Heinen-x9-@72

The opening of a grocery store in what had been a derelict Beaux-Arts masterpiece is not simply a boon for residents of downtown Cleveland, it’s a great symbol of the importance of food to our communities. Hundreds of people came out for the 6-minute ribbon-cutting ceremony and to check out the newest resident. I asked Donna to join me and take some photos to document opening day (all photos here are hers). Does anyone know of a cooler grocery store in the country? If so, please tell me where! Our local paper, The Plain Dealer (still the best-named paper in the country, though its plain dealing has been reduced to four days a week on actual newsprint), had the day well covered. Our estimable architecture critic covers it incisively here, and does not hide his joy Read On »

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DM1-for-blog

  When Donna and I stay in New York we are five blocks away from my favorite butcher in the city. And it is my favorite not simply because it’s the closest. There are other butchers in the West Village, but none are quite like Dickson’s Farmstand in the Chelsea Market, a food emporium that runs a full city block of West 15th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. One look at the meat case and you won’t disagree with me. It runs the gamut from charcuterie and salumi (excellent dry cured meats, pâtés, duck confit caked in duck lard), sausage, fresh cuts of lamb, pork, and beef, and even very good frozen meat stocks, plus a few condiments (mustards, finishing salts) and several fine books devoted to meat. But it’s more than what you Read On »

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Michael's-whole-grain-bread

I was thrilled by Kim Severson’s piece on the gluten-free trend because it points a light, yet again, on … but god, aren’t there enough klieg lights on American’s stupidity, gullibility, and laziness already? And yet even Severson herself quotes a chef, thereby giving the piece its own kind of reporter’s credibility, saying that the gluten-free fad is here to stay. This, despite noting that only 1% of the population is actually badly affected by gluten, and that there is scant evidence that there’s anything wrong with this wonderful protein combination. A grocer I know said he didn’t know if it was a good or a bad thing, the gluten-free fad, but he was loving the hell out of it. If Americans’ lack of self-awareness, or even awareness generally, weren’t already on painful display almost everywhere, Read On »

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FM-suitcase-w-MR-@1020

Treat your farmers’ market like your grocery store. That’s my motto (when I’m not on the road). My problem, though, is I can no more carry all the goods in two arms than I can the goods from my actual grocery store. We used to have a red wagon and toted a two-year-old daughter along with dozens of ears of corn and other veg. But the wagon is long gone, and we don’t own a shopping cart or any kind of cart. Given how I’m always traveling, it was not a far stretch to put my bag to better use. That’s what I did ten days ago when I needed a lot of food for the week. Packed everything in a suitcase. Made everything so much easier. Takes up less room than a cart or a Read On »

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Barber-Moca-@1020

I had the great good fortune to interview Dan Barber before a sold-out crowd at Cleveland’s MOCA last night, talking to him about his fine book, The Third Plate (NYTimes review here). Barber, chef and owner of New York’s Blue Hill restaurant and maestro of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, is the most vocal and articulate chef soap-boxing for a sustainable food future. The problem has long been that, while he’s been very good at articulating the problems, he’s never had a realistic solution. Americans can’t completely opt out of the industrial food system by relying exclusively on CSAs and farmers’ markets (much as we cherish them). And chefs must cherry-pick the best ingredients if they are to keep their restaurants filled. Until this book, that is. Barber, through excellent reporting (how many chefs record interviews Read On »

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