Archive for June, 2014

Fat Heads

June 2014

Finding a great dining location in the Cleveland area is a rather simple chore. However it is also quite a task due to the vast number of places to get fat quickly.

After I visited the Melt Bar and Grilled for my annual burger and discovering that it is no longer on the menu while it also does not grill the meat anymore, I was on the hunt to find a new favorite eatery. And I found a couple of them.

I trekked to a couple of places in Ohio City just west of downtown and Town Hall really impressed me. But the next day I found myself inside the walls of Fat Head’s Brewery and Saloon in the west suburbs of Cleveland. Maneuvering around brew masters to get to the table, Fat Head’s featured a very roomy atmosphere with plenty of space to sit and relax, play pool, test your skills at darts, try a few of their house-made craft beers or simply watch a game.

The one thing I could not figure out was what to order. I have never appreciated long, huge menus. Until now.

Burgers, ribs, wings, sandwiches, subs, pizza, out of controlness. And upon gazing at others’ plates, the helpings were massive. So I settled on Matt’s Chicken Dance, a chargrilled chicken breast coated in spicy-parm sauce, topped with an over-easy egg, sharp cheddar and hot pepper mayo. It included house-cut chips for $10.99.

Fat Heads2And what a mess it became. It started smooth but then provided a great texture from the egg and then a steamy finish with the spicy kick. Every bite proved magnificent. The chips were just alright, and I discovered the fries were a better way to go.

For adult beverages, all of their beers come with great pairing combinations. And based on the walls they have won a lot of awards for their concoctions, which I could give a damn because I do not want others to tell me what’s good. I will decide for myself if it’s legit.

My next trip to Cleveland will definitely include a return visit. And I cannot wait.


BrocatosSpring 2014

Sometimes I wonder why I do not know the Gulf Coast of Florida better than I should. I am certainly familiar with perfect eating establishments in Pass-a-Grille and how driving back from a Tampa Bay Rays game is like receiving a wedgie for 2.5 straight hours. But that’s about it.

So when I was introduced to Brocato’s Sandwich Shop in Tampa, I immediately removed my wedgie and stretched out my belly. Located very close to downtown and in a stretch that really featured nothing exciting, the place was packed. I mean, to the point where it felt like I was in some outfield bleachers during a home-run derby.

Even though moving inside Brocato’s was next to impossible, the lively walls were decorated beyond belief, which helped me pass the time. Noticing that it advertised itself as having the “Best Devil Crabs in Town,” I elected for a ham and cheese sandwich simply because it looked phenomenal. And I got it with extra cheese and mayo.

It’s difficult to ruin a sub sandwich. I believe Firehouse subs may be the worst, and Subway never fills me up, but beside that I certainly prefer local eateries. And when my name was called at Brocato’s I snatched my bag and headed out the door to a trailer-like barn filled with tables. When I opened up my selection, I immediately became disappointed.

BrocatosMy ham and cheese sub was not located in the bag, but instead I had a devil crab, some other weird object and a messy sandwich that still looked scrumptious. I returned and stood at a counter, watching as a massive amount of employees were either playing with dough, building sandwiches or yelling out orders. It was chaos. I managed to flag down a manager who was very apologetic and said I could keep what I had, and he provided me with my sandwich and a couple bags of chips if I wanted. A great way to show hospitality amid so much organized confusion.

And the sandwich hit the spot, providing a very hearty meal that I struggled to finish. And everyone around us was inhaling their lunches as if they were pigs around a trough.

What makes a good sub is the bread itself. Sometimes the simplest can be better, and when you add on a boatload of options like ribeye steak, buffalo chicken and roast pork, there are plenty of choices at Brocato’s. Combining solid food with an interesting experience makes this a must-see place to chow down in Tampa.

If continuing on to St. Pete, might as well finish the day at Ferg’s since the one in downtown Orlando STILL isn’t open.