Happy Dog

 5801 Detroit Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44102

(216) 651-9474 

happydogcleveland.com

 

Happy Dog Cleveland
 
I was pleasantly surprised the first time that I visited Happy Dog.  I'm not sure of the history of their building, but I assume that it's always been a bar.  The interior looks like an 'old Cleveland bar' that my dad or grandfather would have hung out in- wood paneled walls, wood bar, old-fashioned bar stools. Pretty cool.
Hot dog, tots, and fries.
 
When you sit down at Happy Dog, you notice a pad of order slips on your table.  You check off what you want and give it to your server- sort of like at a sushi place.  The hot dogs are big, all beef dogs, not some sort wimpy little things.  Even better, they're only $5 each, with as many toppings as you like.  And, even better than that, the list of toppings is huge.  Most of them are made in house, and most are very unique.  When I visited, I had one dog with chorizo chili, yellow mustard, and a dill pickle spear.  I had blue cheese coleslaw on my second dog.  Both were awesome.  We also had sides of tater tots and french fries with chipotle and creole remoulade for dipping. 
Hot dog with chorizo chili, yellow mustard, dill pickle spear.
 
Even considering that it is a bar, Happy Dog seemed to have a pretty big selection of craft beers on tap and in the bottle.  All in all, I'd say that Happy Dog is a great place.  I've been there twice, and if you're looking for a cool place to hang out for the evening, or a good place for lunch, I'd recommend giving it a try!

 

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The Chowder House Cafe - Cuyahoga Falls

 2028 Chestnut Blvd

Cuyahoga Falls, OH

www.chowderhousecafe.com

 First off, let me apologize for the photo- it doesn't do the food justice.  I tired taking the picture with and without the flash, but no luck.  I tried making some adjustments with photoshop, but this was the best I could get.  In any case, these are the braised short ribs with demi-glace and garlic mashed potatoes, but I'll get to them in a minute.  

 Braised short ribs with demi-glace and garlic mashers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Chowder House Cafe is a very 'cute' place.   The dining room is a small, cozy space decorated with a lot of art.  Overall, a very nice atmosphere.  To start with, I had a cup of their clam chowder, which they make a point of saying has no potatoes.  I wasn't sure how that would work out...chowder without potatoes?!?  It turns out that the chowder was so good, I didn't miss the potatoes at all.  The 'broth' was thick and creamy and filled with big chunks of clams.   The short ribs were very tasty, but a little fatty.  Now, short ribs are a tougher, fattier cut of meat, but I've had them at places where it seems that most of the fat was roasted away so as not to seem overall too fatty.  Non the less, these short ribs were very good, and the demi-glace and garlic mashed potatoes were great.    The Chowder House was a nice place, and would be a great place to take a date.  I would definitely visit again.

 

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Superior Pho

3030 Superior Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44114

(216) 781-7462

www.superiorpho.com/

Superior Pho Menu - PDF

Pho

 I'm not sure if Superior Pho is so-named because they are located off of Superior Avenue, or because they have self-proclaimed themselves to be the most superior pho in town.  I'm willing to believe the later, because their pho is about he best I've had.  Pho is a Vietnamese soup consisting of a tangy broth and long rice noodles.  When I visited Superior Pho, I ordered 'meal 10'' from their menu.  This was a 'combo' of a large pho of my choice, a Vietnamese sandwich (Bánh mi), and a drink.  My choice of soup was Pho Chay, which was described as 'noodle soup with bean sprouts and vegetables'.  The soup itself is served with green onions in it.  The bean sprouts are served on the side with some lemon wedges, slices of jalapenos, and some type of leafy herbs.  When I've ordered pho at other restaurants, it was served with basil leafs.  I have to admit, I don't know what type of herbs were served at Superior Pho, but they were slightly bitter, and good in the soup.  I'll have to ask next time.

 

 

Banh mi  The Bánh mì is a sandwich made of French bread, roast pork, homemade pate, cucumbers, jalapeno slices, shredded carrot, and mayonnaise.  The bread was very fresh, soft on the inside, and crusty on the outside.  If you haven't tried it before, it's very unique, and absolutely delicious.  

On previous visits to Superior Pho, I had ordered a 'meal' that included a summer roll instead of the sandwich.  On this visit, we ordered Thit nuong cuon, which were rice paper rolls filled with fresh herbs, vermicelli noodles and grilled marinated pork.  They were excellent.  The pork was tender and tasty and almost melted in your mouth.  

If you're not familiar with Vietnamese food, I would definitely recommend Superior Pho.  The atmosphere is nothing special, but nice enough, and it certainly doesn't detract from the great food.  As for the value, it is definitely worth it.  The meal #10 that I ordered was $11.95 for a huge bowl of soup, a decent sized sandwich, and a soda.  All in all, a great place!

 Rice Paper Rolls

 

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Michael Symon's B Spot Hamburgers

28699 Chagrin Boulevard, Woodmere, OH 44122

http://www.bspotburgers.com

You might be able to find bigger or cheaper burgers at other places, but the burgers at B Spot are worth every penny based on taste alone.  The fries are great too- probably some of the best that I've ever had- thin and crispy, with a dusting of sea salt and rosemary.  For my burger, I ordered the bacon cheeseburger- two thick slices of bacon with cheddar cheese.  Two thumbs up!  Because I like a lot of variety, I think my two favorite things about B Spot were the pickle bar and the sauces.  There are 6 bottles of sauce on the table, and they all appear to be made on the premises.  They include a BBQ sauce, a steak sauce, and Lola ketchup, and they're all really good- I didn't have enough burger to put each one one.  As for the pickle bar- it's located in the middle of the room, and you just help yourself.  Selections on the pickle bar included dill, pickled green tomatoes, and Tony Packo's sweet pickles.  The atmosphere at B Spot is pretty casual- a sort of upscale sports bar vibe, and they don't take reservations.  All in all it's a good place to visit to get a great burger in a nice atmosphere at a fairly decent price for what you get.

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Corky & Lenny's Restaurant and Deli

http://www.corkyandlennys.com/

27091 Chagrin Boulevard Woodmere Village, Ohio 44122

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 When I think of 'Jewish Deli' in the Cleveland area, I think of Corky & Lenny's.  As a matter of fact, since Lou & Hy's closed down years ago, it's the only Jewish Deli that I can think of around here (I've heard good things about Jack's Deli in Cleveland Hts, but I haven't been there yet).  

Every time I visit, I get the same thing- a corned beef sandwich (pictured above) or reuben, and a bowl of matzah ball soup.  The corned beef is always good- not too fatty and not too lean, and the soup is great.  You get a bowl of delicious chicken broth with a giant matzah ball sitting in the middle of it surrounded by some vegetables.  Good stuff.  One other cool thing about Corky & Lenny's- they also serve your meal with a bowl of homemade pickles.  If you're in the Beachwood/Woodmere/Orange area, you have to stop at this place!

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