Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fun With Slow Green Food for Bastille Day at the Geenhouse Tavern

It never ceases to amaze me - what an amazing spread Chef Jonathon Sawyer and his crew of Cleveland Chefs put on for his annual Slow Food benefit. It is impossible to even taste a little of everything - there is too much, and it is all so good. But taste we did, last Monday, July 13 - one day before Bastille Day (to accommodate the Chef's "Iron Chef" taping schedule (Jon is a sous chef for Iron Chef Michael Symon), which would bring him to NY on the actual Bastille Day date). And the wonderful wines by Bill Barefoot of 55 Degrees - just perfect.

Though I did my best to identify the creator of each item - I missed a few. Please feel free to fill in, in the Comments, anyone or anything I miss below.

Crepes on the Patio

As we walked up a few minutes before the official start time of 6pm, we saw Bob Holcepl's crew from Crepes Deluxe already busily at work making fresh crepes. Alas - this was one of the only items I did not taste - I simply ran out of room. But Bob and Edsel both raved about theirs!

What Was I Thinking, to Not Taste These!

Baguettes from On the Rise Bakery

Chef Jonathon welcomed each diner with a baguette - by the end of the evening, the Chefs were dueling with them! And perfect, they were, to accompany the goodness!

I walked around the room to take the first batch of photos, without tasting.

Corn Cakes & Berries

Not sure who made these - they were right next to a savory, but were a little sweet. Lovely!

White Salmon Mousse Topped With Pork Fat

Rilettes - I Believe it Was Pork

And I think these two amazing dishes were from Zach Bruell of Parallax, L'Albatros and Table 45.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Which I foolishly passed on - I should have at least tasted the stuffing (I don't care for mushroom meat)! I believe that these came from Chef Dave Eucke, Chef d'Cuisine of L'Albatros.

Blurry Tomato-Cheese Crostini

Made by GHT - a delightful canape!

Cheese and Accoutrement From The Baricelli Inn

There is no better cheese monger in Cleveland than the Minillo team! Chef Paul's son, Chef John Minillo, was on hand to explain and serve the cheeses. The ones I tasted were simply fabulous, and well accompanied.

I loved these little sandwiches even though they had bits of pickle in them - just superb! Not sure who made these - was this Eric Lascher's contribution?

Charcuterie and Kraut

I joked with Chef Greg MacLaren, author of this dish, that I couldn't even look at this, let alone eat it - we'd served over 400 pounds of kielbasa and kraut at the American Mensa AG event a week earlier - but this dish was magically delicious!

Bone Marrow Stuffed Potatoes - Greenhouse Tavern

These were not only delicious, but wonderfully playful in the presentation!

Pork Belly, Blini, Watermelon

A delicious bite from Chef Kurt Steeber of Boulevard Blue. Betcha can't eat just one!

Chicken Liver and Cognac Pate

This tasty treat was delivered by Cleveland Magazine's own Laura Taxel.

Sausage Toulouse Style with Mustard and Toast

This amazingly delicious bite came courtesy of Moxie's Executive Chef, Jonathan Bennett.

Raw Bar with Horseradish Vodka and Dipping Sauces

This bit of loveliness came courtesy of GHT - succulent oysters, pristine small shrimp, and mussels I did not taste. The accompaniments were amazing, as always.

I tasted this expecting clam - but it wasn't. Chef Jonathon said it was escargot - what a clever treatment for a snail-a-phobe like me! Very, very tasty.

This delightful beef dish was provided by Chef Scott Popovich of Certified Angus - yummy!

Beef Shortrib Sliders with Gruyere Cheese

As usual, Chef Rocco Whalen of Fahrenheit knocked it out of the park!

Tea Hills Pork

If I was forced to pick a "favorite" (a formidable task, indeed, this night) - this would have been it. Exquisite meat, exquisitely prepared by Chef Mike Nowak of Bar Cento. Bravo!

Four Varieties Charcuterie

It was so good to see Chef Dante Boccuzze in the house! His amazing sausage was as good as ever - I actually liked the pepperoni (and I'm not a pepperoni kinda gal). Please - Chef Dante - open your new restaurant soon!

Clams in Foie Gras Sauce - GHT

Heaven on a plate.

Fried Gnocchi Wrapped in Lardo - GHT

I actually preferred this dish with the house-made prosciutto. But that's just me.

As amazing as this groaning board of goodies was - other bites periodically emerged from what I believe was the GHT kitchen; I don't know if any of the guest chefs were involved in these:


Simply yummy.

Rosemary Garlic Frites with Aoli

Sawyer signatures, perfectly executed.

This lovely bite of fish in Buerre Blanc was served to the tables - sorry, I forgot which fish - but it was sustainable, pristine and most delicious.

Peach & Cherry Claufutis with Custard and Whipped Creme infused with Black Pepper

My description does not begin to do justice to this amazing concoction from Chef Steve Schimoler of Crop Bistro. An amazing combination of sweet and savory - my only regret was that I treated it as a sweet and didn't sample it until almost the end. My loss - the pepper-infused creme was fantastic, and perfectly complimented the sweets below it.

As we reached the end - the Chefs, Servers, and others who contributed to the evening gathered on the stairs to pull the winning raffle ticket (the contest benefited our local Slow Food Convivium), and to receive a well deserved round of applause!

I do not have photos of Jenni's Ice Cream - but wish I did - I'm not a big sweets eater, but the Violet Ice Cream and the dark chocolate were both amazing (thank you Tom Bauer!). GHT provided a couple of Pastry Chef Keri Garcia's signatures - but since both had coffee flavors, I had no trouble turning them down (and I needed to, because I was seriously full by the time they were served). An espresso mousse, and a coffee custard, were both enjoyed by those of the attendees who weren't already stuffed. I did very much enjoy (a couple of days later) the individually wrapped cookies available to each diner as they left - stuffed with chocolate and nuts - simply wonderful!

Alan Glazen of Erie Island Coffee provided the java to those who partake, and the coffee drinkers seemed very happy.

Every year, this event gets better and better - I can think of no better reason to become involved with Slow Food than to get to know the people behind events like these. As my dear friend Harry Chapin (who died 28 years ago today) frequently channeled Pete Seeger - being involved with causes like Slow Food keeps you connected to the live hearts, the live souls, the live minds. "Well if a man tried, to take his time on Earth, and prove before he died, what one man's life could be worth - well I wonder what would happen to this world." [I Wonder What Would Happen to This World, (c) Harry Chapin]. Just don't forget to play with your food.


  1. WOW, Nancy. Helluva spread.

    Glad you enjoyed the ice cream -- I'll pass your thanks along to Tom.


  2. Correction just in: the Ivory Salmon Pate and Pork Rilettes, and their accouterments, were not from Chef Zack Bruell, but from Pier W, (I do not recall whether it was Executive Chef Regan Reik - sorry for the brain cramp).