Why? Cleveland Autism Speaks Chef Gala Giveaway!

The Cleveland Autism Speaks Chef Gala is coming up on Saturday, July 28, with a line-up of fabulous local and national chefs who will dazzle your tastebuds with a tasting and seated dinner.

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The event is headlined by Chef Michael Symon and Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, who will be preparing a demo dinner in front of all the guests, who will then get to eat the dinner prepared by these celebrated culinary masters. Special guest Patricia Heaton will also be in attendance!

Add to that a strolling tasting event prepared by amazing local chefs such as Rocco Whalen, Douglas Katz, Eric Williams, and Jonathon Sawyer, and you have the makings of an amazing food event!

Of course, you’ll enjoy all this great food in a setting that is just as pleasing to the senses: the Atrium at the Cleveland Museum of Art!

If all that weren’t enough, tickets proceeds, as well as bids on fabulous silent and live auction items will all benefit Autism Speaks, which leads the way in research and support for those on the autism spectrum and their families.

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Tickets are currently on sale online for $250, which gets you access to the tasting and seated dinner. Or you can enter to win two tickets to the Cleveland Autism Speaks Chef Gala 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 telling me which chef’s food you’re most looking forward to tasting at the event.

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

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

4. Follow @AutismSpeaksOH 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 see @chefsymon and Friends at @AutismSpeaksOH Chef Gala thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2018/07/18/why-cleveland-autism-speaks-chef-gala-giveaway

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, July 23 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Autism Speaks to help promote the Cleveland Chef Gala. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a great weekend! So, let’s get right to the recap…

Sandusky Festival of Sail

On Friday, I drove up to Sandusky with one mission: see the World’s Largest Rubber Duck.

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Jeffrey brought his own personal rubber ducks with him to meet Mama Duck, which was so sweet! The duck was at the Sandusky Festival of Sail, so we also got to check out some tall ships while we were there.

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But let’s be honest, the real mission of the trip was to see the duck! And she was adorable!

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Friday evening, we met up with friends for dinner at the recently-opened Barrio in downtown Willoughby. We ordered the special guacamole with charred watermelon and chevre, which was the perfect summer guac!

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I ordered one of the suggested tacos and then built two of my own. I’m always nervous when I make up my own creations, but these were pretty tasty! I love the mango habanero salsa. Oh, and the short rib. But not together. Make your own creation. See how it goes!

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The Flying Fig

Saturday morning, I went to brunch at my favorite brunch spot in town: The Flying Fig. From the food to the atmosphere, it’s always a win.

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I was having a hard time deciding between sweet and savory (the classic brunch dilemma, right?!), so I went with the loaded breakfast potatoes and cornmeal biscuit with crème fraiche and berries. Perfect carb-a-licious combo!

Partners 1980s Prom Murder Mystery

On Saturday night, Matthew and I attended a totally rad prom that took us back to 1985!

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It was put on by Playhouse Square Partners and we were all involved in the action, getting to play different parts and figuring out whodunnit!

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From the costumes to the décor, it was a great night and so fun to be a part of the Murder Mystery Mayhem! And Matthew got a certificate for correctly figuring out the murderer!

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I also think he deserves an award for his awesome Miami Vice-like threads! We both found our outfits at Goodwill, which had exactly what we needed for a small price tag (my dress was $5)!

Cedar Point

OK, so I think we just live in Sandusky now. We were up there for the second time in a weekend for a trip with friends to Cedar Point.

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We usually stick to our tried-and-true favorites at Cedar Point, but we did discover a new thing to love: Funnel Fries!

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They’re funnel cakes dough, made into fries, and dusted with powder sugar. And you need them in your life. So good! They made a hot, fun day with the kiddos a bit sweeter (we shared with the kids…sort of).

It was a fantastic weekend with food, friends, 1980s fashion, and a big duck! How was your weekend?

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Why? Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland Rise and Dine!

I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating that the Cleveland culinary community is incredibly generous with their time and talents! One amazing example of this generosity is the Rise and Dine program at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland.

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Rise and Dine allows volunteer groups to pair up with Cleveland chefs to prepare a meal for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. On Tuesday, a group of Cleveland food bloggers paired up with the crew from Melt Bar and Grilled.

The ingredients and recipes (and guidance) were provided by Melt, but the work was done by our group. We made potato salad, watermelon salad, and all the components of Melt’s Backyard BBQ sandwich, from the BBQ sauce to the coleslaw.

True to Melt’s philosophy, everything was made from scratch with high-quality ingredients so that it tasted supremely delicious. We accommodated the vegan and gluten-free families at the Ronald McDonald House, too.

We made a ton of food and had a great time doing it! I won’t share the secrets of Melt’s BBQ sauce, but the chance to cook with professional chefs while doing good for others is an amazing experience!

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The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland provides a home-like atmosphere and essential services for families with children receiving care at area medical facilities.

You can help out by volunteering to cook a meal, work in the garden or at the front desk, or do activities with the residents. Or bring your group and pair up with the Rise and Dine program just like we did! I had a great time giving back with my fellow foodies!

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Why? Legal Aid Society Jam for Justice!

So, you probably think attorneys and judges are stuffy, but a lot of them can really rock! Don’t believe me? Jam for Justice, a fundraiser for the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, will show you just how hard they can rock!

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Image Courtesy of Legal Aid Society of Cleveland 

Jam for Justice happens on Thursday, July 19 from 5-9:30pm at the Aloft Hotel and Ernst & Young Building Courtyard in the Flats. You’ll enjoy live music from six bands, all headlined by local attorneys and judges, as well as a DJ.

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The event will feature food, drink, and a silent auction to bid on. Proceeds from Jam for Justice benefit the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, which provides legal services to those who are low income and vulnerable, as well as works for systemic solutions to problems in the justice system.

Tickets for Jam for Justice are $50 and are currently on sale online. Don’t miss your chance to quench your thirst for justice and rock out for a great cause!

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Why? Greater Cleveland Food Bank Summer Meals!

Did you know that summer is the busiest time of the year for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank? When children are out of school, the instances of hunger among that demographic rise due to the lack of structured school meal programs. Only ten percent of children who receive free or reduced-price school lunches during the school year receive the same support during the summer.

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The Greater Cleveland Food Bank works to bridge this summer hunger gap with their Summer Meals program. This program provides balanced bagged lunches to sites such as libraries, parks, and day camps from Madison to Cleveland to Ashland.

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The day that I volunteered to pack lunches, the lunches contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, baby carrots, a fruit cup, and milk.

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The Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s volunteer kitchen typically produces 6,500 meals per day, but in the summer, the kitchen produces more than 8,000 meals per day!

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Plus, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s trucks deliver the lunches to the Summer Meal sites daily.

This very necessary Summer Meal program puts a strain on the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s financial and manpower resources. So, how can you help? You can donate your funds or your time (or both!) Click here to find out more about donating to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. And click here to find out how to sign up for a volunteer shift.

Personally, I have always found my time volunteering at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to be so rewarding! Particularly when packing lunches, you are completing a concrete task with a measurable outcome and impact. Meaning: we packed a lot of lunches to help hungry kids!

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I hope you will take some of your time, talent, and treasure to help the Greater Cleveland Food Bank during their busiest time of the year. Together, we can help stem the tide of summer hunger!

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Why? Sonoma & Ohio Wines!

On Sunday night, Matthew and I attended Sonoma & Ohio Wines: Uncorked, Unplugged, Unforgettable at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

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Co-hosted by The Wine Road and Ohio Wine Producers Association, this event brought together some of Sonoma’s and Ohio’s finest wineries for a rockin’ tasting event.

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We started in the VIP area, with Sonoma wine samples and conversation with the wine makers from ACORN Wines, Moshin Vineyards, Pech Merle, and Viszlay Vineyards.

 

From Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon, these wineries presented some of their finest, paired with descriptions of the wines, wine-making process, and Sonoma region.

Then it was on to the Grand Tasting event, which included both Sonoma and Ohio wineries, along with passed appetizers and special break-out tasting seminars hosted by the American Wine School.

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We discovered new favorites from both Sonoma and Ohio wineries alike, with varietals we knew we enjoyed and ones less familiar to us. Many of the Sonoma wineries were able to take orders on the spot for anything you enjoyed tasting.

There was also a silent auction of interesting wines to benefit the Wine Road Family Fire Fund, assisting those Wine Road families impacted by the recent wildfires. There is a continuing online auction if you’re interested in participating!

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Sonoma and Ohio may seem like an unlikely wine pairing. Just as I’ve learned to appreciate some red wines with fish, I’ve learned to think outside the box in general with wine pairings. Sonoma and Ohio wineries have similar values in farming and many are small, family-owned, and hands-on from the grapes to the tasting rooms.

There was a lot of camaraderie and appreciation in the room, not just fueled by wine being consumed, but by a genuine respect and appreciation for each other’s craft. Oh, and there was a lot of great wine, too!

We’ll definitely be making our stops at the Ohio wineries this summer and dreaming of a Sonoma vacation to come!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Sonoma & Ohio Wines: Uncorked, Unplugged, Unforgettable. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Ohio & Sonoma County Wines!

Ohio is becoming a hot spot of wine production and now the Ohio Wine Association is pairing up with Sonoma County’s Wine Road to present Sonoma & Ohio Wines: Unplugged, Uncorked & Unforgettable.
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This event will take place on Sunday, June 24 at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, providing an iconic backdrop for a fabulous night of wine tasting.

The Grand Tasting Experience takes place from 7-9:30pm and includes passed appetizers, live music from Stan Miller, and wine tastings from both Sonoma County and Ohio wineries.

There will also be “Just a Taste” 20-minute tasting intimate seminars from Marianne Frantz of the American Wine School, focused on Rhone varietals, Rose, and Pinot Gris, Gruner, and Gewurztraminer. These seminars are limited to 20 people each.

The Sonoma County wineries include Alexander Valley Vineyards, Christopher Creek Winery, Korbel Champagne Cellars, Notre Vue/Balverne, Viszlay Vineyards, and more. The Ohio wineries include Ferrante Winery, Gervasi Vineyard, M Cellars, South River Vineyard, and more.

There is also a VIP Experience that includes valet parking and a seated winemaker-led tasting featuring 8 Sonoma County wines, as well as admission to the Grand Tasting Experience.

The event will feature a silent auction with proceeds benefitting the Wine Road Family Fire Fund, helping 60 families and their employees along Wine Road who were impacted by the wildfires in Sonoma County.

Tickets are currently on sale for $150 for the VIP Experience and $65 for the Grand Tasting Experience. You can also save $5 on your Grand Tasting Experience tickets by using code WHYCLE. Click here to purchase tickets.

This is sure to be a fabulous night of local and national wines in an amazing venue!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Ohio Wine Association to help promote Ohio & Sonoma County Wines. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary VIP Experience tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? United Way Heroes Unite!

There’s a superhero in each of us and on Wednesday, June 27, the United Way of Greater Cleveland wants to celebrate that!

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Heroes Unite will take over Public Square to celebrate the United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2017-2018 campaign. Headlining the Heroes Unite event is Welshly Arms, a Cleveland-based band that has risen to national prominence.

There will also be superhero-themed activities for all ages, including appearances from caped crusaders, a photo booth, games, and a video game virtual reality simulator.

Heroes Unite takes place on Wednesday, June 27 in Public Square from 4-8pm. The event is free and open to the public, but the United Way of Greater Cleveland is requesting RSVPs here.

The United Way of Greater Cleveland helps people in need with education, health, basic needs, and financial stability, with services ranging from emergency shelters to mediation programs to substance abuse treatment to childcare centers. Find out more about the United Way of Greater Cleveland and how you can help here.

There is a superhero in each of us and we can proudly let our capes fly with the United Way of Greater Cleveland’s celebration!

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Why? Zippity Zoo Doo!

On Friday night, Matthew and I were swept away to the Asian Highlands at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

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The Cleveland Zoological Society‘s annual Zippity Zoo Doo fundraiser celebrated the newest exhibit at the Zoo with a party filled with Asian food and décor. We nibbled on delicious crab Rangoon, salmon poke bowl, crispy noodle salad, and firecracker chicken, prepared by The Driftwood Group.

 

There were also fun, summery drinks like Moscow mules and “frose rose” (frozen rose).

This year’s event was set up to meander through part of the Zoo, allowing you views of many different Zoo animals as you walked between food stations.

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Of course, the highlight was a sneak peek of the new Asian Highlands exhibit, which opens to the public tomorrow, June 12. Asian Highlands is beautifully designed, with an open feel and overhead animal pathways, similar to the Rosebrough Tiger Passage.

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Asian Highlands is home to the Zoo’s red pandas, snow leoapards, and Amur leopard, which is one of only 40 left in the world!

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The Amur leopard was quite active on Friday night and showed off the new animal pathways, as well as how close you can get to the animals in this amazing new exhibit.

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Zippity Zoo Doo is also a fundraiser for the Cleveland Zoological Society, so there were opportunities to contribute to the Zoo’s conservation and educational missions through silent auctions (check out my girl Alicia‘s awesome donation, which quickly was bid out of my price range)…

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…a wine pull with the most amazing wine bags…

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…and Giving Tree donations.

We also had a chance to mingle with the Ambassadors Circle, the young professionals group of the Cleveland Zoological Society, and hear about some of their fun upcoming events, including their Zoo Clues and Brews Scavenger Hunt.

From the theme to the event set-up to the new exhibit, Matthew and I agreed this was our favorite Zippity Zoo Doo yet! Be sure to check out the new Asian Highlands exhibit opening tomorrow on your next trip to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Zippity Zoo Doo. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Engage Cleveland Young Professionals Week!

Cleveland is a great town for young professionals and this is never more evident than during Engage Cleveland Young Professionals Week.

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From June 23-30, Engage Cleveland will present daily events encompassing learning, fitness, networking/social, and community service. There are events before work, at lunch, and after work that fit every schedule and interest.

Cleveland Young Professionals Week has everything from Bootcamp with the Cleveland Browns to Volunteering at the Greater Cleveland Foodbank; from Common Ground: Young Professionals Edition to Beatbox with Grooveryde; from Lunch with Leaders to a Wine & Cheese Pairing Experience.

These events will connect you with other young professionals, allow you the chance to network with community and business leaders, and let you explore more of the amazing city of Cleveland.

Check out the complete schedule here and register today for something that’s in your wheelhouse and maybe something that’s not, too!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Engage Cleveland to help promote Cleveland Young Professionals Week. In exchange, I will receive complimentary registration to two events of my choosing. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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