Manet event will be a masterpiece


Editor's note: The original version of this story listed the incorrect date of the EpiCuratorial Art Dinner. The dinner is Sept. 27 at 6 p.m.

Don't believe the hype. Edouard Manet is not coming to Toledo. That would be silly. The man has been dead for nearly 130 years.

But 40 or so of the influential artist's portraits will indeed be here, beginning Oct. 7 (and staying through Jan. 1) at the Toledo Museum of Art. As it happens, Toledo will be the only American stop for the exhibition.

So it's big news, the sort of news the museum would want to celebrate. And celebrate it they shall, with a dinner at 6 p.m. on Sept. 27 featuring French food paired with French wines.

The menu for what they call an EpiCuratorial Art Dinner was created by the museum's acclaimed new chef, Drew Ruiz. It goes like this:

The first course will be hors d'oeuvres passed throughout the mingling crowds, escargot in roasted mushrooms with parsley butter and caramelized onion chèvre mini-tarts with chervil. These will be served with Thienot Brut champagne.

Once seated, the art-and-food lovers will be served a fish course (and don't you just love the idea of a fish course?) of cured salmon with Fleur de Sel and cognac, and an arugula salad on a beet cracker with grapefruit "roe." This will all be paired with a glass of sancerre from Chateau de Fontaine-Audon.

The beef course is next, cold-smoked beef tournedos served with cauliflower comte gratin and roasted baby golden potatoes and a pinot noir demi-glace. The wine for this course will be a Bordeaux from Chateau Roustaing,

Next up is a salad of mâche and frisee with lardons and a quail egg topped with a bacon lemon vinaigrette and matched with a Louis Latour pouilly fuissè.

If anyone is still hungry, dessert will be chocolate cake and chambord mousse with fresh raspberries and a glass of M. Chapoutier banyuls.

Needless to say, such a dining experience does not come cheap. Tickets for people who do not belong to the museum are $150; members can slide by for $125. These costs include dinner, wine, tax, tip, and a presentation by museum staff members describing how they managed to bring together the Manet exhibit.

Reservations are required and seating is limited. For tickets, call 419-255-8000, ext. 7432.

Maine on the Maumee

One of the best dinners of this column's life was on the little island of Georgetown, Maine. It was at a lobster shack right on the dock of a harbor, and the area's many lobstermen would drop off their daily catch right at the shack. The folks at the shack steamed the lobster in sea water pumped in directly from the ocean, and served it along with a handful of clams and mussels, an ear of corn, and boiled potatoes.

It was an old-fashioned New England clambake, and it is hard to beat that.

Real Seafood Company is trying for the same experience, more or less, on Sept. 25 at 6 p.m., when the restaurant offers a New England clambake of its own, Ohio style. Hey, it's on a dock, right?

In the traditional manner, the restaurant will serve a 1 1/4-pound whole Maine lobster along with Blue Hill Bay mussels, Wellfleet littleneck clams, corn on the cob, and boiled redskin potatoes. If they really go all out for authenticity, they will serve it in a bucket.

Also on the menu are bleu cheese coleslaw and apple pie a la mode.

The clambake will cost a cool $59.95, including tax and tip, and reservations are required. Call 888-456-3463 for information or reservations.

Crispy nostalgia

Our far-flung network of sources, which is to say a woman who works here at the paper, reports that Charles Chips are back in town.

Charles Chips, of course, are potato chips that come in distinctive 1-pound tins of ugly yellowish (the company calls it "gold") and ugly brownish, and they (the chips) are beloved by many who have fond memories of munching them straight out of the tin.

The company was founded in Pennsylvania in 1942 and originally specialized in home-delivered chips. It grew in popularity and profitability until it was sold to investors in 1991. Eighteen months later, it was bankrupt. Another company bought it, but two years after that, it was bankrupt again. Eventually, the trademark was sold to a number of distributors, who randomly sold whatever chips they wanted to under the name, until they mostly stopped.

Last December, a family bought both the trademark and the original recipes, and they claim they are making the real thing again. No doubt this will lead to much rejoicing among potato chiphiles.

So far, we have heard that they are available at the Fresh Market, 3315 West Central Ave., or you can order them online at

If you buy them at the store, apparently the thing to do is to tell the check-out clerk that you haven't seen them in decades. The clerk will then say, "Everyone says that."

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