Thursday, March 31, 2011

I am still here!!

Dear Readers,
I first want to apologize for the lack of posts this week.  Trust me, there have been some great things happening to write about from C-Town Chowdown, to Opening Day Hot Spots, to other fun upcoming Cleveland food events like Emerging Chefs Dinner by Design featuring Ellis Cooley of Amp 150 on April 13.  This past week, I just needed to step back and relax a bit.  I tend to overwhelm myself from time to time.  Don't worry, I am still healthy, happy, and hungry in Cleveland!!  Usually, blogging has been my outlet, but the drafts I have written were not up to what I want to post.  I promise,  I will be back next week.  Be sure to check out Why?CLE tomorrow to get your weekly HIC fix.  I am one of her guest bloggers.  All I have left to say is GO TRIBE!!!! 

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

Friday, March 25, 2011

Naked Sushi in All it's Glory!

Nice rolls
Going to an event hosted by Matthew Mytro and Dante Boccuzzi, one thing for sure can be guaranteed, the food will be amazing.  The two have teamed up previously to host this event back in November, 2010.  They also had the honor of cooking together at the James Beard House in New York City this past February.   Based on the past two events of Mytro's I have attended, Aphrodisiacs and Ladies Bite Out, I knew I was in store for an enjoyable and somewhat playful evening at Naked Sushi.  
Working on a masterpiece

Good food arouses the senses on all levels.  You want something visually appealing that will lure you in with a nice scent and appetizing name.  In your mouth, you want a pleasing texture and your taste buds to be excited and wanting more.  Perhaps this is why the culinary arts are just that, arts.  Sushi  in itself is an art form from the placement of the fish to the rolling to the actual presentation.  The Japanese art of "nyotaimori" and "nantaimori" are displaying sushi on the naked body.  The sushi itself made no contact with the skin as it was placed on bamboo leaves strategically placed on the two female and one male model.   The models as well as the two servers were also tastefully painted with Asian inspired works.

Sushi pops
Prior to the main event, we enjoyed spicy tuna rolls served with a pipette filled with soy sauce, Dante's sushi pops, shrimp or calamari ceviche, and Chinese steamed sticky buns filled with smoked chicken and plantains or chocolate milk braised pork shoulder.  I love the concept of the sushi pop and it made me even more excited for the opening of Ginko later this year.  They are a very compact and chopstick free way to enjoy sushi.  However we were not lucky enough to find a server with the sticky buns.  Around 9:00, the curtains were pulled and two painted women and a painted man adorned in sushi were presented to us.  We  filled our plates from both the women and the man with various rolls and sushi.  

While getting our sushi, my boyfriend made the comment we have yet to sample the sticky buns.  This comment was overheard by both the model and Dante who both smiled and chuckled a bit.  However it mush have worked because once we finished the sushi, the sticky buns found us.   My chicken sticky bun was the perfect blend of sweet and savory.  I only wish I had it before I feasted from the human sushi landscapes.   I also loved the signature cocktail for the event so much that I failed as a blogger to note the name and ingredients.  From memory, it had ginger infused vodka, aloe vera, and lychee puree.


Overall, Naked Sushi was a great evening enjoyed with my boyfriend, some of our friends, and a few of my favorite "blends" (Jessica, Brad, and Alicia).  I cannot wait for the opening of Ginko and dinner one night at Dante as well as Matthew Mytro's next event.

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

***Disclaimer: I was invited to attend Naked Sushi with a guest by Matthew Mytro.  The thoughts above are my 100% honest opinion.  The pictures were also taken by me for the purpose of this blog post***  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Helping the real Hungry in Cleveland

Last night I joined several other Cleveland bloggers as volunteers at The Cleveland Foodbank thanks to the Ohio Blogging Association.  I felt very fortunate to have this opportunity and give back to the community. In high school, I would volunteer monthly at St. Tim's Hunger Center and was really excited to be once again helping the hungry.  After a brief orientation we learned most of those who are served are the elderly, children, and the working poor.  All of the food and donations stay right here in the northeastern Ohio area, specifically the counties of Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Ashland, and Richland.  With the mission of "to alleviate hunger by providing food and support to community organizations that feed the hungry," over 30 millions pounds of food were distributed to over 600 agencies last year alone with much of the food being donated.

The main warehouse
With that being said, volunteers are needed to sort and repackage items before they are distributed.  However, we were told you may end up doing something different every time you go to volunteer.  Our project for the night, along with another group of volunteers, was sorting and packaging oranges.  By the end of the night, we bagged and boxed 5 huge bins of oranges into 6 pound bags with each box containing six bags.  Between our amazing group of bloggers (Katie, CLEgalAmandaAllison,  Sarah,  Kali,  and Kevin) and the other volunteer group, time flew by and it was time to leave.  I do plan on returning again though.    
6.00 pounds exactly!
As I was separating the good oranges from the bad ones, I could not help but realize how fortunate I truly am.  I know there always will be fresh fruit to take in my lunch or have for a snack, but there are many throughout Cleveland alone who are lucky to be getting the oranges we were bagging.  I write this blog because I love food and it has become one of my hobbies.  I am ashamed to admit that sometimes I forget how there are people right here in northeastern Ohio that go to bed hungry every night.  Currently, the Cleveland Foodbank is participating in Harvest for Hunger which will exceed the Foodbanks 6 counties and provide for 23 counties in Ohio.  I am asking you to consider volunteering or donating to Harvest for Hunger or The Cleveland Foodbank.  If you are wondering what they need the most, consider making a donation of the "Super Six": peanut butter, canned veggies, tuna, cereal, soup, and beef stew.  How easy is it to grab an extra of just one of these items the next time you are at the store?  Also, Harvest for Hunger has partnered with Gotta Love Chevy NEO.  For each like on their Facebook page, a donation will be made to Harvest for Hunger.  Helping the hungry can be as simple as a click of your mouse.
I just found irony in this sign on the door to the sorting/packing area
Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger (and help fulfill others hunger too).

Monday, March 21, 2011

How Sweet it is

When I received an email a few weeks ago from Michelle at Cleveland Foodie to attend a special media preview of Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop, I happily accepted.  I have been reading about Sweet Moses via their Facebook page for months and was awaiting their opening on Saturday, March 26.  I kept wondering if it would have that old-fashioned corner soda fountain feel that I only experienced through Nana's stories of "the good ol'-days".  The tables, chairs, and fountain itself are all restored giving the interior of Sweet Moses a nostalgic feel as if you stepped back in time.  Owner Jeffrey Moreau envisioned a place where you can go after a nice dinner for a nice dessert.  He believes in using the highest quality ingredients for his ice cream, candies, and baked good.  However, he also believes in keeping things simple which really gives Sweet Moses that 1920's soda fountain feel.
We were greeted to samples of Sweet Moses' homemade chocolate creations.  All of the chocolates are a Belgian blend created by Jeffrey.  I sampled the white chocolate with almond, Tuxedo Junction bark, and dark chocolate covered pretzel bark.  When I go back, I am already planning to try the Ritz bits that I spotted in the chocolate case.  On each table were bowls filled with carmel corn and cheese corn, all freshly popped from an old-school popper.  I already decided I had to try the ice cream.  What I loved about the specialty sundae menu was the names, all Cleveland based.  WhyCLE and I (along with boyfriends) are already planning on attempting the 10 scoop Terminal Tower sundae at some point this summer.  As much as I love chocolate, I decided to create my own sundae with a banana split feel.  I went with one scoop of homemade banana's foster ice cream topped with strawberries and (of course) sprinkles.  A unique feature of all the sundaes is the pretzel garnish on the spoon.  I am thinking for my next visit I am going to try the Shoreway Sundae which is coffee ice cream, hot fudge, toffee, and almonds.  (yes I probably will add on sprinkles too)  All of the hot fudge and caramel is made in house in a copper kettle.  My boyfriend opted for something from the soda fountain, a phosphate.  One great thing about Sweet Moses is you can be as creative as you want with your sundaes and phosphates.  He went with blueberry syrup and chocolate ice cream which turned out very delicious.  I also cannot think of many places that have true phosphates on the menu made with soda water and syrups from pure cane sugar.  

Another unique menu item is the peanut butter sandwiches.  If you are not in the mood for something sweet, you can build your own peanut butter sandwich.  We were presented with PB & Nutella, PB & marshmallow (just like I make when I am feeling nostalgic), the classic PB & J, and my personal favorite, PB & bacon.

If you are wondering the inspiration for the name "Sweet Moses", it pays homage to the founder of the city, Moses Cleaveland.  It has been noted Moses never looked happy in pictures, possibly because his name (or the city's name) is misspelled.  However, if he were alive today and walked into his namesake treat shop in the Gordon Square Arts District I would guarantee he would leave with a smile.  If not, I will eat the entire Terminal Tower by myself.

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

***Disclaimer: I was provided a media pass to this special preview from Cleveland Foodie.  The opinions and thought expressed here are my completely my own.*** 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Naked Sushi Winner!

 17 = mojamala2 said...Love love love Spicy Tuna!  
Congrats to Jessica!!

First off, thanks to everyone who entered and retweeted about my Naked Sushi Giveaway.  A HUGE thank you to Matthew Mytro for providing me with the tickets to give away.  If you are still interested in Free Naked Sushi tickets, head on over to Cleveland Food and Brews by Sunday at 7 p.m.  Tickets are still available for $15 through Stove Monkeys and will be $20 at the door Thursday night.   

I also want to mention Green Dog Wine will donate a can of food to the Cleveland Food Bank for every comment on her latest post.  This goes through noon today!  Have a great weekend!

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

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday's Tidbits

Happy Tuesday!  Hope everyone is having a great week and getting excited for St. Patrick's Day and March Madness!  I know I sure am.  This weekend, starting Thursday, be sure to check out the numerous St. Patty's Day and March Madness events throughout Cleveland.  There are so many fun events in the coming weeks too!

*First off, on March 24th at Suite Sixx, Naked Sushi from 7:30-11.  Tickets are $15 in advance from Stove Monkeys, $20 at the door, or FREE to one lucky Hungry in Cleveland reader.  There is still plenty of time to enter my very first GIVEAWAY!!

*Also on March 24th, The Emerging Chefs will be hosting their fifth production, The ThEATrical featuring Chef Adam Bostwick of Melange.  Tickets are going fast, so get yours today!  Also check out what Cleveland Food and Brews and Poise in Parma have written about this fabulous event!

*Still on March 24th, Twestival Cleveland will be taking place at Amp150 to benefit We Run this City.  From 5-9 p.m., gather with some of your favorite "tweeps" to enjoy good food for a good cause.  Tickets are on sale now for $10.  Also follow @TwestivalCLE for the latest updates.

*Next Wednesday, March 23rd, The Ohio Blogging Association will be holding their monthly Cleveland meetup at The Cleveland Foodbank.

*On Sunday, March 27th, Lincoln Park in Tremont will be invaded by food trucks from all around Cleveland for C-Town Chow Down!

*On March 26th, the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood gets a bit sweeter with the opening of Sweet Moses. More to come on Sweet Moses in the near near future!

*Head over to Visible Voice in Tremont on March 25th for wine tasting to benefit the InterReligious Task Force on Central America.  Tickets are $15 at the door.

*It's Fish Fry season.

*Finally, on April 11, L'Albatros will be holding its first beer dinner.  For $60.00, enjoy a five course dinner complete with beer pairing.

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

Monday, March 14, 2011

Naked Sushi Giveaway!!

I am excited to announce my first reader giveaway thanks to Chef Matthew Mytro of Stove Monkeys and Crisp Catering.  As many of you may recall, Chef Mytro was the culinary mastermind behind the third Emerging Chefs event last January, Aphrodisiacs and last month's Ladies Bite Out.  Both events resulted in a wonderful evening with great food.  On March 24th, Mytro teams up with Dante Boccuzzi to give Clevelanders a unique preview of Ginko, which is set to open early this year.  The two had the honor of cooking together earlier this year at the James Beard House in New York City for Dueling Dantes.  Naked Sushi promises to arouse your taste buds and curiosity along with great Asian inspired food.  So how can you join in the fun???

Ticket for Naked Sushi, held at  Suite Sixx can be purchased for $15 at the Stove Monkeys website, $20 at the door, or FREE if you are my lucky first winner!!  Chef Mytro has graciously provided me with two tickets to one lucky HIC reader.  Winner will be announced Friday, March 18, giving you until 11:59 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day to enter!  You have 6 different opportunities to win these tickets.  Each must be a separate comment.  Winner will be selected via

1: Comment on this post telling me your favorite type of sushi (mine is ugani.  Eel is so yummy!)

2: "Like" Hungry in Cleveland on Facebook if you haven't already done so.

3: "Like" Stove Monkeys on Facebook and sign up for their newsletter.

4: Tweet the following: "I want FREE SUSHI from @HungryInCLE and @stovemonkeys!! Please RT daily!" (You can do this daily. Please comment each time you do so!)

5: Add Hungry in Cleveland to your blogroll

6: Follow Hungry in Cleveland on Networked Blogs

I also realize this event coincided with The Emerging Chefs "The Theatrical" however, sushi will not be unleashed until after 9:00 p.m.  There is plenty of time to support both great Cleveland foodie events and chefs.  Good luck readers!  Hope to see you on the 24th!    

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

Disclaimer: I was given two tickets to Naked Sushi from Matthew Mytro to giveaway on my blog.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

(Fat) Tuesday's Tidbits

Happy Mardi Gras!!  I hope everyone had their share of paczki and king cake today.  I know I had my fix of Mardi Gras fun  last week.  Throughout Cleveland, there are many ways to celebrate Fat Tuesday.  Hope you are currently enjoying some N'awins style cuisine and hurricanes.  

*Since today is Fat Tuesday, that means Lent begins tomorrow.  With Lent comes parish fish fries.  Check out local churches in your neighborhood on Friday nights for fish, pierogi, and other Lenten favorites.

*March means a new sandwich of the month at Melt.  This month is a tribute to St. Patrick's Day with their Reuben Melt.  Corned beef, sour kraut, dressing, and swiss.

*If you missed out on Aphrodisiacs and Sacrilicious, don't panic.  The Emerging Chefs will be holding "The ThEATrical" on March 24th at the East 14th Street Theater featuring the creations of Chef Adam Bostwick of Melange.  Hurry, tickets will go quickly!

*This Thursday at Lago, enjoy a 5 course wine dinner with a focus on the Piedmont region for $85.  Reservations are recommended.  On Friday night, enjoy a whiskey tasting at Lago.

*St. Patrick's Day is coming!  Look for a new Hungry in Cleveland Top 5 for ideas on where to get your Irish on!

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

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hungry in New Orleans

Since we began talking about going to New Orleans, I could not decide if I was more excited to experience Mardi Gras or all of the wonderful food New Orleans has to offer.  I quickly came up with things I MUST have while exploring The Big Easy ranging from fresh seafood, gumbo, and alligator.  I always enjoyed cajun and creole style cooking, but to have it in N'awlins would be an experience in itself.  After reading this, you may want to start looking into hotels and flights.  Happy Mardi Gras from Hungry in Cleveland!!

Our trip kicked off as any trip to the French Quarter should, sipping hurricanes in the courtyard at Pat O'Briens.  Pat O's is credited with inventing the hurricane back in the 1940's, when bars had a surplus of rum and shortage of other liquors.  The drink itself is a mixture of 4 oz "hurricane mix" and 4oz good rum according to the cocktail napkins.  The does not come from the storm, but the shape of the glass, similar to that of a hurricane lamp.  However, you only need one of this sweet, fruity cocktail, or else you may feel like you were hit by a hurricane.

After walking around exploring, we worked up quite an appetite.  For our first night, we decided to go a little more low key for dinner and try one of the small cafes we passes along the way.  We also wanted to allow ourselves enough time to make it over to St. Charles Street uptown for the first of many parades we would see that weekend.  After consulting a few tour guides, we decided on Cafe Maspero.  Like many of the other bars and restaurants in the French Quarter, Cafe Maspero served local favorites in an open air atmosphere.  We first decided to share an order of jambalaya, which was made from shrimp, andouille sausage, and rice.  I was expecting it to be more of a soup/stew type dish and was pleasantly surprised to see there was no both or sauce.  It was a great start to what was awaiting our palates over the next few days.  The creole spices brought out the mild flavor of the shrimp and the andouille added a nice zest.  For our entrees,I decided on the catfish sandwich, while my boyfriend went with the muffaletta, which is a HUGE sandwich with ham, capicola, salami, pepperoni, olive salad, and cheese on a large round bun.  In his words, think Italian sub on a sesame seed hamburger bun.  My catfish also came on the muffaletta bun.  Overall, very good and very fresh tasting.  I was served a side of horseradish which I mixed in with the ketchup and a dash of Louisana hot sauce.  One thing I noticed about NOLA is they love their hot sauce, and I will not complain about that.        


Day two began with a nice work out (afterall, we are still trainingfor Cleveland Half-Marathon) which was followed by a trip to the infamous Cafe Du Monde, for beignets.  Originally, I was pla forthe nning to wear a black outfit that day, but at the last minute, changed my mind.  Boy was I lucky!  Our little fried delights were covered in mounds of powdered sugar.  As for the beignets themselves, they were a little piece of heaven along the Mighty Mississippi.  As with many meals to come, we decided on sharing one order.  That way, we would have room to try other foods New Orleans was famous for.  As if we did not have enough sugar with the beignets, we headed to Aunt Sally's Pralines which was right next door.  Hopefully tomorrow, there will be a box of pralines and a king cakewaiting on my doorstep.  A king cake is a traditional Mardi Gras pastry which is very similar to a cinnamon coffee cake.  The top is decorated in the Mardi Gras colors Gold, Green, and Purple which are symbolic of Catholic liturgical seasons.  The Mardi Gras season begins on the feast of the Epiphany (gold), continuing through Ordinary Time (green), and ends on Fat Tuesday, the Day before the holy season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (purple).  In the cake, there is a plastic baby, representative of the Baby Jesus.  Whoever gets the piece with the baby must buy or make the king cake for next year. Since we were all wired up, we continued along through theFrench Market.  Overall, I was disappointed.  I was expecting something similar to my beloved West Side Market.  The French Maket was more of a large flea market, having few local food stands and more souvenir and art tables.  At least we were able to get rid of most of the sugar high and headed to our next dining destination, The Gumbo Shop.  Here we shared two more New Orleans classics, the shrimp po boy and seafood gumbo.  This was my favorite food of the whole trip and I will be attempting to recreate the po boy.  The po boy is hollowed out  french bread and stuffed with seafood or meat.  Most have fried meat or seafood, but ours was cooked in a creole style sauce.  The gumbo was simply amazing!  Gumbo is a thicker soup, usually made with a seafood or meat and the New Orleans "holy Trinity" of celery, bell peppers, and onion.  The perfect thickness and a great compliment to the sandwich. 

Day three began with a soggy cemetery tour through St. Louis Cemetary No. 1 and the jazz brunch at The Court of Two Sisters.  It was here where we filled up on more jambalaya, crawfish maison, and eggs benedict.  It was here, I learned how to eat the little guys pictured to your right.  Pinch the head, gently pull off the shell, and eat the tail.  So delicious too!  There was a jazz band playing setting the perfect atmosphere for more N'awlins favorites.  Since it was set up buffet style, we managed to eat our fill and still have room for pecan pie and bananas foster for dessert.  If you are ever in New Orleans, I would HIGHTLY recommend The Court of the Two Sisters Jazz Brunch.  I just hope the weather is nicer for you so you can enjoy the lovely courtyard.

 Nearing the end of the trip, I realized there were two more food related things we must do before we left, that being eat alligator and go to one of Emeril's restaurants.  It would have been very lucky if one of Emeril's three restaurants served gator, however that was the case.  By the time most of our brunch was digested, we set out to find gator somewhere in the French Quarter.  Our search lead us to the Riverfront Cafe, which served multiple options for enjoying this vicious reptile, including an alligator po-boy.  We opted for the blackened alligator appetizer since we just wanted a taste, and it was the right call.  Our waiter explained the meat comes from the gator's tail and is either cooked or made into sausage.  The blackened alligator bites tasted a little like chicken, only a little more chewy.  The seasonings used to blacken the gator brought out the taste of the gator which may have not been so prominent if we had it fried.  Would I east alligator again, you bet!!  Finally, our night started by going to NOLA, Emeril's French Quarter restaurant.  Since we did not make any reservations, we decided to go right when it opened at sit at the bar.  The idea worked perfectly and we enjoyed cocktails along with crab cakes and more gumbo.  As much as I would have enjoyed a full meal here, the cocktail/appetizer idea was a great experience.  We had a chance to chat with the bartenders about New Orleans, Mardi Gras, and Emeril.  We also met some great people also dining at the bar too.  The only thing that can be said for the food was BAM!  Everything one would expect from from Emeril.  The tomato bacon jam on the crab cakes really kicked this dish up a notch.  I also loved the corn coulis with the crab.  The gumbo had chunks of  ham and andouille sausage  I will admit though, the gumbo from Gumbo Shop was slightly better, but only by thismuch.  Maybe since I more of a seafood person?
Emeril's Crab cake
Emeril's gumbo

 Our last meal was breakfast before our flight at The Royal House of Oysters.  I wish I could say I had oysters for breakfast, but I went the more traditional route of poached eggs, bacon, cajun potatoes, and a biscuit.  Oysters were one thing I wanted to eat but never got around to.  The other being red beans and rice.  I guess I will just have to get that on my next trip!  New Orleans food did not disappoint by any means.  My best suggestion is to do a little background research, but just let your guidebooks and local references take you to places unplanned.  Also, asking the locals for their references always works too.  

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