Polly Wants a Drink

Head over to the Thirsty Parrot

Wine Tasting: featuring the wines of Australia Stan Hywet Hall, Akron Saturday, August 25, at 7p.m.
We hate to be the one to say this, but it won't be long before those cold winds start to blow across Lake Erie again, and what passes for summer hereabouts will be no more than a distant sigh. Before then, it behooves you to head over to the Thirsty Parrot (821 Bolivar Road, 216-685-3200), the newest outpost for the Hospitality Restaurants folks who brought us the Blue Point Grille, Salmon Dave's, and the Cabin Club. (For this particular venture, Blue Point GM Doug Petkovic and Exec Chef Jim Gillison are also in on the action.) The Caribbean-themed spot in the Caxton Building, former site of Pete and Dewey's Planet, has a list of "awesome umbrella drinks" that may take you months to work your way through, starting with the Horny Cactus (100 percent blue agave reposada, prickly pear puree, and DeKuyper cactus juice schnapps) and continuing through the Mojita Cubana (Bacardi Silver, imported sugar-cane juice, lime, crushed fresh mint, and a spritz of seltzer). The bar also stocks an impressive list of premium rums and top-shelf sipping tequilas, including the silken-smooth Patron Anejo. To go with the bracing libations, Executive Chef Cesar Echeverria whips up some truly tasty Nuevo Latino dishes, like hot and hearty Cuban meatloaf on goat-cheese mashers and a Peruvian-style grouper with pineapple and sage. The cantina, which opened in June, serves weekday lunches and dinner Monday through Saturday, and has a large outdoor deck with a gritty view of Jacobs Field. And while it inevitably caters to sports fans, the restaurant's good food should also attract a regular clientele of enthusiastic eaters.

Why don't they ever ask us? . . . September's issue of Bon Appetit reports on hundreds of American restaurants favored by the magazine's writers and readers for all sorts of occasions, from just hanging around to a special night on the town. Two Cleveland restaurants showed up on the lists: fun-loving little Fat Cats (2061 West 10th Street, 216-579-0200) in Tremont in the "neighborhood favorites" category, along with a recipe for chef and co-owner Ricardo Sandoval's Linguine Primavera; and Tutto a Posto, Gary Lucarelli's former spot just off Shaker Square, in the "trattoria" listings. Hey, better late than never: Tutto a Posto closed in July after losing both its chef and sous chef. Predictably enough, the only other Ohio restaurant to score a berth was Maisonette in Cincinnati, listed among "special occasion" favorites.

Brain food . . . Wednesday, August 30, would be a good day to eat a burrito, doncha think? And if you get it at one of the seven local Chipotle Mexican Grills, you won't be feeding just the inner child, but you'll be helping a Cleveland student, too, since 100 percent of all sales on that day will be earmarked for the Cleveland Scholarship Program. (The nonprofit organization has been providing millions of dollars in scholastic aid to thousands of qualified students and adult learners since 1967. Find out more about them at www.cspohio.org.) Not entirely coincidentally, the fund-raiser also marks the opening of the area's two newest Chipotles, one in Coventry and the other in Mayfield Heights. The Denver-based "quick service" chain has built its reputation on hefty gourmet burritos, fajitas, and tacos, made to order with fresh ingredients, following the recipes designed by founder and chef Steve Ells. Other participating Chipotle locations are in South Euclid, Parma, Strongsville, Independence, and Kent.

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