Weekend in Cleveland

October has been kind of a low volume blogging month for us. Honestly, we haven’t made a whole lot worth remembering. This is a little sad because there are so many good food holidays we should have been celebrating in October. (We’ve missed Noodle Day AND Pasta Day – though why those are two separate holidays is beyond me! We also bailed on Dessert Day, Gumbo Day, Pumpkin Pie Day, Taco Day, Red Wine Day, and Chocolate Cupcake Day ☹️ So many missed opportunities! We were also at an event on World Food Day, which I was hoping to make a yearly celebration after discovering what it was all about last year (see: Syrian Mini Meatballs (Dawood Basha)).)

Enough about what we haven’t done this month. One thing we did this month was visit Selim’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. We love our visits to Cleveland for many reasons (family and friends chief among them 🖤), but we also always have excellent food! Cleveland is by far one of the most underrated food cities. Cleveland is definitely a city of immigrants, from the Central & Eastern Europeans of the 1900s to the Hispanic and Middle Eastern newer arrivers. And luckily, that creates a delicious melting pot of foods of all ethnicities.

We tried Brazilian food for the first time outside of those yummy, but kitchsy Brazilian steakhouses. Batuqui was delicious and definitely not kitschy, though Selim did have an amazing garlic-rubbed steak! We also stopped at Selim’s favorite Italian bakery, Presti’s, in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood. And to round out the culinary highlights of the trip, Selim took me on my first milkshake date to Tommy’s. The milkshakes definitely live up to their reputation 😍

So, in conclusion, no recipe today, but some pictures of Selim with his favorite Cleveland treats!

Cleveland Polish Boy

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For those of you who are living under a baseball-free rock, Game 6 of the World Series is tonight! The Cleveland Indians are currently beating the Chicago Cubs 3-2 in the series. The series has shifted back to Cleveland for the last two games, and Cleveland fans everywhere are on edge, hoping that the Indians will clinch it at home! Selim is from Cleveland and is a die-hard loyal Cleveland sports fanatic. Ally has adopted Cleveland sports teams as her own, with the highs & lows that come with being a Cleveland fan. We’re all crossing our fingers for potentially the second high of 2016 with the Indians winning the World Series for the first time since 1948. (The first high of 2016, for those who also live under a basketball-free rock, was when the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship this summer. The Cavs’ win marked the first championship for a Cleveland-area professional sports since the Browns won the 1964 NFL Championship [the “Super Bowl” didn’t exist then…], ending 52 years and 147 seasons without a championship.) Let’s just say Clevelanders are pretty happy about the year 2016.

In order to help our team win tonight, all the way from South Carolina, we decided to be as “Cleveland” as possible. We’re both rockin’ Cleveland t-shirts today and cranked up some Machine Gun Kelly Cleveland hype music in the car. And we decided to make the most Cleveland dinner possible to eat while watching the game!

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Enter the Polish Boy. The epitome of Cleveland, right there on a bun. This traditional Cleveland food embraces the city’s melting pot, working class heritage. Several articles tentatively attribute the first Polish Boy to Virgil Whitmore, who operated Whitmore’s BBQ in the 1940s. His grandson acknowledges he’s not sure exactly where the idea originated, but that, “It wasn’t Poland, that’s for sure.” Maybe we should rename it the Cleveland Boy.

So what is a Polish Boy? It’s a bun with kielbasa on it, topped with coleslaw, French fries, and BBQ sauce +/- a little hot sauce. If that doesn’t sound indulgently amazing to you, we can no longer be friends. To make the best Polish Boy possible, you want your bun to be toasty, your kielbasa to be hot, your slaw to be creamy, and your fries to be crispy! Bon appetit baby!

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Polish Boy

Ingredients: 
  • 1 large link of kielbasa
  • 1 hoagie roll
  • 1/4 cup of coleslaw (Try our homemade version!)
  • A big handful of French fries
  • A healthy drizzle of BBQ sauce
  • A dash of hot sauce, if desired
Instructions: 
  1. Prepare your French fries as your prefer (bake, deep-fry…)
  2. Grill or pan-fry your kielbasa. Slice it in half length-wise.
  3. Toast your bun.
  4. Put the kielbasa on the bun. Top with coleslaw, sauces, and fries. Fries go on top!
  5. Try to close the bun around all this deliciousness. Fail miserably. Eat anyway. Get really messy. Love it.
Obviously this only makes one sandwich. You’ll want to make more to share.