I know you are asking, "Who are these silly men with such silly looks on their faces?" Er, well, the one on the left is my brother, and well, I married the other one. Yeah. While waiting for our brewery tour to start, we spent some time tooling around at the West Side Market, a one-hundred-year--old gem of a building which houses over 100 vendors. These two decided, it would be great idea to try one vendors chocolate-covered jalapenos. You go for it boys. We will just stand here and make a whole lot of fun of you as you sweat and burn. Uh-huh.
After that silliness, it was on to Great Lakes Brewery for our tour. We had been on one a few years ago, but a refresher is always good. Besides, having eaten lunch in their brewpub earlier (where I drank a very tasty milk stout), we needed to walk around.
It was very, very warm in the brewery that day. Between the heat and the noise from the giant fans, I couldn't here a darn thing. I guess it's good I did take that tour a few years ago...
Giant beer kettles
Wooden bar in the tasting room
After all this chile and beer excitement, we decided to head back to the hotel to "rest up" for our meal. This was the part of our trip I was most looking forward to, as we had reservations at the Greenhouse Tavern, one of my favorite Ohio restaurants!
This place encompasses everything I love about a great eating spot. Casual and interesting atmosphere: check. Knowledgeable and engaging staff: always. Commitment to things raised right and raised close: of course. Beautifully executed, yet approachable dishes and drinks full of delicious flavor: and how!
Crispy hominy and pork cracklins with pickled red onion and lime juice. Salty and smack-you-in-the-face tart!
Fried Lake Erie Smelts with thousand and one island dressing capers, lemon, and parsley. I have loved these little fishes since I was a kid!
The queen mother of shared plates: Animal Style Frites with thick bacon, fried eggs, mozzarella cheese curds, peppery gravy, and whole grain mustard. So, so good...
We ordered the beef tartare since some of us hadn't tried it before. I had had it in France a while back, and don't know why I haven't done it again. Here it's served with a 3-minute egg, frites, and relishes. Such a great summer dish, as it is served cool and it very light.
Please don't think we ordered this out of novelty. It is seriously one of the tastiest pork dishes I've had the pleasure of ordering, and I will happily sing the praises of any chef who chooses to use all bits of the animal. This is my second experience with the Roasted Pig's Head, and it was every bit as good as the first. It is all crispy and unctuous; happy little crunchy bits on the outside with a porky pot roast interior. This smiling porcine goodness is brought to you, yes, really, on a silver platter, garnished with lime wedges, leaf lettuce fennel slaw, and brioche buns. Oh. My.
I wish I had taken pics of our tasty beverages, but as you can see, I was happily preoccupied...
Oh, and we weren't done! Dessert:
Espresso martini, "Cherries and Berries": black sesame, black licorice, sweet cream, and meringue.