As the seasons come and go so does our menu…

Last month I shared our plan for Crosswinds’ menus over the next year and I would like to take a few minutes of your time to go over a few things that are very special to me and my team.  The average restaurant takes 2 months to compose a new menu, to experiment and get everything just right.  With the Ohio seasons, we only have about 2 weeks in comparison. If we drag our feet, the crop we had our heart set on will vanish.  Timing, thinking ahead, communication with growers and fast execution are the keys to menu success!

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Finishing what I started

It’s been a while since I’ve written in this blog, but there is a good reason.

I had a friend named Donny Taylor who designed this website for us with his wife Molly. This blog was one of his ideas. I wrote the first one, he wrote the next two. When he approached me about a blog I was quite hesitant as I was not sure if I had the discipline nor the patience to do this every month – but he assured me it would get done. Donny was a good friend and one of the few people that truly understood my mission with food. We were taking photos at Miller Livestock one day. The next thing I knew, Aaron Miller put Donny in the middle of a pasture with some cattle. Aaron and I remember taking this photo vividly. You need to know that Donny was not a farmer, but more of a city-boy. Every time Aaron sees it he shakes his head. We laugh thinking about how calm, yet nervous Donny was. There is a steer in this picture that Donny was not too fond of, but I feel that moment; making eye contact with this steer, through the camera, was Donny’s AHA moment!

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Seam Butchery and Butcher’s Cut Thursdays at Crosswinds Grille in Geneva, Ohio.

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Photography by Concept Pop

Seam butchery is a traditional European technique used to butcher animals. The idea behind seam butchery is to preserve individual muscles or muscle groups rather than just chopping up the animal. Additionally, this technique wastes very little of the animal, as meat is removed right up to the bone. This type of butchering makes sense because different muscles ideally cook at different temperatures. Cutting up muscle groups that cook similarly enables a chef to cook the piece of meat to perfection rather than over cooking some parts and under cooking others.

To get a better understanding of how Crosswinds Grille incorporates seam butchery to their menu I went straight to the chef Nate Fagnilli.

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Treasures of the Sea: Three local chefs pay homage to Lauri & Karen Maki of Hil-Mak Seafood. “The Ashtabula County fish monger and his lady”

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Photography by Concept Pop

We have a very special business at the top of Bridge Street called Hil-Mak Seafood owned and operated by Karen and Lauri Maki. I’ve known these two for over half my life and they’ve been supplying us with fresh fish since 2005. Lauri has been a great mentor to me and when I decided to make a career change, he welcomed me in to his fish market every Tuesday to teach me how to cut fish. In my eyes, Lauri Maki is a legend and a huge asset for supplying us with the freshest fish possible.

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The journey to northeast Ohio farm to table: from eggs to sides of beef to seam butchering

blog_photoAs I’m making my annual biweekly trip to Kinsman, Ohio this morning, I started reminiscing and thinking how far we have come with the farm to table movement.   Sometime in the winter/spring of 2011 I met a guy named Kip Amerin who raised laying hens and meat chickens in Andover.  Kip was our very first farmer that we bought directly from and we had an agreement to buy some eggs and meat chickens in the summer when they came to size.

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