At some point over the last year I became a morning person. Not a cheery morning person, mind you, but when it comes to blogging or working on projects like NEO Food Tours, I get my best work done between 4 and 7 am.
The only problem? If I need to function after 6pm, I must have caffeine to get me through the day. Tea has always been my drink of choice, but lately when I’ve needed something stronger, I’ve started trying coffee – a beverage I often stayed away from because of how wired it made me. However, something’s clicked lately (maybe the lack of sleep?) where I’ve started not just liking the taste of coffee but finding the caffeine doesn’t give me headaches anymore.
So when Allison from Confessions of a Cohabitant invited me to a Foodie Feed-Up event for Nescafe Dolce Gusto, it sounded like the perfect opportunity to see what I’d been missing in the world of coffee.
Nescafe Dolce Gusto is a single-serve coffee machine that makes everything from black coffee to iced cappuccinos and peach iced tea. I can be pretty lazy in the mornings so this sort of machine, where I can pop a canister in and voila – coffee, is right up my alley. With a 15-press system and the ability to customize coffee strength, ratio of coffee to milk, and temperature, my laziness is actually rewarded with a drink that tastes like I got it from a skilled barista.
Of course, the fact that Cleveland’s Foodie Feed-Up was at Greenhouse Tavern didn’t hurt at all. In the 8 cities they selected for a Foodie Feed-Up, bloggers were invited to an evening of cooking demos, food and coffee tastings at a local restaurant known for its creativity and fresh ingredients.
Cleveland was the first city to host one of these, with other events being held in Chicago, Houston, Denver, New York, Tampa, Seattle and Venice, California. With all of Cleveland’s amazing restaurants, selecting just one for the event had to have been difficult, but Greenhouse was definitely an excellent choice.
From the rooftop patio party in May, to my anniversary lunch at work, to a birthday dinner with Scott, it’s been an enjoyable few months of meals there. And after those experiences, if I had to choose 2 reasons why I love Greenhouse Tavern, it’d be their Beef Tartare Frites and Pots de Crème.
Beef Tartare Frites is available on both the lunch and dinner menu. In addition to a patty-sized portion of fresh beef, the dish features a 45-minute poached egg, charred pepper, relish, red onions, their fantastic frites, and mustard and garlic aioli sauce for dipping. The solid but tender, juicy texture and bright red coloring of the tartare combined with the egg is one of my all-time favorite bites. And with all of the garnish and condiments, the dish is a Choose Your Own Adventure of tastes.
The pots de creme are courtesy of Greenhouse Tavern’s Pastry Chef Matt Danko. In a tiny cup is the most delectable dessert I’ve ever eaten and I would take it over cake or pie any day. The flavor currently on the menu is buttered popcorn and caramel. And as a testament to how good it is, when I ordered it at dinner last month, Scott was at first not too keen on trying it. However, he not only enjoyed the smooth, rich bite he tried of mine, but also ordered one for his own to supplement the cheese plate he had already ordered off of their dessert menu.
Lucky for me then that when it came time for Chef Sawyer’s cooking demo, he busted out the beef tartare. From start to finish we got to see how this dish is constructed.
Chef Sawyer started with a tour of the cow – describing how he picks a selection of meat for this dish. After this, he ground up beef from Miller Farms in an old fashioned hand grinder. I loved hearing stories about how Chef Sawyer and some of the other bloggers learned how to grind meat from a grandmother or aunt when they younger and how in some cases the grinder they use at home is a family heirloom passed down the generations.
Next we learned how the beef gets its flavor and texture from the olive oil, pepper and Great Salt Lakes salt that Greenhouse Tavern uses, as well as how to achieve a perfectly balanced egg with set whites and a runny yoke. We finished with the frites which are prepared for days in different types of animal fat — including duck.
Sometimes things can lose their wonder after you learn how they’re made, but getting a glimpse at the magic behind one of my favorite Greenhouse dishes only added to the enjoyment later on when I had a plate.
In addition to the tartare and pots de creme, Greenhouse served up their chicken wings, mussels and hominy. None of the dishes disappointed as everyone noshed and chatted. Among the bloggers who were there that night were Cleveland’s a Plum, Bite Buff, Hungry in CLE, Cleveland Foodie, The Dawg’s Dish, and GreenDogWine. I chatted with Ben and Sarah from HeightsEats for a lot of the evening. Although I’ve read their blog before, I hadn’t met them in person so it was nice to chat with another non-native Clevelander about our mutual love for the city that’s become our home.
At the end of the evening, it was time to try the Dolce Gusto machine and some coffee. I’m somewhat basic in my coffee tastes so the Cappuccino was my favorite from the couple I tasted. The one flavor they didn’t have there but that I can’t wait to try is the Chai Tea Latte. Their other non-coffee options include Peach Iced Tea and Hot Chocolate.
As always it was great to meet new bloggers and get a behind-the-scenes look at Greenhouse while learning about Nescafe Dolce Gusto. And I think it’s safe to say — I’ll be drinking a lot more coffee in my future!
Greenhouse Tavern 411:
Nescafe Dolce Gusto 411:
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Foodie Feed-Up event to learn more about Nescafe Dolce Gusto. While there, we were treated to food and a cooking demo from Greenhouse Tavern and coffee tastings from Dolce Gusto. Additionally, every blogger was surprised with their own Dolce Gusto machine. All opinions about the coffee, event and food are 100% my own. Thanks to Allison from Confessions of a Cohabitant for the invite and to Katelyn M. Luysterborg for the photos from the event since my camera died halfway through.