Monday, May 18, 2009

Sweet Melissa's

Every so often, my friends like to get together on a Saturday so we can be "ladies that lunch." A little corny, I know, but it's nice to make time to get together with people you might not otherwise see or might not see outside of work due to cat allergies, busy weeknights, or this think called the Cuyahoga River that creates an invisible force field that east-siders aren't allowed to pass through.

This past Saturday we decided to go to Sweet Melissa's. It had gotten excellent reviews, and I always like trying restaurants on the opposite side of town.

I was a little skeptical about the restaurant when I walked up to the door. It looked very unassuming. Once I opened the door, there was a really long, bland hallway. My heart sank a bit, and I thought we'd picked a boring little sandwich joint. Until I realized that we'd come in the back entrance. Oops. The dining room was really pretty. There were high copper ceilings and despite the fact that there were quite a few booths and tables, the restaurant felt really airy. One entire wall of the restaurant is dedicated to pastries. They offer an extensive selection of cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, brownies, and just about any other confectionery goodie you might be craving. But more about that later.

My first order of business was to order fried green tomatoes. They're one of my absolute favorite foods. (yeah, I'm a real health nut) And I have to say this was the best order of fried green tomatoes I've ever eaten. Not only were they plated very nicely (pretty food normally equals delicious food), but they came with a delicious horseradish sauce and an apple and cranberry compote of sorts. The flavors went so well together. And the tomatoes were perfectly green and fresh and the breading was amazing.

Picking an entree was much harder. There were so many vegetarian options. (Thank you management at Sweet Melissa's!!) As any good, strict vegetarian can tell you, it's almost overwhelming when you have more than one choice on a menu (besides salad). That hardly ever happens and you just have to get the one lame sounding vegetarian dish.

I decided on the Mediterranean pasta, a mixture of whole wheat penne, feta cheese, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, and spinach in a vegetable broth. It was a risky move because I generally hate whole wheat pasta. Luckily for me, the flavors worked so well together and the entire dish was so delicious that I didn't even really notice what kind of pasta I was eating.

My entire table was mostly silent during the meal because we were enjoying our food so much. Despite being stuffed after our meal, a few of us decided to order dessert. I mean, I felt like I had to. The menu said they have award winning dessert. I took two brownies home - the turtle and chocolate chip kinds. My friend got one of the only kinds of cakes that I like - German chocolate. I've yet to eat my brownie, so stay tuned for a dessert update...but in the meantime, if you're looking for a great casual place with a fantastic atmosphere to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner at, this is the place. I hope to drag my boyfriend there sometime, if I can think up a good reason to cross over into the other side of the universe - the west side of Cleveland.

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