zack bruell, now available at heinen’s

Well, his olive oil anyway!

Zack Bruell has created 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil in partnership with Corto Olive, a family-owned agribusiness located in the heart of California’s agriculturally rich Central Valley. Bruell’s unfiltered extra virgin olive oil is made from arbequina, arbosana and koroneiki olives, which are all grown in California’s Central Valley, picked directly from the tree and milled within hours of harvesting.

His new olive oil is one of the few olive oils on store shelves today to be certified by the California Olive Oil Council, the only certifying body of its kind for extra virgin olive oils.  In order to earn the COOC seal, an olive oil must pass a blind tasting and chemical analysis, plus rigorous lab testing to confirm acidity levels and other aspects of the oil are on target.

Bruell’s extra-virgin olive oil is served in all of Bruell’s restaurants and now all of Heinen’s stores in Northeast Ohio at $9.99 per bottle.




ciao, dominic cerino

Last week, Cleveland lost a great man, husband, father, brother, friend and yes, chef. Dominic Cerino was 55.

I first met him about 5 or 6 years ago. Admittedly, I was not a fan of Carrie Cerino’s nor was I looking forward to my assignment from Cleveland Magazine to review one of their pasta dishes. Shame on me. Not because I wasn’t anticipating my assignment, but because I was judging a book (the restaurant) purely by its cover. I have never been happier to be so wrong.

That interview led to a friendship with Dominic Cerino. I quickly became won over by his cooking, his passion, his never-ending stories and mostly by the genuine kindness he showed. He was a good man.

I had the privilege of interviewing him. Those interviews were filled with laughter, learnings, our shared obsession with Babbo, and of course — full and content bellies. You can read about them here.

A lot of people think about Blue Egg Ravioli when they think of Dominic’s signature dishes. Not me. I think of his Norcia lentils that he made me several times and eventually passed on the recipes. I make these short ribs several times a year – especially when I am entertaining a big group of family and friends. Because I can’t think of a better dish for loved ones to gather around and enjoy.

Rest in peace, Dominic. You left a profound mark on many and will be missed by all.

Dominic’s Short Ribs

  • ½ c olive oil
  • lawrys seasoning salt (his not-so-secret ingredient)
  • flour to dust ribs

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom brazier. Season the short ribs, dust lightly with flour then caramelize on all sides. Remove then add:

  • ½ c pancetta, slides ¼ in thick and diced
  • 2 c diced onions
  • 1 c diced carrots
  • 1 c diced celery
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ T salt (maybe less, depends on the quality of your pancetta)

Sautee in same oil as short ribs. Cook until they start to brown, then add:

  • ½ bottle chianti or Barolo – a favorite of Dominic’s
  • 2 – 3 whole cloves
  • 1 or two whole rosemary sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Stir well and bring to a boil. Add short ribs back. Cover loosely for proper reduction. Simmer lightly for 4 hours or until fork tender. Remove ribs and strain the liquid. Allow fat to rise and remove. Adjust seasoning – if needed – and serve over ribs. Enjoy!


le petit triangle cafe

I’m almost embarrassed to write this post. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I lose my membership to the unofficial and nonexistent Cleveland food bloggers club.

Last week, I met my good friend and fellow blogger, Charity (aka I Heart Cleveland), for lunch. She picked the spot: Le Petit Triangle. A perfect choice given its proximity to both of us and the weather – ideal for al fresco dining and people watching.

I knew the spot as I know the neighborhood fairly well, but have never dined there or dare I say, had it atop my consideration list. No excuses and I’m not really sure why, especially since I try and visit most local eateries at least once. But there we were: a regular and a newbie.

We sat outside on the perfectly tiny and quaint patio. I was early so I quickly took to studying the menu and easily spotted a dozen plus dishes that I wanted to try. Crepes, omelets, salads – everything tempted me.

I finally settled on the smoked trout and lentil salad with warm lemon dressing. This satisfying and incredibly tasty dish completely exceeded my expectations. Not a lentil was to be found on my plate. Truly a great meal. I topped lunch off with an iced soy latte for the road.

Charity mentioned to me that she usually hits this place up for brunch on the weekends but cautioned me to make a reservation. Otherwise, it’s near impossible to get in she said. And I can see why. Great space, ideal location and a wonderful menu. After telling someone about my experience they told me that Le Petit Triangle is Cleveland’s best-kept secret. Now I know why and am happy to let the cat out of the bag for any fellow latecomers like myself.


still hungry…

Hey, remember me? I used to have this fun little food blog once upon a time…

Well – technically I still have that little food blog but it has been sort of dying a slow death as of late. I blame Natalie. Actually, it’s all Olivia. Technically, both kids are the culprit. And work. Then there’s our new house. But really – just life in general. I know you all can relate!  Life is crazy. Fantastically crazy – and I wouldn’t change a thing. Except of course a few more hours in the day to devote to that little blog… Anyone know a good genie?

Admittedly, I did think long and hard about bidding adieu to Cleveland Foodie. After all, it’s been a good nearly 7 year run and I have truly enjoyed every bit of it – meeting so many great people, discovering new bits of Cleveland, gaining weight… As they say, all good things certainly do come to an end. And it’s not to say that Cleveland Foodie would totally go stale. After all, the Facebook page is alive and well and regularly tended to with lots of engagement from this community we have created together.

But I just can’t bring myself to say goodbye – not yet anyways. This blog is a great outlet for me and gives me the chance to talk about something I love, even if no one were to ever read it. And while it’s true I have not posted nearly as much as I once did pre-kids and all those other fun grownup responsibilities we all face, I am recommitted to writing a couple times a month. It’s not like there’s any shortage of things to talk about. This city is booming! Everywhere you look, there are amazing things happening. Literally – there’s never been a better time to be part of the fabric of our city. We’re in the midst of an exciting rebirth with amazing happenings getting underway and discussed everywhere you look. Even a few celebrity sightings mixed in, too. There’s way too much to talk about and share to close up shop.

So yes, I am still hungry and still excited to share our food-related adventures. The courses just may come out a bit slower these days.


coming soon: willeyville

You could say that John Willey was the founder of the Flats (though I’m fairly certain Fagan’s, River’s Edge and Rum Runners weren’t part of his original plans).

As the first mayor of Cleveland – and real estate maven – Willey bought a section of the east bank turning it into a business and residential district. According to local history, he also bought part of Ohio City and turned it into another growing district called Willleyville, which housed a market (note: not the market).

It’s this Cleveland history, and correlation with the Flats, that led Chris and Krista DiLisi to open Willeyville, one of the first three restaurants (along with Lago and Ken Stewart’s), to open as part of Phase 1 of the Flats resurrection.

DiLisi, who was the previous head chef with Baricelli Inn and Flour, is beyond excited to be part of this rebirth, and most of all – to get back in the kitchen.

The restaurant will focus on seasonal American dishes. “Everyone says they are doing this today,” explains DiLisi. “So are we. But our focus will be on making nearly everything in-house, from scratch and

supporting as much local as we possibly can.”

DiLisi says he already has arrangements in place with Hartzler, Snowville, Miller and New Creations farms. And plans to change the menu every other week, though plans to maintain a few staples based on diner feedback.

Best of all? DiLisi is looking to keep dishes under $20.

House made doesn’t just stop at the kitchen. The duo shares that the bar will feature the majority of mixes and goods made in-house, too. The goal is to never open a can, they add.

The focus on the bar will be old meets new, paying homage to cocktails from the past and celebrating new libations of today.

Perhaps you’ve caught on to a theme by now, with the name, its origin and the bar. If you haven’t, you certainly will when you visit. They hope to create a homey yet old (way old) Cleveland feel. This notion of vintage Cleveland from the Willey era will be represented from all aspects of the restaurant, like the general store bar, to the “worn and older” banquettes. APOC and Junkyard Lighting are heavily involved in bringing the space to life.

The 3,000-square-foot restaurant will seat 86 inside and 32 out. Look for a mid June opening and for the team to serve lunch, dinner and daily happy hour specials from day 1, with plans to cater to the Browns’ home game crowd.



  • roasted peanuts, 4
  • kaffir lime◦garlic◦chilis◦cilantro◦salt, marinated olives, preserved artichokes, 6
  • chicken wings & things, sriracha verde, 7
  • ceviche, avocado◦jicama◦tortilla chips, 6

salted/ cured/ preserved

  • salumi                                                           14
  • tomato marmalade◦crostini
  • cheeses of the day              9/3 pc◦14/5 pc
  • fig jam◦lavosh
  • pate in pastry crust                          7
  • mustard seeds◦cornichons
  • potted smoked salmon                  6
  • caperberries◦onion crackers


  • minty spring pea soup                   5-cup/8-bowl
  • popped amaranth◦yogurt◦pea dust
  • open face duck mic muffin                        13
  • foie gras- duck sausage◦over easy egg◦english muffin◦sweet & spicy ohio maple syrup
  • smoked mussel poutine               11
  • fries◦tasso ham◦buttermilk bleu fondue
  • veggie rice paper roll                                  9
  • carrot◦radish◦avocado◦mint◦smashed peas◦citrus-chile ponzu
  • grilled prawns                                  12
  • preserved lemon◦pickled peppers◦crispy garlic◦evoo
  • steamed wild clams                                   11
  • garbonzo beans◦bacon◦ham hock broth
  • willey wedge salad                         11
  • mini iceburg◦oven dried tomato◦pancetta◦avocado puree◦pickled egg◦fried buttermilk bleu dressing
  • bibb salad                                         7
  • spiced walnuts◦wino cherries◦barrel aged red wine vinegar◦evoo◦sea salt
  • cucumbers &  spicy strawberries            10
  • fennel◦cottage cheese◦preserved lemon◦chili oil
  • snap peas & ricotta                         9
  • radishes◦chilis◦shallot◦mint◦lemon vin
  • roasted red beets                            8
  • chard◦butter◦malt vinegar◦smoked cheddar◦herbs


  • baked semolina gnocchi               12/18
  • pork ragu◦grana◦gremolata
  • squid ink fusilli                                 14
  • calamari◦asparagus◦garlic◦poached egg◦smoked evoo◦crispy spiced capers
  • lamb ravioli                                       13/19
  • kale◦chevre◦cheese broth◦tomato  oil
  • bucatini alla matriciana                  11/16
  • pancetta∙chili∙crushed san marzanos∙parm∙parsley


  • birds of a feather                                         20
  • duck ham & breast◦chicken◦poultry liver pate◦stone fruit compote◦whipped cilantro
  • cod roulade                                                 18
  • oven dried tomatoes◦forbidden rice salad◦tarragon pistou
  • crispy confit’d  city chicken                         19
  • carrot puree◦new potato-poblano chutney◦smoked paprika oil
  • spring lamb & marrow pot pie                  16
  • peas◦favas◦pearl onions◦carrots◦mint◦foie gras crust
  • adobo shrimp in corn tortillas                   18
  • mex-chorizo◦guac◦cilantro crèma◦crispy hominy
  • jerk  chicken                                                 18
  • black beans◦tostones◦jicama slaw
  • grass fed ohio beef- butcher’s cut                       mp
  • (priced per cut available-limited quantities per cut)
  • smoked mashers◦creamed kale◦pickled shiitakes◦parsley butter


coming soon: el carnicero

A little late to the party, but as they say… better late than never!

Congrats to one of my favorites chefs, Eric Williams, who announced the opening of his second restaurant: El Carnicero. Momocho is easily one of my favorites in town. So of course this news has me grinning ear to ear.

El Carnicero (translation: the butcher) will be Williams’ second modern Mexican restaurant. It will be a full-service, fast-casual restaurant and bar offering unique interpretations of Mexican street food, like tamales, taquitos and antojitos. Of course, you can count on plenty of margaritas, cerveza and a craft tequila cocktail menu, too.

Sign. Me. Up.

Look for 16 options of braised/roasted/grilled meats plus poultry, seafood and veggies. Sundays will feature an authentic Mexican meat stew known as Birria (lamb, beef and pork stew served with tortillas, cilantro and onions).

The 3,500-square-foot-space will feature 35 bar seats, 80 in the dining room plus a private room to accommodate groups of 8 – 14. Look for dinner first then eventually catering to hungry lunch seekers.  El Carnicero will be located in the west end neighborhood of Lakewood with a projected opening of July.

And if that’s not enough…

Williams will also soon open Super Chango Tequilaria right next door, featuring a full bar specializing in craft tequila cocktails, margaritas plus cervezas. This will be a more intimate lounge and bar open for late night or post dinner cocktails (but also available for private parties). Super Chango will offer a small antojito menu from the kitchen during private hours and the full menu from El Carnicero during normal business hours.

As for big sister Momocho, guess who just turned SEVEN! Celebrate with them on May 13 at 6 p.m. with area food trucks.


let’s go hodge!

This is getting to be fun! It’s time once again to rally behind chef Chris Hodgson. This June, he’ll be competing for a coveted spot on The Food Network and the show searches for its next star.Learn more and follow along here.

Good luck, Chris! You can count on us to be cheering along side you once again.

rock the vote, cleveland…now

Food & Wine has wisely selected our very own, chef Chris Hodgson, as one of 100 nominees for its annual The People’s Best New Chef award. The program, now in its third year, is an extension of the Food & Wine Best New Chefs program which honors talented up-and-coming innovators who have run their own kitchens for five years or fewer.

Cleveland, this is where we come in and can help out Chris, plus garner some more positive press for our beloved city. Each of us gets to determine the winner via online voting, beginning today through March 18 right here.

Chris has already done so much for our city, plus – he’s just genuinely a good guy and of course, super talented. Let’s help him get this title!

And if that’s not enough, both Chris and his partner, chef/owner Scott Kuhn, are offering the following bit of gratitude for showing your support. If you vote for Hodgson through a link at, and take a screen shot of your  vote  and show it during a visit to Hodges, you’ll receive a free snack. But wait, there’s more! Anyone who shares the announcement via Hodge’s Facebook page will be entered into a drawing for dinner for 10 in your home, cooked by Chris (sorry – local peeps only).

Read, set, VOTE!!

an evening with the barefoot contessa

Thanks to Ina, I discovered the joy of lentils. She also helped me get over my aversion to cooking salmon (that’s another post, but let’s just say I took a three-year hiatus, which seems so silly now). Needless to say, we’re big Barefoot Contessa fans in this household. There isn’t a dish of hers we haven’t tried to duplicate at home that didn’t meet big grins and second helpings.

And now, she’s bringing her informative style, helpful tips and approachable cooking know-how to town. Sorry, Hamptons and Jeffrey not included.

Ina will be in town on March 12 at the State Theatre. The night is billed as a conversation with Ina Garten and is hosted by our own best-selling author, and all-around good guy, Michael Ruhlman. There will even be an interactive Q&A with the duo after the show.

Want to bring Ina home to your kitchen and have the benefit of cooking and learning alongside her? Now’s your chance – sorta. While it’s not the real thing, Ina has graciously agreed to giveaway a signed copy of her new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes you can Trust, made out to one of you. For your chance to win, just leave a comment to this post between now and Tuesday morning sharing your favorite Ina Garten recipe (sorry, Facebook doesn’t count).

Good luck, and hope to see you Tuesday!

happening now: restaurant week (+ giveaway & recipe)

Downtown Cleveland Alliance kicked off its sixth annual Downtown Restaurant Week yesterday. This event, which runs runs through March 3, features more than 40 downtown restaurants offering lunch and dinner specials. Each restaurant will offer $30 three-course menus for one or two diners, and a $15 lunch option at select restaurants. A full list of participating restaurants is available here.

New This Year
Pierogi Love
The chefs are putting their minds to work and creating unique pierogi recipes to be featured on their Restaurant Week menus (keep reading for a recipe from Cowell and Hubbard)

March 1
Celebrate this year’s extended Restaurant Week with a happy hour to kick off the second weekend of great dinner deals. Barley House will offer pierogis from their new menu, as well as drink specials for guests who bring their Restaurant Week receipts from the past week. Stop by from 5-7 p.m.

We are going to be having a London agency for kitchen porter staff required to help us maintain the kitchen spotless to give better service for our clients.

Downtown Dinner Dream Package Contest

Interested in fine dining downtown for an entire year – for free? Restaurant Week diners will receive a small postcard with their meal at participating restaurants. A QR code on the back of the card will direct them to a form where they can enter to win a grand prize, including gift cards from participating downtown restaurants and a Vitamix 5200. The package also includes a complimentary two-night stay at Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade, including breakfast for two each morning in the 1890 Restaurant and two tickets for admission to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Multiple other winners will be selected for special prizes. We are a reputable restaurant located in The Greenview Plaza that offers a wide selection of tantalizing meals from delectable Soul Food to mouthwatering Baked Flavored Cut Wings. Headed by Tonya CHEF T Cornelius & team, our restaurant delivers no less than premium quality food that will surely have your taste buds wanting more! We also offer box lunch catering Services for any special occasion, Weddings, Birthdays, Corporate Events or anytime you need delicious food & desserts.

Park and Eat
During Restaurant Week, several downtown parking facilities will offer $2 parking to diners who show their special Restaurant Week parking voucher, beginning at 5 p.m. each day.
For an updated list of participating restaurants, menus, and special events for Restaurant Week, visit here.

Pierogie’s @ Home | Courtesy of Chef Andy Dombrowski, chef de cuisine at Cowell and Hubbard.

Braised Beef and Horseradish Pierogi


1 pound, braised beef, shredded
4 tablespoons, horseradish
2 cups, mashed potato
4 tablespoons, chives
2 lemons, zested
Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mix all ingredients above by hand
  • Roll out a basic pierogi dough
  • Cut into 4-inch rounds
  • Fill each Pierogi with ¼ cup of the filling
  • Brush dough with egg wash (beaten egg and water/milk)
  • Fold over, press edges together and seal pierogi
  • Boil or steam pierogis for 5-6 minutes.


But wait – there’s more!

How about a $25 gift card to The Greenhouse Tavern to kick-off RW (or I suppose enjoy post RW…)? Just leave a comment to this post telling us which menu you’re eager to check out and you’re automatically entered. You have until Feb 28 to enter. A winner will be drawn via Good luck!