Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Smörgåsbord in Old Brooklyn

The Summer Smörgåsbord in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland kicked off last week with the first Cleveland Summer Cinema showing (at dusk) and first Farmers Market of the season in Loew Park.

Every Tuesday from 5PM - 8PM, the Old Brooklyn Farmers Market will take place. There were a couple of local farms on site, several Old Brooklyn businesses, and other local purveyors' products were available for purchase like Randy's Pickles and Bearded Buch. Also, FREE Jack Frost donuts!
Who could resist? I nabbed a classic glazed, and it went down nicely with a Siblime lager from the Sibling Revelry Brewing beer garden.

I also found a new-to-me Old Brooklyn company, Country Boy's Kettle Corn.
Usually, kettle corn is too sweet for me, but we were given a sample and this was the perfect balance of sweet and salty. We weren't staying for the movie, but plan to later on this summer, so I'll be grabbing a bag then! The Green Machine and Honey Hut food trucks are also always on site for this.

In addition to the weekly movies and farmers market taking place on Tuesdays, Smörgåsbord also includes a Street Fest on July 23rd. More details coming soon, but the streets of Pearl and Broadview will be closed down for one evening to bring in a movie, food vendors, activities, and more. A giant block party in Old Brooklyn!

Come check it all out this summer, and you'll likely find Mr. H and I there. Sorry, I'm completely obsessed with our neighborhood. It rocks.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Indianapolis Eats: Union 50

Work took me to Indianapolis last weekend, and I dragged Mr. H along so that we could have some fun in between the conference days. That meant a great meal out on Friday night at Union 50.
We started with the Beef Tartare with Horseradish Crema, Pickled Mustard Seed, Crispy Onion Strings, and a Quail Egg ($13).
The horseradish was subtle enough to not overpower it, but gave a great "bite" to the flavor.

We also shared the Toast + Jam with Wild Gulf Shrimp Toast, Sushi Grade Ahi Jam, Yuzu Tobiko, and Marinated + Compressed Cucumber ($16).
This was probably my favorite dish of the night.

Mr. H ordered the Wood-Fired Red Snapper with Spring Pea, Confit Potato, House Pork Belly, Saffron Aioli, Fresh Herb, and Trumpet Mushroom ($27).
I had the Duck, Duck with a Seared Duck Breast, Parsnip Purée, Blackberry Conserve, Duck Leg Confit, Hickory Roasted Turnip, Asparagus, and Spiced Jus ($27).
The duck fat was rendered off nicely, so it wasn't fatty and had a crispy skin. I wish the duck leg confit and the blackberry conserve were more present in the dish, but otherwise it was a really tasty dish and a very generous potion. I kept handing slices off to Mr. H.

After our meal, we settled in at the bar to watch the Cavs' game. Big mistake, because their craft cocktails program is on point, and we had a bit too much fun staying up late to watch our team take home their only win of The Finals. Eh, it was worth it. Just made for a rough morning the next day when I had to be at the conference at 7:00AM.

If you find yourself in Indianapolis, I highly recommend Union 50.

Union 50
620 N East Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Weekend Bites

This past weekend was full of fun food and activities. Mr. H and I were soaking it up, as I have to work the next three weekends in a row. We started off Friday evening but trying this recipe for Scallops with Spicy Curry Sauce. We adapted it by thickening the sauce with cornstarch, substituting cilantro for the parsley, adding asparagus, tomatoes and mushrooms, and we served it over quinoa instead of cous cous. I was surprised by how much we both liked the curry flavor with scallops, but it totally worked so give it a try!
On Saturday afternoon, we celebrated our friends' little guy turning one with a pool party, delicious BBQ, and a salted caramel chocolate cake from Luna Bakery & Cafe. He didn't hesitate to get right in there with his smash cake!
After a quick stop home to feed the pup and let her out, we then headed to the 49th annual Hessler Street Fair over in University Circle.
The small street was lined with vendors, food options, entertainment and a whole lot of fun people-watching. I shopped at Oceanne and picked up a gorgeous necklace. I could have easily taken home several more pieces.
We stopped and listened to the live music, which the fair is known for.
And then walked over to Coquette Patisserie, as they were featuring a Market Garden Brewery pop-up on their patio with drink and food specials. We settled for just a great bottle of white wine at one of their picnic tables, and then headed to The Black Pig for a late-night bite to eat.
Sunday's weather didn't start out great, but the skies cleared just in time for the annual Pierogi Palooza in Parma.
We rode our bikes over, and enjoyed pierogi from Mom's Pierogies for lunch. I had the classic Cheddar and Potato, an Italian with sausage, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese, and a fried Mac n' Cheese pierogi. Sour cream mandatory. 
We ended the weekend by hanging out on our front porch and then cooking a 42-day dry-aged ribeye from Saucisson, which was pretty perfect. Can I go back and do it all over again? 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Weekend Bites

I'm going to start a new series here on the blog, called Weekend Bites. Mr. H and I always find ourselves out and about in Northeast Ohio, particularly on the weekends, and sometimes there are things that we do, see, and taste that I want to share with you but they just don't fit in as their own blog post. These posts will now share a bit more about businesses we shop at, activities we do, and some delicious bites along the way. So, here's the first post in the new series...

We purposely hadn't scheduled plans for Memorial Day Weekend as we headed into it. A relaxing long holiday weekend is exactly what we needed this time of year! We decided early on that we'd both plan "surprise" dates for each other. This is something that we like to often do, and it makes "date night" even more fun. Mr. H was up first, and he planned a progressive dinner in The Flats on Saturday night.
It was a gorgeous night to be down by the water. We started at BOLD Food and Drink for appetizers. We shared a Grilled Octopus Salad that inspired some addition fun later on that weekend. Then, we wandered over to Scene Magazine's Taste of Summer event. There was live music, food stands, pop-up shops, booze, and outdoor games. We had fun spending a couple of hours just walking around and sipping on margaritas. Our last stop was at Alley Cat for oysters and entrees. The oysters were fantastic, but I was really disappointed in my Lobster Roll. The bun was over toasted, and it was basically a giant crouton that just crumbled apart when I tried to bite it.

On Monday afternoon, it was my turn to plan a date, and I decided to take us to Mr. Divot's Miniature Golf in North Royalton.
We had a good, and competitive, time on the classic course. I gave up keeping score after one hole just really kicked my butt. We then split some food for lunch on their outdoor patio. This place is a throwback, and their expansive menu is full of classic American food. They are known for their orange creamsicle swirl, so don't miss it. Mr. H can remember coming here as a kid, and the family-run business is proud to say that not much has changed.
Later that afternoon, we stopped at the new Terrestrial Brewing Company. Sometimes, you have to slow down and remember to look up, because you get views like this.
We had to head home at that point, because we had a whole octopus (thanks, Kate's Fish at the West Side Market) cooking in the sous vide waiting for us. Mr. H threw it on the grill that evening, and we served it over a lemon garlic pasta with vegetables.
It was something new for us, but a lot of fun to try and it came out pretty darn well for a first attempt! Mr. H wants to let it go a little longer next time to tenderize it a bit more.

Sadly, the relaxing and fun weekend came to an end, and reality hit the next morning. Can we go back and do it all over again? We really lucked out with the weather overall, and it was a memorable Memorial Day Weekend for us. It really feels like summer is here in Cleveland now.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

D'Agnese's Italian

Mr. H and I found ourselves in Brecksville this week for an unexpected evening errand (ongoing saga with my engagement ring/wedding band, but by the way...we love our new jeweler Bookman & Son), so we decided to grab a bite to eat in the area. We had dinner at D'Agnese's Italian for a family private party a few years back and once with Mr. H's grandma. I remember enjoying our meals both visits, but we hadn't been in since.

Located in Broadview Heights on W. Royalton Road, it's on the end of a strip of businesses and could easily be missed from its exterior. However, inside it is classic fine dining Italian with a warm and cozy atmosphere.
We chose to sit at the bar, and several items on the menu were sounding really appealing right away. A good sign. 
Unfortunately, we were both disappointed in the flavor (or lack thereof) in our meal that night. I started with a Caesar Salad ($5 half), and I did enjoy the house made croutons, oven dried tomatoes and shaved prosciutto crisps, but the dressing wasn't what I wanted. It really leaned more towards an oil-based Italian dressing.

Mr. H ordered an entree that I had my eye on as well, the Pan Seared Scallops ($23) over risotto. The scallops were cooked just fine, but overall the dish had absolutely no flavor. It was so bland that he added some salt just to give it something.
I was slightly happier with my Shrimp Carbonara ($21) with shrimp, prosciutto di parma and onions in a Romano cheese cream sauce and served over linguini.
It too, was blander than I would have liked, so some salt went a long way. But the pasta was cooked perfectly, and the shrimp were huge.

I know it's a popular place and people speak highly of it, but for the price-point I certainly expected that the food would have more flavor. Overall, it was just bland and not memorable. We also didn't get great service at the bar, and it left me with the impression that I didn't need to go back.

1100 W. Royalton Road
Broadview Heights, Ohio 44147