Category Archives: Tremont

C-Town Chow Down is Back – May 22 in Tremont

Can't wait for this month's C-Town Chow Down on May 22! After a few logistical changes from March's event, the April Chow Down improved on an excellent idea with shorter lines and a delicious sampling of Cleveland food trucks.

 
As warmer weather seems to be slowly returning to Cleveland, I’m looking forward to spending a day in the park at the May C-Town Chow Down.  From 11am-3pm  on Sunday, May 22nd, Cleveland Food Trucks will again descend on Lincoln Park to offer up a wide variety of tasty, gourmet fare.
 
I reviewed the first C-Town Chow Down back in March and as much as I enjoyed my Umami Moto pad thai that day, I’m happy to say that April’s C-Town Chow Down was even better!
 
The Food Trucks that participated in April implemented a handful of changes to smooth logistics and shorten lines.  There were people staffing drink stations separate from the trucks, as well as a special express line at JiBARO where you could order from a limited menu with quick-to-prepare food.  Local restaurants like Angelo’s also partnered up with some of the trucks to offer additional menu items.
 

JiBARO implemented a few of the changes I really liked: partnering with Angelo's to offer additional menu items and setting up an express line for people who wanted to grab something quick.

 
These changes helped spread out the crowd and prioritized customers who needed to get in and out.  This meant it was a lot easier to sample more than one truck’s offerings. 
 
At April’s Chow Down, I enjoyed StrEat Mobile Bistro‘s savory and spicy buffalo mac and cheese with huge chunks of bacon on top, as well as empanadas and seafood bisque from JiBARO.  For dessert, I bought a sampling of baked goods from Cakes Plus to take home with me.  My favorite? Their pineapple cupcake. So delicious!
  

With the changes, I was able to able to sample food from a number of trucks. The end result: a delicious lunch of Buffalo mac and cheese with bacon, empanadas and seafood bisque.

 
I’m happy that everyone involved is working hard to grow this event and build awareness for another of our community’s assets.  And now, with more trucks getting on board, Clevelanders have a chance to expand their Food Truck palate even further.
 
Participating in this month’s C-Town Chow Down so far: 
  • Cakes Plus’ Traveling Treats 
  • Jim Kuhn’s Pig lickin’ Good BBQ 
  • Jibaro Gourmet Food Truck 
  • JJ Hotdogs 
  • The Nosh Box 
  • Seti’s Polish Boys 
  • StrEat Mobile Bistro 
  • Zydeco Bistro Creole Cajun Inspired Mobile Restaurant
You can keep up-to-date on future Cleveland food truck convoys by liking C-Town Chow Down on Facebook.
 
 
C-Town Chow Down 411:

Edison's Pub in Tremont: Food, Beer and Old-School Nintendo

Over next few Tuesdays, Edison's Pub at 2373 Professors St. in Tremont is hosting a classic Nintendo tournament.

While March Madness is closing in on its Final Four and Championship games, another tournament is just heating up in Tremont.  Edison’s Pub kicked off their weekly Nintendo Tournament this past Tuesday night.

With a husband who has a fairly respectable video game console collection and a couple of friends who were signed up to play, you didn’t have to twist my or Scott’s arm to go check it out.

This was our first time at Edison’s (I’ll admit, my exploration of Tremont has been sadly lacking), and as soon as I walked in I realized I had been missing a lot. Like Prosperity Social Club and Happy Dog, this is one of those unpretentious, laidback neighborhood bars that make Cleveland great for a night out.

The wood paneling and antiques on the wall lend an old-school vibe to Edison's Pub which I enjoyed while watching our friends Kate and Brian play Donkey Kong (this week's tournament game).

The wood paneling and huge wall of beer were the first things that caught my eye – it definitely has a great old world pub vibe. And, as a fan of 19th century inventors (though I am partial to Nikola Tesla), the antiques and sketches of Edison’s inventions placed on the walls and around every corner made my inner geek very happy as I explored the place further.

In addition to nods to the bar’s namesake, works from local artists are usually hung in the back hall where you can sit in antique, highseat booths. Until April 7th, art from Garrett Weider is being featured. 

While I was there, my friends also shared that there’s a very nice patio and, knowing my love of great outdoor spaces like Reddstone’s, I’ll have to check it out once the weather warms up. Edison’s patio in particular makes it a very dog friendly place – which the staff welcomes. So if you and your canine companion are looking for a night on the town, bring him or her along.

If you're a beer lover, you can't go wrong with Edison's Wall of Bottled Beer. With the diverse selection they do a great job earning their title as an Import Beer Parlor.

The beer selection at Edison’s was incredible. While I always prefer draft to bottled beer, I had to sample their huge bottled beer selection when I went. I’m not joking when I say there is a wall of bottles to choose from.

First up, I ordered a Delirium Tremens because I haven’t had it in a while. It used to be my beer of choice when Eulogy’s – one of my favorite Philly beer bars – had it on tap. In bottle, it didn’t disappoint my fond memory of the drink. A Belgian strong pale ale from Brewery Huyghe, there’s a touch of maltiness and spice I’ve always enjoyed. Plus the warmth from the 8.5%  ABV always seems to linger longer than others making it a nice beer to enjoy over conversation.

My second beer of the evening was originally selected based on packaging alone (what can I say – I’m a sucker for beer marketing). Lion Stout comes in probably the tiniest beer can I’ve ever seen – similar to those smaller cans of Diet Coke you’ll see on the store shelves every once in a while. It’s brewed at the Lion Brewery Ceylon in Sri Lanka. Although the size of the can was small, a full pint of dark stout poured from it. No matter what mood I’m in, dark stouts like Guinness are always appetizing. Lion Stout was a good choice. Sweeter with a hint of what I would describe as a cherry flavor, it was a very smooth drink with a nice creamy head to it.

The tiny can is what first inspired me to try Lion Stout, but it was its dark, smooth, sweet taste that will have me ordering it again.

Edison’s has over 100 imported beers to choose from and different options regularly being tapped (like Edison’s Pub on Facebook for updates) – so regardless of your tastes you’ll find something to satisfy your thirst.

Video games work up a hunger in both Scott and I.  So we also got dinner when we were there. Although you can’t order at the bar, you can order food from Edison’s Pizza Kitchen which is attached to the pub and bring it back to your seat.  Scott ordered a bacon pizza for himself and a calzone for me. 

As you can see in the below picture the pizza was covered with layers of bacon.  I stole a couple of bites it looked (and tasted so good),  and Scott – who could have eaten it all due to his uncanny ability to be constantly hungry – saved leftovers for the next day just so he could continue enjoying it.

Scott was in heaven with his mondo-bacon pizza from Edison's Pizza Kitchen which we ordered next door but enjoyed at the bar.

I ordered ham, green peppers and mushrooms with my calzone. During summers in college, I used to wait tables at a pizza restaurant.  My weakness were their calzones. Edison’s beat them in my first bite. Just as with their pizzas, they are overly generous in the toppings – filling it with huge slices of mushroom and ham and a lot of pepper.  Amazingly, they still had enough room for all of the ricotta and mozzarella cheese. Delicious!

After dinner, we enjoyed watching our friends play in this week’s round of the tournament. Like Edison’s previous Atari tournament, each two-person team that signed up for the Nintendo tournament comes in to play on Tuesday whenever they can and provides their total score to the bartender. This week’s game was Donkey Kong. Even though Scott and I weren’t playing, it was a lot of fun to watch the game in a setting that wasn’t our house. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what game they pick when we go back next week.

If classic video games aren’t your style, Edison’s also has live music including blues and a number of other events like Trivia Night.  Of course, between the food, beer, and laid back mood of the place, I plan on coming back many times just because.

Edison’s Pub 411:

C-Town Chow Down: A Cleveland Food Truck Convoy

At C-Town Chow Down, crowds stood in the freezing cold for hours waiting to sample the delicious fare from Cleveland's food trucks.

I discovered two things at Sunday’s C-Town Chow Down: 1) Clevelanders really love their city’s food trucks (for good reason as I’ve learned from previous Dim and Den Sum dining) and 2) we’re a patient group.

These would be the only two explanations I can think of for why myself and countless other people stood out in the freezing cold Sunday for over an hour and a half.

Don’t get me wrong, I thought the idea behind C-Town Chow Down: A Convoy of Cleveland’s Finest Food Trucks was a brilliant idea. I still do. By gathering 8 of the city’s trucks in Tremont’s Lincoln Park, the Food Truck Operators of Cleveland set out to solve a problem many food truck fans face: not being able to explore all the options that are out there.

And there were definitely plenty of options, with each business offering a different take on the food truck idea. The trucks that showed up included Seti’s Polish BoysDim & Den SumCakes Plus’s – Traveling TreatsUmami MotoStrEat Mobile BistroJibaroPranzo Forno Wood Fired Pizza, and Oh! Babycakes.

A convoy of eight Cleveland food trucks pulled up alongside Lincoln Park in Tremont to feed the crowd on Sunday - each with a different take on what it means to be a food truck.

When I read about this selection on Facebook, I was really excited by the idea. It promoted a lot of the things I try to support both on and off my blog: enjoying good, local businesses; building awareness for our community’s assets; and getting people out of their houses by giving them something to do.

And while I still stand by the idea and hope Cleveland’s food trucks continue exploring a C-Town Chow Down series, there were some logistical problems that need to be ironed out for future events. Namely, despite the fact that 1000+ people had rsvped on the Facebook event page, it seemed like such an overwhelming turnout wasn’t expected or prepared for.

Because of this, the event became less about sampling and enjoying the different trucks, and more of picking one line to stand in, waiting for an hour and a half in the cold, and then having few menu choices because most places ran out of food.

I understand that food trucks by their very nature have limited resources and limited space to prepare their food in. I also know that if I had listened to Scott and gotten there around 11, instead of 11:50, the lines wouldn’t have been as bad. However, the event which was promoted as going to 3 unfortunately ended early for some when the trucks started running out of food.

In the gazebo on the one side of the park, a selection of local performing arts groups and bands entertained. Although you couldn't see the performances without getting out of line, the sound system made it possible to hear. Groups included Mame Daiko Japanese Drumming Ensemble, Mechanics of Things, Manancique, Essence of Dance and Isla del Encanto, and Summer Solstice.

Perhaps next time there could be more activity closer to the food trucks. With Sunday’s freezing temps and the fact that people didn’t want to lose a coveted spot in line, not too many people were in the mood to wander over to the gazebo where live music played. That way the experience would feel less like just standing in line for over an hour and more like a celebration of the food and the trucks that make them happen.

With that being said, this was the first time the food trucks have attempted something like this so I give them leeway on the logistical issues. If they offer the event again, I’ll definitely be back — and will show up right at the beginning to claim my space in line early on.

However, I don’t know if a lot of the people in line around me took this into consideration and are as forgiving.  Because they didn’t have their expectations set early on, there was a lot of grumbling from customers about the wait — both in line to place an order and then to get their food.

One particularly dissatisfied (and I’d argue unnecessarily shrill) customer was repeatedly complaining to his date that no food was worth standing out in the cold for that long. And although I found him annoying, others in line with us were unfortunately agreeing with him.

After finding a parking space that lasted longer than hour, Scott and I enjoyed our Pad Thai and Meatball Skewers in the warmth of the CRV's back seat.

After we got our food from Umami Moto and made our way back to the car to eat it in warmth, I was happy for our decision to remain in line. Sure, no food is worth an hour and a half wait out in the cold, but Umami Moto is as close as you’ll get.

We had ordered Pad Thai and a few orders of the Vietnamese Grilled Meatball Skewers. The Pad Thai, which is Umami Moto’s signature dish, was very good. I loved the cilantro and peanuts sprinkled on top and the sauce they specifically make for it was delicious – with a kick but not too spicy.

The skewers were also great – I sampled one while Scott had the rest. Although the meatballs are alright on their own, I would definitely recommend using the sweet and spicy sauce they provide to complement it.

Plus, you couldn’t beat Umami Moto co-owner Sandy Madachik’s friendly demeanor as she thanked everyone who came up for waiting in line and apologized for the delay.

Next time, I'm going to get to the Chow Down early to enjoy Oh! Babycakes' Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes.

While we had been waiting in line for Umami Moto, I also grabbed dessert from Oh! Babycakes. Fortunately, I got in line for them just in time – as I bought the last two cupcakes they had. They were vanilla with chocolate icing – the icing was  sweet and the cake moist. However, because I was looking forward to trying the strawberry-lemonade flavor cupcakes they’re known for, I’ll need to track them down earlier next time.

Despite the logistical problems on Sunday, I would try C-Town Chow Down again. I think it’s an inventive idea, worth exploring.  And as with anything in the early stages, there is still the chance to experiment and work things out.

I just hope that the organizers look at the overwhelming demand from the crowd Sunday and think of a better way to design the event to keep people mingling more, not standing in line as long, and happier to come back for Cleveland’s always-delicious food truck fare. And next time, I’m going to heed my husband’s advice and show up right at the start.

UPDATE: As I was finishing this post, Chris Hodgson from Dim and Den Sum issued a response on facebook to the challenge of the long lines. At the next C-Town Chow Down, Dim and Den Sum wrote that they will service everyone within 30 minutes or their food is free, also saying “We appreciate the patience and support, understand the frustration and drive to serve and please our guests.” This is an excellent first step towards addressing some of the issues!

Exploring Hidden Cleveland

Lolly The Trolley got us where we needed to go on the Hidden CLE Tour

UPDATE: This post is from the 2010 Hidden Cleveland Tours.  For more information about the Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s current series, check their site out here.

Although living in Cleveland the last couple of years has helped me get a decent grasp on what the city has to offer, my awareness of just how much can be found here has increased significantly in the short time since starting this blog. From organizations such as Positively Cleveland and Downtown Cleveland Alliance to blogs like 52 Weeks of Cleveland, I’ve been clueing into the city in ways I hadn’t thought of before.    

In particular this month, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance is making it easier to explore some places in my backyard that I would have typically been unaware of.  With the Hidden Cleveland Tours last Sunday and this Sunday, they’re highlighting a selection of buildings around downtown Cleveland that feature interesting architecture, city history and local culture.   

The Special Collections' Chess Library features a variety of unique chess sets

Lolly The Trolley took us to our first stop – the Main Branch of the Cleveland Public Library. We were met at the steps of the library by ‘Mayor Tom Johnson‘ – the Progressive mayor of Cleveland elected in the early 1900s who supported the Group Plan and creation of the Mall which the library borders.  After a brief history lesson, we entered the library for the main purpose of the stop – the Special Collections department.  Open to the public, the department houses a myriad of antique books and donated treasures for perusing. Among many other things featured in the department are a Sheet Music File, Miniature Books Collection and Tobacco Collection.  However, the highlight of the visit for me was The John G. White Collection of Chess, Checkers, Folklore and Orientalia.  The largest chess library in the world, its pieces document the history, development and technical aspects of chess, and feature many exquisite chess sets as well as a number of books related to the game (including a Birthday Book from the woman that Alice in Wonderland is named after). Located on the 3rd Floor, it’s definitely worth a return visit to explore everything that’s located there.    

A view from the Hanna Theatre's bar seating shows the load-in for the set of A Midsummer Night's Dream

From the library, the trolley took us to nearby Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square – home of the Great Lakes Theatre Festival.  The night before the tour, Scott and I had been at the Hanna to see GLTF’s production of Bat Boy. To go on a tour of the theatre the next day was a real pleasure. Originally built in the 1920s, the venue was reopened in 2008 after a major renovation transformed the space into a 550-seat thrust stage theatre. Although we had seen the theatre’s innovative setup in action the night before, we had a chance to really explore it on the tour. The theatre is set up to ensure that no audience member is further than 12 rows from the stage.  And non-traditional seating options – in addition to conventional fixed seats – allow for a more social theatre-going experience. There are lounges and boxes with movable seats, banquettes, and a bar area where you can grab a barstool and bottle of wine and enjoy the show.  When we attended Opening Night of Bat Boy on Saturday, we sat in one of the center banquettes.  A wraparound couch that fits four, it was the most comfortable and one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve had while seeing a show. After seeing A Midsummer Night’s Dream (the other half of the GLTF’s Spring  Repertory), I’ll be posting a more comprehensive entry on the theatre and both productions.     

Mural from the Slovenian National Home's stage

I’d have to admit, as a theatre geek at heart, I was sad to leave the Hanna.  However, the next stop – the Slovenian National Home  – was definitely a hidden gem that the tour uncovered for me. The Home was built in 1924 by people of Slovenian descent for meetings and celebrations — including community opera productions on the beautiful stage in the main Hall.  Although originally built in the 20s, the Home is still used today and in pristine condition. Located next door is the Slovenian Museum and Archives, dedicated to preserving Slovenian artistic and ethnic works, as well as the history of Slovenian families who migrated to Cleveland — the largest Slovenian community outside of Slovenia.  Currently featured at the museum is an exhibit by Slovenian-American artist Gary Bukovnik titled ‘The Rebirth of Flora,’ as well as the Slovenian Genealogy Society Research Library’s Oral History Preservation Project. With everything it features, the Slovenian National Home and Museum & Archives are fantastic examples of well-maintained cultural history.     

The Ukrainian Labor Temple - now home to CR Studio, Inc.

We completed the tour at the Ukrainian Labor Temple. This stop did an excellent job in demonstrating how some older buildings in Cleveland have been repurposed.   The Ukrainian Labor Temple originially served as both a cultural center similiar to the Slovenian National Home, as well as the focal point for radical labor movements in the city.  However, after it fell out of use, the building was purchased in 1989 and then converted into a photography studio and living space for CR Studio, Inc. During the tour, we explored the studio which was housed in the main auditorium of the temple, as well as a showroom for Ideal Surface which produces concrete designs for commercial and residential projects. The most interesting point of this stop was the opportunity to see an individual’s current story overlay the original building’s function.    

Prosperity Social Club - a laidback, retro drinking establishment

Last Sunday’s Hidden Cleveland Tour was well-worth the $25 ticket price. In addition to the tour, the ticket included appetizers and drink specials at Prosperity Social Club down the street from the Ukrainian Labor Temple. Scott and I had been there before and our visit on Sunday did not fail to please. The bar resides in the building’s original 1938 barroom, and its art deco influence with wormy chestnut walls provides a nostalgic atmosphere that’s unpretentious and truly Cleveland. 
Although there is another tour this Sunday visiting four different Downtown spots, it’s already sold out.  This is the second year the annual tour has been held, so hopefully due to its popularity more opportunities will be offered to experience those parts of the city it may be easy to miss out on.    

       

Hidden Cleveland 411:

Hidden Cleveland Tour
Tour Details
Sponsored by Downtown Cleveland Alliance
@DowntownCLE         


Stop 1: Cleveland Public Library – Special Collections Department
Department Location and Contact Information     


Stop 2: Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square
Great Lakes Theatre Festival     


Stop 3: Slovenian National Home
National Home Location
Museum and Archives     

 
Stop 4: Ukrainian Labor Temple
Labor Temple History
Prosperity Social Club
Location and Hours