Naslada Bistro

Robert Burns Night set to dispel the winter chill with food, poetry, song, & whisky

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Between the end of the holidays and Winter Fest, Bowling Green needs something. That’s part of the reason that Scottish enthusiast and bon vivant Elliot MacFarlane and chef Boby Mitov of Naslada Bistro in downtown have teamed up for the last few years to stage Robert Burns Night.  The fourth Burns Night at Naslada will be presented Saturday, Jan. 19, starting at 6 p.m. Reservations are required. Call 419-373-6050.  The event has sold out in past years. The charge is $110, which includes a four-course meal and four flights of top shelf whisky. The dinner is a more intimate affair than other downtown events. A few dozen revelers will gather in the eatery’s cozy confines for a night of poetry, song, traditional Scottish fare prepared with a contemporary International touch, whisky, and the humor, often rude, that the consumption of rounds of liquor often prompts. Boby Mitov carries in the haggis during the 2017 Burns Night. Dinners in honor of Burns, around the time of his Jan. 25 birthday, have been celebrated since the poet’s death in 1796, MacFarlane, a member of the St. Andrews Society, said.  While Burns is the national poet of Scotland, MacFarlane said, his appeal is universal. South African liberationist Nelson Mandela had two books with him when he was imprisoned on Robben Island — a volume of Burns poetry and “The Diary of Anne Frank.” And Abraham Lincoln loved the poet. He recited the Scotsman’s verse as he traveled the circuit from court to court during his days as a lawyer in Illinois. And the night he was shot at Ford’s Theater, he had a book of Burns poetry in his pocket. MacFarlane (aka David Donley) said that Burns’ focus on the lives of common people is the key to his appeal. “I’m surprised at how many people know Robert Burns,” he said. And even those who don’t are aware of the poet’s phrases that have woven themselves into the language. Eliott MacFarlane speaks during 2017 Burns Night. Whether it’s “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men” or “man’s inhumanity to man.” The former comes from the poem “To a Mouse” in which a farmer on discovering a mouse nest while plowing reflects how their plights are similar, both subject to forces outside their control. These works, some set to music, will be central to the Burns Night Celebration. MacFarlane will present the Immortal Memory, a reflection on the life of the poet. At some events this can go on for hours. MacFarlane knows the local audience’s limits. He said this year he plans to focus on Burns’ ties to the United States. During the American Revolution, Burns was involved in raising money to buy cannons for Washington’s army. A piper will be on hand to perform and to lead the procession marking the entry of the haggis, the sausage-like dish that’s the centerpiece of the feast. Traditionally this was made of sheep organs with the intestine used as a casing. MacFarlane said the dish reflects what poor folks would have to feed themselves. U.S. food regulations actually forbid the most traditional haggis — no lungs allowed. Mitov instead offers a decidedly high end version of the dish prepared with locally-sourced grass-fed beef and lamb. The chef puts his own distinctive touches on all the dishes being served — Scotch Collops of Beef with Rumbledethumps and Cock-a-leekie Soup. He’ll also serve smoked salmon bites with dill sauce. The Bulgarianborn chef said cooking the traditional Scottish dishes is not such a jump. All cultures have variations these dishes, just…


Naslada celebrates fine & local food with wine tastings

From NASLADA BISTRO Naslada Bistro, 182 S. Main St. in historic downtown Bowling Green, is highlighting its commitment to high quality and locally sourced foods with weekly wine tastings offered in conjunction with the Downtown Farmers Market. Opening Wednesdays at 5 p.m., the European flavored restaurant offers a tasting of distinctive fine wines from Europe accompanied by a plate of olives, cheese and savory treats and a selection of breads. As part of the bistro’s commitment to providing food that is good on the palate and good for the rest of the body, Chef Boby Mitov has worked with local bread baker David Dupont to come up with an exclusive bread. The recipe created by Dupont uses ancient and whole grains – einkorn, the earliest form of wheat, spelt, rye and buckwheat, to produce a rich, full flavor to complement the restaurant’s fare. Mitov sources as much of the restaurant’s meat and produce from as close as possible. That includes selecting the best he can find at the weekly Farmer’s Market. Mitov, who started his career back in his native Bulgaria, started Naslada in the Woodland Mall in 2003. He moved the eatery downtown in 2006 bringing an authentic continental flair to BG’s dining scene.


Pro Musica, Naslada Bistro team up to raise funds for music student enrichment

From PRO MUSICA Naslada Bistro, in downtown Bowling Green, will be hosting a fundraiser for Pro Musica from March 27 (Monday) – April 1 (Saturday). A portion of each bill will be donated to Pro Musica during the weeklong event. All monies raised will be use to fund student travel grants for students in the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University. Patrons need to mention Pro Musica when they order. Located at 1820 S. Main Street in Bowling Green, the bistros name mean “lingering over excellent food and sipping quality wine in the company of good friends” in Bulgarian. It is known for its authentic European and American cuisine prepared with the freshest of ingredients. Pro Musica, funded by nearly 250 dedicated alumni, friends, parents and members of the Bowling Green community, sponsors a wide variety of musical events and provides financial to music students for educational travel projects. In addition, the organization provides funding for scholarships and various awards at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts. The organization supports raises funds to support student-initiated educational travel projects to attend workshops, festivals, competitions or master classes, both domestically and internationally. Every dollar Pro Musica raises goes to help students. As a bonus, diners may wish to pair their meal with concerts being offered during the college’s annual Jazz Week events. Concerts include: Tuesday (March 28), Vocal Jazz Ensemble featuring jazz vocalist Kim Nazarian, 8 p.m., Bryan Recital Hall; Wednesday (March 29), Jazz Faculty Group, 8 p.m., Bryan Recital Hall; Thursday (March 30), Jazz Lab Band I with guest trombonist Alan Ferber, 8 p.m., Kobacker Hall, (March 30), Coffee & Classics, 7 p.m., Wood County Public Library and Saturday (April 1), Bravo BGSU! A Celebration of the Arts, 6 p.m., Wolfe Center for the Arts. Bryan Recital and Kobacker halls are located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. The Jazz Lab Band I concert and the Bravo! BGSU!! A Celebration of the Arts event require tickets. For further information, and how to purchase tickets, visit www.bgsu.edu/musical-arts/events.html.


BG revelers raise their glasses and voices in memory of Robert Burns

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   All we needed Friday night was Robert Burns processing into Naslada Bistro with the haggis. After all, we had bagpipes, and plenty of tartan, including Bulgarian chef Boyko Mitov clad in a tam o’ shanter, sash and kilt of Royal Stewart. And he wasn’t the only one baring his manly gams. Later there would be poetry and song, and traditional Scottish dishes, and of course, many rounds of whisky. The occasion was a celebration of the birth of Robert Burns, and if the bard of Scotland and bawdy bon vivant was absent is body – being dead some 220 years is a good enough excuse– he was certainly there in spirit. This is the second annual Burns Night held at the downtown restaurant. Or, as host Elliot MacFarlane said, the second and a half. Another Burns night was held Thursday. Demand for the first in 2016 prompted Mitov and MacFarlane to present it two nights this year. Burn Night Dinners are a tradition dating back to shortly after the poet’s death. Now on the face of it, a night devoted to the poetry and song of a long dead personage, with interlude grandly titled “The Immortal Memory” may sound a bit staid. The event was nothing of the sort. Haunch to haunch with the poetry and sentimental ballads were bawdy jokes. A Burns Night Dinner, MacFarlane said, was a time for flatulence and rude talk about the English. After uttering his first “fuckin’” while telling a story, he advised the several dozen gathered that the word was Scottish for “jolly.” The dinner was a jolly time. In the old days, he said, the dinners could last for eight hours, and boys with wheelbarrows would be on hand to push the revelers home afterward. The Bowling Green event ended with everyone raising their voices in a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne.” The frivolity began well before the first round of whisky, and only heightened with each succeeding shot. “We need something in winter in Bowling Green besides hockey, so we have Robert Burns,” MacFarlane declared. Not that there’s anything wrong with hockey. He did after all grow up in Bowling Green. All this was in keeping with Burns, a failed “ploughboy” and tax collector who found success as a wandering poet, who was welcomed in salons and taprooms. When he died at 37, 10,000 mourners attended his funeral. Still he was impoverished, leaving behind a wife and plentiful offspring, both by her and his many mistresses. His work, though, has a deep and abiding impact on people. MacFarlane said that when Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for fighting against apartheid he took comfort in two books, “The Diary of Anne Frank” and a volume of poetry by “Robert Burns.” Abraham Lincoln loved Burns, committing poems to memory. He would recite the verse as he traveled from court to court as a circuit riding lawyer in Illinois. When he was assassinated, he was carrying a collection of Burns’ poetry in his pocket. Burns was a supporter of the American Revolution, helping to raise money to buy a cannon for the colonials. So Burns would have been pleased to see those now living in America having a good time in his name. They feasted on a dinner that unfolded in five courses – one more than advertised—of dishes inspired by traditional Scottish fare, but filtered through Mitov’s culinary sensibility. So no organ meats in the haggis. The haggis, the first course and the centerpiece of any Burns dinner, was described by Burns, as read by piper Kim…


BG dinner to toast poet Robert Burns

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Elliot MacFarlane of Bowling Green, found an unusual partner in his celebration of the birth of Scottish national poet Robert Burns, Bulgarian chef Boyko Mitov. For the second year, they are teaming up to present Robert Burns Night dinners , Thursday, Jan. 26, and Friday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. both nights at Naslada Bistro, 182 S, Main St., in Bowling Green. Dinners in honor of Burns, around the time of his Jan. 25 birthday, have been celebrated since the poet’s death in 1796, MacFarlane, a member of the St. Andrews Society said. He has been involved in organizing such events for decades in Toledo, Detroit, Frankenmuth and elsewhere. The closest to home was years back when there was one presented at Nazareth Hall. Now, he has to drive miles, to enjoy and help others enjoy this mid-winter festivity. Last year, after working with Mitov on a Scotch tasting dinner, they decided to present a Burns Night celebration. Held one night in January, 2016, the restaurant was packed and had dozens on the waiting list. This year, the Burns dinner will be presented twice. MacFarlane said he’s had people approach him to make sure there’s room. As of Thursday noon, Mitov said there were places for a few more. Each dinner accommodates about 40 people. Only the back part of the restaurant is used. The large tables up front are needed for staging. The event offers a full evening of entertainment, as well as a four-course meal of Scottish specialties. The festivities begin with the arrival of the traditional meat pudding, the haggis, accompanied by a piper. Mitov uses grass-fed beef and fresh lamb to make the traditional dish. MacFarlane said he provided Mitov with Scottish recipes, and he’s tweaked them in his own style. “It’s great working with a good chef,” MacFarlane said. Though the cuisine was new to him, Mitov said, he had no problems adjusting the recipes and the preparation. The format, with paired drink and food, is similar to traditional dinners served in Bulgaria. In both cases, specially selected liquors are serve with complimentary entrees. The haggis will be accompanied by 12-year-old Cragganmore, Speyside Single Malt. The other courses are Cock-a-leekie Soup with 14-year-old Glenfiddich U.S. Exclusive Bourbon Barrel Reserve; Scotch Collops of Beef with Rumbledethumps with 18-year-old Aberlour Highland Single Malt; and for dessert, Cranachan (cream, berries and oats soaked in whisky) and  15-year-old  Dalwhinnie, Highland. Vegetarian can be requested when making reservations. MacFarlane has selected the best whiskies available to go with each of the four courses. Mitov said the evening is about more than eating and drinking. The entertainment includes music by the bagpiper Kim Sautter. Songs will be performed, a memorial to the poet, and, of course, plenty of verse, both by Burns and by later authors influenced by him Robert Frost, Robert Service, and Edgar Allan Poe. Diners are invited to bring favorite poems to share. The Burns Night is an evening of culture in the bleak days of midwinter, MacFarlane said. And he’s glad now to have one in the heart of his hometown Bowling Green. He and Mitov plan to continue the tradition. The dinner, $95, not including tax and gratuity. Reservations required. Call 419-373-6050.