In re: Immigration could be path for Cleveland.

“The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, the chief planning and fundraising agency for the region’s 80,000 Jews, is committing resources to a center designed to attract international talent and investment. It’s offering expertise, start-up funding and the prospect of an enticing location — its headquarters building on Playhouse Square.

When federation leaders decided in fall 2008 to move their staff and operations to Beachwood, they vowed to make a visible re-commitment to the city. That may be by saying “Welcome” to the world.” “

via Cleveland’s Jewish community wants to welcome the world | Metro – cleveland.com – cleveland.com.

Thought this was an interesting idea that the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland is working towards in the wake of moving their headquarters out to the suburbs.  While these days immigration is a touchy subject, but in my mind it is mostly a good things and one of the reasons our country has thrived.  Cities like Ohio that have struggled could use very well new people with drive and ambition – this is both the highly qualified visa applicants for highly skilled positions but also others who are just looking for a better life.  Read about the plan to create a welcome center in the article above.

In re: Clever Crow Pizza

Hadn’t really heard anything about the place, but had seen it walking past with my dog a few weeks back so when given a chance to go jumped on it.  If you don’t know Clever Crow Pizza is inside the Circus bar on High St. just north of 5th Ave in Columbus.  The pizza seems like an afterthought to the bar, but it was the reason we went.  The crust is definitely different, and what people talk about, its cornbread – chemical leavened I assume rather than a yeast pizza dough, which adds a whole different flavor dimension as well as the different texture.  The crust I think is pre or par baked allowing them to dish up half pizzas as well as slices which is a great option.  The crust definitely gets well done with some char on the bottom that I thought worked well.  The toppings are interesting and they have many combinations listed that feature some nice options including house made sausage, as well as some other house cured options like canadian bacon that seem to change frequently along with these  you can get ‘non-traditional’ additions that round out something like the sausage with some veggies like marinated green peppers and caramelized onions.  Definitely a different vibe in the place and I thought good pizza, that and some good draft beers round it out.

In re: Vermouth?

Vermouth’s commercial origins date to 1786, when Antonio Benedetto Carpano began marketing the aromatized wine he produced in Turin, but the consumption of vermouth and its precursors stretches back centuries. Typically made from neutral-character dry white wines that have been flavored with herbs, roots and barks – typically including cardamom, cinnamon, marjoram and chamomile – and then fortified with a neutral grape spirit, vermouth is classically made – and named – for another botanical: wormwood (the plant’s name in Old High German is Wermud). ‘The Truth About Vermouth’ (below)

Vermouth is kinda an afterthought in the world of drinks – at least I thought it was.  Even as I got back into drinking Manhattans a drink that features as a large amount of the drink the sweet variety of vermouth I still hadn’t given it its due.  Hell, I didn’t even really know too much about it and how it was made.  I knew it was a fortified wine of some sort (wine spiked with alcohol) but that was it.  As I became more interested in improving my Manhattans I learned a few very interesting things, including that my multi-year old bottle sitting on the shelf was not good.  It’s not that affordable vermouth isn’t good and there are many affordable brands, all with their own tastes due to a variety of added herbs/spices as well as grapes, but I learned it goes bad and isn’t shelf stable the way liquor is.

So I set out to get some fresh stuff (currently using Boissiere – although I am interested in trying some of the more exotic ones now) but the big thing is that I now keep it in the fridge.  Thats right, in the fridge, I myself was dubious at first but after reading taste test after taste test it became clear that vermouth oxidizes and starts to go bad, pretty quickly on the shelf.  In the fridge you can get 6 months out of sweet (less for dry) and thats still shorter than the stuff I had been using a while back.

Now theres still more to making a Manhattan the just the vermouth, but having improved my work on that one front alone my Manhattans are quite nice (usually made with Maker’s Mark bourbon – although I am interested in dabbling in rye at some point).  Still not up to the standards of the Velvet Tango Room in Cleveland that has probably the best one I have had (they use their own bitters and a wine reduction instead of the vermouth as well as having a nice cherry that isn’t a Maraschino).

Makers's Mark, boissiere vermouth, bitters, and a wine soaked sour cherry on the rocks

For what I thought was a great article on Vermouth see “The Truth About Vermouth” at SFGate — hey that rhymes!

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