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NancyH

Carrie Cerino's is Worth the Trip! - Cleveland

59 posts in this topic

I am so delighted with everyone's pleasure with their dinner at Carrie Cerino's restaurant. It is one of my favorites and one of the places that the Northern Ohio Slow Food Convivium has held numerous special events.

The Blue Egg Ravioli were created for our very first Convivium dinner event at Carrie Cerino's and they were inspired by Kathy Breychak's Blue Eggs and ravioli I had enjoyed at La Buca in Zibello, Italy (a village on the Po River, outside of Parma.) But they are now Dominic's signature dish.

As the founding leader of the convivium, and as a long-time food writer in Cleveland, I knew this was a perfect place for Slow Food. Dominic Cerino is the 3rd generation to be owner/chef here. While it is nearly impossible for him to change the decor, because the old, loyal customers won't let him, he has been dedicated to preserving his grandmother's fantastic recipes and traditions of a totally scratch kitchen. But, at the same time, he has been taking the restaurant back to her chickens and meats that were from a time that these products were not factory farmed, but rather, came from farmers who raised them carefully and fed them carefully so that they had real fat and real flavor.

Dominic now buys all organic chicken, even organic chicken bones for his stocks and soups. His pork is all Heritage Pork, either coming from a wonderful Ohio farmer who raises Large Black swine and Tamworth, or from Heritage Foods USA.

His farmed salmon is organic and his wild salmon is flown directly to him from Alaska by the fisherman who caught it.

Dominic buys salumi from Aramandino Batali in Seattle. And he is also curing his own and making fabulous Salami.

And in October, he will be part of the 8 member Ohio delegation that our Convivium is sending to Slow Food's Terra Madre gathering in Torino, Italy. This will be a gathering of 6,000 farmers, fishermen, chefs, educators....representing Food Communities of more than 100 countries from around the world. Dominic, and our other Chef delegate, Michael Symon, embody Slow Food. They have enormous respect for their family's traditions and artisinal foods. And they respect local producers and work with them as much as possible. There are other chefs in Cleveland I wish we could be sending as well. Hopefully in 2008!

We had a sensational food event with 6 of Cleveland's top chefs and Armandino Batali as the guest of honor at Carrie Cerino's in early June that raised the money we needed for our Convivum to send everyone to Terra Madre. The food was fabulous...it included lots of salumi and two Heritage Suckling Pigs!

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Dominic and Linda, so great to see you posting on eGullet!

We had a wonderful dinner at CC on Friday. Dominic is so enthusiastic about the fresh ingredients, the fresh pasta, and the heritage breed meats. The Carbonara really is a point of pride. House-made pasta, fresh egg yolks, and house-cured guanciale. He calls it "peasant food", but it's sophisticated in its simplicity. I love Carbonara, and have been making it at home for years. I appreciate how tricky it is to get everything just right - the slightest slip-up and you've got scrambled eggs. The Carbonara at Carrie Cerino's is silky perfection.

If you're wondering how the "Blue Egg Ravioli" got its name, here's a picture of some of the eggs from Kathy Breychak's Blue Egg Farm:

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As you can see, only some of the eggs have blue shells. It isn't the color of the shell that matters - it's the freshness of eggs and the true free-range conditions the laying hens enjoy. Dominic compared an egg from Kathy's farm to a standard commercial egg. Cracked onto a plate, the white of the "Blue Egg" holds together and stands high on the plate. The commercial egg spreads out flat, limp and watery.

I'm glad Kristin finally got to check out Carrie Cerino's. And it was great meeting Shannon. It is worth the trip! :laugh:

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I can't say enough good things about Carrie Cerino's and Dominic.

The salumi board is amazing. That paper thin, buttery meat just melts in your mouth.

I can't wait to see what interesting things Dominic brings back from his trip to Italy.

I'm so glad everyone is discovering & enjoying this gem.

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Shannon_Elise's write up on Carrie Cerino's in the Westside Messenger (a local Columbus newspaper:

Great work Shannon!


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I met up with some eG folks (and other friends) last night for dinner at CC. Funny how we always wind up at CC on the first Friday of the month! :raz: The big draw right now is Linguini with Clams. Yeah, I know that sounds kind of pedestrian, but the CC version is of course something special.

The pasta is house-made (as always), and the sauce is a white clam sauce.

Wait! Wait! I know you're thinking of that goopy flour-thickened stuff that's served in so many restaurants. This is different. The "sauce" is simply rendered pancetta, olive oil, parmesan, and romano cheeses mingled with the juices of the clams. No cream. No butter. And definitely no flour. It's amazingly creamy!

The dish is ringed with the middle neck clams in their shells. Tom (tino27) figured out the technique for eating this dish: Scoop the clams out of their shells and dump them (with their juices) onto the pasta. Absolutely scrumptious.

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I just took some friends there the other night. One had never been, the other grew up less than a few miles away but hadn't been since a few weddings as a child, neither even knew there was a restaurant, or of the wonderful things Dominic and the people in his kitchen are doing there. Turns out our server was the girl from a previous gathering of some eG folks, it was nice of her to remember, and our food as usual was awesome. Two more people who will now become customers (and hopefully, their family and friends, and so on).

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Dominic is attending the Terra Madre gathering in Torino (Turin, Italy). eG member Kat Breychak has graciously provided a photo blog for Dominic to post his impressions.

Terra Madre 2006 photoblog.

The pictures of the food from the Salone del Gusto just blow me away. Lots of salume, artisinal cheeses, beautiful breads, awesome truffles. There's even some prosciutto from Norcia, the original home town of grandma Carrie.

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doesn't it look wonderful? I think we should have another eG dinner there just so we can hear about this from Dom.

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After the Terra Madre, Dominic is spending (I think) a couple of weeks exploring the part of Italy that Carrie Cerino herself is from, so I don't think he'll be back for a few weeks. What an awesome trip!

Shannon


my new blog: http://uninvitedleftovers.blogspot.com

"...but I'm good at being uncomfortable, so I can't stop changing all the time...be kind to me, or treat me mean...I'll make the most of it I'm an extraordinary machine."

-Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine

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Dominic's latest adventure took him through Florance and his anscestral home of Norcia.

His story is just wonderful, the pictures breathtaking and the food amazing.

The latest updated link is

http://www.blueeggfarm.com/dc3


Edited by Blue_Egg_Farmer (log)

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Dinner at CC on Friday. It's been bitter cold here for several days now. Braving the nasty weather was worth it, though.

First Friday of the month, so we had to start out with the Blue Egg Ravioli:

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We emailed Dominic with a special request for his Osso Bucco Agnolotti. No longer on the menu, but with some advance warning he obliged. :smile:

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My bleary picture doesn't do it justice. The osso bucco filling is intensely flavorful, and the double saucing (creamy white sauce and veal stock reduction) sends it over the top. Simply wonderful.

A new dish on the menu is the Salsiccia e Lenticchie de Umbria:

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Another pic that doesn't measure up to the reality. The dish is made with organic Colfiorito lentils, house-made sausage, and house-cured red-pepper guanciale. The lentils are prepared in the "al dente" Umbrian style. The pepper-cured guanciale gives it a surprising kick.

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Edsel was right on the money about CC on Friday. The osso bucco agnolotti was so delicious. Chef Dominic always seems to know when we've arrived since he gets an order for 8 Blue Egg ravioli appetizers for an 8 top table. :biggrin:

I also had the Sausage and Lentils and the spicing was spot on. Enough to be interesting but didn't detract from the flavor of the dish at all.

Somehow, we always manage to close the place out when we go. Wonder how that happens? :wink:


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've been wanting to get there to try the sausage & lentils dish. Now I'm really motivated!

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Unfortunately, my camera was a bit underexposed - so much for idiot-proof. Shutterfly helped somehow to make some of my photos a little better; they are here: My Shutterfly Album

I also put them here, but they are darker on EGullet than on Shutterfly (don't ask me why - see "idiot", above).

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This is the BER after it is cut open and the yolks mixed with the cheese and butter sauce.

Salumi Platter featuring House Made and Batali products:

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Angolotti with a beef reduction and cream sauce.

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Berkshire Pork Picatta

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Berkshire Pork Chop

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My photo of the lentil dish is about the same as Edsel's, but it looks a bit better on Shutterfly.

We were way too stuffed to order dessert.


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Four of us had dinner at Carrie Cerino's last night. Since White Lotus is in town, we're enjoying introducing her to some of the great food we have here in Cleveland. :smile:

We started out with a salumi and cheese board.

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Prosciutto, finocchiona, salame, and coppa, along with Bel Paese and Parmesan cheeses.

Of course we had to have the Blue Egg Ravioli. I't now being served with baby arugula. The sage has been moved into the filling.

(No picture - we've posted plenty here before)

We shared several entrées. Here's the Carbonara as served:

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and after the third Blue Egg yolk is blended in:

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There are a couple of new dishes on the menu. The Tagliatelle Norcia has prosciutto, tomato, broccoli, cannellini beans, and is served in a white sauce.

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The Duck Scaloppine has house-cured red chile Guanciale and dried cherries and a veal stock and wine reduction. Very tasty.

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Finally, we managed to eat dessert even though we were already stuffed. We couldn't resist trying the gelato made with the organic blue egg yolks. Look how yellow the lemon gelato is - that's mainly from the egg yolks. We also had orange and chocolate-hazelnut.

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Edsel, those are some delicious-looking plates. Thanks for posting the images. The gorgeous egg yolk on the carbonara is calling out to me :biggrin:

I'm really looking forward to eating at Carrie Cerino's this July.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I have a few thoughts and photos to add to Edsel's report.

A choice of soup or salad is offered with every entree at Carrie Cerinos. On Friday night, the usual choice to Italian Wedding is Chowder. I love CCs Fish Chowder:

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Unfortunately, I did not get to photograph the Wedding Soup. Fortunately, I got to taste it! In addition to the wonderful meatballs - Dominic is now putting tender chunks of pork in this soup! Bellisimo!

Another dish that Dominic has been tweaking since returning from Italy is the Umbrian Lentils, with house-made Guanciale.

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It is now offered as a side dish rather than an entree. We enjoyed such a fabulous range of tastes and flavors last night that I didn't fully appreciate the complexity of this dish until I ate the leftovers for breakfast this morning. The hot pepper Guanciale brings a delightful tingle, and even though the lentils are al dente, there is a wonderful creaminess to the dish. The sweetness of the red peppers play off of the spice. This is truly a wonderful dish!

As for the Tagliatelle Norcia - I was so intrigued with it that I had to take a "close up":

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The integration of the ingredients is what made this dish so wonderful for me. The cheesy-creamy of the white sauce against the prosciutto, the creaminess of the beans and the melt-in-your-mouth pasta.

A few words about the duck.

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It was fabulous! White Lotus could not stop picking out the cherries, which lent a perfect contrast to the hot chilies (anyone who was at the Heartland Gathering last year remember where they tasted that combination?). The duck breast was perfectly seared, and the satiny reduction brought it all together. A winner!

Finally, a few shots of the individual gelatos:

First, the Lemon:

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We agreed that this was our favorite - sort of (you'll see what I mean in a minute).

Orange- which we agreed was like a grown-up Creamsicle:

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And last - Chocolate Hazelnut:

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Now, we all said we like the Lemon the best - but at some point as we passed them around, the Chocolate got "stuck" in front of White Lotus. While insisting that she's not a big chocolate person - she finally decided to just finish it!

It's too bad that White Lotus will have to leave before the Copper River Salmon come in. But we who live here will be back soon for that delicacy.


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Thanks again for the report guys!

I really want some of that duck and the gelato.

Is Dominic going to be able to hold some of the salmon for our Heartland gathering? If not maybe he can pop a piece for me in the freezer until I get to Cleveland on 7/13.... :wub:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I forgot to add that I have extended my trip this year to either 8/28 or 8/30 and I am definitely going to get out there for the panzanella this year!


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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The Copper River king salmon has arrived (in limited quantities). When we were at CC on Friday, Dominic Cerino was anxiously awaiting another shipment of CR kings which were held up in Chicago due to bad weather. The kings had to change planes in Chicago because Alaska Air doesn't fly into Cleveland. I guess that they enjoyed the same ORD experience familiar to so many human travelers. :wacko::laugh:

Fortunately there were just enough servings from the previous shipment for three of us (tino27 had the wonderful duck scaloppine, which he hadn't had before and was looking forward to trying).

The salmon is given the simplest of treatments, entirely appropriate given its extraordinary quality:

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Pictures can't do justice to just how wonderful this dish is. I don't usually like cooked salmon, though I love salmon sushi, sashimi, and cured or smoked salmon. The CR king salmon at Carrie Cerinos is the exception to the rule. It's moist and delicately flaky and the flavor is fantastic.

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Last night, Dominic Cerino hosted our local Slow Food Convivium for a Copper River Salmon Celebration! These fabulous salmon preparations were accompanied by three Pinot Noirs supplied by Wine Trendz, which paired wonderfully with the food.

We started with a buffet of appetizers and a Jibe Pinot Noir (New Zealand). The centerpiece was a huge filet of Smoked Copper River King, accompanied by sliced tomato, red onion, lemon, capers, dill dipping sauce and a cream cheese side:

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The Carpaccio was served over olive oil and crostini:

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House-cured gravlax was perfect by itself, and presented over a huge section of salmon skin!

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Deviled Eggs with salmon in the filling, and topped with Copper River King Roe, were devine:

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Arrancini (Risotto Balls) with salmon in the filling were light and crispy:

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This is my appetizer plate, fully loaded:

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Though I was tempted to get a little more of the smoked salmon, I was ultimately glad I resisted that temptation! The appetizers started to come out of the kitchen just as I decided to wait - Salmon-Stuffed Agnolotti with Mama’s White Sauce:

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Normally, Mama's White Sauce is a mixture of butter and parmesean - this version was accented with a touch of Dijon Mustard. It accompanied the puffy squares of goodness perfectly. The Angeline Pinot Noir (Russian River, California) was a delightful match.

Instead of bringing out the salad course next, Dominic followed Italian tradtition and sent out the entree plates. Care to guess what constituted the main course?

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I don't know how the kitchen managed to get 50 orders of salmon filet cooked to perfect medium-rare - but they did:

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The side of Roasted Asparagus Crusted with Parmesan went delightfully with the fish and the wine - Hayman Hill (Santa Lucia, California).

I was really too full for salad (but had the salad been served first, I would have been to full for salmon - so that calculus worked just fine for me!). Like everything else Dominic does - this was special:

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The salad was Dandelion, Escarole, Romaine and Red Onion tossed with Olive Oil

and Red Wine Vinegar, finished with Crisped House-Cured Pancetta and Jacquin Saint Maure Ash goat cheese. The rind of the cheese was a little strong for me - but the center was oh so marvelous - especially with the red onion and the bacon! I only wish I had been able to finish it.

Dessert was an item we've posted about above, but I'll include a photo of it anyway:

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Blue Egg Gelato, topped with an exquisite Italian balsamic - Condimento Balsamic Must, aged in Oak, Cherry and Chestnut Barrets -- and fresh berries, and served with Italian Cookies. Unfortunately, Dominic was still not satisfied with his Lemon Gelato, so that will have to await another day.

Gee - another excuse to eat at Carrie Cerino's!

Copper River King Salmon Season runs through the end of June.


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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