Why? Yoga in the Village!

What do you get when you combine a great outdoor venue with yoga and delicious food and drinks?

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You get Yoga in the Village: Balance, Bliss & Brio! Head to the lawn at Legacy Village on Thursday, August 9 to enjoy a 60-minute, all-levels yoga class taught by Alicia Hansen, one of my favorite yoga teachers (and favorite humans).

Then head to the patio at Brio for cocktails and seasonal appetizers. Tickets are $20 and include the yoga class, one beer/wine/cocktail at Brio, and a selection of seasonal appetizers to share with your classmates.

Plus, you’ll not only be doing something good for you, but for others, too! A portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation, Ohio.

I hope to see you at Balance, Bliss & Brio. You know I can’t resist a yoga class (or a glass of wine)!

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

jenclesig_pur

 

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!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Phew! What a steamy weekend in CLE! I was trying to stay cool all over town…here’s what went down this weekend:

Lyndhurst Spray Park

On Friday, we met up with friends at one of our favorite summer spots: the Lyndhurst Spray Park. This is such a great splash park, with lots of options for all ages, a playground next door, and it’s really well-maintained.

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Plus, with it being so hot, the best place to be was in the water!

#ShineBright Yoga

Saturday morning, I met up with Alicia for #ShineBright yoga under the GE Chandelier at Playhouse Square.

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Brianna Halloran led us through a spirited and (thank goodness since it was so hot) easy flow, with time for selfie breaks and dancing, too!

 

I’m constantly reminded to be so grateful for this amazing city and the very cool events that take place here!

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Distict

On Saturday night, I found myself back down on Playhouse Square with Matthew. We had dinner at District, which is a great spot for a pre-theater bite. They have a rose flight that is just the right thing for summer sipping!

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I had the swordfish with herbed compound butter, served over roasted jalapeno and lemon risotto.

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The flavors were spot on and this was a great summer dish with just a bit of a kick.

Matthew had the gnocchi with cilantro pesto, avocado, and grape tomato. He also added shrimp and chicken.

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This was a really interesting and delicious spin on gnocchi!

The food was so good, but the portions are small, so I would suggest adding on a salad (we split the caprese) and dessert (the peach cobbler for me and the Belgian chocolate ganache for him).

Tri-C Jazz Fest

From District, we headed over to Tri-C Jazz Fest to see Common and Jose James perform. Tri-C Jazz Fest has risen to prominence, attracting bigger national acts, as well as offering a huge street festival with free outdoor concerts.

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Jose James played an awesome set of Bill Withers hits, including an incredible version of “Lean on Me.”

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Common then came on to play a high-energy set showcasing some of his best music throughout his career. It was a great night enjoying innovative, amazing music in one of Cleveland’s strongholds of culture. I can’t wait to see who Tri-C Jazz Fest brings to town next year.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Tri-C Jazz Fest. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the concert of my choice. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Alicia’s Birthday

Sunday was spent celebrating one of my dearest friends, Alicia. We started with one of her Soul Flow Sunday classes at Elevated Dance Headquarters.

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Alicia’s usual class style of creative flow combined with lots of time for reflection was even more elevated with this meaningful birthday practice. Plus, we got to enjoy cupcakes from Michael Angelo’s Bakery after class!

Then it was off to Punch Bowl Social for an afternoon of drinks, food, and karaoke fun! I got to hang out with some lovely ladies…

 

 

…I got to eat lots of delicious food (the sriracha peanut fries and the It’s Nacho Mama’s come highly recommended by, well, me)…

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And then it was time for some epic karaoke styling!

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Oh my goodness, what a way to spend Sunday Funday! It was the perfect way to celebrate our friend and kick off what is hopefully a fantastic year for her.

Backyard BBQ

I capped off a busy weekend with Lane and Nathan at a great family backyard BBQ. I got pelted with water balloons by various four year olds and I made this tasty pasta salad that is definitely going to become a staple for summer BBQs.

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So, that was my Hot in Cleveland weekend. How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Twilight at the Zoo!

As summer gets into full swing, it’s event season at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The Cleveland Zoological Society puts on several FUNdraising events for the Zoo during the summer months, the biggest of which is Twilight at the Zoo, happening August 3.

This summer marks the 25th year for Twilight at the Zoo, which combines bands, beer, food, and after-hours Zoo admission into one wild party! This year will be my sixth year attending Twilight at the Zoo, so I thought I’d take a look back at all the years of fun so you can have a sense of what you’ll experience at Twilight at the Zoo:

2012

Yup, there are cheesy photo opps with pretend critters, but also the chance to see some of the Zoo’s real critters as you move from stage to stage throughout the Zoo. Remember, Twilight at the Zoo is a great party, but also a fundraiser for the Cleveland Zoological Society to support the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

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2013

Twilight at the Zoo is a 21+ event and there are plenty of libations to enjoy! All levels of tickets include open bar. VIP tickets include additional beer, wine, and cocktail choices.

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2014

Glow necklaces! There are always fun giveaways like necklaces, flashing cups, and the like at Twilight at the Zoo. This is helpful because it is definitely a party-after-dark event!

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2015

Bands! Twilight at the Zoo is a huge outdoor concert, with bands playing simultaneously throughout the Zoo. Musical styles range from rock ‘n roll to swing to country to jazz. We often discover new favorite bands at Twilight at the Zoo…Billy Likes Soda quickly became a favorite and a yearly stop for us now!

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2016

So, there’s lots of walking and dancing at Twilight at the Zoo. While you wouldn’t know it from this happy, early-in-the-night picture, this is the year I ended up taking my shoes off and attempting to walk barefoot to the car before Matthew gave me his shoes. He’s a good one. Point being, wear comfy shoes and come ready to walk and dance it out.

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2017

Twilight at the Zoo is genuinely the party of the summer! We always have such a great time, from enjoying nibbles in VIP, to discovering new bands and old favorites, to partying with friends.

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Tickets are currently on sale for this always sold-out event! General admission tickets are $75 in June and $85 in July and August. Zoo Members can save $5 off general admission tickets in June only. Click here to purchase tickets.

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

jenclesig_pur

Why? Silver Spoon Awards Party!

The Cleveland Magazine Silver Spoon Awards Party to benefit the Arthritis Foundation isn’t just a strolling food and wine event. It is a whole body sensory experience. From the tastes and smells to the sights and sounds, I always leave this party buzzing with Cleveland happiness.

So, let me take you on a little sensory overload tour of last night’s fun…

Matthew and I enter the VIP area and immediately head toward Porco Lounge and Tiki Room. Their set-up whisks us away to an island bar somewhere in the Caribbean…

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…and so do their drinks. Get the Painkiller! We enjoy our drinks while taking in the historic sights at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum at the Cleveland History Center.

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From the Caribbean to Japan, we can’t pass up the ultra fresh and ultra delicious sushi prepared by Chef Dante Boccuzzi at Ginko.

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The Silver Spoon Awards Party isn’t just a chance to eat great food, but also a chance to rub elbows with Cleveland’s culinary elite! Oh, you can also rub elbows with some blogger friends too!

We head upstairs to the main room and prepare ourselves (loosen our belts) to tackle this gauntlet of gastronomic  glory.

We snag a delicious chicken slider with mango habanero salsa from Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar before heading downfield to enjoy steak from Kosar’s Wood-Fired Grill and see Bernie Kosar himself!

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I almost fumbled my steak as I caught sight of Swensons Drive-In‘s burgers and mini milkshakes! I had two mini shakes, because they’re mini, obviously.

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Next up was the delicious chorizo and roasted corn from Butcher and the Brewer and the comforting smells and tastes of French Onion Pot Roast from Creekside Restaurant & Bar.

We spiced things up with the delicious offerings from Thai Thai (the buzz is well earned) while taking in the beautiful sights and sounds of the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel.

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We couldn’t resist diving under the sea with Pier W‘s oyster po boy and Marble Room‘s smoked salmon puff.

I attempted to look dainty as I tore into the ribs from Mabel’s BBQ, but that pepper crust and mustardy sauce made all restraint go away!

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Speaking of making all restraint go away, we definitely did shots of ceviche followed up with shots of Mezcal. We blame Chef Jonathon Sawyer and this The Greenhouse Tavern deliciousness.

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We capped off this feeding frenzy with sweet treats from one of my favorite east side haunts, Luna Bakery and Café. I didn’t dive in to this table set-up face first, but I wanted to.

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Then, it was back downstairs for another visual treat: watching bartenders from Ginko, Porco Lounge and Tiki Room, Salt+, and Cork & Cleaver Social Kitchen compete in a Chopped-style cocktail competition, with ingredients including Woodford Reserve, green tea, rhubarb, and dragon fruit.

We also got to sample their unique creations and vote for our favorite! Matthew and I split our votes between Porco Lounge and Tiki Room and Ginko.

Tired, stuffed, and overwhelmingly impressed yet again by this event and Cleveland’s diverse and vibrant food scene, we waddled back to home to dream of next year’s Silver Spoon Awards Party!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Silver Spoon Awards Party. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? The South Side and Hi & Dry!

Last week, I met up with some fabulous lady bloggers for a taste of two fabulous Tremont restaurants: The South Side and Hi & Dry. The South Side was opened in 2003 by Sherman DeLozier with the idea of being a middle ground for Tremont’s restaurants: not too fancy, not too casual. And Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky, who grew up in Parma, does just that with fabulous and fun menu offerings.

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We got a broad taste of The South Side’s menu, including items that will be appearing on the summer menu starting in early May. The gazpacho and seafood shooters and Big Fat Greek Salad (watermelon, cucumber, tomato, onion, feta, and basil), both tasted just like summer should: fresh and delicious!

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The tuna and avocado salad was incredible and had everyone going back for seconds!

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The beets and grapefruit salad was also light, bright, and so good!

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We also got to sample several different kinds of tacos: steak, shrimp, and black bean and kimchee.

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Pair them with a habanero tequila and peach margarita and you’ll want to spend your taco Tuesdays at The South Side!

The South Side also pays homage to Natasha’s Eastern European roots with things like deep-fried pierogi stuffed with mac ‘n cheese and kielbasa kebabs (kielbasa and potato pancakes).

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A bite of these with the chipotle aioli is SO GOOD!

But Chef Natasha didn’t stop there and showed us her skill with fish and pasta, too. The mushroom ravioli with truffle and beet fettucine with goat cheese and dill were both well-prepared and delicious!

The pesto-crusted salmon and tomato-roasted grouper also elevate The South Side’s menu to true gastro pub status. The food is creative and tasty, while still being accessible and not too pretentious.

The South Side strip and St. Louis style ribs will keep the more traditional meat-eaters happy, with just enough of a foodie flair.

Oh, you’re a pizza fan? Try the shrimp primavera pizza!

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And if you’re looking for brunch decadence, look no farther than the Money Ball, a meatball wrapped around a 6-minute egg and baked under a blanket of pie dough, served with buttermilk sausage gravy.

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The South Side truly has something on their menu for everyone! The food, drinks, and staff are easy-going and genuinely wonderful. If this place slipped off your Tremont radar, as it did mine admittedly, make sure you get there soon for all this Cleveland-grown deliciousness!

We then waddled (literally) down the street to Hi & Dry for a sampling of their playful cocktail menu and some duckpin bowling.

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All of Hi & Dry’s cocktails are named after hashtags. I think the #CaseoftheMondays (pictured here) is my favorite! And while Hi & Dry is primarily a bar and arcade destination, there are some fun bar food menu items, including this SPAM sandwich.

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So, whether you’re in search of a great meal, a great drink, or a great time, you can’t go wrong stopping at The South Side or Hi & Dry (or both)! These locally-owned, locally-focused restaurants are true gems in the Tremont neighborhood!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tasting at The South Side and Hi & Dry. Much thanks to Tricia of Planes, Trains, and All of Our Meals for organizing this event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a wonderful holiday weekend, filled with family and friends! Here’s what was hopping:

Dyeing Easter Eggs

On Friday, Jeffrey and I had our friends over to dye Easter eggs. We dye eggs every year and I love how Jeffrey has gotten more interested in it as time goes by.

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Check out his masterpieces!

Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter Egg Hunt

Speaking of annual traditions, on Saturday we went to the Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter egg hunt. This is one of our favorite holiday events!

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You ticket includes an Easter egg hunt in the Hershey Children’s Garden, which is filled with tons of candy-filled eggs, as well as fun spring decorations.

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There were also crafts and outdoor games like bean bag toss and giant tic-tac-toe to enjoy. Plus there was a visit from a very special bunny in a very special bunny car!

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You also got admission to the Cleveland Botanical Garden to check out their Spring Blooms event. Spring Blooms replaced Big Spring and has all the bright spring colors and flowers you’ve come to expect, but fewer children’s play elements.

We really enjoyed our morning at the Easter egg hunt! For an event that draws around 1,000 people, it is very well organized and always a lot of fun!

Dante and Justin Timberlake

On Saturday night, I celebrated my dear friend Kimberly‘s birthday with dinner at Dante, followed by the Justin Timberlake concert.

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Our meal at Dante was perfect, from the aptly-named Something Fun cocktail…

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…to the honey-roasted Brussel sprouts with goat cheese and polenta with pork belly (OMG, both were life-changing!)

From there, it was off to an awesome night of music with Justin Timberlake, with a special guest appearance from LeBron James, too!

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What a fun night!

Easter

The rest of our weekend was spent enjoying Easter with our families. On Saturday, I prepared a traditional and locally-sourced Polish Holy Saturday feast, with pierogi from Janka Meat Products and Pierogi, kielbasa from Pinzone Market Fresh Meats, and sauerkraut from Wholesome Valley Farm via Fresh Fork Market.

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On Sunday, we had Easter bunny treats to discover…

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…time with both Matthew’s and my families and lots of smiles and good memories!

It was a great weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Oh my goodness, we could not have crammed more into this weekend if we tried! So, let’s get right to it:

#HamilFlow and Ginko (hey, that rhymes)

Friday night, I watched as one of my favorite people paired two of her favorite things and, boy, was the result magical! Alicia taught a 75-minute yoga class with the music of “Hamilton: An American Musical.” Much like the musical itself, the class was inspiring, fun, and fast-paced. This class sold out fast, so stay tuned because Alicia has promised a sequel!

After class, we headed downstairs to Ginko for what is always the finest sushi in Cleveland.

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Ginko always has the freshest and most inventive sushi offerings. It’s so fun to sit at the bar and watch the chefs create, too!

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Dessert that evening was a chocolate pot de creme, so who can resist that?

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It was a perfect Friday night!

Seussical Jr.

On Saturday afternoon, we headed to St. Francis of Assisi School for their production of “Seussical, Jr.” My friend Melissa was the director of the show and I was so impressed with her work and the talent of the cast!

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Plus, it’s a great musical for kids to enjoy! Jeffrey especially loved seeing his friend Dean (Melissa’s son) in the cast as one of the Whos!

Cleveland Monsters Purple Game

From there, we headed downtown for the Cleveland Monsters Purple Game. The Purple Game focused on raising awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society.

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There were opportunities to donate, to learn about community efforts to help those with cancer, and just generally show your support for those battling cancer.

The game also took place during the Monsters and Cavs ongoing food drive for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank‘s Harvest for Hunger program, so there were lots of ways to do good while taking in the hockey action.

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This was Jeffrey’s first hockey game. From meeting the Monsters Girls and practicing his shot on the concourse to high-fiving the players before the game (check out my Insta for the video), he had a great time.

The Monsters games definitely have a family-friendly atmosphere, with lots happening on the ice in between the action and plenty to cheer about.

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They also have a more family-friendly price-point than some other sports, making it easy to take your whole family (and in our case, some of Jeffrey’s godparents, too). You can check out the Monsters upcoming games and promotions online to get in on the icy fun for yourself!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland Monsters Purple Game. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets to the game and the opportunity to participate in the pre-game high-five tunnel. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Playhouse Square Partners Brunch Around

Sunday Funday came and I decided to just keep the weekend fun going! I met up with fellow Playhouse Square Partners for a Brunch Around in the Gordon Square Arts District.

We had groups at 4 different restaurants in the area, then all met up for a cocktail together after our brunches. I had brunch at Luxe Kitchen and Lounge. Luxe has a Sunday happy hour from 11am-1pm with half-off bloody marys, mimosas, and bellinis. Talk about a Sunday Funday!

For my brunch, I chose the buttermilk fried chicken thigh, served with country gravy, braised swiss chard, and a biscuit.

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This was savory brunch perfection! It had been way too long since I had been to Luxe. Now, I just need it to be warm enough for their fabulous patio to open!

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

So, that was our weekend! Plenty to keep us busy for sure! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

If it can’t be warm in Cleveland, at least the sun can shine, right? Here’s how we spent this bright, chilly weekend.

Breakfast with the Bunny 

On Saturday morning, we hopped right over St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to Easter celebrations!

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Matthew, Jeffrey, and I headed south to the Akron Zoo for their Breakfast with the Bunny. We started with a breakfast buffet and time for Easter crafts, plus time with the fuzzy bunny himself.

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Then the kids went to an Easter egg hunt in a designated area of the Zoo, divided by age. The eggs were plentiful and easy to find, plus the kids got to trade in however many eggs they found for a sweet treat bag.

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After the egg hunt, we could stay for as long as we liked to explore the Zoo, too. Even the animals were getting in on the egg hunt fun!

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It was fun, albeit cold, morning and a nice way to kick off the Easter season!

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Of course, we couldn’t completely ignore St. Patrick’s Day! My mom made a delicious corned beef dinner.

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Pair it with a Great Lakes Brewing Co. Conway’s Irish Ale and you have a the perfect St. Patrick’s Day meal!

Death of a Salesman

Saturday evening, Matthew and I went to see our friend Wes, who was playing Bernard in The Brecksville Theatre‘s production of “Death of a Salesman.” It had been awhile since I had attended a community theater performance and I forgot how much I enjoy the intimacy of those shows. I’m always so impressed by the talent we have right in our own backyard, too.

While Death of a Salesman ended its run on Sunday, The Brecksville Theatre has a full season of options, plus there are community theaters all over Cleveland offering great cultural experiences with homegrown talent.

Yoga/Brunch

I kicked off my Sunday at Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch. I’ve said it before, but Alicia’s balance of meditative mindfulness and challenging asana is really my favorite way to practice. I always feel taken care of in both body and spirit.

After class, we headed to downstairs to Dante Next Door for mimosas and conversation and delicious brunch food. I had the cheddar, bacon, scallion hash (OMG, so good) and the waffle with apples and Kentucky bourbon maple syrup.

I can never choose between sweet and savory at brunch, so I decided not to decide!

Alicia has a ton of upcoming Yoga/Brunch dates, if you want to get your Sunday Funday kicked off the right way. Cost is $15 for a 60-minute class, plus a free mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here for dates and to register.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours? Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Yuzu!

Last week, Matthew and I had a chance to try a sample of the creative and flavorful cuisine at Yuzu in Lakewood, thanks to Mouthwater Media. Yuzu is an Izakaya-inspired bar. If you don’t know what Izakaya is (raises hand), it’s a type of informal Japanese pub. So, essentially, Yuzu is a Japanese gastro pub.

Yuzu provides a wide variety of small bites, bowls, and ramen, as well as a creative and fun cocktail menu with a ton of craft beers, as well as cocktails ranging from margaritas to punchbowls.

We started with orders of Yuzu fries and Thai fries. The Yuzu fries had panko, cusabi, and chives and the Thai fries had Dutch peanut aioli, crushed salted peanuts, and green onion.

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Both were delicious, but that peanut sauce on the Thai fries was really something special!

Next up game the yakitori flight, with pork belly, top sirloin, chicken thigh, and vegetables.

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The flavorful meats and delicious sauces made this plate a real treat!

Then came the vegetarian ramen, which was packed with yummy, delicate flavors and lots of vegetables (and that egg!).

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We also got to try four different rice bowls, each more flavorful and incredible than the next: Harmonic (mango, avocado, red pepper, black beans, onion, corn, and cusabi); Little India (chickpea curry with sweet potato); bourbon chicken; and Korean beef.

For a collection of interesting, flavorful dishes in a fun, relaxed atmosphere, check out Yuzu. You’ll be as glad as I am that you figured out what Izakaya is!

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

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