13 August 2008

500th Post: Cleveland West Side Market

Earlier this year I celebrated the 3 year milestone, and this entry marks the 500th post here at Benito's Wine Reviews. At my current pace I ought to hit 1000 around January 2012. I've said this before, but if y'all weren't reading, I wouldn't be doing this, so thanks for your continued patronage and supportive/argumentative comments and e-mails.

Since I'm celebrating this event here in Cuyahoga County, I figured I'd use this opportunity to write about this weekend's food adventure...

August in Cleveland is a lot cooler than Memphis, though it's been nice to see that the temperature has fallen somewhat back home. This past weekend I got to visit the West Side Market in Cleveland, Ohio, a downtown food shopping square that's been in operation since the mid 1800s. Think of a Great Lakes version of the famous Les Halles in Paris. Meat, vegetables, fresh bread, and lots more... If it's edible, there's a good chance you can get it from one of the dozens of stalls.

There's an L-shaped building that houses all of the fruits and vegetables seen in the top picture. Sort of your standard Farmers Market fare with odd twists like prickly pear cactus, green figs, and fresh juices squeezed on the spot. But the real magic can be found inside the square building, home to the fish, meat, and prepared foods. In the righthand picture, from left to right you've got a purveyor of hot sauces, a bakery (traditional breads and pastries), and a butcher selling assorted cuts of bison, lamb, and goat. Hell, you can pick up enough pig parts to build a complete Frankenhog. Elsewhere you've got every seasoned, cured, ground, and smoked meat known to mankind, including Mettwurst and some sort of Slovenian blood sausage.

There were stalls selling sandwiches and falafel and crepes and pasta and many other delicacies. I enjoyed a great Short Attention Span Lunch--"Ooh, that looks good, gotta try that..." While walking around you'll hear at least a dozen different languages spoken. A bit of haggling here, a discussion over preparation there. At the Scots-Irish counter I picked up a meat pie and slice of Guinness cake for dinner later. Humble fare, but despite my prior adventures with hotel cooking I really didn't have any way to properly cook all the organ meats and exotic rices and other treasures that I saw.


fredric koeppel said...

that meat pie looks great anyway; i bet you enjoyed it.

when i was in Indianapolis week before last (geeze, time flies!) i went to a mexican grocery store looking for good tomatillos because the ones at the regular store were too old. what a treasure that was! i bought a sack of excellent tomatillos, a package for corn tortillas and some fiery marinade foer the meat I was going to grill. Limes at the "regular grocery store were 2 for a dollar; at the mexican store they were 10 for a dollar. they were smaller limes, but still it was a great savings, telling you something about overhead and such at ethnic stores in their own neighborhoods.

Leigh said...

Benito, I dropped by because I recently had some blog posts stolen by www.hlongj.com and I noticed that you did too. Your stolen post is here - http://www.hlongj.com/article/wine/2008-08-08/1114.html. There may be more, I just saw the one. I was able to find you because of a link in that post.