Feast! Food & Fine Living in Northeast Ohio: April 2, 2007

Let me tell you about my Saturday night. Not to make you jealous — though it might have that effect — but because it was so incredible. The fact that it could happen here in our much maligned city is proof that despite those who keep talking about what’s wrong with Cleveland, there’s so much that’s so right.

The evening began with dinner for three at Momocho in Ohio City. Great food and drink in a very hip setting. My blood orange margarita was something special, and when our friend from Toledo arrived, he ordered the same. I’m already planning return visits so I can sample variations made with cactus flower, pomegranate and hibiscus. The super-sized selection of sipping tequilas is what caught my husband’s eye, and he was happy with his ultimate choice: a smooth, smoky “rested” Patron Anejo. We shared a guacamole sampler — who knew smashed avocados come in flights?! Each of us ordered a different entrée, with the understanding that there would be much dish swapping. So I got to taste a wonderful traditional preparation called chilaquiles (a tortilla casserole) made with smoked trout, crab and black beans, and a braised brisket adobo, as well as my own garlic shrimp with an unusual — and tasty — cauliflower hominy croquette. No time (or room) for dessert. We had a concert to catch.

Our destination was Slavic Village to hear CityMusic Cleveland, a chamber ensemble, play in the beautiful Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus. One of the pieces they performed was a world premiere of a violin concerto by local composer Margaret Brouwer. The music was stupendous — a powerful blend of classic and contemporary — and it was incredibly exciting to be present at the debut of a composition that may one day be well known and renowned. And did I mention the event was also absolutely free?

Then it was back to the near West Side for nightcaps at the Velvet Tango Room, where the elegant, private club setting, complete with tuxedoed piano player, makes all the patrons feel like celebrities. There may only be a handful of places anywhere in the country making traditional cocktails like they do here — using only the finest, freshest ingredients, assembling everything to order, just like the best restaurant kitchens, and doing every bit of squeezing and mixing by hand. Toledo had rave reviews for his pisco sour, shaken for precisely two minutes until the egg whites formed a creamy foam, and the husband enjoyed his bourbon daisy, though he initially balked at asking for anything with such a flowery name. I too had bourbon (a spirit I don’t usually choose) but only because it was part of my very grown-up vanilla gelato root beer float. I’m not ashamed to say I sucked up every drop.

Posted by Laura, taxel@glpublishing.com

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CityMusic Cleveland

CityMusic Cleveland is a professional chamber orchestra that performs free concerts throughout Northeast Ohio,often accompanied by exhibits of local artwork.

Since exploding onto the scene in 2004, CityMusic Cleveland has won cheering audiences with beautiful music, brilliantly performed in familiar neighborhood settings.
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