Hell Yes, Cleveland!

•7 April 2010 • Leave a Comment


Food & Wine Best New Chef 2010 Jonathon Sawyer!

Every year Food & Wine magazine picks 10 chefs their judges believe to be the Best New Chef. Some of the previous winners have been Nate Appleman, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Tom Colicchio. Yesterday, Tuesday, they announced this years winners.

Well, one of those best new chefs is Chef Jonathon Sawyer of The Greenhouse Tavern in CLEVELAND. Cleveland Rocks (but I don’t want to live there), Cleveland Rocks, Cleveland Rocks, Clee-e-vela-a-nd R-o-cks! the place is right next door to (Iron) Chef Michael’s Symon’s Lola. I have yet to eat at his place, but he’s a great guy. I’ve watched him as mike Symon’s souse-chef on Iron Chef America, I watched the construction of The Greenhouse Tavern regularly, from afar, through both his website and his wife’s blog, Chef’s Widow, as well printed articles. And his restaurant is an eco-friendly, green restaurant using organic, local ingredients. The building is as innovative as his food. Cleveland is definitely a city to chow down on some great food. You laugh! The laughs on you if you’ve never been.

Go to his site, read the menu, let me know when you’re going 🙂


How to critique

•2 March 2010 • Leave a Comment


I haven’t posted about design for awhile but recently I ran across an article that I thought was worth sharing, Web Design Criticism: A How-to.

In creative fields reviews and critiques are an everyday part of the creative process. Your design is pulled apart, judged, opined upon, and sometimes outright trashed. Seem unfair? Well, this isn’t fine art and you just can’t do whatever you want and hand it to the client. Critiques, you have to remember, are not personal attacks on the designer. They are attacks on the design. Critiques, especially constructive critiques, push thinking and solutions in directions that may not have been considered. The goal is to find the flaws, best communicate the message, and make the client happy.

Bad critiques, however, are almost as bad as not having a review at all. Problems are not solved, direction isn’t focused and all you get is a frustrated designer shooting in the dark at an imaginary target. Most importantly, bad critiques offer absolutely nothing towards selling your design to clients.

So what is a good critique? Well, one that offers insight and solutions. As the author of the article succinctly states, “I’ve come to define a good critique as one that takes a gut reaction, applies context and understanding to it, and then communicates that in a constructive, conversational way.”

I can say that people I work with mostly offer very good critiques (mostly, but not always). When rules for good criticism are followed the process is a great learning experience. Yes, they can be brutal, but an objective opinion will push you farther in your discipline.

The article focuses on web design, but I think it can apply to any kind of review process. Give the article a read and pass it on. Maybe it will make your critiques run smoothly in the future.

New kids on the block

•22 February 2010 • Leave a Comment


Move on over Food Network, there’s a new kid in town. On May 31, 2010 the Fine Lining Network will become the Cooking Channel. In a New York Times article published over the weekend, they say that this new channel will also include shows by regular Food Network celebs. Hopefully that won’t include Robert Irvine, Paula Deen and Sandra Lee.

While it’s the same parent company, Scripps, it seems that a lot of viewers of the Food Network aren’t liking the over-abundance of travel and competition shows… I’m one of them. C’mon, show us how to cook. Show us what real ingredients are, how to improvise, and why to cook. Show us what to do with those leftovers in the fridge.

Maybe that’s just me, but I don’t think so. People love Alton Brown. Why? He explains how ingredients work. Once you know that you can apply that skill to any number of things. I wonder if Michael Ruhlman would take on a show? I’d love to see a program based on his Ratios. I’d also love to see more chef tricks, profiles of encouragement for young chefs and shows on local ingredients… wherever local is. Instead of giving us recipes, show us what to do with items we can pick up at a farm market. Maybe Cosentino could even do a show on offal. OK, maybe that’s pushing it, but they are great cuts with lots of flavor and yet no one knows what to do with them. Why waste good food, honor that animal!

I know I’ll be tuning in to see what’s cooking.

Long Overdue Update

•31 December 2009 • Leave a Comment


Back in July I attended the Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest and ate some wonderful Ribs. Unfortunately I never followed up as to who won. Here’s the run down:

Critics’ Choice
1. Butch’s BBQ (Mt. Laurel, New Jersey)
2. Armadillo’s (Youngstown, Ohio)
3. Big Boned BBQ, Co. (Malta, Illinois)

Critics’ Hometown Choice
1. Smokin’ Joe’s Ribs (Columbus, Ohio)
2. Open Hands Catering (Columbus, Ohio)

People’s Choice
1. Big Boned BBQ, Co. (Malta, Illinois)
2. Butch’s BBQ (Mt. Laurel, New Jersey)

Best Sauce
Porky N’ Beans (Port St.Lucie, Florida)

Best congratulations to Butch Lupinetti of Butch’s BBQ and our local favorite, Smokin’ Joe’s Ribs (79 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, OH).

Looking forward to 2010 for some great ribs!

Lox in a Roll

•15 December 2009 • Leave a Comment


OK, yeah I missed the Turkey Day post, but I promise I’ll get back to it. Until then, here’s a little creation I came up with for a party. Lox in a Roll. These little bundles of joy are filled with Nova Lox, goat cheese, capers and red onion.
inside ©2009 JR Prospal
Here’s what the inside looks like with everything stacked in the center.
rolled ©2009 JR Prospal
This is what they look like rolled up. They are folded like a burrito, sides over first, roll forward, seal, pinch the sides closed.
lox in a roll ©2009 JR Prospal

And here are the little darlings after deep frying, draining, and served with a sour cream and dill sauce.

These rolls make a great appetizer for a holiday meal. If any of you readers (someone is reading this, right?) make these, snap off a photo, and send ’em in. I’m curious how well they are received…at work two batches went in no time.

Lox in a Roll

Nova lox, cut into 1”x1/2” chunks
Goat cheese, cut into 1”x1/2” chunks
Nonpariel capers, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
Red onion, very thinly sliced, then cut into small pieces
Large round Wonton (Pot Sticker) skins
Oil for deep frying

Heat oil to 350-375°F

With wrapper flat in front of you, dip your finger in some water and spread a ribbon of water around the outer edge facing away from you. Place piece of goat cheese, salmon, 4 capers, three pieces of onion in middle of wrapper. Filling should be horizontally aligned in front of you. Fold sides of skins to cover edges of filling. Lift the edge facing you up and over filling and side flaps, covering filling. Roll away from you, pressing the air out as you roll, sealing the wrapper. Pinch sides so filling is not exposed.

Deep fry until just golden, they will continue to darken out of oil, so they do not burst. NOTE: if the oil begins popping loudly, immediately remove rolls, they are getting ready to burst. Dry on paper towels. Serve with sour cream and dill sauce with some extra little dill tips sprinkled around.



•18 November 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been going back to my last posts on the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland and fleshing them out a bit as I find time.

Latest Update: Fabulous Food Show 4

Fab Food Show 6

•14 November 2009 • 1 Comment


After my West Side Market trip…picked up some double-smoked dried Kielbasa and a handful of spicy smokies* … I headed back to the show. Michael Symon’s “show” was very much like a tv presentation. Big stage, blaring music, cyber lights, and even a corney announcer guy. Oh, speaking of guy, Guy Fieri invaded the show as a bunch of culinary pirate, crazy stuff. Tyler Florence made an appearance as well, but Michael is such a fun guy he works great in any situation. The Iron Chef focussed on talking about Thanksgiving food. He demo’d cooking a turkey and, despite Ruhlman and Keller’s assurance that there’s nothing wrong with stuffing a turkey, explained why it’s bad to stuff a turkey. (I’m going to come back to that later).

Anyhow, I have yet another cookbook signed, not only by the author/chef, but the writer as well. Perhaps, I’ll wax more on that thought in a Design post.

Stay tuned