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Archive for the ‘markets’ Category

North Market Cookbook Recipes and Stories from Columbus Ohio’s Historic Public Market

Posted by CMH Gourmand on November 7, 2013

I have had a while to peruse North Market Cookbook – Recipes and Stories from Columbus Ohio’s Historic Public Market. It is written by Michael Turback, a well-known food focused writer. The forward is written by former Dispatch food editor, Robin Davis, the writer of the first North Market Cookbook. There are no surprises in this book – it provides a quick history of the market and recipes from many of the vendors, growers and personalities of the market. Local chefs and mixologists contribute to book as well.

What I like the best about the book – it is constructed to survive a kitchen or getting crushed on the couch with a slick cover and fold outs front and back for marking pages. There are over 100 recipes to choose from in six major areas: soups, small plates, salads and sides, main dishes, desserts and ending with beverages and cocktails. The best way to use this book to turn to the back and look for the names of your favorite purveyors or chefs and/or to look at the sections one by one instead of getting lost going through the book page by page.

If you have a favorite restaurant in town and a favorite North Market vendor then you are guaranteed to find a recipe that you will want to make and more importantly, that you will be able to make. Nothing is overly complicated or driven by extreme ingredients. If you are a North Market regular this cookbook would be a good fit for your bookshelf or kitchen counter.


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CLEWeek The Muse & The Ritz on Top of My List: Fresh Market Package

Posted by CMH Gourmand on June 16, 2013


My Cleveland to do list remains long, especially in the area of things I have not eaten. At the top of my list is an experience I have been teased with twice but have never tried. I travel on the cheap for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t skimp, but I focus on value in transportation and accommodation to have more cash for culinary tourism. There are however times when you deserve to splurge a little. Through past employment and an eye for a deal, I have had a few opportunities to stay in some of the finer hotels in the North America, including The Fairmont in Dallas and The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. Through a quick of fate and being unprepared for my wraith of a reservation gone wrong, I did once score an executive suite at The Mutiny Hotel in Coral Gables for $59. So I know a little about living large but don’t allow myself to indulge often. A few falls ago, I had the opportunity to stay at The Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland. Oh, my. Staying there was as close to living as a rock star I will ever be. In fact, there were a couple of rock stars I ended up mingling with while there including Patti Smith. Rarely does one stay in a hotel without some mildly annoying things that are just not right: poor pillows, bad water pressure, a thin towel, etc. You will find none of these things to be less than fine at the Ritz. The bed was so comfortable that I did briefly consider how I might sneak it out of my 11th story window onto my waiting Subaru in the alley. And even though that is crazy and illegal and in some circles morally wrong, I think, if I had asked, the doormen would have helped me load the bed on the roof of my car while the front desk replaced the bed for my room and discreetly send a bill to my home to pay for it. The service was that good. My favorite memory, of many, was swimming alone on the pool looking out the rooftop skyline window at the moon and the night sky of Cleveland. One more thing – best hotel robe ever. The downside, is while I was there gratis, I was rarely there, I was too busy eating my way through Cleveland. What I did get to experience, I appreciated for the high luxury it was. And when I think of where I would want to go if I wanted to live large for just one night – of all the places I can think of, the first thought that comes to mind is the Ritz in Cleveland.

On my second culinary trip to Cleveland last fall, I did stay not at the Ritz but I did score a second visit to their in-house restaurant, Muse. Many people are quick to dismiss the concept of a hotel restaurant as mediocre by default. Not the case for Muse. Ritz-Carlton set a high mark for the restaurant to be in one of their signature locations and have worked hard to staff it well.

On each occasion, I have had the privilege to meet Executive Chef Richard Sören Arnoldi. On my two visits I was able to share breakfast with the culinary team of Muse and experience part of one of their special offerings paired with the hotel. The Fresh Market Package includes: Friday night accommodation for two, a bottle of wine (I am sure you could get an Ohio Wine if you ask nicely), breakfast the next morning with the Chef in Muse followed by a chef guided tour of The West Side Market. It wraps up with a lunch prepared by the chef with what was sourced at the market, and if you chose, you can join in him the kitchen to help prepare it. That sounds like an incredible day to me.


I’ve toured the West Side Market twice with chefs from Muse. The last time was with Chef Arnoldi. You don’t need a tour to enjoy and appreciate the West Side Market. However exploring the market with someone who visits many times a week and knows each of the purveyors – their stories, best items, what is in season, etc. changes the experience from that of a tourist to that of a local. Chef Arnoldi is not a Cleveland native, but he has embraced the city and made a conscious decision to stay to pursue his craft. He shared the West Side Market reminds him of going to the markets with is father as a kid in Philadelphia. It is a tradition he continues with his son today. I am not sure when I will take the plunge to enjoy the complete Fresh Market package, but since I have done much of it in bits and pieces, I will look forward to writing about it when I do it as a full experience.


(at Ritz Carlton)
1515 West 3rd Street
Cleveland – Downtown

Posted in CLEGourmand, markets, Ohio, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

North Market Apron Gala May 18th

Posted by CMH Gourmand on May 11, 2013

Welcome to the Midwest. If it is a party, there will be food. That is what we do. Even more so if the event is a fundraiser for a good cause – your donation of money will be rewarded with a selection food and drink. Columbus is often cited as one of the most giving cities in the country, considering how frequently we are offered food for our benevolence it is no wonder our city is so giving or so fat. Our city is rife with food based fund-raisers. Almost every week features a major charity event featuring “food from Columbus’ best restaurants” with a selection of beverages. The events are for fine causes and well run. I have been to most of them as a complimentary guest or paying out-of-pocket. After a few rounds, most start to blend together…different cause, some format and same food. There is one clear exception, The North Market Apron Gala.


If you are interested in going, you can find information -> here. Tickets are $75 and I opine they are a good value for the price. The price for your ticket goes to support what the North Market does which includes but is not limited to: maintaining a nationally known destination that draws visitors from afar and many glowing articles by travel writers, cooking classes at the School of Cooking, countless events including: the Microbrew Festival, Fiery Foods Festival and the Coffee Festival, a farmers market, an artisan market and the market itself serves as an incubator for new food businesses. Have you heard of a place called Jeni’s Ice Cream?

The food is provided by the North Market vendors with the offerings changing throughout the course of the evening. Unlike other events which feature the same restaurants offering the same 2-3 tastes every year, this event mixes things up yearly and hourly. There are a few exceptions. Curds and Whey presents a gigantic table of cheeses which I hit early and often. A few other aspects make the evening special. The feel of the place is relaxed more like a block party of friends than an anonymous gala spectacle. It is an Apron Gala by the way so people wear aprons and can win prizes for having the best apron of the evening. An Apron fairy roams the aisles looking for the best aprons and tapping potential winners with her wand to let them know. The music and the beverages are local and liberally distributed. After one or two trips to other events in town I usually feel that I have “been there, done that” but the Apron Gala feels fresh to me every time.

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Quick Byte: The Pepperoni Roll at Omega Artisan Baking

Posted by CMH Gourmand on November 4, 2012

Loyal readers or those that use the wayback machine and like reading CMH Gourmand archives may recall my pepperoni roll research a few years ago. The pepperoni roll’s roots harken back to the early 20th century when coal miners and factory workers dragged back and forth from back braking labor and soul crushing hours on the job. With little time, energy, or money for a meal, they needed something they could eat with their hands while standing or on the go. The pepperoni roll became the answer for many of these folks seeking a cheap and filling meal. The Pepperoni Roll is ubiquitous to West Virginia and can be found throughout the state in restaurants, diners, family kitchens and gas stations – made by hand or made en mass.

I came to appreciate this bit of culinary history but rarely find them on this side of the Ohio River. Oddly enough, the best pepperoni roll in all my travels resides here in my home town at The North Market. Omega Artisan Bakery takes this staple of the common man to such great heights. The ingredients of a pepperoni roll are as basic as can be – bread, pepperoni and cheese. The key to any good sandwich (or sandwich like product in this case) is good bread. In the case of Omega good bread is the baseline so part one is easily accomplished. Next, the balance of pepperoni and cheese is critical. I have encountered many ratios of these three ingredients but Omega seems to have found the magic mix of about 34%-33%-33% (my favorite measurements for many things, I guess). Since I discovered the Pepperoni Roll at Omega I can not think of a time I have been at the North Market and not bought one as my lunch for the day or as a meal for later. Each bite offers a mouthful of fresh, chewy roll, slightly greasy pepperoni and hardened, crusty, chewy and crispy cheese. No sauce is needed just three simple ingredients combined for a happy meal that needs no prize at the end.

Omega Artisan Baking on Urbanspoon

Posted in cheese, markets, sandwiches | 2 Comments »

Taste of CLE: Kim Se, West Side Market

Posted by CMH Gourmand on October 29, 2012

When Marilou Suszko says, “if you are only going to eat one thing at the West Side Market, eat the stuffed Chicken wing”….you do it. Suszko and her colleague Laura Taxel know what that are talking about because they literally wrote the book on the West Side Market.

I had the pleasure to meet Laura Taxel and Marilou Suszko at the Greenhouse Tavern as part of my CLE Gourmand adventures earlier this month. I have read several books written by both over the years so it was an honor to spend time picking the minds of two ladies that know more about Cleveland Food and its history than I could begin to dream of. So when I heard mention of a must have chicken wing and the West Side Market my ears picked up and I started typing information into my iPhone.

For a mere $2.00 you can buy a simple but sumptuous stuffed chicken wing from Kim Se (section A on the market). The shop is owned by Sopheap Heng who is renown for cooking some of the best (in quality and value) Cambodian Cuisine in the city. The chicken wings come in two styles – both are stuffed to the bursting point with bean thread noodles and vegetables or vermicelli, lemon grass and peanuts. These portable bites offer a quick treat while dodging fellow shoppers from stall to stall and are an easy incentive to want to come back at the end of the shopping trip for a bigger meal. I limited myself to one of each type of wing and was pleased with both so I have added this to my must buy list when visiting the market (which means taking a large cooler with me).

Speaking of Marilou Suszko, she will be in town on November 9th as part of Pro Musica’s Culinary Capers series. Suszko was walking and talking locavore long before it became the buzz word and trend it is today so I am sure she will have a lot of share about great finds in our state.

Posted in CLEGourmand, markets | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Brezel: (The Power of Pretzels!) New at the North Market

Posted by CMH Gourmand on April 2, 2011

Sometimes the stars line up. If get you get really lucky, maybe galaxies align. In the case of Brezel, maybe, just maybe the universe has put everything in place for this post. Huh? It just so happens that April is National Soft Pretzel Month. I have been following the pretzel making path of Brezel for several years. Maria and Brittany are the chief dough makers and bakers at Brezel. They have kneaded their way into the bread business by being at nearly every event, farmer’s market and party they could find. They also placed their product at bars and grocery stores. The good will, word of mouth and fine tuning they gathered from working hard allowed them to find a home at the North Market. They recently opened their shop (near Clever Crow) so I dropped in to see them.

Brezel (there is a “_” over the e) makes and bakes and creates big, soft, chewy, Bavarian style pretzels. However, these are pretzels with an extra twist. The ladies of Brezel stuff their pretzels with a variety of flavors and top them with good, tasty things. They have standard pretzels every day and they serve several other varieties such as jalapeno, apple cinnamon, everything, habanero and more. If you want to dip your pretzels they have a variety of toppings for dunking and flavor enhancement. Maria and Brittany also bake pretzel buns, bites and pizza shells. A pretzel hot dog bun….oh yeah. I can attest to their pizza crusts as well – a Brezel pizza has a life expectancy of 43 seconds at Pizza Grand Prix. The Brezel gals are constantly tinkering in the kitchen so drop in and sample their latest creation or give them a flavor suggestion, they may just make it and bake it.

at the North Market
59 Spruce Street
Short North

Brezel on Urbanspoon

Posted in bakery, markets, Short North | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Mediterranean Food Imports

Posted by CMH Gourmand on January 20, 2011

Mediterranean Food Imports. The name says it all. We Clintonville insiders usually just refer to it as Mediterranean Imports or MI for short. This business has a long and hallowed history in our community. It’s roots dates back to a restaurant, Sinbad’s, which was a local favorite and the first bite of hummus and falafel for many in the early 1980’s. The restaurant gradually morphed in to a store with a restaurant then solely a store. (For those of you that still miss Sinbad’s, relatives opened Mazza in Grandview last year, check them out). The vast horde of merchandise at the bazaar that is MI largely hails from countries bordering the Mediterranean, with the very strong slant towards the Middle East. The store can be counted on to carry core staples at all times but I always seem to discover something new on each visit.

MI is located by Hounddogs Pizza and Sage on North High Street. It is best to enter MI via the shared parking lot in the back of the building. Do watch out for some of the surrounding lots because there is a tendency for one evil business owner in the area to tow with a vengeance. Entering through the backdoor, you are greeted by the diverse aromas of a very diverse market.

The meat counter is well stocked with a variety of Halal Meats (different from Kosher) including goat, leg of lamb and Mortadella. I have found the staff here to be very willing to talk in depth about their meats and they will offer suggestions when asked.

Moving down the counter, the next stop is for olives, there are sixteen or more varieties at any time. If you thought you had had your fill of Feta think again, there is a selection of fresh Feta cheeses from Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria, France and Greece. You can also plan on other great items behind the counter including homemade hummus and desserts (several types of Halveh).

The MI business card I have reads “Middle Eastern, European, Persian, and North African foods” that is a fact. The cornucopia of foods from these countries is packed throughout the store. The shelves stock an impressive variety of dried beans, legumes, olives oils and hard to find canned and packaged food from the known world. If you like sardines – this is the place. If you like having a diverse assortment of dates, cheap access to dried limes and five grinds of Bulgar wheat, MI has you covered.

Locally and regionally made pita bread and flat breads are for sale. The spice rack would please the three wise men since it is stuffed with the standard spices as well as Frank Incense, Hibiscus flower, saffron (Persian and Spanish) and spices you may have only read about. The freezer section offers cheeses from everywhere and all types of items from the Fertile Crescent. MI even has a selection of hard to find European and Middle Eastern Candy bars and well as six types of licorice such as green apple.

In addition to foodstuffs, there are cookbooks, cookware and usually one random item I would never expect to see. The prices for all items are reasonable with many being a very good value. A few prices go beyond the concept of bargain. If winter has you in a rut, this is the place to go to mix up your diet as well as add some spice and culinary adventure to your life.

Mediterranean Food Imports
2647 North High Street
Old(e) North Columbus (at the Clintonville Border)

Posted in culinary knowledge, markets | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

CLEGourmand: West Side Market

Posted by CMH Gourmand on November 25, 2010

This post is easy. If you have ever eaten or if you think you might enjoy eating, then, you should visit the Westside Market in Cleveland. It is great. You will not be disappointed. You will feel that you do not have enough: time, money, room in your trunk to carry what you bought. It is a sure thing. Done!.

Well, maybe a bit more detail is warranted. Let us begin with some facts. It is the largest indoor/outdoor market in the country. It was purpose-built as a market in 1902. West Side Market quickly became an ethnic food destination, a tradition which continues to this day. The market features over 180 booths selling produce as well as meat shops, cheese shops, etc.

In October, I spent four days being wined, dined and driven around Cleveland meeting several of the town’s top chefs. Every chef mentioned the West Side Market as something great about Cleveland and one of many reasons they chose to move to or stay in Cleveland. That is an endorsement. Each chef listed off three or four of their favorite vendors and gave specific reasons for why their go to purveyors were the best in the country or the world. Several names came up time and time again. One market resident came up every time – Ohio City Pasta. In addition to a variety of shapes and flavors of pasta (beet pasta is a favorite of mine), this pasta maker hand crafts pestos, butters and sauces. That is one example. There are over one hundred more.

The open air produce section can feel like walking a gauntlet. You will assaulted (or enticed) with comments every foot of your stroll or dash to the main market. Every vendor works the crowd: calling out names, offering samples, making you deals you can’t refuse on tubers or fruits. The stands could fill in for the United Nations since they represent a variety of countries, languages, cultures and foodways.

Inside the market is a sea of choices. Most of the customers are regulars and known to the business owners by name. Extended families have been on both sides of the counters for generations. There is connection between people here that could not be found in any grocery store or anywhere for that matter, except certain small towns where everyone knows everyone.

The market is also home to Johnny Hot Dog, open since 1912. This place is a slice of life in Cleveland with people on both sides of the counter looking like they have been sitting on the stools or grilling hot dogs since the dawn of the market. The hot dogs are simple natural casing hot dogs served on a bun with chili from a can – nothing to blow you away but something to crave and appreciate just the same. There is a hot dog hall of fame full of old photos, polaroids and yellowed newspaper articles which collectively serve as a time capsule and archive of the almost one hundred year history of hot doggery in the West Side Market.

Every booth has a story or two or three at West Side Market and anyone from Cleveland has a favorite vendor or memory to share with anyone that will listen. I’ll end with a few simple words: Slovenian pork sausage…..

West Side Market
(Ohio City, West Side)
1979 W. 25th St
Open: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday

Posted in CLEGourmand, markets, Ohio, Road Trip | Leave a Comment »

Meeting Mr. Meatball

Posted by CMH Gourmand on August 8, 2010

Our fair city has a fair share of surprises hidden throughout town. Columbus is very much a city of assimilation and blending, people come and stay because it is a nice place to live. We have a few neighborhoods named for ethnic enclaves of the past (German Village, Italian Village) but these areas lost their ethnic flair many decades ago. There are still a few secret spots that cling to a bit of our unassimilated past. One of these places is Mr. Meatball.

The store is off the beaten path, in an area that is a little beaten down but the destination is well worth the trip. Mr. Meatball is a wholesaler that produces meatballs, Italian sausages, ravioli, pastas, sauces, and more for Italian restaurants throughout the state. If you are in an Italian restaurant enjoying the homemade meatballs, there is a good chance you are enjoying the creation of Mr. Meatball on Cleveland Ave. not Mama Donatelli in the back kitchen. There is a small shop area in the front of the business stocked for walk in customers. In addition to the above meaty treats, the store carries some hard to find items such as Pizelle irons, Italian Cheeses, Orange oil, Anise oil, Latte di Vecchia (Maraschino Cherry) and some other treasures more often found in Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Youngstown.

Phil and Dottie Gullatta are the owners. Visitors are likely to catch Phil at the front counter more often than not. Dottie makes fresh Pizzelles for sale throughout the year. Whenever I pop in, I usually grab a bag of meatballs and a package of sausage. I have found the sausages to be very good and the meatballs come in very handy for parties. Mr. Meatball also carries a selection of heat and serve dinners including wedding soup and gnocchi which can come in handy in a pinch.

A small showcase by the cash register features various cooking utensils and instruments. Most of the ancient items are brought in by customers looking to find a home for a bit of history before they leave with a bag or twelve of meatballs. There is some other history in the store as well. A line up of family photos going back generations sits on top of the canned goods cabinets to add a sense of home to the homemade meatballs.

There is a serving of mystery at Mr. Meatball as well. This meaty tale goes back many years. A plaque on the wall states “Meatball Capital of the World“. I asked Phil about this but he could only tell me that it came with the store when he bought it years ago. Legend has it a customer gave it to the previous owner. Could it be that Columbus is the Meatball Capital of the World? This will require some research so stay tuned.

Mr. Meatball
3716 Cleveland Ave.
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
Saturday 10am-2pm

Mr. Meatball and Italian Foods website

Posted in Columbus, markets | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Nothing to do Downtown? Bite this!

Posted by CMH Gourmand on February 25, 2010

There is a trio of hysteric flawed beliefs about Columbus. These mistaken concepts are: Society ends when there are three or more inches of snow on the streets of our fair city, Columbus restaurants can’t compete on a national or world level and there is nothing to do downtown. These core beliefs are misleading propaganda that serve to diminish our civic pride. Today I debunk the third myth by sharing some downtown discoveries.

I took the day a day off from working for the man to attend to some BeerCamp administrative business with the Dispatch and the Division of Police (note: parades are expensive). In between appointments, I found I had two hours to kill on the block bordered by High Street, Broad Street, 3rd and Gay. Nothing to do…..indeed. This is what I did.

Fridays mean the Pearl Alley Market. During this time of year, the market moves inside. Granted there is a limited selection of vegetables: potatoes, potatoes and potatoes but there is plenty of locally produced goodness to buy and sample. Vendors sell meats (fresh, frozen and canned), bread, canned goods, baked goods and sundries. The space also features local art. A few photos below with give you a taste of the place, so check it out winter or summer.

A short stroll away on High Street, I spied Mr. Peanut so I decided to pay my first visit to the The Peanut Shoppe. The store sells a wide variety of nuts as well as candy and other goodies. The staff are friendly and made sure I had the best deals possible (for nut clusters buy by the pound not by the piece). The walls have several faded clippings about the history of the Peanut Shoppe past and present. The big surprise for me was the mini Mr. Peanut museum with items from one hundred plus years of Mr. Peanut product marketing.

After an hour of browsing and grazing it was time for lunch. I met one of my BeerCamp co-conspirators, the Amazing Amanda Anderson, at the equally amazing El Arepazo Latin Grill. Although this is one of my favorite places to eat, I rarely dine here due to my non downtown weekday work life and the restaurants exclusive lunchtime hours. Amanda and I were the first through the door at the 11 AM – opening time. We both relished that we would have 10-15 non crowded minutes to enjoy our excellent entrees. Everything El Arepazo offers is wonderful. I typically go with the Columbian platter (plato typical) which is a mix of most of the menu with a fried egg to boot. I was giddy from an already excellent morning so I opted out of my usual and ordered the Cuban sandwich (seen below).

In 2006 I spent a three day weekend researching the best Cuban sandwiches and Media Noche’s on Miami’s Calle Ocho. My Miami munching made my baseline for the Cuban sandwich scale of amazing. I can say that the EL Arepazo edition earned a 9.99 out of 10.

I am now going to meander a bit with a shout out for Amanda Anderson. I have hosted Pizza Grand Prix’s at Wild Goose Creative and I have attended, judged or spoken at many events there. Amanda serves as an air traffic controller for the multitude of things taking off and landing at the space and she has not yet learned to say no so while it keeps her pace a hyper version of hectic, the end result is a track record of fun food festivities that have no peer in the Midwest.

After lunch, I headed across Broad Street to Ohio State House Gift Shop for a bottle of Kinkead Ridge wine (in my opinion the best Ohio produced wine and one of the better wines in the country for the price). You can learn more about the Statehouse gift shop in my June 2009 post. This small shop buried in the basement has a great selection of Ohio wines as well as other hard to find (in Columbus) Ohio foodstuffs including the much ballyhooed Ballreich’s Potato Chips from Tiffin. The staff are knowledgeable about their products – especially the wine. In the non food category, there is a good selection of books about Ohio, many of them are hard to find autographed copies.

That is my story of two unexpected hours of leisure in downtown Columbus. I enjoyed some old favorites and made new discoveries. There were plenty of easy to find parking spaces and everything was reasonably priced. If I had been able to stay longer I could have gone to Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails for a drink or several other great restaurants such as Due Amici, Plaintain Cafe, Latitude 41………..

If you believe there is nothing to do, I have nothing more to say to you.

Posted in culinary knowledge, markets, restaurants | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »