HEY CLEVELANDERS! Is anyone else overwhelmed by the amount of food and wine festivals this month? I know I am! For me, there’s one culinary, religious and cultural gathering that I MUST attend every August: The Feast of the Assumption in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood.
For the non-Catholics in the crowd, here’s some info on the reason for this weekend festival from Holy Rosary Church, that organizes this four day event:
- For the past 111 years, the Parish of Holy Rosary has hosted the celebration of Feast of the Assumption in Cleveland’s “Little Italy” neighborhood.
- The Assumption, a Catholic Holy Day on August 15, commemorates Mary being taken into Heaven.
- During the four days of festivities, booths are set up in the Churchyard featuring Italian foods, live music and rides for young children.
So in honor of my Italian-American heritage, I provide you with…
TEN THINGS THIS TUESDAY: MUST EATS AT THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION
1. Pasta (DUH.)
From gnocchi to cavatelli, from ravioli to tortellini – if you want a form of short pasta, they are being served on Mayfield Road. My mom enjoyed the above cavatelli, while Hans found the gnocchi that he loves at Gusto Restorante Italiano:
Don’t even THINK about ordering your cavatelli without a meatball. It’s a sin on this holy weekend in this neighborhood!
3. Meat Kabobs
Meat-on-a-stick? AND it’s gluten-free?! COUNT ME IN. Where’s the lamb?
4. Anything from the Dim and Den Sum folks
HA! Had to throw you off the path a bit! You might remember my review of CLE’s favorite food truck. This year, they joined the Feast, sans truck. Their offerings:
PBLT (made with pulled pork shoulder, bacon, basil pesto aioli, lettuce & tomato) and Italian Nachos (made with bolognese, mozzarella, oregano crème Fraiche). YUM. Nice work boys and girls. Keep up the good work!
5. Pizza & Calzones (Another DUH.)
Orlando Bread Company solid the above squares of joy. I have a soft spot for Orlando Bread – makes me think of my Dad coming home with loaves of bread that were given to nearby workers when the bakery would make too much product in a day!
On the calzone front, Hans rocked one of these last year (and almost did this year):
6: Sausage sandwich with grilled peppers
Another traditional option at any summer festival, Hans was quite pleased with this one from Gusto. Eaten with his beloved pasta of choice.
I was on quite the gluten-free hunt when I stumbled upon a little market up around the curve on Murray Hill Road. They are new to the neighborhood and admitted they barely got everything organized in time for this weekend. I started chatting with one of the owners – Michelle – and explained my current dietary restriction. She was quite the gluten-free resource – I was glad we stopped to chat with her!
She recommended I try the above porchetta with kale and fennel. Porchetta is considered a celebratory dish by Italians, so it was a perfect choice for the Feast. I must say that pork did not disappoint. I realized I never had kale before and really enjoyed the dressing on this serving. Can’t wait for their market to get up and running. I was so happy and content after eating that pulled pork/greens combo.
8. Roasted corn-on-the-cob
Purchased at the aforementioned market (that I can’t remember the name of!!!!), I couldn’t help myself. The corn was delicious – my mom even compared it to lobster! She must have gotten a very buttery bite!
These are a staple of any menu in Little Italy. Did you know that “cannoli” is the plural form? If you eat just one of these Sicilian pastry desserts, you’ve eaten one “cannolo”. But really – who eats just one?!
10. Gelato at Presti’s Bakery
Alas, the girl behind the counter wasn’t sure if it was gluten free. Oh, iced creamy goodness, why do you tease me so?!
I could have enjoyed the lemon ice in the top left corner. She knew that it was made of just lemons, ice and sugar. At least the ingredient list was minimal!
What’s your favorite Italian-American food item? I am sucker for a good meatball sub myself!