All posts filed under: Road trip

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

*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 Wednesday there are freshly made dishes to go. …

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 …

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 …