Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fun Playing With Food With the Food and Wine Forum

A few years ago, I despaired about the time and energy my husband spent on on-line forums and chats, mostly relating to arms and ammunition, which is his great passion. Well, I decided that sauce for the gander was good for the goose, and sought out my own on-line communities relative to my passion - food. This is how I wound up a fairly active poster on the Food & Wine Forum, hosted by Cleveland author and food expert Linda Griffith. This newfound passion for the internet food community is also how I wound up a member of the EGullet Society community and, ultimately, led to the start of this blog.

Last Friday, a group of about 20 of us enjoyed a flesh-and-blood, real life lunch together at the downstairs party room at Cleveland's Lola. The room itself is pretty cool - respect for the historic building it was carved into was combined with some modern style.

Lunch was a four course prix fix meal that was simply wonderful. It was also wonderful being able to associate some real names and voices to the virtual identities with whom I interact on the forum. I am leaving it to's folk to post the photos of the people; on this blog, it is of course all about playing with your food!

We began with a choice of soup or salad. Bob chose the soup:

Tomato Bisque with Bleu Cheese

Neither Bob nor I are huge fans of bleu cheese - but this soup, which is one of Chef Michael Symon's signature dishes - was fabulous.

Salad with Candied Pecans, Julienned Apples, Vinaigrette, and Bleu Cheese.

I did taste the Bleu Cheese, but I admit to pushing most of it to the side - it was lovely, but just too strong for my bleu-cheese-impaired palate. But the rest of the salad was perfect - tart apple, sweet nuts, crisp greens and yes - a bit of the cheese to balance out the sweet. Yum.

And the presentation was just beautiful.

On to the appetizer course. Bob's selection:

Beef Cheef Pierogie

Another Symon signature, executed to perfection! Accompanied by horseradish and mushrooms - it's almost enough to make you like mushrooms! And this dish just keeps getting better every time I taste it!

Cross-section of the Beef Cheek Pierogie

Crab Gnocchi w/ Brussels Sprouts, Speck, Squash

This was my appetizer selection - tender pillows of doughy goodness topped with fresh, fresh, fresh crab meat, perfectly cooked pieces of brussels sprouts, Speck (bacon, of course) and perfect cubes of winter squash. It was so delicious!

Mr. DeMille - I'm ready for my close up!

Next - the entree course. I selected the Mac & Cheese:

Mac & Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese

This dish was redolent with fresh cheese and herbs, including a lovely dose of Rosemary. I did bring about half of this plate home, where it made a wonderful breakfast this morning.

Lola Burger - Bacon, Onion, Aged Cheddar & Special Sauce

Everyone at my table but me ordered this entree, but I got a taste from Bob. Wow! Burger nirvana! And cooked to a perfect medium-rare, thank you.

No one at my table selected the Chicken Paillard Salad, so I have no photo of the third choice.

Shortly after these mains were served, our servers appeared with one Fried Bologna Sandwich per table. After tasting it, I kinda wished I'd had this choice for an entree - the mac & cheese was excellent - but this was sublime! Michael Symon popped into the room, and explained that he could not let us go without a sample of his fried bologna sandwich - and we were most grateful that he felt that way!

Needless to say, no one finished their entree, and boxes were ordered by all. But dessert was still to come. No one at my table ordered the sorbet of the day, which was berry. Everyone instead selected:

Chocolate Pot Du Creme w/Candied Pecans, Sea Salt, Caramel and Chantilly Cream

What an amazingly decadent thing to eat in the middle of the day!

Note the salt crystals on top - a lip-smacking touch!

Anyone out there who would like to join us on the Food & Wine Forum need only click on the link to the left of this post.

No comments:

Post a Comment