Why? Children’s Hunger Alliance Come Out to Play!

Want to attend a fun and fabulous evening where you can eat, drink, dance, and play, all to benefit children in need? Then look no further than Come Out to Play sponsored by FirstEnergy, a fundraiser for Children’s Hunger Alliance.


On Thursday, September 8, head out to the cool art gallery, smARTspace at 78th for this fun, networking-geared event. There will be a DJ, as well as life-sized Jenga, Connect 4, and more to provide plenty of entertainment for the evening and spark conversations with fellow young professionals.

You’ll also enjoy food and drinks (2 drink tickets included with your admission) and can participate in the wine pull to help Children’s Hunger Alliance raise even more money. Last year’s inaugural event was a fantastic time and I’m sure this year will be even bigger and better!


Children’s Hunger Alliance works with child care providers, schools, and other programs to provide nutritious food, education, and physical activity  for kids in need. The organization works with communities across the state of Ohio, with a local office right here in Cleveland. CHA provides meals to sites in Cuyahoga County like Afterschool All Stars, the YMCA, and City of Cleveland Parks and Recreation and ensure these programs are meeting USDA standards to provide children with healthy options that keep them full, too.

Tickets for Come Out to Play are currently on sale for $75 per person (or $140 per couple). You can also upgrade to VIP status for an additional $25 per ticket, getting you access to additional appetizers, as well as a special bourbon tasting. You can purchase tickets online.

I hope to see you for what is sure to be a playful evening for a great cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Children’s Hunger Alliance to help promote Come Out to Play. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Chefs Unbridled Giveaway!

There are certain events throughout the year that you know will have the height of great food and great wine. Chefs Unbridled, to benefit Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, is one of those signature events.

Chefs Unbridled graphic

Held at the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club Polo Field on Saturday, September 17, you will enjoy delicious tastings from some of Cleveland’s finest chefs, cocktails, a food truck and cupcake truck, live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a bourbon tasting.

Chefs Unbridled overview - Credit Creed Woodka Photography
Photo Credit: Creed Woodka


This year’s chefs represent a diverse line-up of styles who are sure to delight your tastebuds:

Chefs Unbridled - Kuhn Hodgson - Credit Creed Woodka Photography
Photo Credit: Creed Woodka

Plus, Chefs Unbridled always features an incredible live and silent auction, which this year includes items like vintner getaway packages to Napa Valley and Sonoma and a Kentucky Bourbon Trail trip.

Chefs Unbridled is the primary fundraiser for Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, which serves people of all ages who face challenges such as PTSD, ADHD, injuries, and neurological disorders. Fieldstone Farm students work with the horses to overcome barriers and achieve goals. This is one of the largest centers of its kind in the country, serving more than 1,000 students each year.

Tickets for Chefs Unbridled are on sale now and are $140 per attendee. Or you can enter to win two tickets to this incredible event right here!

Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Leave a comment here letting me know which chef’s food you’re most excited to try at Chefs Unbridled.

2. Visit Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @fieldstonef 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:

I want to attend #ChefsUnbridled to benefit @fieldstonef thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2016/08/25/why-chefs-unbridled-giveaway-2 #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, August 29 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Chefs Unbridled. Due to scheduling conflicts, I sadly declined my two complimentary tickets. I will receive two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends, Part 1!

It was quite the whirlwind of a weekend, so we’re breaking up the weekend recap so as to better digest it all. Between Friday night and Saturday morning, we had two events at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo within 12 hours, so I figured I’d start with those two:

On Friday night, Matthew and I attended Date Night at the Zoovies, a fundraiser for the Cleveland Zoological Society. This event includes appetizers, a chance to check out the African Safari and Australian Adventure areas of the Zoo, unlimited Beachhouse wine and Great Lakes Brewing beer, and a movie shown on the big screen under the stars. We even ran into a friend or two, as well!


We munched on mini Chicago-style hot dogs, veggie burger sliders, Italian hoagie sandwiches, mini deep-dish pizzas, and Korean BBQ wings.


If it seems like a lot of the food had a Chicago-esque theme, then you may have also guessed that the movie did too: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” During the movie, there was theater-style fare, from popcorn to nachos to boxes of candy.

Date Night at the Zoovies is one of my favorite events at the Zoo because it is just pure fun and relaxation. Such a simple concept of food and a movie, but such a cool place to enjoy it! And since the event sells out every year, I know that opinion is shared by many!


Saturday morning, we were back at the Zoo bright and early for the Recovery Resources Run for Recovery. Before the run began, we checked out some of the community partners’ tables, as well as the chalkboard filled with inspirational messages to those helped by Recovery Resources’ addiction recovery services.

I have been to the Zoo many a time with Jeffrey, but this was my first time trying to do “the big hill” at a good pace.


Jeffrey’s face pretty much says it all. It was hot and that was a BIG hill. But we made it! And the folks stationed throughout the Run to cheer everyone on were so sweet and encouraging!

IMG_5465 (1)
That is the face of someone who pushed the stroller DOWN the big hill, not UP

One of the best parts about having a 5K at the Zoo is the chance to see some animals not only while you’re doing the run…


but also afterwards. The Run for Recovery included Zoo admission for the day, so we stuck around for a bit to see some critters, as well as enjoy some of the snacks, music, and happy vibes from the people there for the Run.

IMG_5469 (1)

Two Zoo events in 12 hours – check! As for the rest of our weekend…stay tuned!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Date Night at the Zoovies and the Run for Recovery by their respective organizations. In exchange, I received two tickets for Date Night at the Zoovies and two race entries for the Run for Recovery. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? L’Amour du Vin Giveaway!

I can’t believe that the summer is almost over, but as invites for fall events hit my inbox, I realize that it’s true! One of these great fall events is L’Amour du Vin to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeast Ohio, happening at the Avon Oaks Country Club on Thursday, October 6.


L’Amour du Vin features small bites from some of Lorain County’s and Western Cuyahoga County’s best restaurants, like Bar 145, Kiedrowski’s Simply Delicious Bakery, Heck’s Cafe Avon, Parker’s Grille and Tavern, and Taki’s Greek Kitchen. All this delicious food will be paired with unlimited tasty wine samplings from a variety of vineyards.

There is also a VIP Lounge, with exclusive wines, Brown-Forman cocktails, and a special dish from Heck’s Cafe Avon.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeast Ohio, which works to help the 1.3 million people in Northeast Ohio with arthritis.

Tickets are $75 for general admission and $95 for VIP admission and can be purchased online. Or you can enter to win two general admission tickets to L’Amour du Vin 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):

1.Check out the list of participating restaurants and leave a comment here telling me which you’re most excited to try.

2. Visit Arthritis Foundation Ohio and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both page.

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

4. Follow @ArthritisFouNEO 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 attend #LAmour2016 to benefit @ArthritisFouNEO thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2016/08/18/why-lamour-du-vin-giveaway-5 #giveaway

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, August 22 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Arthritis Foundation, Northeast Ohio Chapter to help promote L’Amour du Vin. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary VIP tickets for myself and two general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

Despite having made lots of rain contingency plans for this weekend, we actually got in all the fun we originally had planned for the weekend. On Friday morning, Mom and I took Jeffrey to Playground World for some playground fun in some much-appreciated air conditioning.


The Warrensville Heights location of Playground World has 14,000 square feet of room for play. They offer pay-to-play for $6 per child and even have donate-to-play hours where the price is only $1 per child and they money is donated to a local charity.

Jeffrey always has a great time there, plus it’s a good way to check out playground equipment for home before you buy!

Friday night, we stayed in and, despite the heat, I turned on the oven to make this Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. I actually used both eggplant and zucchini in the casserole and it was really tasty!

On Saturday, we had family in from out of town. Since they were staying in the Akron area, we took them to one of our favorite places in the 330: Gervasi Vineyard.


We enjoyed time out on the Piazza, playing bocce ball and sipping sangria in this family-friendly spot. I think we might have a budding bocce player on our hands with Jeffrey!


We also stuffed ourselves with a delicious selection from the Piazza lunch menu: the meat and cheese plate, the Guiseppe pizza (with sausage and banana peppers), baked feta spread, and loaded pita chips with pulled pork.

And you know we got dessert…the decadent ice cream sandwich with brownie cookies and vanilla gelato.

IMG_5218 (1)

Not only is the atmosphere at Gervasi absolutely beautiful, but the wine and food are delicious too! Make a trip down to Gervasi soon for a great Ohio wine experience!

Saturday evening, I met up with my friend Elizabeth for a Junior League of Cleveland fundraiser: Glowga. Glowga combined yoga, glow sticks, a bit of shopping, and wine and beer tastings into a really fun evening at Crocker Park.

IMG_5225 (1)

Before the yoga class, we got to shop from some local vendors, as well as enjoy nibbles from Aladdin’s Eatery and Bar Louie. Then we were led through a great practice from 3 Sisters Yoga that focused on community, gratitude, and intention. It was really cool to see everyone’s glow sticks raised high throughout the class, too!


After class, there were wine and beer samples, including my first sip this year of a seasonal favorite: Great Lakes Brewing‘s Oktoberfest. I also tried Sibling Revelry Brewing‘s Swing State Pale Ale, which was crisp and refreshing. I’ve heard so many great things about Sibling Revelry and I definitely want to try more of their brews.

It was a really fun and relaxed evening that combined some of my favorite things (yoga, girl time, and craft beer) into one! I hope Glowga becomes an annual event for the Junior League of Cleveland.

Then on Sunday, we caught up with our visiting family again. We had them over for dinner and made one of my favorite summer meals that is always great for a group: grilled garlic tequila lime flank steak (recipe here).


We serve this flavorful meat taco-bar style, with homemade guacamole, salsa, and refried beans. So good!

For dessert, I made a Mexican chocolate cake (recipe here) that was devoured before any pictures could be taken of it, but I highly recommend pairing it with some Mitchell’s Vanilla Bean ice cream!

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and so lovely to have time with family that we don’t see nearly enough! How was your weekend?


Why? Playhouse Square Partners BBQ With a View!

Playhouse Square Partners, the young professionals group of Playhouse Square, is kicking off their 26th year in a style, with a rooftop BBQ, where you can not only have a great time, but also save on your Partners membership.

Image Source 
BBQ With a View on Wednesday, August 3 31, will feature live music, lawn games, and cookout food and beverages, all with awesome skyline views from the rooftop of the Playhouse Square parking garage. You’ll also have the chance to mingle with Partners members and learn more about the different Partners committees.

Plus, you’ll be the first to learn the theme for the 26th annual Jump Back Ball, happening in February 2017!

BBQ With a View is open to all, whether or not you’re a Partners member. But if after all the fun and new friends, you decide to become a first-time member of Partners that evening, you will save 20% on all memberships at the $100 level and above.

All attendees will receive one complimentary drink ticket, as well as complimentary cookout food. Please bring cash for additional libations, as credit cards will not be accepted. RSVP by emailing sarah.stengel@playhousesquare.org.

I hope to see a lot of you up on the roof to send off the summer in style and learn more about all the fun and good work Partners has in store for the 26th year!

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


Why? Autism Speaks Cleveland Chef Gala!

Saturday evening, I found myself surrounded by incredible chefs and delicious food, which I suppose may not sound all the unusual around these parts, but I have to tell you that this particular evening was something really quite extraordinary.

For a full list of the amazing chefs that participated, click here

The Autism Speaks Cleveland Chef Gala is a bi-annual event which brings together some of Cleveland’s finest chefs to offer tastings, plus hometown favorite chef Michael Symon is at the helm with one of his star chef friends (this year, the charming Bobby Flay) to create a demo dinner right before guests’ eyes.


But before I get into my favorite dishes from the tastings or the delicious demo dinner, I first have to say how amazing it was to be in a room of all these fantastic chefs who donated of their time, talents, and treasure to be part of this fundraising effort for Autism Speaks.

When Gala chair Jim Sammon and his wife Jennifer took the stage to commemorate Suzanne Wright, the founder of Autism Speaks who recently passed away, or when honorees Michael and Shari Goldberg took the stage to talk about their family’s experiences with autism, or when Chefs John Selick and Brian Doyle share pictures of their autistic children, there was so much love and support in the room that I was truly moved and so grateful for the chance not only to attend but to have served on the committee for this magical evening.


I feel like sometimes the reason for events gets buried behind the food and drink and fun, especially when writing about them. But I wanted to put it front and center here. The work that Autism Speaks is doing to further research and support families dealing with autism spectrum disorders is truly remarkable and I got to see firsthand the deep impact the organization has on so many people in our community.

Now, onto the food and drink and fun…

There were so many great dishes in the tasting portion of the evening, but I definitely want to highlight some favorites. In the meat and seafood “category,” we enjoyed Chef John Selick of University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center’s steak, Chef Brandt Evans of Pura Vida‘s tempura short rib, Chef Tim Bando of Grove Hill‘s grilled octopus salad, and Chef Fabio Salerno of Lago‘s scallop ceviche

In the cheese “category” (which should always be a category), we loved the goat cheese key lime tarts from Chef Dion Tsevedos of Chef Cube, the crisps with cheese and tomatoes from Chef Douglas Katz of fire food and drink, and the crostini with goat cheese and peaches from Chef Karen Small of The Flying Fig.

And in the dessert category, we couldn’t get enough of Chef Dante Boccuzzi of Dante Dining Group‘s double-baked brownie with ice cream and brandied peaches and Chef Brit-Marie Horrocks Culey of Coquette Patisserie‘s corn and roasted pepper savory dessert.

And in the most creative “category,” Chef Jonathon Sawyer of Team Sawyer Restaurants‘ pork crispy is the most interesting play on a Rice Krispie treat I’ve ever tasted (bonus points for the addition of gummy bears as a side).


Then it was on to the demo dinner prepared by Chefs Symon and Flay. We started with a salad with burrata, mixed greens, and a crostini from Chef Symon. Simply dressed and absolutely delicious, this was a great start to the seated meal.


Then Chef Flay prepared swordfish with a simple sauce with red wine vinegar and plums. Swordfish is always one of my favorite fishes, so having it prepared by such a famous chef was truly a treat!


Chef Symon prepared prime rib with rosemary and garlic (and referenced his family’s tradition of having special dinners at Mountain Jacks and how that started his love of prime rib), paired with a simple, fresh Ohio corn and tomato salad.


Both chefs focused on simple, clean flavors that let the quality of both the ingredients and their culinary skill shine through. Plus, the banter between these two friends during the demo dinner made the meal even more enjoyable!


Speaking of simple flavors, our dessert was a creamy, delicious banana pudding.


What a fantastic meal, from the tastings all the way through to the dessert! And having the chance to chat with these chefs about everything from Mabel’s BBQ to birthday twins (Chef Symon is mine!) to chef crushes (Chef Flay is my mom’s!) was pretty phenomenal!

From the compelling stories to the delicious food to the overwhelming sense of hometown pride in our talented group of chefs, this evening will remain in my memory book for quite some time!

***Disclosure: I am a member of the event committee for the Autism Speaks Cleveland Chef Gala. In addition, I received 1 complimentary ticket to the event for promoting the event through the blog and social media channels. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Twilight at the Zoo!

One of my favorite summer events that is always just pure fun is Cleveland Zoological Society‘s Twilight at the Zoo. This event turns the Zoo into a huge dance party, as guests move from band to band (19 in all!) listening to great music throughout the night.

One of our favorites: Run Avril Run 

Matthew and I started our evening in the VIP section. Twilight at the Zoo is an event where the upgrade to VIP tickets is really worthwhile.


With VIP tickets, you get preferred parking and small bites from some great restaurants, as well as a more extensive bar selection. Plus, this year’s VIP event was partially held in Stillwater Place, which allowed for a break from the heat too!

We munched on spinach and artichoke dip and cajun pasta from Granite City Food & Brewery, roasted beef and mashed potatoes from Texas de Brazil, seared ahi tuna and coconut pudding from Bonefish Grill, shrimp and beef from Carrabba’s Italian Grill, chicken skewers and mushroom sliders from Aramark, grilled sweet corn from Fresh Fork Market, and pasta with roasted red peppers and sausage from Copper Stone Catering & Events Center.

We also ran into friends Alicia and Hans and found some shade to catch up and chat a bit!


We checked out a lot of great bands over the course of the evening, from The Madison Crawl to SchoolGirl Crush


…to Almost Famous


…to Joe Moorhead Band


…to Billy Likes Soda, who were my favorite performers of the night! Not only did they play a ton of great singalong tunes, including the crowd-pleasing “Sweet Caroline,” but they brought inflatable animals, extra hats and instruments, and more for the audience to play.


Plus, as you can see, the band dressed in animal costumes to fully immerse themselves in the Twilight at the Zoo venue. This fun, enthusiastic approach came through in their music too and made them just a blast!

It was another great year at Twilight at the Zoo! Our feet are still tired from all the dancing! Plus, the event helps to raise money for the Cleveland Zoological Society’s educational programs, so the fun and frivolity are all for a good cause, too.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Twilight at the Zoo. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Cleveland Zoological Society Adult Scavenger Hunt!

If you’re a young professional in Cleveland, there are so many great groups that you can join, tailored to your interests and filled with fun activities, plus the chance to do good. The Cleveland Zoological Society‘s Ambassadors’ Circle is one of those groups.

young professionals 2

Members get a chance to meet like-minded young professionals, participate in fun events such as Urban Safaris, receive special discounts and invitations to Zoo events, and help support the Zoo’s animal care and learning opportunities for school children.

Membership starts at $10 per month for individuals or $15 per month for couples and includes 4 Zoo passes. You can email yp@clevelandzoosociety.org for more information.

The Ambassadors’ Circle is hosting an Adult Scavenger Hunt at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Thursday, September 1. This event is open to all and is a great chance to not only have fun, but also check out Ambassadors’ Circle.

young professionals 1

So, how does it work? You download the Scavify app before the hunt, then answer questions, upload photos and more throughout the Zoo. You can also participate in the event’s raffle to support Zoo scholarships.

There will be prizes for those who earn the most points on the scavenger hunt, but also for those showing the most spirit (costumes, custom shirts, and posting with the #wildaboutCLE hashtag all encouraged).

There will also be complimentary wine, beer, and small bites at this 21-and-over event. The Adult Scavenger Hunt is team-based, but you can sign up as an individual and be placed with a team. Cost to attend is $195 for a team of 6, $130 for a team of 4, $65 for a team of 2, or $40 for an individual.

Reservations are required, so click here to sign up and then get ready for a #wildaboutCLE evening at the Zoo!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote the Adult Scavenger Hunt. In exchange, I will receive complimentary reservations for 2 for the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

What a fun weekend it was! Friday afternoon, Mom and I took Jeffrey up to Cedar Point and Soak City for a few hours. One of the best parts about having a Cedar Point season pass is not feeling like you have to cram everything into one day. It’s a much friendlier pace, especially for Jeffrey.


When I was a kid, I loved all the rides and I used to make Mom ride Ocean Motion with me at least ten times in a row. I’ve kind of grown out of my ability to do things like that. And while Jeffrey is too little for Ocean Motion yet, he’s definitely a ride warrior, so I’ll need a supply of Dramamine for our trips up there!

Saturday evening, Matthew and I had a fabulous Cleveland date night!


We started with a walk through Public Square, where the community RNC Thank You party was in full swing. From live music to food trucks to tons of kids playing in the fountains, Public Square was absolutely hopping.


And it made my heart so happy to see so many people out celebrating the smashing success of #RNCinCLE, as well as taking advantage of the gorgeous new Public Square.

From there, we went to dinner at Mabel’s BBQ. I had been dying to try Mabel’s and can’t believe it even took me this long to get there! The restaurant was packed, but we were able to get seats at the bar, where we could order our full meal and chat with the fabulous bar staff.

We started with the cracklins, paired with a Mabel’s Fancy Manhattan for Matthew and a Orange Blossom Gose (a collaboration between Platform Beer Co. and Old City Soda) for me.


The cracklins were amazing! So light and crispy, yet packed with flavor and served with a side of Lawson’s Chip Dip (I dare you not to eat the entire thing of chip dip).

For dinner, we shared the Giant Beef Rib with pastrami spices. Tender, juicy, smoky perfection! We honestly didn’t even talk all through dinner, just sorted of grunted and mmm-ed. Very Fred Flintstone like.


The menu says the Giant Beef Rib serves two or more. We finished the rib between the two of us, but were definitely very full afterwards! We used a bit of the Mabel’s BBQ sauce, which is mustard-based and quite tasty. But honestly, the beef rib with it’s crust of spices can stand on its own with no sauce.

For our sides, we shared the baked beans with chopped brisket and jalapenos, then the broccoli salad with peanuts and dried cherries for Matthew and the spaetzle and spicy cabbage for me. The beans were the one disappointment, as neither of us is a fan of lima beans. But everything else was delicious and complimented the beef rib well.

Somehow we made room for dessert: the key lime pudding for Matthew and the chocolate pudding with toffee popcorn for me.


Both were very tasty and I found the chocolate pudding to be thick, rich, and very much like my most favorite dessert: pot de creme.

Mabel’s was relaxed, fun, and delicious: everything a great BBQ restaurant should be. I certainly hope it helps to make “Cleveland-style BBQ” a sensation!

After dinner, we went to the watch the Cleveland Indians defeat the Oakland A’s. But even better than seeing another Tribe victory was watching fan favorite Jim Thome get inducted into the Indians Hall of Fame. I worked at Jacob’s Field in the mid-to-late 90’s, so that particular group of players holds a special place in my heart. Thome’s acceptance speech and his dad’s emotion at his induction were so endearing!

The game was capped off with an awesome fireworks display, too!


You can’t get much more Cleveland or much more perfect than our Saturday night!

Also this weekend, Jeffrey and I stopped by the Willoughby Fire Department to make a crayon donation.


A young girl named Ella was recently a patient at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and found that their crayons were a bit old and in need of replacement. So Ella started collecting crayons and was amazed when she collected over 5,000 boxes to date!

And big thanks to the Willoughby firefighters, who were kind enough to give Jeffrey a tour of the fire house, let him sit in the trucks, and gave him this hat that he hasn’t taken off since!


The Willoughby Fire Department is collecting new boxes of 24-count crayons to help Ella’s efforts. If you can, stop by and make a donation!

What a fantastic weekend! How was yours?