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Local food blogger offers ‘Taste’

Jaclyn Youhana
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ABC

Fort Wayne’s Cynthia Presser prepares her dish while on the premiere of “The Taste.”

Cynthia Presser tried to give the city a shout-out, she really did. She mentioned her hometown’s name multiple times, but the editors at ABC didn’t keep any of the name drops.

Presser, a food blogger from Fort Wayne (CynthiaPresser.com), was featured on ABC’s debut episode of cooking show “The Taste” on Jan. 22. The show pits professional chefs against home cooks, each providing four celebrity judges a single taste of his or her dish.

Originally from Brazil, Presser made a Brazilian dish, Shrimp and Yuca Brazilian-Style Gratin. She did not advance from the top 60 to the top 16, but she calls her experience an exciting opportunity that changed the way she made this recipe; judge and chef Ludo Lefebvre gave Presser feedback she has already incorporated into her recipe.

“He said I need something a little bit spicier and a little bit crunchier, so I added the topping, a farofa, which is a Brazilian crunchy topping,” Presser says. “I also added extra heat in the tomato sauce.”

One of the most difficult parts of the experience was the secrecy, she says; Presser signed several agreements that she would not disclose anything that happened on the show.

Luckily, she says, her home is set back off the road behind some trees, keeping it well-hidden from the camera trucks and film crews sent by ABC last year.

“It was hard to keep it a secret for three months,” she says. “I am happy to be able to tell everybody about it now. … That was a wonderful experience that I felt honored to be chosen in such a selected group of professionals.”

Find the full text of Presser’s recipe on the Dish blog at journalgazette.com/thedish.

Gluten-free options

Rusty Dog Irish Pub, 32 N. Jefferson St. in Huntington, debuted new menu options Tuesday for people who eat a gluten-free diet.

“Over the past six months, I probably field two or three phone calls a week from customers asking if we have gluten-free things on the menu,” owner Lee Bowers says. “We thought we would expand what we already had offered as gluten-free.”

Bowers reprinted the Rusty Dog menu with the gluten-free options marked with “GF.”

Of the new menu items, Bowers says, his favorite is the lamb sliders with mint aioli, though some old favorites have been changed to gluten-free, such as the shepherd’s pie, which no longer includes flour. All sandwiches are available with a gluten-free bun option upon request.

Rusty Dog also now offers pastries from Serendipity Sweet’s, a gluten-free bakery in Roanoke.

New restaurants

•Hawkins Famous Fish & More, 413 W. Paulding Road, opened Friday, and business the opening weekend was steady, owner Shelton Hawkins Sr. says.

The restaurant, which does not have a dine-in option, offers several types of fish including catfish, tilapia, pollock and perch. The restaurant is open three days a week, from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and noon to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays.

“I kind of want to keep it at a carryout,” Hawkins says. “If business really takes off, we can get a sit-down, but I really like the concept of them being able to pick it up.”

To order, call 744-3474.

•Zoyo Neighborhood Yogurt, 550 W. Kosciusko County Road 300 N. in Warsaw, plans to open March 1, owner Deron Manwaring says. The DIY frozen yogurt shop will be the first such shop in Warsaw, and it is the first of the chain to open outside its hometown, Phoenix.

Manwaring is also the Zoyo regional developer for Indiana, and he plans to eventually open more Zoyos throughout the state after seeing how the Warsaw shop fares.

In addition to larger markets such as South Bend, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, Manwaring plans to target smaller towns with a college, such as Angola, Huntington and Valparaiso.

•Sapporo Japanese Restaurant, 6150 Lima Road, opened Jan. 23. It is the second Sapporo restaurant in the state – the first is in Indianapolis. The restaurant includes hibachi entrées, sushi, udon noodles, bento boxes and more.

•Jet’s Pizza, 5825 Maplecrest Road, a pizza franchise with locations in Mishawaka, Ohio and Michigan, is opening soon, according to its website, JetsPizza.com.

•There is an “opening soon” sign for The Corner Grill at 102 S. Buffalo St., Warsaw.

Closed

The Fort Wayne Allen County Department of Health has filed “Out of Business” reports for the following:

•Cathy’s Custom Catering, 2911 Meyer Road

•Dawgz Dogs, 105 N. Randolph St.

•La Rosita Ice Cream, 4111 Hessen Cassel Road

•Hissho Sushi, 8801 U.S. 24 W.

•McKinnie Tap, 626 McKinnie Road

Free pancake day

IHOP is having its free pancake day Tuesday to celebrate National Pancake Day. The event’s fundraising goal is to raise $3 million to kick off the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ 30th anniversary.

As part of the fundraiser, IHOP restaurants are giving guests a complimentary stack of buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This is the eighth year the restaurant has marked National Pancake Day, and it has raised more than $10 million for the hospitals and other charities.

Demonstration

Duck, Down & Above, 101 E. Church St. in Leesburg, is having a cooking demonstration from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The chef will show three recipes at Cooking with Curries, each providing a different twist on how to use duck: Ethiopian Roasted Duck Curry, Indiana Panaang Ground Duck Fried Rice and Duck Confit Thai Green Curry.

The demonstration is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. To reserve a spot, call 574-453-4455 or visit Duck, Down & Above.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email jyouhana@jg.net or call 461-8462. For more restaurant news, go to The Dish blog at www.journalgazette.net/thedish.

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