On Friday, I drove to Cleveland. I was somewhat nervous and anxious about making the drive by myself( 5+hrs). I'm not that good at driving and reading directions at the same time and I actually almost cancelled. I'm so glad I didnt. I had a great time and I really loved Cleveland( or I should say Beachwood, the suburb where I stayed). I enjoyed it so much that I'm planning a return trip in the fall.
I was there for the Egullet Heartland Gathering. The link will take you to the reporting thread and there you'll find pictures of what I made( in post #17 and #44). I made bing cherry crumb pies( I blogged about them last year) and a risotto with shrimp. I arrived too late for the Friday dinner at Lola, but I met up with folks on Saturday morning at the West Side Market. We all chipped in 20 bucks and then shopped for ingredients. After shopping, we had a phenominal lunch at a Cambodian place. The owner kept bringing out dishes and we all shared them. There was a plethora of food and it only cost us 12.00 each( with tax and tip). Amazing. I had the most flavorful won ton soup I've ever had. After lunch, we headed to a church in Solon, OH. The church had a huge commercial kitchen and large dining room for us to enjoy. There were about 25 of us cooking and everything just worked out really well. Another Eg member who came up from Ann Arbor, held a chocolate tasting/truffle and wine workshop. One person brought tons of homeade charcuterie from Chicago. I think that was quite possibly the best lox( smoked salmon) I've ever had. He also made pastrami( none for me thanks), bacon and sausage. These were just our appetizers!! My friend Tom made all the breads. If I can remember correctly, there was honey whole wheat( my favorite), brioche( heavenly), sweet potato bread, ciabatta, cranberry pecan, potato rosemary, and one other I can't recall. It was just so fabulous to hang out with like-minded people and talk about one of my favorite subjects.
Tom was so generous( as was Ron, the charcuterie guy). I came home with tons of bread( as you see in the picture) and smoked salmon and bacon. I froze the brioche and I'll be making french toast this weekend. Before I left for home on Sunday, I went to Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma, a grocery store and a bagel shop. As you can see, I went a bit overboard with the cheese( Vegans, advert your eyes). I brought back 9 cheeses,( 2 of them I had at the gathering and I liked so I picked them up at Trader Joes). The rest came from Whole Foods. I even picked up a local Ohio cheese. Last night, I heated up some of Tom's bread and ate bread and cheese for dinner. Robin had a burrito that I brought her back from Chipotle.
I also picked up a slice of cheesecake for Robin from the Cheesecake Factory. I'm not a fan of cheesecake so a slice is good for her. When I was waiting for my order, another gentleman wanted to buy a whole cheesecake. The counterperson told him that they were "deeply chilled" and wouldnt be ready for consumption for an hour or two. Deeply chilled???? That made me laugh my ass off. Leave it to Cheesecake Factory to come up with a new word for Frozen. I guess Frozen is a bad, bad word in the restaurant industry. Speaking of cheesecake factory. They started in Detroit, yet there are no restaurants in Michigan. Why is that?