Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Head to Silverlake’s New Sawyer for Sunday Brunch

Head to Silverlake’s New Sawyer for Sunday Brunch



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Silverlake’s newest restaurant, Sawyer, has opened on Sunset Boulevard. Also new is the next door cold-press juicer Clover.

Sawyer’s 2,400 square foot space seats 90 guests and offers indoor and al fresco dining. Inside, the main dining room features exposed brick, hand painted wall accents, big butcher block communal and single tables, intricate tile work, unique light fixtures and floor to ceiling windows that open to Sunset Boulevard. Outside, the romantic patio offers an intimate atmosphere with birch and olive trees, candles, and a fireplace.

The weekend brunch menu offers a variety of fresh pressed juices from Clover, including the Clover with kale, cucumber, celery, spinach, and pear; the Sunrise with orange, carrot, coconut water, and turmeric; and the Gingersnap with apples, lemon, and ginger. Harder libations include tequila with grapefruit, lime, and blackberries; a Bloody Mary with Svedka vodka and spicy San Marzano tomato juice; and a mimosa kit with sparkling wine and a choice of orange juice, grapefruit juice, white peach and pear, strawberry, and cassis.

Standout dishes include chicken and waffles, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, a crab benedict, sunny side hash with duck confit, fish tacos, a Maine lobster roll, a selection of avocado, prosciutto and sweet pea hummus, and almond butter and banana toasts; and a variety of light dishes including kale, goat cheese and grape salad; smoked trout and sprouted wheat berries; and quinoa and kale with poached eggs and avocado. Sawyer also offers a nice selection of chilled seafood including king crab legs, green mussels, wild white shrimp, and a nice selection of oysters from Baja, Washington, and Alaska.

The dinner menu includes fried chicken, faro risotto, a soft shell crab sandwich, skate wing with yam chips, a smash burger, smoked tea crusted tuna, and a skirt steak with rapini, and chimichurri.

For more Los Angeles dining and travel news, click here.


Sausage is fine art in ethnic recipes, gourmet restaurants

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Knives are sliding through fat, cleavers are smacking through bone, and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time in the basement prep room of the Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland.

Jonathan Seeholzer glides up to his business partner, Jonathon Sawyer, with a ropelike lamb loin draped across his arm. If he weren't wearing chef's whites, Seeholzer could be mistaken for a suit maker showing a fine piece of silk.

The two men look the piece up and down, all around.

"I've never seen one that size," says Seeholzer, as Sawyer nods.

The loin is just one of many culinary prizes in the regular Tuesday meat-carving sessions. Each week, five members of the restaurant's staff turns half a pig and a whole lamb into a large portion of the tavern's meat-centric menu.

But loin is not the only prize. With equal enthusiasm, the European-trained Sawyer, one of this year's best new chefs from Food & Wine magazine, will use the trim of his larder to make Moroccan merguez sausage, house-smoked pates, and a jellied head cheese.

"We want to work with the whole animal," Sawyer says.

While many chefs start with plastic-wrapped packages of pre-cut meat, he also wants additional ways to deliver signature flavors.

Sausage at the Greenhouse Tavern is a high art, a mix of craft, flavor, regionalism and environmental concerns. Instead of being taken for granted, it is seen as a food of authenticity.

Tell us about your favorite sausage in the Cleveland area, and why you think it's the best. Send your comments to [email protected] (in the subject line, please type "Sausages") or mail them to "Sausages," Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114. We'll print a selection in the Taste section Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Related story

The Greenhouse Tavern (2038 East Fourth St., 216-443-0511) is not the only place where that happens. Sausage runs through Cleveland's ethnic roots. We found two more stories of authenticity: one at Frank's Bratwurst stand at the West Side Market, and another in the hands of Vilma Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to recapture her mother's potato sausage recipe.

They each believe that sausage is more than the sum of its unrecognizable parts.

" 'Trim' food is heavenly," says Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, author of the sausage and cured-meats book "Charcuterie" with Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton, 2005). His sequel is due out next year.

"You'll see sausages at the highest end of high cuisine in France, where they might serve it with a pistachio vinaigrette," Ruhlman says. "Sausage is loaded with flavor, and the best of it is lovingly crafted."

Sausage king

Probably the most famous sausage in town is the sandwich at Frank's Bratwurst at the West Side Market (Stand G-3, 216-344-2180). Open 40 years, serving everyone from nobodies to presidents, the stand now sells an average of 400 pounds of sausage a week.

But last year, owner Ilse Sheppard faced an uncertain future. Her Cleveland sausage supplier decided to retire and take his recipe with him.

"We had to take some steps," she said.

In a historic market where an estimated 10-12 meat vendors still make fresh sausage on-site, it would seem that Sheppard wouldn't have far to go.

Not so. Each vendor had a license to sell product to individual customers. Not one, she said, had a wholesale license to sell to someone like her who cooked the product and sold it to the public. She also believed none was large enough for her stand's needs.

The Sheppards -- Ilse, husband Richard and their three sons -- commute to the market from their home in Geneva near the Pennsylvania border. When Richard heard about Smith's Hot Dogs, a company in Erie, Pa., they checked into it. They liked the family-owned business -- suppliers to the Pittsburgh Penguins and University of Pittsburgh -- and they liked their product, made with natural casings.

All the Sheppards would have to do is buy a refrigerated truck to pick up the bratwurst.

Well, not all. They still didn't have a recipe, and Ilse said she's no expert on seasonings.

She knew texture. She still wanted Frank's brats to have a natural casing that browned well and snapped when you bit into them. She didn't want a fine interior texture, which would be too spongy, or a coarse one, which might feel too gristly.

She brought samples to Smith's, and they whipped up a version. Then another. Four in all. Each time, the Sheppards' tested them on regulars. Finally, in March, it was done.

"People can't tell the difference," Ilse says, smiling.

Better yet, she says, Smith's has agreed that if the Sheppards go out of business, the recipe will be destroyed so it can't be used again.

Hello, goodbye

You can find ethnic sausages all over Cleveland, including Italian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, German and more. But for the most ardent sausage-lover, buying them is not always the same as making them yourself.

Vilma Pinigir has been in this country 18 years, half her life. Only once has she made vedarai, the potato-and-bacon sausage that makes her think of home. That's how I met Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania, who was looking for someone with sausage-making equipment. I opened my doors to this friend of a friend one Friday night, and a fireball of energy flew in. My friend and I followed all of Pinigir's instructions, gathering ingredients, peeling and processing 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 large onions, cooking and crumbling 5 pounds of bacon, and so on.

"My mom made it once a month, before they had food processors," said Pinigir. "It was such a delicacy, if we knew she was making it, we would all run home. Mom grated potatoes until her fingers were bloody. And once we got older, we would grate, too."

Life was difficult under communist rule, she said.

"Not that people weren't hospitable, but there was little to share," she said.

"We stood in line for toilet paper. We made everything ourselves. We have it so easy now, I have nothing to complain about."

Pinigir, a house organizer and cleaner, could stop by the Lithuanian American Club (877 East 185th St., Cleveland, 216-531-2131) for a public Sunday brunch, where vedarai is sometimes served. But she wants her teenage daughter, Kia, to learn how to make it. So she brought Kia with her to the sausage session at my house on a night when the girl would rather have been at the movies with friends.

"It's looks like an alien," Kia cried out as the sausage started filling the hog casings.

But as her mother got tired and needed to sit down, Kia stepped in, using the wooden tool to push filling into the sausage machine. In fact, she was more steady at it than her mom.

Pinigir is a hands-on cook, constantly mixing the sausage filling, draining the ground potatoes and draining them more. Vedarai needs attention. If the casing is too full or not poked enough with a toothpick, it will burst. If it isn't basted often enough with bacon fat, the casings will crack.

Finally, it was done, browned and glistening like any all-meat sausage, tasting like finely textured hash browns richly perfumed with bacon and onion. We ate it the way Pinigir suggested, with a side of cottage cheese.


Sausage is fine art in ethnic recipes, gourmet restaurants

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Knives are sliding through fat, cleavers are smacking through bone, and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time in the basement prep room of the Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland.

Jonathan Seeholzer glides up to his business partner, Jonathon Sawyer, with a ropelike lamb loin draped across his arm. If he weren't wearing chef's whites, Seeholzer could be mistaken for a suit maker showing a fine piece of silk.

The two men look the piece up and down, all around.

"I've never seen one that size," says Seeholzer, as Sawyer nods.

The loin is just one of many culinary prizes in the regular Tuesday meat-carving sessions. Each week, five members of the restaurant's staff turns half a pig and a whole lamb into a large portion of the tavern's meat-centric menu.

But loin is not the only prize. With equal enthusiasm, the European-trained Sawyer, one of this year's best new chefs from Food & Wine magazine, will use the trim of his larder to make Moroccan merguez sausage, house-smoked pates, and a jellied head cheese.

"We want to work with the whole animal," Sawyer says.

While many chefs start with plastic-wrapped packages of pre-cut meat, he also wants additional ways to deliver signature flavors.

Sausage at the Greenhouse Tavern is a high art, a mix of craft, flavor, regionalism and environmental concerns. Instead of being taken for granted, it is seen as a food of authenticity.

Tell us about your favorite sausage in the Cleveland area, and why you think it's the best. Send your comments to [email protected] (in the subject line, please type "Sausages") or mail them to "Sausages," Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114. We'll print a selection in the Taste section Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Related story

The Greenhouse Tavern (2038 East Fourth St., 216-443-0511) is not the only place where that happens. Sausage runs through Cleveland's ethnic roots. We found two more stories of authenticity: one at Frank's Bratwurst stand at the West Side Market, and another in the hands of Vilma Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to recapture her mother's potato sausage recipe.

They each believe that sausage is more than the sum of its unrecognizable parts.

" 'Trim' food is heavenly," says Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, author of the sausage and cured-meats book "Charcuterie" with Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton, 2005). His sequel is due out next year.

"You'll see sausages at the highest end of high cuisine in France, where they might serve it with a pistachio vinaigrette," Ruhlman says. "Sausage is loaded with flavor, and the best of it is lovingly crafted."

Sausage king

Probably the most famous sausage in town is the sandwich at Frank's Bratwurst at the West Side Market (Stand G-3, 216-344-2180). Open 40 years, serving everyone from nobodies to presidents, the stand now sells an average of 400 pounds of sausage a week.

But last year, owner Ilse Sheppard faced an uncertain future. Her Cleveland sausage supplier decided to retire and take his recipe with him.

"We had to take some steps," she said.

In a historic market where an estimated 10-12 meat vendors still make fresh sausage on-site, it would seem that Sheppard wouldn't have far to go.

Not so. Each vendor had a license to sell product to individual customers. Not one, she said, had a wholesale license to sell to someone like her who cooked the product and sold it to the public. She also believed none was large enough for her stand's needs.

The Sheppards -- Ilse, husband Richard and their three sons -- commute to the market from their home in Geneva near the Pennsylvania border. When Richard heard about Smith's Hot Dogs, a company in Erie, Pa., they checked into it. They liked the family-owned business -- suppliers to the Pittsburgh Penguins and University of Pittsburgh -- and they liked their product, made with natural casings.

All the Sheppards would have to do is buy a refrigerated truck to pick up the bratwurst.

Well, not all. They still didn't have a recipe, and Ilse said she's no expert on seasonings.

She knew texture. She still wanted Frank's brats to have a natural casing that browned well and snapped when you bit into them. She didn't want a fine interior texture, which would be too spongy, or a coarse one, which might feel too gristly.

She brought samples to Smith's, and they whipped up a version. Then another. Four in all. Each time, the Sheppards' tested them on regulars. Finally, in March, it was done.

"People can't tell the difference," Ilse says, smiling.

Better yet, she says, Smith's has agreed that if the Sheppards go out of business, the recipe will be destroyed so it can't be used again.

Hello, goodbye

You can find ethnic sausages all over Cleveland, including Italian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, German and more. But for the most ardent sausage-lover, buying them is not always the same as making them yourself.

Vilma Pinigir has been in this country 18 years, half her life. Only once has she made vedarai, the potato-and-bacon sausage that makes her think of home. That's how I met Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania, who was looking for someone with sausage-making equipment. I opened my doors to this friend of a friend one Friday night, and a fireball of energy flew in. My friend and I followed all of Pinigir's instructions, gathering ingredients, peeling and processing 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 large onions, cooking and crumbling 5 pounds of bacon, and so on.

"My mom made it once a month, before they had food processors," said Pinigir. "It was such a delicacy, if we knew she was making it, we would all run home. Mom grated potatoes until her fingers were bloody. And once we got older, we would grate, too."

Life was difficult under communist rule, she said.

"Not that people weren't hospitable, but there was little to share," she said.

"We stood in line for toilet paper. We made everything ourselves. We have it so easy now, I have nothing to complain about."

Pinigir, a house organizer and cleaner, could stop by the Lithuanian American Club (877 East 185th St., Cleveland, 216-531-2131) for a public Sunday brunch, where vedarai is sometimes served. But she wants her teenage daughter, Kia, to learn how to make it. So she brought Kia with her to the sausage session at my house on a night when the girl would rather have been at the movies with friends.

"It's looks like an alien," Kia cried out as the sausage started filling the hog casings.

But as her mother got tired and needed to sit down, Kia stepped in, using the wooden tool to push filling into the sausage machine. In fact, she was more steady at it than her mom.

Pinigir is a hands-on cook, constantly mixing the sausage filling, draining the ground potatoes and draining them more. Vedarai needs attention. If the casing is too full or not poked enough with a toothpick, it will burst. If it isn't basted often enough with bacon fat, the casings will crack.

Finally, it was done, browned and glistening like any all-meat sausage, tasting like finely textured hash browns richly perfumed with bacon and onion. We ate it the way Pinigir suggested, with a side of cottage cheese.


Sausage is fine art in ethnic recipes, gourmet restaurants

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Knives are sliding through fat, cleavers are smacking through bone, and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time in the basement prep room of the Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland.

Jonathan Seeholzer glides up to his business partner, Jonathon Sawyer, with a ropelike lamb loin draped across his arm. If he weren't wearing chef's whites, Seeholzer could be mistaken for a suit maker showing a fine piece of silk.

The two men look the piece up and down, all around.

"I've never seen one that size," says Seeholzer, as Sawyer nods.

The loin is just one of many culinary prizes in the regular Tuesday meat-carving sessions. Each week, five members of the restaurant's staff turns half a pig and a whole lamb into a large portion of the tavern's meat-centric menu.

But loin is not the only prize. With equal enthusiasm, the European-trained Sawyer, one of this year's best new chefs from Food & Wine magazine, will use the trim of his larder to make Moroccan merguez sausage, house-smoked pates, and a jellied head cheese.

"We want to work with the whole animal," Sawyer says.

While many chefs start with plastic-wrapped packages of pre-cut meat, he also wants additional ways to deliver signature flavors.

Sausage at the Greenhouse Tavern is a high art, a mix of craft, flavor, regionalism and environmental concerns. Instead of being taken for granted, it is seen as a food of authenticity.

Tell us about your favorite sausage in the Cleveland area, and why you think it's the best. Send your comments to [email protected] (in the subject line, please type "Sausages") or mail them to "Sausages," Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114. We'll print a selection in the Taste section Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Related story

The Greenhouse Tavern (2038 East Fourth St., 216-443-0511) is not the only place where that happens. Sausage runs through Cleveland's ethnic roots. We found two more stories of authenticity: one at Frank's Bratwurst stand at the West Side Market, and another in the hands of Vilma Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to recapture her mother's potato sausage recipe.

They each believe that sausage is more than the sum of its unrecognizable parts.

" 'Trim' food is heavenly," says Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, author of the sausage and cured-meats book "Charcuterie" with Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton, 2005). His sequel is due out next year.

"You'll see sausages at the highest end of high cuisine in France, where they might serve it with a pistachio vinaigrette," Ruhlman says. "Sausage is loaded with flavor, and the best of it is lovingly crafted."

Sausage king

Probably the most famous sausage in town is the sandwich at Frank's Bratwurst at the West Side Market (Stand G-3, 216-344-2180). Open 40 years, serving everyone from nobodies to presidents, the stand now sells an average of 400 pounds of sausage a week.

But last year, owner Ilse Sheppard faced an uncertain future. Her Cleveland sausage supplier decided to retire and take his recipe with him.

"We had to take some steps," she said.

In a historic market where an estimated 10-12 meat vendors still make fresh sausage on-site, it would seem that Sheppard wouldn't have far to go.

Not so. Each vendor had a license to sell product to individual customers. Not one, she said, had a wholesale license to sell to someone like her who cooked the product and sold it to the public. She also believed none was large enough for her stand's needs.

The Sheppards -- Ilse, husband Richard and their three sons -- commute to the market from their home in Geneva near the Pennsylvania border. When Richard heard about Smith's Hot Dogs, a company in Erie, Pa., they checked into it. They liked the family-owned business -- suppliers to the Pittsburgh Penguins and University of Pittsburgh -- and they liked their product, made with natural casings.

All the Sheppards would have to do is buy a refrigerated truck to pick up the bratwurst.

Well, not all. They still didn't have a recipe, and Ilse said she's no expert on seasonings.

She knew texture. She still wanted Frank's brats to have a natural casing that browned well and snapped when you bit into them. She didn't want a fine interior texture, which would be too spongy, or a coarse one, which might feel too gristly.

She brought samples to Smith's, and they whipped up a version. Then another. Four in all. Each time, the Sheppards' tested them on regulars. Finally, in March, it was done.

"People can't tell the difference," Ilse says, smiling.

Better yet, she says, Smith's has agreed that if the Sheppards go out of business, the recipe will be destroyed so it can't be used again.

Hello, goodbye

You can find ethnic sausages all over Cleveland, including Italian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, German and more. But for the most ardent sausage-lover, buying them is not always the same as making them yourself.

Vilma Pinigir has been in this country 18 years, half her life. Only once has she made vedarai, the potato-and-bacon sausage that makes her think of home. That's how I met Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania, who was looking for someone with sausage-making equipment. I opened my doors to this friend of a friend one Friday night, and a fireball of energy flew in. My friend and I followed all of Pinigir's instructions, gathering ingredients, peeling and processing 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 large onions, cooking and crumbling 5 pounds of bacon, and so on.

"My mom made it once a month, before they had food processors," said Pinigir. "It was such a delicacy, if we knew she was making it, we would all run home. Mom grated potatoes until her fingers were bloody. And once we got older, we would grate, too."

Life was difficult under communist rule, she said.

"Not that people weren't hospitable, but there was little to share," she said.

"We stood in line for toilet paper. We made everything ourselves. We have it so easy now, I have nothing to complain about."

Pinigir, a house organizer and cleaner, could stop by the Lithuanian American Club (877 East 185th St., Cleveland, 216-531-2131) for a public Sunday brunch, where vedarai is sometimes served. But she wants her teenage daughter, Kia, to learn how to make it. So she brought Kia with her to the sausage session at my house on a night when the girl would rather have been at the movies with friends.

"It's looks like an alien," Kia cried out as the sausage started filling the hog casings.

But as her mother got tired and needed to sit down, Kia stepped in, using the wooden tool to push filling into the sausage machine. In fact, she was more steady at it than her mom.

Pinigir is a hands-on cook, constantly mixing the sausage filling, draining the ground potatoes and draining them more. Vedarai needs attention. If the casing is too full or not poked enough with a toothpick, it will burst. If it isn't basted often enough with bacon fat, the casings will crack.

Finally, it was done, browned and glistening like any all-meat sausage, tasting like finely textured hash browns richly perfumed with bacon and onion. We ate it the way Pinigir suggested, with a side of cottage cheese.


Sausage is fine art in ethnic recipes, gourmet restaurants

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Knives are sliding through fat, cleavers are smacking through bone, and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time in the basement prep room of the Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland.

Jonathan Seeholzer glides up to his business partner, Jonathon Sawyer, with a ropelike lamb loin draped across his arm. If he weren't wearing chef's whites, Seeholzer could be mistaken for a suit maker showing a fine piece of silk.

The two men look the piece up and down, all around.

"I've never seen one that size," says Seeholzer, as Sawyer nods.

The loin is just one of many culinary prizes in the regular Tuesday meat-carving sessions. Each week, five members of the restaurant's staff turns half a pig and a whole lamb into a large portion of the tavern's meat-centric menu.

But loin is not the only prize. With equal enthusiasm, the European-trained Sawyer, one of this year's best new chefs from Food & Wine magazine, will use the trim of his larder to make Moroccan merguez sausage, house-smoked pates, and a jellied head cheese.

"We want to work with the whole animal," Sawyer says.

While many chefs start with plastic-wrapped packages of pre-cut meat, he also wants additional ways to deliver signature flavors.

Sausage at the Greenhouse Tavern is a high art, a mix of craft, flavor, regionalism and environmental concerns. Instead of being taken for granted, it is seen as a food of authenticity.

Tell us about your favorite sausage in the Cleveland area, and why you think it's the best. Send your comments to [email protected] (in the subject line, please type "Sausages") or mail them to "Sausages," Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114. We'll print a selection in the Taste section Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Related story

The Greenhouse Tavern (2038 East Fourth St., 216-443-0511) is not the only place where that happens. Sausage runs through Cleveland's ethnic roots. We found two more stories of authenticity: one at Frank's Bratwurst stand at the West Side Market, and another in the hands of Vilma Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to recapture her mother's potato sausage recipe.

They each believe that sausage is more than the sum of its unrecognizable parts.

" 'Trim' food is heavenly," says Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, author of the sausage and cured-meats book "Charcuterie" with Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton, 2005). His sequel is due out next year.

"You'll see sausages at the highest end of high cuisine in France, where they might serve it with a pistachio vinaigrette," Ruhlman says. "Sausage is loaded with flavor, and the best of it is lovingly crafted."

Sausage king

Probably the most famous sausage in town is the sandwich at Frank's Bratwurst at the West Side Market (Stand G-3, 216-344-2180). Open 40 years, serving everyone from nobodies to presidents, the stand now sells an average of 400 pounds of sausage a week.

But last year, owner Ilse Sheppard faced an uncertain future. Her Cleveland sausage supplier decided to retire and take his recipe with him.

"We had to take some steps," she said.

In a historic market where an estimated 10-12 meat vendors still make fresh sausage on-site, it would seem that Sheppard wouldn't have far to go.

Not so. Each vendor had a license to sell product to individual customers. Not one, she said, had a wholesale license to sell to someone like her who cooked the product and sold it to the public. She also believed none was large enough for her stand's needs.

The Sheppards -- Ilse, husband Richard and their three sons -- commute to the market from their home in Geneva near the Pennsylvania border. When Richard heard about Smith's Hot Dogs, a company in Erie, Pa., they checked into it. They liked the family-owned business -- suppliers to the Pittsburgh Penguins and University of Pittsburgh -- and they liked their product, made with natural casings.

All the Sheppards would have to do is buy a refrigerated truck to pick up the bratwurst.

Well, not all. They still didn't have a recipe, and Ilse said she's no expert on seasonings.

She knew texture. She still wanted Frank's brats to have a natural casing that browned well and snapped when you bit into them. She didn't want a fine interior texture, which would be too spongy, or a coarse one, which might feel too gristly.

She brought samples to Smith's, and they whipped up a version. Then another. Four in all. Each time, the Sheppards' tested them on regulars. Finally, in March, it was done.

"People can't tell the difference," Ilse says, smiling.

Better yet, she says, Smith's has agreed that if the Sheppards go out of business, the recipe will be destroyed so it can't be used again.

Hello, goodbye

You can find ethnic sausages all over Cleveland, including Italian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, German and more. But for the most ardent sausage-lover, buying them is not always the same as making them yourself.

Vilma Pinigir has been in this country 18 years, half her life. Only once has she made vedarai, the potato-and-bacon sausage that makes her think of home. That's how I met Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania, who was looking for someone with sausage-making equipment. I opened my doors to this friend of a friend one Friday night, and a fireball of energy flew in. My friend and I followed all of Pinigir's instructions, gathering ingredients, peeling and processing 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 large onions, cooking and crumbling 5 pounds of bacon, and so on.

"My mom made it once a month, before they had food processors," said Pinigir. "It was such a delicacy, if we knew she was making it, we would all run home. Mom grated potatoes until her fingers were bloody. And once we got older, we would grate, too."

Life was difficult under communist rule, she said.

"Not that people weren't hospitable, but there was little to share," she said.

"We stood in line for toilet paper. We made everything ourselves. We have it so easy now, I have nothing to complain about."

Pinigir, a house organizer and cleaner, could stop by the Lithuanian American Club (877 East 185th St., Cleveland, 216-531-2131) for a public Sunday brunch, where vedarai is sometimes served. But she wants her teenage daughter, Kia, to learn how to make it. So she brought Kia with her to the sausage session at my house on a night when the girl would rather have been at the movies with friends.

"It's looks like an alien," Kia cried out as the sausage started filling the hog casings.

But as her mother got tired and needed to sit down, Kia stepped in, using the wooden tool to push filling into the sausage machine. In fact, she was more steady at it than her mom.

Pinigir is a hands-on cook, constantly mixing the sausage filling, draining the ground potatoes and draining them more. Vedarai needs attention. If the casing is too full or not poked enough with a toothpick, it will burst. If it isn't basted often enough with bacon fat, the casings will crack.

Finally, it was done, browned and glistening like any all-meat sausage, tasting like finely textured hash browns richly perfumed with bacon and onion. We ate it the way Pinigir suggested, with a side of cottage cheese.


Sausage is fine art in ethnic recipes, gourmet restaurants

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Knives are sliding through fat, cleavers are smacking through bone, and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time in the basement prep room of the Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland.

Jonathan Seeholzer glides up to his business partner, Jonathon Sawyer, with a ropelike lamb loin draped across his arm. If he weren't wearing chef's whites, Seeholzer could be mistaken for a suit maker showing a fine piece of silk.

The two men look the piece up and down, all around.

"I've never seen one that size," says Seeholzer, as Sawyer nods.

The loin is just one of many culinary prizes in the regular Tuesday meat-carving sessions. Each week, five members of the restaurant's staff turns half a pig and a whole lamb into a large portion of the tavern's meat-centric menu.

But loin is not the only prize. With equal enthusiasm, the European-trained Sawyer, one of this year's best new chefs from Food & Wine magazine, will use the trim of his larder to make Moroccan merguez sausage, house-smoked pates, and a jellied head cheese.

"We want to work with the whole animal," Sawyer says.

While many chefs start with plastic-wrapped packages of pre-cut meat, he also wants additional ways to deliver signature flavors.

Sausage at the Greenhouse Tavern is a high art, a mix of craft, flavor, regionalism and environmental concerns. Instead of being taken for granted, it is seen as a food of authenticity.

Tell us about your favorite sausage in the Cleveland area, and why you think it's the best. Send your comments to [email protected] (in the subject line, please type "Sausages") or mail them to "Sausages," Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114. We'll print a selection in the Taste section Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Related story

The Greenhouse Tavern (2038 East Fourth St., 216-443-0511) is not the only place where that happens. Sausage runs through Cleveland's ethnic roots. We found two more stories of authenticity: one at Frank's Bratwurst stand at the West Side Market, and another in the hands of Vilma Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to recapture her mother's potato sausage recipe.

They each believe that sausage is more than the sum of its unrecognizable parts.

" 'Trim' food is heavenly," says Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, author of the sausage and cured-meats book "Charcuterie" with Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton, 2005). His sequel is due out next year.

"You'll see sausages at the highest end of high cuisine in France, where they might serve it with a pistachio vinaigrette," Ruhlman says. "Sausage is loaded with flavor, and the best of it is lovingly crafted."

Sausage king

Probably the most famous sausage in town is the sandwich at Frank's Bratwurst at the West Side Market (Stand G-3, 216-344-2180). Open 40 years, serving everyone from nobodies to presidents, the stand now sells an average of 400 pounds of sausage a week.

But last year, owner Ilse Sheppard faced an uncertain future. Her Cleveland sausage supplier decided to retire and take his recipe with him.

"We had to take some steps," she said.

In a historic market where an estimated 10-12 meat vendors still make fresh sausage on-site, it would seem that Sheppard wouldn't have far to go.

Not so. Each vendor had a license to sell product to individual customers. Not one, she said, had a wholesale license to sell to someone like her who cooked the product and sold it to the public. She also believed none was large enough for her stand's needs.

The Sheppards -- Ilse, husband Richard and their three sons -- commute to the market from their home in Geneva near the Pennsylvania border. When Richard heard about Smith's Hot Dogs, a company in Erie, Pa., they checked into it. They liked the family-owned business -- suppliers to the Pittsburgh Penguins and University of Pittsburgh -- and they liked their product, made with natural casings.

All the Sheppards would have to do is buy a refrigerated truck to pick up the bratwurst.

Well, not all. They still didn't have a recipe, and Ilse said she's no expert on seasonings.

She knew texture. She still wanted Frank's brats to have a natural casing that browned well and snapped when you bit into them. She didn't want a fine interior texture, which would be too spongy, or a coarse one, which might feel too gristly.

She brought samples to Smith's, and they whipped up a version. Then another. Four in all. Each time, the Sheppards' tested them on regulars. Finally, in March, it was done.

"People can't tell the difference," Ilse says, smiling.

Better yet, she says, Smith's has agreed that if the Sheppards go out of business, the recipe will be destroyed so it can't be used again.

Hello, goodbye

You can find ethnic sausages all over Cleveland, including Italian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, German and more. But for the most ardent sausage-lover, buying them is not always the same as making them yourself.

Vilma Pinigir has been in this country 18 years, half her life. Only once has she made vedarai, the potato-and-bacon sausage that makes her think of home. That's how I met Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania, who was looking for someone with sausage-making equipment. I opened my doors to this friend of a friend one Friday night, and a fireball of energy flew in. My friend and I followed all of Pinigir's instructions, gathering ingredients, peeling and processing 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 large onions, cooking and crumbling 5 pounds of bacon, and so on.

"My mom made it once a month, before they had food processors," said Pinigir. "It was such a delicacy, if we knew she was making it, we would all run home. Mom grated potatoes until her fingers were bloody. And once we got older, we would grate, too."

Life was difficult under communist rule, she said.

"Not that people weren't hospitable, but there was little to share," she said.

"We stood in line for toilet paper. We made everything ourselves. We have it so easy now, I have nothing to complain about."

Pinigir, a house organizer and cleaner, could stop by the Lithuanian American Club (877 East 185th St., Cleveland, 216-531-2131) for a public Sunday brunch, where vedarai is sometimes served. But she wants her teenage daughter, Kia, to learn how to make it. So she brought Kia with her to the sausage session at my house on a night when the girl would rather have been at the movies with friends.

"It's looks like an alien," Kia cried out as the sausage started filling the hog casings.

But as her mother got tired and needed to sit down, Kia stepped in, using the wooden tool to push filling into the sausage machine. In fact, she was more steady at it than her mom.

Pinigir is a hands-on cook, constantly mixing the sausage filling, draining the ground potatoes and draining them more. Vedarai needs attention. If the casing is too full or not poked enough with a toothpick, it will burst. If it isn't basted often enough with bacon fat, the casings will crack.

Finally, it was done, browned and glistening like any all-meat sausage, tasting like finely textured hash browns richly perfumed with bacon and onion. We ate it the way Pinigir suggested, with a side of cottage cheese.


Sausage is fine art in ethnic recipes, gourmet restaurants

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Knives are sliding through fat, cleavers are smacking through bone, and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time in the basement prep room of the Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland.

Jonathan Seeholzer glides up to his business partner, Jonathon Sawyer, with a ropelike lamb loin draped across his arm. If he weren't wearing chef's whites, Seeholzer could be mistaken for a suit maker showing a fine piece of silk.

The two men look the piece up and down, all around.

"I've never seen one that size," says Seeholzer, as Sawyer nods.

The loin is just one of many culinary prizes in the regular Tuesday meat-carving sessions. Each week, five members of the restaurant's staff turns half a pig and a whole lamb into a large portion of the tavern's meat-centric menu.

But loin is not the only prize. With equal enthusiasm, the European-trained Sawyer, one of this year's best new chefs from Food & Wine magazine, will use the trim of his larder to make Moroccan merguez sausage, house-smoked pates, and a jellied head cheese.

"We want to work with the whole animal," Sawyer says.

While many chefs start with plastic-wrapped packages of pre-cut meat, he also wants additional ways to deliver signature flavors.

Sausage at the Greenhouse Tavern is a high art, a mix of craft, flavor, regionalism and environmental concerns. Instead of being taken for granted, it is seen as a food of authenticity.

Tell us about your favorite sausage in the Cleveland area, and why you think it's the best. Send your comments to [email protected] (in the subject line, please type "Sausages") or mail them to "Sausages," Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114. We'll print a selection in the Taste section Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Related story

The Greenhouse Tavern (2038 East Fourth St., 216-443-0511) is not the only place where that happens. Sausage runs through Cleveland's ethnic roots. We found two more stories of authenticity: one at Frank's Bratwurst stand at the West Side Market, and another in the hands of Vilma Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to recapture her mother's potato sausage recipe.

They each believe that sausage is more than the sum of its unrecognizable parts.

" 'Trim' food is heavenly," says Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, author of the sausage and cured-meats book "Charcuterie" with Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton, 2005). His sequel is due out next year.

"You'll see sausages at the highest end of high cuisine in France, where they might serve it with a pistachio vinaigrette," Ruhlman says. "Sausage is loaded with flavor, and the best of it is lovingly crafted."

Sausage king

Probably the most famous sausage in town is the sandwich at Frank's Bratwurst at the West Side Market (Stand G-3, 216-344-2180). Open 40 years, serving everyone from nobodies to presidents, the stand now sells an average of 400 pounds of sausage a week.

But last year, owner Ilse Sheppard faced an uncertain future. Her Cleveland sausage supplier decided to retire and take his recipe with him.

"We had to take some steps," she said.

In a historic market where an estimated 10-12 meat vendors still make fresh sausage on-site, it would seem that Sheppard wouldn't have far to go.

Not so. Each vendor had a license to sell product to individual customers. Not one, she said, had a wholesale license to sell to someone like her who cooked the product and sold it to the public. She also believed none was large enough for her stand's needs.

The Sheppards -- Ilse, husband Richard and their three sons -- commute to the market from their home in Geneva near the Pennsylvania border. When Richard heard about Smith's Hot Dogs, a company in Erie, Pa., they checked into it. They liked the family-owned business -- suppliers to the Pittsburgh Penguins and University of Pittsburgh -- and they liked their product, made with natural casings.

All the Sheppards would have to do is buy a refrigerated truck to pick up the bratwurst.

Well, not all. They still didn't have a recipe, and Ilse said she's no expert on seasonings.

She knew texture. She still wanted Frank's brats to have a natural casing that browned well and snapped when you bit into them. She didn't want a fine interior texture, which would be too spongy, or a coarse one, which might feel too gristly.

She brought samples to Smith's, and they whipped up a version. Then another. Four in all. Each time, the Sheppards' tested them on regulars. Finally, in March, it was done.

"People can't tell the difference," Ilse says, smiling.

Better yet, she says, Smith's has agreed that if the Sheppards go out of business, the recipe will be destroyed so it can't be used again.

Hello, goodbye

You can find ethnic sausages all over Cleveland, including Italian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, German and more. But for the most ardent sausage-lover, buying them is not always the same as making them yourself.

Vilma Pinigir has been in this country 18 years, half her life. Only once has she made vedarai, the potato-and-bacon sausage that makes her think of home. That's how I met Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania, who was looking for someone with sausage-making equipment. I opened my doors to this friend of a friend one Friday night, and a fireball of energy flew in. My friend and I followed all of Pinigir's instructions, gathering ingredients, peeling and processing 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 large onions, cooking and crumbling 5 pounds of bacon, and so on.

"My mom made it once a month, before they had food processors," said Pinigir. "It was such a delicacy, if we knew she was making it, we would all run home. Mom grated potatoes until her fingers were bloody. And once we got older, we would grate, too."

Life was difficult under communist rule, she said.

"Not that people weren't hospitable, but there was little to share," she said.

"We stood in line for toilet paper. We made everything ourselves. We have it so easy now, I have nothing to complain about."

Pinigir, a house organizer and cleaner, could stop by the Lithuanian American Club (877 East 185th St., Cleveland, 216-531-2131) for a public Sunday brunch, where vedarai is sometimes served. But she wants her teenage daughter, Kia, to learn how to make it. So she brought Kia with her to the sausage session at my house on a night when the girl would rather have been at the movies with friends.

"It's looks like an alien," Kia cried out as the sausage started filling the hog casings.

But as her mother got tired and needed to sit down, Kia stepped in, using the wooden tool to push filling into the sausage machine. In fact, she was more steady at it than her mom.

Pinigir is a hands-on cook, constantly mixing the sausage filling, draining the ground potatoes and draining them more. Vedarai needs attention. If the casing is too full or not poked enough with a toothpick, it will burst. If it isn't basted often enough with bacon fat, the casings will crack.

Finally, it was done, browned and glistening like any all-meat sausage, tasting like finely textured hash browns richly perfumed with bacon and onion. We ate it the way Pinigir suggested, with a side of cottage cheese.


Sausage is fine art in ethnic recipes, gourmet restaurants

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Knives are sliding through fat, cleavers are smacking through bone, and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time in the basement prep room of the Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland.

Jonathan Seeholzer glides up to his business partner, Jonathon Sawyer, with a ropelike lamb loin draped across his arm. If he weren't wearing chef's whites, Seeholzer could be mistaken for a suit maker showing a fine piece of silk.

The two men look the piece up and down, all around.

"I've never seen one that size," says Seeholzer, as Sawyer nods.

The loin is just one of many culinary prizes in the regular Tuesday meat-carving sessions. Each week, five members of the restaurant's staff turns half a pig and a whole lamb into a large portion of the tavern's meat-centric menu.

But loin is not the only prize. With equal enthusiasm, the European-trained Sawyer, one of this year's best new chefs from Food & Wine magazine, will use the trim of his larder to make Moroccan merguez sausage, house-smoked pates, and a jellied head cheese.

"We want to work with the whole animal," Sawyer says.

While many chefs start with plastic-wrapped packages of pre-cut meat, he also wants additional ways to deliver signature flavors.

Sausage at the Greenhouse Tavern is a high art, a mix of craft, flavor, regionalism and environmental concerns. Instead of being taken for granted, it is seen as a food of authenticity.

Tell us about your favorite sausage in the Cleveland area, and why you think it's the best. Send your comments to [email protected] (in the subject line, please type "Sausages") or mail them to "Sausages," Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114. We'll print a selection in the Taste section Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Related story

The Greenhouse Tavern (2038 East Fourth St., 216-443-0511) is not the only place where that happens. Sausage runs through Cleveland's ethnic roots. We found two more stories of authenticity: one at Frank's Bratwurst stand at the West Side Market, and another in the hands of Vilma Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to recapture her mother's potato sausage recipe.

They each believe that sausage is more than the sum of its unrecognizable parts.

" 'Trim' food is heavenly," says Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, author of the sausage and cured-meats book "Charcuterie" with Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton, 2005). His sequel is due out next year.

"You'll see sausages at the highest end of high cuisine in France, where they might serve it with a pistachio vinaigrette," Ruhlman says. "Sausage is loaded with flavor, and the best of it is lovingly crafted."

Sausage king

Probably the most famous sausage in town is the sandwich at Frank's Bratwurst at the West Side Market (Stand G-3, 216-344-2180). Open 40 years, serving everyone from nobodies to presidents, the stand now sells an average of 400 pounds of sausage a week.

But last year, owner Ilse Sheppard faced an uncertain future. Her Cleveland sausage supplier decided to retire and take his recipe with him.

"We had to take some steps," she said.

In a historic market where an estimated 10-12 meat vendors still make fresh sausage on-site, it would seem that Sheppard wouldn't have far to go.

Not so. Each vendor had a license to sell product to individual customers. Not one, she said, had a wholesale license to sell to someone like her who cooked the product and sold it to the public. She also believed none was large enough for her stand's needs.

The Sheppards -- Ilse, husband Richard and their three sons -- commute to the market from their home in Geneva near the Pennsylvania border. When Richard heard about Smith's Hot Dogs, a company in Erie, Pa., they checked into it. They liked the family-owned business -- suppliers to the Pittsburgh Penguins and University of Pittsburgh -- and they liked their product, made with natural casings.

All the Sheppards would have to do is buy a refrigerated truck to pick up the bratwurst.

Well, not all. They still didn't have a recipe, and Ilse said she's no expert on seasonings.

She knew texture. She still wanted Frank's brats to have a natural casing that browned well and snapped when you bit into them. She didn't want a fine interior texture, which would be too spongy, or a coarse one, which might feel too gristly.

She brought samples to Smith's, and they whipped up a version. Then another. Four in all. Each time, the Sheppards' tested them on regulars. Finally, in March, it was done.

"People can't tell the difference," Ilse says, smiling.

Better yet, she says, Smith's has agreed that if the Sheppards go out of business, the recipe will be destroyed so it can't be used again.

Hello, goodbye

You can find ethnic sausages all over Cleveland, including Italian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, German and more. But for the most ardent sausage-lover, buying them is not always the same as making them yourself.

Vilma Pinigir has been in this country 18 years, half her life. Only once has she made vedarai, the potato-and-bacon sausage that makes her think of home. That's how I met Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania, who was looking for someone with sausage-making equipment. I opened my doors to this friend of a friend one Friday night, and a fireball of energy flew in. My friend and I followed all of Pinigir's instructions, gathering ingredients, peeling and processing 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 large onions, cooking and crumbling 5 pounds of bacon, and so on.

"My mom made it once a month, before they had food processors," said Pinigir. "It was such a delicacy, if we knew she was making it, we would all run home. Mom grated potatoes until her fingers were bloody. And once we got older, we would grate, too."

Life was difficult under communist rule, she said.

"Not that people weren't hospitable, but there was little to share," she said.

"We stood in line for toilet paper. We made everything ourselves. We have it so easy now, I have nothing to complain about."

Pinigir, a house organizer and cleaner, could stop by the Lithuanian American Club (877 East 185th St., Cleveland, 216-531-2131) for a public Sunday brunch, where vedarai is sometimes served. But she wants her teenage daughter, Kia, to learn how to make it. So she brought Kia with her to the sausage session at my house on a night when the girl would rather have been at the movies with friends.

"It's looks like an alien," Kia cried out as the sausage started filling the hog casings.

But as her mother got tired and needed to sit down, Kia stepped in, using the wooden tool to push filling into the sausage machine. In fact, she was more steady at it than her mom.

Pinigir is a hands-on cook, constantly mixing the sausage filling, draining the ground potatoes and draining them more. Vedarai needs attention. If the casing is too full or not poked enough with a toothpick, it will burst. If it isn't basted often enough with bacon fat, the casings will crack.

Finally, it was done, browned and glistening like any all-meat sausage, tasting like finely textured hash browns richly perfumed with bacon and onion. We ate it the way Pinigir suggested, with a side of cottage cheese.


Sausage is fine art in ethnic recipes, gourmet restaurants

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Knives are sliding through fat, cleavers are smacking through bone, and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time in the basement prep room of the Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland.

Jonathan Seeholzer glides up to his business partner, Jonathon Sawyer, with a ropelike lamb loin draped across his arm. If he weren't wearing chef's whites, Seeholzer could be mistaken for a suit maker showing a fine piece of silk.

The two men look the piece up and down, all around.

"I've never seen one that size," says Seeholzer, as Sawyer nods.

The loin is just one of many culinary prizes in the regular Tuesday meat-carving sessions. Each week, five members of the restaurant's staff turns half a pig and a whole lamb into a large portion of the tavern's meat-centric menu.

But loin is not the only prize. With equal enthusiasm, the European-trained Sawyer, one of this year's best new chefs from Food & Wine magazine, will use the trim of his larder to make Moroccan merguez sausage, house-smoked pates, and a jellied head cheese.

"We want to work with the whole animal," Sawyer says.

While many chefs start with plastic-wrapped packages of pre-cut meat, he also wants additional ways to deliver signature flavors.

Sausage at the Greenhouse Tavern is a high art, a mix of craft, flavor, regionalism and environmental concerns. Instead of being taken for granted, it is seen as a food of authenticity.

Tell us about your favorite sausage in the Cleveland area, and why you think it's the best. Send your comments to [email protected] (in the subject line, please type "Sausages") or mail them to "Sausages," Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114. We'll print a selection in the Taste section Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Related story

The Greenhouse Tavern (2038 East Fourth St., 216-443-0511) is not the only place where that happens. Sausage runs through Cleveland's ethnic roots. We found two more stories of authenticity: one at Frank's Bratwurst stand at the West Side Market, and another in the hands of Vilma Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to recapture her mother's potato sausage recipe.

They each believe that sausage is more than the sum of its unrecognizable parts.

" 'Trim' food is heavenly," says Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, author of the sausage and cured-meats book "Charcuterie" with Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton, 2005). His sequel is due out next year.

"You'll see sausages at the highest end of high cuisine in France, where they might serve it with a pistachio vinaigrette," Ruhlman says. "Sausage is loaded with flavor, and the best of it is lovingly crafted."

Sausage king

Probably the most famous sausage in town is the sandwich at Frank's Bratwurst at the West Side Market (Stand G-3, 216-344-2180). Open 40 years, serving everyone from nobodies to presidents, the stand now sells an average of 400 pounds of sausage a week.

But last year, owner Ilse Sheppard faced an uncertain future. Her Cleveland sausage supplier decided to retire and take his recipe with him.

"We had to take some steps," she said.

In a historic market where an estimated 10-12 meat vendors still make fresh sausage on-site, it would seem that Sheppard wouldn't have far to go.

Not so. Each vendor had a license to sell product to individual customers. Not one, she said, had a wholesale license to sell to someone like her who cooked the product and sold it to the public. She also believed none was large enough for her stand's needs.

The Sheppards -- Ilse, husband Richard and their three sons -- commute to the market from their home in Geneva near the Pennsylvania border. When Richard heard about Smith's Hot Dogs, a company in Erie, Pa., they checked into it. They liked the family-owned business -- suppliers to the Pittsburgh Penguins and University of Pittsburgh -- and they liked their product, made with natural casings.

All the Sheppards would have to do is buy a refrigerated truck to pick up the bratwurst.

Well, not all. They still didn't have a recipe, and Ilse said she's no expert on seasonings.

She knew texture. She still wanted Frank's brats to have a natural casing that browned well and snapped when you bit into them. She didn't want a fine interior texture, which would be too spongy, or a coarse one, which might feel too gristly.

She brought samples to Smith's, and they whipped up a version. Then another. Four in all. Each time, the Sheppards' tested them on regulars. Finally, in March, it was done.

"People can't tell the difference," Ilse says, smiling.

Better yet, she says, Smith's has agreed that if the Sheppards go out of business, the recipe will be destroyed so it can't be used again.

Hello, goodbye

You can find ethnic sausages all over Cleveland, including Italian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, German and more. But for the most ardent sausage-lover, buying them is not always the same as making them yourself.

Vilma Pinigir has been in this country 18 years, half her life. Only once has she made vedarai, the potato-and-bacon sausage that makes her think of home. That's how I met Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania, who was looking for someone with sausage-making equipment. I opened my doors to this friend of a friend one Friday night, and a fireball of energy flew in. My friend and I followed all of Pinigir's instructions, gathering ingredients, peeling and processing 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 large onions, cooking and crumbling 5 pounds of bacon, and so on.

"My mom made it once a month, before they had food processors," said Pinigir. "It was such a delicacy, if we knew she was making it, we would all run home. Mom grated potatoes until her fingers were bloody. And once we got older, we would grate, too."

Life was difficult under communist rule, she said.

"Not that people weren't hospitable, but there was little to share," she said.

"We stood in line for toilet paper. We made everything ourselves. We have it so easy now, I have nothing to complain about."

Pinigir, a house organizer and cleaner, could stop by the Lithuanian American Club (877 East 185th St., Cleveland, 216-531-2131) for a public Sunday brunch, where vedarai is sometimes served. But she wants her teenage daughter, Kia, to learn how to make it. So she brought Kia with her to the sausage session at my house on a night when the girl would rather have been at the movies with friends.

"It's looks like an alien," Kia cried out as the sausage started filling the hog casings.

But as her mother got tired and needed to sit down, Kia stepped in, using the wooden tool to push filling into the sausage machine. In fact, she was more steady at it than her mom.

Pinigir is a hands-on cook, constantly mixing the sausage filling, draining the ground potatoes and draining them more. Vedarai needs attention. If the casing is too full or not poked enough with a toothpick, it will burst. If it isn't basted often enough with bacon fat, the casings will crack.

Finally, it was done, browned and glistening like any all-meat sausage, tasting like finely textured hash browns richly perfumed with bacon and onion. We ate it the way Pinigir suggested, with a side of cottage cheese.


Sausage is fine art in ethnic recipes, gourmet restaurants

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Knives are sliding through fat, cleavers are smacking through bone, and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time in the basement prep room of the Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland.

Jonathan Seeholzer glides up to his business partner, Jonathon Sawyer, with a ropelike lamb loin draped across his arm. If he weren't wearing chef's whites, Seeholzer could be mistaken for a suit maker showing a fine piece of silk.

The two men look the piece up and down, all around.

"I've never seen one that size," says Seeholzer, as Sawyer nods.

The loin is just one of many culinary prizes in the regular Tuesday meat-carving sessions. Each week, five members of the restaurant's staff turns half a pig and a whole lamb into a large portion of the tavern's meat-centric menu.

But loin is not the only prize. With equal enthusiasm, the European-trained Sawyer, one of this year's best new chefs from Food & Wine magazine, will use the trim of his larder to make Moroccan merguez sausage, house-smoked pates, and a jellied head cheese.

"We want to work with the whole animal," Sawyer says.

While many chefs start with plastic-wrapped packages of pre-cut meat, he also wants additional ways to deliver signature flavors.

Sausage at the Greenhouse Tavern is a high art, a mix of craft, flavor, regionalism and environmental concerns. Instead of being taken for granted, it is seen as a food of authenticity.

Tell us about your favorite sausage in the Cleveland area, and why you think it's the best. Send your comments to [email protected] (in the subject line, please type "Sausages") or mail them to "Sausages," Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114. We'll print a selection in the Taste section Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Related story

The Greenhouse Tavern (2038 East Fourth St., 216-443-0511) is not the only place where that happens. Sausage runs through Cleveland's ethnic roots. We found two more stories of authenticity: one at Frank's Bratwurst stand at the West Side Market, and another in the hands of Vilma Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to recapture her mother's potato sausage recipe.

They each believe that sausage is more than the sum of its unrecognizable parts.

" 'Trim' food is heavenly," says Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, author of the sausage and cured-meats book "Charcuterie" with Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton, 2005). His sequel is due out next year.

"You'll see sausages at the highest end of high cuisine in France, where they might serve it with a pistachio vinaigrette," Ruhlman says. "Sausage is loaded with flavor, and the best of it is lovingly crafted."

Sausage king

Probably the most famous sausage in town is the sandwich at Frank's Bratwurst at the West Side Market (Stand G-3, 216-344-2180). Open 40 years, serving everyone from nobodies to presidents, the stand now sells an average of 400 pounds of sausage a week.

But last year, owner Ilse Sheppard faced an uncertain future. Her Cleveland sausage supplier decided to retire and take his recipe with him.

"We had to take some steps," she said.

In a historic market where an estimated 10-12 meat vendors still make fresh sausage on-site, it would seem that Sheppard wouldn't have far to go.

Not so. Each vendor had a license to sell product to individual customers. Not one, she said, had a wholesale license to sell to someone like her who cooked the product and sold it to the public. She also believed none was large enough for her stand's needs.

The Sheppards -- Ilse, husband Richard and their three sons -- commute to the market from their home in Geneva near the Pennsylvania border. When Richard heard about Smith's Hot Dogs, a company in Erie, Pa., they checked into it. They liked the family-owned business -- suppliers to the Pittsburgh Penguins and University of Pittsburgh -- and they liked their product, made with natural casings.

All the Sheppards would have to do is buy a refrigerated truck to pick up the bratwurst.

Well, not all. They still didn't have a recipe, and Ilse said she's no expert on seasonings.

She knew texture. She still wanted Frank's brats to have a natural casing that browned well and snapped when you bit into them. She didn't want a fine interior texture, which would be too spongy, or a coarse one, which might feel too gristly.

She brought samples to Smith's, and they whipped up a version. Then another. Four in all. Each time, the Sheppards' tested them on regulars. Finally, in March, it was done.

"People can't tell the difference," Ilse says, smiling.

Better yet, she says, Smith's has agreed that if the Sheppards go out of business, the recipe will be destroyed so it can't be used again.

Hello, goodbye

You can find ethnic sausages all over Cleveland, including Italian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, German and more. But for the most ardent sausage-lover, buying them is not always the same as making them yourself.

Vilma Pinigir has been in this country 18 years, half her life. Only once has she made vedarai, the potato-and-bacon sausage that makes her think of home. That's how I met Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania, who was looking for someone with sausage-making equipment. I opened my doors to this friend of a friend one Friday night, and a fireball of energy flew in. My friend and I followed all of Pinigir's instructions, gathering ingredients, peeling and processing 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 large onions, cooking and crumbling 5 pounds of bacon, and so on.

"My mom made it once a month, before they had food processors," said Pinigir. "It was such a delicacy, if we knew she was making it, we would all run home. Mom grated potatoes until her fingers were bloody. And once we got older, we would grate, too."

Life was difficult under communist rule, she said.

"Not that people weren't hospitable, but there was little to share," she said.

"We stood in line for toilet paper. We made everything ourselves. We have it so easy now, I have nothing to complain about."

Pinigir, a house organizer and cleaner, could stop by the Lithuanian American Club (877 East 185th St., Cleveland, 216-531-2131) for a public Sunday brunch, where vedarai is sometimes served. But she wants her teenage daughter, Kia, to learn how to make it. So she brought Kia with her to the sausage session at my house on a night when the girl would rather have been at the movies with friends.

"It's looks like an alien," Kia cried out as the sausage started filling the hog casings.

But as her mother got tired and needed to sit down, Kia stepped in, using the wooden tool to push filling into the sausage machine. In fact, she was more steady at it than her mom.

Pinigir is a hands-on cook, constantly mixing the sausage filling, draining the ground potatoes and draining them more. Vedarai needs attention. If the casing is too full or not poked enough with a toothpick, it will burst. If it isn't basted often enough with bacon fat, the casings will crack.

Finally, it was done, browned and glistening like any all-meat sausage, tasting like finely textured hash browns richly perfumed with bacon and onion. We ate it the way Pinigir suggested, with a side of cottage cheese.


Sausage is fine art in ethnic recipes, gourmet restaurants

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Knives are sliding through fat, cleavers are smacking through bone, and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time in the basement prep room of the Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland.

Jonathan Seeholzer glides up to his business partner, Jonathon Sawyer, with a ropelike lamb loin draped across his arm. If he weren't wearing chef's whites, Seeholzer could be mistaken for a suit maker showing a fine piece of silk.

The two men look the piece up and down, all around.

"I've never seen one that size," says Seeholzer, as Sawyer nods.

The loin is just one of many culinary prizes in the regular Tuesday meat-carving sessions. Each week, five members of the restaurant's staff turns half a pig and a whole lamb into a large portion of the tavern's meat-centric menu.

But loin is not the only prize. With equal enthusiasm, the European-trained Sawyer, one of this year's best new chefs from Food & Wine magazine, will use the trim of his larder to make Moroccan merguez sausage, house-smoked pates, and a jellied head cheese.

"We want to work with the whole animal," Sawyer says.

While many chefs start with plastic-wrapped packages of pre-cut meat, he also wants additional ways to deliver signature flavors.

Sausage at the Greenhouse Tavern is a high art, a mix of craft, flavor, regionalism and environmental concerns. Instead of being taken for granted, it is seen as a food of authenticity.

Tell us about your favorite sausage in the Cleveland area, and why you think it's the best. Send your comments to [email protected] (in the subject line, please type "Sausages") or mail them to "Sausages," Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114. We'll print a selection in the Taste section Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Related story

The Greenhouse Tavern (2038 East Fourth St., 216-443-0511) is not the only place where that happens. Sausage runs through Cleveland's ethnic roots. We found two more stories of authenticity: one at Frank's Bratwurst stand at the West Side Market, and another in the hands of Vilma Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to recapture her mother's potato sausage recipe.

They each believe that sausage is more than the sum of its unrecognizable parts.

" 'Trim' food is heavenly," says Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, author of the sausage and cured-meats book "Charcuterie" with Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton, 2005). His sequel is due out next year.

"You'll see sausages at the highest end of high cuisine in France, where they might serve it with a pistachio vinaigrette," Ruhlman says. "Sausage is loaded with flavor, and the best of it is lovingly crafted."

Sausage king

Probably the most famous sausage in town is the sandwich at Frank's Bratwurst at the West Side Market (Stand G-3, 216-344-2180). Open 40 years, serving everyone from nobodies to presidents, the stand now sells an average of 400 pounds of sausage a week.

But last year, owner Ilse Sheppard faced an uncertain future. Her Cleveland sausage supplier decided to retire and take his recipe with him.

"We had to take some steps," she said.

In a historic market where an estimated 10-12 meat vendors still make fresh sausage on-site, it would seem that Sheppard wouldn't have far to go.

Not so. Each vendor had a license to sell product to individual customers. Not one, she said, had a wholesale license to sell to someone like her who cooked the product and sold it to the public. She also believed none was large enough for her stand's needs.

The Sheppards -- Ilse, husband Richard and their three sons -- commute to the market from their home in Geneva near the Pennsylvania border. When Richard heard about Smith's Hot Dogs, a company in Erie, Pa., they checked into it. They liked the family-owned business -- suppliers to the Pittsburgh Penguins and University of Pittsburgh -- and they liked their product, made with natural casings.

All the Sheppards would have to do is buy a refrigerated truck to pick up the bratwurst.

Well, not all. They still didn't have a recipe, and Ilse said she's no expert on seasonings.

She knew texture. She still wanted Frank's brats to have a natural casing that browned well and snapped when you bit into them. She didn't want a fine interior texture, which would be too spongy, or a coarse one, which might feel too gristly.

She brought samples to Smith's, and they whipped up a version. Then another. Four in all. Each time, the Sheppards' tested them on regulars. Finally, in March, it was done.

"People can't tell the difference," Ilse says, smiling.

Better yet, she says, Smith's has agreed that if the Sheppards go out of business, the recipe will be destroyed so it can't be used again.

Hello, goodbye

You can find ethnic sausages all over Cleveland, including Italian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, German and more. But for the most ardent sausage-lover, buying them is not always the same as making them yourself.

Vilma Pinigir has been in this country 18 years, half her life. Only once has she made vedarai, the potato-and-bacon sausage that makes her think of home. That's how I met Pinigir, an immigrant from Lithuania, who was looking for someone with sausage-making equipment. I opened my doors to this friend of a friend one Friday night, and a fireball of energy flew in. My friend and I followed all of Pinigir's instructions, gathering ingredients, peeling and processing 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 large onions, cooking and crumbling 5 pounds of bacon, and so on.

"My mom made it once a month, before they had food processors," said Pinigir. "It was such a delicacy, if we knew she was making it, we would all run home. Mom grated potatoes until her fingers were bloody. And once we got older, we would grate, too."

Life was difficult under communist rule, she said.

"Not that people weren't hospitable, but there was little to share," she said.

"We stood in line for toilet paper. We made everything ourselves. We have it so easy now, I have nothing to complain about."

Pinigir, a house organizer and cleaner, could stop by the Lithuanian American Club (877 East 185th St., Cleveland, 216-531-2131) for a public Sunday brunch, where vedarai is sometimes served. But she wants her teenage daughter, Kia, to learn how to make it. So she brought Kia with her to the sausage session at my house on a night when the girl would rather have been at the movies with friends.

"It's looks like an alien," Kia cried out as the sausage started filling the hog casings.

But as her mother got tired and needed to sit down, Kia stepped in, using the wooden tool to push filling into the sausage machine. In fact, she was more steady at it than her mom.

Pinigir is a hands-on cook, constantly mixing the sausage filling, draining the ground potatoes and draining them more. Vedarai needs attention. If the casing is too full or not poked enough with a toothpick, it will burst. If it isn't basted often enough with bacon fat, the casings will crack.

Finally, it was done, browned and glistening like any all-meat sausage, tasting like finely textured hash browns richly perfumed with bacon and onion. We ate it the way Pinigir suggested, with a side of cottage cheese.


Watch the video: Sawyer Mini Wasserfilter - Review SawyerSqueeze (August 2022).