Why? Weekends!

You guys, spring is in the air! Which made for a busy and fun weekend! Let’s get to it…

Cleveland Monsters Game

On Friday night, Jeffrey and I went to one of his favorite places in town: a Cleveland Monsters game. First, though, we grabbed dinner at Yours Truly.

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Yours Truly is a favorite for both of us. Jeffrey loves the grilled cheese and I couldn’t pass up the Tuna Supreme, on toasted rye with cheese and tomato. A perfect Lenten dinner!

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From there, it was off to the Monsters game. It was Mascot Night and there was a bobblehead giveaway (plus we ran into our friend Maddie from the Monsters Top Line Dance Team), so it was a pretty exciting night even before the ice action started.

It was also Gesu night at the game, with one of the teachers getting to ride on the zamboni and represent the school.

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Monsters games are one of my favorite things to do with Jeffrey. He always has a great time, there’s lots of family-friendly fun, and the price point is really reasonable!

LOFT Shopping Party

On Saturday, I hosted a spring shopping party at LOFT at Legacy Village. As usual, the LOFT ladies made everything so fun and easy, providing beverages and sweets and just being a total treat to work with.

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Before we even got to the party, though, my friend Anne and I hit a class a barre3, then grabbed Bloody Marys at Bar Louie (it’s called balance, friends.) I love how Legacy Village is a one-stop for everything to make a perfect Saturday afternoon!

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I got a ton of cute spring clothes at LOFT that will work for everything from work to play to going out, all for great prices, too.

If you need to refresh your wardrobe for the coming season, stop by and tell ’em I sent you!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village, for which I receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. For hosting a shopping party at LOFT, I received two complimentary items from the store. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Gigi’s on Fairmount

On Sunday, I met up with Mariah and Ashlie to celebrate Ashlie’s upcoming new arrival, Baby Aria. Gigi’s on Fairmount is the perfect spot for a ladies brunch! I just adore this cute, cozy, French spot!

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I had the Avocado Toast 2 Ways, with jammy eggs and pink peppercorn on one and grapes tomatoes on the other.

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Oh, and get the Passion Bubbles, with cava and passionfruit puree. So delish!

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It was a lovely weekend, with lovely weather and lovely friends! How was yours?

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Why? Jump Back Ball!

The 29th annual Playhouse Square Jump Back Ball is in the books and it was yet another incredible party!

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This year’s theme was “From Jukebox to Boombox” and people came dressed as musicians from through the decades. I had fallen in love with this dress that I picked up at the Designer Dress Days sale and, thanks to my friend Amy’s suggestion, decided to do a play on “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

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Mariah did my make-up (with almost all BeautyCounter products) and from the makeup to the headpiece to the dramatic back of the dress, I had so much fun stepping out of my usual look.

Of course, my crew all showed up looking fabulous too, from Elton Jane to Cher to a Beastie Boy to Britney and K.Fed.

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Big shout-out (and a Grammy) to Anne for being a fantastic and gorgeous date!

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Faction rocked the main stage while everyone munched on breakfast-for-dinner treats from Driftwood Catering, then danced their feet off.

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DJ Smoov kept the late night jams flowing as the crowd spilled out into the KeyBank State Theatre lobby.

This was my ninth year attending Jump Back Ball and every year I’m blown away by what a fun party it is, but also how much hard work and dedication is put in by Playhouse Square Partners on every aspect of the evening from decor to fundraising to make this event a success.

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Through Jump Back Ball and other events throughout the year, Playhouse Square Partners supports the non-profit mission of Playhouse Square, specifically the education and community outreach initiatives. And we have a lot of fun, too!

While you have to wait a whole year for another Jump Back Ball (it’s always the last Saturday in February, so mark your calendar now,) you can learn more about Partners by joining us at our Monthly Members Meeting on Monday, March 9.

***Disclosure: I am the Communications Co-Chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Picnic Hill Market & Cafe!

You know you’ve become part of a neighborhood when a new place opens up and not only are you curious about it, but you have multiple friends message you to find out if you’ve gone yet. So, when my friend Megan asked if I wanted to check out the new Picnic Hill Market & Cafe in Fairmount Circle, I immediately said yes.

I was expecting a sandwich shop and bakery a la J. Pistone’s. And while there are grab-and-go, some grocery items, and beer and wine for sale, Picnic Hill also has a full-service restaurant and bar.

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The menu has a wide variety of appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts, ranging from Korean chicken wings to roasted salmon to a classic cheeseburger. There’s a kids menu, too, with multiple things I know Jeffrey would love!

Aside from the regular menu, Picnic Hill has nightly specials from Tuesday through Friday. Thursday’s special is Birds & Bubbles Thursday, which is exactly why Megan and I picked that night to go. For $18.50, you get two pieces of fried chicken, your choice of either mashed potatoes or four-cheese penne, and sparkling wine.

If there are two things I love in this world, it’s fried chicken and sparkling wine. I didn’t know how much I needed them put together!

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The chicken was super crispy and the penne was dreamy (we both got the penne, so no reports on the mashed potatoes.)

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The other nightly specials are Tequila Tuesday (tacos and margaritas), Burger Wednesday, and Fish Fry Friday.

This cute, cozy spot is more than meets the eye and I cannot wait to go back and order off the full menu!

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Why? Girls Night Out at Legacy Village!

If you read this blog really ever, you know how much I love and value time with my girlfriends. There are few things I love more than planning and executing a fabulous Girls Night Out. And a great place to have a Girls Night Out is Legacy Village.

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At Legacy Village, my girlfriends and I can do four of my favorite things, all in one place: sweat, shop, spa, and sip.

My ideal Legacy Village Girls Night Out starts at barre3. There’s nothing like a fun, energetic workout with your friends to get you bonding over how much you worked your thighs and abs.

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Plus, the barre3 community is so warm and welcoming that it kind of feels like an extension of your Girls Night Out!

Next up, shop! My favorites at Legacy Village include LOFT, White House Black Market, and Lilly Pulitzer for clothes; Arhaus and Crate & Barrel for home; and Merchant’s Mrkt for local flavor.

Then, spa! Get a pedicure at Anthony Vince or a sassy blow-out at Dry Bar, both of which serve cocktails and can easily accommodate groups with advance notice.

Now that you have yourself looking and feeling fabulous, it’s time to sip (and snack!) Bar Louie, The Melting Pot, Wild Mango, or The Capital Grille (especially their lounge happy hour) are all fantastic choices with great cocktails and lots of food options perfect for sharing with your whole group of gal pals.

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For your next Girls Night Out that has a little bit of everything all in one place, head to Legacy Village! And to help you have a fabulous time, I have a $50 Legacy Village gift card to give away!

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 part of my Girls Night Out would be your favorite: sweat, shop, spa, or sip.

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

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

4. Follow @LegacyVillageOH 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 a @legacyvillageoh gift card for a great Girls Night Out from @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2020/02/26/why-girls-night-out-at-legacy-village 

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, March 1 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***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.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy and fun weekend of food and friends, so let’s get right to it…

Lindey’s Lake House

On Friday night, I met up with my friend Maria for dinner at Lindey’s Lake House. Lindey’s has a relaxed, coastal vibe in everything from the decor to the drinks to the food.

Maria started with the Coastal Paloma, with tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, agave, and a pink-peppercorn salt rim. I had the Basil Bourbon Smash, with bourbon, simple syrup, muddled lemon, mint, and basil shrub. Both made us dream of summer patio sipping!

We shared the Crab & Parmesan Dip, with baked and topped with spinach and bread crumbs and served with parmesan garlic crisps. A tasty way to start our meal!

Maria had the Lindey’s Lobster Roll, with tarragon mayo and cucumber salad. You would have thought we were in Maine!

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And I had the Crab Cakes, with remoulade, slaw, and handcut fries. These crab cakes were meaty and delicious!

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For dessert, we shared the Warm Cookies & Milk and felt like kids again!

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For a taste of summer with great drinks and yummy seafood, check out Lindey’s in Beachwood, the Flats East Bank, and Lakewood.

Little Italy

OK, so I told you this weekend was a lot of eating! On Saturday night, Jeffrey, my parents, and I had dinner at Mia Bella. This is one of our favorite places in Little Italy.

Before we left for dinner, Jeffrey insisted on wearing a tie and bringing his wallet so he could “pay the bill.” Such a gentleman!

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We shared the spicy Shrimp Saganaki and the House Meatballs as appetizers, while Jeffrey ate tons of the homemade bread.

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For my entree, I had the Veal Piccata, with chardonnay-lemon sauce and asparagus. The veal was tender and the delicate sauce was perfect on this dish.

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Jeffrey had a cheese pizza and was delighted with his choice. It’s always nice to find a restaurant that can make everyone happy!

Our server was so sweet, too. We told Jeffrey the bill was $3, which he proudly paid and she went right along with it!

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We headed across the street to Presti’s Bakery for dessert, where Dad and I had affogatos, Mom had a “lobster tail” (puff pastry with amaretto filling), and Jeffrey had a gigantic M&M cookie.

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A perfect end to a lovely evening!

Platform Pub Yoga

I spent the last Sunday of the month in my favorite way to spend that day: Pub Yoga at Platform Beer Co.

Alicia taught a fantastic hour-long flow with lots of feels (damn you for playing “Fast Car”), lots of laughs (yogi semi-pro tip: don’t laugh in camel pose), and lots of my favorite ladies.

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Plus, the class benefited Ursuline Piazza, which provides services such as housing, counseling, and more to those with HIV/AIDS. Each month’s Pub Yoga benefits a different local non-profit. The next Pub Yoga class is on Sunday, March 29. For just $20, you get the yoga class, a beer, and a donation to the non-profit. Plus lots of laughs! Now that’s a great Sunday Funday! 

Between the eating, yoga, and laughing, Jeffrey had his weekly basketball game and a little friend’s birthday party, so there was lots of busy fun this weekend! How was your weekend?

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Why? Thyme Table!

I had heard so much good buzz about Thyme Table, so I was excited to meet up with my friend Beth for dinner there this week. I got even more excited when I was greeted in the parking lot by this awesome Lisa Quine mural.

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I love Lisa’s work and I love this punny message, too!

Beth and I snagged seats at the bar (Thyme Table is small and popular, so you might end up there, but it’s still a great experience either way) in the last moments of happy hour, which goes until 6pm.

Thyme Table’s happy hour includes select wine, beer, cocktails, and appetizers for $5. The Lobster Tots were included on the happy hour menu, which made them even more irresistible.

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The Lobster Tots have lobster meat, bacon, scallions, cheese sauce, chipotle aioli, and cilantro. So decadent and so delicious!

I didn’t order my cocktail from the happy hour menu, but it was worth it. I had the Friends with the Bartender, with bourbon, grilled pineapple, mint, and ginger.

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Beth chose the BBQ and Beer Braised Short Ribs for her entree, wild cheddar grits and garlic broccolini. Perfect comfort food for a winter night!

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I had the Crispy Chicken Confit, with sweet potato puree, roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon, and mustard jus.

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The chicken was juicy, with just enough crisp to the skin. And the sides were a perfect compliment. The jus added a mustard tang, without being overwhelming.

From the drinks to the food, Thyme Table delivered and I can see why this cozy, tasty spot is getting such a fan following.

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend, with lots of buddies, beverages, and brunches, so let’s get right to it…

100th Day of Kindergarten

On Friday, Jeffrey’s class celebrated their 100th day of Kindergarten. All the kids had to make a project using 100 of something they love, so Jeffrey built a roller coaster with 100 LEGOs.

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He was so proud of the project, plus his class made special 100 day t-shirts and crowns, too. I can’t believe the school year is more than half over!

Griffin Cider House & Gin Bar

On Friday night, I met up with Amanda at Griffin Cider House & Gin Bar for some low-key cocktails and catching up. We happened to run into our friend Kate, too!

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Griffin Cider House has an expansive gin selection, but if gin isn’t your thing (and it’s not mine), there are still plenty of great cocktail choices, like this bourbon apple cider that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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It’s a chill spot that’s perfect for hanging out with friends!

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

On Saturday, I gathered some of my favorite ladies for a Galentine’s brunch at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.

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From bottomless mimosas to delicious food, this was the perfect spot for our celebration. I had the shrimp and grits, with andouille, poached eggs, and a truly spicy and flavorful hot sauce.

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The grits were the perfect texture and this dish had a lot of great flavor!

I also highly recommend a side (or two) of the focaccia bread, which was served piping hot in a mini cast iron skillet.

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Most of all, it was a great morning spending time with some of my girls. I am so lucky to have friends from a lot of different areas of life. Around the table were ladies I met in high school and college and through blogging and motherhood. They all blend together so well and it just makes getting everyone together such a joy!

Blu the Restaurant

On Sunday, I was back on the brunch bandwagon at Blu the Restaurant. My dear friend Anne is heading to Honduras on a mission trip this week, so after her missioning Mass, we wanted to take her out to brunch to send her off well.

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We shared the spicy hash, with barbecued potaotes, jalapeno, poached egg, and spicy hollandaise to start. Everyone agreed these were the tastiest potatoes they’ve ever had.

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We also shared the mimosa bottle service, with blood orange, orange, and pomegranate juices.

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For my entrée, I had the stuffed peppers, with veal and pork stuffed peppers and marinara, topped with fried eggs. I liked the brunch twist on this traditional Italian dish!

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Jeffrey had the Yaya’s Pancakes, which were somewhere between a biscuit and a muffin in terms of shape and texture, and were entirely devoured!

This was a great spot for brunch and I definitely have my eye on a few other menu items for the next time we go back!

I snuck in a bit more food fun this weekend at the soft opening of Proof in Tremont, so stay tuned for that later this week…

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Why? Zhug!

The newest hot spot in Cleveland Heights is Zhug, featuring a delicious menu of Middle Eastern small plates. Even on a Tuesday night, this relaxed space was packed with energy.

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My friend Melissa and I checked it out for her birthday dinner and were delighted with the flavors and unique options. Melissa is a vegetarian, so we stuck toward those menu choices, although I couldn’t resist the braised lamb, with crispy carrots, dates, cocoa, and pecorino.

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This sauce was rich and flavorful and the crispy carrots added the perfect amount of texture and slight sweetness.

Melissa and I shared the harissa peanut hummus, which is one of the top three hummus dishes I’ve ever had!

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We also enjoyed the crispy Brussel sprouts, with pine nut and pomegranate…

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…and the whole roasted cauliflower, with golden raisins and almond chimichurri.

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I love small plate concepts, where I can taste and share a lot of different bites! Everything we ordered at Zhug was loaded with flavor and surprising twists that added Middle Eastern flair to the dishes.

This welcoming, bustling restaurant is perfect for a date night, where you can explore different tastes together, or for a girls night out. Whether sharing for two or for a group, you can explore a range of different options all in one meal.

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Why? M Cellars!

It’s no secret that I love visiting Ohio wine country, especially M Cellars. Not only are they a small business that is relentlessly committed to quality, they are also committed to supporting other local small businesses in the products they use in their tasting room. To put in simply, they’re doing it right and putting out tremendous wines in the process.

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I recently had a chance to talk with Matt and Tara Meineke about what makes M Cellars so special. First, if you have the chance to visit the winery and meet Matt and Tara, you’ll instantly see why I vibe so much with M Cellars. They’re a young couple who took on this passion project and are balancing the business along with raising two young girls, making time for each other, and just being charming, lovely people to talk to.

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The vision for M Cellars started on Matt and Tara’s trips to Niagara on the Lake. They fell in love not only with the wineries, but with the wine-making styles they discovered in that region. Matt started experimenting with making wine at home and in 2007, they were able to acquire the land to start M Cellars. They planted grapes with the guidance of the agriculture program at Ohio State University and, since 2015, M Cellars wines have been crafted entirely with grapes grown on site.

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M Cellars is truly a labor of love and a family business. You’ll find Matt down in the cellar making the wine or out and about talking to wholesale buyers to increase M Cellars footprint.

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And you’ll find Tara behind the counter at the tasting room or sharing M Cellars’ story on social media. They’ve taken their personalities, passions, and strengths and poured them into different aspects of the business to make it work.

Matt and Tara pride themselves on M Cellars offering something distinctive and different than the typical Ohio wines. Through their years in business, they have stayed true to that mission, not trying to overreach, but rather excelling in their niche.

One of the distinctive varieties of wines you can find at M Cellars are sparkling wines, which are not typical for Ohio vineyards. Sparkling wines are labor-intensive, but Matt and Tara have a passion for them and work to produce some amazing ones, including the Brut Rosé, which is my favorite of the wines that M Cellars offers (maybe…I really like the Meritage too…and the Pinot Noir.)

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There are many ways you can experience the distinctive difference of M Cellars wines. You can visit the tasting room, which is cozy and homey and gives you the opportunity to try and buy several varieties of M Cellars wine.

You can visit one of the several fabulous Cleveland-area restaurants and bars that carry M Cellars wine, including Urban Farmer, Quintana’s Speakeasy and Bar, Adega, Table 45, Lola, The Flying Fig, Toast, Spice Kitchen and Bar, Craft Collective, Beach Club Bistro, and Bistro 83.

Or you can join one of M Cellars’ wine clubs, which offer everything from bottles shipped to you monthly to more hands-on, tasting-room driven clubs with exclusive events and tastings.

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You’ve heard me mention M Cellars a lot on the blog and it’s because I’ve never failed to have a stellar experience whether in the tasting room or enjoying one of their wines at home. But getting to know Matt and Tara has only increased my love for the winery. There’s nothing better than supporting a small, local business that is committed to quality, to growing and strengthening the region, and to having fun while doing it.

Cheers to M Cellars!

***Disclosure: I was asked to tell M Cellars story. In exchange, I received complimentary wine. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

This weekend recap could also be titled “How I spent most of my weekend in Tremont…”

Great Big Home and Garden Show

On Friday afternoon, Jeffrey and I checked out the opening day of the Great Big Home & Garden Show at the I-X Center.

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We especially enjoyed checking out the Garden Showcase and getting a breath of spring in January!

This year’s gardens are themed on One-Tank Trips and showed off a lot of creativity in imagining nearby destinations in gardens.

From model homes to ways to decorate both the inside and outside of your house, there’s something interesting for everyone to find at the Great Big Home & Garden Show!

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The show runs through Sunday, February 9. You can save $1 off your online ticket purchase with code CLE2020.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Great Big Home & Garden Show. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the show.***

Prosperity Social Club and Literary Tavern

On Friday night, I was out and about in Tremont with friends for dinner and drinks. We started at Prosperity Social Club, which offers great food and drinks in a casual atmosphere.

 

I had the Maple Bacon Old Fashioned (yum) and the fried chicken (double yum.) The chicken was crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside, and paired perfectly with the mashed potatoes.

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Simple, classic, delicious food in an easy-going setting. Sounds like the perfect place to end the week!

From there, we headed over to Literary Tavern. This cozy bar serves up craft cocktails and small plates in an intimate environment.

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I enjoyed the Blood Fountain, with OYO Bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and red wine. Both the taste and presentation of this drink are spot on!

Game of Thrones Bar Crawl

On Saturday, it was back to Tremont for the Game of Thrones Bar Crawl to benefit A Special Wish Cleveland. When you registered for the crawl, you picked a house (Targaryen for us) and then went from bar to bar with your house.

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From The Treehouse to Post 58 to Crust to the South Side to Dante, we covered a lot of ground on the Tremont bar scene.

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And it was all for a good cause! What a fun way to spend the afternoon!

Children’s Theater Series

Before the bar crawl, Jeffrey, my mom, and I attended another of the Children’s Theater Series shows at Playhouse Square.

This show was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites,” presented by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. This puppet-based theater company did a lovely job presenting these classic stories in a bright, engaging way.

The Children’s Theatre Series is a great way to introduce your child to live theater in a friendly way, with shows that speak directly to them.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours?

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