A Guide to Dining, Eating and Cooking in Cleveland, Ohio

Pier W May 31, 2011

Filed under: Restaurant Reviews — jenniferferf @ 8:15 pm

We went to check out Pier W’s happy hour on a Tuesday, and weren’t disappointed!

We split the clam chowder, salmon blt, and the mahi mahi tacos.  The clam chowder was great, but the salmon blt was amazing!  Nice grilled salmon with bacon and a mayo sauce on a challah bun.  Yum!  The only disappointment was the taco dish.  Was there fish?

For drinks I ordered the cucumber lemonade vodka, which was refreshingly cucumbery, and my dining companion ordered The Pier W, which was a little underwhelming.

Overall: Cleveland’s best date restaurant on the lake.  Expertly prepared seafood in a beautiful setting.


Sushi at Table 45 February 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferferf @ 11:46 pm

Table 45
9801 Carnegie Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106

We headed out for happy hour and sushi at Table 45 before the orchestra concert tonight and it turned out to be a fantastic pre-symphony dinner!

When we arrived around 5:45 p.m., the bar was PACKED, so no chance of getting the happy hour food (happy hour only goes until 6), but we got happy hour drinks and waited for a table.

Happy hour drink specials were great!  They had three cocktails for $5, Dortmunder for $3, and three wines for $5.  I opted for the happy hour Chardonnay, and my friend got the lemon drop, a vodka/lemon elixir.

Our waiter was friendly; however he pressured us into ordering more sushi than we had planned.   BUT it turned out that he was spot on with his recommendations, so we didn’t mind in the end.

We ordered the InterContinental Roll (Lobster and Avocado inside topped with Mango, Eel, and two types of fish roe) and the Lora roll (Shrimp Tempura, Mayo, Spicy Sauce, Mango, and Lettuce inside Soy Bean Paper), and both were outstanding.   (Our waiter confided in us that his favorites were those two and the Table 45 Roll (Tempura Shrimp, Tuna, Cucumber, Mayo, Scallions, Spicy Sauce, and Red Tip Clams)).

We were still a little hungry after those so we ordered the salmon roll as a snack, and that was great, too!

Their dessert menu looked nice, but we were full so skipped it.  According to the waiter, the ice creams, gelatos, and sorbets are all made in-house so we’ll try that the next time!

Overall, a cozy and surprisingly bustling restaurant with a huge menu and excellent service.

One more plus: free valet parking!


Recipe Report: Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon February 16, 2011

Filed under: Celebrity Chefs,Dinner,Food Ideas,Recipes and Preparations — jenniferferf @ 10:15 pm

Winter in Cleveland is cold.  Cold enough for desperate measures.

And on a very chilly winter Saturday recently I was driven to cook – specifically Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon.  Simple, really.

Step 1:  Saute onions and carrots in butter (more butter than you would think is necessary, really).

Step 2:  Pat meat (top sirloin) dry with paper towels and saute with the veggies until the meat is browned.

Step 3:  Cover the beef and vegetables with beef stock and wine, add a little thyme and a bay leaf, and simmer it until it falls apart – at least two hours or so.

Serve over rice, or gnocchi, or boiled potatoes.  Just as Julia intended!

Knopf has kindly made a PDF of Julia’s recipe available on its website.


Recipe Report: Ginger Fried Rice

Filed under: Celebrity Chefs,Dinner,Food Ideas,Fresh,Recipes and Preparations — jenniferferf @ 10:02 pm

i.e. my dinnerThe other day I felt inspired to try another recipe from Mark Bittman – Ginger Fried Rice.  Mark Bittman adapted the recipe from Jean Georges, and I found that it nicely balanced the savory, sweet elements of the dish.

The recipe was fairly simple, although it took me far longer than the  30 minutes it claimed to take – more like 1 hour and 30 minutes by the time I chopped the leeks and minced the garlic and ginger.  I recommend finding a sous chef or some sort of knife wizard to help you with the prep work.

I agree with Bittman that the killer ingredient is the fried minced garlic and ginger and I intend to use that in other dishes as well!  The other killer ingredient was the runny yolk in the sunny-side-up egg that mixed in with all the ingredients.  YUM!

See Mark Bittman’s video at

Ginger Fried Rice Recipe (from

Time: About 30 minutes

1/2 cup peanut oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp minced ginger
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried
4 cups day-old cooked rice, preferably jasmine, at room temp
4 large eggs
2 tsp sesame oil
4 tsp soy sauce

1.  In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown.  With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly.

2.  Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and add 2 tbsp oil and leeks.  Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned.  Season lightly with salt.

3.  Raise heat to medium and add rice.  Cook, stirring well, until heated through.  Season to taste with salt.

4.  In a nonstick skillet, fry eggs in remaining roil, sunny-side-up, until edges are set but yolk is still runny.

5.  Divide rice among four dishes.  Top each with an egg and drizzle with 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1 tsp soy sauce.  Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.


Wonton Gourmet

Filed under: Dinner,Restaurant Reviews — jenniferferf @ 9:41 pm

Wonton Gourmet
3211 Payne Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114-4505
(216) 875-7000

We stopped at Wonton Gourmet on a recent chilly weeknight before seeing South Pacific at PlayhouseSquare.  With its proximity to the theater district and abundance of free parking, we often plan to hit up a new spot in Asia Town before catching a show at the theater.

Wonton Gourmet was great!  Friendly, prompt service, and excellent food!  We had the wonton soup to start, and then for entrees we ordered the Szechwan Chicken and Beef with Chinese Eggplant.  The beef dish was a little spicy, but both were excellent!

The atmosphere was your standard Chinese restaurant with one unusual feature: the large-screen TV in the back of the restaurant that was playing a Chinese variety show, which I can only describe as a variation on America’s Got Talent in Mandarin.  Everyone else in the restaurant was watching with rapt attention, so we tuned in, and it turned out to be entertaining!

Most entrees were $10 or less, and we enjoyed eating the leftovers for three days.  You could really do well to share a small appetizer and an entree.

I will say that the menus were a little confusing for this first-timer: there were three separate food menus, and by the time we left, I still couldn’t figure out how they were organized, but they also have helpful huge color photos on the walls that correspond to the numbers on the menu, so that helped, too.

We’ll be back, Wonton Gourmet!


Bar Cento gets rockin reviews and rockin ice creams August 1, 2008

Northern Ohio Live has rated one of my favorite late-night spots as the best in Cleveland! I’m excited about this, especially since Cleveland Magazine snubbed Bar Cento in their recent restaurant guide.

And, another sidenote that is completely blogworthy in and of itself…

Jeni's Dark Cocoa Gelato

Jeni's Dark Cocoa Gelato

On their dessert menu, Bar Cento has recently begin offering selections from my favorite ice cream place in the universe, Jeni’s Ice Creams!
A few weeks ago it was just a dessert special, but now it’s made its
way onto the regular dessert menu. They’ve been offering a variety of
flavors, including the Salty Caramel, the Black Coffee and the
Pistachio. Jeni makes creative gourmet ice cream, gelato and sorbet
from fresh, local ingredients. Trust me, it doesn’t get any better than
this. I wonder what it will take for Bar Cento to get my favorite
flavor combo, the Dark Cocoa Gelato and the Gravel Road? Jonathan Sawyer, are you reading this? :)

Since moving to Cleveland, I’ve really missed having a Jeni’s within
walking (and driving) distance from my house, and it’s practically
worth the drive to Columbus to eat Jeni’s. So I’m thrilled that one of
my favorite places in Cleveland has done the right thing by bringing
Jeni’s to Cleveland. Yum!

I love it.


The NY Times made me drool July 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferferf @ 11:11 pm

Chocolate Chip CookiesClick here.

For two days, this chocolate chip cookie recipe was the most emailed story on the New York Times’ website.