I think I’m going to break up these posts to make them more digestible and hopefully easier to remember and write.
Let’s start with our flight. My aunt J gifted me two airplane tickets for my grad school graduation last year, and I finally got them redeemed. We flew Southwest from Burbank and as always, it was great. Like most other Angelenos, we all hate LAX and avoid traveling through it as much as possible. Thankfully, Bur – Cle was available.
It was an early flight, the flight attendants were great. I’m sure some people (FTH and others) don’t appreciate snarky humor from flight attendants, but I think it breaks up the monotony and the robotic-ness of attendants. We’ve all been on flights where the attendants have sticks up their butts.
We arrive in Cleveland around 5pm or so, I don’t remember. Cleveland’s got a train system that takes you from the airport (underground rail) straight to downtown. Hello! LA FAIL. It only cost us $2.25 each. Again, LA FAIL. We check into the Marriott downtown. What great service. Staff there was polite and helpful. I called from our room, asking the concierge if Lola was walkable. He said, why yes, it’s only a 5 minute walk and he’ll show us when we get downstairs. Well FTH took a shower and it was another half hour before we’d get downstairs. The concierge called back and asked if he had missed us b/c it had been a while. (!) Who does that?! Not LA.
I made same-day reservations at Lola. We got seated, and here begins one of my best Food Experiences EVER. We started off with the bacon appetizer. Yeah. BACON for an appetizer! FTH took a bite and said it tasted like peking duck. I took a bite – YES it did! Delish.
My entree was duck. I was debating between that and lamb, but I chose right. Decadent, delicious. I wasn’t expecting filets but here they were. MMMMMMMMM. Even FTH liked his skirt steak – he said he could tell it was really tender (he orders his food well done). Dessert was the 6AM Special – deep fried french toast with maple bacon ice cream. Hello! Lola needs to make an appearance in LA, that’s for sure. Service was wonderful – our guy gave us tips about parts of Cleveland and where to stalk Guster after the show. When we walked outside, he ran out after us with more tips about another part of Cleveland. What a guy!
The next day, we headed to the Winking Lizard for lunch and the worst grilled cheese I’ve ever had. So gross. Even as a bar, you’d think they’d be able to make a stinkin’ grilled cheese. The bread was dry, the cheese (American) wasn’t even melted. Disgusto.
Then we walked over to the Rock Hall, aka. the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Amazing!!!!! The Hall does not allow cameras so I don’t have any photos of the inside. Trust me, there are 4 floors of memorabilia and all of it is amazing. AMAZING.
We got back to the room, took a break, then headed to the Cadillac Ranch for dinner. This place is like something I usually wouldn’t want to go to, but it was close and it was COLD and windy. It’s got a mechanical bull, a lot of space, and 3 giant separate bars. Meh. But the food was alright. We got in and there was ESPN Cleveland ready to take callers and get on the radio. Huh. Service was not so good – I think our server was new. I won a Shaq t-shirt from the radio station – hi-larious. I don’t even like the NBA.
And now… GUSTER. We got tickets to this show after Guster announced they were going to play “Lost and Gone Forever” all the way through, in order! It was a choice between Buffalo, Rochester, or Cleveland. I think we chose right. At least we got to see the Rock Hall too. This was a terrific show. TERRIFIC! They played a full set, took a break, and played Lost and Gone Forever! AND THEN they came out to do an encore. Hello! They are pretty much my favorite band ever.
The next day, we woke up early and walked around the downtown area and took photos. Their library is pretty amazing. What is it with city libraries that make me want to just sit inside and curl up with a book? The building itself is giant, and they have a new building next door. They’re connected underground through stairwells and a tunnel.
Then we checked out of our hotel, headed back to the airport, caught a rental car shuttle and went to the rental car place to start our drive to Niagara Falls!