Why? Landmark!

Since Landmark opened in the former Diner on Clifton space 8 months ago, I’ve heard nothing but positive things, particularly about their smoked meats. So, I was so glad to have a chance to explore their delicious menu this week.

Before we dove into the food, we sampled some of Landmark’s own personal bourbon, created by Buffalo Trace. Landmark has an impressive bourbon selection for sipping or cocktails.

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Landmark has a wood smoker on site and smokes brisket, turkey, chicken, pork, and ribs with hickory wood or cherry wood, depending on the meat. We started with the Smoked Meat Sampler, with one pound of brisket, pork, and turkey, served with toast points, pickles, cole slaw, pickled onions, and BBQ sauce.

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The brisket literally melted in my mouth and was my favorite of the sampler, but all of the meats were tender, smoky, and delicious. None really even needed sauce, but the sauces offered nice variety: Kansas City, North Carolina, Memphis, and South Carolina styles.

We also got to try a new menu item: half a BBQ chicken, served with French fries and cole slaw. The crispy skin, tasty sauce, and tender smokiness made this chicken unforgettable. And there was something about those fries…really addictive!

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We tried the mac ‘n cheese, which was creamy, comforting, and with just a hint of sweetness.

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And we got a sample of Landmark’s truly unique menu item: the Montreal smoked sandwich, with twelve-day smoked cured brisket served on rye with yellow mustard. One of the most delicious “deli style” sandwiches I’ve ever had!

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Landmark offers more than just smoked meat, so we made room to try two of their bowls: the Thai peanut and Mediterranean.

The Thai peanut bowl has grilled chicken served over white rice with steamed broccoli and carrots, roasted red peppers, grilled pineapple, and Thai peanut sauce.

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The Mediterranean bowl has grilled chicken served over white rice with cucumber, tomato, hummus, chick peas, Kalamata olives, and tahini.

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Both bowls were flavorful and filling and offer healthy, non-smoky options.

We took home a couple of Landmark’s decadent homemade chocolate chip cookies, too!

Landmark is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week for dine-in or carry-out. The atmosphere is relaxed, friendly, and filled with the delicious aroma of smoked meat. For a truly elevated neighborhood eatery experience, stop in to Landmark!

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

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Why? Motogo Mobile Shop Class!

I love what a small world Cleveland can be and how you can reconnect with old friends in the most unexpected of ways. I had the opportunity to spend a morning touring Skidmark Garage last week and chatting about their new non-profit wing, Skidmark CLE. And I got my tour from my high school and college classmate, Molly Vaughan!

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Molly and Skidmark owner Brian have made a name for Skidmark Garage, a community garage where people can come to work on their motorcycles and share tools, space, and knowledge in a non-intimidating environment.

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From talking with Molly, Skidmark has made itself an active part of the St. Clair/Superior community where it’s located with community-based projects, a welcoming vibe, and a lounge space that hosts everything from photo shoots to comedy nights for comedians just getting started to nonprofit fundraisers.

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Which brings me to Skidmark CLE, the nonprofit arm of Skidmark Garage, which is seeking to expand Skidmark’s presence in the community. Skidmark CLE is supporting a mobile shop class concept designed by Molly and Brian called Motogo. Molly and Brian both have backgrounds working in education, so Motogo is a natural fusion of their skills.

Motogo encourages hands-on learning through motorcycle maintenance, teaching real-world problem solving, critical thinking, measurement, and calculations. Many schools no longer offer shop class or only do so in a vocational setting. Molly and Brian believe all students can benefit from this type of get-your-hands-dirty, work-as-a-team education.

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Motogo offers three options: a full semester program, a quarter-long program, and Motogo Light, a pop-up program for community organizations. All Motogo’s programs mirror STEAM objectives for learning.

To raise money to bring Motogo to more students, Skidmark Garage is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, February 9 from 6-10pm. There will be food stations, open bar, live music, and dancing, all in one of the coolest, funkiest environments you can find!

Tickets are currently on sale for $100. Don’t miss this chance to have a fun evening for a great cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Skidmark CLE to help promote the Motogo Mobile Shop Class fundraiser. I declined a complimentary ticket due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends, Part 2!

The rest of our weekend was family-fun focused, so here we go…

Children’s Museum of Cleveland

Jeffrey had a parent/teacher conference day on Friday, so since he didn’t have school, we were looking for something fun to do. We went to the Children’s Museum of Cleveland to check out their two newest exhibits: Theater and Playlist.

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Theater and Playlist opened at the end of November and give children new ways to explore their creativity at the museum. Theater has everything you need to put on a play, from a ticket booth to a tech area that controls lights and sound effects to hair and makeup stations and costumes.

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Children can put on plays, musicals, puppet shows, or concerts. The creativity I saw in the different types of shows and costumes was awesome! What a cool spot for kids to explore!

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Playlist incorporates shadow walls and wooden “instruments” to let children express themselves in dance and instrumentation. Playlist has different musical themes, from Latin to African to Americana.

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Much like Theater, Playlist encourages individuality and creativity. It was so cool to see Jeffrey dance and perform (and not even want to leave those two areas).
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If you haven’t been to the Children’s Museum of Cleveland in a bit, you’ll find all the favorites you loved, plus new exhibits to spark the imagination!

***Disclosure: I received two complimentary passes courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Cleveland. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Children’s Theater Series

On Saturday, we enjoyed the next show in the Children’s Theater Series at Playhouse Square: “The Rainbow Fish.”

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Put on by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, this bright and engaging puppet performance was a wonderful way to enjoy a story that Jeffrey was well-familiar with from the children’s book.

Every time we take Jeffrey to the theater, I see him become more invested in the storytelling and it’s truly a wonderful experience for the whole family!

Open House

On Sunday, we took Jeffrey to an Open House to see where we applied for him to be in Kindergarten. I honestly can’t believe we’re at the Kindergarten application point!

He really enjoyed getting to see where his “big boy school” may be. Plus, we all enjoyed going out for pizza and pasta at Pizzazz on the Circle with his best friend afterwards.

 

So, a win-win all around!

That was our weekend, in two parts. How was yours?

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Why? Weekends, Part 1!

We had a busy weekend, so I decided to split it up into two posts. On Thursday and Saturday evenings, we attended wonderful fundraising events, so I’ll fill you in on those first…

Red & White on Thursday Night

On Thursday, we headed down to Akron for Red & White on Thursday Night, a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, Ohio.

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I always enjoy this event because it gives me a chance to experience so many of Akron’s great restaurants in one spot!

We noshed on delicious short ribs and parsnip puree from Crave

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…artichoke D’Agnese from D’Agnese’s at White Pond

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…mini Galley Boys from Swenson’s Drive In

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…lobster mac ‘n cheese from The Galaxy Restaurant and lobster rolls from Bistro on Main

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…and sweet treats from Chocolates by Erin and West Side Bakery.

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Everything was delicious and we washed it down with lots of wine! There were lots of great silent auction items up for bid, too, like a Baker Mayfield autographed football, jewelry from Kendra Scott, and more.

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Great food, great wine, and a great time, all for a great cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Arthritis Foundation, Ohio to help promote Red & White on Thursday Night. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Allison Rose Foundation Founders Event

On Saturday night, Mom and I attended the Allison Rose Foundation Founders Event.

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The Allison Rose Foundation was started after Allison Suhy’s life was tragically cut short due to anaphylaxis brought on by a food allergy. Out of this loss, Allison’s family decided to start a foundation to educate families about food allergies, help children transition to safe independent living with food allergies, and research new treatments and cures for food allergies.

The Founders Event was a celebration of how much Allison and her family mean to their community. The room was packed with family, friends, and fellow firefighters (Allison’s dad is the fire chief in Cuyahoga Heights).

Speaking of firefighter support, I got a chance to meet UFC Champ and Valley View firefighter Stipe Miocic, who was there to support the event.

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There were tables packed with awesome raffle prizes, plus a silent auction and 50/50 raffle.

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We also heard from Dr. Sandra Hong of the Cleveland Clinic, who spoke about developments in treatments and potential cures for food allergies.

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What really struck me about this event was how many people have been touched both by Allison and her family and the issue of food allergies. The Allison Rose Foundation may just be kicking off, but they are starting with a huge amount of community support. I can’t wait to see the impact they’ll make for food allergy families.

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Allison Rose Foundation to help promote the Founders Event. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Great Big Home and Garden Show Giveaway!

Does this weather have you dreaming of all things springy? Nothing gets you more in the mood for spring than seeing some beautiful gardens and starting to think about home projects to complete when the weather warms up. Which is where the ninth annual Great Big Home and Garden Show comes in!

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From February 1-10, the I-X Center will be filled with exhibitors ready to inspire and help complete any home project, from the necessary and mundane to the fun and exciting.

This year’s feature homes include Backyard Living ideas from Props Consulting LLC and the Modernized Millenial Colonial from Blossom Homes.

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There is the Garden Showcase, which is sure to be creative, beautiful, and magical with the theme of “Fairytales!”

I can’t wait to see the creative ways the landscapers incorporate fairytales into their gardens. Plus, you can dine amidst the gardens at the full-service I-X Bistro.

There are also local and national celebrity guests on both the Main Stage and the Loretta Paganini Cooking Stage, including HGTV’s “Desert Flippers” and local gardening experts Angelo & AJ Petitti.

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There’s something for all ages at the Great Big Home and Garden Show, with the Playground World KidZone and Home Depot Kids’ Workshops to engage even the youngest home improvement enthusiast.

Tickets are on sale now online. Adult tickets (ages 13+) are $13 online and child tickets (ages 6-12) are $5 online. You can also save $3 on your ticket order with code CLE19.

Or, you can enter to win two general admission tickets to the Great Big Home and Garden Show, good for any day of the show, 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 entry):

1. Leave a comment here telling me what part of the Great Big Home and Garden Show you’re most excited to see.

2. Visit the Great Big Home and Garden Show and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @GreatBigShow 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 tickets to the @GreatBigShow from @WhyCLE #giveaway #clevelandhomeshow #greatbighomeandgardenshow https://whycle.com/2019/01/25/why-great-big-home-and-garden-show-giveaway-8 

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

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, January 29 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Great Big Home and Garden Show. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary tickets for myself, as well as 2 tickets to give away and a discount code to share. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Spice Kitchen Whole Beast Feast!

There are events you just know are going to be amazing. When Spice Kitchen & Bar invited me to their inaugural Whole Beast Feast, I just knew it would be one of those events.

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First, Spice is known for thoughtful, delicious, locally-sourced, sustainable cuisine. Spice is also known for putting on fabulous events, such as the Plated Landscape Dinners and Dinner on the Train.

The concept of the Whole Beast Feast is a family-style, three-course meal served at Spice’s beautiful long dining table in the center of the restaurant.

Our first course was a salad of Spice Acres mixed greens, with sherry vinaigrette, Yellow House bleu cheese, and shaved Quarry Hill apples.

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This light, fresh dish was the perfect palate prep for the rich roasted meat to come.

General Manager Allison Pryce presented and carved the whole suckling pig tableside. The meat was tender and flavorful. I especially enjoyed trying different cuts and tasting the difference between them.

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The meat was served with a mustard cream sauce with ginger pork jus. The meat could easily stand on its own, but the gravy was outstanding with it, too. When asked what else I should put it on, one of my dining companions suggested simply a spoon!

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We also enjoyed roasted purple yams with miso butter, roasted cauliflower, and garlicky kale.

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It wouldn’t be the Whole Beast Feast if we didn’t eat the whole beast. We were presented with every part of the pig, including ears, eyeballs, and brains (to spread on toast, naturally).
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For dessert, we were treated to caramel apple pie, served whole to the table. I am a confirmed pie person and this was hands down one of the best apple pies I’ve ever had!

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Currently, the Whole Beast Feast is available with a whole roasted suckling pig, but Chef Ben Bebenroth talked to us about plans to expand to fish and vegetarian feasts as well.

The Whole Beast Feast is available on the weekends with 6pm and 8:30pm seatings by reservation only for groups of 8-10 guests. Cost is $75 per guest for three courses.

For a truly unique and delicious dining experience perfect for a group of friends, a birthday, or any occasion you want to celebrate, check out the Whole Beast Feast at Spice Kitchen & Bar!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Spice Kitchen & Bar to attend a complimentary Whole Beast Feast. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Refined Giveaway!

Ohio is developing quite a spirited industry of spirits, which is why Refined was created. Refined is a festival that celebrates alcohol only from Ohio.

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Refined is happening on Saturday, February 23 from 4-9pm at the Cuyahoga Fairgrounds. Refined has partnered with the non-profit Tails from the City to help with proceeds and volunteers so that cats can find forever homes.

At Refined, you can visit three themed bars:

  • Cat Bar, with cat-themed drinks and the chance to sign up to be a Tails from the City volunteer
  • Classic Bar
  • Pop Culture Bar

Tickets for Refined are currently on sale online. Single Entry ($48.60) or Multi/Two Person Admission ($90.62) gets you 15 drink tasting tickets, a shot glass, and access to all non-alcoholic drinks and food trucks.

VIP Single Entry ($69.61) or VIP Multi/Two Person Admission ($132.64) gets you 20 drink tasting tickets, a special shot glass, access to all non-alcoholic drinks and food trucks, 1/2-hour early entrance, and swag.

Or you can enter to win a general admission Multi/Two Person ticket right here. Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1. Leave a comment here telling me your favorite Ohio spirit.

2. Visit Original Festival Collective and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me you visited both.

3. Follow @co_festival and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

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

Cheers! I want to win tickets to #RefinedCLE from @co_festival and @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/01/23/why-refined-giveaway 

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

And for a chance to win two VIP Single Entry tickets, hop over to my Instagram page and follow the instructions there.

The giveaway will close on Saturday, January 26 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

jenclesig_pur

 

 

Why? barre3 January Challenge!

We’re about mid-way through the barre3 January Challenge, so I wanted to check in and let you know how it’s going (and remind you that it’s not too late to sign up!)

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The barre3 January Challenge combines mindfulness and movement, which is one of the things that I love about it. Even before I was able to return to working out, I was able to participate in the challenge by using the Headspace app to meditate.

With Headspace, you can pick series of meditations focused on things such as happiness, stress/anxiety, focus, and more. If you’ve never meditated before, you can start with the basic series and even choose the length of time, with some as short as 3 minutes.

Headspace makes a daily meditation practice something that’s attainable. And it’s so great that barre3 recognizes the value of not just movement, but also mindfulness. The barre3 January Challenge is all about tapping into the strength you already have within you.

In returning to class at barre3 Legacy Village, I found that this messaging of mindfulness carries through to the movement piece of the challenge as well. Sure, the teachers encourage you to push yourself if you want to, but their main message is to listen to and honor your body where it is today.

This has been especially helpful in returning from a hiatus. I know that the teachers understand and support me and are going to help me reach my full potential, without pushing me past my limits. If I want to scale back on the weights, I can. If I want to go right into full plank, I can. It’s about tapping into the strength already in my body.

And seriously, you know there’s an amazing community going on when you receive multiple hugs and lots of great catch-up chats when you go back.

For me, I got hooked on barre3 specifically because of the elements of yoga it blends in. This focus on mindfulness has only increased that vibe. This is not just a great workout, but also a supportive community that cares about you and how you feel.

While we’re all motivated by putting our class and meditation stickers on the charts, you get the true sense that the people participating are motivated by something deeper.

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By helping you change not how you look, but how you relate to your body and access what is already inside of you.

The barre3 January Challenge goes through February 3. You can still sign up for $99, which gets you unlimited classes until the end of the challenge, as well as 30 days of access to Headspace, weekly emails, and access to online workouts.

The barre3 January Challenge is habit-forming in the best way…not a fad, not something that will burn out, but a new way of honoring who you already are.

***Disclosure: I was asked by barre3 Legacy Village to help promote the January Challenge. In exchange, I received a complimentary challenge registration and barre3 swag. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a pretty low-key weekend around here, thanks to the weather. Sometimes Mother Nature makes us slow down and that’s OK!

Home Cooking

With being snowed in comes the opportunity to do some home cooking. I’ve been trying to find meals that everyone will like. Think: kid-friendly, but with enough flavor to keep the grown-ups happy too.

Friday night, I made baked chicken tenders with this recipe. What I really liked about this recipe was the batter incorporated Dijon mustard and mayonnaise, which gave the chicken more flavor than a standard egg wash.

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I cheated a bit by using Heinen’s prepared foods for our potato side dish. But those stuffed twice-baked potatoes were hard to resist and Heinen’s prepared foods are so yummy!

Then on Sunday, we ventured out to my parents’ house. Jeffrey had been requesting to crack (not eat) crab legs and since the rest of us all enjoy the eating part, we figured we’d put him to work.

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We did get Jeffrey to eat a couple bites of his handiwork too. The king crab legs were from Lobster Brothers and were sweet, tender, and delicious!

Family Yoga

On Sunday, we attended a family yoga class at the Mandel Jewish Community Center.

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It’s tough to find a yoga class that allows both parents and kids to practice together (click here to read my post for Northeast Ohio Parent on where to find kids yoga classes.) So, Matthew and I were really excited for the chance to practice with Jeffrey.

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The class incorporated yoga poses, breath work, and meditation, all in ways that were fun, engaging, and accessible for the kids.

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The family yoga class is held once a month at the Mandel Jewish Community Center. Cost to attend is free for members and $10 for non-members. The next class is on Sunday, February 17, with sessions at 10am and 11am. Click here to learn more and register.

So, that was our quiet winter weekend. How was yours? Did you stay warm and snug or venture out?

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Why? Gourmet Guy Cafe!

Fast, flavorful, and fresh: the recently-opened Gourmet Guy Cafe in Rocky River is a great spot for lunch, casual dinner, or grab-and-go.

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Gourmet Guy Cafe offers a great selection of sandwiches, sides, smoothies, and build-your-own bowls. I enjoyed both the Morning Sunrise smoothie (strawberries, banana, orange juice, yogurt) and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Passion (almond milk, banana, dark cocoa, honey.)

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Healthy and decadent…yum!

We sampled three of Gourmet Guy’s sides: eggplant fries with creamy pesto…

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…cous cous salad with tomatoes, feta, cilantro, and cucumber…

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…and fried Brussel sprouts with roasted garlic and bacon mayo.

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It would be completely impossible to pick a favorite. They were all delicious!

Then it was on to the sandwiches. The Triple B grilled cheese, with blackberry jam, bacon, caramelized onions, and Brie. This is a knockout combo of savory and sweet!

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The Portobella mushroom panini with red onions, roasted garlic, arugula, and goat cheese spread was flavorful and filling.

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And the salmon burger with lettuce, tomato, and whole grain mustard is great!

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You can also build your own wraps or bowls with a choice of protein (steak, chicken, salmon, pulled pork, tofu), toppings, and dressings. These bowls are a yummy way to explore your healthy, creative side!

Gourmet Guy also offers prepared meals to go, which can be ordered online for pick-up.

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So, for lots of fresh, delicious, healthy food for on the go or a meal out, check out Gourmet Guy Cafe!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tasting at Gourmet Guy Cafe. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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