Night at the Oscars: Oo là là!

Tonight’s French dishes should definitely make you feel like An American in Paris. The Fennel Salad is sautéed sweetly with a touch of shallots (not in the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, but Chef Todd added them) in orange juice and olive oil to the point of perfect tenderness and nestled in a bed of mixed greens. Fennel also comes into play in our Tenderloin of Pork with Green Peppercorns, helping to flavor a slightly spicy, slightly sweet sauce that uses a mix of whole-grain and Dijon mustards. The sauce is perfect for being soaked up by the baby redskin potatoes. Dessert? The Pain Perdu is like slices of bread pudding, rich with toasted almonds and Grand Marnier and slivered strawberries. C’est magnifique indeed! If you missed it Monday, join us Tuesday!

Bistro 185 Salutes the Academy Awards!

Things never stay the same for long here at the Bistro, and we’re bringing something new to our offerings for the month of February as we look forward to the 82nd Academy Awards. This year, Bistro 185 is presenting its own salute to legendary Academy Award winners. Each week leading up to “Oscar Night” — March 7 — we’ll salute three past Academy Award winners for Best Picture with special entrees, starters and desserts.

As you might guess from the trailer above, we’re kicking off our Salute to Hollywood’s Best Pictures tonight and tomorrow night with a tribute to the Best Picture winner for 1951, An American in Paris. If you can’t dance like Gene Kelly or Leslie Caron, how can we make you feel like an American in Paris right here in Cleveland? By offering you a selection of dishes from Barefoot in Paris, the French cookbook by the Food Network’s own Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. On our salad menu: Fennel Salad (p. 99). Our featured entree: Loin of Pork with Green Peppercorns (p. 118), which we’ll prepare as a tenderloin of pork with green peppercorns, served with redskin potatoes. Finally, the perfect dessert to finish it off: Pain Perdu (p. 209), a souped-up French toast with strawberries, almonds and Grand Marnier. All of it together should make you feel like dancing!

But this is just the beginning. Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll salute yet another Academy Award Best Picture with a new set of themed dishes, and Friday and Saturday a third. The fun continues each week until the Best Picture winner for 2009 is chosen in March.

To which films will we pay tribute? What kinds of special dishes will be in the offing as the weeks go on? You’ll just have to keep following the blog and see! (One hint: we’ll be including this year’s Best Picture nominees, which will be ten this time around, rather than the usual five. To find out which movies are selected, be alert for the live announcement tomorrow morning — yes, Groundhog Day — at 8:38 a.m.!)