Posts tagged Cleveland

Cleveland Daycation – West Side

It’s time for an adventure don’t you think?

We’ve lived in northeast Ohio for a few years now and yet we have a whole grocery list of places in the area we haven’t yet explored. We’re trying to change that this summer by going on daycations around town.

These little ventures aren’t just thrown together – we try to plan it like we would an out of town vacation so the kids feel like it’s a real getaway.

Our first daycation exploration was to Cleveland’s West Side.

 

Here’s where we visited:

 

Lunch at Happy Dog

5801 Detroit Ave.

Choose from 50 toppings on an all-beef or veggie dog. Peanut, pickle, mustard hot dog? You can get that here. If all the choices seem too overwhelming select one of their creative, suggested combos. Fill out the form with your selected toppings and then give it to your server. Along with hot dogs there are tater tots with cool dips like Jamaican jerk mustard mojo, Buffalo wing hot sauce, and more. This place gets pretty hopping at night so my advice is to go during the day with your kiddos.

 

Eating at Happy Dog

Dessert at Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop

6800 Detroit Ave.

Sweet Moses is just a short walk from Happy Dog – enough time to recover from an extra helping of tater tots. This old-style dessert parlor includes a mouth-watering assortment of homemade ice creams and treats. We chose the Gordon Square Sundae, which has a dense brownie at the bottom topped with Bananas Foster ice cream, caramel, and hot fudge. Oh, and whip cream and a cherry. We couldn’t resist getting one of their brownies to go, too. The brownie is served like a popsicle dipped in chocolate and toppings.

 

Sundae at Sweet Moses, Cleveland

Stroll Through Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop

17462 Lorain Ave.

Both the recent Avengers movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier were filmed in Cleveland. And Superman got his start in this town that was a stand-in for Metropolis. We wanted to embrace Cleveland’s comic book roots so we took time to work our way through Carol and John’s Comic Shop, which has been an institution in this town for over 20 years. There are several bins with $1 comic books perfect for a child that wants a souvenir for the day.

 

Visiting a Comic Book Shop

Hike Around Fort Hill Loop

Rocky River, North Olmsted

One-hundred-and-thirty-five steps – we counted them! This 1.3-mile loop takes you to the top of Fort Hill where you can see Rocky River and watch planes take off above the trees from the airport that’s literally in the backyard of this preserve. Save some time to go through the Rocky River Nature Center that’s at the base of the trial. The step trail only takes about 30 minutes or less depending on how many breaks your kiddos take on the stairs.

 

Rocky River Preserve

Movie Time! The Amazing Spider-Man 2

We finished off our adventures by taking in a movie.

Fort Hill Loop View

For more tips on how to plan a great daycation head on over to my post at Wandering Educators (coming soon).

 

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Banana buckwheat bread

Who else likes to experiment with different flours? Me too. Buckwheat flour has been on my list since I noticed a popular, local eatery, Crepes De Luxe, touting that they used it to make their nearly tire-sized crepes.

So buckwheat works to make hearty crepes, I wondered about using it in breads and muffins. The texture of buckwheat flour is noticeably courser then white flour and even whole wheat. I thought it might pair well with a recipe that tends to be moist anyway. Banana bread! I don’t like banana bread that gets too gummy. Have you ever had that happen where on day #2 of cutting into your banana bread the top is sticky? Buckwheat might just solve the problem.

As long as I was using buckwheat flour, which happens to be packed with nutrients, I wanted to keep all of the other ingredients as healthy as possible. I looked for a butter-free recipe that was also slim on sugar. But of course I added a few dark chocolate mini chips to the mix because they’re full of anti-oxidants. (Okay, it doesn’t take much for me to add chocolate to just about anything, but hey, dark chocolate is good for you.) I tweaked a recipe from Ginger Jen to come up with my version.

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes + baking

Servings: 4-6


Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar)

3 ripened bananas

2 eggs

1/3 cup oil

2 tablespoons milk (I used fat-free Greek yogurt)

1 tablespoon honey (optional)

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients, except the sugar, chips, and nuts.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, mash the bananas using a handheld mixer. Add the eggs, then oil, then sugar, and blend until combined.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture, just until moistened.
  5. Mix in the chocolate chips (if using) and walnuts.
  6. Coat one regular-sized loaf pan or two mini-sized ones (I prefer the smaller size) with cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan(s).
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the loaf tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool before cutting.

Kid reaction: I honestly didn’t think my kids would go for this heartier bread. Admittedly, the mini chocolate chips helped but I kept asking my youngest if she thought it tasted any different from our regular, whole wheat banana bread. She didn’t seem to notice and even walked off with the pieces I was using to take pictures for this post! I did think the bread was a bit drier and tended to crumble more than my usual recipe, but I liked it, especially since the crust stayed crisp on day #2.

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6 Favorite Spots at Cleveland’s West Side Market

With my crew overlooking the market

My kids each have favorite finds at Cleveland’s West Side Market, an indoor/outdoor food mecca that boasts about 100 vendors selling everything from fresh blackberries to spicy beef jerky.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the market so I thought I’d share some of my favorite food vendors there. Although I haven’t yet visited all of the booths—and we do try to visit a new place each time we go—these are my top finds.

You can download a map so that you won’t get lost when you visit. Then again, getting lost has its advantages—new discoveries.

Ohio City Pasta

One more pack of raviolis please.

What to buy: ravioli, yummy sauces & specialty butters

We usually buy a couple different kinds of ravioli along with one carton of sauce to make a meal at home. My kids love the asiago cheese-stuffed ravioli with the lobster cream sauce. There are also daily specials. The walnut butter was a hit, but the cilantro-lime linguine (my choice) wasn’t so tasty.

Theresa’s Bakery

What to buy: monk cake, pecan rolls

Monk cake is a West Side Market original. Chocolate cake with layers of mouse and raspberry filling are enveloped by a thick piece of chocolate. There are two bakeries that happen to be right next to each other that both sell monk cake. Cake Royale, created it, but

Say it with reverence...the monk cake

Theresa’s offers it too. I’m partial to Theresa’s version since it’s denser and less sweet than Cake Royale’s but I’m holding out a final verdict until I’m sampled it a few more times;) Maybe I also favor Theresa’s since I’m addicted to their pecan rolls.

Frank’s Bratwurst

What to buy: the best brats. ever.

I don’t like brats, really. Mr. Squid tried to get me to try Frank’s, but I wouldn’t budge until someone walked by me eating one and it smelled…heavenly. The folks at Frank’s make the brats using ground veal and then flash fry them before cooking. The result is a crispy brat outside and a moist, smooth inside. When they ask, make sure to get the hard roll versus the soft and even though the

Thank you for the handmade veal brats, Frank's

sauerkraut is good, I’d stick with just the meat and the roll to get the full flavor.

J+J Meats

What to buy: beef jerky, bacon, whatever’s on sale

My tween actually saves her allowance to spend on homemade beef jerky at J+J. The little mom-and-pop shop has been busy since it was featured in The Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” as Iron Chef Michael Symon’s pick. The folks who own J+J also own another food booth with the same offerings, Czuchraj.

Steve’s Gyros

What to buy: gyros

Steve's, 'nuf said

You have to get in line at Steve’s before about 11:15 a.m. to avoid the lunch crowd. And I mean crowd. And there are rules to Steve’s line. No cutting. No holding a place for someone else. No ordering more than one extra sandwich per person. Yeah, it’s that good. This booth solidified its fame in an episode of the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food. I’ve eaten gyros off the street in Greece–these are better. Maybe it’s the mounds of meat that have been basting on the vertical spit all day or the warm, fresh pitas, or the creamy yogurt sauce. Whatever it is, a stop at Steve’s is a must (a regular sandwich IMHO will easily feed two people).

Crepes De Luxe

What to buy: sweet or savory crepes

Looking for a vegetarian meal? Or maybe something sweet that’s not too heavy? That’s when I head to Crepes De Luxe. Whether you choose a savory a crepe that’s piled with veggies and cheese or a dessert one filled with fresh fruit or Nutella (or both!), these huge crepes are folded so they’re easy to eat while you meander through the market. And each one is made right in front of you.

*If you go to the West Side Market (and you should) it’s open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday during the day. Check the website for hours and where to park. Keep in mind that some vendors are open different times than others.

I couldn't resist..one more monk cake shot

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