Guest Blog: What RJZ Ate, Cleveland version

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There are many, many reasons I was happy to be out of town last weekend (and a near catatonic, depressed and "lucky Buckeye socks burning" G.A. is a sad testament to that sentiment) most of which will not be further discussed. OK, even though Guided By Voices were playing in Columbus on Saturday, I headed north to Cleveland to relive a different side of my early '90s music-loving life -- a roadtrip with girlfriends to see Greg Dulli at the Grog Shop.

Anyone who has spent any time in Northeast Ohio likely has an opinion on hamburgers: Skyway or Swenson's? I fall firmly in the Skyway camp (though I'd never turn down Swenson's)

Cheeseburger with ketchup + pickle only, delivered carside.

Next was a quick run-through of Cleveland's West Side Market. I always love the incredible variety of pierogies, pastries and meats.

Apparently "Steve's Gyros" was featured on a recent episode of Man vs Food, and hence this line that snaked up the ramp and outside the building. I'm pretty sure the margin between the worst gyro I've ever had and the best gyro I've ever had is not wide enough to make standing in this punishing line worthwhile.

Dinner was meant to be Momocho, if I had only been smart enough to remember to make reservations, that is. Thankfully (and surprisingly) there were plenty of seats at the bar at the lovely Greenhouse Tavern.

The Apomination: ruby port, Fizzy Lizzy pomegranate and club soda. Really nice and not too sweet.

Super fresh little salad of French breakfast radishes with a shmear of butter

House made fromage blanc with fantastic grilled bread

Devils on Horseback: bacon-wrapped dates with bitter chocolate and roasted fresno pepper

Though the Grog Shop was too dark and crowded for a photo, the older, slightly calmer and (not-so-slightly) larger Dulli delivered a fan-pleasing mix of old and pretty good new stuff. The crowd was a more frat-boyish and much taller (seriously, four people towering over 6' 5", and all of them taking up valuable front-of-stage real estate!) group than the hardy handful of us who used to faithfully trek down to Apollo's whenever the Afghan Whigs played Columbus back in the day.

Sunday brunch found us at the new east-side Melt Bar & Grilled location.

The super fun, huge and giggly menu is pasted on old album covers. Mine was Supertramp!

Pierogies again --hey, we were in Cleve-burg! Here, an appetizer of two dense potato & cheese pockets sat atop a "Napa vodka kraut." Loved it!

My lover-of-all-things-Russian friend Jamie couldn't turn down Melt's Smoky Russian (smoked gouda, smoked turkey and more of that kraut)

I went with Chorizo & Potato. It was a greasy mess of pork, butter, bread and potatoes -- in other words, amazing! All sandwiches ($8-$10) were easily two meals worth of food, and came with great well-cooked, handcut fries and a nice vinegary slaw.

Hopefully, G.A. will snap out of his funk and post something of his own soon--he's kinda starting to worry me.