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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.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Food column

For some reason my food column didn't make the paper. So here it is:

Don’t forget your Valentine server
Area restaurants are preparing for Valentine’s Day tonight with specials to help couples celebrate their romance in style. Look for lots of lobster and over-the-top chocolate treats all over town. But it’s not an evening to which many servers expect to celebrate. They know that it’s an evening when their tables will include couples who don’t often eat out or understand that servers depend on the tips they leave. Servers in Ohio earn just $3.65 an hour and may not even be able to pay their babysitter after an evening’s work if they haven’t received tips. Customary tip these days is 20 percent of the check. So make your reservation early and spread the love to those hardworking restaurant employees who will make your Valentine dinner an evening to remember.
Coffee brewing
Learn the dos and don’t of coffee brewing as you enjoy sweet treats you learn to make in a Feb. 23 class at the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking. Join Stefanie Paganini and her guest, coffee roaster and super barista Tony DiCorpo to discover recipes made for pairing with coffee. The 11 a.m. class includes a lunch framed around an almond chicken salad wrap and pepperoni roll with   lemon poppyseed muffin, cinnamon pecan rolls, dark chocolate almond biscotti, and carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting/ The two-and-a half hour class costs $55. Reserve a space at 440-729-1110; or
 Washington wines
Wines from Washington State will be poured for Saturday’s 6 to 7:30 p.m. wine tasting at World Wines and Liquor, 8760 Mentor Ave. It costs $5 and reservations aren’t necessary. Details: 255-1311
 Chili in Middlefield
  Middlefield Market’s annual Chili Cook-Off provides a day of warm entertainment to fit any budget. Chili still is being accepted for the competition. Entrants, who pay a $35 entry fee,  must provide four gallons of it. Prizes include a $100 People’s Choice award, plus a $150 first place and $75 second place. Those attending  get a chili sampler pack of eight cups, a spoon and a ballot for a $3 donation. Doors to the Pavilion open at 11:30 and live music, raffles and giveaways by local merchants will take place all day.
The market is at 15848 Nauvoo Road, just east of Route 608 in Middlefield Township. To enter a chili or get information call 440-632-3196


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