Central City Café: Summer Food Series

This is the fifth and final post in Green Light’s Summer Food Series, featuring area eateries with an Ivy Tech Northeast connection. Last time, we featured Glenda Hinton at teds market.

Ivy Tech Northeast grad Michelle Aschliman and her fresh-out-of-the-oven baklava.

Ivy Tech Northeast grad Michelle Aschliman and her fresh-out-of-the-oven baklava.

Who: Michelle Aschliman, Central City Café’s manager and pastry chef, graduated from Ivy Tech Northeast’s Hospitality Administration program in spring 2012 with a concentration in pastry arts.

What: Central City Cafe (620 S. Calhoun St.) is a trendy and industrial-style café located in the growing heart of downtown Fort Wayne. It has a wide range of sandwiches, soups, and made-to-order flatbread pizzas. It also has a 14-foot salad bar accompanied by a variety of house-made desserts. The restaurant’s specialty is baklava and pecan pie, which are offered daily. There is a rotating dessert menu that includes a gluten-free option as well as surprises like German chocolate cake and strawberry mousse.

For full caption info, click on an image.

How: The café opened last July with desserts made by the chefs instead of pastry cooks. The chefs quickly realized deserts weren’t their specialty, so they hired Aschliman in August for 10 to 15 hours a week doing pastries. Since then, Aschliman continued to delight customers with her offerings and was eventually promoted to full-time manager and pastry chef. Her favorite thing about working at the café is the freedom to create whatever desserts she wants, she says. The dessert menu changes so often that her possibilities and creativity are endless.

Try this: Aschliman says she loves working at Central City Café, and her favorite sandwich is the Southwest Turkey, which has sliced turkey, provolone cheese, chipotle aioli, spinach, and black bean corn relish on sourdough bread. She also had never been a fan of Reubens until she tried Central City’s sandwich. The corned beef brisket is slow roasted in-house and is the best in Fort Wayne, she says. The pecan pie, which is Aschliman’s recipe, is a must-have: The Journal Gazette’s food critic chose it as the Best Pecan Pie of 2014.

Don’t miss: The café stays open until 8 p.m. on Thursday and Fridays for live music with musicians from around the city. Central City serves beer and wine and also has a selection of carry-out brews if you need a six-pack for the road.

Central City Café on the web | Facebook

Green Light will take a break during finals week and until fall semester starts up again. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

teds market: Summer food series

This is the fourth post in Green Light’s Summer Food Series, featuring area eateries with an Ivy Tech Northeast connection. Last time, we featured Melody Wang at Fortezza and Trionfale Espresso.

I first learned of teds market at a pop-up shop on West Wayne Street this spring. The market’s owner and kitchen manager were telling patrons about the neighborhood market, passing out free samples. I became a believer because of that bread–chunks of nuts and fruit made a slice better than any detailed appetizer.

Who: Glenda Hinton, teds kitchen manager and executive chef, graduated from Ivy Tech Northeast’s Hospitality Administration program in spring 2015 with a concentration in both baking and pastry arts and culinary arts. She wanted both specialties so she could run a kitchen and a bakery–perfect for a set-up like teds.

Hinton with loaves of bread and some sourdough bread pretzel tests.

Hinton with loaves of bread and some sourdough bread pretzel tests.

What: The market offers a bakery and deli with prepared salads and a made-to-order sandwich station and salad bar. The meat counter will feature full loins, cut-to-order. The bakery has treats including brownies, cookies, and the aforementioned Fabulous Bread (my title, not theirs). The wine bar downstairs is scheduled to open two to three weeks after the market’s grand opening (which is 10 a.m. TODAY, July 17).

How: Hinton was looking for a job and saw a teds market posting on campus. Hinton’s former hospitality administration professor, Cheryl Hitzemann, advised Hinton to apply. She had taught Brian Hench, the market’s owner, and told Hinton she’d enjoy working for him.

About that building …: It used to be a church. Hench contacted the former pastor to see about getting some land the church wasn’t using. The pastor offered one better: the entire church. Hench and his crew, including Hinton, remodeled the building, including adding wood floors. Hinton used some of the extra wood to make tables for deli patrons. There’s also a house out back, a tree house, and a grave yard. I smell a Halloween party three months from now.

Hinton's office used to belong to a children's minister. She opted to keep the sign. The back of the door is a purple-y magenta.

Hinton’s office used to belong to a children’s minister. She opted to keep the sign. The back of the door is a purpley magenta.

So that’s “teds market,” not “Ted’s Market”?: That’s right. Hench wants the market to be a casual, friendly, neighborly place, and he wanted to extend that casual feel to his market’s moniker, Hinton says.

All about Ivy Tech: Hinton is not the only teds employee with a connection to the College: Sarah Fox and Leola Renfrow are baking and pastry grads; Tyler Hogston has his culinary degree and is supplementing with some agriculture classes; Justin Rhodes is a new hospitality student; DeEndre Robinson needs one class to graduate and will work on her internship at teds with Hinton; Colin O’Day is about halfway through his degree.

teds market on the web | Facebook

Fortezza and Trionfale Espresso: Summer food series

This is the third post in Green Light’s Summer Food Series, featuring area eateries with an Ivy Tech Northeast connection. Last time, we featured Krystal Hernandez at Zinnia’s Bakehouse.

Who: Melody Wang, co-owner at Fortezza (819 S. Calhoun St.) and Trionfale Espresso (2910 E. Dupont Road) and 2013 Ivy Tech Northeast hospitality administration graduate

Click on the photos to zoom in.

How: Originally, Wang planned to go into foreign affairs. After graduating high school–she was homeschooled in Columbia City–she didn’t go to college; she moved to Japan, where she grew up. Her grandfather owned a bakery in Japan. “While I was over there, I would go to this cafe and bakery, and I said, ‘You know what? I enjoy eating. I’m going to move back to the States to study baking and pastry arts.'” Ivy Tech Northeast was the only school in the area that offered the concentration, she says, so the choice was simple.

Her then-boyfriend, Sean Wang, now her husband, was in the process of starting up Trionfale Espresso, which opened in December 2011. The two decided to collaborate, putting Melody in charge of the baked goods. After graduating, she interned at Duo, a bakery in Okinawa, Japan.

Click on the photos to zoom in.

What: When she started at Trionfale, Melody was still an Ivy Tech Northeast student and focused on basics like muffins and cookies. Now, the selection of baked goods is more advanced. Melody says her personal favorite treat at Fortezza is the strawberry roll cake, a fluffy sponge cake rolled with whipped cream and strawberry jam. Macaroons include flavors like Earl Grey & honey and salted caramel.

Say what? That’s Tree-ON-fuh-lay Espresso, Italian for “triumphant,” and For-TEZZ-uh, Italian for “fortress.”

Zinnia’s Bakehouse: Summer food series

This is the second post in Green Light’s Summer Food Series, featuring area eateries with an Ivy Tech Northeast connection. Last week, we featured Donna Kessler at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, and Spirits.

Who: Krystal Hernandez, co-owner at Zinnia’s Bakehouse (1320 E. State Blvd.) and former hospitality administration student

Hernandez with baklava from Zinnia's Bakeshop

Hernandez with baklava from Zinnia’s Bakehouse

How: When Hernandez graduated from Elmhurst High School (1929 to 2010, RIP Trojans) in 2007, she had scholarships lined up from big culinary schools including Johnson & Wales University and Le Cordon Bleu, she says. However, when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she knew she wanted to stay close to home–so she enrolled at Ivy Tech Northeast.

Through dual-credit classes and classes at Anthis Career Center, she already had College credit, making the choice an easy one.

“I wouldn’t change it,” she says. “The experience that I learned from the instructors I had, it’s incomparable.”

Hernandez got an internship at the former Yum-Mee’s Bakery, which turned into a job. Later, when Yum-Mee’s owners left, they sold the bakery to Hernandez.

“I was thinking, let’s just see where this goes,” she says. “I never would have expected this out of that.”

Click on the image to zoom and for full caption info.

What: Zinnia’s offers cupcakes and cookies, but its most popular items are the apple empanadas, chorizo empanadas, (an empanada is a Mexican-style turnover with a flaky pastry crust and sweet or savory fillings) and the ranchero quiche, which is vegetarian. The bakeshop offers beignets on Saturdays, which are also popular. (Think puffy, cube-shaped doughnuts doused in powdered sugar. So much yes.) Zinnia’s also has commercial orders at Brava’s Burgers and Who Cut the Cheese?

How long: Zinnia’s will celebrate its two-year anniversary in August, but Hernandez made her first wedding cake when she was 14.

Why “Zinnia’s”: People sometimes ask, “Who’s Zinnia? Is she here?” The name is simply a colorful daisy Hernandez likes.

The summer food series will be off next Friday for Independence Day. Stop back July 10 for the next installment. Happy eating!

Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, and Spirits: Summer food series

With Hospitality Administration as a flagship program, it’s only natural that our alumni and staff would find themselves at some of the area’s favorite food establishments. This summer, we introduce you to some.

Who: Donna Kessler, owner/manager at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, and Spirits (1915 S. Calhoun St., Fort Wayne) and hospitality administration alumna

How: “(My sister) and I were talking about starting a bed and breakfast. I decided in my 30s that I would just go ahead and go to culinary school,” Kessler says. “While I was doing that, the man who owns the building that I’m in didn’t know what to do with it. Together, we came up with what you have now. He wanted to move faster than I could with school,” so Kessler never finished her associate degree. The restaurant, often called CS3, opened in December 2007.

Clockwise from top left: hot ham and swiss on rye special; taco salad special; cheesy potato soup; chocolate chip cupcakes; grilled prime rib special (photos from CS3's Instagram and Facebook feeds)

Clockwise from top left: hot ham and swiss on rye special; taco salad special; cheesy potato soup; chocolate chip cupcakes; grilled prime rib special (photos from CS3’s Instagram and Facebook feeds)

What: I’ve been to CS3 for lunch, dinner, and a midnight snack. I’ve attended a Valentine’s Day concert; a Hellzapoppin show, which is a circus side show review featuring fire-eaters and glass-walkers; and a memorial event. So how would Kessler describe the restaurant to someone who’s never been?

“I would describe it as a very eclectic, historic space that features healthy, American food,” Kessler says. “It is known as a restaurant. It’s known as a bar. It’s known as a music venue. We can be a bar but then that wastes your day time, so we need to take advantage of the downtown lunch crowd and take advantage of the evening downtown crowd. The Tiger Room (lets us host) business parties, and caterings, and weddings, and shows, and plays, and comedians. The age ranges from children to great grandparents and everything in between, and you’ll see them here at any given time during the day.”

salad bar

I stopped by CS3 for lunch Monday, and it was easily one of the freshest salad bars I’d seen in a while. Though it’s just a single bar, the options are vast–cold and crisp shredded carrots; slices of onion, mushrooms, and cucumber; fresh chopped fruit, eggs, broccoli and cauliflower; heirloom tomatoes; olives; and more.

Why the “Tiger Room”?: “Ever see the movie ‘The Rocker’ with Rainn Wilson from ‘The Office’? There’s one scene where the band gets a gig, and it’s playing the Tiger Room in Fort Wayne, Ind. There is no such thing. They made it up,” Kessler says. “After that movie came out, we started doing shows, and all the bands started calling us the Tiger Room.”

Try: Regulars swear by the mac and cheese, and the most popular main-dish item is the egg salad BLT, Kessler says. Beverage-wise, it’s the craft beers, which rotate through CS3’s 16 taps.

CS3 on the web | Facebook | Instagram

We’ve got some restaurants, bakeries, and food trucks lined up for this summer series, but if you know of any Ivy Tech Northeast connection to your favorite eatery, let me know! Email me at jgarver2@ivytech.edu.