Time for another Adventures post!
On Wednesday evening, Karen and I went to a relatively new restaurant in Clintonville called The Crest. The Crest is a gastropub. What is a gastropub, you ask? Good question. But they’ve been popping up everywhere, and I, for one, am happy about it. The O-HI-30 definition of a gastropub is “elevated American / bar food” – think burgers, FRIES, interesting salads, bacon wrapped dates – that kind of thing. And oh, yea, really good craft beer, wine, and some fancy overpriced cocktails. Basically – my ideal kind of restaurant. I’ve dined at The Crest just once before, on a cold rainy Sunday night when I was 120% stressed about school. I enjoyed it then, but this time – I was in love.
One of the downsides of The Crest is their no reservation policy. No reservations + popularity = 45+ min wait on a Wednesday night. By the time we were seated, we were starving and quickly put in an order for two draft beers (some Fat Head pilsner – NE Ohio love!) and the most amazing appetizer ever: Cauliflower Gratin. Gratin is code for baked cheesy goodness (another professional O-HI-30 definition), typically potato style. But in true gastropub style, this was elevated to new heights with the use of Cauliflower. It was served in a mini cast iron skillet (adorable) with some tasty bread for dipping:
I wasn’t really in the mood for a burger, but I was in the mood for fries (duh). I also felt like a salad. So I decided to order three sides for my meal: a beet and goat cheese salad, Zaatar fries, and – wait for it – a side of mac & cheese! Apparently I felt that I needed more baked cheese. As is typically the case when starving, I over-ordered and then proceeded to overeat the first set of cheesy goodness, so by the time my dinner came, I was already pretty full. #champagne problems. So I took almost all of the mac & cheese home, which made a great Saturday afternoon lunch. Karen ordered a burger, which she said was good but we both agreed that the bun was lame and would not meet my mother’s bun standards (“a boring bun”).
Upon first bite, the beet salad was heaven. But as I continued to eat, it became a bit too much. Too vingery or something. I liked it, but I didn’t finish it. I also was expecting it to be more of a green salad with beets instead of a beet salad with a few greens, although it was beautiful. The fries, of course, were amazing. They were tossed in Zaatar seasoning, which is kind of like a cajun spice blend. Karen’s sweet potato fries were also good. And the mac & cheese was perhaps not anything to write home about, but I liked it – also served in an adorable cast iron skillet!
The service was superb (which is more than can be said for the service at Bareburger last night 😦 ), the food was great, and the atmosphere was lively. I’m already planning my return visit post-triathlon in two weeks!
Triathlon: T-2 Weeks!
As you might recall from this post, I had a bike accident two weeks ago when riding the trail. It took some time, but I’m finally starting to feel better. I really pulled my pectoral muscle, and it hurt so much Dr. Ash convinced me to get an x-ray – just to set expectations (there isn’t much that can be done for a cracked rib). So that I did on Wednesday, and happily it came back clear. Maybe it’s the placebo effect, but I started feeling better on Thursday and it’s much better now. I still can’t hold a plank position for more than a few seconds, so I won’t be going back to my personal trainer quite yet, but I’m very happy I didn’t do any real damage and that it’s finally feeling better.
Now that the physical discomfort is pretty much gone, it was time to tackle the mental discomfort – getting back on the bike. More specifically, riding the turns that have landed me on my butt twice in the past two years! I’m what you’d call a nervous biker – I’m much more comfortable on my two feet, and even then I’m not 100%. But I knew I needed to get back on the saddle, and soon – my Olympic Tri is just two weeks away!
So get back on the saddle I did! This morning, my friend Matt and I hit the trail for a 25+ mile out-and-back ride. He set the pace, I attempted to keep up, and we rode to the most northern part of the trail – a personal distance best for me. While I was nervous every single turn, I didn’t fall, and felt surprisingly good. Thanks, Matt, for a great ride!
Quick shout-out to my hometown Cleveland, Ohio! In case you haven’t heard, it was a big week for Cleveland. First, the announcement that the blue-collar, largely democratic city beat out Dallas, TX to be the host of the 2016 Republican National Convention. A very interesting move by the red party, indeed. My parents will either need to leave town that weekend, or I’ll need to drive up to picket. I’m leaning towards the latter. And then, LBJ (no, not Lyndon B. Johnson) announced (in much better form than the last time) his Decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Two things I’ve learned from this: A. People have short memories when it serves their best interest and B. People mature.
Lately, I’ve been eating out. A lot. I haven’t been in much of a cooking mood for quite some time now. I blame it partially on grad school – I was majorly burnt out on packing lunch and dinner when I finally gave up on that in the last nine months of school. But I’ve now been out of school for more than six months, and it’s time to get back in the cooking groove. If not for the fact that I might actually enjoy it, then for the fact that both my money supply and vegetable consumption are dwindling.
So on that note, I’m going to cook some dinner now – which will double as a packed lunch tomorrow. Matt gave me an extremely large zucchini from his garden, so that will play at least a supporting role in this meal. Stay tuned for what that meal is – and my tips for getting out of a packed lunch rut!
Z’aatar is a middle-eastern herb spice which is a mix of unique flavors that is typically added to bread products but also could be sprinkled on virtually anything. Worth a trip to your local middle-east food supply store. When you are there – buy also Harissa – another great north Africa spice that looks more like a diced salsa. Sarah LOVES it – and so will you.