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Chris Hennes

REPORT: 2011 Heartland Gathering (Cleveland, OH)

82 posts in this topic

That pig head was no joke.

No fooling..

It was really, really good.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Oh my. Keep the reports and photos coming so we can live vicariously. Looks like all kinds of fun and deliciousness so far...


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Boy, sounds like a great start. Was Chef Symon at his place?

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Just finished processing the photos from tonight's soiree at the Greenhouse Tavern ... besides a delicious dinner, it was great to finally meet up with everyone since I was unable to attend last night's restaurant crawl or today's lunch at the Dim and Den Sum truck.

I've put tonight's dinner photos up on my Flickr account in a set. Feel free to peruse at your leisure.

Here's one to whet your appetite:

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Pommes Frites (fried in duck fat, no less), rosemary, raw Thaxton Farm garlic, aioli

De-frickin'-licious.


Food Blog: Exploring Food My Way: Satisfying The Craving -- Exercising my epicurean muscles by eating my way through everything that is edible.

Flickr: Link To My Account

Twitter: @tnoe27

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Boy, sounds like a great start. Was Chef Symon at his place?

Symon wasn't at Lolita when we were there, but you wouldn't have known the difference-the kitchen was putting out really good dishes and the restaurant was full.

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Some photos from yesterday.

The Dim and Dem Sum truck. Ellen and PJ got to go inside.

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Dinner at Greenhouse Tavern was excellent. The stools were uncomfortable (I am not anti-stool but these were bad), the place was loud, there were some flaws with some of the food (the "world-famous vegan doughnuts" will go down as the weirdest dish of the trip), but overall this food was the highest-level stuff we've seen in Cleveland on either trip. The pig's head platter, which doesn't look nearly as impressive in photos as in person, was one of the most awesome dishes I've ever seen anywhere.

A couple of the photos below need extra explanation: one shows the braids of garlic hanging from the restaurant's ceiling. Another shows Dave ("the Cook") forking some meat out of the pig's head. The rest delineate the dishes from the menu.

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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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Uh, oh ... first partial disaster for the dinner tonight ... when I got home from dinner last night, I made three sets of starters (poolish) for my breads this morning. When I got up to start making batches of bread dough, I discovered that the yeast I bought was dead as a doornail. I tried a couple of things to try and revive it, but alas, no luck.

Looks like I'll be stopping at a commercial bakery this year to pick up our breads. :sad::shock:


Food Blog: Exploring Food My Way: Satisfying The Craving -- Exercising my epicurean muscles by eating my way through everything that is edible.

Flickr: Link To My Account

Twitter: @tnoe27

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Tom, I know most of your breads utilize an overnight preferment, but are there recipes in your arsenal that don't? Maybe it's not too late to get some Red Star and have bread ready 8 hours from now? I'd rather eat your worst bread than anything from a bakery.


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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Thanks for the kind words, Steven ... but by the time I get out to the store for new yeast and return, it'll be close to 10 am. Unfortunately, we need bread both for the afternoon and the evening and I just don't think I'll have time to do it from scratch. I am going to stop by the same bakery that supplied the bread to the Greenhouse Tavern last night and pick up my loaves. I know it won't be the same, but that's the best solution I can think of at the moment.


Food Blog: Exploring Food My Way: Satisfying The Craving -- Exercising my epicurean muscles by eating my way through everything that is edible.

Flickr: Link To My Account

Twitter: @tnoe27

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What about a quicker focaccia than your normal? Or what about purchased afternoon bread and something by you for dinner? Pizzas? Lavash? I know you can do something amazing. I can help, not that that would help.


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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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.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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We are en route to the Chubby Cook.

Kris and Tom and I will be making watermelon, beet and roasted chickpea salad.

If anybody can bring a couple of aprons so Kris can keep her white pants clean that would be great.

Posted from my handheld using the Tapatalk app. Want to use eG Forums on your iPhone, Android or Blackberry? Get started at http://egullet.org/tapatalk


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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Awesome dinner last night at GHT. Thanks for having Karen and myself interlope for the evening. Great to meet some of the out of towners and catch up with some of the locals as well. Nancy...great job of organizing everything.

Enjoy the rest of the Cleveland weekend!

-Mark

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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.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Okay, just finished editing the pictures for today's (well, given that it's after midnight, technically YESTERDAY'S) day-long prep and heartland dinner. There was a ton of food prepared for early afternoon noshing all the way through a multi-course plated dinner and several rounds of desserts.

In order to get the pictures up sooner rather than later, I've posted the photos to a set on my Flickr account without formal titles or descriptions yet. I'll get to that tomorrow (okay, okay, later today). I think things are pretty self-explanatory for the most part. I'll make sure to have course descriptions for the dinner posted soon.

Not to repeat myself from last night, but to whet your appetite, here's a sample photo:

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Check back tomorrow for full photo descriptions.

I'm still digesting and the meal ended 3 hours ago. :rolleyes:


Edited by tino27 (log)

Food Blog: Exploring Food My Way: Satisfying The Craving -- Exercising my epicurean muscles by eating my way through everything that is edible.

Flickr: Link To My Account

Twitter: @tnoe27

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I basically wasn't able to snap a single photo between the time the amuse was served and the time desserts went out. So what I have mostly are some shots from the West Side Market and prep. But here they are.

The West Side Market.

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Afternoon prep.

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Jeff Meeker's bologna sliders.

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Bacon crostini, I think these came from Ronnie and his crew but I didn't witness their genesis.

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Kerry Beal's profiteroles with modernist lemon curd chocolate cups.

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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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I don't have the iPad anymore so I don't have all the details of each dish handy, but a summary is:

- Amuse bouche of pork belly and cornichon, by our host Chef Scott

- Kerry Beal's larb

- Dave and Janet's roasted-red-pepper-soup shooter with aged-gouda crouton

- Kris and Tom and my yellow-watermelon and beet salad with spice-roasted chickpeas

- Ronnie's mega salad

- Chris Hennes's bratwurst with cabbage and apple, Edsel's modernist mac and cheese, and Sam and Joyce's carrot stew ala Thomas Keller

- David Ross's stir-fried pork with red bean paste and black vinegar over crispy rice noodles

- Assorted desserts including Chef Scott's lemon cups and Kerry Beal's modernist lemon curd

I'm sure the individual cooks can flesh out details.


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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I've also got to say, the Chubby Cook was an amazing venue for this -- you can see from the photos how capacious and well-appointed the kitchen is -- and Scott and his crew were incredibly gracious and generous hosts. Many thanks to them and to Nancy H for making it all happen.

http://thechubbycook.com/


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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Fantastic Gathering this year. It was great seeing everyone.

So who's up for hosting next year's events? I nominate Philadelphia! (Actually, I think it was mentioned by several people at brunch this morning.)

It would be great to go to a city that hasn't hosted the Gathering in the past.

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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..

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Steven and Chris at West Side Market.. The Fish Pants appear.

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David Ross preps his dish

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Chris Hennes roasts some red peppers

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Dave the Cook actually COOKING!

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Kris preps for her dish


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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What are folks interested in?

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.

:wub:


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Our final meal was brunch this morning with Chef Jeff Jarrett at AMP 150 at the Cleveland Marriott. This is not your typical branded hotel restaurant. There is a focus on local, seasonal ingredients and many of the dishes incorporate vegetables and herbs from the large,on-site garden. And what hotel do you know of that has it's own beehive on the roof so that the bee's can pollinate the vegetables in the garden?

This last meal of our Heartland Gathering was for me, the most cohesive menu and the best meal I had in Cleveland. Each dish sang the praises of the bounty of Ohio in 7 delicious courses.

Local Watermelon Shooter, with Local Honey and Citron Vinegar-

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"Bacon & Eggs," Deviled Egg, Benton's Bacon, Creme Fraiche, Chives-

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Chef told us that the kitchen has about 100lbs. of Benton Bacon, (Tennessee), on hand at all times.

"Bacon & Eggs," Sous Vide (2hour) Egg, Lardoons, Frisee, Broken Red Wine Vinaigrette-

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Squash Blossoms, Housemade Ricotta, Green Tomato Jam with Mint-

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"Chicken & Waffles," Buttermilk Fried Livers, Chive Waffle, Kimchee Kraut, Ohio Maple Gastrique-

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The Gastrique was made from a mixture of Ohio Maple Syrup, Apple Cider Vinegar, Vanilla and Star Anise.

"Bacon & Eggs," Braised Pork Belly, Cremini, Fingerlings, Smoked Gouda and Fried Egg-

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This was Chef's take on Eggs Benedict, with the Pork Belly serving as the "Bacon" and the Smoked Gouda worked into a sauce as the "Hollandaise."

Peach, Local Goat Cheese & Jalapeno Bavarian, Peach Caramel, Pine Nut Shortbread, Honey-Baked Peaches-

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As others have rightly pointed out, brunch this morning at AMP 150 was pretty darn tasty. I've put up my brunch pictures in another set on Flickr if you want to check them out.

All the dishes were good, but the "dessert" simply blew me away, a local goat cheese and jalapeno-infused bavarian with peaches, shortbread cookie, and peach caramel "tuille":

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Food Blog: Exploring Food My Way: Satisfying The Craving -- Exercising my epicurean muscles by eating my way through everything that is edible.

Flickr: Link To My Account

Twitter: @tnoe27

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      Anyway, I ate and enjoyed very much the following stuffs at Gunther’s (my top 3 dishes):
      1st: cold angel hair pasta with Oscietra caviar - the restaurant’s most well-known dish and Chef Hubrechsen should be proud of it. It’s the 3rd time I savor this dish; it’s still very delicious – the flavor, the smells, the texture and all other elements were spot on. High degree of consistency...
      5th: carabinero gambas with tomato rice – given how far Spain from Singapore is, the kitchen did a good job in preparing this prawn. I tasted the gambas’ freshness and sweet flavor; it’s well-seasoned too. The Japanese rice cooked with the prawn’s stock and tomato was pleasant except I prefer rice with firmer texture (like in risotto or paella)
      6th: grilled scallop with black truffle – the main highlight of my meal. The Hokkaido scallop was juicy and tender though not as tasty as the one I had at Les Amis. However, it’s well-enhanced by the sublime and sweet caramelized onion below as well as the pungent winter truffle aroma and flavor on top of it. I liked the onion very much here – a good example how Gunther brought out the essence of its ingredient; possibly the closest one (in terms of ‘deliciousness’) to the Passard’s perfect onion gratin with parmesan that looks deceptively simple
      What makes Gunther’s special is that the talented Belgian chef-owner is capable of generating many different kind of ‘unassuming’ dishes and elevating them to higher level using no more than 3 fresh produce on each plate. It seems modest at times, but actually quite sophisticated. Let me describe a few more dishes I had,
      4th: roasted garlic with onion essence – if I had to pick one dish I like the least, it’s probably the one. The roasted garlic had smooth texture and good smell, well-integrated with mascarpone sauce. However, I found the (garlic) portion was too big. After consuming 2/3 of them, I just swallowed the rest (almost no chewing) so that I wouldn’t be too stuffed and/or dilute my palate for the next dishes
      7th: Char grilled wagyu beef in bordelaise sauce – this was the main course served in a nice portion with a right amount of “fat”. Delicate Japanese beef was generally a safe choice; the chef didn’t do too much and just allowed the natural flavor of high quality wagyu to shine. The sauce and the grilled corn were precisely executed. Nothing wow but it’s hard not to like Japanese beef J
      8th: Truffle parfait – dessert. It’s a soft and light vanilla ice cream served with rich chocolate brownie and topped with aromatic smell induced by the Perigord truffle (having slight peppery taste). I hardly eat dessert with truffle in it. This one was sweet and rather delicious
      There were a couple more dishes I had and you can see/read them on the picture link below. For the meal, I drank 2 glasses of wine. The first glass was 2010 Vincent girardin chassagne-Montrachet; it’s rich and creamy with buttery aromas. The second one was 2009 Black quail Pinot noir; it’s medium bodied with dark berries delicate fragrance and dry finish in slight acidity – a quite refined pinot noir that surprisingly went along nicely with my scallop dish (of course, better with the beef). Oh before I forget, this place only offers one type of bread and butter – to be exact warm mini baguette and salted butter served at room temperature – simple but good; I ate 3 baguettes if not mistaken. The meal ended with a petit four consisting of a green tea macaron and canele – both were fine.
      It was a quiet evening, about half of the restaurant’s capacity was filled. Probably most people were still busy to attend reunion dinner with their friends and colleagues. The dining room decoration was minimalist dominated by dark grey color for the walls (some paintings were hung on them) and medium lighting. This way guests would not feel overwhelmed and the food took center stage. The staffs were polite and helpful without being intrusive. Besides the sommelier, one friendly “Indian” maitre d’ and the greeter, most of restaurants’ FOH staffs were relatively new. Chef Hubrechsen, usually visiting the dining room to greet guests, explained that the staffs turnover at Singapore restaurants were still very high; he even did not have any permanent sous chef assisting him in the kitchen. So the good thing is that it’s almost guaranteed Gunther himself would always be in the kitchen daily to ensure food quality.
      I gave my overall meal experience at Gunther’s nearly 94 pts (a good 2 ¼* by Michelin standard) and it meant about the same level as Shinji by Kanesaka Singapore and Eric Frechon’s Le Bristol, seriously. Another lovely meal, and overall it ranked as the most memorable one I’ve ever had here. Well, there was no bad meal experience at Gunther’s. Hope I can return again sometimes next year, even better if not on my own expenses. Lastly, I prefer this place over Les Amis by a small margin. Check here for pictures, https://picasaweb.google.com/118237905546308956881/GuntherSRestaurantSingapore#
    • By Kerry Beal
      Today we started out with a trip to the college to start getting ourselves set up for tomorrow. Then at 10 am we met at ChocolateFX and started our tour. Of course hair nets are obligatory if you are going to go into a food manufacturing facility!

      Wilma and Art had the small pan set up so that we could pan some raisins.

      Here's Pat (psantucc), with beard appropriately netted, applying some chocolate to the raisins.

      Ava (FrogPrincesse's little one) preparing to add more chocolate, Kyle helping and FrogPrincesse awaiting her turn.

      The fancy packing machine.

      Listening with rapt attention to Wilma explaining the making of ganache truffles in the round silicone molds.
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