Sunday, October 7, 2007

Saturday in Tremont and the West Side Market

Although there are many fine neighborhoods in Cleveland, in the few weeks I've lived here I have not encountered one as charming in Tremont. I find myself looking for excuses to go over there, whether to pick up a book at Visible Voice, have a fancy burger or plate of killer mac and cheese during happy hour at Lolita, or take my dog for a stroll through Lincoln Park.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a great afternoon. After dropping my dog-der off at the Mutt Hutt, for some exercise and affection by the great staff there, I stopped by Visible Voice and dropped off a Steve Keene painting inspired by The Replacements. Did you know that the bookstore's moniker was inspired by lyrics from a Replacements song? I didn't, until it was announced the other night there, during a byob issue kick-off event for the newly-resurrected Cleveland Reader. Before I knew that, I just thought the store was cool. Now, well, I think it is really cool.

After dropping off the painting and flipping through the Kerouac section -- the 50th anniversary of On the Road is this year -- I departed for Asterisk, Dana DePew's addictively energetic gallery on Professor, where I was picking up some more art, this time for myself. At the September Art Walk, I had been struck by one of the prints in the Mark Mothersbaugh exhibition. Stopping back few a couple days later, during the Tremont Arts Fest, I decided to purchase it and now the piece was finally ready to be brought home. After getting the print, talking with Dana about next month's show by Arabella Proffer and about the tough contest the Browns faced the next day versus the Patriots, I headed over to Lincoln Park.

Camped out in the park were a group of Civil War reenactors, members of the Voluntary 8th Ohio Regiment. The whole "dress up and play war" thing isn't exactly my scene, but I was raised in a family that took vacations to Civil War battlefields and worshipped the image of Abe Lincoln, so I found the event pretty interesting.

After that, I crossed the street to get a cup of coffee and a slice of turtle cheesecake at Civilization. I hadn't been there yet, but the guys at Visible Voice had endorsed it a couple times, so I figured where better to read Khaled Abou El Fadl's book, The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. El Fadl is coming to Cleveland to give a lecture on the rise of Islamic Extremism and Islamophobia next week and I wanted to at least be conversant with respect to his argument. Civilization was cool, though I don't see myself frequenting it on a regular basis, and I was only able to get through 1 chapter and about 1/3 of the cheesecake before the heat of the cafe got to me. My out-of-shape ass sweats enough when I'm hiking about town, the last thing I want to do is sweat when I'm sitting indoors trying to read and relax.

A look at my watch (actually, my cell phone, since I don't wear a watch) told me I didn't have to pick up Ellie for a few more hours, so I headed back over to Ohio City to do some shopping at the gourmet emporium that is the West Side Market. An hour and about $15 bucks later, I headed to my apartment with some grape tomatoes, a 1/2 pound of shitake mushrooms, and a decent slab of boneless pork loin. Stops at the nearby dollar store and the Dave's super-market remedied some of the deficiencies in my cooking utensil collection.

By the time I returned home, unloaded everything, it was time to pick up Ellie. We came back home, and she went straight to bed, tuckered out by an afternoon of playing like a puppy with her Mutt Hutt friends. I watched the Cubs lose to the Diamondbacks while making an ancho-shitake marinade for the pork loin. After the game ended, I headed over to the Duck Island for a couple brews, then hiked back home to roast the pork, have another delicious solo dinner, and call it a day. A last minute long distance phone call put that all off for a few hours, but eventually the day came to a close.

I couldn't ask for a better Saturday.

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