So, I got an email this week, reminding me that my blog’s domain was about to expire and I needed to renew. I was confused for a moment – I have a blog?

If I had a nickel for every post I wrote that starts with “I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted….” I would probably be a semi-wealthy woman. Well, I’d have twenty bucks at least. My point: I go on hiatus a lot. It happens. No apologies this time, just a new post to amuse and delight you.

Ohio is still the same: cold, snowy, not all that exciting. I had a great summer working on a fundraiser event with some of the folks from the Cleveland Indians – lots of visits to Progressive Field and the Indians Executive Offices meeting and greeting. I never did meet any players or managers, but I have a feeling that’s going to change when I head out to Goodyear AZ for Indians Spring Training next March! I hope to bring home autographed baseballs from Mike Aviles (he and I share a hometown – Middletown, NY), Michael Brantley (Dr. Smoooooooooth), and Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber (#CyKluber). I am headed out there to organize some fundraising events for my company, which runs a camp for autistic children there. My job is a good job and it makes me happy, for lots of reasons.

Here’s a smattering of a few things going on in my world lately, made or experienced by me:

Flemish Carbonnade. I was watching an episode of “Diners Drive-Ins and Dives” (shut up) and my buddy Guy Fieri was visiting Cincinnati, specifically the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. One of the places he visited was “A Taste of Belgium”, which, as you might surmise, is a Belgian restaurant. Anyway, the chef prepared a traditional Flemish carbonnade – a beef stew made with Belgian ale and spices. Looked great, so I looked up a recipe on Saveur, and made it myself. It was quite good, what with all the warm spices, fresh herbs, and the flavor from the ale. I used Saison 1858, a farmhouse-style ale brewed by Brasserie Du Bocq. I am completely ignorant about Belgian beers, so I bought what I found at my store, not knowing what to look for. Saison 1858 might have been a little too hoppy, because the stew had a bitterness to it that I couldn’t really correct. I would definitely make it again, but I am hoping to get some suggestions on a less-hoppy Belgian-style ale to use. Help?

Carbonnade Collage

Vegetable Samosas. I’m always on the lookout for good vegetarian recipes, and recipes that can be portioned and frozen. This recipe from Cooking Light fit both categories. I made a bunch, along with fresh cilantro-mint chutney (also freezes well), and threw them in the freezer. It’s been nice having a quick Indian snack or dinner at the ready – I just pulled out how many I want, pop them in the oven for a few minutes, and acaraja! Almost as good as takeout.

Samosa Collage



Price Chopper Rebrands; Changes Name to “Olive Garden”. Well, that’s what it seems like. My opinion on the whole debacle is simple: ridiculous. I don’t have anything against a re-brand, but they chose the lamest name and their logo looks to me like it came from Olive Garden’s reject pile. And all these “conversations” PC execs are having with the public, taking questions and answering them with scripted canned responses? Methinks Jerry Golub doth protest too much. Ain’t nobody gonna call Price Chopper anything but Price Chopper, ever. It was easier for Hannaford, I think, when they rebranded/renamed, because they hadn’t been in the ALB market all that long at the time, and people hadn’t had the Shop n Save name burned into their brain by endless Can-Can Sale television ads that haven’t been updated in 15 years. Eh, I could go on, but I won’t. I’ll let you enjoy some commentary from one of my favorite #518 Tweeters:

Also, if one more person mentions Wegman’s, I will cut a bitch.

Why the hell have I not been out reviewing local restaurants? Because Bob & actually don’t go out to dinner all that much, and when we do we mostly go to our small local pubs for burgers and the like. Nothing exciting. Though – we do really enjoy the grub at Doogan’s, an Irish-type bar/restaurant. Good burgers, excellent Reuben sandwiches, and a decent beer selection. I’ve found a couple really nice brews there: Ithaca Flower Power and Rogue Farms Pumpkin Patch Ale. Good stuff. Last time we went there, we brought Bob’s dad and stepmom, and Bob’s dad ordered a Reuben sandwich served on two potato pancakes instead of bread. It was weird. Also: the servers wear t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase, “HOW YOU DOOGAN?”

Ohio, y’all.

We also like the food at Panini’s, a local chain that does burgers, etc. as well as what they call “Overstuffed Sandwiches”. Good lord those things are too big for a normal human to eat. We’ve never ordered one of those. What we do like to order is their burgers – and it was through them that we discovered Cleveland’s own Orlando Baking Company and their delightful pretzel buns. So good.

And yes, since you asked, the pizza out here is still very disappointing.

I’ve actually enjoyed a bit of the local culture. We’ve visited the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (meh), the Great Lakes Science Center (come visit – we bought a membership), a few Indians games (bought Bob club seats for his birthday and it was awesome), the Greater Cleveland Aquarium (sorta lame), the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton (zzzzzzzzzzz), the McKinley National Memorial (also in Canton, kinda cool, designed to resemble the National Mall), the Western Reserve Historical Society (they have an incredible antique car and aircraft exhibit – even met a museum docent who is a train enthusiast and we talked at length about ALCO and Schenectady), and Cleveland’s Little Italy (great food, and a GREAT Italian bakery – Corbo’s. Need to go back). So, I’ve been around a bit. Even visited Cincinnati (aka “Porkopolis”) for a couple days. Still TONS to see. Top of my list these days: A Christmas Story House, Playhouse Square, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Orchestra.

I better get busy.