Who Says Clevelanders Don’t Go To Akron? (A review of VegiTerranean and Escher @ Akron Art Museum)

Clevelanders have a thing about taking sides. When I moved here, one of the first things people asked me was “Westside or Eastside?” I had no idea what they were talking about – but soon found out they were asking about where I lived – and therefore spent my time, because if you live on the Westside you don’t go to the Eastside… and vice versa. I have a coworker that often says about the “segregation” that back in the day, a man could have one family on the Eastside and another family on the Westside, and nobody would be the wiser. So what about the southside – or about 45 min. south of Cleveland – a town called Akron? Well, according to another coworker, “Clevelanders don’t go to Akron.”

So I set out this weekend to prove them wrong. I spent my Saturday in Akron, and I (gasp) liked it! What drove me there? Two words: Escher and VegiTerranean.

A coworker who happens to live in Akron told me that there was an Escher exhibit at the Akron Art Museum a few months ago. I LOVE Escher. He’s one of my top 3 favorite artists (the others? Norman Rockwell and Dali) and I’d been wanting to spend the day in Akron to hit up the famous, critically-acclaimed vegan restaurant, VegiTerranean. Alas, the craziness of planning for a wedding, trips back and forth to NY for various wedding tasks, bachelorette party, showers, etc. meant few free weekends in Cleveland and no chance of visiting the exhibit. SO when the news that the Escher exhibit was extended was released, my coworker wasted no time in suggesting I make the trip down to enjoy some vegan goodness and the exhibit last Saturday.

How was it? Amazing. Awesome. Mind-blowing.  What am I talking about? Both the meal AND the exhibit.

VegiTerranean is a vegan restuarant started by Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders. The menu is vegan, meaning no animal products whatsoever. No meat, fish, chicken – or – even worse- no cheese! Despite the cheeseless issue, I had an excellent meal. I was joined by 2 coworkers, a coworker’s husband and B. B, typically a meat and potatoes guy, enjoyed his meal somewhat.  I ordered the VT Classic – VegiTerranean’s Own Vegan Burger, served with Italian Seasonings, Tomato, Baby Arugula, Red Onion. It came with Chrissie fries, which are amazing. I ate all the fries (as did B) but enjoyed some of the burger leftover later on.

After lunch, one of my coworkers, B and I headed to the Akron Art Museum, just a few minutes from the restaurant, to check out the exhibit. Oh em gee. If you have any interest in Escher whatsoever, I highly recommend you see it. The exhibit weaves interesting commentary about Escher and his life throughout the showcase of his work, which includes his early pieces, Italian work (lithographs etc of the Italian countryside), his symmetry work and some of his most famous pieces, like the metamorphosis pieces, ascending/descending staircases, hand drawing another hand and never-ending waterfall.

Ascending and Descending - image from http://www.mcescher.com/

I don’t know where my love of Escher stems from, but the exhibit definitely fulfills it. My favorite part was the video (similar to this one) showing how his lithograph of this scene within a scene within a scene within a scene (and so on) – it really blew my mind. B loved the real lithograph stone and the woodcut the exhibit showcased, along with the models of some of his works.

All in all, it was a great Saturday. We headed back up 77 and returned to Cleveland (after a stop at the Steelyard Old Navy for some $1 flip flops for B) with full stomachs and swirling brains. We lived to survive the trip to Akron, which as I understand, doesn’t happen often.

Below, a video showing how one of my favorite pictures literally goes on and on and on and on ….