10 Hours in Gordon Square: Dinner, Drinks, and a Birthday Pickle
Last Friday, for our dear friend Lilia’s 29th (+ maybe a few) birthday, Lisa and I headed up to CLE to help her celebrate. After a short deliberation of where to go – E. 4th, Gordon Square or Tremont, we settled on Gordon Square, one of our favorite walkable neighborhoods. Infested with bearded, sweater-capped, plaid-shirted hipsters, yes, but still a fave.
Despite the Cleveland weather gods playing cruel April jokes on us – 85 degree on Thursday, 45 on Friday – we had a truly unforgettable night. Read on…
The three of us met bright and early at Luxe Cleveland at 5 PM, actually 4:55 PM, and found Luxe to be not yet open. Lilia poked her head in before 5 PM and said she “died a death by a hundred hipster servers” for trying to enter early. LOL.
At 5:01, we took our seats in the lounge for happy hour. If you don’t care to go on reading this ridiculously long narrative, let me sum up now by saying GO TO LUXE FOR HAPPY HOUR; it’s unbelievable. Take it from some happy hour aficionados, this was our best happy hour experience EVER. Several delicious specialty cocktails were only $5.50 and craft beers were $3.75.
For food, with a little help from our charming-slash-difficult server Adam, we ordered three of their “Snacks,” each $5:
- Arancini – fried balls of risotto with smoked pimento aioli
- Vegetable Frito – sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, shishito peppers, morrocan spiced tahini
- Belgian Frites with candied jalapenos, brie fondue and bacon jam. Wowzers.
We’re still debating which was best; honestly, I’d order them every day and twice on Sundays. Their pizzas were also on special for $6, so we ordered the Bianco to share. I think we got equal amusement from the delicious taste as we did the pizza’s “ripe” smell. …We’re three girls with the sense of humor of 14-year-old boys.
It was all simply amazing, and aside from our love-hate (but really love) relationship with Adam, he presented Lilia with a birthday pickle at the end our meal, which further confirmed our confused feelings toward him.
Our bill? $17 each for this feast and two drinks a piece. SOLD…can’t wait to go back.
78th ST STUDIOS
After Luxe, we moved on to Third Fridays at 78th St. Studios, in what used to be American Greetings’ creative studio and before that the Baker Electric Motor Vehicle Company, where we pretended to appreciate art. We really DO appreciate art (sometimes), but had zero cash for the wine tasting, and some odd things happened as well. …Like one of the vendors grasped Lilia’s hand and whispered sweet nothings in her ear. Oh, artists.
Our fave, though, was the “wood” room – actually Susie Frazier‘s collection of art pieces and jewelry made from salvaged wood. Lilia already has one of the pieces in her home, and I assure you Lisa and I will soon, too.
Another fave was watching a live fashion-shoot. We’re DYING to get photographed by that guy. And he was totally giving us the “you girls are supermodels, aren’t you” vibe.
If nothing else, though, go to check out the space. So many old industrial details in the architecture; we were completely fascinated as we roamed from room to room.
After seeing a sculpture of Johnny Depp, however, we knew it was time to move on. So, naturally, we went in search of wine. Lisa nearly killed us with her horrendous city driving, but somehow we made our way to Toast, a new place on W. 65th, steps from the Capitol Theatre. It’s in what must be an old house, and we loved the cozy yet modern vibe – rustic wood tables, candles of saints burning on each table, and a drink menu to die for. I can’t speak to the food, but the craft cocktails are not to be missed.
We met up with a couple other Clevelanders who we’ve gotten to know through Twitter, and in their words, we’re way more fun than they anticipated. YEAH, WE KNOW. Thanks, guys.
What we thought would be a brief stop turned into several hours of fun and ridiculous conversation. Here are our collective drink recs:
- Moscow Mule – Vodka, lime juice, local ginger beer. No traditional copper cup, but still fabulous.
- Old Trafford – Gin, lime juice, pineapple gomme, Toast grapefruit bitters.
- Red Wine – Toast prides itself on serving uncommon wines; we loved trying out some new labels. Our server did a great job guiding us through the wine menu.
The night ended back in Canton at a brutal 3 AM, but WELL worth it, and we’d do it again in a heartbeat. Our love for Gordon Square and the Cleveland food scene just intensified. We highly recommend all three stops.
Happy birthday, Lilia! Love you, girl!
We love, love, loved everything about this night!
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