“True Blood” Dinner was frighteningly good!

The Tenant has another dinner review ready at last…and this one was fun and tasty indeed! It was great to see how much people got into the theme of this dinner, whether it was dressing up for a real “evening out” or outfitting themselves Sookie Stackhouse-style with Bon Temps T-shirts and the like. It was all to enjoy a truly special combination of dishes–all red, and all perfectly prepared.

The festivities began with two dishes very suited to the Louisiana setting of the True Blood TV series: Shrimp Fritters with Red Devil Aioli and Jambalaya with Andouille Sausage, Red Beans and Rice. The shrimp fritters, tender and deliciously spiked with corn, tasted wonderful with the fiery aioli. The jambalaya also brought the Southern heat, full of spice, peppers, savory sausage, onions, and red beans in a rich red-orange sauce. To relieve the flames a bit, the first beverage on the menu was a very refreshing “Vampire Cocktail” consisting of Chambord, vodka, and cranberry juice with a slice of lime. It packed a cool and tasty punch indeed. To accompany the jambalaya, we were served glasses of Michael David Sixth Sense Syrah, an earthy, fruity wine whose pepperiness went well with the sauce.

For the third course, we got the chance to really cool down a bit. The Roasted Red Beet and Pomegranate Salad with Balsamic Drizzle brought crisp sweetness to the table, with scarlet chunks of beet and fruit accented and contrasted by the crunchy yellow pomegranate seeds. I never really ate beets as a child, so I never had any idea how delicious they could be until I tried Chef Ruth’s treatments of them–a wonderful contrast of the sweet and the savory. The wine that joined it, Dracula Zinfandel, had a nice touch of fruity sweetness, but was rich and robust as well.

Course number four was Seared Ahi Tuna with Red Cherry Sauce. Searing meant the outside of each slender slice of tuna was just lightened, while the center retained the rich red color of fresh tuna. The slices sat in a pool of sauce enhanced with a touch of Asian flavoring: five-spice powder and star anise. This was tuna like I’ve never had it before, and very tasty. Its wine pairing was the single exception to the rule of the evening, Vampire Chardonnay from Vampire Vineyards. This light, breezy wine fit in nicely at this point of the menu and went well with the fish.

For the fifth course, beef took the spotlight, with roasted medallions of tenderloin in red wine sauce, accompanied by root vegetable mash. The medallions were perfectly cooked and the wine sauce was just right. The vegetable mash was complex and interesting, a change from mashed potatoes with a fresh, almost minty kind of touch. The wine for this course was Vampire Pinot Noir, full-bodied and beefy enough to sit beside it very nicely.

Finally, along came dessert, the promised Red Velvet Cake with Raspberry Coulis. Here, I think many of us expected a traditional devil’s-food cake colored red, but we got a tasty twist: more like a pale sponge cake colored bright red by coulis, topped with fondant and garnished with raspberries (both real fresh berries and a German candy raspberry on top!) and layered with and surrounded by more coulis. Yummy! Our dessert wine was Villa M. Rosso Brachetto, a rosy-colored sweet wine with an airy, sparkling feeling and taste.

Any questions as to whether an all-red six-course menu could embody enough variety and richness of contrast in flavors and experiences were certainly put to rest by this meal. Chef Ruth came up with a “toothsome” Halloween-season fest for all! The “bon temps” definitely “rolled” at the True Blood Dinner!

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More blood donation opportunities!

Thanks to all of you whose enthusiasm helped us sell out our True Blood Dinner! Now, if you haven’t donated blood yet to get your $25 Bistro certificate, here are some more places you can still do it:

October 24
American Red Cross Donor Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Lyndhurst Community Presbyterian Church
5312 Mayfield Rd., Lyndhurst
Noon-4 p.m.

And there’s more! On Tuesday, October 26, the Red Cross’s Northern Ohio Blood Services Region will hold its annual Halloween blood drive from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 5783 Heisley Rd., Mentor. All who come to donate will receive an exclusive American Red Cross Halloween T-shirt. Donors will also be given a free meal and have the chance to win an Apple iPad courtesy of Euclid Hospital, as well as enjoying entertainment throughout the drive provided by 1330 AM WELW. Donors who come dressed in costume will receive a $5 gift card and be entered in a special raffle. Appointments are recommended for this blood drive and can be scheduled by calling 1.800.GIVE.LIFE or visiting givelife.org and entering the sponsor code “lamalfa.”

Can you think of a better way to celebrate Halloween than by helping three other people and having some fun at the same time? We can’t. So get out there and donate your “True Blood” before enjoying the True Blood Dinner! Even if you can’t make the dinner, get out there and donate! You’ll be glad you did!

More blood donation locations

You can donate blood today until 2:30 p.m. at the American Red Cross Warzel Blood Donation Center at 3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. You can also donate here today:

St. Noel Church
35200 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills
Until 1 p.m.

Disciples Christian Church
3663 Mayfield Rd., Cleveland Heights
12:15-4:15 p.m.

Here are some other places you can go in the next week to donate blood:

October 18
Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Lake Health Willowick Campus
29804 Lake Shore Blvd.
2-6 p.m.

October 19
Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
1:30-8 p.m.

St. Francis of Assisi Church
6850 Mayfield Rd., Gates Mills
2-7 p.m.

October 20
Cleveland Clinic Surgical Center
9500 Euclid Ave.
10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
1:30-8 p.m.

Richmond Town Square Mall
691 Richmond Rd., Richmond Heights
2-6 p.m.

Case Western Reserve Housing
Wade Commons, 11451 Juniper Dr., Cleveland
9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

October 21
Cleveland Clinic Family Health Center Willoughby Hills
2550 SOM Center Rd., Willoughby Hills
9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Lakefront Community Center
1 Bliss Lane, Euclid
1:30-7 p.m.

Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
1:30-8 p.m.

Kirtland Community Center
7900 Chardon Rd., Kirtland
1:30-6 p.m.

October 22
Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Beachwood Community Center
25451 Fairmount Blvd., Beachwood
1-7 p.m.

October 23
Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Remember: Blood is perishable. Supplies are low, and the need is great. Make your appointment at 1.800.RED.CROSS and donate your “true blood” soon!

Let’s talk NO turkey!!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and for many people that means sitting around the banquet table to enjoy turkey with all the trimmings…unless you’re vegan. Can you still enjoy a sumptuous feast full of incredible fall harvest flavors? Absolutely!

Join us Wednesday, November 17 at 6:30 for a Vegan Thanksgiving Wine Dinner featuring five courses paired with five organic wines. Come discover that there’s more to a vegan Thanksgiving than Tofurky!

First Course
Chestnut Soup
Wine: Marima Chardonnay

Second Course
Spiced Apple-Cider-Glazed Supreme of Gardein
Herbed Polenta Cake
Saute of Shoestring Vegetables
Wine: Flora Springs Soliloquy

Third Course
Field Greens with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Pomegranate Seeds, and Oranges
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Wine: E. Guigal Cote Du Rhone

Fourth Course
Quinoa-and-Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Wine: E. Guigal Cote Du Rhone Blanc

Fifth Course
Pumpkin Creme Brulee
Wine: Hobbs Dessert Grenache

Our Vegan Thanksgiving Wine Dinner is $55 per person, tax and gratuity additional.

You won’t want to miss this holiday treat, so call us for reservations at 216.481.9635. Kick off your holiday season with us at Bistro 185!

Another delicious Vegan Night

For those who haven’t yet joined us for Vegan Night, we thought you might like some pictures of our offerings from last night. Here’s the Charcuterie Board:

Here’s our entree, the Gardein Schnitzel with Yukon Gold Smashed Potatoes and Roasted Vegetables:

And last but not least, the Apple Strudel:

Altogether, this Vegan Night was a celebration of great food Oktoberfest-style. Even The Tenant (not vegan, but half German) gave the schnitzel entree a try and found it “absolutely yummy”!

Watch this space for information on our next Vegan Night Wednesday, November 17. Chef Jakub and Chef Ruth will be cooking up another one sure to please!

True Blood Dinner: our libation list is ready!

Has the thought of joining us for our “True Blood” Dinner gotten you a little thirsty for something…red? Well, our libation list for this special dinner is ready. If this menu makes your mouth water like we think it will, and you haven’t made your reservation yet, pick up the phone and call us at 216.481.9635. Then call 1.800.RED.CROSS to make your blood donation appointment!

First Course
Shrimp Fritters with Red Devil Aioli
Vampire Cocktail
Vodka Chambord Cranberry

Second Course
Jambalaya with Andouille Sausage
Red Beans and Rice
Wine
Dracula Zinfandel Paso Robles

Third Course
Roasted Red Beet and Pomegranate Salad
Balsamic Dressing
Wine
Sixth Sense Syrah

Fourth Course
Seared Ahi Tuna with Red Cherry Sauce
Wine
Vampire Chardonnay

Fifth Course
Roasted Beef Tenderloin Medallion with Red Wine Sauce
Root Vegetable Mash
Wine
Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon

Sixth Course
Red Velvet Cake with Raspberry Coulis
Wine
Sparkling Brachetto

Here are some places you can donate blood within the next week:

October 12
Red Cross Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
7:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

Wickliffe Community Center
900 Worden Rd., Wickliffe
12:30-5:30 p.m.

October 13
Red Cross Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
1:30-8 p.m.

October 14
Red Cross Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
1:30-8 p.m.

October 15
Red Cross Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Ohio Savings Bank
1801 E. 9th St., Cleveland
8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Radisson Eastlake
35000 Curtis Blvd., Eastlake
11 a.m.-3 p.m.

October 16
Red Cross Warzel Blood Donation Center
3636 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Holy Grove Missionary Baptist Church
2844 E. 130th St., Cleveland
10 a.m.-2 p.m.

We’ll have more listings for you next week. Remember, while many of the creatures in True Blood may be only products of the imagination, real people need real blood every day–and in our world, there is no substitute! So make your reservations, make your appointment, give blood, and join us for the “True Blood” Dinner Wednesday, October 27 at 6:30 p.m.! We promise a meal you can really sink your teeth into!

Wednesday Night is Vegan Night!

Are you ready for some great vegan food? We hope so, because the Bistro has a terrific set of offerings planned for Vegan Night this Wednesday, October 13!

Starters
Charcuterie Board: Selection of Grilled Vegan Sausages, Dried Fruit, Grainy French Mustard, Cornichons, and Black Bread, $12
Grilled Vegetable Flatbread Pizza, $6

Entree
Gardein Schnitzel, Roasted Root Vegetables, Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Caramelized Onions, and Sweet and Sour Sauteed Red Cabbage, $17.50

Dessert
Apple Strudel, $6.75

Vegan “dining out” is easy and delicious when you come to Vegan Night at the Bistro! Join us!

Thank you, Plain Dealer…

…for putting Bistro 185 on your list of Cleveland’s Top 50 Happy Hours! Of course, do keep in mind, it’s not the side of the table that makes the difference in our Happy Hour, it’s the side of the restaurant! If you’ve never visited our bar, it’s high time you stopped by some weeknight between 4:30 and 6:30! Whether it’s smoked duck breast on a potato pancake, Coquilles St. Jacques, crab cakes, potstickers, or any of the other appetizers from our $5 Happy Hour menu, you’ll eat (and drink) very well for very little money. Come on in sometime soon and get happy!

“Bottle Shock”: a fun tongue-teaser


Hi — it’s The Tenant again, here to give you another review of an exciting event at the Bistro. This time around it was the “Bottle Shock” Wine Tasting, a variation on the legendary 1976 “Judgment of Paris” wine competition that inspired the movie Bottle Shock. The film tells the true story of how a British sommelier surprised a group of Parisian oenophiles by having them conduct a blind taste-test of a selection of wines. The tasting proved to their discriminating palates that California’s best wine could indeed stand up against France’s for quality. In the Bistro 185 version of Bottle Shock, tasters were presented with six different wines and asked to guess whether each was from France or California and to attempt to “name that varietal.” At the end, the names and vintages of each wine were revealed so we could tell how close our guesses had been.

As I’ve mentioned before, I really am not a connoisseur of wine, so I participated in this tasting more for the fun and the opportunity to expose myself to some new tastes than anything else. It was also interesting to try to see whether I’d become any good at distinguishing French wines from California wines merely from my experience at Bistro wine dinners!

The tasting began with a white wine that to me seemed fruity, but not especially or cloyingly sweet. I took a guess on its being a California wine, but which grape it was I could not tell. My companion Mary, who knows far more than I do, took a guess that it was a Chardonnay. The second wine, also a white, seemed less fruity, drier and crisper — very clean, almost without any strong flavor at all. I wasn’t sure about this one, but I put down France as the origin just for a guess. I never did guess a varietal at all.

The third wine was a red with a strong bouquet and a very spicy spectrum of flavors. I guessed this one for a California, possibly a red Zinfandel. (I was remembering a friend of mine from the Bay Area who ordered it once when we were together at a bar, laughing at the tendency of the rest of the country to drink white Zin, which she regarded as a joke — which, I suppose, to serious wine drinkers, it is.) Wine number four was also a red, with a very smooth kind of velvety texture; I guessed it for, possibly, a French Merlot. Number five, a red for which a fresh bottle was opened just before my pour and which emerged very foamy at first, seemed to have a lighter flavor than some of the other reds; I had no idea what the origin or grape might be, so I guessed at a French Syrah. The last wine, another red, was another wine that seemed to have a certain smoothness of flavor and a flowery, fruity bouquet. I put this one down as possibly another California, but couldn’t think of what grape it might be.

When we had each had a taste of every wine and marked down our judgments/guesses, the identity of each wine was revealed to us. Wine #1: 2009 Treasure Hunter Alexander Valley Chardonnay! Our flyers described it as having “a succulent nose of exotic crushed fruit and lemon custard. With an opulent mouthfeel, it still shows good acidity and green apple, honey, spice and heaps of tropical fruit.” Mary got that one right, and I correctly identified it as a California wine.

Number 2: 2008 Escale Chardonnay Vins de pays de Mediterranee, from France. “The nose is very aromatic with notes of peaches and hints of passion fruit. Rich and full on the palate with a long-lasting finish.” I had guessed it for French, at least, so when it came to telling the two wine regions apart, I was two for two!

Wine #3: 2008 Hoe Down Cabernet Sauvignon. Another correct guess of a California, even though I was off on the grape. “This Cabernet has flavors of fresh raspberries and silky blueberries that balance perfectly. It has velvety oak nuances and round tannins.”

On Wine #4, I was again off on the grape, but right on the country. It was 2007 Escale Cabernet Sauvignon vin de pays d’Oc. “A nose of red and dark fruits. On the palate there is a silky texture with flavors of cassis and blackberries with a very nice structure and complex finish.”

On Wine #5, I made my sole correct guess of varietal, even though I missed guessing the origin. It turned out to be 2007 Clayhouse Vineyard Syrah. “Driven by dark berry fruit flavors (blackberry and plum), complemented with hints of black pepper, dusty oak, and slightly floral notes. The fine-grained tannins make it rich and soft in the mouth, and it’s balanced with a tart acid backbone.”

Last of all, Wine #6 was a complete miss for me: 2007 Côtes du Rhône Villages. “Old vines give this wine finesse and elegance. A deep ruby color, sweet aromas of black cherries, raspberries, and licorice. Full-bodied and fine, delivers a long and complex finish.”

At the end of the evening, though, considering how little I know about wine, I was pretty impressed with myself. I had managed to correctly guess four out of the six wine origins, even if I was only 1 for 5 on varietals. Maybe I am learning something! Oh, and congratulations to Ginger, who won the competition for most correct guesses. Thanks also to Greg of Purple Feet Distributing and Richard of Père Jacques Wine Imports for walking us through this test of our noses and palates.

One more thing to note: wine aside, this tasting was made even more enjoyable by the panoply of amazing hors d’ouevres that emerged unceasingly from the kitchen throughout. Chef Ruth outdid herself with mini-bruschettas featuring tapenades of artichoke, olive and roasted red pepper, spanakopitas, Hawaiian meatballs, antipasto skewers, smoked whitefish in phyllo cups, mini-crabcakes, Brie and raspberry preserves rolled in phyllo dough, smoked duck breast on mini-potato pancakes, and corn fritters with “Bistro sauce.” Sheer heaven! All of which means, the next time you see a wine tasting advertised at the Bistro, you’d better sign up quickly. Whether you can tell a French from a California or a Chardonnay from a Pinot Gris, a good time is guaranteed for all!