The new book is one week away from publication so there’s still time to pre-order and get a nifty canvas tote from my publisher (fill out the form here, deal ends 5/15). Pre-orders really help a book’s launch. Very excited about this book. Lots of interest from the media so far, The New York Times, NPR, the WSJ and others. When you’re in the midst of the writing, you feel like you’re a colossal failure just about every other day. But then a book appears (with the help of an editor, a copy editor, a book designer, publicists) and it’s all rather surprising and not quite so dismal as you thought. I do care about this book. My father is threaded throughout. GROCERY: ON BUYING AND SELLING FOOD IN AMERICA describes how these stores, like no Read On »

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I’ve been exploring Neapolitan pizzas in NYC, but I haven’t had a better one than I did yesterday at Citizen Pie, a new addition to the Cleveland food scene, in a once gritty neighborhood directly across from Beachland Ballroom, one of the most cutting-edge/eclectic music venues in the state. Chef Vytauras Sasnauskas, Chef V, a native of Lithuania who arrived here in … No, stop … That was how I intended to begin this post, until now, having returned home from my second consecutive meal there. You see, on this night (last night) I’d brought my 16 y.o. son, James, and his friend there on the pretext that they would eat the best pizza they’d ever had. These boys like their pizza so much that they once actually bought a pizza at Brothers pizza on Coventry in Cleveland Heights, Read On »

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  The best things in life happen when you say yes. I don’t know any great things that have happened because someone said no. And, of course, read the end of Ulysses if there’s any doubt about the ultimate nature of yes. The below is from my friend Claudia who will be opening Citizen Pie in Cleveland this fall along with her partner, Paulius of the Velvet Tango Room.—MR The Great Ricotta Cheesecake Experiment of August 2015 By Claudia Young One spring afternoon, four months ago, someone suggested, that we open a Neapolitan pizzeria. And of all the things that one might say in response to that—“We’ll have to think about that!” or “What an interesting concept, we’ll get back to you!” or “No”—we said “Yes.” Just like that. I wanted to make a culinary Read On »

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  The opening of a grocery store in what had been a derelict Beaux-Arts masterpiece is not simply a boon for residents of downtown Cleveland, it’s a great symbol of the importance of food to our communities. Hundreds of people came out for the 6-minute ribbon-cutting ceremony and to check out the newest resident. I asked Donna to join me and take some photos to document opening day (all photos here are hers). Does anyone know of a cooler grocery store in the country? If so, please tell me where! Our local paper, The Plain Dealer (still the best-named paper in the country, though its plain dealing has been reduced to four days a week on actual newsprint), had the day well covered. Our estimable architecture critic covers it incisively here, and does not hide his Read On »

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A new grocery store opens in downtown Cleveland this morning. But this family-run business is more than a grocery store. It’s more like a food cathedral. The above iPhone photo, shot early this week as cases were being filled, attests to that. But the simile goes beyond architecture. This grocery store, perhaps among the most humble-seeming of businesses, is a symbol of this once moribund city’s recent growth. Downtown Cleveland is now a desirable place to live (apparently it’s at 95% capacity). We’ve long known it’s a desirable place to eat. Astonishingly, it’s made significant lists of must-see destinations (Travel+Leisure, Fodor’s, even the LA Times). Also it’s my hometown and I care for it the way one does a cherished mutt: with devotion and pity and deep love, for all its good and bad. (See this hilarious tourism Read On »

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