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Report: 2007 Heartland Gathering (Cleveland)


edsel
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We kicked off the 2007 Heartland Gathering this evening at Light Bistro. Fifteen of us enjoyed a wonderful special menu. i managed to leave my printed copy of the menu behind, so if someone could PM me the exact descriptions I'll edit in better captions. For now, here are some pictures. :smile:

The Amuse - a "Gazspacho Granita"

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A spicy little beginning to the meal.

Eggplant Flan/paddlefish caviar/olive oil cracker/chive

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The paddlefish roe is an interesting addition to this dish. The flan is flavorful and has a gorgeous texture.

Carpaccio of Kobe beef/fig/beets/chile

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The beets and chiles livened this up considerably. Of course the beef itself was yummy.

Fresh Pea Gnocchi with mushrooms

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This was a sub for the beef dish for people who don't eat red meat.

Sturgeon sous vide/licorice port purée/santa claus melon/pickled cous cous

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We were advised that the licorice/port sauce might be a bit strong for some. It was delicious, and matched well with the sturgeon. A milder fish probably wouldn't stand up as well in such a bold combination of flavors

Ohio Lamb/swiss chard ribs/sweet pepper gastrique/candied banana peppers

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Served with braised chard stems and candied banana peppers. The peppers were a huge hit!

Champagne and Cheese/raspberries

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This was an aged Manchego (I think) served with fresh berries.

Strawberry sorbet/sweet balsamic tomatoes/blue cheese

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Tomato is a surprise in a dessert. Great play of sweet and tart flavors.

Gateau au chocolate/candied fennel/orange

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I didn't have this one, but did get a taste of the candied fennel - very nice.

It was fun introducing our out-of-town visitors to Light Bistro. What a great way to start the Heartland Gathering.

Edit to fix captions.

Edited by edsel (log)
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edsel's pictures do a pretty good job of summing up last night's wonderful meal at Light. Everything was very good, but for me the two stand-outs were the eggplant flan with paddlefish roe and the olive cracker (so smooth and so delicious) and the lamb done two ways with the aforementioned candied banana peppers and sweet pepper gastrique. Absolutely delicious. To top it off, Chef Matt was kind enough to hand out little jars of the candied banana peppers at the end of dinner to anyone who was interested. Trust me -- EVERYONE was interested. :biggrin:

Kudos to Chef Matt and everyone else who made last night a great success!

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Wow, what a menu!

I'm glad you all got to have the eggplant flan. I think that dish is stunning. To me, it is on par with what I would expect from a fine French restaurant with a star or two!

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To top it off, Chef Matt was kind enough to hand out little jars of the candied banana peppers at the end of dinner to anyone who was interested. Trust me -- EVERYONE was interested.  :biggrin:

WHAT?!?

Where was I? Why didn't I get one of these??

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Kudos to Light Bistro and Chef Matt.

Very lovely to have met many I only knew as a screen name.

The restaurant staff were exceptionally welcoming and gracious.

The jars of candied peppers were a very thoughtful and generous party favour (to those that dined).

I wholly enjoyed the conversations, and my martini!

I wish I was able to have enjoyed the dinner! :biggrin:

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Sure glad to see I haven't missed anything *too* good so far :hmmm:

WAAAAAHHHH.

All right, Tino, fork-over the peppers and no one will get hurt!

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Sure glad to see I haven't missed anything *too* good so far :hmmm:

WAAAAAHHHH.

All right, Tino, fork-over the peppers and no one will get hurt!

What if I told you that I got stranded in traffic last night on the way home and already ate the entire jar in a desparate move to stave off starvation? :blink:

Um ... that I donated it to a local children's charity? :blink:

Um ... that I owed my bookie money and traded the precious jar away so Vinnie didn't break my kneecaps? :blink:

Perhaps if we all politely ask him, Chef Matt might post the recipe here on eGullet. :rolleyes:

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Hey, slackers, where are the pix from dinner last night? How can I live vicariously through you without some pictorial stimuli?

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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The brioche just came out of the oven ... It smells heavenly. I'm sending some aroma your way, moosnsqrl! Next up is to finish baking off the Black Russian Rye and then I'm off to the gathering!

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The brioche just came out of the oven ... It smells heavenly. I'm sending some aroma your way, moosnsqrl!  Next up is to finish baking off the Black Russian Rye and then I'm off to the gathering!

Oh man, black Russian rye and Ronnie's charcuterie! It sucks to be me.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I just got back to my hotel. I'm exhausted and stuffed. It was a great time. Unfortunately, I was too busy cooking to take any pics and we didnt have internet access inside the church. I'm sure the photo's will be posted tomorrow.

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We've had some incredible meal experiences the past couple of days. I defer to those who photographed and took careful notes in terms of reports on the specifics of each meal. These are just a few impressions:

Lunch at Sun Luck Garden was a treat. Annie Chiu played chef and hostess. She came out before the meal and gave an oral report of the entire forthcoming menu, ascertained any dietary restrictions, introduced out waiter (Rodney), and repaired to the kitchen. She really worked with our requests: I had told her this was part of a series of meals, so she put out very small portions of a whole heck of a lot of dishes. So we got to taste all sorts of dishes yet the overall experience was mostly non-gluttonous.

The thing that really struck me about Sun Luck Garden's style is that it's a rare example of a truly great Chinese-American restaurant. The menu items are mostly the same as what you'd see at the average bad Chinese-American restaurant. But Annie makes them all with a higher level of ingredients, with much greater care, without over-saucing and over-seasoning, and with expert technique. For example, her egg rolls are bone dry -- you can tell they were deep fried because of their golden crispy wrappers, but there's none of that tell-tale grease outside or in. And they're made with nice big chunks of pork and shrimp. Her scallion pancakes have the property of a good croissant where, when you touch it, it almost shatters like glass. Her cold noodles with sesame sauce have so little sauce on them that you can't even see it -- it's like noodles perfumed with sesame-sauce essence, and given interesting texture by bean sprouts and additional flavor by slices of shiitake mushroom. It went on and on like this: dishes that were familiar yet realized at their highest levels. Then mussels, served at the end, were fascinating -- almost a dessert. I don't think any of us correctly identified even half the flavors.

The Velvet Tango Room is a remarkable institution. I had no idea there was such a faithful outpost of the cocktail culture in Cleveland. VTR is producing cocktails in the Pegu Club/Death & Co./Milk & Honey milieu, with great care, effort and ingredients. The atmosphere, however, should be the envy of all the New York places. They have a ton of space sprawling across a couple of different bars and into an outdoor courtyard/garden that transports you back to a different era. They were kind enough to give each of us a vial of house-made bitters to take home. I had a dark and stormy, with ginger beer so spicy it was a real shock on that first sip, and they also make a mean gin fizz.

Lola was a nice surprise. I didn't really know what kind of atmosphere to expect, but I certainly didn't expect it to be such a fun, happening, energetic spot. They treated us incredibly well, sectioning off a significant piece of the restaurant for us at 8pm on a Friday night. Wait 'til you see a photo of the big, fat pieces of walleye they gave us. I should also give a shout out to the pastry chef, because the desserts were beautiful, especially the "6 a.m. special" of bacon ice cream served on syrup-soaked brioche toast.

West Side Market had some great stuff but was uneven. The meat area was impressive. The produce area was pretty dismal. The crepe guy makes excellent crepes but he's so slow and inefficient I almost had to strangle him.

We had an unplanned lunch at Phnom Penh, the Cambodian restaurant around the corner from West Side Market. We basically just showed up with 16 people and they took it in stride, creating an impromptu banquet for us at just $12 a head. Some wonderful flavors, especially that beef-noodle soup.

Dinner went off without a hitch, and every course came out exceptionally well. I hesitate to acknowledge anyone in particular, because everybody deserves so much credit, but I've got to single out Tino's breads not just because they're so good but also because he was so generous: he must have slaved for ages to make all that bread. There was so damn much of it, of so many types, that we were able to have dedicated breads for most every phase of the meal, and then people were taking home bags and bags of the stuff. There was bread for the charcuterie, there was bread for the meal, there was bread for the cheese . . . it just went on and on, an unending avalanche of leavened goodness. And CaliPoutine, producing not one but two dishes including the most delicious cherry pie. And Tammy's flawless expediting, and her chocolate presentation, and her other chocolate presentation, and her truffles. And Ronnie's charcuterie, and White Lotus and Dance's salmon from the Pacific Northwest, and . . . and . . and . . . I'm going to stop now.

Can't wait for brunch.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Even I was too tired to take photos last night! But I'll be posting photos from Sun Luck Garden, Lola and perhaps Carrie Cerino's later today or tomorrow.

But here - a couple of photos from VTR - the infamous Dark & Stormy: gallery_21337_4608_30441.jpg

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And the Rootbeer Float - the likes of which was enjoyed by Lucas Suburban - with house-made root beer and house made Vanilla Gelato:

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Thank you, Bolognuim, for hosting our Friday Happy Hour!

Edited by NancyH (log)

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Hey, slackers, where are the pix from dinner last night?  How can I live vicariously through you without some pictorial stimuli?

I left my camera in the car Friday night, so we'll have to count on Ronnie to provide pictures. I just uploaded a ton of photos of the Feast but need to pick through them before posting. Ronnie and Alex (Palladion) were also taking picture, so I'm sure we'll have plenty of 'em.

My photos of the Sun Luck lunch didn't turn out (operator error :hmmm: - the food was gorgeous). I did get a snapshot of Annie and Fat Guy:

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It's been a terrific weekend, and it's not quite over yet. Off to Carrie Cerino's...

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Checking in before running off (late) to the lunch. I probably won't be able to eat anything -- maybe I'll have some gelato. Maybe. I just walked 6 miles, haven't eaten a thing at all today, and I'm still not hungry. The food last night was glorious. I'll have a lot more to say about it later.

My pictures won't be ready until tomorrow (monday). My laptop doesn't have enough free hard drive space to be able to process the raw camera files that I've been shooting into normal jpegs. I'll be heading back to Chicago tomorrow, where I can do the processing on my desktop.

Alex

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I can't believe I'm the first person to post pictures from Saturday. I guess that's the prize for missing most of the weekend!

I only got pictures of the actual courses we ate at dinner, not the huge spread of cheese and charcuterie and salmon and eggplant dip that went out before dinner...

Our menu was a little light on vegetables, but for the most part people did much better on portion sizes right this year - it's hard to adjust to tasting menu size, but we outdid ourselves! And everything tasted absolutely amazing!

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Soup and Sandwiches. The soup was a creamy tomato soup with chunks of blue cheese. Made by Karen from a Michael Symon recipe. Amazing. The sandwiches were from Ronnie - a mini BLT on (Tom's) brioche, and amazing lox with a schmear on (Tom's) black bread. Man, that lox was sooo buttery. Both the bacon and lox were Ronnie's own, of course.

I appear to have missed taking a picture of the third course, which was a Thai Beef Salad. Thai Beef Salad is one of my favorite foods, and Diane and Steve's was a great example of it - the flavors were fabulous and perfectly balanced.

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CaliPoutine's risotto. Asparagus, parsley, basil, and one perfectly cooked jumbo shrimp. The rice was perfect as well - still just the tiniest bit toothsome.

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Schweintraub's cassoulet (I'll let him relate the story of its inspiration. If he hadn't told me, I never would have guessed this was his first time making cassoulet. It was remarkable. Served family style, this is actually a tiny portion on a small plate - it just looks bigger in the picture. There was garlic sausage and duck confit and some sort of smoked turkey. I wish I'd scarfed some of the leftovers - I'm sure it would be even better today.

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After all that meat (every course so far - bacon&lox, beef, shrimp, duck/pork), it was time for something lighter! Torakris made this watermelon salad, and it was an inspiration! Just watermelon, scallions, and a dressing of olive oil, balsamic, pepper and salt.

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Bob and Edsel's offering of braised Jamaican-jerk inspired goat, with caramelized shallots and au jus, plus some tempura okra from Kris. Even with our better portion sizes, we were all pretty full by this point, but this was tasty enough to make it worth forcing those last few bites down.

I've got dessert pics too, but I won't have time to post those until later.

Thanks to everyone for putting together such a great meal! It had a blast, and ate very well.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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...

Her cold noodles with sesame sauce have so little sauce on them that you can't even see it -- it's like noodles perfumed with sesame-sauce essence, and given interesting texture by bean sprouts and additional flavor by slices of shiitake mushroom. It went on and on like this: dishes that were familiar yet realized at their highest levels.

...

We had an unplanned lunch at Phnom Penh, the Cambodian restaurant around the corner from West Side Market. We basically just showed up with 16 people and they took it in stride, creating an impromptu banquet for us at just $12 a head. Some wonderful flavors, especially that beef-noodle soup.

...

Sesame noodles? Does anyone know if this is on the regular menu?

Phnom Penh? One of the reasons I don't go there as often as I might is the menu. It's so big and some of the sections seem so similar that I wonder whether they were just accidentally repeated. Also, they aren't exclusively a Cambodian restaurant and it's never clear to me what is Cambodian, what is sort of Cambodian and what isn't Cambodian at all. What are the staple dishes of Cambodian cuisine? What should I order to learn about Cambodian food and its differences from similar cuisines?

I'm glad Cleveland is treating you well and I'm looking forward to the rest of the pictures.

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I don't have time for a lengthy post, but I've finished uploading pictures. You can see them in the ImageGullet public album (I think you have to be logged in to see it). I'll post a few of the pictures here along with some comments later.

Thank you, Nancy, for all your hard work in organizing the event. I had a blast!

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Ok - picture time!

You have already seen the details of our Thursday kick-off at Light Bistro. We next assembled Friday afternoon at Sun Luck Garden in Cleveland Heights - a favorite of Fatguy.

As he previously described, Annie brought us a dizzying assortment of goodies, but kept the portions at tasting sizes - lucky for us, because it was so good, if she had served regular sized portions - we would have eaten them all!

First up - appetizers. We were each presented with a crispy egg roll and a completely-from-scratch Pork Potsticker:

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Next - the Scallion Pancake:

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Then, a Peking Duck wrap:

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Last - for appetizers - a plate of tempura shrimp and cold spicy noodles:

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I do not normally care for frozen shrimp (the only kind available in Cleveland) - but this dish was extraordinary and good to the last drop! The sauce drizzled over the shrimp had some citrus and some sweet, with just a twang of sour - yum.

The mains came out in rapid succession - starting with Walnut Chicken:

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Annie had polled the table to learn if we wanted our Mei Fun (thin rice noodles) mild or spicy curry - guess which one the table picked! This was our pork course:

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Next came Chilean Sea Bass with Asparagus and Black Bean Sauce:

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The next entree was a spicy beef stir fry with fresh pineapple, which made the dish sing:

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As we worked our way through this feast, Annie asked if we wanted to try some fried rice. We all started to say no - but Steve piped up with a "yes" - and we were very glad he did:

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Notice - no soy sauce staining this lovely dish. Though it lacked the larded mouthfeel of the fried rice served at Cleveland's Siam Cafe - it was absolutely worth having and we thanked Steve (and Annie) accordingly!

The last dish to come out were the Mussels, which came highly recommended from Luckygirl. I am not a big mussel eater, but I actually had a second one. Those at our table who do enjoy mussels pronounced them fabulous.

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My photos really didn't do justice to the mussels.

We had a round of fortune cookies, and then, after I had put away my camera, Annie treated us to a round of her homemade cookies, which were lovely.

Bob and I headed home to change for the evening, and others wandered Cleveland for a couple hours until Happy Hour at the VTR.

Edited by NancyH (log)

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Friday evening was Lola night. Those of you who were in Ann Arbor last year might recall that the impending opening of Michael Symon's Lola was the primary impetus for holding the gathering in Cleveland this year. Unfortunately for us, Michael was not in Cleveland this weekend - he's been out of town all of July, working on the Next Iron Chef competition for FoodTV - but Liz Symon and Doug Petkovic and their staff have everything running smoothly in his absence - I think this was the best meal yet that I've had at the new Lola!

Each of the four courses offered two choices. Bob and I independently chose parallel menus, to the great convenience of our neighbors, as none of them had to pause for photos (or share any food).

Dinner started with a beverage order, of course. Since I cannot take the taste of

chlorinated water, I usually order seltzer and lime. But the server suggested the House Sparkling water - and as soon as I saw the bottle, I was glad that I had I ordered it!

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Next came a lovely amuse - a bit of puffy goodness topped with something a little gooey and a tasty morsel of meat; house-made, I believe:

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Next - on to the dinner menu!

I started with Yellowtail with Melon, Horseradish & Celery (well, Bob got most of my celery):

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I have never had Yellowtail melt in my mouth like that - it is usually a little fishy and tough. I am now Yellowtail spoiled for life.

Bob opted for the Heirloom Tomato Salad with Feta, Olives, and Onions - dressed with the most heavenly concoction:

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Second course - for me, two perfectly seared scallops, resplendent upon a perch of Butter Beans scattered with cubes of Lamb Sausage:

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Bob had the traditional (for Lola diners) Beef Cheek Pierogie - perfectly crisp dough stuffed with tender, moist morsels and draped with Creme Fraiche. Oh yes, and mushrooms that are beautiful - if you like mushrooms:

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For the mains, I opted for the Walleye, which was a massive tower of perfectly prepared fish, over creamed corn and house-smoked bacon.

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Bob tried what was described as "Roasted Duck Breast" - but was really Duck Two Ways - perfectly seared breast slices accompanied by melt-in-your-mouth roasted leg. The Pickled Cherry sauce was delicious (reminiscent of the Beef with Chili and Cherry that Bob, Edsel and I made for the Feast last year!).

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Cbarre02 (also known as Cory Barrett) stopped up to meet us and see how we were doing as we devoured his desserts - for Bob, a Marcarpone "Strawberry Shortcake" with Almond, Balsamic Gelee and Strawberry Sorbet:

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I could not resist staying with the 6 A.M. Special, which Cory has improved to perfection during the last nine months - Bacon Ice Cream, "French Toast" Brioche and a Maple Twill:

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We left well after 11pm - and dinner service was still going strong in the restaurant. Lola is a special place - well worth the wait!

Edited by NancyH (log)

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Saturday was Feast Day! I had made arrangements with my friend Angie to rent the commercial kitchen and social hall at her church, near to my house. The day was to begin with the traditional shopping trip - this year, at Cleveland's storied West Side Market. We arrived at 9:30am, with no breakfast in us, to plot for the evening's festivities.

Unfortunately, I got so caught with "being in charge", and, more important, being the person who lived closest to the Feast location, that I only took one photo the whole day! After we separated to shop (and by this time, I was also forced to acknowledge that being "in charge" meant I wasn't really going to get to cook anything), I stopped at The Creperie for a bite. This lovely stand is owned by the owners of City Roast Coffee (coincidentally also named Bob and Nancy). My lone photo from Saturday is Bob Hoecepl [i'm sorry if I butchered the spelling] making my breakfast - a "from scratch" crepe filled with egg, spinach, tomato and cheese - yum!

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A bunch of folk wound up sampling the crepes - as Steve mentioned, Bob is a little slow in the cooking process - but the best things . . . .

Edited by NancyH (log)

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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I will leave the rest of Saturday to those who had the energy and presence of mind to photograph it.

We arrived at my house around midnight, following a few fun and not so fun moments (like the church's kitchen dishwasher deciding to overheat and refusing to work for part of the evening). We also realized that we were bone tired, because last year, folks from Tammy's community helped us to clean up, and this year we were on our own! But we did get it clean and get to go home and a wonderful time was had by all.

A word about TammyLC - she almost had to cancel due to work and family commitments, but the 20+ people who enjoyed her chocolate and wine tastings, and truffle making demo, were most glad that she didn't. Thank you for joining us Tammy!

And the book sale organized by Calipoutine brought in some bucks for Gully and a "thank you" to the Church for hosting us.

We hit the pillows immediately after getting home!

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Last year, several folks were too stuffed after the Saturday Feast to come to Brunch at Zingerman's. I hoped to remedy that this year by scheduling a lunch at noon - giving everyone a couple more hours to digest (and sleep!).

So - at noon, we assembled at Carrie Cerino's. Dominic Cerino outdid himself in allowing us to sample all of his most primo chow - including some of the amazing Copper River King Salmon he has flown to him directly from Cordova!

We started with Salumi Boards, which include items from Dominic, Armandino Batali, and other premium sources, together with cheese, nuts, dried fruits, and something new - fresh figs. Oh my!

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The boards are served with fresh, hot foccachia bread pronounced delicious by our resident Bread Man, tino27, and little dishes containing olives, red peppers and olive oil.

The discussion of pork naturally brings us to the youngest EGulleteers to attend the weekend's festivities - the just-a-few-weeks-old Nolan and Reagan Powalchak (sires of Sheb) - and I had to get a photo of Nolan's shirt:

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Next - Chef Dominic showed us a way to turn Escargot Platters into multitaskers! Behold - baked artichoke hearts:

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Next, each diner received a Blue Egg Ravioli - which I didn't photograph, because I have before - but here is a photo from Edsel's album of what we were served today:

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Dominic has improved a heavenly thing by moving the sage leaves into the ravioli. The yolk is left runny, and when you cut it open, you mix the ricotta-sage filling with the butter in the dish and the yolk - and then you mange!

Next up was a plate of Panzanella Salad for each diner - a delightful melange of heirloom tomatoes, cheese, house-made bread, micro-arugala and light dressing.

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This was followed by the Blue Egg Carbonara with home-made Guanciale; all spaghetti at Carrie Cerino's is made in house from scratch:

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The next dish - Umbrian Lentils with Red Pepper Guanciale and House-Made Sausage, and studded with more of that awesome Foccachia!

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Next - Berkshire Pork Piccata - kissed with a light but deep sauce made with love!

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The next dish - Veal Tosca - is an older creation from Dominic - it was my entree the very first time I ate at Carrie Cerino's. I haven't had it since, because every time I go there, there are always new or even more extra special things to try! A tender slice of veal is breaded with Blue Eggs and Cheese and sauteeed with lemon, and the result is fabulous:

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In the meantime, Dominic was kind enough to provide a plate of Eggplant Parmesan and Pasta Marinara for Dance, who is a fairly strict vegetarian:

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Instead of finishing our feast with Vialone Nano Pestelli Risotto, which was on the menu (and which, it turned out, got forgotten in the kitchen in all of the tumult), two additional items were brought out to our table. First, one of my absolute favorites - a dish Dominic created for the Northern Ohio Slow Food Convivium Slow Food Dinner last year- pulled pork cannelloni, topped with a beautiful tomato sauce and fresh ricotta.

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At this point, I put my camera away because we could not eat another bite, and were filling "leftovers" boxes with these wonderful goodies. But then Dominic again appeared, bearing gifts- he had frozen some of his precious Copper River Kings (the season ended early in July) and grilled up fillets for us. Neither Edsel nor I got a photo, but I'm sure that someone did. I thought, I may not eat again for a week!

But I knew that dessert was coming - Blue Egg-Hazelnut Gelato. Again - I didn't get a photo of this one (though there are photos of other CC's gelato in the Carrie Cerino's thread). This one was served with Italian Cookies and a dollop of fresh chocolate.

After we finished our dessert - and after some discussion confirming that this was the correct thing to do - I passed the Ceremonial Torch of the EGullet Heartland Gathering (well, actually, an empty gelato glass) to Ronnie Suburban - who has volunteered to lead Chicago in hosting our intrepid band of diners for next year's Gathering. Thank you Ronnie!

Though we had planned to lead the minions to Taste of Tremont after this meal, everyone agreed that we were just too stuffed to even consider it (and some folks needed to get on the road). White Lotus volunteered to lead an excursion to a tea store she discovered across the street from the West Side Market, and a bunch of folks decided to join her.

Bob and I were just too pooped to party anymore (well - me anyway - Bob is outside in the garden pulling weeds as I type this).

I want to thank everyone involved in helping to make this weekend a success. There are too many to name individually - though I will single out Steve Sikorski (Mr. Luckygirl) for getting the dishwasher back on line Saturday night and sparing us two hours of washing dishes by hand, and Angie Vacca, who never heard of EGullet before, but may be joining us soon - for getting this wonderful space for us!

See you all in Chicago next year, I hope!

Nancy

Edited by NancyH (log)

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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There were quite a few pleasant surprises in Cleveland, but Carrie Cerino's was perhaps the most pleasant and most surprising: it's a vintage post-WWI Italian-American banquet hall that feels as though it should be on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. And the food is terrific. Dominic Cerino has one foot in the Italian-American cuisine of the 1950s and the other foot in today's artisanal ingredients and contemporary culinary trends. This juxtaposition should be apparent from the photographs, but was particularly noteworthy in the salume selection, the "blue egg" ravioli, the heirloom tomato salad and the Copper River salmon. All of the restaurateurs who hosted us were generous, but Dominic Cerino went above and beyond. All that food for $23 a head ($28 with tax and tip). I hope having an appreciative audience was at least somewhat rewarding to Dominic, because he was giving the food away. On our best day, even without the previous meals on the schedule, we couldn't have eaten all that stuff.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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