Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hitting the Pause Button

Sometimes I really crave a "Pause" button on life. When it feels too busy, too stressful, or too overwhelming...I want to hit "Pause" on adult life and go escape to a beach or something...

Wishful thinking, I know.

While there is no "Pause" button, I can certainly find areas of my life that can be put on hold when I have to focus time and energy on other things. This blog is about to be one of those areas.

You'll still hear from me. I already have some recent dining adventures to share with you, and there are sure to be more in the near future. However, I may not be posting as regularly here for a bit.

Because..."R" and I are tying the knot! In just 8 weeks time. Yes, I'm going to plan and throw a wedding within that crazy time frame. If anyone can do it, I can. I throw large events for a living. But, that doesn't mean that it won't be stressful, and that there isn't A LOT to do in the short amount of time.

No, I am not pregnant, and this is not a shotgun wedding. Hehehe. 

So, while I bury my nose in wedding planning, please excuse the "Pause" over here on the blog.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Urban Farmer's Brunch

If you're looking for a nice brunch spot in Downtown Cleveland, they are few and far between. But, Urban Farmer Cleveland's Steakhouse is trying to change that. On Saturdays (bonus!) and Sundays, from 8AM - 3PM, they are offering brunch.

The first thing that peaked my interest was the Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary bar. I did not partake that day, and instead enjoyed a mimosa, but here it is:
I think it could use a few more hot sauce options, but it did have plenty of house-pickled items to choose from.

The menu proved to be full of tempting items, and it was kind of hard to choose. "R" ended up with the Red Flannel Hash with corned beef, beets, fingerling, ramps, and poached eggs.
Tasty, and fun way to incorporate beets into brunch food, but the portion was small for the price and the corned beef was hard to find.

I went with the Cheddar Bacon Biscuit with a fried egg, sausage gravy, crispy chicken leg, and lemon marmalade.
It also wasn't cheap, but the portion size was generous and I left very full. The top part of the biscuit was almost unnecessary. I put it aside, and schmeared some jam on it.

The brunch was certainly a treat, and it's nice to see a good option in Downtown now. Just be prepared to splurge for this meal. Not unlike their dinner service. However, I think Urban Farmer is a great addition to Downtown, and we're already looking forward to a return visit with friends for dinner next week!

Any Downtown brunch locations that you enjoy? 

Urban Farmer Cleveland's Steakhouse
1325 East 6th Street
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 771-7707

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pupuseria Katarina

As we've been exploring Old Brooklyn on our bicycles, we had one stop that was on the "must-try" list. After reading about Pupuseria Katarina in Scene, I was dying to try it. It was located just minutes from our house, and I'd never had Salvadoran food before.
The restaurant sits back from the road, nestled in between a couple of other run-down looking businesses. Plenty of parking in the lot in front of the restaurant. It is about a half mile north of the Broadview-Brookpark intersection.

The small place was clean and inviting inside, with music playing, flowers on the table, and a warm greeting when we entered.
We were left to browse the menu, and plenty of it sounded tempting.
But, we were there to try the griddle-fried pupusa. They are inch-thick corn pancakes stuffed with various fillings and fried on a griddle. They are each just $2. We were stuffed after splitting six of them, and walked away with a bill + tip for under $20. Dining Deals Alert!
We tried the Garlic, Jalapeno, Cheese, Pork, Spinach, and a specialty one that included a native flower (I forgot the name, sorry!). Pupusas are always made and fried to order, and served with crunchy cabbage slaw and a thin, mild tomato sauce. We told our server that we like spicy things, so he provided us with a jar of pickled vegetables that had some kick to it. The only one that we didn't care for was the Jalapeno. It was packed with fresh, diced jalapeno, and the spice level overwhelmed everything else. 

What a find in our neighborhood! A great spot for unique, comforting food at a steal of a price. 

4848 Broadview Rd. 
Cleveland, OH
216-331-6624

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cookie Love Bake Shop

One thing that I truly love about our area is that there seems to always be great businesses popping up, related to food. From food trucks, Randy's Pickles, meats from Saucisson, and other products showing up at farmers markets and from the Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen...there's always something to discover and taste.

Today, I want to tell you about Cookie Love Bake Shop. It is a home-based bakery, located in Hudson, Ohio that specializes in fresh-baked gourmet cookies. Serving Summit, Portage, and Cuyahoga counties, they are delivering. Which is a great way to send a treat to someone, or to have baked goods just magically appear at your door!

The owner contacted me by email, to see if I'd be interested in sampling her cookies. "R" would have killed me if I had turned down this offer, so just a few days later, a box of a dozen cookies arrived.
The box included Chocolate Chip, Fudge Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Oatmeal Raisin.
All four kinds were very soft, and two had just a sprinkle of sea salt on them (which I loved!).

"R" and I were in agreement that the traditional Chocolate Chip were our favorite. This is their signature cookie. The Fudge Chocolate Chip wasn't too far behind. A rich, dark cookie with two types of chips, it definitely reminded me of a brownie. The Oatmeal cookie was the softest of the four. I'm not a huge raisin fan, so the golden raisins weren't really my thing, but the cookie itself had hints of delicious cinnamon and spices in it. The Peanut Butter cookie had three types of chips, which was cool. It was packed with peanut butter flavor, but ended up being my least favorite of the four. The texture was a tad gritty, and it was a little too sweet for me to want to finish it.

I think a true sign of how these cookies were is the fact that the entire dozen was gone just 24 hours later. I think we were even down to 3 within 12 hours. I live with a cookie monster, and he happily indulged in these.

If you need cookies for an upcoming party, to send as a gift, or you're just craving something home-made and sweet that you don't have to bake yourself, check out Cookie Love Bake Shop. They have a great website, and are pretty active on social media.

All cookies are $8.95 for a dozen, and there is a three dozen minimum order. Small delivery fee does apply. You can place orders by phone now, but online ordering is coming soon.

Cookie Love Bake Shop
216-373-5903

Disclosure: I was provided with one dozen cookies to sample, but was not asked to blog about it. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Recipe: Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

With the cooler temperatures of fall coming in, the squash are starting to pop up at farmers markets and in our Fresh Fork bag. We use them in many ways, but I do love to stuff them. They make a great vehicle for all kinds of mixtures, and are a healthier way to eat some of your favorite flavors.

Take this recipe, for example. All of the great American-Mexican flavor, without the calories of tortillas, refried beans, and tons of sauce and cheese. This recipe was adapted from Closet Cooking.

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash (Total Time: 45 minutes; Servings: 4)

Ingredients-
2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeded
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
2 cups enchilada sauce
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup corn
1/3 cup cilantro, torn
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp Sriracha or other hot sauce

Directions-
Brush the inner flesh of the spaghetti squash with oil, season with salt and pepper.
Roast, skin side up, in a preheated 400 degrees oven until tender, about 30 minutes.
Mix the chicken, enchilada sauce, beans, corn, cilantro, and Sriracha.
Divide the mixture between the spaghetti squash, pressing into the squash's cavity.
Top with the cheese.
Broil in the oven until the cheese has melted and turned a light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
Serve.
This looks deceptively bad for you, since it has that bubbly cheese on top, but it's not! It didn't taste nearly as "healthy" as it was.

Do you have a favorite recipe for stuffing squash?