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Issue Date: May 2009

Silver Spoons: Signs of Civilization

A meal should not end when the plates are cleared. Kicking back and taking in the experience is part of the allure of dining out. So relax, and order a digestif such as Cognac or a sweet, house-made dessert drink. If you want to take a pass on the alcohol, never underestimate the power of the always simple but often surprising cup of coffee.
House-made Limoncello
( LockKeepers )
The ornate bottles in the middle of the restaurant draw diners’ attention and have even prompted a few regulars to attempt their own homemade limoncello. Sure, the stuff in the bottle is tasty, but it can’t compare to LockKeepers’ signature drink. General manager Brian Woehrman says the Italian after-dinner drink is simple, and that’s where the beauty lies. Lemon zest infuses with vodka for 40 days. Simple syrup is added before it is served. “It’s sour. It’s sweet. It gets attention.”8001 Rockside Road, Cleveland, (216) 524-9404

Espresso Martini
( Johnny’s Bar )
Don’t order this when you first walk into Johnny’s, warns bartender Deborah VonAlt. “It will curb your appetite,” she says. And if you’re going to a restaurant like this, that’s the last thing you want to do. Here, if one customer orders an espresso martini, VonAlt knows she’ll need to make a few more. A landmark Italian restaurant, Johnny’s espresso is, of course, top-tier. Mix that into a martini with a touch of Godiva white chocolate liqueur, and you’ll have a new go-to dessert drink. “We prebrew espresso and keep it chilled,” VonAlt says. “There’s no compromising your martini with ice.”3164 Fulton Road, Cleveland, (216) 281-0055

French-pressed Coffee

( Chez Francois )
Chez Francois creates its own coffee blend from Sumatran, Kenyan and Columbian beans bought raw — still boasting their natural green tint — and roasted in-house. They do this to ensure freshness, sure, but it also keeps the beans from over-roasting, which produces an oily flavor. “You want it to be just dark brown but not oily,” says owner Matt Mars. “When you over-roast, you’re just hiding the flaws.” The brew is delivered tableside, half-pressed in a French press pot. Let it steep for a stronger flavor or finish pressing for a lighter brew.555 Main St., Vermilion, (440) 967-0630

Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac

( L’Albatros Brasserie )
As your hands cup a balloon-shaped snifter, the temperature of the amber Cognac inside rises, bringing out its natural caramel flavor with undertones of vanilla. While the average cognac aged for three to four years has more of a bite, the Martell’s minimum six-and-a-half-year aging process inside soft Limousin and Troncais oaks gives it a smooth finish. This makes it easy on a full stomach, says L’Albatros manager Brandon Chrostowski. “It goes in and massages you,” he says. “At the end of a meal, it makes you go home and sleep easy.”11401 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, (216) 791-7880signs of Civilization

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