All posts filed under: Road trip

Road Trip: Brand The Barn with Certified Angus Beef

Road Trip! I was invited to the Brand The Barn event by my friends at Certified Angus Beef® Brand. For their 40th anniversary, they’ve been painting barns across the country. The last one was at Atterholt Farms, just down the road from me in Loudonville, Ohio. It sounded like a fun event…and a great lunch from Chefs Michael Ollier and Gavin Pinto – how could I pass it up? Just to make you drool a little…they had beef two ways for lunch. First was Beef, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches. Ribeye roast, slow-smoked to 110°F, chilled, thin-sliced, then seared on a flattop over an open fire. The beef was piled on a bun with tomato chutney and arugula.  Even better were boneless beef short ribs, smoked, then cooked sous vide for 36 hours until tender. Then they were sprinkled with rub, then grilled over a wood fire until crusty on the outside. Oh, my. Thanks again to my friends at Certified Angus Beef for inviting me down to Loudonville – it was a fun time! This …

Lake Erie Vacation 2018

I’m on vacation, spending a week at my family’s cottage on the shores of Lake Erie. Then, the week after that I’m recovering from hernia surgery. (Fun!) In other words, posting will be sparse for the next two weeks. (Cell coverage and wifi are spotty out here.) I’ll be back to my regular schedule in August. See you then! PS:  Amazon’s Prime Day Instant Pot Duo for $58 deal is still on through the end of the day today. Did you get one? Let me know in the comments.

Road Trip: Italy Food and Wine Writing Workshop 2018

These are my memories about the Food and Wine Writing Workshop run by Demet Guzey and Dianne Jacob in April 2018. To paraphrase Ruth Reichl, “Everything here is true, but it may not be entirely factual.” I took copious notes during the classes and tours, but not during the writing sessions. (I was too busy writing.) I am sure I confused times and people, so I apologize in advance. Write about our visit to Quintarelli winery. I’ll give you…30 minutes. Demet starts the session with wine writing advice, then turns us loose on our notebooks. 30 minutes? That’s it? I’ve learned to shut off the Editor Voice and write, but I’m not sure 30 minutes will be enough for something I have to read in front of the whole group. Don’t worry, just go. Keep the pen moving on the page. I write about grandpa Giuseppe Quintarelli and his quest for quality. Giuseppe moves his vineyards from the valley to the hillside, making the vines work harder. Hard-working vines produce less wine, but better wine. …

On The Road: Travel Day

  Thirty-three thousand feet above the North Atlantic, thirty minutes west of Dingle, Ireland. Heading home. I hear an opera carrying along the canal. The sleek prow of a gondola glides into view, carrying a singing soprano and her accordionist. A middle-aged couple holds hands in the plush seat in the back, enjoying their own private Venetian concert. Except it’s not private. The gondolier eases his boat along, under the bridge at my feet. The soprano is a pro; she times her finish for the bridge, using the echo to amplify her last note. It hangs in the air for a second, then applause fills the void, from the gondola and all around me on the bridge. The narrow bridge. That I stopped in the middle of, blocking traffic. Whoops. I look around, ready to excuse myself to everyone…but they’re too busy clapping to notice my apology. I wasn’t the only one enchanted by the melody. I’m not ready to go home – there’s so much more to do, so much more to see, I’ve …

Tortelli class in Verona, Italy

On the road again: Tortelli in Verona, Italy

Sorry this post is late; I think I lost a day to travel somewhere. That, or I’m actually relaxing on my vacation – a food writing workshop in Verona, Italy. Today was a tortelli making class in a local restaurant. The staff showed us how, then stood back to let us try. We did OK – we are a bunch of food writers, after all. But we were not the pros. They roll and fold with flair, smooth and effortless. Posting will be a little sparse for the next week or so, until I get home. After that, I apologize in advance for all the “Well, when I was in Italy…” stories.

New York City |

The Big Apple (Road Trip Week 3)

New York City was hot, noisy, dirty…and full of energy, people, and fun things to do. We went to the top of the Empire State Building at night, and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on a gray and overcast day. We toured the Whitney museum and MOMA, piloted remote control sailboats in Central Park, and visited the somber memorial for 9/11. We enjoyed street cart kabobs and chili dogs, modern Sichuan at Café China, flat whites at Birch Coffee, the fried yard bird at Red Rooster Harlem, prosecco and rosé at Eataly, pop up food trucks on Broadway, table side guacamole at Rosa Mexicano, and a last day in the city breakfast at Balthazar. Now, after weeks on the road, we are relaxing on the shores of Lake Erie. I love traveling – but sometimes I need a vacation from my vacation.

Thank You for the Maine Suggestions (Road Trip Week 2)

Thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions for Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor, and Acadia national park. We had a fantastic time, even if the hike up the north ridge of Cadillac Mountain almost finished me. Favorites from the trip Lobsters, lobsters everywhere! Lobster rolls were on the menu no matter where we went. My favorite meal was the whole steamed lobster and mussels at Thurston’s Lobster Pound…but it was hard to go wrong with any of the seafood choices on Mount Desert Island The Island Cruise with Bass Harbor Cruises was the highlight of the trip. I learned a ton about lobster fishing, the islands of Downeast Maine, and got some fantastic photos of the seals lounging on the rocks. Highly recommended. Popovers at Jordan Pond restaurant in the park. Unfortunately, it was raining when we visited, so the view from the terrace was gray with low cloud cover. The popovers made up for the dreary view – they were massive and airy. Thanks again to everyone for the food suggestions. Once again, …

Montreal and Maine Suggestions? (East Coast Road Trip 2017)

DadCooksDinner is on the road again! My day job gives me a month long sabbatical every five years. It’s that time again, so I’m using it to take a trip out East. I have two teenagers and a pre-teen. (How did that happen so fast?) So I think this is our last chance for a while to take a big family road trip. I’ve never been to Maine, so we are heading there to spend a week at Acadia national park. We’re going by way of Montreal for a few days (my wife’s request), to Maine, and then driving down the east coast to New York City (the kids request.) After that, we’re heading to my family’s cottage on Lake Erie, to hang out by the beach until the end of the month. Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons: Posting will be spotty for the month of July. I have some posts ready to go, but not enough for the whole month, and posting three times a week is probably not going …

Behind the scenes Time Lapse - Chili Facebook Live Video with Certified Angus Beef |

Behind the Scenes Time Lapse – Chili with Certified Angus Beef

I know I’ve been talking a lot about my friends over at Certified Angus Beef (thanks again for sponsoring me! Check out hashtag #BestBeef!), but I still have to share this. I shot a time lapse video of my Facebook Live Chili video with Chef Michael Ollier from last week. Right before we started the live video, I put my phone on time lapse mode, out of the way in the corner. I love the quick “fly on the wall” video of what it looks like to do a live shoot: Behind the Scenes Time Lapse – Chili Facebook Live with Certified Angus Beef [] Thanks again to chef Michael Ollier, chef Gavin Pinto, videographer Matt Pinto, and everyone else at Certified Angus Beef for inviting me down and letting me talk chili. I had a great time!

#BestBeef Virtual Chili Cook-Off at Certified Angus Beef |

Watch me talk chili with Certified Angus Beef on Facebook Live!

Special thanks to my friends at Certified Angus Beef® Brand for sponsoring DadCooksDinner. Score Big with Chili and Game Day Appetizers! Don’t miss Certified Angus Beef® brand LIVE on Facebook this Thursday, Feb. 2 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. Chef Michael Ollier and friends will share chili ideas and beefy appetizers for the big game. He’ll also announce the winner of the brand’s #BestBeef Virtual Chili Cook-off. “…and friends…” means me! I’ll be broadcasting live on Facebook from Wooster, OH – home to Certified Angus Beef – and we’ll be talking about chili, my first great culinary love. Stop by Certified Angus Beef’s Facebook page on Thursday, Feb 2, at 12:30PM EST to watch my Facebook Live debut – or check it out later; the replay will be in their Videos section. Also, you still have a couple of days to enter the Instagram chili cook-off: There’s still time to enter your homemade chili in the #BestBeef Chili Cook-off! Just post your chili photo on Instagram with hashtags #BestBeef and #certifiedangusbeef – enter by Wednesday, Feb 1(at 11:59pm ET). …

Japanese Market Square |

Winter Break Road Trip: Tensuke Market in Columbus, OH

My good friend Rhonda fell in love with the Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking cookbook, and wanted to stock up on Japanese ingredients at Tensuke Market in Columbus, OH. A road trip to a Japanese market? How could I say no? It was a fantastic little market – packed with people for their end of year sale. It was a truly a Japanese market. Most of the Asian markets near me are Chinese or Korean. They try to cover all of Asia, and I can get the ingredients I need, but you can tell where their focus is. This market was unapologetically Japanese. As an example: Tensuke Market has the best Sake selection I’ve ever seen. I threw myself on the mercy of their Sake expert, and picked up a few bottles, hoping to learn more. (I mean, hey, I have to do research for the blog, right?) Rhonda and I wandered around, scrutinizing packages to see if they were on her list. I picked up a few things I needed to re-stock …

Road Trip: Seattle

Road Trip: Seattle

I’m on a road trip! Which, this time around, is a euphemism for “At a conference for the day job.” An army marches on its stomach. – Napoleon Bonaparte I travel to see new places, meet new people…oh, who am I kidding. I travel to eat. Seattle has a fantastic food scene, and I have too many suggestions to do all of them justice. But I’ve been eating a lot! And taking pictures! So I have to show them to you now! (Pulls out slide show, sees everyone edging towards the exits, reluctantly puts slide show away.) OK, how about just a few highlights: Caution: Low Flying Fish Watch Out for Low Flying Fish [] My favorite place to visit in Seattle is the Pike Place Market – and not just for the flying fish show at the Pike Place Fish Market. (Though they have a great time, flinging fish around and chatting up the crowd. Check ’em out. And get an oyster shooter while you’re there. Or a whole sockeye – they ship anywhere in …

Salt Lake City Food Tips? #EFC2016

I’m off to Salt Lake City this week for the  Everything Food Conference. I have never been to Utah or Salt Lake City, and I’m looking to my readers for suggestions.  Anyone out there been to SLC? If I have some a free afternoon or evening, where should I go, and what should I do? Any local food specialities I need to seek out? Thank you, Mike

A Farewell to West Point Market

West Point Market was an Akron institution. Unfortunately, I’m using the past tense – West Point closed its doors last week. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the closing sale. I’m sure there were some great deals, especially on wine, but It felt too much like scavengers picking over the bones. Wine is what brought me to West Point Market. I got into wine around the same time I moved to Akron, twenty years ago. Everyone said to check out West Point – and they were absolutely correct. I bought my first mixed case there, with the help of their salespeople, and was back for many more cases after that. The summer after we moved in, I got a grill for my new house, and that was the start of my love affair with food. Back then, for an enthusiastic home cook, West Point was the only game in town. Specialty ethnic ingredients? Le Creuset cookware? Exotic cheese? Prime beef? It was my go-to destination for a few years. This blog’s first big boost …

Road Trip: The Big Harvest Potluck 2014

Why are you calling yourself a “D list blogger”? The salad line stretches out in the shadow of an ancient tree. It’s lunchtime at The Big Harvest Potluck, and Cheryl Sternman Rule is giving me a swift kick in the pants about my attitude. Why do that to yourself? Who are you comparing yourself to? Cheryl is a skilled interrogator, asking questions that make me think. And she is not pleased with my answers. After slowing down and listening to myself, neither am I. Why do you write about food? What moves you? Are you just doing it for page views, or do you have other reasons? I could spend the rest of this post doing what I normally do after a conference – rambling on about the fantastic location, the fun things we did (balloon rides!), the great speakers, the wonderful people I met. But… Not today. All you have is your perspective. Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton of Canal House Cooking gave us an assignment. Take one apple from this crate, and take …

Blogger Duck University 2014 at Maple Leaf Farms

This is the story about my trip to Blogger Duck University 2014 at Maple Leaf Farms. Maple Leaf Farms paid for the classes, my meals, and my lodging. The thoughts are my own. Phew, now I’m good with the FCC. Duck Fact: Only the female duck quacks! I love duck. It’s one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant, usually as sliced duck breast with crackling crisp skin, or duck leg confit, shredded and melting in your mouth. Rotisserie duck with drip pan potatoes is one of my favorite recipes on this website. Duck fat is marvelous – it has a rich flavor that no other fat has. Potatoes cooked in duck fat are one of the best things to eat, ever, hands down. My problem: while I love duck, I’m a duck novice. I know how to pan sear a duck breast, I can make a decent duck leg stew, and like I said, I love my rotisserie roast duck. But I feel like I’m in a duck rut, stuck for new …