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Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 | 0 comments

Dining Around Northeast Ohio – Certified Angus Beef-Style

Dining Around Northeast Ohio – Certified Angus Beef-Style

As Lisa wrote in Part I of our series on Certified Angus Beef, our weekend adventure earlier this month was equal parts beef education, edibles, and FUN. Lisa talked about the educational aspect at the Certified Angus Beef Education and Culinary Center, which was fascinating by the way, and we hope to experience more from the CAB folks in the future. They. Know. Beef. {Don’t believe us? What if we told you that Andrew Zimmern featured the CAB Education and Culinary Center on his Travel Channel show Bizzare Foods America? Yep, really.}

What was an utter {udder?} surprise was the sheer volume of exquisite food, cocktails, and wine that we’d feast on as we were learning. Even better, we were privileged to do it with some top-notch journalists and Cleveland-area bloggers. The company was fantastic, and we were proud to represent the 3-3-0.

Day One: “Grill Talk” Culinary Class

Let’s start with the four-course cooking class and meal {called #GrillTalk) at the Certified Angus Beef Education and Culinary Center in Wooster. Chef Michael Ollier {from South Market Bistro fame} taught us ‘beef essentials’ from a state-of-the-art open kitchen, while we enjoyed one glorious course after another. Recipes available here.

Course 1 – “Signature grind” beef sliders with house mortadella, Amish cheddar, tomato & banana pepper sauce – paired with Beer’s Knees, a heavenly beer cocktail comprised of gin, honey syrup, lemon, and wheat beer. A perfect pairing, and my new summer go-to for an fun dinner. {Sorry! We were too excited and overwhelmed checking out the facility to snap pics of this course.}

Course 2 – Grilled BBQ beef sirloin kebobs with mixed greens – paired with Merlot. This dish is ideal if you’re watching those evil carbs, or you simply want an elegant light dinner.



Course 3 – Grilled ‘strip filet’ {all the flavor of a strip steak, but cut like a 9 oz filet} with fresh chimichurri and grilled fennel-beef bacon-new potato salad – paired with Cabernet Sauvignon. I loved the strip filet, but it was the grilled fennel salad that nearly stole the show. I’ll be attempting to recreate that side at home.steak2


Course 4 – Grilled pound cake with strawberry-rhubarb compote and Hartzler’s Dairy vanilla ice cream – paired with Troutman Vineyards raspberry wine. It was the sweetest ending, and I’m so glad they didn’t do the usual ‘steakhouse chocolate cake’ thing. As someone who does NOT drink sweet wines, I totally loved the Troutman raspberry wine. And it’s local – you can visit Troutman Vineyards just outside Wooster.desset

Day Two: Cleveland Dine-Around

Saturday took us to Cleveland for a dine-around at some of CAB’s finest partner restaurants. As it turned out, these were also some of our favorite restaurants – it’s like they read our minds when creating the itinerary.

Crop Bistro + Tour of West Side Market
Lisa did the honors of representing the bouches at lunch. Crop is one of our  new favorites; we were blown away by a lunch visit there a few months ago. Among the many delectables that Lisa sampled was a scallop ‘amuse bouche’ – a favorite for obvious reasons. ;) Afterwards the group toured Crop’s ‘Vault’ – a gorgeous restored bank vault available for private parties – as well as the legendary West Side Market.


Futureman and I joined the fun on Saturday evening, which began with appetizers at Hodge’s in downtown Cleveland. Our group of 12 or so enjoyed a round of cocktails {the summery Bee Hive cocktail was divine} along with a spread of savory treats including their spin on cast-iron cornbread, deviled eggs, Devils on Horseback, and a charcuterie board called the Cleveland Smorgasboard. Hodge’s has one of those likable menus where everything sounds {and is} delish, plus they have a killer patio. Highly recommend a visit when you’re in downtown CLE.



Greenhouse Tavern
This has been a go-to destination for the hubs and me for a few years now, so I was ecstatic to see it as our dinner destination. Greenhouse Tavern, the CAB folks explained, has a unique designation because they serve beef from an Ohio-based Certified Angus herd, making it both top-quality and local.

Our meal…where do I begin? With the Pimm’s Cup cocktail? The animal frites appetizer? The whole pig’s head? When you and your dinner companions essentially order one of everything, and you have such an incredible dining experience, it becomes a little ‘much’ to blog about. However, I loved seeing first-timers ooh-and-ahh over my favorites, the Foie Gras Clams and Crispy Chicken Wings, and I’m glad I challenged myself to try new items. The highlights {and my apologies for the lack of pics – it was SO dark in there!}:

  • Our table shared a pig’s head. Yep, the whole darn thing, and not my thing either. But I’m glad I tried it; it’s something I would never order on my own. My hubs loved it, but it was just waaayyyy to much fat for my taste. I ate part of the cheek. Confession though – the crispy BBQ skin was pretty delicious.
  • Sriracha-honey butter fried chicken. I don’t know if they plan to keep fried chicken on the menu long-term, but they should! Just as delicious as when I visit my grandmother in southern Georgia. And, yes, I ate buttered fried chicken. Completely unnecessary and amazing.
  • My hub’s Ohio Beef burger. It just doesn’t get any better than this burger; no wonder it inspires cult-like devotion. Juicy, flavorful, and not overly complicated. He was so full from all the previous sharing and sampling, but somehow rallied to finish the whole thing. The accompanying rosemary frites are perfection as well.
  • Desserts that kept appearing – ones we ordered, ones we didn’t. We were stuffed, but there was no way  I was going home without having the Buttered Popcorn Pot de Creme with caramel and sea salt. It’s the best dessert on the planet. I mean that.

This dark, grainy pic doesn’t even begin to do the Ohio beef burger justice:


The kitchen took SUCH good care of us, as did the staff from Certified Angus Beef, and I’m pretty sure we all left in deep food comas.

Needless to say, we had an amazing two days of food, {new} friendship, and celebrating the fantastic culinary scene of Northeast Ohio – from small town to center city. Thanks again to our new friends at CAB; learn more about the cool things going on with Certified Angus Beef on their website.

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