Easter in Cleveland

Just got back from a trip to Cleveland for Easter. I went back with Betsy and my girlfriend Mary. Here’s a brief recap.

FRIDAY:
Got up at the ass crack of dawn and picked up Mary. Arrive in Cleveland around 1pm. Mary and I drive around Cleveland, visit my Dad at work, St. Ignatius, and had horrible service at Great Lakes Brewing Company. I was disappointed, but it was Friday afternoon, they were busy, and the basement bar was closed as they were adding some new fermenters. We stopped at the gift shop, picked up some shwag, and headed over to the West Side Market to browse.

Had a Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold at the bar in the West Side Market, where they had an Ignatius flag and football helmet. We tipped well for their good loyalties.

Then we went back to Shaker where we saw my old house on Ingleside Road. After that, we picked up Ali and Betsy and went to MELT, the famed Cleveland grilled cheese place in Lakewood. It was featured on the food network . Mary, Betsy, and I all watched the show, so we were eager to eat there. My mom goes there all of the time and they’re opening an East Side location in Cleveland Heights later this month.

We got there at 6:00 pm, waited over 2 hours for a table, and had our food 3 hours after arriving at about 9:05. Mary had the “Parmageddon” and I had the monthly special, called “The Corny Beast.”

It was described as:

Our wicked version of the almighty corn dog!! An ultra jumbo all beef dog char-grilled to perfection, split and stuffed inside the with double American cheese then slathered with our special cornbread batter and deep fried to a golden brown.

Here is a picture:

This was a good grilled cheese. However, Melt was one of the most inefficient restaurants I have ever been to. Melt kind of reminds me of what would happen if the staff of Big Fun decided to open a restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I love Big Fun, but it was utter pandemonium.  Also, you can read the blog of Big Fun for a sincere, but economically misguided missive on “Buy American.” A bit ironic, given that Big Fun sells antique toys, many of which I am sure were imported from abroad…. But I digress.

So, we got home around 10:30, and I was tired, a bit tipsy, and livid that Melt ran their restaurant so poorly that it appeared to me they didn’t really care about maximizing profit. I went to bed early. I missed being able to catch up with my good friend Mary Beth Heyka downtown to watch the Cavs game, and I really wanted her to meet Mary. Mary B, I’m sorry I missed ya. We’ll be back!

SATURDAY:

Saturday morning came around, and I was up and at ’em. I woke up Mary and we decided to go to White Castle in North Randall for lunch. It was our first White Castle date and it went well. I used all $15 of my gift certificates for serving on the White Castle Crave Panel, and we still owed them $1.06. We were hungry.

With full tummies, Mary and I visited Heinen’s, our local grocery chain. Good idea to eat first. Never shop on an empty stomach! We picked up some Cleveland delicacies like Stadium Mustard (even though I don’t like mustard) and Patterson’s Apple Cider. Mary went to go see if they sold Steak and Shake Chili — they didn’t — but returned to find me in the beer aisle with three cases of various Cleveland beer in my cart. A 12 pack Great Lakes Sampler, a 6 pack of Eliot Ness for Pete, a 6 pack of Indigo Imp Winter Solstice (I am drinking this right now), and a Crooked River 12 pack sampler.

Those of you from Cleveland will say, hey wait a minute, didn’t Crooked River close? It did. Their beer was delicious. One of my classmates at St. Ignatius’s dad was one of the individuals who helped save Crooked River the first time. Unfortunately, they didn’t ultimately make it. I do not know who is behind their reincarnation this time, but the beer is chilling in my fridge. More reports on that later. The bottles say it’s now brewed in Westlake.

Mary wasn’t  surprised that I had 3 twelvers of good Cleveland beer ready for the trip back. We headed back to the Swift house to prepare for some golf at Shaker Heights Country Club. Betsy got roped into playing 9 holes at the last minute, and although it was her second time golfing on a course — ever — she did exceedingly well. She was even putting for a legitimate par once! I only lost one ball, and I shouldn’t have lost it, frankly.

A fun time was had by all, and although my score of 53 for 9 was a bit higher than usual, Shaker is a difficult course, having been designed by Donald Ross, so I was OK with it.

After that, we went to dinner at Grovewood Tavern in Collinwood. It was great, and we caught the end of the Butler game. The girls (Betsy and Ali) split off, and Mom, Dad, Mary, and I went to Beachland Ballroom. We didn’t stay for any concerts, but went downstairs to the store. I got a Hank Williams III poster, and we then departed to Dairy Queen. I was out for the night and went straight to bed.

SUNDAY:

We got up and went to St. Dominic’s, where mass was long with the new-age Catholic music, and Father Fanta did his typical mea culpa to say “come back” if he or the Catholic Church has done anything to push you away.

We then went to Shaker Country Club for brunch before we headed back to D.C.. Traffic wasn’t as bad as it has been, and I got back in time to do some laundry, watch The Pacific, and even write this blog post.

Hope you had a happy Easter.

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