Hodges - Cleveland, OH (part 2)
It’s not news these days that Cleveland has a vibrant foodie scene. From local chef favorites Lola to Greenhouse Tavern and Alley Cat Oyster Bar (still on the bucket list) to Blue Point Grille, you’re a stones throw away from pretty much your pick of a food adventure. Since our Opening Day plans got postponed due to weather, we took it as an opportunity to go exploring and my friend and I ended up at Hodges. I had been there before a couple of years ago and I was ready to try it again. I’m so glad we did because it definitely hit the spot.
Since it was lunch I wanted to wanted to keep it light....OK maybe not so much light since I did order pasta. Maybe simple is a better word. It wasn't exactly lunch at three in the afternoon, but it definitely wasn't quite dinner yet. Either way, what I had was absolutely delicious and I would have it for lunch or dinner and lucky for you it offered both times.
It looks like a straight-forward mac and cheese, but it had some unexpected ingredients that really took up a notch. Let's start with the pasta because all good mac and cheese has to start there. It was cooked al-dente and had a nice bite to it. It's called a strozzapretti and it's kind of a cross between a penne and a corkscrew without being perfectly rounded. It was a good shape to get all the cheesy goodness coated all over.
Of course once you have the mac, next comes the cheese. I am a huge fan of pasta tossed with some mascarpone cheese because it adds such a creaminess to the pasta. Mascarpone is the same cheese that tiramisu is made with and it really does make an excellent pasta sauce. The mascarpone was mixed with goat cheese and it made a fabulous cheese sauce. The tartness from the goat cheese and sweet creaminess from mascarpone was a divine combination. I ate the whole bowl and my friend, who's been out with me a few times, knows I don't normally finish off my meal unless it's just that good.
And I'm not done. Hodges could have left it at just that, but they also tossed in some chopped dates and poblano peppers. Not only was this mac and cheese tarty and creamy, but it had a nice balance in flavors with the sweet dates and mild peppers. Every single bite was just delicious.
In writing this I just realized the last time I was at Hodges was the last time I tried to go to an Indians game that also got postponed due to weather. Either I'm destined to not see the Indians play or enjoy awesome food at Hodges whenever I try. Whatever reason you have, make it over to Hodges. They are just around the corner from the popular E. 4th Street and offer fantastic food.