Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Wow!  Another year since my last post, where does the time go!?  I’ve been away from this blog for so long it feels like a reunion of sorts to be back writing again.


It’s been a busy, busy year and although there has been a lot going on, life continues to be a bit stagnant.  Being a full-time caregiver is hard work but I’m taking the challenge and trying to meet it head-on. 

Me and Dad at the Barberton Mum
Fest last fall.  We missed Mom, she
really enjoyed attending this
every year.
Since 2011 when Mom and Dad came to live with me, we've had many ups and downs including the loss of my Mother in September of last year.  I never in a million years anticipated that I would be left as the sole caregiver for my Father.  And yet, here we are.  During the months following Mom's death, I've had a fall that required two surgeries to put right, been thrust upon the difficult journey of unemployment, and had the continued responsibilities of dealing with a house left on it's own in Florida.  I've had to let our daily caregiver go due to financial challenges so I've learned to take full responsibility of feeding and caring for Dad. 

But to keep things in balance, I've also continued to seek time to myself by heading out when possible to find fun things to do.  With summer here, there are lots of things to discover or revisit just to get out and have some ME time.  The old biddy doesn't need to go batty on top of everything else on my plate.


So this past week I took a little time to get the heck out of town to enjoy a day on Chagrin Blvd.  Every once in a while you need to find a good spot to relax, have a little fun, look at expensive things you couldn’t possibly afford, see some cool stuff and have a great happy hour. 

For that I head to Eaton Square.  If you’re into it, there’s a Trader Joes there that’s always a fun place to find new foods to try.  Their wine is inexpensive, the food is healthy and the atmosphere is tropical.  Down the path is the Penzey’s shop.  If you like to cook with herbs and spices, this is the place to hang out!  Everything has a sampler so you can sniff to your heart’s content, but be careful, some of it is pretty spicy. 

Serious cute, am I right!?
Take a stroll into the mall area and you’ll find boutiques with funky clothes, formals that are red-carpet worthy and a shoe store that had me drooling! 

Chef Michael Simon’s B Spot is there, too, along with several restaurants worth another visit. Someday I'll eat at all of them, I swear!  But darn it, I cannot seem to get past going to Paladar Latin Kitchen.  
And this trip we were headed there for happy hour.  THIS is one of my favorite spots to sit at the bar and try everything on the bar menu.  I've been here five or six times, some for dinner, some for happy hour.  Trust me, happy hour is the way to go.

If you arrive early (just before happy hour begins at 4) you will likely have the bartender to yourselves.  Victor was our barman this week and he was full of great information and very attentive even as the bar filled with more patrons.  We started off with two rum flights just to see if there really is a difference.  And, oh my yes, there was! 

We had both the Aged and the Super Aged flights which gave us 6 shots of rum between the three of us.  It didn't take long to find our favorites.  The rest were dispatched back to Victor whom we bribed to turn into mojitos.  Most rum is good when paired with lime, mint and tonic. 
My hands-down-you-can-drink-this-stuff-straight favorite was the Ron Atlantico Private Cask super aged for 25 years.  Rum is made from sugar cane and this bottle is exactly what it should taste like.  Sweet, smooth, mellow and delicious.  I'll be seeking a bottle for my bar cabinet soon.  This would be great served on the rocks like a bourbon.  
We had an overflowing table by the time our food arrived and it was great fun making it all disappear.  Last time I was here they had little rum-soaked mahi-mahi tacos on the menu and I was quite bummed they were gone as a selection.  Never fear, however, they were replaced by their new fish tacos that may even be better.  These were soft tacos filled with adobo-rubbed tilapia with pickled onion, pineapple slaw, cabbage, and their house made cilantro adobo aioli.  We actually argued over how to split two tacos three ways, they were that good. 
Blackened fish tacos.  'Nuff said.
Also on our table was the papusa with chorizo and cheese (now my new favorite item), the house guacamole and some yucca fries.  I've never had a papusa before and so I had to research to find out what we ate.  The pupusa is a popular El Salvadoran dish made of a thick, corn tortilla filled with anything from meats to cheeses to refried beans to pork rinds. The one we had here was really terrific and I will definitely try them again. 
Sweet Potato Doughnuts!!!!!
We ate and drank for a little over two hours and had a great time doing it.  We were not at all hungry after the table emptied out, but you cannot leave here without trying a desert or two...and so we did.  A plate of the Tres Leches cake and a platter of their sweet potato doughnuts arrived and we made a pretty big dent in those as well.  Either desert would have served all three of us plus a couple of nearby tables, they are very generous. 
There are Paladar Latin Kitchens in a few cities now and if you're anywhere near one you  need to go soon. 

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