Author Archives: nathantaxel

Seeing the World Through Rose Colored Glasses…full of margarita

I don’t like pink drinks. When a cocktail has a magenta or bubble gum hue it usually signifies the cloying sweetness of a drink for those who want all the fun of booze without actually ever having to taste the alcohol.  However, last night I found a tremendous exception to this rule. Johnny Mango in Ohio City has concocted a Watermelon Margarita that truly embodies summer. Rimmed with salt, this libation brings back memories of seed spitting contests in the back yard, but with the adult touch of lots of tequila. It is made with real, freshly juiced watermelon and no artificial flavors or sweeteners. I would still be very wary of a similarly tinted beverage at other establishments but I know that they specialize here in fresh squeezed juices and pride themselves on not using artificial flavors or mixers, and have never disappointed with their cocktails. Their Watermelon Margarita is not only a drink that I enjoyed, but one I will definitely be going back for. by Nathan Taxel

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Filed under Other Voices, Restaurants

An eating adventure

My son, Nathan Taxel, enjoys cooking and eating as much as I do. After living in various places around the country, he’s come back and settled in his hometown and I’ve invited him to post here about his Cleveland ethnic eating and shopping adventures whenever the spirit moves him. This his first contribution: 

As a foodie, who grew up in a house of foodies, I am excited and turned on by trying new things. But as it turns out, after 24 years of eating there isn’t a whole lot of typical or “normal” foods left to try. In order to experience the rush of an unknown ingredient or combination I am forced into a realm of things that might well find themselves on some TV show about “bizarre” foods. However I find the Travel Channel’s Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern to be somewhat offensive. What gives us the right to call the foods of other cultures “bizarre” just because they are not something we eat here? I’m sure some traditional North American dishes would seem just as weird to someone from the other side of the world. I enter into the world of unkown mouthfulls in a spirit of adventure rather than as some kind of side show freak looking to shock an audience.  

My latest foray into the unknown came recently at a non-descript little Chinese restaurant called Wonton Gourmet and BBQ at East 32nd and Payne Ave – a true diamond in the rough. It is one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in the area. On my last visit I had their cold jellyfish salad. I ordered it having no idea what to expect and was thrilled with the outcome. It looked like a plate of rice noodles with sesame seeds, flecked with bright green herbs. The taste was sweet and tangy with just the mildest hint of the ocean. The only indication that I was not just eating noodles came from the slight chewyness of the jellyfish. It is a light summery appetizer that I will definitely be eating again.

Just as an athlete looks to push their limits and get to the next level, I am always looking for something new to try. I don’t eat for the challenge or the  glory, just the hope of a great new taste.

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