Friday, June 26, 2009

Art in the Age of Mindless Production

One can best judge a eatery by the willingness of the staff to cater to one's requests, the quality of ingredients, the time it takes to go from placing an order to receiving the food, the attentive nature of the staff and the presentation of the dish. How many restaurants are actually willing to depart from a set menu in order to offer the customer what he or she requests? I know of a few in the Greater Bowling Green Metropolitan Area, but, my favorite is the Corner Grill at the intersection of Main (US 25, also known as the old Dixie Highway) and Court Streets. Seen here in a photo from February 2008:
This morning when I requested a one-egg omelet instead of the larger three-egg version of the same, the cook (who, incidentally, also took my order from behind the counter, served me, and was my cashier) suggested that I consider ordering a two-egg omelet, or a scramble, that it would be difficult to wrap all the goodness that is the quality fillings into a single beaten egg, but, he would try. I offered him broad artistic license to interpret my breakfast order as his set of skills would allow.

While engaged in conversation with my fellow companions (each foodies in their own ways), I carefully watched as he cracked a fresh egg into a stainless steel bowl, whipped it, and poured it out onto the griddle. On a separate quadrant of the grill, he mounded, cubed ham, green peppers, tomato, and cheese. I became distracted in conversation and in short time, this neatly-wrapped little pocket of joy and tastiness was in front of me (don't you just love the diminutive square of American cheese placed on top?:

If you don't have a favorite local diner or grill that prepares and serves "real" food--go find one.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Some Shameless Self-Promotion

After a trip to the Libbey Glass Factory Outlet, a short stop for flowers, herbs, pepper and tomato plants at the Toledo Farmer's Market, and then to the original Tony Packo's on Front Street for a stuffed cabbage roll, paprikás dumplings with gravy, Hungarian pickles, and a signature Packo's hot dog,
Michelle bought me this delicious marble cake at Wixie Bakery in South Toledo.
I was fine with an unadorned cake, but Jessica and Emily insisted on the personalized message.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

West Side Market--Cleveland

To continue with the Cleveland day trip from this past weekend, I would like to post some photos from our second destination of three. Cleveland's oldest publicly owned market: The West Side Market. The building you are looking at has been in use since 1912; however, this site has been designated for use as a public market since 1840. One may purchase any of the large variety of prepared and ready to eat foods available at the market, like these Pasties (pronounced Pass-tee), a combination of meat, vegetable and starch in a light flaky pastry:
Then retire to the gallery to watch food shopping as a spectator sport. The interior concourse houses around 100 vendors. An interior shot from the spectator gallery.
There is also an exterior arcade with 85 vendors, mostly produce.
The monger below is selling some of the BEST dried fruit I have EVER tasted. I guess I should have taken a photo of the two-pound tub I purchased, alas, it was not to be. However, one may notice the vibrant colors and wide variety of dried fruits in the deli containers below. Our container held, pineapple, pears, peaches, two varieties of apricots, apples, whole dates, date pellets, figs, a variety of plump, juicy raisins, cranberries, prunes, candied ginger, papaya, star fruit, kiwi, bananas, coconut flakes, mango, and the BEST dried strawberries I have ever tasted. I really like eating a bit of the candied ginger then chasing it with some dried cranberries.
Also at the market, Buckeyes candy in both traditional and white chocolate:
Chocolate covered jalapeno peppers:
A plethora of dried ingredients:
And even this little piggy's at The West Side Market:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Electric Sex in the Window--A Major Award

Fans of Bob Clark's 1983 film A Christmas Story should recognize where I went this past weekend.

Michelle and the girls went to Washington DC, so Matt came down from Ann Arbor and we headed to Cleveland for the day on Saturday. If you did not already guess where I was this past weekend, our main destination was the recently-opened A Christmas Story House and Museum in beautiful and scenic Cleveland, Ohio.

The majority of the exterior scenes of A Christmas Story were all shot on location in Cleveland and St. Catherines, Ontario, while the interior scenes were shot on a sound stage near Toronto, Canada, with a few exceptions, such as the Higbee's Department Store scenes, and the leg lamp scenes (delivering and uncrating the major award, interior shots looking out onto the street, and from the street into the living room).

While some of the interior scenes shot on location make use of the family living room, kitchen and entry way, the floor plan of the house was not the same as on the sound stage and when the house was remodeled for use as a touristic destination and museum, it required extensive repair and modifications to look as it does today. For example, there was a bed room where the staircase is now located, and all the wood floors on the main level had rotted out and there were vermin living out their own Christmas story in the house. The reconstruction of the interior of the house carefully used production stills as a guide and there are numerous reproductions of properties in their appropriate locations. The vintage radio even loops the Little Orphan Annie Show!
Our docent informed us that, originally, each room was open to the public; but, folks kept eating the Lifebuoy Soap. Now, the bathroom is cordoned off.
Across the street from the house, the museum holds original costumes and props from the production. NC