Monday, August 13, 2018

Cocktail Party

I have a post-weekend glow on this Monday morning, thanks to a fabulous evening on Saturday. A year ago, Mr. H and I won a silent auction package at the Silver Spoon Awards charity fundraiser for an in-home cocktail party for 25 guests catered by Toast.

We finally got a date on the calendar, invites out, and we opened our home to just over 20 neighbors.

Thanks to Old Brooklyn Cheese Co. and Heinen's, I put together quite an impressive cheese and charcuterie board for our guests! They say...practice makes perfect. And I finally got to use my Brass Porcupine Toothpick Holder.
Toast rolled in to our house and whipped up quite the spread of food and drink. Five different hors d'oeuvres, wine, beer, and a dangerous delicious punch. They stayed through most of the evening, refreshing the food and serving beverages.

Now, our neighborhood was affected by the power outage on Saturday. We were only about a half hour into the party before BOOM...no lights, oven, or power to the fridge. Have no fear, Toast kept the food and drinks flowing and we partied by candlelight into the wee hours of the morning. I knew I liked my neighborhood for a reason! 

It sounds fancy schmancy to have a cocktail party in your home catered, but it's not as expensive as you would think and there are a ton of Cleveland companies and restaurants that will do it. They do all the heavy lifting, and you get to sit back and just enjoy your guests (hence no additional pictures of the party or food). Very little work for you, no stress, delicious food and drink, and most of the party clean-up is taken care of too! We had such a wonderful evening with our neighbors. It exceeded all expectations.

I'm just going to sit here in the post-party glow for a while. Thanks, Toast!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

New Look!

Welcome to the new, fresh look of Bite Buff! I've been blogging for nine years about the Cleveland restaurant scene, events, and local products, and it was time for a little reboot. You'll still see all of the same content, with just a new look and feel.

Check out the About Me section to learn more about the blogger behind the name, and what brought me to Ohio a decade ago.

You'll notice that the right-hand column of restaurant names and neighborhoods/cities is no longer there. It's been moved over to its own page, and you'll be able to search them a little easier under Restaurant Reviews. Just be patient with me as I build out the content for this page. Almost 1,000 blog posts later, it's going to take me a few weeks to update! But I love the cute new headers for this page.

You will also still see Upcoming Events taking place around town that feature our area's chefs and food/wine, and links to my social media accounts. I suggest giving me a follow on these platforms, if you don't already, because I share a lot more food pictures, our adventures around town, and more of my life on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

I want to thank Ashley from Little Leaf Design for working with me again to freshen up my blog's look and feel, and redesigning the Bite Buff logo and graphics. She takes the ideas and thoughts from my head to real life in a way that I could never do on my own.

I hope that you enjoy the new look and format changes. Let's keep exploring the Cleveland dining scene together for many more years to come!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Georgetown Happy Hour

I recently popped in to Georgetown in Lakewood for happy hour with a friend. Formally Three Birds, they have a wonderful front garden patio with two tiers, huge trees, and twinkling lights. And apparently one heck of a happy hour!

There are drink specials, like the $5 glass of wine I enjoyed, and then most of their appetizers (+ two salads, which you rarely see) all have special happy hour pricing. If you see a double price listed next to an item, that means the lower price is the happy hour price. We enjoyed a Friday happy hour through 7:00pm, and had three shared plates and three drinks for $36!

We split the Pear and Gorgonzola Salad...
...Crispy Calamari...
...and Georgetown Mini Sliders.
The food was all good, service was good even though they had a busy restaurant and a private wedding rehearsal party happening, and we got quite a lot of food and drink for those happy hour prices. I don't think this will be the last time I take advantage of that happy hour!

Complimentary valet parking is available in the lot behind the building, and there is a convenient back door.

Georgetown
18515 Detroit Road
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 221-3500

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

LJ Shanghai

I finally got my butt to LJ Shanghai to try these soup dumplings they've been known for since they opened on Superior Avenue in AsiaTown (next to #1 Pho).
A small menu, but filled with pictures to help you decide what to order. I settled on the Shredded Pork and Pickle Noodle Soup ($8). The bowl was huge for the price, the noodles were a perfect texture, but the broth was a little too mild for my taste. So I just kicked it up with some spicy chili oil that was provided on the table. Easy fix!
But, let's be honest...we were there to try the Soup Dumplings ($5 for six).
From what I've read online, there is a trick to eating them properly. They are filled with a piping hot broth, so you poke a hole in the wrapper or bite the top of it off to let the broth out onto the spoon. It's suggested to dip in soy sauce and vinegar prior to opening the dumpling, and both were provided on the table.

Now, maybe we made a mistake by not eating them immediately, but the dumplings we got did not have "broth" inside of them. The meat filling was moist, but certainly no significant juices came out. Is this normal? 

Either way, they were delicious little nuggets, and that vinegar sauce provided was amazing. I could pour that on just about anything. Eating these just wasn't quite the experience I thought we were in for. Was this exactly what it should have been, was this batch just off a bit, or did we do something wrong in how/when we ate them? Educate me if you know more about these famous soup dumplings!

LJ Shanghai
3142 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 400-6936

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Trio

I've only been to One Eleven Bistro in Medina twice, but both meals were very good. So, when I heard that the same guys behind that restaurant were going to open Trio in Tremont, it became one of the most anticipated openings ever for me.
Located in the former Bac space on West 14th Street, Chef Anthony Scolaro and his team went in and did a quick face-lift. The space is brightened up with lots of cool gray hues, modern sleek lighting, wood feature wall, and great new artwork and logo features. I particularly love the cityscape piece in the bar area, check it out.

The main dining room is tucked around a big wall, with lots of natural light coming in from their main street patio.
It's always a good sign when so much of the menu is calling out to you.
We decided to share the Carbonara ($9) Black garlic pasta, botarga yolk, pecorino pepato, guanciale, black pepper, and chive. It was a little over-sauced, but otherwise we did like it. I think the flavor of it could be punched up just a bit though for this to be a home run.
We also split the Crispy Head to Tail Pork ($12) with crispy pig ear, crispy belly, and crispy tail. I wasn't sure what this dish would look like when it came out, but the pork was prepared three ways and each was quite different. A few small tweaks are needed to perfect this dish, but it was still pretty good.
The entrees were executed a bit better, and we enjoyed both! We did some 50/50 sharing, which is always the way to go if you can agree on dishes.

We ordered the Wagyu ($37) with potato salad, dijonaise, demi, and espelette. The beef was soooooo tender, and the demi was thick and decadent.
We also shared the Duck Two Ways ($20) as a roulade, breast, stone fruit, porridge, nectarine, lavender, and cherry duck jus. The demi from the first dish appeared on the second plate too, and it paired just as well with the duck. But the porridge was the surprise favorite on the plate. The texture and flavor paired so well with the duck.
It was really like having two dishes in one, which was great!
Our serve was attentive and friendly. He came from One Eleven Bistro, and you could tell he was proud of the new place.

A few small tweaks to make here and there as they are getting their feet wet. It's literally been like only a month. But, I think this has the potential to be another go-to for us, and they are certainly going to produce the food and experience that Tremont diners expect.

Trio
2661 W 14th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 952-7035