Thank you to Galleria Mall Manager Vicky Poole, who was able to score us a couple of VIP tickets to the 16th Annual Markets Under Glass event which benefited the Harvest for Hunger Campaign. The event showcased “the culinary talents of many Northeast Ohio restaurants and beverages from a variety of purveyors”. Robert was in heaven, being able to sample tasty bites from a myriad of chefs. As in most cases, my selection was rather narrow since I try to keep Kosher, so I don’t eat pork products or mix dairy and meat together. Try asking local chefs NOT to cook with bacon!
Under the beautiful glass roof were two floors of forty or so restaurants and about a dozen wine distributors/producers. There were fabulous high points and a few failures:
The asparagus bisque from Washington Place Bistro & Inn was delicious (and they kindly served me a sample sans bacon!). However, Susy’s Soups from Tower City wins as my favorite for there rich and wonderful (and gluten-free) Cream of Artichoke soup. Naya from Highland Heights served small pita bites with humus, tabouli and kafta (seasoned lamb and/or beef like what is found in a gyro) which were phenomenal!
Robert’s favorite bite of the night had to be the sliced mushroom salad from Ristorante Chinato (one of Z. Bruell’s newest places). It had a rich dressing and slivers of cheese that was a bit too forward for my palate, but evidently perfect for Robert’s. It was certainly tasty, but not something I would want more than a small dish of. Robert wanted seconds!
Umami Moto offered an unusually flavorful Mushroom and edamame slider with Parmesan and the now ubiquitous ramps. Palate from Strongsville had Chicken liver pate in a vanilla scented cone with black currant jam. Robert liked it, but I didn’t taste it. The vanilla cone seemed to overpower the filling, but Robert will eat anything with the word pate in it. The highlight of the night for me was the pistachio dessert from Coquette Patisserie. It was a delightful little French pastry with a perfect amount of flavor and texture. We went back to get seconds but it was too late and they had already packed up. Lucky’s cafe served rather large chocolate bombs, but the line was too long and by the time I got up there, they had run out. Lucky’s also offered up a dish of macaroni and cheese, but it was bacon laden, so I had to depend on Robert’s judgment. His take? It was far too heavy and thick, but that’s just what quite a few people were looking for in a macaroni & cheese dish. We passed by LaBella Cupcakes, which Robert has profiled on this site, but by the time we were ready for dessert they were decimated; people love a good cupcake!
There were at least four places to get sushi, and Robert tried them all. The best was from Shinto Japanese Steakhouse. His second favorite was from Sushi 86. Table 45 offered assorted vegetable sushi, rolled in a soy wrapper instead of seaweed. It was nice for me to finally try some sushi, but honestly they just tasted like tiny wraps. Unfortunately the sushi from Sushi Rock was tasteless and seemed a bit stale. Another lowlight was the Seared pork belly from Sans Souci which Robert felt was tough and chewy instead of “melt in your mouth” the way good pork belly is supposed to. Counter to this, Robert lit up when he tasted the Scallops and shrimp mousse canapés from Pearl of the Orient Restaurant in Rocky River.
Americano from Bratenahl had a grilled cocoa sirloin with a peanut slaw. The sirloin was just okay, but the peanut slaw was excellent. The Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Centre Hotel had cute little square sips of summer raspberry soup with truffle honey and mint. I don’t know why they decided to call it a soup since it was really nothing more than a smoothie. The raspberries and honey both made the drink very sweet, but it had the odor of truffles. Now some people will die for truffles; the chemical/hormonal reaction makes them salivate, however I swear the scent is akin to…well, someone who has not been so cleanly after leaving the restroom. One time I was seated at a restaurant and kept thinking the person next to me was “not so fresh” only to discover they were eating truffle sprinkled French fries.
The Melting Pot had fondue, which we both declined. I don’t like the thought of other people dipping their food into the same pot of melted Gruyère, even if they don’t double-dip, plus it was early in the evening and it can be a very heavy food. The Chocolate Bar had a chocolate fountain with dippables, but the same slight phobia applied. Also, the chocolate that comes out of a fountain is a bit thin in order to flow correctly and therefore doesn’t really coat the diappable. We skipped it as well.
At opposite ends of the spectrum, Robert liked the crab cakes from Don’s Lighthouse/Pomeroy House which featured a corn relish, remoulade and chipolte honey, but he didn’t like the jalapeño crab cakes with mango and watermelon coulis from the Galleria’s own Cafe Sausalito, which were pasty, dry and bitter. One of our favorite companies is Great Lakes Brewing Company who presented a number of small bites and of course some of their exceptional beer. I was disappointed in their bread pudding however, because although the sauce was delicious, the pudding itself was hard and extremely dense. Bread pudding is one of those things that usually is best eaten hot when it can be moist and can really soak up the sauce; so it is probably not something meant to be served at this kind of event.
Most of the wine was excellent. I even had a cheap Muscat from Sutter’s Home which would retail for less than $10.00 a bottle. It wasn’t terrific, but it was palatable, bubbly, and sweet, which is typically a good combination for me. Robert used to sell wine, so his palate is far more refined. He turned his nose up at the Muscat, but he enjoyed a few of the other samplings. We both liked the ice wine from Firelands Winery. It had a flavor similar to the Optima grape varietal you can find in parts of Canada, fresh, clean, with a slight hint of honey and apricot. Upstairs in the VIP lounge was the state’s only Kosher vodka provided by Heidelberg Distributors.
Overall it was a delightful evening of good food and tasty drink!