Tag Archives: corn

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

22 Aug


From the unique flavors to the incorporation of an apostrophe in the i of its logo, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is a cozy, friendly, neighborhood kind of ice cream parlor.  Although neither small nor especially local, Jeni’s still made my list of “green restaurants” around Cleveland.  I can justify this decision by its rare business approach and one-of-a-kind array of flavors which boast many Ohio ingredients.  On Jeni’s website, the creator claims that her milk comes from grass-fed cows and the Snowville Creamery in Pomeroy, Ohio, near the southern border with Kentucky.  Columbus boasts the majority of the shops in Ohio, but a few can also be found in Nashville.  There are shops coming soon in Georgia and the Chicago area, as well.

So while Jeni’s might not be Farm-To-Fork eligible considering its wide radius and growing reach, this unique parlor is notorious for its handmade and hand-picked flavors.  You can go to a Scoop Shop to get a dish, sundae, or even ice cream sandwich to taste the flavors or just order your own for home from the online store.  The flavors currently being advertised include the following: Apricot, Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate, Backyard Mint, Bananas + Honey, Bergamot (orange), Black Coffee, Brambleberry Crisp, Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Chamomile, Cherry Lambic (sorbet), Cloverton, Dark Chocolate, Double-Toasted Coconut, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, Grapefruit, Huckleberry, Lemon & Blueberries, Lime Cardamom, Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam, Mango Lassi, Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean, Passion Fruit, Pistachio & Honey, Queen City Cayenne, Rainbow, Red Raspberry, Riesling Poached Pear (sorbet), Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk, Salty Caramel, Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries, The Buckeye State, The Milkiest Chocolate in the World, Whiskey & Pecans, Wildberry Lavender, and Yazoo Sue with Rosemary Bar Nuts.

After spending the day in Shaker Square, my grandma and I took a short trip over to Chagrin Falls on the way back to Pennsylvania for a snack at Jeni’s.  Chagrin Falls is a quaint Cuyahoga town near the Geauga County line and the shop is just as quaint as its surroundings.  We were welcomed by the typical large chalk board menus with handwritten titles and cute homemade country decorations.  My grandma tasted a few different flavors before settling on two scoops: Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam and Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk.  I wanted to maximize my experience, so I went with three: Queen City Cayenne, Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries, and Chamomile, complete with waffle triangles.  The scoops were very tiny and our dishes were $4.50 and $5.50, respectively.  We sat inside the shop to finish our ice cream and sip on cucumber water from the free jug at the counter.  The cayenne was spicy like I like it, reflecting traditional Mayan hot chocolate (minus the cream and sugar).  Sweet corn sounded like a perfect match for ice cream when I saw it, and the berries added just the tang to counteract the sweetness.  Chamomile compared to the other two was subtle, but my grandma particularly liked its strong, flowery taste.  My grandma’s peach scoop was just what I would expect, real peaches with crunchy cookie bits.  Her strawberry scoop was creamier and more realistic than any shop strawberry that you’d find at a grocery store.  When we were finished, my picky, small-eating grandma gave herself a pat on the back for having finished her entire order of ice cream for the first time in as long as she could remember.

I would much prefer eating ice cream at Jeni’s than Coldstone, the other popular choice in Cleveland.  At Jeni’s, you can get some real, savory flavors that remind you that not everything has to be in enormous portions and obliterated with gobs of sugar and fat.  You can learn to appreciate flavors like corn and zucchini and not always coat your sweet tooth with sugary berries and fatty caramels.  In fact, going to Jeni’s has inspired me to get back into my homemade ice cream-making.  This time, I’m looking at developing some soy ice creams on my home churner using some herbs and other summer ingredients from my backyard!

101_0814Grandma at Jeni’s by the falls.


Jeni’s logo sign.


Ice cream sandwich display.


Menus and prices, hand-written.


Looking in to one of the freezers.

Our selections in their tiny, European-style proportions.


Decorations reading “gravel”, the name given to Jeni’s cookie crumble topping.


Looking down on the falls from outside.


North Union Farmers’ Market at Shaker Square

3 Sep

I get the impression that this market is extremely busy on a regular basis, but it was packed this Saturday (holiday weekend).  The market at Shaker Square is open Saturdays from 8am to 12pm, the outdoor vendors running from April to December before moving indoors according to the website.

Shaker Square is an attractive place to hold this event, and there is sure a surplus of vendors.  I witnessed everything from crafts to cheese to the typical produce.  Recommendations on Foursquare included tips like coming right at opening to get certain produce before it sells out, or to come and eat at particular vendors who actually cook breakfast right there to be had.  This market had the greatest selection out of any market I’ve seen so far in Cleveland, but it was certainly crowded.  Once again, the market held a somewhat festive air that I do not encounter at home in the Pennsylvania countryside but which seems to be a theme in the city markets of Cleveland.  Check out my gallery of the market as well as pictures of the melon I bought (I bought a cantaloupe and 6 ears of corn for $7, from two different vendors):

You can get more information at: http://www.northunionfarmersmarket.org/markets/shaker.html

The Greenhouse Tavern (GHT)

20 Aug

The GHT is an unexpected gem buried in the heart of Cleveland.  Located at 2038 E 4th Street in downtown, this locavore restaurant with its ever-changing French-inspired menu was the first certified green restaurant in Ohio.  The Sawyer family opened GHT in 2007 alongside their other restaurant, Noodlecat, operating by the following two principles: “the idea that the proximity of the farm and soil to a restaurant correlates to the quality of its food and that environmentally conscious or green business practices are fundamental.”  (For more about their mission, read this page http://thegreenhousetavern.com/press/GHT-SUSTAIN.pdf).  They got me with “green”, so I took my mom to try it out last night.

E 4th Street, where GHT is located, is a very quaint and attractive part of town.  The restaurant is not far down to the left when you walk off of Prospect:

We chose to sit outside on the patio.  The restaurant isn’t very big, so we were all kind of packed into the same space.  It made it difficult for private conversation as well as for waiters to weave around to us, but this is a typical patio experience.  The interior was decorated with a classy “eat local” flair and a lot of the tables had a wooden farmhouse furniture look.  My mom made a comment that the upstairs bathroom was a bizarre unisex set-up, whereas I checked out the one downstairs and found myself going right past the food preparation to get there.  Honestly, I felt a slightly uncomfortable arrogance while navigating the place.

Looking over the menu, I noted that the meals ran from $15 to $59, those being from the “thirds” section.  There were also a number of appetizers (“firsts”), smaller dishes (“seconds”), and sides (“halfs”).  We were given a libations menu and, later, a dessert menu, which came after our meal.  Being that I am vegetarian, I had only 9 options on the menu of 36 total items (these options are indicated by a radish symbol on the menu).  Two of the carivore dishes were sold out.  Although the “Warm Bread & Butter Board” is not listed with a radish, we decided to try that for an appetizer and I avoided the spreads with meat:

The grilled bread was much like the bread given when you sit down.  The house cracker had an interestingly soft and layered texture.  The country bread was our favorite: extremely fine, smooth, and warm.  The pain d’epi – the one braided like wheat tassels – was good as well, but a little tougher and not as fine.  I only tried the spreads on the two hearty breads, then ate the grilled bread and cracker on its own.  Certain spreads matched one bread better than another.  The spreads themselves were very interesting: one had chicken, which my mom said didn’t taste like chicken at all; one had beef, which she said was extremely beef-tasting; one was vanilla bean, which I liked a lot; one had lemon zest, which I also liked a lot even though it was very overwhelming; one was made from beets and was unusually sweet; the orange one, neither of us could recall what it was and it did not have a distinctive taste.  The spreads were good, but all they really were were bizarre butters.  The appetizer was $15.

For drinks, I tried a Chardonnay – which I love – and my mom had a classic apple cider by Luk, much like the traditional kind served in Montreal.  For my mom’s meal, she got the “Salt Cured Walleye Fettucine w/ fingerling potatoes, broccoli rabe, garlic, lemon zest & bread crumbs”.  Her first reaction was “How can you have potatoes with pasta?”  (This was latered seconded by an older gentleman behind us as he asked the same question.  Remember, you can hear others very easily when you’re so close together!)  Well, the did have potatoes in the pasta.  It was decent; I tried it as well.  My mom did, however, complain that the flavor overwhelmed the fish and that the red cayenne overtop was too spicy.  She picked off most of the flakes.  The dish was $21:

I went light and stayed with one of the “halfs”: “Ohio Corn w/ padron peppers, house made kim chi & lime” for $6.  I was baffled how I should eat it.  They literally served me an ear of corn quartered lengthwise.  My mom suggested I not eat the cob, so I sloppily chewed off the kernels while trying to hold the corn on my fork.  Don’t get me wrong – the flavor was great!  I really liked the lime and the spice.  But why was it on the cob?  We determined it was merely for presentation:

Finally, it was time for dessert.  We decided to share the “Johnnycake” (which is the Midwest and New England term for what I know better as a “hoecake”).  This Johnnycake (or hoecake) is just a cornmeal cake, then, for the dessert, they added “dolce de leche, cream curd, hominy ice cream & sea salt” for this $9 little dish:

Honestly, it was delicious.  Being from Pennsylvania, the first thing I thought of when I ate it was Penn State’s grilled stickies.  If you’re born into State College tradition, just understand that it’s got some kind of breakfast, cinnamon bun, can’t-quite’-put-a-finger-on-it taste of goodness.  However, it was extraordinarily small for the price and the waiter took ages to pick up our payment.

(from vesperbistro’s WordPress)

My honest assessment: GHT is an excellent idea.  I’m very supportive of restaurants who try to “go local” and who celebrate the locavore movement.  My one complaint with this movement, however, is that it seems to come with some kind of arrogance.  GHT tries very hard to be a classy place, but I don’t like the idea that “upscale” is always associated with “local food”.  The foods were also very unique but, unfortunately, they did try to combine a lot of flavors that often overwhelmed the dish itself.  To summarize my opinion, you don’t need to “class-up” local food to make a point.  It’s just food: the idea is that you’re doing right by the planet and supporting local farms.  The presentation was frustratingly a priority, but it is culinary art.  Besides, the food came out very quickly and was extremely fresh!  That being said, don’t be discouraged to give this place a try yourself!  I didn’t think it would appeal to kids, but there were families with young children dining while we were there. If you’re willing to pay $30-$40 for a good meal, come see what GHT is all about!

See for yourself: Check out this restaurant at thegreenhousetavern.com and take a look at the online menus!

faithless Faith

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