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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cold dinner heats up taste buds

Chef Brian Rosander addresses the diners at the Velvet Tango Lounge Monday before they taste his chilled pea bisque. The special event was put on by the area group Emerging Chefs. (Photo by Jeannene Mathis-Bertosa)

Chef Brian Rosander's chicken mousseline was topped with a succulent and sweet tomato tarte tatin. (Photo by Jeannene Mathis-Bertosa)
Hello there, City Editor John Bertosa here, and when I was attending Kent State University, my typical lunch on a Saturday or Sunday was cold pizza.
Now, I think I know what the students at Harvard or Yale might eat on a weekend afternoon.
Chef Brian Rosander, who attended ICASI and has gone on to start Rosander Event Kitchen, put on a five-course meal using traditional French techniques and dishes. What made this stand out was that every course was served cold, or even chilled.
“It stops and make you think about what you’re eating instead of just the sharp flavors,” said Rosander, explaining his reasoning for presenting an all-cold meal to about 90 people at the Velvet Tango Lounge, which is nestled in between the trendy dining scenes of W. 25th Street and the Tremont neighborhood in Cleveland.
It was the latest in a series of special event dinners put on by a Cleveland group called Emerging Chefs. Check out my blog entry on another of their events which was held in an old Cleveland cemetery last October.
The first course was a chilled pea bisque, done simply with some crab meat and drizzled oil. I appreciated that it didn’t have an in-your-face taste of the vegetable (ahh yes, he did talk about not having the sharper flavors of a heated dish) and the crab meat was a nice compliment while not stealing the show.
Next came several sausages and potatoes - both mashed and roasted. Having cold potatoes isn’t something I’m used to but the a diner could appreciate the slight seasoning on them that would have been lost if they were hot.
Next came  a chicken mousseline and the best part of the meal - a tomato tarte tatin.
I hate the texture of tomatoes but this one was sauted (or was it stewed?) so it was very delicate yet still juicy and I also normally dislike the flavor of them but this was done with caramel and red wine, giving it a very sweet taste. That boosted the cold chicken much like the more pedestrian hot sauce and chicken combo.
The fourth course was a pastry promising pork belly and fruit. I didn’t taste of the pork but the pastry was very well done, “eggy” in a good way. I don’t think I would have picked up on these tastes if it was served hot.
And lastly there was an amazing dessert -- a custard-like cream with a chocolate ganache and gingered fruit. Both the cream and chocolate had rosemary in them which kept the dessert from being too sweet.
So, doesn’t sound exactly like cold pizza in the afternoon does it?


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