Here’s to new food options in Avon Lake!

Avon Lake is a great place to call home. I am happy it is mine. If it has one shortcoming though, a lack of quality food options might be it. I find the restaurant options to be somewhat limited and lacking and, frankly, I think I’m being kind by putting it this way. There’s pizza, pizza and more pizza, a couple of Asian choices and then a smattering of other spots that I don’t hate but don’t love. A few spots easily qualify for an episode Gordon Ramsay’s  Kitchen Nightmares. The town has seen many cafes and restaurants come and go: Bar Symon, Atlanta Bread Company, Arabica and the list goes on. Not sure of the specifics around each closing but I assume it is the standard reason – patronage volumes that are lower than required to sustain the business.

Perhaps I’m a harsher critic as I have a handful of particulars to consider when selecting a restaurant: I’m vegetarian, my husband is a carnivore and we have a child under 2. I also want to mention that I’m a bit of a foodie who is also into natural and organic foods. Add to this that I’m also a big proponent of supporting local, independent resturants. Surely you can see that my finding qualified food options  falls just shy of a mini miracle.

The good news is that several new spots just opened or will be shortly within Avon Lake so I’ll have some new options and so will you!

Jenni Juggs (Now Open!)

Photo credit: Lori E. Switaj

The name is interesting and certainly memorable. One might interpret it for a different type of establishment (or at least this is the reaction I’ve received from most people when I share the name) but the truth is that it is billed as a quaint spot offering finger-lickin’ good Southern Comfort Food. This is certainly a new category to be represented in the far west side of Cleveland. The menu features the expected southern classics: chicken and waffles, cornmeal-crusted catfish, hush puppies, cole slaw and sweet tea. The “sides” menu is tempting enough for me to order just from it. Recent reviews that I’ve read report a cute and pleasant atmosphere, tasty mac ‘n’ cheese and cornbread and promises of return visits.

The location is on the eastern end of Avon Lake in the northern end of the Learwood Plaza (the Giant Eagle plaza, as locals refer to it) and is the fully renovated former home of an Italian restaurant (another example of an Avon Lake restaurant gone bye-bye). I’m tickled as this location is a five-minute bike ride from my house making it a great choice for a weekday dinner or a weekend brunch spot. With the addition of Jenni Juggs, the Learwood Plaza has become an even more enjoyable, diverse destination. You can get a pedicure at Luxury Nails, enjoy an order of fried green tomatoes at Jenni Juggs, browse a newly opened Goodwill location, stop by the Ron Zehel Guitar Center for a new set of strings, and finally grab a few groceries at Giant Eagle.

Hours: Tuesday- Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday brunch, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and regular service 2 p.m .- 9 p.m. Takeout is also available. 440-653-5255

Cafe Melissa (Coming November 2012!)

I recently enjoyed a veggie burger from Sweet Melissa at the 2012 Avon Lake Summer Market. I’ve also enjoyed their food at their Rocky River location over the last several years. While ordering my burger at the Summer Market, I overheard talk that they would be opening a location in Avon Lake come this November. I was thrilled at the news! (I was also thrilled when they gave me a Free Appetizer gift card for the new location.)

The Sweet Melissa location in Avon Lake will be called Cafe Melissa and will be open for breakfast every day starting at 9 a.m. The menu is to be announced although I’m hoping that at least most of my favorites from the Rocky River location will carry over. The Cafe Melissa location will be in the former Donatos building on Walker Road just West of Route 83/Avon Belden Road.

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

A Mediterranean Restaurant (Coming soon!)

So, I have to say that I don’t have any confirmed info on this new food offering other than what I have heard through the grapevine around town but I want to believe it so I’m sharing! The story is that a new Mediterranean restaurant is opening in the former Tucky’s location (ah, yet another former Avon Lake restaurant and, wow, this one really didn’t last long). There are signs of work being started at the former Tucky’s location so there could be some validity to the rumors. Let’s hope so. Location-wise, it is literally a stone’s throw from the new Jenni Juggs. Hopefully, with two very different cuisines, the restaurants will complement versus threaten each other. I’ll be sure to share more on this one as news develop!

Let’s eat!

So for now, give Jenni Juggs a try and let me know what you think! I will be checking it out soon myself and using the $10 gift card that they gave to the Luxury Nails salon to distribute to its customers. (Kudos to both Jenni Juggs and Cafe Melissa for including an enticement in their grand opening promotional efforts. It works!)


Vacuum breakdown.

Just a quick post to share that while a broken vacuum can be a real inconvenience, it can also be a blessing. It’s quite freeing to not spend your time thinking about how you should be vacuuming or actually vacuuming. Ours conked out on us late last week and I don’t really miss it. (Don’t get it twisted – we borrowed one from family and took it for a spin around the house yesterday. Between us and our white cat shedding, we’d be buried if we didn’t.)

It’s just been kinda nice without the vacuum being too readily close by guilting me. Just one less thing to think/worry/stress/obsess about. More time to think about stuff that matters.

sunday in july.

if there is one thing that having a baby forces you to do that is live in the moment and take it one day at a time. so, here’s my post about today, a sunday in july.

the day started off playing with lucy and all of her toys on the living room floor. some bad dane cook movie on in the background. little lucy was still battling her ear infection that was diagnosed yesterday at the ER (a great way to start the weekend, by the way) and the subsequent fever. but i could tell she was beginning to pull out of it by her interest in her bevy of toys!

hubby and i worked up the energy to go check out made in the 216 down on 4th street. it felt a little like the day after the party with things picked over and a bit bare. the photo booth was fun though and we took full advantage of it. felt great to get out of the house and lucy was a trooper and hung in there while we stopped by target afterward to grab socks.

after being back at home for a bit, we decided it was pool time! we scored a super cute little whale-shaped pool at target a few weeks back and were excited to test it out. it was lucy’s first time wearing her yellow polka dot bikini too. and…probably her last as it is snug. (i bought it when she was maybe 2 weeks old and boy is kids’ clothing sizing terribly off. can someone fix that already?)

then lucy napped (hooray) and joe worked on his scooter and i worked on some new mini cake stands that will soon be for sale at salty not sweet (@saltycleveland).

and now, with ohio city four cheese ravioli in our stomachs and showers had, things are winding down. lucy is asleep but not so sure for how long with her not feeling well.

today felt like a bit of a marathon (especially with a sick kiddo) and i know that it’s not over yet (again, kiddo) but if i step back for a moment i can see that it was a good one. i think i just need to remember to step back more often.

Happy New Year. Happy New Baby.

2011 really will be a year full of HAPPY and NEW for me. Any day now, I will meet my little person who has been growing inside me (and kicking me with what feels like stilettos) for the past 8.5 months. Pregnancy is a wild, fascinating ride but it is these last few weeks that are the most intense both physically and emotionally. I am literally sitting around waiting to go through labor and delivery (not the easiest thing I hear) and to have my life change forever when I see my baby for the first time. It is…indescribable.

Every so often, my husband or I will abruptly announce to the other–“We’re going to have a baby”–as if it is new news. I just think that the human brain can’t grasp such a large concept. And yet I realize that people have babies every day.

So here is to a HAPPY first year for me, my husband and our little one, and our family and friends. May it be filled with sweet little grins and giggles.

An old rocking chair fixed up with cotton candy pink spray paint and Amy Butler fabric purchased at Stitch Cleveland

a different perspective on clutter.

clutter is the poetry of our homes. it is an intimate view that is not always perfect–a few dishes in the sink, books piled next to the bed. everything in its place may give a certain satisfaction, but a lived-in room exudes comfort and warmth.”

-mary randolph carter, author of “a perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life”

doesn’t this make you feel just a little better about things not always being in their place?

mindful eating.

mindful is probably a word we need to remember to put in front of most verbs these days. good examples would be mindful driving or mindful listening. but awareness is also a good thing when we’re talking about what you decide to put in your body.

this morning, i ran across a fun-to-read article on this topic that even includes some pretty simple recipes at the end and wanted to share: HOMEMADE CONDIMENTS: JUST LIKE GRANDMA MADE. i’m excited to try the homemade hummus recipe. i think i’ve finally hit a  point where i need to move on from trader joe’s hummus or at least take a break.

the article is on a new magazine’s site called shoestring: good for the wallet, good for the planet. it’s a cute, easy-to-navigate site with all kinds of thrifty and eco ideas. so check out the article. i’m off to explore the site some more!

four ingredients.

roasted brussel sprouts and shallots (ina garten’s recipe)

what you need:

brussel sprouts


olive oil

course salt

figure out the ratios of the above to your liking. then chop off the ends of the sprouts and discard the outer leaves. then half or quarter them depending on size. chop up your shallots into small strips. spread the brussel sprouts and shallots on a cookie sheet. (one with sides is best.) drizzle with olive oil and add your salt. toss. throw it in the oven at 400 degrees and roast for 25-35 minutes. pull the pan out once during that time and shake the ingredients around so they evenly cook.

and then enjoy. so yummy and so easy! not to mention, it’s a full serving of veggies, my friends!

what $14.14 gets you at goodwill.

i decided to hit up goodwill in avon lake today. uh, it was packed. it was insanity. apparently saturday is THE day to go to goodwill. i’m glad i faced the crowd though because i found a few gems. and i got them all for a grand total of $14.14.!

the bowls

i scored a set of two small bowls that are the perfect size for filling with a hearty helping of soup this winter. they are marked with “mancer” on the bottom. i tried to google this but couldn’t find much except that it is italian. the colors are great and i especially love the “drips” on the inside edges.

the plate

this is the mystery item i purchased. it is an approximately 9″ plate marked on the bottom with “the bailey-walker vitrified china 1929“. but that marking doesn’t explain the big “M” bannered with “OHIO” on the top of the plate. any ideas?

and a bassinet

after i purchased this, i texted my husband to inform him we were the proud owners of bassinet. i don’t think he believed me at first. but here’s the deal. this bassinet is in great shape and was only $6. and i’ve been looking for one to use at craft shows to display my lovely ruby alabama items. so, now i have one. and who knows–maybe it will come in handy some day for its real purpose.

tomato soup and cast iron skillet cornbread.

i made two recipes from my new cookbook veganomicon by isa chandra moskowitz and terry hope romero. i was so pleased and relieved when they both turned out to be delicious and satisfying. i say relieved because there is nothing worse than spending loads of dough on ingredients, slaving in the kitchen for two hours and then sitting down to a less than tasty meal.

you would never know that the creamy tomato soup is vegan. i used two cans of fire roasted tomatoes. one of the two had diced peppers in it which kicked up the heat a notch or two. it was a nice touch. my husband awarded the highest of compliments to this soup. he said it was a soup he would expect to get at the souper market. and note–he is not a vegan. so that is double the points!

the cornbread has a great texture. it’s not too sweet either–just right. i’ve made other vegan cornbread recipes and none compare to this one. and there is something about making it in the cast iron skillet that makes it even more special.

i’m eyeing up a few other recipes in this book including leek and bean cassoulet with biscuits. leeks are so magical. plus it’s another opportunity to use my cast iron skillet.