Monday, February 28, 2011

Salvation through Food

As I sat in church yesterday morning, I knew I had to say a few extra prayers of repentance.  I didn't lie, cheat, or steal.  There was no killing, adultery, or pride on my end this past week either.  However, there was gluttony and maybe a slight bit of envy.  Last Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to attend my second Emerging Chefs event, Sacrilicious, which featured the praise worthy creations of Chef Jeff Fisher of Touch Supper Club.  Their fourth event really lived up to the motto of Emerging Chefs, "Big Flavor.  Bold Venues" since we gathered together in an old Russian Orthodox church in the Gordon Square Arts District.  Some of the pews were converted into tables, while others were set up in a way that reminded me of a church dinner, such as a Lenten fish fry.  All of the dishes were inspired by the Bible or other religious rituals and beliefs.

Upon finding our seats, we were soon asked to line up and receive Chef Fisher's interpretation of Communion.  This was nothing like the Communion wafers I was used to.  This one was crispy, with one half featuring a kumquat jam and the other, a chicken liver pate.  I only wish I did not eat each half separately.  The jam was very sweet and fruity which would have been a nice compliment to the slight saltiness and savoriness of the pate.  We also has a small cup of wine.  With our souls "cleansed" and our palates awakened, we were now ready to share in the five course feast awaiting us.

Our first course was a hot tomato water with mini gnocci, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and a poached quail egg.  To accompany this course, was the El Diablo Ketchup Martini.  We were told this course was representative of Genesis, since the Pilgrims believed the tomato to be the fruit of the devil.  The egg, as Chef Fisher explained was a take on the question "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"  Overall, this pairing was perfect.  The flavors of the tomato water and egg were really brought out by the tomato from the martini.  Chef Fisher, if you are reading this, PLEASE add the martini to the drink list at Touch.  The martini may have been on favorite drink of the night.  Think Bloody Mary on the level of saintliness.  Maybe it is due to the fact it was made from Touch's house ketchup.

Our next course was Chef Fisher's interpretation of the Last Supper.  It was a St. Germain cured salmon tartar with a squid ink tweil, savory lemon curd, carmelized sweet Maui onions, and creme fraiche.  Chef Fisher said this is what he would make for his last meal on Earth, and I would have to agree with him.  It was my favorite dish of the night.  Any time citrus in incorporated into a seafood dish, I am won over.  The subtle sweetness of the lemon curd brought out the natural flavors of the salmon while the creme fraiche added a gentile cool finish.  I am not the biggest onion fan, however in this dish, the onion was not overpowering and blended well with the other elements of this course.  The drink paring for this course was a St. Germain Lime Soda.  This drink would be perfect on a summer day since it was cool and refreshing.

Our third course was Chef Fisher's culinary take on the Lamb of God, that being a lamb carpaccio, tempura battered egg yolk, crispy fennel and shallots, parmesan cheese and truffle oil.  For not being a big lamb person, I will admit, I enjoyed the carpaccio.  It was sliced very thinly and the crispy fennel and shallots went well with it.  My favorite part of this dish was the tempura battered egg yolk.  Once I broke it open, the yolk helped bring all of the elements of the plate together.  However, there was one part of this course I did not enjoy, the drink.  The Cather in the Rye cocktail, while visually appealing, may have been my punishment for overindulgence.  Or maybe it was the fact it was a bourbon based cocktail and I do not like bourbon.   
The fourth course was all about forbidden fruits.  We were served Asian braised pork belly with forbidden rice and blood orange star anise sauce, with a five spice cotton candy.  My personal interpretation of the pork belly relates to the strict Kosher diet many Orthodox Jews follow which does not allow pork.  I also found the plating of this dish Chef Fisher's interpretation of the Crucifixion, with the spiced cotton candy being the storm clouds which covered the sky.  Our drink pairing was called the Grapes of Wrath which was a vodka/saki cocktail with grape infusion.  Maybe this was a take on the hyssop wine the soldiers gave to Jesus while hanging on the cross (or maybe my 13+ years of Catholic school are getting the best of me).  Overall, my favorite part of this dish was the rice and sauce.  While the pork was tender and well flavored, it just wasn't the star for me. 

Finally, the dessert course which was beet foam with angel food cake, devils food cake, passion fruit coulis, with raspberry teardrops.  The inspiration for this dish is final judgement.  The earthiness of the beets represents the earth, in which our physical bodies will return to.  The angel food and devils food cake symbolize Heaven and Hell.  The passion fruit and teardrops were delicious reminders of a life filled with passion, love, and the struggle to do what is right.  On the side we enjoyed two Rights of Passage cocktails, a warm, sweet brandy and a cold Grappa with limoncello.  

Overall, the whole night was everything you would expect from an Emerging Chefs event.  Wonderful food in a unique atmosphere.  I also had the pleasure of sharing this uplifting experience with some of my favorite fellow bloggers Brad and Alicia.  I also finally met Journeyman Cook and his lovely wife The Brewer's Daughter as well as a Laura whom I just started following.  It was also nice to meet one of my "tweeps" Joe.  Hopefully, I will be able to attend the next movie insprired Emerging Chefs event in March.  By the end of my prayers yesterday morning, the prayers for repentance turned to prayers of thanks for an evening of great food in good company. 

Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger!     

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Valentine's Day Part 2: Washington Place Bistro

I last left you with our couple's culinary adventure wondering where dinner last Friday evening would take us.  If you follow me on Twitter or "LIKE" me on Facebook you may know the conclusion to my Valentine's Day celebration.

When the Baricelli Inn in Little Italy closed, I was quite sad since I knew I would never eat at one of my "must eat here" restaurants.  I would run past the the inn this past summer into fall while training for the Columbus Half-Marathon and wonder what was going on inside.  Soon, a sign was posted it was going to become Washington Place Bistro and Inn.  Since opening it's doors in December, 2010, I have read nothing but rave reviews from my fellow food bloggers (AliciaBrad, and Katrina namely).  Scott Kuhn's new establishment in Little Italy quickly topped my "must eat here" list and I kept mentioning the restaurant to my boyfriend.  Usually, I let him pick where we are going for special occasion dinners since we both love the Cleveland restaurant scene.  Since we began dating back in fall 2009, we try to make it a point to go somewhere where one or both of us have never been.  When we were discussing Valentine's Day plans,    I said that I really wanted to go to Washington Place and now I am sharing our fabulous dinner with you.

Scott Kuhn broke away from the neighborhood standard of really good Italian food by offering "Classic American Cuisine, featuring produce from local growers, hand-cut steaks, fresh seafood, house-made soups and grilled sandwiches."  Washington Place is open for lunch and dinner along with a 7-room inn.  Once a month, they also offer wine dinners which I hope to attend in the very near future.  Also, they run other promotions such as their lunch club and 2 for $40 Wednesday night.  Our waitress made it a point to stress Kuhn's use of local ingredients such as veggies from The Chef's Garden and pasta from Ohio City Pasta

Once we were seated, we offered two types of bread.  One, was a cheddar bread made with Great Lakes Dortmunder, the other a peasant bread.  Of the two, my favorite was the beer bread.  As much as I love cheddar, the bread was not overwhelmingly cheesy.  The peasant bread was very simple and I loved the crispy crust.  A great opening while we selected our wine (a 2004 Niner Syrah) and decided on our appetizer, the oxtail pierogies.    

As any other Clevelander, I love a good pierogi, my personal favorite being potato cheddar.  I also am not a big red meat person, so I figured this would be an adventure in itself with the oxtail.  I figured since it was in the ragout I could easily eat around it.  We were presented with two perfect looking pierogies filled with truffled potato (you had me at truffle).  To my liking, the oxtail in the ragout was mainly on one pierogi while the other had a bit more of the horseradish creme fraiche.  However, being the curious foodie I am, I did try a bit of the oxtail and it was quite good.  Not overly gamey and very tender.  The pierogi itself was amazing.  The outside was perfectly cooked, not too doughy, yet a slight crisp in the center.  The truffle added a great "something extra" to the creamy potato filling.    Usually, I am not one for sour cream on my pierogies, but I may be attempting to make my own horseradish creme fraiche to go with them in the future.  A little of the creme fraiche really complimented the truffle potato.  For an appetizer, it was the perfect portion for two.  My palate was now ready for what was to come next.

Since I have been studying the menu for quite sometime, I knew exactly what I wanted for my entree.  As I probably have mentioned at some point, I love seafood, specifically scallops.  They are probably one of my "go to" dishes.  The entree menu had something for everyone from a few seafood dishes, steaks, and even a vegetarian option.  Aside from my love of scallops, the fact that they were served over a butternut squash risotto made my decision that much easier.   I had 5 pnice sized dayboat scallops arranged in a star around the risotto.  There were also four pearl onions on each corner of the plate.  The presentation alone already made me happy.  The scallops were cooked to perfection.  Scallops can easily be over or undercooked leading to bad texture and consistency.  Around the plate, there was a drizzle of apple cider demi which really brought out the natural sweetness of the scallop.  I could have easily ate all five, but wanted to save room for dessert.  Now on to the risotto.  I like a risotto with a smooth texture and a flavor that will compliment the other components of the dish.  The butternut squash seemed like it was made to go with the scallops.  Texture-wise, I have nothing but praise for the risotto.  Silky and smooth, just how I like it.  My boyfriend went with the 14 oz. ribeye, which he also enjoyed.  

Since we both decided to leave room for a dessert to share, we decided to go with housemade chocolate brownie.  For me, a perfect meal ends with a little something chocolate.  I also was excited to finally try Jeni's Ice Cream, even though it was not one of their eclectic flavors like Queen City Cayenne.  This dessert will please any chocolate lover.  The cool sweet ice cream is a great contrast to the warm brownie drizzled with a bittersweet chocolate.  The brownie itself melted in my mouth with every satisfying chocolate filled bite.  It was worth saving two scallops and some risotto for lunch (which was still awesome) on Saturday.  

I cannot wait for my next visit to Washington Place Bistro.  For anyone who has yet to go, just do it!!  I left very pleased with my ridiculously high expectations met above and beyond.  The overall atmosphere of the restaurant is cozy yet chic.  We were seated in the sunroom which hopefully will be opened in the warmer months.  I noticed a room off to the size that would be perfect for a gathering of 15-20 friends that had a little fireplace in it.  My favorite part was how open the kitchen was to the rest of the restaurant.  I loved walking past it on our way to our table watching the chefs prepare their masterpieces.  It was the perfect ending to our perfect Valentine's Day celebrations.    

Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger!        

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday's Tidbits

Welcome to this week's tiny helping of Tuesday's Tidbits!  

*We currently are in the middle of Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week.  This is the perfect opportunity to check out that place you have been dying to try.  With $30 prix fixe dinners and $15 prix fixe lunches, how can you pass this up.  Also make sure to check out some of the fun tasting events being held throughout the week too.  I am excited to try Zinc tonight with WhyCLE and another one of our friends!

*Looking for something fun, free, and tasty to do on Thursday?  Check out Ladies Bite Out at Suite Sixx, presented by Chef Matthew Mytro.

*After reading Cleveland Food and Brews Reveiw's interview with Chef Jeff Fisher, I am even more excited for Emerging Chefs Sacrilicious on Wednesday.  Can't wait to hear what their March Even will be!!

*Today is National Margarita Day!

*Now through March 8th, Paladar will be holding Carnaval inspired drink and appetizer specials.

*After hearing Steve Schimoler and his crew from Crop are taking over the restaurant/bar at Whiskey Island, I am even more excited for summer Sunday Funday and sand volleyball.

*I am one of this month's Twitter 20 sponsored by  #CLE20

Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Valentine's Day Part 1...a Couple's Culinary Adventure

Happy Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week!  Hope everyone made plans to enjoy the events planned around town from tastings, to $30 prix fixe dinners, or $15 prix fixe lunches.  Since last week, I have decided to split my Valentine's Day recap into two separate posts so I can do each one justice and since we had two separate celebrations.  Finally, an advantage to my boyfriend's crazy work schedule.  Last Monday, we stayed in a decided to cook dinner together.  Sunday night was spent making M&M chocolate chip cookies and putting together his gift.  Instead of the traditional box of chocolate, I took a more personal spin on it and went with a box of chocolate stout, which included Southern Tier Choklat and Mokah, a four pack of Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, and (for laughs) Stone Double Bastard.  

LaBella Cupcakes and
HIC cookies
Valentine's Caprese
Monday evening waiting for me, were two La Bella cupcakes, Cookies and Cream and Sealed with a Kiss.  we have ran past LaBella numerous times while training for half-marathons, and I have mentioned it on quite a few occasions.  I decided out menu would be Italian inspired since finding a Vodka Cream sauce recipe.  For starters, we did a simple caprese salad of tomato, mozzarella, and basil drizzled with balsamic and a touch of olive oil.  On the side, we made our own garlic infused butter to put over ciabatta bread, which we lightly toasted.  Now, on to the entree.  The sauce is very simple to make.  First, sauté 2 shallots and garlic both minced.  Once they are carmelized, add in basil and parsley along with fresh black pepper and sea salt.  If you want an extra kick of heat, add crushed red pepper.  Then, add the tomato paste and stir until all of your herbs and aromatics are incorporated.  Now add the vodka.  FYI, we used Three Olives, since it was we had in the liquor cabinet.  Much like cooking with wine, only use a vodka you will drink.  Finally, add heavy whipping cream and bring to a simmer.  We served it over whole grain penne pasta.  For thicker, creamier sauces, I prefer pastas such as penne.      
Penne with Vodka Sauce
The whole meal came together perfectly.  The candles and Frank Sinatra playing in the background were  perfect additions to this romantic meal.  Now, on to the cupcakes.  My boyfriend bought for himself  cookies and cream complete with half of Oreo on the bottom.  My "Sealed with a Kiss" was a chocolate covered strawberry in cupcake form.  The cupcake itself was a very moist and flavorful chocolate cupcake.  The strawberry buttercream on top was the right balance of sweetness and strawberry.  Some buttercreams have tendency to be too sweet, not sweet enough, or too thick.  LaBella found the perfect balance of sweetness with a silky smooth texture I love in a buttercream.  Overall, a perfect night with the perfect Valentine...or so I thought until this past Friday.  Stay tuned for Part 2!!  

Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ladies Bite Out

One of the many things I love about the Cleveland food scene is the number of unique events hosted by our wonderful chefs.  I became familiar with Chef Matthew Mytro after attending last month's Emerging Chefs event, Aphrodisiacs.  Aside from being the founder and executive chef for both Stove Monkeys and Crisp Catering, Chef Mytro is the brains behind events like "Flavor Tripping" and "Naked Sushi".  I was very happy when he asked me to help promote his latest event, Ladies Bite Out.  After all, I love a good girls night that involves good food.

Next Thursday, February 24th, all ladies are invited to Suite Sixx to enjoy food prepared by Chef Mytro along with Jeff Jarrett of Palate, Chef Mia of ChinatoParallax, and L'Albatros, and Ellis Cooley of Amp 150.  There will be champagne tastings, cooking demos, and cupcakes.  What a perfect way to end the night after enjoying Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week or mingling with some amazing Cleveland bloggers at this month's CLE blogger meet up.  Also, did I mention the cost of this event is FREE???  So grab some of your best girls  and head down to the Warehouse District around 8 p.m. for a night of food and fun.

Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday's Tidbits

Happy Tuesday!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day and is enjoying this warmer weather we are having here in Cleveland.  There is quite a bit going on in the Cleveland food world over the next few weeks, so without anything further...

*Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week kicks off Monday and goes through February 27.  Over 40 restaurants are offering $30 prix fixe dinners and some are offering $15 lunches.  This is a wonderful opportunity to check out a new Cleveland restaurant or revisit an old favorite.  Also, throughout the week, many restaurants will be holding various tastings and events.  Be sure to take advantage of the $2 parking voucher.

*On February 24th, Washington Place Bistro and Inn will be holding its first wine dinner.  For $50/person, you get 5 course meal paired with four different wines (the dessert course is served with coffee).

*Also on February 24th, the  Thirsty Dog Brewing Company (of Akron, Ohio) will be holding The Dog Days of Winter at Wonder Bar.  The tasting is free with the purchase of the Restaurant Week prix fixe, or $5 on its own.

*Speaking of tastings, every Saturday, Little Italy Wines holds a wine tasting.  Selections vary by week.  Stop in after dinner at one of the many wonderful restaurants in Little Italy.

*I am excited to attend my second Emerging Chefs event next Wednesday, Sacrilicious, featuring Chef Jeff Fisher of Touch Supper Club.  This event it SOLD OUT.

*Great Lakes Brewing Company is tapping it's newest seasonal selection today, "The Dopplerock".

*Metromix Cleveland is currently looking for YOUR votes for their "Best of Metromix".  Be sure to vote soon and vote often for your favorite Cleveland restaurants in numerous categories.

*Spring Training began today for our Cleveland Indians.  Be sure to mark April 15, May 13, June 17, July 29, August 26, and September 23 on your calendar for Sugardale Dollar Dog nights!

*Lilly Handmade Chocolates will be holding it's monthly Craftbeer Ice Cream Floats on February 26.

*On March 3rd, The Greenhouse Tavern wil be holding a very special dinner.  James Beard award winning chef Jeff Michaud will be teaming up with Jonathon Sawyer to prepare a 6 course family style meal.  The cost is $97/person.

*If you have not heard the good news, Michael Symon will be opening his third B Spot in Crocker Park.

*I am also currently obsessed with homemade guacamole and Xochitl tortilla chips.  These chips come in a variety of options including no salt, organic blue corn, and cajun.  They are also gluten and preservative free.

Until next time...Follow your heart, fulfill your hunger

Friday, February 11, 2011

Romance in Cleveland

I will admit, I have always liked Valentine's Day.  I never thought of it as "Single's Awareness Day" or some made up Hallmark holiday, even when I did not have a Valentine.  I would look forward to the classroom parties in grade school and had my Snoopy Valentines filled out by February 1.  Even in high school and through college, I would still buy the box of Valentines and pass them out to my friends and, if I really felt daring, my crush of the moment.  Maybe it was just another excuse to eat way more candy and treats then I should, or maybe I am just a hopeless cheesy romantic.  Either way, I am looking forward to another romantic culinary adventure on Feb. 14th with my boyfriend and our dinner at a new Cleveland hot spot next Friday.  With all that said, I hope to inspire you if you are still in need of V-Day plans with my top 5 most romantic Cleveland restaurants.

5: L'Albatros Zach Bruell's French inspired brasserie has provided a modern yet seductive atmosphere on University Circle for almost two years.  There is something to be said for enjoying French cuisine by the fireplace with a bottle of wine in the winter or on the patio in the spring and summer.  I also enjoyed a very romantic birthday dinner here.  For Valentine's Day, Bruell is offering a prix fixe menu at $75/couple along with an aprodisiac salon on February 13.

4: Lago The only Italian restaurant in Tremont offers a wine list and menu to seduce the wine and Italian food lover in all of us.  The booth's offer a cozy, intimate setting to enjoy one of Chef Fabio Salemo's interpretation of Northern Italian cuisine and a bottle of wine from a list that boasts over 100 varieties of Italian wine, many being undiscovered or hard to find.

3: Fahrenheit Rocco Whalen's Tremont restaurants provides a dimly lit atmosphere perfect for any couple looking to set the mood.  The food speaks for itself, making it one of my favorite Cleveland restaurants.  Whalen describes the food as "contemporary American regional cuisine".  I describe it as romance for your tastebuds.                              

2: Lola Michael Symon's East 4th establishment can make anyone fall in love.  Dimly lit and intimate tables for two are only the beginning.  The menu boasts some of the Iron Chef's best creations and can satisfy any pallet.  If you are looking for a "wow-factor" date, everything about Lola will fit the bill.  Afterall, the wine list is on an iPad.  Or just order the 6 a.m. special.  Bacon ice cream = food of love!

1. Pier W.  Maybe it is because I love seafood and Pier W sets the standard.  Maybe it is the breathtaking view of Lake Erie and the Cleveland skyline.  Maybe it is the fact that is has been a Cleveland landmark since 1965.  Maybe it is because it was the setting for my perfect Valentine's Day last year.  Whatever it is, Pier W tops my list.  Last year, their special Valentine's Day menu was superb.  This year, they are offering a chocolate bar and V-Day packages starting at $75/couple.

For more Valentine's ideas around Cleveland, check out these posts from fellow bloggers Bite BuffPoise in Parma, and Why CLE?.  I can only speak from experience with this list, so I must ask you dear readers, What do YOU think the most romantic restaurant in Cleveland is?   

Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Greenhouse Goodness

"Tuesday's Tidbits" is taking a week hiatus since I have not had time the past few days to blog about last Friday night.  I promise, it will be back next Tuesday full of juicy tidbits about fabulous food events around Cleveland.  So what is so great that is causing this hiatus?  CLEgal may have alluded to our Friday night in her most recent Why? Weekends post.  (P.S. While you are visiting WhyCLE, enter her contest!!)

CLEgal and I always love an excuse to go to The Greenhouse Tavern.  Chef Jonathon Sawyer's eco-friendly spot on East 4th Street quickly became one of our favorite CLE restaurants since it opened its doors in 2009.  The eclectic atmosphere, the location, and of course, the food keep us coming back for more.  With a menu that changes seasonally to ensure the freshest ingredients, there is always the anticipation of what Chef Sawyer will have waiting for you in the kitchen.  Nationally, The Greenhouse Tavern has been recognized by both Bon Appetit and Food and Wine Magazines.  It also has been featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate as Iron Chef Michael Symon's guilty pleasure (the gravy frites).  Last Thursday, as CLEgal and I were tweeting, we both noticed Greenhouse was offering a free Green and black organic chocolate pot du creme with any chef's tasting purchased.  Free chocolate just sweetened up our Friday night dinner decision.  Or so we though...

Bread and goat's milk butter
Devils on Horseback
The Chef's tasting menu allows you to select a first, second, entree, and half of your choice for $44 (yes, there are vegetarian/vegan options available too).  After enjoying our first round of drinks and the bread and butter , CLEgal and I decided to share the chef's tasting menu since we both came to the conclusion, it was quite a bit of food. Afterall, we needed room for the pot du creme.  For our first, we were in agreement to get the Devils on Horseback.  What's not to love about dates wrapped in bacon and filled with chocolate and Fresno pepper.  The perfect first course to start off the evening.    

Crispy Chicken Wings Confit
For our second course we had to go with my favorite menu item, the crispy chicken wings confit.  Now these are not your ordinary wings.  Whatever Chef Sawyer does to the wings to make them fall off the bone melt in your mouth delicious is some sort of magic.  They are flavored with jalapeno, lemon juice, garlic, and scallions which all blend so well and compliment each other perfectly.  They are not greasy or lacking anything.  The only problem with this dish is when they are all gone.  I have been to Greenhouse and made these my meal, whether it is lunch, dinner, or a post Tribe game snack.  No trip here is complete without them.

It was around this time CLEgal and I were checking our texts and tweets when we both received this:
"@ @ Glad you're here! Come say hi to the kitchen!" from @thegreenhouse.   

Duck Pasta
Ohio Apples and Tokyo Turnips
Organic chocolate pot du creme
As we awaited our entree with half, we both decided "Why not!"  Being the social media savvy bloggers we are, we both tweeted earlier about having dinner at The Greenhouse.  We couldn't help but wonder if it was Chef Sawyer himself who sent the tweet.    For our entree, we selected the duck pasta, which was strozzapreti pasta with duck livers, duck skin cracklings, Ohio apples, red onions and toasted bread crumbs.  As a great compliment to the apples in the pasta, we chose the roasted Ohio apples and Tokyo turnips for our half.    Don't be intimidated by the description of what is in the pasta.  The crunch from the livers, cracklings and bread crumbs adds to the dish and the 

apples add a subtle sweetness.  Overall, I would recommend this combination.  One we cleared our plate, the server brought us the black and green organic chocolate pot du creme.  Very rich, very creamy, very chocolaty.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.  Even though we were enjoying all of this wonderful food, we kept thinking about that tweet.  After paying the bill, we finally headed downstairs.  We went up to the kitchen window and asked who sent a tweet to HungryInCLE and WhyCLE.  To our pleasant surprise, Chef Sawyer spoke up.  We ended up talking with him briefly about his restaurant and food.  Since he was busy in the kitchen, and we had a Salt n Pepa concert to attend, we left with his business card, fulfilled hunger, and smiles on our faces.  Now, we have even more reasons to look forward to our future visits to The Greenhouse Tavern.  Thank you Chef Jonathon Sawyer!
Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I "Heart" Food

February is, appropriately, American Heart Month.  I'm sure you, dear readers, all know someone who has heart problems or even worse, died from a heart related complication.  According to The American Heart Association, heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the U.S.  Whether heart disease runs in your family, or is cause by lifestyle, we can all take preventative measures to keep the ol' ticker pumping.  One of the easiest ways is our diets.  The other day while browsing food and health articles on Yahoo, I came across this one, The 10 Best Foods for your Heart.  My only complaint is the use of the terms "good" and "bad" cholesterol.  (Goes back to metabolism class in college)  I also found the need to post this article on the HIC Facebook page.  Since tomorrow is GO RED for women's heart health day, I wanted to share and summarize this article with you.  While reading this, I could not help but notice the overlap with the seven Fuel Foods for female runners.

1: Oatmeal.  I am really trying to master making oatmeal.  Mr. Quaker helps lower LDL levels which leads to clear, unclogged arteries.

2: Salmon.  Next time you find yourself at your favorite Cleveland restaurant or browsing the West Side Market, consider this omega-3 rich fish.  Personally, it is one of my favorite seafoods.

3: Avocado.  Don't feel guilty ordering the guacamole at Momocho.  Avocado boost cholesterol metabolism, again lowering LDL and raising HDL.  Or, make your own by mashing up fresh avocado, and mixing in minced garlic, lime juice, fresh cilantro, and peppers (I love jalapeno since I love heat).  Its quick, easy, healthy, and DELICIOUS!!

4: Olive oil.  This one is probably the easiest to incorporate into your diet.  Use it in cooking.  Mix it with balsalmic vinegar and your favorite herbs and spices for a quick salad dressing.  Our body needs healthy fats and oils.

5: Nuts.  Omega-3's, fiber, healthy fats.  Carry walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts for a quick snack.  Also, it's just fun to say you are carrying around a sack of nuts.  (Pardon my attempt and humor)

6: Berries. I love mixed berried for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, anytime.  Anti-oxidant rich and ready to fight disease and inflammation in your body.

7: Legumes!  Such a fun word to say and I do love my legumes.  Mash up chickpeas for easy homemade hummus or adde extra beans to that chili.  Legumes are packed with omega-3's, calcium, and fiber.

8. Spinach.  Add it to a salad, wilt it for a garnish.  Spinach gives your heart lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber.

9. Flaxseed.  Sprinkle it on your cereal or yogurt to add not only omega-3, but also omega-6.

10. Soy.  Great source of protein.  Don't be afraid to try that tofu dish or pick up the soy milk.

Check out what the Gret River Affiliates are doing around Cleveland to promote heart health.  We can all be hungry in Cleveland while also being Heart Healthy in Cleveland.

Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday's Tidbits

Welcome to the second helping of Tuesday's Tidbits.  Hope you are staying warm and safe on this snowy/chilly/icy day in Cleveland.  Even though the weather outside may be frightful, there are plenty of delicious events coming up around Northeastern Ohio.

For starters, Cleveland's favorite food truck Dim and Den Sum will be offering in home and private cooking classes.  Visit their website for more information.

Tomorrow evening, Bistro on Lincoln Park will be holding a Winter Wine Tasting event.  $40 gives you a five course prix fixe dinner each carefully paired with a glass of wine.  Reservations recommended.

Staying in Tremont, Parallax will be starting sushi and wine classes on February 21.  Learn how to roll sushi and the best wine parings.  Contact Parallax to reserve a spot.

As if Dante could not get any better, look for the opening of Ginko, a sushi restaurant beneath Dante to be opening soon.

Last thought on sushi, Chef Matthew Mytro, who prepared the tantalizing food served at last Wednesday's "Aphrodisiacs" will be holding his next "Naked Sushi" on March 24 at Suite Six.

Speaking of the Emerging Chefs, their next event will be held on February 23.  "Sacrilicious" will feature the food of Chef Jeff Fisher of Touch Supper Club in a very unique venue.

For all of you craft beer lovers out there,Great Lakes Brewing Company tapped a brewpub exclusive Big Black Smoke porter this week.  Looking ahead, The IX Center Beerfest will be held May 13-14.  Check out the event's website or this great post from Cleveland Food and Brews Reviews.

February also brings a new Sandwich of the Month to Melt.  This month's "The Dude Abides Melt" was inspired by the movie "The Big Lebowski".  If you are more of a Molly Ringwald and Emilio Estivez fan, Melt will be offering "The Brat Pack Breakfast Club Melt" this weekend only to compliment their screening of the movie at Cedar Lee.

With all that being said, hopefully everyone is making their Valentine's Day plans for that special someone in your life.  Cleveland has so many great, romantic places and they will fill up quickly around February 14.  Some of those places will be featured on HIC next week.  Don't forget to stop at Malley's or Lilly Handmade Chocolates to get some sweets for your sweet.

Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger.