dining out @ The Happy Dog (Cleveland, OH)

September 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hot diggity dog, I’ve found a new Cleveland favorite:  The Happy Dog in Gordon Square.

The concept is simple and wonderful:  a quarter-pound all beef hot dog served with any toppings you’d like from a list of 50+.  And on the side?  The best tater tots I’ve ever had with an assortment of unique sauces.  Plus a cold beer.  It doesn’t get any better.

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FEAST!  Cannot wait to eat this meal all over again.

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The boyfriend’s dog:  braised collard greens, cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and a fried egg.

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I went Southern:  pimiento mac & cheese, blue cheese coleslaw, grilled onions, and a dill pickle spear.

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The tots; oh, the tots.  Crunchy, light, delicious, couldn’t stop eating them.

We had them with an assortment of 5 sauces:  roasted garlic aioli (my favorite), top secret fry sauce (my other favorite), black truffle honey mustard, house made ketchup, and chipotle ketchup.

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I’m too indecisive for this list.  Major selection anxiety, but it all worked out.

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Visit The Happy Dog at 580 Detroit Avenue in Cleveland.  Parking available in lot across the street.

dining out @ Skillet (Columbus)

September 4, 2013 § 2 Comments

Skillet (“rustic, urban, food”) has been on my list of places in Columbus to try since… forever.  A few weeks ago, my Skillet brunch dreams finally came true.

My boyfriend and I drove to German Village, arriving at 8:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and were seated immediately at a table by the window.  Our waiter told us that 8-9 is the best time to come if you don’t want to wait.  (By the time we left, about an hour later, there was a line formed outside on the sidewalk.)

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window view.

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I wanted to order the entire menu, but decided on the smoked chicken and andouille sausage gravy and biscuits.  My boyfriend couldn’t decide between sweet and savory, so he started with a griddled cinnamon roll and then went with the Chef’s special – smoked brisket hash.

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The cinnamon roll was massive, but surprisingly light.  Meaning you could eat it and not immediately feel like rolling up in a ball on the couch.  It was absolutely delicious.

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And, obviously, it was not long for this world.

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smoked chicken and andouille sausage gravy and biscuits, served with fresh scrambled eggs.

My selection was also massive – so much so, after a few bites, I had to call it quits.  Don’t get me wrong—the gravy was delectable, one of the best I’ve ever had, as were the homemade buttermilk biscuits.  It was just too much for me.  (We ended up taking the rest of it home for yummy leftovers.)

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Smoked Brisket Hash, a rustic chunky hash of house smoked Ohio pastured beef brisket with sweet onion, bell peppers, and just dug potatoes.

Now: My boyfriend’s smoked brisket hash was incredible.  I definitely had entrée envy.  The meat was tender, and the potatoes had such great flavor.  It was the perfect little skillet of fresh ingredients, with the star being the brisket.

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On our next visit, I am sure we will both order the Chef’s special hash, no matter what it is.  I trust that it will be amazing.

dining out @ South Market Bistro (Wooster)

May 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

One thing has always been true about me:  I love going out to eat.  I obsess over menus for days.   Going to a restaurant, whether new or an old favorite, is like a mini-vacation.

Wooster, Ohio, is the perfect meeting place for me and my boyfriend, Ty, with him near Cleveland and me in Columbus.  On our first Wooster date last winter, we stumbled upon the South Market Bistro in the town square.  And last week, we returned for a taste of their Spring menu!

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fresh bread.  

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panko-crusted green olives stuffed with boursin cheese.  these olives were basically a combination of my favorite things: salty olives, crispy breadcrumbs, and warm cheese.

they disappeared real fast.

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the house salad.  a generous assortment of greens, with croutons and olives as garnish.

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pan-seared diver scallops.  these nicely cooked scallops were served in a bacon-cream sauce.  it paired perfectly with the light flavor of the scallops.  the crispy leeks, kale, and asparagus were a nice complement to the dish.

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springtime rabbit.  the texture and flavor of rabbit is not my thing, but my boyfriend loved the dish of roasted rabbit loin.  i will say that the bourbon mustard sauce was unique.

A lovely meal, albeit a pricey one.  We will be back for a third trip, for sure.

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