In your opinion, what restaurant makes the best cornbread in town? The Creative Discovery Museum wants to know. On Saturday, June 1, from 1-3 p.m., the museum will crown the winning eatery in its tasty event, Best Bites.
Email your votes to Liza Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than May 1.
The recent Coffee Throwdown, held recently at the North Shore's Thrive Studios to recognize the best baristas in town, was met with great enthusiasm. Organizers were very happy with the large number of people who came to watch, as well as the number of baristas who entered. Here are the best baristas chosen by the team of judges:
• Jeremy Moore (Bonlife Coffee, Cleveland) took home the prize for best brewed coffee.
• Whitney Turner (Pasha Coffee and Tea) received first place in the espresso category.
• Jamion William (home barista and private beverage consultant) made the winning specialty coffee drink he named Three Judges. It's made with Old Forester 2012 Birthday bourbon, Intelligencia Zirikana Rwandan coffee and a heavy whipped cream made with a cherry-infused blend of brandy and maraschino liquor.
In another contest, El Meson restaurant took top honors in a salsa competition.
The restaurant won the prize at the ninth annual Caribbean SEA Beach Party, which benefits the Caribbean and Tennessee Student Environmental Alliances that work on clean water initiatives.
Out of a field of 10 competitors, Taqueria Jalisco came in second while Taco Mamacita was third.
Proceeds from the party will go to maintaining clean water in Hamilton County and the Caribbean Sea.
Now, onto a more serious note ...
Robin Holt has had celiac disease for six years. As a result, she must be very choosy when it comes to picking a restaurant. "It's become very difficult to eat out," she says.
Celiac disease, she explains, is an autoimmune disease that requires those with it to consume a diet that it totally gluten-free. She says she's been in restaurants and ordered a salad, telling the server that it must contain no gluten, which means, among other salad toppings, no croutons. She says servers often disregard her requests and bring salad with croutons to the table, then take it back, remove the croutons and bring the salad back.
"Most often, they don't understand cross-contamination and the many products that contain wheat, barley, rye and uncertified gluten-free oats," Holt says.
Other items she must guard against include dishes with soy sauce, cream-based soups, sour cream, ice cream, gravy and many sauces and marinades.
"Oftentimes, people with celiac disease don't realize all the things that contain gluten," Holt says.
However, in response to a recent Side Orders column about food allergies, she responded with a list of restaurants she trusts to take her diet needs seriously. They are:
• St. John's Restaurant, 1274 Market St.
• Bonefish Grill, 2115 Gunbarrel Road.
• 212 Market, 212 Market St.
• P.F. Chang's, 2110 Hamilton Place Blvd. "They have a special plate for 'allergy' orders," Holt said.
• The Meeting Place, 1274 Market St.
• Public House, 1110 Market St.
• Crave Cafe and Bakery, 1110 Market St.
Holt says she never eats at fast-food restaurants, so eating out gets expensive. Here's a recipe from www.glutenfreeda.com that is specifically for those looking for gluten-free recipes. For those who are not bothered by gluten, you may substitute the gluten-free products with traditional ingredients, which is what I did with delicious results.
1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon gluten-free flour
1/3 cup port wine
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup gluten-free beef broth
2 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free stone-ground mustard
4 beef tenderloin steaks
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the sauce, in a bowl combine mushrooms and flour and toss well. In a medium skillet, combine wine, shallots and vinegar; bring to a boil and cook until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and rosemary. Cook 1 minute. Add mushroom mixture and cook another 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in mustard. Cover and remove from heat.
For the steaks, sprinkle them with peppercorns and salt. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and cook 3 minutes on each side, or until desired degree of doneness.
To serve, place the steaks on plates and top with Port Wine-Mushroom Sauce.
Note: Steaks may be grilled over medium coals until desired degree of doneness.
Contact Anne Braly at email@example.com.