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Issue Date: April 2009

Eight Greats - Food & Drink

Michael Ruhlman

Laura Taxel
You may know him asThe Next Iron Chefjudge who helped crown Michael Symon, but Michael Ruhlman is also the author of six highly regarded books about chefs, food and cooking. His newest is Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. We asked the Cleveland Heights resident to share his favorite local spots for buying the best ingredients and enjoying great food and drinks. 
~ West Side Market | “I go for pork belly, natural sausage casings and lamb heart. You just can’t find these at the grocery store. I took my former chef instructor of Asian cuisine from [the Culinary Institute of America], and he said it reminded him of the great markets in Vietnam.” 1979 W. 25th St., Cleveland, (216) 664-3386,

~ Baricelli Cheese Co. | “Paul Minnillo sells incredible, unusual, handmade and raw milk cheeses that he ages right there. He’s got wonderful stinky Epoisses and Saint Marcellin in a special room in the lobby.” 2203 Cornell Road, Cleveland, (216) 791-6500,

~ The Grapevine | “I’m a cheapskate. Bob Fishman finds me inexpensive American reds. He only carries domestic wines and always picks out great $10 to $13 bottles for me.” 12425 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights, (216) 791-9300,

~ The Sausage Shoppe | “They make their own sausages and hot dogs, smoke their own bacon and do things the old-fashioned way. I want to support that.” 4501 Memphis Ave., Cleveland, (216) 351-5213,

~ The Velvet Tango Room | “I discovered this place a couple of years ago. Until then, I didn’t know you could get drinks like this here. Paulius [Nasvytis, the owner,] and his bartenders mix gin fizzes and side cars the proper way. They raise cocktail-making to a craft. And those cherries imported from Italy — amazing.” 2095 Columbus Road, Cleveland, (216) 241-8869,

~ Flying Fig | “I hadn’t been there in ages and went with the family for [chef Karen Small’s] short ribs, which I love. We tried her tempura-battered green beans. This is such a special dish. I adore it.” 2523 Market Ave., Cleveland, (216) 241-4243,

~ Lola | “I go for two of Symon’s signature dishes —beef cheek pierogies and bone marrow. I like to eat them, but sadly don’t make them at home. Marrow on a grilled baguette is 1,000 times better than butter, and coming from me, that’s saying a lot. 2058 E. Fourth St., (216) 621-5652,

~ North Union Farmers Market | “This is where I go for humanely raised and delicious four-legged animals. From a selfish point of view, I buy it because it tastes better. But it’s also the right thing to do. If we eat meat, we’re morally obligated to treat the creatures well. If it costs a little more, then eat a little less.” Shaker Square (Saturdays only), (216) 751-7656,

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