Monday, July 19, 2010

I Can Sweat Duck Fat

This past weekend I visited my friend Jeannie in Hudson. It's kind of like our annual girls weekend. We go the Grey Colt Sidewalk Sale, then out to really AWESOME dinner. This year I threw on a brand new Odd Molly top and funky Free People skirt I got at the sale and Jeannie threw on her best pair of green heels and a sweet summer dress and we headed to Greenhouse Tavern on East 4th in Cleveland.

This post isn't going to review Greenhouse Tavern. That review, in addition to one about Lucky's Cafe, will be live in the BG News this coming Wednesday.

This post is an account of my sweating duck fat during a yoga class. (And, yes, it smelled awesome as well as gross.) It's the unedited version of our girls night out.

The ambiance of the Greenhouse Tavern is sophisticatedly "green." From its fancy toilets that offer two flush settings (one for liquid, two for solids) to recycling old un-used menus as fry cones, this restaurant is thoughtful in its sustainability and certified for it too. I felt proud that my eating that evening was totally eco-friendly.

Without a doubt, the best choice on the menu is the 4 Course Chef's Tasting Menu. You get to choose one appetizer, one "second" appetizer, one entree, and either a dessert or a side for $39. Jeannie and I played it smart by each ordering the tasting menu and sharing a side and a dessert. However, as the plates started arriving we realized we should have split the tasting menu.

I ordered the French Buttered Radishes as my first. If you've been keeping up with my BG News articles, I've taken a liking to radishes lately. And these were amazing. Jeannie had the fried hominy, and I had a bit of food envy. Fried should be my middle name; crispy, salty, crunchy--the hominy rocked.

For seconds Jeannie had a lamb patty (sorry I forgot...I was having a food orgasm and wasn't taking notes when I should have been) that was AMAZING. I had the Hand Ground Beef Tartare, which rocked my world. As a kid I would sneak crumbs of raw ground beef before it went into a meatloaf or goulash. I have a raw meat problem, and unfortunately most raw meat is not fit to eat. So when I see tartare, I'm on board. Accompanied with housemade condiments, pickles, crostini, and a two minute egg, it was DIVINE. MINDBLOWING. INSANE.

While waiting for our entrees I realized to my left was a table of douche bags who were clearly there to be seen and maybe score some pu-tang. Maybe they thought they were cute, but truthfully they were obnoxious. So much so--we found out from our totally friendly, attentive waitress after they left--that the older couple sitting at our table before us asked to be moved. Ha! Jeannie and I tuned out all of their degrading comments about every woman in the restaurant simply by discussing each frame of Eclipse in-depth. Quickly, we became some weird, obsessed nerd girls they definitely wouldn't "fuck, marry or kill," which meant they left us alone for the most part. Until Jeannie's Half Roasted Chicken in Brioche Bread arrived at our table.

Dear reader, maybe you imagine shredded chicken in a bowl topped with buttery, rich French bread. If so, you are wrong. Chef Sawyer and his crew serve the half chicken in a HUGE LOAF of Brioche Bread. It's so huge that the runner asks if you'd like to slice it or have the kitchen slice it for you. Of course, any person in their right mind would have the kitchen do it.

So when the chicken returned, the douche bags next to us tried to claim it. Funny and cute? No, we wanted to eat. Patrick Swayze says, "No one puts Baby in a corner." I say, "No one comes between me and my food." After we laughed off their idiocy, Jeannie tried to make a dent in the chicken dish. If my guess is right she's still eating it right now for dinner.

I had the Sea-2-Table Halibut, which was beautiful. But the only reason I got it was so I wouldn't feel so guilty sharing and quite frankly devouring Jeannie's fourth dish: Gravy Frites. I'm not sure I'm prepared to talk about how much I think I'm addicted to these hand-cut potato sticks deep-fried in duck fat and topped with brown gravy and mozzarella curd. I can see why Michael Symon of Lola (a couple doors down on East 4th) calls them his guilty pleasure on the tv show The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

I swore to Jeannie I'd only eat a couple. I ate 3/4 of the plate. Yes, on top of the Halibut, beef tartare, and radishes. Clearly, I have problems. If I lived in Cleveland, I would be there right now eating them. And tomorrow morning I would wake up and be at the gym for 4 hours--I'm not lying--so I could go back and eat them tomorrow night. I'm having Walleye and a Raw Veggie Salad for dinner tonight. I'm not happy, and both are quite good (not to brag). I should have written this post after I ate.

That's how much I love those fries.

And we shared dessert--Carmel Milk Chocolate Pot de Creme. It was salty and sweet and a perfect ending to our fantastic meal. But the whole time I was thinking about the fries in Jeannie's to-go box.

And we got home and attempted to watch Little Ashes, which was horrible, but I got through it because I was thinking about the fries. (I couldn't eat them because I was that full and not that drunk.)

And I went to sleep and would wake up at random times with only the words "duck fat" on my mind and lips.

And in the morning we got up at 7:30 and went to Yoga Lounge where Kevin had us going through all these crazy advanced poses, including side crow and headstand, in a 98 degree room and all the while I'm thinking about duck fat fries. And I'm sweating duck fat all over my yoga mat. Which is a blessing and a curse. Because I can sniff my mat and remember the fries, but I probably should clean my mat after all the sweat that dripped on it.

I can't believe I admitted that for all the world to see...

(Grey Colt picture courtesy of their website.)


  1. So, Little Ashes was terrible? Hm. As for Symon, I saw that episode!

  2. this had me cracking up! I love the reference to sniffing your mat, disgusting and wonderful. Can't wait for next year!