Saturday, March 6, 2010

Winter Family Reunion January 2010

A mid-January visit to our Italian family in Cleveland Ohio

View from the doorstep of Mike's parents home in the suburb of Fairview Park. We were greeted by lots of snow and...

Mike's mom Lucy (middle) and his dad Nate (seated). Standing is our dear family friend Birdie, from their old neighborhood.

Our daughter Aria had flown in from Italy the week prior for a conference in Washington D.C. so she joined us in Ohio to make our family visit complete.

As I looked out the living room window I marvelled at this snowy winter scene so different from our winter in southern California.

Of course, Mike had his work cut out for him.

A visit to Ohio is never complete without a night out for dinner at Cafe Roma. That's Lucy's cousin Carla from Rome. She her husband cousin Angelo are the owners of this cute and cozy little neighborhood Italian restaurant. Tonight is Carla's birthday so of course we had to offer her our birthday wishes. "Tanti Auguri Carla!"

Such a happy reunion for Mike and Aria

Cousins Aria and Amanda

Carla was happy to share all her photos of her summer trip with the family back home to Rome. By the way Carla's chef who helps Carla cook is from the city of Lucca. It was fun to hear him chatting away with Aria and Carla in Italian.

Here's Grandma Lucy, Aria and our dear Aunt Fifi, who is sweetest most wonderful angel in our family. Everyone loves Aunt Fi.

Aunt Fifi, Aria and Uncle Frank.

People ask us how do we spend our time when we go back home. Well, we sit in the kitchen alot. When we're not eating (which is alot of the time),we play games like Upwords, and scrabble and cards.

Mike's younger brother Rocky knows all the best places to eat in greater Cleveland. He said we had to try the newest crazy crowded hot spot called, "The Melt". If you ever watch Guy Fiery
on the Food Network you know how he loves "Diners Drive-ins and Dives". The Melt fits into that category. So we had to show up just like Guy. (Just not on the same day!)

Here' s the owner Matt with Guy Fiery.

There's a really funny bar that was so busy.

Here's us eating at The Melt. Whoa that was some big meal! Can you believe we waited an hour and a half for our table. This place is crazy busy all the time.

Then there was marathon shopping for all kinds of goodies. As I said before my brother in law knows the best places for all kinds of good food.

Blackbird Baking company makes great foccaccio and all different types of artisan breads but I am hooked on the gooey carmelized pecan rolls. Oh my goodness I want one now!

Then Rocky introduced me to "Sweet Dreams" a wonderful specialty chocolate shop in Lakewood. I met the owner who is a very interesting woman from Croatia. I felt like I was in a scene from the movie "Chocolate". Every bite of her delicious chocolates sent me straight to heaven. I want to do a separate post on this store.

We'd often take drives through the beautiful valley laden with snow. It's very close to their home.

On this day we took my niece Amanda sledding. She's right there in the middle on her blue sled. It was hilarious watching her go down the hill

Of course once you go down you must trek back up to do it all again. Kids have endless energy!

Plenty of steeper slopes for ski enthusiasts. That's not me though.

Both the brothers love to cook and whenever we go back home "Watch Out". There's tons of good eating involved. Here Mike was trying to recreate his grandmother's spagetti sauce.

One night we had a wonderful fish fry. Rocky was in charge of this meal. This is lake Erie perch and it was delicious. Do you think we have enough fish?

This was a joint effort by Rocky, Amanda and Mike to make homemade gnocchi (potatoe dumplings)

This is the kind of thing that makes a "nonna" (grandma) smile.

Something good is always cooking in Lucy's kitchen. Mmmmm such delicious aromas fill the house.

We stopped by Rockys house to pick him up for our days outing. I couldn't get over the icycles on all the rooftops.

We don't see icycles like this on houses in our neighborhood. They're amazing to me.

Aria, Rocky and Mike shop for specialty items at the famous Westside market. You can find anything you want here and it's just so much fun to see all the different items. On this day we bought Alligator meat. Why? Well just to experience something different. You can find just about anything here.

I decide to sample some gourmet popcorn. (Just in case the alligator meat is not to my liking.)

It had been several years since we'd visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in downtown Cleveland. We decided a visit would be fun.

The museum is situated right on the lake. The architecture is by I. M. Pei and it will feel familiar to some of you as it echoes the theme of glass pyramids like in so many of his other famous buildings.

Well before we knew it the week was over and it was time to say goodbye to our Aria. Always such a bittersweet goodbye but we are looking forward to seeing her this summer in Italy. So there's always the next time. Yippee for family reunions!

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.”
- George Moore


candi said...

What a lovely family you have, Barb. And boy I am glad I don't live in the Midwest anymore:) (I grew up in MI...brrr).

Anonymous said...

What a warm family gathering, thanks for sharing.

Palma said...

It looks like such fun! Now I see where Mike got the cooking genes! That pasta looks wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Barb,thanks for sharing your trip( and,Cleveland) with us.It is obvious that everyone was having fun & enjoying the company!Trust me, the snow & the icicles get old quickly!

Laurie said...

What a wonderful trip, and the FOOD!

girasoli said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time! Must have been fun playing in the snow. Loved all the photos.

Anonymous said...

What a great post! Thanks for sharing the family reunion with us.


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