A MEMO FROM THE CEO OF PIP: Another blogger I met for the first time at the OBA January meet up was CLEgal from WhyCLE? On first meeting her, I felt that we’d get along fabulously. I knew about her love from the Cleve – I just never realized just how much more we have in common.
Over the past several months, we’ve gotten to hang out on several occasions – several OBA meet ups, dinner at Palate and the patio party at Washington Place Bistro & Inn just to name a few. Just recently though we had the chance to sit down one on one for dinner at a hip, new NEO restaurant where I really bonded with this very special lady. She shares the food portion of our evening with you today.
When Alicia reached out in search of guest bloggers to entertain the Poise in Parma readers while she’s dancing backwards in high heels this month, I jumped at the chance. Alicia has quickly become one of my favorite blends – I love reading her blog and spending time with this bright and fun lady. When I suggested a restaurant review and Alicia said she would accompany me, this deal got even better!
Alicia and I decided to check out one of Cleveland’s new hot dining spots – Deagan’s Kitchen and Bar. Deagan’s has been generating tons of buzz, rave reviews, and a slew of Silver Spoon Awards – all in their first year on the Cleveland restaurant scene. The atmosphere is friendly and casual – a neighborhood pub, but with food on another level. As I looked around the restaurant that night, I saw 20 and 30-somethings stopping in after work, older couples enjoying a nice meal out, and just about everything in between. That’s probably because Deagan’s has something for everyone.
The wine and cocktail lists are great, with a lot of fun “old-school” concoctions – but the real masterpiece is the beer list. Deagan’s has an incredible selection of both draft and bottled craft beers. And if you love Belgian beers as much as I do, you’ll adore Deagan’s extensive Belgian selection.
Alicia and I decided to each try a couple of Deagan’s small plates for our entrees. Our server was incredibly friendly and very knowledgeable about the menu – including advising us on how much to order. For my entree, I chose the rocket arugula salad and the Peking duck confit mac ‘n cheese.
The salad was light and fresh, topped with brandied walnuts, dried cranberries, and goat cheese. I had heard great things about the duck mac ‘n cheese and I was not disappointed. The mahon cheese sauce was smooth and creamy and not overpowering – you could taste the duck flavor throughout. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the English peas added just the right hint of spring freshness to the dish. And the duck – chunks of tender, delicious duck throughout the mac ‘n cheese made this a fantastic dish. Trust me, this “small plate” is more than enough for an entree!
Alicia started off with the baby lettuce salad, with palm hearts, avocado, and a shallot vinaigrette. This salad looked deliciously fresh and summery. Then she enjoyed the mussels special, a generous portion of steamed mussels in a spicy tomato broth. Alicia’s meal got thumbs-up all around as well.
Because I can’t ever pass up dessert, I ended my meal with a dessert off the specials page – strawberry rhubarb pie with strawberry-rhubarb-chevre ice cream (from Mitchell’s).
I’m drooling just thinking about this dessert. The pie was not-too-sweet, the crust was sugary and delicious, and the ice cream…wow! A perfect summer dessert. Alicia indulged in some of the ice cream and pie filling and agreed – this dessert was stand-out good.
Aside from the delicious food and friendly service, the best part of the meal was getting to catch up with one of my favorite blends. From work to blogging to Cleveland to everything else, we probably could have sat at Deagan’s for hours longer just chatting. And that makes the dining out experience even richer!
Thanks to Alicia for sharing a wonderful meal with me and for letting me tell you all about it. So, grab one of your friends (or blends) and head over to Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar – I’m sure it’ll quickly top your must-return restaurant list too!
Head over to WhyCLE? (http://whycle.wordpress.com) and follow her on Twitter (@WhyCLE) to understand why she came back to Cleveland – and just how much fun she’s having embracing all the wonderful things in it!