There was a time before sliders became a ubiquitous menu item that the term was a somewhat derogatory way of referring to White Castle’s burgers. It was said that the chain’s burgers were so greasy that they just slid down your throat.
But why am I bringing this up now and in this forum? Well, today is National Sliders Day, and to celebrate, White Castle is giving away two free burgers per person via this coupon. (They now have other options besides the traditional slider, including a veggie version.) And though the franchise was founded in Wichita, Kansas, the company has been based in Columbus, Ohio since moving their corporate headquarters there in 1936. While several Brooklyn locations have closed, most notably those in Williamsburg and Bed Stuy, there are still a few White Castles left in New York City, including one on Eighth Avenue and 36th Street in Manhattan. Just be sure when you enjoy those little bundles of greasy goodness today that you spare a thought for the state from which they came.
Being Ohio-proud and, more specifically, Columbus-proud, I’m really happy to see success stories like that of Jeni Britton Bauer, especially since her husband and I used to play basketball together on a regular basis. She is becoming something of a household name and her ice cream can be more widely found throughout New York City since I first wrote about where to find it a few years ago. With one cookbook already under her wing, Jeni has just authored a second, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, whose recipes are not confined to just ice cream, but include baked items like hot brown Bettys, berry cobblers, empanadas, and corn fritters.
To promote the new tome, Jeni is on a book tour and this evening makes a stop in Brooklyn. At 6:30pm, she’ll be hosting an ice cream party at the Brooklyn Kitchen. There will be a sundae bar, and they’ll be making boozy ice cream floats with beer and gin. And, of course, the book will be available for purchase and signing. Tickets are still available. She will also be at Seersucker tomorrow at 6pm, where they’ll be serving ginger frozen yogurt and moonshine with corn syrup custard and pecans.
We all like the comforts of home, so I was understandably excited to read in Gothamist recently that Cincinnati-based Graeter’s Ice Cream would now be carried at Fairway, making two of Ohio’s best ice creams (the other being Jeni’s) now available in the Big Apple. As it turns out, Graeter’s has been available in New York at Key Food since last summer and D’Agostino since last November, but as neither of those supermarket chains is in my neck of the woods, it’s news to me. Anyway, the Red Hook Fairway is nearby, and I picked up a pint this past week for the very Ohio-like price of $4.99.
Louis and Regina Graeter started the business in 1870. Their descendants have continued making their ice cream the same way, using the French pot method which allows for only two gallons to be made at a time and makes ice cream so thick it must be hand-packed. To say it’s tasty is an understatement, and fortunately for you if you haven’t had the pleasure of eating some, Graeter’s has given us some coupons for free pints, which we will be giving away in the free raffle at our Monthly Mixer next week.
While most people tend to think of New York or Chicago when it comes to pizza, Ohio is not without its share of great pizza. Having grown up with a member of the Iacono family, I can attest to the fact that there are a great many mom-and-pop shops making pies of a superb quality. Hell, even some of the regional chains ain’t bad at all!
Carlo Caponi grew up in Akron in a pizza-making family. When he came to New York to attend law school, he naturally sought out the city’s great pizza parlors. His culinary explorations eventually led to a desire to share his knowledge, so with a childhood friend, he created an iOS app, Pie Nearby. Available for download for $1.99, the app helps users find quality pizza wherever they are in the five boroughs. Caponi, who sampled all the pizza rated in the app, answered some questions via email.
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As an Iron Chef and now co-host of food-centric daytime television show The Chew, Michael Symon is perhaps the most renowned chef Cleveland has ever produced. The charismatic cook, who still operates Lola, Lolita, and the B-Spot burger chain in Cleveland (as well as Detroit’s Roast), now splits his time between the Big Apple and his plummy hometown. As Cleveland, like much of the Midwest, has always been a meat and potatoes kind of town, it seems appropriate that Symon’s second cookbook is the meat-centric Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers. At 256 pages, the book includes not only such recipes as Ribs with Cleveland BBQ Sauce, Lamb Moussaka, and Bacon-Wrapped Rabbit Legs, but also information on cuts and techniques to help readers at the meat counter and in the kitchen.
Symon will be signing copies of Carnivore at the Columbus Circle location of Williams-Sonoma today at 5:30.
On this date in 1969, Michael Symon was born in Cleveland. The chef, who graduated from St. Edward High School in Lakewood before attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, opened his first restaurant, Lola, in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland in 1997. The restaurant, which was named one of the best in America by Gourmet, was later reinvented as the slightly more casual Lolita, and Symon moved his original concept downtown. Lola and Symon were featured in the Cleveland episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, but Symon received even greater national attention when he competed on Next Iron Chef in 2007. He had previously competed on Iron Chef America and lost (to Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto in Battle Asparagus) in 2005, but this time he was victorious, thus becoming an Iron Chef himself.
In addition, to Lola and Lolita, Symon operates a local chain of burger bars in Cleveland called B Spot, as well as Roast in Detroit. He opened Parea, an upscale Greek restaurant in New York in 2006, but it was short-lived, closing the next year. Last year, the charismatic chef joined fellow Iron Chef Mario Batali, among others, as a host of The Chew, a food-centric weekday daytime television show on ABC. With the daily show filming in New York, Symon now splits his time between Cleveland and the Big Apple, reportedly buying a luxury penthouse in Soho in April. Symon’s second cookbook, Carnivore, is due out in October. Today he is 43.
I’ve sung the praises of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and told you where you can find pints of this gourmet stuff being exported from Columbus to New York City. This week, Ms. Britton Bauer’s wares are being scooped for free out of her Treats Truck, which will be parked outside of many of the same locations. She is starting her tour of New York as I type this, as a matter of a fact, at Dean & DeLuca’s Upper Eastside location at 1150 Madison Avenue. She will make two more stops in Manhattan today and tomorrow, before moving out to Brooklyn for the rest of the week. Get the full schedule here, and check out the tour trailer below.