Cleveland Rocked!

I’m still recovering and trying to catch back up to normal after my trip to Cleveland earlier this week, but I’d like to drop a relatively quick note about some of the cool places I went  – mostly focused on restaurants. I’ve got several other things to post about that relate to my trip as well, but for now, just an overview of the culinary-social aspects…

I arrived at Chris Miller’s house on Sunday evening and he and Kris Johnson promptly scooped me up and took me to a cool place in the Coventry district called the Winking Lizard Tavern. We ate good food and drank good brew while watching the Bengals defeat the Steelers in between long stretches of very cool conversation. After walking around Coventry for a bit, we capped off the dinner with some fancy coffee at Phoenix Cafe.

Monday I ate lunch alone at a place called It’s Greek to You at the Tower City food court. It may not sound like much compared to the other places in this post, but honestly, they serve a pretty mean gyros, and I really enjoyed it.

After that, all the rest of my time was spent with the Evangelism Connections group, my biggest Web client and the main reason I was in Cleveland in the first place. EC is a group of staff members from the evangelism/hospitality/church growth offices of several mainline denominations who get together twice per year to collaborate and share ways to make the dreaded “E”-word relevant in a postmodern world. I actually feel pretty honored to be a part of what they’re trying to do. More on that in future posts.

For dinner on Monday, we ate at Pickwick and Frolic, a nifty restaurant and comedy club on 4th Street. I ate a chipotle barbecue pizza that was very tasty.

Tuesday lunch was in the hotel restaurant at the Radisson Gateway. I had the buffet bar. Your basic salad, fruits, and chicken strips, mac-n-cheese, and rolls. Starch-fest deluxe. And pretty good. But nothing compared to …

Tuesday dinner was at La Strada, a very atmospheric Italian/Greek/Turkish restaurant dressed up to look like a little quinnEuropean village plaza. While we ate, classic soft-rock played over the speakers while a Fellini film entitled La Strada played silently (but with subtitles) on the venetian-plaster wall. The food was good, but what I’ll remember about this place is talking to Jonathan, one of the Evangelism Connections group, about my roleplaying hobby while listening to George Harrison sing about his guitar gently weeping as Anthony Quinn loomed large on the silver screen breaking a chain strapped around his chest simply by flexing his pectoral muscles.

Just before leaving for home, I had lunch with some of the EC folks at The House of Blues, and wow, what a cool place. I had an “Elwood” – a blackened chicken sandwich and sweet potato fries. Yum.

So, yeah, I can’t complain about the many cool opportunities to eat good food in interesting places while socializing with good people. It was, frankly, on a par with some of the recent food-socializing moments in Indy at the last few GenCons.

More to come, soon.

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