Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cleveland - Westside Market

Last week while we were in Cleveland visiting DB~'s brother, he took us to Ohio City (5 minute ride outside center city Cleveland -- think of the North Shore) and the Westside Market.  DB~'s brother is pretty low-key and really undersold the Market.  When we first walked into one of the auxillary areas, it was a long, narrow row of vendors hawking their fruits and vegetables.

It was cool, but after seeing stand after stand of the same stuff, I started to think "Is this it?"

Then her brother said, "Are you ready to check out the main part of the Market?" and we went inside this ornate building that had exterior cornices of various fruits and vegetables.  Inside, we felt like we were inside a converted railroad terminal; there was white subway tile up the walls that led to a vaulted ceiling that was covered in dark tile.

Imagine the entire Strip District, but inside a giant enclosed space that protected you from the elements.  The day we were there, it was a rainy, cold Saturday that was miserable to walk around outside.  The Westside Market had everything -- pierogies, fresh pasta, crepes, gyros, spices, Mediterranean food, fish, butchers, cheeses, noodle huts, Asian spice and stands, chocolates, plus tons more that I'm forgetting.

Her brother said that the gyro at Steve's Gyros was a must-get.  Again, in his understated way, to say this was an ordinary gyro would be an insult to Steve's Gyros.  For $8, you get an obscene amount of meat, lettuce, and tomatoes, but the kicker was the garlic-heavy tzatziki sauce.  The gyro meat itself was well-seasoned, but the sauce put the whole thing over the top.  To say nothing of the fantastically plump pita shell, as well.

Both DB~'s brother and I got gyros, while DB~ got a lemon ricotta crepe at the crepe stand.  She bypassed her Kryptonite of nutella to go for the lemon ricotta crepe.  She loved it and she definitely knows her crepes.

After our lunch, we bought some fresh asparagus marscapone ravioli from Ohio City Pasta and brought it back to Pittsburgh to eat.  We walked around to see all the vendors and I struck up a conversation with Michelle of Michelle's Bakery.  She was a warm woman that said she and her stand had been here at the Westside Market for 32 years.  This was her only location and business has always been great.  Judging by her nearly 1/2 empty cases by 12:30 pm, it seems that the metro area of Cleveland agrees with her.  We asked her about the history of the building and she said it had always been a municipal market.  It was celebrating the 100 year anniversary in 2012 and it was one of, if not the oldest municipal markets in the country.

This market made me want to buy something at every stand.  If we didn't have a 2 hour drive the next day, I probably would have done just that.  It's a definite must-go if you go to Cleveland.

** None of DB~'s pictures from her camera were able to upload for some reason.  I'll add them at a later date if I can figure it out.

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