playing hookie on the west side

Thursday afternoon I played hookie with my friend Charity who write one of my favorite blogs, I Heart Cleveland. (Ok, not really – I took the afternoon off, but this way sounds more adventurous). We drank some wine, had lunch and shopped. A perfectly girly afternoon.

Our adult playdate started off at Tartine. This is one of my favorite west side eateries. I love everything about it – the atmosphere, patio and of course, the food. Since it opened a couple of years ago, we’ve had some really wonderful meals there. My lunch yesterday (beet salad and duck confit tartine with brie and shallot preserve plus a slice of the mushroom and goat cheese pizza with leeks) was just ok. I had the exact same lunch (minus the pizza) last month and it was wonderful. But this time the beets were under seasoned and the duck was tough. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, it just wasnt as good as my previous visit.

Speaking of Tartine, be sure to take care of their Sunday Supper Speacial: 3 courses for $25. A great deal at a great place.

The rest of our afternoon consisted of shopping, but it was the route to our retail fest that I was most intrigued by. From quaint neighborhoods around Rocky River to a slow drive alongside Lake Road, I saw one beautiful home after another, any of which I’d happily take up residence in tomorrow (though many I suspect I’d have to be some sort of professional athlete and I don’t think anybody is going to pay me for my mad softball skills anytime soon). Charity played west side tour guide and pointed out fun things along the way, like Huntington Beach and a special beach and park just for dogs, as well as little shops, parks and other things I should come back and explore.

To be honest, I felt kind of silly that, as a lifelong Clevelander, I’ve never driven all the way down Lake or taken advantage of the beaches and parks these cities have to offer. I’d like to think I spend a fair amount of time on the west side, but I realized that most of that time is spent exploring restaurants (not that that’s a bad thing, but there’s just so much more to see).

Growing up on the east side, we rarely “crossed the bridge” as my mom would say. All of my family – aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents – were all eastsiders. And my mom never knew her way around the west side (or even downtown for that matter) so it wasn’t until I was older and driving myself that I started to explore. Today, two of my sisters and their families  live on the west side, so I do spend a fair amount of time over there. And when we lived downtown, we shopped, etc. mostly in Rocky River. But I still don’t feel like I know enough about the west side and that we’re missing out on many hidden gems.

So what are those gems? What places and areas do we need to visit?

And now time for a shameless plug for my friend. Charity authors the popular blog I Heart Cleveland. She does a fantastic job keeping us Clevelanders up to speed on the many cool happenings – big and small – within our city. She’s not from Cleveland originally but has embraced this city as her own and her enthusiasm for all that she discovers along the way is truly contagious. Plus she’s an amazing designer so be sure to look her way if this is something you need help with. If you want to keep a pulse on what’s happening around town, be sure to add her blog to your feeds. You’ll be happy you did.


  1. Posted November 1, 2010 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Do you know the exact location of the dog beach you mentioned?

  2. Jill
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Quince and Le Bistro Beaujolais are two of my favorites. Both are located in Grand Pacific Junction in Olmsted Falls. Viva Fernando in Westlake is also a good choice.

  3. Posted November 2, 2010 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    What a nice recap of our outing! Anytime you’d like to come back West I’d be more than happy to play hookey with you!

    The dog park is in Rocky RIver off of Beachcliff Road. it’s a small sunken park and the swimming is for dogs only, they love it!