do good, eat good | take 5

It’s back! And for the 5th time at that.

To date, we’ve raised $15, 270. With 100% of the donations raised gone directly to help the kids in the Veggie U program. If you’re new to this fundraising effort, Veggie U is a program that helps elementary kids in Cleveland learn about food. Learn about farming. And understand where their meals come from and the benefits of making smart choices early on. And then they can take that newfound excitement and knowledge home to their parents and start a conversation about what they eat and begin to make better choices as a family.

Once again I’m asking each of you to help me help these kids, teachers and their caregivers. Help them learn and begin to make better choices right now. And ultimately, help their overall health and well-being.

Now in its 5th year, Cleveland Foodie is raising funds for Veggie U. The program provides a complete kit and lesson plans to teachers to help educate their students through hands-on, fun curricula. There are 157 participating classrooms in our area and each kit costs $225. At the end of the program, students understand the connection between agriculture, good nutrition and the culinary arts.

Would you consider helping once again? Do you have an extra $5 to donate? Like previous years, if you donate just $5 to Veggie U, you will automatically be entered to win more than $1,600 worth of gift cards to all your favorite eateries and shops. Want to increase your odds? Donate $10, $25, $50 or more. For every $5 you donate, you will earn another entry into the drawing. The more you donate, the greater your chance of winning.

DETAILS: Like last year, three lucky do-gooders will win (I will evenly mix up the gift cards between the fortunate trio).  You have from now until December 20th to donate and be entered. Three winners will be picked using random.org and notified shortly after.

HOW TO DONATE: It’s easy – just call 419.499.7500 M-F, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; reference Cleveland Foodie when you call. OR, you can now donate online right here, 24/7.

This fundraising effort would not be possible without the generosity and support of our local chefs, restaurants and local businesses. I may sound like a broken record, but we live in the best city where nearly everyone is always so quick to help and pitch in and take care of others without a second thought. To those that donated I can’t thank you enough. Truly.

Three of you will spend 2014 eating and drinking your way throughout Cleveland:

Fahrenheit 

Paladar 

Fire 

Western Reserve Wines 

Spice Kitchen & Bar 

AMP 150 

Flour 

Umami 

Momocho  (Eric also donated an additional $250 to Veggie U!!)

Hodge’s 

Washington Place Bistro & Inn 

Mahall’s 

Burntwood Tavern 

Veggie U sampler box

CVI dinner $100 value

Welshfield Inn 

87 West

Flying Fig 

Lola 

Parallax 

L’Albatros 

Chinato 

Cowell & Hubbard 

Sweet Moses

Giovanni’s

Society Lounge

Bac

Moxie

Cibreo

C2

Table 45

SOHO

 

new book from local author on alt movie posters | win it

Pulp_Fiction__still__-_Michael_WhaiteWhen I was in college, I had two posters that donned my walls nearly all four years: Pulp Fiction and the Animal House one featuring John Belushi in his college sweatshirt. I’m pretty certain most college kids of my generation had these same posters. Not sure what posters kids would hang up today.

Caddyshack_-_Dan_Norris

And it’s not just college kids. When was the last time you admired a movie poster? When was the last time you saw a poster and got excited to learn more about the movie? My guess is it’s been awhile.

Here’s where local author Matt Chojnacki comes in. In his second book, Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground, Matt shares his love for movie posters, or rather the posters we once knew. He’s uncovered this underground world of sorts where designers and artists have taken it upon themselves to recreate their favorite movie posters. Bonnie_and_Clyde_-_Jason_MunnHe’s compiled 200 posters via 100 designers from films we all know and love, like Godfather, Caddy Shack, Teen Wolf, Big, Heathers, Goonies, Pretty in Pink, A Clockwork Orange and so many more.

It’s a wonderful book that’s receiving a lot of great press. And it’s the first book of its kind. If you’re a fan

The_Godfather_-_Mile_44of movies, great design and supporting local, this is for you – or someone on your holiday list.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of his book, just leave a comment to this post sharing your favorite movie. I’ll pick a winner via random.org on November 27.

Disclosure: Matt is a client. I’ve been helping him with his media relations for the book.

morning fun at the west side market

Like many Clevelanders, I love going to the West Side Market. Each visit – from run-of-the-mill pop-ins to specific destinations – seems special and full of discovery.

But perhaps one of my favorite trips was the most recent. Thanks in large part to my lovely and good friend Charity, the very talented woman behind Chartreuse and I Heart Clevelandthe best blog in town.

Charity coordinated a fall outing in search of all the makings for a seasonal meal that was equal parts fun and educational, thanks to the equally lovely chef Ruth Maxwell of Gatherings Kitchen. Side note: if you haven’t checked out Gatherings in Lakewood now is the perfect time. It’s such a fun place to go with friends – like for a holiday culinary outing perhaps?

To help capture our morning, Charity invited her friend Regi Strauss who is responsible for these amazing pictures! I love her eye and had a hard time picking which ones to show. I wish everyone of my posts had beautiful photography to share.

Now, the West Side Market is something special and to be proud of as is. We all know and embrace this. But what I wasn’t anticipating was how magnificent the market was before the madness of the day begins. Since I got there first right before 8, the place was barely open (anyone who knows me isn’t surprised by this!). Vendors were just turning on their lights and stocking for the day. It was quiet and void of customers. It was beautiful. I was in awe of the market. It was really a special feeling to walk around the aisles solo and just take it all in. Now, if you are a parent and typically shop at the market with strollers, than you can really appreciate the notion of being there sans stroller! A pure joy in and of itself.

No surprise, the dish I was shopping for was a pasta. Specifically, a Tagliatelle with chestnuts, pancetta and sage. I love my carbs – especially this time of the year. Which means come January, I will try to love my carbs a lot less. And of course anything with pancetta is that much better. A staple in my fridge.

I was able to find everything I needed – with the exception of chestnuts (thank you, Heinen’s). Ohio City Pasta was wiped clean but Ruth suggested I buy their pasta sheets and cut my own pasta. Perfect and easy solution – and something I plan to do more of now.

Of course I was able to quickly snag everything else I needed for this simple – yet ridiculously good and satisfying dish that I highly recommend you try for yourself. What a fun outing! Thanks again to Ruth, Regi and especially Charity. I’d gladly shop – and cook – with these ladies anytime!

 

enjoy ohio wines? get rewarded for it.

We live in Ohio, and we like wine, right? Might at well put the two together and benefit from it.

The Ohio Wine VIP program – visitor’s incentive program – is a new initiative by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee. The program awards and celebrates those that enjoy our local 200 wineries most. And the more you visit, the more you can earn.

Here’s how it works. For each participating winery you visit between now and 12.31.14 (yes – 2014), you will receive a ticket worth points. Those points will add up to valuable prizes. Your first visit is worth 500 points. Visit #2 through #10 are worth 100 points each. You’ll earn 10 points for each visit after that.

Wine goods include deluxe wine gear, kits and accessories to a private tour, taste and eats at Terra Cotta Vineyards.

To participate, simply register on the site and begin tracking your points. You can track your progress and redeem points at anytime.

For a complete list of participating wineries, and to sign up for the program, visit here.

This post was sponsored by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee.

 

turkey trot + local wine for a cause

The 6th annual Grand River Valley Wine Region turkey trot is around the corner. Join Debonné Vineyards, Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant, Laurello Vineyards, and St. Joseph Vineyards on Saturday, November 9th from noon – 5 p.m. for this drive yourself tour of wine tasting paired with food samples for your Thanksgiving meal.

All five participating wineries are within 10 minutes of each.  Each winery will feature a different part of the Thanksgiving meal and pair two wines that compliment it.  In addition, recipes will be shared.  The cost is $5 per person at each winery, but if you bring a canned food item to each winery you will receive $1 off.  These food items will be donated to the local food banks.

The Winegrowers of the Grand River Valley formed a group several years ago when they began to realize how quickly their wine region was growing.  The Grand River Valley Wine Region is one of the fastest growing wine regions in the United States and has the quality wines to prove why.   Member wineries have achieved national and international recognition with award winning wines.  These wineries must adhere to strict standards. The Turkey Trot is just one of a series of events The Winegrowers of the Grand River Valley host each year.  Other events include the Ice Wine Festival and the Cask Tasting.

Turkey Trot Menu

- Debonne Vineyards –
Turkey Sliders
- Ferrante Winery & Ristorante –
Turkey Turnover with a Cranberry Wine Glaze
-Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant
Bacon Cheddar Cornbread Stuffing
- Laurello Vineyards –
Cranberry Feta Pinwheels
- St. Joseph Vineyards –
Pumpkin Mousse Tart

No reservations necessary. You can learn more here.

 

 

 

biga in kirtland

I believe I posted awhile back how much I love Marotta’s pizza in Cleveland Heights. Seriously – one of the better pies in town. However – I will likely not go back there. Not because our pizza was bad. In fact, my reasoning has nothing to do with the food. It has to do with my kids. Actually, kid – I only had one at the time I believe.

You see, on our last visit to the Cleveland Heights restaurant we had our daughter with us. It was barely 5 p.m. and we were the only ones in the restaurant. A restaurant that is known for pizza… a dish that screams family night out. They made it quite clear that they do not appreciate children in their restaurant and spent the rest of our meal giving us dirty looks and making us feel unwanted.

Don’t get me wrong – if at any point any of my darling little daughters starts turning their head Exorcist-style and belting out one of their favorite blood-curdling melodies, we’re outta there! I don’t want to hear your kids scream (non-stop) when I’m out and I don’t expect you to put up with mine. But just because I have kids does not mean I’m about to throw in the towel to chains (though I do have a new appreciation for Panera’s mac-n-cheese…. oh my!). No. Instead, we dine like blue hairs, come prepared, have our escape plan ready and bolt at the first sign of trouble. This has been our “new normal” since we had a family and take them along. And 90% of the time – it’s great and we have ZERO problems from restaurants, chefs, servers, diners, etc. Well, with that one exception…

Ok – back to the main reason for this post. This “boycott” of said restaurant led us on a quest to find a new family pizza joint. Lots of good places, for sure. But throughout this trial period, people kept telling me to try Biga in Kirtland. And nearly two years later, I am happy to report we finally did!

We didn’t have reservations, but luckily for us we were there right at 5 so they could easily accommodate. And unlike another pizza restaurant, they didn’t give us any grief for coming in with our minis. In fact, they were super cool to them and immediately passed out an Etch-a-sketch for each. Score! This was quickly followed up with kids drinks and an offer of bread to help tidy them over. In other words, they were incredibly accommodating and friendly towards my daughters. Bonus points.

If you haven’t been there, it’s a small, simple but charming and warm space with a tiny open kitchen and views of the wood-burning oven. It was nice. The kind of place where everyone seemed to know everyone and could likely tell it was our first time.

We ordered a side of meatballs, a plain pizza for the kids and fresh sausage for us (though I tried hard to convince my husband to try the fall pizza with apples and bacon. That’s the one drawback about pizza… you pretty much have to share and be in agreement).

Ok, here it goes: we loved it! Our pizzas were, in fact, wonderful! Great crust, texture, sauce – everything. This was a well-made pie. I will admit I enjoyed the meatballs better at Three Palms, but this was a good pizza and well worth the trip to Kirtland (though truthfully not that far from us in Chagrin).

So there you have it: Biga – good pizza pie, and very family-friendly! Oh – and one other tip before you go (and hopefully you go) – they do not have an alcohol license. But feel free to bring your own beer or wine. They’ll gladly open and serve. We saw plenty of people walk in with their own wine. Which personally, I think is fun.

 

taste in the chagrin valley

I am a very proud resident of Chagrin Falls. We absolutely love living here – walking to breakfast, coffee, school, the park – there’s nothing better. It’s a great community to be a part of and raise our family. And as a proud resident, I will happily help spread the word for events taking place, especially when they support a good cause, like area children’s hospitals.

On October 17, from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at The Tanglewood Club, you can enjoy a taste of the Chagrin Valley which benefits the Howard Hanna Children’s Free Care Fund.

Participating restaurants include:

Umami
Fire
Aladdins
Burntwood
Cosentinos
Game Keepers
Harvest
Hunans by the Falls
Jibaro
The Tavern Co.
Trifles
Welshfield Inn

Tickets are $30 and also include wine and beer. Learn more or buy your ticket at the Howard Hanna Chagrin Falls office.

cibreo italian kitchen

“I was petrified to open an Italian place in Little Italy right after Paul Minnillo,” explained Scott Kuhn to hungry diners at the start of last night’s media preview for Cibreo. Kuhn of course was referring to Minnillo’s long-standing Baricelli Inn in Little Italy which Kuhn  turned into the non-Italian Washington Place. Cibreo is Kuhn’s latest restaurant endeavor, along with partner chef Chris Hodgson.

Clearly Kuhn got over any reservations he may have had as Cibreo celebrates all things Tuscany in the heart of PlayhouseSquare. Kuhn, who is a regular visitor and constant admirer of Tuscany, strived to create something that was truly an authentic replica of one of his favorite travel destinations. In fact, much of the design (and even the work itself – like the impressive bar), was done by Kuhn.

That type of dedication shows. Having never been to Tuscany – yet, this space is what I’d expect to find: lots of stone, wood and barrels, which make for a rather rustic and cozy atmosphere. And scattered throughout the white cloth tables are a handful of larger communal tables for bigger parties or strangers who appreciate the concept. Include me in that group as those were my favorite tables – no tablecloths, just a wooden table and great conversation.

But what good is a table without the food? We were treated to a five-course tasting of some favorites from both Kuhn and executive chef Eric Martinez: sausage, porcini and bean soup, risotto funghi, veal, pork and beef Bolognese with pappardelle, pork osso buco with brown butter polenta and peach gelato.

As we head into fall (yea!), you must – I repeat you must, try the soup! It was absolutely fantastic with just the right amount of heat. I enjoyed it so much I asked the chef for the recipe. And like a true chef, he didn’t know the measurements per se, but shared the basic steps (below).

I also equally liked the osso buco – especially the polenta, which I normally don’t care for, and the pappardelle. Great flavors, textures and perfectly prepared.

Looking through the menu, nearly every dish looked tempting. “Our menu is authentic to Tuscany, not Americanized,” explained Kuhn.

Cibreo, and its adjoining private facility, open on Monday. Which coincidently is a good day to visit because on Mondays, they will offer two entrees, a bottle of wine and a shared appetizer for only $40.

I’m excited to go back and explore more of the menu and wine. Its location, staff, food and attention to detail will surely make Cibreo a star within the theater district.

Sausage + porcini + bean soup

Step 1. Sweat celery, carrots and onions; add a little garlic

Step 2. Add Italian sausage

Step 3.  Deglaze with white wine

Step 4. Add chicken stock

Step 5. Add cannellini beans, and a little of the bean liquid

Step 6. Puree most of the soup

Step 7. Add some kale and mushrooms

Step 8. Top with olive oil and parmesan

 

help grey cardigan meet martha

A very talented local designer – and friend – is a finalist for Martha Stewart’s American Made Audience Choice Award. Chances are you have seen Brian’s work (aka Grey Cardigan) around town. And you have definitely seen his work here – he designed the masthead for Cleveland Foodie!

Let’s help him meet Martha and give Cleveland some more national recognition for all the different types of talent we have! You can vote up to 5 times a day. Learn more – and vote! – here.

Thank you!

doug katz knows breakfast

Of course he knows dinner, too, and a few things in between. But it’s the early hours of the day where he tends to win us over.

I absolutely love going out to breakfast with my family. For whatever reason, it makes me feel like we’re on vacation. Even if it’s just sitting outside at Yours Truly in the Falls where we’re regulars.

But when we break out of the norm, we head to my favorite brunch spot in town: Fire.

Summer time. Saturday morning. Shaker Square. Farmers’ market. Patio at Fire. There’s no place better. And did I mention they have free valet?

The view, atmosphere, location, music and of course, food make Fire not to

be missed for weekend brunch. We have pretty much eaten our way through the menu – from a Bialy’s bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon to the lemon ricotta pancakes with a cappuccino. I always leave Fire a happier person. Truly – I’ve never had a bad meal or experience and I’ve been dining there for over 10 years (and not all outings are before noon).

And this past week, we finally made our way to The Katz Club Diner en route to the Botanical Gardens. This meal once again proved my belief that Doug Katz may be the unrecognized king of early morning eats.

Now, not only did we enjoy everything we tried, including my cappuccino made with almond milk giving them extra bonus points, but the detail to the decor and the space in general perfectly matched the setting. Kudos to the design team. We loved it, and so did my kids.