Cedar Creek Grille–the recently opened restaurant in Beachwood’s La Place where Mélange used to be–did not intrigue me upon first glance. While tastefully designed on the outside, the menu didn’t seem particularly unique, mostly steak and seafood. But, on a last minute whim as Jonathan and I were returning from a camp out, I booked a table for our family’s Saturday dinner. We all ended up very much enjoying our visit.

The inside of the restaurant is well-decorated, warm, upscale and inviting with plenty of gold hues, high ceilings and a large open window to the kitchen.

We ordered the Deviled Eggs ($7) for mine and Jonathan’s appetizer (Sarah doesn’t like boiled eggs). They were excellent–creamy with just the right amount of mustard–and Jonathan filled up on them. Half of the eggs had a piece of smoked salmon on top, which added a nice flavor counterpoint.

Next, Sarah and I … continue reading

Gia Lai is the newest addition to Legacy Village, and the only non-chain restaurant. If you’re in the area and enjoy Vietnamese food, it’s definitely worth visiting.

Most Vietnamese places in town–Superior Phở, for example–are pretty sparse in the décor department. Gia Lai, on the other hand, clearly set up the restaurant with Legacy Village clientele in mind. There are chandeliers hung amid a gold color scheme and an impressive enclosed waterfall at the end of the restaurant.

We started our meal with the crispy spring rolls ($4.50) and firecracker shrimp ($8). The spring rolls were very good, with filled with sharp, flavorful shrimp meat and cabbage and accompanied by a sweet, tangy dipping sauce. The firecracker shrimp were tasty but quite mild. We remedied this with a request for hot sauce–sambal oelek.

To drink I had the Cucumber Martini ($9), cucumber vodka with St. Germain. … continue reading

A good rib place is hard to find, especially as far north as Cleveland. Some of the best smoked meat we’ve had locally has been at Fat Casual and Bubba’s Q, which are 30 and 40 minute drives, respectively, from our house. We were very pleased, then, to find our new favorite smokehouse within biking (or even walking) distance from our house.

The Rib Cage is an unassuming establishment a little ways south of Lopez on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights in the building that formerly housed Club Sober and a few establishments before it. The building is made of brick and there are a couple small-ish rooms with tables and a bar.

We started with the grilled shrimp appetizer ($6), which was really good. The shrimp were large and tender, and we had them with the sweet thai chili sauce, not too hot but with a definite kick. The … continue reading


I love shortbread cookies, loved Christine’s creative decorations and also love to support local businesses. This one is practically in my backyard, so I had to pitch in on Kickstarter. As a backer on Better Bit of Butter’s Kickstarter campaign I was very lucky to get a sampling of her delicious cookies ahead of her store’s grand opening. Better Bit of Butter is located at 4261 Mayfield Road near the intersection of Belvoir and Mayfield. In a former life the shop was called Cake Castle. As of Saturday when I picked up my goodies the sales area seemed just about ready — and Christine said they would be opening any day now.

The cookies are super cute!

The cookies look awesome, but how do they taste? Just as great — if not better. We’ve been enjoying the cookies with tea and coffee in the afternoon, stored in our fridge. As … continue reading


Biga is not in our neighborhood. To get there we have to drive pretty far east to Kirtland, and it’s not right off the freeway. It’s worth a special trip, though.

Biga–which refers to pre-fermented dough–is known for its wood-burning pizza oven, which produces flavors almost impossible to mimic using any other equipment. Dine-o-Mite, probably the most prolific pizza enthusiast in town, has raved about it, and we could see why after our visit.

The establishment feels somewhat out in the country. The rural setting and rustic but sophisticated décor reminded me of visiting places in Traverse City–I definitely felt like we’d left the Cleveland area.

We started with a seasonal salad ($9), which was huge. The local greens, freshly shucked sweet corn, tomatoes and other vegetables was very satisfying. The dressing was very light, allowing the ingredients to shine through.

Next up were breadsticks ($5), which … continue reading

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This weekend I wanted to finally eliminate the giant pile of paper recipe print outs cluttering our kitchen — I thought there must be an easier way. My plan was to use an Android tablet we don’t use often as a permanent fixture in the kitchen to reference recipes, but I also wanted a way to sync shopping lists and recipes to both my husband’s and my phone (Android and iPhone.)

I looked at three different options Foodily, Paprika and Pepperplate. Ultimately I decided on Pepperplate because it offered everything I was looking for. I like that it takes 1 click to add recipes from most large recipe websites using their bookmarklet, and it is a simple procedure to add a recipe manually. As an interface designer, I appreciate that their interface is simple — but easy to understand and use. The only problem I have run into … continue reading

California Roll

Most of our dining out is in the Cleveland Heights area. We try to be adventurous, but driving a half hour for dinner still seems like a trek. Chagrin Falls, though, is a bit of an exception. A drive down Carnegie or Chester is not particularly smooth or scenic. To get to Chagrin Falls, though, we hop on Shaker Boulevard, then go to Lander and then Chagrin. There are trees and light residential the whole way, and we completely bypass the congestion around Eaton.

Winning a free dinner from Umami’s “name that herb” Twitter contest was a great excuse to ride out to Chagrin on our scooters. We’ve enjoyed Umami before and looked forward to another meal there.

We started with the Tofu Frites appetizer ($6). Tofu gets a bad name from poor preparation, but well-fried tofu is meaty and satisfying. The sesame “breading” added flavor and texture, and … continue reading