Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Weekend Bites

Well, I was coming off of not feeling well for most of the week, so I was just happy to get out of the house and do SOMETHING...ANYTHING this past weekend.

I had to cancel my Friday plans with a friend to kick off Cleveland Beer Week at Lilly Handmade Chocolates for their beer, chocolate, and cheese flight. Boo! But, you're in luck, because it's going on all Beer Week. Mr. H and I did it last year, and it was great. $25 for four tastings of each. Will you be participating in any Beer Week events around town? More than 300 happening.

On Saturday, I was tempted in to Ohio City Provisions from an Instagram post of this...
...which was haven't tried yet, but looks quite fun!

That evening, we attended Boo at the Zoo for the third year in a row with our friends and their adorable kiddos.
The zoo does a great job with the event, and fun is had by both kids and adults. Luckily, there are two "adult beverage" treat stands. There are two more weekends to take advantage of this event.

On Sunday, Mr. H and I headed to Vino Veritas Cellars for their Wine, Land and Sea pig roast/clam bake event.
While it had some hiccups from an organization standpoint and some folks didn't get clams because they wouldn't open, it was still a fun little event. Thankfully, they have the large greenhouse, because the rain was unforgiving that day!
Not a bad Cleveland weekend, considering I wasn't at my best.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cincinnati Eats: Sartre

Our weekend was spent in Cincinnati for a work trip, and fortunately, Mr. H was able to travel with me. So we made it a point to squeeze in a couple of good meals while we were there.

On Friday evening, we headed to the newly opened Sartre in Over-the-Rhine, in the same building as Rhinegeist Brewery.
I was immediately in love with the industrial feel of the space, and the service, drinks, and food all lived up to the tone the atmosphere set.

We started with the Fleur de la Brasserie (I encourage you to eat the ice cube with a spoon once you finish the drink!) and Present Company craft cocktails, which were expertly done.

The food kicked off on a high note too, with Bulgar Wheat ($13) with Crispy Pork Belly, Green Goddess, and Walnut....
...and Yellowtail Tartar ($15) with Fresno Chili , Thai Basil, and a Savory Crepe. Not nearly as good as the pork belly, but it was still a nice tartar. While the crepe was a unique touch, it wasn't very easy to eat.
The menu is broken into categories of Vegetables, Grains, Fish, Meat, and French(ish), and the style is meant to inspire sharing of several small plates. There aren't traditional "appetizers" and "entrees" but some dishes are slightly larger than others, and you can tell based on the price point.

Next, we shared the Confit Pork Leg ($21) with Chickpea “Frites” (the chickpea fries, yuuuum!) and a Caper & Tonatto Sauce...
...and the Roasted Sea Bass ($27) with Crushed Potato, Salsa Verde, and Capers.
We couldn't resist trying dessert as well, since the rest of the meal had been such a hit.
Mr. H was really digging the Apple Cake. For me, it was only okay, and wasn't quite on par with the rest of the meal.
The restaurant had literally only been open for seven days at this point, but you'd never know. Service was ON POINT all night, the food was thoughtful and overall executed very well, and I loved the space. I just wouldn't have been happy to be seated at one of the long bench chairs at some of the tables if I was more than a party of two. They looked awkward to maneuver. There are also a handful of "lounge" areas with full service for a more casual meal.

Our meal at Sartre left us wanting more, so we'll do a return visit when back in Cincinnati some time. Put it on your radar if you plan to travel to the area!

Sartre OTR
1910 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Friday, September 29, 2017

Event Recap- Harvesting Hope 2017

Mr. H and I attended the 4th Annual Harvesting Hope event on Monday to benefit the American Cancer Society and its Hope Lodge. The setting was gorgeous, outside in the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and attendees got to wander around soaking in what felt like one of the last days of summer.

Tito's Handmade Vodka was supplying us all with infused cocktails...
...the 10 participating chefs had each brought delicious bites to nibble on (Goat Cheese Panna Cotta from Chef Maxime Kien at The Burnham pictured here)...
...including some oysters from Chefs Brittany Logan and Duane Corley of Rocky River Wine Bar, which immediately transported me back to our Maine trip.
But, I was also glad to see some of my favorite people there too, like Graffiti/Cork & Cleaver, University Hospitals and Sodexo, and Jeff Jarrett of Dinner in the Dark. Truly, my only real complaint about the event is the lack of trash cans around. They have helpful servers walking around collecting your trash, but I'd love to see more trash cans visible so we could take care of it ourselves too.
But the real reason everyone was there was to support the mission of the American Cancer Society and to raise funds for the Hope Lodge. Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city. Not having to worry about where to stay or how to pay for lodging allows guests to focus on getting better. Hope Lodge provides a nurturing, home-like environment where guests can retreat to private rooms or connect with others. Every Hope Lodge also offers a variety of resources and information about cancer and how best to fight the disease.

The event did a great job of highlighting the work the Hope Lodge does in our community. I enjoyed seeing these framed quotes scattered around the event...
...and the guest speaker, Joshua, shared his touching personal story about his battle with cancer and his stay at the Hope Lodge. The event was near-silent during his speech.
While we didn't win big in the live or silent auction this year, it was still a beautiful evening spent with friends in a stunning setting for a good cause. It's wonderful to see this event grow each year, and they've already set the date for 2018. Don't miss Harvesting Hope on September 24th!

Disclosure: I was provided with two tickets to attend in exchange for posts. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Adega

When Adega at The 9 reached out to see if I'd be open to coming in to sample the menu from their new chef Nelly Buleje, I did jump at the chance. Mr. H and I had been in for brunch about a year ago, when the past chef was still there, and it didn't leave us wanting to come back. So, I was open to seeing what changes Chef Nelly had brought, and boy I'm glad that I did!

The meal started with Hummus (3 versions available). We were served the Beef Kafta with tomato relish and pickled onion ($13).
Um...WOW. This was probably the best hummus I've ever had and what a way to start the dinner. The flavor of the beef kafta was outstanding, and the hummus was so smooth. It would be a must-order for me again.

Next up was the Charred Octopus with citrus, herbs, artichoke-cucumber escabeche, patatas bravas, and chive coulis ($15).
The bitterness of the char on the octopus and the citrus components were mellowed by the expertly paired wine from Adega's Manager and Resident Sommelier, Michel Emerick.

Our third course was the World's Greatest Jamon ($15). Jamón iberico, arugula, tomato, manchego, and ciabatta.
This gorgeous piece of meat just melts in your mouth, and is quite decadent. We picked some up from Old Brooklyn Cheese Co. this summer as well, but it's hard to come by as it's brought over by ship from Spain. If every cheese and charcuterie plate I'm served had some of this, I'd be a happy girl. 

For the salad course, we had the Lyonnaise ($8) with frisée, baby spinach, arugula, egg, pancetta, ciabatta, Parmesan, and a sherry-mustard vinaigrette.
I cut into that perfectly poached egg, and it just oozed gorgeous yolk.

Next course was another highlight for us, the housemade Italian Bolognese ($26) with Italian sausage, tomato, garlic, basil, oregano, shaved fennel, rigatoni, and Parmesan.
The pasta is made in-house, and the sauce is unlike any other bolognese I've had. Chef Nelly's process takes 72 hours before it's ready to be served. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about fennel in the pasta dish, but the light crunch and subtle additional flavor it added totally worked! I'd like another bowl of this, like right now.

We then tried the Sea Scallops ($32) with a green grape relish, scallions, charred lemon, and couscous salad.
The last savory course of the meal was the Secreto Ibérico ($45). Bellota secreto and roasted carrots; that Jamón was just as luscious as the first preparation. Mr. H also dubbed these carrots as "best carrots he's ever had."
Each course included a wine pairing, featuring wines from Mediterranean climates. Each one truly made flavors from the dishes pop right out, or subtly complimented the food. There wasn't one that we didn't enjoy.
For dessert, we shared a Rosewood Flan...
...and Hazelnut Crème Brûlée.
Chef Nelly has dedicated a lot of time into his research, and the restaurant recreates flavors from the Mediterranean, infused with ingredients from Spain, Italy, Greece and France. They locally source products when they can, but really care about utilizing the best possible quality products out there.

Mr. H and I dine out and attend culinary events a lot, as you well know, and this was one of the more memorable meals we've had in quite some time! We will happily be going back soon on our own. I'm also ready to try some of the new brunch items Chef Nelly was describing. I'm glad that this outing put Adega back on my radar.

Disclosure: I was invited with a guest to attend a media tasting. All food and beverages were complementary. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Adega
2017 E 9th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-331-6289

Monday, September 25, 2017

Weekend Bites

Where did the weekend go? And someone please explain to me how this is FALL in Cleveland? I don't know about you, but these hot temperatures threw us off a bit. I just didn't get outside quite as much as I had hoped, because that air conditioning inside was feeling pretty darn good!

But, we still had some fun out and about in Cleveland. Friday started with a media preview of the new RiverFest brew from Collision Bend Brewing Company to celebrate Oktoberfest. It's now available, and I recommend getting there to try one. It wasn't too hoppy or too malty, just how I like them. Paired great with the Sauerkraut Balls, sausages, and Bacon/Onion/Gruyere Tart we were served.
Saturday brought our first clam bake of the season. This one was held in the Ben Franklin Community Garden in Old Brooklyn, the largest community garden in the state of Ohio.
For $35, we got a huge spread of clams, corn, sweet potato, roll, clam chowder and a choice of a half chicken, 12 oz. steak, or a vegetarian option. It was all cooked well, and paired perfectly with a cold beer from Goldhorn Brewery.
The food was great, but it was also special because of the gorgeous setting, and the company...
The event also featured wines from the neighborhood's Vino Veritas Cellars. We popped over to the winery on our bikes after the clam bake and soaked in what felt like one of the last nights of summer.
Vino Veritas is also hosting a Pig Roast/Clam Bake on October 15th, if you're interested. We'll be there!

The weekend wasn't complete without a stop at Rosati's Frozen Custard in Northfield Center. My favorite!
The flavor of the day was Salted Caramel, one that I don't like to miss!

How was your weekend? Did it include more summer-like activities, or are you too ready for fall?