Saturday, 27 April 2013

First Impressions: Initial Review of The Crest

The Crest Gastropub on Urbanspoon

As I pulled into the parking lot of The Crest Gastropub (1,2), I saw quite a few people enjoying springtime's sunny weather on the outdoor patio. And then I saw Abed who looked to be taking in the moment. I met recent OSU grad Abed and Dublin, OH native Dustin in early March at the annual meeting of Slow Food Columbus. Since then, I've been following the progress of The Crest which officially opened last night (following a successful soft opening last weekend), and of which Abed and his family are the owners and Dustin is head chef. Already, the early and very recent previews (1,2,3) had created positive buzz. That said, my initial review below appears to be one of the first post-opening pieces (at least the first to make its way over to Urbanspoon) to add to that buzz, hopefully providing the curious among you with a peek of what the experience was like in full force.

Cooking for the CCCE Staff: Spring 2013 Dinner

We've now reached the final days of the academic year and yet somehow the number of programs has been increasing, students are spending many more hours writing up final papers, and reviews and assessments are keeping more and more folks in the office. Amidst all of this, most of our staff was able to find a small window to enjoy a break and a meal, and of course the company through which food brought us together. On our menu: grape tomato and orange bell pepper salad with orange vinaigrette, blueberry salad with feta, muesli and citrus infused olive oil, handmade whole wheat tagliatelle with fresh marina, Italian dressing chicken, baguette toasts with pasta sauce and shredded cheese, Italian cheese trio (perline mozzarella fresca, grated parmesan and ricotta, blue, and for dessert dark chocolate mocha cake with Whit's frozen custards.

Friday, 26 April 2013

FCC Field Study Trip: Part III (Dayton)

Rue Dumaine on Urbanspoon

Following our visits to Cincinnati and Fairfield, our Food and Culture Colloquium field study trip group headed about 40 minutes north to Rue Dumaine in Dayton, where both their Americanised take on regional French (Provençal) cuisine restaurant and their emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients caught my attention.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

FCC Field Study Trip: Part II (Fairfield)

It took less than an hour from Findlay Market and our first stop in Cincinnati to get to the original, Fairfield location of Jungle Jim's International Market (there's a second, recently opened location in Eastgate). I've been to Jungle Jim's only once (this past August, as part of my visit to Cincy) and even then it was an overwhelming experience. This time around, we only had a little over two hours to explore the six acres of space, an establishment that I affectionately refer to as the Toys 'R Us for foodies. As most of our field study trip participants had never been to Jungle Jim's, and since there are no guided tours on weekends (because of the high volume), I put together a brief scavenger hunt that guided them through the market. Below, you'll find the scavenger hunt script, along with accompanying site photos to introduce you to different areas of the market. Of course, for the true Jungle Jim's experience, I'd encourage you to check out the market the next time you're in the area!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

FCC Field Study Trip: Part I (Cincinnati)

Following the conclusion last Wednesday of the modules and practicums of this year's Food and Culture Colloquium, the much-anticipated field study trip to Southwest Ohio finally arrived this past Saturday. The trip, eight months in the making, served as the capstone event to the Colloquium and brought us to Findlay Market in Cincinnati, Jungle Jim's International Market in Fairfield and Rue Dumaine in Dayton. Presented in three separate posts, this one shall serve as a brief overview of the first third of our "more than a foodie" experience.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

FCC: The Final Four (Modules 21-24)

I can't believe the flyer I put up back in September has remained the entire academic year!
In the spirit of the recent conclusion of March Madness, or rather in actuality because of the madness that is April in academia, I present to you in this post brief recaps of the final four modules of the 2012-2013 Food and Culture Colloquium at Denison University. Of course, the ideal situation would be that I have tons of time (and energy) to write up much more in-depth recaps as I've done for the first 20 modules (search: FCC) and our six In the Kitchen practicums (search: ITKP). Having said this, and knowing full well these recaps won't do justice to these presentations, I hope these turn out to be enticing enough appetizers to tide you over until the recorded video sessions of all of our modules have been posted on-line.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Food and Culture Programme: College Cuisine

On and around the Hill, it's becoming more and more difficult to deny the fact I'll be heading out at the end of the academic year. And indeed the list of lasts [for now] seems to be getting checked off quicker than I'd like. One of these items is the last food and culture program in a residence hall, which took place this past Monday in East Hall with RA Jaime and her residents. On our "An Italian Affair" menu (the planned budget of which was $60 for 20 people): handmade whole wheat tagliatelle with roasted vegetables, handmade dunderi with fresh pesto al'Amalfitana, Italian dressing chicken, handmade lemon meringue cookies with raspberry sherbet, and fresh lemonade with strawberry coulis.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Second Entry: Books2Eat 2013

My 2013 Books2Eat entry: "Luck of the Draw"
Throughout my short time at Denison, I have participated in a fair number of Denisonian traditions and annual events. One of the most creative and tastiest of these is the Books2Eat Festival held in the Library and indeed all over the world. Last year, I was unable to participate as I was in Virginia for the French Film Festival, but this year I was able to follow up on my "Best of Show" win from 2011. With little time ahead of me (as I had arrived home on the evening of Easter and the contest was the following Monday, April 1st), I garnered up some energy and prepared myself for a handful (or two) of hours baking, painting and finessing my entry for Denison's 10th Festival. Similar to my 2011 entry, I focused my attention on another book replication: Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, one of my favourite high school texts.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Living a Foodie Kind of Life: Boston, Monday (3/25)

Two weeks ago today (wow, time has flown by!), I awoke with the last day of my recent trip to Boston ahead of me. Back on Thursday, Jared had suggested I visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum where he and his roommate, friend and fellow opera singer Roland also work (in Café G, that is). After making a quick visit back to BU to learn more about Metropolitan College's Gastronomy program, I headed over to the museum. I got there a bit too early and found out that they don't open until 11am. I certainly didn't mind waiting, especially with Monday's weather being one of the most favourable of my entire visit. Indeed, Monday was a great day for the museum and especially one such as this. As far as the museum went, my favourite part had to be the garden around which it seemed the rest of the museum had been built. The plants throughout the museum were very well integrated (literally giving life to the museum) and not having known what kind of artwork to expect, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the familiar religious themes and artwork I had previously studied as part of my limited art history training at Albion. Walking away with relatively few photos (cameras aren't allowed in most of the museum), I left the museum filled and reinvigorated by its energy and the food of Café G, where cameras are allowed and where mine was definitely in use.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Living a Foodie Kind of Life: Boston, Sunday (3/24)

After attending Mass at St Mary of the Assumption, Jillian met up with me at the church and we headed to Trader Joe's and Stop & Shop to purchase ingredients for the menu we had been building with Christina since Friday evening. (An aside: the stark difference between the two sites offers quite an interesting comparative case study in terms of the access, availability and value of food across lines of difference.) In the end, we got most everything on our list, except for the important ingredient for my signature finale course. No matter.. As The Next Iron Chef competitions have demonstrated over the years, adaptability and improvisation are among the essential traits one should aim to hone. On our French-inspired menu: salade Niçoise, coq au vin, plat aux fromages, and brownie avec caramel salé et bacon. This being said, allez cuisine !

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Restaurant Review: Alfie's Wholesome Food

Alfie's on Urbanspoon

Greetings, fellow Foodie (or Foodie-in-Training)! I'm taking a slight break from my series of Boston posts to inform you of a new restaurant that recently rolled into town and opened today, with the proclaimed mission that it would "connect people to what they eat and each other by being the community’s best place for food." Well, that restaurant is Alfie's Wholesome Food of which CCA-trained Chef/Owner Sam Dodge has made his small business vision a reality. Located in the "cute" village of Granville, Alfie's officially opened this past Tuesday. The Grand Opening took place today, beckoning Granvillians and area folks to check out what this addition to Granville is all about.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Living a Foodie Kind of Life: Boston, Saturday (3/23)

By some Bostonian influence/magic, I got up early on Saturday and made it in time to the ESS conference site for an 8.30am session (which would turn out to be my last session of this year's annual meeting) on the (de)construction of ethnic identity. After practicing some restraint by not buying nearly every book of interest at the book exhibit, I eventually met up with Cheryl, a theatre professor at Denison, who also happened to be in Boston that same weekend. As has been the common thread in this series of posts (and will continue as such), we began our journey in search of food.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Living a Foodie Kind of Life: Boston, Friday (3/22)

Following a very full day on Thursday, I woke up Friday with a rush of enthusiasm for the even fuller day ahead. The Eastern Sociological Society's first ever Mini Conference on Food Studies--a testament, in my opinion, to the growing recognition and acceptance of food studies as a viable and relevant field in academia--had finally arrived. Without going into too much detail here, this mini conference (organised by Barbara Katz Rothman and Alexandrea Ravenelle from City University of New York) was divided into four back-to-back sessions, each focusing on a different intersection with food. I was part of the first panel which addressed food as a tool for learning and teaching, specifically from the angles of ethnography (Richard Ocejo and Connor Fitzmaurice) and pedagogy (me and Helaine Harris). My paper focused on the food and culture programs and research I have led over the last year and a half or so at Denison, leading up to our Food and Culture Colloquium. Subsequent sessions focused on food as a tool for social control, as a tool for constructing ethnic identity, and as a tool for media representations. To have been fortunate to dream up and construct my own understanding of food identity, and to create a tangible mechanism for seeking to understand the connection between food and culture, continues to be an important highlight of my professional journey to date. To have been fortunate to engage with others who are going through similar processes has helped me in this orientation, to further recognise that we're all still learning through and with food. Now, after a full day of this (14 presentations within a span of 7 hours), and with a quick snack run to Au Bon Pain, I was ready to take it easy for the evening. For me, of course that more often than not involves cooking and the consumption of food.