You missed it!  You missed the LAF/SOMe bus trip to the Dunham Tavern Museum and the West Side Market.  What a hoot!

The museum was neat; it’s an oasis of green on concrete and steel Euclid Ave. With the main building, a reconstructed log cabin, a barn suitable for larger group activities and actual garden space out back and at the side, it’s an anomaly in the area and a welcome one.  The docents knew their stuff and were able to impart considerable information about early Cleveland.  The furnishings depicted a simpler, smaller, time(The beds and chairs were shorter, narrower, harder than anything we’d put up with now…or fit into.).

Then it was off into the bowels of Cleveland, through the Euclid Renewal Project, past Playhouse Square and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the big sports venues, across big bridges.  And there we were!

My Grandpa Walker used to get up at 2:30 a.m. to deliver fresh produce (from then-bucolic Avon and/or Avon Lake which are now both suburban, with a capital URBAN) to the West Side Market and I venture to guess that, whatever has happened to suppliers, the market itself is very much the same.

The variety of goods on offer is simply staggering.  The produce venue is not completely outside, although when the weather gets better(How long, O Lord, how long?) some vendors may well be in the fresh air and on the ground.  For now, they’re kind of chilly but under cover on raised areas on either side of the walkway.  Samples and prices are offered–One dollar a basket!  One dollar a basket!  You wanna try?  Here , lemme show you!–for all kinds of things, fruits, vegetables, nuts, flowers, you name it.  The signage was amazing!  Some of the most amazing and creative spelling that I’ve ever seen…and reading seventh grade papers all those years, I’ve seen plenty…to wit :Rhubbarb, Tangerins, Mutzu, Baking Pottoes (Those are the simple ones), Brusselle Sprouts, Koussa Squash (Is that misspelled or just one I don’t know?), Aspargus, Gaurenteed, and my favorite, Golden Deliciled.  Speaking of which, if you run across a new variety of apple called Pinata, give it a try, very tasty, much like Honey Crisp.

So then go inside, where you can get the protein quartet–meat milk, fish ,eggs– in a multitude of forms,  bakery goods unlimited, beverages in bottles Coke never dreamed of (nor the ingredients, either, for that matter; there was one that had basil seeds with honey), ethnic eats from at least four continents…maybe five (I wasn’t really counting on Antarctica to come up with much), sauces, condiments (How about some Liquid Stoopid? That’s a hot sauce, as are Toad Sweat and Asbirin.  Maybe you’d prefer Saffron Threads or Ground Noni?  Saffron, I know is crocus pollen, but Noni?  Got me.); one stand specialized in nothing but extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and balsamic vinegar.

Hungry?  Lay your lip on bratwurst with sauerkraut, fresh-sliced gyro meat on a warm pita with tzaziki sauce, chicken satee, a Cornish pasty (pronounced PAST ee) or a pasty of some other nationality if you prefer.  Have a Fern Cake, a Lady Lock (I have fond memories of those from the Kaase’s Bakery, puff pastry baked in a hollow cone shape and filled with ooey-gooey, marshmallow-y cream filling.  Mmmm! The lady locks here just about equal the ones in my memory–a pretty tall order. Wash it all down with Lemonata, San Pelligrino or Aranciatta .  Or you could simply hit the café’, where the selection was good and the service remarkably fast, considering the crowd.

Looking for something to take home?  How about a jar of guava paste for your Central American treats?  How many kinds of rye bread can you carry?  One sign said, “Mossman tried the best cannoli in town, you should to [sic]” I don’t know who Mossman is but the cannoli looked pretty good , especially the Triple Moose ones There was also Ping Pao–whatever that is–available to go.

You want to cook it yourself?  Fine.  Hit the fish market.  Plenty of fresh stuff there…if you don’t mind your dinner looking back at you.  The butcher shops have everything from backs, necks and gizzards to tripe, hocks and trotters, ribs and drumettes through lamb shanks, young goat shoulder and ground chicken thighs.  I saw one gentleman toting home several pounds of peeled chicken feet.  I resisted the urge to ask just what one does with peeled chicken feet…wish I hadn’t, you never know when that information might be useful..not likely at my house, I’m just sayin’….

Interesting day.  Interesting place. About the most fun you can have with your clothes on. . Watch for the next adventure.