Natural Wines: Zack Bruell Restaurant Group introduces organic, biodynamic vintages.

Have you ever tasted a wine that was truly alive?  I hadn’t, until I had my first sips (and glasses) of natural wines.  And now, I get it.  It was hard to understand, or believe, that a wine could change dramatically from first open, to first pour, to last sip.  But it happened, each time, as we tasted the new natural wine offerings from the Zack Bruell Restaurant Group. 

Restaurateur, Zack Bruell, recently brought on his son, Julian, as the Director of Service.  The younger Bruell brings with him experience from Michellin Star restaurants in New York City.  Inside his first three months, he and Direcotr of Operations, David Schneider, set about introducing ground-breaking wines to several of the ZBRG properties.  This week I was invited to taste some of the biodynamic offerings now available at Parallax and L’Albatros Brasserie.  

What makes a wine natural, or biodynamic ? They require a lot more labor, for starters.  They are made by small, passionate producers, with minimal intervention or modern technology.  No yeast, bacteria or sugars are added.  Simply produced, these wine makers stay true to traditional wine making.  The lack of things like sulfites (only added at bottling for stability) means you should drink it right away.  Alas, the minimum amount of sulfites, however, will not lessen a hangover, contrary to what some believe.  That’s according to Maggie, the wine rep who walked us through each variety. 

These natural wines aren’t filtered, so some, especially the white varieties, appear more cloudy than you’d expect.  And some, like the Chardonnary we tried had a bit of a yeast smell to them initially.  But inside five minutes of the pour, it tasted more buttery, like a classic Chardonnay you’ve come to expect.  These wines evolved rapidly, some “explode out of the bottle,” according to Bruell.       

The Chenin Blanc was a touch more sweet, warm at first.  But in minutes it gave off a green apple tartness to it. You can see how one like this would be a perfect pairing to the richness of Chef Bruell’s food.

The Nerello Mascalese, a field blend from Sicily, was produced from volcanic soil. It was light, like a Pinot noir, and had hints of kiwi and pomegranate.

My favorite was the French Syrah, from Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone.  It had more body, with raisin, tobacco and even light black pepper favors to it. 

The Mourvèdre out of Mendocino County was light, a little sweet and a little dry with strawberry and plum notes.  I thought  it would make for a lovely spritzer, come the warmer months. 

We had a great time sampling these food friendly wines, clearly the next trend in wine making.   To my surprise, the price points were much lower than I’ve seen such wines before. There will be 12 varieties, sold by the bottle on the menu at L’Albatros Brasserie and Parallax, ranging in price from $32-60.  Cheers!

Resolution-Friendly Menus in CLE

When January rolls around, many of our resolutions and goals center around food and our waistlines. Eat better, eat less, eat local, etc.It’s hard enough to stick to a plan when you’re preparing meals at home. But many people on a new diet plan often avoid going out to eat, or joining in on social events because they fear (or know) that a place or an event won’t offer them choices that fit in to their new plan.

But menus and chefs in Cleveland are keeping up with diners’ increasingly complicated and conscientious eating habits. So I’ve crowd-sourced a list of tasty local establishments that offer plenty of options for people who are eating more particularly or carefully in the new year.

Townhall Offers all non GMO menu items as well as Paleo and Vegan menu nights.  It’s also one of the largest menus in the city so you can go back again and again and not repeat dishes.

REBol Sister restaurant to Town Hall, they offer a 100% Non GMO menu, meats are all organic when possible, dressings and sauces are free of refined sugar and they use coconut oil for cooking. 

Courtesy:Facebook, REBol’s Thai Chicken Broth Bowl

Cleveland Vegan There’s an extensive menu, plus catering options and a bakery with GF, vegan and raw options. They have a raw dinner night this Saturday, January 14th. 

The Root Cafe The community cafe and vegetarian eatery has lots of pizza and calzone options, and beans and rice to leave you feeling satisfied.

Forage Public House A large percentage of the Lakewood gastropub’s menu is GF, vegan or vegetarian, and  Thursday is vegan night.  But there is also a lot on the menu to appease those you’re dining with who may not need those options.

Tommy’s This Coventry institution has been meeting the needs of vegetarians for decades.  As their slogan goes, “Whether you’re a vegetarian, a meat-eater, vegan, or just plain hungry, Tommy will take care of you.” 

Sweet Melissa‘s Rocky River ad University Heights locations has a whole line of GF and vegan pastry and a host of GF options on their menus. 

Pure Vida I trust Brandt Evans to make great food (Blue Canyon, another one of his, is one of my favorite spots in town.  The Public Square location offers great GF, V and Veg lunch items for those struggling to stay on your program during busy lunch hours. 

Courtesy: Facebook, Lobster Thermidor from Fire Food & Drink

Fire Food & Drink Headed by one of my other favorite chefs in town, Doug Katz, Fire is always on the cutting edge.  It’s a great date spot.  They use local meat whenever possible and only use sustainable seafood. 

Spice Kitchen & Bar If locally sourced ingredients are of new importance to you now, seek out places like this, which creates their menu based on what Spice Acres (their farm in the Cauyhoga Valley Natioal Park) is producing.

Toast Is so proud of their locally sourced products, they actually list the purveyors on their menu.  So you can support multiple local vendors with each bite.

Sustainability also ranks high on the list of priorities at places like Flying Fig, Greenhouse Tavern and Urban Farmer.  

John Mango’s World Cafe This Ohio City favorite has been doing vegetarian since before it was cool.  They have an entire section of their menu entitled “The Ballad of Meatless and Delicious” Vegan, gluten free and a juice bar on site too.

Cafe Avalaun In Warrensville Heights, Chef Brian Doyle’s place is the city’s first and only 100% gluten free restaurant. And they have a Fresh Meals Club that they’re running a special trial on right now.  Subscribers pick up 6 dinners every Tuesday. They’re all Paleo, grain free, dairy free, soy free, low carb nearly whole30 compliant type meals. 

Courtesy: Facebook, Good to Go Cafe and Anna in the Raw

Good to Go Cafe in the IMG building has a daily variety of raw foods and coolers full of Chef Anna Harouvis’s killer organic cold pressed juices, from her line Anna in the Raw, popular with her professional athlete and rock star clients alike (she is the juicer for the Cavs and the Indians, among other high profile clients).

If you’re goal in 2017 is to juice related, there is also Restore, and CLE Juice Box which both offer cleanses and clean eats. 

When you don’t feel like going out, try Sprinly.  They’re a personal, plant-based chef and nutritionist service…delivered.  They have plans with 6-20 meals per week.  And they’re local.  

Note: Destination Cleveland also put together a great list, with some overlapping ideas, and some new bones.  Check our theirs at  

Courtesy: Facebook, Good to Go Cafe

Please help me add to this list.  Where are you finding delicious foods that meet your new needs??

Food is love.  And love is food. 

If you’re like me, you like to show love with food. As Valentine’s Day draws near, I teamed up with someone I love, my friend Rachel from Roaring Acres, to create three lovely events aimed at showing those close to us just how much we care. Cozy up with your girlfriends for PJ Potluck, entertain your kiddos with a Valentine’s themed play date, or romance your honey with an enticing sweetheart’s brunch in bed.

lovely events pj potluck setup

Week nights can be exhausting. The idea of cooking for a crowd probably doesn’t appeal to many. Make a few easy things (some ahead of time) and ask your gal pals to contribute the rest, potluck style. Throw what you need in a silverware caddy and dish out sweets in small, portable portions. Trade work clothes for yoga pants, pop in a movie (or three) and indulge in some serious comfort food.  

Take movie night to the next level with tomato and truffle popcorn soup shooters. Saw this recipe in Food Network Magazine and had to give it a shot. I actually used half the recommended amount of truffle oil and found it to be just enough. Make the soup a day or two in advance, then just heat and serve. Garnish with popcorn and share the rest of the bag with easy-to-pass-around tins.

lovely event chocolate penne

I wanted to give local entrepreneurs some LOVE in this post by making an indulgent and (appropriately flavored) pasta dish using chocolate penne from the Little Lakewood Pasta Company.  Recipe follows. 

And I also LOVE friend and fellow TV news veteran, Tiffani Tucker’s, new Bundt cake business. Have a Slice mini heart-shaped cakes were the perfect complement for our Valentine’s Day dessert. She prepares five different flavors that could also double as favors.

Over the weekend, create a no-frills craft and healthy lunch. Served in the middle of the action, the kiddos can help themselves while they decorate cards for the local nursing home, or a children’s hospital. Dig up that heart-shaped cookie cutter and make sandwiches with strawberry jam and almond butter.
Since my little sweeties like to dip things, I roasted some red peppers and added it to homemade hummus, and provided a pile of sweet and crunchy sliced red and yellow peppers. Recipe follows.

For something to sip on that’s also good for the heart, I made smoothies in my daughters’ favorite color–purple. Toss in frozen berries, a banana, almond milk, and a generous splash of this vibrant fresh pressed juice from Restore Cold Pressed, made with raw and organic apples, beets, carrots and lemons. Use a fun glass so they can slurp them up happily.

Dessert doubles as a holiday-themed activity with decorate-your-own mini cupcakes.  More sprinkles ended up on the floor than on the cupcake display…but kids love to be involved in the fun.

lovely events brunch set up

And don’t forget to to treat your honey.  Create a beautiful brunch or breakfast in bed. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then deviled eggs are the fast lane.

Hard boil eggs and make the deviled filling the night before. (I add mayo, yellow and Dijon mustard, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and salt/pepper) Fill and top them on Valentine’s Day. I painted hearts with Sriracha, sprinkled capers on a second set, then used the remainder of my pancetta from my pot luck pasta recipe for a third variety.

lovely events breakfast stack

To satisfy meat eaters, make this impressive Breakfast Stack with sausage, cheese, sautéed veggies and potatoes. Recipe follows.  This can also be prepped ahead of time to allow for less labor and more snuggle time on this romantic day.

And for a decadent dessert, my go-to is a Chocolate Strawberry Panini, a recipe from my culinary crush, Giada De Laurentiis. I used my Panini press, but if you’ve got a Foreman Grill or a grill pan, those will do the trick too.

Skip the heart-themed setting and create a Valentine pink bubbly by dropping in a few Red Hots for color and just a hint of cinnamon flavor. Or brew up your love’s favorite blend, and finish it with the care and attention of a seasoned barista.

lovely event coffee

A trio of Valentine’s Day menus, delivered. My love to you all!!

Chocolate Penne: 1 lb. dried chocolate penne pasta, 1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce, or about 2 cups homemade, ½-1 c. asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces and blanched, 2-3 T. pancetta or bacon cut into 1 inch pieces, 1 Roma tomato, halved and sliced, pinch of nutmeg and cardamom (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions, 7-10 min. In a sauté pan, fry up pancetta, then set aside. To the same pan, warm sauce and add nutmeg and cardamom. Toss the pasta in the sauce, and then add asparagus. Top with sliced fresh tomatoes and crispy pancetta.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: 1 red pepper, olive oil and salt, 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained, I lemon, juiced, 1 clove garlic, chopped, 1 T. parsley, chopped, ¼ t. sesame oil, ¼ c. water, ½ c. olive oil, salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425* Coat the red pepper generously with olive oil and salt. Roast in the oven until skin is slightly charred. Set aside to cool then peel the skin and remove seeds and stem. In a food processor, combine beans, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, sesame oil, water, salt/pepper and the red pepper (cut into strips).  Blend until smooth, gradually pouring in the olive oil.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Chill and serve.  

Breakfast Stack: ½ lb. breakfast sausage, ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese, 2 T. each, red and yellow bell peppers, 1 T. white onion, chopped, 1 small potato, shredded, 1 egg, beaten.

Preheat the oven to 350.* Brown the breakfast sausage and set aside. Shred the potato like hash browns and then wring out as much moisture as you can, with a cheese cloth or clean dish towel.  Season and pan fry until golden brown.  Set aside.  Combine chopped veggies, season and sauté until softened.  Generously coat a medium ramekin (about 10 oz. size) with cooking spray.  Sprinkle cheese on the bottom for the bottom layer.  Add a layer of sausage, then veggies, then potato.  Pour  in the beaten egg, making sure it filters through the layers. Finish with a final layer of cheese.  Bake 20-25 min.  Cover with a plate and flip to remove from ramekin and serve. 

Ohio City Provisions: a new, and true Farm to Fork concept

The term “Rise and Shine” was made for people like Trevor Clatterbuck and Adam Lambert.  They have been getting up before sunrise for months, working long hours readying their new project.  And it’s pretty exciting.  Both are heavy weights in Cleveland’s local food scene independently, (Trevor is the man behind Fresh Fork Market, a very popular CSA business (community supported agriculture) in Cleveland.  Adam is a well-established local chef, who’s logged hours in the kitchens of Bar Cento, and The Black Pig, to name just a couple) but together they’re doing something that isn’t being done anywhere else in town.

OCP Rise and Shine

The plans are to open up a market and butcher shop in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, near St. Ignatius High School.  The two plan to grow or raise everything they’ll sell there.  Fans of Fresh Fork will find all the good quality produce they’re used to (sourced from farms within 75-100 miles of Cleveland, organic when possible, and picked at the peak of freshness).

OCP produce

But what’s new, innovative and mouth-watering…is what they’re doing with hogs.  The pair have been experimenting with animal husbandry and feed to develop meat that you can’t get anywhere else in the state.

OCP hogs

I got a tour of the property in Holmes County where they have about 150 hogs on site.  Mangalitsa, Berkshire, Mulefoot, Red Wattle…all new vocabulary to me.  But what they have planned is not…charcuterie.  Yes, please!

OCP jen and a hog

They’ve got a supply chain in place, thanks to their “adventures in hog sourcing.”  The details of which the pair chuckle about, but don’t care to share.  After all, learning about heritage breeds is new territory for them too.  Clatterbuck has a background in business and political science.  Lambert is a self-taught chef.  But the two both seem right at home on the 200 acre property where they plan to get a lot of their product.

OCP Wholesome Valley Farm

They’re promising the best pork in the state.  The red wattles are said to be more tender.  The mangalitsas, used for things like Jamon Iberico.

OCP mangalitsa

What takes time, but will be worth the wait, I’m told…is controlling the product…all of it…from start to finish.  They are playing with breeds and what they feed the animals to get optimal product.  These hogs are given specific ratios of barley and grass from the fields.  Lambert says they have marbled loins, and even appear more red than pink when you cut into them.

Red Wattle Pig at Wholesome Valley Farm in Holmes County, Ohio

Red Wattle Pig at Wholesome Valley Farm in Holmes County, Ohio

Plus, they’re also raising other animals.  They have laying chickens, meat birds and heritage birds, whose pens and coops are moved weekly to insure exposure to fresh grass and soil for them to feed on, not to mention fresh air.

OCP mobile coop

They’re also working on ways to make heritage poultry more affordable. (which currently takes 18 wks.)

OCP heritage birds

The Hereford beef they are raising will be grass-fed, sustainable and have better flavor, according to Clatterbuck.  Those with smaller frames, he says, are easier to finish without incorporating high energy corn and grain.  Their plans also include growing non-GMO (and eventually, organic) corn and soy beans on site so the animals can feed off that.

OCP beef

There is so much in the works it’ll make your head spin.  The infrastructure is already in place for maple syrup production.  There are hives on site, for bees to pollinate the produce and generate honey.

OCP maple syrup infrastructure

They have secured their cannery, bakery, frozen foods and ferments permits.  OCP has acquired heavy machinery like bean snippers and corn huskers to handle the volume when fresh produce “comes in like a hurricane,” as Clatturbuck says.

OCP canned goods

When the store is up and running you can expect incredible products.  Believe me, I’ve had some of Chef Lambert’s charcuterie and it is unbelievable.  A true art.  But he’s even upped his game.  Clatterbuck and Lambert are fresh off a 2 day charcuterie workshop in Gascony, France.

forage with strangers charcuterie

And since it costs more (time and money) to raise these kinds of hogs, you can bet they won’t be selling them as pork chops.  You’ll see smoked and cured meats, specialty sausage and charcuterie.

Rendering of the Ohio City Provisions storefront

Rendering of the Ohio City Provisions storefront

Clatterbuck and Lambert are aiming to open Ohio City Provisions in January.  Can’t wait to see what will fill their cases, and the bellies of Clevelanders once they open their doors.

Robyn O’Brien: Food’s Non-GMO Crusader

My head is spinning and my curiosity is piqued after an enlightening dialogue about America’s food supply.  I was invited to hear a pair of speakers this week who are taking on the food industry and attempting to transform the country’s food supply, for the sake of Americans’ health, our health care industry, and our economy.  To them, where our food comes from and what it’s made of is the key to changing everything, really.  At first I didn’t see the connections.  They opened my eyes.  And I commend them for tackling such a colossal task.  It’s not going to be easy.

Photo courtesy Robyn O'Brien's twitter account @foodawakenings

Photo courtesy Robyn O’Brien’s twitter account @foodawakenings

A trail-blazing restaurant in Cleveland, Town Hall, was behind the evening.  The restaurant is the only one in the city to be able to call itself a non-GMO establishment.  “What’s that?”  I said when I first read about it.  I had no idea, and I’m not alone.  GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. It’s food engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide.  Also refers to animals who eat this stuff, and who have been pumped full of hormones.  Not too appetizing, right??  Turns out most of us are consuming them on a daily basis, whether we know it or not.  And Robyn O’Brien believes they are making us sick, causing the exploding epidemic of childhood allergies, contributing to the rise in asthma, and controlling the country’s food supply.  When I started reading her book, The Unhealthy Truth, I was both sacred and intrigued.  The journalist in me was hungry for more information to make up my own my and start making better informed decisions for my family.  So I gladly accepted the invitation to hear what she had uncovered and listen to what the other featured speaker of the night, U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan was going to do about it.

Town Hall event-view

The stage was set for an eye-opening conversation, at the penthouse suite of Skylight Financial.  It wasn’t a coincidence that we were sitting directly across the street from the iconic West Side Market, a mecca of fresh produce, meats, and cheeses.  I’d never seen my city from this vantage point before.  And until this night, I’d never looked my food from this angle either.

Congressman Ryan has also written a book on the subject, The Real Food Revolution: Healthy Eating, Green Groceries and the Return of the American Family Farm.  He began by saying how great it was to work with people who are open-minded enough to hear the truth.  I agree.  Reflecting on his own childhood culture of family dinners, and eating things straight from his grandmother’s garden, he expressed disappointment that we are so very disconnected from our food.  Ryan believes we are a product of an unhealthy industrial agriculture system.  What was equally disappointing to him, was that in all the discussions Congress had about Healthcare, no one talked about food.  And in all the discussions about the latest Farm Bill, no one talked about Healthcare.  To him, they’re all connected.

Photo courtesy Town Hall Ohio City Twitter Account

Photo courtesy Town Hall Ohio City Twitter Account

Ryan wants to create an entirely new food system, and fix healthcare, the environment and education through food.  Ambitious indeed.  He’d like to shift subsidies to give farmers incentive to generate more fresh produce and whole foods, then help them sell it by creating a market.  (For example, gradually increase the percentage of better food bought and served by publicly funded universities and jails).

Photo courtesy Town Hall Ohio City, twitter account, @TownHallOHC

Photo courtesy Town Hall Ohio City, twitter account, @TownHallOHC

Robyn O’Brien became a “food detective” and activist after her 1-year-old daughter (the youngest of four) had a severe allergic reaction to an egg.  Since then she has dedicated her life to uncovering the root causes behind the exploding childhood allergy epidemic, long-term and wide spread health issues linked to GMO’s, and the incestuous relationship between the food industry, chemical corporations, political leaders and even non-profits when it comes to food safety.  As a former financial analyst, she did it in a way she knows how, through financial records and through tapping into her “type A” personality.  She connected the dots between major corporations like Kraft, and Monsanto (the chemical manufacturer that makes Round-Up), as well as ties to non-profits and studies on the subject.  Disappointing and scary stuff.

Admittedly, she used to dismiss this movement as a hobby.  Gotta say, I used to as well.

I didn’t want anybody telling me to feed my kids organic avocados,” she said.

But once she started to dig, she could no longer look at it that way, or ignore was she was discovering.  According to her research, from 1997-2002 the number of peanut allergies doubled.  There had to be something to it, she decided.

She is known as “Food’s Erin Brokovich” and I can see why.  During Q&A she shared some of the ways in which big corporations attempted to silence her in her outreach.  “Courage is contagious,” she reflected.  Her mantra.

She never referred to notes during her talk.  She was soft spoken, even seemed to be on the verge of tears at times.  Yet she spoke with such confidence about what was wrong with the system and what needed to be done to undo the damage. (for example, make it cheaper and easier for farmers to grow organic food)  O’Brien is encouraging the country to start by having a conversation, writing to your congressman, and making different choices at the grocery store.

“We have financed a chemically-intensive system,” she said.

O’Brien also recognizes the fix won’t be quick, or remotely easy.  And figures she’ll still be fighting this fight when she’s got a silver ponytail.  I have to agree with her.  Changing people’s minds is tough enough.  Changing the political system will be an incredible challenge.  And changing the economics behind it all…that seems near impossible to me.  Not to her, and not to the others who came to hear her speak.  I can’t wait to see, and eat, the progress.

O’Brien wrote about her experience in Cleveland.  Click here to read her thoughts.

Honey Glazed Grilled Stone Fruit with Mint Lime Yogurt Dip

When you get fresh organic produce delivered to your doorstep each week, it’s easy to get inspired.  Door to Door Organics has been supplying my family with beautiful fruits and vegetables this summer, and asked me to create an original recipe using their inventory.  There was so much to work with, that I actually created two!  The first I’ll share is a sweet app, or light dessert that my guests (and children) gobbled up.  It’s Honey Glazed Grilled Stone Fruit and a Mint Lime Yogurt Dip.  

I’m excited about this post because it is my first GIVEAWAY!  I have a couple $50 gift certificates to give away as part of my partnership with the online grocer, newly launched in the Greater Cleveland/Akron area.  Details and instructions at the end of the post.  Now, back to the business of recipe creation!

I love stone fruit.  Peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines…they’re all wonderful to snack on, and cook with.  And I was happy to discover how much my kids enjoyed them too.  But just slicing them up and serving them plain seemed boring and uninspired to me.  So I took a couple of items that arrived in a recent Door to Door Organics delivery and turned them into something pretty spectacular, and supremely easy.  That’s what makes me one of their #KitchenMavens,I suppose!


The dip is just a couple of ingredients, and can be altered based on what you have on hand.  I made it a couple of different ways to see which I preferred.  My first variety (and my favorite) marries just three ingredients:

-5oz.vanilla flavored Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of chopped organic fresh mint, the zest of half of an organic lime.  I blended those in a small food processor and refrigerated that while I grilled up the fruit.

Other varieties and variations that also worked for me:

-5 oz. plain Greek Yogurt, a tablespoon of honey, then the same amounts of lime zest and mint.

-5 oz. Stoneyfield Low Fat French Vanilla Organic Yogurt (available via Door to Door Organics) plus above mentioned lime zest and mint leaves.  This version was more runny, but less sour and I know some people take issue with the flavor of Greek yogurt.


Bonus: this dip can also be eaten just like regular yogurt, as proven by my best taste-tester and recipe-approver, my 20 month old daughter.

The grilled fruit part is even easier.  Just work with whatever stone fruit you prefer.  I like peaches and nectarines best with this, but apricots and plums will also work.  Since the organic plums and apricots have been on sale and in season with my partner in this post, I used those.  (Note: the fruits hold up better when they’re less ripe) Slice them down the middle and remove the pit.  Then brush each side with some honey and place them flesh side down on a grill or grill pan.  Each piece of fruit only takes a couple minutes on the grill at medium/high heat, just enough to get those beautiful grill marks on them.  Remove them to cool, then slice them up.  And….you’re done!  


Double Bonus: Gotta put a Cheftovers twist on this, right?!   These can also turn into frozen yogurt pops.  I took the sliced grilled fruit and yogurt dip that wasn’t eaten, pureed it in a blender, poured it into Popcicle molds and popped them in the freezer for another time.  They were eaten just as quickly as the yogurt alone.  

  Now to this business of a giveaway!  Want to win??  Please do me the “flavor” of following my pals as Door to Door Organics,

 And my followers and friends will get $10 off their first order by using my exclusive  Cheftovers Coupon.

If you want $50 is FREE ORGANIC GROCERIES delivered to your doorstep, please COMMENT on this post.  I’ll be picking a winner at random.  (and if they don’t operate in your zip code, you can always send the e-certificate to a friend who could use it)

Door to Door Organics: #joydelivered now in Northeast Ohio

To me, getting a fresh organic produce delivery is as good as flowers delivered to my doorstep.  Because in my house, food is love.  And I love what I’m feeding my family now that Door to Door Organics is filling up my fridge.  The food geek in me was pretty excited when the first boxes arrived.

DTD boxes

As part of their effort to spread the word about their new presence in the Cleveland/Akron area, Door to Door Organics, offered me the opportunity to try their service and products (complimentary) then provide a review.   I’m a Kicthen Maven!  #kicthenmavenCLE  And what’s best? I have $50 gift certificates and discounts to give away to Cheftovers readers and followers!!  All you have to do is follow my blog, share this post, or comment.  I’ll be randomly selecting winners from those who support Cheftovers and Door to Door Organics. (@dtdorganics,

Here’s how the process works: You sign up via their website (linked above) and chose the size produce box you’d like to have delivered to your home or office, (fruits, veggies or a combo) and the frequency (weekly or bi-weekly).  Then you can customize!

What I really like about this service versus traditional CSA’s (community supported agriculture, where you get a grab bag of local, in-season produce delivered regularly) is that you can set your preferences and substitute items.  The complaints I always hear from CSA participants is when something is in season, they often get too much of it, whether they like it in the first place or not.  Door to Door Organics allows you to set preferences when you sign up.

I don’t want anything to do with Brussels sprouts.  I think they taste like feet, no matter how much bacon you cook them in.  So I put those and a few others on my “Don’t Want” list.

On the other side of the coin, I got to put together a list of fruits and veggies that my family thinks are awesome.  Since we are not an “all organic” household either, I chose produce that I believe are worth eating organic (and left out those which don’t matter as much to me).  In addition, you can substitute items.  A few days before your delivery comes, you’ll get an email listing the items that’ll be in your box of #joydelivered.  You’re allowed up to five substitutions.  There are many to chose from and it’s easily spelled out what you can get instead for the same price.

This week I’m planning to make a new enchilada dish (subsequent post and recipe coming soon!), so I substituted something I wasn’t interested in, and added a couple jalapenos.  I also noticed that my “Bitty Box” would have another pound of organic carrots in it.  We hadn’t yet finished the bag that came last week, so I substituted that too.

To finish, I shopped for things I’ll need for the recipe I’m developing, like rice and black beans.  This saved me a “bonus” trip to the grocery store where I’d end up buying more things I probably didn’t need.  I think a dozen organic brown eggs are going to be added to my order every week!  Yum.

DTD organics meat and dairy

I was also pleased to see that the dairy and meat I added to my order came in a well insulated box, as it sat outside on the back patio until I came home that evening.  (the meat that could be frozen, was, adding to the “chill” factor in the “add-ons” box).

DTD cooler box

I am a new customer to the organic groceries world.  So in the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I must say…the price on some of this stuff is significantly higher than I’m used to.  But the “convenience” factor cannot be ignored.  And those who already shop and eat organically are familiar.  I also value and appreciate that the produce is local (when possible) along with products from several vendors.  I love that.

Door to Door Organics Bitty Box, feeds 1-2 adults for $25.99

Door to Door Organics Bitty Box, feeds 1-2 adults for $25.99

I have been meaning to try a CSA for several summers now.  But honestly, adding another errand to my to-do list (driving to a pick-up location at a designated day, time and location) is not appealing.  But getting #joydelivered through Door to Door Organics has been great.  Easy, healthy and delicious.  I plan to continue it!

My readers and followers can get a discount on their first order.  Use