Dining » Dining Lead

Funny Food

Cuisine gets cartoonish at Medina's Cupcake Café.

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How about a vitamin-fortified, vegetarian Dilberito, stuffed with corn and beans? A muscular Popeye Power Salad, with spinach, mandarin oranges, and peanuts? Or a freshly baked Gotham Pizza, with a choice of gourmet toppings? Along with Burgerpipes (extra-lean ground meat or chicken in the form of a hot dog, served on a wienie bun), homemade muffins, Flavor-Burst soft-serve, and beverages that run the gamut from strawberry-flavored milk to bottled beer, that's the menu at the Cupcake Café, part of Medina's new Cartoon Cabaret. A sort of Disney store on steroids, the cabaret is the creation of Akronites Mark and Tracy Marple -- he with a background in theater, concert promotions, and animation, and she an award-winning pastry chef and caterer. In between noshes, kids of all ages can watch nonstop cartoons, play video games, shop for original production cels and signed serigraphs, pick up their favorite animation action figure, and peruse a collection of more than 250,000 comic books, some dating back to 1935. "Our six-year-old thinks this is heaven on earth," says Tracy Marple, and your own inner child is likely to agree. The Cartoon Cabaret (919 North Court Street, in the Medina Shopping Center; 330-723-1155) is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Oodles of strudel . . .

The phones didn't stop ringing for weeks after Michael and Marika Feigenbaum made their debut on the Food Network's popular Food Finds series last December. The owners of Lucy's Sweet Surrender (12516 Buckeye Road, 216-752-0828, and 2775 South Moreland Boulevard, 216-283-5647) were shown making authentic Hungarian strudel at their Buckeye Road bakery, as part of Food Finds' focus on old-fashioned regional foods. Now the Feigenbaums are bracing for another onslaught of orders when their segment repeats at 10 p.m. on Monday, September 24, and at 1 a.m. on Tuesday, September 25. While Michael Feigenbaum says the bakery has always shipped its incomparable strudel (in flavors like apple, cherry, cheese, peach, and poppyseed) to homesick ex-Clevelanders, the program sent the mail-order business skyrocketing. The implication is clear: If you have a taste for Lucy's strudel, stop by the bakeries before the end of the month. As for Food Finds, the weekly series is based on Allison and Margaret Engel's book of the same name and features host Sandra Pinckney hunting down makers of everything from Kansas City barbecue to boardwalk saltwater taffy.

It's not dinner theater . . .

This town already has a lock on the title of Spaghetti and Meatball Capital of the Midwest, but get a load of what they've dished out at the Hanna during the past year's run of Tony n' Tina's Wedding. Guests (about 103,000 of them) at the "reception" in Vinnie Black's Bologna Palace have so far consumed 9,520 pounds of flaccid pasta, 2,900 gallons of tepid sauce, 8,704 loaves of white bread, 130,572 cheezy treats, and 130,568 slices of wedding cake, all tossed onto flimsy plastic plates by the buffet line's surly staffers and washed down with 16,321 bottles of lukewarm, bottom-shelf bubbly. If this all sounds like a vision of culinary purgatory, be not afraid. The spoof on America's knack for turning private moments into public debacle is all in good fun and is intended to play every bit as tacky as it sounds. The show enters its second year tomorrow, September 7; to "get invited," call Tickets.com at 216-241-6000. Just plan to eat before you go.

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