Lola Kale Salad

Cleveland War Memorial

Cleveland War Memorial

I am going to give Cleveland a little love today because it is a city deserving of more love than it gets. Sure their sports teams may not be the best, but at least they have pro teams. Not every city can say that. We heard a lot of, “Why are you going to Cleveland?” Why not? If you read My Love Affair, you know the purpose of our trip. But really, why not go to Cleveland?

We arrived late afternoon on a Wednesday and went for a walk right after we checked in. We strolled around at least an hour checking things out and taking pictures. We wandered by a street lined with prop trucks and signs pointing to “catering.” We knew something was up but it took a few trucks to realize something was being filmed. I had to Google it, of course. Prop trucks and catering for Captain America 2: Winter Soldier. Nothing was being filmed as we walked by, but one of the side streets was closed off.

Beautiful pops of color in the middle of downtown.

Beautiful pops of color in the middle of downtown.

Cleveland has gorgeous architecture, beautiful monuments, and little bits of surprises everywhere. Chaz was impressed with how clean the city is.

Dinner at Lola Bistro was the best part of the trip, of course. The second best part, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum. It blew my mind away having lived so close to this gem, yet never visited it before. I hadn’t been so excited about a museum trip since I saw a Van Gogh exhibit at the National Gallery of Art back in 1993.

Music is an integral part of my life as a musician and music lover. To say I was full of awe while inside would be an understatement. It was thrilling and surreal at the same time. Pieces of music history displayed through several floors and the Hall of Inductees. I was like a kid in a candy store. And seeing the awning from CBGB’s had me gobsmacked. I kicked myself for not going back to take a picture of it after I found out I could take pictures inside. Guess who needs to make another trip back?

Cleveland 3The Hall of Inductees is not at all what you think it will be if you’ve never been or been told what to expect. It is dark and all the signatures of the inductees are in a case on the left side of the hallway. The signatures are raised and look like they are glowing against the black background.

We were fortunate that they opened up the special Rolling Stones exhibit early because it was scheduled to open the day after we went. The following weekend, they were playing in Chicago while we were there for Hammerfest. Someone tweeted Mick and Ronnie the morning of Hammerfest telling them they should go to the show. I thought, Yeah right, like they’ll actually show up. If we aren’t friends on Facebook, I’ll share now that they did show up. They didn’t take the stage or mingle. They had their own little area and stayed there. But the important thing is that I was breathing the same air as the Stones and I didn’t have to pay $900 to do it either.

In all seriousness, Cleveland is a great city to visit. We were only there for one night and I want to go again for a long weekend at least.

If you go, the food might inspire you like it did me. This Lola Kale Salad was inspired by our dinner at Lola Bistro and the fact that while they had to remove all the ingredients I’m allergic/intolerant to, it was still a good salad in its simplicity. Sometimes, simplicity is best.

Lola Kale Salad – serves 4 as a side

1 bunch lacinto kale, de-stemmed, cut into a chiffonade

5 leaves nappa cabbage, leafy part trimmed off and cut into a chiffonade

5 radishes, cut into wedges (1/8th)

1/2 – 1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil



Place kale, nappa cabbage, and radishes in a medium mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl or glass measuring cup, add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk until emulsified. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix to coat well.