All posts filed under: Road trip

Road Trip: Frank Cianciola and Son

[UPDATE 2016-11-11: Cianciola’s is closed. They were bought out and shut down by a larger food distributor. Darn.] Cianciola’s is an Italian food importer and distributor in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood. Their main business is supplying local pizzerias and Italian restaurants in the Akron area, but they are open to the public, and if you’re looking for a good deal on imported Italian ingredients, they’re definitely worth a visit. Now, Cianciola’s doesn’t look like much. The building is a, square, windowless warehouse – see the picture at the top of the post. I drove past it, not realizing it was my destination until Google Maps told me to do a U-Turn. The public section is in a corner of the warehouse – they were loading pallets of flour while I was there. And, the stock is limited. This is not a gourmet emporium, looking to supply your every possible Italian food need. So, why go there? Because what they have is carefully chosen, good quality, and sold at warehouse pricing to the general public. Their …

Road Trip: Weber Grills – Palatine Factory

July 4th kettle(Painted for display, not for cooking) I’m a Weber fanatic. I’ve always loved to eat, but cooking came to me later in life. When we bought our house, I had to have a grill for the back yard, and I asked my Dad to get me a Weber kettle as a housewarming gift. That’s when I dove head first into the world of food. My Weber collection currently stands at 5: a Performer (love the side table) as my primary charcoal grill, with a 26.75″ One-touch gold for entertaining and larger groups. I have a massive Weber Summit 650 for the convenience of gas and for cold weather grilling, and a Weber Q for tailgating and picnics at the park. And my original kettle is in my garage, disassembled and stacked in a neat pile. It goes on road trips a couple of times a year, to our family cottage and my parent’s house for Thanksgiving. Why am I telling you all this? Because, thanks to a connection with the people at Weber …

Road Trip – Seasons of My Heart Cooking School in Oaxaca, Mexico

Susana Trilling’s cooking school, Seasons of My Heart, has been on my bucket list for a while. I learned about it years ago; probably from Rick Bayless, but maybe from Susana’s cookbook, which I picked up at the library. Oaxaca is acclaimed as the best food city in Mexico, famous for its seven different types of mole, the complex sauce based on chiles, nuts, seeds, and chocolate. And Susana is the expert on Oaxacan cooking. I would occasionally check the Seasons of My Heart website, looking at the list of classes, dreaming about an escape to Mexico. (Especially this time of year – in February, highs in the 80’s sound fantastic, and that was before this brutal winter.) Late last year, I saw it – Susana was hosting a week long chef’s intensive tour of Oaxaca for culinary professionals. A whole week? In a cooking school in Mexico? I’m so there. Seasons of my Heart has lots of shorter, less intense classes; half day classes, Wednesday market trips with cooking lessons, and week long tours that aren’t …

Road Trip – Market District – Grand Opening in Green, OH

Market District is a new type of grocery store. Start with a normal Giant Eagle store. Add a wide selection of specialty and gourmet cooking supplies. Include a cafe, and a food court with a wok station, sushi bar, pizzeria, and wine bar. Then stand back, and try to avoid being trampled by the lucky people in Green, Ohio, as they rush in to see what happened to their neighborhood grocery store. I read about Market District stores opening in our area, and I was itching to go see one. I’m a sucker for specialty cooking ingredients. When I was invited to the grand opening of the Market District in Green, Ohio, I jumped at the chance. I was part of a group of local bloggers – we arrived at 8AM, connected to the store wi-fi, grabbed our complimentary cups of coffee, and warmed up the digital cameras. We were ready for the tour. Market District Green 1700 Corporate Woods Parkway Uniontown, OH 44685 Open 24 hours Website: MarketDistrict.com Phone: (330) 896-4456   Dinner is …

Road Trip: Le Creuset Outlet Store

Never trust a pot you can lift.– Tom Johnson Back in the late 90’s, when I was first starting out as a home cook, I stumbled across a Le Creuset outlet store in St. Augustine, Florida. I bought a ton of cookware. OK, maybe not an actual ton, but I’m sure it felt that way to the UPS guy when the boxes arrived at my house. Now, I got crazy, and bought some things I shouldn’t have – enameled cast iron Windsor pot, anyone? – But there were a couple of pieces I really loved. Like Big Blue, my 7 Quart round dutch oven, and the smaller 3.5 quart red oven that comes out every time I make no knead bread. For a while, I’ve wanted to pick up some more enameled cast iron, especially some of the larger pots. That 7 quart dutch oven is a little small when I’m making a big pot of chili. But the prices for large pieces? Yowch. I love Le Creuset, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend …

All Clad Factory Sale Summer 2013

Looking for information about the latest All-Clad factory sale? Here are my All-Clad posts. All-Clad Factory Sale: Summer 2013*The dates for this summer’s All-Clad factory sale have been announced, so I’m posting a heads-up for my readers… All-Clad’s factory is located in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Twice a year, on the first weekend in June and December, All-Clad holds a factory seconds sale at the Washington County Fair and Expo Center. Here’s the announcement from All-Clad’s Facebook page: PLAN TO SAVE BIG! Put the All-Clad Factory Outlet Sale on your calendar now! Cookware, bakeware, electrics & gourmet accessories will be offered at exclusive prices for 2 days only. Select All-Clad Metalcrafters, Krups USA & Rowenta products will be included, with up to 70% off factory seconds! All-Clad Factory in Washington County Fairgrounds, Washington PA.Friday, May 31st from 9am-7pmSaturday, June 1st from 9am-4pm Location: Washington County Fair and Expo Center:2151 North Main StreetWashington, PA 15301Phone: 724-225-7718Website: WashingtonFair.org This is about a two hour drive from the Akron area. You get prices from 40% to 70% off on factory …

Road Trip: West Side Market

Cleveland’s West Side Market, on the corner of West 25th and Lorain Avenue, is one of the few public markets that remained open during the dark days when grocery store giants roamed the land, crushing everything in their…ahem, sorry, got carried away there. The West Side Market opened in 1912, and celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. My own history with the market goes back to high school…when I ignored it every day as I trudged by. But I’m not here to talk about history. I’m here to talk about food. And, oh, my, this is a food paradise. The market is made up of more than 100 small businesses. There are butchers and bakers, produce vendors, cheese sellers, and seafood markets, all in the same building. If I lived any closer, I’d be visiting every week, but the market is just a little too far away for regular shopping. I make a trip up every few months, to visit and stock up on things I can’t find locally. The market had a fire a …

Road Trip: Food Warehouses

Part of my haul from the food warehouse A GFS Marketplace just opened in my neighborhood. I’m excited; this means I don’t have to make a cross-town trip to stock up my kitchen. Now, I’m a buy local kind of guy. I try to support the food businesses around me. I shop at my local farmers market, and I’m a member of a CSA. I’m the kind of person who worries about sustainable seafood and food miles. But I’m also trying to balance my food budget with a family of five. I make an occasional trip to a warehouse store to stock up on bulk items. It helps keep my costs down. That is, as long as I don’t have impulse purchases. Like Chris Rock’s famous “five gallons of mayonnaise!”, I can be lured in by a deal that I later regret. GFS is the store that opened near me; they’re a food warehouse that is open to the public. Traditional warehouse stores (Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s) carry some of these items some of …

Road Trip: Vitamix Factory Outlet Store

  Vitamix – the blender of the pros. When I visit a smoothie shop, they have a line of Viatamix blenders, each with a noise reducing cover. My health food store uses them to make shots of wheatgrass juice.  If you know a Raw Food fanatic, someone who believes cooking food kills nutrients, I’ll bet they have a Vitamix on a pedestal in their kitchen. I’m a gadget hound. I always want bigger and better. This is a bad thing in the kitchen, because good enough is usually good enough. But I keep looking for an excuse to trade up. My blender was the exception. I use a blender exclusively for frozen margaritas. Everything else goes in the food processor, or I use a stick blender. My wife and kids, however, are smoothie fiends. They make them every chance they get, and twice on weekends. My wife hinted to me that she wouldn’t mind a better blender…especially since she was taking classes with someone who worked for Vitamix. That’s how I found out the Vitamix factory …

Road Trip: Penzeys Spices

Looking for great spices in Northeastern Ohio? Make a trip to Penzeys Spices in Woodmere. I’ve bought mail order spices from Penzeys for years, and they finally opened a store close enough to drive to.Penzeys is a national chain – there may be one located near you. If not, check out Penzeys.com, or get on the catalog mailing list. Penzeys carries every herb and spice I’ve ever looked for, and they are always fresh, due to the store’s high turnover. I’ve complained about expensive spices before; jars of spices at Penzeys are about the same price as jars in the supermarket. But Penzeys also sells their spices in bags, by weight, which brings the prices down dramatically. I buy a jar of spices the first time, then just buy bags to refill the jar when I need it. Penzeys Spices28859 Chagrin BoulevardWoodmere, OH 216.839.0777Penzeys.com Woodmere is southeast of Cleveland, and just east of Beachwood. It’s about a 30 minute drive North of Akron. Penzeys is in the same shopping plaza as Sur La Table and Trader …

Road Trip: Sherman Provision

Looking for pork in the Akron area? Sherman Provisions is worth a trip. From simple cuts like pork loin and Boston butt, through pork jowls, and trotters, neck bones and pork belly. They even have whole pig heads available in their meat case. And, if you need a whole pig, give them a call – they can fill the order with at least week’s notice. It’s not just pork, they are a full service butcher. Sherman’s has homemade sausage, aged beef, fresh chicken, a wide variety of smoked meats, and a small but exotic international dry goods section.*I think the dry goods are mainly Eastern European, but I don’t recognize the language on the packages. If you know the nationality (nationalities?) of their international section, please tell me in the comments! Sherman Provision3998 Johnson RoadNorton, OH 44203330.825.2711ShermanProvision.com My Top 5 list:1. Pork: I was in hog heaven. Whole loins, Boston butts, spare ribs, entire pork shoulders with the skin on. Sides of pork belly, both cured for bacon and uncured. Did I mention the pig …

Fabulous Food Show Spring 2012

I had a great time at the Fabulous Food Show at the IX Center in Cleveland last weekend. The entire show was focused on grilling, and I was in heaven as I wandered around the show floor. Weber grills was the main sponsor, and everywhere I turned there was another grill to see. I got to check out the huge 22 inch smokey mountain smoker, the platinum kettle, with its two attached shelves that look like wings, and the massive ranch kettle, that I can barely reach my arms across.The only grill they didn’t have out on the floor was the new Summit Grill Center. I know it is only slightly different from my faithful Summit 650. I still have lust in my heart whenever I saw the celebrity chefs use one on stage. There was a lot of fun stuff to see and do (wine tasting, salt blocks for the grill, and boneless rib sandwiches were my favorites), but I’m going to concentrate on the highlight of the show, the celebrity guests.I want to apologize …

Road Trip: Hana Asian Market

  [Update 2018-01-01:] Hana Asain Market is closed *My Road Trip posts look at stores for home cooks in the Akron area, my home town. If you don’t live in Northeast Ohio, seek out your local ethnic and gourmet markets. You can travel around the world without leaving your city! Hana Asian Market, in the Merriman Valley area of Akron, has a great selection of Asian groceries. They specialize in Japanese and Korean food, but they have a good selection of Chinese, Thai, and Indian ingredients as well. I’ve been stopping in this store a lot as I work on various Korean and Japanese recipes – they have everything I need, and they are happy to help when I can’t find what I’m looking for. (Which is often – part of the fun of cooking from another culture is trying to figure out what, for example, shichimi togarashi might look like.) Hana Asian Market also has a good selection of homemade Japanese and Korean food. There is always homemade kimchi in the refrigerator case; on Tuesday and …

Steven Raichlen and Jamie Purviance at the Spring 2012 Fabulous Food Show

Two of my grilling influences, Steven Raichlen and Jamie Purviance, will be at the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland on April 28th and 29th. Oh, and some guys named Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay will also be there. Steven Raichlen is the author of the Barbecue! Bible series of cookbooks, and host of Primal Grill on PBS. Jamie Purviance is the author of Weber’s grilling cookbooks. No pressure, right? I’m worried I’ll do a remake of The Chris Farley Show, and spend the whole time babbling about how awesome they are. And…the event is sponsored by Weber, including a Weber Grilling Pavilion. I am so there. Tickets start at $25, and get you access to one of the celebrity chef’s performances – luckily, Jamie Purviance’s shows are general admission, so I don’t have to pay extra. Because I am paying extra for a VIP ticket to do a meet and greet with Steven Raichlen on Saturday. Mr. Raichlen? Remember when you did that recipe with the beef on the rotisserie? That was so awesome… The Fabulous …

Road Trip: Mustard Seed Market

Mustard Seed Market is my local health food store. While I’m not into “health” food, I am into good food, and they have plenty of that.  If you want good vegetables, you go to the store that caters to vegetarians.**It took me a while to figure that connection out.  Yes, I can be a bit dense sometimes… The more I’ve learned about eating ethically and locally, the more impressed I’ve been with Mustard Seed. Sure, I feel out of place there sometimes*, but they care about their food.  I’ve found that this matters – I can taste the difference in the ingredients I buy there.*Frankly, the “supplements” aisle scares me. The level of pseudo-science and unsupported claims it has makes me avoid walking down it. It’s like I’m afraid I’ll get converted, or something. But I’m willing to put up with it if I can get good fruit, vegetables, and ethically raised meat. Mustard Seed MarketWest Market Plaza3885 West Market StreetAkron, OH 44333330-666-7333mustardseedmarket.com My top five list of favorite things they sell are, in no particular …

Road Trip: Szalay’s Sweet Corn Farm

Szalay’s Sweet Corn Farm is my favorite place in Akron, when late summer comes and the sweet corn starts rolling in.  Located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, they specialize in sweet corn, but have a ton of other vegetables.* *Some of their vegetables are locally grown, and some aren’t any different from what you get at the grocery store.  If that matters to you, just make sure you check their signs to see “fresh picked” or “local.”  Their corn is always grown in Ohio, though some comes from fields they have South of Akron so they can start the season a little early. Unlike some farmer’s markets, they are open every day of the week.  With sweet corn, this really matters.  You want to eat sweet corn as soon as possible the day it is picked, because it starts converting its sugar into starch.  I make a special trip down to Szalay’s on the day I want to cook my corn. Szalay’s Sweet Corn Farm4563 Riverview RoadPeninsula, OH 44264330-657-2727Hours: Open daily, 9am-7pm, mid June …

Road Trip: West Point Market

UPDATE 2015-12-31: West Point Market is closed. Sigh. West Point Market is the original, and best, gourmet grocery store in Akron.  When I first got into cooking, this was where I went when I couldn’t find an ingredient at my local megamart. OK, truth be told, I started going here because of their wine department.  It’s amazing.  I kept coming for the gourmet groceries. I don’t shop here for all my groceries.  They are more expensive than other stores in the area.  That’s because buying the best is never cheap.   If the quality of the ingredients really matter, this is usually the first place I think of. An example: A friend recently asked where I would go to get heirloom tomatoes.  It’s a little early in the year for them in Northeastern Ohio (it’s early July), so I was going to suggest they try a different recipe that doesn’t need them.  Then I remembered West Point.  If anyone would have decent tomatoes out of season, they would. Sure enough, they had them. CLOSED: West Point Market 1711 W Market St Akron, OH 330-864-2151‎ …

Ethnic and Gourmet Markets in Akron

Here is my list of Akron area stores that a home cook should know about. They include ethnic and gourmet grocery stores, and high end cookware suppliers. I’ve shopped at every one of these stores, most of them many times, because of the quality of the ingredients you can get at them. I also have a list of shops that are a short drive from Akron, and are worth the trip.If you know of any other ethnic or gourmet markets in the Akron area, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. Thanks! Akron area Sherman Provision (map) Full service butcher. (Tell Mike and Mauri that I said “Hi!”) (Here are my road trip notes: Sherman Provision) 4002 Johnson Road Norton, OH 44203 (330) 825-2711 ShermanProvision.com‎   DeViti’s Italian Market (map) Italian grocery, great meat and deli counter (Here are my road trip notes) 560 E Tallmadge Ave Akron, OH 44310 (330) 535-2626 DeVitis.com‎   Asian Food Market (map) Multi-asian grocery, specializes in Korean and Japanese (Here are my road trip notes) …

Road Trip: Cleveland CAM Asia Market

It’s Technology Free week, where we try to get the kids to detox from the TV, Wii and iPhone.**Yes, I’m cheating. Shhh. **[Note 4/30/2009]…and I got busted while I was posting this. Ben caught me, and said “Dad! You’re using the computer!” I love going to Cleveland Asia Market. (website here) It has the best part of going to an ethnic store – you get to feel like you’re a world traveller, without needing a passport. And! It has good lighting, wide aisles, and signs in English and Chinese.**At least I think they’re Chinese. I feel very provincial by not knowing what language they’re in. Which reminds me of a joke: Q: What do you call someone who speaks two languages?A: BilingualQ: What do you call someone who speaks one language?A: American I’ll be here all week – drive safely, and don’t forget to tip your waitress. [Added 4/30/09]: Joking aside, having the price tags under every item in English helps out a lot. A common problem I have in Asian grocery stores is identifying …

Road Trip: La Michoacana mexican grocery store

View Larger Map [Update 9/15/2012 – La Michoacana is now La Chiquita Latinos Market. It’s in the same location, with a new paint job, but has added a butcher counter in the back. Otherwise, everything I say below still applies.] This is the first of a series of posts I’m going to do on food shopping in my neck of the woods, the Akron, Ohio area. When I started cooking ten years ago,* you had to find your ethnic grocery to get ingredients if your cooking was the least bit adventurous. Nowadays, your typical American megamart has a pretty good international section, and you can get by pretty well if that’s all you have access to. *Wow – it’s been that long? Still, you should search out your local ethnic stores. I’m a big fan of ethnic grocery stores. You get to travel to another culture, without leaving your city. Ingredients will be cheaper, and better quality. Their customers are usually recent immigrants, who know what’s good and what’s not. And, they don’t want to …