Located in an Erie landmark eatery, la bella entices appetites with an extensive menu of homemade dishes served in a casual setting. Wanting to look perfect for its big dinner plate, the curly-leaf spinach takes a quick dip into the deep fryer ($6), while the sweet italian sausage prefers a long, hot bath in a sweet-and-sour poached-fig-and-date sauce ($8). Patrons looking for traditional Italian specialties find the ragu bolognese ($15) leading a roster of palate-pleasing pastas, as the lobster mac 'n' cheese ($25) and honey-jalapeño ahi tuna ($18) flaunt their flavors elsewhere on the menu. A nearby plant hatchery supplies the key component for vegetarian classics such as the eggplant parmesan ($18) and the eggplant veracruz ($17). Gluten-free guidelines help diners discern diet-friendly dishes such as the bittersweet chocolate-apricot cake ($8).
More than 50 creative and classic toppings crown freshly kneaded dough at J's Pizza Market, which has claimed a Readers' Choice award for best pizza from MentorPatch for its pizza-crafting prowess. Patrons can choose from 34 specialty pies for at-home cooking or hunker down for in-eatery feasts. Gluten-free, white, or wheat crusts bubble atop a provided take-home pizza disk that emulates the cooking abilities and imperviousness to wolves of a brick oven, browning a variety of toppings, including barbecue pork. The restaurant's in-house wood stone hearth oven melts the Little Havana pizza's vegetarian blend of black olives, banana peppers, red onions, and tomatoes into a bed of cheddar and mozzarella atop black-bean sauce. Meat-laden sandwiches and crisp salads are also available as alternatives to circular sustenance.
The Flaming Ice Cube might as well be a good vibes factory. Part cafe, gift shop, and yarn shop, visitors can stop in for a veggie burger, knitting lesson, or soy candle. At the cafe, chefs craft homemade vegan plates from a menu that includes a BBQ chick'n sandwich and brown rice bowls layered with asian vegetables, marinated organic tempeh, and the cafe's signature plum sauce. Meanwhile, instructors get needles moving at knitting classes, during which participants learn knitting basics or more advanced techniques for creating hats, scarves, and impractical bikinis.
The hybrid vegan café and gift shop deals in good vibes, whether they take the form of sandwiches and soups made from scratch, eco-fashions, or candles that both soothe the senses and keep away ghosts that are wearing flammable bed sheets. After tasting the zing of a spicy plum vinaigrette or biting into organic sprouted-grains bread at the Compassionate Café, guests can browse a selection of eclectic wares. Vegan jewelry sparkles with gemstones alongside Dead Sea mineral soaps and colorful socks made from recycled cotton, which are ideal for keeping a giant caterpillar warm.
The Boardman location also delves into the world of knitting with a lounge where needle artists can pick up skeins of silk or bamboo yarn, sink into armchairs, and clack away until they have a spider web to sleep in that night.
Shticks’ menu features a cast of fresh vegetables starring in healthy productions of hand-held edibles and homemade soups. Soft Lawash bread swaddles baba and tabbouleh as they nap on a bed of roasted red-pepper hummus and sprouts in the Red Sea wrap ($5), and far-out falafel ($5) entrances taste buds with a chickpea army and a giant black-light poster of a pita. Alternatively, meaty options such as Ruthies' roast-beef melt ($5.75) and Marvs' turkey-pastrami melt ($5.75), slathered with stadium mustard and mozzarella cheese, allow customers to indulge carnivorous impulses. For the summer months only, Shticks will be serving up cups of Spanish gazpacho ($3.25/cup) as a cool treat during warm afternoons and raging city fires.
Owner and chef Matt founded the The Souper Market to brew up original soup and salad concoctions from preservative- and additive-free ingredients. Chicken andoullie sausage mingles with shrimp and its poultry namesake within hearty scoops of jambalaya ($3.75–$7, or $13.75 for 32 oz.), and the roasted ratatouille’s vegetable medley sets tongues to merrily dancing ($3.25–$5.50, or $10.50 for 32 oz.). Guests can gussy up the blue greens salad ($5.25) with a less tasty Bedazzling gun or a more delicious blue cheese dressing made by hand in-house, which, along with other dressings and vinaigrettes, is available for purchase by the pint ($5).