On Monday, Writer’s Center Stage and Cuyahoga Public Library brought Michael Pollan to Cleveland to speak. He happened to be free for lunch and seemed delighted to be taken to The Greenhouse Tavern (above, photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman), for a taste of fall. Pollan, who lives, teaches and writes in Berkeley, CA, is tall and lanky, bobs his head a lot, smiles easily, and is engaging in conversation. He was for years a magazine editor in New York, and left full-time employment with no small amount of anxiety to complete his first book. His second book had mediocre sales, he noted (I read it long ago, excellent book). The Botony of Desire faired better, but it was The Omnivore’s Dilemma that transformed him from non-fiction author and journalism teacher into a national spokesman for the urgent food issues we Read On »

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Three years ago on this date, a Saturday, Donna, my mom, I, the kids, our dear friend Stu, and the dog spent the morning standing vigil as my father succumbed to the lung cancer. Mom had gone to the farmer’s market and gotten corn and she and I stood at the kitchen island plowing through a dozen and a half ears, butter dripping off our chins. My dad, Rip, hadn’t been conscious since very early in the morning, 3 am, Donna and I on the bedside, holding his hand. Realizing the end was truly near, he wanted our assurance that I had indeed returned his library books. I had.  ”We love you, Dad, we’re going to be fine, don’t worry, everything’s going to be OK.” By eleven a.m., he breathed sporadically. I hoped he could Read On »

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I’ve been loving Jonathon Sawyer‘s Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland recently and after a joyous meal there not too long ago Donna asked to hang out and shoot.  She’ll be posting a gallery soon but the above is of one of my favorite dishes to eat, period. I can almost never help myself from ordering it when I see it on the menu. It’s also something that’s inexpensive and great to serve at home, and easy if you have a grinder (or a sharp knife—some of the best tartare I’ve had is roughly chopped beef).  Chef Brian Reilly (pictured above) made it for us the other day. Greenhouse grinds beef tenderloin to order with an old fashioned hand crank grinder, seasons it with salt and pepper and olive oil, puts a soft poached egg on Read On »

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