Why? Jim Alesci’s Place!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Kayla (Comment #5), randomly-selected winner of two tickets to the Cleveland Home & Remodeling Expo. Please check your email for details. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets online and save an extra $1 with promo code CLE15HR.***

Sunday afternoon, I attended one of the tastiest, warmest, most fun Ohio Blogging Association meet-ups we’ve ever had. Jim Alesci’s Place showed off their new Solon location in style, with a ton of delicious food and fabulous hospitality. Alesci’s is a family business that has come down through the generations.

In fact, this picture that hangs behind the cheese counter is of Jim Alesci’s dad manning the cheese counter at Alesci’s years ago. This family business embraces it’s heritage and all the traditions that go along with it.

We were greeted with a selection of tasty cheeses, meats, and bruschetta. My favorites were the Drunken Cow and the Taleggio.

Everything we tasted is available at the market, which has not only high-quality grocery items, but prepared foods, a sandwich bar, beer and wine, and an amazing bakery.

I loved the build-your-own-pizza case, where you can pick up sauce, cheese, dough, and all the toppings to make a delicious pizza at home.

After our tour, it was time to sit down and taste some of the prepared foods available at the market and through Alesci’s catering. Now, we bloggers can eat, so when I tell you that all of us were overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of what we were served, you know it was something really special.

I’ll highlight just a few of my favorites:

The pancetta pasta salad, with caramelized onions, peas, figs, and gorgonzola had some of the lightest, most delicate pasta I’ve ever tasted.

The grilled flatbread. I don’t think I can choose between the pancetta and asiago and the portobello mushroom.

The eggplant parmesan. I thought I didn’t like eggplant. I’ve clearly not been eating the right eggplant.

The mini chicken pot pie: so unexpected for an Italian market, but so spot-on.

The desserts. Cannoli, Napolean, tiramisu, cassata cake…I imagine it’s like trying to pick a favorite child.

Speaking of children, I brought Jeffrey with me for this foodie extravaganza. He tasted a lot of what we had and the Italian beef and Sicilian white pizza topped his savory favorites. The peas from the pasta salad were also the first peas I’ve successfully gotten him to eat.

But his true favorite was the lemon cookie that Jim Alesci kindly gave him to eat during our tour. As you can see, Jeffrey got my sweet tooth!

By the time Jeffrey was presented with his “Little Wise Guy” bib, we felt like part of the Alesci family! That’s the great thing about our experience on Sunday: not only did we totally enjoy the food, which was made with such care and quality, but we were welcomed into the Alesci family with open arms. Particularly when a business is so hospitable, not just to me, but to my son, it makes me want to go back. It was a fabulous afternoon, not just as a blogger or a customer, but as a mom. And that’s huge for me.

Check out Alesci’s for a delicious lunch and pick up some items to make your own tasty dinner when you get home. I promise you’ll love the food, but you’ll love how you’re treated even more!

Oh, and in Ohio Blogging Association news, we have two upcoming events:

April 15 at Deagan’s, we’ll be having our own small version of one of the Told storytelling events. More info here.

April 26 at XHIBITION, we’ll be brunching on Jack Flaps and hearing about the latest fashions. More info here.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Ohio Blogging Association meet-up at Jim Alesci’s Place. We received complimentary food and drink, as well as gift cards to Alesci’s and a t-shirt (and Jeffrey got a bib). As always, all opinions are 100% my own (and my interpretation of Jeffrey’s).***