Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cle Food Fetish Vol II

Major League is an amazing movie. American Splendor painting an even prettier picture of our home. That said the entertainment industry does not always shine a light on Cleveland. Hell the two movies I mentioned are basically an outside joke on the town; we’re poor, talent less and we complain endlessly. But they also show that we have moxie and work ethic to spare.

Arguably the best television show or movie ever based on Cleveland is the No Reservations episode that aired two years ago. Anthony Bourdain is more than a chef, a writer or even my vote for sexiest man; he’s a vanguard, a traveling salesman and a witty motherfucker. His opinions and thoughts should not be just revered but worshiped and studied for generations to come. Maybe you think I’m over exaggerating or in love; maybe you are right on both accounts.

I’ve wanted to write about that episode for a long time but it’s just not timely anymore: like Rolling Stone finally getting around to that Bassholes review.

There was a lot in that episode that I did not know about Cleveland. For starters: who knew that mammoth bookstore was even around let alone that is housed Twinkie filling on draught? Maybe y’all did and I’m just not as great of a Clevelander as I though. And the surfing, casole, Marky Ramone confessing that he could eat “two whole pizzas”? But it’s a vicious cycle, you have to fit into your clothes and write random blogs.

I love No Reservations. I love it enough to actually stop drinking Christmas Ale and get into my brothers high school car (he’s 32) to drive down Memphis to visit the Sausage Shoppe. Remember this part of the show? Tony walks into a little mom and pop joint to sample all sorts of forced meats and pâté? It was awesome and looked delicious and sentimental at the same time.

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I visited the shop in question just a few days before Christmas and it was packed. Packed for a small shop full of meat, anyway. There were delicious samples of the aforementioned pâté with crackers sitting on top of a deli case that housed a wet dream of dead animals. Little old ladies pushing me aside so they could purchase the tastes that they have, no doubt, been savoring since their parents first ushered them into this country.

I was in search of some summer sausage to remind me of the endless summer back in California and, more over, all the yuletides past in this great city. I was not disappointed. Every slice of meat I inquired about the men and women behind the meat oasis were proud to let me try. And it was good, my friends. Good to be surrounded by big, juicy meats and people that have spent their life and even generations of lifetimes submerged in this fatty, delicious environment.

Their website (www.sausageshoppe.com) has coupons to help you through these hard times without hindering your eastern-European tastes for such treats as head cheese and Slovenian sausage (all lean pork with a mild flavor. Call for availability).

While there my head was admittedly swimming; so many colors, flavors and words I had trouble pronouncing. Sadly, I only left with some smoked sausage and some refrigerated smokies which were the perfect gift for my duck hunting, meat loving old-man. He loved the gesture but, next year, Christmas dinner will be amazing if this shoppe has any say in it. Throw that turkey into the Salvation Army bag that has been sitting there for years, we have a loaf of head cheese and ten pounds of holiday kielbasa to get through.

4501 Memphis Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44144-1912
Phone: (216) 351-5213

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