Eat

I Just Ate One of the Best Meals of My Life…In Rural Ohio

OK, so over the years I've been a little obnoxious about Ohio. Mostly because it refuses to let me have my luggage and makes my family throw up, but also because it's freezing whenever I visit it. And flat. (And yes, it also has amazing antiquing and Quaker Steak 'n' Lube and all sorts of other things I love, but whatever: 10-hour journeys with children make me grumpy and trips to Ohio always involve 10-hour journeys with children, so I'm grumpy. Sue me.)

One unexpected byproduct of these trips: I've discovered that the rural and suburban areas around Cleveland have some seriously good food. (I discovered this because my father-in-law is deeply invested in the quest to cement his status as Awesomest Father-In-Law Ever Who Feeds His Daughter-In-Law Awesome Food.) Sure, I've had terrible, horrible garlic-pickled eggs and bologna-slab sandwiches at (the otherwise very cool) Lehman's Hardware Store, but I've also eaten artisanal pizza at Gervasi Vineyard, phenomenal seafood at the Main Street Grille in downtown North Canton, and perfect aged Swiss at Guggisberg Cheese. So I think it's safe to say that I'm respectably well-versed in how truly excellent the food around here can be.

I've also been lucky enough to have the chance to eat at some of the very best restaurants on the planet. Nobu; Blue Ribbon; Daniel; Blue Hill Farm. I may not really know what I'm talking about when it comes to *why* a restaurant is remarkable - I vastly prefer Burger King Whopper Juniors to Minetta Tavern's Black Label Burger, so it's safe my palate couldn't be called the "refined" sort - but what I can say is whether a restaurant's food is delicious. To me.

RECIPES

Just a Few Cozy Recipes to Get You Through the Rest of 2017

Yesterday a news alert from PopSugar dinged my phone, announcing that I could totally cure my holiday "food hangover." With these seven healthy meals!

PopSugar, I love you, I do, but I have a question: WHY, exactly, might I want to cure my holiday food hangover when it happens to still technically be "the holidays"? And beyond that - speaking as someone who has worked in many, many bars over the years and who knows that how you fix alcohol-related misery is with more alcohol - you know how you *actually* cure a food hangover?

With butter.

SWEETS

…At Least There Were Muffins?

Christmas trees! And MUFFINS! Glorious.

This year, the decorating process was a little…ahh…rough. I’d spent the entire previous day flat on my back with the plague, and when I emerged from my cave-bedroom I wasn’t exactly a bundle of joy. But ornaments and lights have a way of making you feel - if not “peppy,” perhaps - certainly festive.

As do muffins.

ENTREES

I Have Conquered The Paella

Okay, so I had help. A lot of it. And okay, so maybe my primary contribution was to hover around my paella-knowledgeable friends taking photographs and taste-testing ingredients just to make sure nothing was poisonous, rather than actually "cooking." But still.

The first time I ate paella was in Barcelona, which seems like the right place to have your first experience, except mine was kind of traumatic. The bowl arrived and I gave it a stir, and all of a sudden the creature from the black lagoon came launching up at me out of the depths, all claws and tentacles and such. (Spoiler: it was a crawfish. But when you do not expect to see a crawfish and are surprised by one in your food, terror is a totally acceptable reaction to have. Those are scary little fuckers.) I've never tried making it myself because it looks complicated, and saffron is expensive, and it seems like the kind of dish that should be made from a recipe handed down from a relative.

Enter: my friend Erin, whose mother-in-law Linda has a family recipe, and who just so happened to be in town last weekend.