Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Certified Organic at Frickaccio's

What do diatomaceous earth and fish bladders have in common? You'd have to have attended Monday night's Les Dames d'Escoffier meeting at Frickaccio's in Fairview Park to know!

Photo by Gloria Kemer
Frickaccio's Owner, Dame Terry Frick and Chef Todd Rothman prepared a fantastic evening for lucky Cleveland Dames, full of demonstrations and tips for healthy and delicious vegan cooking, served with vegan wine.

Vegan wine? Isn't all wine vegan? Actually, no it is not. Dame Maggie Harrison educated us on the various methods used to fine (or filter and clarify) wines, which include straining it through dried egg whites or, less commonly, dehydrated fish bladder. Vegan wines use an alternate method. When seeking out vegan or vegetarian wines, one should look for un-fined wines, however, this is not something one can simply find on the label. Maggie noted Barnivore.com as a terrific resource for vegan wine, beer and liquor.

Oh, and if you are looking for gluten-free wines, seek out unoaked varietals. Oak barrel produced wines use wheat paste.

Dinner consisted of an abundant progressive tasting menu, balancing between lighter and heartier dishes, with explanations of flavors, ingredients, and processes along the way. Dames tried various gluten-free and vegan breads and spreads, an organic veggie pizza bagel, Chef Todd's vegan version of a crab cake (made with shredded hearts of palm), portobello bisque, strawberry / hazelnut salad, vegan paprikash, and an almond milk "ice cream" and flourless chocolate cake.

At the conclusion of dinner, Terry demonstrated making fresh almond milk in the Vitamix.

She then took us on a tour of the new facility and kitchen, and introduced us to Helga, her workhorse of a mixer! Frickaccio's does all of its baking on-site and sends product out to its West Side Market store and retailers, including Heinen's, whom she cites as a terrific partner. Frickaccio's offers around 10 varieties of certified-organic pizza dough balls, including gluten-free They are also trying something new with the new location – an eat-in cafe. Chef Todd looks to introduce creative vegan fare to the cafe-style menu.

Thank you, Frickaccio's, for hosting such an interesting, informative, and tasty evening!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The 5th Annual Brite Winter Celebration in Ohio City

Located in Cleveland's Ohio City Market District, the Brite Winter Festival is a festival of music, art, food, games and more. The attraction takes place both indoors and outdoors…. yes outdoors in the middle of February. Multiple intimate stages were set up throughout the area. Large warming fire pits huddled the masses as band after band, local and national, rocked the cold from the air with their original music. All local establishments participate, making Ohio City heat up on a cold Cleveland winter night.

We had no set plan other than finding a parking spot as quickly as possible and getting out into the evening. Parking is a bit of a challenge when more than 20,000 people descend on an area surrounding the West Side Market at West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue, but we got really lucky and followed someone who was leaving to their car. We grabbed a beverage from an outdoor Great Lakes Brewery tent and got into the music right away. Strolling through the event there is much to see. Art on display or being created… games, food trucks, people. We stopped for a moment, enjoying the sight of thousands of others enjoying yet another fantastic event in Cleveland. No one seemed to care that is was only 8 degrees out, we were embracing the offering of this great city and all the people who made this amazing event happen. The air was still, everyones' frozen breath evaporating into night air, and we were warm and part of something that was just cool. We thought of how it must feel to serve ice cold beer with frozen beer-soaked hands and gloves all night. How one's bare hand might feel holding the neck of their frozen guitar. How those who did never showed it. They just rocked it out and we can stay it was truly appreciated. A thank you to all. We braved the cold, only stopping inside to catch our final act at the Great Lakes Brewery Tasting Room stage. We were simply blown away by the talent of the bands we saw. Wish we could have seen more of them. Here are a few that we especially enjoyed.

Sidney York from Alberta, Canada played on the outdoor Town Hall Stage at 8:00 pm. We sat amidst the firepits and sipped Southern Tier's deliciously dessert-like Creme Brulee Beer. By the end of the performance we were on our feet dancing up front. Fronted by two females, they easily won the crowd over with their high-energy, sweet, addicting electro-pop.
The Ridges from Athens, Ohio played on the considerably warmer Great Lakes Brewing Co. Tasting Room Stage at 9:30 pm. They are an orchestral folk rock band, combining guitars with upright bass, multiple cellos, and other strings. Very cool.

The festival began at 4pm, with outdoor activities until 11pm Establishments continued until 1am If you want to experience something truly special in Cleveland, make it a point to get out to this annual event next year. There is just something about everyone being in the same "stay warm" situation together that makes this event shine so brightly.

Brite Winter is free and open to all. Big thanks to many winter loving sponsors and supporters.
Ohio City Market District – Cleveland, Ohio

For some more reading on the event and the details check this out.

We apologize for the shaky nature of our photography… it was 8 degrees!