***A bit of blogkeeping: First, we have a new winner of the $25 Key Possibilities MasterCard gift card: Lindsay! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday.
Second, check out my guest post about fun things for kids to do in CLE today on Healthy Heddleston!***
The last two evenings have been packed with holiday cheer and I just had to tell you about both of them!
Monday night, CLEguy, CLEparents, and I went to Stone Mad Irish Pub for their Christmas party. As I’ve mentioned here before, I absolutely adore Stone Mad: the atmosphere is cozy and relaxed, everyone who works there is so hospitable, the beer list is great, and the food is delicious. You can’t go wrong! And for the holiday party, Pete and Eileen (the owners) really go all out!
We started our evening with seasonal beers: Great Lakes Christmas Ale for CLEguy and Bell’s Winter Ale for me. Then we enjoyed a delicious meal. CLEguy had the Stone Mad burger with tons of toppings and I chose the herb-roasted chicken with maple glaze and marscapone polenta on the side.
I nabbed a bite of the burger and it was delicious: juicy and flavorful! The chicken was great, but the polenta was really the star of the dish for me. It was perfectly cooked and delightfully creamy. I wish my homemade polenta could turn out that well!
After dinner, we headed back to the front room to listen to The Ohio City Singers entertain a packed house. We also grabbed some chestnuts, literally roasted on an open fire in Stone Mad’s outdoor fireplace. By the way, if you’ve never had them, chestnuts are quite yummy (once you peel them).
Stone Mad was also offering horse-drawn carriage rides through Gordon Square. This was my absolute favorite part of the night. So many of the houses had Christmas lights blazing to celebrate the season. It was a peaceful, romantic way to end the evening.
The Stone Mad Christmas party is already on our calendar for next year!
Last night, one of my best friends Beth and I met up for our Christmas dinner at Deagan’s Kitchen and Bar.
Our server, Ashley (who was in every way charming and wonderful), told us that Deagan went Christmas crazy a few months ago, planning the decorations for the restaurant and printing a special version of the menu that has the Deagan’s logo ringed with Christmas lights. The restaurant is very festive, with a large Christmas tree, lots of lights, and a paper garland chain that criss-crosses the ceiling 4 times.
All the decorations set the tone for a fun and Christmas-y evening. Beth and I split a bottle of the Trapiche Malbec, which is one of the best Malbecs I’ve had in awhile. We also shared an order of the Devils on Horseback: dates wrapped in bacon, served with a chile sauce. This dish is sweet, spicy, and smoky.
Since it was Deagan’s famous Taco Tuesday, Beth decided to go with the tacos, including the Heirloom pork taco of the week.
The tacos must have been pretty tasty because I wasn’t able to snag even a bite! I chose two of Deagan’s small plates: the vegan strudel and the lump crab rangoons.
The strudel was stuffed with Killbuck Valley mushrooms and shallots. It was absolutely delicious! The pastry was light and flaky and the veggies were packed with flavor. As a non-vegan, I’d order this dish again and again. The rangoons were also fantastic: nice and crispy and packed with real, delicious, sweet lump crab.
Since Beth and I are basically unable to pass up dessert, we each made our selections. Beth had the cranberry quince bread pudding and I chose the vanilla porter brownie sundae.
Again, I’ll have to take Beth’s word (and clean plate) as evidence of the yummy-ness of her choice. The brownie sundae was so tasty. Ashley told us that the ice cream – made with Breckenridge Vanilla Porter (one of my faves) – is made by Mitchell’s Ice Cream exclusively for Deagan’s.
It was a fun, delicious, festive evening that helped us get even more in the spirit of the season!
Where are some of your favorite pre-holiday locations to get together with friends?