Tag Archives: Cleveland

Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland

Virginia is not the only place we’ve been lately to taste great beer.  We were also able to enjoy some microbrewed beer on a recent trip to my husband’s hometown of Cleveland.

Right next door to the famous Westside Market is the Market Garden Brewery.

It has a nice outdoor seating area that was perfect to enjoy the pleasant summer afternoon, but it has a huge indoor area with plenty of TVs, too.

At the time of their visit they had 10 varieties of beer made in-house under the guidance of brewmaster Andy Tveekrem, but also have a variety of microbrews from locales around the world.  We decided to share a sampler of 6 of their brews.

Pearl Street Wheat – A tangy and sweet Hefeweizen with a hint of clove.  I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of the style, but this was not outstanding.  Just fine.

Tarte Blanche Blonde Ale – Their thirst-quenching, fruity summer brew.  It was great for sitting outside in the sun.

Progress Pilsner – Crisp with a nice balance between malt and hops.  It was well made, but nothing to write home about.

Wallace Tavern Scotch Ale – Super malty it reminded us of whiskey.  We both ordered a full pint of this one.

OHC ESB – An Extra Special Bitter with a nice amount of malt.  If we stayed longer, I would have ordered this again.

Gordian Strong Ale – Another malt heavy brew.  I think we will enjoy it more in cooler weather, which Cleveland definitely has for a few months.

They seemed to have a pretty good collection of spirits behind the bar, but a craft distillery for the grounds is also in the works.  We were disappointed to learn it is just “coming soon.”

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Beer and Sausage

Sounds like a winning combination, doesn’t it?  They are as delicious together as they are separately.  Although, I argue each is improved by the other.

Here’s a simple way to combine them in one dish.  It would be a great way to break out the grill this weekend.

Beer Braised Brats
Serves 4 to 6

6 uncooked bratwurst sausages (can be turkey)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
24 oz beer (cook’s choice)

Place bratwurst in a large saucepan.  Top with sliced onion.

Pour beer over top.  Use a beer you are willing to drink.

Turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  Once it starts bubbling, turn it down to low and let it simmer for about 8 minutes.

While the sausage are simmering, start your grill fire or preheat to high.

Remove the brats from the beer and place them on the grill.  Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently until evenly brown.

They would be excellent served on hearty buns topped with spicy brown mustard and sauerkraut, but I dished them up with sauerkraut perogies and sauteed onions.  And more beer, of course.

Just trying to represent.  Toast to Cleveland.  Na zdravi.  (To your health.)

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Cleveland Rocks

This is an overdue post on a recent trip my husband and I had to his hometown of Cleveland.  We had a terrific time and enjoyed some great food.

2058 East 4th Street

Owned by Top Chef and local-boy-made-good Michael Symon, this is one of the hottest spots in town.  The menu changes regularly, but his signature dish is a hanger steak and fries.  Since it was my first time, that is what I ordered.  The steak was cooked exactly to order (really) and was very tender and flavorful.  The potatoes are fried in bacon fat and sprinkled with salt and a bit of rosemary.  They were the perfect consistency.  They have a balanced wine list with a range of prices (both bottle and glass) and both traditional and edgy pairings.  The wine list is maintained electronically, which I think is great and each table is provided with an IPad to see the selections.  A cool touch, but only if it is working.  We initially had a dud, and were delayed in ordering our drinks.  One more note…I had heard a number of negative things about the service there, so I was steeled for it, but it wasn’t horrible.  The hostesses needed some more training, but our waiter was friendly if not super attentive, and the water steward kept my glass filled and our food was brought to us promptly and as ordered.  You do need reservations if you want to go, so plan ahead.

Velvet Tango Room
2095 Columbus Road

This is like no place else in Cleveland.  You must go to this bar if you want to the best cocktail in town. It was not obvious from the street and looked a bit dingy, but it was a different atmosphere inside.  We were greeted at the door and asked if we wanted a table and to check our coats.  We chose to sit at the bar to watch the bartenders work.  The place has great acoustics – you can hear the live jazz/blues music, but still have a quiet conversation with your companion.  The menu is a bit overwhelming with a lot of explanations and history for each drink, don’t be deterred, though.  And, you can also just tell the bartender what you like (or don’t) and they will mix up something special just for you.  I had a Bourbon Daisy (bourbon, lemon juice, grenadine, sugar with orange and cherry garnish) and a Sazerac.  My husband enjoyed a Sidecar and a glass of Scotch.  We were warned in advance of the prices (plan on $16 a drink), so the bill didn’t ruin our good spirits when we ready to leave, and we found the splurge worth it.

West Side Market
Corner of West 25th and Lorain

Cleveland’s oldest market is sure to have what you are looking for, and for the right price.

The market is full of ethnic diversity with items I’ve never seen anywhere else and there are a number of counters run by families who have been there for generations.
It can get crowded on the weekends, especially in the morning, but I find it best to go earlier in the day before some vendors sell out of the best stuff.

Seven Roses Delicatessen
6301 Fleet Avenue

In the heart of Cleveland’s Slavic Village, this neighborhood grocery store is worth the trip.  It is in a beautifully restored 19th century building with floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves, a pressed tin ceiling, and even lace curtains in the windows.  I love the perogis and we always bring back several dozen.  But, they have all kinds of other delicious Polish treats to take home or you can grab a table and eat there.  Don’t be concerned if you are greeted in Polish or can’t read the labels, the staff is friendly and willing to help.

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Orzo Salad is Best Served Cold. Like Revenge.

While our grilled London broil was quite tasty with a side of LeBron revenge, we also enjoyed it with a cold orzo salad.  My mother-in-law makes a very delicious orzo salad, and she served as my inspiration when I whipped this up over the weekend.

Orzo is Italian for barley.  Also known as risoni (big rice), it is a form of pasta in the shape of a grain of rice.  I like orzo because it is a versatile pasta that can be served hot or cold, with a sauce, in a soup, casserole, pilaf, or salad, like I mentioned.  While it was originally made from barley, orzo is now made with durum semolina wheat, as especially hard variety of wheat.   Pasta made with durum wheat is more resilient through the cooking process, and won’t easily become mushy, even after being baked or simmered in broth.  I used a plain variety of orzo, but you can also find varieties colored or flavored with vegetables, like spinach.

I don’t think I tasted orzo until adulthood.  It wasn’t unfamiliar to me, but I just cannot recall ever eating it until my twenties.  Too bad for me.

I encourage you not to wait too long before trying it out for yourself.

Orzo Salad
Serves plenty

1 lb dried orzo (plain or flavored will work)
1 pint grape tomatoes, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 – 1/3 cup olive oil
4 – 8 oz feta cheese (depending on your preference)

Cook orzo according to package directions.  Drain and mix with chopped veggies and herbs.

Whisk together lemon juice, salt and pepper, dried oregano, and olive oil to create dressing.  Drizzle it over pasta and vegetables and lightly mix.

Add feta cheese and lightly mix.


Filed under Pasta, Salad

LeBron Fire

In a time of unsettled loyalties and disappointments, one desires the known, the solid, the dependable.  One desires firecrackers.

I know I should not be surprised by the selfish and narcissistic behavior of someone who refers to himself as King James, but yet I was.  The way in which LeBron James announced that he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers was just unbelievable to me.  He didn’t thank the fans, he didn’t seem to realize the hurt he was causing.  He just spoke of himself in the third person and made it clear he didn’t want the pressure of being a team leader.

I have only recently become a Cavaliers fan and was upset, but my husband and his family and friends in Cleveland felt completely betrayed and were understandably angry.  We decided that something cathartic must be done for them to find relief and satisfaction.  The solution: a bonfire of LeBron James paraphernalia.

As our idea took shape, though, it became so much more.  Oh, so much more…We turned “hey, let’s throw some LeBron jerseys into our outdoor firepit and drink beer as we watch them burn” into…”Let’s commit LeBenedict Arnold to a firing squad of Roman candles and other incendiary devices while we eat grilled London Broil and homemade ice cream and drink beer.”  Yeah, baby…

We started by aiming the Roman candles at his jersey until it was in smoldering shreds…

Then, we moved to pure flame without the flash…

Still had some emotion to express, though…
As you might imagine this became quite the neighborhood spectacle.  If I thought folks were interested in seeing my husband get charged by a small brown poodle…I mean, they were standing in the alley, lining up in their back yards, and leaning out upper floor windows to watch the crazy white folk set fire to LeBron stuff.  Of course, the Roman candles and camera flashes might have had something to do with it…

To get the bitter taste out of our mouths, my husband marinated and grilled a london broil.

Grilled London Broil
Serves 8

4 lb london broil beef
1 white onion, sliced
1/2 cup A1 sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
salt and pepper, to taste

Between 6 and 24 hours before dinner, place beef in a (non-reactive) glass dish and cover with sliced onion.

Combine A1 sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup.  Pour over top of beef and onions.

Cover and refrigerate between 6 and 24 hours.

Grill over medium heat for about 15 minutes for medium rare meat.

Let sit for another 15 minutes, then slice and serve with a side of revenge.

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Toast with a Tenderloin

While we were in Cleveland last weekend, my husband and I hosted an outdoor party for his family and friends who were not able to join us in Texas for our wedding.  We were joined by some of our good friends from Washington, DC, too.

It was a whirlwind trip – lots of fun, but not really relaxing.  We really didn’t have a chance to truly appreciate all the well wishes and special conversations that we had while we were there.  Both of us feel so lucky to have so many fun and considerate people in our life, and we worry they don’t realize the depth of our gratitude.

Because of that we decided to plan a relaxing evening at home to go through the congratulatory cards and presents we received and share our thoughts about the success of the party.  I wanted to make something special for the two of us, but nothing too taxing.  We were both still tired and we wanted time to sit back and absorb what we just experienced.

I decided on a pork tenderloin from Niman Ranch and I was inspired by a bottle of tequila sitting on our bar.  I made a margarita-like marinade, let the pork soak it in for a couple of hours, and tossed it on the grill.  I served it with chipotle-spiced beans and rice with green onions.  Then, we toasted our good fortune with a couple of beers.

Margarita Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Makes 3 to 4 servings

2 green onions, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 Tbsp flat parsley, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp tequila
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 lb pork tenderloin

Place all ingredients, but pork into a large zip-top plastic bag and combine.  I dropped the limes in after squeezing to enhance the citrus flavor.

Add pork to mixture in bag and seal.   Using your hands work the marinade around and rub it into the pork.

Let it marinate for at least one hour, but not more than 5 hours in the refrigerator.

When ready to grill, remove the pork from the marinade and discard the marinade.

Grill, with grill lid closed, over high heat.  It will likely take not more than 5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of your tenderloin.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers and Comfort in Food

My gorgeous friend Kristina is a bit under the weather this week, so my husband and I decided to make some food for her and her husband.  We just wanted them to have a hassle-free evening with something tasty and easy in the refrigerator waiting for them.  The most comforting choice?  A casserole with macaroni, tomatoes, ground beef, and lots of gooey cheese.

It was very easy and we made it up as we went along.  We made enough to not only give them a casserole, but keep one for ourselves as well.  And, I was very grateful that was the case when we decided to have some folks over to watch the Cavaliers basketball game.  It made for a very easy dinner for our guests.  We just popped that casserole in the oven, chopped a few veggies for a salad, slathered some garlic butter on a baguette, and whipped up some brownies.

And, oh, did we need some comfort in our house.  Needless to say, the game did not go as we had hoped, but dinner was just what we wanted.

Comforting Casserole
1 Tbsp each, canola oil and olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (adjust to suit your taste)
2 1lbs ground beef (you could substitute turkey, if you prefer)
24 oz can of whole tomatoes (you could replace with diced, if you prefer)
15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb (1 box) of macaroni (you could replace with another compact pasta)
3/4 cup cheddar, shredded
3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded

Heat the mixture of canola and olive oils in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until no longer opaque.  Add the garlic and in less than a minute so the garlic doesn’t burn, add the meat to the skillet.  Slightly brown the meat and break it up into crumbles.

Add the whole tomatoes, breaking them slightly, juice and all.  Add the tomato sauce and spices.

Stir and turn down heat.  Let it simmer until it thickens, it took about half an hour to get to the consistency we prefer.

Meanwhile, follow the directions on the box of pasta and boil until preferred consistency.  Drain the noodles and place in the bottom of a casserole dish.  We had enough pasta for two casseroles – a 9 x 13 and a 8 x 8.  Pour or ladle the meat sauce on top of the pasta.

Then top with the mixture of cheese.

You can bake it right away in a 400 degree F oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheese looks a little brown and bubbly.  Or, you can refrigerate for no more than 3 days (or freeze for no more than a week) while covered.  If you want to freeze it, I suggest you don’t add the cheese until you are ready to bake.

VARIATIONS: This would also be good with various vegetables (think bell pepper or zucchini), different cheeses, other spices, or other flavorings like mushrooms.  Experiment with ingredients you or your lucky recipient will enjoy.

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Filed under Beef, Pasta