Category Archives: Other Voices

Help Michael, Marika and Lucy’s Sweet Surrender

Carl Skalak of Blue Pike Farm wrote this:

   The picture of a barn raising,  a community effort to collectively help out a neighbor seems quaint and out of reach for those of us of a more urban persuasion.  Well, the local food community is a community too and one of our own suffered a calamity this weekend in the form of a assault and robbery.
      Michael & Marika Feigenbaum were robbed again this Memorial Day weekend at their bakery, “Lucy’s Sweet Surrender”  on Buckeye Rd. Fortunately, nobody was shot this time, but Michael got roughed up more than a little bit. I saw him Saturday morning about 4 hours after the assault and he was gamely trying to keep up with the orders but was visibly hurting. They lost several days worth of store receipts and the cash box for the day’s farmers markets. While he didn’t mention a figure I’m sure his loss was more than several thousand in cash alone. Money that will take months of effort to recoup. Theirs is not a business with large profit margins.
      Michael is a stubborn cuss, from Russian Jewish stock and will, I expect soldier on. Marika is still shaking and I think still not really yet recovered from being shot last year.  But this kind of calamity is not only a serious financial hit, but more so an emotional blow. Two violent robberies in 18 months is a bit much, even by Cleveland standards.
      “What’s political is also personal. If you believe in something, you should be willing to make sacrifices to support it, even if it’s expensive or inconvenient.” (Russ Parsons, L.A. Times food writer)
     What can you do?  Well, if you need a loaf of bread, food for a graduation party, office event, family get-together or just because you like quality baked goods consider making a purchase from them at the store on Buckeye or at one of the farmers markets (Shaker Sq. or Crocker Park on Saturdays). If you are already a customer, buy something extra. There is  little downside for you because “Lucy’s Sweet Surrender” makes quality stuff (I’m a fool for his poppy seed goodies) . And your support now can make a big difference in gritting them back on track.
      You won’t get any splinters in your fingers and you’ll help rebuild their business too.
     Bravo to  Carl. I couldn’t have said it better and I think what he’s trying to do by encouraging all of us to get involved in this small, simple way is brilliant… and right.   Please act on his suggestion and pass this call for help on to everyone you know. Thanks.


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The Cleveland Connection

Something I posted in August, 2009 led to such a sweet story-told through comments- that I want to recap the thread.

I qorte a post about my discovery that Russian tea biscuits were a Cleveland thing and not Russian at all. One of the people that responded was a Clevelander living in Los Angeles. A fan of these pastires, she’d found one place there that made them. It was called Bea’s Bakery. They also had coconut bars, another beloved treat from home, and real corn rye bread. She wrote that it was rumored that a baker had once worked for our own Davis Bakery. I encourgaed her to do some investigating and report back.

It took her a year and a half but she got results. Retuning to the blog a couple of weeks ago she announced that Bea of Bea’s Bakery was from Cleveland and that her father had owned a bakery here, selling BOTH  Russian tea biscuits and coconut bars!  And indeed one of her bakers, now retired, had been employed by Davis   back in the ’50s. Ohiogirl, as she calls herself, ended her latest comment this way: “Now I know why her stuff tastes so right to me.”

Sweet, huh?

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Words of Wisdom from CIA

These remarks from Mark Erickson, Vice President Dean of Culinary Education at The Culinary Institute of Education, struck me as particularly profound and representative of what is at the heart of Cleveland Ethnic Eats.

Mark Erickson

The challenge for chefs today is to not only be aware of authentic cuisines, but to truly understand them. Our customers are now well-traveled and culturally savvy, and they have come to expect a variety of world flavors, whether they’re dining out or shopping at the supermarket.

At the same time that we learn about new cuisines, it becomes our responsibility to protect and maintain our culinary heritage. Many traditions that have been passed from generation to generation are in danger of disappearing because of the fast-paced world in which we now live. Therefore, our approach to ingredients, cuisines and fundamental cooking techniques continues to be key to all culinary professionals — no matter how innovative and experienced we may be.

We would not be where we are today if it weren’t for the work of those who came before us, and one can say that the past and the future are equally important to the culinary arts. That’s why our chefs and instructors are exploring both, through diverse, innovative research initiatives. They’re seeking to shed new light on the underlying science of our craft, preserve the art of time-honored culinary traditions, and share those results with the industry. 

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Nurture Little Ethnic Eaters

Help for moms and dads who want their kids to have a taste for pad thai, chicken korma, and grilled calamari. 

New Videos Help Parents of Picky Eaters
Author of “My Two-Year Old Eats Octopus,” gives mealtime tips for raising children who love to eat everything.

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Read about a Hungarian bakery and cafe in Wooster called Tulipan at  Exploring Food My Way,  an always fascinating blog about one man’s quest for delicousness. Based on his description and photos it sounds-and looks- to be a charming spot to satisfy a craving for dobos torte and strudel.


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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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Blogger Book Review

A fellow blogger and eating enthusiast  posted a detailed, thoughtful and made-me-blush citizen’s review of Cleveland Ethnic Eats this morning. Read what he has to say at Exploring Food My Way, and while you’re there check out the many other fascinating posts on all things edible.


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Book Lover

Read what Kevin Scheuring had to say on his blog  Spicehound Cooks (and Brews) about Cleveland Ethnic Eats and other books he considers Must Haves.  And be sure to check out the amazing array of spices he sells at the Coit Road Farmers Market.


Filed under In The Media, Other Voices, Restaurants, The Book

Lago-Vegetarian Mondays by Beth Yurich

I want to thank Laura Taxel for inviting me to write about vegetarian dining in Cleveland. I have been a vegetarian for 25 years, and there has never been a more exciting time for veggies to dine out than now. I look forward to sharing all kinds of fun places you can enjoy, with or without, your meat eating friends.

Lago Restaurant & Wine Bar in Tremont hosts vegetarian Mondays. Along with their regular menu, they offer a nice selection of vegetarian and vegan meals.  For us vegetarians this is great, because there aren’t a large number of fine dining restaurants we can enjoy. The offerings on the menu are numerous, even many appetizers such as an antipasti platter, grilled flatbread and a few other scrumptious sounding selections.

My group decided to forgo appetizers and order salads instead. I got the vegan caesar since I never get to have caesar salads. It was a combo of oven dried tomatoes, romaine lettuce and roasted red peppers. The dressing was a not heavy but had a creamy texture. My friend ordered the vegetable canneloni salad and it was amazing. The arugula and red peppers were wrapped in pasta and presented like a spring roll. The dressing was a  lemon vinaigrette, and balsamic vinegar was drizzled around the plate. Both salads were delicious, but the pasta arugula was so different, we voted it best. Here is a photo of the winning salad

Here is a photo of the winning salad

There were three of us so we ordered three different entrees, although it was hard to narrow it down. We decided on the vegetable pizza with roasted crimini mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and goat cheese; the grilled marinated tofu with white beans and roasted red pepper in balsamic reduction; and the vegan risotto with brussel sprouts and roasted garlic. The pizza had nice flavors going on, with the roasted mushrooms and a few caramelized onions and the cheese. The crust was thin and soft, not crispy, making it a perfect texture. The risotto was wonderful combo, with the sweet taste of the garlic, and the bitter of the brussel sprout.  The grilled tofu was light and refreshing, the reduction sauce a perfect addition. The waitress offered sharing plates when we were served, so we were all able to enjoy all the entrees. Everyone had a different favorite.

We ordered both vegan desserts – molten chocolate cake and vegan trifle. You can also order from the main dessert menu which has a goat cheese creme brulée and an olive oil cake – very intriguing. The molten chocolate cake won hands down with its rich fudgie sauce and the melt in your mouth cake.  The trifle was tasty as well. It had a tangy macerated fruit sauce and a nice, not too sweet cake. So if you aren’t a super sweets person, the trifle would be perfect.

The executive chef Josh, stopped at our table to thank us for enjoying his vegetarian meals. Our waitress did a good job anticipating what we needed. The entire staff is friendly and ready to serve.  All the entrées are around $18, the salads $8, the pizza was $10. If you are looking to not spend a ton, you can still enjoy visiting Lago for vegetarian Mondays. I felt you could share the pizza and get two salads. That would make the meal $12-$14 per person and I don’t think anyone would go away hungry.


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My friend Beth Yurich, a designer specializing in communications for sustainable businesses, has a great suggestion for dining in a more environmentally responsible style. Instead of using  disposable chopsticks in Asian restaurants- they’re wasteful three ways from the trees cut down to  make them and the garbage they turn into after one meal along with the paper they are sealed in- bring your own set of stainless steel chopsticks.

Read more of her tips for green living on her blog. An enthusiastic vegetarian cook and out-to-eater, she’ll also be guest blogging here now and then about where she goes and what she tastes.  Look for her first post next week.

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