Tag Archives: Stone Mad Pub

Time to go to Cleveland…

18 Feb

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In late December we packed a few bags and pointed the car toward Cleveland. The city is full of good restaurants, great architecture and fun things to do. Instead of  heading directly to the 216 we stopped in at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton OH. Established in 1991 to showcase WWII aircraft, the museum is located on the grounds of the Erie-Ottawa International Airport. We enter off of State Rd, the complex is huge, parking is easy. The lobby gives way to Gallery 1, Civilian Aviation, display cases and glass shelves display aviation items and National Air Race memorabilia; I’m not really into planes so I’m not sure what I’m looking at. I walk around looking at displays and reading signs, suddenly I find myself fascinated. We are near the Lake Erie Islands, you’ve probably heard of, if not been to, Put-In-Bay, I guess I never really thought about it but airplanes were an important form of all-season travel between the islands and t0/from the mainland. An old billboard reads “Fly Island Airlines” on the famous Tri-Motor, hhmm, what is this Tri-Motor? 

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The Ford Tri-Motor is an American 3-engine transport aircraft brought to the world by Henry and Edsel Ford, production started in 1925 and ended in 1933, 199 were made, it was nicknamed The Tin Goose. Henry Ford brought us the first paved runway, the first passenger terminal, hangar, airmail and radio navigation. Over 100 airlines flew the Tri-Motor, the design was superior to other airliners providing comfortable passenger service, safety and reliability. It spurred the first coast-to-coast flight by Transcontinental Air Transport (later TWA), in 1927 a Ford Tri-Motor was used for flight from Key West to Havana Cuba. Locally the Tri-Motor was a familiar sight over Lake Erie, it hauled passengers and freight, was used as an ambulance, school bus, hearse and mail plane. The plane had the capability to take off and land on short runways like the ones on the islands. Tri-Motors were used by second and third-tier airlines well into the 1960’s, I read some are still in use today.We continue through the gallery looking at black and white photos, TWA uniforms, models of planes and steamships; we watch a short film about Lake Erie ice fishing. Tables are being set up in Hangar 1 for an upcoming special event, we pop in for just a minute to check out the red plane, a silver 57 Chevy and an beautiful green Chrysler.

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It’s a short walk out the back door to the next building into Hangar 2, here we find a bevy of military vehicles; tanks, Jeeps, motorbikes and planes. Information and photos accompany most displays, there’s a lot to take in. A Grumman TBM 3E Avenger and a North American Harvard IV look small in the vast space. A vintage B-25 airplane named Georgie’s Girl features a beautiful woman with a halo (scantily) dressed in white, this would be Angela, the other side belongs to Helena, in red, with horns and a tail–cute. Another section of the building is dedicated for restoration, there’s a lot of it going on. We get a guided tour of the area, the big project is the PT 728 WWII boat. Sitting disassembled on jacks and cinder blocks there’s much work to be done, pieces are scattered about, new engines are covered, waiting to be installed. When finished, the hope is to be able to take tourists out in it. The museum is also home to the Tri-Motor Heritage Foundation and the Tin Goose Diner, a 1949 diner out of Elizabeth NJ.

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We’re off to the Cleveland Museum of Art, one of the world’s most distinguished comprehensive art museums and one of our favorites. Our DIA membership gets us into the special exhibition The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920’s for free. This is the first major museum exhibition to focus on American taste and art during the 1920’s and 30’s. I love this time in American history, think about it, WWI had ended and we won, confidence was high, money was flowing, women earned the right to vote, European designers came to America, American artists studied and traveled abroad, social mores were redefined. It created a culture of elegance, glamour, decadence, extravagance; it was an era of change and contrast, and it was oh, so beautiful!  

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Look at these pictures; vibrant colors, streamlined designs, sumptuous materials. Cleveland’s own Rose Iron Works created the stunning Muse With Violin Screen, made of wrought iron, brass, silver and gold plating it’s a real eye catcher. The jewelry is to-die-for, dazzling diamonds, emeralds, pearls, much of it Art Deco in design. One look and you know what period the furniture is from, great lines, not necessarily comfortable. I recognize the white chair with the striped fabric, it’s on loan from the DIA, the super-cool green desk and chair were manufactured in Grand Rapids MI. Extravagant clocks and watches, amazing silver tea service sets, coffee servers, candle holders. Check out the massive chandelier, it’s incredible, opulent, all of that crystal, it reminds me of a fountain, it was made for the 1928 International Exposition of Art and Industry, as were many of the items in the exhibition.

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Attention to detail was really important, everything was pretty; perfume bottles, mirrors, hair brushes. The trophy for a 1923 ice skating competition is made of rock crystal to look like frozen water, silver, lapis lzuli and marble. Moving on to fashion, there’s a lovely display of dresses, think ‘flapper’; fringe, rhinestones, multi-levels, scalloped hems. Gone were tight fitting waistlines; women threw away their corsets and opted for a loose fit, they bobbed their hair, smoked cigarettes and danced. Automobiles followed fashion and design, the red 1937 Cord is a perfect example of streamlined design. I’m hoping the exhibit will travel to Detroit, I’d love to see it again.

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Every time we get to Cleveland there’s something new on Lorain Ave, tonight we’re having dinner at Xinji Noodle Bar. Located in a 2-story brick building the decor is industrial and playful. The brief menu is filled with Asian and Korean favorites, I sip on hot green tea waiting for our dinner to arrive. The Vegetarian Ramen is mushroom broth with a variety of mushrooms, Napa choy and of course, noodles, it’s soooo good! The Korean Fried Chicken Bao is outstanding; white chicken, sweet and spicy chili, pickle and Taiwanese cabbage, I think I could eat another. The Spicy Pork Dumplings came highly recommended, I can see why, they’re delicious. Another great find!

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Having a nightcap at Stone Mad Pub has become a Cleveland tradition for us. The place is charming; lots of wood, not too loud, a fireplace and great service. We hang out at the bar people-watching, chatting with the bartenders; Kris enjoys his whiskey, I’m having Bailey’s, my idea of dessert. It feels good to relax, to escape the real world, even if it’s only for a little while. 

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Cleveland Again: Random Acts of Relaxation

22 Jun

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We began our day with a drive through the Rocky River Reservation, our favorite portion of the Emerald Necklace; a parkway linking together 16 parks encircling the City of Cleveland. The view is picturesque; the area dense with mature trees such as Willows, Sycamores and Cottonwoods. The road winds through the natural area mimicking the river’s path; massive shale cliffs provide a breathtaking background. Here in southeast Michigan the landscape is flat; the glaciers were much kinder to Cleveland, providing wonderful elevation changes and fantastic scenery. The road takes you through deep flood plains, forests and meadows, lovely bridges span the water and antique looking  overpasses rise overhead. At Berea we park the car and walk out to the Berea Falls scenic overlook, what a view! We found the trail that takes you right down to the water; huge rocks rise out of the riverbed, making it the perfect vantage point to take it all in.The reservation also includes a marina, stables, bridle trails, three golf courses and a nature center, which we popped into. It was hard to get back in the car, but we had so much more to do! We took the same route back the way we came, driving the leisurely speed limit that allows you to relax and enjoy the ride.

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Lunch time had arrived and we wanted to try a place we had driven by the day before in the Detroit Shoreway District. Stone Mad located on W 65th Street caught our eye; sitting in a residential neighborhood the Irish pub features an incredible stone patio. When I say stone, I mean everything is stone, tables, seats, fountain, you get the idea. I briefly poked my head inside the restaurant, it was very attractive; beautiful black walnut paneling covers the walls, archways behind the bar are light by Chihuly light fixtures, stained glass panels decorate the space above the door and between rooms. But, on such a pretty day one must sit outdoors! One thing we mid-westerners know how to do is enjoy the outdoors every chance we get, so, patio seating it is. Choosing the table closest to the fountain we looked over the menu, all your basics are there; sandwiches, salads, appetizers and burgers. Our friendly waitress recommended the special burger of the day so we followed her advice, we paired that with a house salad, and sat back and listened to the sound of the water cascading down the fountain. For a place not on the main street they had a good lunch crowd. Our salad arrived first, fresh baby spinach, goat cheese, pickled red onions, toasted almonds and a warm currant balsamic dressing, lots of good flavors piled on a plate. Burgers are big, two can easily share; ours was topped with bacon, sautéed onions, melted Gouda, lettuce, tomato, and onion, yum!

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Tremont is one of those places you could use as an example of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. The neighborhood resembles Hamtramck, but the restaurants, bars and boutiques would be perfectly at home in Birmingham. To top it off Tremont has one of the largest concentrations of architecturally notable churches to be found in any neighborhood in America. The original site of Cleveland University; it was only here from 1851 to 1853, but street names such as Literary, College, Professor and University serve as a reminder of the past.  We wandered the shops and galleries taking in the art and architecture of the area, some of our favorites: The Paul Duda Gallery with its striking images of the Cleveland skyline, The Eye Candy Gallery with an eclectic mix of art in multiple media and Deering Vintage (of course) with its cool mid-century items. As a tourist you’ve got to keep up your strength; Lilly Handmade Chocolates will do the trick, the only problem being the decision process. The pieces are gorgeous, the flavor combinations awesome! We have been coming here since the shop opened and have enjoyed watching them grow, they even serve wine now. When we got thirsty it was two iced coffees over at Loop; in addition to great coffee they also sell art and records. As you can see there are a bevy of things to see and do in the neighborhood.

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After a short rest at Stone Gables it was dinner in the Gordon Square Arts District. There is so much activity in this area now we wanted to see it in the evening. Part of the revamped streetscape included new lighting; our favorite part? Newly placed sidewalk benches are lit from below casting a red glow around them, very funky looking. When we were walking around the day before a few locals suggested we have a meal at  XYZ The Tavern, we did. It was a mild evening, the restaurant as a wall of doorways that open out onto a side patio, so again we took advantage of outdoor dining. They were doing a brisk business, I believe a couple of the theatres had shows going on. The bar specializes in whiskey and bourbon, the kitchen, in made from scratch selections. We weren’t terribly hungry; we ordered the Chicken and Waffles from the Small Plates section of the menu, when it arrived we thought it could easily be an entrée. The waffles were a perfect golden color, crisp and tender at the same time with a wonderful malty flavor, dipped in warm syrup they were delectable! The chicken was equally good, boneless chunks of breast meat; crispy outside, juicy inside, dip it in the side of gravy to really indulge. All of the flavors really work well together. We threw in a side of the cheesy grits which were excellent. Service was fast and friendly and prices reasonable, I can see why XYZ is so popular.

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Heading back to the bed and breakfast, we remembered another place we wanted to check out, so we decided to end the evening with drinks at the Tremont Tap House on Scranton Rd. The historic Italianate building has great curb appeal; inside exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and a 40ft concrete bar give the place an industrial feeling. We took a couple of seats at the bar and looked over the extensive beer menu; over 100 beers with 48 on draft! The Taphouse is Clevelands first gastropub; the food looked great, but we were just here for drinks. I chose a porter (which just happened to be from Michigan) and Kris a V O and Coke. The bartender delivered our drinks and started up conversation, ah ha, we found another person who likes Detroit, as a matter of fact he was heading to the D the following morning. Between waiting on patrons we asked Jay about his favorite Cleveland places and we told him our favorites back home. Another couple arrived, sitting a few seats away from us at the bar, they joined the conversation. We sat and sipped our drinks enjoying both the company and the atmosphere; at the end of the night we exchanged cards and emails, Jay and I exchanged lists of cool places to check out when in each other’s cities. We had found ourselves another place to come back to on our next visit.

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