Tried my hand at transforming crimini mushrooms into “bacon” chips. Don’t think we quite got there, but they were a good veggie snack.
Rotisserie Chicken Pasta at Pickwick and Frolic on East 4th Street in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio
Cavatappi Pasta, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Rotisserie Chicken tossed in a Basil Pesto Cream Sauce and topped with Asiago Cheese
On a bit of a summer-fueled pesto kick at the moment…
For those of you still reheating your pizza in the microwave… do this (frying pan, lid on, over medium-low heat til cheese is melted) instead. You’re welcome.
Banana Pepper, Mushroom, and Onion pizza from Donte’s in Brook Park, Ohio.
Cheeseburger with Lettuce, Tomatoes, Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms from Five Guys Burgers and Fries in North Olmsted, Ohio
Somehow, Five Guys had eluded me until this point. But last week I was in the area and needed something quick - so I pulled the stereotypical American move and went for a burger.
Five Guys has gone huge, nationally, and is often put on close-to-equal footing with Shake Shack and In-N-Out. However, I still prefer Brown Bag Burgers because 1) lower price, 2) more (free) options for add-ons (bacon, guacamole, and fresh pico de gallo to name a few), and 3) it’s local - there’s only one of them.
And hell - the burgers are just better. There, I said it. Now I guess I really have to do a post there.
Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Raviloi at Eddie’s Pizzeria Cerino in Seven Hills, Ohio
Red Pepper Pasta filled with Roasted Eggplant and Garlic; topped with a Vermouth sauce, Mushrooms, and Spinach.
This was the full portion - eight ravioli (there’s one hidden in the middle there); but it didn’t matter because I couldn’t resist the bread and olive oil. It’s pretty common place for Italian joints to do that (I can’t think of one that doesn’t), but this bread was not pretty common. It was awesome. It didn’t even really need the olive oil - but come on, that’s never stopped me before.
The ravioli was great. Not sure I got a whole bunch of the eggplant taste. But the garlic (you can smell it before you walk in the door) was front and center along with the Vermouth sauce. Sweet, but not too sweet. Perfectly brought everything together.
See also: pretty regular Groupons and happy hour specials ($4 wines, $2/dozen mussels).
Main course at DC Coast during Restaurant Week in Washington, DC
Peppercorn-Crusted Tuna “Rossini” on top of a Portabella Mushroom, Wilted Spinach, and a Summer Truffle Pinot Noir sauce; topped with seared Foie Gras.
As previously stated, the goal of restaurant week is to eat the most expensive, over-the-top dishes that the Prix-Fixe menu will allow. Being a huge seafood person on a bit of a tuna kick, this was such an easy choice.
It turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had, in one of the finest restaurants I’ve ever been in; and the first time I ever had Foie Gras. Normally it’s an ingredient saved for special occasions. A random Wednesday doesn’t normally count as special occasion; but oh well. It was unbelievably good.
Tuna seared on the outside, rare throughout. Little bits of fatty Foie Gras to go with each bite. And then this kick ass Pinot Noir sauce. Wow. This was a once-a-year dinner. There’s no way I could ever survive being wealthy because I would probably eat this every day. #firstworldproblems
Grilled Skirt Steak, Garlic Bread, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms topped with Balsamic & Red Wine Reduction
Skirt Steak from the West Side Market. Steak marinaded in Red Wine, Balsamic Vinegar, Onion, Garlic, Salt & Pepper. Garlic Bread made on a French Baguette. Reduction: same as the marinade, plus a bit of sugar and reduced to about 1/3 of the volume.
I tried to mimic the flavors from my lunch at Zola, and I think I accomplished that. Redux could have been a little thicker, steak a little less cooked, and definitely would have liked to add more mushrooms (only had a few at the house).
Also, the whole meal was kind of one note, from the marinade to the sauce to the vegetables. Fortunately for me - the cook - that earthy, acidic balsamic flavor is one of my absolute favorites.
Someone come hire me to cook them dinner. Thanks.
Second Course at Zola during Restaurant Week in Washington, DC
Balsamic Skirt Steak (Balsamic Crust, Blue Cheese, Potato Croutons, Wild Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions), Parmesan Pasta Salad, Kumato Tomato Salad, and a Chocolate Cupcake with Butter Cream Frosting
I thought it was pretty cool that this “Business Lunch” combination is regularly priced at $20, so we scored a starter and a dessert for 11 cents. Pretty sweet bargain.
I loved everything about this “TV dinner tray” when it arrived at our table. The pasta salad was similar to Miller’s Chicken (my favorite) and the tomatoes were dressed in balsamic (another one of my favorite tastes), which paired awesomely with the Skirt Steak. And the steak. Wow. The onions and mushrooms were complex and almost earthy, and the steak was extremely tender. I definitely didn’t expect it to be that good, but it was. And to top it off, a little cupcake.
I would have been satisfied if that counted as the dessert course; but when our waiter handed us the menu with the day’s after-lunch offerings, I couldn’t help but order a modern twist on one of America’s oldest desserts.
Flat Iron Steak; Crescent Roll; Corn on the Cobb; and Grilled Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Onions.
Pretty standard summer dinner around these parts.
The steak was thinner in one part, so I was able to get that to medium/medium-well while keeping the fatter part (pictured) medium-rare.
Here’s a picture of the whole steak on the grill.