Bistro Brunch warms your heart, even in this cold!

OK, so it’s The Tenant coming to you today, and getting to the Bistro for Sunday brunch is not that tough for me in any weather — all I have to do is walk downstairs. But you can believe me when I tell you that a Bistro 185 brunch is worth traveling a bit for! I ordered the blintzes with a side of Marc’s house-made sausage, and it looked so good I forgot to take a photo before digging in! Was as delicious as it looked, too!

Not convincing enough? You need a second opinion? How about Laura Taxel’s? You need some good pictures? How about Barney Taxel’s? You can find both here. And yes, amongst other dishes, they had the cheese blintzes, and after trying them myself, I have to agree with their assessment. Light, airy, and full of fluffy cheese goodness, delicately kissed with powdered sugar, served with sour cream and local Abby’s Orchard preserves, they are a delight. The pork sausage was the perfect side, with its slightly hot spiciness providing a zippy contrast to the gentle slight sweetness of the blintzes.

All right. If that’s not a convincer to get out and brave the snow and cold, I don’t know what is. Drive carefully!

(If you really can’t make it today, I would still highly recommend you put the Bistro on your list of Sunday brunches to try. Whatever the weather, it’s amazing. And you might just get to say hi to me — I’m working my way through the menu. Next week, Gravlax and Eggs!)

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Sweets for your sweetie: our fourth annual Chocolate and Wine Valentine’s Dinner

Love is a wonderful thing…whether it’s for another person, or for chocolate. If the one you love also loves chocolate — and even more so if you both have a passion for it — you may already know that for the past three years, the Bistro has been celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special wine dinner in which each course incorporates some form of chocolate. If you do know, you’ll want to make plans now to join us for our Fourth Annual Chocolate and Wine Valentine Dinner Thursday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m. And if you don’t, well…now you do!

Wouldn’t treating your loved one to a complete dinner full of chocolate delights beat a box of candy any day? If just the idea isn’t intriguing enough, here’s the menu:

First Course
Hazelnut- and Panko-Crusted Middle Eastern Baby Lamb Lollipop Chop
Arugula-Cherry Tomato
White Chocolate Vinaigrette

Second Course
Seared Scallop
Tangerine-Chocolate-Balsamic Drizzle

Third Course
Risotto Cake
Cocoa-Cayenne-Dusted Shrimp

Fourth Course
Sous Vide Duck Breast
Chocolate-Cherry Cordial Sauce

Fifth Course
Chocolate and Banana Ravioli
White Chocolate Shavings
Crème Anglaise

If you haven’t yet joined us for one of our chocolate dinners, you may be thinking “Chocolate in every course? Wouldn’t that be an awful lot of sweetness?” Surprisingly, no. Without the addition of sugar, chocolate and cocoa (both brown and white) act more as flavoring or spices than as sweeteners. Our chocolate-flavored entrees (other than dessert) are more savory than sweet —and they’re a revelation in flavor.

Watch this space for wine pairings to come. You’ll fall in love with them, too!

Cost of this candy crush of an evening is $60 per person, plus tax and gratuity, by prepaid reservation. Don’t think too long about whether to call 216.481.9635 and make one…just go with your heart. Then go, with your heart’s desire.

Listen to Ruth’s family cooking memories

Our upcoming Retro Dinner this Wednesday, Jan. 22, will be a fun nostalgia trip — and so are fond childhood memories of great home cooking. For Ruth, that’s more than just retro chic. For her, cuisine “the way it used to be” means recipes based on her family’s Jewish tradition, learned at her mother’s side in the 1950s and still heartwarming and delicious today.

Ruth was only 3 when her family fled Poland to escape the Nazis and settled in the Kinsman neighborhood, at that time a magnet for European Jewish families emigrating to Cleveland. She grew up surrounded by those families and the variety of national cuisines they brought with them, a source of great comfort for people so abruptly uprooted from their homelands and everything they had known and loved. Ruth first learned how to cook from watching her mother and aunts make the Polish classics, like krupnik, a barley soup with meat and vegetables, and kreplach, the “Jewish dim sum.” Her memories of those earliest culinary experiences, and the love and care that infused each dish, still influence everything she makes.

Ruth recently shared those memories with Vivian Goodman for her “Quick Bites” show on WKSU-FM Radio. If you missed hearing her then, you can listen to and read her story here. The website also features video of Ruth making kreplach. Enjoy!