Happy Thursday, friends! After Memorial Day this week and being gone from work for five whole days, I finally have gotten back in the swing of things. I woke up on Tuesday and was sending out emails that said “Happy Wednesday” if that can give you any inclination as to how my week began. You could say I’m ready for the weekend!
But before we go into a new weekend, I thought I’d chat with you about the adventures of this past one. For those of you who don’t know, I went home to Cleveland, Ohio for the first time in about 17 months for my aunt’s memorial service and to spend some time with my three best friends I haven’t seen in so, so long. At first I was completely not looking forward to it because I love being in the work zone and getting things done, not getting off track and staying at home but nothing will ever beat going back to Cleveland.
While I was only in Cleveland for literally 72 hours, I feel like I packed in quite a lot in a short amount of time. I’m hoping to go back maybe end of July or August but we’ll see! I have a few travel plans hoped for New York City (fingers crossed) for a weekend trip after the 4th of July so we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted. But for now – onto the Cleveland finds.
First and foremost, I was supposed to go to my favorite yoga studio: Cleveland Yoga – while I was back but ended up taking the whole 3 day trip off from working out and truly, it felt AMAZING after doing Barry’s Bootcamp, SoulCycle and Pilates ProWorks three days in a row. My legs were crying by the time I touched down in Cleveland.
Right off the plane, I had my dad take me to one of my favorite coffee shops that has a few locations around Cleveland – Phoenix Coffee Co. They offer homemade pastries, bakery, an extensive coffee and tea list and wait for it… HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK! You guys know how much I love when coffee shops have this.
There’s a location three blocks from my mom’s old house that I’d go to all the time in high school so I love going back. It’s very nostalgic. My best friend and I used to get their chai latte milkshake all the time in high school and I’m convinced it had fairy dust and magic in it. So good.
For dinner that night (Thursday), I went with my brother, aunt and uncle to a restaurant right down the street from Phoenix Coffee Co. called Lopez on Lee. It’s such a hometown staple Mexican restaurant and every time I’m in town, my aunt, uncle and I go here. It’s nothing super special which is kind of what I love about it. I usually get their tacos – tuna, chicken, shrimp, LOBSTER – or their fajitas.
I ordered the veggie and shrimp combo tacos with sides of guac and salsa. Bonus is that they have soft corn tortillas! I love a good soft corn tortilla. De-freaking-lish.
On Friday morning I went to Restore Cold Pressed with my friend Nicole to get avocado toasts and a smoothie bowl. Honestly, if you live in Cleveland or the area (they have a few locations) – I honestly would stick to a smoothie or smoothie bowl over their avocado toast. The toast was basically two slices of sprouted bread with a thin smear of avocado for $10!
In Chicago, if I get avocado toast for $10 I always expect a whole inside of an avocado with thick, fresh, homemade bread. You need to get what you pay for! But on the flip side, their smoothie bowls are the thickest in Cleveland. Nicole literally had a pool of almond butter drowning her bowl. So tasty.
After we went to Restore, I was determined on finding another good latte in Cleveland so with the help of my friend Kendall, we got the recommendation to head to Duck Rabbit Coffee. This place didn’t exist when I was last in Cleveland so I made it a top priority to go to!
The space was super tiny and tucked away on the West Side but I absolutely adored it. Plus who can deny a big jug of homemade almond milk? They killed it!
For lunch on Friday I went to a new spot in downtown Cleveland called REBOL. It’s a restaurant owned by the same owners of Cleveland’s #1 restaurant in my mind (where all celebrities/Cavs players go on the regular), TownHall.
The idea of REBOL is basically a fast casual restaurant that serves bowls of all sorts, from poke bowls with fresh tuna to zucchini noodle bowls with shredded chicken, a list of “hipster drinks” (that’s literally what it says on the menu) and a paleo smoothie (pictured above, the purple drink). They even sell overnight oats! So cool.
I ordered a make your own bowl with zucchini noodles, the AVOCADO AND SWEET POTATO PICO (hello magic), apricot ginger honey mustard sauce (filled with turmeric), cauliflower and bok choy and some toasted cashews. It was actually insane. It looked like a disaster/trainwreck but tasted amazing – how I feel 90% of healthier food is at times.
The next day, my 3 best friends from high school and I went to TownHall (mentioned above) for brunch. It’s my favorite spot in the city because of how accommodating their menu is to dietary restrictions/preferences. For example, every Monday night they offer a whole vegan menu, Wednesday night is a whole paleo menu and they sell bulletproof coffee, paleo pancakes, an acai bowl, homemade juices and more.
We hardcore feasted as I’m sure you can tell. We ordered nitro cold brew, an almond milk latte, the Ron Swanson paleo smoothie (with bone broth protein!), a mimosa and a variety of egg dishes. I ordered the “Full Monty” which if any of you ever go to TownHall, it’s my ideal breakfast. A root vegetable hash with a sweet potato mash, roasted brussels sprouts, thick cut bacon and a poached egg. They even poached the egg so perfectly the white WAS NOT runny (my biggest food pet peeve).
It was so filling, so delicious and just amazing. Another fun fact about their menu – they only cook in avocado oil and grass-fed butter. So rad.
To finish off the day, we grabbed more coffee at another Phoenix Coffee Co. location on the West Side and then after we came home, took naps and rested a bit, we ventured out to our favorite high school ice cream spot – Mitchell’s Homemade. For those Cleveland readers, isn’t Mitchell’s THE best?! I love it so much.
Their ice cream always reminds me of living with my mom after my parents split in high school because I would always be going to Mitchell’s with my best friends and we’d talk for hours.
My favorite duo was always a scoop of their Fresh Strawberry which uses local strawberries and grass-fed milk and a scoop of the Toasted Pistachio that’s made with homemade pistachio butter. The combo is absolute heaven.
For the past few times I’ve been in town I usually order their vegan salted caramel because after struggling with an eating disorder, dairy ice cream has often been one of those foods I tend to turn the opposite way from out of habit. However, this past weekend was the first time I had this combo (dairy and all) and I felt absolutely freaking AMAZING.
It goes to show there’s something about enjoying foods, no matter what they are, when you’re with certain people in a certain place that just brings out pure joy in a person. I definitely found that when I was home this past weekend. Sometimes you have to go for the paleo smoothie and other times, you go for the grass-fed full-fat delicious and magical ice cream because that’s life.
All in all, it was such a lovely and quick 72 hours in Cleveland and I can’t wait for my next #chickpeatravels.