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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 7/6/2013

MORSELS

Feast with the Beasts to raise funds for zoo

BY DANIEL NEMAN
BLADE FOOD EDITOR

The meal will be at least partly inspired by the foods of Australia. And to make the evening even more authentic, a 17-foot crocodile from Australia will be lurking not too far away, waiting … waiting … waiting ….

Baru won't actually be in the same room as the revelers at this year's Feast with the Beasts fundraising event Aug. 23 at the Toledo Zoo, nor even in the same building. But if you close your eyes, you can imagine his magnificently menacing presence over in the Reptile House.

But you are likely to forget about him (the cunning smile, the powerful jaws, the sharp teeth — he's a 1,500-pound killing machine) the instant the food arrives. As always with the Feast with the Beasts events, the emphasis is on the feast.

Appetizers will include candied bacon, barbecue-dusted shrimp skewers (think of shrimp on the barbie), rissoles (Australian deep-fried meatballs containing, in this case, ground lamb), and vegetarian Thai spring rolls. These will be followed by an incredible watermelon soup with mango and chives, impeccably paired with a citrusy fumé blanc. An appetizer of roasted vegetables will follow.

After a palate-cleanser of mint tea granita, the entrees will be served, all of them accompanied by a delicious redskin potato cake and asparagus served with a ribbon of yellow squash. The entree choices will be: beef tenderloin with roasted garlic demi-glace; blackened mahi mahi with saffron lemon cream; and rosemary-roasted portobello mushrooms with herbed goat cheese.

The dinner culinarily returns Down Under with dessert, dark-chocolate lamingtons (individual-sized sponge cakes coated in chocolate) with raspberry filling, garnished with passion fruit puree, whipped cream, and caramelized coconut powder.

Good food does not come cheap, and this meal, with paired wines for every course, is going to run $250 per person. But the purpose of Feast with the Beasts is to raise money for the zoo, and $200 of each ticket is tax deductible. Reservations are required, and may be made (and further information received) at 419-385-5721, ext. 2091.

If you knew Sushi

Do you like fish so much you do not particularly care if it has been cooked?

Would you like to learn how to make it?

The Toledo Museum of Art's executive chef, Drew Ruiz, will demonstrate how to make sushi on each of the remaining Thursdays of this month (this Thursday, the 18th, and the 25th) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Museum Café. 

The demonstrations are collectively called Sushi House at the Museum and they will feature live music, a la carte snacks, and a cash bar.

Sushi-making, of course, is a craft that can take decades to perfect. But at least you'll get the basics and, no doubt, eat some delicious sushi.

And if you are wondering why these sushi-thons are being offered on Thursdays, then you may not know about the museum's new hours. Beginning this week, it is open to 9 p.m on both Thursdays and Fridays (the Club Friday Music events are still held on Friday), however it is now only open until 5 p.m. (instead of 6 p.m.) on Sundays.

As the Restaurant Turns

If you are heading to New Orleans, of course you'll want to eat the food for which the city is so famous:

The beignets at Café Du Monde. The gumbo at Mr. B's Bistro. The muffulettas at Central Grocery. The hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's. The oysters Rockefeller at Antoine's. The bananas foster at Brennan's.

Not so fast there, Mr. Banana. Brennan's is closed, at least for the time being. Or as they probably don't say in New Orleans, for the nonce.

It's the same old story, alas: family. Or rather, family and money — too much of the former and too little of the latter.

The restaurant's founder died in 1955, just one year after he started the iconic brunch place. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, he left it to his three sons, Ted, Pip, and Jimmy. Jimmy died in 2010, leaving his share to his daughters, and Pip retired that same year, selling his shares back to the restaurant.

Since 2006, Ted has been running the restaurant with his daughter Bridget. Debts have been mounting and a foreclosure has been imminent, so a couple of months ago Pip engineered a coup, replacing Ted and Bridget with himself and his sons at a board meeting that got so out of control someone ended up calling the cops.

Meanwhile, a month ago, the building that houses the restaurant was sold at auction to a company called Leggo/4 for nearly $7 million, a sum that some people found suspiciously high. At the time, word leaked out that the late Jimmy's daughters had been involved with Leggo/4, but they were no longer part of it.

Which brings us to just over a week ago. Leggo/4 closed the restaurant and locked the doors without first telling the employees. The company says it may open the building again as a restaurant or as something else, but it won't be the same restaurant.

And who, you wonder, is one of the owners of Leggo/4? A guy named Ralph Brennan. He's a cousin.

So enjoy your trip to NoLa. But maybe you should just get an extra order of beignets.

Items for Morsels may be submitted up to two weeks before an event to food@theblade.com.


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