Monday, June 14, 2010

Chef Jam Highlights

Last night, 1,000 guests (+ me and two friends) were lucky enough to nab tickets and attend the Chef Jam 2010: Cleveland Food Rocks event before it sold out. 25 amazing chefs with artist-inspired dishes, live music from bands made up of restaurant representatives, free beer and wine, and was the best event that I've been to this year. Aside from needing more seating and trash cans, the event was well-executed and the layout seemed to work. Restaurants were scattered on two levels, with the stage on the main floor entertaining guests throughout the Rock Hall. Partnering with the Rock Hall this year was genius. It was a perfect backdrop for this event.

Although I did not get to try all of the dishes (but I did try most!), of course there were some standouts:
Zach Bruell Restaurants: TP’s Smoked Pork Butt with beer-braised collard greens, hoppin’ john, and black pepper cornbread. The pork butt was moist, tender, and well-seasoned. I loved the Southern-inspired sides, including a refreshing cucumber salad.

Bar Cento: Mushroom Grilled Cheese. The cheese and mushroom filling in this dish was rich and gooey, and the grilled bread had a great crunch to it.

Melange: Watermelon “Bad to the Bone” Ribs, Effervescent Chicken Wings. I've had these ribs before, but they were spot-on last night. Fell right off of the bone and had a nice subtle heat to them. The chicken wings were incredibly crispy (in a good way) and quite spicy. Being the spice lover that I am- I enjoyed them, but they were a little too hot for my friends.

fire: assorted chocolate truffles. Enough said. My favorite was the dark chocolate coconut.

Menu6: Wild Mushroom Rice Paper Rolls. Light and fresh rolled greens and mushrooms with a great soy dipping sauce.

Sushi Rock: Sushi Surf & Turf. A fresh lobster California roll served with a side of skewered beef tenderloin. I'm not sure what the sauce was on the beef, but it was very good.

Not only was most of the food great, but the bands were really impressive. The Rare Birds from Greenhouse Tavern, Evil Eye from Happy Dog (pictured above), Melange from Melange, and Cream of the Crop featuring special guest Todd Rundgren topped off the night. Completely stuffed and rocked out, I finally headed home with a happy belly and still tapping my toes. As soon as tickets are on sale next year, they can count on my purchase!


Anonymous said...

Sounds amazing and I'm drooling on my desk!

Ben said...

Sounds like a lot of fun, with really good food. We sort of wanted to go but went camping Friday and Saturday night and knew we'd be exhausted.

We've never been to Melange and it's only 10 minutes from us. We should definitely try it, at least for those ribs.

Bite Buff said...

Ben- you two should check Melange out for sure. I LOVE the two executive chefs Matt and Adam. I wasn't impressed with the decor inside, but the patio is decent. Give the goat cheese fondue a try- it's my favorite!

Ben said...

Katrina: We're now committed as I just got a coupon. The goat cheese fondue does sound really good!