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.

D'Agnese's
1100 W. Royalton Road
Broadview Heights, Ohio 44147
440-237-7378

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Old Brooklyn Cheese Co. Open House

There are lots of great things to do this Memorial Day Weekend around Cleveland. Why not one cheese-tastic event? Head over to Old Brooklyn Cheese Co. on Pearl Road on Saturday between 11AM - 3PM for their open house, featuring samples, purveyors on-site, and a gift for the first 50 people through the door.
This has become one of our favorite spots in Old Brooklyn (sadly for my waistline), and you should come check it out this Saturday if you haven't had a chance to pop in yet.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Lakehouse Inn and Winery Visit

Today I'm sharing with you a recent experience that I was fortunate to have at The Lakehouse Inn & Winery at Geneva-on-the-Lake. Settle in, because it's a long post, but I couldn't help it. We did a lot, and it's all worth sharing!
This inn, winery, restaurant, and spa brought out a select group of media representatives and social media influencers (and Mr. H was able to join for a small fee!) to not only check out their quaint and gorgeous lake setting...
...but also to get a taste of the entire area, and what is has to offer year-round. The Fagnilli family (owners since May 2000) prides themselves on their ability to highlight Ashtabula County's four seasons through an unforgettable local experience with full service on site and a deep knowledge and history of the area. After touring the Inn's property, we headed out for a walking tour of the historic Ashtabula Harbor.
I was immediately "at home" by the lakefront, and was enjoying the cooler temperature and breeze off the lake more than others. I'd love to spend more time walking around there, taking in the shops, restaurants, river, and bridges. I couldn't help but stop and look up at the stunning spring trees too.
I became quite obsessed with the covered bridges in the area (thanks, Dad) and took a driving tour of my own to check out three in the county.
Seriously, how cool are these?
Then, it was back to the property for lunch at Crosswinds Grille.
We were treated to some of their pizzas. The crust is made in-house, and it was a really great pizza with plenty of topping choices to please everyone.
Of course, we had to fit in tasting some of their own wine as well.
After lunch, we headed out with the Fagnilli family for some winery tours in the area. It was my first time at Kosicek Vineyards, and I enjoyed several of their wine samples enough to come home with two bottles!
After sampling wine and being out and about for hours, we were fully prepared for the five-course meal ahead of us back at Crosswinds Grille.
Featuring bread made in-house and each course filled with produce and meats that are in-season and sourced from local farms. The Fagnillis strive to redefine "farm-to-table" and what it means to shop local. Nathan Fagnilli is the Executive Chef at Crosswinds, and he's putting out some great food and has a clear passion for what he's doing.
All of it was delicious, and beautifully plated, but highlights for me were the shrimp and grits and the beef navel (ate like pork belly). An added treat was that two of the local farmers that the restaurant sources from were invited to join us for the meal, Red Basket Farm and Miller Livestock Co. We got to hear all about their farms, and the relationship that they have with Crosswinds Grille and the Fagnilli family.

The meal included wine pairings from The Lakehouse Winery, so I was ready to hit the hay after dinner. Mr. H and I had a cute beach-themed room in the main house.
After breakfast the next morning, it was time to check out the Spa on site. I enjoyed a manicure, and it was honestly the longest-lasting professional manicure that I can remember having. I got over a full week out of it, and I NEVER get more than a day or two with regular polish without getting chips in it.
Our final excursion for the trip was a behind-the-scenes tour of The Lakehouse Inn Winery production facility and Na*Kyrsie Meats, just a few miles from the Inn. Na*Kyrsie Meats was Nate's dream, and he's got quite the operation going on now.
It was very cool to see, and hear about, their process and the styles of wine that they are producing. It's a huge range, and we got to sample quite a few. Lucky us!
Nate was in his element at the butcher shop.
He brought out different pigs so we could literally see the difference in type and how what farm they were raised on impacts the meat.
We saw the "money room" where all the dried and cured meats reside. I jumped right in there.
Then, we got to try some! This was only a small section of the platter of meats we got to sample.
Mr. H and I took home several for later enjoyment. Good news for everyone in the Cleveland area...you can pick up their meats and Lakehouse Inn & Winery wines at the Tremont Farmers Market this summer. They also have a Retail Monthly Meat Sale in Geneva, so check that out if you're in the area.

The trip left me wanting to coordinate a couples' trip out for an overnight stay and winery tour (and some spa services slipped in for the ladies!). They have bed & breakfast rooms available with and without a jacuzzi, cottages, and a beach house. The property, and entire area, is peaceful and quaint, and just a short drive away for us. With the restaurant, small batch production winery, and full service day spa on site, you won't need to leave, but you'll want to because the area truly offers a lot of great things year-round. I was surprised, I admit, but it left a lasting impression and I'd like to go back soon.

The Lakehouse Inn & Winery
5653 Lake Road East
Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041

Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media trip at The Lakehouse Inn and Winery. All food, beverage, accommodations, and spa treatments were complimentary. We paid a small fee to have Mr. H attend with me. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Event Recap: Silver Spoon Awards 2017

The 23rd annual Cleveland Magazine's Silver Spoon Awards Party last week was one for the books. Memorable in many ways, starting with the venue. I couldn't attend last year, so it was my first time seeing the event (and ever visiting) in the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum. There was plenty of good food and drink flowing, but the museum made it just as fun to walk around and look at the exhibits.
Next time, I'm taking a twirl on the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel.
I mentioned the food. This event is always one of the best of the year, because the restaurant participants have been nominated as the best of the best in their categories. We enjoyed dishes from some of our long-time favorites, like Salmon Tartar from Zack Bruell Restaurant Group (top right), Sacchetti from Luca, and Soft Pretzel Bread Pudding with Stadium Mustard Ice Cream (bottom left) from Graffiti: A Social Kitchen.
We always get to try new-to-us restaurants at this event too, like Pub Frato's tacos (top left). Trentina's mushroom terrarium (bottom right) was playful and showcased the incredible range of technique the restaurant is known for.

Another highlight for me was finally trying food from Michael's Symon's Mabel's BBQ in the VIP Lounge. The rub on the ribs was outstanding, and the bourbon cocktail was enjoyed by Mr. H.
This is one event that you truly can't try everything at, so we had to pick and choose. We wouldn't miss Toast (or Salt+ next to it).
And I loved the Escargot from EDWINS.
The night ended for us with two big wins in the silent auction, and participating in singing Happy Birthday to my buddy Adam Bostwick of Cork & Cleaver, Graffiti, and Polpetta. Thanks for feeding us well on your birthday!
The event benefited the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio. Event proceeds fund critical arthritis research conducted at local institutions in Northeastern Ohio, as well as support local programs and service for the nearly 1.3 million Northeast Ohioans with arthritis.

Disclosure: I was provided with two general admission to give away, and two VIP tickets to attend, in exchange for two posts. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

One Eleven Bistro in Medina

An outing with the CLE Dinner Club last week took me out to Medina again. This time, it was to One Eleven Bistro.

It's a very comfortable and casual atmosphere, with a focus on local ingredients and Chef Anthony Scalaro's sophisticated, gorgeously plated, and diverse menu. I was quite smitten with the stunning West Side Market canvas on a back wall. They really do love to highlight Ohio, and feature one week every month that crafts a special menu around one locally grown produce item. They always seem to be hosting fun events and themed menus, so check it out.

For our group, we had a special four-course menu.

Duck Confit Flatbread with a cherry gastrique, candied walnuts and crumbled bleu.
A touch dry for me, this was my least favorite course, but it was still enjoyable. The combination of duck, a sweet element, and bleu cheese always works, in my opinion.

Local Greens with dried fruits, crispy root vegetables, and a raspberry vinaigrette.
Which ended up being my favorite course of the night. I wanted to bottle that dressing, and loved the technique of frying the beets and getting them not a bit greasy. It added a great crunchy texture to the salad, and Chef Scalaro talked us through how to do it at home.

Seared Pork Tenderloin with creamed corn, smashed yukons, pepper relish and cuitlacoche.

Another highlight in the meal, this dish was simple but interesting, thanks to the relish and cuitlacoche.

Chocolate Mousse Tart with cocoa nib, pistachio, coffee syrup and caramel tuile (tuile not pictured).
This meal left me wanting to drive back to Medina for another visit. That's always a good sign.

One Eleven Bistro
2736 Medina Road
Medina, OH 44256
330-952-1122