left. These apps couldn’t be more different from each other and were truly outstanding.
Sometimes I much rather share an assortment of appetizers than have dinner. It’s not that Lola doesn’t offer some very tempting dinner options, obviously they do, but this is a fun, tasty way to try wide-variety of items.
After enjoying probably one too many cocktails at the chef’s table, we the heading to the patio for dessert. I was not-so-secretly hoping everyone would bail on the game and could continue to take advantage of the great Cleveland evening and crowd watching on E 4th. I got my wish.
All the restaurants were filled and people were overflowing from the individual patios onto the street. Lining the street were beautiful planters with oversized colorful flowers. It’s truly a site to see and take in. My hope now is that other areas within Cleveland take note of its success. We can enjoy more than one great neighborhood at once.
And Clevelanders aren’t the only ones impressed with E 4th. The New York Times just wrote a feature on the area’s rebirth, which includes mentions of Lola, of course, The Greenhouse Tavern, La Strada, Pickwick and Zocalo – which surprisingly the reporter cited as one of the best Mexican restaurants in Ohio. While I’m excited for the article, I’d have to greatly disagree with that statement (that nod goes to Momocho).
And speaking of positive national exposure for our small but mighty city, Daily Candy, something else I heart, just did a quick write-up on their recent visit. While I agree we desperately need more shopping, the writer’s tour guide missed a big opportunity by not taking her to Room Service, Duo Home and Banyan Tree, among others.
A must-attend event
Cleveland Food Rocks presents a Rock ‘n’ Roll BBQ Throwdown
On Sunday, July 26 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland Food Rocks will be hosting a ginormous BBQ with many of our area chefs in an effort to raise funds for this initiative.
Participating restaurants include: Bar Cento, Beachland Ballroom, Blue Canyon Kitchen, Blue Point, Brother’s Lounge, Crop, Dante, Fahrenheit, Flying Fig, Greenhouse Tavern, Grotto Wine Bar, Gusto, Happy Dog, Johnny’s Downtown, Local Crop, Lago, Luxe, Melange, Momocho, Moxie, Prosperity Social Club, Sarava, Southside and Sky Larae’s Culinary Services.
Rain or shine, come enjoy what you just know is going to be some seriously good eats for $25 ($30 day of) plus live music. And it’s family-friendly! You can purchase tickets here.
Started by chef Steve Schimoler of Crop, Cleveland Food Rocks is a non-profit collaborative of dozens of Cleveland-area restaurants and food-service operations, dedicated to promoting and encouraging a vigorous local dining scene by forging a link between great food and live music. The group hopes to serve as a grassroots model, representing the power of social interconnectivity as a catalyst for strengthening the Greater Cleveland Community.