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Dinner at Deagan's with Ohio Blogging Association

Danielle, CLEGal and I at the Ohio Blogging Association's dinner at Deagan's

Last month, motivated by Cleveland’s results in the LivingSocial restaurant poll, I came up with my list of 10 restaurants I need to try.

After enjoying Flying Fig a couple weeks ago, I’m happy to say I can now cross a second off my list: Deagan’s in Lakewood.

Deagan’s opened last year and quickly became one of the more heralded restaurants in Cleveland for its laid-back “gastropub” attitude and the creative, well-executed dishes you’d expect from a fine dining establishment. Not surprisingly, this has led to many awards including the Cleveland Magazine’s Best New Restaurant in Cleveland.

Poise in Parma who organized the evening introduces Deagan's Executive Chef Demetrios Atheneos

Although I’ve enjoyed their food at Chef Jam and the Silver Spoon Awards, I hadn’t had a chance to visit Deagan’s until this past Wednesday during the Ohio Blogging Association’s monthly Cleveland Meetup.  

As I walked into the restaurant, the dark wood and brick interior created a warm and welcoming escape from Wednesday night’s cold rain. It immediately struck me as a place you can go to for almost any occassion — happy hour after work with friends, brunch, laid-back lunch during the week or an intimate date night.

After meeting up with my group, I set about the difficult task of what to order.  Wednesdays are Vegetarian/Vegan Nights featuring an additional menu with 4-5 vegetarian and/or vegan specials that are appetizing even to omnivores.

Pumpkin Bisque

I ended up ordering the Southern Tier Pumpkin Bisque from the Vegetarian menu and the Lump Crab Mac and Cheese from their dinner menu.  Before those came out, though, we were surprised by a few delicious charcuterie boards that featured an excellent variety of well-selected meats, cheeses, olives and spreads.

The Pumpkin Bisque sounded so good that a few of us at the table ordered it.  It was sweet and creamy with a very noticeable curry kick  that I haven’t tasted in Pumpkin Bisque before. That surprising heat made it the best pumpkin dish I’ve tasted all Fall.  I’ve been craving salty and sweet combinations lately so I put a little salt on a few bites to see how that would be — craving satisified!

As soon as I saw the Lump Crab Mac and Cheese on the menu, I knew that had to be my main course.  Crab is my favorite shellfish and I miss it not being as readily available in Cleveland as it is in Virginia or the Northeast.  So when I see an appetizing crab dish, I have to order it.  Plus, it was combined with mac and cheese, another hearty dish perfect for a cold night.

Lump Crab and Mac and Cheese

Unfortunately, because I didn’t have too much room left after the rich bisque, I got to try only a few bites of the mac and cheese.  However, I enjoyed the petite salad that accompanied the dish (loved the fresh, thinly sliced radishes!). 

It’s reasons like this why I love to-go containers. I had my mac and cheese for lunch yesterday and got to fully appreciate how good the dish is.  The lump crab meat was full of flavor which complemented the subtle tillamook white cheddar.

I also tried the Pork Belly Brussel Sprouts Danielle ordered. If you’re nervous about trying Brussel Sprouts, this dish is the perfect introduction.  They were very juicy and tender and the chunks of succulent pork belly paired with the care the chef took in preparing these brussel sprouts prevented the dish from having an overwhelming cabbage taste. 

Pork Belly Brussel Sprouts

Scott and I have had our share of bad brussel sprouts in the past and I think the next time we go to Deagan’s, I’ll have him order their version so he can get over his dislike of the misunderstood vegetable. When Executive Chef Demetrios Atheneos came to see how everyone was enjoying it, much praise and many thanks erupted from our table.

To complement the food, I had a room full of excellent dining companions.  For the 10th meetup of the Ohio Blogging Association’s Cleveland chapter (can’t believe it’s almost been a year!), we had a great turnout!

Similar to our April meetup at Touch Supper Club, the evening featured a roundtable discussion on blogging.

We started with introductions. As with previous meetups, my favorite part was not just the variety of topics our blogs cover but also how long everyone has been blogging. There was an excellent cross-section — from bloggers who’ve been around a couple months to 5+ years, to those who write about food, yoga, health insurance and parenting.

Bloggers Noshing and Chatting

At my side of the table, Alicia (Poise in Parma), Danielle (Namaste or Should I Go?), CLEGal (WhyCLE?), and Dave (Health Insurance Issues with Dave and Again? Really?)  discussed how to respond to blog comments and the techincal aspects of WordPress vs. Blogger’s spam filters. I had a good laugh when we compared notes on the different Spambot comments we all get.

While it was nice to hear different bloggers’ perspectives on the issues we run into, I moreso enjoyed meeting new faces and catching up with people I had seen online but not in person for awhile — like @SOS_JR who was debuting the coolest social-media-accessory I’ve ever seen:

The award for best tie goes to @sos_jr!

Here’s who was at this month’s Ohio Blogging Meetup.  Check out these great additions to my Google reader and Twitter feed:

Catching up with Alicia

If you blog — or are a fan of blogging — stop by one of Ohio Blogging’s upcoming meetups. For November, we’re planning a blog swap and December will feature the second annual cookie swap. You can keep up to date by liking the Ohio Blogging Assocation on Facebook.

You can also read other bloggers’ experiences of the night over at Poise in Parma and WhyCLE?.

Deagan’s Kitchen and Bar 411:

Thanks to CLEGal for sharing the photos of her, Danielle and me; Alicia with Chef Demetrios; and the blogger table.