It’s that time again. Time to eat until your belly’s content, get inspired and rub elbows with some of foods biggest named chefs. The 6th Annual Fabulous Food Show heads to Cleveland November 11-13 and you could be the winner of two tickets courtesy of the I-X Center.
Celebrity chefs Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, Duff Goldman and Michael Symon will be on hand to share their secrets and culinary delights. And, don’t miss the Market Place featuring more than 225 exhibiting companies, the Culinary Celebration Theatre, the Grand Tasting Pavilion, Sweet Street and more than 100 ongoing demonstrations on six different stages.
This year’s all new Taste of the Neighborhood Stage features Cleveland’s top local chefs. The Culinary Celebration Theatre offers theatre seating for 400, featuring top-ranked culinary pros from Cleveland and around the country, showcasing their skills in 30-minute demonstrations.
For your chance to win two tickets simply tell us in the comments below what you’re most excited for this year at the Fabulous Food Show. Please include your contact information so we can reach you if you win. The winner will be chosen on Monday, November 7 at noon. Good luck and happy eating!
The winner of two Fabulous Food Show tickets is CLEgal. Thanks to all who entered!
For more information on the Fabulous Food Show and to buy tickets, visit www.fabulousfoodshow.com.
Calling all Twilight fans! Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli) is set to make an appearance at Tower City Center on Saturday, Oct. 22 at noon. Autographs are $25 or you can snap a photo with one of Twilight’s hottest stars for $40. A portion of all proceeds benefits Peter’s charity of choice – Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Parking is free with the purchase of an autograph and/or photograph and there will be plenty of hype surrounding the approaching release of Breaking Dawn including Twilight inspired activities and a 4:30pm screening of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Tickets for the movie are specially priced at just $5 and can be purchased here.
Now comes the most exciting part – Peter will meet with some lucky fans BEFORE the public autograph signing and you could be the winner of four (4) VIP passes. There are two ways to enter which means two ways to win.
1. Leave a comment below – tell us, if you were a vampire, what would your power be?
2. Find our contest tweet at www.twitter.com/positivelycleve and retweet it. We’ll track these on Twitter (by way of the hashtag #HappyinCLE) and automatically enter you for another chance to win.
Tower City Center is located at 230 W. Huron Road in Cleveland, Ohio 44113. For more information about Tower City Center visit www.towercitycenter.com.
I’ll announce the winner here on our blog and on Twitter on Tuesday, October 18. Good luck!
UPDATE: The winner of the VIP passes to meet Peter Facinelli is Twitter follower @SPappadaPhD. Thanks to all who entered!
Michael Ruhlman is a freelance journalist, author and culinary show judge.
How did you initially befriend local chefs?
I became well-known in the food world writing books. I worked with some of the best chefs in the country. One of the guys I wrote about was Michael Symon. It was a natural thing. How could I not enjoy the bountiful and thriving food scene here in Cleveland?
Have you been surprised by the amount of attention that Cleveland’s culinary scene has received?
No. I think it’s happening in cities all over the country. I have drawn attention to Cleveland and Michael Symon has drawn attention to it. Attention begets more attention. In 1998, Michael Symon got a Food & Wine Award and people started to look at Cleveland. Then Jonathan Sawyer gets one and one thing feeds another.
How would you describe Cleveland’s food scene? Does it have a distinguishing feature or is it just wildly eclectic?
I would say wildly eclectic. It’s smart and we have a great territory for most of the year to grow stuff. We have a great produce scene and farming community. That makes it easy for chefs to fulfill their ambitions. It would be much harder to do this in say Texas or Arizona where you don’t have the produce we have.
Where’s your favorite place to buy produce?
A farmer’s market is as good as it gets. I go to the North Union Farmer’s Market at Shaker Square on Saturdays and the one at the Cleveland Clinic on Wednesdays throughout the summer.
What’s your favorite new restaurant?
There are so many great restaurants, it’s hard to choose just one. I love the ones that are pushing to do new things and use local ingredients. It’s incredible. It’s a thriving scene here in Cleveland and it’s only going to get better.
What’s your favorite place to hang out that isn’t food related?
My house. I’m a homebody. I don’t like to go out.
You moved back here in 1991. How has the city changed in the time you’ve been back?
Food-wise, it’s night and day. We have any number of restaurants that would be equally successful in New York City or in other major cities. We have the West Side Market that continues to make obscure things available to us, like lamb hearts and fresh portabella. We have great Asian markets. It’s a very good place to be a cook.
As a writer, what about the city do you find inspiring?
It’s a quirky city and I’ve always loved that about it. It seems to encourage eccentricity rather than sameness. I love the neighborhoods and the different landscapes, from rural to gritty city. I love everything about it.
What’s the city’s best-kept secret?
Why would I want to make that public?
Q+A with Jeff Niesel
Ivan Schwarz is the Executive Director at the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.
It’s been a great year for the Film Commission, hasn’t it?
This year alone about $85 million will be spent in Northeast Ohio due to the film tax credit. Not only was it good for Cleveland to play host to some movie-making excitement, but it was also exciting for the film people coming to Cleveland for the first time. We had six movies film here already this year, and all I hear was what an outstanding experience it was for all involved.
Did you spend much time on The Avengers set?
I was there every day. I come from the industry so it wasn’t like I hadn’t been there before. I actually moved here so I didn’t have to spend that much time on a set. But what was exciting to me was watching the faces of the onlookers and seeing the thrill it brought to the community.
And there were lots of people watching the shooting every day.
That’s what appealed to me. There were literally hundreds of people watching every day. County, city and downtown residents really came together and it wasn’t just for The Avengers. It was like that for I, Alex Cross and Fun Side. All of the people that came here to film walked away knowing that this is a special city.
In a nutshell, what does the tax incentive provide for Cleveland?
It’s important for the state as a whole. Without that incentive, which offers filmmakers 25 percent back on every dollar they spend in Ohio, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Having $85 million pumped into our local economy is significant. In just talking with local vendors, you’ll quickly see that a lot of people are realizing the benefits of this new economy.
That must be especially true when the local economy is struggling.
Exactly. I’m looking to build an industry here. Everyone is rallying around The Avengers and no disrespect to them because it’s an exciting film. But it’s really about creating an industry, which means that not only do you need the films here, which are important, but you need the ancillary businesses and jobs that the film industry needs to thrive. We need to rely on all sorts of media technologies. The cost of a media company in New York or San Francisco is huge. But here you can pay people a decent wage, and they have an amazing quality of life. In order to be truly successful, we need to build an industry. Having the movies here isn’t building an industry; it’s just laying the foundation for an industry.
What are some of your favorite places in the city? Do you have a favorite restaurant or bar?
We live in Cleveland Heights and are huge users of University Circle. I can’t name one particular restaurant, especially since Cleveland has become such a food town and there’s so much to do here.
You moved here from Los Angeles five years ago. What were your initial impressions?
My initial impression of Cleveland was that it had a great sense of community. I still believe that. I think it’s an amazing city and it’s about not only convincing the outside world of that, but it’s also about realizing ourselves that it’s a great city.
What future film projects are coming our way?
There’s nothing I can talk about, but we can’t be done. It’s a constant process of bringing films in here. We hope to have three more shooting here by the end of the year. We look forward to next year too.
Q+A with Jeff Niesel
Nick Kostis is the “Mayor of East Fourth Street” and owner of Pickwick & Frolic.
You opened Pickwick & Frolic in 2002. Can you talk about what East Fourth was like before and what it is like now?
Essentially, East Fourth Street was originally a very charming street, a throwback to an earlier era of Cleveland history when downtown was a hustling, bustling, growing metropolis. Then, the area was home to the Euclid Avenue Opera House, which established early a theater district. What we know as PlayhouseSquare was developed as movie palaces, as they were called then. This was that kind of a street and in the ’60s, it fell on hard times. It became a seedy little street, but had great charm nonetheless. When I came here, it was a row of wig shops and pawn shops, which characterized and stereotyped the street. It was reclaimed about 25 years ago and, after I opened the club, it was at a time when the street was embarking on a transition and the re-gentrification of a very charming street.
What inspired you most about East Fourth?
What inspired me most was the history and lure of Short Vincent. From the early ’40s up until the late ’50s and early ’60s, Short Vincent was the downtown late night entertainment district for people in the region. East Fourth was the last remaining street in the city that had the chance to recapture that spirit. The street was like pioneering. You had to bring people back.
Creating a destination worthy of folks to get in the car and come in from the suburbs and be downtown in a new atmosphere was a challenge. Our venue, of course, does that by marrying great food with great entertainment, and we’re the first to do that, especially on the scale that we undertook, with 7,000 square feet. It’s a cabaret room, it’s a showroom, it’s a martini bar, it’s a champagne bar and, most of all, a great restaurant.
Has the street exceeded your expectations?
I signed my lease in 1998. It took us that time to work out the details and permit process. It took us another 23 months to build it out. It was quite a journey and driven more by passion than good sense. The street has developed along the lines and very much akin to what was just a dream on the part of not just me, but also the developer. The street offers another kind of experience. It’s not just for one demographic. It appeals to a wide demographic.
What do you like best about the city?
I love this town because it has a certain kind of grit to it. I think there is something heroic about a city that stands on its own and comes from a hardworking, industrial and honest background. There’s something real about it. It’s not something that was created overnight. It’s not a phony façade. This is all real stuff. You can’t recreate this. I also like the sense that we are re-establishing the city based on who we are and not who we are trying to emulate.
I know Pickwick is always adding new shows and features. Anything planned for the future?
I like trying things. There’s only one place like this. I’ve been all over the country and there’s not another place like this one. We hear this from our out of town guests all the time. I will just say stay tuned for some new surprises. We are revamping our menu, and we’ve started a USDA-certified Angus beef program. Only eight percent of the beef in the country meets this standard. Only one brand of Angus beef is certified and that will be our meat program. There are ten quality standards that set this brand apart. In the way of entertainment and amenities, we added the champagne bar and we have a new video presentation in the bar. It’s an additional attraction to that room. We’re working on shows in the cabaret room and we are doing our fourth edition of murder mystery. I have something else coming that I’m working on, but I can’t say what it is. It’s a throwback to a former type of entertainment that was very popular and that I now think is going to experience a resurgence. It’s a tasteful tribute to that era of the ‘20s and ‘30s when there was variety and vaudeville and burlesque.
Q+A with Jeff Niesel
Austin Carr is a former Cleveland Cavaliers player and current announcer.
How difficult was it for you to initially make the transition from player to broadcaster?
It wasn’t hard at all because I love the game and I love to be around the game. That part was taken care of. The hardest situation to deal with was how to do the game technically. I learned a lot from [Cavs radio announcer] Joe Tait, even though he was doing radio. I also worked with [former Cavs broadcaster] Michael Reghi. Still, I realized that I had to develop my own way of doing it to be comfortable. Tait used to tell me that you are only as good as your last game. You have to always prepare and keep yourself abreast of what is going on. That’s been my whole motto because to me he is one of the best.
How’d you end up coming up with so many unique phrases?
It sort of happened when I realized that I wanted to have fun doing the games. As long as I was technically correct, I felt comfortable with it. A lot of it is stuff I learned on the playground. A lot of things I say are things that people are used to but just haven’t heard them used on television like that.
Last year was a really rough one for the Cavs. How do you think the fans handled the first losing season in some time?
To me, the fans had a lot to do with the way the team stayed on top of things. Even though we weren’t winning, the fans acted like we were. I think that surprised the team. I have to take my hat off to Byron Scott and what he did to keep the team focused after going through all those losses. It’s a testament to his coaching ability and understanding of people. The team never hung their heads and stayed with it. And when we got Baron Davis, the team played with a different energy. And the fans would still treat us like we were the top team in the division.
Are you optimistic about the team’s draft picks?
Yes, definitely. They are top players. [Guard] Kyrie [Irving] was the best player pound for pound in the draft. [Tristan Thompson] was the second rated power forward behind Derrick Williams and he was [drafted]. He is the best power forward we could get. Plus, we needed a shot blocker and a guy who can run the floor. His offense can be improved on but the defense needed to be addressed, especially on the front court.
Your connection with the Cavs organization goes back to the ’70s when you played for the team. What are some of your best memories from that time period?
It was really tough to get respect from the referees and everything. It was a day-to-day fight to get teams to respect us. I was used to getting respect in college. Once we got rid of the people who had another agenda, it was a good situation.
Do you follow the city’s other sports teams?
I follow all the teams. A lot of people talk about us having no championship, but the soccer team won two. I keep up with all of them. I know all the Browns and hung around with a lot of those guys. I love the Indians. They got a few bad breaks but I like them.
I have heard you are an active golfer. Where do you tend to play?
I’m a member of Stonewater, but I love them all. I enjoy the game, and I enjoy the camaraderie of the game. It’s the hardest game I ever played. Not only are you dealing with Mother Nature, but you’re also dealing with yourself. Both of those elements are never the same two days in a row.
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
Oh boy, I’m very partial to all the Tremont places. I love that area. I’m very into that. I love Morton’s. I like the restaurants on the East Side and all those that are [in ETON] near Mitchell’s Fish Market. Cleveland has some of the best restaurants in the country.
You’ve lived in the area for some time now. What are some of the best things you like about Northeast Ohio?
People will say I’m crazy, but I enjoy the change of seasons even though sometimes it gets a little rough. But at the same time, that’s what it’s about. Other than that, I enjoy the people because they let you know how they think about you. If they don’t like you, you’re going to know it. To me, I’d rather deal with that. When I lived in other cities, I never knew who I was dealing with because they were too phony.
Q+A with Jeff Niesel
Ask any local and you’ll soon realize that the Cuyahoga River, the infamous river that connects with Lake Erie and cuts Cleveland into east and west sides, is one of the city’s most undervalued natural attractions. Whether you’re an avid kayaker, an active boater or just someone who enjoys natural beauty, the Cuyahoga River is a true gem.
This weekend, three major Cleveland events — Ingenuity Festival, Head of the Cuyahoga and The Cleveland Dragon Boat Festival – are taking place on the Cuyahoga River at the same time (Sept. 16-18). Appropriately titled “Riverocity,” this weekend is a celebration of art and athleticism on the Cuyahoga River.
Conveniently located next to one another, visitors can easily hop from one event to another. This is a great opportunity to check out some truly unique events on our beloved Cuyahoga River right here in Cleveland Plus.
The inGENUiTY Festival is Cleveland’s annual weekend-long celebration of art and technology, designed for audiences of any age and experience, staged on the lower level of the Veterans Memorial (Detroit-Superior) Bridge.
Soak up sun at the 16th Annual Head of the Cuyahoga regatta. Cheer on the rowing teams competing in this two and a half mile rowing competition that’s put on by the Cleveland Rowing Foundation.
Watch as competitors race dragon boats during the 5th Annual Cleveland Dragon Boat Festival on Sept. 17, an event that acknowledges the connection and history dragon boats have had with the Asian culture.
Click here for a complete Riverocity weekend guide.
Saks Fifth Avenue in partnership with Stylelist, Aids Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, Cleveland Clinic Innovations and Positively Cleveland presents FASHION NIGHT OUT!
Once a year, the entire fashion world goes out for a nationwide late night of style, makeovers, music and more. Celebrate this year’s Fashion Night Out at Saks Fifth Avenue while donating to a great cause. On Thursday, September 8 head to Saks Fifth Avenue at Beachwood for a televised Burberry Fall Fashion Show, fashion trivia games, department presentations and get lucky with giveaways including hotel stays, restaurant gift cards, cosmetics, a $500 Saks Gift Card and tons more. 10% of the evening’s sales benefit the Aids Taskforce of Greater Cleveland and light bites and refreshments are provided.
Tickets are $50 and may be purchased online or at the door on the night of the event. In return, attendees receive a $50 Saks Fifth Avenue Gift Card to be used this evening. Hope to see you there!
Saks Fifth Avenue is located at 26100 Cedar Road in Beachwood, OH.
The culinary scene in the Cleveland Plus region has won more than just ten minutes of fame through numerous features on national television shows and networks. Celebrity Iron Chef Michael Symon, who owns two major restaurants and a burger chain throughout the region, helped propel culinary Cleveland towards stardom. Now the spotlight shines brightly on the chefs forging the region’s starlight status on shows such as the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives, the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food and even more.
Hot Sauce Williams
The Travel Channel hosts Adam Richman and Anthony Bourdain each visited Hot Sauce Williams for its legendary BBQ delicacies such as ribs, fried chicken and of course, the Polish Boy. This kielbasa sausage is buried by fries and coleslaw, stuffed in a bun, and drenched in Hot Sauce Williams’ famous spicy barbecue sauce. 216.391.2230
Trattoria on the Hill
This quaint family-owned restaurant located in Little Italy was featured on Rachel Ray’s $40 a Day. In addition to their homemade sauce, the Gnocchi Al Burro and lasagna dishes consistently claim the title as the best Italian meals around. 216.421.2700, www.trattoriaromangarden.com
The original owners, who opened Cleveland’s Geraci’s Restaurant in 1956, have kept the business under the same family ownership ensuring the quality of the meal is never compromised. The menu features everything visitors would expect from a decades-old Italian restaurant with everything from specialty pizzas to homemade Italian sausages and meatballs, all of which was recently featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. 216.371.5643, www.geracisrestaurant.net
J+J Czuchraj Meats
Michael Symon raves about J&J Czuchraj Meats in the “Salty Goodness” episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network. For more than 50 years, the small stand in the West Side Market has been providing simply craveable homemade fresh and smoked meats such as kielbasas, chorizo, jerky and much more. 216.696.7083, http://stores.jandjmeats.com/StoreFront.bok
Cleveland’s Iron Chef Michael Symon opened this trendy Mediterranean bistro when he moved his original restaurant, Lola to the East 4th street entertainment district downtown. With an original menu using fresh and local ingredients, Lolita receives the attention of Anthony Bourdain and Michael Rulhman, as well as numerous reviewers’ with mouth-watering house cured meats and other dishes full of Mediterranean flair and flavors. 216.771.5652, www.lolitarestaurant.com
Lopez Southwest Kitchen
Lobster enchiladas, smoked gouda-jalapeño grits and mushroom-goat cheese quesadillas are just a few of the simply divine dishes created by Lopez. And the bar pours fifteen different types of margaritas and more than ten types of aged-tequilas. Located in Cleveland Heights, the restaurant strives for innovative interpretations on traditional southwestern dishes which received rave reviews on the “Totally Unexpected” episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network. 216.932.9000, www.lopezonlee.com
Recently featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Momocho is a modern Mexican joint located in Ohio City. A cucumber margarita compliments anything on the menu which includes six different kinds of guacamole (one is made with goat cheese and poblano chiles) and chilaquiles with smoked trout, crab and a fried egg. 216.694.2122, www.momocho.com
Seti’s Polish Boys
Seti’s puts a unique spin on the traditional Polish Boy by adding chili and cheese to the top of the sandwich. This is just one of the reasons Michael Symon labels the east side restaurant as the best thing “Between Bread” on The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Anthony Bourdain has No Reservations about visiting the westside’s Sausage Shoppe. He gets a firsthand look at the sausage-making craft, perfected since 1938. The hams, kielbasas and sausages continuously win awards for the best meats in the state and from the American Association of Meat Processors. 216.351.5213, www.sausageshoppe.com
Sokolowski’s University Inn
Run by the third generation of Sokolowski family members, the University Inn is recognized on numerous culinary shows for its Polish menu featuring pierogi, bratwurst, cabbage and noodles. 216.771.8967, www.sokolowskis.com
While certainly not the “haute couture” of upscale culinary, the highly coveted Slyman’s Deli has been serving Cleveland’s best corned beef sandwiches for countless generations. Rachel Ray takes her bite of the legend on $40 a Day. 216.621.3760, www.slymans.com
Sterle’s Slovenian Country House
Guy Fieri makes a visit to Sterle’s, located on East 55th Street in Cleveland on Diners, Drive-In and Dives. The Slovenian Country House serves Slovenian dishes in an Alpine-style atmosphere. On Friday and Saturday nights entrees such as the veal and Wienerschnitzel are just an appetizer of an evening of dancing the polka and the waltz with live musicians and accordionists. 216.881.4181, www.sterlescountryhouse.com
For more than 21 years, Steve’s Gyros has been perfecting the Greek dish at a stand inside the West Side Market. In 2007, their gryo stuffed with juicy meat, wrapped in a warm and buttery pita and topped with homemade tzatziki sauce was named the best in the country by Maxim Magazine. It also was recently featured on Man vs. Food with Adam Richman. 216.566.9825
The Greenhouse Tavern
While most of the publicity about The Greenhouse Tavern on East 4th street features their sustainable operating practices and farm-to-table initiatives, it is also important to observe the French-inspired menu options and techniques. Many variations of frites (the gravy frites come highly recommended), and foie gras steamed clams are great starters, while duck, fish and egg-based entrees make it a “Guilty Pleasure” on The Food Network’s, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. 216.393.4302, www.thegreenhousetavern.com
Viewers should tune in to the current season of the Food Network’s the Great Food Truck Race to catch local food truck sensation Chris Hodgson and his Hodge Podge truck race across the country and compete to win the grand prize of $100,000. And stay tuned for Restaurant Impossible’s stunning makeover of the Mad Cactus, located in the suburb of Strongsville. Other local favorites spotlighted on the silver screen include Big Al’s Diner (The Best Thing I Ever Ate), Great Lakes Brewing Company ($40 a day), Lola (No Reservations, The Best Thing I Ever Ate), Lucky’s Café (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, The Best Thing I Ever Ate), Melt Bar and Grilled (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Man vs. Food),Tommy’s Restaurant ($40 a day) and the Velvet Tango Room (The Best Thing I Ever Ate). – AI
The kitchens of Northeast Ohio have produced an elite crew of cooking professionals. “Clevelandhas a lot of talented chefs,” says Chef Jonathon Sawyer, owner of The Greenhouse Tavern on East 4th Street. “I would say a lot of our local chefs are very unique and inventive, but there is always room for more.”
The craft of fine cooking has been the passion of Sawyer since he was a Cleveland kid of 13. Today The Greenhouse Tavern (thegreenhousetavern.com) is one of downtown’s great independent restaurants — a French/American-fusion bistro that focuses on delicious, locally-sourced, farm-to-table dishes — the first certified green eatery in Ohio.
Before The Greenhouse Tavern, Sawyer actually worked with arguably Cleveland’s most famous indie cook, Michael Symon. As a Food Network Iron Chef, national author, and local restaurateur, Symon’s name has become synonymous with gourmet Cleveland cooking, at both of his food boutiques — Lola downtown and Lolita in Tremont (www.lolabistro.com).
Of course imaginative recipes are not just the work of TV kitchen celebrities. Matt Fish loved grilled cheese so much he opened Lakewood’s Melt Bar and Grilled in 2006 (www.meltbarandgrilled.com), serving up the tastiest, two-fisted sandwiches in Cleveland. Serving 600 Melt sandwiches on a typical Friday night, the tattooedClevelandcooking veteran decided to open a second location onCedar RoadinCleveland Heights.
Northeast Ohio is brimming with similarly-gifted chefs. Chef Sergio Abramof has been creating award-winning menus in Cleveland for over 16 years at his cross-cultural and Brazilian bistros, Sergio’s in University Circle and Sergio’s Saravá in Shaker Square (www.sergioscleveland.com) respectively, but uniquely Cleveland dining destinations like his flourish because of the patronage of local and visiting foodies.
“Great independent restaurants will continue to thrive as long as there is strong, continued, and active community frequenting them,” says Abramof. “That’s why my wife and son often enjoy a Saturday lunch at Nate’s Deli. Or on a night off, I often find myself eating delicious sushi and tempura at Shuhei Restaurant in Beachwood, or you might catch me atPearlof the Orient inShaker Heights, getting the chicken corn soup, with some fresh shrimp chips to go.”
– Submitted by Keith Gribbins, guest blogger