Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fun Playing with BBQ and Rock N Roll

Today, we positively gorged ourselves on some amazing Bar-B-Que and other goodies at "The First Ever Rock N Roll BBQ Throwdown," hosted by Cleveland Food Our attendance at this event was a sort of consolation prize for having to miss the EGullet Heartland Gathering taking place this weekend in Kansas City. But what a prize it was!

The mission statement of Cleveland Food Rocks includes promoting and encouraging a link between great food and live music, and using social inter connectivity to strengthen the Greater Cleveland Community.

The Beachland Ballroom donated it's parking lot, and provided cash bar and restrooms. I had never before visited the Beachland - what a cool space! And their beer selection was excellent, featuring both local and microbrews.

An eating area was set up at the front of the parking lot.

All of the food and music was under tents - even so, thank goodness the bad weather missed us!

And so - on to the food!

Brisket with 4 Sauces - Blue Canyon

Chef Brandt Evans and his crew were on their game! I sampled three of the sauces, one with each slice of brisket, and they were all delicious. But almost unnecessary, as the meat was perfectly cooked and melted in the mouth.

BBQ Wings

Cole Slaw - Chef Eric Wells/Sky Larae's Culinary

Bob pronounced this cole slaw one of his favorite eats of the day - and considering how much meat was on the menu, that is a humongous compliment to Chef Eric.

Pulled BBQ Pork Rib Sliders w/Coriander Slaw - The South Side

Yummy. I had never heard of The South Side before, but I'm glad we were introduced!

BBQ Rib - Moxie the Restaurant

So good - it deserves another look:

We missed the BBQ Throwdown between Chef Jonathon Bennett and Moxie Co-Owner Brad Friedlander last week at Moxie - I heard that Brad won - but these ribs were simply fabulous, with a hint of mustard through the smoke.

The next table offered what seemed like a strange combination of flavors - but there was a method to their table, and it all worked deliciously:

Assorted Ohio Cheeses, Local Peaches and other Fruits

Cajun Sausage

Hungarian Sausage

Both sausages were delicous, and sourced from Holiday Italian Sausage. This table was presented by - a partnership between local purveyors, restaurants, and food service mega-force Sysco. Here is the essence of it, from their website:

" is an online farmer’s market, where local ingredients are collected and delivered to restaurants through a unique partnership between chefs, farmers, artisan producers, and a single-source distributor, Sysco Foodservices. Created by Steve Schimoler, founder of, this is the next generation of online marketplaces, where the model is purely local, defined as an area within a 150-mile radius.

Exclusively available to restaurants, institutions, and foodservice operators, our goal is to deliver the quality assured ingredients that help restaurants build the freshest, seasonal menu possible, while minimizing transportation costs, respecting the environment, and supporting our local community."

I wish them the best.

And, moving on to the next table:

Kalbi Shortrib (Korean Style) - The Brothers Lounge

This was another perfectly BBQ'd bite.

Assorted Potato Salads - Luxe

Chef Marlin Kaplan contributed these lovely looking potato salads. We were too full to sample them, unfortunately.

Smoked Duck with Cherry Sauce over Blini - Bar Cento

A lovely bite from Chef Mike Nowak and his crew. The blini were cooked a la minute and were perfect!

The next table was Melange. They offered a dazzling array - caramel popcorn (which had bacon, I'm told), clam chowder, and a clam bake. Though I snapped a photo of the bake, however, we were just too full at that point to partake:

I was too full to grab a "to go" bag of the popcorn:

Smoked, Grilled Salmon over Spicy Papaya Relish - Blue Point Grille

We were really too full to taste this, even though it looked so good! We had just passed up some lovely looking grilled shrimp from Prosperity Social Club (and I'm sorry I didn't snap a photo). I asked for a very small taste of the salmon - we actually managed to eat most of it - the combination of the salad and the salmon was sublime.

Beef Slider with Fried Pickle, Remoulade and Fresh Horseradish Sauce

This little nugget from Happy Dog was just delightful - I even liked the little bit of fried pickle I left on my half of the sandwich (yes - we were splitting tastes at this point).

Chicken Taco

Crop's contribution was also delicious. We were too full to even consider the accompaniment to this - a slice of watermelon with aged balsamic and herbs.

Sous Vide Pork Belly with Mango Salsa - Boulevard Blue

Another lovely morsel that we had no room to taste. But it did look beautiful, and others raved about it.

Grilled Veal on Foccacia - Johnny's Bistro

Bob and I shared this little bite - simply marvelous.

Grilled Corn, Chipotle-Lime Butter, Cheese, Pico de Gallo - Momocho

Another dish that we knew we'd love, but that we simply had no room for.

Watermelon Mint Slushie - Greenhouse Tavern

Greenhouse also cooked up some "corn on the bone" - but again, we passed because we were too full. I tasted the slushie, which would have been delicious - had it not had cucumber in it. Bob got to enjoy two of them.

Caribbean Vegetable Kabobs over Coconut Rice - Treehuggers Cafe

After hearing lots of great things about Treehuggers, I was sadly unable to taste their offering - simply out of room. But it looked terrific!

BBQ Tofu - Beachland Ballroom

This was served as a sandwich; I snapped a shot as another photographer was getting some photos. This actually looked and smelled lovely - but again, no room at my inn.

Carved Fruits - Green Planet Catering

Chef Ben Cyr's whimsical carvings reminded me of the fruit my grandpa Joe used to carve. Beautiful fruit!

Pumpkin Ice Cream - Pierre's

Cleveland icon Pierre's Ice Cream provided three types of chilly treats - I enjoyed this Pumpkin Ice Cream.

Grilled Peaches topped with Goat Milk Ice Cream and Balsamic Reduction - Lago

This was the last bite that we shared, around 4pm - and we still haven't been able to touch a bite of food since (and it is after 10pm EDT). The Goat Milk Ice cream was truly special, and the combination Lago presented was the perfect ending to an amazing afternoon of playing with our food.

I haven't even mentioned the wonderful music we enjoyed - brought to us by these same local restaurants and featuring many employees of those venues. We are blessed in Cleveland to have so many talented folks who are willing and able to share. We enjoyed great music and great food - not to mention the many wonderful food-world friends both professional and amateur who we got to socialize with - Chef Steve Schimoler and his minions took playing with food in Cleveland to a new level today!


  1. There was no Cucumber in the Watermelon slushy. It did have Watermelon puree, Ginger juice, fresh lime, fever tree ginger ale, mint simple syrup and white wine.

  2. @ DUDE - well - you guys sure fooled me! My bad! Those ingredients all sound delicious - I wonder where I got the cucumber sensation from? Oh well. Thanks for setting the record straight. Lucky Bob got to drink two of them.