After working every day at each of my two jobs this summer and balancing my time between work, barre and yoga classes, I finally had a break off to travel to my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio this past weekend.
The past two weeks or so I’ve had two or three days off and 5 to 7 hours of sleep each night. If I’m lucky, I can squeeze in 8. I naturally wake up early at the crack of dawn so working 5-7 hour shifts each day combined with workouts and little sleep had me feeling a bit off. It must have been my body’s way of telling me I was homesick because my first night back home I slept 9 hours. If it wasn’t for my dentist appointment Friday I could have slept for another 10 I’m sure.
When I headed home last Thursday, I started my trip off by heading to the beautiful downtown Cleveland with a few of my best friends to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers play in the NBA Finals. The streets were a mess and it was utter chaos. Not something I would normally do but when you’re home for a short 3.5 days, anything goes.
On Friday, after a long awaited hot vinyasa class at my favorite home-based yoga studio, Cleveland Yoga, my three best friends and I went on a spur of the moment dinner trip to Burntwood Tavern in the one of my favorite Cleveland suburbs: Chagrin Falls.
All of my life, Chagrin Falls has been the one place that everyone goes to when they want soft-serve ice cream at The Popcorn Shop or the infamous “notso fries” (loaded potato skins with cheese, bacon bits and sour cream) at Yours Truly Restaurant. The town is filled with tons of cute clothing boutiques, funky restaurants and even better, an enormous waterfall that flows under the main street and is a great scenic back drop.
I’m usually not a fan of bars but driving down through Chagrin Falls is always a pleasure and the small, cabin-like feel of Burntwood Tavern made me feel as though I teleported into Colorado.
The one item my eyes always latch onto at bars is the salad options. I figure, like anyone else, they are the most reasonable and contain the best ingredients. Yet the next word my eyes always seem to locate is “salmon”.
I chose to order the Salmon BLT ($11) sans bacon. It came in a whole wheat wrap with arugula, tomato and a whole lotta avocado. No dressing needed and I even got to swap the french fries with roasted vegetables (purple potatoes, carrots and brussels sprouts) for no extra charge. I ate the whole thing and had #noregrets. If you have never put salmon into a wrap with avocado, you’re missing out. I’ve made my own version of this before with caramelized onions, goat cheese, eggs and smoked salmon. Party in ma mouth!
We ended off our Friday night with a trip to Mitchell’s Ice Cream like every good end to a good night. I used to be a huge fan of the pistachio + strawberry flavors here but since ice cream is hard on my stomach, I go for their vegan salted caramel pecan — a coconut-milk based ice cream with homemade toasted pecan butter (NOM), caramelized brown sugar and sea salt.
Without a doubt in my mind, Mitchell’s has the best bang for your buck when it comes to ice cream! I got a single scoop and it was just $3.50 yet it looked like 3 scoops in one little cup. I finished it all very slowly but even then, I still was stuffed to the brim. My friend’s got caramel fudge brownie and strawberry rhubarb crisp.
Saturday was my favorite day out of the whole entire weekend. Why you may ask? I did so many things in what felt like such a short amount of time and spent 99% of my time in Ohio City/downtown Cleveland, once again.
To me, the YumButter squeeze packet kind of looks like a baby food snack packet and when I whip it out of my purse in public I feel like I need to laugh at myself for how ridiculous I must look. Then again, anyone whipping a huge squeeze-tub of seed butter probably looks ridiculous.
YumButter is one of those nut and seed butters that has just hit my radar and I am ALL OVER IT! This company creates not only peanut, almond and sunflower seed butters but they also have a spicy thai peanut butter and “YumButterGo” which are $6.99 portable squeeze packs (like the one pictured above).
The sunflower seed one I purchased is sweetened lightly with coconut sugar and has added chia seeds, hemp seeds, lucuma powder and goji powder.
It was a divine pre-exploring the whole city on a Saturday-breakfast.
As my adventures began with my aunt, we made our first pit stop at the newest Phoenix Coffee Co. location in Cleveland (located in Ohio City). 16oz cold brew with HOMEMADE almond milk from Daily Press Cleveland, a local juice shop in Lakewood, Ohio.
Even if you can’t sense my excitement through the computer screen, this coffee gave me all of the feels, heart eyes and had me feeling all jittery and happy inside.
Lunch was the most appetizing meal of the day at the most appetizing place to exist in Cleveland: The Root Café. I’ve posted about meals from here before and every time I come, I’m never disappointed that I took 40 minutes out of my day to drive here. Appealing to vegetarian and vegan crowds alike, I can always get my veggie fix at this café hidden away in Lakewood.
Since I am a humungous fan of tempeh, I couldn’t decide between the “culture” sandwich (tempeh, pesto, spinach, bell peppers and chipotle aioli) or the “hoffman’s bicycle” pizza (pretty much the same thing).
I figure, when in Rome (a.k.a when in town) and ordered the pizza. I usually make pretty excellent decisions when out to eat but this by far was my best one yet. The pizza was a personal size and despite wanting to finish the entire thing, I saved half for my drive home the next day. If I could eat one pizza for the rest of my life, this would be that!
It was topped with red sauce, spinach and tempeh that tasted as if it was marinated in a type of barbecue/maple marinade. The pesto that laid underneath it was mouthwatering. I dipped it in extra marinara sauce and my day was made.
I ended my weekend travels the only way I know how… with my best friends and TACOS! Barrio Tacos is my favorite spot in Cleveland and with 3 locations and a food truck, it’s hard to ever miss ’em.
When you go to Barrio, paper menus are in the middle of the table where you fill in what you want with a pencil, rip it off of a notepad and give it to your waiter. Each topping and ingredient is labeled vegetarian, vegan and what contains dairy which I absolutely love. The guacamole is always fresh and at $6, you get a mountain of it. My friends and I shared the pineapple salsa and I ended up with a make-your-own mushroom taco and a shredded chicken (both on corn tortillas) with a $2 side of guacamole.
Two tacos each had my friends and I all filled up yet we ranted about how we all wanted two more. Yes, they’re that good.
After a wonderful weekend trip home to Cleveland, I can’t wait for more foodie adventures back in the 216.
Next foodie destination: Michigan in TWO weeks! Safe to say this little chickpea is quite excited.