Empress Tatyu

Empress Taytu is a very exotic restaurant, almost like a trip to another world. This small, yet elegant restaurant is located on 6125 St. Clair Avenue and it offers traditional Ethiopian fair.

The restaurant’s design is simple with traditional hard wood chairs that sit low to the floor with small end tables and an unusual deep-rimmed basket forming the table. Pictures of ancient Ethiopian monarchs and other tribal artworks are laden throughout this establishment.

The menu is small and may be difficult to understand for patrons unfamiliar with this type of cuisine, however the servers are friendly and will be happy to offer suggestions.

We started with Ethiopian iced tea, which was sweetened with spices indigenous to Eastern Africa; it was very fragrant and barely required sugar to sweeten it. For our meal, we ordered sega wat (lamb stew), kitfo (rare, almost uncooked steak grinded with a blend of curry, hot peppers and herbs) and doro wat (chicken stew). Then we choose from an array of simple side dishes, including steamed cabbage, carrots, mashed lentils, fresh cottage cheese and medium spicy green peppers.

After waiting more than two hours, our server who was dressed in traditional Ethiopian garb, brought out a large serving tray with tef (flat pancake-like bread) which had each of our meals laden on top. Included were injera, miniature versions of the tef bread, to use as our forks and spoons. We each shared from our meals and it was a fun, yet messy way to eat.

The total amount for three people came to $50, which we thought was very reasonable. With the exception of having to wait for a long period of time for our meal, this was a memorable experience and I recommend it to be a fun family affair or a sensual adventure with that special someone.

07.28.2005: The Scene Music Awards featuring Disengage and The Dan Band @ House Of Blues

2005 Scene Awards live

Every year Scene Magazine puts together an award ceremony that is like The Grammies for Cleveland, so we don’t have to listen to critics attack our Cleveland favorites that have managed to rise above the rusted city. The nominees get a chance to loosen up and show their true colors for the people of Cleveland.

The band of the evening was Disengage who received a lifetime achievement award for sticking around, making Cleveland rock hard and not stopping anytime soon. The gentleman rubbed shoulders with Clevelanders and went on for a heart stopping performance. The crowd as rather small, but the soul of metal was there. The true fans came out to see Disengage play a hard set featuring new and old goodies.

It’s hard for any Cleveland native not to relate to Disengage, because their lyrics refer to the rusty city more than just a few times. Overall, Disengage is an inspirational metal band with a familiar sound to Cleveland that I would recommend to anyone. Congratulations to Disengage.

The Dan Band would take the stage next. If you’re not familiar with The Dan Band, these gentlemen make cover songs even worse. They stole the stage from Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, making cover songs their career. While most of the crowd was there to support The Dan Band, it was just terrible, sort of a hillbilly way of making some favorite tunes awful.

Awards were given out to Cleveland’s favorite in punk/ metal, best live, best reggae, and many more. Many of the winners did not show up at the finish line for their awards, but it was funny that other bands that were nominated that did not win still showed up for support such as The American Werewolves and The Brazen Rogues. The difference between being a good band and an amazing band is being supportive, courteousness, and showing up. Maybe voters should think about that before next year Scene Music Awards are given out.

02.24.2005: The Sixth Annual Free Times Awards @ The Odeon

For those of you who don’t know what it’s like, walking down a red carpet makes you feel like a hardcore celebrity. It was an honor to be able to rub elbows with Cleveland’s musical best for a night at the 6th annual Free Times music awards.

The WMMS crew did a great job with keeping the mood upbeat and entertaining throughout the night. “Best DJ” nominee Larry Szyms kicked off the night spinning a mix of tunes, the best of which had to be Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.” Not a lot of the songs seemed suitable for dancing, yet it seemed to draw the crowd closer to the stage.

It was a surprise to see Fox 8’s Kenny Crumpton in full pinstripe suit to present the award for “Best Horn”. One of my personal favorites in the Cleveland scene, Disown, won the award for “Best Goth/Industrial”. I’d like to take this opportunity to send them a personal congratulations for excelling in a category that’s often ridiculed and looked down upon by many. You guys live your band every day. There aren’t many people who have the same type of dedication as you.

Next up, Amps II Eleven took the stage and thoroughly rocked the crowd. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a band put out that much energy. I’m a little disappointed that Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival didn’t win for “Best Rockabilly/Garage” but my personal musical taste has always differed from most of the rest of Cleveland. Lords Of The Highway took that award.

Alan Greene Band came out and showed up some bluesy rock that was really impressive. I’ve always had a soft spot for a band with great guitar and harmonica players.

This is where the highlight of the night came. The award for “Best Punk/Hardcore” went to This Moment In Black History. They made their way to the stage a little quicker than most of the other winners. A person, who I was told was the singer of the group, grabbed the award and the microphone attached to the podium.

He then proceeded to quickly ramble off a few sentences, but he was speaking so close into the mic that they weren’t clear enough to understand. I’m pretty sure no one expected him to shove the podium off the stage and then throw the award down with it.

The award broke, along with the podium, and he was quickly escorted out by security. No matter how good the opening bands were or the upcoming bands might have been, this moment defined the night for me.

The awards program listed Machine Go Boom as the next performer but The Whiskeyhounds, winner of the “Best Americana/Roots” award took the stage. They closed out their set with their interpretation of James Brown’s “Papas Got a Brand New Bag” and did a great job with it.

Anytime you have the chance to be in the room with someone who fronted a band as great as Judas Priest, you have to show love. Tim “Ripper” Owens was probably the one person I saw there who I wasn’t expecting to see. He presented Roger Hoover of the Whiskeyhounds with the award for “Best Vocalist”.

Our own 71 North of ‘Booty Bounce’ fame won “Best Rap/Hip Hop”. This Is Exploding brought their unique sound on stage next. They may not have won an award but they were certainly the best dressed.

The last few categories were the ones I cared about most. “Best Metal” was hard for me to choose while voting, and no I’m not saying which way my vote went. I was torn between 2 bands I’ve loved for a long time, Mushroomhead and Chimaira. Chimaira took the award and with the way things are progressing for them in their career I think they deserve many more in the future.

Marty from Strhess was filling in for Derek Hess to present the “Best Hard Rock” award to Disengage (who made a valiant attempt to fix the podium using their award, but ultimately failed in doing so).

The award for “Best Rock” went to Jaded Era, who looked like they were dressed up to go to prom…in the 80’s. Refreshing considering we’d seen mostly t-shirts and jeans from the start.

Johnny Psycho capped off the night with their signature 3 piece punk style. They were the only act to have technical problems as the bass cut out for a while during one of their songs. As we left the Odeon, a few drunks were arguing with some cops outside.

I wondered that night when I got home, is it like this in other cities or just in Cleveland? I really doubt anyone could touch us when it comes to the support we have for our amazing music scene.

The Juniper Grill

I took 3 of the pickiest eaters along with myself (I am not as picky or classy, but can eat a lot and if I don’t leave full it can get ugly) and we went to The Juniper Grill.

The decor inside is made up of very cool and calm olives and sea greens. Dim lights overhead, and an open kitchen area all make for a relaxing place to eat. The restaurant isn’t very big, but the way it is laid out makes it easy to people watch while not feeling like you have no privacy yourself.

The Junpier Grill (1332 Carnegie) is located minutes from Jacob’s Field, Tower City, and the Flats. It is a fancy place, without the fancy prices and is a good idea for a large get together (call ahead for reservations) or a special evening with just the 2 of you.

The menu isn’t very lengthy, but we picked a few different items to get a good idea of how the Restaurant stacked up. The place wasn’t very noisy on a Saturday night and it was a nice change of pace to be able to have a conversation at a talking level.

The waiter, set with the task of pleasing myself, Michele and her very picky parents, was dressed casually and was very knowledgeable and personable upon arriving quickly to our table. The special of the night was rib-eye steak and 2 were ordered cooked two different ways.

It came with asparagus served right on top. Michele ordered chicken with carrots and mashed potatoes and I decided upon the chicken paprikash. My meal was two large servings of chicken drenched in a sour cream based sauce all on top of a heaping of wonderful mashed potatoes, but I guess I am getting ahead of myself.

Drinks were served quickly and I must recommend their green tea. It made a great companion to my meal. As we waited for the food, we talked about the interior, which we all agreed made for a great setting. Each light that hung from the ceiling had a long white covering with a glossy finish that set off a subdued glow. The walls were painted, as mentioned before, with cool olive and sea green designs. Before we had much more time the food was ready!

The Juniper Grill’s meals were priced between $16-~$25 and that may scare off some folks, but let me tell you the food is worth each penny. I am a man that hides no secrets of eating way too much food and even I had difficulty finishing the whole meal. The rib-eye was so juicy and both were cooked to the correct specifications.

The mashed potatoes melted like butter instantly upon consumption, and even Michele’s side of carrots was delightful! Oh, and I forgot to mention that we had been served a nice basket of rolls with a wonderful cinnamon butter with our drinks and salads.

Again, the waiter made sure we were comfortable and satisfied without interrupting the flow of conversation, which is always a plus. I often do not understand why some places insist on overdressed, overly polite employees when most people, I think, enjoy someone laid back and able to help with the menu and entertain when possible. We instantly liked our waiter without him having to wear an annoyingly bright outfit or a tuxedo. He was comfortable and so were we.

One in our party was worried because he had asked for his rib-eye to come without their usual sauce, but he gave it a shot and really enjoyed it anyway. The chicken on my plate was so moist and tasty I felt like the cooking staff had paid extra care to make sure that my plate was perfect.

Really, what more can you ask for, when you go out, spend a few dollars and in return get quality service with quality food? We left (after paying the bill of course) talking and trying to come up with a few negatives from our experience to have suggestions for The Juniper Grill, but really the only complaint was the small menu.

They might not have the biggest selection of foods, but I can tell you they have perfected the ones they do have. We strongly suggest a visit to The Juniper Grill soon.

I didn’t notice a webpage, but you can get more info and set up reservations by calling (216) 771-1334. As always let us know what you thought as well!

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