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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Happy First Birthday, Alfie's!

Alfie's on Urbanspoon

Evening greetings, foodies and food-consumers alike! Despite the handful of other restaurant experiences I know I need to write about, I feel compelled to jump ahead and share with you my experience this evening back in Granville, as this is obviously freshest on my mind. Tonight's attention is being duly paid to Alfie's Wholesome Food, which held its first birthday party today. Perhaps you may remember my blog post of Alfie's opening day last year? Regardless if you ever read it, I expressed my hope then that Alfie's would be well established in Granville. By the looks of the crowd that descended upon East Broadway and behind the Robbins Hunter Museum, this locavore restaurant certainly has. In addition to the opening of neighbouring Wisp Knitting Shop, there was certainly much for Chef/Owner Sam Dodge and his team, as well as Granvillians and visitors, to celebrate.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Quick Notes from the Short North: Arch City and Mac's

In my world of food, the opportunity to try out new recipes and restaurants is quite plentiful. And for those who know me well (as a food blogger, at least) know that I aim to use my blog (and how up-to-date I am with it) as a metric when it comes to accepting such opportunities for learning through food. Well, with the semester quickly winding down, I haven't done the best job keeping up with this thing and I certainly haven't stopped cooking and eating, as has hopefully been evident in my recent swing of catch-up posts. (If it's not evident yet, it should be in the next few days.) This being said, I wanted to make sure I include here my restaurant experiences at Arch City Tavern and Mac's Café.

Epic Food Day #2: Cleveland

Last month, Brianne and I went on an epic food day journey to Pittsburgh. Just a few weeks later, we ventured about two and a half hours northeast to Cleveland, the county seat of Cuyahoga County (the most populous county in Ohio), to get a sampling of its culinary offerings. In addition to checking out the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Cleveland Museum of Art, a fair amount of equal time was spent at Cleveland's oldest publicly owned market--West Side Market--and Cleveland Chop, both of which are reviewed in this post.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Another Ambitious Menu: Cooking Lamb for 40+

Greetings, "Learning through Food" readers! I feel an apology is in order (if not for you, at least for me), regarding my recent pause on keeping up with this blog. The semester is quickly winding down here on campus, meaning my available free time to write is becoming much more limited by the day. This said, it's events such as the one I'm about to share with you that help me get centered, to take a break from the academics and take on an intellectual experience of a different sort. The challenge--had I chosen to accept it--was not to recreate as close as possible the first initiatory banquet menu (1906) of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (1,2). Rather, it was to do so with a low-cost budget for an unspecified number of guests (though we were aiming for somewhere in the 40-person range), bearing in mind lack of on-site kitchen facilities and the main protein being lamb. Thankfully, I received the call about two weeks in advance and the dinner itself would take place during spring break. And so, challenge accepted. On the menu of which I was responsible: 1st course: selected cheese and crackers; 2nd course: creamy tomato soup, with salted wafers; 3rd course: shrimp salad on endive lettuce and broiled lamb chops, with wild apple jelly, green peas, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls; 4th course: chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache; and 5th course: Neapolitan ice cream with lady fingers.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Epic Food Day #2: Pittsburgh (part 2)

Last month, one of my foodie friends and food anthropology colleagues, Lisa, informed me of an event that I just could not see myself passing up. For this March 1st event (opened to the public, though in large part a gathering of chefs and folks linked in some way to the food service sector), the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Culinary Federation would be holding its annual award dinner at the prestiguous (and exclusive) Duquesne Club, from which many chefs have excelled in their craft [e.g., 1 and 2]. The menu (upon which at first glance I'm sure I started to drool over) looked incredibly impressive, and Lisa assured me it would be absolutely amazing. With the reservations made shortly thereafter, and following a fun-filled foodie first part of the day with Brianne, here's my recap of what I can safely say is my second favourite meal ever (following this one, of course).

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Epic Food Day #1: Pittsburgh (part 1)

By the end of our visit to the Strip District, John was just as cheerful as when we first met him earlier that day.
Have you ever been witness to a day when you knew it was going to be wonderfully amazing, enjoyable, and beyond any sensible reconstruction of words that just wouldn't seem to do justice to your experiences? Perhaps the term you might anticipate using at some point is "epic." I suppose from my lens epic-ness is an all-too-familiar concept applicable in my world of food, but without a doubt my trip with Brianne last weekend was nothing less than that. For reasons that will be much clearer in part 2 of this epic food day post, Brianne and I made our way over to Pittsburgh (hopefully the first of many more sites in the future), a drive that only took us about three hours to complete. She had never been, and I had visited just once prior (somehow over three years ago); still there was an interesting familiarity in the air, as if nothing has since changed. As we eventually learned from John (pictured above, making sure to have worn his "funny hat" [his words, not mine]) at the end of our trip throughout the Strip District, the main focus of this post, quite a bit has changed in terms of developing this part of the city. What has remained consistent in the past 35 years or so is the downtown foodie destination that is "The Strip," a historic conglomeration of retail produce and ethnic food stores, restaurants and coffee shops. Without a doubt, our time ahead was not to be merely epic, which in itself crams too many words and emotions into four little letters. To quote John, who has worked at the Pittsburgh Public Parking site (21st and Smallman St) for the past 35 years or so, the first half of our day in Pittsburgh was everything he'd hoped it would be for us, summarised in five (okay, technically six) letters: "a blast!"

Friday, 28 February 2014

Restaurant Review: Flip Side (Easton location)

Flip Side on Urbanspoon

It's been nearly a year since the doors of Ohio-based Flip Side opened in Columbus. And as it turns out, quite a bit has happened since then. The second of three locations (the third being in Chagrin Falls which opened earlier this season), Flip Side was originally established in Hudson, OH, in 2011, along with neighbouring One Red Door. And come summertime, a location in Cleveland's Flats will complete the currently planned chain of gourmet burger sites. All of these spots are co-owned by central Ohio-raised Michael Schwartz, and long-time Hudson area restauranteurs Chef Shawn and Tiffany Monday, Flip Side of which hopes "to stand out from its 'better burger' competitors by having a 'chef-driven menu but with a middle-market price.'" Well, after watching Pompeii this past Sunday and failing to check out Flip Side despite the number of times I've been at Easton Town Center, I went with Brianne to finally get a taste of their culinary offerings. The final verdict, for those who want to bypass the description and just check out the photos: in this blogger's humble opinion, Flip Side is an area transplant worthy of being considered an accessible mecca for both foodies and non-foodies alike.