The importance of the family dinner

In these times, when so many people are constantly on the go, racing back and forth from work, school, practices, games, meetings, and everything else they have going on in their lives, we’re hearing more and more about how important it is to take time out and gather the whole family around the dinner table. Studies have shown that sitting down together to a regular meal together can benefit families in any number of ways. What’s the reason for this? A large part of it has to do with one simple factor: communication.

Families who eat together have the luxury of time to discuss the happenings in their lives–to share thoughts, questions, concerns, opinions, feelings. It’s easier for parents to outline their values for their children, about everything from the foods they eat to the type of friends they make. Just talking with your children helps build their vocabulary. Eating together as a family also communicates one thing without speaking a word: love.

Gathering to share a carefully prepared meal, taking the time to savor each bite, to be with the people closest to you and see their faces, warms the soul and refreshes the spirit in a way that heating up a microwaved meal on the run never can. And that’s true whether it’s a home-cooked feast or one prepared and served by others so that family members can just enjoy each other’s company, without having to worry about fussing over a hot stove beforehand or cleaning up afterward.

Family dinners are key components of religions around the world. In the United States, we even have a national holiday centered on one. When we look back on our lives, oftentimes we realize that many of our favorite memories were made at events like these.

Each such gathering becomes even more meaningful when a family member is nearing the end of life. At that time, everyone’s focus shifts toward ensuring that this person enjoys the highest quality of life possible for as long as he or she can, with maximum opportunity for the family to be together, saying things that need to be said and helping the loved one meet death with dignity, cradled in their affection.

It’s for this reason that we at Bistro 185 are taking part in the Hospice of the Western Reserve‘s “A Meal to Remember” program. The Hospice of the Western Reserve devotes itself to providing palliative end-of-life care, caregiver support, and bereavement services throughout Northern Ohio. Celebrating the individual worth of each person’s life includes providing families with opportunities to share memory-making moments, and that’s what “A Meal to Remember” is all about.

Once each month this year, one local Cleveland restaurant is hosting a dinner for Hospice of the Western Reserve patients and their loved ones at David Simpson Hospice House. In this beautiful setting on the Lake Erie shore, patients and their loved ones can gather around the dinner table to enjoy a truly special meal and create lasting memories. On July 17, Bistro 185 will provide the monthly dinner, and it will be a singular feast indeed. We’ll tell you more about it later. In the meantime, we hope you’ll visit the Hospice’s website and learn more about the important work they do.

How long has it been since your family gathered around a table together? Got a special milestone coming up, like a birthday or anniversary, made for such an occasion? Or has it just been too long since you saw each other’s faces all in one place at one time? Maybe it’s time you put a family meal on your schedule.

SOME LIKE IT HOT, SOME LIKE IT COOL: How about this weather? Yes, it’s been downright scorching sometimes. But hot days mean perfect days for the Bistro patio–hedged in by shading trees, it’s a great place to enjoy a drink and a fabulous meal with friends. Still too warm for you? Come inside where things are dark, air-conditioned, and comfortable. A frosty beer, a cold glass of wine, a cocktail on the rocks, or a sweat-beaded soft drink will help you chill out quickly. Then turn to our menu, where you’ll find appetizers and specials from the spicy hot to the crisp and refreshing. Whatever way you like it, at Bistro 185 you’ll find what you like.

THE RETURN OF JULIA: If you enjoyed our 2009 “Julia Project,” in which we served up a new dish from the Julia Child oeuvre every night, we’ve got some exciting news. August 15 will be the day Julia Child would have turned 100, and we’re planning a celebration already. Sounds good? Watch this space for details.

June is blooming with Asian vegan delights, Spanish & Portuguese wines

We’re ready for summertime at the Bistro, and kicking off its official start with a summery Asian take on vegan cuisine and a dinner featuring the finest white wines from Spain and Portugal. Here are the details:

VEGAN ASIAN DELIGHT:  Our June Vegan 3-for-$30 Dinner available Thursday, June 21, from 5 to 9:30 p.m., includes these courses:

Thai Summer Roll with Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce

Mongolian Bar-B-Q Tofu
Asian Vegetables
Basmati Brown Rice

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

“WHTE WINES OF SPAIN AND PORTUGAL” DINNER: Looking for some refreshing and different white wines for your summer dining? You’ll find them at our  “White Wines of Spain and Portugal” Dinner Thursday, June 28 at 6:30 p.m. This $65-plus-tax-and-gratuity dinner pairs five courses of sunny Spanish and Portuguese cuisine with five wines native to the area.

Marc’s Special Sangria

First Course
Yellow Tomato Gazpacho with Cilantro Oil and Avocado
Wine: Pazo Serantello Albarino

Second Course
Shrimp with Romesco Sauce and Saffron Rice
Wine: Twin Vines Vinho Verde

Third Course
Potato Torta with Chorizo
Wine: Acustic Blanc

Fourth Course
Braised Chicken with Almonds and Pine Nuts
Wine: El Hada Verdejo-Viura

Fifth Course
Caramel Flan with Fresh Fruit
Wine: Warre’s White Port

Make plans now to celebrate the beginning of summer with us by calling 216.481.9635 and making your reservations for one or both of these dinners. You’ll be very happy you did!