Tuesday, July 15, 2008

lola, cleveland, july 14

so, first of all, i didn't smell anything.

i mean, growing up in pittsburgh, i always heard that cleveland stinks. everyone said so. i don't know. i smelled nothing.

that said, we drove over from toledo for the expressed purpose of going to lola, michael symon's restaurant here. he is the new iron chef on food network, and my favorite now that mario isn't really playing anymore. but, cool thing (well, i think so): i have now eaten in the restaurants of all four iron chefs that have restaurants. three of them in the past 10 months, actually. so, yay me.

first, i hardly needed to look at the menu. basically, i needed to make sure they still had what i had been planning to get from my previous perusal of the restaurant's website. appetizer: beef cheek pierogi was there (thought i'd be tired of pierogi by now? ha. you so don't know me.) they were two big pierogis filled with braised beef cheek. very tender meat. i might've thought there would be potato in there, too, because what goes better with braised beef than mashed potatoes. there wasn't and that was fine. but, just saying, it would've been good WITH, too. y'know. in case anyone is listening. it was sitting on a demi glace sauce that made me very, very happy there was still a piece of bread on the plate, because i sopped that up. on top, there were wild mushrooms and a horseradish cream sauce. all good.

pam started with the beet and goat cheese salad, always solid. big chunks of red and golden
beets, with arugula and candied pecans. and goat cheese. i tried. i approve.

i had not prepicked an entree before walking in the door, but i might as well have as soon as i saw duck on the menu. the breast was roasted and the leg was confit. the two pieces were on top of braised endive, which i have never had braised, and i would've assumed i would not like, because as a general rule, i don't like cooked greens, with a couple of exceptions. well, add braised endive to the list. it was pretty good. there were also pickled cherries on the plate. let's just say, there were not enough pickled cherries on the plate. because 50 would've been fine. i kinda wished the breast was grilled instead of roasted, but it was good. and the skin was crispy. that's the game, right there.

pam had the hanger steak, which looked awesome and had what they called a pickle sauce, which, i don't know what that means exactly, but it was really good.

now comes the portion of this entry where you learn just how much restraint i have.
there were THREE desserts that i wanted.

pam was full, and didn't want any. i wanted THREE.

so, how much restraint do i have? i only ordered TWO. the waitress told me it wasn't a big deal, because they were small, and i'm thinking, well, don't say that too loud, they're $9 each, but it works for me.

so, they just changed their dessert menu over the weekend, she said. i came in knowing i had to get the signature dessert, which is the only one that survived the weekend new dessert menu-ization. it's called the 6 a.m. special. it's french toast with maple-bacon ice cream and caramelized apples. yes, bacon ice cream. but actually, just barely. i didn't taste bacon at all. there are little bits of it in there as a texture, but barely. i really didn't taste maple much, either. the apples were really good, and the toast was good. and, i mean, the ice cream wasn't bad, it just wasn't what i was expecting. oh, and it came in a white porcelain "skillet." i thought that was cute

the other dessert was called "savannah summer." and barry harrell, if you read this, you should cover your ears. it was cornbread (and being a dessert, probably had some sugar in it. i TOLD you to cover your ears, barry), topped with peach jam and served with BUTTER ice cream. wow. that was awesome. there was a cookie of some sort in there, but it had sweet cornbread and butter ice cream. that was all it needed. i had told the waitress that i really couldn't leave without trying the 6 a.m., and she said she understood, but she was pointing people toward the savannah summer. she's right. good thing i got both. and good thing i had to walk a mile back to the car.

the one i passed on was a dark chocolate with cherries and hazelnut praline thing. honestly, i don't understand how i didn't get all three.

chef symon was in the house. i knew this because i heard him laughing. i LOVE his laugh. it makes me smile everytime. and i saw him, but did not get to meet him. shame.

we started the day in cleveland by going to the westside market, which was really cool. there was one wing with fresh produce vendors, and many had golden watermelon. i have seen yellow watermelon before, but this was gold. it was beautiful. then inside the building were a bunch of meat and dairy vendors. lots of cool stuff. i wish i was cooking here. we had lunch there. i had a gyro from steve's, which, apparently, according to no less authority than maxim magazine, has the best gyros in the country. i know this because it was posted on their stall, not because i read maxim. it was good. i've probably had better, tho. we also had some apple strudel and a sample of dichotomy popcorn, which is a mix of caramel and cheese popcorn, and is way better than it sounds.

we also went to the rock & roll hall of fame, which was ok. it seemed like more of a museum than a hall of fame to me. and there is a difference. there just wasn't that much stuff about the inductees in there. shrug. i liked looking at the display of stuff from queen, and i was reminded that i am very disappointed that i never got to see them in concert. i also thought it was weird that, in a video presentation about how videos changed r&r, they listed four artists that changed the way videos were made. they listed michael jackson (sure), madonna (of course), a third, i think it was prince, which i could also agree with, and the fourth ... tom petty? i mean, i like tom petty enough, but a traiblazing video artist? because of the weird alice in wonderland/mad hatter thing? please.


Anonymous said...

I dunno if butter ice cream sounds that great to me. Almost sounds like something Paula Deen would come up with. Though I guess hers would be deep fried and drenched in cheese sauce.

Anonymous said...

OK, while I maintain that in general cornbread should not have sugar in it, wow, that cornbread dessert actually sounded really good. I might have to amend my policy -- no sugar in cornbread, unless it is supposed to be for dessert, and includes ice cream.

And your new site looks really cool, Jim.

Anonymous said...

I saw Queen in Houston in 1976 or '77. Someone threw up all over my shoes. The music was good, though.