Be a Food Saver

Welcome to the new online home for Cleveland Ethnic Eats.  This is a place where I can share my thoughts on culture and cuisine, post information and updates about the listings in the books, and let you know what the media around the country and the world are saying about ethnic food trends. You can also click on the links to  see where I’m signing or speaking, and read excerpts from the book.  And best of all it’s a meeting place for all of us who have an interest in adventurous eating so we can exchange news, ideas, and stories.
To kick things off I want to riff on an article I read recently entitled America’s Most Endangered Foods.  It’s about how varieties of fruits ands and vegetables and breeds of animals are disappearing due to the impact of agri-business and the commodification of our food supply. To stop the loss, Gary Paul Nabhan, editor of Renewing America’s Food Traditions, advocates a concept called eater-based conservation.

I’ve been talking about something similar ever since the first edition of Cleveland Ethnic Eats was published in 1995. The places in my book are endangered species, at risk of extinction from the onslaught of corporate chains, cheap fast food, and mass-produced products. Corner stores, neighborhood butchers and bakers, and little mom-and-pop restaurants are disappearing from our cities and suburbs and with them the wonderful diversity of choices and quality they offer. If we don’t support these kinds of businesses, we’ll lose something precious, something that makes this region such an exciting and unique place to live. That’s part of the reason I wrote Cleveland Ethnic Eats, continue to update it regularly, and why I have launched this blog. My aim is to celebrate handmade, homemade, traditionally made foods, and at the same time to remind people that we must recognize and help preserve this valuable cultural resource.  And all you have to do to help is eat!  You can use my book and this site to find out where to go. And please come back here often to post your questions, comments, and discoveries.



Filed under Markets, Restaurants, The Book, Trends

4 responses to “Be a Food Saver

  1. Jaye

    Hey Laura. Glad to see you’re up and running with your blog. I couldn’t agree more with your post about mom-and-pop restaurants. There’s a cute new Mexican restaurant in Van Aken shopping center in Shaker Heights where Sand’s Blue Line Deli used to be. I can’t remember the name, but it’s definitely family run. The waiters are really hard working (relatives of the owner??) and the food is fresh, healthy and VERY affordable.

  2. Great Job and Congradulations…You have been on the Right Track all these years and finally, the world has caught up with you…Eating Well…Buying Locally..Knowing where your food comes from…supporting cultural diversity beginning with the table and teaching one’s children to explore…and eventually enjoy…and, take as their own…the experience of learning about and appreciating all that the ‘World of Food’ has to offer….Mitzi

  3. sunnyllama

    Hi Laura, I have really enjoyed reading your book and visiting some of the restaurants around Cleveland that I haven’t yet been to, what a great collection you’ve put together! I do, however, have a few other suggestions for you to try and possibly add to the list.
    Growing up in a predominantly Romanian family, my grandmother, who came herself from communist Romania, was very good at instilling in my sister and I the wonderful flavors of South-East Europe. There used to be a huge Romanian community in Lorain which has slowly dwindled away and left hungry Romanians like myself either in the kitchen cooking for themselves or at great Hungarian restaurants which are the closest, flavor wise, to Romanian. I have been to Balaton, what a place, but for me Shaker is a trek from Avon Lake where I live. I have found the closest second which, in my opinion even exceeds Balaton in some ways. On Center Ridge Rd. in Westlake is a place called Little Budapest. I have been here more times than I can count and have never been disappointed with the food or service. The restaurant is decorated with traditional Hungarian maps and photos as well as colorful floral arrangements. The food is absolutely exceptional. The chicken soup is a must and is, next to Balaton, the closest to my grandmothers that I have ever tasted. One of my favorite appetizers is sztrapacska which are dumplings made of feta cheese and served with sautéed ham and onion along with sour cream! They also have the best cucumber salad around. Please, please go there!
    The second place you’ve got to try is a wonderful Mexican restaurant right in my home town of Avon Lake, Las Cazuelas. Located in The Landings on Walker Rd., It is my favorite Mexican place in all of Cleveland. I LOVE Mexican cuisine so for me to say that really makes it special. They have traditional Mexican chicken soup complete with Avocado and a kick! Also, of course, the home made chips and salsa are fantastic. But the star of the menu, in my opinion, is the fajitas for two. They contain everything you could imagine including chicken, pork, beef, onion, green pepper, and even chorizo. They really are delicious and the pork is something I have not seen at any other place I had been to. I would definitely recommend you try it!
    Again, the book was great and such a useful guide, thank you!

    • Thanks for your thoughts and comments. You make my mouth water with your descriptions! I will be sure to try Las Cazuelas in Avon Lake. I already know about Little Budapest. In fact the restaurant used to be in the book. But the owner is a very odd and difficult person- he refused to provide the information I needed in the past when I was working on an updated edition,and wanted to control what I wrote. So unfortunately I had to delete the restaurant’s listing.

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