Later this morning, Nena and I are heading to Cleveland for a day of culinary enjoyment (we hope!). Our first stop will be West Side Market, where a lunch of brats awaits us I think. Did I say lunch? Maybe a pre-lunch snack? When I asked Michael Ruhlman where to have lunch, the brats were his first response, and who am I to argue? We have to at least try one.

Then, I’m hoping we can make it over to Great Lakes Brewing Company for a beer and maybe to pick up some of their more interesting stuff to take home to Long Island with us.

Finally, before we get in the car and head back to Pittsburgh, we’re going to Lola for dinner. The beef cheek pierogie is definitely calling my name.

As for what we’ve been doing in Pittsburgh, we stopped at Nena’s favorite local chocolate purveyor, Wilma’s Candy & Fudge Factory. This has been a must-stop for my chocolate crazed grandfather for years and he hooked Nena early on in our relationship. And this week, Jackson got his first little taste.

Me, I tried their dark chocolate (my preference) and it was pretty good too, if maybe a bit too sweet for my liking. Nena’s favorite: peanut butter meltaways.

We also drove up through the fog and rain to my dad’s hometown of Youngsville, PA to see my grandmother. After we stopped in to see her, we were going to head to Jamestown, NY for hot dogs at Johnny’s Lunch, but Jackson’s need for lunch trumped our own, so we stayed local, visiting Richard’s, a local joint where my grandfather had breakfast every morning forever.

I didn’t have high expectations, but the place had been renovated recently and they were even serving local bison from Lazy J Bison Farm in nearby Sugar Grove. The burgers Nena and I got were great.

We also had dinner at Willow with friends a couple nights ago, but I’ll probably write more about that in a separate post.

After our trip to Ohio today, we’re taking Jackson to the Pittsburgh Zoo tomorrow, celebrating Easter a day early with my family on Saturday and then heading back to Long Island Sunday.