Win a $50 Bistro gift certificate in our Julia Child “Courage of Your Convictions in the Kitchen” Contest!

“When you flip anything, you just have to have the courage of your convictions.” — Julia Child

It’s one of the most legendary incidents in the history of The French Chef: Julia Child was attempting to flip a potato pancake to cook it on the other side, and the flip didn’t quite work and the pancake broke. Having just said that flipping anything required “the courage of your convictions,” she attributed the failure to precisely that lack. But, she added quickly, all was not lost; you can always push the pancake back together again, because if you’re alone in the kitchen, who’s going to see? (The moment is immortalized by the video above, in which a devoted YouTuber compares Julia’s original presentation to Meryl Streep’s reenactment in the film Julie & Julia and finds Meryl wanting. It’s still funny.)

It occurred to us while planning our Julia Project three years ago, and our Julia Child 100th Birthday Dinner this year, that those wise words of Julia’s still apply today. Julia’s approach to cooking was all about using the courage of your convictions. Taking risks, trying new things–and, sometimes, figuring out a way to salvage success from disaster. She understood that, especially if you’re the average home chef, if you have a cooking snafu you don’t always have the time or money to start over–and if you never try anything different, you never grow or develop. If you’ve ever turned on a stove, you know that’s true.

When in your life have you most needed the courage of your convictions in the kitchen? Tell us about it and you could win a $50 Bistro gift certificate! For example…

–You had trouble with an important dinner for guests, and had to think on your feet to save it. You did, and received loads of compliments.

–You tried a tricky new recipe you weren’t sure you could pull off, but you did.

–You thought up a variation on a tried-and-true recipe that you had no guarantee would work, and maybe even heard doubts from others: “You really think that’s going to come out?” You experimented with it anyway, and it was wonderful.

–You had to improvise a meal with what happened to be available in the house at the time–something edible–and not only succeeded, but got praise.

–You shocked your friends, family, and even yourself by proving, simply, that you could learn to cook.

–You embarked on an adventure at the dining table (yours or someone else’s) by trying a food, a dish, a combination of dishes you weren’t sure you were going to like, but went for it anyway–and found it delicious.

Write your story in 500 words or fewer, and email it to by Tuesday, August 14 (be sure to put “Julia Child Contest Entry” in the header). If we choose your story as the best example of exhibiting the “Courage of Your Convictions in the Kitchen,” you’ll be our winner!

Hot summer? Enjoy a Hot August Vegan Night!

The summer’s far from over, but already we can say it’s been a hot one indeed. What can match a summer this hot? Our Hot Summer Vegan Dinner! On Thursday, August 30, between 5 and 9 p.m., sit down to this 3-for-30 meal so cool that it’s really hot:

Ohio Summer Corn, Potato and Roasted Green Chili Chowder
Corn Muffin

Summer Ratatouille with Crispy Rooftop-Herbed Gardein

Roasted Summer Stone Fruit
Lemon-Olive Oil-Rosemary Cake

Sounds yummy? It will be! Call 216.481.9635 and get ready for fresh summer flavor vegan style!

“Que” up to the Bistro for Bar-B-Q Night!

It’s time for a barbecue party…but not in your backyard, or even your neighbors’. No need for a grill or charcoal…just make your reservations and bring your appetite to the Bistro between 5 and 9 p.m. on Thursday, August 23, for ‘cue and fixin’s like you won’t believe.

Served family style, our $50-per-couple Bar-B-Q Night will ensure you don’t go home hungry:

Smoked Bar-B-Q Brisket
1/2 Grilled Chicken with House Bar-B-Q Sauce
1/2 Slab Smoked St. Louis Ribs with House Bar-B-Q Sauce
Rooftop-Herbed Red-Skin Potato Salad
Cole Slaw
Our Famous Mac and Cheese
Jalapeno Corn Muffins

And we’ll top it all off with Strawberry Shortcake with Fresh Whipped Cream for dessert!

This summer, savor a barbecue feast without slaving over the grill. Call 216-481-9635 and get ready to dig into Bar-B-Q Bistro Style!

Celebrate Julia Child’s 100th birthday with us!

Wednesday, August 15, will be the 100th anniversary of Julia Child’s birthday. What a remarkable woman she was! She enjoyed an interesting career, married later in life than most women did in her era, moved with her husband when he took a new job in an unfamiliar place, and, feeling bored, found herself casting about for something to occupy her time there. She found it, in her love of great food and the fascinating culture that surrounded her. She taught Americans how to cook French…eliminating the scary, inhibiting aspects of a challenging cuisine through she sheer boldness of her personality, both in the pages of her cookbooks and, eventually, on our TVs. And not only did she help us find the courage of our convictions as she massaged chickens, flipped potato pancakes, and (sometimes) blowtorched cheese, she taught us all just how delicious it is to take a broader perspective on life. In the clip above, she displays her gift for culinary improvisation to David Letterman (who maybe isn’t as appreciative as he should be). Stove isn’t working? Make Beef Tartare Au Gratin!

We had a ball celebrating Julia’s unique contributions to American cuisine in the summer of 2009 with our “Julia Project,” and at 6:30 p.m. on August 15 we’re bringing back the spirit of Julia for one more special night. Our Julia Child’s 100th Birthday Wine Dinner won’t include Beef Tartare Au Gratin, but it will include these spectacular dishes from her repertoire:

First Course
Potage Parmentiere (Potato and Leek Soup)
Black Truffle Pearls
Wine: Villa Pozzi Pinot Grigio

Second Course
Menage Trois Le Canard (Duck 3-Way)
Wine: DuBoeuf Beaujolais-Villages

Third Course
Boeuf Bourguignon
Bacon Lardons
Pearl Onions
Shiitake Mushrooms
Wine: Hob Nob Cabernet

Fourth Course
Fruits de Mer en Croute
Sauce Homard
(Seafood with Lobster Sauce in Puff Pastry)
Wine: Josh Cellars Chardonnay

Fifth Course
Mousse au Chocolat
Wine: Cristalino Brut Rose Cava

The cost of our dinner will be $80 per person, plus tax and gratuity. To get you in the mood, here’s a real gem of a video in which Julia gets serious with beef in a dish we’ll be featuring. It’s the very first episode of The French Chef, in which she shows us how to make Boeuf Bourguignon. (Note she explains how to peel the pearl onions. Isn’t it nice that today you can buy them peeled in a bag from the supermarket freezer?) Enjoy…then call 216.481.9635 and make your reservations for an evening you won’t forget!

We’ve got an August full of great dinners planned for you!

Can you believe it–half of July is already over (and, you could say, half the summer…oh well!). But the plans we’ve got for celebrating this all-too-short season at the Bistro are far from over. Take a look at what we have in store for August:

JULIA CHILD CENTENNIAL: Wednesday, August 15, will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of culinary legend Julia Child. We’ll celebrate Julia’s 100th birthday with a dinner of five courses of Julia-inspired cuisine paired with five wines. If you loved our 2009 “Julia Project,” this is a feast you won’t want to miss! (But if you did miss it…this is your second chance!)

BBQ NIGHT: On Thursday, August 23, it’s time to experience the quintessential element of summer dining: a barbecue. Only you won’t need to flush your face over a smoking-hot grill or cram a neighborhoodful of guests into your backyard to enjoy this spread. Let us do all the work while you and your friends sit down to a menu featuring enough BBQ classics to fill a picnic table. This dinner was a huge hit last summer, so don’t wait too long to make your reservations–it’s likely to sell out fast!

VEGAN NIGHT: Thursday, August 30, will be our Vegan Dinner Night for the month of August. Watch this space for details on the theme and menu.

Mark your calendars now and make a note or set yourself a reminder alarm on the smartphone. Keep an eye out for details to arrive soon. You’ll want to call and save your spot for these!

Vegan Asian Delights Dinner rescheduled for July 31

Our June Vegan 3-for-$30 Dinner has been rescheduled! Join us Tuesday, July 31, from 5 to 9 p.m., for 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

Make your reservation today at 216.481.9635 and enjoy the best of Asian cuisine, vegan style!