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Tea Time 

Mrs. Ticklemore's signals a steep incline in Akron.

Finally, a proper British tearoom, where even manly men can feel at ease. Despite its entirely too-cute moniker, Mrs. Ticklemore's Tearoom, in Akron's West Point Market (1711 West Market Street, 800-838-2156), is handsome, homey, and not a bit fussy. Manager Jennifer Tavanello says the space -- formerly a small snack area -- was designed to mimic traditional English tearooms, simple pub-like facilities where working men and women stop by for a spot of Earl Grey, a crumb of Stilton, and a sip of port. Thus it is that you will look in vain for lace curtains, chintz teapots, or sprays of artificial roses here. Instead, there are bare wooden tabletops, white Stoke-on-Trent china, and shiny Christophle butter knives, just right for spreading clotted cream onto sweet, crumbly scones. Best of all, the finger food -- everything from sliced baby mozzarella, fresh basil, and sun-dried tomato settled on tiny baguette toasts, to sugar-crusted pastry horns wrapped around whipped mascarpone and fruit -- is first-rate. Options include The Cream Tea, served from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with scones, jam, butter, and clotted cream ($4.95); Afternoon Tea, served from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with sweets, savories, or tea sandwiches ($7.95 each); and The Royal Collection, served from 4 to 6 p.m., with English farmhouse cheddar and Stilton, baguette toasts, sugared pecans, and a potted pear ($9.95). Teas, from Taylors of Harrogate, are $3.50 per pot; a small selection of fine ports is available at $5-$8 per glass. The tearoom, which opened late last month, is drawing big crowds; reservations are strongly suggested.

Farewell to OZ . . .

Chef Donna Chriszt is turning in her toque. Her Tremont bar and bistro, OZ (2391 West 11th Street, 216-861-3734), will serve its last meal this Saturday. The talented Chriszt, whose previous restaurants have included Jeso and J Café, blames bad timing for the restaurant's failure. "We opened three months before the [2000] elections and the ensuing economic decline, and we opened undercapitalized, thinking we could find an investor. With the first problem happening, there were no investors in sight." The restaurant has been sold; Chriszt declined to name the buyer. The chef says she plans to take some time off before returning to the kitchen.

Ethnic eating . . .

Indefatigable diner Laura Taxel is out with an expanded and updated edition of her culinary guidebook Cleveland Ethnic Eats (Gray & Company; $13.95). The book, a compendium of ethnic restaurants and markets in Northeast Ohio, makes tabletop adventuring easy as pie. While we might quibble with Taxel's broad definition of "ethnic" restaurants (she includes Ohio City's Parker's in the French category and figures Johnny's Bar for Italian), the book is a great resource, full of fascinating tidbits, like the history of Greek immigration to Cleveland and the essential differences between Southern cooking and soul food. For those who hunger for even more info, Taxel will be leading a tasteful tour to a number of authentic ethnic eateries around town on Saturday, November 10, from 1 to 5 p.m. The $40 ticket includes transportation via Lolly the Trolley, a copy of Taxel's book, and plenty of samples along the way. Call 216-771-4484 for tickets or more information.

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