Nov 09

Cleveland’s Lola

Today's Charcuterie

Today's Charcuterie

Michael Symon is a master, and Cleveland is his muse. The interior of Lola restaurant reflects the industrial condition of the city and the people with warm, metallic tones and angular decor. Symon’s menu is about refined, rustic flavors, like his Braised Berkshire “Bacon” which is essentially a huge chunk of bacon with citrus, ginger, and carrot flavors. The creaminess of the fat on the cut mixes perfectly with the acid of apple and orange. When I asked the waiter to bring me the best entree on the menu, he delivered an unbelievably smooth and tangy goat cheese “mac’n'cheese” with rosemary chicken. The recipe can be found on Food Network’s site.

Braised "Bacon"

Braised "Bacon"

By far, the most enjoyable part of the meal was the first impression: Today’s Charcuterie. Each of the samples was perfectly cured, and the pate was particularly savory. The pickles were sour, which is how I prefer them, and the mustard was zippy. All were paired with cripsy, buttery mini-toasts: the perfect platform for building your own interesting flavor combos.

So if you find yourself in Downtown Cleveland, Lola is an absolute must:

2058 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH? – (216) 621-5652?


Nov 09

Ultimate Bacon Chocolate Showdown Round 2: Candy Making

Bacon PB Cups 1

For those of you who have been following, my indecisive mind can’t determine which of the Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bars I like more: Milk or Dark chocolate. In an attempt to make a decision, I have put the bars through a series of side-by-side tests to see how they measure up. This week’s test was in the spirit of Halloween: Candy Making.

I wanted to see how each of the bars could be used to create other chocolate confections. After flipping through countless candy recipes, I decided on something simple, classic, and delicious: peanut butter cups. Continue reading →


Oct 09

Ultimate Bacon Chocolate Showdown: Round 1


The new Vosges Haut Chocolate Bar has come into my possession recently (due to the discovery of a store location near my office). The Mo’s Dark Bacon Bar is new from Haut Chocolatier Katrina Markoff, while her original Mo’s Bacon Bar done in milk chocolate has been around for a while. I fell in love with the Original Mo’s bar last winter, and now that the new one is out, I’m completely torn between my devotion to my first love, and its updated counterpart. The only way to decide: Ultimate Bacon Chocolate Showdown. Two bars, three rounds, three different challenges.

Round 1: Taste Test


Mo’s Bacon Bar


*Deliciously Creamy, well-tempered chocolate that melts in your mouth

*Salted perfectly–not overwhelming even though the bacon is salty and the bar has salt in it.

*The mild taste of the milk chocolate allows theĀ  smokiness of the bacon to really come through in every bite.


*Milk chocolate texture (slightly less crisp, melts easier)

*The extra cream makes the bar less refreshing. It sticks in your mouth a bit longer.

Mo’s Dark Bacon Bar


*Dark chocolate is better for you! Dark chocolate contains a higher level of antioxidants.

*This bar has a bit more flavor complexity-the different flavors of the dark chocolate play off of the other ingredients in interesting ways.

*Salt is better on dark chocolate. It just is. You rarely find salted caramels covered in milk chocolate that are as good as the ones encased in a darker envelope.


*The richness of the chocolate can sometimes overwhelm the bacon, although you still get that smoky taste every time you hit a crunchy bit.

The next round for both of these bars: how well they integrate into recipes. Help us with Round 2 by posting your recipes using your favorite Mo’s Bar!

Tell us which bar you prefer!

(Btw, please excuse the cheesy graphic…just a goofy rainy day…all images courtesy of Vosges Haut Chocolate)