Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Let me say this now....
Deciding on a Culinary School is a *pain in the ass*

Last night, I toured a third School (Icasi Culinary School in Chesterland). For those not keeping track, the other two were: Pittsburgh Culinary (Pittsburgh, obviously) & Sullivan University (Louisville, KY). Right now, I am looking into a *fourth*: The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.

Each one of these has problems I'm trying to work around to see what works best for me. Going in reverse order: Icasi is one of those schools which seems like it will be good in 5 years or so. But, as of now, they're unproven (only 1 graduate, though they currently have 70 students enrolled), they're small (only 2 kitchens) and they are not accredited. These are big negatives, albeit ones I can see them correcting as years go on. But, I'm not looking to go to school in five years, I want to go next year. The advantages are that: they're local. At only 1/2 an hour away from my house, I'd be able to work and go to school at the same time, all the while continuing to live in Cleveland. They're cheap, offering a diploma for only $14,000, compared to the $40,000 of other Culinary Schools. Finally, they do have name recognition locally. This is both a plus and minus. While it would help me get a job in Cleveland, it would probably do very little for helping me work outside of the city and..honestly..I'm not sure how long I want to stay in Cleveland for.

Next up is Pittsburgh Culinary. We toured them over this past spring/summer. Their advantages are: they are near to Cleveland. I could keep the band together, still see friends, etc. Plus, Pittsburgh isn't that different from Cleveland. A little smaller, a little easier on the eye, but it wouldn't represent a drastic change in lifestyle. The downsides...well, the big one is the price. At $41,000, they cost just as much as the #1 Culinary School in the Country (CIA), except without the prestige. So, though I don't doubt the education I would receive, I also think my money could be better spent at a better school, if I'm going to pay that much. They're also part of this chain of Culinary Schools that were all bought up some odd years ago by one organization. Chicago is another one. Their websites look the same ("Top 10 Reasons to go to X school!!"), their schedules are the same. It's a feeling of homogenization of education that rubs me the wrong way. Genevieve pointed out that it's kind of like those commercials you see "Can you draw this pirate? Then you too can be artist!"

Finally, Sullivan University. The upsides are that: it's a school with a surprising amount of prestige. A number of websites I found listed it as one of the top in the country. They also offer a course layout I really like, including some extra concentration on catering, as well as an in-house 3.5 star student-run restaurant. Overall, I was really suprised how much I liked them. The problem: it's in Louisville, Kentucky. Granted, it would be near my dad, which would be nice. But, the town also has 0 electronic music scene (so the band would be dead), 0 real art scene for Genevieve, and..other than a few hip strips, it's just no the sort of town we'd want to live in. Granted, there's a beautiful historic district. But I just feel there's not enough, besides the school, there for us.

So, we're back at Square One. Looking at the Institute of Culinary Education. We'll see how that goes..


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Monday, October 25, 2004

X-posted:

First up, I wanted to thank everyone who came out to the show this past Friday and stuck around for our set. It was most appreciated!
Also, big big thanks to: Lushwell, 20goto10, Dj Leandro & Ethereal Transmissions. Everyone put on an awesome show. Part of me didn't even want to play, I was having too much fun enjoying the other acts.

That said, a quick show recap.
The night started off with Ethereal Transmissions, who I hadn't heard before. Their music was a touch proggy with a hearty helping of "jam band". Most of the set was pretty mellow, though some furious beats reared their head now and then. My only complaint would be that the vocals sounded a bit muddled under the music. Other than that, good set.

20goto10 took the stage next with their upbeat take on 80's new wave. Always energetic, always fun, and always full of offbeat covers (I'd seen them do a Dio cover previously, this time around it was the Misfits turn). Very fun.

Following that, Dj Leandro spun a set as eclectic as the bands. Ranging from 80's pop jazz to Nine Inch Nails, he seamlessly flowed the music from style to style.

As Dj Leandro closed down, Lushwell started up. I cannot say enough good things about them. They're that sort of band that, regardless if you're a goth kid, an indie rocker or listen to Tiny Tim in your basement, you can't help but like them. Their blend of downtempo beats, sweet pop melodies, and occasional wisps of jazzy keyboards all form into one of the most endearing bands I've heard in awhile. As Greyson said later on: "They make me want to go home, wrap up, and have sweet sweet dreams." They were also just very nice people an we look forward to, hopefully, doing more shows with them in the future.

The only problem was *following* a band like that. By the time we got onstage, it was 1am and we were all ready for those "sweet dreams". But, much thanks to the dancey interlude provided by Dj Leandro between bands, we got ourselves together ready to go. We started the set off with the small chunk of our songs which do not yet include our new member, Adam: "Nostalgia", "Resolution" & "Gravel Roads", all which went off really well, in particular, 'Resolution', which is a big favorite of ours. Adam then hopped onstage and grabbed some keys to help finish the set with: "Empty December", "Forged from Steel", "Able Bodied" and "Song for Tomorrow", which all went smoothly despite some initial technical difficulties with the guitar setup. (Must remember, amp only works when *plugged in*!)

Overall, this was the most fun I've had at a show in awhile. We had a great time performing, the other bands were awesome, the crowd was great. Everything just clicked. Thanks again to all the bands and audience members who made this happen!

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Friday, October 22, 2004

So you don't think I want you just for your promotional value, a recipe (from Moosewood Daily Special Cookbook).
Should be easy enough for all my slacker friends ;)

Spicy Carrot Peanut Soup
1 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, sliced thin (approx 2 cups)
1 celery stalk, sliced thin
2 lbs (about six cups) of carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili paste (avail. at Asian food stores or, perhaps, in the "ethnic" section of your Supermarket)
6 cups of water
2 tbsp peanut butter (natural)
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, salt, chili paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until onions are tender and translucent. Add water, cover, bring to a boil. Lower heat, simmer 25 minutes or until carrots are tender. In a blender, blend the soup (in batches, if needed) adding the peanut butter, soy and lime juice.
Reheat, if needed. Serve with lime wedges.

We had this last night, with a side of raw green beans and a peanut dipping sauce. Yum yumm.

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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Tomorrow!


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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I haven't slept well in 2 days and the button just popped off my pants (and NOT 'cause of my fat ass, either!)

As such, there will no blogging today.
I did do a minor edit to my links though.
enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Next up.

10.9.2004 - 19:00 - Cleveland, Ohio - Flying Fig Restaurant

After our last, very enjoyable, visit, we'd been eager to head back to Flying Fig. So, this past Saturday, with a bit of extra cash in hand, we decided to splurge and enjoy a night out. Genevieve got dressed up in her finest, cutest, outfit and I in my..well, I got as dressed up as I get and out we went.

The place was moderately busy when we arrived, but we were seated promptly at a table with a prominent view of the kitchen (which I tried to peer into, to no avail). Starting things out, Genevieve was a bit disappointed. One of the main reasons we came was that she wanted to have the tofu dish they had last time. Unfortunately, Flying Fig keeps to the "standard" one-veggie-entree-option and it had changed. This time around, it was pasta, served with eggplant cannelloni (the eggplant itself was sliced thin, fried up, and served as the wrap for the cheese filling. An awesome idea, I thought.) So, she ordered that. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. We started our meal out with a few appetizers. I got a duck enchilada, served with a peanut sauce and topped with crema. I'd gotten this last time and it is simply amazing. For those meat-eaters out there, if you visit Flying Fig, I can't recommend this appetizer strongly enough. I'm not even a big fan of duck, at all, and I love it. Genevieve started out with green beans, fried in a tempura batter and served with two dipping sauces. It was a mass of food. Green beans piled high on the plate. Though, alone, the beans were a bit on the bland side, the dipping sauces were awesome. The only bad point was that there was, simply, too much, and we had to waste food in order not to be full by the time dinner came.

Next up, the Entrees. As I mentioned before, Genevieve got a pasta sauce with eggplant cannelloni, which, as it turned out, wasn't very good. It's kind of a point of contention that most fancy restaurants, having to offer *something* to all the veggies out there, can't think of more than pasta. It seems so lame and lazy for a restaurant which puts so much effort into their other dishes. That's not to say it wasn't good, it was okay, just not $20.00 okay. It would have been an enjoyable meal at a lesser restaurant, but there, with expectations so high, it was a let down. I got, meat eater that I am, pork tenderloin, topped with a balsamic glaze and served with corn fritters, mashed potatoes and finished with, what else..figs. The only bad thing I can say about the dish is that the corn fritters were a bit dry, but that was certainly made up for by the meltingly tender pork and ultra-ultra creamy mashed potatoes. It was alot of meat though and my stomach was feeling it later that night, but, for then, I enjoyed it quite a bit. We finished the meal off with sharing a molten chocolate cake. That, was, needless to say, awesome.

We were left with kind of an iffy experience, overall. Though most of the food was excellent, the lame attempt at a veggie option left a bitter feeling in our mouths. Their menu will soon be changing though and it's our hope that the veggie entree will improve with it.

More to come...

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Monday, October 11, 2004

A weekend described in Food.

So, this past Friday, coupon in hand, I decided to check out a restaurant I'd been wanting to try for awhile:
Lozada's ("Try the Latin touch!")

I'd previously avoided it as their menu, rife with meat dishes, is most UN-veggie friendly. But, since Genevieve was heading out to dinner separately, I thought I'd give it a shot. So, I grabbed Mr. Adam Harvey and headed out.

We were promptly seated and our orders were taken in a reasonable fashion. And then, the waiting began.

We waited..
and waited...

and waited...

Despite the occasional encouragement from our waitress that our "food would be out in a minute". It was over an HOUR before we r/c'ed our first dish. a bowl of iceberg lettuce, topped with 2 lonely slices of tomato. Disappointing, to say the least. But, by this time, we were so hungry, we chowed down on it. Shortly after that (and a full hour and 15 min after we originally ordered) we got our entrees and appetizers all at once.

My appetizer (sweet plantations) was very good and I was starting to feel some promise to this place.
Then, I tried my other dishes. The fried plantains (kind of like fries) were horrible. They tasted like.."fried" if that makes any sense. Even with the pungent garlic oil we got for them, it was pretty nasty and heavy stuff. Then, onto the entree. OKay, that wasn't *too* bad. A chicken breast stuffed with olives, marinated peppers and onions and other sundry things. It was certainly edible. But, by now (being 8:00pm), my arm seemed pretty edible.
Unfortunately, Adam did not fare any better than I.
Total time for one simple meal: 1 hour 45min
Verdict: Avoid at all costs!

More to come..

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Saturday, October 09, 2004

Upcoming Subliminal Self show

An eclectic night of electronic music

Friday, October 22nd
At the Hi-Fi Club (http://www.hificlub.info)
11729 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood, Ohio

With performances by:

Lushwell (http://www.lushwell.com)
"Independent artists, lushwell combine break-through technology and more traditional instruments to create an infusion of electronica and genre's spanning from rock, r&b and pop. All three members combine their musical talents, thoughts, and philosophies to create an emotional journey for the listener. "

Subliminal Self (http://www.subliminalself.com)
"Dark synth-pop punctuated by dance beats with influences ranging from Depeche Mode and Gary Numan to Clan of Xymox and Attrition"

20goto10 (http://www.20goto10.us)
"20goto10 cultivate[s] its kinetic synth pop sound through trial and error, emerging with something at once startlingly fresh and fluent in the aural syntax of classic synth music."

Along with:
Ethereal Transmission (http://www.etherealtransmission.com)
and
DJ Leandro

The show starts @ 8.00
Admission is $5.00 for 21+, $8.00 for 18-20
Proper ID is required

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Go!



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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

There's few things in this world which go together as much as Halloween and drinking. Well, maybe a few, but darn it, it's up there! Anyways, in that spirit, the fall season brings out that most odd of seasonal brews: the pumpkin beer.

The pumpkin beer offers great promises. Pumpkin pie, in liquid form, which will get you drunk. You really couldn't ask for more. Unfortunately, more often than not, it fails to deliver. Today, I'll spotlight 4 pumpkin beers. It was hard work drinking all that brew, but I assure everyone, I survived with my wits intact. I just hope my trials were not in vain and you learn something from this.

First up, the Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale


This was my least favorite of the lot (though I've liked other Shipyard brews). The color was very light and golden, with a small head. Granted, it had a very strong pumpkin taste, but other than that, it was watery and smooth to the point of nonexistent. It had absolutely no bite or bitterness and I kind of felt like I was drinking just another cheap beer, with pumpkin flavoring. Avoid.

Next up, the New Holland Brewing Ichabod Ale


I'd never had a New Holland Brewing beer, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was pleasantly suprised by this one. The beer was a rich golden color, with a small, but very strong head and lot and lots of hoppy bite. I mean, it wasn't quite an IPA, but you could definitely taste the bitters. So, as a regular beer, it did great. Unfortunately, the pumpkin taste was very subdued and had a bit of a sour tinge which led me to believe it hadn't fermented enough.

Next, Blue Moon's Pumpkin Ale


The only other Blue Moon I've had is their Belgian White and, I gotta admit, I like it, quite a bit. Yes, I know, they're made by Coors, thereby offending my whole micro-brew sensibilities. But, it's a good beer, so I forgive it. Anyways, this pumpkin ale poured with absolutely no head whatsoever, but had a very strong amber color. The taste was pretty robust, comparable to something like Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale (a favorite summer drink of mine), with a well mixed (but subtle) pumpkin flavor. It was probably the first of the lot that had a bit of body to the undertone of the beer, so bonus points for that. Still, like all of them, it's enjoyable as a novelty beer and I couldn't see myself drinking it other than to celebrate the season.

Lastly, Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale


This was my favorite of the pumpkin ales. Though, like the Blue Moon, it had a nonexistent head, it poured with a very strong caramel color. The flavor was mellow, but not watery, and well balanced. The pumpkin taste was round and sweet and complimented the other flavors in the beer (instead of fighting with them, like in the New Holland). This was the only one of the lot which stood out as an enjoyable beer, period, instead of just an fun Fall brew. If you're going to check out one of the above, I would suggest Buffalo Bill's.

That's it for today. Next week, Oktoberfest! ;)

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