Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dinner and a Movie to Support the Foodbank

“Dinner and a Movie” at Chagrin Cinemas on November 3, 2013

On Sunday, November 3rd, the Chagrin Valley Council of Churches is sponsoring its third “Dinner and a Movie” event at the Chagrin Cinemas (8200 E. Washington Street, Chagrin Falls) from 4-7 p.m. to raise funds for the Cleveland Foodbank

The cost is $25 for adults and $10 for children under 12.  Each ticket includes one free beverage, dinner and a movie ticket for any show before or after dinner (excluding 3D).  For movie times and listings, go to clevelandcinemas.com.  To purchase tickets, go to the Cleveland Foodbank website at clevelandfoodbank.org.  Tickets are also available at the door. 

Participating restaurants include: Raintree, Cosentino’s, Joey’s, Rick’s Café, Yours Truly, Washington Street Diner, Burntwood Tavern, Hunan by the Falls, Mazzullo’s, Raised and Glazed and more. 

This year’s event is particularly important for two reasons.  First, funds for Food Stamps will be cut by as much as $40 per month for greater Clevelanders living in poverty on November 1.  Though it may not seem like a lot to most of us, for families living paycheck to paycheck--- it is a struggle.

Second, the Cleveland Foodbank has received a generous matching challenge grant for up to $10,000 raised at this event.  This means that if they are able to raise $10,000, then they have a donor willing to match it dollar for dollar.  This could mean a $20,000 donation to the Foodbank at a time when these funds are desperately needed. 

You can help by purchasing a ticket to the event or by making a direct donation.  You can donate online at the Cleveland Foodbank’s website or by sending a check to Mindful Mondays c/o the Cleveland Foodbank (15500 South Waterloo Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44110). 

Thank you for your support.

Disclosure: I am a member of the YP Pantry Council, and a former employee of the Foodbank. I was asked to post about this fundraiser, but would have helped to spread the word regardless of my affiliation.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dinner Club at Cowell and Hubbard

Last week's @CLEDinnerClub outing was a slap-in-the-face reminder that I need to make a return visit to Cowell & Hubbard immediately. It's no secret that I'm a fan of basically anything that Chef Zack Bruell does, but the meal that we had at Cowell & Hubbard on Tuesday was a great representation of the high quality food that Bruell's staff consistently puts out.

We started with a heavenly Hominy Stew.
With hominy, tomatoes, chicken, and cilantro--- this soup had us all scraping our bowls and whining for more.

The second course just wasn't for me--- Salmon Rittettes.
No matter how much I try to force myself to like it, salmon isn't my thing. Sometimes (rarely), salmon dishes can be mild enough for me to enjoy them. This particular salmon fell into the "too fishy" category for me, but others loved it. However, I did respect their craftsmanship in the cauliflower cous cous. The texture was so spot-on that it had us all fooled into thinking that it was true cous cous.

The last savory course was Braised Beef Shoulder with collard greens and fingerling potatoes.
Again, this dish was simply perfection on a plate. Tender meat, wonderful flavors, and I just love good collard greens. I want more.

The last course was the only one that hit a sour note for some of us. We had two options, and I had selected the Flourless Chocolate Cake.
The cake itself was everything that you'd expect from a flourless chocolate cake--- dense, moist, chocolaty, and enjoyable. However, it was paired with an orange ice cream that I wasn't a fan of. It had a floral aftertaste that lingered on your tongue. It was reminiscent of these medicinal orange throat lozenges that my mom used to give us when we were little. Several others at the table likened it to "medicine" so we mostly left it behind on the plate. Sometimes, not everything that Mitchell's does works. Now, not everyone felt this way, and all seemed to enjoy the other dessert option--- Apple Tart.

Apparently, all of these dishes were a preview of the new seasonal menu. Hallelujah! I want more hominy stew and beef shoulder, immediately. Looks like it won't take me as long to get back to Cowell & Hubbard this time. My only complaint about the restaurant? The menu is too lengthy, and it's hard for a diner to navigate. Too many tempting options leaves me confused and second-guessing any choices. I'd rather have the menu rotate often, and feature less items.

As usual, this four-course meal was $40. If you haven't joined the @CLEDinnerClub for an event yet, what are you waiting for? The food, exploration of area restaurants, and the company always make for a good time. I look forward to attending each month. I rarely miss one!

Hats off to the group's coordinator, Joe G., and the staff at Cowell & Hubbard for another memorable one. This one certainly ranks in the top five outings.

Cowell & Hubbard
1305 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-479-0555

Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Fabulous Food Show Giveaway

I like to start Mondays off with a bang, so let's kick off this week with a fun ticket giveaway.

The annual Fabulous Food Show is just around the corner, and this year's lineup of celebrity chefs is pretty exciting.
For the Bravo fans out there: Tom Colicchio, Marcus Samuelsson, and Hugh Acheson will all be in Cleveland this year. And, wait for it...MARTHA STEWART! Just to name a few.

The event takes place at the IX Center, featuring more than 450 exhibitors and 100 live demonstrations.  It is open from 10AM - 6PM daily, from November 8th - 10th. This year, the event is also partnering with the International Beer Fest. Foodie and craft beer lovers unite under one roof! Check out both event websites for more information on passes and demonstration times.

Personally, I always love attending the Fabulous Food Show. Browsing the vendors always brings new products home with us, and I try and catch at least one chef demonstration. Some of our local chefs are highlighted as well, and they do a great job. Stick around, and you'll get to sample whatever they are cooking up.

The event is family-friendly, parking is available for a fee in the IX Center parking lots, and it's a great way to spend a weekend day. This year, adults can sample wine, spirits, and craft beer with the addition of the International Beer Fest. It might lead me to purchase more on the exhibitor floor!

There are single day, and three-day passes available. A General Admission ticket is $25. Tickets to the General Admission International Beer Fest Grand Tasting (Saturday 7:30PM - 10:00PM) are separate, and are $45 each. Additional ticket packages are available for both events.

Or, you can win two General Admission tickets to the Fabulous Food Show by commenting on this blog post! Just leave me a comment below, telling me which of the participating celebrity chefs you'd want to go watch. Tom, I'm coming for you! I will select a winner, using random.org, on Friday, November 1st. Good luck!

Disclosure: The Fabulous Food Show has provided me with four tickets to the 2013 event. Two to be used in a random giveaway, and two media passes. All opinions stated are 100% my own. Thank you to the IX Center and Fabulous Food Show for the opportunity.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lopez on Lee

Is everyone enjoying Cleveland Beer Week? "R" and I popped in to Society Lounge on East 4th last night after dinner, and they have some delicious beer cocktails cooked up there. The Dreadnought is like an adult chocolate milk.

I kicked off Beer Week on Friday by traveling over to the east side for the Collaboration Kickoff at Cedar/Lee. Michelle and I decided that we needed some food in our bellies before we started our progressive beer tasting, so we selected Lopez Southwest Kitchen and Tequila Saloon. Often referred to as "Lopez on Lee", it is located right in the heart of the Cedar/Lee restaurants and businesses. They have a small parking lot next to the restaurant, with valet service.
We decided to start with some of the Iron Chef Guacamole with bleu cheese, house bacon, and sage ($9.50). A "Food Network favorite", this guacamole reminded me of Momocho's.
I liked how it was served with pickled vegetables. My only complaint? The special ingredients were used only as a topping, so they weren't mixed in and the flavors were isolated to just a few bites. Momocho does do a better job of infusing the unique ingredients into the guacamole. I also started off our meal with a cucumber margarita ($9). Again, Momocho's version is much better. This was a good margarita, but it just tasted like a classic version. I should have tried one of the more unusual types available. Our server suggested the blood orange.

The menu was very tempting, and as soon as I felt like I had settled on something, then another item would jump out at me. I finally went with my gut and ordered two tacos. I ordered the Butter Poached Lobster with guacamole, smoked tomato, and house bacon ($10), and the Mole Dusted Rare Seared Tuna taco with mango habanero salsa, radish, and crema ($7.50).
Look at all of that lobster!

My only complaint of the two? The smoked tomato in the lobster taco were actually whole cherry tomatoes. That was unappealing to me, so I picked them out. Otherwise, both tacos were fabulous! I'd order them both again. Then again, maybe not, because so many others sounded just as appetizing. I also loved how Michelle's burrito was grilled, and I'd like to try one. Or an enchilada, or...you get the point.

The food can feel a bit overpriced for "Mexican", but overall it was very good and felt like they were using quality ingredients. I walked away full, and satisfied with my meal.

Then we headed out for a progressive beer tasting around several bars in the Cedar/Lee area. I was a bit letdown with the collaboration beers overall. Many of them just weren't my style, but the Pancake Porter was my biggest disappointment. I really didn't pick up any of the "maple, coffee, etc." listed in the description. I had expected it to be bolder and sweeter than it was. Ah, oh well. We had a great time walking around on a nice chilly evening. The neighborhood was packed, and the excitement for the start of Beer Week was intoxicating. Oh, wait, was that the beer? Ha.

What have you been doing during Beer Week?

Lopez Southwest Kitchen and Tequila Saloon
2196 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
216-932-9000

Lopez SouthWest Kitchen & Tequila Saloon on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 21, 2013

Buckeye Beer Engine

It's Cleveland Beer Week, folks! This week-long celebration of the craft beer kicked off on Friday. In its fifth year, the week will feature more than 350 tastings, dinners, demonstrations, and specials all over the Greater Cleveland area.

More later this week about how I kicked off Beer Week, but for now I wanted to share the first event that "R" and I attended this weekend. It's no secret that I love stouts, so I immediately knew that I wanted to attend the Stout Brunch at the Buckeye Beer Engine on Sunday.
It included a special brunch menu from 10AM - 1PM, and several great stouts on tap. I had a Founder's Breakfast Stout and Southern Tier's Warlock. I decided to get the Cheesy Grits with beer poached shrimp ($8.50) and a side of rye marble toast ($2).
Sadly, the first plate of food came out cold, and I actually had to send it back. Our server was great about it, and the second one arrived pretty quickly. This time is was lukewarm. I wasn't about to try again, so I dug in. Overall, I really enjoyed the flavor and texture of the grits, and the shrimp had a nice hint of beer flavor. I think that if this had been served hot, it may have been the second best shrimp and grits that I've had. Washington Place Bistro's still holds that coveted spot. The rye marble toast was under-toasted, but the bread was fantastic. Thick and tasty, it would have made for some great toast! I enjoyed it even as is.

Located in Lakewood, this bar/restaurant is a local favorite. Known for great bar food, killer burgers, fried pickles, and more--- they always have a lengthy list of craft beers on draft, and the vibe is casual and fun. A small, free parking lot is next to the building, and they do have a patio out front.
Thanks, Beer Week, for bringing me back in to the Beer Engine! We enjoyed our stouts and brunch, and then I headed home for a nap. Day drinking makes me sleepy. *Yawn*

What are you doing for Cleveland Beer Week 2013?

Buckeye Beer Engine
15315 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
216-226-BEER

Buckeye Beer Engine on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tailgate for a Cause and Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Dip

On Sunday, "R" and I held a "Tailgate for a Cause" to help me raise money for the American Liver Foundation. I have been managing the Liver Life Challenge team for three years now, and this year, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and I joined the team. I started training in September to walk the Walt Disney World half marathon in January. I also committed to raising $2,800 for the program, which is no small feat. "R" and I love to tailgate, so I thought that it would be a fun way to raise some needed funds. I invited friends to join us in the Dock 20 parking lot by the lake, and we put out a spread of appetizers and a build-your-own taco bar. A Bloody Mary bar, mimosas, and beer helped with the fun factor, and it helped us forget that we're up early on a Sunday.

Also, my family was in town from NY!
So many of our friends came out to support me and my fundraising efforts. Thank you!
I may or may not have popped in to Steelyard Walmart at 6:00AM to purchase this...
I think every tailgate should have a piñata. Maybe we can start making one to represent the opposing team?

One appetizer that was a big hit was the Buffalo Chicken Dip. I found a photocopied recipe in our binders that had hand-written "Better Dip" on it. No idea where I got it from, but it was a crowd-pleaser, so maybe I'll have to share that with you too. For now, I wanted to share the recipe for the other dip that we served- Pumpkin Pie Dip. I headed to Pinterest in preparation for this tailgate, and it didn't disappoint.

Pumpkin Pie Dip (from Skinnytaste)
Servings: 12 • Size: 1/2 cup • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 102.9 • Fat: 0.1g • Protein: 1.8 g • Carb: 27.7 g • Fiber: 0.9 g

15 oz can pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
6 oz fat free Greek yogurt
8 oz cool whip free

Mix pumpkin with brown sugar, vanilla and spices, blend well.
Mix in yogurt.
Fold in cool whip and chill in refrigerator until ready to eat.
Makes about 6 cups.
Cut up apples to dip.

We served it with freshly sliced honey crisp apples and pita chips.

Thank you to everyone that came out to our tailgate. I am now just $225 short of my fundraising goal. Amazing!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cleveland Flea

The winner of the Parkers and Great Lakes tasting event tickets did not contact me by the deadline, so it's time to select another winner using random.org. The new winner is...comment #9- fmayse. Congratulations! Please email me by Friday to claim your prize, or another winner will be selected.

What did you do this weekend? We packed a lot in. My family was visiting from NY, and we were go-go-go all weekend long. We spent a lot of time getting ready for our Browns tailgate, but I wanted to make sure that we also showed off our city a bit while they were here. Saturday was this month's Cleveland Flea, and it was my first time attending. Have you been yet?

It was held from 9AM - 4PM in the parking lot next to Sterle's, located on East 55th Street. When we arrived around 3PM, there were still a lot of people there and street parking was a tad hard to find. But, there was a lot to see and do once we got there. I enjoyed walking through the vendor booths, checking out the vintage goods...
I absolutely love decorating our house, and there were so many booths dedicated to housewares and artwork. With more time, I think that I would have found some great stuff.

All kinds of clothing and accessories to choose from...
We all love to show off our city pride, and there were plenty of vendors that were selling some great Cleveland gear and artwork. I had my eye on a piece for our new kitchen, but didn't take the plunge to purchase it. How fabulous are these CLE glasses?
There were a couple of vendors on site that were selling food and other treats, but you also had two lunch/snack options from local food trucks.
Sadly, almost everyone was out of food by the time that we had arrived.

It was a fun, and free, excursion for the afternoon. It is also family and pet-friendly. Check out their Holiday Show on November 23rd and 24th. Follow them on Twitter, or "like" their page on Facebook to stay updated.

I love this new addition to our community!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

TownHall Vegan Night

First things first...let's pick a winner of the two tickets to the Great Lakes Brewing Company and Parkers Grille and Tavern tasting on Tuesday, October 29th. Thank you to everyone that entered the giveaway. Using random.org, the winner is.... Comment #2- 6502Programmer. Congratulations! Email me by Monday to claim your prize, or another winner will be selected. Didn't win? You can purchase the $35 ticket by calling Parkers for reservations at 440-933-9400.

I want to share a recent dining experience with you. The (relatively) new TownHall in Ohio City contacted me and invited me in to try their Vegan Night menu. Every Monday, TownHall features a special vegan menu, with all sorts of items. I was intrigued. I am not a vegan, and only had a brief stint as a "vegetarian" for a while. I shy away from menu items listed as "vegan", and typically feel as though they lack flavor and creativity at many restaurants. I am pleased to say that TownHall surprised me, and I actually enjoyed some of the menu items that we sampled.
I was invited to bring a guest with me, and we decided to share a few smaller items so that we could sample more dishes. Our server suggested the Black Bean Hummus ($6) with red pepper, jalapeno, and wheat flatbread.
My friend wasn't a fan of this, and I thought that it was decent but not something that I would order on my own again. It was an interesting and unique twist on hummus, but flavor-wise it wasn't too exciting. The wheat flatbread was a little chewy too.

We also ordered the Vegan Veggie Flatbread ($10) with organic tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, fresh chiles, and vegan cheese.
The amount of flavor from the toppings and sauce on this flatbread surprised me. The fresh jalapenos gave it quite the kick (too much for my friend). The dough was a little gummy and hard to cut through, but held up well to the toppings. I couldn't quite get over the texture of the vegan cheese (very gooey and felt like it stuck to your mouth), but it was creamy and tasted great. I would eat this again, but probably not over a non-vegan flatbread option at TownHall. However, it was much better than my first experience with a TownHall flatbread.

Our last small plate that we shared was the Tofu Etouffee ($12) with blackened tofu, tomatoes, onion trinity, and brown rice.
This dish ended up being my favorite of the meal, and I would order this on my own again. The blackened tofu had such great spicy flavor, and the curry sauce over the rice packed a punch too. There was a lot of heat going on in this dish, so it isn't for the faint-hearted. It reheated well the next day too.

What's a vegan tasting with trying dessert? They have the most adorable pastry chef on staff, Liz, and she came out to our table to talk about her inspiration for their desserts. She is vegan, and seems to really enjoy playing in the kitchen and finding ways to make food healthy and fun. There was a vegan cookie, and the Black Forrest Cake available that night. Bring on the chocolate!
This ended up being my least favorite dish of the night. Coconut is a common ingredient in vegan desserts, and this just tasted like too much coconut and not enough chocolate. Also, the texture was a little dry and tough.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by our experience, and even found some dishes that I would order on my own again. I also want to try the Faux Pho and the Pan Roasted Corncake. A great beer list (and Craft Beer Night) rounded out our meal.

So, what are your thoughts on vegan food? A few area restaurants are starting to cater to this crowd, and it's nice to see. We also ended up eating at Deagan's that Wednesday evening, which is Vegan Night. "R" really enjoyed their Vegan Paprikash.

If you are vegan, gluten-free, or just interested in trying something new--- head out to these Vegan Nights and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised as well. Any other restaurants that you know of that do vegan food well?

TownHall
1909 West 25th Street
Cleveland, OH

Disclosure: I was invited in to taste a complimentary sampling of TownHall's Vegan Night menu. My guest and I enjoyed our experience, and the opinions stated above are 100% my own.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tooo Chinese in Oberlin

Last week, I visited Oberlin for the very first time. I popped out there to have lunch with a good friend to get some work advice, and I found a charming little town with a college vibe that immediately brought me back to my days at SU. Amanda from Clue Into Cleveland had a great post on Oberlin this week, so check that out too.

My friend had given me a couple of dining options to choose from, and I selected Tooo Chinoise.
The Chinese bistro is located on West College Street, right in the heart of shops, restaurants, and other town businesses. It wasn't much to look at from the outside, but inside it was very nicely done. This wasn't your average hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant.

I was drawn to their list of specials, and I let our server pick for me between two options. Every main dish comes with an Egg Drop Soup to start.
I'm not a huge fan of egg drop soup, so I could have gone without. This version was only average at best, so I left about half behind.

But the Beef with Jalapeño ($14)--- beef stir-fried with jalapeno and Chinese dried chili was fantastic!
It packed a punch of heat from the fresh and dried peppers, and the beef was cut into manageable pieces and cooked well. With some white rice, and a side of steamed vegetables that I added for $1.50, this was a great lunch. I had about half to take home with me too!

Service is a little slow here, so just be aware before settling in for lunch or dinner. Free street parking was available, surrounding the park just across the street from the restaurant. Even for lunch, they had a relatively extensive menu and I think anyone could find something here.

What a charming town though! I can't believe that it took me that long to get there. I do have to say, driving there you feel like you are driving into no-man's-land. Even though it's the same distance that I drive east often enough, it felt so much longer because there's not much going on beside the highway out that way.

Any other restaurants in Oberlin that I should visit? I hear that The Feve is very popular, but that you have to get there before the lunch rush to get a table. Have you ever been to Oberlin?

Tooo Chinese
27 West College Street
Oberlin, OH 44074
440-774-2988

Tooo Chinoise on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 7, 2013

Recipe: Braised Brussels Sprouts

Continuing to enjoy our new kitchen and cooking at home, "R" and I recently made a great side dish using one of our favorite vegetables---Brussels sprouts. This recipe combined the vegetable with apple, bacon, and mustard...all good things in my book.

Braised Brussels Sprouts with apple, bacon, and mustard (makes 6 servings, total time = 40 mins.)

Cook:
4 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced

Add:
2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/2 cup thinly slices onion

Deglaze:
1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
2 Tbsp. whole-grain mustard
1 Fuji apple, cored and diced (we used an Ohio-grown Honeycrisp)

Stir In:
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Cook bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat until crisp, 7-10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate, then increase heat to high.

Add Brussels sprouts and onion to drippings and cook until sprouts begin to browns, about 5 minutes; season with salt.
Deglaze pan with apple juice, scraping up any browned bits on bottom. Add mustard, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook sprouts until nearly fork-tender, 6 minutes. Add diced apple, cover, and cook until tender, 3 minutes.

Stir in butter, vinegar, and bacon, then season with salt and pepper. Serve.

We eat Brussels sprouts often, and this was a delicious twist on cooking them. I loved the tartness of the apple and vinegar with it, and who doesn't love bacon?! The recipe came from the April 2012 issue of Cuisine at Home Magazine.

We paired this side with a bowl of Boursin Potato Soup (also Cuisine at Home recipe).
For that soup recipe, you'll have to head over to Crystal's blog today at Eat*Drink*Cleveland. I'm over there guest posting while she's enjoying and celebrating her recent wedding! Cheers to the happy couple, from one Cleveland food-lover to another.

I hope that you enjoy both recipes!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Giveaway- Great Lakes Tasting at Parker's Grille

Has anyone been to the newly opened Parker’s Grille and Tavern in Avon yet? I think the food and drink menu looks great, and they've got some fabulous Happy Hour deals going on. Well, if you haven't been yet, then here is your chance.
Parker's Grille and Tavern is hosting a tasting and beer pairing event with Great Lakes Brewing Company on Tuesday, October 29th. Tickets are just $35 for five sample tastings and a special GLBC glass.

Here is a peek at the tasting menu:
Welcome – A surprise Great Lakes Brewing beer, served with cheese and crackers
Tasting #1 – Dortmunder Gold with crab cakes
Tasting #2 – Edmund Fitzgerald with oysters
Tasting #3 – Oktoberfest  with sausage-stuffed mushrooms
Tasting #4 – Commodore Perry with Cajun lamb chops
Tasting #5 – Nosferatu with mini chocolate lava cake

The event is from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Parker's Event Center, immediately adjacent to Parker’s restaurant on Walker Road in Avon.

Tickets are now available, and you can call Parker’s for reservations at 440-933-9400.

Or, one lucky winner and a guest will get the chance to attend this tasting event by leaving a comment below. Tell me which Great Lakes Brewing Company beer is your favorite! We love Blackout Stout in my household. Here are a couple of ways to enter, if you want multiple entries:

1. Leave me a comment below, telling me which GLBC beer is your favorite.
2. "Like" Bite Buff and Parker's Grille and Tavern on Facebook.
3. Tweet "I want to taste Great Lakes beers with food from the new Parker's Grille, thanks to @BiteBuff at www.bitebuff.com."

You can tweet once a day for additional entries. You only have to participate in at least one of these methods to be entered into the giveaway. I will select a winner on Thursday, October 10th using random.org. Good luck!

Disclosure: Parker's Grille and Tavern provided me with four tickets to the event in exchange for this post. I will be attending with a guest, and one lucky reader will win the additional two tickets. All opinions stated are my own.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

@CLEDinnerClub Takes Us Behind the Scenes

Last month's @CLEDinnerClub outing was special. Organizer, Joe G., worked with local author Laura Taxel to take the group on a guided tour of the West Side Market...after hours!
We had the place to ourselves, and it was breathtaking. I saw little details of the market that just get lost in the hustle and bustle of shoppers crowding the market during open hours. Usually, I tuck my head down and navigate my way around to the vendors that I need.
The clean-up after the fire has left the place stunning; unearthing all of these details and color that had been long covered in soot. The vendors that were affected heavily from the fire are all up and running again, with replacement signage and décor, like this guy...
I was in awe wandering around the market. I wish the tour had been longer! I was dying to see some areas that aren't open to the public too, but alas. Then the group headed over to Market Garden Brewery for the standard four-course dinner that the @CLEDinnerClub events typically include. I've only had average experiences at Market Garden Brewery in the past, but this time I really enjoyed the meal.

I didn't care for the salad course (too boring and not enough dressing), but the duck breast course was all fall-like and delicious.
Then, came the show-stopper. A perfectly cooked scallop over a corn and crab risotto.
I wanted an entire plate of them! So many of my favorite ingredients all in one dish. This isn't on their current menu, but it should be. Hint, hint. Hands down, this was the best food that I've had from this restaurant. Great job. We also received a signed copy of Laura's book on the West Side Market. I can't wait to sit down with it.

If you still haven't joined a @CLEDinnerClub event, what are you waiting for? Joe is bringing the group to Zack Bruell's Cowell & Hubbard on October 22nd. Bruell can do no wrong, and you always have fun meeting new people who share a love for good food. RSVP here.

No disclosure here. I happily pay to attend each and every one of the @CLEDinnerClub events! I look forward to them every month.