Why? Sausalito on Ninth!

The downtown Cleveland dining scene is constantly evolving and reinventing itself. A great example of this is Sausalito on Ninth, which was formerly Sweetwater’s Café Sausalito in the Galleria. Sausalito on Ninth is now located in the IMG Building and features a revamped menu and bright new interior design as a fabulous reinvention of this 30-plus year old restaurant.

Last night, Matthew, Jeffrey, and I headed to dinner there to check out the new space and menu.


Sausalito on Ninth offers happy hour Monday through Friday from 3pm – 7pm. They have a nice wine and beer selection, as well as several tasty cocktail options. And they have pink lemonade, if you like that sort of thing!

We worked our way through a generous variety of menu items. Matthew and I shared the chickpea and edamame hummus, as well as the crab cakes with sriracha remoulade and fava bean salsa.

These classic appetizer items both featured unique twists that made them not only delicious, but also interesting.

Matthew and I shared the Mista salad, with pears, walnuts, goat cheese, and balsamic. Yum! Oh, and don’t skip the rolls. They are life changing.


For my entrée, I couldn’t resist the branzino special, which was a whole, flash-fried fish served with basmati rice and a Thai chili vinaigrette.


The fish was moist and the Thai chili vinaigrette added a nice sweet spice.

Matthew chose the pan-seared walleye, which is an on-menu item. The walleye came with lobster cashew gnocchi and a saffron butter sauce.


As you can tell, there is an Eastern influence to many of Sausalito on Ninth’s dishes, which is something we really enjoyed. Matthew’s dish had a lot of delicate flavors, but each one was discernible and delicious.

Jeffrey opted for a classic American cheeseburger and fries, which he devoured. Sausalito on Ninth offers kid-friendly menu choices and modifications, so that the whole family can enjoy a tasty meal. As much as we like some of the more “Jeffrey-friendly” restaurants, it’s always a treat to find a nicer restaurant that we can all enjoy.

This berry cake was the perfect end to a great meal at this new-again spot!


Sausalito on Ninth is the perfect example of a restaurant reinventing itself to be a stand-out in the downtown dining scene. The menu features familiar items with interesting twists, as well as new favorites.

The location also puts Sausalito on Ninth in a great position to make a mark in an area of downtown that doesn’t have as many restaurants. It’s a good spot for pregame food or an after-work drink that is less crowded than East 4th Street, but just as delicious and fun!

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



Why? The Pompadour!

I love discovering hidden gems! Last night, Matthew and I were quite honestly amazed at the creative cocktails and tapas being served at The Pompadour in Fairport Harbor.


The Pompadour is a cozy restaurant with equal distribution between bar and table seating, which is perfect for tapas-style meals. So, let’s start at the bar. The Pompadour takes craft cocktails seriously, with inventive original drinks and well-executed classics.


Do not miss the Old Fashioned. I think my flirtation with bourbon might be turning serious.

Matthew and I worked our way through a large portion of The Pompadour’s tapas menu and I would order everything we tried again and again.

The crab cakes with pickled chayote, chipotle crema, and asparagus were delicious and meaty.


The lamb chops were perfectly prepared and the chimichurri sauce had me wanting to lick the plate clean!


Speaking of licking the plate, Matthew and I inhaled the braised short rib with parsnip puree and ancho chili mojo sauce before I could take a picture. It’s THAT good!

The cocoa almond-stuffed dates with sautéed Spanish chorizo and scallion were one of the stand-out items for me. These dates are the perfect balance of salty and sweet, with a nice texture balance from the almonds.


Another stand-out dish was the octopus ceviche. The bright, fresh flavors of the ceviche made me think of summer, which is always a win in my book. The combination of octopus, red pepper, kiwi, and orange was incredibly delicious and inspired.


Similarly, the seared tuna, served on top a salad with pears and arugula worked so well when you got a bite that incorporated all the fresh, light elements of the dish.


We ended our meal with the orange flan with candied hazelnuts. I’m not usually a huge fan of flan, but the texture of this flan was light and almost whipped. Add in the crunch from the hazelnuts and you have a perfect dessert!


I am so impressed with the attention to detail, creativity, and execution of the food and cocktails at The Pompadour. This restaurant could easily stand up to any downtown dining, but I love that they’re changing up and pushing the boundaries of the dining scene in Fairport Harbor instead.

I think you know by now that I don’t play into the East Side/West Side divide and will certainly travel for good food and good fun. The Pompadour is not that far of a drive and it is 100% worth it for the experience. Put it on your must-dine list!

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


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.***