Thursday, June 28, 2007

This Is Foodgoat's Idea of Baking

Instant pudding + pre-made pie crust + a can of Reddi-whip.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sometimes Foodgoat Amazes Even Himself

Tonight Foodgoat felt like something Chinese.

Or maybe Indian.

Or Hungarian.

Oh, why choose? Instead he took an already good recipe for Lion's Head Meatballs from the August issue of Eating Well magazine and made it even better.

Lion's Head meatballs (don't worry! the name is purely metaphorical) is apparently a classic dish of the Shanghai and Yangtze regions, and sounded an awful lot like a Chinese version of stuffed cabbage.

The meatballs are made of ground pork, scallions, leeks, ginger, chopped hot chiles and sesame oil (along with a bit of flour and cornstarch and salt and pepper), browned in olive oil. They smelled exactly like pot stickers: so much so that Sienna The Dog came in to the kitchen to investigate.

The meatballs were then cooked in a sauce of soy sauce and coconut milk, with Foodgoat ramping up the Indian flavor with his own curry mix, which leans Bangladeshi. He also added tomatoes, fresh ginger, and, because everything he cooks has them, paprika and sour cream.

I think some wine must have gone in too because when I went to refill my glass the bottle was empty.

And instead of serving them on cabbage or lettuce, Foodgoat served them on Hungarian dumplings.

The result sure hit the Foodgoat spot: flavorful and saucy and delicious, yet very different from anything he's made or had before. This is the kind of cuisine that Foodgoat cultivates - Hungarian fusion.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Things that don't need saving

I got a panicked message today informing me that the corporate offices of Caribou Coffee in Minneapolis, the second-largest U.S. specialty coffee company, were closing the Coventry location this week, and that we NEED TO SAVE IT! WE NEED A WRITE-IN CAMPAIGN!

My reaction: meh.

As much as I like Coventry, the little stretch of street that is Cleveland's answer to Berkeley, and as much as I want it to do well, I have no inclination to go to, much less save, the Caribou Coffee shop. Caribou is more like a dessert shop than a coffee shop: their coffee drinks all seem to feature Oreo cookie bits or Snickers candy bits or chocolate chunks or caramel sauce. And they're expensive, which, once you crash from that sugar high, just makes you grouchier.

So the exit of Caribou will leave the Coventry neighborhood without any coffee shops at all, which is weird, but since the Arrabica, former Foodgoat haunt, went bad, then left, well, there hasn't been any good coffee to be had in the neighborhood for years.

What kind of coffee place does Coventry need? I would say: Look, mister, I go to places that serve good strong black coffee for people who want to get their caffeine fast. And I don't need any characters around to give the joint atmosphere. Is that clear? Or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?*

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's Like Not Having Cupcakes on Your Wedding Day

Foodgoat and I were so careful about making sure that we weren't so distracted by the hosting responsibilities of the wedding reception that we didn't eat. We made sure we ate first and tried everything.

BUT ... WE FORGOT ABOUT THE CUPCAKES! WE DIDN'T GET TO TRY THE CUPCAKES!! I tried the cheesecake and other dessert bites, but I missed the cupcakes. Isn't it ironic tragic?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Feast on this

The newest issue of the newest Cleveland food magazine, Feast, is out, it's $3.95, and I think you should pick it up, not the least reason being a little bitty article (I think it's page 8) all about this very blog. They've even got a picture of us. Yes, I'm holding a MacBook, but that was just a prop that the photographer handed to me. I'm a John Hodgman gal.

Feast, an offshoot of Cleveland magazine, is very slim and has too many ads, but it's a good effort that will hopefully do its part to elevate the Cleveland food game. It's got recipes, products reviews, and all the usual things that should be in a food magazine. It doesn't quite feel unique or especially Cleveland-ish (the articles could been in any other food mag for any other city), but I'll chalk that up to youth.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Soho for Bobos

The bottle of Soho Lychee Liqueur just screamed to me: "gimmicky accoutrement of superficial trend-followers who take up a quasi-Asian aesthetic in a sorry attempt to affect an exotic sophistication!" So of course I had to try it.

Lychees, if you haven't had them, are tropical fruits that grow in the Philippines and other Asian countries. They're like raspberries in texture, being soft and squishy (inside of the red rind, anyway), but sweet in flavor.

Made in France by Pernod Ricard, one of the largest alcoholic beverage companies in the world (brands now owned include Kahlua, Stoli, Seagram's, Chivas, etc), and launched in the U.S. last year, Soho is just made for fruity cocktails. It smells absolutely heavenly (mmmm, lychees ...) and mixes well with all sorts of fruit juices. I had it with fresh limeade, and give it a thumbs up.

By itself, it's definitely on the sweet side (although not overwhelmingly so) but it is pretty smooth, making very some very nice summer sipping in the kitchen in the early evening while one's husband (tee hee!) is making bacon avocado blue cheese sandwiches for dinner.

So I like it. Does that put me in their target audience of the bourgeois bohemian?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Despite his local Italian roots, Foodgoat hates Cleveland's Little Italy district. Why? Because it's generally mediocre.

San Francisco's Little Italy district, North Beach, is generally tasty (well, except for that Stinking Rose place, which is gimmicky and prone to gastrointestinal consequences).

It was a North Beach place, Trattoria Pinocchio, that turned out to be the restaurant discovery of the trip. Foodgoat and his brothers stumbled upon after he took them on a vigorous walk up to Coit's Tower. They stopped for drinks and appetizers and ended up staying for dinner, and liked it so much that the word spread and soon, several other visitors ate there and declared it good.

I had a seat in the back, with a view of the stoves, so every once in a while I would see a burst of flames in the background. I don't know what they were making, but it was exciting, and the food was delizioso.

The calamari was especially yummy, being crisp and tender and perfectly cooked, and the pasta dishes also were winners. Even Foodgoat thought so, and where Italian food is concerned, he's not easy to please.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The New Face of Evil

I came home to find that Cleveland's summer weather had kicked in, bringing high heat and lots of rain, which was very good for my strawberry patch. The leaves were huge and there were berries aplenty, all approaching ripe red goodness.

And then one afternoon, I opened the back door to let Sienna the Dog out and there in the middle of the lawn was the Scurrilous Groundhog, who has previously poached from my compost pile.

And not one of my strawberries remained.

Sienna the Dog very nearly caught the fat thief, who has built up his very own Talibanesque network of tunnels in our backyard, but he remains at large.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Old Ball & Chain Eats Burgers, Drink Wine

We're back from San Francisco! And Foodgoat and Ladygoat are officially a Mr. & Mrs. The wedding was fun, the food was actually good, and no, we don't have any pictures yet. But I did snap a photo of my pre-wedding lunch:
Yup, that's In-and-Out. Even the Fisherman's Wharf In-and-Out is delish.

A week in California has also activated the wine drinker in Foodgoat, because since coming back, he's been passing over the beer aisle for the wine selection. Blame his aunt for that transformation - she took him and his brothers to the Rosenblum Cellars tasting room, where they sampled several of their famous Zinfadels.

Since then, Foodgoat has been on the hunt for the Rockpile Road Vineyard Zinfadel. It appears to have completely opened his eyes to wine, for he described it as "amazing ... smooth ... luxurious" and likens it to having a Scharffen-Berger chocolate after only having Hershey's all one's life.

I was busy making centerpieces and favors that day, so I missed out on that fun. Fortunately, our favorite wine shop reported that their distributor could get some to them at the end of the month, so I'll finally get to sample this thing.