Culinary worlds will collide at a mouth-watering event, hosted at a cool new venue. Local Sol presents the first annual “Wholey Cow” event on Sunday, February 28th. And like the title suggests, they’re bringing in a whole cow. Yowza.
Chef Michael Schoen has recruited five other talented local chefs to develop the menu and prepare the feast. He’s got my buddy, and former Iron Chef competition partner, Matt Mytro, plus Joe Lang, of Flour, Chef Mike Keyerleber, from Great Scott Tavern, Hunter Toth from The Morehouse, and Paul Hamalainen, of Beach Club Bistro.
The team will divvy up the cuts and make a monster sized buffet that will satisfy any appetite. Oh yeah…and it’s all you can eat. SOLD!
If that wasn’t enough to clear your calendar…they have also paired up with Platform Beer Co. to offer featured brew, also all you can drink. CHEERS!
The buffet will also be stocked with items for Vegans, Vegetarians and those adhering to the Gluten Free lifestyle, so no need to stay home if you follow any of those diets.
I had brunch at Local Sol (38257 Glenn Avenue Willoughby, OH 44094) over the weekend, and loved the transformation they’ve pulled off in the space. What used to be the formal dining room of an Italian restaurant (Gavi’s) is now a cross between a cantina, a tiki bar and a Salvador Dali painting. So many cool design elements that you might miss if you’re not looking for them.
Loved the ceiling, the Bloody Mary bar, and the drift wood decor. And your eye is immediately drawn to the lights hanging down the middle of the main dining room, brought in from St. Mary’s Church in Painesville, Ohio.
It’s easy to see how this space will become a great party atmosphere. To amp up that aspect, the event planners have live music lined up throughout the afternoon and evening. “SB and the Lovelies” And “DJ Shawn Brewster” will be spinning records 3-5, trio 5-7, and DJ @ 7:00pm.
Tickets will run you $75. Click here to buy.
But I have your chance to WIN A PAIR of tickets to this foodie bash. Mark your calendar, and set an alert. The twentieth person to call Local Sol at 2pm on Wednesday, Feb. 17th, will win a pair of tickets to Wholey Cow. (440) 918-1596. Good luck. See you there!
Is it possible to be so full, and yet still hungry? If so, that’s what I am, after the Fresh Fork Market Thanksgiving Beer Dinner. It was a demo/dinner/sampling of the company’s Thanksgiving offerings this season. And my appetite is piqued.
When we sat down at the communal tables in Market Garden Brewery (which served as the night’s event space), there was freshly baked bread, butternut squash and bacon biscuits, with creamy guernsey butter and belly-warming winter squash soup to start….a good start indeed.
While we sampled one of three beers offered for the evening, Chef Adam Lambert demonstrated several different ways to prepare, break down, and carve a Thanksgiving turkey.
Brining is a must, according to Lambert. Noted. Trussing you can do without. Excellent. Always intimidated by that part anyway. To stuff, or not to stuff? He says for safety reasons (and to not overcook the bird) cook the stuffing separately. Grill it, smoke it, roast it, or…a new one for me… “spatchcock” it (method of removing the backbone then cooking it flat, thus making for a more even thickness).
Chef Lambert answered questions throughout the demo, everything from where to place the thermometer, to what kind of knife to use for these various methods. By then, the smells coming from the kitchen had made their way to the back of the event space and it was time to feast.
The buffet had everything you look for in a Thanksgiving dinner, plus some things you’ve probably been meaning to try.
There was turkey two ways, (traditionally roasted and spatchcocked/smoked/grilled) mashed potatoes with turnips, cauliflower risotto, braised carrots and greens, sweet potato casserole, creamed cabbage, roasted Brussels sprouts, two kinds of stuffing, root vegetable hash, cornbread, shaved raw vegetable salad, home fries with cabbage and jowl bacon, Harvard beets. And these are just the ones I can recall.
After seconds, and thirds, and finally take out containers were offered…it was time for apple pie. Since I limited myself to one trip to the buffet line (and one to-go container 🙂 ) I saved just enough room to sample the Amish baked pie. Sorrynotsorry on that one.
Those who sat at my table were discussing which Thanksgiving package they were ordering and already dreaming about the pasture-raised turkey that had their name on it. (Click here for info on Fresh Fork Market Thanksgiving Orders) Guests walked away with an extensive instructional book, about 45 pages long, that covers everything from planning, to prepping and execution. A new “bible for Thanksgiving hosts” if you will. A great takeaway!
I left the evening stuffed, satisfied and stimulated…ready to be adventurous and ambitious in the kitchen this Thanksgiving (stay tuned for a “Friendsgiving” post very soon!) I’m also convinced that this year, the turkey MUST be brined. So mom, I’ll be over early in the week to take care of that for us! Thanks, Chef Lambert and Chef Bosley for the great recipes and inspiration! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
There’s something pretty exciting brewing in Ohio City. The craft beer industry is booming in Cleveland and the brew masters and business leaders behind Market Garden Brewery are striking while the iron is hot…and the beer is cold!
There is a major expansion underway behind W. 25th Street. Market Garden Brewery is turning their already impressive output into a potential powerhouse. They’ve already installed seven 70 barrel fermenting tanks. How much beer is that? (hint: 1 barrel=31 gallons) That’s a lot of brewski!
The ownership is growing from a single restaurant’s worth of brew, to a full scale production facility with plans for kegging and bottling their beers. They’re also working tours, tasting and retail space in to their plans.
MGB is renovating 5 old buildings behind the W. 25th Street block they already occupy, next to the back parking lot of the West Side Market. It used to be a city block’s worth of houses. Most recently it was a warehouse. But when this project is all said and done, it will be an operation with the capacity for 80,000 barrels of beer. Yowza.
The creative and careful ownership group behind this project is taking steps to preserve the buildings’ character they’ve uncovered during the construction process. Original, exposed brick walls still stand.
Beautiful reclaimed wood is being re-purposed for doorways and other trim elements. I love that they are staying true to the vibe of the neighborhood.
Once they are fully operational, it’s time to get their family of beers out to the masses…on tap at bars and restaurants, and on display at grocery and beverage stores.
At this point, Brewmaster Andy Tveekrem says they are in the “courtship phase” with beverage distributors, trying to find the perfect marriage of production and distribution.
If it wasn’t official already, with an institution like Great Lakes Brewing Co. around the corner, and sister restaurant/brewery Nano Brew down the block, the addition of Market Garden Brewery’s expansion certainly makes a case for this portion of W. 25th St and Ohio City as Cleveland’s Brewery District. Cheers!
Yes, you read correctly. We are baking…with beer and butternut squash. It’s fall, y’all! So it’s time to incorporate seasonal flavors like pumpkin ale and squash. I went to my favorite beer experts, the team at Market Garden Brewery to get some great ideas on how to cook with beers. Cheers!
Executive Chef, Andrew Bower, concocted something up for just this occasion. The restaurant and brew house has a Pumpkin Beer Fest coming up on October 8th, so he dreamed this dessert up for use then too. If you’ve ever cooked cheesecake, the process will be familiar to you. It’s the inventive ingredients that will surprise and delight your palate.
The full list of ingredients and measurements, plus instructions are listed below.
We started by mixing softened cream cheese with both dark brown and white sugar.
Next, Chef Bower added four eggs (and some vanilla) one at a time. Then the magic happened.
To that mixture he added 1 cup of Franklin Castle Pumpkin Ale and 15 oz. of butternut squash puree. (A lesson he learned and shared with me after experimenting with this recipe: make sure you cook and cool the beer before added it to the the rest of the ingredients to prevent bubbles or air pockets)
Finally he added a mixture of your classic pumpkin pie spices. And that’s it folks. Pretty simple, yet pretty genius.
He buttered his home made graham crackers after crumbling them to create the crust. There is also some cinnamon and brown sugar in there. (Recipe for those is also below) Then we poured the cheesecake batter in to a springform pan and placed it inside a water bath to prevent breakage in the crust.
To stick with the theme of fall’s favorite indulgences, Bower whipped up a Pumpkin Ale Caramel and a Bourbon Spiced Whipped Cream to top off this boozy autumn dessert. (Recipes for both of those are also below)
When it came out to the table and it was time to dive in, I was surprised at how subtle all the strong flavors had become. The beer and squash notes were mild and worked so well with the classic pumpkin pie spices. Chef Bower had dreamed up a deeply divine dessert!
A couple of tips about cooking with beer per my conversation with Brewmaster, Andy Tveekrem and Chef Bower:
The reason Bower chose the Franklin Castle Pumpkin Ale for this particular dish was because of the aromatic tones of the beer…allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and chamomile. Their more mild, subtle tones played well into what he was creating. Keep that in mind when you’re choosing your brews.
When incorporating beer into a dish, avoid using IPAs…too bitter. (unless you’re doing spicy food). Stick to mild/malty beers like a Scotch Ale, for their caramelized flavors. Brown Ales are a great addition to a chili. Stouts are good mussels.
Now I want to go out and but a growler of all of these to start experimenting…don’t you?? Let me know what you come up with and send along pictures of your fall flavored triumphs!
Butternut Squash Cheesecake
I am so excited and encouraged by what is happening in the East Bank of The Flats right now. There is energy again. There is activity again.
Since late July, I’ve been down at the revitalized riverfront pretty frequently, attending launch parties, grand openings, and checking in on the progress of those tenants still in the works. The developer, Fairmount Properties, did a fantastic job bringing in businesses that are just plain cool. Punch Bowl Social is the latest to swing its doors open and welcome all the Clevelanders and visitors who are eager to enjoy what’s developing down there.
The newest neighbor, Punch Bowl Social, is a “gastro diner” with items made from scratch on its extensive menu.
They’ll also offer craft beer, craft cocktails and other innovative drinks. like the “Jessica Rabbit.”
What sounds like fun to me is all the games and entertainment they have to offer.
Shuffleboard, ping pong, private karoake, old school arcade games. I can already imagine rounding up a group for a game night, especially during those long winter months when you’ve got a wicked case of cabin fever.
My husband and I couldn’t resist the chance for a rematch after last weekend’s round at the grand re-opening at The Corner Alley. So we laced up some rental shoes and played a couple frames on their boutique bowling lanes.
The adjacent lounge areas are modern and inviting. Not your grandma’s bowling alley.
During the VIP party we attended, scores of their 275 employees passed around samples of their signature punches, house wine and local beers. They also offered great small bites, like sliders, avocado toasts, and my favorite, crostini with jalapeno spread and pickled grapes.
The staff was ample, welcoming and extremely attentive. They looked like they were having a good time too!
There was a great turnout for the VIP portion of the evening, and when we left, there was a line out the door for the grand opening party for the public.
The food was carefully crafted and tasty. The drinks were on point. And the games offer an element of entertainment that you haven’t seen in the Flats East for decades. Game on!
Who doesn’t have a favorite food to chow on when you’ve been drinking a couple of beers? Now imagine a five course menu of elevated versions of all those favorite foods. Good, right?! That’s what Chef Brooks Hart offered to Dinner Lab diners at their second Cleveland event.
When I read the menu sent to members in the weeks leading up to the dinner, it wasn’t a hard sell for me. Billed as drunk food redefined, it also boasted beer pairings from two increasingly popular local breweries. Sold.
As is always the case, the venue isn’t revealed until about 24 hours before the event. And I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the second venue would be at the penthouse space of Skylight Financial Group, offering a unique and unforgettable view of the city. We drank in the scenery and the cocktail hour special, named for the chef in honor of his 30th birthday.
After the 30 minute cocktail hour, I was ready to dig in to course #1, a deconstructed fish taco with halibut ceviche, marinated in coconut milk and thai chili and crispy tortilla strips. The fish was the perfect temperature and texture. I could’ve done without so much lime juice. But still a great start! This was paired with Platform Black Eagle from Platform Beer Co.
The second course was a nod to all the Canadians and gravy fans in the dining room…poutine with crispy fingerling potatoes, a tempura cheese curd (my favorite element of this dish) and some lemon rind confit, (which was a surprise when I took the first bite, but I loved it too)
The beer offering for this one was a smooth and refreshing compliment to the food, Platform Symon Says Saison from Platform Beer Co. It’s brewed exclusively for Iron Chef Michael Symon’s “B Spot”, (their website describes it as a citrus driven peppery saison utilizing a specialty yeast blend specific for this beer)
Our third course was a tale of two dishes, for me. It was listed as a pizza, but you could hardly eat it that way The raclette flatbread with butter roasted mushrooms that served as the base was tasty, but a little tough. And it was impossible to pick it up, or slice into the braised bacon and eat all of it as one bite as it was likely intended. When I gave up and ate the elements separately, I was happy again.
As we ate and chatted with our guests, some friends who also enjoy food and these kinds of experiences as much as we do, I made sure to jot down a few notes on my comment card. No, I’m not one of those people who does this at every restaurant I go…this is a huge part of the process for Dinner Lab and its chefs. They take the feedback back to “the lab” and make changes (or not) according to the comments from their diners.
Course number four was the crowd favorite by far. It was a pretzel croissant with marinated gouda and blueberry mustard. I know…sounds a little crazy. But I wanted a whole box of those pretzels and a vat of the blueberry mustard to take home!!
One diner even stood up and whistled to get the crowd’s attention so he could shout “That preztel was the bomb!” The chef told us he was relieved to hear it, as he put a lot of muscle power into rolling out enough of those for two seatings. The beer pairing for that course was also my favorite, the Albino Stout from Butcher and the Brewer. I order it every time I go there. Great choice!
For dessert we had another helping of culinary imagination…a chocolate brownie topped with pickled peanuts (in a caramel sauce) creme fraiche and ganache. I loved the bravery and spirit of adventure that this process fosters among its chefs. Who pickles peanuts?!
We had mixed feelings about the dining room. I loved the view of downtown, especially at sunset. But once dinner began, the fluorescent lights of the business space took over. To be honest, it wasn’t a distraction or something that hindered the experience…just an observation.
We also got a chance to chat with both the chef and event manager by the end of the evening. I was pleased to hear that a lot of what we ate was sourced from the iconic West Side Market and I am excited about the next venue (got the inside scoop…stay tuned…and hungry!)