Monday, June 29, 2015

Door to Door Winner (Again)

Let's make this Monday brighter. It's your lucky day! The random winner of the $50 Door to Door Organics shop credit did not contact me by the deadline to claim their prize.

So....using, I've selected another winner.
Comment #9 - JT. You have until Thursday to email me to claim your prize, or another winner will be selected.

Don't forget, you can receive $10 off your first order with Door to Door Organics by using this special link.

Disclosure: I was provided with a shop credit to use and review the service, and a shop credit to give away. All opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dinner in the Dark- Sterle's

I haven't blogged about one of my favorite Cleveland food events in quite some time. Dinner in the Dark is a monthly dinner series, that is chef-driven and a totally unique experience each time for event attendees.

Dinner in the Dark brings together six different chefs each month, cooking together, often for the first time, at a different restaurant. The participating chefs and the menu for the evening are not revealed until the guests arrive, keeping them ‘in the dark’. It is not literally in the dark, which is the most common question that I've been asked.

They encourage diners to let go of your inhibitions, and to just enjoy great food and wine from some of Cleveland’s best chefs. Each course is complemented by a carefully selected wine or artisan cocktail. The other great thing about each month's event is that a portion of the ticket proceeds benefit a local charity chosen by the participating chefs that month.

I had been a while since we had attended one of these events, but Mr. H and I went last month to the event at Graffiti: A Social Kitchen, and then we just attended the June dinner at Sterle's Country House last week.

The chef line-up was exciting, because I hadn't had food from most of them.
I love that this event exposes me to chefs that I may not have had food from before, and occasionally, I get to try a product that I've never had too.

Like lamb's quarters in the first course of this month's Dinner in the Dark, from Chef Myron Blackmon from Sterle's.
This leafy weed can taste almost meat-like. Most of us probably have this growing in our yard, and we cut it down. It paired well with this chef's play on breakfast.

But, the event had kicked off with an amuse from Chef Walter Hyde. He described this bite-sized pork slider as the result of a crazy, creative chef conversation. Ah, I'd love to be a fly on the wall sometimes. 
Yes, that is a cheese ball cut in half to act as the bun. That alone is impressive.

Other courses included a beautiful scallop from Chef Matt Barnes at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (the charity of choice for June).
A summery tomato salad from Patrick Fisher of Sara's Place.
I would never think to pair raw tuna with tomato, but it all worked really well together.

Then we had some blue marlin from Danny Schutte at the about-to-open Cafe 55 (as part of the Hub 55 Project).
The last savory course was duck from Ameer Pettit at Sterle's.
The meal ended with dessert from Courtney Bonning of Bon Bon Cafe in Ohio City.
See, nothing "scary" on this menu, and you are not dining in pitch-blackness. This monthly series might push you a little out of your comfort zone, but in the best way possible. If you're going to try foods that you haven't had before, or even just testing your comfort with letting go of control in the dining room, then this event series is for you.

You can have a truly unique dining experience, in the hands of our area's best chefs, while knowing that a portion of ticket sales is going to support a different local charity each month.

Next month, Dinner in the Dark heads to M Cellars in Geneva. You can purchase tickets online here for the July 13th dinner. Only 44 tickets remain, so don't wait! If you can't make it to the July dinner, stay tuned on their Facebook page for future event dates.

Nothing to disclose. I enjoy attending and supporting these events on my own. No affiliation or compensation is exchanged.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Coney Company

We were busy working on our backyard last week, and in need of a quick bite close to home. On our way to Home Depot, we swung through The Coney Company on Broadview Road in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood.
With the look, feel, menu, and service of a fast food restaurant, it's actually locally-owned and operated. The brother and sister team are originally from Michigan, and the restaurant's concept is based on the popular Coney Island restaurants located in the Metro Detroit area.

Open from 9:00AM - 9:00PM on most days, they actually serve breakfast all day. Which I love! You can also choose from Snacks & Sides (like hand-cut fries, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, mac n' cheese bites, wing dings, and nachos), Salads, Soup and Chili, Sandwiches, Pitas, Meals (like meatloaf, and chicken tender dinner), Boardwalk Burgers, and then Company Classics.

We went with Company Classics. I ordered a Coney Dog. I mean, the restaurant is named after it, so I had to try it, right? It's topped with chili, mustard, and onions ($1.79). Dining Deals Alert!
I made it a meal, and added Fresh-cut Fries and a Lemonade. This picture makes them look larger than they are. They are more like shoestring fries, which I really HATE. Even with the side of malt vinegar to dip them into, these just didn't do it for me. I also didn't love this dog. The flavor of the chili was overpowering, and I got tired of it after a couple of bites.

Mr. H got the Fish Dog, which just sounds gross. Please consider a name change.
It's just a breaded, fried fish fillet with American cheese slices, shredded lettuce, and a small amount of tartar sauce ($2.69). It tasted as sad as it looked, unfortunately.

He also ordered the Polish Boy, a sandwich that Cleveland is known for. It is a spicy Polish sausage topped with coleslaw, hand-cut fries, and BBQ sauce in a steamed bun ($3.99).
 Other than it being very messy, he enjoyed it.

Me? I just enjoyed watching him try to tackle eating it.
Don't tell him that I posted that.

This was our second time dining at The Coney Company. On our first visit, we had used the drive-thru window, which is incredibly convenient. Luckily, we were headed straight home that time, because as you can see, they can be messy to eat. I had ordered the Kraut Dog that time, with sauerkraut and stadium mustard, and I much preferred that dog over the Coney Dog.

With the ease and speed of fast food, but knowing that it's locally owned and operated, it's not a bad option for a quick, cheap meal. It's close to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, if you want to avoid the McDonald's trap there.

The Coney Company
3330 Broadview Road
Cleveland, OH 44109

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Door to Door Winner, and a Ginger Martini

Happy Thursday, readers! This week is just going by so quickly, but at least that means that it is time to select a winner for the $50 shop credit to Door to Door Organics. Using, the winner is...
Comment #15- Dina. Congratulations! You have until Monday to contact me by email to claim your prize,  or another winner will be selected.

If you didn't win, you can still use the Bite Buff $10 discount link to try the service.

I also want to share with you today a recipe for a Ginger Martini. We fell in love with them in Costa Rica, and we've had some fun recreating them at home.
3 ounces plain vodka
1 ounce ginger syrup (see recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Twist of lemon

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, ginger syrup, and lemon juice. Cover and shake vigorously, until combined and chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Add lemon twist and serve.

Ginger Syrup (yield = 2 cups):
1 lemon
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh ginger with peel (8 ounces)
1 cup sugar
2 cups water

Remove the outer peel of the lemon.
Finely chop the lemon peel and ginger in a food processor.
Transfer the lemon-ginger mixture to a medium saucepan.
Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
Strain the mixture, discard the waste, and cool the liquid.
Add to your other martini ingredients, and enjoy.

We adapted a couple of recipes that I found online. This is a refreshing summer cocktail, that we hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nick's Diner

Our diner adventures continue. This past Saturday, we found ourselves on Lorain Avenue at Nick's Diner.
This guy greets you from the curbside.

It is a small, colorful place.
The left wall is lined with booths, and a few tables line the right wall. But, if you find yourself seated at one of the center tables, you'll be dining with your table neighbors. A little too close for comfort.

The menu includes classic breakfast and lunch items. Nothing special stood out, except maybe a more extensive Skillet section than your average diner.

Coffee arrived piping hot.
Service was very slow. Something about "her section is the middle one, so it takes the longest," which doesn't really make sense to me, but oh well.

Mr. H ordered an omelet, which arrived a little over-cooked, and without the side of Sausage Gravy that he had ordered and was listed on the check. A side of sausage links appeared instead, but we didn't bother to swap it.

I decided to order an Egg, Sausage Patty, and Cheese Sandwich, and I swapped the standard sliced bread for an English Muffin for a $1.25 up-charge. What I didn't realize is that the sandwich contents were not going to fit inside of the English Muffin.
This picture doesn't do it justice. There might have been three over-medium eggs jammed in there. The two sausage patties were cooked beyond their life, and the English Muffin was hard to cut through. It was a pretty terrible sandwich, and certainly the worst meal we've had during these recent diner excursions.

This stop was a one-and-done for us. I won't go back. I just stared longingly across the street at Platform Brewery, knowing that they were serving a much better breakfast over there. There's also Jack Flaps just down the block from Nick's. My advice, head to one of those.

Dining Deals Alert

Nick's Diner
4116 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Door to Door Organics

The official start of summer is only days away, but it's already started to feel like it around Ohio. We've been enjoying patio weather, digging the grill out of the garage, and fresh, local produce is popping up everywhere. We decided to do a small share of Fresh Fork again this year. When we actually menu plan and work strategically to use up the items in our weekly bag, it does work well for us and I enjoy the program.

Similarly, a new service has started in Ohio, called Door to Door Organics. They provided me with a store credit, and asked me to test and review the service. I also have some great things for you, so keep on reading! 
They are bringing fresh, seasonal organic produce and local, natural products right to your doorstep. No pick-up locations, or having to remember to schedule in the errand each week. You simply receive a newsletter listing that shipment's contents, and then it appears at your door on the scheduled day.
Immediately, I loved that you can set Preferences and identify items that you don't want included in your shipments. No bananas for Mr. H, and I get enough kale from Fresh Fork. I'm not a huge fan, and I didn't want to have to figure out how to use even more. 

Also, prior to each shipment, you can Swap items or Shop for extras. The store is quite extensive, with the exception of the Seafood category, and subbing items in your box was super easy to do. The online service was so easy to use! It reminded me of Fresh Fork's extras that you can add on, but this system was much simpler to use and had a wider selection of items. 

We've had three weeks of shipments come to our doorstep now.
Fresh produce, and great add-on items like pasta, sauces, and meat.
We haven't had any issues with the quality of produce, and it's all arrived perfectly cooled or still frozen in the Door to Door packaging.
Now, it does arrive with a lot of packaging. Between the packing, dividers, and dry ice packs, it can seem wasteful. But, you just pack it back up and set it outside on delivery day. Door to Door Organics takes it back for you. 

Are you interested in trying this service? If you're a new customer, you can save $10 on your first order by using this special link. Just make sure that the Coupon Code: BITEBUFF15O is entered. 

I'm also giving away one $50 shop credit certificate! Just leave me a comment on this blog post about what your favorite summer produce item is. Also, you can tweet "I want to try @dtdorganics, thanks to @BiteBuff" Make sure that you leave a separate comment for each tweet. You can tweet once a day for additional entries. I will select a winner, using, on Thursday, June 18th. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was provided with a shop credit to use to test the service in exchange for an honest review and hosting a giveaway. Readers were also provided with a discount code. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you to Door to Door Organics for the opportunity to have fresh, organic produce delivered right to my door!