A A nyone who has spent more than, oh, say, five minutes with me knows that I harbor an unwavering, some might even argue stridently irrational, love for my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. The fact that I no longer live along the shores of Lake Erie merely adds an émigré’s fervor to my devotion. Friends and acquaintances regularly forgive (I think?) my constant musings on subjects including but not limited to: the 1995 Indians starting lineup, the 30 Rock Cleveland episode, LeBron James, our underrated art museum (and other cultural institutions), and the safety issues associated with eating Lake Erie perch (many).
I’m not blind to the fact that my civic enthusiasm is fueled by a heavy mixture of nostalgia and loyalty. It is safe to say that most of my talk is decidedly hyperbolic. In most cases I embrace the spirit of exaggeration, all the while knowing that it is just that. But when it comes to Cleveland, there is one topic that I know I am never in danger of over-selling, simply because it lives up to all of the praise I heap upon it: the West Side Market.
Food has always been a great unifier, and nowhere is that magical gustatory glue more clearly on display than here.