The first installment in the series, "Someone Who Just Moved Here Reviews the Things You Regularly Do."
If you love historic architecture, dodgy bathrooms, life-changing falafel, being screamed at by produce vendors, and parking that, while technically free, will probably cost you your life, then the West Side Market is the place for you. It's a beautiful grocery store / tourist trap that is over 100 years old and the perfect place to take out-of-town visitors to make them feel that sharp twinge of jealously that people feel when they realize that your grocery store is cooler than theirs.
Now, do you actually buy groceries here? No, absolutely not. Because the only time you can go is on Saturday, along with the rest of humanity, so you always plan on getting there early, but then you forget to live your best life and instead get trashed on Friday night. So you wake up late and arrive at the Market hungover, alongside the entirety of your neighbors/worst enemies/folks visiting from PA. Plus you forgot to bring cash, or a grocery list. But you forge ahead because you are going to live the real Cleveland experience and you are going to buy something necessary and authentic here today, like a whole pig. And you spot a whole pig, just laying there in the case, it's head resting delicately against its hooves, ears perked up as though it's been listening for you. And you peer into its dead eyes and realize that you don't have the strength to carry it back to your car, or the technical skill to cook it, or even the confidence to ask the butcher how much it costs. Also, you read Charlotte's Web once.
Bring a double-wide stroller and slowly push it in front of you as you carefully determine what you would buy if you were on a contestant on Top Chef. Ignore the pleas of the thousands of people behind you to move a bit faster so they can just buy some milk and get home before 5 p.m. Take your time and really impress the judges.
5 out of 5 "I GOT YOUR ORANGES RIGHT HERE"
Dana Norris is the founder of Story Club and the producer of Story Club Cleveland, which is held the 1st Tuesday every month at BottleHouse Brewing Co. You can follow her on Twitter @dananorris.