Why? Silver Spoon Awards Party!

On Wednesday, Cleveland came together to celebrate its best restaurants at the Cleveland Magazine Silver Spoon Awards Party.

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Over 50 restaurants were represented, serving delicious small bites that prove why they made this acclaimed list of dining winners.

Some of our favorites included the fish tacos from Pier W (those wonton crisp shells)…

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…the sticky mango rice and potstickers from Thai Thai

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…the prosciutto and artichoke from Humble Wine Bar (which I gobbled without getting a picture)…

…the Salerno family meatballs from Lago East Bank

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…the goat cheese and Brussel sprout crostini from Distill Table

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…and the skirt steak with chimichurri from Kosar’s Wood-Fired Grill (the way to my heart is a good chimichurri).

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We also found some amazing cocktails in the VIP Lounge, with special offerings from Porco Lounge and Tiki Room and Western Reserve Distillers.

The VIP Lounge also featured amazing food from Mabel’s BBQ, Luca Italian Cuisine, and Saucy Brew Works.

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Plus, the evening benefited the Arthritis Foundation Ohio, so we stuffed ourselves with the best food in town for a good cause!

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Cleveland has so many fabulous restaurants and it was fun to celebrate them and to see these talented folks all come together for charity!

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

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Why? Weekends!

It was a weekend filled with yoga and family time, so pretty much a perfect one for me!

Balance and Brews

On Saturday, I met up with my friend Anne for Balance & Brews at Saucy Brew Works. Balance & Brews is a one-hour, all-levels vinyasa class held at various breweries around town. After your class, you can stay and enjoy a beer (one beer included with your class) and mingle with your fellow yogis.

I always enjoy these classes, not only because I get a beer after, but because of the opportunity to practice in very different environments. At Saucy, we were right out on the brewery floor, with lots of noises, smells, and activity happening around us. It’s a great way to practice being focused and staying in the moment.

And your reward for all that focus is pretty great too!

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I tried the Don’t Stop Wit It Wit It, a Belgian Wit that is light, crisp, and perfect for summer sipping!

Check out Balance & Brews upcoming schedule, with classes at Masthead, Terrestrial, Great Lakes, Fat Head’s, CLE Urban Winery, and Market Garden.

Mother’s Day

The rest of the weekend was spent in various phases of Mother’s Day celebrating…

At school, Jeffrey made a Mother’s Day gift, themed on “Where the Wild Things Are.” Not only is it something I’ll treasure, but the pride he had in giving it to me was so sweet to see.

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Matthew and Jeffrey made pancakes for breakfast on Saturday morning and I even got a little treat from my “furry kids” too…

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Matthew found these adorable chocolate dogs at the Urban Farmer charity bake sale!

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Speaking of chocolate, he and Jeffrey also created a box of homemade treats for me: chocolate-covered strawberries and grapes! How sweet!

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We capped off our Mother’s Day celebrations with dinner at my parents’ house, complete with fabulous wine and some ridiculous triple crème brie.

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It was lovely and relaxed and a perfect weekend of feeling truly appreciated and loved!

How was your weekend?

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Why? Weekends!

We weren’t about to let the chilly, damp, foggy weather get us down this weekend. Here’s what we were up to:

Azure Rooftop Lounge Summer Kick-Off

On Friday night, Matthew and I attended the Summer Kick-Off party at Azure Rooftop Lounge.

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Photo Credit: Orville McEachron Photography

Located on the 12th floor of The 9, Azure has stunning skyline views and an expansive outdoor space with bar seating, cozy couches, and some fabulous plant walls.

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We sampled some of the delicious food you can get at Azure, including Savory Ahi Tostadas, Shishito Peppers, Crab Cake Sliders, and delicious mini desserts.

We also sampled some of Azure’s signature cocktails, including boozy lemonade and strawberry mules.

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Azure Rooftop Lounge is now officially open for the season and is a fabulous spot for a summer cocktail (or two). Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 3-6pm and includes $2 off cocktails and sangria, $3 off wine, $1 off beer, and $9 starters.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Summer Kick-Off at Azure Rooftop Lounge with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Cleveland Indians Game

Despite the weather on Saturday, we bundled up and headed to our first Cleveland Indians game of the season.

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We enjoyed the activities on the Family Deck and Jeffrey picked up his Tribe Town MVP kit, filled with fun Indians merchandise!

Even better, the Indians got a win over the Seattle Mariners! Despite the fact that it felt more like football weather, our first Tribe game of the season was a home run!

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Mommas and Margaritas

On Sunday, I hosted some of my mom friends for a Cinco de Mayo/Pre-Mother’s Day celebration. Appropriately titled, “Mommas and Margaritas,” we had margaritas, guacamole, salsa, hot corn chile dip (recipe here), and lots of laughs.

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I couldn’t do it without these ladies (and others in abstentia) and I was so glad we had a chance to celebrate an early Mother’s Day!

How was your weekend?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Oh, it was a weekend of eating! From Market at the Food Bank to our other weekend adventures, we enjoyed so much good food!

Biga Wood Fired Pizzeria

On Friday, we met up with Julia and Ben to help them get another entry in their Pizza Diaries series at Biga Wood Fired Pizzeria.

Biga is a favorite pizza spot for us. We love their selection of wood-fired, authentic pies, always focused on local, seasonal ingredients.

To make ourselves feel a little bit healthy, we started with the wood-roasted broccolini with lemon, parmesan, and garlic.

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Then it was into the pies. We shared the Biga Pesto (homemade pesto, roasted tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and mozzarella); the Cerino (house made sweet sausage, roasted artichokes, red sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil); and the Ramp (ramps, bacon, garlic, mozzarella, and rosemary cream).

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My favorite was the Cerino, which was well-balanced between toppings, sauce, and cheese and hit that “traditional pizza” taste on the head.

I’ll let Julia and Ben share more of our thoughts on the pizza, but suffice it to say, everyone left Biga feeling stuffed and happy!

Rosewood Grill 

On Sunday, I joined some fellow bloggers at a brunch at Rosewood Grill, which just rolled out their new brunch menu. We got an expansive taste of the menu and my biggest takeaway is how well-balanced it is.

There are plenty of sweet options, savory options, breakfast options, lunch options, salads, and decadent desserts. There’s something for every brunch taste, which is a tricky needle to thread.

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I started with the Good Morning Manhattan, with Watershed Private Barrel Bourbon, orange marmalade, and sherry. Who says bourbon isn’t for brunch?!

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Rosewood Grill treats brunch like a full meal, with appetizer and dessert options on the menu. Do not miss the Millionaire Bacon, crusted with brown sugar and cayenne!

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Or the Coo Coo 4 Cocoa Puffs, with boozy milk: a grown-up treat that will make you feel like a kid again!

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And I have two coupons to give away for a complimentary brunch appetizer at Rosewood Grill for the first two people to comment on this post!

If you’re into sweet brunch options, my personal favorite was the Brioche French Toast, with peanut butter mousse, bacon, strawberry, and Ohio maple syrup.

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The Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with mixed berry compote will also satisfy your morning sweet tooth!

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On the savory side, the Fried Chicken Benny, with buttermilk biscuit, sausage gravy, egg, and hash browns…

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…the Sausage and Egg Tacos, with cheddar, peppers and onions, guacamole, and salsa roja, and the Short Rib Hash, with peppers, onions, sunny side up eggs, and creamy horseradish were all stand-outs.

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If you’re looking for something lighter, the Maine Lobster Chop, with asparagus, roasted corn, cucumber, tomato, scallions, and herb yogurt dressing is the perfect summer salad!

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And if you want decadence, look no further than the Chocolate Torte or Cherry Cobbler.

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Rosewood Grill’s brunch offers something for every taste (and you should taste all of it!) The food is flavorful, incorporates a lot of local ingredients, and is elevated while still being approachable. Brunch is offered at all three Rosewood Grill locations (Hudson, Strongsville, and Westlake) on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-2pm.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary brunch at Rosewood Grill. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

So, that was our weekend: tons and tons of fabulous, local food. How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a busy holiday weekend, filled with friends, family, and favorite traditions.

Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter Egg Hunt

I’m big on traditions, especially at the holidays. And as a parent, I love taking Jeffrey to the same event year after year because it really illustrates how much he’s grown.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden‘s annual Easter Egg Hunt is one of those holiday traditions for us.

From the egg hunt in the Hershey Children’s Garden (luckily we were in the second hunt and the rain stopped)…

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…to seeing the gardens in spring bloom…

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…to meeting the Easter Bunny…

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…to fun games and crafts, there’s so much to enjoy.

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We also got to experience the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Amazing Butterflies, which is open through Sunday, April 28. Kids get to work their way through a maze and take a journey from caterpillar to butterfly, with tons of fun, hands-on elements.

This is definitely an annual tradition we will keep!

Easter Fun

The rest of the weekend was filled with more traditional Easter goodness, from dyeing eggs with friends on Friday…

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…to dinner with Matthew’s family on Saturday, to which he brought this sinfully good carrot cake (recipe here)…

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…to church and dinner with my family on Sunday…

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…it was a weekend full of good food, favorite traditions, and people we love.

Whether Easter, Passover, or just a regular weekend is what you celebrate, I hope you had a great one!

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest!

Last night, we were at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, but for a taste homerun, not a baseball one!

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Our Lady of the Wayside‘s 25th annual Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest brought together great Cleveland restaurants with their yummiest small bites for a friendly competition.

Some of our favorites included the meatball bruschetta from The Woods Restaurant and Lounge

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…the scallops from Hilton Garden Inn (the second place winner for the night)…

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…the tuna with chile lime wonton from Momocho

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…the Cajun swordfish and risotto from Element 41 Kitchen and Bar

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…the crab cakes from Berea Depot and artichoke arancini from Sodexo, both of which I scarfed without taking pictures (the arancini won third place)….

…and the short rib Wellington from Tree House Gallery and Tea Room, which took home first place).

There were chef winners, but the real winners of the night are those served by Our Lady of the Wayside’s Pathways Day Program in Valley View. Currently the program serves 75 people, but will expand to 100 with the funds raised at last night’s event.

Stay tuned for more information on another fundraiser for Our Lady of the Wayside happening at Progressive Field in June: Grapes and Ale!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote their special events. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest and will receive two complimentary tickets to Grapes and Ale. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Aside from breaking in the new Lindey’s Lake House, we had a very theatrical weekend, so let’s get on with the show…

Beck Center for the Arts

On Friday, Matthew and I went to see a performance of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” at Beck Center for the Arts.

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Held in the intimate Studio Theater, you felt as if you were in Emerson’s Bar and Grill in Philadelphia in 1959.

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The show dramatically recreates a performance given by Billie Holiday a mere four months before her death. Her classic songs are interwoven with funny and tragic stories from her troubled life.

Nicole Sumlin is brilliant as Billie Holiday and the practically one-woman show left us riveted.

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” continues at Beck Center for the Arts through April 14. You can purchase tickets online.

Community theater is a vital part of our arts community and Beck Center not only allows performers and audiences a chance to enjoy great shows, but it also furthers arts education.

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Beck Center for the Arts offers multiple theater experiences, from shows suited for adults and families alike. Check out their upcoming shows, including “King Lear” and “Matilda the Musical.” Beck Center also offers educational programs, with a full array of summer camps.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a performance of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” at Beck Center. I received two complimentary tickets to the performance. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Sesame Street Live

From jazz and blues and tales of addiction to magic and sing-alongs and inspiration, we shifted gears and attended Sesame Street Live Make Your Magic on Saturday.

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Jeffrey felt like he might be a little big for Sesame Street Live, but as soon as the show started, he was transported and thoroughly enjoyed the songs and story.

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Elmo and Abby and friends learned not only how to perform magic tricks, but also how to find wonder if the every day happenings of life.

It was a fun, vibrant performance that we left singing.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Sesame Street Live. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets to the show.***

How was your weekend? Did you get outside and enjoy the glorious weather?

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Why? Lindey’s Lake House!

It certainly felt like patio season this weekend, which is perfect timing for a new restaurant to open in The Flats. Lindey’s Lake House is taking over the former Coastal Taco location and opens to the public today.

Lindey’s has the same owners as Coastal Taco and Cedar Creek Grille and the menu brings together favorites from both those restaurants, as well as the Lindey’s location in Beachwood.

The vibe makes you feel like you’re relaxing on the patio at a friend’s vacation home, with a lot of white walls, vintage vacation photos, and cute decor accents.

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As at Coastal Taco, the large bar that looks out to the water is the focal point. The cocktails are summery and delicious. We particularly enjoyed the Dockside Buzz (Bulleit Bourbon, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, ginger beer, and bitters) and the Farmers Market Rickey (Beefeater Gin, Domaine de Canton, lime juice, watermelon, and mint).

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We shared the guac & house chips and the sweet & spicy calamari to start. The calamari was lightly breaded and the citrus Asian red chili glaze was so good!

For my entree, I had the Miso-glazed Outer Banks cod. The glaze was flavorful, without overpowering the delicate white fish.

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Matthew had the crab cakes, which were very good. We both really enjoyed the vegetable hash that came with our entrees.

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Do not skip dessert at Lindey’s! The homemade pies are truly something special. Matthew loved the Key Lime, which was not overly sweet and very creamy.

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My blueberry pie was packed with real blueberries and didn’t have that artificial glaze filler.

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The food and atmosphere are sure to make Lindey’s Lake House the place to be in The Flats this spring and summer!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Friends & Family Opening of Lindey’s Lake House with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Taste of the Tee!

Last night, Matthew and I attend the Taste of the Tee event to benefit The First Tee of Cleveland.

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While strolling food and wine events are common, this one had two unique aspects that made it stand out: the chefs for the evening and partnership with other non-profits.

First, our chefs for the evening were students in The First Tee of Cleveland’s Fit to a Tee program, which teaches children healthy eating habits, cooking skills, and life skills.

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Obviously, Cleveland’s weather is not conducive to a golf-based program year-round. So, Fit to a Tee allows The First Tee of Cleveland to offer impactful programming, even when it’s too cold to be on the course.

The Fit to a Tee students paired with students from Tri-C’s Culinary Arts – Hospitality Management program to prepare delicious dishes on an event scale.

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We enjoyed avocado fries, grilled shrimp…

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Japanese vegetable pancakes, bison meatballs, veggie skewers, Asian lettuce wraps and two kinds of tacos (mahi mahi and cauliflower and chickpea).

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For dessert, there were banana cupcakes and chocolate avocado mousse, served in a meringue shell (to everyone who didn’t get any, I’m sorry I ate so many of those).

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How often can you go to a strolling food and wine event and actually feel like you made healthy eating choices?! Even Dr. Mark Hyman of the Cleveland Clinic, who specializes in functional medicine, addressed the attendees and praised the healthy cooking skills taught by The First Tee of Cleveland.

The food was expertly paired with wines selected by Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute and Brandon Chrostowski.

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There was also a delicious charcuterie and cheese table from Edwins, as well as a raffle for a personal cheese and wine tasting at the restaurant.

The whole evening was set to beautiful music by students from The Music Settlement.

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Taste of the Tee harnessed the power of four non-profits to come together to make an amazing event. But more than that, it illustrated the impact the programs at The First Tee of Cleveland have. Our young chefs not only made delicious, healthy food, but they showed poise and politeness throughout the entire evening.

If The First Tee of Cleveland’s programs and philosophy sound like a great fit for your child, there will be an open house tomorrow, Saturday, April 6 from 10am-12pm at all four of the First Tee of Cleveland locations. You will learn more about the programs, meet staff and coaches, play fun golf games, and enjoy refreshments. Check it out!

***Disclosure: I was asked by The First Tee of Cleveland to help promote their upcoming events. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to Taste of the Tee. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Weekends!

Happy Home Opener, Cleveland! There may be snow on the ground, but the home opener means summer is just around the corner…

So, how did I fill the chilly last weekend of March? Let’s get to it…

Brewery Crawl

On Saturday, Matthew and I met up with our friends Ritch and Denise for a brewery crawl. Ritch has a goal of hitting a certain number of Cleveland breweries by a certain birthday (numbers withheld because we’re all getting older), plus it was just Denise’s birthday, so what a fun way to celebrate!

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We started at Saucy Brew Works, where we love the food just as much as we love the beer.

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We shared the Nashville Hot Chicken and Bees Knees pizzas and definitely couldn’t decide which we enjoyed more.

From there, it was a short walk to Bookhouse Brewing. This cozy, bookstore style brewery made us want to sit there all day. I had a sampler and really enjoyed all the (fabulously-named) beers I tried: Patio Season, Maybe Partying Will Help, River of Memories, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

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Next up: Brick and Barrel Brewing, where we played board games while enjoying our brews. I had a Roasted Out of My Gord pumpkin porter, because if this cold weather is sticking around, so is my love for porters and stouts.

Our final stop was Terrestrial Brewing Company, which was filled with great beer, but also with sweet fuzzes. I love bars that are dog friendly. I spent most of my time hanging out with the pets (sorry, friends).

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It was a fun afternoon and such a great reminder of how many awesome breweries we have in Cleveland, who are putting out creative, delicious beer! We also picked up a bunch of stamps in our Cleveland Brewery Passport!

Monsters Purple Game

That evening, we picked up Jeffrey and headed to the Cleveland Monsters Purple Game, to benefit the American Cancer Society, Ohio.

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We had so much fun (and amazing seats). The Monsters games are action-packed and really family-friendly, which make them a favorite sporting event choice for us.

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Plus, the Monsters commitment to the American Cancer Society was really touching and made it an even better night out.

The Monsters auctioned off a special commemorative purple jersey to raise funds, as well as showing videos throughout the game and having people make support signs for those in their life impacted by cancer.

When everyone waved their purple rally towels, it was a sight to see!

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Stay tuned for my on my growing involvement with the American Cancer Society…

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Monsters to help promote the Purple Game. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets and a parking pass. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Superstar and Nuevo Modern Mexican

I had a Sunday Funday with my mom, when we attended “Superstar: The Songs. The Stories. The Carpenters.” at Playhouse Square. I got Mom the tickets for her birthday and have to admit to not being a huge Carpenters fan going in to the show. But, the music was great!

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I had no idea going in that Helen Welch, the lead singer, is a Cleveland resident who has performed at places like Nighttown, so the local connection had me enjoying the show even more.

After the show, we grabbed dinner at Nuevo Modern Mexican. There’s something about having guacamole and a margarita while it’s snowing that just makes you feel like you’re shaking your fist at the weather.

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Gosh, I can’t wait for patio season!

We shared the habanero jelly guacamole and then I had the Cuban sandwich, which was meaty and flavorful!

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For dessert, I had the manzana gallette because I seriously cannot pass up an apple dessert.

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It was a great way to end a great weekend! How was yours? What are you doing to celebrate the Home Opener?

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