ClevelanDish

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

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.

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Best Pasta in Cleveland: Ohio City Pasta June 15, 2008

Once you have fresh pasta, there’s no going back.

During an excursion to the West Side Market the other day, I picked up some fresh pasta at the Ohio City Pasta stand, where they make and sell their own pasta. Their display counter showcases a colorful selection of ravoli, gnocchi, sauces, antipasti and more. The herb fettuccine looked particularly colorful and fresh, so I picked up a few servings of that and the saffron linguini. Turns out, good move.

I threw together some simple tomato sauce, with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and basil and cooked the pasta, no problem. Great idea for making fresh pasta with fresh herbs inside.

Ohio City Pasta doesn’t deprive East siders of excellent fresh pasta – I’ve seen Ohio City Pasta selling pasta at the farmer’s market at Shaker Square! Highly recommended!

 

South Indian Eggplant Curry April 2, 2008

Filed under: Cuisines,Dinner,Food Ideas,Indian Food,Recipes and Preparations — jenniferferf @ 9:22 pm
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Today’s NY Times food section featured a recipe for South Indian Eggplant Curry that looks fabulous. Can’t wait to try it. I love food section day!

 

Adventures in Indian Cooking… April 1, 2008

With most of the leftover ingredients from my recent successful foray into Indian cooking calling to me from my pantry, I was again enticed to make something Indian to satisfy my cravings for something spicy.

However, due to a distinct lack of paneer readily available, I decided to improvised and see where I could get with some tofu I bought the other day. I probably broke some big rule about indian cooking, but I made Mattar Paneer with tofu instead of paneer. That’s right: Mattar Tofu.

Mattar Paneer is essentially yummy cheese morsels and peas in an aromatic, flavorful tomato sauce and is generally served over basmati rice. By breaking a few rules, I think I have successfully made a shorter, healthier way of making this yummy dish, by using the tofu instead of the paneer and serving it over whole wheat couscous instead of rice.

Permit me to say a few words about couscous. First of all, it’s ridiculously fast and simple. Boil 2 cups of water, turn off the heat, add the couscous and stir, let it sit for a few minutes, and it’s done! And, perhaps more importantly, Hodgson Mill whole wheat couscous I found has added flax seeds, and 6 grams of fiber per 1/3 cups of dry couscous, which I figure is about a serving cooked. Hello! Much healthier than plain white rice. A reasonable substitution in my book.

Here’s the recipe:

Mattar Tofu

Ingredients:
2 12-oz cans Del Monte diced tomatoes, pureed
8 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes
canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
dash of cinnamon

1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

8 oz. frozen green peas

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. First thing’s first: cut up your tofu and and puree your tomatoes so they’re ready to go in, because timing is key.

2. Get a few tablespoons of canola oil nice and hot in a very large saucepan or a medium soup pot. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaves and cinnamon and stir for a few seconds to release the aromas.

3. Add the tomatoes, coriander powder, turmeric, chili powder and paprika, and simmer all that together for about five minutes or so, until the sauce has reduced some.

4. Then add the peas and cook them until done, about five minutes more.

5. Add the tofu, salt, sugar, and use the cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken if necessary.

I also added tomato paste because I wanted more tomato. Serve over basmati rice or couscous.

Does anyone else have cravings for Indian food like me? Should I start up Indian Food Lovers Anonymous? Yum.

 

Bombay Superstar: Indian Eats From Lakewood March 26, 2008

I love Indian food. I love going to Indian restaurants in Cleveland as much as possible. I get take-out from Cafe Tandoor in Cleveland Heights several times a month – the Paneer Makhani is my favorite – and my new favorite Indian restaurant is Udipi Cafe, at 6339 Olde York Road in Parma. Woah. Talk about amazing, inexpensive Indian food that’s more than worth the drive out there.

For a long time I have wanted to learn to make Indian food myself, and a Saturday road trip to Lakewood brought a serendipitous visit to a well-stocked Indian grocery store, called Indian Food Emporium, at 17796 Detroit Road in Lakewood. My friend and I giddily perused the many shelves of exotic spices, flours, rices and snacks and struck up a conversation with the very friendly and helpful Indian lady at the cash register whose name was Mona Lisa. According to the website, Indian Food Emporium is connected with India Garden in Lakewood, but it’s further down the street.

So, with my cupboard fully stocked with Indian spices, I was determined to make Mattar Paneer, that lovely mix of heavenly mild cheese and peas in an aromatic tomato sauce.

After perusing several Indian cooking websites, I found several websites that were enormously helpful, including Show Me The Curry, Quick Indian Cooking and (my favorite) Manjula’s Kitchen.

Both Show Me The Curry and Manjula’s Kitchen offered exactly what I needed: cheerful Indian women demonstrating their amazing feats of cookery and cheerfully sharing their knowledge in easy to understand, homemade videos. Armed with the ingredients and the knowledge, I undertook my first courageous forray into homemade Indian cuisine.

They were sold out of paneer at Whole Foods (?!?) but luckily Zagara’s had some middle eastern cheese that sounded similar to paneer, so I decided to give it a whirl.

Manjula’s recipe and methods couldn’t be easier:
Make some Basmati rice.
Slice and fry funky cheese cubes.
Puree tomatoes with ginger and garlic paste.
Saute spices for half a minute, then add pureed tomatoes.
Simmer for a while.
Add some frozen peas and cook those until they’re done.
Then add the cheese cubes in, and voila! Homemade Mattar Paneer!

The whole endeavor took less 45 minutes and the result was fabulous. The feature of this dish is, of course, the paneer cheese. Paneer is made simply from milk, and it is a dense cheese that holds its shape when cooked rather than melting. Yay for us!

Next time I am going to make Poori.

 

Le Petit Triangle Cafe: Ohio City Eats March 2, 2008

Filed under: Breakfast,Brunch,Chocolate,Cuisines,Restaurant Reviews — jenniferferf @ 10:29 pm
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Le Petit Triangle Cafe
1881 Fulton Rd
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 281-1881

Le Petit Triangle Cafe is a creperie in Ohio City that’s definitely worth a visit! It’s this tiny little place, but the owner is really nice, and there about 40 crepes you can choose from, including savory and sweet. They’re really rich, though, so don’t go if you’re in the mood for healthy food.

The crepes are fluffy, and there is a good variety of interesting choices, including cheddar, chicken and chutney, as well as the traditional complet, ham and gruyere, and of course, nutella and strawberries for dessert!

It seems like it’s better for breakfast and lunch than dinner. I’ll definitely be going back!

 

mulligatawny and barber shop mirrors September 26, 2007

Filed under: Cuisines,Dinner,Restaurant Reviews — jenniferferf @ 6:33 am
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Ohio City, the neighborhood surrounding Cleveland’s famed West Side Market, boasts its fair share of fabulous food options, and working in the area presents ample opportunity to sample the variety of foods available to food lovers unafraid of exploring this side of town.

So when a friend called mid-morning to suggest a lunch excursion to The Souper Market, on Lorain Avenue, across from the West Side Market, I jumped at the chance!

The Fabulous Souper Market is a tiny place with only a small counter to eat at – no tables. But their soup selection more than makes up for the lack of space inside!

First of all, every day they have two or three seasonal soups, in addition to about ten homemade soup selections, with about half vegetarian options. Soups like butternut squash and apple, corn chowder, pulled chicken noodle, jambalaya, and the famed mulligatawny.

Their salad menu is just as creative and fabulous as their soup! My favorite so far is the season’s greens salad, with nice fresh romane, tiny sweet cherry tomatoes and fantastic goat cheese, topped off with the most fantastic homemade lemon vinaigrette I’ve ever had. The asparagus salad is similarly fantastic, with fantastic slivers of parmesan and another yummy salad dressing to top it off.

I had never even heard of mulligatawny before, and I have been craving it since I tasted it a few weeks ago. This savory yellowy-green soup is an enchanting mix of ginger, coconut milk, curry, cumin, and tamarind, with potato, green lentils, and a little magic besides. A google search revealed that mulligatawny was made famous by Seinfeld, when Kramer mentioned that it was his favorite of the Soup Nazi’s soups.

Serendipitously, a visit to The Souper Market also yields another benefit. Aside from being right next door to a cool urban park at Lorain and West 25th Street, it is a few doors down from a fantastic old barber shop. When I go past, you can peek into the windows and glimpse the barbers busily at work tending to the men seated in two long rows of barber chairs, reading the newspaper and trading banter with one another, white towels draped around their necks, their faces reflected in the mirrors that I’m sure have lined the walls for generations.