I am a very blessed person.
I have an amazing wife who is expecting our second child very soon, a daughter who is quickly becoming a wonderful young lady, parents who have supported my every decision, in-laws who are probably my biggest fans and a sister who has given me two awesome nephews. I have never been one to have a lot of friends, but I would have to say the ones I have are the best.
Ironically enough I have two friends who share the same name as me and last summer we had an opportunity that we will never forget. Nate Bissell, known as “Sweet Nate,” is becoming an Ohio Maple legend, and had a dream of bringing a TV crew to Ashtabula County. How he did this I am not sure, but one sunny morning in July, I had 3 guys in a drop-top Cadillac pull into Na*Kyrsie. They stagger out of the car and comment on how they had a run in with another Nate the previous night. We’ll call him “Smokey Nate” from this day forward.
You have to be careful with Smokey, he has a BBQ restaurant in the Harbor with a massive selection of craft beers. Smokey is a talker, conversations with him are always very deep and the excitement is very high. When you sit down with Smokey in his fine establishment, you usually end up having 1 craft beer more than you should. You can’t help it, he’s the type of guy you just want to sit down and talk with while sipping on a delicious craft brew. So, when the crew made a comment about being with Smokey the night before and asking for coffee, I knew exactly what had happened. Don’t hold this against him, he’s the kind of guy you just want to unwind with and let the conversation unfold.
I was with my buddies “Sweet” and “Smokey” last night to see something I never dreamed I would be able to see…a preview of Road Trip Masters Season 2, episode 3. The show gave a wonderful representation of our County and my wonderful friends. I urge you to tune in Saturday morning, January 27th at 5am on The Discovery Channel (or set your DVR).
“Nick and Brian head off to Ashtabula County, Ohio to follow up on a fan email where they find out what bourbon barrel maple syrup is all about; following the boys as they follow the legend and lure of the 3 Nate’s of Ashtabula County.”
Kristen and I spent quite a bit of time with Nick and Brian from RTM, and what I discovered was two normal guys spending their life savings following a dream of producing a national TV show. I would say they accomplished this and it’s an inspiration to see their hard work pay off. Please support the efforts of Road Trip Masters, watch the show and send Nick and Brian some love for showcasing the wonderful County where we live!
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!
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!
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.
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”
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.
As 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.