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First Taste 

J. Pistone in Shaker Heights joins honorable ranks.

This may be the first year that J. Pistone Market and Gathering Place (3245 Warrensville Center Road, Shaker Heights; 216-283-3663) will be joining such venerable venues as the Inn at Turner's Mill and the Baricelli Inn in hosting Taste of the Nation events to raise money for local hunger-relief agencies. But owner Joan Pistone and her brother, chef John Pistone, are anything but newcomers to the Cleveland restaurant scene. Along with their family, the duo helped operate the Lincoln Inn on Public Square for more than a quarter-century before launching their new venture last summer. Their market, an airy space with warm wood floors, exposed ductwork, and plenty of windows fronting the street, specializes in freshly prepared meals to go, with entrées ranging from meatloaf to herbed chicken breast to beef tenderloin. Plenty of salads (check out the inspired Sweet Potato Salad with grapes, white raisins, and walnuts, for instance) and side dishes like mashed rutabaga, roasted acorn squash, and polenta help round out a square meal. Friendly staffers, including chef Colleen Taylor and pastry chef Kim Hall, will pack up everything to go, or if desired, guests can dine at one of the market's tidy little tables. Other tasty alternatives include panini or grinder sandwiches on Orlando's artisanal breads, daily soups, and Hall's gorgeous desserts, which during a recent visit included a three-layer coconut-custard cake as pure and delicate as the driven snow. J. Pistone's also sells beer and wine at retail, and carries a small assortment of gourmet groceries. The market is open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Orders can be placed by phone, fax (216-283-0850), or e-mail at realfood@interax.com. The Pistones' Taste of the Nation event -- a champagne reception -- will be held Sunday, April 29, from 3 to 6 p.m.; tickets are available at the market or by calling the Greater Cleveland Restaurant Association at 216-381-3800.

Macedonia goes Mongolian

After nearly a year of renovations, Tommy and Amy Lee have opened their new Asian restaurant in northern Summit County, in space that most recently was the Arizona Steakhouse. Long-Yun's (307 East Highland Road, Macedonia; 330-908-3988) opened February 5 and offers an enormous 150-plus-item buffet, complete with a Mongolian barbecue station and selections that range from crab legs to kimchee. The family-friendly buffet also has plenty of items like canned and fresh fruit, puddings, and fried chicken nuggets for less adventurous palates; chocolate cake, almond cookies, and warm doughnuts were available, too, during a recent evening visit. The dinner buffet costs $8.98 Monday through Thursday and $9.98 on weekends; add $2 if you want those "all you can eat" crab legs. Lunchtime tariff is $5.98; $6.98 on Sunday. Kids under 10 get a discount; under 2, and they're free.

Everyone's a winner

Wednesday, February 21, would be the ideal time to stock up on Valrhona chocolate bars at the newly opened Wild Oats Market on Shaker Square. That's the day the organic/gourmet grocery store will be donating 5 percent of all sales to the North Union Farmer's Market, a grassroots group helping to support sustainable, small-scale farming in Northeast Ohio. And here's a happy thought: The Saturday morning farmers' markets will return to the square beginning May 5.

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