Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Truffle Shuffle Virtual Cooking Class

Typically, I pass on partnership opportunities that are pitched from companies outside of Northeast Ohio. But, occasionally one catches my attention that I do feel is a good fit to share with you. 

So when Truffle Shuffle out of San Francisco reached out, their story and the way they pivoted their business during the pandemic really interested me. I have to say, I'm so glad that I did team up with this company to attend one of their virtual cooking classes (all featuring truffles, of course!) because it was one of the best experiences we've had during this pandemic.

While working in the best Michelin Star restaurant kitchens, including The French Laundry, Chefs Jason McKinney and Tyler Vorce loved incorporating truffles into their dishes. Sarah, who worked the front of the house at TFL, shared the chefs' love of truffles. The Chefs conceived and launched Truffle Shuffle as an honest truffle company to provide the finest truffle products and consciously sourced and traced fresh truffles. They also serve and support the community by volunteering and donating a portion of their profits to 1% For The Planet. Like most businesses in their industry, the pandemic hit hard and swiftly, so they needed to pivot and developed a series of virtual cooking classes.

These live, interactive classes include a meal kit for two (dinner + cocktail) with pre-measured ingredients, entertainment, and a wealth of knowledge that leaves you with not only an excellent meal but the confidence to recreate the dish again. The price varies slightly by class.

Our kit came with the ingredients and recipe for a Paolo Maldini, and this is one cocktail we'll be making again and again! 

But we were there for the TRUFFLES, and the Fresh Pasta Carbonara with Black Truffle Tartufata delivered on that big time.
The class kicked off with live entertainment of an Italian accordion musician, which was unexpected and set the tone for some fun in the kitchen.

On top of the ingredients being delivered pre-measured and labeled, the live class instruction was perfectly paced and easy to follow. Which is hard to do, in my experience.
Mr. H has always been intimidated by working with dough, but their step-by-step guidance, and pauses to troubleshoot for any participant that asked, led to success!
I'm telling you, this pasta sauce was one of the absolute best that I've ever had. It wasn't just the cocktails talking.
The class wrapped up as we sat down for the meal, and this dish had both of us licking the plate.
The virtual experience lasted close to 2.5 hours, but I never would have guessed it was that long because I felt engaged and entertained the entire time. And we all know that I wasn't the one doing the bulk of the cooking. That's hard to do these days when we're all burnt out on Zoom meetings and events. 

What also set this class apart from others that I've experienced is that it had 70 participants from literally around the world, and there were several times throughout the class that the chefs were interactive with us. Seeing the Zoom faces of other participants pop up on the screen and having some conversation in real time just enhanced the experience. It was well balanced with instruction, interaction, and entertainment. 

In addition to the live class, a printed recipe is also provided. In fact, we already purchased a jar of Tartufata online to try and recreate this dish immediately. It is a Spanish style truffle pesto with Black Truffles, Mushrooms and Pistachios blended with Spanish Arbequina olive oil, and you can purchase a Pasta Kit from Truffle Shuffle (class not included) or just the pesto on Amazon.

Check out their website for truffle products, live class meal kits, recipes, and more. 

Disclosure: I was provided with one meal kit and live class in exchange for sharing my experience. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Bull Dog Ice Cream

As the last few days of summer were winding down, we were still trying to squeeze in some warm weather treats. After seeing countless images on Instagram of the branded mug with towering shakes, I knew we should check out the recently opened Bull Dog Ice Cream on Memphis Avenue in Brooklyn.

It looks like they've had an ice cream truck for years, but this brick-and-mortar now has Specialty Shakes, Sundaes, Hurricanes, Splits, Floats, Cones and a few snacks like hot dogs, a Poor Boy, wings, fries, a gyro, and even a Walking Taco. 
But we were there for two reasons...a Strawberry Cheesecake Specialty Shake ($12, mug included) with a whole slice of cheesecake in it...
...and the Cookie Dough Sundae ($6.50) with two huge scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough.
I'll say, the ice cream itself is certainly fine, but it's nothing noteworthy. You come for the over-the-top presentation and add-ons. Kids will love it!

It was lunchtime, so we also decided on a Hot Dog with Cheese ($3.25). 
And Fries with Cheese ($3.75). Both came with shredded, melted cheese and spicy nacho cheese sauce. There was way too much cheese (Did I just say that?), and just the shredded would have been preferred. 
I'd give the Walking Taco a try, and Mr. H is always up for trying a gyro. Otherwise, I'd probably skip the savory food and just get ice cream. The portions are very large.

They have a parking lot and outdoor picnic tables. There is no seating inside. Masks were being worn and hand sanitizer was available. 

There's much better ice cream in Northeast Ohio, but this has a fun novelty to it. 

7467 Memphis Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44144
(216) 215-2932

Monday, September 21, 2020

Café Tartine Opens for Breakfast

Tartine Bistro in Rocky River has been a longtime favorite in this household. Its French classics with an American twist are always delicious, and thoughtfully prepared and plated (seriously, follow them or Chef Michael on Instagram for some gorgeous plates of food). 

Restaurants are responding to the pandemic in different ways, and sometimes that means pivoting to new concepts. While they are back open for full-service dining, Tartine also just added a Café Tartine "grab and go" or casual dine-in breakfast option. So we headed there on opening day to check it out.
In addition to some tempting pastries, you'll find easy items like berries and yogurt or granola and a Keep it Simple breakfast sandwich ($10).
Me? I can never pass up a Croissant
They also have larger plates better suited for grabbing one of their patio tables and a cup of coffee, like the Parisian Omelette, Burgundy Benny, and Bordeaux Breakfast ($15). I went for the build-your-own Crêpes section ($10), where you can choose 3 items from savory and sweet ingredients.  
I had the smoked spinach artichoke and bacon. I'd love to see the pancake a little thinner and less oily, but remember this was day 1 and takeout eaten at the Rocky River Reservation just down the street. 

The café is open Tuesday - Saturday from 8AM - noon and on Sunday from 8AM - 3PM. Parking is available, but limited, in the free lot connected to the shopping center. You order at the bar and then wait for your takeout order or grab a table on the patio or inside. If you choose to dine in, service is limited to just delivering your food. There were pandemic precautions in place like signage, masks required, plexiglass dividers in some areas, and hand sanitizer available. I think they'll find their groove quickly with this new concept, and we found another way to enjoy and support one of our favorite restaurants. 

Café Tartine at Tartine Bistro
19110 Old Detroit Road
Old Detroit Shopping Center
Rocky River, OH 44116
(440) 331-0800