Archive for the category “Cocktails”

A stellar cellar – Adega in The Nine, Cleveland, Ohio

The Christmas holiday season is my time to return to the suburbs of Cleveland to visit my family (and usually friends, but that didn’t really happen this year). We have local spots we always tend to visit, and enjoy. You may have read about Bistro 70 in the past. This year, my brother scheduled a dinner downtown in the heart of Cleveland. He chose to have us dine at Adega in the Metropolitan at the 9 Hotel. Adega can be translated into “cellar” in Portuguese, and I’m guessing part of the reason the restaurant is named Adega is that it has a beautiful wall of wine. It also has gorgeous lighting, an inviting bar, and a very small waiting area comprised of eclectic furniture. It is a unique and fresh space.

Being an urban-dweller for almost four years now, I can appreciate that going downtown allows for finding unique cuisine more easily than is typically available in the ‘burbs.

Adega’s menu is not one you’d easily find on the east side of Cleveland (from where I hail). The menu is full of Mediterranean ingredients and flavor combinations.

Everything looked appealing to me, so I pulled out my handy card to provide to our (extraordinary!!) server, Jay. He didn’t hesitate, even commenting on the “surprise” aspect of the dining experience.

Jay actually took things a few steps further. He brought Chef Nelly out to greet us and to thank us for dining at Adega that evening. He also brought the table a serving of the octopus appetizer, much to my mom’s dismay. Though, she did try it! Everyone else did too, and most enjoyed it. I’ve had octopus many times, served in different ways, and I was pleased that Jay chose to serve us this dish.


The salad Jay chose was superb! It was a winter vegetable salad – hearty and healthy. Just look at this photo – those vegetables and that beet sauce…


For my main dish, Jay chose the “Kobe beef of pork”, the Iberico pork. It was so tender and flavorful (though, as a warning, a bit on the salty side). I shared bites with everyone at the table and it was unaminous – WOW! Such a simple dish, but decadent.


We were also served the crispy Brussels. I told Jay it was like he was reading my mind – he picked perfectly! The Brussel sprouts were like an early dessert at the table – we could not get enough of them! Crunchy deliciousness!


After dinner,the general manager came by with Jay to check on us (I told you we had great service!). Then, we were served a couple of desserts. Jay knew that we had two people with gluten-free requirements, so in addition to the warm apple fritter doughnuts with Franglica and caramel sauces, he brought sorbet for my brother and uncle. Great attention to detail! I also loved the presentation of the food – from start to finish.

Now, we didn’t need the dessert, nor would we likely have ordered it, but we did do some damage anyhow. The doughnuts were a sweet, wintery treat, and a pleasant way to finish the meal.


Overall, the dining experience with my family at Adega was fabulous! The service could not have been better, and the food was absolutely delicious. I’d like to hope that I will be back when I visit Cleveland again, whether for family time, out with friends, or taking a customer out to dinner – Adega is a great spot to enjoy the experience of dining out. 

Cheers!

Ker

“I know a guy who knows a guy…” – La Belle Ferronniere, Paris, France

That’s how the email started. “I know a guy who knows a guy that recommended a typical French Brasserie.”

My colleague was voted to be “party planner” (probably by me!), and he stepped right up to the challenge, as he always does. We had twelve colleagues who were ready to enjoy an evening outside of the Charles de Gaulle airport region, and wanted to spend some time in Paris proper. It’s not necessarily an easy feat to coordinate for twelve people, but what a fun evening we had!

It turns out that when you “know a guy who knows a guy (the owner of La Belle Ferronniere)”, you get treated very nicely! We had excellent service from start to finish.

I had requested a cheese plate, and man oh man did La Belle Ferronniere deliver! We devoured the various cheeses before I even thought to snap a photo. We did this while enjoying a few bottles of wine (I think there were twelve emptied in total – whoops!).

When it came time to order dinner, in typical fashion, I surrendered my order over to our server. He asked a few vague questions, but seemed right on board with surprising me.

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It was a simple dish of shrimp and vegetables – much needed vegetables at that point! It was not too heavy and full of flavor. Perhaps just a bit on the messy side! 🙂

None of my colleagues could pass up dessert either! I only ate half of my dish before passing on to another colleague to finish, but bourbon creme brulee with a Woodford Reserve on the side? Yes, please!

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We had such a good time, laughing and chatting (and being obnoxious Americans). It was much needed after travel overseas and a couple of looong days of meetings!

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As we were leaving, we were stopped at the bar to enjoy a shot “on the house”. Oh boy…

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We then walked a bit of the dinner off and enjoyed the typical sights of Paris.

It was a fantastic way to cap off a very busy week in the City of Lights / Love.

Next stop: Barcelona!

Cheers!

Ker

Date Night at Zak’s Cafe

I’m almost a month late in writing this post, but that is no reflection on the food or the experience I had at Zak’s Cafe in Walker’s Point.  I had been on a few dates with a great guy, so this was our third or fourth time out.  I can honestly say that I’m not really sure because what ultimately was our first date happened quite by accident!  It was a situation of being out at an event together, having a wonderful time, noticing the chemistry, and then asking each other if that had been a date!  We agreed that it had been, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Our dinner at Zak’s was relaxed and enjoyable.  John was our server for the evening.  When I handed him the blog card, he didn’t even flinch!  Turns out that he did share it with the bartender, Rosalyn (sp?).  She came over with a glass of wine that she felt would pair really nicely with the “fantastic dish” they had chosen for me.  It was a glass of the Dante Reserve Pinot Noir, and Rosalyn quickly obliged when I asked to photograph the bottle…

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Typically, I’m not big on Pinots, because they tend to be a little on the light side.  My date has the same taste in wine, so he shared the same skepticism.  I quickly ascertained that Rosalyn was right, and I had jumped the gun on judging the wine.  It had great flavor on it’s own, but also paired really nicely with the food that was coming.

We started off by sharing the crab stuffed mushrooms.  Okay, mushrooms stuffed with crab meat, covered with cheese and baked to perfection?  Who can pass that up!  They were a wonderful start to the meal!

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Next came a cream of mushroom soup.  The consistency was perfect, though I felt it needed a bit more flavor.  Black pepper to the rescue!

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Finally, when my meal had been delivered, I was served up the short ribs.  Braised and slow roasted, served in a red wine vegetable gravy on a bed of mashed potatoes.  Melt in your mouth delicious!

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It’s hard to do this dish justice in photographs because it’s not one of those “beautifully plated” dishes, but trust me…the flavor, textures, and overall meal were exceptional!  My date had the prime rib, which he really enjoyed, but when he took a bite of my meal…an audible sigh of approval came out.  He actually ended up taking the leftovers home for lunch the next day!  And, then texted me about how delicious lunch was!  🙂

Not only was the food and wine fantastic at Zak’s, not to mention my company for the evening (wink), but the service was superb.  And, I love that Rosalyn mentioned that she would really appreciate if more “indecisive customers” would give her guidance like my blog card does!  It’s always nice to get some encouragement along the way!

After heading out from Zak’s, we didn’t really have much of a plan.  We ended up going to Bugsy’s – a cool speakeasy downtown.  My date and I had lots of great conversation, and no shortage of entertainment from the folks who had clearly been enjoying the libations for a while!  After several hours of getting to know each other better, and of watching crazy non-sober people, we headed to our respective homes for the evening.  Not before determining our next date, of course!  😉

If you have a chance to get out to Zak’s and/or Bugsy’s I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Cheers!

Ker

Lunching and Brunching in Milwaukee

This past weekend was a bit decadent for me. No real “working”, and lots of quality time with neighborhood friends.

On Saturday, my neighbor Andrew and I decided to head to The Historic Third Ward for a late lunch (mostly due to the fact that I indulged in a late morning nap!). Andrew suggested trying Swig after reading about it on Urbanspoon. I had heard of Swig and had passed by the place, but hadn’t stopped in yet, so I was game!

Natural light by way of a garage doorfront.  Mixed media decor. A nice, comfortable vibe (IMO).

Natural light by way of a garage doorfront. Mixed media decor. A nice, comfortable vibe (IMO).

Swig has a rustic modern casual vibe and because we were lunching at 2:30PM on a Saturday, the place was fairly empty. Andrew and I were seated at a table near the fireplace (the thing I miss most about my last apartment!) and greeted warmly by Kate, our server for the afternoon. I immediately liked Kate because she had spunk! As Andrew contemplated having a drink, Kate quickly called him out about enjoying the weekend – and soon after he was enjoying a Ginger Old Fashioned. Kate: 1, Andrew: won!

Ginger Old Fashioned

Ginger Old Fashioned

I was impressed, and overwhelmed with the menu.  I knew that I wanted a house salad – I needed my veggies!  Beyond that, I could have chosen almost anything!  The two items that bubbled to the top of the list for me were the Brie Grilled Cheese (I LOVE Brie, and I haven’t had it in quite some time) and the Crab Cake appetizer.  If I’m *really* honest with y’all, the baked Brie appetizer was appealing as well!

Long story short, I asked Kate to surprise me by choosing between the two and by choosing a flight of wine for me to enjoy along with the chosen meal.  She was on board from the get-go.

*side note: At Swig, you may choose your own flight of wine (three 2oz glasses – of your choosing) and then a 5 oz glass – all for $15. 

There was no way that I was going to be able to choose a wine flight with so many options from which to choose!

Borgo Pinot Grigio, Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc, and Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

Borgo Pinot Grigio, Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc, and Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

An incredibly tasty house salad (and only $4.50).

An incredibly tasty house salad (and only $4.50).

The house salad was loaded up with veggies and topped with parmesan cheese.  And, the dressing was AMAZING!

An amazing sweet and spicy apricot vinaigrette dressing!

An delicious sweet and spicy apricot vinaigrette dressing!

Kate gave me an idea of how to make this apricot vinaigrette, and after lunch Andrew and I promptly walked to Oro di Oliva in the Public Market to buy the appropriate vinegar!

Andrew decided to go “Ahi all the way”, with the seared tuna, arugula, and avocado salad with chimichurri sauce.

Seared Tuna salad with lots of avocado!

Seared Tuna salad with lots of avocado!

I was envious of all of the avocado that accompanied the beautiful seared tuna!  We both thoroughly enjoyed our salads, and probably could have stopped there, as they were generous portions.  But, we didn’t!

Kate brought me the crab cakes small plate.  These meaty crab cakes were covered in panko crumbs, sat on avocado puree, and were covered with roasted corn relish (another fave!).

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Like I mentioned, these were meaty (real) crab cakes.  The flavors were mild, but really tasty, and the wine paired beautifully with the dish.  For my 5 oz pour, I decided on the Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

Andrew stuck with the ginger Old Fashioned and had the Ahi tuna sandwich which had spring mix, red onion, wasabi aioli, and tomato cucumber salsa on it.  It was a big, and beautiful sandwich! Andrew said he liked that it had the teryaki flavor to it, making it a different experience from the salad he had just enjoyed.  The tomato-basil soup looked pretty thick and tasty as well!

IMG_1477[1]We ended up enjoying a few adult beverages and just hanging out on a Saturday afternoon.  After hitting up the Public Market, we stopped in at Hudson’s Business Lounge – simply because Andrew had never been in there.  It’s a cool shared space office building that my work team had used last year for an off-site working session.  There is a full bar attached, so we spent a few minutes there before calling it a night.  Nothing like a five-hour lunch!  🙂

Then, in a blink of an eye, it was Sunday!

I had previously made plans to have brunch with my friend Katie on Sunday morning.  The original plan was to head to the Hotel Metro because I love their breakfast and Katie had yet to experience it.  However, after talking with a colleague about Black Sheep, we decided to head down to Walker’s Point and hit it up.

We arrived just as the doors opened and found a small high-top table for two – which was a good thing since the place filled up pretty quickly!

After day-drinking with Andrew the afternoon before, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have a drink with brunch, but the list was intriguing.  After tasting the Wolf’s Spiked Tea, and having our server Corrine hint that there may be maple in it, I decided to head in a different direction and ordered the 2nd Street Cup (Canton, cranberry, lemonade and champagne), and after striking out twice with her orders (due to missing ingredients), Katie ended up choosing the Perfectly Peared (Belle de Brillet Cognac, pear nectar, and champagne).  Both were refreshing and light – and didn’t taste too heavy on the alcohol!  And, through the tea-tasting, Corrine learned of my disdain for maple (and she shares it due to a bad experience in the past!  I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!!)

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The 2nd Street Cup in the foreground and the Perfectly Peared in the background.

As I perused the brunch menu, I couldn’t find any item that was off-limits, and so many things looked yummy.  Corinne was on board for choosing just as Kate had been the day before.  And, she made a great choice for me!  Lobster Benedict, which consisted of poached eggs, lobster meat, arugula, hardwood smoked bacon, tomato confit and hollendaise sauce all atop brioche toast.  Did I mention it was a decadent weekend?  😉

Lobster Benedict

Lobster Benedict

Katie chose what I learned is a Wisconsin staple:  Hot Ham & Rolls – which is a Parker House roll with shaved smoked Berkshire ham, maple butter (ick!) and two eggs. Though Katie mentioned this was a simple dish, she also said it had really good flavor.  We also agreed that Black Sheep’s fries were excellent – crispy and flavorful.

Hot ham & rolls.

Hot ham & rolls.

Both Swig and Black Sheep are local spots that I plan to revisit, especially since we didn’t try any of the wines on tap at Black Sheep!

Do you have a favorite daytime destination?  Please feel free to share in the comments!

Cheers!

Ker

 

Sweetphi’s Date Night at Jackson’s Grill, Milwaukee, WI

I am so excited to be guest posting here on Kerri’s wonderful blog. I’ve been such a fan of her blog and the unique concept behind She Ordered What (whenever I’m at a restaurant and can’t decide what to get, I always use Kerri’s fearless method and ask the server to choose for me…but obviously with less grace than when Kerri does it, because I just get weird looks, so big props to her!)

Ker here: I get weird looks too, Phi!  The card usually helps to explain more clearly than I can do in the moment!  

I met Kerri over a year ago and have truly loved getting to know her and spend time with her. You may have seen my name pop up on She Ordered What a few times (see here, here, and here), but for those of you that may not know me, my name is Philia (Phi for short) and I have a food blog called the Sweetphi blog where I share simple, sweet & savory recipes and love to share how delicious food doesn’t have to have a bazillion ingredients or take hours to make in order for it to be great!

Ker again: Phi’s blog is so aptly titled – she is the sweetest woman!  It was love at first bite!  (we met for dinner with another local food blogger last year).  ❤

But truth is, even though I love to cook, I love to dine out too! There’s something truly great about picking something off a menu, having it brought to you, and then when you’re done enjoying your food you can just leave (I mean, obviously you have to pay or there would be problems) and you leave the mess for someone else to clean up. That, in and of itself is enough to send me to a restaurant, especially since I’ve been so busy lately that my kitchen is looking neglected and like I have a reoccurring tornado staying with us.

And by ‘us’ I mean my hubby and I!

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So this week when he suggested going on a date night I whole heartedly agreed. We decided to go to Jackson’s Grill a lovely supper club in Milwaukee, about a mile away from Miller Park.

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I had heard of supper clubs being a ‘thing’ in Milwaukee, but had never been to one and wasn’t quite sure what they were, so I was happy when I heard the waitress telling a table over from us that they were a supper club and that meant the establishment only served supper…seems like a pretty cool concept if you ask me.

As soon as we entered, it felt like we were transported back in time. The beige décor, antique fixtures and the lingering smell of food, all made for a very welcoming environment, not to mention the gorgeous mahogany ‘old school’ bar one had to walk around to get to the restaurant portion. We were sat immediately, and our server mentioned that they had a wine list, but that they made a really good Old Fashioned.

Old Fashioneds happen to be one of my hubby’s favorite drinks, and not wanting to be left out, I ordered one as well. The server did not lie; they made a really good Old Fashioned. They were HUGE too!

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For starters we had a cheese plate.

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I just can’t resist a cheese plate, and this one did not disappoint. Besides the selection of cheeses, there were spiced pistachios and wonderful cherry compote.

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After our cheese plate arrived, we ordered. I told the server what I was doing (having her order for me) and she played along, just asking what doneness level I liked my meat.

Our meal came with soups or salad to start, and both my husband and I got soup. The server picked a seasonal butternut squash soup for me, and my husband got the seafood bisque. While I did enjoy the seasonality of the butternut squash soup (it had brown butter drizzled on top and slivered almonds) it was a bit heavy for my taste. My husband’s seafood bisque on the other hand…that I would order time and time again, it was absolutely delicious!

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We then received our dinners and I was happy to see that the server had chosen the same dinner for me as my husband had, just a smaller portion and a different side. My husband got the 10oz Black Angus Filet Mignon al a Portobello with garlic mashed potatoes, and I got the 6oz Black Angus Filet Mignon al a Portobello with mac and cheese.

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The steak…oh my goodness…the steak was so good, some of the best I’ve ever had! It was resting on the plate under a Portobello cap and with every bite luscious juices would ooze out (am I the only one that likes to dredge bread through the steak juices? You should try it…it’s so good!) As we ate, the chef came out and went around the entire dining room asking how everyone’s food was – I heard only glowing reviews from the other diners, and had one to add myself (although I did have a giant bite of food in my mouth so my response was just a nod.)

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We finished off our dinner with a dessert I’d never had: Bananas Foster. I’d go back to Jackson’s Grill for this dessert alone. Warm bananas in a caramel sauce topped with vanilla ice cream. My husband got a little glass of port that accompanied dessert. It was the perfect finish to our meal.

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I would also like to note that the entire meal: Cheese plate, soup, steak, dessert, took only an hour in its entirety. What a lovely little supper club that I’m sure I’ll be going to again!

After doing this I have 1 question for Kerri – how do you do it? How do you take pictures with such ease in dark restaurants and make them look good? So many props to you and your wonderful blog!

Ker again… Phi, my blogging / photo best friend has become Snapseed! Here’s the link to the iPhone and to Android app.  It’s so easy, even when I take photos without flash, to correct the images so they properly represent the food I’ve actually received (even in dark spots!).  

If you’d like to connect with me, you can find me on twitter (@sweetphi), Instagram (PhiliaKelnhofer), or on Facebook (SweetphiBlog).

Thanks for having me on your blog Kerri!

Thank YOU, Phi for sharing your wonderful and romantic (Nick is a gem of a guy!) experience in adventuresome dining!  I could NEVER pull off an incredible blog like yours, but I certainly can learn from it!  I’m flattered that you spent time offering to contribute to SOW.  Thank you so much!  

Cheers!

Ker

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