In the past two weeks I’ve dined at some of the most well-known eateries in the city of Cleveland, which I am forever grateful for. Grateful that I get the opportunity to taste some of the craziest and wackiest dishes that this city has to offer. Grateful I am also able to seek out and consume pretty stellar vegetarian and vegan cuisine. It has been a great summer of dining and if anything has made me realize how I can’t wait to consume some tasty treats as soon as I arrive back in Chi town in 4 short days! I already have a list of places on a sticky note on my computer of where I must visit first and write up reviews on. I look forward to what I will get to and what will be my new favorites. But since I’m still in the 216 for now, I’m going to post what I’ve been throwing down recently.
My first stop was Pura Vida by Brandt Evans located on Euclid Avenue right in the heart of downtown Cleveland. I heard about this restaurant a few months ago and had heard of their veggie burger which resembles a Big Mac from McDonalds. It even comes in a cardboard box. I thought their menu items were super exotic and the fact they offered vegetarian and vegan menus really appealed to me. Since my dad had been there before I was sure he would enjoy it so we went and sat outside on their patio. I knew I wanted to order something off of the vegan menu so I opted for the quinoa appetizer ($12) with a carrot ginger dressing (that was out of this world… I could have eaten it straight off of the dish) and roasted (more like fried) tofu. The tofu was UN-FREAKIN’-BELIEVABLE. My dad asked to try some of it and I found myself shunning his fork away from my plate going back for more. I had never tasted tofu that resembled chicken so much before in my life until that dish. A+ Brandt, you really did it for me there.
For our main courses, my dad ordered the Ohio Delmonico Ribeye ($32) with grilled asparagus and fingerling potatoes while I went in for the special of the night, an Ahi Tuna with charred artichokes in a blood orange reduction. I wasn’t into it until I heard the blood orange feature. When it was brought out I tried my hardest to savor every piece because the artichokes were few to none yet had the best flavor. We ended up devouring both of our plates and despite the large prices, the food deserved a hefty round of applause. So impressed and so happy I could make it to such a fancy spot on Euclid that most people never get a chance to hit up.
Fast forward a week and a day and where am I again? Euclid Avenue. FINALLY getting my highly anticipated Noodlecat. Noodlecat has two locations – one on Euclid and another in Cleveland’s notorious West Side Market that is much smaller. I have been wanting to try their noodles all summer long and my brother is the #1 Noodle cat himself yet never will go with me! As my dad and I were roaming the streets of Cleveland after checking out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I asked to go to Euclid and I had to drop into Noodlecat. Despite our incredibly rude waitress, I got my food within 10 minutes. I ordered half of the Mushroom Asparagus Bifun with kombu kimchi broth and a Kim Chi Salad with sweet ‘n spicy pureed kim chi. A half noodle/salad combo was only $10 for a decent portion of food and I added tofu for an extra $2. The tofu was very firm, which I loved of course. The noodles could have had a bit more veggies but I’m a veggie nut so I’d say they were good. The salad however was smothered in dressing (a no-no for me) and way too spicy for my palate. I only got through like 30% of it unfortunately while I left the bowl completely empty. Yum-o.
One thing is for sure, I could not get enough of the wood table with the clean dishes. I am such a foodie photographer nut it’s insane. But seriously, I love taking simple photos like this one. And how good do those noodles look?
Although the noodles were vegan, the salad was not. Other options on the menu I was extremely interested in included the Smoked Tomato Coconut Curry Udon with poached tofu and the Chilled Soba Seaweed Salad with sesame. I think I would have enjoyed that salad more than what I picked due to my huge love for soba noodles. There’s always next time for that though!
That night I went to Melt Bar and Grilled with my old co-worker and was super excited. The last time I went here (and only time) was at least 3-5 years ago and I barely could finish half of my sandwich. I also ate dairy back then. Now due to my lack of dairy-eating, I never pictured myself back at Melt but no worries, they now have vegan cheese! Mozzarella and cheddar. Believe me, I’ve made vegan grilled cheeses and had them out before but this beat all of those out of the park.
The menu features so many creative options like Backyard Bbq ($11) that has roasted pulled chicken or pulled pork, thick battered onion rings, sweet BBQ sauce and sharp cheddar. I decided to do the Half Combo ($8) yet of course mine came out to a total of $20 after tip due to the million add-ons I had to add. on. I’m awful. I never can stick with something plain, always gotta jazz it up.
This was my creation: vegan mozzarella with avocado, tomato, romaine lettuce, roasted peppers. No fries. Side vegetable of summer squash and a mug of vegetable chili. The only complaint I would have is that the mug of soup was not what I expected at all. It was mostly broth and tasted a bit too much like it just popped out of a can. C’mon Melt, make it homemade why don’tcha! Maybe it was homemade for all I know but way too salty. As for the sandwich itself, OH MY GOD. So creamy, so delicious. And getting only half was perfect. I finished the whole thing and did not have that food coma feeling. My side dish of zucchini was awesome and I took a lot of it home (it was HUGE).
Once we payed, we were offered Grilled Cheese Club cards. Can you believe that even exists? If you spend $250 you get some sort of free sandwich or something but I found it funny. $250 worth of grilled cheese. That’s a dedicated lifestyle right there.
Through juices, sandwiches, vegan cheese, tofu and quinoa, lentil soups and kale chips, it has been a wild foodie adventure this summer and I’m happy to have shared it with you on this blog. Like I said, I can’t wait to get back to Chi city and let my foodie adventures frolic some more.