Why? Weekends!

Beyond Chefs Unbridled, there was lots of other fun to be had this weekend…here’s what we were up to:

Date Night at the ZOOvies

On Friday night, Matthew and I attended one of our favorite Zoo events: Cleveland Zoological Society‘s Date Night at the ZOOvies.

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This evening is always such a fun, chill way to experience the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo after hours. The Australian Adventure and African Savanna areas were open for exploration.

There were tasty small bites from Driftwood Catering, including grilled chicken and veggie sliders, flatbreads, and chips and salsa.

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Graeter’s had mini scoops of their delicious ice cream.

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Sponsor Vitamix provided a handy picnic blanket giveaway, as well as some incredibly tasty punch and Cajun popcorn.

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There was also beer, wine, and movie theater snacks to enjoy!

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Then we headed to the Savanna Theater to enjoy “The Goonies,” complete with a Goonie costume contest and Truffle Shuffle demonstration before the film started.

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It’s always fun to be at the Zoo after-hours, but I particularly love ZOOvies because I get to be there and have fun, all while just relaxing and taking in a great throwback movie.

The Cleveland Zoological Society’s next upcoming after-hours event is Brew at the Zoo, happening Thursday, October 10. There will be craft beer, live music, animal encounters, and lots of seasonal fun. Costumes are encouraged. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $80 for VIP admission through September 30. For more information and tickets, click here.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Date Night at the ZOOvies. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Things Remembered Personalization Bar

On Saturday, I stopped by the new Personalization Bar at Things Remembered at Legacy Village.

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You may have shopped at Things Remembered awhile ago and it may still be on your radar for keepsake gifts, but if you haven’t been in recently, you must go back. The Personalization Bar makes selecting and personalizing your keepsake items easy, interactive, and seamless.

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I was generously gifted lots of items to personalize from Things Remembered, some of which I’m definitely keeping for me and some of which will make fantastic gifts. For each item, I got to see it on the screen; play with the spacing, fonts, and design; and make sure that my customized pieces were exactly what I wanted.

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From jewelry to wine glasses to butcher block cutting boards, there’s an item that’s right for each important person or event in your life. And being able to see exactly how the item will look once it is completed ensures your complete satisfaction with these special gifts.

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Stop in to see the modern side of Things Remembered. And you can save 10% off your purchase with code BA2R!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Things Remembered to visit the new Personalization Bar and received complimentary items. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

So that was our weekend. How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Chefs Unbridled!

One of my favorite foodie events of the year is Chefs Unbridled, to benefit Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center. Not only is the food always outstanding, but the setting is picturesque too.

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The weather was just perfect on Saturday night for this year’s event. Outside the tent, we enjoyed samples from Tom’s Foolery Distillery

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…and Crooked Pecker Brewing Company. The Driftwood Group food truck was also on hand with delicious offerings like hangar steak, halibut, and their famous tater tots with yum-yum sauce.

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Inside the tent, there were tasty morsels from some outstanding Cleveland chefs, along with live music, a spirited live auction, a wine pull, and a special appearance from Willie, one of Fieldstone Farm’s therapy horses.

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The dishes I most enjoyed from the evening were the flavorful duck breast with fried farro from Flour Restaurant

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…the truffled bologna sandwich from The Black Pig (bonus points for serving it on an English muffin…I love those!)…

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…the Tinman burger from Tinman, which is one of the tastiest burgers I’ve had in ages…

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…the lobster mac ‘n cheese with a delicate sauce that didn’t detract from the lobster from The Driftwood Group

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…the apple tart, which was fall dessert at it’s best, also from The Driftwood Group…

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…and the simple, delicious cacio e pepe agnolotti from The Union Club.

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All of this food, wine, and fun raised money for Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, which serves over 1,000 children and adults with special needs by connecting them with horses and teaching them independence, social skills, and more.

It was another year of perfection (and accidental outfit twinning with Jen) at Chefs Unbridled!

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***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Chefs Unbridled. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Watching the Browns at Legacy Village!

The countdown to the Browns home opener on Sunday, September 8 is almost at zero! You might be wondering where you should go to catch all the gridiron action this coming (or any given) Sunday.

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I had the chance to head to Bar Louie and Granite City Brewery, both at Legacy Village, to check out their sports bar chops.

Bar Louie has lots of televisions around the bar area, with ample bar seating, as well as booths that face the bar and TVs.

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They have a wide variety of local craft beers, such as Sibling Revelry and Great Lakes Brewing.

I tried a couple of their “Flavorful Bar Bites,” which would be great for sharing with your friends while watching the game. The Bavarian Pretzel Twists come with warm salted queso and jalapeno honey mustard for dipping.

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The Chicken Nachos have black beans, queso, jalapenos, pico de gallo, radish, scallions, avocado cream, and cilantro. They’re a taste touchdown!

As part of Bar Louie’s NFL Game Time specials, the nachos are only $9! Other specials include $3.50 select short domestic drafts, $15 pitchers of sangria, and $4.50 glasses of wine. The NFL Game Time specials are available at Bar Louie on Mondays and Thursdays from 4pm-9pm and on Sundays from opening to 9pm.

Granite City Brewery also has lots of TVs tuned to NFL action, with plenty of seating in the bar area where you can watch the game while you eat and enjoy one of Granite City’s own craft beers.

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For research purposes, I kept the menu the same at Granite City as at Bar Louie (nachos and pretzels). The BBQ Pork Nachos have The Duke Pale Ale-braised BBQ pork, sriracha queso, tortilla chips, cheddar-jack cheese, corn and black bean salsa, guacamole, Santa Fe cream, and fresh cilantro.

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Tasty and perfect for sharing, although I’m giving the nacho win to Bar Louie.

I also tried Granite City’s Big Bavarian Pretzel, with sriracha queso sauce. I’m giving the win to Granite City’s pretzel over Bar Louie’s, but it was a nail biter!

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Both Bar Louie and Granite City offer lots of televisions, great beer selection, Sunday brunch menus, and game-watching bites that are filling, tasty, and perfect for your whole team. Cheer on the Browns at either spot at Legacy Village for a true Sunday Funday!

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

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Weekends!

It was a busy holiday weekend in Cleveland. Here’s what we were up to…

Totally 80’s Birthday Party

On Saturday, my friend Denise hosted a Totally 80’s Birthday Party for her husband Ritch. From the decor…

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…to the drinks…

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…to the music, everything was on-point 80’s themed.

Of course, we went all out with our 80’s looks too, including making good use of the crimper that Denise found on Amazon!

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It was a fun party with lots of good food, good friends, and good times!

Balance & Brews

On Sunday, I met up with Alicia, Lisa, and Ann for Balance & Brews at Bookhouse Brewing.

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Balance & Brews is preparing for a hiatus in its weekly beer and yoga schedule, so it was great to sneak in one more class before the break, especially since it was taught by Balance & Brews founder, Melissa.

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After class, we enjoyed both the beer and the books at Bookhouse Brewing!

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I love this cozy little spot with great beer!

Cleveland National Air Show

On Monday, we went to the Cleveland National Air Show: a staple in any Clevelander’s Labor Day Weekend plans. Usually we just watch the show from a distance, but this year we went inside the show grounds at Burke Lakefront Airport.

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Not only do you get an up-close view of the planes and get to see lots of passes that aren’t visible from a distance, but there are also lots of aircraft to explore on the grounds of the show.

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Some of our favorites this year included the U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II, the Mike Wiskus Airshows, the USA Golden Knights, and of course the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

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It was certainly an impressive display of flying talent, as well as the incredible machines that are part of the US military.

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The Cleveland National Air Show is a financially self-sufficient non-profit, which means that your ticket proceeds help to continue putting on this world-renowned air show.

I can remember sitting in my grandpa’s driveway watching the planes from the Air Show when I was growing up. It was so cool to be able to see them up close on the Air Show grounds.

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***Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to the Cleveland National Air Show, courtesy of Destination Cleveland. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

How was your holiday weekend?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Playhouse Square Partners!

Last night, Playhouse Square Partners kicked off our programming for 2019-2020 with an Oktoberfest-themed membership open house at Hofbrauhaus Cleveland.

From cheap liters of beer to yummy pretzels to the chance to get to be among the first to know the theme for the upcoming Jump Back Ball, there was a lot of fun to be had!

Speaking of Jump Back Ball, this year’s theme is From Jukebox to Boombox. The party of the year takes place on Saturday, February 29 and tickets go on sale on October 29. You won’t want to miss it!

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But Partners is so much more than just Jump Back Ball. We plan monthly events that range from networking to socializing to volunteering and fundraising. Our fundraising efforts support Playhouse Square’s Community Engagement and Education initiatives, such as Disney Musicals in Schools and the Dazzle Awards.

I’ve been involved with Partners for eight years now and am completing my sixth and final year on the Board. I’ve seen firsthand how much fun we have, how much good we do, and how amazing it is to be connected to Playhouse Square, which is truly an icon in the Cleveland community.

If you’re interested in joining Partners, you can learn more about our membership levels and benefits here. You can also join me at one of our upcoming events:

  • September Monthly Members Meeting on Monday, September 16. Join us for a Happy Half Hour, followed by committee break-out sessions where you can learn more about the various Partners committees and help us plan upcoming events.
  • Partners Dine Around on Monday, September 23. Choose one of four restaurants in the Playhouse Square District and dine with Partners members. Afterward, all the groups will meet up for a nightcap at Parnell’s Pub.

I hope to see you at one of these events and that you’ll save the date for Jump Back Ball!

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

jenclesig_pur

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.***

jenclesig_pur

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?

jenclesig_pur

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.***

jenclesig_pur

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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