Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Brunch at Fire: Food & Drink, Dinner at Lucky's Prime Time, January 25, 2015

While we were in Cleveland over the weekend, we finally ate at Fire: Food & Drink in Shaker Square. I'd started wanting to eat there back when we lived in Cleveland, but we never got there. I am so sorry we didn't, now that I've been. The focus is on local, sustainable foods, done beautifully. We were meeting our friend, Mary, for brunch and arrived a little early, so we sat at the bar and had lattes. The bar is very simple, with important little touches many places forget, like purse hooks. They had a beautiful collection of very good liquor brands and a bartender who made beautiful (and tasty) lattes. I've only gotten pretty foam on a latte a small handful of times & have never seen it actually done, so his creating our foam art right in front of us was an added treat. I liked getting to see how it's done. It kind of looks like magic being performed. They have a collection of Mason jars full of house-made elixirs like limoncello and the smoked vanilla bean syrup that went into my latte. When I have an actual bar in my house again, I hope to have a similar collection. They really seem to care about their drink ingredients.

Based on the taste & appearance of the food, I'd say that's the case with it, as well. I'd've loved to get a tour of the kitchen. We had some drinks while we waited for our food, a mimosa for Mary, bellinis for Jeannene & me. I ordered the traditional peach bellini, while my sweetie-pie opted for the guava, which was great. We all split a sticky bun, which was yummy but not amazing and not terribly sticky, and a plate of seasonal fruit, which was superb! I'm pretty sure raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries aren't actual seasonal, but the specimens on our plate were very flavorful and gorgeous. The pineapple and oranges were fab, too.

For our main courses, Mary ordered an amazing-looking cheeseburger. I didn't actually try it, but Mary said it was great. I did try one of her fries and had fry envy the rest of the meal. They're perfectly browned and sprinkled with garlic and herbs.

My Yukon Gold home fries were pretty stellar, too, all creamy on the inside and crisply browned on the outside. I chose the eggs Benedict, which were cooked just exactly as they should be, placed on a beautiful house-made English muffin. The eggs were very clearly fresh, with a rich flavor, and the hollandaise was sunny and quite lemony. I have often gotten bland hollandaise, but this was bright and wonderful. I think the choice to use their excellent house-made ham rather than Canadian bacon boosted the dish, as well.

Jeannene had 1 egg, over easy, with their sausage and an order of grits & goat cheese. Everything was fabulous. The grits were incredibly flavorful and the sausage, even though it had a bit of sweet to it, was fantastic.

We will definitely go back when we're in the area again.

We rolled back into our own neck of the woods a little late, but found Lucky's Prime Time in Rochester still open and happy to serve us. We've been to a couple other Lucky's locations, but this was our first visit to this one. We were both tired and not hungry for a big dinner. We'd hoped to hit Panera for soup, but they were already closed by the time we arrived. Our server was very friendly and right on top of everything. Jeannene had the soup of the day, a beef vegetable soup that was quite yummy. I opted for French onion soup, which they do quite well. I'd had it at other locations and, while it's not as good as what I get at The Laundry in Fenton, it's very good, with a fairly robust broth.

Our "main course" was salad. I love wedge salad and theirs is usually good, with very crisp, fresh iceberg and plenty of blue cheese crumbles. Their blue cheese dressing is just right. I remembered to ask for no tomatoes, but forgot to ask for the dressing on the side. They tend to be incredibly generous with the dressing and it overwhelms the salad, but it's good, nonetheless. Jeannene had a dinner-sized salad with chicken---I didn't try it before she gave it the French dressing treatment, but she said it was very good.

I was, honestly, a little disappointed with their bread. I usually really love the bread at Lucky's in Imlay City, which is covered in a variety of seeds and is impossible to stop eating. This bread was still good, but had scarcely any seeds and way too much garlic powder. I love garlic as much as anyone, but this was not integrated into the bread, just sitting atop the loaf in a fine dusting. I don't know if this is the standard for this location or we got an end-of-the-night, not-awesome loaf. Still and all, it was a lovely dinner, just what we were in the mood to have.

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