Todays Tracism

Submitted by Traci Williams on Tue, 04/11/2006 - 20:08.

I am so glad that we {my husband and I} are getting out to the east side more.

I absolutley love the housing and building styles, the little shops and seeing people out on the streets walking with friends!!

Monday evening my wonderful husband, Phillip and I were having dinner with a new friend @ Bangkoks.{which was delicious} Our new friend made a comment about our "westside truck". Phillip and I found his comment funny.

I guess there are differences between the east and west, and who cares who's the best, cuz aren't we all part of NEO? 


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The eastside/westside divide

The eastside/westside divide in Cleveland has alway been so interesting to me. I grew up on the westside, but made my first eastside friends in high school and started hanging out on Coventry. Back then the eastside seemed so much cooler than the westside. You mentioned people out on the streets, and I think that is what appealed to me most. There was nothing like Shaker Square or Coventry with an out door area to hang out on the westside. The westside has improved since then -- especially in suburbs like Lakewood and in Cleveland along Clifton. I now appreciate things about both sides of town and I am eager to introduce  westside friends to cool places on the eastside vice vs.

east meets west

I remember 27 years ago when I first moved here driving to the Beck Center in Lakewood. Though I was traveling with a Clevelander, we got lost and ended up in Tremont. Given the address on Detroit, the gentleman at the gas station directed us to take the Abbey Road Bridge to Lorain and take W25th north to Detroit. Turn left and drive west. Needless to say, it was a long drive. I remember passing a store front in the Detroit Shoreway area that had a swastika in the window. We made it to what I came to know from other eastsiders as Lilly White Lakewood by curtain time.

Later I discovered that Lakewood was home for many of my gay friends --a good reason to go there along with the beautiful housing stock and lovely boulevards. The other side of the river also became a destination for antiquing on Lorain and second hand shopping--it is a mecca for second handers.

But when James Levin began his Cleveland Public Theater Empire and Thomas Mulready presented the Performance Arts Festival there in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood the cross-town traffic was invigorated. The largest zip codes for mailing to arts audiences have traditionally been 44106, 44118, 44120 and 44122 -- all eastside. I wonder how this has changed over the years and how many travelers on the shoreway on a weekend evening are coming or going from CPT. We certainly put on the miles back in the 80s and 90s.

Now Jim moves his Ingenuity Fest downtown, and hopefully, he will be as successful as he was with CPT in redeveloping our urban core. Downtown is after all where east meets west.

My first westside memory was zoo

Growing up east I can remember going west for the zoo, airport, Shakespear Festival (back when it was at Lakewood High School), and West Side Market... and then Ohio City came together, and then Tremont - in more recent years, Detroit Superior has definitely come on strong - more small music, art and performance venues and better restaurants are making near west the best spot in the region for non-establishment hanging out, arts and culture...

Pad mee

   Nothing symbolizes the "can do, get the work done" attitude of the west side better than a muscle truck. The food at Bangkok on Warrensville in South Euclid is delicious.  And the company is oftentimes delightful.

I'm convinced about Bangkok - what about Mint on Coventry

For Thai on the East I like the place on Lee up by Cain Park - I think it is called Meekong - but now I'll try Bangkok. Has anyone tried the new Thai place on Coventry where Coventry Cycles and about a dozen restaurants have gone before - I think it is called Mint Cafe... any reviews?

More about Mint Cafe

Mint Cafe on Coventry just opened so I don't see any restaurant reviews out yet - it was reviewed twice (once by a friend of an employee) on a public restaurant review site called YELP and it got five stars - here's the address... 1791 coventry, Cleveland Heights, OH 44121... 216-320-9915... here's the public review, not from the friend of the employee, 04/01/06...

"I'd have to give this place a big thumbs up.  We just tried it tonight for the first time.  After putting up with the disappointing food and service at Karma, and the glacial service at the Soul Food Vegetarian (shoulda called it the "slow food vegetarian"), this place is a revelation.  The service was outstanding, and lightning quick; within just a few minutes of ordering, our appetizers arrived.  The "golden bag," (tofu skins filled with veggies and deep fried), and the Summer Rolls were both good, and the presentation was excellent.  A few minutes after we finished the appetizers, the dinners arrived.  We both got noodle dishes, and they were extremely good; the shrimp were done perfectly, the veggies still had some crispness, and the sauces were done just right.  A great start; I hope this place does well in what's been a snakebit location.  Good prices, good ambience (understated and tasteful), and excellent food.  What more could you want on Coventry?"

Free Times reviews Mint Cafe - I agree

I made a point to try out Mint Cafe this last Friday. It was take-out so I can't say much about the presentation, service and restaurant experience. I tried out a few seafod dishes and the quality was excellent - in the future I'll order more heat and try some curries. Mint Cafe is definitely worth a visit... Free Times agrees in a 04/20/06 review... highlight:

Mint bristles with life. I counted more customers on one busy Friday night than I had in all my visits to the two previous restaurants. And the service at Mint seems propelled by the energy in the room. Waits for a table tend to be brief, and once you're seated, orders are taken and dishes delivered with the efficiency of a more seasoned restaurant.

Here's a review of Bangkok in Free Times

There's a very recent and favorable review of Bangkok Thai Cuisine in the Free Times, linked here.  Here's a highlight...1982 Warrensville Center Road
South Euclid

Located in a single storefront within a shabby mini-strip, Bangkok is so under-the-radar that it sat wholly unnoticed for months. It wasn't until a friend clued me in to its existence by saying, “It is so good, I placed the menu in my permanent takeout menu folder,” that I stopped in for a taste.

To say that I've been pleasantly surprised is an understatement. After multiple visits, only a few items tuned out to be less than delightful. Many are fantastic. That is not to say that nothing could be improved upon, but most of my beefs with Bangkok have little to do with the food.