Crowdsourcing the best bartender in Cleveland

laraFor an upcoming story in Crain’s, I asked the Facebook hive-mind to direct me to a great bartender in Cleveland. Suggestions poured in (ha ha), names from the Spotted Owl, Toast, Lola, Lava Lounge, the Fairmount, Mahall’s, Nighttown and “the wife of Tony at Tony’s in Tremont” (she has a name — Eleny). I chose Lara Mielcarek at Velvet Tango Room because, well, it’s VTR but also I was charmed by her background as an actress and theatre prof (what could be more appropriate than a cocktail-serving artist?). That story comes out in the March 7th issue.

Last weekend, when Katherine and I took the kids to Maui Sands waterpark in Sandusky, we quickly discovered there is a hierarchy of waterparks, with Kalahari at the top, Great Wolf Lodge a slight tier below, and Maui Sands down about four or five more rungs. Our cheap Groupon gave us the classic American vacation, a getaway just an hour from home. Think tropical temps while watching the snow fall, hurtling down waterslides that make you feel like you’re seven years old, and fat people in innertubes. Katherine’s main takeaway: “I feel so un-tattooed.”

Lately, my age is showing not only in my strands of gray hair but also the fact that I can’t remember my kids’ names. “Nathan — I mean Emily — Jonathan … ” I haven’t yet resorted to calling my kids’ after pets like my parents once did (it helps that we don’t have any).

I often quip to my kids, “What do you say?” The answer is either please, thank you or I love you. Sometimes they get mixed up. I give them a peanut butter sandwich and they say “I love you” (the correct answer would be thank you).

Jonathan’s verbal skills are taking off but we can’t understand half the things he says. What is “ourfoeur”? I feel like I’m back in 10th grade Spanish class, feeling dumb and confused. Meanwhile he fumes at us because we can’t interpret his toddler-speak!

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