Saturday, June 27, 2015

FvF on the Road: Cleveland

Mr. FvF and I took a quick weekend trip to Cleveland recently, and left the boy behind at Nana's so we could pretend to be young again. As much as I was hoping to come back with a laundry list of dining experiences, a traveling weekend is really only one full day. On the way there, we had lunch at a BBQ place just outside the city that was less than memorable. I'd also love to tell you we dolled up for at least one fancy dinner out, but in late April, we were still wearing our winter coats in Cleveland. After walking our asses off to get back & forth from the Rock Hall, we felt like we deserved ALL the food (not to mention all the sangria). We made a reservation at Mallorca, a Spanish restaurant within walking distance of where we were staying. I'd heard they serve a lobster the size of a cat, so I figured their other portion sized would be similarly shameful. I was right!

We started with a pitcher of sangria and Chorizo a la Plancha. this was the dry-cured type of chorizo, sliced into coins and broiled, and it was delicious. Better still, there was a nice plump black olive for nearly every piece of sausage.
I chose one of their veal scallopini dishes (yes, they have more than one!)...

and Mister went for the shrimp as usual. I can't recall the name of his dish, as it's not listed on their website now, but it looked impressive and he was a very happy man.

Did I mention that's not all of the food? Because that's not all of the food. We also had salad, freshly steamed veggies, housemade chips and yellow rice with pigeon peas.

It's a million wonders that they didn't have to put wheels underneath me and roll my big ass out of there like Violet Beauregarde.

The next morning we trekked to the other side of town to check out the West Side Market on 25th Street. I was bound and determined to find all of the carbs possible at the public market, and it didn't disappoint. I ended up with a shit ton of fresh pasta and sauces from Ohio Pasta Company, as well as enough petite desserts to make Wilford Brimley shiver in his therapeutic loafers. The Market also happens to be just around the corner from Great Lakes Brewing Company.

We had a very boozy lunch there and tried some new brews that weren't yet being bottled and sold, and I was very happy to get to cross this off my list. The brewery and restaurant itself is a very nifty, historic building complete with much of the original woodwork and the telltale narrow stairs leading up to another dining area. Our server was very knowledgeable about the beers and the food, and was happy to let us taste anything we wanted to prior to ordering (without charging us, of course). The Mister had fish & chips, battered in their Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. I'll remind you that I'm not a fish eater - I always try a bite of what he orders and decide I'd eat it if I were starving, but not order it. This fish, I'd actually order. Aside from some seafood I've had on the coast, this is the best fish I've had. Note that I'm not a fish connoisseur. I'm one of those people that doesn't want their fish to taste much like fish. That said, my husband (who loves virtually all fish) really enjoyed it, too.

I had the Old World Burger, a big-ass patty swimming in a porter BBQ sauce, smoked cheddar, bacon and fried onion straws, all snuggled up in a pretzel roll. According to the menu, both the beef and rolls are sourced locally from Westside Market vendors. It was a hell of a burger, and our server had a little "I told you so" moment when I asked for a box for the remainder.
Also, I chose tots over fries and suggest you do the same. These aren't your every day tots. They have a "tot of the day" that's creatively seasoned, plus they're all handmade and huge. The flavors of the burger were all perfect together, but I will admit the grind of the meat was a bit too find and it got just dry enough to crumble with each bite. It was easily masked by all of the gooey toppings, but I doubt I'd have wanted to eat the burger without them. the rest of the experience was so pleasant, though, that I hesitate to dock them too many points for that. While I may not order a burger next time, I'd absolutely visit again if we find ourselves in Cleveland another time.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Greek Speak: Souvlaki

Don't call it a comeback, eaters - but I am trying diligently to post on the regular. Something that's difficult to remember when you're busy adulting is that sometimes you should do things because you enjoy them, not because you make money doing them. And as a working parent, you have to make time for those things. It was a nice kick in the pants to have more than one person tell me they miss my entries. So, here I am, making time for that thing that I love. Food. Making it, eating it and talking about it. 

Anyhow, technically, I've posted a souvlaki recipe here before, but it was more of a link to a souvlaki recipe. Considering the recipe is mine and I no longer work for that organization, I hosed the old entry and now you can find my recipe for souvlaki here. On thing I've changed - I no longer bother trying to make my own tzatziki. The FvF family is lucky enough to live by The Market in the Kettering/Centerville area, which meets all of our Greek food accouterments and craft beer needs. the owner makes his own tzatziki and stocks killer feta (imported and domestic), along with fresh pita bread. If you're not lucky enough to have a Greek deli or grocer nearby, try Frankensteining some of the recipes together you'll find on the internet. 

  •  pork loin chops trimmed of all fat and cut into 1" cubes
  • 4+ whole wheat pitas                                                                                                          For the marinade
Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in an air-tight container and place the pork cubes in the same container. Shake it up to make sure they're all coated and stick it in the fridge. 
1-2 hours will do the job, but the longer you marinate, the more flavorful it'll be. 
Before you're ready to grill, thread the marinated pork cubes onto skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 min). Grill about 12-15 minutes total, or until browned on all sides and cooked through.

Enjoy! That's really it! I like to serve it hot plate style, with sliced veggies, pita, feta and tzatziki.