A Weekend In Lovely Cleveland

Cleveland. Who knew?

When my dear husband invited me to come along on his work trip to Cleveland, I was a bit hesitant. But he wooed me with the promise of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and dinner at Michael Symon’s restaurant, Lola.

Rest assured that I booked my own flight for this trip – I did not want a repeat of the trip to Cape Cod.

After a series of flight delays (causing us to wonder why we just didn’t drive ourselves from Chicago), me made it to Cleveland late Saturday afternoon.

Peter grew up in nearby Akron but has rarely been back to the area since his parents moved away 30 years ago.

During those 30 years, Cleveland has gone downhill then come back up again.

Thanks to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a new ballpark, downtown casino and the loyalty of local folks like Chef Michael Symon, the city has rebuilt itself as a great destination.

And all over the city there are signs that Cleveland is filled with optimism for the future.

The hotel we stayed in used to be an urban shopping area called The Arcade. Its stunning atrium gives a hint of the bygone era while clearly showing hope that the glory days will return in full force.

Hyatt Cleveland

Setting up for a wedding in the atrium.

Honestly, if this building was in New York or Chicago it would be one of the hottest spots in town.

The location was perfect: within walking distance of all the downtown attractions and easy access to the 4th Street dining area.

4th Street Dining are

Our destination for dinner was Chef Michael Symon’s restaurant, Lola.

Lola Cleveland

Peter was smitten the moment the waitress brought over the wine list on an iPad.

Peter spent hours an appropriate amount of time pouring over the wine choices then deep diving to screen after screen showing tasting notes, recommendations and all sorts of geeky wine info.


We started our meal with the Corn and Pepper Soup special and the Burrata and Stone Fruit appetizer (with Thai basil, puffed rice and banyuls vinegar).

Corn soup and burrata and stone fruit starters

Talk about bliss!

Peter paired our starters with a Sancerre (the French version of Sauvignon Blanc with less of the citrusy quality found in California Sauvignon Blanc) and a Dry Riesling. Perfection!

For his main course, Peter chose the Smoked Pork Chop with chiles, creamed corn and BBQ onions.

I didn’t get a picture of it because I was too mesmerized by my dish: Beef Hangar Steak with pickle sauce (?!?!), chiles and Lola fries.

Hangar steak with pickle sauce

The pickle sauce was intriguing. Hard to describe. It really just gave a hint of that salty, vinagery flavor of pickles. Delicious beyond words.

Peter paired our main courses with a fabulous 2009 Chateau St. Georges Saint-Emilion from Bordeaux.

2009 St. Georges Saint-Emilion

Peter and I have been lucky enough to dine in lots and lots of amazing restaurants and both agree we would put Lola right up there with the best of them.

Be sure to book a reservation at Lola on your next (first?) trip to Cleveland. You will not be disappointed.

After dinner we stopped into a couple of places to listen to music. This guy, at Zocolo, was fantastic.

Zocolo singer

He sang all the favorites you would hear at a wedding: Brown Eyed Girl, Living on a Prayer, Sweet Caroline… You name it, he sang it.

It was the perfect wedding day prep for the table of adorable bachelorette party goers celebrating a night on the town.

And speaking of music…

Up next, a definite “must-see” destination, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. You are right…who knew? The steak is making me hungry and the Arcade looks like a fabulous place to shop. Thanks for sharing…no plans to head to Cleveland, but if I do I have a few places to visit.
    Beemie recently posted…Resistance…My Profile

  2. What fun! Cleveland looks charming and what a well kept secret. I love being delightfully surprised like that. When I think of Cleveland I think of that Drew Carey show – so glad you shared a different perspective.
    Barbara recently posted…How will you celebrate a milestone birthday?My Profile

  3. I always love your recommendations for wines….very spot on and I like that you offer an affordable price range. I was wondering if you could add a section on Rose’s?
    Thanks and keep those posts coming….always enjoy!!!

  4. WOW, Cleveland is my home town and it is under rated. I’m glad you had a nice time and hit some of the hot spots. Marla

  5. Hubby and I went to Cleveland six years ago, mainly because we were it was a cheap flight on Southwest when we were looking for a getaway. We had a great time!
    Kathy G recently posted…Vacay 2015–Another Day, Another City, Another Country.My Profile

  6. An iPod wine list?? Now that is funky.
    I’ve only been to Cleveland once, despite the fact that my uncle lives there. He just always comes east to us.
    When we were moving to California, we stopped in Cleveland to visit. It was a lovely day. We stayed so long that we didn’t get to our next destination until late, and quite honestly, leads to a story for another day. Let’s just say that Cleveland led to the birth of our first baby.
    Tamara recently posted…FROZEN Inspired Grape Pops.My Profile

  7. Who would have known that Cleveland would be so interesting. Glad to come across your post as I will be heading back to Ohio in 2016 for a family reunion (which I was kind of thinking ‘Ohio? really?’) but now I am actually looking forward to it after reading this post 😀
    Chanel recently posted…Weekend Getaway Ideas for the Part-Time Traveler: #JetsetterRoundupsMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you found me, Chanel! I spent lots of time in Ohio in my early married years before my in-laws moved away. Boring!!! Now, however, it’s a different story! Hope you enjoy your visit next year! I hear that Michael Symon is opening another restaurant in 2016 so be sure to check that out!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Plant A TreeMy Profile

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