Last night was one of those nights I just wanted to hug CLE. I had plans to attend a Wine and Cupcakes tasting with some of my girls, with a stop for dinner first at The Flying Fig.
Since I was running a bit early, I decided to make the most of my time in Ohio City. My first stop was at Salty Not Sweet, an adorable little boutique just south of the West Side Market. Salty Not Sweet specializes in mostly local handmade items from small businesses. I saw about five things I wanted to buy for myself, but my mission was to pick up a gift for our friend’s little boy. I snagged two adorable onesies and went on my way.
Next stop: Campbell’s Popcorn Shop, which just recently opened their own storefront. I picked up a bag of their Dichotomy popcorn for CLEguy’s and my roadtrip this weekend. So, it was a salty AND sweet start to my evening (haha).
After my shopping, I headed over to meet Hungry in Cleveland and Clue Into Cleveland at The Flying Fig. Since we knew we’d be eating lots of cupcakes later, we stuck with small plates for dinner. I chose the soup of the day (potato leek curry) and the herbed ricotta gnocchi.
The soup was delicious! Creamy and slightly spicy, it was the perfect thing to warm me up on a drizzly night.
The gnocchi was also fantastic. Braised gnocchi was paired with Kilibuck Valley mushrooms, chicken confit, green beans, and herbs. Honestly, I don’t think the chicken was a necessary component of the dish, but all the flavors paired very well. I could definitely eat more than just a small plate of it!
From dinner, we headed over to Market Avenue Wine Bar and met up with two other CLEfriends for an evening of wine and cupcakes. Our hostess for the evening was Tammy Colson, known to the Twitterverse as @TLColson, who runs Miss WineOH. Miss WineOh puts on wine tastings, private parties, and the like to show people how fun wine can be and to highlight local wines.
Our mini cupcakes were provided by A Cookie and A Cupcake. To start out, we had a lemon cake with strawberry balsamic vinegar icing paired with a 2010 Golem Riesling.
Both the cupcake and wine were delicious. The Riesling was not too sweet and one of our friends – a sworn red-wine-only drinker – bought a bottle. The balsamic didn’t come through in the cupcake as much as I would have liked, but you can’t go wrong with strawberry and lemon.
Next up was an almond cake with roquefort icing paired with a 2010 Louis Laurant Vouvray.
While the pairing of the crisp, fruity wine with the rich icing was great, I didn’t like either the cupcake or the wine by themselves. They definitely needed each other to make the flavors work for me.
Next up was a white cake with maple bacon icing paired with a 2009 Bella Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir.
Then came a cherry chocolate cake with salted caramel icing paired with a 2009 The Velvet Devil Merlot. Yes and yes!
And then we got to my favorite of the night: a dark chocolate cake with cinnamon icing, paired with a 2005 Norman The Vocation.
Both the wine and the cupcake were fantastic individually, but together this pairing just blew me away. I’m a big fan of Norman The Monster, and The Vocation is now on the top of my must-buy wine list. We all immediately noticed spice notes in the wine, which Tammy told us is nutmeg. What a perfect pairing with the cinnamon in the cupcakes. It was a fabulous fall dessert!
Tammy told us that we should drink what we like. We can be educated about wine, without being snobby about it. Just learn what you like, what pairs together well, and have fun with it. And have fun we definitely did!
It was a perfect night in one of CLE’s best neighborhoods! Cheers!