Whet your appetite with pics while we get Vegan Thanksgiving ready for you!

Feeling a little hungry about now? If you made reservations for our Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner tonight, we’ve got some coming attraction shots to get you in the mood!

Our Celery Root Soup has been simmering on the stove:

The pears for the salad have been roasted…

…and the pumpkin seeds are waiting to be toasted while the cranberry vinaigrette stands by…

The Beggar’s Purses with Sweet Onion, Lentil, Quinoa, Wild Mushrooms and Sundried Cranberries are filled, tied up and ready to be baked.

Here are some of the wild mushrooms that went into stuffing them:

The Roasted Curried Butternut Squash Sauce is all ready to top them once they’re done…

The Brussels sprouts that will accompany them are here fresh, green and waiting for roasting…

…and the French chestnuts that will dress them are not far away…

Last but far from least, the pecan pie is also prepared…

So, there you have it: a glimpse of what awaits you tonight at our vegan Thanksgiving table. Hope these images will get you through the rest of your day and warm your spirits on a cold, rainy November afternoon. See you tonight for spiced wine cocktails and great feasting!

Advertisements

The menu for our Second Annual Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner is ready!

Our vegan pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Dinner was such a hit last year that we’re doing it again this year on Tuesday, November 22. This four-course dinner, at $45 per person plus tax and gratuity, will once again prove that a vegan Thanksgiving feast doesn’t have to mean sliced Tofurky and a pile of blah vegetables. (Wait ’til you see what we do with Brussels sprouts! Your school cafeteria never cooked them like this!)

First Course
Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples
Chive Oil

Second Course
Roasted Pear and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salad
Cranberry Vinaigrette

Entrée Course
Beggar’s Purses filled with Sweet Onion, Lentil, Quinoa, Wild Mushrooms, and Sun-Dried Cranberries
Roasted Curried Butternut Squash Sauce
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and French Chestnuts

Dessert Course
Pecan Pie
Spiced Vegan Whipped Creme

Our dinner will be served with a Spiced Wine Cocktail sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Gather your vegan friends (and maybe even the vegan skeptics!), call 216.481.9635 and make plans to join us around the table (one sitting only, 6:30 p.m.) for a repast that just may give you some inspiration for your own vegan Thanksgiving table at home.

Here’s the menu for our UniBroue Beer Dinner!

It’ll be beer and dining French-Canadian style at the Bistro’s UniBroue Dinner, featuring artisanal beers from Quebec, Canada, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, December 15:

First Course
Montreal-Style Poutine (Duck Fat Fries, Fresh Cheese Curds and Gravy)
Beer: La Fin du Monde

Second Course
Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Pecans
Beer: Maudite

Third Course
French White Salad
Beer: Blanche de Chambly

Fourth Course
Deconstructed Cassoulet
Duck Confit with White Beans and Sausage
Beer: Trois Pistoles

Fifth Course
Chocolate Crème Brulee
Beer: La Terrible

That last one, by the way, means the name of the beer is “La Terrible”–not that the beer itself is terrible! (Except maybe in the original sense–kind of an equivalent for “awesome”!)

Cost of this dinner is $50 per person plus tax and gratuity. Take advantage of this chance to try some incredible imports from our neighbors to the north, along with their cuisine–call 216.481.9635 and reserve your spot!

A preview of rooftop garden delights

A while back, we mentioned that the Bistro is putting in its rooftop garden so we’re ready to start producing the freshest possible tomatoes and veggies for your lunches and dinners. To really whet your appetites –and maybe even give you some ideas for your home garden — we thought we’d let you know which varieties we’re planting this year. We’ve got plenty of tomatoes of all varieties, but also some veggies we think you’ll find quite tasty when they come straight from our rooftop to your plate.

First, because we always put in so many and they’re so appreciated in this part of the country, let’s talk tomatoes. Here’s what we’ve planted…

Patio: These are dwarf tomatoes that, as you might guess by the name, are ideal for cultivating in patio gardens. They produce relatively large fruit and a good yield. For those who love the taste of a fresh homegrown tomato, they’re one of the most popular container plants.

Early Girl: Home gardeners who’ve been waiting all winter for a fresh tomato love the Early Girl hybrid, because it usually produces fruit within 50 to 62 days of replanting. Given how brief a window we often have in this region for growing tomatoes, we want them as quickly as we can get them! Once it gets started, the Early Girl produces lots of fruit all summer long.

Celebrity: Celebrity tomato plants produce good salad tomatoes: round and firm, with a juicy taste balanced between sweetness and acidity.

Better Boy: Better Boys are another favorite home gardener’s choice because they’re reliable, flavorful, disease resistant and prolific. When you need plenty of tasty tomatoes for your summer, Better Boys are a best bet.

Bush Goliath: It may produce Goliath-sized tomatoes, but this one is more of a David-sized plant. It’s a compact tomato that produces fruit larger than you’d expect from a patio-sized variety. This is another good choice for gardeners who want a reliable tomato source all summer long.

Big Beef: This is another disease-resistant reliable fruit producer that grows sizable, tasty tomatoes throughout the summer. Puts those pink ones you find in the supermarket to shame!

Golden Honey Bunch: Sure, it sounds more like a name for a cereal than a tomato, but don’t be deceived. These babies take only 65 days to grow and produce loads of golden-orange grape tomatoes in large clusters that really do look something like bunches of grapes! Not only that, but they’re delightfully sweet.

Rutgers: Rutgers tomatoes, the descendants of a line originally developed in 1934, were once a hugely popular tomato for commercial processing. Home gardeners still love them today for their flavor, color, smooth skin, fleshy fruit and vigor. A great sauce tomato.

Japanese Black Trifele: The name may say “Japanese,” but actually this variety of tomato has Russian origins, and it may say “black,” but the fruit of these tomatoes is more mahogany-colored and somewhat pear-shaped. It has a rich, complex flavor and is another reliable all-summer producer. It looks and tastes beautiful in a salad! Try one and you’ll see why Russians are willing to pay high prices for Trifele tomatoes.

Cuore di Bue: The Cuore di Bue is a classic old Italian tomato type, with a heart shape, a slightly pinkish look and a creamy texture — perfect for our caprese salads. Taste one in combination with a fresh bite of mozzarella. Bellissimo!

Stupice: An heirloom tomato from the former Czechoslovakia (the name is pronounced stoo-PEECH-kuh), the Stupice is another early and fruitful producer that makes an ideal salad tomato.

Koralik/Legend: As you might guess, this one is a result of two tomato varieties being grafted together — the Russian cherry-tomato heirloom Koralik and the early, sweet, full-size Legend tomato. It produces early, delicious, compact cherry tomatoes, and is another fine choice for the grower with limited garden space.

Chianti Rose: No, it’s not a type of wine — although one bite may go to your head. The Chianti Rose is a rosy beefsteak, a throwback to the days when it seemed all tomatoes really tasted like tomatoes. Sweet and tangy, it’s also highly productive and disease resistant.

Sweet 100: This hybrid cherry tomato grows tall and produces big, so make sure your cages are ready — they can grow to be more than 7 feet! Forget “100” — these can produce as many as 200 tomatoes per plant. Should keep us well in stock at the Bistro!

Bonnie Grape: This is another tall-growing hybrid, only the fruit it produces is grape-style rather than cherry. It supplies loads of firm, sweet grape tomatoes from vines that can grow to 8 or 9 feet. No worries about running out of salad tomatoes or components of a fine ratatouille with these around.

Of course, tomatoes aren’t the whole story in our rooftop garden. We regularly grow a collection of herbs to harvest fresh whenever we need them (the chives are already going crazy and the mint is back, too — look for them to be accompanied by more herbs as the spring goes on). Our eggplant went crazy last summer, so we’ve put in a set of Ichiban Egg (Japanese eggplant) for this season, as well as something new — Brussels sprouts. And more peppers than ever! Get ready to enjoy not just fresh red bell peppers, but also New Mexico Big Jim chile peppers (said to produce the world’s largest chiles), mammoth jalapenos and sweet banana peppers. These peppers are big enough to stuff: perfect for chiles rellenos and jalapeno poppers, not to mention accenting a sauce or sandwich. So look out…things will be getting a little hot at the Bistro for Summer 2011!

Make plans now to spend some beautiful spring and lazy summer days with us, when our rooftop is in full production and you can enjoy the most local of local produce. We look forward to seeing you!


Behind the Dish: Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Sausage

Here’s a secret: we’re swapping out the main element in a James Beard recipe tonight to bring you Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Sausage. Because, truth be told, his original recipe calls for veal shanks. However, we feel that the flavor will be even richer using lamb shanks — truly exceptional — so we’re subbing them for the veal.

The dish calls for braising the shanks in tomatoes and white wine, parsley and basil, then adding partially cooked sausages (we’re using Italian sausages) during the final cooking time, until they’re cooked all the way through. We’re serving our shanks, tomatoes and sausage with an assortment of fall root vegetables including parsnips, turnips, carrots, rutabagas, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and purple potatoes — and a little fennel and rosemary. Now that’s hearty — and the flavor is exquisite!

Warning to those who can’t resist dessert: we still have Cream Puffs with Chocolate Sauce available, and now you can choose them filled not only with ice cream, but with pastry cream. Either way, you will be amazed.

Behind the Dish: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Pork Chop

Stuffed Pork Chop Wrapped in Bacon

Time for another “Behind the Dish” feature, this time spotlighting one of our fall menu specials. (Look for more such features in the days to come!)

Our fall pork chop dish is stuffed with aged provolone cheese, apple slices, and proscuitto. The boneless chop is seasoned and wrapped in thick-cut bacon and then cooked using the sous vide method — that is, it’s vacuum-sealed in plastic and heated for an extended period of time at relatively low temperatures. This helps it keep its original appearance, prevents it from losing excess amounts of fat (which would detract from the flavor) and provides it with a great texture.

Once the chop is thoroughly cooked, we crisp the bacon to make it flavorful and crunchy. Then we top it with a reduction of ginger syrup, maple syrup, apple schnapps and butter. That sauce also flavors the vegetable accompaniment of Brussels sprouts, pecans, a small dice of zucchini and yellow squash. (If you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, just try them with this sauce. You will never think of them the same way again!)

Add a bed of mashed sweet potatoes, and you have one fantastic dish to warm up a cold fall night. Stop in tonight and taste for yourself!

Present and future specials: tonight, this weekend, this fall

We have some truly exciting things in mind for the coming weeks! Here’s a preview.

First, tonight’s specials will be basically the same as last night’s. For those wondering what the Soup of the Day is, it’s Chicken Vegetable Tortilla.

Now, for we upcoming weekends, starting tomorrow night, we have some real goodies planned, so make your reservations now if your mouth starts watering!

First, we’re going to feature amongst our specials this weekend a 14-oz. Veal Osso Bucco Cooked with Pureed Fall Root Vegetables, served on a bed of pappardelle pasta.

Then, starting this Friday and Saturday and continuing each weekend through the first two weeks of November, we’re going to offer a Bistro 185 Individual Clambake. It’s just like any other clambake, only each one is personal-sized: big enough for just you! Each person who orders a Personal Clambake will receive his or her own potful of goodies cooked in clam broth, including a “maris section” crab leg (the portion between the knuckle and the claw), a South African lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops, chicken thighs, redskin potatoes, and corn on the cob. Your clambake will be served with cornbread and melted butter so you can enjoy it to the fullest!

But that’s not all we’re working on that’s new and special. This Monday, October 12, the Bistro introduces its new Fall Menu, featuring some specials we think you’re really going to love. Here are some of the items we have planned:

House-Smoked Chicken with Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese: Replacing our Limoncello Chicken summer special, this treat will star our own smoked chicken with a combination of Gruyère, Brie, Emmenthaler and Parmesan cheeses on medium shell pasta, with black truffle, finished with a bit of white truffle oil. We like to call it “Ultimate Mac & Cheese.” We think you will, too.

Duck Three-Way: We’ve served duck the same way here at the Bistro since we opened. Time to change things up! That’s what we’ll be doing with this new dish: a duck ragout with a confit, served with a quarter roasted duck and sliced smoked duck breast. This creation will most likely be presented on a bed of pappardelle pasta.

Gumbo of the Week: We will feature a new and different gumbo each week. Next week’s will combine shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage.

Seafood Stews: We’ll be rotating a variety of seafood stews through our specials, influenced by different regions and countries, such as Thailand and Italy.

Cassoulets: Look for a rotating variety of cassoulets, including classic French and seafood.

Risottos: We’ll also rotate a variety of risottos highlighting various ingredients.

Julia Project Classics: We’ll rotate some of the most popular dishes we served during the Julia Project back through our fall menu.

A few items that are already on our specials, and have earned a permanent place throughout our fall menu, are our two most popular Julia Project dishes of all: the Lamb Shank with Baby Fall Vegetables and the Pork Tenderloin with Port and Prunes. We will also continue to offer our Calves’ Liver entree, which recently won Scene Magazine’s Best in Cleveland award for Best Liver That’s Not Foie Gras.

In the future, also look for another very special dish: Cornish Hen Wrapped in Bacon with a Ginger-Maple Glaze, Acorn Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, Roasted Shallots and Roasted Garlic.

To learn more about our fall menu, and to keep up with the nightly specials, keep checking this space. You won’t want to miss anything!