Monday, May 2, 2016

Vermilion Getaway

Mr. H and I had a fun little weekend, a bit out of the ordinary. For my birthday in February, he gave me a "gift certificate" for a getaway to Vermilion, Ohio. A stay in a B&B and dinner at Chez Francois. As one of Ohio's top rated restaurants, it's been on our culinary to-do list for a while, and Vermilion is just far enough away that we hadn't made it happen yet.
We stayed at the Gilchrist Guest House B&B. It was just a short walk away from Chez. It was charming, and somewhat reminded me of staying at my grandmother's house.
We chose this particular weekend to go, because the Chamber of Commerce was hosting a Chocolate + Wine Walk around town. Local businesses were featuring a wine and chocolate tasting at each stop. While the samples were nothing special (with the exception of a couple), it was a great way to see the town and go into shops, businesses or restaurants that we may have overlooked.
After a relaxing nap back at the B&B, we got all dressed up and headed to Chez for dinner. More on that later this week!

The next morning, we went to Granny Joe's for breakfast.
Some French Toast hit the spot.
Then, we popped over to a business that we had been into during the Walk the day before. The Olive Scene was just begging to be sampled.
We had a great time wandering the store and tasting the olive oils and vinegar.
We used to just purchase flavored oils or vinegar to use for dipping or salad dressing, but we've recently started cooking vegetables and fish/seafood with them, and it's been quite fun to work with them more. I highly recommend it! A quick, easy way to add interesting flavor to your meals. They have multiple locations around Northeast Ohio, so give their website a look.

For a quick overnight getaway, Vermilion was a lot of fun and we truly enjoyed our time there. I wish the rain had held off so that we could have spent more time by the water, but, eh, you can't be picky this time of year in Ohio.

Any other suggestions for a one-night or weekend stay within an easy driving distance of Cleveland?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Recipe: Pistachio-crusted Fish

I think my Instagram feed confirms that Mr. H and I are quite addicted to shopping at Catanese Classic Seafood and cooking fish at home these days. We've been enjoying some fantastic meals, and this one I wanted to share. We adapted a recipe from Fine Cooking.

Pistachio-crusted Fish Fillets (serves 4)

1/2 cup salted shelled pistachios
1/3 cup breadcrumbs or Panko
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
coarse salt to taste
black pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 fish fillets- approximately 5 oz. each (we used Halibut, but Grouper or Cod would also work well)
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
lemon juice to taste

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray the foil with oil.
Crush the pistachios into medium and medium-fine pieces.
Combine the nuts, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil and toss the combination until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
Spread the mustard on top of the fish fillets.
Coat the top of the fish with the crumb mixture.
Set the fillets, coating side up, on the baking sheet.
Bake the fillets until the topping is browned and crisp (10-12 minutes).
Lightly squeeze lemon juice over the fish before serving.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tremont General Store

Mr. H and I were in Tremont on Sunday afternoon, because, hello, that weather called for some ice cream! We headed to Tremont Scoops for our first ice cream of the season, and it really hit the spot.

We had found a parking spot right in front of the newly opened Tremont General Store on Professor Avenue. Of course, that meant that I just had to pop in there.
The quaint store focuses on local goods, and is selling gardening supplies, products made by local vendors, and even some produce, dairy, and meats.

Immediately, I saw local brands that I'm familiar with. Like Randy's Pickles...
...and Pope's Kitchen. I'm always a fan of any business that stocks up on these household favorites.
The Tremont General Store also has their own line of products, including these jams.
A few produce items were available, like garlic, onions, and potatoes. 
Finally, there were coolers packed with local dairy items, pasta, and meats. 
Other items like chocolates, soaps, coffee, dog food, Dante pasta sauce, sodas, books, bird feeders, and more make this small shop well-rounded. It would be tough to make this a one-stop shop for all of your needs, but they've got some great basics, and I love their focus on highlighting local producers. For us, it's important to know where our goods are coming from, and I prefer to support local businesses. I also suggest stopping in here when you're looking to create a Cleveland-themed gift basket, which I seem to do often. 

I'll cross my fingers for their success, because I think it's a welcomed addition to Tremont. 

2418 Professor Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Great Scott Tavern

I've been slacking on hitting up the 2016 To Dine Challenge restaurants so far this year, but...Mr. H and I recently went out to Great Scott Tavern in Euclid for a Friday night bite.

I loved the exterior of the building!
The interior of the restaurant was also much nicer than I thought "tavern" in the name implied. It reminded me of Oak Barrel in Valley View. 
The menu is not extensive, but it covers all the bases. I think the menu is kid-friendly too.
I could have made a meal from the "first course" section, easily. 

Instead, I convinced Mr. H to split the Joe's Cesar Salad ($8) with Grilled Raddicio and Romaine Lettuces, Anchovy, Parmesan Cheese, Red Onion, Capers, and House Caesar Dressing.
This picture is just a half portion. It was a little over-dressed, but I absolutely loved the mixed grilled lettuces and the addition of capers. I'll be trying to recreate this salad at home this summer.

From the cherry wood fired grill, Mr. H ordered the Grilled Lamb Chops ($28) with Two Lamb Rib Chops, Farro, Kale, and Roasted Root Vegetables.
The lamb was a little overcooked for his personal taste, but it was still tender and not too dry. Mr. H really enjoyed the two sides.

I decided to order the Diver Scallops ($24) with five Sea Scallops, Sweet Potato Puree, Lemongrass Chutney, Frisee, and Kim Chi.
The presentation was delicate, and the meal was very light. Perfect after that large portion of salad. 

Great Scott Tavern also had a small list of craft beers, which I appreciated. It was just what I was craving on a Friday evening after a long week of work.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised by this Euclid find. We did have slight issues with service, but he had a great attitude, which goes a long way. Complimentary valet parking is available in the small parking lot behind the restaurant, or there is street parking across the street.

On to the next 2016 To Dine Challenge restaurant!

Great Scott Tavern
21801 Lakeshore Boulevard
Euclid, OH 44123

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ticket Giveaway: Market at the Food Bank 2016

It's no secret that I love the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, and continue to support the organization that gave me my first job in Cleveland almost nine years ago. I believe in their mission, and the staff's passion for what they do in infectious. I try to continue to give back to the organization, particularly during the annual Harvest for Hunger Campaign.

Across Northeast Ohio, companies, schools, and community groups are organizing food and funds drives, shoppers are able to donate at the cash register at local grocery stores, and you can host a Virtual Drive or make a monetary donation online during the Campaign. But, one of my favorite ways to support Harvest for Hunger is by attending the annual Market at the Food Bank event.
The event is being held on Sunday, May 1st at 6:00 p.m. at the Food Bank this year. Tickets are $100 for General Admission, or $200 for VIP.

With food samples from restaurants like AMP 150, Bar Cento, BOMBA Tacos + Rum, Cork & Cleaver, EDWINS, Lucky's Cafe, Melt, Strip Steakhouse, and Zack Bruell Restaurants (just to name a handful)'re sure to leave full and satisfied. Personally, I'm looking forward to sampling food from the soon-to-open The Plum Cafe & Kitchen. But the list includes 40+ restaurants and beverage purveyors.

With Harvest for Hunger celebrating 25 years in 2016, the Food Bank hopes to raise more than $250,000 at the event. For every $1 donated, they can provide 4 meals in a local hunger center. The evening also includes raffles, auctions, live entertainment, and more.

I have good news. One lucky reader is going to win two General Admission tickets to the 2016 Market at the Food Bank. Just use the form below to enter. Don't forget that you can tweet daily for more entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! A random winner will be selected on Friday, April 22nd.

Disclosure: I was provided with two General Admission tickets for myself and a guest, and two General Admission tickets to give away in exchange for this post. I am a former employee of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. All opinions stated are 100% my own.