Category Archives: kamm’s corners

Emerging Chefs' Garden Party at AMP 150

First, some blogkeeping: Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for the Spring Fabulous Food Show! After placing the entries into random.org, I am happy to announce that entry #14 of 43 — Brian Musick — has won 2 tickets to this weekend’s show! Please email me at clueintocleveland (at) gmail (dot) com by tomorrow April 26 to redeem your tickets.

AMP 150 - host of Garden Party, Emerging Chefs' most recent dinner (photo from facebook.com/amp150Cleveland)

Having been on the road a lot the past few weeks, Scott and I have tried more than our fair share of hotel food.

And what we realized is how lucky we are to have a restaurant like AMP 150 in our own backyard.

On its own, AMP 150 would be a fantastic restaurant. Chef Jeff Jarrett, as did Chef Ellis Cooley before him, has designed a menu that is ever-changing with the seasons and offers dishes for both the culinary adventurous and those just looking for a quick and comfortable meal. Even better, no dish is over $20.

The fact that it’s located in a hotel, a setting where you don’t always get such a high-quality meal, is doubly amazing. Not only are Clevelanders enjoying Chef Jarrett’s creations, but hopefully also the many travelers who stay at the Airport Marriott while stopping in Cleveland.

Dinner with friends - CLEGuy, WhyCLE, Poise in Parma, Cleveland Food and Brews (and CFBgal), and Eat*Drink*Cleveland (photo from WhyCLE)

It had been a few months since I had gone to AMP 150, so when I saw Emerging Chefs’ Garden Party was going to be there, I leapt at the chance to attend.

This was not only the first time I had visited AMP 150 in awhile, it was also my first Emerging Chefs in as many months. The company works to create distinctive events around local chefs and bold venues. In the past, I’ve enjoyed their parties like Dinner by Design and Mardi Gras en Mai.

While we mingled before dinner, guests were treated to a “pork platter” from Washington Place Bistro’s Sous Chef Melissa Khoury. It featured flavors of dry-cured pork loin, fennel mustard and pork rillette and was a nice nod to Chef Khoury’s hosting of next month’s Emerging Chefs (more on that later!).

Spring Pea Soup

For the main event, Chef Jarrett put together a five course meal featuring garden-fresh ingredients sourced from local farms.

The dinner opened with a vibrantly colored spring pea soup. In addition to the beautiful electric-green coloring, the flavoring was equally resonant of the season. It was topped with a ramp creme fraice, lemon oil and pea tendrils.

I sampled the soup on its own before mixing in the creme fraice and oil. Either way, this was a beautiful dish and altogether one of my favorites of the evening because it really emphasized the idea of a garden party and the return of Spring.

Mushroom Mousse (photo from WhyCLE because I dug in so quickly to my own!)

It was followed by my other favorite: a mushroom mousse. As I’ve noted many times, I consider AMP 150’s mushroom soup the consistently best thing on their menu. It’s earthy and flavorful and that same quality could be found in the mushroom mousse, which featured Killbuck mushrooms and was prepared in the style of AMP 150’s chicken liver pate.

The mousse was coupled with a fennel cherry compote, whose sweetness helped heighten the savoriness of the mousse. Grilled artisan bread from Three Birds Bakery was provided to spread the mousse-and-compote blend on.

Goat Cheese Gnocchi

Next up were a goat cheese gnocchi and then a lamb dish. The gnocchi was accompanied by pork belly croutons, shaved asparagus, drunken fig jam and pepper cress.

While the taste of the Lake Erie Creamery’s goat cheese wasn’t featured prominently in the dish, I enjoyed the smoke of the pork belly and the pureed figs which had been soaked in red wine to make the jam.

The sous-vide lamb loin was paired with farro, fresh peas, cauliflower puree, and truffle oil. The lamb was expertly prepared – with an unexpected and delicious seasoning to it.

My favorite part of the dish, though, was a farro, fresh pea and cauliflower puree. The farro texture combined with the flavoring of the peas and cauliflower seemed to be a surprise winner with the entire table.

Lamb with farro, peas and cauliflower puree

We ended the evening with a baked apple barley pudding. Out of all of the Emerging Chefs’ dinners I’ve attended in the past, this was the best dessert. It was Chef Jarrett’s twist on bread pudding using barley instead.

The texture and taste of the barley was what made this dish work really well – a very hearty complement to the fresh Haymarket apples. It was topped with a delicate, crispy cinnamon tuile and Snowville creamery anglaise.

While I am not a dessert person, I enjoyed this so much that I may have stolen another bite from an extra serving that found its way to our table.

Baked apple barley pudding with cinnamon tuile and Snowvillw creamery anglaise

Although the food exceeded what I had come to expect from Emerging Chefs, I did find there were other aspects of previous experiences that were missing.

For instance, although dinners in the past had paired a wine or beverage with each course, Garden Party had a cash bar setup. This actually worked out for me, because I had been planning on not drinking that night.  However, if you wanted a glass or two of wine with your meal, it had the potential of adding significantly to the $65-$75 price of the evening’s ticket.

Additionally, the creators of Emerging Chefs will often set the dinner in an unusual venue to complement the event’s theme. Previously, they’ve transformed lofts, theatres and even cemetaries into one-night-only popups.

Although setting the evening inside of AMP 150 didn’t elicit the sense of ‘Garden Party’, I thought that Chef Jarrett’s garden-inspired dishes as well as bringing in a local farmer to discuss these ingredients balanced everything out.

Jeremy Lisy of KJ Greens in Andover (photo from http://on.fb.me/Iu0DtR)

Between courses, Jeremy Lisy of KJ Greens shared a bit about their farm, as well as how and when to harvest some of the ingredients that could be found in each dish.

I enjoyed learning more about planting peas and ramps, and as a fan of mushrooms was intrigued by his description of the unusually colored and tasting “Chicken in the Woods” mushroom (the name says it all).

It was a very fitting touch to hear from one of the local suppliers whose ingredients help make AMP 150 an excellent culinary destination.

In the end, although the evening did not feature all of the secondary elements of previous Emerging Chefs events, Chef Jarrett prepared one of the best Emerging Chefs menus I’ve enjoyed and it’s the chef and his culinary talents that are the focus of the evening.

Next month's Emerging Chefs - Snout to Tail on May 24

Next month’s Emerging Chefs dinner features Executive Sous Chef Melissa Khoury of Washington Place Bistro. On May 24, she will prepare a Snout to Tail pig feast at the historic Dunham Tavern. She will roast pigs right in the heart of midtown and prepare dishes that use the entire animal.

The evening will also include a special appearance by Chef Ellis Cooley when he pays a visit to Cleveland to team up with Chef Khoury once again.

Tickets are available for $65 and can be purchased at emergingchefs2012-3.eventbrite.com.

Disclosure: In exchange for blogging about my experience, I was provided one ticket to attend Emerging Chefs’ Garden Party. All opinions are my own. 

Emerging Chefs' Garden Party at AMP 150

Image courtesy of Emerging Chefs

I’ve made no secret of the fact that AMP 150 is one of my favorite restaurants in Cleveland. The awesomeness they brought to this year’s Jump Back Ball VIP party is just one reason why I love them.

Another reason is how Chef Jeff Jarrett and his team demonstrate their dedication to local, green food.  In addition to working with regional farmers and artisans to gather natural, farm-fresh ingredients, AMP 150 harvests ingredients from the hotel’s garden.

To celebrate the arrival of Spring and the replanting of their garden, AMP 150 is partnering with Emerging Chefs to present a Garden Party on Wednesday, April 18 from 6-9pm at 4277 West 150th Street.

Chef Jeff Jarrett, photo from amp150.com

Chef Jarrett has demonstrated a passion for farm-to-table dining for over 15 years in his restaurants. Every time you sit down for a meal at AMP 150, each dish – from the mushroom bisque to the rabbit or braised lamb – exemplifies this commitment through its flavor, freshness and innovation. He’s the perfect chef for a Spring-centric Emerging Chefs dinner.

With everything that’s been going on over the last few months, it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to get to an Emerging Chefs event. However, when I read that their Garden Party would spotlight AMP 150 and Chef Jarrett, it was a not-miss.

Tickets for Emerging Chefs’ Garden Party are $65 for General Admission, $75 for the Chef’s Table. All tickets can be purchased at: emergingchefs2012-2.eventbrite.com.

And save the date now for the next Emerging Chefs dinner on May 24th – a Snout to Tail pig feast with Washington Place Bistro’s Chef Melissa Khoury and a special guest chef.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Emerging Chefs’ Garden Party at AMP 150 but the events I choose to share and my opinions of them are 100% my own.

Gearing Up for NEO Food Tours' Kamm's Corners Market Series with AMP 150 – July 10

Part of NEO Food Tour's new Kamm's Corners market discovery series will include a horse-drawn wagon ride through the historic neighborhood

I don’t think I’ve ever looked more forward to a 3-day weekend than I am this July 4th holiday.  And while it’s partially because I love picnics and July 4th is always full of them, it’s mostly because I need that one extra day to work on my to-do list. 

I looked at my planner this week and July and August are going to be a revolving door of things. That’s not to say I’m not excited. There’s going to be my first 5k (7/9), IngenuityFest’s SpeakEasy 2.0 (7/15), Brick and Mortar Pop-Up with Chris Hodgson (7/11 and 13), a handful of trips to Blossom, roller derby’s season championships (7/16) and friends coming to visit. And of course – all of the blog posts about them!

However, I know that by the time August 18 rolls around, I’m going to be in desperate need of the trip to Virginia I’m taking for my birthday.

So this three-day weekend will give me the time to work on other upcoming stuff before the scheduled craziness begins Tuesday with a trip to see Jersey Boys:

NEO Food Tours

The big project right now is NEO Food Tours. Last Wednesday we wrapped the first Tremont tour and tickets for E 4th on July 20 just went on sale. With three of these signature tours under our belt, we’re expanding our line of tours starting July 10th.

The second Sunday of July is when we kick off our first Market Discovery Tour Series with the Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market Tour featuring AMP 150. It will be an ongoing series from July through October so if you can’t make it July 10, you have three more opportunities to join us on the second Sundays of August, September and October.

Seeing what Todd, Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market and AMP 150 have put together has me really excited not just to help promote the monthly series through community/media outreach, but also because as a food-lover and avid student of Cleveland it sounds like it will be a really unique tour to attend.

Here are a few things you’ll find on the tour (and tell me if this doesn’t get you excited because it has me really pumped):

  • Meet at AMP 150 in the Cleveland Airport Marriott with a mimosa toast (ok, I love AMP 150 and mimosas )
  • From AMP 150, a shuttle will take guests to the Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market (I have wanted to check out Kamm’s Corners for over a year now )
  • At Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market, enjoy a live chef demo and fare from the local market vendors (I’ve always loved our local markets and the idea of a chef demo sounds right up my alley )
  • Horse-drawn wagon from the West Park Historical Society guides the tour through the historic neighborhood (love history and learning about Cleveland’s different neighborhoods )
  • After returning to the Cleveland Airport Marriott, the culinary team at AMP 150 will serve a special fixed menu brunch (did I mention how much I love AMP 150 — so √√ and !)

Plus $5 from every ticket will be donated to Kamm’s Corners Development Corporation.  I know that Todd, myself and everyone at NEO Food Tours feel very strongly about supporting the community and giving back to organizations like KCDC, who have been active in Cleveland for over 30 years.

Check out our Eventbrite page to buy tickets for the Kamm’s Corners Market Tour with AMP 150. Tickets to the July 20 E 4th signature tour are also available on Eventbrite.

Scott and I at this year's Jump Back Ball

Jump Back Ball 2012

In other good (but busy) news, I found out last week that I will be co-chairing Jump Back Ball 2012.

I’ve written before about PlayhouseSquare Partners (if you’re interested in joining, let me know — there are lots of benefits in addition to discounted tickets). Plus, earlier this year I had a great time blogging a first-timer’s guide to Jump Back Ball

So needless to say — I’m honored, excited and admittedly a bit nervous about co-chairing.  Fortunately, because of my co-chair Meredith, all of the other Partners, and the team at PlayhouseSquare, I know that it’ll be a fantastic night of revelry!   More details will be posted soon and throughout the coming months as planning gets underway.

With the months ahead I can’t help but be excited; however, I first need this long weekend to plow through my to-do list. And while I’m at it — take in some beautiful Cleveland fireworks. 

What are your plans for the July 4th weekend?

(photo source)