For the first time in weeks, last Saturday James and I had nothing to do.
After tossing a few ideas around, we decided to get day passes for the RTA and just hop around town. At first, we thought about hitting Lakewood and Coventry, but soon realized that for that to happen, we would have had to leave our apartment before noon. Instead, we made this trip a Lakewood-Tremont tour, and decided that we’ll hit the east side another day.
Red Line to Lakewood
We started out at Tower City where we got our day passes, grabbed some bus schedules and jumped on the Red Line to West 117th. From there, we got off and decided that it would be fun to walk around Lakewood, and all the way down to Melt for a late lunch/early dinner.
Our first (and what ended up being only) stop before Melt was The Cleveland Shop on Detroit, just east of 117th. This unique vintage clothing shop has clothes and accessories from the 1920s-80s, and also has some amazing costumes available for rent. I almost bought an apron (I love to cook) but couldn’t decide which one I liked best. Guess that just means I’ll have to head back sometime soon.
After leaving the Cleveland Shop, we started the long trek to Melt. It’s funny sometimes how different things look when you’re zooming by in a car versus strolling by on foot. It was a fairly long walk (just over a mile), but it was really fun to see things in a different light, and notice little shops, delis and bars that I hadn’t seen before.
My Love/Hate Relationship with Melt Bar and Grilled
By the time we got to Melt, we were really hungry. It was about 2:30, we hadn’t eaten all day… and there was a 1.5-2 hour wait for a table. For two. Now, I get that Melt is awesome, and always busy and you always wait, but seriously — a 90 minute wait for grilled cheese as such a random mealtime? Crazy.
James got a little irritated when I said I wanted to tough it out (his argument: I’m hungry; mine: I did not walk all the way here from 117th to not eat at Melt), but he had given me decision-making power, so wait we did. More accurately, however, we hovered at the bar for about 20 minutes and took over some stools when a couple of guys cashed out. This made me happy because 1) I generally prefer sitting at the bar anyway and 2) did I mention we hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before?
We both ordered lavender mojitos to start ($5 each) because mojitos are delicious and the addition of lavender sounded interesting. They looked beautiful and tasted awesome, though the lavender didn’t come through as much as I had expected (which likely is a good thing).
For food, I got the Big Popper (jalapenos, herbed cream cheese and cheddar; battered and fried; topped with powdered sugar and served with berry preserves — $9) and James got the El Diablo Burger (anaheim, serrano and chipotle pepper rub on a burger with jalapenos and pepper jack — $9.50). I’m pretty sure that our food choices were somewhat influenced by the fact that we’ve been watching a lot of Man Vs. Food. Surprisingly, mine was spicier.
We both finished our lunch/dinner with an IPA. I don’t remember what James had, but I got the Ithaca Flower Power IPA, which was only $3.50 but like 8% ABV. It was surprised how good it was — it smelled of strawberries and hops, and was less bitter than most IPAs, with a definite floral quality. I need to find somewhere that sells it in bottles.
After Melt, we were both completely stuffed (shocker) — and I didn’t even eat half of my sandwich. James, however, ate his entire sandwich and the rest of mine. I’m honestly surprised that he didn’t vomit. I wondered how my beloved Melt could make me feel such pain. There was a serious need to walk it off a bit, so we did, until about 4 blocks down Detroit (heading east) we saw the Lakewood Circulator heading toward the 117th rapid station and decided to hop on.
Down to the Tremont Tap House
After the Circulator dropped us off, we took the Red Line back east to West 25th, then walked down to the Tremont Tap House. I really enjoyed the walk through Tremont, even though we stayed on the northern end. Every time I go to Tremont, I think I fall in love with it a little more. It just has such a great vibe, not to mention incredible food, bars and local shops.
We hadn’t been to the Tap House yet, but I had been hearing good things and our super-cool bartender, Daniel, at Melt recommended it so we figured we’d give it a shot. It is a really cool place with a great beer selection and food that looked and smelled delicious. Too bad I was still so full that I couldn’t even drink a full beer. I did, however, have a sample of the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar (probably about 4 ounces for $2.25 or $2.50), which was nutty and delicioius and tasted like fall. I cannot wait to go back for a big-girl pour.
We hung out at the Tap House for a while, and my friend Sarah even joined us for a bit. At half-time of the Browns (preseason) game, we left and walked over to Lincoln Park, where we caught some of the Verb Ballet performance before catching the #23 bus back to Public Square and heading home for the night.
My Case for the RTA
Overall, it was a great day. I am a huge fan of public transportation, and even though ours may not be the greatest, it still can help get you where you’re going, or get you to new and exciting places you have yet to discover. So the next time you’re bored or going out somewhere, leave your keys at home. Don’t worry about arguing over who will be DD, grab a bus pass and see where it takes you. Just be sure you have an idea of the line(s) that can get you home, and how late they run.
TIP: You can be a lot more adventurous on your RTA trip if you either have a map or a smart phone. Preferably a smart phone, because then you can also access bus schedules.
About RTA Day Passes
Starting yesterday (Sept. 1) RTA All Day Passes cost $5, and they give you unlimited access to RTA transit until 3 AM the following day. This can be an awesome deal, because one-way passes are now $2.25. Ride three times and you’ve gotten your money’s worth.
Images are from my Flickr page – I made a set for the day.