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Everything posted by edsel

  1. The dry container for the Vita-Mix works great for nut butters. The only downside is that it's a pain to get the stuff out of the container. The bottom of the Vita Mix container doesn't unscrew, so there's lots of scraping with a silicon spatula, unless you don't mind wasting quite a bit.
  2. OK, Ann Arbor is starting to sound better and better. A charcuterie workshop with Polcyn would be awesome.
  3. Cleveland's Greenhouse Tavern was named one of Bon Appetit's Top Ten Best New Restaurants in America for 2009. Congratulations to Chef Sawyer and the gang at GHT. Very well deserved! Here's the blurb from the linked article:
  4. Sorry to hear about the vandalism. I just read Trevor Corson's book The Secret Life of Lobsters. He describes some of the cutthroat practices in the trade. Lobster prices have dropped to $8.99/lb in Ohio, which is cheap for here. I guess the substantial markup is due laregly to shipping costs. Still, I'd like to see more of our money going to the lobstermen. MPBN Story here NECN Video here Retail lobster prices here in Portland are at historic lows, $3.99 to $3.49 per pound for 1 1/4lb, $4.99 for 1 1/2lb. ←
  5. I had to Google "grigne" to be sure I understood what you were talking about. The texture of the bread was impressive. I failed to get any shots of the interior, but it had the expected distribution of air pockets one expects in a good French bread. I think a visit to the bakery is in order.
  6. I failed to mention the bread and butter service. The bread from Blackbird Baking Company in Lakewood has great flavor and a nice crust. The butter tasted cultured (the way I like it!) and was softened to room temperature. A very welcome touch.
  7. Bar Symon 32858 Walker Road Avon Lake, OH Exec. chef: Matt Harlan Sous chef: Jason Bryson Pastry chef: Cory Barrett Cleveland restaurateur Michael Symon has opened a new casual place serving a wide selection of beers and a full menu of food ranging from bar snacks to entrées. The beer list is impressive: about ninety beers and ales, forty of them on tap. I joined NancyH, her husband Bob, and torakris at Bar Symon for dinner last night. The place was full, but we were able to get a table without too much delay. (Be prepared for a longer wait on the weekends, though). The menu is far too large and varied for us to explore in one sitting, but we did our best to get a representative sample. As with all of Symon's restaurants, the charcuterie is made in-house. We started out with a "Big Board" selection of three sausages: Smoked Kielbasa, Spicy Lamb & Mint, and Pork & Fennel. These were accompanied by pickled vegetables, three different mustards, and grilled bread. It's hard to pick a favorite here - they were all terrific. I should also mention that the bread was exceptionally good, with a great smokey flavor from the hardwood grill. The Tuesday special is goat tacos. The meat is mild and tender, the seasoning just lively enough. Very nice. Next up, some P.E.I. oysters. These were served with lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, and lambic mignonette. I usually keep it simple when the oysters are this good, but the mignonette was light and fragrant. My main dish was a plate of "Barberton Style" fried chicken with truffle honey and parmesan, served with a side of soft polenta. The portion is surprisingly huge. I managed to eat most of it, though - it was just too delicious. Another surprise is the prices at Bar Symon. The most expensive entreés are just seventeen dollars. The beer list is skewed toward the ten-dollar-and under range, with many at just four or five bucks. (There are a few exotic beers on the list that are quite pricey). Now that the initial buzz is starting to die down it's easier to get a table, at least on a weeknight. The full food menu is available at the bar. Chef Harlan and general manager Nolan Cleary are both Symon restaurant veterans, having worked at the original Lola and Lolita in Tremont. There are some familiar dishes here - the charcuterie, the chicken, the polenta are similar to what they serve in Tremont. But Bar Symon has a different feel to it compared to Symon's other places. The decor is less fancy, there's a big bar with loads of beer on tap, there are flat-screen TVs over the bar (one of them tuned to the Food Channel ). I'll definitely be back.
  8. Here's the first of the short rib dishes I made. (Yes, I made two different dishes with beef short ribs. ) Pastrami-Brined Short Ribs After seeing Ruhlman's blog post about making pastrami from short ribs, I posted a link on Facebook. Judy spotted my link and dropped some hints (ahem!) that those would be awfully nice to have at the Gathering. The cross-cut ribs (flanken) came from Hickory Acres in Oberlin, Ohio, just a few miles from my home. Ruhlman used regular-cut short ribs for his recipe, so I had to adjust the method, particularly the spicing. The brine recipe is from Ruhlman & Polcyn's Charcuterie. I slightly misread the recipe as I was measuring out ingredients on the scale, so I'll summarize it as executed. It should be a mix of white and brown sugars skewed toward the white, but I accidentally swapped them. The spices and seasonings were also tinkered with. I quartered the recipe because I use vacuum-sealed bags for brining and don't need as much volume. 1 L water 85 g kosher salt 55 g brown sugar (would be white sugar in the original) 11 g pink salt 8 g pickling spice 22 g sugar (would be dark brown sugar in the original) 15 ml honey (from Ohio Honey, a local producer) 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 small shallot, minced Brine the meat for a couple of days, or longer if you have thicker cuts. Remove from brine and sprinkle with dry spices. I used a mix of coriander and black pepper, toasted a bit before grinding. Traditional pastrami is covered in coarse-cracked spices, but I ground mine finer because I thought coarse spices would be too much on the thin cuts. Smoke at relatively low temperatures (~ 112 ° C / 235 ° F) for a couple of hours. The picture above is after smoking but before steaming for service. To serve, wrap the smoked ribs moistened with a bit of water in foil and place in a low oven (135 ° C / 275 ° F) for about an hour or until the meat has reached the degree of tenderness you like.
  9. The libation dudes. Aaron (on the left) made a Part and Parcel. I don't remember what Ryan made, but I think it contained some bitters sent down by Toby from TVH in Chicago who was unable to attend himself. In the foreground is a big jug of iced tea with lemonade made by White Lotus. She and Dance also held a tea tasting of an interesting variety of green teas. I somehow managed not to take a picture of their setup.
  10. It doesn't surprise me that your photos are much better than mine. I have a couple shots of the desserts. Some yummy pies (who made those?) and Kerry's incredible Bacon Bark, made with Ron's home-cured and -smoked bacon. In the foreground are two delicious cobblers served with Shatto Dairy cream. I believe that these were made by nyokie6. As if the cheese course she contributed weren't enough! I didn't get any pics of Kerry's chocolate cups filled with strawberry-rhubarb mousse. Hopefully someone can post some photos of those - they were very pretty. And tasty!
  11. Judy and Aaron did a fantastic job organizing this gathering. Many thanks to them and everyone else who made this such a fun event. I've been uploading photos to imagegullet and Flickr. I'll post some of them here, but others will probably have better pics than I. Here are a few from today's brunch at Crum Farm at Redbud Hill. Check out this menu: What a spread! Here are some of the gorgeous tomatoes, served with a mayonnaise dressing made with bacon fat. Sort of a sauce gribiche variant, only porky. You can tell just looking at the tomatoes that they're something special. We also enjoyed some outstanding pastries. Here is a platter of kouign amann. (The wild blackberry - peach syrup was for the French toast). There was a lovely loaf of challah as well. The chefs really made an impression here. Every dish was absolutely terrific. The produce grown on the farm is exceptional. They supply heirloom tomatoes and vegetables to some of the top restaurants in the area. The farm itself is a beautiful setting for a casual meal like this.
  12. A quick stop by Bichelmeyer Meats to pick up the short ribs. Joe Bichelmeyer (second generation owner) gave us a tour of "Rocky's Locker", the aging cooler with lots of hanging beef and pork. (We didn't buy all of it, though the box of ribs looks pretty substantial.) Unwrapping a tamal made by Bichelmeyer's daughter in law. We also tried the chicharonnes. Tasty!
  13. After dinner at Lidia's we walked up the street to Manifesto for cocktails. We started with a sampling several cocktails from the menu. My favorite was the Beautiful Red Bell - gin, bell pepper, lime and mint. Many of the drinks feature unusual ingredients. Everything is made fresh from scratch, along the lines of VTR in Cleveland or the Violet Hour in Chicago, to name two places visited in recent Gatherings. This is exactly the kind of place I like. After the first (sample) round, we selected a second round from the menu. I chose the Brothers Perryman, which is a Negroni variant with a touch of Saint Germain in addition to the gin and Campari. Very nice.
  14. Dinner at Lidia's was a great start to the gathering. It's a big space with interesting decor. We were seated at two long tables - chairs on one side, banquettes on the other. The menu is quite varied. They have a special pasta tasting that several at our table tried, a seasonal menu featuring corn, an extensive wine list, and some very nice desserts. Quail from the seasonal corn menu: Pork "ossobuco" with barley rissoto: A trio of house-made gelati with with biscotti:
  15. Randi, dinner at Lidia's was wonderful, and Manifesto was great as well. I'm uploading some photos now, so I'll have a more detailed report. Many of us were out on the BBQ tour today, so we're just getting back to the computers. You'll be hearing from us soon!
  16. I can report that my luggage isn't packed yet. I can report, however, that cooking for the Saturday event is already underway. The reason being that some things just take too much time to do on the premises. I smoked some pastrami-cured short ribs today. They've got some good "Heartland" bona fides. The farm that raised the beef is within walking distance of my home. The pastrami cure recipe is from Michael Ruhlman (Ohio) and Brian Polcyn (Michigan). The peppercorns and coriander seeds were not Heatrland grown, I'm sorry to say. I can't do this entirely in KC due to the time required to cure the beef. I realize that bringing beef to KC is a bit of a coals-to-Newcastle thing. I also want to stress that I AM NOT SETTING MYSELF UP FOR A COMPARISON TO RONNIE'S PASTRAMI!. Sorry for shouting. I just wanted to make it clear that this isn't a competition (I would lose ). This is grass-fed beef, which means that it has very little marbling (unlike the totally luxurious Wagyu beef Ron used for his pastrami). Also, I don't have a "real" smoker, just one of those gas-fired things with a cast iron box to hold the wood chips. Nevertheless, I'm happy to offer this up as something to taste early in the evening. This is NOT the "meat course" - that will also be (hopefully) beef ribs, but an entirely different preparation. Also, I will not be wearing fish pants.
  17. We have one "Certified Green" restaurant in Cleveland. Greenhouse Tavern opened recently on E. 4th St downtown. Here's their mission statement. They are certified by the Green Restaurant Association. I assume that they must have met the requirements for renovating an existing building. From the Plain Dealer: I know that they get as much local produce as possible. Obviously they can't get everything locally.
  18. Let's hope it doesn't go to Chang's head...
  19. Ko won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. last night.
  20. edsel

    I'm on a puff binge!

    Heidi, did the contraption you saw look anything like the video I linked above? These things fascinate (and scare!) me... I wonder if the "Korean corn syrup" was actually millet syrup. I think they use that in Asian non-sweet applications. (Or maybe I'm imagining that...)
  21. edsel

    I'm on a puff binge!

    There are some puffed "snack" recipes in one of the el bulli books. I tried the puffed quinoa and the puffed "paella" (flavored rice). A bit time-consuming, but fun. I'm fascinated by . (youtube video)
  22. I've got a reservation for 9:30 tomorrow. I've been checking the web site to see if something earlier might open up. There have been 9:30 slots open all weekend for Monday and Wednesday. I guess that 9:30 is rather late in the evening for a weeknight - even if it's a "hot" reservation.
  23. They have a retail store? Probably just as well that I didn't know that. I've ordered from them on-line. Seeing all that stuff in person could be dangerous to my finances. re: smoke-free environment. I'm fairly sensitive to ambient smoke, but didn't have a problem walking through the casino floor at Mandalay Bay to get to RM Seafood. The restaurant itself wasn't smokey at all. Is there really a problem with smoke drifting into a place like L'Atelier? I'd think that if there was they'd do something about it...
  24. Thanks for that recommendation. I went to Settebello for lunch and quite enjoyed it, as did my customers - I think they'll be back. I love the Neapolitan style of pizza, and it has the added advantage of cooking quickly. We got our order without too much of a wait. A good thing at lunch-time. My first evening in Vegas I wound up going to Lotus of Siam. Several friends have raved about it, and the posts here looked promising. I had the Nam Kao Sod (crsipy rice and sour sausage) and the Khao Soi, a Northern-style noodle curry. Both were absolutely wonderful. I'd heard so much about the crispy rice dish that I was afraid it wouldn't live up to the hype. But it did. Nam Kao Tod Khao Soi On Tuesday I went back to RM Seafood. I'd been there before, but wanted to go back to try the sushi and sashimi. I genuinely admire their commitment to sustainable fisheries. And the quality of the seafood they serve is impeccable. I started with the oyster sampler, and moved on to some nigiri and sashimi. I wanted to try the cobia (unusual for sushi), but they were out so I substituted the sable. The fish that looks like salmon is Char, a close relative. Oyster Sampler Nigiri and Sashimi I didn't make it to L'Atelier - that will have to wait for another visit.
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