I want to have dinner with him – one that he cooked of course!
My number came up at the library – it was my turn to read Michael Symon’s cookbook, Live to Cook. Joy! I didn’t even wait to get home to start. While Andy browsed the videos, I flipped through and read some comments and drooled over the recipes. I have decided that this is a cookbook I need for my own library.
You know Michael: Iron Chef, Dinner Impossible and other shows on the Food Network. Owner of Lola and Lolita in Cleveland and other ventures. Everything I’ve read about him says that he is just as nice in person as you would expect, and that laugh – infectious!
He famously loves pork, and there is a lot of it in this book. I mean, the man serves Maple Bacon Ice Cream in his restaurants! This book contains not only his recipes but helpful hints for the home cook, such as how to salt, and Five Things You Should Never Buy. In the recipes, some of the items may be hard to come by, such as beef cheeks or pig ears, but he offers more common alternatives. He gives up his recipes for Beef Cheek Pierogies, Crab Tater Tots and The Lola Burger.
One of the best things about this book are the stories, about his education, his restaurant experiences, and his family. My favorite story is one about when he was a wrestler in high school (no surprise he was a wrestler, huh). He had to stop eating his mother’s delicious cooking to make weight. She went so far as to serve dinner while he was at practice, then wipe down the walls and air out the kitchen so he wouldn’t be so hungry when he got home. What a mom! Is it any wonder he turned out to be a great guy?
The first recipe we will be making, and by “we” I mean “Dana”, is the Pork Cheek Chili. Pork cheek or shoulder, slab bacon, jalapeno peppers, chipotle chilis, mmmm,mmmm.mmmmm! Will report on this later….
So you say, You mean you live only 20 miles from Cleveland and you haven’t been to even one of Michael’s restaurants? Sadly, no. This is my vow for this year, to eat at Lola AND Lolita. Lola, on East Fourth Street will definitely be a summer stop. East Fourth in Cleveland is one of the best streets for food and fun, including a bowling alley and a chocolate bar. I’ve eaten there at the House of Blues and the Corner Alley in the summer and it is lovely. Lolita, in the historic Tremont neighborhood, will be a good place for dinner after an afternoon of gallery hopping and shopping.
I doubt if Michael will be there when I visit, he’s a pretty busy guy. But just in case, I will have my camera handy and my pen ready for an autograph!