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Archive for December, 2007

Last Friday night Joe and I decided to try a new restaurant.  We had been talking about trying a Korean restaurant in Cleveland ever since we went to this great Korean Restaurant in Los Angeles Korea Town earlier this year.  I did a little research online and only came across two Korean restaurant options in Cleveland: Seoul Hot Pot and Korea House.  We chose Seoul Hot Pot at 3709 Payne Ave., Cleveland, OH 44114.

The restaurant looks a bit seedy from the outside, but it is actually quite cozy on the inside.  Parking is limited, we parked in the lot across the street.  This restaurant has an interesting story, it used to be a pizza place.  When the current Korean owners purchased the pizza place they were not sure if Americans would be interested in Korean food.  They originally learned how to cook Italian and kept the place as an Italian restaurant.  Then, many local Koreans and exchange students in the area began asking the owners to cook their favorite Korean dishes.  For a period of time, they offered both Italian and Korean food on the menu.  The owners soon realized that both Americans and Koreans had more  interest in the Korean food, so now the menu is Korean only.

Joe and I ordered the more popular Korean dishes.  Joe got the bulgogi, which was thinly sliced pieces of marinated beef and vegetables.  The bulgogi also comes with an assortment of side dishes, refered to as Banchon in Korean.  The Banchon inlcudes kimchees, kung namul (bean sprouts), mook (a jello made out of acorn powder), soybeans in a soy sauce marinade, and more. Unfortunately, we did not sit at table with a built in grill, where you would normally grill the bulgogi at your table right in front of you.  We will definitely be back and sit at a grill table next time.

I ordered the Bibimbap (“mixed rice”), which is rice topped with vegetables, beef and egg, and served with a dollop of chili pepper paste.  It was so delicious!  I visited South Korean back in 2000 and stayed with a host family who cooked me homemade Bibimbap and the Seoul Hot Pot’s version was just as good.

Not only is the food excellent, but the service was also great.  There was only one young girl waiting on all the tables in the restaurant.  She was friendly and attentive.

I highly recommend Seoul Hot Pot for a fun food experience.  Try this place for something different.  And, the food is very healthy!

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Matzo Ball SoupMy familiy celebrated another fun and delicious Hanukah dinner on December 9th.  I always look forward to Hanukah dinner, even more than Thanksgiving!  I would take a brisket, potato pancakes and a big bowl of matzo ball soup over turkey and stuffing anyday!

This year’s menu was similar to all the rest, why mess with perfection.  We start off with my mom’s matzo ball soup.  It is the perfect comfort food.  I am proud to say that I can now make this soup just as well as my mom.

Soup 

1 package of chicken thighs (about 4-6 thighs)
1 whole onion
3 stalks celery, quartered
5 carrots, quartered
4 chicken boulion cubes
Salt & pepper

Matzo Balls

After experimenting with many different matzo ball recipes, we still love the Manischewitz mix better than any other matzo ball!  Just follow the directions on the package.

1 box Manischewitz Matzo Ball Mix
2eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add all ingredients to 2 1/2 quarts cold water, bring to boil.  Cook 1 to 1-1/2 hours until chicken is tender.  Remove chicken and pull chicken and skin from bone.   Add chicken, minus skin and bone, back into the pot.

Turn the heat up, so that the soup comes to a boil.  Wet hands and form matzo ball batter into balls approximately 1 inch in diameter.  Drop into boiling soup, cover tightly.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

I like to eat my matzo ball soup with noodles.  Try the Manischewitz egg noddles.  They come in a few different sizes and are perfect with this soup.

I hope you all enjoy the matzo ball soup that I grew up eating and still crave today!

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Joe and I are always complaining about the lack of healthy, yet, fast options for food near our home.  Then, one day we were driving down Ridge Road, actually looking for a Lebanese restaurant we saw advertised in a local coupon mailer, and we came across Sittoo’s.  It looked nice from the outside, so we decided to turn around and go back to try it out.  That was a great decision!

We discovered that Sittoo’s is owned by the same family who owns Aladdin’s Eatery.  This is their faster food, lower cost version of Lebanese food.   The location in Parma at 5870 Ridge Road is the first of 10 locations planned for the Greater Cleveland area in the next 5 years.  I hear that Sittoo’s means “grandma’s” in Lebanese.  So far, I have read nothing but great reveiws for Sittoo’s.  Here is a little about our experiences.

Joe and I have ordered carry out from Sittoo’s 3 or 4 times, now.  Each time the food has been fresh and flavorful.  The restuarant itself is bright and clean, which is always nice to see.  The Baba (puree of chargrilled eggplant, tahini, garlic and lemon) is delicious and so cheap at $2.35 for a small, which is enough for two people.  I have had their lamb roll, which was cooked perfectly, as the lamb was very tender and juicy.  Today I ordered the Business Lunch Special for only $4.95.  It inlcudes Shish Kebob, Kafta Kebob, Chicken Shwarma and Falaffel served over rice pilaf, salad and pita bread.  Delicious, healthy and filling.  Joe ordered the Tawook Entree ($6.25) for the 2nd time in a row, which inlcudes grilled, marinated chicken served with rice pilaf, salad and pita bread.

So, if you are in the Parma area and looking for a healthy lunch or dinner option, try Sittoo’s!

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Small servings are trendy

Food trends have always interested me.  There are the casseroles, or “covered dish” of the 1950’s.   Of course, the fondue parties of the 1970’s.  And, today it’s the small plate of the 2007’s.  Check out this article recently featured on Yahoo!: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071129/lf_nm_life/food_trends_dc.

After years of big portions and big bellies, we really needed a food trend like this.  Now, I  understand that this is just that…a trend.  But, maybe this trend will make even a few people realize that the portion sizes most Americans eat are absolutely ridiculous.  Of course, I am even guilty of way too big portion sizes, but it’s called a “doggy bag”.  Too many people have the “clean plate” syndrome.

I am one of those people who always has a difficult time deciding on just one entree when going out to eat.  I love this food trend, because I can order 2 or 3 small plates and try multiple entrees!  Tasting menus, tapas and small plates are just fun.  Go to a restaurant with this style of cuisine and take some friends.  Order lots of plates and everyone can try a few bites of all the food.

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