Sarah and I were in the Cleveland Magazine Blogger Brackets together and she also won the Plain Dealer Hunger Games recipe contest with her Roast Groosling with Sweet Roots entry. She is a super talented cook and one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet. Need a cake? Rumor has it that she may be offering custom baking in the near future so you can taste her talents for yourself.
Here's her thoughts on a new southern style eatery near the West Side Market. Thanks Sarah!!
Hi everyone! I'm Sarah from Cooker Girl. I normally write about my adventures in cooking, baking and candy-making, but Crystal asked if I would guest post on her blog. I was delighted and it was perfect timing too.
This weekend my husband and I took his mom out for an early Mother's Day brunch. We ended up going to SOHO (short for Southern Hospitality) in Ohio City. It's just down the street from the West Side Market and there is a large (free) parking lot right behind the restaurant. The brunch menu is small, but mighty. Everything sounded really good!
We sipped our cocktails while perusing the menu. The Kitchen Brew was a concoction of whiskey, Baileys, and a splash of coffee. At first it seemed really strong, but it quickly eased up and went down really smooth. The French Quarter (coffee, chicory, and rye) becomes more pleasant once you get over the initial flavor (it's very different from coffee), but I think the chicory might be an acquired taste. Bourbon & Bubbles was a combination of bourbon, peach nectar, bitters, and sparkling wine. I'm always afraid to order fruity drinks because I don't want them to be overly sweet, but Bourbon & Bubbles was a well balanced cocktail.
After we ordered, our server came over with a plate of warm biscuits. Each table gets a biscuit per person, and they come with jam and whipped, salted butter. The biscuits were light, fluffy, and not too crumbly, the perfect vehicle for homemade jam. The jam of the day was strawberry rhubarb. It was a little runny, but the taste was nice, a good balance between sweet and tart. I would have liked a little more jam and butter since we were splitting it between the three of us.
I was lucky to have dining companions that don't mind sharing because we all wanted to taste everything. The Shrimp & Grits were amazing! I couldn't believe how big the shrimp were, and I love me some grits. The shrimp was perfectly cooked and I loved the mix of asparagus, wild mushrooms and corn that came with it. The dish came with housemade hot pepper sauce drizzled over top. The sauce had great pepper flavor without being overly spicy.
The Chicken and Waffles was a huge hit between the three of us. This dish has been popping up in a lot of restaurants these days, but none of us had ever tried it. And what better place to try Chicken and Waffles than a Southern-inspired restaurant? We were very pleased with the combination of sweet and savory. The sweet potato waffles were cooked in a waffle iron, then deep fried to get the perfect crisp that latest until the final bite. The fried chicken was very moist without tasting greasy, and the expertly fried batter had a slight sweetness to it. The bourbon maple syrup and housemade hot sauce added table-side were great additions to the dish.
The Carolina Skillet was a mix of fingerling potatoes, wild mushrooms, broccoli, spinach and spiced peanuts. Everything was very lightly dressed with lowcountry BBQ sauce and it came with a side of crispy grits. All of the flavors in the Skillet worked really well together, and you didn't even miss the eggs or meat that might be included in a more traditional brunch skillet. The crispy grits were a fried, breaded patty of cheesy grits. The contrast in textures was nice, but I think the flavor of the breading overwhelmed the grits a bit. This dish also came with a drizzle of housemade pepper sauce.
We were all full by the end of it, but decided to share once last cocktail before we headed out: The Chatanooga. It was a whiskey based drink with blackberry puree and fresh sour mix. Yum. I think I could drink it all summer long and without getting sick of it.
Brunch hours are on Sunday from 11 AM to 2 PM, and the regular menu is not available during that time. I would definitely go back to try other items off their brunch and dinner menus. The patio was not set up during our brunch, but it would be a great place to sip some stellar cocktails this summer.