Sunday, June 13, 2010


My friend Becca works at Reddstone and invited myself and some fellow Cleveland bloggers out to taste their new menu this past week. The rain cleared up just in time for us to enjoy it on their very awesome patio in the Battery Park neighborhood. It was my first time to the restaurant and I will definitely be back to spend the evening there. Executive Chef Josh Kabat prepared us five courses of summer fare:

First course - Rare Salmon Lettuce Rolls

Salmon carpaccio, radish sprout, sweet soy, with a side of chili-miso dipping sauce. This was definitely a favorite. The plating doesn't do the flavor justice. The wrap itself was dressed with a very tasty vinaigrette and the dipping sauce was a bonus. A light and lovely way to start a meal.

Second Course - BBQ'd Duck Confit Sliders

BBQ'd duck confit sliders with daikon slaw, and poblano creme fraiche. If these sliders didn't have duck confit in the name I would have assumed I was eating pulled pork. Which is delicous, but not it you are looking for duck confit . I love slaw with BBQ and the creme fraiche was a nice touch. A very delicious slider and something I would gladly eat again.

Third Course - "Slice of America" All American Burger

I was very surprised that this was my favorite taste of the evening. I mean its a burger, nothing new, but this was just so good. Becca said that Josh's inspiration for this burger was a Big Mac, but the secret sauce was the only thing slightly resembling the flat paper-wrapped fast food staple. This was a juicy patty of grilled sirloin, American cheese melted over top, crunchy pickle slices, and Josh's own special sauce. It was the perfect burger, and there is nothing better to eat on a patio in the summer.

Fourth Course - Shrimp & Soba Noodles

Shrimp and soba noodles with mixed veggies, creamy peanut sauce, and pickled napa cabbage. To be fair, this isn't a new dish; it is actually one of their most popular dishes. But I understand why and don't blame Josh for wanting to showcase it. It is really really satisfying. I could have eaten a huge bowl of this.

Fifth Course - Braised 5 Spiced Short Ribs

Braised 5 Spiced Short Ribs on a kim chee potato latke, topped with crispy leeks and a side of plum sauce. This is the dish I would be most likely to order from the menu based on the description, but I would have been disappointed. This is a new dish for Josh and it isn't quite right yet. The kim chee was too subtle and the dish was on the salty side. We gave Josh our feedback on the dish and he said he still playing around with it. It will be really good once he balances the flavors.

Overall I was very impressed with Reddstone. It is priced as upscale bar food but is much better than most. The patio is worth the trip alone. It was a wonderful and delicious evening spent with new friends!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Adventures in Nashville

Anne is my adventure friend. It started in college when we studied abroad together in Luxembourg. It continued after college when we started running races together and completed the Marine Corps Marathon in DC together. In August we went back to Europe to visit our friend Emily in London. And each May I look forward to visiting with her and her family in Nashville for the Iroquois Steeplechase horse race.

After our first Sprint Triathlon at Miami University in April

This year's Steeplechase was a little different because we invited the boys to join us. We were also there the weekend after Nashville was severely flooded. The flooding didn't get a lot of National news coverage with the Times Square bomb scare, the Greek bail-out, and the oil spill in the Gulf monopolizing things. But water covered the downtown 12 feet above flood level and left thousands without power and destroyed homes. The Opryland Hotel will be closed until the end of the year. Basically it was really bad. But Nashville is filled with kind people and they had an outpouring of volunteer support. They picked themselves up and got to work helping their neighbors clean things up.

Race day was gorgeous and sunny. This year we paid a bit more attention to the horse races than we have in years past. Each of us placed our bets and the whoever picked the winning horse got to make a rule for the rest of the day. The rules didn't really stick, but whatevs. Here is a video of the day. Music credit is Anne's jam of the day "Young Forever (feat Mr. Hudson)" by Jay-Z.

While we were in Nashville this year, Anne took us to an adorable handmade ice cream shop called The Pied Piper Creamery. They have amazing flavors and I loved their Mint Grapefruit Sorbet. With all the mint growing in my yard, I had to try making it for myself. Not only was it incredibly simple to make, it turned out amazing. I have to thank Anne for that as well because she gave me an ice cream maker for my birthday this year!

Grapefruit Mint Sorbet

1 1/3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 1/2 cups fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (the juice of 3 grapefruits)

In a small saucepan, heat half the water and the sugar over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, swirling occasionally. Once the mixture comes to a boil, move it off the heat and cover for 2 minutes. Add the mint and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Combine with remaining water and grapefruit juice and chill completely. Strain before preparing according to ice cream maker’s instructions.

This is a fabulous summer sorbet. It is fresh and light and cleanses the palette. I'm sure other fresh fruit juices subbed for grapefruit would turn out lovely as well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You may have noticed I took about a 2 month blogation. I started lots of posts within those months, but just never did get around to posting them. One such posts I started a few weeks back when ramps made their first appearance at the farmers market. I'll spare you the portions which are no longer topical (which would pretty much be this whole post since ramp season is over), but I have to share these pics and I highly recommend you pick up some ramps next spring.

Ramps are a wild leek that look like a green onion with two big green leaves. They can be found in the woods in the spring if you know where to look. Unfortunately I don't - I found mine at the Farmers Market. Maybe next year I will learn to forage.

I picked up a few bunches and would have probably used them the same way I use a green onion if one of the vendors hadn't had a sample of ramp pesto to try. It was amazing; spicy, green and super garlicy. But to my surprise, it contained no garlic at all. It is the leaves of the ramp that provided all the garlic kick, and I'm so glad he told us that or I probably would have sent the leaves into the compost for the worms and centipedes to enjoy. The ramp pesto is simple and I whipped up a big batch in the food processor.

The recipe is simple: ramp leaves, walnuts (could also use pine nuts but they leave a funky taste in my mouth), pecorino romano cheese (optional), olive oil, and kosher salt. We enjoyed it on pizza with fresh mozz, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and green olives, on Ohio City fresh pasta, and I froze some for later.


Ramp Pesto

Ramp pesto pizza

I tried two things with the bulbs. First I pickled some:

Pickled Ramp Bulbs - sweet and tangy

Second, I used the ramp bulbs instead of onions and garlics in a beef chili recipe that turned out delish.