Toledo Symphony pairs great menu, music at fund-raiser


It's sort of like a juke box in a diner, only the music is better. And the food.

The annual Toledo Symphony Dinner Music begins at 6 p.m. (with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails) at the Toledo Club on Feb. 23. Once again, patrons will be able to sit in one of nine rooms to eat a dinner while listening to music being performed by members of the Toledo Symphony. Each room has a different theme, which means that the food is somehow paired to the music, and each room is different.

That's nine rooms serving nine entrees and nine appetizers, paired with nine wines, and it is all coming out of the same kitchen at the same time. There is a word for what chef Michael Rosendaul and his staff do for this annual event, and that word is "insane."

Between the music and the food and the schmoozing for a good cause, it is a popular evening, and four of the rooms are already sold out. Among the sold-out rooms is the most ambitious, in which the diners vote on a meat they want to eat and the chef spontaneously makes them a dish using it as the main focus. Meanwhile, cellist Robert Clemens performs musical improvisations.

That room is unavailable, alas, but several others are still open. They include"

• Main Dining Room. The music will be Schubert's famous "Trout" Quintet, which will be performed while the patrons dine on a crab-stuffed trout dish prepared like a Wiener schnitzel, served with a roasted potato gratin and Swiss chard. The first course is a slaw made with cabbage and Granny Smith apples in a coffee and cinnamon vinaigrette.

The wines, like the inspiration for the food, will be Austrian, because Schubert composed the piano quintet while on a walking tour of Upper Austria. A lot of thought went into these rooms. $150 per person.

• Belvedere Room. A Dixieland jazz trio will perform while diners feast on the best of New Orleans: shrimp creole with smoked chicken-andouille sausage grits and braised mustard greens, after a golden potato salad with fried Brussels sprouts and a remoulade dressing. $125 per person. 

• Corinthian Room. The music, played by the Toledo Symphony Brass Quintet, will be Spanish, and so will the food. A classic paella will follow a Seville-inspired salad with spinach, bacon, and egg tossed in a paprika-red wine vinaigrette. $150 per person.

• Red Room. Soprano Carol Dusdieker will sing standards from Broadway (accompanied by pianist Jeffrey Pollock), while the food is inspired by New York. The main course is a haute version of a brisket sandwich (braised brisket, braised Savoy cabbage and mustard-roasted red-skin potatoes served with a piece of rye-caraway-Parmesan crisp to represent the bread), preceded by a salad created with a nod to pizza — artisan greens with fresh tomato, oregano, garlic bread croutons, and, of course, slivered pepperoni, served with a tomato vinaigrette. $150 per person.

• Garden Room. The focus in this room will be on duets, both musical and culinary. The entree will be a duet of pork — braised pork belly and roasted pork tenderloin, served with a cranberry-port glaze and crushed sweet potato with candied jalapeño and Brussels sprouts — which will follow a salad duet, a pear-walnut salad mixed with an arugula-gorgonzola salad, with orange-vanilla vinaigrette. $125 per person.

Reservations are required at 419-418-0055. The Toledo Club is at 235 14th Street.

Simple Simon lives!

Wednesday, you may be relieved to hear, is National Pie Day. It is a day to get your pie on, a day to think about the chronically unpied, and to share your delicious pastries with them.

You may celebrate the traditional way, going door to door among your neighbors and singing those beloved pie carols — "O, Cherry Pie," "Hark, the Chocolate Pecan Sings," "Away on a Windowsill." 

Or you could just head out to Sauder Village in Archbold for a nice slice of pie. Of course, you could get pie anywhere, but the Doughbox Bakery at Sauder Village is offering a minimal deal in honor of the big national celebration of pieness. Along with free pie samples throughout the day, the bakery is offering $1 off their pies, while the village's Barn Restaurant will cut $1 off a slice of pie with any meal purchase.

OK, maybe those aren't the most exciting deals ever. But here are some interesting facts: Every year, the Doughbox Bakery puts out nearly 19,000 pies in more than 40 varieties. The most popular flavor is peanut butter cream, which we can certainly understand, followed by Dutch peach and cherry.

Food words

The Dictionary of Modern Gastronomy, of which there apparently is such a thing, has come out with its annual list showing the food-related words that became new and relevant in the year 2012.

At least one of these is a little too … interesting … for a family newspaper. But some of the others include:

• Sourdough hotel. If you live in Sweden and you are keeping sourdough starter in your fridge, you no longer have to worry about feeding it with flour and water while you are away on vacation. For a mere 300 krona a week — that's $43 — the helpful folks at the Urban Deli in Stockholm will keep it and feed it every day for you.

• Broccoli mandate. Chalk this one up to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. During the court argument about the Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare, Justice Scalia compared making everyone get health care insurance to making everyone buy broccoli.

• Buzz bars. Coffee houses that also serve alcohol.

• Wine apartments. In Tokyo, a developer is building an apartment complex for wine lovers, including a main-floor wine bar and a wine cellar with room for 10,000 bottles.

• Foiekage fee. After California passed a law banning the sale of foie gras, some restaurants are charging a fee (similar to a corkage fee) to cook the foie gras brought in by patrons who bought it in another state. These restaurants are also called "duckeasies."

• Aporkalypse. After a drought in Europe raised prices for corn and other feed, a British pork organization predicted that the number of pigs available for bacon would be smaller than usual.

• Pink slime. Pink slime. Also a candidate for the most overused food-related term of the year.