Moca

CoffeeWhy do we go to Starbucks day in and day out? Because we like the certainty of knowing that we can get the same exact thing that we always do. We’re comfortable with it.  Oh what fun it is to be comfortable and just like everybody else…

Here at Hot or Homeless we don’t go for that, we like to live on the edge, experiencing the new every chance we get. Of course, we do enjoy the occasional run to Starbucks because they do have good, strong coffee which helps us to focus during a 12 hour work day. But let’s just imagine for a minute that there’s a place you can go that not only offers good, strong coffee but something a little different and unique. A place that offers crafty coffee drinks, sandwiches, desserts and other tasty delights. A place that makes supporting your local businesses fun and easy.

Well folks, that place is MoCa. Owned and operated by mother-son duo Becky and David, everything at MoCa is homemade with a little Hungarian-German flair thrown in for good measure. The goal of MoCa is to become a gathering place for friends, family and good food. From the sandwiches to the desserts you can tell that a lot of care goes into the products that are served. You won’t find any thawed, deep fried dish here. Nothing but the freshest ingredients and the utmost of care go into creating MoCa’s dishes.

Meet Becky, Owner/Food Artist

Meet Becky, Owner/Food Artist

In the beginning Becky, MoCa mother and owner, began making all these wonderful high-end gourmet desserts. Once she saw no one was into those, she decided to scale back and cater more to the needs of her clients. Talk about customer service, what other place do you know that will change its menu to fit the needs of its clientele? So Becky began making more traditional desserts, but with a twist. She likes to sprinkle in her own unique and unconventional ideas. Like her pink lemonade cake or picnic surprise, which coming from the critics (us) is very, very yummy. We can’t say enough about the desserts here at MoCa, the food looks delicious although we didn’t have a chance to try it and the coffee / drink selections are phenomenal.

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So here’s your challenge for the week: stop looking for that typical green sign you’re so used to and look just a little further for your local MoCa. Stop in and enjoy the patio underneath the shade of big umbrellas, or run in for a quick cup of morning joe, either way we promise, once you try the place you’ll have a hard time not going back.

Follow MoCa on Facebook for a listing of events, new foods and desserts and musical performances at the cafe.

MoCa is located at:

10435 Clifton Blvd.

Cleveland, OH 44102

Open M-F 7am – 10pm

Sat. 9am – 10pm

Sun. 9am – 9pm

216. 961.6799

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Go eat at Joe’s

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You gotta go eat at Joe’s! Joe’s Deli that is. Located in Rocky River it’s a “fine” place to sit back, relax and grab a bite to eat.

The old Joe’s was arguably one of the best delis in the Cleveland area. Always packed to the brim, people would be stuffing themselves inside the tiny locale to stuff their faces with Joe’s appetizing foods. Thus the bigger, more accommodating, Joe’s was born.

The old Joe’s may have been small but it was certainly a comfy and cozy place to dine. When we walked inside the new Joe’s, however, the first thought that came to mind was: sterile. It looked a lot like a chain restaurant you would find at Crocker Park or Legacy Village. As for the patrons of Joe’s, well let’s just say it was a sea of blue, blue hairs that is. Nonetheless it was a pleasant enough atmosphere, nothing to hype about but nothing to gripe about, either.

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The food at Joe’s was, of course, great as always. Although, the fish sandwich may have had too much bread to fish ratio, the patty melt was devoured in mere seconds and the corned beef!  Well let’s just say it’s not a diet staple but this particular sandwich became a new obsession.  Joe’s also has a wonderful catering spread and desserts to please any sweet tooth.

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All in all Joe’s was a nice experience. The food was delicious and filling and the atmosphere was quiet and, albeit, somewhat generic. If you’ve never liked corned beef sandwiches before I would suggest you try ‘em here and have your opinion altered.

Joe’s Deli is located at:

19215 Hilliard Blvd.

Cleveland, Oh 44116

Open M-W 7am – 9pm

Th-Sat 7am – 10pm

440.333.7890

Playing Hooky in Mexico…almost

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If you’ve never been to Mexico then Taco Tontos is the next best thing.  We loved this place not only because it brought back fond memories of Mexico but the food was off the hook good and the drinks, well, the only way to describe those is MUY bueno.

As soon as we walked in, the place gave off this great vibe that instantly transported us  back to good ole’ Mexico. The music, the murals, the colors and smells take you on an instant trip south of the border.  But if the atmosphere doesn’t instantly draw you in then the food and drinks definitely will. Taco Tontos is known for their fresh, original and non-processed made-to-order food. Their menu includes delectable burritos rolled to perfection and baked until crispy and golden, as well as, mouth watering tostadas and tacos.

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In addition to the delicious cuisine we decided to play hooky from work for a bit longer trying some of their handcrafted cocktails. There was a top shelf bar with homemade mixers. We had a Juan Collins, yes Juan not Tom, which could only mean one thing: tequila. The only bad thing about it was the straw that came with it making it virtually impossible not to suck down instantly.  We also tried a Blackberry Margarita which was just as good and refreshing as it sounds.  Yum!

This One

The vibe, the music and the drinks were all phenomenal BUT what really left an impression on us was the owner, Jill Crino. She was beyond awesome and not just because she hooked us up with extra tequila in our drinks. Both she and her wonderful staff were more than accommodating in customizing our food and drinks to match our personal tastes.  Talk about customer service!

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Taco Tontos is located in Lakewood on Madison Avenue. The area is on an upswing with several new Mexican restaurants opening up shop in the area.  Ms.Crino says that’s a good thing as she feels that everyone has a different take on Mexican, welcoming the variety of recipes, flavors and, hopefully, the crowds that the new eateries will bring.

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Taco Tontos is located at:

13321 Madison Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44107

Open M-TH 11am – 10pm

Friday-Saturday 11am-1am (Kitchen open until midnight, bar until 1am)

216.221.4479

** Taco Tontos also has a location in Kent, OH with the same delicious food and selection of craft beer.

Sandwiches Anyone?

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In the mood for sandwiches?  Then La Bodega is a great place to start.  Located on Jefferson Avenue in Tremont it’s not your typical sandwich shop. They have a huge  variety of choices to please any palette including a large selection of the vegetarian sort.

When we say “not your typical sandwich shop” we mean it. Their sandwich and salad creations are unique and embody the freshest ingredients. However, we did have a little red and juicy problem with their take on the Caesar salad. That’s right: tomatoes. Who puts tomatoes on a Caesar salad?  Aside from the tomato surprise, the rest of the food was quite good. Sandwiches are definitely the way to go at La Bodega, no complaints there.

As for the atmosphere of the place, it was pleasant and uneventful.  We did, however, enjoy the people watching, especially the odd couple sitting in the corner:  Were they together, were they brother and sister, was he gay and she straight…?  You get the picture.

Our advice on La Bodega:

Unless you’re an avid tomato lover, don’t go for the Caesar; the sandwiches are a must with a superb selection; and be sure to spend some time taking in the lovely people of Tremont while you nosh.

Cans

La Bodega is located at:

869 Jefferson Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44113

Open M-F 11am – 7pm

Saturday-Sunday 11am – 4pm

216.621.7075

Pupuseria La Bendicion

Hello Chickies!

What’s up Chicks?

When you think of running into someone or something on the streets of Cleveland chances are you aren’t picturing chickens. To that we say poor you because that means you’ve probably never experienced the truly authentic cuisine of Pupuseria La Bendicion.

Trying to find the place we made a wrong turn and went down the street right next to the restaurant. It was here that we saw our feathered friends and snatched a quick photo op. Having never been to Pupuseria La Bendicion we were all highly suspicious of whether these chicks would be served up as our lunch or not.

When we pulled up to the restaurant it resembled more of an old Lawson’s/Dairy Mart (which it probably was at one time) than a delicious Salvadoran restaurant. We definitely weren’t expecting to be so pleasantly surprised with not only the food but with the prices as well.  Upon walking into the place, it looked like your typical dive restaurant: small and unassuming.  We weren’t sure whether or not our English would be understood or if we could understand the proprietors’ Spanish but we ordered just fine and the service was delightful.

Meet the sweetest waitress ever. When we asked her to take a picture she stood with a grin and composure despite almost having dropped the plates of food she was holding.

The sweetest little waitress you'll ever be lucky to meet

The sweetest waitress you’ll ever be lucky to meet

Between the three of us we spent less than $21 and all took food home for the next day AND it was even more delicious a day old and cold. It was the most authentic and best Latin American food we’ve ever had. That’s one of the best things about Cleveland, it truly is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and no matter what your taste buds are in the mood for, you can find it in Cleveland. In fact, you can even find chickens running around freely in Cleveland if you look hard enough.

Pupuseria La Bendicion received a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp, reviewed by 29 people. For HOH we give it a full 5 for taste, authenticity, service and, of course, the chickens.

Spanish Menu (luckily with English translation)

Spanish Menu (luckily with English translation)