I would have, in a second, returned to The Black Pig for another meal on this Sunday afternoon. But they're not open during the day on Sundays. The Flying Fig was on my radar, and seemed like a good plan B. A Chef-owned restaurant with an interesting cocktail list and an appreciation for local farmers always always seems like a good combination to me.
So after a stroll through the Ohio Erie Canal Reservation to take a look at the underbelly of Cleveland's infrastructure, off I went for lunch.
Brunch menus are generally loathsome affairs, filled with uninteresting and cookie-cutter breakfast fare, more suited to cruise ship dining halls than serious restaurants. Thankfully, The Flying Fig's brunch bucks the trend, offering, for one, a burger (thank you), and some Mexican- and Southern-influenced dishes.
But first a cocktail.
Much to my chagrin, many of the cocktails from their dinner list were not offered during brunch. This, I believe, because they are a bit complicated and the bar isn't set up with the ingredients, and perhaps the will, to make these drinks during brunch. If you get the impression that brunch food menus annoy me, you must be able to imagine how brunch booze menus really get my dander up. Serious drinking doesn't punch a time clock. It has no watch. It's an all day affair. My palate doesn't wake up in the morning with the taste of a 20-year-old (well, not in quite a few years at least--*rimshot*) and slowly develop sophistication during the day. It wakes up looking to get right to it. Not wanting to mess around with juices and straws. My palate is top-freakin'-notch next-level-shit all day long, damnit.
Thankfully there were a couple of brunch drinks that piqued my über-refined interest.
"The Spike," a tall, gin-based cocktail with Campari, Velvet Falernum, and grapefruit juice, was pleasantly balanced with bitter and sweet and sour.
I don't have cranberry bitters, so I felt compelled to try the "Cranberry Fizz." Cava, cranberry juice, cranberry bitters, lime juice. I wouldn't have ordered this if not for the inclusion of bitters. While I do not have a philosophical issue with mixing sparkling wine and juice, it's generally sort of boring. Fun, like candy, but boring. The bitters help.
For a reason I cannot fathom, they don't have a very interesting selection of tequilas here. I think there were two. Cleveland seems to be much more a gin town than a tequila town. Maybe this stems from the city's blue collar history. Maybe it's due to a shockingly small Latino population (10%?!). Maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about. Either way, it's certainly good to see gin being used so much, so I'll give 'em a pass on the tequila oversights.
The burger on the menu was reading really well, and it was the reason I ended up at The Flying Fig. But the Huevos Rancheros, with braised beef, was also beckoning. Especially after having a weak rendition of this dish at Orale in Jersey City a few weeks ago.
This version did not disappoint. A generous helping of braised beef, although not as much red chili sauce as I'd expect. I'm not sure what type of animal hatched this egg, but I sure wouldn't want to get into a cock fight with it. This egg seemed very large. A thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying dish.
All of this excitment that you have just read about was going down at the very comfortable bar. It seats about 20, and does not have hooks underneath for your purse. The bartender was quite pleasant and friendly, and indulged me and my endless barrage of questions. Water bottles were at the ready on the bar and glasses were filled as needed. Everyone was quite nice. The Flying Fig remains on my list of Cleveland stops, and I'm looking forward to dinner food and big-boy cocktails.
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