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Issue Date: January 2005 Issue

Classics has nabbed a Five Diamond award from AAA, the first and only restaurant in Ohio to garner such a prestigious honor.

Classics has nabbed a Five Diamond award from AAA, the first and only restaurant in Ohio to garner such a prestigious honor. Less than 1 percent of the 13,000 restaurants rated every year in the U.S. and Canada are recognized with Five Diamonds. The feat is especially impressive since this is only the second year of operation for the reborn Classics at the InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center.

Walden Country Inn & Stables in Aurora also won Five Diamonds, the first such award for an Ohio hotel or inn. The 2004 Four Diamond restaurant winners are Baricelli Inn, Century at The Ritz-Carlton, The Leopard, Lockkeepers and Ristorante Giovanni's.


Amir's in South Euclid has closed the restaurant part of its operation to make more room for production of its Middle Eastern fare that's sold in supermarkets in 37 states (including Tops, Giant Eagle and Heinen's locally). A downsized market selling For now, there are no plans to open a new Amir's restaurant in another location.


January is once again Hot Soup Month at Johnny Mango World Café & Bar, which just opened its second location in Willoughby. Based on customer feedback, Hot Soup was the restaurant's most popular promo last year, so they're sticking with it. Last year's most popular specials were also soups — chicken tortilla soup and Laska, a creamy shellfish soup — so they'll make return appearances as well.


Horizons, the restaurant at the Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva State Park, has added Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Lodge also offers a new winter Wine Taster's Delight package that includes a one-night stay for two, breakfast and a wine tasting for $109 plus tax, available through April 30. Call 1-800-801-9982.


Michael Herschman is a chef in motion. He left Bossa Nova last spring mere weeks after its opening, and in December jumped ship again, departing Lockkeepers after only a few months. Perhaps he'll only be happy when he has his own kitchen again, as he did at Mojo before selling the Tremont space to Doug Petkovic for Theory.


This year's 20th-annual Food Fest gourmet getaway at Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa in Morgantown W.Va., features a couple of Northeast Ohio chefs from Jan. 14 through 16. Chef-owner Tom Quick, of Epiq Bistro & Wine Bar in Concord, will helm a "Slow Cooking" class and culinary instructor Tom Johnson, of Western Reserve School of Cooking in Hudson, will conduct a "Simple South Asian" class. Cost for the Food Fest is $349 per couple, which includes a double room for two nights, continental breakfasts, a Saturday banquet dinner and all classes and tasting events. Call 1-800-624-8300.


Marlin Kaplan of One Walnut will also don his toque at an out-of-town gig this month, as part of the American Express Celebrity Chef Tour. Kaplan pairs up with Stephen Kreuzinger of The Renaissance Club in Detroit Jan. 19 to present a meal that includes veal crostini with oven-roasted vegetables, grilled shrimp, roasted lobster, Parmigiana custard, braised oxtails, short ribs and a beef-and-foie gras turnover. The evening is $150 per person and Tour proceeds benefit the James Beard House. For reservations, call (313) 259-4700.


Paul Minnillo of Baricelli Inn and former Browns wide receiver Reggie Langhorne will represent Cleveland at the 14th-annual Taste of the NFL Feb. 5 in Jacksonville, Fla., during Super Bowl weekend. The pair will prepare cured duck pastrami with microgreens and roasted garlic vinaigrette for the event, which raises money to fight hunger.


Save the date (or make travel arrangements) for Saturday, Feb. 26, when Summa Health System's Palliative Care and Hospice stages its benefit "Comfort Zone" dining event. This year, after a reception on the Akron City Hospital campus, guests will sit down to themed dinners served in almost 20 posh Akron-area homes. Diners who happen to be out of town are also invited — to homes in Naples, Fla.; Palm Springs, Calif.; and Budapest, Hungary. For more info, call (330) 379-9802.


Didn't get enough world cookin' in our November guide to ethnic markets? Laura Taxel has the recipe for you. Gray & Co. has released "Cleveland Ethnic Eats 2005," the 10th-anniversary edition of Taxel's guide to global dining in Northeast Ohio.


Blake's Seafood Restaurant & Bar, 9 Main St., Crocker Park, Westlake, (440) 892-FISH (3473); Johnny Mango World Café & Bar, 4113 Erie St., Willoughby, (440) 975-8811; Parallax, 2179 W. 11th St., Tremont, (216) 583-9999


Amir's Marketplace Restaurant, 4422 Mayfield Road, South Euclid; Jimmy's Blue Heron, 12492 Prospect Road, Strongsville

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