Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bobby Flay, I Blame You

I blame the Food Network's Throwdown with Bobby Flay. A few weeks ago, "R" and I were absentmindedly watching the episode where Bobby travels to Chicago to challenge the "master" of the Chicago deep dish pizza. As we watched the Throwdown, our mouths watered and bellies rumbled. Our dinner plans were thrown out the window, and "R" hopped onto the computer in search of true Chicago-style pizza here in Cleveland.

Being from Cleveland, "R" has traveled to Chicago and had "the real thing". I, on the other hand, have only experienced thick crust pizza that merely calls itself Chicago-style deep dish. When we all know that it's not. The online search didn't take long, and he stumble upon Danny Boy's Pizza in Rocky River.We literally jumped in the car and took off. I blame Bobby.

While I know that this is still probably not "true" Chicago deep dish, I think that it came pretty darn close. Take a look...As done on the Throwdown, the formation of the crust was a match, a layer of pressed sausage lined the crust (with a little sauce), and then it was topped with cheese before a final layer of sauce. Clean and simple. My only complaint is that the sausage had clearly been pre-cooked and browned up before it joined the other ingredients, because it was a little tough and hard to cut through. Also, our pizza arrived way too quickly for true Chicago deep dish to cook (typically around 40 minutes). did the trick and satisfied our craving. I am still a little salty with myself that we didn't order a plate of their fresh breadsticks. They looked great, and almost every table had them. The atmosphere was fun and family-friendly, and clearly very popular. Thanks for the idea, Bobby. I still blame you.

Danny Boy's Pizza
20251 Lake Road
Rocky River, OH
(440) 333-9595

Danny Boy's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 28, 2011

C-Town Chows Down

Yesterday a "convoy of Cleveland's finest food trucks" gathered at Lincoln Park in Tremont for the first C-Town Chow Down. Clevelanders could enjoy some tasty treats from our favorite food trucks (including Dim and Den Sum), and be introduced to some new trucks (like Umami Moto) hitting the scene this spring.
The event was advertised as 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., but I had a sneaking suspicion that we should get there early on. The RSVP list on their Facebook page was over 1,300 people alone! So we headed up shortly after 11, and quickly jumped in one of the already growing lines. Our first stop was StrEat Mobile Bistro, who were celebrating their official launch date yesterday. Their menu jumped out at me right away, and I wasn't even sure what I wanted as I stood in line and waited.
Our wait was about 30 minutes, and as we crawled towards the truck I decided on the Eggs Benedict Roll and the Buffalo Mac n' Cheese. StrEat handled the logistics of the event very well. Orders were taken as quickly as possible, delays on certain menu items were communicated, and the food came out piping hot with only about a 10 minute wait after ordering. With the egg roll packing the full breakfast experience into one roll (although very greasy), and the mac n' cheese a subtle spicy hit...I was off to a nice start.Then we cruised around and checked out a few of the other trucks without jumping in line.Chef Rocco Whalen from Fahrenheit was there serving up some specialty items out of his truck. His lamb sliders peaked my interest, but Rocco sold out quickly and we watched him pull away as we stood in our next line.
Which was the ever-popular Dim and Den Sum food truck...the pioneers of the Cleveland food truck scene. They had done an excellent job of pre-promoting their coffee braised short rib slider, and my mouth was watering just thinking about it. Alas, when we finally arrived at the order window around 1:00 p.m.- they were SOLD OUT of the slider (no surprise there, I knew it would happen). I wasn't that hungry when we placed our order, so I settled on the Chicken Confit Wings with Asian flavors. We moved over to the food window line, and watched all of the other items sell out as we waited 1.5 hours for our order to come up.Good for them, but man were people disappointed to not be able to try their food! Not to mention the growing discomfort and hostility in the waiting line. One woman was complaining so loudly, and it was never ending, that a fellow diner finally asked her to shut her trap. The crowd cheered, and she walked away without her order. Not quite the atmosphere that I was hoping for at this festival, but entertaining at the very least. I do have to mention that my Chicken Confit was not worth the wait (very fatty and I didn't like the flavor of the sauce), and I was hungry enough by the time we got our food that I should have ordered the famous PBLT or the Kobe Beef Burger. Oops! I heard very good things about both of these items.

So, overall we enjoyed a fun and unique experience. Even though it was freezing cold...the sun was out, spirits were high, live music entertained us from afar, and Cleveland proved its point once again what a truly amazing culinary scene we have. Let's just hope that there are plans in the works for a future Chow Down, with a few logistical tweaks!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Emerging Chefs ThEATrical Event

Those of us that attended last night's Emerging Chefs dinner at the 14th Street Theater didn't quite experience what we had thought was in store for us. The event turned into something different, something so much more...and I still sit here in amazement and quite humbled the next morning.

The film-inspired muti-course meal was the brainchild of Chef Adam Bostwick from Melange. He has been planning for months- selecting the movies and clips to base the courses on, preparing the menu, and gearing up for what promised to be a great culinary event highlighting his talent and creativity in the kitchen. Sadly, Adam's family experienced a great loss within just 24 hours of the event. This is where the event turned from not just a wonderful meal, but a display of camaraderie and brotherhood that proves to us all how truly amazing our area's chefs are- both in and out of the kitchen.

Chefs Matt Creighton, Jeff Jarrett, Brian Okin, Brian Doyle, Chris Quinn, Kimberly McCune, and Chris McCarthy all stepped forward and said, "I will do this for Adam." Co-Executive Chef at Melange, Matt Creighton, rose to the occasion and played the role of executive chef for the event. He privately told me that he had just seen the menu for the first time at 11:00 a.m. that morning, but you never would have known! These chefs put aside their personal lives, many left their own restaurant's kitchens for the night, and all gathered to put out a very memorable meal and one that certainly would have made Chef Adam proud.

So let's get into the food. The first course, or "The Preview" was based on the movie 9 1/2 Weeks and the famous refrigerator scene. It featured a Hard Boiled Egg, Tuna and Strawberry Tartar, and Kalamata Olive. The drink was a Strawberry Jalapeno Shooter.The dish was light with clean flavors, and a nice fresh start to the meal. The champagne-based drink didn't have quite the jalapeno kick that I had hoped for. Now we moved on to the Feature Presentations. The first dish was Cleveland Shrimp Gumbo, Shrimp Pierogi, and Crisp Fried Shrimp, inspired by the well-known Forrest Gump movie.The dish had great texture, and was a fun play on Bubba's lengthy list of ways to prepare shrimp, but it could have used a little salt in my opinion. The cocktail was an Adult Doctor Pepper, which several diners identified as their favorite drink of the evening. As you can see below, with each course we got to watch the movie clip that influenced each dish/cocktail combination. It gave us insight into Chef Adam's thought process, and it was just plain fun. It already motivated me to add some flicks to my Netflix list.
Next up was The Social Network/Meet Joe Black- featuring Chicken Stuffed Chicken, Thai Peanut Butter Sauce, and Peanut Salad served with a Stella Artois with a Salted Peanut Rim.I enjoyed this dish when all of the components were paired together in one bite. But I am always a sucker for Thai and peanut flavors. At this point, the event then took an "Intermission" and served us a cocktail interpretation of Sour Patch Kids. This was my personal favorite drink of the night! Then we moved on to the "Royale' With Cheese" Short Rib Pave with Tomato and Kornichon Bruschetta, Crispy Onion, Ketchup Broth, Aged Cheddar, and "Big Kahuna Fries". This course was a reflection of the movie Pulp Fiction, and was paired with a "8 Dollar Milk Shake". It was my favorite dish, giving guests "the sensation of biting into a cheeseburger," as Chef Adam calls it. As usual, the meat was tender and prepared well. These guys at Melange certainly know how to slow cook something to perfection!The last course, dessert course, was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The dish was a Blueberry Panna Cotta with Gobstopper Brittle. This white-chocolate brittle was the highlight of the whole night for me. It took me by surprise since I don't usually like white chocolate, and the combination of sweet and sour flavors won me over. Hey Melange- find a way to work this into your regular menu! Served with the course was our own personal Fizzy Lifting Drink, and it was a close second to my favorite drink of the evening.Phew, that was a long post but I couldn't stand to leave anything out. All of the food and drink were memorable, but the true star(s) of the evening were the chefs and their dedication to quickly help a friend in need. I think it left all of us feeling good about our community, and the delicious cannoli that was given to us as we left didn't hurt either!Cheers to all of the chefs that stepped forward last night, and I know that I can speak for everyone when I say that our thoughts are with Chef Adam and his family. But this event clearly left me wanting more, and I already can't wait to go back for another Emerging Chefs event. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter for updates, and learn more about the group on their website linked above.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Attention Sweet Tooth: Go check out Sweet Moses!

Yikes, this has been one crazy week for me. I apologize for the lack of posting. It certainly isn't due to lack of content! I have some other fun posts coming up, including a review of tonight's Emerging Chefs dinner featuring one of my favorite chefs. It's 8:00 a.m. and I'm already dreaming of the film-inspired meal.

Last weekend was a whirlwind of fun, laughter, beer (St. Patrick's Day), some highs (Syracuse winning on Friday), some lows (Syracuse losing on Sunday), and some sweet treats. Cleveland Foodie invited several bloggers and other social media hounds to visit Sweet Moses- Detroit Avenue's newest addition- for a media preview party on Saturday. This traditional soda fountain and treat shop will bring back good memories for some, and promises to please all. My brother and his girlfriend were in town for the long weekend, so I dragged them and "R" over there after a delicious, and hearty, brunch at Latitude 41.

We were greeted with samples of fudge and English toffee upon entering the door- what a way to be welcomed. We then started to check out their impressive cases filled with all sorts of treats for your sweet tooth.
I have to go back and try the Ritz Bits!The cookies were giant!A variety of peanut butter sandwiches will be featured at the shop, including: Peanut Butter and Bacon, Peanut Butter and Marshmellow Cream, and Peanut Butter and Nutella.
Then we were offered the opportunity to order from a reduced menu. I decided to keep it simple after our large meal at Latitude, so I opted for a scoop of their homemade Belgium Chocolate ice cream. But when I was given the choice of adding chocolate sauce, whip cream, and nuts...I couldn't refuse.The ice cream itself was smooth and creamy, not at all too hard for this frozen custard loving girl. I was thoroughly pleased. Although when I ordered the peanuts I had assumed that they would be crushed, and I was a little disappointed in the full Spanish peanuts. My bad.

"R" is an ice cream-aholic. No joke. So by the time we finally walked out of there, I knew that we'd be back. The official opening is this weekend, so go check out this fabulous addition to the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood! It's here just in time for the warm weather.

Sweet Moses
6800 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
Phone (216) 651-2202

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Emerging Chefs, Dinner in the Dark...and Twestival!

There are some great foodie and social media events happening this week in Cleveland. I myself, will be attending Emerging Chefs' event ThEATtrical featuring Chef Adam Bostwick from Melange on Thursday. He's one of my favorite chefs in Cleveland, and I couldn't resist the film-inspired theme this month. Also, the latest Dinner in the Dark installment is taking place on Monday the 21st at Bistro on Lincoln Park. Tickets for both events are dwindling fast!

But this post is really about a great mash-up event for foodies and social media mavens alike...Twestival.This Thursday, March 24th, Twestival Cleveland will host an extended happy hour from 5 - 9 p.m. at AMP 150 in the Cleveland Airport Marriott (4277 West 150th Street). The fundraiser will feature food and drink specials from the innovative farm-to-table restaurant as well as a Chinese Auction.

Twestival Cleveland joins other cities across the globe who will use social media for social good on March 24, 2011. Twestival is a one day Twitter Festival where people meet offline to host fundraisers for local charities. 100% of the tickets and funds raised at each Twestival go to the local charity, and organizers have selected We Run This City Youth Marathon Program.

We Run This City is a collaboration between the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. With the help of We Run This City, students from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District are taught how to set and achieve goals as they prepare to run in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon on May 15th.

Admission for Twestival Cleveland will be a $10 donation to We Run This City. These tickets can be purchased here.

All proceeds from tickets, the Chinese Auction and the sale of event t-shirts designed by C.L.E. Clothing Co. will support We Run This City. AMP 150's Chef Ellis Cooley will also design a special menu for the happy hour with a portion of those sales going to the youth marathon program.

For more information, visit, follow @TwestivalCLE on Twitter and Twestival Cleveland on Facebook.

What events will you be attending this week? Events such as these are just a few of the many reasons why I love this city so darn much. How do you choose? Is anyone attempting to attend them all? Go out and support some of our city's best chefs, great charities, and join your fellow Clevelanders in some great fun. Hope to see you there!

SOURCE: Twestival Cleveland

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

GNO and a Winner!

Let's pick a winner for my Blogiversary gift certificate giveaway... assisted, and a big congratulations goes to...Alana! I hope that you enjoy the $25 gift certificate to D'Vine. Email or DM me on Twitter with your address, and I'll drop it in the mail. Thank you to everyone that entered, and for all of the kind words about my blog turning 2. It's been an amazing year, and I've loved sharing it with all of you.

Now on to the regularly scheduled post:

Last Friday was Girls' Night Out with some of my favorite ladies. A plan was made to start with dinner and drinks at Market in Rocky River.
This was my second visit to Market, and I wasn't too thrilled with my meal the first time so I was looking forward to giving it another shot. I (try to) always believe in second chances. While the company was fantastic, I still left that night feeling underwhelmed by the food and service and annoyed at how loud it is in the main dining area. Unless someone else is planning, I think that this was my last trip there to dine. It just isn't for me. This statement makes me feel old, but I just prefer to have a quieter, more intimate setting when dining with friends or "R". If I wanted to shout to my friends to be heard, then we would have gone straight to a bar or club. I blame it on the high ceilings and wood interior. It just doesn't make for great acoustics.

But on to the food...We started with an order of the Pretzel Crusted Pickle Chips- dill pickle slices, pretzel crust and homemade French onion dip ($9). I had shared an order of these last visit, and they were just as good (if not better) this time. The tangy pickle with the crunch of the pretzel crust is delicious. We also shared the Salsa Flight- mango salsa, pineapple salsa, sweet corn salsa served with fresh tortilla chips ($8). All were decent, but kind of typical.For my entree, I ordered the Short Ribs- Szechaun braised shortribs, wasabi mashed potatoes, and house veggies ($21).
Our server had suggested this dish once I narrowed my options down to two, so I went with it. The meat itself was tender and didn't require much use of my knife, but they were much fattier than recent shortribs that I've had at other restaurants. I've totally been on a shortribs kick lately. So this meant that I had to inspect and tear away several large pieces of fat before really digging in. Yuck. The house veggie of the night was green beans, which were cooked well. The slight crunch added great texture to the dish. But then there were the wasabi mashed potatoes. I am a big fan of spice and heat, and love wasabi with my I thought, "Why not- this sounds interesting" when I ordered. Well, wasabi can be easily overdone since it is such a powerful flavor, and in my opinion there was just too much punch in the potatoes for them to be truly enjoyable. I should have known better.

Overall, this trip was better than the first in terms of food (but still not great). But I still think they have a ways to go on the restaurant side of things. Both times that I have dined there the service has been pretty bad. Our server this trip left us alone with the menus for far too long, and once our meals were finished the dirty plates didn't disappear for about 15 minutes. Even as the restaurant traffic significantly thinned, we felt a little neglected. There really should be no excuse at that point.

Finally, we paid and then high-tailed it to Around the Corner for some drinks, laughs, a Cleveland Snookie sighting, and even some booty-shaking (which resulted in free shots- thanks, "A"). Another fantastic Girls' Night Out for the books!Market
1137 Linda Street
Rocky River, Ohio 44116
(440) 799-4292

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy Blogiversary!

Yup, my blog turns 2 today! What a crazy, fun, and delicious ride it has been. This year in particular has been filled with yummy meals, bloggers turned real-life friends, amazing food and wine events, an interview with Iron Chef Michael Symon, test driving a Chevy Cruze for a month, media previews of new restaurants, fun giveaways, and so much more...

So, in celebration I wanted to give my readers something. How does a $25 gift certificate to D'Vine Wine Bar sound? It's one of my favorite wine bars, and is a great downtown spot to hit for a night out. Umm, hello cheese plate.

Just leave a comment below to enter the giveaway. If you are looking for more ways to win, then you can also tweet "I want to win a $25 gift certificate from @BiteBuff at" on Twitter for a second entry. I'll tally them up and pick one winner on Wednesday.
Happy Blogiversary, readers! Thanks for taking part in a great year for the blog. Cheers to Year #3- I can't wait to see what it brings. I've already got some things up my sleeve...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

St. Patrick's Day in Cleveland

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, and I will FINALLY be celebrating in true Cleveland-style this year. I have been living in this city for three years now with plans to take off of work and hit the town hard every year, but something has always stood in my way. Knock on wood...but I am doing it this year! My brother and his girlfriend are coming to town (22 year-old college seniors, oh poor liver...will I be cool enough to "last"?), T-shirts are ordered, green beads are waiting, and plans have been made. Get ready, Downtown Cleveland- I've got 4 St. Patrick's Days to squeeze into 1!
In honor of the impending "holiday", I wanted to share some of the events and specials happening around town:
  • St. Patrick's Day at the Greenhouse Tavern- Running specials all day on the patio starting at 7AM. Featuring Victory Brewing Company and a Greenhouse Tavern Lager, with their famous chicken wings and street frites. T-shirts available for purchase.

  • Flannery's Pub on East 4th Street will open its doors at 5:30AM. The celebration will include bag pipers, face painters, Irish dancers, and live entertainment from The Lucky Ones.

  • Blind Pig St. Patrick's Day celebration includes $3 green beer pints all day, Mike "Mad Dog" Adams live at 2PM, Rover's Morning Glory radio crew, and live music from Radio Tokyo at 6:30PM.

  • John Q's for St. Paddy's Day- Located right on the parade route, they are offering food specials all day long including: corned beef sandwiches, Irish stew, limerick soup, and a corned beef and cabbage entree.

  • City Square Steakhouse Celebrates St. Patrick's Day with Guinness beer cheese soup, Baileys cheesecake, green beer, and Irish coffee.

  • Nighttown Celebrates St. Patrick's Day with two show times for The New Barleycorn, Irish-inspired fare, and a special performance.

  • St. Patrick's on Zinc's Patio- Restaurant will be grilling corned beef sliders and pulled pork sliders for just $7.

  • Pickwick and Frolic open their doors at 5AM with drink specials, all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet from 7-10:30AM, and live entertainment.

These are only a few of the fantastic Irish-inspired events and specials happening around Cleveland. What will you be doing to "celebrate"? I'm not Irish, but my liver is.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Broccoli, Beef, and Brambleberry Crisp...Oh My!

Last weekend, "R's" mom took us out to Miles Farmers Market in Solon for the first time. For many years, she lived in the area and grew to love the market. Since we live very close to the famous West Side Market, we frequent it often and love shopping for our produce, meats, and other specialty items there. Farmers markets can be just plain fun to experience, and at least I walk away feeling better about where my dollars were spent and the quality of the products that I am purchasing. Needless to say, I was looking forward to checking out the Miles Market.We had a great time exploring, and it did remind me a smaller and slightly less packed West Side Market. Although some of the ladies shopping did get a bit crazy with their carts, and there seemed to be no clear path for shoppers to follow. Check out some of the things we saw:

An expansive deli area...
"R" came away with freshly sliced ham, roast beef (on sale), and some Havarti cheese for sandwiches during the week.

A seafood bar...
Filled with all sorts of under-the-sea goodies. We picked up a crab salad that was great with crackers as a snack!

The produce area was large, and we picked up all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables including green beans, asparagus, and broccoli. I couldn't wait to get home and have some. We hadn't been grocery shopping in two weeks, so my body was craving some fresh produce. We also hit up the bakery area for muffins. "R's" mom swears by their muffins, and the Banana Nut muffins that I purchased made for a great breakfast the following two days. They were a perfect size, and very moist even days later.

But the highlight of the trip had to be this...Yup, Miles Farmers Market stocks Jeni's ice cream. Jeni's is made in Columbus, and a shop is opening soon in Chagrin Falls. Cleveland ice cream fanatics LOVE Jeni's and several of our area restaurants serve their product. However, purchasing it in a store around here is hard to do. When we first approached the freezer section of Miles, there were only three pints of ice cream left on the shelves. As we stood there and tried to choose, the lovely cart full of new pints showed up that is pictured above. We were very happy! "R" absolutely loves ice cream, and he's never had Jeni's. We selected the Brambleberry Crisp- Ohio blackberries and black raspberries comprise a striking, rich-colored "Brambleberry" jam that's mixed with black currants and oven-toasted oat streusel and layered throughout honey vanilla bean ice cream. De--lish--us! I loved the flavor and texture of the added oats. "R" is now officially hooked.

It was a fun experience, and I suggest that you get out to Miles Farmers Market or the West Side Market one weekend. Enjoy browsing the aisles and aisles of goodies!

Miles Farmers Market
28560 Miles Road
Solon, OH 44139-1184
(440) 248-5222

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dining at O'Malley's Rockcliff

Last Saturday, "R" and I headed out to Avon Lake to attend a friend's annual family bowling party. We go for the fun, friends, great jams on the loudspeakers, beers, and of course most importantly- to laugh at how horrible I am at bowling. Always a great time. But it has become tradition that "R" and I pick a restaurant in the area to dine at prior to the party. We don't get out that way very often, so it's a great opportunity to do so. Last year, we selected Michael Symon's Bar Symon (which has since closed). At a charity event in 2010, "R" won a gift certificate to O'Malley's that easily made the decision for us this year.

I tweeted that we were headed there and asked for menu suggestions and feedback. Almost all of you that tweeted back said that the food was good, but to expect the average age of the diners to be around 63. weren't joking. While I did feel in the minority dining there, I kind of liked the fact that most of the diners were of a different age bracket than we typically dine with, and more than half of them appeared to be regulars. There was plenty of face kissing and warm greetings not only from the hostess and bartenders, but the other diners as well. Another sign that we were not in Tremont anymore, Toto was the wonderful woman playing the piano as live entertainment (positioned right in between the bar area and main dining room). What fun!
The only seating available at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday was a high top in the bar, which was fine with us. We settled in and started to look at the menu.Advertised for their "steak and chops", I knew that I had to have a steak. I was craving it. I decided on the 8 oz. Filet Mignon with a twice baked potato and side salad.
Bread arrived first, piping hot out of the oven. Yum. The side salad was a basic salad, but I did like the balsamic dressing that I had selected. The twice-baked was again very standard, but good. Now on to the meat...It was cooked as requested (medium) and was a beautiful cut of meat. It was very juicy and tender, but the saltiness of the seasoning tainted my opinion of it overall. And for me to say that something was too salty, you KNOW that it was salty. I know that a salad came with it, but I did feel that the entree dish was missing a vegetable. I love to mix and match my bites of protein, starch, and vegetables when having the main course. Also, the plate just looked a little sad in my opinion. The potato was orginally served on a separate plate. "R" had a burger that was nothing to write home about, although it was cooked-to-order at medium-rare and he did say that he liked the bun.

Overall, it was a fun excursion, but one that I can't see us making again. However, you can clearly tell that they have quite the following, and that some in the area would swear by it.

O'Malley's Rockcliff
2589 Wooster Road
Cleveland, OH 44116
(440) 333-2600