Sometimes You Gotta Take It to the House: Decadent Vacation Eating

Sometimes on vacation you take a step back. You remember that this is not some isolated period and choose yogurt for lunch, because what happens here (aka insane food and drinking choices) will catch up with you in non-vacation land.

Sometimes, though, as my friend Matt would say, you gotta take it to the house.

And this is where this large mound of meat comes in. On my first day in Cleveland I wanted something decadent, something that I could eat slowly, enjoy an alfresco setting, and take in an exotic beer. I found my match at The Greenhouse Tavern in an adorable, if not somewhat manufactured, alley in the midst of downtown.

After conferring with my server, I decided on:

Hand Ground Beef Tartare Frites w/ pommes frites, 42 minute egg, salted red jalapeño & condiments, $13.

Before my dish came out, I took a trip to the Ladies’. I walked down the stairs and as soon as I looked up I was in the kitchen watching a woman butcher a huge pig. I just stood and stared. After that, I had a good feeling about my meal. Ordering a raw dish can be scary, but knowing what care they take to bring in animals, I was ready.

Honestly, the dish was everything I wanted. Fresh meat, slightly seasoned with chives. Crisp fries with two (!) dipping sauces—a kicky dijon mustard and a creamy aioli—and three additional toppings of finely diced red onion, finely diced cornichon, and finely diced poached and roasted jalepeno (the most interesting item on the plate). And a barely cooked egg, even though it had been heated for 42 minutes.

I chatted with Jerry, over the phone, to find out exactly what a 42 minute egg meant: The egg is kept in its shell, with only a small crack made at the top. It’s then dropped in a water bath and held at 150 degrees for 42 minutes. The egg is cooled in an ice bath before landing on top of raw beef.

For that exotic beer I mentioned, well, exotic is relative: I sipped on a stout, Tallgrass Brewing‘s Buffalo Sweat, from Kansas.


Alert Isaac Newton: Gravity-Defying Apple Found in Cleveland

I’m a 1950s housewife these days. I’m writing (unemployed-ish) and therefore find my schedule fairly flexible. Bennett signed up for a work training in Cleveland, but since he would finish by 4pm and we have our friend Heather living there now, I decided to jump along for the Midwestern vacation. I know that’s what my grandmother (housewife) would do when my grandfather traveled for work.

On vacation I rarely think about choosing healthy foods. Fuck it, right? I’m on vacation. But my aunt said something during last Thanksgiving that (unfortunately?) stuck with me. It’s easy to think of a special reason to turn to treats—birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, holidays, break-ups, fights, good days, bad days—so soon every day there can be an explanation to eat dessert or go for that second helping.

So for my second lunch in Cleveland, where the first screamed indulgence, I chose a light dish at Lucky’s Cafe. Something I could be proud of: yogurt with berries and house-made granola. Heather oozed with excitement after I placed the order and my worries of a boring meal on vacation soon diminished. (Heather, by the way, keeps an eating-in-Cleveland blog.)

We sat outside on a wooden picnic table, under an umbrella and next to the restaurant’s large garden.

Then the yogurt came and holy shit.

Read More