Blogs > Eating It Up Locally!

Who wants to cook? Let’s go out to eat. See where News-Herald staff members dined and where they go to unwind in our area. You might just find a new treasure in your own neighborhood.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I just love this salad.

Ordering Bob Evans' Wildfire Chicken Salad for takeout has become pretty much a weekly ritual for me. Every Tuesday I ask my supervisor if he's hungry and thinking the same thing I am. His response: "Yes. With rolls."

The salad is lettuce, grape tomatoes, corn, green onions, barbecue chicken, cheese and tortilla strips, with their special Wildfire ranch dressing on the side. It is fantastic and filling. The restaurant offers both a lunch and dinner portion, to fit your appetite, and the dinner portion is just $7.99, to fit your budget.

Other favorites I have at Bob's (if for some reason I'm not in the mood for the WCS) include the Pot Roast Sandwich, the Bob=B-Q Pulled Pork sandwich and the Fried Chicken Dinner (especially the garden veggies on the side). For breakfast, you can't beat their pancakes. Or sausage. Or omelets. Heck, the whole breakfast menu is tasty and cheap.

Oh and their rolls are really great, too -- and can be found in your grocers' freezer.

Bob Evans
locations vary throughout Northeast Ohio and can be found on the restaurant's Web site,

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I scream, you scream

I am picky about my ice cream.

I worked in an ice cream store for five years during high school and college. I can tell about how many ounces of ice cream are in a dish just by looking at it. I can tell if ice cream was made with expensive or cheap cream. I can come up with any flavor/topping combination to suit you.

So I won't eat ice cream just anywhere. I'm an ice cream snob.

I actually can't believe I'm going to give a recommendation to the place I'm about to recommend because this franchise is my franchise's competition. But I haven't worked in ice cream for three years, and the store where I worked has since closed and isn't even in Northeast Ohio anyway.

I stopped at Cold Stone Creamery the other night to pick up a pint for my boyfriend and I for dessert. I knew immediately what I wanted when I walked in because, after all, I had worked in a similar place for five years and knew exactly how to mix together a flavor both he and I would enjoy.

If you haven't been to Cold Stone, I'll give you the scoop for how it works:
The ice cream is all flavored plain, without any nuts, cookies, candies or fruit. The people at Cold Stone will mix it in fresh in front of you on a cold stone slab. So you can make any flavor you like -- such as cookies 'n' cream in chocolate ice cream, or strawberry with chocolate chips. (Need any more recommendations? e-mail me your interests and I'll see what I can come up with.)

At first I was disappointed in the service. It was a busy Friday night, and it seemed like not enough employees were working. I grew slightly impatient remembering how I handled busy Friday nights in my ice cream scoopin' days.

But when it was finally my turn, I couldn't have had a nicer person helping me. She asked how I was doing, and we had a nice conversation about my hometown and college. After she finished mixing together my combination (coffee ice cream with Oreos, Snickers and brownie), she scooped it into the pint container -- then offered me the remainder of what wouldn't fit. I told her I would save it for later, so she stuck it in a dish with a lid. That in and of itself was a full serving of ice cream, which makes sense because she added about 6 ounces of mix-ins to the pint she had scooped.

The cost of the concoction? A pint with three mix-ins is $5.99. While that might seem like a lot for just ice cream, it's only about $2 a serving (at least, I got three servings out of mine). And if you haven't noticed, dairy and ice cream have gotten pretty expensive in the past few years, so that's not a bad deal.

Oh, and the ice cream tasted fantastic. Coffee with Oreos, Snickers and brownies might be my new favorite flavor (and I think it could be my boyfriend's new favorite, too).

I'll definitely be making my way back this summer when it's unbearably hot. I would recommend you do the same. But if you're in the South, check out Marble Slab Creamery (the franchise that had the mix-in-your-toppings-on-a-cold-slab idea 10 years before Cold Stone).

Cold Stone Creamery
36175 Euclid Ave.
Willoughby, OH 44094

9560 Diamond Centre Drive
Mentor, OH 44060

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Search of Salad Bars

Are you the type of diner who misses the plethora of salad bars that used to be standard fixtures at area restaurants a dozen or so years ago? I am.

The prospect of fresh lettuce topped with a variety of garden ingredients was the highlight of this veggie lover's meal experience. Skip the steak, bring on the romaine and radishes!

True, salad bars can be found at assorted venues around town, but not nearly as many as in days gone by, and for the most part the quality is poor. Freshness is of utmost importance. None of this bagged and chemical-infused stuff, please.

Right now my vote for the best in town goes to the luscious line of salad stuff at Ruby Tuesday's off Heisley Road in Mentor. Deep green spinach, edamame(mmm!), zucchini sticks, plump grape tomatoes and real blue cheese are but a few of the satisfying ingredients one can pile onto their chilled white plates.

Don't pour on the calorie-laden dressing and you've got a healthy dish of edibles that tastes like they've just been picked from a nearby farm.

Ahhh! The beauty and deliciousness of Mother Nature.

So salad bar searchers,don't despair. Head on over to Ruby Tuesday's and fill up with freshness to your tummy's content.

--Jean Bonchak

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Grand slam for Friday lunch at Progessive Field

Experience has taught me to be economical with superlatives.

Use them too much, and they are devalued.

That being written, I have no reservation stringing together superlatives to describe "Friday at the Field,'' a new promotion by the Cleveland Indians.

During the baseball season, on Fridays when the Indians are on the road, buffet-style lunch is being served at the Terrace Club from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The quality of the food alone makes this a great attraction.

The price - $11 per-person, including non-alcoholic beverage - makes it a stupendous bargain.

This isn't ballpark-style fare, either.

Rather, it's an enticing blend of dishes you'll find at upscale restaurants where $11 will get you one appetizer (maybe).

On the Friday just past, I took my wife, Marcia, to the Terrace Club for the third installment of "Friday at the Field.'' We were celebrating her birthday. She'd accompanied me to the Terrace Club some years ago for a wine-tasting event sponsored by WVIZ-TV 25, so she knew it was a nice place with a wonderful view of the ballpark's playing surface and grandstands.

In early April, just before Opening Day, I'd partaken of the "Friday at the Field'' fare during the team's "What's New at Progressive Field'' media event. I'd seen and sampled a bit of everything, from salads to fresh vegetables to sauteed vegetables to pasta, potatoes au gratin, baked salmon and, of course, desserts.

The main thoughts in my mind during that media preview were, in order: "All this for 11 bucks?'' and, "Marcia would love this.''

Marcia did love it. She filled her plate with healthy stuff, all vegetables, prepared in various ways. I went with a spring-mix salad, sauteed vegetables, potatoes au gratin, macaroni-and-cheese and cup of clam chowder (light broth).

For dessert, we each had a yogurt parfait. We also split an eclair.

Before we left, we chatted with Dan Smith, the Tribe's Vice President of Food and Beverage, and Greg Gaskins, Director of Food and Beverage for Cleveland Sportservice.

Dan and Greg both were smiling, for all the right reasons. We weren't the only patrons raving about the food and the ambience. Business was brisk, too. Dan said the crowds have been steadily building. No surprise there. The word-of-mouth on "Friday at the Field'' must be as off-the-charts good as the food.

Reservations aren't required for "Friday at the Field,'' but I'd recommend making them. The phone number is 216-420-4040. If you haven't been to the Terrace Club before, the entrance is adjacent to the left-field gate.

Upcoming dates for "Friday at the Field'' are May 15, May 22 and June 5.

David S. Glasier