Why? S’mores Pairing with Sweet Costo!

This week, my dear friend Maria and I had a super sweet evening with Sweet Costo at Western Reserve Distillers.

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But before we got to the s’mores pairing, we grabbed some dinner at Distill Table. There’s a whole menu of cocktails at Distill Table named after local landmarks, which is so fun.

Maria dove right in to the s’mores theme of the evening and had the Mastick Woods, with High West Bourbon, High West Campfire, smoked syrup, chocolate bitters, graham cracker, and toasted marshmallow.

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I had the Memphis Kiddie Park, with Old Overholt Rye, Orgeat, HM Peach Cordial, Angostura, and ginger beer.

We shared the Crispy Brussels, with whipped lemon ricotta, bacon, honey, and ciabatta to start. And by shared, I mean devoured!

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For dinner, I had the Coconut Curry Shrimp Quinoa Bowl, with toasted quinoa, peppers, tomatoes, basil, salted almonds, and fresh lime. This was a flavorful, but not spicy, curry.

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Maria had the Twin Peaks Farm Meatloaf, with potato puree, crispy onions, and pineapple ketchup. Both were elevated, delicious comfort food dishes!

Then we headed next door to Western Reserve Distillers for the s’mores pairing event. Shelby of Sweet Costo created four original s’mores desserts, that were paired with a red wine, an Imperial stout, and Western Reserve Distillers whiskey.

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We had a s’mores candy bar (marshmallow forward), a s’mores macaron (chocolate forward), and a “traditional” s’more with homemade graham crackers. There was also a shot of graham cracker liquor in a marshmallow cup!

Shelby kicked off the pairing by not only explaining the desserts, but why she felt the drinks were good compliments to them. She also gave us the history of s’mores! From there, the tasting was self-guided. You could try each beverage with each dessert and decide which pairings you enjoyed best.

Personally, my favorites were the macaron with the red wine and the traditional s’more with the Imperial Stout.

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Western Reserve Distillers also created amazing s’more-themed cocktails for the evening It was a sweet evening of delicious food, tasty cocktails, and lots of good girl talk!

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Why? Last Call Trivia!

Last night, my friends Melissa, Amy, and I tested our knowledge of literature, science, geography, pop culture, and more, all while drinking beer! We attended Last Call Trivia‘s weekly trivia night at Noble Beast Brewing Co.

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Trivia starts at 7pm, so we got there a little early so we could snack and drink first. I really enjoyed the Noble Beast Barry and Oktoberfest beers.

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The food was great, too! The Hopcorn, with Shagbark Heirloom popcorn, cheddar and malt seasoning, hopped olive oil, and beer vinegar aioli drizzle was perfect for snacking. The Nachos with pork carnitas confit, 3-cheese sauce, Shagbark chips, black beans, radish, cilantro, lime crema, and scallions were so flavorful! And the Spent Grain Bavarian Pretzel, with 3-cheese sauce, honey Kolsch mustard, and black flake salt was a nice compliment to the Oktoberfest beer in particular.

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Not only were Noble Beast’s beer and food impressive, but the atmosphere was great too. Cute and casual, with a nice breeze from the open garage doors and picnic tables perfect for fitting trivia teams. I also noticed both a kids menu and a couple boxes of toys, so it’s definitely a family-friendly spot (maybe not for trivia night, but in general).

Then it was time for Last Call Trivia to start. Our host, Tim, went around to each table and explained the rules. For each round, you can wager points based on how sure you are of your answer. This definitely added fun to the evening. Some answers we knew we wanted a high wager and some we wished we didn’t have to wager at all!

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We also got to use Last Call Trivia’s online weekly hint. You’re given a list of words, one of which will be the answer to one of the questions asked. We ended up successfully using our hint to answer a question we definitely wouldn’t have known otherwise!

After the first round, Team Mom Brain was in third place, but we slipped in the second round (maybe it was the second round of beers that caused it?) But even though we didn’t win, we had a great time challenging our brains, having some lighthearted competition, and realizing we know more random nuggets of trivia than we might have thought.

Noble Beast was full last night and almost every table was participating in Last Call Trivia, so it’s definitely a popular night out! You can also join the Last Call Trivia Fall League, which started last night. If you play 6 times during the season, you can qualify for the city tournament and a cash prize of $1,800!

Last Call Trivia isn’t just at Noble Beast Brewing either. You can check out the complete schedule here, but just about any night of the week you can find a Last Call Trivia event, from Avon to Willoughby. Some of the participating venues include Platform Beer Company, Nano Brew, The Brew Kettle, Coventry Panini’s, Terrestrial Brewing, Bookhouse Brewing, Moe’s Tavern, and more.

So, grab some friends, enjoy some local beers, and have a fun night (or join the league and have lots of fun nights) with Last Call Trivia!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Last Call Trivia. In exchange, I received a gift card to Noble Beast Brewing. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Matthew’s Birthday!

Last week, Matthew turned 40, which called for several celebrations…

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar was one of the spots we kept wanting to go to, but hadn’t yet. A big birthday celebration seemed like the perfect reason to go!

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We went a bit before our reservation time, so we could enjoy a cocktail at the bar and take in the ambiance first (thanks for the pro tip, Adam and Rebecca!)

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I had the Love Potion, with Belvedere Vodka, Pama Liqueur, grilled pineapple purée, pomegranate glaze, baked coconut flakes, and cranberry juice. This was light, fruity, and seasonally perfect!

Matthew had the High on Life, with Tanquerey Gin, St. Germain Elderflower, Dolin Blanc, cucumber, mint, lemon juice, and shiso leaf.

For dinner, we shared two appetizers: Hamachi Jalapeño Crudo and Duck Confit Duo (a Korean BBQ bao bun and confit-mushroom spring rolls).

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The Hamachi was perfection and the duck was smoky and delicious. I could drink the ginger-plum sauce that came with the duck!

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For our entrees, we made our own surf and turf. Matthew chose the dry-aged Delmonico and I had the King Crab. Both were simple, but prepared very well.

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The side dishes are shareable and we split the Crispy Potato Cake, with roasted poblano and guajillo chiles, garlic, scallion, and cotija cheese. It’s like a hash brown in heaven!

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For dessert, Matthew was presented with Marble Room’s homemade special-occasion cotton candy.

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He also got the Liz’s Gilded Chocolate Cake and I got the classic Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée, served with a snickerdoodle cookie (my favorite cookie).

The food, service, and atmosphere all truly made it a very special meal!

The Lion King

From there, we walked down to Playhouse Square to see The Lion King.

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The show is playing at the KeyBank State Theatre through Sunday, September 1 and is truly something to see. You know the story, of course, but there are new songs and the costumes are incredible. Disney never skimps on production value!

Dinner at Home

On Thursday (Matthew’s actual birthday), we enjoyed a family dinner at home with tacos and birthday cake, which is a meal that can keep everyone from a 5-year old to a 40-year old happy!

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Jeffrey helped make the cake, which made it even more special!

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Masthead Brewing Co.

Then on Saturday, we gathered with friends at Masthead Brewing Co. for one last birthday celebration of this big year.

Masthead was the perfect spot to meet up: great beer, delicious food, a nice patio, convenient parking, family-friendly for those who wanted to bring their kids…

We ordered lots of pizza and pretzels to share and of course enjoyed lots of craft beer, too!

It was a fun few days celebrating! Where are your go-to birthday celebration spots?

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Why? Twilight at the Zoo!

Friday night brought one of the wildest parties of the summer to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo: Twilight at the Zoo, a fundraiser for the Cleveland Zoological Society.

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We started out in the VIP area. Twilight at the Zoo is an event where the VIP upgrade is really worth it: you get reserved parking, more food options, and a full bar, as well as some additional bands to hear.

We noshed on nibbles from Bonefish Grill, Carabba’s Italian Grill, Cleveland Kraut, Graeter’s Ice Cream, and Aramark.

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And the Cleveland Whiskey bourbon lemonade was the perfect summer sipper.

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Then we headed to the main event to hear some of the best bands in Cleveland. We always love Billy Likes Soda

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…and Faction, both of whom keep the crowd singing and dancing all night.

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Plus, we got to check out the Asian Lantern Festival, which was all lit up for the party-goers.

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If you want to have a wild time at the Zoo yourself, you can grab tickets this morning for another great Cleveland Zoological Society fundraiser: Date Night at the ZOOvies. The event takes place on Friday, September 6 and includes complimentary beer, wine, and appetizers, along with a showing of “The Goonies” in the Zoo’s Savanna Theater (with movie snacks to enjoy during the film).

Tickets are $90 for a couple or $55 for an individual. This event always sells out quickly, so grab your tickets ASAP! They go on sale today (Monday, August 5) at 9am!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Twilight at the Zoo and Date Night at the ZOOvies. In exchange, I received four complimentary VIP tickets to Twilight at the Zoo and two complimentary tickets to Date Night at the ZOOvies. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Taste of the Browns!

Training camp has started and everyone is getting excited for the upcoming Cleveland Browns season. There’s another reason to celebrate the return of football to The Land: the annual Taste of the Browns to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, happening Monday, September 9 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

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This event combines Cleveland’s love for the Browns, the city’s celebrated culinary scene, and the chance to help those in need into one fabulous evening! Every dollar raised can provide four meals to those in need.

Your ticket includes wine and beer tastings, as well as delicious nibbles from some of Cleveland’s best restaurants, like Fahrenheit, Momocho, Pier W, Blue Point Grille, Zack Bruell Restaurants, B Spot Burgers, and more.

Plus, you’ll get to mingle with Cleveland Browns player and alumni, pose for photo opps, bid on amazing silent auction items, and enjoy the beautiful Club Lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium.

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This year’s honorary co-chairs for the event are Chef Rocco Whalen, Jarvis Landry, and Josh Cribbs.

 

Tickets for Taste of the Browns are currently on sale for $175 for general admission and $250 for VIP admission. Prices increase on Thursday, August 8 to $200 for general admission and $295 for VIP admission, so score your tickets today! You can purchase tickets online.

Hope to see you at this gastronomic gridiron!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to help promote Taste of the Browns. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary general admission tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Ohio State Fair Giveaway!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Ohio State Fair. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets, a parking pass, food vouchers, and compensation. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Hello from Columbus! We spent the night in the 614 after a fun-filled day yesterday at the Ohio State Fair. The Fair opened yesterday and continues through August 4. And while there are tons of fairs and festivals in the summer, there are lots of things that make the Ohio State Fair unique and worth the drive!

The Butter Sculptures

OK, seriously, these are some crazy works of art, all made out of butter. Also, if you’re a West Wing fan, you can do the entire “butter cow” bit.

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This year’s theme celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, with butter astronauts and more.

In the same building, you can also snag some of the special Moon Landing Ice Cream: orange ice cream with a marshmallow swirl and brownie chunks.

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Which leads me to…

The Food

Sure, there are all your standard fair food options: deep-fried this and that, corn on a stick, etc.

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But there’s also the Taste of Ohio Cafe, with Ohio chicken, pork, and beef farmers serving up delicious eats.

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The pork tenderloin sandwich is my absolute favorite. It’s tender, juicy, and doesn’t need any sauces or extra seasonings to make it mouth-watering.

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In the Taste of Ohio Cafe, you can also find Ohio wines and craft beers.

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Just outside the Taste of Ohio Cafe, grab a buckeye funnel cake from KG Concessions.

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This Ohio-shaped fried marvel is topped with powdered sugar, peanut butter, and chocolate.

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So decadent!

The Rides

The sheer volume and variety of rides at the Ohio State Fair is enough to keep everyone happy, from the smallest to the most adventurous.

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The all-day ride wristband is a great deal and will let you explore all the rides as much as you want.

The Entertainment

From acrobatics and stage entertainers

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…to a daily parade…

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…to a slew of big-name concerts and smaller musical acts, there’s always something to see and hear at the Ohio State Fair!

The Animals

Cows! Sheep! Horses! Pigs! Row after row of critters, winning prizes, being shown, and just hanging out in their farm-animal cuteness.

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One of the big reasons we love the Ohio State Fair is that it brings together city and country so well. You can see the pride that generations take in their livestock and honestly learn more about farming, raising animals, alternative fuels, and sustainability.

So, have I convinced you yet to hop in the car and cruise down 71 South to visit the Ohio State Fair? (Hey, you can always stop at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn on the way!)

The Ohio State Fair is open daily through Sunday, August 4. Tickets are $10 for adults ages 13-59, $8 for seniors 60+, $8 for children ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and under.

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

1. Leave a comment here telling me which part of the Ohio State Fair you’re most excited to experience.

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

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

4. Follow @OhioStateFair 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 @OhioStateFair tickets from @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/07/25/why-ohio-state-fair-giveaway-2/

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, July 28 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

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Why? Weekends!

Hope you found fun ways to stay cool on this toasty weekend! Here’s what we did:

Camp Curiosity

On Friday, Jeffrey wrapped up a week of Camp Curiosity at the Great Lakes Science Center. We chose the Race to Space camp, which centered around celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.

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The kids made astronaut helmets and patches, moon models, and more. They heard from speakers from NASA Glenn and learned so much.

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Jeffrey had a wonderful time and grew in his knowledge of and love for all things space-related.

Indians Game

On Friday night, Alicia, Amanda, and I went to the Indians game.

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I had already been to a few games this season, but this was the first of the season without Jeffrey. And while I love his excitement for the game, it was also fun to spend time outside of the Family Deck!

We got the District tickets, which include standing room space in The Corner, as well as a beer. What a great deal! And it was Dollar Dog night, which meant cheap eats, too.

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We supplemented our dollar dogs with some pizza from Dante’s Inferno and quesadilla from Momocho. There are great local eats at Progressive Field!

Despite the heat, we had a great time and the Indians brought home a win, so that makes for a pretty great Friday night!

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Michael Angelo’s Winery

On Sunday, I met up with some Playhouse Square Partners friends for a Sunday Funday at Michael Angelo’s Winery.

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I love everything about Michael Angelo’s Winery! The setting is beautiful, the wines are delicious (the sparking rosé is my new favorite), and the food is so tasty!

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I had the crab cakes, with apple garden slaw and lemon aioli. I also snagged nibbles of the crispy Brussel sprouts, calamari, and truffle fries, all of which are perfect for sharing with a group of friends.

This is the perfect spot for your next girls’ night out or a romantic date!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy, fun, outdoorsy weekend (yes, this is the right blog and I said outdoorsy). Let’s get right to it…

Camping

Matthew, Jeffrey, and I embarked on an overnight camping adventure with Matthew’s siblings and cousins and their kids. As you know (or can probably surmise), camping is a bit outside my wheelhouse. But Jeffrey was excited to go and I ended up having a really great time!

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We spent the weekend on Matthew’s cousins’ property in Thompson. We made a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and s’mores…

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…we took a creek walk and went waterfall sliding…

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…we went canoeing…

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…we watched fireworks…

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…and just generally had a good time with family in nature. Tobey even joined in the fun!

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Being that we’re not big campers, we needed some supplemental gear, which is where CampRents came in.

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CampRents is a local company that rents backpacking and camping gear and can get you outfitted for everything from backyard camping to hiking the Appalachian Trail.

We rented a one-person tent (to add to our three-person tent), sleeping bags and pads, and a headlamp. Everything came cleaned, packed, and ready to go.

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When we were done camping, we just packed everything back into the bag to return. This is an easy, cost-effective way to try out new gear or get yourself ready for an adventure that might not happen often enough for you to buy your own supplies.

All in all, I survived the great outdoors and even enjoyed it!

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***Disclosure: I received complimentary rental items from CampRents. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Yoga + Beer at Platform Beer Co.

On Sunday, after returning to civilization and showering, I headed to Platform Beer Co. for an hour-long vinyasa flow with a beer chaser taught by Alicia.

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Alicia’s accessible, but still challenging, teaching style was the perfect thing to wake me up on Sunday morning (and get out some of the sleeping-on-the-ground stiffness). Plus, it’s always fun to practice outside, especially on such a beautiful morning!

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After class, we stayed to chat and enjoy a beer. I highly recommend the Passionista Wit!

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Plus, the whole event was a fundraiser to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. What a win!

If you’re interested in starting your Sunday with a little detox to retox, Alicia is teaching another Yoga + Beer event at Platform on Sunday, August 18. Cost is $20 and includes an hour-long class plus a beer.

You can also trade your beer for wine when Alicia teaches Yoga on the Viaduct on Wednesday, July 31, with incredible sunset views and a social at Luca Italian Cuisine to follow. Cost to attend is $25 and includes an hour-long class, glass of wine, and appetizers. Both events benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

Splash Park

Sunday afternoon, we cooled off with friends at the Lyndhurst Spray Park.

This is one of our favorite places to go in the summer, because it’s always bright, clean, and has a lot to keep all ages entertained.

It was the perfect end to a fun summer weekend! How was your weekend?

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Why? Zoo Clues and Brews!

On Wednesday, August 21, the Cleveland Zoological Society‘s The Herd (the young leaders group) is hosting a super fun, after-hours scavenger hunt through the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

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Team Ostrichological Signs!

Zoo Clues and Brews, presented by Great Lakes Brewing Co., allows teams to join in a friendly competition of finding the answers to clues by exploring animal exhibits and interacting with Zoo staff. Through the Scavify app, teams can upload answers and photos and see in real time how other teams are progressing through the scavenger hunt.

There are prizes for the winning team and most spirited team, so think of a fun team name, as well as costumes or tshirts, hashtags, and real time posting throughout the event to show your enthusiasm.

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The event will also include the chance to purchase raffle tickets for additional giveaways. You’ll enjoy complimentary small bites from Driftwood Catering, as well as beer, wine, soft drinks, and water.

Registration is now open for this great evening of after-hours animal excitement! A team of six people costs $240, a team of four people costs $160, and a team of two people costs $80. Click here to register your team!

All this friendly competition benefits the Cleveland Zoological Society and gives you a great chance to interact with members of The Herd, too! Hope to see you on the hunt at Zoo Clues and Brews!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Zoo Clues and Brews. In exchange, I will receive a complimentary 6-person team registration. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Was this weekend not the most glorious kickoff to summer?! Oh my goodness, we soaked up every moment of it!

JCC Camp

Friday wrapped up Jeffrey’s week at the Mandel Jewish Community Center‘s Anisfield Day Camp.

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The kids got to swim, play dodgeball and Simon Says, do crafts, run a ninja course, and generally burn a lot of energy and get really dirty, as kids should in the summer.

Jeffrey had so much fun and I managed not having my buddy with me all day better than I thought I would, so it was a win all the way around!

Brim Kitchen and Brewery 

On Friday night, I met up with my friend Elizabeth for dinner at Brim Kitchen and Brewery.

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Brim has a great rooftop deck, as well as a second floor that soaks up lots of wonderful sunlight. Brim brews their own beers, as well as having a tasty cocktail menu. I enjoyed the Pom Delight, a Belgian light ale brewed with pomegranate.

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For dinner, I had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich, with yum-yum sauce, pickles, and house coleslaw.

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In an effort to be healthy, I swapped the truffle fries for grilled asparagus and was totally happy with that choice.

It was a fun and yummy kick-off to the weekend!

Cuyahoga50

On Saturday, the entire family celebrated Cuyahoga50, the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River fire that sparked a national wave of environmentalism.

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For the third summer, Matthew rows crew on the Cuyahoga River with Western Reserve Rowing. He had a regatta on Saturday morning, so Jeffrey and I went down to cheer him on and take in the Cuyahoga50 events too.

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We got to check out the Blazing Paddles event, see the Never, Ever Give Up installation, and just generally enjoy the amazing transformation the Cuyahoga River has undergone.

It made my heart so happy to see how many people of all ages were out and about on the River!

Indians Game

Saturday afternoon, we celebrated another big Cleveland anniversary: 25 years of Progressive (cough, still Jacob’s, cough) Field.

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The giveaway for the game was a replica ballpark, which is currently in Jeffrey’s room, but I might be stealing it back soon!

The weather was perfect to take in an Indians win, enjoy a beer and some Momocho nachos, and generally feel like summer.

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Heck’s Cafe

Between activities on Sunday, I met up with my mom for lunch at Heck’s Cafe in Avon. The weather was perfect for sitting outside and enjoying a champagne mule.

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I had the Asparagus Salad, with mixed greens, avocado, tomato, black sesame, and a lemon ginger vinaigrette. I added seared tuna for a delicious, light lunch.

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I love dining al fresco this time of year!

Engage Cleveland YP Week

Stay tuned tomorrow for my recap of my Sunday spent doing activities with Engage Cleveland’s YP Week, which is happening now!

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