Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Caribe Bake Shop

We had a special house guest for the week after Thanksgiving, my brother! He only gets here about once a year, and as a former professional cook and lover of all things food-related, we enjoy showing off the Cleveland culinary scene when he's in town. He's always up for anything, and last week that meant going on a lunch excursion with me to check a restaurant off of my 2016 To Dine Challenge list.

We were all quite sick of leftover turkey at that point, so E$, Mr. H and I all headed over to Caribe Bake Shop (no website) on Fulton.
In their brand new building, they can serve a lot more diners quickly, and they've expanded their seating. The old building was easy to miss when driving by, and it no longer fit the capacity they need. You head in the main front door, and swing through another set of doors on the left (right side is seat-yourself dining). You're then greeted with a cafeteria-style line (another for just sandwiches and the baked goods).
The food immediately starts to tempt you.
Now, they don't have a menu, and there's no signage on the line, so it can be a bit overwhelming for a new diner. To me, it seemed like everyone else knew exactly what to do and what they wanted. Clearly, they have their regulars.
Mr. H and I built a $10 lunch plate (Dining Deals Alert!), with your choice of three rices, two types of beans, and a meat. For our meat, we chose a skewered pork that had a mild-flavored sauce on it. It was a touch overcooked, but had nice flavor to it. E$ had the roasted and pulled pork. We also added fried plantains ($2) to our plate.
We also ordered a Cubano sandwich, which comes in three sizes. Pictured below was half of a Medium, and it was substantial! I only ate about a third of it, and took the rest home for lunch the next day. I would have liked it grilled/pressed, but otherwise it was a tasty version.
Other than feeling a bit overwhelmed determining what to get, and rushed (since it's a line that keeps on moving with hungry people behind you!), I really enjoyed it. Casual, cheap, huge portions, and it smelled and tasted pretty darn authentic.

Caribe Bake Shop
2906 Fulton Road
Cleveland, OH 44113

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ohio City Provisions

We're been waiting for this day...the opening of Ohio City Provisions on Lorain Avenue.
Self-described as "half grocer, half butcher shop," this new addition to Ohio City is bringing Clevelanders a shop that has locally sourced all of its goods. "All the pantry items in the grocery are locally-sourced, organic and pasture-raised produce, grains, eggs, dairy, canned goods, and more. The fresh butcher serves a variety of cut-to-order sausages, pasture-raised meats: pastured beef, heritage pork, heirloom varietals of pork, heritage chicken, rabbit, lamb, duck, turkey, venison, goat and various cured meats. Limited take-out menu available for grab-and-go meals."
Chef Adam Lambert (formally of Bar Cento) and his partner Trevor Clatterbuck from Fresh Fork Market have curated quite a spread of fresh foods, dry goods, meats, and...cheeses! Gaze into the cheese case, and they'll likely offer you samples.
Plenty of dairy products to get you through the week.
A good selection of the local produce that Fresh Fork subscribers have grown accustomed to. Now, with access for everyone.
Some familiar local brands that have become staples in our household...
...and new-to-us items, like this Pumpkin and Carmelized Onion Rye Bread.
It took a lot of willpower to resist.

They will be open daily from 10AM - 7PM, and I'm pretty positive that it will reduce some grocery store chain shopping for us, and get us through the summer when we're missing our Fresh Fork Winter Share. I could not be more excited for their opening. Go check it out right away, support local, and feel good about where your products are coming from.

Ohio City Provisions
3208 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2016 "Foodie" Gift Giving Guide

The holidays are right around the corner. The last two years, I've been ON IT at getting some present shopping out of the way early. With work craziness and moving to a new house, I've really been slacking this year. Maybe you too?

Here are a few gift ideas for the "foodie" in your life.

From Our Kitchens Cleveland Independents Recipe Book ($24.95): Get your hands on the recipes included from some of our area's best restaurants! I just purchased this, and can't wait to use it.

Handcrafted Knives and Accessories from Cleveland Cuts (Varies): This Cleveland Heights company is making handcrafted items like razor-edged steak knives, oak cutting boards, classic block sets, antique kitchen carts, cherry cheese boards, and hand-made wineglass carriers. Me? I'll take the custom cheese knives ($40, pictured below) or we really need a good set of steak knives.
Distinct Cleveland Culinary Crate (Varies): This company has hand selected the best "foodie" products being produced locally, and put them all together in a gorgeous wooden gift box. We received one as a housewarming gift from our realtor, and I was immediately in love.
Cleveland Map Stemless Wine Glass from UncommonGreen ($15): A great gift for someone that loves this city, and wine! Two of my favorite things. Also, a set would make a nice hostess gift this holiday season.
Joule Sous Vide by ChefSteps ($199): We pre-ordered ours in January and the release date has been pushed back several times, but they are on their way now, and this machine is supposed to be worth the wait.
Grammar Geek Mug ($14.95): The communications nerd in me just loved this coffee mug when I saw it online. It hasn't made its way into my possession yet, but if anyone is looking for hints...
Onion Googles ($19.95): My mom got these for me last year, and they totally work! I used to tear up so badly when cutting onions, but no more. They make a funny, but functional, gift.
Also, putting together a gift basket of locally produced goods is always a hit as a present or hostess gift. You can easily put one together by visiting shops like The Grocery, Tremont General Store, or Market at the Fig. They each carry a wide selection of local products that can be put together to make a fabulous basket. One of my go-to gifts year-round.

Lastly, we resort to gift certificates from local, independent restaurants. Everyone in your life would enjoy a nice night out. Many of our local restaurants offer certificate deals during the holiday season, like purchase $200 and receive $25 or purchase one $100 certificate and receive a free $100 certificate. Keep your eyes peeled on social media, and don't hesitate to ask your favorite restaurants if they have special sale promotions.

Any other fantastic ideas for the cooks or food-lovers in your life? Bonus if it's from a local company. Please share your ideas in the comments.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Cleveland Jam

Local business, Cleveland Jam, opened its doors on the retail shop on Saturday in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland.
They partner with local breweries like Great Lakes and Catawba Island Brewery, and Ohio wineries to make beer-based jams and wine-based jellies.
Mr. H and I picked up some Eliot Ness Fig Apple Jam (served it on a cheese board that evening, yum!), and some Burning River Pepper Jam. We also snagged a locally-made candle with a great holiday scent, and a Bearded Buch drink to go (also now with a shop in Old Brooklyn).

The shop also had other local goods, like olive oils, snacks, and t-shirts. They plan to sell retain wine soon too, and hope to be scheduling tastings and events shortly.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Cleveland Jam! Go check them out. Putting together a gift basket of locally-sourced products always makes for a wonderful holiday present or hostess gift this season.

Cleveland Jam
1300 W Schaaf Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44109

Thursday, November 10, 2016

SouperBowl CLE 2016

SouperBowl CLE is a food celebration and fundraising event aimed at naming Northeast Ohio's best soups, and it's taking place this Saturday from 11AM - 3PM. Who doesn't love soup this time of year?!

Attendees act as judges as they spend the afternoon walking the Gordon Square neighborhood, visiting the businesses and tasting soups prepared by favorite local restaurants. Attendees then vote by text for their favorite soups in various categories, including the prestigious title of "Best Soup in Cleveland".

Tickets are only $25, and you get to sample more than 30 soups from local restaurants as you visit businesses in the area. You can purchase them online here. Also, tickets will be available at check-in at Cleveland Public Theatre on the day of the event, if you don't pre-purchase online. They'll be on sale from 10:30AM - 2PM. Cash and credit cards will be accepted.

The list of participating restaurants includes some of my personal favorites, like Graffiti, The Plum Cafe, SouperMarket, Tremont Taphouse, and Toast.

This is the second year that the event has been held, and it's already bigger and better. a great concept, and for a worthy local cause. The 2016 SouperBowl CLE will benefit the West Side Catholic Center.

Nothing to disclose here. I just think that this is a local event that you should attend this weekend!