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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Cleveland Rocks

This is one of those posts that will be of no interest to those of you who have lived your whole lives on either the east or left coasts. (I know. I was one of you.) Jack's been on a campaign against Cleveland for some unknown reason. Something to do with Monkeys. I don't pretend to understand his twisted little mind.

I first visited Cleveland about 3 years ago. Due to the growing size of my family, and the diminishing size of my paycheck, we decided that we could no longer afford to take our annual pilgrimage to New York by airplane. I volunteered to drive the 3 older kids while my wife flew with the younger ones (let's just say I got the better end of the deal).

I love to drive. But I hate, absolutely HATE, all the packing, preparing and shlepping that goes along with it. I don't want to make 30 tuna sandwiches before I leave. I want to be free. Just get in the car and drive. Live off the land. But being a kosher traveller makes this difficult. The compromise is to try to find kosher food on the road. Fortunately, Cleveland is exactly halfway between Milwaukee and Queens. So prior to the trip, I did an internet search for kosher restaurants in Cleveland, and found 3 or 4. Then, armed with a AAA triptik and some computer printouts, my 3 older kids and I hit the road.

Eight hours later we arrived in Cleveland. The 4 of us, sweaty, tired, in shorts and sandals, stopped at the main restaurant, Abba's. We didn't have a reservation. They turned us away. Across the street there was a really fancy place called "Contempo Cuisine." Everyone in the joint was in a suit and dress. We looked like we had emerged from the desert. They took pity on us and seated us in a booth at the back.

Best darn road food I've ever had. Black forrest cake! $100 for four people!

My wife has never let me do the drive alone since then.

1 comment:

PsychoToddler said...

Monkeytown has a couple of highlights, but they are usually found at the road leading out, the airport, and the train/bus station(s).
Jack | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 10:56 am | #

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Your post MADE my day, PsychoToddler. I am very proud to say that I from Cleveland. I was born and raised there. I am from Cleveland Heights.

Cleveland is a wonderful city. It was a wonderful city to grow up in and a wonderful city to be Jewish in. It has character!

Further, the best klezmer band in the country is in Cleveland (Yiddishe Cup) and the most generous people are in Cleveland. The Cleveland Federation is the most heavily funded of any city.

The symphony (Cleveland Orchestra) is in the top 5 of the country as is the Cleveland Clinic (for medicine).

Cleveland is also the city that spearheaded the effort in the 70's to get the Soviet Jews out of the Soviet Union.

Contempo Cuisine is great. They catered my bridal shower.

Jack has admittedly never been to Cleveland. He has no clue what he's talking about.

Cleveland most definitely rocks!!!
Stacey | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 11:14 am | #

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P.S. I live in Dallas now, but no matter WHERE I live Cleveland will always be home.
Stacey | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 11:17 am | #

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The stop in Cleveland is one of the highlights of our annual trip. Abba's has great sushi. As long as you make a reservation.
psychotoddler | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 12:32 pm | #

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I'm sure clevland is a real cool place. I'm waiting for my first gig
in Clevland when it happens I'll let you know.
Jewish Blogmiester | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 12:38 pm | #

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Cleveland is a nice place to visit if you like watching pyrotechnics on your river.
Jack | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 12:56 pm | #

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Jack, make sure you let me know how to get to the exploding monkeys on the lake before my trip this summer. Sounds like it will be a "blast."
psychotoddler | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 1:44 pm | #

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I've been to Abbas a few times. They have lousy service, in general. The food is ok. Nothing spectacular. Did they ever fix that horrible whining sound from the bread machines?
velvel | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 2:44 pm | #

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Velvel:

Coming from Chicago, your perspective is going to be different than mine. You have plenty of great restaurants to choose from.

We have none. Except the nursing home. Our out of town trips revolve around food.
psychotoddler | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 4:18 pm | #

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Next time you're in Cleveland, grab some goodies at Lax & Mandel on Taylor Rd.

Then you must go to Bialy's (on Warrensville, near Abba's) and get one of the best bagels in the world.

I'll be in Cleveland at Pesach. Can't wait!!
Stacey | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 8:52 pm | #

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Lax & Mandel

Didn't the health department close that place down.
Jack | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 11:28 am | #

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PT,
Don't ALL out-of-town trips revolve around food? Ours trips, although infrequent, certainly do. My hubby has food on the brain if we travel to NYC--to hell with a museum or tourist hot spot, "Which restaurant should we hit?" seems to be the question of the day. (and we're coming from a city that has a good number of Kosher eating establishments, including nursing homes and the Jewish community centers) Understandably, certain trips do have to get you thinking where your next Kosher meal will come from -- my honeymoon in St. Maarten revolved around that concept, too -- but give me a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and some cans of tuna and I can be a kept woman!
Pearl | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 11:42 am | #

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This will sound bad, but before we kept kosher I used to love to travel with my family, and we didn't worry about food. We just stopped off at places at the side of the road, Howard Johnson's, Denny's, whatever. There was a great place in Miami called One potato Two potato.

Keeping kosher has taken all of the fun out of travel. My associates talk about going places like the Carribean or Mexico or Europe and it just invokes images of salami sandwiches and juice boxes.
psychotoddler | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 12:47 pm | #

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Have you come across the LaBriyut prepackaged meals ($10 Cdn. each) that give an appetizer, main course and some form of dessert,(I think) that don't need anything more than hot water to prepare them. My husband stocked up on a bunch of them for a planned holiday. Some of the offerings -- milchig or fleishig -- are better than others.
Pearl | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 4:31 pm | #

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Real women don't serve TV dinners.
psychotoddler | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 6:18 pm | #

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no, we just make peanut butter or tuna sandwiches for our husbands while on vacation!
it's the husbands who want this "gourmet" and practical tv dinner!
how's that on your palate!?
Pearl | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 9:55 pm | #

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Mmm...peanut butter and tuna sandwich...
psychotoddler | Homepage | 04.14.05 - 9:32 am | #