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Ya Shoulda Been There!

Ya shoulda been there!
“There”, in this instance was actually two places where it was all happenin’ last week.  Not genuinely related places, really, but there were similarities, fo’ sure.
The first one was the business-to-business open house at Facet Salon and Day Spa on Tuesday, August 6.  The parking lot at the TLC was hopping and they weren’t all in the gym or Sue McGarvey’s water aerobics class; I looked.  They were touring Rachelle King’s sparkling facility and checking out the menu of services, some of which were being demonstrated, even as the observers moved from venue to venue.  Perme Financial’s  better half was multi-tasking by having eyebrows shaped while balancing a plate of munchies to the left of the washbowl and talking to spectators.
Pedicures were going on; the bubbles were cute.  Hair care—cut-n-style, anyone?—was going on.  A facial was in progress; relaxation was in evidence.   Music  wafted through the premises, soothing, very soothing.  Lights changed colors in a  fascinating array.  Visitors could get a look at the sun services.  They could check out the infra-red sauna facilities(You can get roasted like a potato in  solitary or with other bakers for the same charge…with music and/or TV;  no sour cream necessary).  The big mirrors allowed anyone to get a great shot at both “before” and “after”.  The big, fluffy towels signaled “SPA”  in giant letters at every turn.
The food on offer was eclectic and tasty…and popular…ditto for the exclusive jewelry and the Motor City Vegan Soaps, with distinctive fragrances like pink grapefruit, citrus & lavender and orange & bergamot.
Drawings for products and services brought delight to pleased visitors from across the area.  One comment overheard about the experience was that the evening and the establishment were both, “Epic.”
Ya shoulda been there…but you can still check it out at 1 Memory Lane, Garrettsville.  It’s a gem.
And then there was….
The opening of the new Market District store, an upscale grocery created by Giant Eagle in Solon.  The AB-J on Thursday said, ”As grocery stores go, this is Disney World.”  Was it ever!
I don’t get to go to many openings but this was a “can’t miss” occasion, so off I trotted (Actually, I drove my fairly down-scale compact automobile)  to find that the parking lot was about what you’d expect if Disneyland had been plunked down in suburbanized northeast Ohio—busy, busy, busy.  Rain was threatening so nobody wanted to park far away,  the construction tape was still up where Giant Eagle had just closed their original Solon store and everyone with any pretentions to gourmand status( Don’t think that I qualify) was ready to sacrifice his/her last Paula Deen cookbook to get in there, ASAP.  Whoa!  We’re talking crowds, here!
So…before even getting IN the doors, one had to get past a display of potted sunflowers and “locally-grown” veggies of all sorts—quite attractive, actually.  There was a young lady in what was, I presume, a farmer hat though I have known few farmers to wear anything like it, calling attention to all of this, and I felt called upon to point out that “Marietta tomatoes” stretched the concept of “locally-grown” just a tad.  She smiled.
Inside, the crush continued but there were plenty of carts, even the half-sized ones that I prefer, and  I sallied forth.
See, the set-up is kind of like this : a real grocery store—cereal, t.p., canned soup, aluminum foil, etc.– in the center, with meat, dairy and specialty stuff more or less arrayed along the outside edges.  The beer section and the wine section, the produce section were sort of the connecting elements.  One can visit the bakery, the sweet shop, the deli(with Isaly’s chip-chop ham), the cheese shop, the charcuterie (sausage & cured meat shop to us peasants), a pizza shop, a burger station, a seafood department where rows of accusatory piscine eyes challenged any cook to question their freshness, a bulk foods department that boasts dried morels @ $219.99 per pound ( Don’t plan to put those in the kids’ lunches) and, of course, the bank, the pharmacy and the GetGo  gas station.  There’s a dietician on staff as well as a full-time esthetician in the health and beauty section.  You can have a party catered at your home or other selected venue or  just rent out part of the 11,000sq. ft. upper level for a private party (The main floor is 94,000 sq. ft.).   “Cozy” doesn’t exactly describe it.
There were samples everywhere—pulled pork,  chicken satay, sushi of all sorts, cheese to die for.  Someone was carrying around a tray of cups   containing kim chi, a Korean sort of pickled slaw relish, which is usually quite aromatic and frequently spicy;  I’d never had it before.  I decided, that they couldn’t kill me right there on opening day, so I took some.  It had shaved Brussels sprouts and enough “hot” to cause my lips to incandesce like a light bulb, two of them.  I was forced…FORCED…to make a beeline for the gelato(Italian ice) stand to hastily apply some bilberry with lemon gelato to my mouth before my teeth exploded.   Pretty tasty.
At some point, while I was inspecting the amazing variety of nut butters—peanut, almond, etc.—there was a loud crash, with the distinct sound of glass meeting an untimely end in some other area of the store.  Turns out it was wine glasses, not the wine, but it certainly woke up the crowd, especially the white-shirt-and-tie folks with name tags who were clearly front office minions there to make sure that all went well.  That gang was there with brooms and dustpans  and paper towels faster than you could say, “Clean up in aisle four.”
It was not an occasion for the faint of heart…or the lean of purse…but it definitely was fun.  No one in northeast  Ohio will ever have to cook again…OR…they can find anything that their little heart desires to cook with.  Ya pays yer money, ya takes yer choice.   Mickey Mouse might even be there next time!
AND …it was a peach of a social and car show to close out the summer season of festivities in Garrettsville on  Saturday, August 10.  Lots of cars—word was, over one hundred—lots of people, walking around, admiring the vehicles, riding on Joe Leonard’s fire truck, munching on pizza, listening to the music, listening for their names being called for the various prizes available, and EATING!
The pies—all fifty of them—ran out, the ice cream was totally consumed, but the peaches (Thank you, Monroe’s Family Orchard &Farm Market) held up   ‘til the last spoon was licked, just about.
The weather held up, the crowd was convivial, the Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce gave it their all and SUCCESS was the name of the game.  Proceeds from the affair will go to fund Chamber activities and programs throughout the year.  Win/Win doesn’t get much better than this.  It was just peachy.

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