Thursday, April 28, 2011

Symon Says Juicy Burgers at B Spot

We went out to go and check out Michael Symon's B Spot in Strongsville, Ohio location on a Sunday. We had to wait about an hour and 15 minutes even though the time was quoted at 45 minutes. Michael does say in his rule book that they could be off, but an extra 30 minutes was way off. That was almost the double the time told. Whatever, it was a nice day, we had the kids and we kept them entertained. The location was new so that would explain the wait of course and with all the hype and it being in the suburbs, it was going to happen.

We were seated and the seats were silver metallic color and I thought they would be heavy metal chairs but then I moved mine and noticed it was a painted wood or fiberglass or some light weight material. Thank goodness I didn't put full strength on lifting the chair being that I thought they would be metal and heavy, because I could of flung the chair across the room. The waiter came by and asked for our drinks, 2 chocolate milks, a soda and a top shelf margarita for me! The margarita was yummy and done perfect. They had no chocolate syrup as they ran out so the kids drank white milk. No biggie. We were handed menus and a little extra menu type rule list on how to order at the restaurant, I thought a little pretentious.

Here are the rules:

1. Welcome to B Spot! Help us help you!

2. No Whining! We will do our very best to make everyone happy. Just like line jumpers at an amusement park, whiners will be prosecuted & removed from the establishment. Life is short, have fun & enjoy the moment.

3. Due to the fact that we do not take reservations.... we need your cooperation and patience. We already assume that you know Michael, Liz, Doug, the Mayor, President Obama, etc... We will seat everyone in the order in which they arrive & only seat complete parties. We will do our very best to quote wait times correctly. Occasionally we may be a little off. Please refer to rule #2 if you are feeling any strange urges.

4. All food will come to the table together. This way we'll keep everything running ship shape & keep waits to a minimum. If you're interested in courses...ask your caddie.

5. We have a burger for every taste (even vegetarians)!! If there is something you do NOT want on your burger, let us know and we will take it off. Due to the many choices & thought put into their composition, we ask that you do not substitute or add items.

6. How our temperatures work...

blood red, cold/cool in center

reddish, cool in the center

reddish/pink, warm center

barely pink, warm center

no pink, very sad, hot center

7. If you're reading these, making funny faces & squinching your're too uptight! You should immediately consume bourbon, beer or your beverage of choice & relax a little!

Much Love,

I couldn't believe I read that let alone typed it here, but I guess it should be considered a warning label. My first reaction was like wow, he's got nerve. But I guess if you've worked hard as he has to make a name for himself in the culinary world, then I guess he can do whatever he wants, after all it his restaurant.

Anyway, what we ordered was a Lola Burger, a Thin Lizzy, a side salad for our daughter, Onion Rings and Chili Cheese Fries. Which all came together on a already crowded table. Our son just snacked on some fries and luckily they let my daughter just have Italian dressing instead of the Lemon Vinaigrette that came with the side salad, we got the salad her way because then she wouldn't of eaten it the way it came, she's a leaf lettuce, shredded cheese and ranch dressing girl, but they didn't have ranch, so her second fav. is Italian Dressing. They have yet to have a kids menu but do offer high chairs for babies/toddlers. If they had the time to order the chairs for tots then Mr. Symon should of come up with some kids menu. So defying his rules, I got a salad my daughter's way, what do you expect from a kid anyway, Celebrity Chef means nothing to do them (nor I) and it didn't matter to them who Michael Symon was.

Lola Burger:

Thin Lizzy Burger:

The YUMMY Onion Rings, just the way I love them, Battered not Breaded!

The NOT so Cheesy Chili Cheese Fries: Could of used more cheese but the chili did have no beans which was good cause really we could do without.

We ended the dinner with 2 shakes which we shared, one chocolate and one chocolate banana marshmallow. The Chocolate Banana Marshmallow had a cute touch with toasted marshmallows on top of the shake. Cute presentation. Here's the top of it:

Okay so the low down on our experience:

Seriously I could of done without the rules, I wanted to order the Shroomage Burger but it came with Blue Cheese as the cheese, although I like burgers with cheese, I wasn't feelin it that day and really wanted cheddar instead, but the rules prohibited me of that. Yes they take the rules seriously. My husband got the his Lola Burger without the pickled onions, I got the Thin Lizzy, both burgers were yummy. The beef was melt in your mouth and juicy, a little undercooked according to how we ordered it but as the rules say, no complaining despite them not cooking our burgers correctly. If you just order a burger, you're going to still be hungry, nothing comes with them so you should order sides which each side feeds 2 people easily unless you're really hungry. (I think that's why it comes together, because the burger would seem very small if it came alone) The burgers are a lone piece, probably because it is the star of the restaurant obviously, and they are very yummy but I think they could be bigger for the price they are. Since the meat is supposedly flown in from a butcher in New York, I am thinking the burgers have an air fare price attached to them. The Onion rings are awesome, couldn't of been better onion rings in my book. The chili cheese fries could of had more cheese. The shakes were yummy and there was a lot, each metal cup filled easily held 2 milk shakes in it. So with all the food we ordered our bill with tip was about 80 dollars. I don't know if you would say that 80 dollars is worth the wait, the rules and everything else. I can just say, it was a good burger and I will probably be back with friends, buying just my plate. But to go out as a family to get a burger, I can't say it's economically right. Maybe a once in a blue moon but not the go to place for burgers as a family, which is a shame. Also until he gets a kids menu, I don't know if I could go back til then, it's just not worth it for the kids and as a parent I have to think of them too. I know of other places I can get a burger that is good with my family. I just can't imagine buying a nine dollar burger for my kid.

In the end, it was a good place, I recommend it. But I have to be honest, the whole rule thing bugs me. I hate it actually. If I want it my way, then I should be allowed it. I think that if a different cheese on a burger is going to throw off a whole kitchen, then who are you hiring? It makes no sense to me. Yea, they're Michael Symon's creations but he can't expect to please everyone and his customers are the backbone of his restaurant's success, after all I can MINUS BUT NOT ADD, weird concept to me. I think to me that it seems in his rules that he lacks the faith in the competence of his workers in the kitchen. I didn't know food now had rules, we all have different palates, some not the same as Chef Symon. I appreciate his hard overwhelming work on the creation of his burgers, but come on... Also, it's one thing to put the rules on the wall and your waiters to tell us the stipulations, but to actually give your guests a card of the rules as they sit down is snobbish, selfish and shows a little Diva qualities in his fame. My opinion, you can take as it is. I'll still eat at the restaurant and I will hate the rules. I know that Chef would agree to disagree on that with me.

Lastly, I wish Chef Symon the best, it's a proud accomplishment for him right along with us Clevelanders and to be able to call him one of our own. He's earned his title and his success. You can take the Chef out of Cleveland but you can never take the Cleveland out of the Chef! Good Luck and Eat Well! Now go and get a burger and use my suggestions if you'd like, if not well, BLAH ON YOU! LOVE ONTO YOU READERS!

B Spot Burgers on Urbanspoon

Until A Bite Later,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Sweet Moses" Cleveland's Nostalgic Ice Cream Parlor


Welcome, please seat yourself and take a menu, when ready to order please go to the register, Thank You!

Today we visited Sweet Moses, a new Cleveland Ice Cream Parlor that just opened and we finally made it there. I needed to get out of the house after feeling so tired that I needed a pick me up. We visited this place after a few weeks of learning from the Cleveland Scene magazine of places to go. I checked out their facebook page and saw some yummy shots of ice cream. I promised our daughter that we would go.

After her trip to the dentist and getting fillings what better way to cope than to inhale some sugary treat. So we went to Sweet Moses. It's been awhile since I've been in those parts of Cleveland, near Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Honestly I didn't even remember the area, it looked so different, really cleaned up the area and not so shady anymore. You would definitely be surprised to find a place like Sweet Moses in this area of Cleveland. I've had nothing but happy memories of these parts so it was good to be back.

I loved Sweet Moses light up sign and upon entering, instantly saw their yummy confections greeting me before I even got to think of ordering my ice cream.

Various Chocolate Barks

Then around the corner I see, the cute little cups of chocolate confections and the parlor.

I went to the cashier after looking at the menu and went ahead with our order. I was greeted by Dee, who is so nice and made me feel welcome since it was our first time there. I ordered but then I was distracted by the Nutella Jar behind the counter. I asked him what they did with the Nutella and I guess they also make Peanut Butter Sandwiches that you can order with other things, such as Nutella. I told Dee that we make them at home and how I grew up with Nutella. Dee said he NEVER tried Nutella! Okay, pause my ice cream order, get this man a spoon and have him try Nutella! I told him I would not leave until he tried it. I would not be doing Nutella, my Italian Culture or my own love of Nutella justice if I left this man without being touched by the Nutella love. He asked me to join him and we at the same time had a spoon lightly dipped in Nutella. Guess What? Dee loved the Nutella. My work was done and I was at peace! I told him I would feature him on my blog, not only because I got him to eat and love Nutella but also because he was such a great host to the establishment. So thank you Dee for a great happy experience. Not to mention it was Dee's birthday yesterday, I overheard them talking and I told him Happy Birthday! Now in his new year of life, he knows Nutella and he'll know who he shared the experience with. I will live on in memories... LOL! Okay I am getting over my head, but seriously, Dee, Thank You!

Here's Dee with his first spoon tasting of Nutella! (sorry Dee, not the best pic I took, forgive me!

Here are the kids playing around while we waited for our ice cream to come, which didn't take long to get.

My husband and I both got our own Gordon Square Sundaes, named after the area around Sweet Moses, it features a very moist chewy chocolate brownie with smooth banana fosters ice cream, enrobed in caramel and hot fudge. Then topped with whip cream and a cherry. You get your spoon in your glass and a salted pretzel knot hanging on your glass. It was big and oh so very yummy. (we did also got some peanut butter topping on the side and some sliced bananas).

Gordon Square Sundae

Both our children got Hot Fudge Sundaes. To which I know they thoroughly enjoyed. Especially our daughter! Who ate the whole thing. Her poor face was still numb from the anesthetic from getting fillings. She had a little trouble eating her ice cream. Our 2 year old had a few bites and ate all our pretzels.

Ahhhh, the sugar rush now running through our veins. Our little one, was getting a little demanding so we decided since we were finished, we would leave and saw that the crowd was beginning to form. Perfect timing! But not before I left getting a few treats. Some being rice crispie treat pop shaped like eggs, dipped in chocolate and decorated. They would be perfect added to the Easter Bunny gifts since I didn't want to make these same treats myself. Time Saver and a great price!

We were fortunate because we just missed the rush of people as we were leaving so it was a perfect time to go, around 6pm when everyone is still getting home and have yet to make plans. Everyone started piling in while we were leaving.

Sweet Moses was a great experience and a great add to the little treasures in our city. I wish Sweet Moses the best of luck and I will definitely be back with the family or friends. I can't say anything really other than how great it was but if I could of changed anything about the place it would of been the seating. The chairs weren't comfortable and the bar stools were very hard. Unless you have the butt of a 7 year old it's going to hurt. I didn't see the booths that I thought they had. But maybe I missed a big part of the place, I am not sure. It was clean and family friendly. The ice cream is smooth, creamy and fresh! The choices are top notch and everything you'd want I would think in your ice cream dessert, they have. They have chocolate treats, ice cream, cones, sundaes, phosphates, real root beer floats, peanut butter sandwiches made every which way, and freshly made on the spot popcorn. Go with friends, go with family, young or old, either way, you won't be disappointed. I can see this being a great summer spot! ENJOY!

On The Web:
On Facebook: Sweet Moses Facebook
Cleveland Scene Magazine Review:
Sweet Moses Cleveland Magazine Review

Sweet Moses:
Gordon Square Arts District
6800 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102

Phone: (216) 651-2202
Tuesday-Thursday: 12pm-10pm
Friday & Saturday: 12pm-11pm
Sunday: 12pm-10pm

I couldn't help but post this but I thought I'd end this blog with this picture of their Banana Split, in case you really needed a little more of a reason to go and try Sweet Moses.

Sweet Moses Banana Split

I think Moses Cleveland himself if alive right now would enjoy some ice cream here.

Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop on Urbanspoon

PS: Please tip them since they work hard and make us happy. They have a tip jar at the register. I think it's well deserved!


My Peeps and I

Religious and Spring Celebrations are upon us and I start getting my urges for PEEPS! My eyes begin to glisten from the incoming sugar rush of those soft, gently sweet and adorable little creations known as PEEPS. Bunnies and Chicks in an array of colors. Remember when there was only Yellow Chicks? Not anymore and yellow is just the beginning. I correspond every color to every little kid I know and make sure they get a package as I would not be me if they didn't get one from me.

But how could I spread my love of PEEPS even further? To more kids and the kids at heart that I know? Ahhh, my daughter's 1st. grade class? In my blog perhaps? Yes!

So here I share with you a few of my favorite PEEPS creations. They're not just your average marshmallow treat, oh no, have you thought about using them in other ways? I have and here I share them with you.

JUST in case you are wondering, am I one of those stale PEEP eaters? WHY YES I AM! Slit a hole in the package, wait a couple days and they become the chewy consistency of a Charleston Chew. Yea I said it and you know you want to try it. There's a whole clan waiting to welcome you into our circle!

Let me first start by showing you my dear project, it's dear to me because it's for my daughter's classmates. Every holiday whether we parents get a note or not about any celebration, I make sure to send in a treat (so far her sweet teacher hasn't mind my treats). It's usually a fresh Krispy Kreme donut that is made into the corresponding holiday, like Halloween and the Jack-o-Latern Donuts. This time I wanted to go outside the donut box (Literally, you know you like that one), and think of something new, something the class isn't expecting! What does Mrs. McD have up her baking sleeves? I'll get a reaction tomorrow but if I go by my daughter's reaction, they'll be shocked! Okay so here goes....

PS: They were mentioned by "Just A Pinch Recipe Club's Facebook Page" Click Here: PEEP CUPCAKES



There they are my sweet little beauties! They don't cause too much work in the kitchen either. And if you want a big shortcut, as your local bakery who makes great cupcakes and just ask them to make up some cupcakes with any color frosting you like. That cuts out the oven baking time and frosting, the rest is just topping the cupcakes with peeps along with some Mini Cadbury Chocolate Eggs or Mini Whoppers Malted Milk Eggs, you can even put some toasted coconut or food colored coconut to give it a grass feel and before you know it you just created an adorable bright festive fun treat sure to please anyone!

I'm not done, there's more my peeps...

What more of an eye twitching process than to stick up a stick in the back end of a Peep, Bunny or Chick. I try to not think of them feeling any pain, but they're so cute. I hope to only make it up to them when I dip them in chocolate and turn them into Chocolate Covered Peeps Popsicles. Okay maybe it's odd but something that cute I can't help but feel a little twinge when shoving a stick up in them. But it's my blog and let me be honest. In the end I don't feel so bad when I bite their little ears or noses off and think how good those little suckers are! Here is creation number 2....

Take a popsicle stick or a sucker stick from your local candy or baking supply store and stick it in the peep. Dip in chocolate then roll in your favorite topping/sprinkle or leave it as a blank canvas to only replace they're happy little faces or zig zag design and you got yourself another great treat to eat or give to others. Wrapping them in cellophane wraps and tied with a ribbon sure beats any other chocolate rabbit sucker! Check this out:


One more for the night or morning, it all blends in the same with me. =)

This treat is simple, just melt some chocolate, peanut butter chips, white chocolate or dark chocolate, whatever you like and fold in pretzel sticks and/or chow mein noodles and drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment coated baking sheet and place your peep and some candy chocolate or malted milk eggs and you just got yourself a Nesting Peep. You could also use a pretzel knot dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with some colored coconut or candy sprinkles and place your peeps and eggs if you'd like and you got another type of nest. Mix it up, mix up the flavors if you want to offer a variety.

Voila: The Nesting Peep!

Wrapped in Cellophane to give a sweet thoughtful gift or favor at your Easter or Spring Gathering:

My dear friends I leave you with sweet endings and wishing you a Happy Easter, Happy Passover and a Happy Spring in 2011! God Bless!

Sweet Dreams,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cleveland's Best Bakery!

And the winner is (hey it's my own contest and I choose the winner!)......

Michael Angelo's Bakery & Chocolatier!

Okay you're asking why? Let me tell you....

How I got there: Back in October of 2000, I was in Miss Italia Ohio. We all had to get sponsors and I had mine and the girls had theirs. Most of them were local Italian business owners. Everyone knew someone. I had a few bakeries and maybe one other type of business. They were all printed in a pamphlet that had a page ode to every pageant contender and their story and interests, blah blah blah. I was nominated by my Godmother. (I really wasn't happy about it, but nonetheless, didn't want to let her down, so I did it. {I did win and place 3rd., hee hee top three (including Miss Italia Ohio) were prized and given honors, of course I thought I should of been Miss Italia Ohio.})

In the back of the pamphlet was all the sponsoring businesses for the pageant. One of them being Michael Angelo's Bakery, I was taken back when I saw the word Chocolatier! Chocolate???? We didn't have a bakery that included chocolate confections here except your name brands that stores carried. At the time my love of chocolate and baking creations were beginning to blossom. So I reminded myself that I would go there someday. I shouldn't of waited 4 years! But I did. As far as the pageant goes, that's another blog... ;)

I feel a tinge guilty since my Aunt Vicky had her own bakery, but she's an older school baker, Italian Bakery that featured the very staples of every Italian bakery. She's great but I wanted more and being an artist I wanted more of a creative confection. Don't get me wrong my Aunt's a great baker, but she has since slowed down and closed the bakery since my father's (her brother) and my Uncle's passing (her husband). My Uncle and Aunt together were the core of that bakery, no outside help except family, mostly her children. In her right she needed to close. But she remains a great baker of breads, cakes and cookies!

But my dear Michael Angelo's, how have you won my heart! I have been going to this bakery since 2004. I saw it before it was remodeled and before they expanded their lucious confections. I too had expanded my confection creations and Michael Angelo's really influenced me in a positive way and all the sites and smells made me want to come back more and more. Also now I live closer, not that would matter because I would still use them if I didn't. Now about Michael Angelo's....

They have this CLEAN and MODERN atmosphere. Everything is well placed and SET. You can tell that they take pride in their work and their name. It's owned by a family. The Ciocca's. Main bakers and reps are the cutest Band of Brothers! Matt in particular has handled everything that I have ever needed. So if you see him or ask for him, tell him I sent you there. No there's no coupon or discount in it and I get nothing out of it, but it shows the comittment that their patrons have for them. You'll be doing the same I am sure of it. Today bakeries are advancing their designing techniques on cakes, cupcakes and desserts. Yes Michael Angelo's does too, the difference is that they're not full of themselves and DO NOT charge you an EGO FEE like many upscale bakeries. The other thing you may ask is: IT MAY LOOK GOOD BUT DOES IT TASTE GOOD???? Yes and I mean Y-E-S! Like Papa John's say: Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, okay that's a bad example but as far as Michael Angelo's goes it applies, just not the pizza part, but I am sure if they made Pizza that would probably taste great too. I am sure they would make you a cake that looked like a pizza if that helps with the concept.

What have I purchased there? Just about everything! Everything tastes good and not just myself, but everyone who's ever tasted anything I have ever bought from there. Including my kids birthday cakes, my baby shower cake, my own birthday cake and my brother's wedding cake, along with all the awesome desserts they have. They have a lot of Italian treats as well as the new modern takes and tastes! If you need a picture to see how much someone likes a cake just look at the picture.....

This is my husband feeding my son Johnny his own birthday cupcake... It was a great party and the perfect day!

My son's Birthday Cake (Happy Birthday Johnny): First tier Banana Cake with Buttercream and second tier Marble Cake with fudge filling.

Johnny's Christening Cake, "God Bless Johnathan": Italian Cassata Cake

My birthday cake (and it was a snow storm that day, it was for my 30th. birthday). My cake was a smaller scale of this, Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Mousse. Can you tell I am a chocolate lover?

Michael Angelo's staff is friendly and their goodies go fast, they have a huge morning rush so if you need large quantities of something, I would preorder it. Want to know some of my favorites? Here goes: The cakes of course, cupcakes, tiramisu (just like my mamma makes), cookies-pretty much all of them. They're cassata cake is soooo good and better than Corbo's for you Clevelanders! Everything is fresh! The danishes are awesome and go quick. Cheesecake, Tarts, Pie, Fresh baked Bread...OH MY! The chocolate confections are great and they have many in packages that would make great gifts! The coffee, well let's just say I don't buy my coffee anywhere else. The many different flavors and seasonal flavors make your head spin! You can have them freshly ground or already ground. You can choose from 1 pot packages and your standard coffee bag size.

Personally I love the chocolate coconut bars and a cafe mocha, I'm set. Really I love everything, depends on my mood.

Grab something for your next party, make a gift basket, order your wedding, birthday or special occasion cake. I am sure with everything they have. You'll find your favorite and if you don't well your just crazy and probably don't eat sweets... >>GASPING AT THE THOUGHT!<< Do I need to say more? In case you need more, I don't have to say much because you can check them out online, which their website is always being updated with yummy goodness, not only on their website but also on Facebook! Who isn't anymore these days? If you're not then what are you waiting for????

WEBSITE: Michael Angelo's Online
FACEBOOK: Michael Angelo's on Facebook

8035 Broadview Road
Broadview Heights, OH 44147

Mon - Sat: 7:00am-6:00pm

Who says you can't find anything in the suburbs? You're just not looking hard enough!

Michael Angelo Bakery on Urbanspoon

Sweet Regards,