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Everything posted by jsmeeker

  1. I had a lot of pig. I had some duck. Some rabbit. Even some chicken. Beef? not much. (though I did forget about the beef tounge in the salad at the Feast. That was tasty).
  2. how much BEEF was consumed during this gathering? Aside from the bologna sliders I made for the Feast, I can't think of a single course or dish that had beef in it all weekend long. And this includes non-official meals that I had back at the hotel.
  3. I only have a single Heartland Gathering experience, but I thought the series of events/places in Cleveland were great. As Chris H. mentions, they were really focused entirely on places to eat and the Saturday feast. That said, I think some tours of places that produce food and drink might be interesting. I like gin, so a tour of a local distillery would be neat for me. Even an urban farm could be intersting. Amish country? Eh.... Especially if there is no interesting culinary involved. I'd rather do a cheese steak crawl. Seriously, I've never been to Philly, and I would love to try some cheeseteaks. I'd even go to the major "tourist trap" places so I could pick my own "best" But I think it's important to not OVER schedule. Nancy H did a great job in Cleveland. It wasn't really over scheduled. we did a lot, and sometimes we went to a few places in one evening, but they were all close together and/or we had enough time to get to the next place without ever feeling rushed.
  4. Some people feel that Wynn has (sadly) dumbed down their dining program to focus on the night club crowd. Alex has closed. Jet Tila is leaving. Daniel Bolud's place closed to become another steak heavy place. My meal at Sinatra last year was a bit disappointing. But I did have a nice dinner at Wazuzu back in June of this year. Do you want a steak joint? For another meal, I would suggest scoping out the places in Cosmopolitan. Blue Ribbon was just OK. I liked D.O.C.G Encoteca a lot. And Holsteins was a decent burger place.
  5. I had a Corpse Reviver at the VTR - enjoyed it but think I would have liked it a bit more with a bit of simple in it. I also picked up a bottle of Vya there (to which they added some of their bitters) so I've got that to play with now. What's your favourite Vya (sweet) cocktail? I've never played with Vya, mostly because it only seems to come in a large bottle and I am scared that it will go "off" before I can finish it. Given that it's a vermouth, I would use it in the places where I use my more common sweet vermouth. Manhattan, Negroni, etc. Speaking of getting inspired, I need to get some Tang. Rangpur gin. And I need to dig up the topic Janet wrote about making lime cordial.
  6. Did you get fries?? if so, which style and what did you think?
  7. I wish I had not lost track of this topic. When I saw it initally, people had alrad suggested some of the things I was going to suggest. How did you find the Velvet Tango Room, Kerry? Any revelations there?
  8. I had planned on taking photos at VTR. But when I turned on my camera to snap a pic of my first cocktail, I discovered I left the memory card in my computer, which was back in the hotel room. DOH! But I know lots of other people took photo. Thanks for sharing yours. I am sure others will get theirs out there soon.
  9. Finnally back at home. Flight was delayed out of CLE a bit, but not too bad. I still haven't eat since brunch. And I'm really not even hungry. That was a really fantastic brunch. Best "breakfast" or brunch I have ever had. If I had to make one adjustment, I think I would have liked to have seen a piece of bread served with the salad. A way to sop up that egg yolk. Also, I'm not quite sure what I think about egg whites cooked to that temp. To me, as some who had never had a sous vide egg before, I would have said the whites where underdone a little. But again, that's a minor quibble. Everything was really good. The last three course really came on big. The chicken and waffles, the THIRD bacon and egg dish (which, IMHO, could have been served as standard menu item) and then a dessert (which again, seemed like a full sized serving. Really stellar. Still amazed it came from an airport Marriott. Seriously, if you simply showed a random foodie the pics of the food from that brunch, I bet pretty good money anyone would not be able to guess where it came from. Truly great work Jeff Jerrett and is crew is doing there. I used to travel on business a lot. Would have killed to have a hotel restaurant like that on every trip.
  10. Based on a singular Heartland Gathering experience, people seem to be interested in stuffing themselves silly with food. The more local the food and local the chefs and restaurants, the better.
  11. Yesterday's even at Chubby Cook was great. Can't say enough good things about the staff and the facilities. Starting off with shopping at the West Side Market, I was able to buying everything I needed to make my item. That place is very meat heavy. It's paradise for the meat eater. Stuff you don't normally see in a run of the mill supermarket back in Dallas (or really, not many if any places in Dallas) Got to Chubby Cook at around 2:00 PM. I don't think I left until 10:30 PM or so. A LONG day.. But a fun one. Here are some random photos of the action.. Steven and Chris at West Side Market.. The Fish Pants appear. David Ross preps his dish Chris Hennes roasts some red peppers Dave the Cook actually COOKING! Kris preps for her dish
  12. Back at hotel after long day at Chubby Chef. Lots of great stuff made there by everyone. A really great event. Need sleep. Will try to post more tomorrow.
  13. Sadly, I left the memory card for my camera in the card reader slot in my computer. Which of course was sitting on the desk back in my hotel room. To start off the night, we gathered at the Velvet Tango Room. This is really one of the finest places to have a drink anywhere. Not just in Cleveland, but ANYWHERE. We had use of the entire back room and outdoor patio. I had never been back there before. I had never been in the VTR during darling hours, either. But this was just the prefect space for us to all gather. Nice room, with it's own bar and staff. A patio/backyard area on a beautiful summer evening. As always, the service was warm and friendly. Paulius was there, saying hello, making everyone feel welcome. And then there are the cocktails.. Ahh.... The cocktails. So well crafted. So delicious. We had allocated close to three hours for a our little gathering, it was hard to resist. I wound up having three. A Rangpur Gimlet, a Spicy Chica, and their house Negroni. All delicious. I'm seriously in love with this place. After dinner, we headed into downtown Ceveland to the vibrant East 4th street area. Lots of restaurants and bars here, including our dining destination the Greenhouse Tavern. The restaurant is spread across multiple levels, with an outdoor patio and a roof top bar. The kitchen is in the basement. And that is where we were. In the middle of the action. A little loud. A bit chaotic. But we were treated to some great food. Three savory courses and a dessert course. Each course having three distinct sub-courses. First Course comprised of Foie Gras Steamed Clams, Grilled Octopus and Salami, and Pomme Frites. All were good. The frites were killed. I liked the steamed clams, though not exactly sure where the foie gras was. I think it was worked into the liquid used to steam the clams. The second course consisted of a grilled romaine caesar salad, a tomato sandwich, and a pig tongue arpea. The tomato sandwich was the favorite amongst the group I was sitting with. I even enjoyed it, and I really don't like raw tomato. The third course consisted of a dish that was described as "Tomato and Fregola Summer Cioppino". This was a little odd as we were wondered where the seafood was. There was also a potato gnocchi dish.. And then there was the centerpiece of the meal. the Roasted Pig's Head. This dish was outstanding. Very impressive. Flavorful, juicy, tender pork. Crispy pig skin. Really, really good. A dessert course was up next. And it started off weird with a series of "alternative diet" baked goods. Vegan stuff. Gluten free stuff. I don't ever eat this sort of thing. The only thing I thought that was tasty was the gluten free brownie. It had an intense chocolate flavor. Somehow, I managed to avoid the donut. Subsequent desserts were far more successful, with the best being a salted caramel buttered pop-corn pot de creme. That really was very, very good. Overall, a very successful meal. The best showcase for Cleveland's food scene we have scene.
  14. Saturday lunch was a visit with Chris Hodgson and his food truck. Chris is actually running TWO food trucks now. Dim and Den Sum and Hodge Podge. Today, he came in the Dim and Dem Sum truck and hosted a "private party" for our group at a park on the lakefront, parked in the shadow of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Instead of the standard menu for that truck, we got a mix of things to choose from, A lobster roll, a pulled pork sandwich, a sweet potato dumpling dish, and some soba noodles. I decided to go with the lobster roll. This was pretty tasty. But it was the only thing I tried. A lot of people bought everything. The food truck scene is just trying to get going in Cleveland. And as in many cities, it's not always easy. It's common for there to be a lot of rules working against you. So much so, that you may be operating "illegally". But Chris helped the city see the light. If you want to see more of Chris and his truck, be sure to catch the next installment of the Great Food Truck Race on Food Network starting later this month.
  15. Day one was a major success. Starting with my lunch at AMP 150 (previously reported on) plus our progressive dinner through Tremont, it's evident Cleveland has a vibrant local food scene going on. If you have a great place like AMP 150 in your airport Marriott, then it's pretty evident something special is going on your town. What I experienced yesterday is something truly local. Oh, sure, there is THIS Michael Symon is a local success story. His first restaurant, Lola, was originally located on Tremont. After moving into a larger space downtown, the old Lola space was converted into Lolita. And he has goof neighbors in Dante across the street and Fahrenheit down the street a few blocks. Fahrenheit was the first stop. A happy hour. Drinks. Some snacks. Really great house made potato chips. Some good pizzas, too. Steven did a nice job of capturing the photos above. Then off to Lolita. And they really killed us here. Huge platters of charcuterie, with a lot of it done in house. Tuna crudo. Pizzas. Steamed mussels. Chicken livers.. The food kept coming. We finally waved the white flag as we had another stop. So, they brought out some bacon stuffed dates. I liked everything here. The charcuterie was great. The house made sausage served with the mussels and on some of the pizzas was great. And the chicken livers? Really fantastic. My favorite dish there Lolita was not the end of it, though. After a short break standing around outside and roaming the block, we crossed over to go to Dante. Housed in a former bank building, this place is has a very nice design too it. They even have the vault, with huge round vault door, intact. They even have a table in there. Very cool. We were seated in a nice private room in the back. A printed four course menu was at every seat. Steven has the photo above. Here, I really liked the duck course. And then the dessert, which may have been the most perfect way to end the first day. All in all, a very successful start.
  16. Chris Yes.. Braised rabbit with Spaetzle, Spec Ham, Tarragon and Peas Dessert was chocolate panna cotta. That was very tasty too.
  17. Ok... While I wait for my dessert course, I will present my lunch at AMP 150. I apologize for the quality of the photos. The phone in my camera is not the best. The was the apricot gnocchi. Yes, it was with an apricot sauce. Pretty good. Braised rabbit. This was great.. My favorite dish. Peas, Peas, Peas.
  18. And I am here.. Cleveland is 20 degrees cooler than it is in Dallas. Trip is off to a good start. I think I might try to "live report" my lunch from AMP 150.. I don't have my camera on me.. Left it in the room. Maybe I can snap photos with my camera. Starting off with a Victory Prima Pils for a beverage. Really hits the spot. I've ordered a few small plates off the menu and a side dish of vegetables. More to come...
  19. 6:30 AM on Thursday.. I'll be heading off to the airport soon for my flight to CLE. I'm really excited about this trip. It will be good to be back in C-Town to get some of the great local food and drink.
  20. Ok.. I'll bring cash.. I'll just treat this trip like I would treat a trip to Las Vegas. Will you be able to provide change? I won't have time to get to the bank to break a bunch of Benjamins
  21. I have a question about the Eventbrite... Is this the preferred method of payment for the events/activites that support it? I want to be sure payment is easy and quick and painless and that I don't accidently stiff anyone.
  22. Who is staying at the Marriott? I know I am.. And Hennes and his wife. I think Steven and his family are there, too. Anyone else?
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