Welcome to West Side Market


I wanted my 30th anniversary blog post to be super special that is why I devoted this post to the West Side Market. This place embodies everything delicious that is in Cleveland, but most importantly, you can find foods from different cultures!

Crain’s Cleveland Business on the Web describes Cleveland’s West Side Market as:

A popular place to shop for fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, the building is one of the largest indoor/outdoor markets in the country.”

West Side Market is one of the oldest markets in Cleveland area, and believe it or not, it has been operating ever since since the end of nineteenth century. It’s over hundred years! On December 18, 1973, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Now, West Side market has over 100 vendor combined of food representatives of all sorts of ethnic groups. There you can find anything from mouth-watering smell of Middle Eastern spices to hand-crafted cupcakes you have only seen on the pictures. 20140430_211924000_iOS

West Side Market is located at the corner of West 25th and Lorain which is short drive from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, so you can easily visit both of the places on the same day. 

My first encounter with the West Side Market was quite memorable. Me and my friend were shopping for some deli and coated buffalo chicken wings. On the same stand, there was a skinned rabbit. If its cooked in the crock pot with sour-cream, carrots, bell peppers, and onions, it is delicious and very tender. It is even more tender than under-cooked chicken breast. I made a joke about it being a cat instead of the rabbit. People who were looking to buy something from this vendor totally freaked out. They looked at me with big round eyes and said; “you have to be kitten me.” Good thing, everybody were in a good mood. I explained to them that this skinned animal is an actual rabbit as you can tell by its legs and the fur left on them. In the end everybody just laughed at this situation, but nobody bought that poor skinned animal.





Hot banana peppers stuffed with sausage, topped with marinara sauce and parmesan

Valenti’s Ristorante represents fine Italian dinning in Cleveland. The food at Valenti’s is obviously Italian with a hint of grandma’s cooking. The restaurant’s owner describes this place as:

Valenti’s Ristorante celebrates Grandma’s table, a tradition of eating great food with friends and family. Or A tavola non si invecchia. “At the table one never grows old.”

If you ever went there, you would experience comfort food outside of your couch area in the really nice set up. White tablecoth, piano music, fire place, and summer outdoor patio create a soothing atmosphere for a romantic dinner or business meeting during the lunch time.

If you like to fish for food promotions on twitter, just type in the search tab @Valenti’s_Italian. You will see the official Twitter account of Valenti’s.

She Saw the Culture Change

Ever since 2004, Ukraine became known to the world not only for the tragedy in Chernobyl, or heavy weight champions boxers Brothers Klitschko. In 2004, Ukraine underwent a first wave of massive riots in downtown Kiev, where thousands of people decided to camp out on the main square demanding fair elections of the new President. Almost ten years later, a new wave of protests would spread around the country in less than two month. Everything started with this amazing, yet dangerous, social phenomenon – Maidan.

big-1-300x200 I happened to have a friend who actually was a part of this movement. She spent countless days and night at Maidan, helping to prepare food, or just hanging out. It certainly was dangerous to be threre, but she was very brave and wanted to make a differece, to be a part of ‘making a new history’. I asked her about social aspect of everyday life at Maidan, and this is what she shared with me:

Maria Dudka, “I will try to write neatly…
Anyways, you certainly know about our culture, about how our people like to throw trash everywhere, to spit on the ground, and to be disrespectful towards other people. It not the case for every single individual, yet it’s quite common.
Ever since Maidan started big time, everything has changed. The closer you would get to Maidan, the more culturally pleasant people would behave themselves.



One can definitely say that society underwent some major social changes. We still have a lot to learn, but now, at least, we have a strong foundation. A huge step towards a better future was made. And everything started with such a small thing as a simple student riot in downtown Kiev.
Now, the phrase “Glory to Ukraine” makes so much sense, so much hope and soul; you can feel it in the air. I wouldn’t even think of something like that a year ago. Maidan_sandwiches

Maidan is truly a state within the state. Here people have their own rules and laws. Once can’t consume alcohol, or it is suggested not come empty-handed. Not for someone won’t let you through, but because you naturally have a feeling to give something back to this community.

1467384_530759453687063_1486664655_n-300x225In terms of foods, people would usually bring sandwiches or meats and cheeses for sandwiches. Young girls would bring homemade cookies, but only when there is no shooting or fights with a riot police. People also bring fruits and vegetables, bread, meat, they bring everything!
Maidan itself has a fulltime kitchen! People cook everything from soup to pot roast. It’s not as good as at home, but it definitely has a sweet taste of freedom! When there is no time for cooking people would just drop off homemade sandwiches and pots with hot tea. The bravest fighters would refuse to eat anything, probably, because of the adrenaline rush. But it’s a different story…”

Who Would’ve Thought…

Who Would've Thought...

The whole world was shaken up by what happened in Kiev, Ukraine on February 18-20th. A hundred of Ukrainian gave up their lives for better future for fifty millions.

All I know that they will never be forgotten. However, there is plenty of work to do in terms of investigating who was behind the shooting.

As I’m trying to keep up with what’s going in my homeland, I found an article by BBC News Europe about the ongoing investigation of who shot at protesters in Kiev.

Now, here is the good part. This post may serve as an introduction for my next post. I have guest blogger who shared with me few insights abut every day life @Maidan, what made it so special, and how the whole concept of culture changed for many people.

Foodie Friday @ Whole Foods Market

Foodie Friday @ Whole Foods Market

It’s always good to start planning your weekend ahead of time. It’s even better to start your weekend on Friday night by tasting delicious food and wine or beer samples for just five bucks. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try something you have never tried before!
For more information, you can browse Whole Foods website where you will find the whole calendar of events as well the store locator, recipes, and tips for healthy and well-balanced nutrition.

St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland


Holidays are great, especially like Maslenitsa or St. Patty’s Day.

Cleveland loves St. Patrick’s Day festivities! The parade’s kick-off is scheduled for 1:04 pm. I found the map of the parade on Plain Dealer’s website, so if you are in Downtown Cleveland, make sure to watch the parade. It should be awesome.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and drink responsibly!



Maslenitsa in 1878

If, by any chance, you were wondering what is Maslenitsa, I can tell you that it’s a holiday when people enjoy a lot of rich fatty foods. Guess what the main dish is? It’s a crepe. Big, round, thin, buttery, sweet or salty crepe.

Here is few facts about this holiday:

  • Maslenitsa is a Slavic holiday that people in Ukraine really enjoy, for not only for its delicious foods, but also because it commemorates the begging of Great Fast which goes all the way till Easter.
  • Maslenitsa is somewhat similar to Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. They both relate to the beginning of Great Fast, and involve consumption of rich fatty food. Yay.
  • Maslenitsa symbolizes the end of cold snowy winter and beginning of warm spring.
    • Maslenitsa has its roots in pagan traditions but was accepted by Orthodox ancestors as a way of saying Good-Bye to cold winter.
    • Some of the festivities are accompanied by the burning of a straw ladylike figure ‘winter’
  • Maslenitsa involves not only eating food, but also dancing, singing, and festival activities. But, honestly, it’s mostly about eating a lot of foods as crepes or varenuki bathing in the butter and sugar.
My younger sibling is ready eating crepes, Maslenitsa 2012

My younger sibling is ready to eat a bunch of crepes, Maslenitsa 2012

Russian Maslenitsa 2011

more  crepes, butter, cream, pastry, and other goodies :)

more crepes, butter, cream, pastry, and other goodies 🙂

Waffle Taco?!


It’s happening … Waffle Taco VS Egg McMuffin! Breakfast is coming to Taco Bell on March 27, 2014.

When someone writes about food and culture, fast food should be honored at least once. It is rather sad that fast food became a part of our food motion. However, when another fast food chain introduces its new product, the promotional campaigns are usually pretty sweet. On top of that, people would probably receive a bunch of coupons in the mail encouraging to try out the new thing.

Waffle Taco from Taco Bell looks fairly appealing on the picture. I will definitely try it. Just out of curiosity.

In less than a month, consumer will have a larger choice for a quick breakfast stops. Forbes Magazine says that McDonald’s should watch out as market will get tough. 

Here is the link to Taco Bell website with a display of the new breakfast menu: http://www.tacobell.com/food/menu/breakfast-menu

About Wine and Dine

11554658956_9c1a1a861e_oThere are 196 countries in the world today. Each of them is unique in its own way. But what really unites people around the globe is food. If you like to eat, if you are passionate about the art of culinary, if you are brave to try new recipes, this blog is the place to be.

And remember, it doesn’t matter when you have your last meal. What matters is content. Enjoy! ❤