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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Heart of Rock n Roll is in Cleveland

Warning:  The following may not be suitable for children under the age of 13 or Cleveland Browns Fans
As a Redskins fan, I try to make a road game every year to see them play and to check out a different city.  This year it was Cleveland.  Not my first time there, but my first time as a “food blogger.” 
I found out Cleveland is more than just the “Heart of Rock n’ Roll” and Michael Symon.  Though, if you can make it to Lola’s, do it (which I didn’t do this trip). 
Huey Lewis “Sports” came out during the greatest year in Music, 1984.  But I’ll lay out that irrefutable evidence later.
After we landed, we went up to Cleveland’s relatively new bar/ restaurant district on East 4thStreet.  We started with a “few” pints at Flanery’s and then made our way down to La Strada, not to be confused with my old friend Al Strada.
It’s not Italian, but “Mediterranean” and we split a couple of flatbreads.  The Americana was ironically just like a pizza you would get in Italy with delicious Pancetta and the Braised Lamb flatbread with lamb, hummus, tamarind, cumin and cilantro.  But the Rack of Lamb was fall off the bone delicious.  I would highly recommend La Strada (though Café Agora’s hummus is still the best).
Sunday Morning Tailgating in Cleveland consists of Bar Hopping up and down West 6th Street.  We started at the Barley House and unbelievably they were out of Bloody Mary mix at 10am.  Or they lied to me because I was wearing an RGIII jersey.  Whatever.  So Red Bulls and Vodka’s it is.
Eat your heart out NFC East for the next 12 years!
Then we went to Panini’s, the famous Sandwich Shop/ Bar on West Sixth.  And of course we split a large sandwich with our newfound Canadian friends!  It was delicious and surprisingly fat free.  Okay, maybe not.
Then of course we went to the game and watched the Redskins whoop some Brown ass!
 This just in, the Browns suck.
For dinner we went to the Cleveland Chop House.  This is the only bar I’ve ever been to where they have a frozen section of the bar to put your beer on and it will never get warm.  It’s one of the most brilliant ideas I’ve ever seen and for some reason, I haven’t seen it anywhere else.  And I’ve been to a bar or two. Then the heartbreaking news came, they are closing the Chophouse on 12/31.  They make a solid steak and a mean drink.  And they will be missed.
Bottom line, the Cleveland Culinary scene is not to be overlooked.
Now back to 1984.  There were only FIVE #1 albums the entire year.  Michael Jackson’s (pre-complete freak MJ) “Thriller,” the Footloose Soundtrack, Huey Lewis and the News “Sports,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” and Prince’s “Purple Rain.”  4 out of 5 are Iconic Albums and still hold up.
I would argue nobody in modern history under 5 feet tall has had as much game as Prince.
The argument could end there, BUT obviously Van Halen’s “1984” came out as well as Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”
Then you had a third tier of great music.  The Scorpions “Love at First Sting,” Ratt's “Our of the Cellar,” Run DMC’s “Run DMC,” Tina Turner's “Private Dancer,” Metallica's “Ride the Lightening,” The Red Hot Chili Peppers Debut, U2’s “The Unforgettable Fire” and Wham's “Make it Big."  No way another year competes with 1984.  And it was an unrivaled year for mullets.
And I was suprised when George Michael came out?

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