Friday, October 19, 2007

Cleveland ROCKS!

I've just returned from a trip that began in Hendersonville , North Carolina and ended in the Cleveland area. It was lots of fun in Cleveland. First off I played a big reunion bash in Kent, Ohio with my original drummer (Spider Allen) and bass player (Cute Bill Brauning) from our band in college (The T.P. Waterhouse Jug Band & Electric Screendoor Salesmen).

So what's this have to do with food and wine? While in Kent, I visited a great little wine shop called 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall .... and 1700+ bottles of wine.

You can hear my interview with Audrey (pictured above), the Assistant Manager on our show's podcast from October 13th.

In the burbs of Cleveland I was searching for a blues club and went into a place called Lolita's in an area known as "the Tremont District." The blues club down the block was closed and the interior of Lolita's looked inviting. A brick building built in 1814 with pressed copper ceiling accented by the modern hammered copper bar top, Great lighting, warm woods .... every little detail. And then....

... the happy hour menu. A glass of "Lola's Choice of the Day" red wine (100% French Cinsault) $4, five different gourmet appetizers $5 each. And these were hearty appetizers beautifully presented. Every staff member I had contact with was gracious and knowledgeable. John, who was tending the bar, knew the answer, and more, to every wine question I asked.

On the plane home I found out, from a Cleveland native seated next to me, that Lola's in downtown Cleveland and Lolita's are owned by Chef Michael Symon who is a current Iron Chef finalist. I aslo learned that Lola's is considered by most as the finest restaurant in Cleveland.

My other pleasant surprise was the best Huevos Rancheros I've had in a restaurant in a long time. At Nuevo Acapulco in North Olmstead, Ohio (about 5 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport). Owned by a wonderfully friendly family, it adjoined the motel I stayed the night before my flight out.
That night we ran up a bar bill there for six cocktails: $24! Calling Rachel Ray.

Below are some interesting bottles I spotted at 101 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall in Kent.

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