Why? Taste Restaurant!

Last Friday, I met up with my friends Robin and Amy to take advantage of the end of Cleveland Independents Restaurant Week, which offered three-course, prix-fixe menus at the Cleveland Independents restaurants.

We scoured the menus and selected Taste Restaurant in Cleveland Heights. I had never been to Taste, but the Restaurant Week selections all looked great and were all part of the permanent menu, which means any favorite dish could be ordered again.

I started with the arancini, with three-cheese risotto, lemon pesto, fresh basil, and marinara.


So good! These balls of happiness were crispy on the outside, but still retaining the creamy goodness of the risotto, with sauces that perfectly complimented each other.

My friend Amy got the mussels, with sauteed tomatoes and spinach and a lemon wine broth. I snuck a bite of broth with toast and was impressed with the delicate, delicious flavors.


For my entree, I chose the crab-stuffed salmon. There were a lot of great carnivorous options, but #LentProblems took over. And honestly, I wasn’t at all disappointed with my choice.


The salmon was served on top wild mushroom risotto (looking back, I ate a lot of risotto that night) and covered in a lemon Chardonnay cream sauce. The flavors were light and lovely!

Amy and Robin both chose the Burger du Jour, with white cheddar and bacon.


I was definitely eyeing up those thin, crispy fries. Yum!

The deal going into Restaurant Week was that we’d each order a different dessert and share, because variety is the spice of sweetness!


We shared the white chocolate and vanilla creme brulee, the chocolate lava cake, and the chocolate mousse with hazelnut ice cream. All the desserts were so good! I didn’t expect to like ice cream and mousse together, but it really worked!

I had never been to Taste, but now I want to go back to order some of these new favorites and try some other options, too! Have you ever discovered a restaurant through Restaurant Week?



Why? Weekends!

If it can’t be warm in Cleveland, at least the sun can shine, right? Here’s how we spent this bright, chilly weekend.

Breakfast with the Bunny 

On Saturday morning, we hopped right over St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to Easter celebrations!


Matthew, Jeffrey, and I headed south to the Akron Zoo for their Breakfast with the Bunny. We started with a breakfast buffet and time for Easter crafts, plus time with the fuzzy bunny himself.


Then the kids went to an Easter egg hunt in a designated area of the Zoo, divided by age. The eggs were plentiful and easy to find, plus the kids got to trade in however many eggs they found for a sweet treat bag.


After the egg hunt, we could stay for as long as we liked to explore the Zoo, too. Even the animals were getting in on the egg hunt fun!


It was fun, albeit cold, morning and a nice way to kick off the Easter season!

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Of course, we couldn’t completely ignore St. Patrick’s Day! My mom made a delicious corned beef dinner.


Pair it with a Great Lakes Brewing Co. Conway’s Irish Ale and you have a the perfect St. Patrick’s Day meal!

Death of a Salesman

Saturday evening, Matthew and I went to see our friend Wes, who was playing Bernard in The Brecksville Theatre‘s production of “Death of a Salesman.” It had been awhile since I had attended a community theater performance and I forgot how much I enjoy the intimacy of those shows. I’m always so impressed by the talent we have right in our own backyard, too.

While Death of a Salesman ended its run on Sunday, The Brecksville Theatre has a full season of options, plus there are community theaters all over Cleveland offering great cultural experiences with homegrown talent.


I kicked off my Sunday at Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch. I’ve said it before, but Alicia’s balance of meditative mindfulness and challenging asana is really my favorite way to practice. I always feel taken care of in both body and spirit.

After class, we headed to downstairs to Dante Next Door for mimosas and conversation and delicious brunch food. I had the cheddar, bacon, scallion hash (OMG, so good) and the waffle with apples and Kentucky bourbon maple syrup.

I can never choose between sweet and savory at brunch, so I decided not to decide!

Alicia has a ton of upcoming Yoga/Brunch dates, if you want to get your Sunday Funday kicked off the right way. Cost is $15 for a 60-minute class, plus a free mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here for dates and to register.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours? Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?


Why? Disney Musicals in Schools!

This week, members of Playhouse Square Partners volunteered at the Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share Celebration at the Ohio Theatre. This is our second year attending the Student Share and our first year volunteering with the event.

The Disney Musicals in Schools program provides select Cleveland Metropolitan School District elementary schools with licensing for a Disney KIDS musical, a costume kit, and instruction from professional teaching artists from Playhouse Square.


The 17-week program culminates in the performance of a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical at the school, plus the chance to perform one of the songs on stage at the Ohio Theatre at the Student Share Celebration. This year’s participating schools were Buhrer Dual Language Academy, Franklin D. Roosevelt Elementary School, Patrick Henry Elementary School, and Nathan Hale Elementary School.

The evening began with students from all four schools in the program performing an original Disney Musicals in Schools number written by Alan Menken, called “It Starts with a Dream.”

Then, each school in the program performed one number from their chosen musical. Three of the schools chose “Jungle Book KIDS” as their musical and one school chose “Aladdin KIDS.” It was so fun to see each school’s interpretation of well-known Disney numbers through creative dance and costumes.

Our host for the evening, WEWS anchor Leon Bibb, did a wonderful job of pointing out how these types of experiences create lifelong memories and interest in the arts, sharing his own start on the stage in sixth grade.

The goal of the Disney Musicals in Schools program is to establish a sustainable musical theater program in each school. The schools who participated in this year’s program will receive licensing and show kits for next year, but the staff of the school will lead the program with less guidance from Playhouse Square, in order to establish an independent program. And next year, new schools will begin the process. Click here for information on how to apply.

Disney Musicals in Schools drives home the importance of the arts in an educational setting, as well as reminding me how fortunate I am to be able to provide Jeffrey with exposure to the arts at Playhouse Square on a regular basis. I’m proud to be a Playhouse Square donor and volunteer, helping to support programs that expand the reach of the arts and open the doors of those extraordinary theaters to all.

***Disclosure: I am the co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? CraftyBags!

I will fully admit that I’m not a crafty person. I would love to come up with really cute, creative things for Jeffrey and his friends to create at parties or play dates, but it’s just not something at which I excel. And don’t get me started on craft stores…I just get completely overwhelmed!

Which is why I love the concept of CraftyBags, created by a Cleveland mom to help other moms!


CraftyBags is a company that designs and sends prepacked craft kits that are perfect for a birthday party or play date or even just a fun activity at home.

Each CraftyBags kit comes with detailed instructions, all the materials you need to make the craft for four people, and canvas bags for sending the crafts home with your guests.


Jeffrey and his friend Mia got to try their hands at making Mini Lighthouses (with parental guidance, of course).


Jeffrey was pretty excited to make what he decided was Cap’n Turbot’s lighthouse from PAW Patrol! The CraftyBags instructions were easy to follow, even for non-crafters.


The results were far from Pinterest-professional (blame operator error), but we had a great time and the kids love their lighthouses!


I certainly never would have thought to use plastic cups and battery tealights to create a lighthouse! Sometimes a mom just needs a little inspiration, a little direction, and a little one-stop shopping to make something fun come together, right?!


You can check out all the CraftyBags craft kit offerings here, including painted ceramic mugs, mod podge picture frames, and a perfectly seasonal Easter egg bunny. Prices for a kit to make 4 crafts range from $10.99 to $19.99.

Also, you can use code WHYCLE15 through March 31 to save 15% on your CraftyBags order.

CraftyBags made crafting fun and accessible both for Jeffrey and me! Check it out and support this local business with a smart, creative idea!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote CraftyBags. In exchange, I received a complimentary CraftyBags Mini Lighthouse kit and a discount code to share with readers. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Cleveland Monsters Giveaway!

We in Cleveland are lucky to have a lot of great sports teams to support, including our recent Calder Cup Champion Cleveland Monsters!

Image Source

Beyond the hockey action, there is lots of fun to be had with Sully the Monsters mascot, the Monsters Hockey Girls, and the Ice Patrol. Monsters games are family-friendly, both in activities and cost.

The Monsters have a special game coming up on Saturday, March 24: the first annual Purple Game, benefiting the American Cancer Society.

Image Source

The Monsters will take on the San Diego Gulls, but they’ll also take on the fight against cancer. Fans are encouraged to wear purple to the game to show their support for those fighting all types of cancers. The first 10,000 fans at the game will receive a Purple Game Rally Towel courtesy of Jeep. There will also be a special Purple Game jersey auction, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society.

This game also takes place during the Monsters ongoing food drive, so fans are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate to local food banks.

So, if you want to have a fun sports night out, while helping out a great cause, look no further than the Monsters Purple Game! Tickets are currently on sale, starting at $10.

Or you can enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment here letting me know if you’ve ever attended a Cleveland Monsters game.

2. Visit Cleveland Monsters and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @monstershockey and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @monstershockey and @whycle on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win a family 4-pack of tickets to @monstershockey Purple Game thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2018/03/13/why-cleveland-monsters-giveaway 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Saturday, March 17 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Monsters to help promote the Purple Game. In exchange, I will receive complimentary tickets to the game, as well as tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was a busy, fun-filled weekend in Cleveland, so let’s dive right in:

Fish FRYday

There’s nothing more Cleveland this time of year than a fish fry. Jeffrey and I met up with friends at St. Dominic Church for their Lenten Fish Fry.


Do not pass up the hush puppies or the fried shrimp! Jeffrey loved his kids cheese pizza meal, but he also loved the crafts and balloon artist there, too. This was everything a fish fry should be: classic, tasty, well-run, and fun!

Children’s Museum of Cleveland

On Saturday morning, we took Jeffrey to a school friend’s birthday party at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland.


We just love this bright, fun, imaginative space! But then you throw in the excitement of a birthday party on top of it…well, as you can see, a great time was had by all!

The Children’s Museum is also working to reach its capital campaign goal, with plans to open expansion exhibits, including Meadow (for children ages birth to 3 years), Music, and Theater.

Meadow Exhibit rendering

You can donate to the Museum’s capital campaign online now.

Ohio City Beer Crawl

From the party, Matthew and I headed to the craft beer mecca of Ohio City. We met up with our friends Denise and Ritch, who have the goal of hitting 40 craft breweries in the area before Ritch turns 40. Being the good friends we are, we agreed to help him accomplish his goal!

We started at Hansa Brewery, where we munched on superb potato pancakes and Bavarian pretzels, washed down with a beer sampler.


The Wit Wit and Bye Felicia! were my favorites.

Then we walked over to Forest City Brewery to enjoy another sampler and their West Side Market chacuterie platter.

The St. Wendelin Wheat was my favorite here.

Then it was off to Bad Tom Smith Brewing, which I have to confess was completely unheard of to me before our crawl.


But you should definitely stop by to try their wide selection of beers, plus you can order from their neighbor Ohio City Burrito while you’re there!

We ended our crawl at Nano Brew Cleveland, with more samplers, plus the Stoner Fries and fried mac ‘n cheese bites (both are pretty much necessary for life on stop 4 of a bar crawl).

Add in their DJ spinning epic 80’s music and you have the end to a perfect afternoon in Ohio City. I love how walkable, energetic, and diverse the neighborhood is. Whether you want a bar crawl or a nice meal, you can find it there!

Cleveland Orchestra Family Concert

On Sunday afternoon, we met up with Matthew’s family for the Cleveland Orchestra Family Concert of Scheherazade. Matthew’s brother and sister-in-law chose the concert as a family Christmas present and it was a great choice!


Not only did Jeffrey get to experience the beautiful music and creatively-told story thanks to the Orchestra and the Enchantment Theater Company, but he also got to try his hand at playing some of the instruments before the show.


The Meet-the-Instruments pre-show event allowed children to get hands-on with some of the instruments they would hear during the concert and certainly sparked interest in a lot of future musicians.

Matthew used to play the French horn, so we especially loved seeing Jeffrey try that out!


How lucky we are to be able to experience not only one of the best orchestras in the world, but one of the loveliest venues too! I also love that the Orchestra offers family-friendly options to make music and culture accessible to all ages. Jeffrey can say he cut his teeth on music from the Cleveland Orchestra and that is pretty spectacular!

Dewey’s Pizza

After the show, we stopped by Dewey’s Pizza for a fun family dinner filled with laughter, catching up, and of course, yummy pizza. Dewey’s has a wide selection of creative pies, plus a window where the kids could watch their pizzas being made. It was a perfect dinner choice!

So, that was our weekend. Lots of great times with family and friends and lots of time at some of Cleveland’s finest neighborhoods and institutions. You can’t ask for more than that!


Why? Cleve Stuff Apparel!

Cleveland apparel is all the rage, as everyone wants to wear their pride for the city! When Jameson from Cleve Stuff Apparel reached out to tell me about his company and I checked out their cool designs, I knew I had to share it with you!

Cleveland Stuff Logo 1

1. Tell me about Cleve Stuff Apparel. How did you get started?

I’ve been a graphic designer for 15 years, most of my professional career spent in Cleveland. I haven’t always considered my self a Clevelander, but the more time I spend here the more at home I feel.

During my time as a designer, I’ve been involved in a number of apparel companies but they were all fly-by-night kind of deals. Custom apparel is such a competitive market, it’s easy to be completely shadowed by the big fish. Like most things in this world, everything seems to have already been done.

The longer I’m in Cleveland, the prouder I am of this city. I’ve seen so many good things happening here in the last decade. There’s a buzz that I don’t think was here before. You have to spend time here to know what I’m talking about.

I know that a Cleveland apparel company isn’t a new idea by any means. There are some awesome companies already doing this really well. The idea isn’t to directly compete against them, my hope is that you find new and fresh ideas that you can’t find anywhere else, and to wear them with pride! That’s why I created CLEVE STUFF.

2. What are some of your most popular items?

A couple of the best sellers are from the “Cleveland Rocks” collection…


and the new “Neon” collection.


3. Where can we buy Cleve Stuff Apparel?

Right now you can only buy CLEVE STUFF online. I know it’s hard for people to buy things they can’t touch, but I guarantee the highest quality and comfort. My hopes are to be in a physical location at some point, but that will have to wait for now 😉

4. Tell me your Cleveland story. What do you love about the city? Favorite places to go, things to do?

I’ve never lived in Cleveland but I have worked downtown for the better half of 15 years. I just love the energy that is building in Cleveland, from the booming startup community to our kick-butt professional teams (I’m a HUGE Cavs guy), and everything else. There’s nothing better than being downtown on a beautiful summer day during a Tribe game or around public square before a Cavs game. It gives you a totally different perspective on Cleveland. You have to try it!

5. What’s next for Cleve Stuff Apparel?

I plan to keep pumping out awesome apparel, of course! What I really have my mind set on right now is giving back. I have reached out to a couple charitable non-profits in hopes for a partnership. CLEVE STUFF isn’t a get rich quick concept. For me, this is an opportunity to keep doing what I love and to help others at the same time. I want to help Make Cleveland Better!

What better to wear your pride than by supporting a local business who takes pride in our city too?!


Why? Legacy Village Wedding Hop!

Are you getting married soon?! Planning a wedding can take a lot of effort, but it can also be a lot of fun! Which is why you should hop over to Legacy Village for the inaugural Wedding Hop on Sunday, March 11.

Legacy Village Wedding Hop logo.jpg

You can preregister online and check-in at 11:30am and then you’re free to explore the participating retailers at your leisure. See all the ease that the one-stop shopping of Legacy Village can offer from finding attire and accessories to snapping up unique gifts for your bridal party to planning your rehearsal dinner to registering for all your heart’s desires.

Participating retailers include Lilly Pultizer, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Things Remembered, Merchant’s Mrkt, Ethan Allen, Ladies & Gentlemen Salon & Spa, Hyatt Place Hotel, and more. Participating restaurants include Capital Grille, Bar Louie, The Melting Pot, and more.

For a complete list of participants in the Wedding Hop, click here. Hop on over to Legacy Village and see how easy and fun planning your wedding can be!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events, for which I receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Vineyard Woods!

While Matthew and I have always enjoyed the wineries in Ashtabula County, we’ve usually made a day trip out of our visit to the vines. But Vineyard Woods, which opened in May 2017, offers a cozy, comfortable, modern-rustic place to turn your winery hopping into a true weekend getaway.


Vineyard Woods currently has two lodging options: The Oak Cottage, where we stayed, that sleeps two people and is perfect for a romantic getaway and The Vineyard Villa, which sleeps up to eight and can be rented either as an entire villa or in individual rooms (you better believe I’m already plotting a girls’ weekend there). Vineyard Woods is also opening two additional cottages this May!


The cottages are furnished in a modern-rustic style, with lots of light, airy colors, attention to detail, and everything you need to make your stay feel homey. Scott, the owner of Vineyard Woods, used to travel frequently for work and, as such, was focused on making Vineyard Woods stand out from the typical hotel experience.

From high-quality linens to a stocked welcome basket with coffee, tea, and chocolates to a firepit and firestarter with each cabin to WiFi access to mini kitchens, you won’t want for anything during your stay.


The views are pretty awesome, too! I can only imagine when the vines are in bloom how lovely it will look!


We not only loved our stay at Vineyard Woods, but we also loved getting to know owners Scott and Katie, who are enthusiastic about not only their own business, but in growing the profile of the region and supporting other local businesses.

Vineyard Woods has its own vines on the property and is offering a unique opportunity to participate in the growing and wine-making process: the VIP Rent-a-Row package. You will share a row or two of vines on Vineyard Woods’ property. You’ll stay at Vineyard Woods for one night each in April (start of the growing season) and September (harvest) and participate in Pinot Noir harvest. You’ll also receive personalized updates on your vines, a case of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay made from your grapes, and a year membership to North Coast Wine Club. This sounds such a cool way to get up close and personal with the wine-making process!

Plus, while you stay at Vineyard Woods, whether part of Rent-a-Row or just for a getaway, you’ll be in the heart of some fabulous wineries. We definitely took advantage of our proximity to the wineries and hit several during our stay:

M Cellars

Scott and Katie took us here, as M Cellars manages the vines at Vineyard Woods. We loved the Meritage, the cheese plate, and M Cellars’ commitment to supporting other local makers.

Harpersfield Vineyard

We enjoyed the cozy atmosphere, complete with winery pups, and the delicious tomato and pesto flatbread.

Laurentia Vineyard and Winery

We enjoyed the Cabarnet Sauvignon, the lovely cellar seating, and catching up with friend Erin and Jayson from our Puerto Vallarta trip!

Kosicek Vineyards

We enjoyed the Chancellor red wine and the fact that you could literally walk back to Vineyard Woods from the tasting room.


It was a perfect little weekend getaway, exploring some new-to-us wineries, as well as getting the chance to check out a local business that is changing the lodging game out in Geneva and making it a true vacation destination.


***Disclosure: I was invited for a complimentary overnight stay at Vineyard Woods with a guest. Our food and drink at M Cellars was also compliments of Vineyard Woods. Our choices of and purchases at all other wineries were on our own. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Yuzu!

Last week, Matthew and I had a chance to try a sample of the creative and flavorful cuisine at Yuzu in Lakewood, thanks to Mouthwater Media. Yuzu is an Izakaya-inspired bar. If you don’t know what Izakaya is (raises hand), it’s a type of informal Japanese pub. So, essentially, Yuzu is a Japanese gastro pub.

Yuzu provides a wide variety of small bites, bowls, and ramen, as well as a creative and fun cocktail menu with a ton of craft beers, as well as cocktails ranging from margaritas to punchbowls.

We started with orders of Yuzu fries and Thai fries. The Yuzu fries had panko, cusabi, and chives and the Thai fries had Dutch peanut aioli, crushed salted peanuts, and green onion.


Both were delicious, but that peanut sauce on the Thai fries was really something special!

Next up game the yakitori flight, with pork belly, top sirloin, chicken thigh, and vegetables.


The flavorful meats and delicious sauces made this plate a real treat!

Then came the vegetarian ramen, which was packed with yummy, delicate flavors and lots of vegetables (and that egg!).


We also got to try four different rice bowls, each more flavorful and incredible than the next: Harmonic (mango, avocado, red pepper, black beans, onion, corn, and cusabi); Little India (chickpea curry with sweet potato); bourbon chicken; and Korean beef.

For a collection of interesting, flavorful dishes in a fun, relaxed atmosphere, check out Yuzu. You’ll be as glad as I am that you figured out what Izakaya is!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tasting at Yuzu with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***