We’re making “The List”!

Exciting news here at the Bistro: we’re going to be featured on an upcoming episode of “The List,” Scripps-Howard’s weeknightly TV news magazine that covers the biggest news trends by compiling lists of what people are talking about the most. Right now, a hot topic is “Thanksgivikkah” (some are spelling it “Thanksgivukkah”—take your pick!): the once-in-a-blue-moon confluence of Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah. Inspired by the chance to combine two holidays in one, people are doing everything from creating special “menurkeys” (menorahs shaped like turkeys) to sending special cards to planning menus combining the best traditions from both holidays…including suggestions from Ruth’s Thanksgivvikah menu. As a result, the folks at “The List” are stopping by to visit her in person and sample her suggestions.

No word on an air date yet, but you can see “The List” at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday on WEWS-TV Channel 5. “The List” also airs on WMAR-TV Channel 2 in Baltimore, WCPO-TV Channel 9 in Cincinnati, WPTV-TV Channel 5 in South Florida, WFTS-TV in Tampa (all at 7 p.m.), KNXV-TV Channel 15 in Phoenix (4:30 p.m.), and KJRH-TV Channel 2 in Tulsa, Oklahoma (6:30 p.m.), so if you have friends in those cities, let them know! We’ll tell you when we know which night Ruth’s feature will appear.

Are you ready for Thanksgivikkah?

This November is a rare November indeed—and if you love food, you’ve got to be excited about it. Why? Because this November, unlike most, features a rare event: Thanksgiving, November 28, coincides with the first day of Hanukkah! Yes, it’s the ultimate holiday mashup: Turkey Day as the kickoff of eight nights of fun and feasting.

And it’s not the kind of holiday we could possibly pass up…especially Ruth and her creative cuisine. When we first realized Thanksgiving and Hanukkah were arriving together, she immediately began thinking of the essential dishes for both holidays: the traditional must-haves. For Thanksgiving: roast stuffed turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. For Hanukkah: roast turkey and something for people who don’t like turkey, such as a classic beef brisket. And fried foods, especially the traditional latkes (potato pancakes) with applesauce and sour cream. And challah bread. And noodle kugel…

Ruth got to thinking about how her mother used to cook for the holidays, starting early in the morning, soup simmering on the stove and a roast in the oven. Turkey, because her kids were Americans and they wanted an American Thanksgiving. Yet there was still room for the old Jewish traditions: matzoh-ball soup and yeast doughnuts.

Before she knew it, Ruth had come up with an entire menu for a true family-style “Thanksgivikkah” combining the best of new-world American and old-world Jewish elements. Why not use challah bread in the turkey stuffing…glaze the brisket with cranberry sauce…make latkes with sweet potatoes as well as white potatoes…and put pumpkin in the kugel? Why not indeed?

Today, Ruth’s Thanksgivikkah feast is featured in the Plain Dealer. Go there to learn more about how she blended our family traditions into dishes you can make yourself for a truly memorable holiday banquet. Happy Thanksgivikkah! Mazel tov! 

A truly memorable feast

Recipe: Challah-Stuffed Turkey Breast

Recipe: Cranberry-Glazed Beef Brisket

Recipe: Apple-Cranberry Sauce

Recipe: Sweet-Potato Yukon Gold Latkes

Recipe: Apple-Pumpkin Strudel

Recipe: Pumpkin, Pineapple and Cranberry Noodle Kugel

Feast with us at our fourth annual Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner Nov. 27

Looking for something to be thankful for? You’ll find it Wednesday, November 27 at 6:30 p.m., when we host our fourth annual Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner. Sit down at our table and enjoy a four-course celebration that puts mouthwatering vegan cuisine front and center. Here’s what we have planned:

First Course
Chestnut Soup

Second Course
Baby Spinach Salad with Medjool Dates and Almonds

Third Course
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wild Mushrooms and Farro
Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Fourth Course
Pumpkin Tart with Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

Dinner will be served with spiced mulled apple cider and a glass of vegan-friendly wine sure to keep your spirits glowing!

Cost of our holiday banquet is $45 per person plus tax and gratuity. This is a popular event every year, so don’t delay; call 216.481.9635 and make your reservation now!

A wealth of news for your fall pleasure: Restaurant Week menu, Ruth’s latest recipes, Beer Dinner and Vegan Thanksgiving!

We’re bursting with news here at the Bistro in November…so bursting that some of it we’re not even ready to tell you the details about just yet! But let’s tackle our bulletins one at a time…

RUTH’S PUMPKIN RECIPES: Looking for a good recipe you can make at home to take the damp and chill out of your bones? Ruth has just the thing, and she cooked it up on the Fox 8 Recipe Box segment just this past week: Pumpkin Chili with Chicken and White Beans. Or if you’re in a Mexican-food mood, try a Pumpkin Chicken Cheese Quesadilla! Watch the video here, and get the recipes here:

Pumpkin Chili with Chicken and White Beans (serves 8)

4 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons good quality chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
32 ounces chicken broth
1 ½ lbs. ground chicken
1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled off the bones, or leftover chicken or turkey
2 cans diced tomatoes (do not drain)
2 15 oz. cans white navy beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Garnish:  sour cream, chopped scallions, shredded cheddar or jack cheese , tortilla chips, cilantro

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, garlic, red pepper, celery, and jalapeno pepper and sauté about 10 minutes until vegetables are tender. To the same pot add the ground chicken, chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, basil, bay leaf and cinnamon. Cook together until the ground chicken is pink. Add the chicken broth, diced tomato, pumpkin, beans, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the shredded rotisserie chicken. Cook for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the chili is slightly thickened. Garnish with any of the above suggestions.

Pumpkin Chicken Cheese Quesadilla

Mix ½ cup of pumpkin puree with 1 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce. Spread on 2 flour tortillas. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and ½ cup cooked chopped chicken. Top each with another tortilla. Heat 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil in pan. Add tortillas and cook until they are golden brown. Cut into wedges.

CLEVELAND RESTAURANT WEEK IS COMING!: Cleveland Independents Restaurant Week is once again TWO weeks: Monday, November 4, through Saturday, November 16. We invite you to join us (especially if you haven’t tried us yet) and enjoy one of our “3 for $33” (plus tax and gratuity) complete dinner options. Choose one each from these starters and entrees, and add our Dessert of the Day:

Soup of the Day
Field Green Salad
Tempura-Battered Calamari

Bistro Steak with Hollandaise and Mashers
3-Cheese Ravioli with Marinara or Alfredo Sauce
Panko-and-Almond-Crusted Cod with Corn Pudding
Mussels in a Spicy Marinara with Pasta
Chicken Marsala
Sesame-Crusted Tuna with Peanut Noodles
1/2 Slab St. Louis Ribs with Fries

Whatever you select, you’ll love it! Of course, our other starters and entrees will also be available a la carte at the prices listed on the menu.

BEVY OF BAVARIAN BEERS: Beer lovers and fine-dining aficionados will want to join us for our Ayinger Beer Dinner Wednesday, November 20, at 6:30 p.m. This $45-per-person event will highlight five courses specially paired with beers from this traditional Bavarian brewery. Watch for a menu coming soon!

VEGAN THANKSGIVING: You loved it so much it’s become a tradition: our meatless, completely animal-free Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner. This year’s feast will be Wednesday, November 27 at 6:30 p.m. (the night before Thanksgiving). We’re still working on the menu for this one, but you can be assured it’s going to be another amazing meal! Check back soon. Cost will be $45 plus tax and gratuity.

AND THERE’S MORE NEWS TO COME…We’re announcing something brand-new to our schedule this month that we think you’re going to like very much. What is it? Watch this space and find out!

Vegan Thanksgiving serving up a bounty of delicious dishes

Whether you’re a dedicated vegan, trying it out to see how you like it, or just a lover of fine dining, the Bistro’s Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner offers something special for you. This year, we’re serving it up as a 3-for-$30 feast as part of our Vegan Dinner Series, Wednesday, November 21 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Enjoy this menu even a turkey could love:

First Course
Baby Spinach, Pomegranate, and Orange Salad with Orange-Mustard Vinaigrette

Second Course
Quinoa, Sun-Dried Cranberry,  Celery and Onion, and Mushroom-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Dessert Course
Pumpkin Flan

Call 216.481.9635 now to reserve your cornucopia of autumn delights vegan-style!

You’ll fall for our special October and November dinner events!

September’s almost over already (can you believe it?), but the fall fun at the Bistro is just getting started. Whatever flavors you savor, you’ll find a special dinner event — and maybe more than one — to your liking:

FALL VEGAN DINNER: As the weather gets a cold snap in it, our monthly 3-for-$30 Vegan Dinner offering warms up. On Monday, October 29, from 5 to 8:30 p.m., we’ll serve up these cozy dishes:

Celery Root-Parsnip-Potato Soup

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

Apple Strudel with Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

WITCH’S BREW DINNER: Celebrate Halloween Wednesday, October 31, by enjoying a spooky-but-savory feast with no tricks — just treats. Our Witch’s Brew Dinner at 6:30 p.m. pairs five courses of hauntingly delicious cuisine with an assortment of intoxicating potions:

First Course
Deep Down Underground Root Cellar Soup
(Celery Root-Parsnip-Potato Soup with Creme Fraiche)
Potion: Monks’ Blood Ale

Second Course
Vampire Tenderloin “Stake” with Garlic Butter
Potion: Freak Show Cabernet

Third Course
Baby Spinach, Avocado, and Pumpkin-Seed Salad
Potion: Witches’ Cackle Cocktail

Fourth Course
Black-and-Orange Shrimp Pasta (Orecchiette Pasta with Nicoise Olives, Caramelized Garlic, and Roasted Butternut Squash)
Potion: Bobbing for Eyeballs Cocktail

Fifth Course
Pumpkin Whoopie Pie
Potion: Warm Mulled Mead

This wickedly tempting feast costs $55 per person plus tax and gratuity.

ENCORE CLAMBAKE: If you missed our September Clambake — or you made it and are hungry for more — we have great news. We’re bringing the Clambake back Thursday, November 8. Once again, between 5 and 9 p.m., for $58.50 per person, you’ll get New England clam chowder, a 1-lb. whole lobster, one-quarter of a barbecued chicken, 1 dozen clams, corn on the cob, a roasted sweet potato, coleslaw, and cornbread. Extra clams are $12 per dozen; order when you make your reservation to be sure to get your share.

VEGAN THANKSGIVING DINNER: Vegan Thanksgiving feasts a week before the calendar date have become an annual tradition at the Bistro, and this one is no exception. Watch this blog for more details on the menu for this year’s event, Wednesday, November 21.

NOVEMBER WINE DINNER: Our wine dinner for November will be Thursday, November 29. Mark your calendar now and watch this blog for theme and menu details.

“NOVEMBERFEST”: Ein prosit! We’re going to make sure nobody misses the fun of Oktoberfest this year by having our own three-course  “Novemberfest” of classic German cuisine paired with hearty beers. Dishes will include local sausages, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, and apple strudel. Again, watch this space for more details.

To make reservations for any of these upcoming events, call 216.481.9635 and get ready to enjoy an autumn harvest of incredible dining experiences!

Vegan Thanksgiving sets a delicious holiday mood

The Tenant returns…the non-vegan Tenant who nonetheless has been enjoying the Bistro’s Vegan Dinner Series very much, and enjoying the special Thanksgiving vegan dinners doubly so…and this latest one was no exception!

We began our feast with a mug of a hot spiced rum drink, which to my mind was just what the doctor ordered on such a cold, rainy, miserable day. It may have been nasty outside, but spirits inside the Bistro were as warm as that drink, and they stayed that way, because our first course was another seasonal spirit warmer: Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples and Chive Oil. The soup arrived thick and hearty, full of flavor, with a small sprinkling of apple chunks and just the slightest drizzle of bright-green chive oil. It was just as delicious as last year’s chestnut soup and seemed to be a big hit with everyone.

The second course, Roasted Pear and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette, was a fascinating contrast in tastes, textures and temperatures. The centerpiece of each salad was a warm pear roasted to potato-like tenderness, sitting on the bed of mixed greens. Not only pumpkin seeds but a healthy scattering of pomegranate seeds added to the sweet-tart nature of this dish, along with the delightful vinaigrette. I’ve never had a salad quite like this one, and it was just marvelous.

Our entree was a really imaginative work that provided plenty of protein as well as savory classic fall flavor. We each received a phyllo-dough Beggars’ Purse tied with green onion–a huge, plate-sized sack–with an interior stuffed with a mixture of onion, lentils, quinoa, wild mushrooms (I believe Ruth said they were chanterelles and shiitakes), and sun-dried cranberries. This was kind of like the most fortified stuffing you could ever eat, only it was stuffing phyllo purses rather than the traditional bird. Each purse was drizzled in the rich Roasted Curried Butternut Squash Sauce and surrounded by the Roasted Brussels Sprouts and French Chestnuts. Altogether, this made for a rich and satisfying dish indeed. Both the Brussels sprouts and chestnuts had been roasted to caramelization and could not have been more delicious. Truly, if you don’t like Brussels sprouts, you owe it to yourself to try them cooked this way–they’re not even the same vegetable! As for the chestnuts, they were sheer heaven. I learned some years ago, from a man who both had a real fireplace in his house and used it, that chestnuts roasting on an open fire are not just some nostalgic cliche from a Christmas tune: they are unbelievably yummy. So were these. For this course, we were all poured a very nice Pinot Noir to add to our enjoyment.

Finally came the dessert that just couldn’t miss being amazing: the Pecan Pie with Spiced Vegan Whipped Creme. Surrounded by a scattering of fresh raspberries, it was every bit as tasty as anticipated. And all of it done without a single animal product. Once again, hats off to the Bistro for creating a true vegan pleaser! It certainly looked as if everyone else was enjoying it just as much as I did.

If you couldn’t make it to this one, you can enjoy it secondhand through the video. Then make sure you sign up for the next Bistro vegan dinner. You won’t be sorry!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Bistro will be closed tomorrow, so we wish all of you the happiest and safest of Thanksgivings. We will be back open on Friday, but if you miss us in the meantime, you’re welcome to try your hand whipping up our recipe for Chestnut Soup for your own Thanksgiving table — vegan style or otherwise! Find the recipe in this terrific article by Janet Podolak in Lake County’s News-Herald, which also provides other recipes for lighter Thanksgiving dishes that make terrific leftovers.

DON’T FORGET, WE’RE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!: Keep up with us on Facebook, and on on Twitter at @Bistro185, to find out what’s new and what we’re cooking up for you — and feel free to offer us ideas, suggestions, compliments, or just a friendly hello!

Wine pairings for our Vegan Thanksgiving dinner are ready!

Take a look at our organic wine pairings for our November 17 Vegan Thanksgiving Wine Dinner here. And, if you haven’t yet, call 216.481.9635 and make your reservations for this delightful repast!

In the meantime, keep in mind that with the holidays on the way, it’s not too soon to make plans for your own entertainment festivities. If you’re planning a special lunch or dinner out for your work group, Bistro 185 will be happy to have you. Call 216.481.9635 to make sure you reserve your date now. Or, if you’re planning a catered event or party, Ruth will be happy to talk to you about what she can do for you. Take a look at the Ruth Levine Events Web site, let it inspire, and call 216.404.0500 to get Ruth started on plans for your feast!