What’s Good Around Here?
Every culinary tourist knows that traveling to a new city means exploring the dishes that make it special. Cleveland Plus is no exception with its signature foods ranging from freshwater fish to savory, ethnic dumplings.
Pierogi – Much like that of Italian ravioli, pierogi is a thick semi-circle (and often triangular) dumplings with crimped edges. But unlike its Italian counterpart, pierogi are traditionally stuffed with whipped potatoes and cheese (though some stuff them with more adventurous ingredients like beef, jalapenos, prunes or sauerkraut). Then, the dumplings are boiled, fried, grilled or baked and served slathered with butter and sautéed onions (or sprinkled with sugar if filled with fruit) and often accompanied by sour cream or apple sauce. While the specific Eastern European country of origin is unknown, pierogi can be found at the region’s Polish eateries, Ukrainian churches, Slovakian festivals and even German Oktoberfests.
Polish Boy – Taking roots from the region’s rich African American culture, the Polish Boy is a truly unique sandwich. It all starts with a grilled Polish kielbasa in a thick, white sausage roll. Next comes a layer of tender, pulled pork followed by a coating of barbeque sauce. The sandwich is then topped with French fries and crowned with a mound of crunchy coleslaw. It goes without saying, but this colossal concoction is best enjoyed with a fork.
Find it at Hot Sauce Williams, Seti’s Food Truck and B Spot Burgers
Ice Wine – This sweet dessert wine is a staple at the region’s many vineyards. Ice wine is the product of allowing wine grapes to freeze while still on the vine to concentrate the natural sugars in the juice. The climate around Lake Erie is ideal for making ice wine as the warm lake protects the vines until the first hard frost, which generally occurs in early December. The grapes are then harvested and pressed immediately, while still frozen. The result: an incredibly sweet wine with high acidity.
Walleye and Yellow Perch – Lake Erie, a hub for even the most experienced fishing enthusiasts, is the 12th largest lake in the world and the shallowest, warmest and most biologically productive of all the Great Lakes. These conditions allow the Lake to supply more fish for human consumption than all the other Great Lakes combined. And, while the region boasts an abundance of freshwater fish, walleye and yellow perch stand out as the region’s most popular. Both fish are light tasting and have a delicate texture.
– Lexi Hotchkiss