Sunday, July 11, 2010


Now that I'm fairly certain my folks will not be visiting with me this summer, I had to make the trek to Belgrade Gardens on my own for a wonderful greasy, Barberton-style dinner. For the first time EVER I went on my own and also for the first time in nearly 45 years of eating their chicken dinners I ordered something else! It was a Friday and the fish really tempted me and the waitress ensured me that it was excellent. So I thought long and hard and took the plunge by ordering the fish and chicken combo meal (you didn't really think I'd NOT order chicken at all, right?) And hey, quel suprise, it was really good. As usual there was enough food on the plate for 3 meals but I really made a good effort to eat what I could while the chicken and fish were both hot out of the boiling lard. Pretty darned yummy! Of course there was chicken and fries left for lunch the next day and fish and fries left for the day after that. Overall, a good stop for dinner in order to quench that Barberton chicken craving I'd been nursing for over 6 months. Oh too.

While I was there I took a good look around and was dismayed to only find 3 other tables with patrons. I overheard the cashier chatting with a departing patron lamenting that if business did not pick up, ownership was considering closing the location. In this economy there are plenty of places going out of business, but I know a lot of people that would miss Belgrade Gardens if it was gone.

In an upcoming blog I will talk a bit about the 3/50 Project and Eat Down The Street.  Please look for that soon and I have definately identified Belgrade Gardens as one of my Eat Down The Street restaurants.  Please join me in that effort by spending some of your dollars to help support a local business.


I've taken on a project for my media group to visit and document local food trends.  Well, not really trends, but something along the lines of finding out more about food grown and produceD locally and then how we prepare that food.   Not that this will be an unpleasant task since food is one of my favorite topics, but I am struggling a bit on just how to do this. I think a series of short stories on foods grown locally is my overall theme but where it goes from there will be up for grabs. I've already had quite a lot of good advice and some leads on folks who are far more passionate about food than I am, so it feels as though this will be a popular topic. And since wine and beer are becoming nearly as trendy as food, encompassing those topics should prove just as appropriate. I'll be heading out to some local farms, dairies, wineries etc and tracing their products to local tables. If any of you know of a business that should be included, do not hesitate to let me know.


It's getting about that time in the garden when things begin to ripen. Last week Cathy picked (and prompty ate) the first ripe yellow cherry tomato in the plot. In spite of the fact that she thought all tomatoes were supposed to be red in order to edible, she declared it tastey. Yippee, chalk up a win for the food diversity side! Our tomatoes will be all colors from golden orange to bright red. I was a bit bummed we didn't manage to snag any black tomatoes this year, but there's always next year!  Meanwhile the little tomatoes are coming on enough that I can eat a couple each time I visit the garden, today even a couple to share with a neighbor gardener and some to take over to Cathy's. 

I've been a little worried about my Macho Nacho pepper plants. They set on with BLACK oblong fruits and I'd began to believe that somehow I'd gotten ahold of eggplants instead of peppers. A closer look this weekend proves that they are indeed ripening into little green hot peppers. Now if the cilantro would grow I'd be almost ready to make a good salsa.

A neighbor in the garden has had his cabbages and brussels sprouts all eaten away. He's got a short fence around his plot so current speculation is that we're dealing with rabbits with really long teeth or deer invading the garden. A couple of days later another gardener on that side also lost her cabbages and brussels sprouts so it seems that the grazer is definately into the crustiferous plants.  So far they're only feeding on the non-organic side of the plots so my fingers are crossed they'll find enough to eat over there and leave our side alone.

As it's been so hot and dry reently it's also been a struggle to keep the garden wet enough. Cathy and I have taken turns driving out to haul water and have finally decided to take a hose to make this an easier task. Jerry let me use the big hose this weekend and I managed to get totally soaked in the process. The guys thought that was pretty funny and I would have been a little unhappy if it wasn't so darned hot that morning. As it was that water felt very good even if I did have to sit in wet clothes for the trip home.


I may have mentioned that it's been very hot and sunny the past week or so and since a good piece of advice is to drink plenty of liquids, I've set up a spritzer area on my counter where I occassionally wander to create a refreshing drink or two for the summer evenings. Keeping a few things in the fridge will make these easy drinks to make on a warm whim. And while I'm not advocating these take the place of good cold water for keeping hydrated, these do make for a far more festive beverage.


In a tall collins glass, add:
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime
shot of rum
add 6-7 cubes of ice

Top with tonic water or seltzer water and enjoy! I used spiced rum but feel free to use vodka or gin instead. It's really nothing more than a gin or vodka and tonic with a bit more citrus than normal.

So simple and so refreshing.

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