Why? Red Hot!

Have you entered my “Cleveland Ethnic Eats” giveaway yet? You have until Friday, February 11 to enter!  Check it out!

The forecasters might be telling us how cold it’s going to be, but all over CLE things are getting red hot!  CLE businesses are preparing to help you celebrate Valentine’s Day in style.  We CLE-ers like our romance.  So much so that we have two holidays to celebrate it, one of which almost no one else celebrates – Sweetest Day, of course.  But this Monday is the big heart holiday.  So, whether you want a romantic day with your significant other or a fun night out with your friends (or, like me, both), here are just some of the red hot spots around CLE:

It's a red hots heart!

On Valentine’s Day, the Cleveland Orchestra is featuring Mitsuko Uchida in a recital of “romantic masterworks.”  The recital is the centerpiece for the “A Night for Romance” gala to benefit the Cleveland Orchestra Artistic Initiatives.  For more information of the recital and gala, click here

Sushi Rock on West 6th Street and in Beachwood is featuring a Wine & Dine Your Valentine Package.  $75 for dinner for two, plus a rose and chocolate-covered strawberries (one stop shopping, guys!).

Spa West is offering couples’ spa packages, which include champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and couples’ massages.  Relax and de-stress with your sweetie.

On Friday, February 11 starting at 9pm, Barley House is having a stoplight party for those craving a college mixer flashback.  Wear red if you’re taken, yellow if undecided, and green if you’re single.  Those dressing up receive Barley Bucs at the door.

Pickwick & Frolic is hosting comedienne Rachel Feinstein on Valentine’s Day.  For $39.95 or $44.95 per person, you get show tickets, dinner, champagne, and chocolate.  Perfect for a date or a night out with friends.

Metromix Cleveland and Reddstone are hosting a Red Party on Friday, February 11 starting at 9pm.  Open bar from 9-10pm, Pinnacle vodka tasting station, free appetizers and sweets, and photos with Drunk Cupid.  Get your red on in Battery Park!  Also, take a moment and vote for Metromix’s Most Interesting Couples in Cleveland (no, CLEguy and I are not in there).

The Greenhouse Tavern is offering a $65 prix fixe menu on February 13 and 14, featuring six courses of yummy-ness, plus a complimentary split of sparkling wine to take home.

Great Lakes Brewing Co. is featuring a special Valentine’s menu with the choice of filet or lobster and a chocolate mousse cake finish for only $21 or $24.

Light Bisto is offering a $100 per couple four-course menu paired with wine.  Note that the restaurant is closed on Sunday, February 13.

No matter how or with whom you celebrate, CLE offers some great choices to get red hot this Valentine’s Day.  Appreciating and celebrating romance is a great answer to “Why Cleveland?”


Why? Reader Giveaway Time!

Before I get to our first reader giveaway, a couple blog-keeping items…

Head on over to the fantastic Cleveland Food and Brews blog to read my review of Sokolowski’s.  While you’re there, enter to win a $25 or $50 Restaurant.com gift card!

Also, check out today’s NE Ohio Food & Drink Daily, featuring this blog, as well as Healthy Heddleston, Cleveland Food and Brews, and Hungry in Cleveland.  If you’re not already reading this, you should be!

Now…it’s Reader Giveaway Time!  I love the readers here at Why CLE?, so I wanted to do something for all of you.  I was contacted by Jane Lassar of Gray & Company Publishers, who publish CLE books.  She sent me two copies of this fabulous book – “Cleveland Ethnic Eats.”

You could win this!

Now in it’s 8th edition, “Cleveland Ethnic Eats” covers the entire CLE metropolitan area.  The restaurants are organized by ethnicity – from Mediterranean to Middle Eastern to Eastern and Western European to Latin American.

You’ll never be at a loss for where to go the next time you’re craving anything from garlic nan to pierogies.  The book also includes the history of each restaurant and helpful info such as dress code, cost, and hours of operation.  I used the book to help me out on the history of Sokolowski’s for this past weekend’s post and I’ll certainly be using it in my further explorations of CLE’s ethnic food scene.

So, do you want to start your own CLE food world tour?  Here’s how to enter to win.  Each number must have it’s own separate comment.  You have until Friday, February 11 at 11:59pm to enter.  Random.org will select a winner from the comments.

1. Comment on this post telling me your favorite ethnic food.

2. Become a follower Why CLE? on Networked Blogs or by clicking the e-mail subscription button on the blog and leave a comment telling me you did.

3. Follow Why CLE? on Twitter and tweet the following: From pierogies to pad thai: Check out the “CLE Ethnic Eats” #giveaway from @WhyCLE http://t.co/r0podaH

Leave a comment letting me know you did.  You can return and comment each day you tweet until February 11.

4. Add me to your blogroll (worth 5 entries – please leave a separate comment for each).

The winner will be announced on Saturday, February 12 on the blog! Good luck!

Disclosure: Gray & Company Publishers sent me two copies of “Cleveland Ethnic Eats” to use as research and for a reader giveaway.  The opinions in this post are my own.

Why? Weekends!

It’s been a busy weekend, full of chef encounters, concerts, pierogies, and a teaser for my first reader giveaway!  Read on…

Friday night, fab CLEfriend Hungry in Cleveland and I enjoyed a marvelous dinner at The Greenhouse Tavern.

This weekend, with a tasting menu, you received a free dessert of chocolate and caramel pot de creme.  Never ones to turn down free chocolate, we couldn’t pass up such an opportunity.  Head on over to Hungry in Cleveland’s blog on Monday to read all about the culinary delights we enjoyed, from Devils on Horseback to duck pasta to Greenhouse’s amazing chicken wing confit (a legitimate answer to “Why Cleveland?” in and of themselves).

While at dinner, we received a tweet from @thegreenhouse inviting us to come down to the kitchen to say hello.  Jonathon Sawyer, chef and owner of The Greenhouse Tavern, greeted us and we chatted briefly (it was busy down there!) about the restaurant, CLE, and upcoming events.  Greenhouse Tavern has certainly added to CLE’s credibility as an incredible town for foodies, from being named one of the top ten restaurants in America by Bon Appetit magazine to the recent feature in Food & Wine magazine.  Talented people who help put CLE on the map, while giving us great places to eat (and free chocolate) are a fabulous answer to “Why Cleveland?”

After dinner and our chef encounter, Hungry in Cleveland and I headed off to the Salt ‘n Pepa Legends of Hip Hop concert at the Wolstein Center.

I was lucky enough to win two tickets to the concert courtesy of a Cleveland.com contest on Twitter.  I can still remember CLEmom being scandalized when I bought the Salt ‘n Pepa CD back in the day.  The ladies sounded great and we enjoyed ending our evening with a 90’s flashback.

On Saturday, CLEguy and I braved the snow to have dinner at Sokolowski’s University Inn.

Monday, you can check out my guest post on Cleveland Food & Brews reviewing Sokolowski’s food .  Much thanks to Brad of Cleveland Food & Brews for the opportunity to write about such a CLE institution.

While my guest post focuses on the food, I wanted to share a bit about the history and culture of the restaurant.  Sokolowski’s is Cleveland’s second-oldest family owned and operated restaurant, opened in 1923 as a tavern.  The rooms in Sokolowski’s are filled with memorabilia and photos and remind you of cozily eating in someone’s home.  The pictures on the walls range from family photos, to celebrities who have eaten there – from Big Chuck to Eric Clapton to Bill Clinton.  There is also live piano music every Friday and Saturday night.  Sokolowski’s truly has the friendly family feeling that so many people love about CLE.

Thanks to Gray & Company Publishers and Jane Lassar, I received two copies of the 8th edition of “Cleveland Ethnic Eats” by Laura Taxel.  The book provided me with some great background on Sokolowski’s, as well as cluing me in on tons of other great ethnic eats around CLE.  Check back on Monday to find out how you can win a copy of “Cleveland Ethnic Eats” to start your own CLE food exploration.

After dinner, CLEguy and I received a last-minute invite from CLEfriends to attend the Cavs game.

Unfortunately, the Cavs couldn’t pull off a win against the Portland Trailblazers, but we did all earn free chalupas from Taco Bell for the Cavs scoring over 100 points.  If you were at the game, you can redeem your chalupa with your ticket from last night.

And now, I need to go make some Buffalo chicken dip for a Superbowl gathering with CLEfriends.  Weekends like this are the perfect answer to “Why Cleveland?”  What new answers to “Why Cleveland?” did you discover (or rediscover) this weekend?

Why? Friday Inspiration!

What’s more inspirational to CLE-ers than a winning sports team?  Last night, a bunch of CLEbloggers, gathered by the fabulous Cleveland’s a Plum, attended the Cleveland State University men’s basketball game at the Wolstein Center

When CLEguy and I arrived, we were immediately invited to check out the “Hoopy Hour.”  Hoopy Hour happens from 5pm-7pm before every game and features cornhole, bowling, mini basketball, and discounted food and beer.  We even received 3 free drink tickets each, courtesy of Scene Magazine
Beer, Food, and Cornhole!

I also ran into a college friend, Brooke, who works for Global Spectrum, the company that manages the Wolstein Center.  Brooke and her boss, Kayla, filled us in on some of the great things going on with CSU athletics.  Kayla and I also chatted about her move from Georgia to CLE.  While the weather is a rough adjustment, Kayla echoed something I hear so often about CLE – how friendly and welcoming the people are here.

The CSU men’s basketball team is currently in first place in their division, with a 21-3 record.  CSU has been actively working to increase attendance at and revenue from athletic events, with the long-term goal of CSU getting a football team.  The Wolstein Center was packed last night with CSU fans and students, decked out in CSU gear and sorority or fraternity letters.  And, of course, the Viking mascot made an appearance…
CSU Viking Mascot

The CLEbloggers (and our CLE significant others) were seated in the amazing courtside suite, where we munched on hot pretzels, nachos, and hot dogs.  In attendance were Cleveland’s a Plum, Poise in Parma, Bite Buff, Life on Mars, Mile 26 and More, The Dawg’s Dish, and Confessions of a Cohabitant.  As usual, the CLEbloggers had a wonderful time together chatting about our favorite city.

We also had this incredible view of the action on the court:

CSU Wins over Valparaiso!

CSU went on to defeat Valparaiso 76-65 to retain their first place standing.  So, where’s the inspiration?  First, CLE has a first-place, first-rate, exciting sports team.  Second, you can check them out for not a lot of dough and be able to attend the Hoopy Hour beforehand.  Third, CSU exemplifies a CLE institution that is already doing well, but is also striving for more.  And who doesn’t want to support that?!

Have a great weekend!  Do something inspiring!

Disclosure: I was given 2 tickets to the CSU game in the courtside suite, for writing about my experience at the game.  The opinions contained in this post are my own.

Why? Involved CLE-ers.

I’ve been following the #CLE20 on Twitter and their topic this week got me thinking about another great answer to “Why Cleveland?”  In case you don’t know what the #CLE20 is, it’s a group of 20 well-known CLE tweeters who discuss (on Twitter) a different CLE topic each week.  This initiative is sponsored by cleveland.com and the Plain Dealer.  You can read about it here and, from one of the #CLE20’s herself, here.

At any rate, this week’s #CLE20 topic involves how CLE can recruit and keep the best and the brightest living and working here.  In essence, how do we explain “Why Cleveland?” to them?  I think one of the best ways to stop the brain drain is to tell the best and the brightest that there are plenty more just like them living and working in CLE already.  The #CLE20 group is testament to the fact that there is a young, vibrant, caring, involved group of CLE-ers, who want to spend their lives here and who are actively working to improve and promote the city.

But it’s more than just the #CLE20.  The Downtown Cleveland Alliance has a City Advocate program that is accepting applications until February 21, 2011 for it’s 2011-2013 class.  This program brings together young professional CLE-ers who create action-based plans to better CLE. 

Cleveland Bridge Builders is also currently accepting applications.  This program helps develop the next generation of leaders in CLE and forms connections between current and future community leaders.

These are just three examples of the strength and vibrancy of CLE’s young professional community.  Since starting this blog, I’ve met so many other passionate CLE advocates and have found my love of and commitment to CLE growing through the process.  I truly believe it can be the same for stopping the brain drain.  By introducing new graduates to the opportunities that exist within the young professional community, those new graduates are far more likely to see themselves building not just a career, but a life in CLE.  Perhaps through outreach programs from City Advocates, Bridge Builders, and other young professional groups to the colleges and universities in the area, the lasting connections to CLE will begin even before a job search.

Excited, involved, and caring CLE-ers are perhaps the best answer yet to “Why Cleveland?”

We ❤ CLE