CLEVELAND, Ohio – Her name is Debra Darnall, but Browns fans will know her as “The Bone Lady.”
Darnall was a fixture at games in the Dawg Pound for years – decked out in adorned beehive, dog-biscuit treats on orange hoop skirt – and still follows and cheers for her Browns, making occasional appearances, working on art/painting and doing occasional media/radio spots. She also wrote “The Bone Lady,” (Gray & Co., 2015), a memoir featuring “life lessons learned as one of football’s ultimate fans.” When it comes to food, she enjoys what Northeast Ohio has to offer.
“Bone Lady is a vegan,” Darnall said, “Boy that sounds like an oxymoron! I’ve been vegetarian over half my life, which eventually evolved into veganism. I support vegan restaurants and grocery carryouts when I can because I want them to succeed. I live in Lakewood so Cleveland Vegan (my favorite) and The Root Cafe and Beet Jar are a few that I want to stay in business.
“With this pandemic year I’ve concentrated on improving my vegan cooking and baking skills. So the ‘Bone Bistro’ has been in full force!”
Each week we survey a notable Clevelander about where they like to eat in Northeast Ohio. Here are Darnall’s choices:
1. What’s your favorite restaurant and why?
Cleveland Vegan (17112 Detroit Ave., Lakewood). One of my favorite things to do is grab a meal there (maybe a cauliflower lasagna or mac ‘n’ cheese), and then walk around the corner on Bonnieview to my favorite witchy shop, Coven.
2. Favorite dish you have ordered from anywhere?
I’m having a curry moment! Before the pandemic I loved going to Thai Kitchen (12210 Madison Ave., Lakewood). They make a Thai curry with tofu that is so full of flavor that you can’t stop eating it! Great takeout place.
3. Favorite dish to make at home?
So I have made a few vegan Thai dishes at home. Anything with fresh ginger, garlic and coconut milk I can’t get enough of! I make a great vegan sweet-potato curry over coconut rice. I was given a rice cooker, which has made all the difference. Highly recommend. I also will bake tofu cubes with sesame oil and ginger peanut sauce tossed over vermicelli rice noodles and lots of fresh mint – yum! Homemade Thai ramen noodle soup is beyond yummy. For homemade dessert, how ‘bout a vegan tiramisu? I’ve also been baking my own cookies especially ginger molasses. A great at-home Sunday vegan faux buttermilk pancakes with real maple syrup – yum! I would love to help others who are considering a vegan lifestyle to take the mystery out of eating and making vegan food! Not only are you eating healthy but you are showing love for animals by not eating them and helping to save the planet from climate change.
4. What is your favorite brunch or breakfast spot?
Cleveland Vegan also has a takeout case and bakery. Their breakfast sandwich (house omelet, tempeh bacon, kale, tomato, avocado, sprouts, chipotle mayo, homemade English muffin or gluten-free bread) and vegan doughnuts will put a smile on your face (love the lavender one). Pair with a matcha latte (matcha powder, steamed house-cashew milk, maple syrup), and your day has begun!
5. Favorite drink or dessert in Northeast Ohio?
I love a great oat milk latte! Erie Coffee Co. (19300 Detroit Road, Rocky River) makes a great one! I have a sweet tooth, and my favorite candy right now are Whole Foods Vegan Star gummies! I don’t always buy them ‘cause I’ll eat the whole bag! I love candy that sticks in your teeth. I’m also a vegan licorice lover, but lately I buy Stash licorice spice tea, which satisfies that craving. It’s great to take in a thermos for a winter ‘hike and tea’ – a phrase coined by my boyfriend who is not a vegan but when he comes over to the ‘Bone Bistro’ is amazed how great vegan food is and doesn’t miss the meat!
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What do notable Clevelanders eat when they want some good chow? Welcome to Five for Friday – a weekly look at Northeast Ohioans and their favorite eats.
I am on cleveland.com’s life and culture team and cover food, beer, wine and sports-related topics. If you want to see my stories, here’s a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I talk food and drink usually at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. And tune in at 8:05 a.m. Fridays for “Beer with Bona and Much, Much More” with Munch Bishop on 1350-AM The Gambler.
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