***A bit of blogkeeping: Random.org has selected the winner of 2 general admission tickets to the Great Big Home and Garden Show. Congrats to Laura Brewer! Please email me at email@example.com by Wednesday or another winner will be drawn.
If you didn’t win, remember you can save $3 on your tickets by purchasing online and an extra $1 by using discount code CLE. Click here to purchase tickets.***
It was a busy, fun, exciting weekend in CLE! To rest up for busy days on Saturday and Sunday, CLEguy and I stayed in on Friday night. I made stuffed peppers in the slow cooker and we sipped (OK, completely finished) our growler from Whole Foods of Bell’s Expedition Stout. This is a big, rich stout perfect for winter nights and able to stand up to hearty cooking.
Saturday afternoon, I was off to get my om on at the Yoga Room. Becca from Peace, Love & Bagels is completing her yoga teacher training and was giving a free class. Her fiance, Brandon of FireSide Symphony, provided musical accompaniment for the class.
Our focus for the class was approaching practice as beginners – not being afraid to fall or make mistakes. In that spirit, Becca was able to assist all of us with getting into headstands – most of us for the first time! Also standing on their heads with me were bloggers from MojaMala2, Finishing Firsts, and Wearing Mascara. It was a great class and I hope to be able to practice with all these ladies again!
Saturday evening, CLEguy and I met up with friends for dinner at Chinato, which completed our personal Tour de Bruell. We were able to take advantage of the special for Zack Bruell’s restaurant week. Until January 28, all 4 of Bruell’s restaurants are offering $30/3-course menus.
I chose the mushroom bisque to start, which was deliciously rich, but not too creamy. CLEguy selected the scallops with pomegranate, which were perfectly cooked.
For our entrees, I chose the veal piccata and CLEguy chose the pork tenderloin.
The veal was lightly breaded and tender. It was served over polenta that was perfectly creamy. The pork was accompanied by apples and potato dumplings, which complimented the dish well.
The food was perfect, as was the portion size. Considering it was a 3-course meal, everything came sized allowing you to leave full, but not overly stuffed.
We both chose the chocolate hazelnut mousse cake for dessert, but we weren’t the only ones, as the restaurant sold out before we could get ours. The chef generously allowed to select any dessert from the regular menu as a replacement. I had the tiramisu and CLEguy chose the cannoli with candied citrus.
Decadent and delicious! We have never been disappointed by a dining experience at one of Zack Bruell’s restaurants and Chinato was no exception!
Sunday, after another yoga class to burn off the tiramisu, CLEguy and I headed to Toth’s Place for our friend Brian’s first public sale of his incredible burgers. Brian has a company called Burgalicious, which makes preseasoned hamburgers you can cook at home.
These burgers are truly delicious – they have a sweetness to them that I can’t quite pinpoint (or get Brian to explain to me). We had to attend the first public sale to get our Burgalicious fix. If you’re looking for some incredible burgers to throw on the grill at your next BBQ, definitely check ’em out!
Sunday night, the place to be in CLE was The Greenhouse Tavern, as Chef Jonathon Sawyer’s episode of Iron Chef America aired. There was quite a festive atmosphere, as waiters sported “#TeamSawyer” t-shirts, a huge TV screen was set up for the viewing, and all the “#TeamSawyer” tweets were projected on the tavern wall.
Some of the tweeps in attendance that night: @ADHicken, @ScottHicken, @EatDrinkClev, @TLColson, @FrankZupan, @Tweetmeslow, @BrewersDaughter, @Journeymancook, @lzone, @MoninaW, @cacoughlin, @smittenincle, @BQRC23, @Rock1chef, @dougtrattner, @EmergingChefs, and many more!
The secret ingredient for Chef Sawyer’s battle against Iron Chef Zakarian was mint. As soon as the secret ingredient was announced, we were given special menus listing the same delicious creations Chef Sawyer made on Iron Chef America! Not only could we order the entrees, we were given free tastes of the appetizers and dessert from the show.
It’s not every day you can say you ate like an Iron Chef judge. On the right is the mint fritter with zucchini, feta, and preserved lemon. Bright citrus flavors and creamy cheese in a ball of fried perfection…yes, please! On the left is the chevre salad (a GHT favorite of mine) with lamb confit, crispy mint, lamb sausage, chevre, and “sexy Chardonnay vinaigrette.” CLEguy and I agreed this was our favorite!
We also got to try the “Stoner Sandwich” dessert, with shamrock semifreddo, fresh waffles, and pistachio. This dessert simply must be on the menu in time for St. Patrick’s Day! Completely delicious! After all this, CLEguy and I had to buy a “Kitchen Drink:” a round of beers for the hard-working kitchen staff. Next time you’re at GHT, I encourage you to do the same. They’ll let you ring a big bell to notify the staff of the beers!
SPOILER AHEAD…if you DVR-ed Chef Sawyer’s Iron Chef episode, stop reading here and come back after you watch!
Chef Sawyer, Sous Chef Brian Goodman, and the whole Greenhouse Tavern team did an amazing job representing CLE. From making his own cheese to discussing the importance of local, sustainable food to presenting unique, delicious dishes, Chef Sawyer rocked Kitchen Stadium. Unfortunately, the judges seemed to think Chef Zakarian rocked a little harder.
What really struck me about both the episode and the watch party is Chef Sawyer’s commitment to Cleveland. From hearing “Keepin’ it classy, Cleveland” during the episode to the gracious way we were greeted and treated last night, this is clearly a chef who loves and is proud of his town. And CLE loves and is proud of him!
So that was my weekend, CLE! What new answers to Why CLE? did you discover this weekend?