Saturday, March 13, 2010

Adventures in the West Side

Hungarian bread.
Pig's feet.
Bison burgers.
Quail eggs.
The best gyros in the U. S. of A.
     This is but a taste (hehe) of the many food items one can find at Cleveland's West Side Market.  It was... an experience for us, to say the least.  You see, one of our problems has been that Luke has all of these cookbooks with exotic ingredients; the recipes all look good, but there is invariably at least one or two things that a guy can't find at a normal grocery store.  Today, we happened to be in the Cleveland area and we checked the West Side Market out.  We were hardly prepared for what we found.
     The place is a zoo, with a weird kind of anthill-style order to it.  Everything seems to flow, even though nobody is sure exactly where they're going most of the time; it's not really about the destination anyways.  You wander, comment on some weird meats, stare longingly at the pastries, and every now and then stop to buy whatever tickles your fancy.  Everything looks fresh, and you know it probably is.  It's noisy and crowded, but fascinating, like an elevator full of Sean Connerys.
     We have procured some very interesting foods, some of which you will probably see in future entries.  We decided about halfway through that we'd have to go back there sometime, because A.) there was too much good food to get all at once, B.) it was an eye-opening experience that merits further investigation, and C.) we were already carrying about 6 heavy bags.  Specifically, we'd like to get some pork belly for some of the crazy recipes in Luke's Momofoku book; that's the kind of thing that you find at the West Side Market.
     That whole "best gyros in the U. S. of A." thing? That was not a lie, and not just personal opinion.  Maxim magazine rated Steve's Gyros the best gyros in the country in 2007.  Steve's gyros is a market stand at the West Side Market that looks like every other market stand in the place.  The one thing that set it apart for us was the fact that the line was about 20 people long when we first saw it (no other stands had lines in front of them.)  In my personal opinion, I would have waited twice as long to get that little piece of heaven; it was a small, rare incidence of perfection on this Earth.  Many thanks to @Steponice who suggested this little gyro stand to Luke.
     If it were more convenient, I'm sure we would go to the West Side Market or some other similar place more often. It's fresh, variant, and kind of an adventure in itself.  If you have a similar open-market style place near you, don't write it off because it's not a grocery store; give it a try! Or you could fly all the way to Cleveland to get one of them gyros...  I certainly wouldn't blame you.

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