While I know there is more to Cleveland, Ohio than just the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and food, that’s basically what our time in Cleveland amounted to. The people were really friendly and I had some awesome conversations in the bars. Folks in Cleveland are really in to their sports teams. They are quick to remind you that it’s the Cavaliers for basketball, the Indians for baseball, and the Browns for football. They are also rightfully proud of the UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic who is from Cleveland. I was reminded by a few people that Cleveland has multiple championships in their town. So I reminded them I was from NYC. And we all had a good laugh…
Loads of Cheese
I started out my time in Cleveland like I do in most cities, eating. First place I went to was an awesome dive bar feeling place called Melt Bar and Grill (DDD). Their food menu is ridiculously good. I struggled but finally paired it down to 3 things. I had fried mac and cheese (which if you know me, you know of my undying love for mac and cheese), a chicken and waffle melt (crispy battered chicken, belgian waffle, sriracha butter, pepper-jack cheese & maple syrup for dipping), and the Parmageddon melt. The Parmageddon melt is potato & onion pierogi, fresh Napa vodka kraut, sautéed onions, sharp cheddar. It was so good that it required its own description sentence. I would eat here all the time if I lived anywhere near here. The food so good, I didn’t stop eating when I was full, I stopped eating when I started to hate myself (– quote from Louis CK, but so appropriate). Worth it.
Rock Down Memory Lane
I wasn’t really sure how I was going to feel about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I’ve always had music that I’ve listened to and music that I’ve played on the drums, guitar or whatever other instrument I was playing that year. But I have never been a fan of music the way I am a fan of something like martial arts. Walking through the Hall of Fame took me on a journey through nostalgia I didn’t realize was there. While going through the blues exhibits, I thought back to all the times I would sit and play blues on the guitar while I was learning. The jazz section reminded me of being in jazz band in school. The country section reminded of so many of my military friends and times joking around in the barracks or before and after missions. And the real important artists that have been close to me all my life like Guns N Roses, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix (the list could go on and on) really took me back to times and places where I leaned on them for strength or calm. The end of the museum was a section about going from the radio to the iPod, what video did to music, and finally how we are all influenced by one hit wonders. Having lived through all those things and seeing those transition periods first hand, I know what I had thought about them then and now. It was really interesting to see other people’s perspectives on it and listen to other patron’s talk about their views of it. Taking a journey through music, even to a person who is not intrinsically driven by it, was like walking through my past. While a pleasant surprise, it was not what I was expecting to get from a trip to the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Surprise, More Food
I’ve eaten a lot of biscuits and gravy over the years. In the Army, we sometimes called it “shit on a shingle.” That’s often what it tasted like. The biscuits and gravy at Lucky’s Cafe (DDD) did not taste like that at all. In fact, it didn’t remind me of Army biscuits and gravy in any way (which is usually what I look for in a biscuits and gravy). It reminded me of when my friends and I used to go out to a southern style Sunday brunch in Augusta, Georgia while I was stationed at Fort Gordon. Those were some amazing biscuits and gravy mornings/afternoons. That is what Lucky’s tasted like. It was so good that I decided to try one of their pastries that they called a Mousse Bomb. It was unsurprisingly both of those things and it was really, really chocolatey good.
We setup camp for the night about an hour south of Cleveland in Streetsboro, Ohio. Streetsboro is just outside of Cuyahoga National Park, where we were going to explore the next day. I also wanted to try to get Charlie a little more comfortable with eating outside. So I cooked us both hot dogs and hamburgers over the fire for dinner. I think it worked because he housed a burger and a hot dog. I was using the hot dog to try to get him to take a good picture. Even with campfire cooked meat as a treat, he still made it so difficult to get good pictures.
The gallery of pictures from Cleveland, Ohio is available on Google Photos.