Earlier in the week, Giant Eagle contacted me to see if I would be interested in attending the grand opening celebrations of the new Market District in Solon, Ohio. After seeing the one in Pittsburgh last weekend I was very excited for an opportunity to get a closer look at this brand of grocery stores and was even more excited upon learning that this special VIP event included a Meet & Greet with local celebrity chef Michael Symon from Iron Chef and The Chew fame.
Normally Thursdays are my half marathon training rest day and I get to sleep in but some things are worth waking up early for.
|(Look at his face, then check out the eyebrow in the drawing behind him)|
In person, Chef Symon is, hands down, one of the friendliest most personable people I’ve ever met. When my mom — who was able to join me — asked if he’d be willing to put on his hat for their picture together he was more than obliging. Which isn’t that surprising if you’ve ever seen him on any of his television shows. He really is a What You See Is What You Get guy who also has a fierce love and pride for the city of Cleveland.
(When asked some of his favorite restaurants in the city he mentioned, among others, Greenhouse Tavern, Flying Fig, and Red. Just, y’know, if you’re in the area and looking for a place to go. I can also second his recommendations of Greenhouse and the Fig.)
Oh, hey, here I am telling him he should offer more vegetarian options in his restaurants.
|See, told you he put the hat on.|
To which he laughed and said, “Why?” which is, of course, the name of the vegetarian burger at B-Spot (gotta love the man for his sense of humour. Especially since the menu there almost seems to encourage you to add bacon to the veggie burger).
Granted, there are always salads and at B-Spot I have ordered the BLT minus the B but with an egg instead (“That’s totally legal” he told me) and Lolita has pizzas. Plus, y’know, I get it. You can’t quite do the same amount of things with tofu as you can with all the variety of meats out there. Especially in a city like Cleveland, which has the West Side Market and its million and one butcher stations.
Apparently, though, his son is a vegan which even Chef Symon admits is a horribly cruel joke of the universe. (Upon hearing that his son is vegan and sorta kinda my age I may have asked if he was single. I really am shameless.)
After the Meet & Greet there was a cooking demonstration for the press, including us bloggers, where he whipped up a quick and easy Sloppy Joe recipe and the whole time I was watching I was thinking Dude, I can totally make that vegetarian! (Sorry, Mike.)
|So worth using my vacation hours at work|
While cooking he was telling everyone about his upcoming book 5 in 5. Based on his The Chew segment of the same name, the recipes are all five ingredients and take about five minutes to make (although he even admits that sometimes on the show he doesn’t finish in time). It comes out next month and I’m excited to check it out. I love fast and fresh recipes and if the sloppy joe was an indication it will be a book full of recipes that I can easily adapt.
As part of the event, we were all given signed copies of his most recent cookbook, Carnivore, which has the tagline 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers.
Some, if not all, of the side dishes are vegetarian friendly but it seems kind of silly to keep a cookbook that I’m not going to use and I would much rather pass this along to someone who will really be able to appreciate Chef Symon’s recipes.
Which can only mean one thing…
a Rafflecopter giveaway//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js
That’s right, ladies and gents. One of you lucky meat loving readers is going to win my copy. (See, aren’t y’all glad you read this here vegetarian’s blog?) As far as cookbooks go this appears to be a really fantastic one. It’s divided up by protein (Beef, Pork, Lamb & Goat, Poultry, Game, and then Sides) and each recipe has a little introduction from Chef Symon plus plenty of pictures (some I can totally tell were taken at West Side Market). At the Meet & Greet he mentioned how everyone should treat recipes and cookbooks more as guidelines than actual rules. Like, if there’s a game recipe that sounds good but you don’t want to actually use game or some other protein is on sale that week, go ahead and use that. Or if a recipe calls for a spice you don’t like, don’t put the spice in. Substitute it for something else that you DO like. That’s pretty much how I do most of my cooking and have discovered some new recipes by using what I had in my kitchen rather than going out and buying what the recipe called for.
I’ll have a more detailed review of the Solon Market District on Monday, but until then happy weekend and happy entering!
Fine Print: Open to US Residents only (but only because international shipping is hella expensive). Giveaway ends Tuesday August 13, 2013 at 11:59 PM EST. At the completion of the giveaway winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize.
Love from the ashes,