True Blood fans, you are not alone. Ruth Levine, the chef and owner of the popular Bistro 185 (991 East 185th St., 216-481-9635, bistro185.com), has gotten so swept up in the HBO series that she's planned a True Blood Dinner. Levine and company will feature a meal composed entirely of red dishes and libations, inspired both by the show's content and southern setting. The six-course meal will include shrimp fritters, jambalaya with red beans and rice, roasted red beet and pomegranate salad, beef tenderloin with red wine sauce, and red velvet cake. It takes place at 6:30 p.m. on October 27. Cost is $65 per person, plus tax and tip, but diners who donate blood with the American Red Cross between now and then will earn a $25 gift certificate to be used on a future visit. Call the restaurant for details and to make reservations.
It's not too early to start mapping out a strategy for attacking this year's Cleveland Restaurant Week, which lasts, curiously enough, for two weeks. Held annually from November 1 through 14, the event continues to swell year after year. Last year approximately 50 restaurants took part; this year there will be close to 90. Participating eateries will offer specially priced three-course dinners for $30, though some will tweak the concept with more courses or slightly different deals. Some restaurants also will be offering special lunch deals. Reservations are always a good idea; the entire list of participating restaurants can be found online at clevelandindependents.com.
Jeni Britton Bauer, owner of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (jenisicecreams.com), says she has received so much support for her gourmet products in Northeast Ohio that she is rewarding us with the first retail shop outside Columbus. Slated to open sometime this winter, Jeni's will take up residence on North Main St. in Chagrin Falls, adjacent to Starbucks. "We look for walking traffic," Bauer explains. "Chagrin Falls reflects the style of neighborhoods in Columbus that we operate in." Available at grocery stores and on the menus of fine restaurants, Jeni's is an ultra-premium ice cream made from local and artisanal products. Ingredients include Ohio cream, apple butter, maple syrup, and seasonal produce. The 1,200-square-foot shop will be rustic-chic, adds Bauer, with Ohio barnwood accents and a chef-table-style ice cream bar.
Already in full swing, Cleveland Beer Week rolls along this week with countless keg tastings, beer-themed dinners, brewery tours, and brewer visits. But the whole blessed affair comes to a tasteful head this Saturday, October 23, at BREWzilla: A Monster of a Beer Tasting, which will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Galleria (1301 East Ninth St.) This official closing event will feature beer from 80 some breweries, plus loads of food. Tickets cost $50. For info or tickets visitclevelandbeerweek.org
Tartine Bistro (19110 Old Detroit Rd. in Rocky River, 440-331-0800, tartinebistro.com), John McDonnell's stellar French bistro, has added Sunday prix fixe suppers to its lineup. The three-course meal costs just $25 and includes a diner's choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert.