Quick Bites: A big calzone, new Japanese, Taste of the Gardens and how to make Stella Moo

A cool festival, a big calzone, a new Japanese steakhouse and a video of how to make a Stella Moo burger are part of this week’s Quick Bites.

Posted on Aug. 18, 2014 at 6:08 a.m.

Elkhart’s version of Taste of Chicago is coming this weekend.

Taste of the Gardens at Wellfield Botanic Garden will have art vendors, music and a gorgeous garden setting. The big draw is the restaurants who bring some of their most popular dishes to sell at the summer festival.

The key thing to know is that some of the city’s best restaurants will be serving food from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Wellfield, 1011 N. Main St., Elkhart. Admission to the event is $5 per person, free for age 12 and younger. Parking nearby is also free.

Brian Housand, chairman of the event, said when the Elkhart Rotary Club started the event six years ago, they had to “jazz up the place” because the garden didn’t have much. Now there’s a lot to see. “The venue speaks for itself now,” he said.

Music starts at 11:15 a.m. More than 40 art vendors will be part of the event, which will happen rain or shine. According to a press release, restaurants involved include: Antonio’s Italian Ristorante, b on the River/SugaRush Desserts, Between the Buns, Cafe’ Navarre Bar & Restaurant, Chubby Trout, Fat Tomato, Flippin’ Cow, Great Wall, Honey’s Frozen Yogurt, Iechyd Da Brewing Company, Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant, Matterhorn Conference Center & Catering, McCarthy’s on the RiverWalk, Mod Mex, Rocky River Tap & Table, Rulli’s Pizza, Texas Roadhouse and Twisted Cow.

A New York couple has plans to bring more sushi to Elkhart.

A story by reporter Jeff Parrott outlines their plans that started with a visit to a relative in Elkhart and heading to South Bend for sushi.

Leo Lin and his wife, Teresa Li, will open Sakura Japanese Steakhouse at 151 C.R. 6, Elkhart. They hope to be open this winter with a restaurant that has a sushi bar and hibachi tables in what was an AT&T store.

They said chefs will entertain as they cook with flames and knife tricks as they do at Hana Yori of Japan in Mishawaka. Kaizen Japanese Restaurant opened in Goshen in 2012 and serves in a similar way. When Sakura opens, it will be the third Japanese restaurant in Elkhart County, joining Kaizen and Wasabi in Goshen. South Bend and Mishawaka have a number of Japanese restaurants, including Toyo Grill, Zing Japanese Fusion and Matuba.

Lin and Li are Chinese, not Japanese, but Lin, 30, has been a sushi and hibachi chef for the past seven years, in New York City, Buffalo, N.Y., and most recently in Minot, S.D.

“Of course for owning the business we want good profit, that’s for sure, but also we want the city to see real Japanese sushi and hibachi,” she told Parrott for the story. “That’s the goal. Every city should have Japanese food. It doesn’t have much oil. It’s really fresh. The sauce we use is really healthy. It won’t have that much mayonnaise. It’s different.”

If they want to succeed, they better be prepared to work long hours, said their aunt, Amy Chen, who owns China Star restaurant on C.R. 17 with her husband, Jianping Wu.

Rulli’s made a gigantic calzone and is waiting to hear if it’s a world record.

A slip-up in the kitchen gave Rulli’s chef Brady Sweet to come up with a big idea, according to a story on Flavor 574 by Lydia Sheaks.

An employee accidentally made a 16-inch long calzone while trying to craft one of the foot-long calzones that the restaurant offers. 

"So (Sweet) thought, let’s see how big we can go,” Rulli’s general manager Eric Sikes said. 

On Aug. 9, Rulli’s employees baked a 212-pound, 23-foot-7-inch calzone, with 30 pounds of cheese and 25 pounds of pepperoni.

The Rulli’s team believes they successfully broke the current Guinness World Record, set in 2003 by a 69-pound calzone at the Loveshack Restaurant in West Lafayette, but it needs to be verified by Guinness before it’s official.

About 100 people showed up to help eat the calzone and contributed $1,100 for the Boys and Girls Club of Middlebury, Sikes said. 

Rulli’s Italian Restaurant is at 851 U.S. 20, Middlebury, and also has a location at 54595 C.R. 17, Elkhart.

The Stella Moo has gotten a lot of press in the last few months in Northern Indiana Burger Wars.

In a new series called “King in the Kitchen” on WNIT, Flippin’ Cow owner Cam Snyder showed me how to make one. And then I ate it.

We went to Snyder’s Simonton Lake home, but had to make the burger under a tent in the pouring rain. Hey, it’s just practice for tailgating, right? 

The burger finished second overall in Northern Indiana Burger Wars and Snyder talked about how sales have shot up during that process. He also talked about how employees will be making and serving their own burgers this fall as a competition among the staff. Iechyd Da has done this and it’s a growing trend among restaurants.

The segment originally aired Aug. 12 on WNIT Public Television as part of "Experience Michiana" hosted by Gordy Young.

Marshall V. King is managing editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805, mking@elkharttruth.com, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. You can hear him on Truth Radio 1340 and on Michiana News Channel at 8:40 a.m. Monday talking about food.


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