My cousin Johnny is visiting over the holidays, so we decided to make the 1 1/2 hour drive to Akron, Ohio for the day on Sunday.
The first stop was The West Point Market
, which is a gourmet grocery store. Inside the store is the wonderful Beside the Point Cafe.
They don't open until 10:00 on Sundays and Johnny and I arrived shortly after. This place always has really good interesting soups. My favorite from past visits is the pumpkin paprika. This time, I went for the sherry mushroom
and Johnny tried the French onion
As expected, both were quite good! For our main meal, I ordered the Cuban sandwich.
Although this isn't as good as ones I've had in Florida, this is still a really good sandwich. They use quality meat and cheese, first-rate bread and hot pickles from Tony Packo's in Toledo, which really elevate the sandwich.
Johnny had the club sandwich, which he also enjoyed.
Another thing I like about the Beside the Point Cafe is the beverages. Their unsweetened ice tea (passionfruit flavored) is the best I have ever had. And even though it is no longer listed as a beverage choice, I love their jet tea smoothies, which they will make if you request. These two are strawberry.
We were both quite happy with our meal, but there was one disappointment. I had been talking up their macaroni & cheese to Johnny, but they were out on the morning of our visit.
Now, it was time to do some shopping in the grocery store. I bought some ham salad and bean casserole from the deli case, a half-gallon of Graeter's black raspberry chip ice cream (this is the closest place I know to where I live that sells Graeter's) and headed for the bakery. The choices in the bakery section are staggering and even though I have been here a half dozen times, I haven't come close to trying everything I have wanted. Here is a pic of just a small section of the choices.
We bought a dozen assorted cookies (which disappeared in no time) and some of their famous killer brownies.
My favorite was the apricot blondie, in the upper left corner.
From here, we headed just a little bit down the street to the original Swenson's
The first thing you have to love about this small drive-in chain is that the young guys who take your order actually run to your car. And even though it was raining pretty good while we were here, they were still very friendly as always.
Both Johnny and I went for galley boys, which are double burgers with two special sauces. We both loved our delicious burgers.
Being the big eater of the two, Johnny also got a sloppy joe, which are full of big, meaty flavor.
We split sides of fried zucchini
and onion rings (photo didn't turn out).
This is another place I really like the beverage choices. They have a big selection of malt and milkshake flavors, but since we knew we were getting ice cream at least once later in the day, we decided to skip the shakes. I really like their Californias, which is 1/2 ginger ale and half grape soda. Johnny went for the Florida, which is 1/2 ginger ale and 1/2 Orange soda. Odd sounding, but delicious!
What I wouldn't do to have a Swenson's in my neighborhood!
Next, we headed to Mary Coyle's, which is an old fashioned ice cream and candy store that dates back to 1937. I ate here once before and I really enjoyed my hot fudge sundae. But when we arrived, we found out they don't open until 3:00PM.
Vowing to try and make it back, we headed to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. Since neither one of us are shoppers, we were in and out within a couple of hours. Needing more time before our big meal of the day, I remembered a co-worker telling me about a beautiful old mansion in the Akron area. Thanks to the GPS, we quickly figured out it was Stan Hywet Hall.
Built by the original founder of Goodyear tire, this place is an incredible Tudor mansion. The fact that it was decorated for Christmas made this place even more impressive. Unfortunately, no photos could be taken on the inside, but here are a few from the outside, which fail to show just how immense this place really is.
The tour guide was well informed and did a wonderful job during our 1 1/2 hour tour. After all the walking, we had built up enough of an appetite for our big meal of the day.
More to come.....