Sunday, January 30, 2011
The West Side Market of Cleveland
Clearly, I could not have gone to Cleveland without paying a visit to the West Side Market. Everyone in Columbus who knew anything about food told me that I had to check it out, on my first ever trip to the city by the lake.
So on Saturday morning, my daughter and I said goodbye to the other half of the family who were heading to the R&R Hall of fame. Instead, we took a cab a few miles from downtown Cleveland to what I was told was a North Market-like place, but better.
I didn't know what to expect, really. It was only after we got there that I learned that there are TWO buildings to this market: one is devoted solely to fruits and vegetables while the other houses everything else.
I had to take it all in slowly. Now that I have gotten used to our North Market where the vendors don't bother you, and where you pretty much know where to get your stuff (one or two options for each kind of food). At the West Side Market, there were many options, for everything.
Take MEAT, for example. They must love their meat in Cleveland. There are several vendors selling beef, pork, bison, chicken, among others. I saw a few seafood stalls, several dairy product vendors, coffee roasters, and even a crepe place!
There were also a few bakeries to choose from, but I was told to get my baguette from Christopher's to go with the cheese and salami that we had bought for our lunch-picnic by the lake.
I was tempted to purchase produce in the other building where vendors tried to lure you to buy their good-value products (from oranges to star-fruit)...reminding me of my days at the North End market in Boston.
Without our own transportation, and a kitchen that was a couple of days away, I did not feel like I could partake in all the buying fun. But do I wish that I could have bought everything there? YES, of course!
We did enjoy our picnic later with some goods bought from the market. And we did treat ourselves to a hot crepe filled with lemon curd and mascarpone cheese.
When we finally found another taxi to take us to our next destination (can't flag a taxi there either, I learned), the cab driver informed me, with his middle-eastern accent, that:
"You know, we have another market like this, on the East side of town!"
"Really?" I said, then jokingly asked "Is it called the East Side Market?"
"Yeah, how did you know?" replied the driver, with an impish grin.
I didn't know, in fact. And I am a bit dubious since my food people from Columbus didn't say anything about this East Side place. But I am happy to learn that there are still many more places to discover in Cleveland, should I return there hungry.