Why? Weekends!

It was a fun and festive weekend, celebrating both Valentine’s Day and my mom’s birthday. Let’s get to it…

Valentine’s Day

Jeffrey didn’t have school on Friday, so I got to have a Valentine’s day-date with my best buddy. We started with breakfast at Original Pancake House.

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There’s nothing that Jeffrey likes more than a stack of chocolate chip pancakes!

Then we headed to Busy Bee’s Pottery and Arts Studio for some pottery painting. Busy Bee’s allows you to walk in, select a piece, and paint it however you choose.

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Jeffrey chose this water cup with various sports on it, which is pretty on-brand. He got to paint it in his own style and it will be fired and ready to pick up in a week.

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What a fun activity! I had such a lovely Valentine’s Day with my best date!

Columbus

On Saturday, Jeffrey, my parents, and I headed down to Columbus for a long-weekend road trip. My mom’s birthday was on Saturday, so I wanted to do something to celebrate her special day. Being the awesome grandma that she is, she couldn’t think of a better way to spend her birthday than doing things that Jeffrey enjoys.

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We started at Legoland Discovery Center.

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Jeffrey and my dad spent most of the time there building and racing LEGO cars, which was a great way for them to bond.

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From building to exploring the cities of Ohio built out of LEGOs to rides, Legoland Discovery Center has tons of hands-on fun for LEGO enthusiasts of all ages!

After Legoland, we took a short walk over to McCormick and Schmick’s for dinner. Being Valentine’s weekend, the restaurant was packed and the service and the kitchen were less than stellar. But the manager definitely helped smooth the bumps in the road. And the food and drinks were very tasty.

Mom and I each chose a drink that was prepared tableside, because we so fancy like that. I had the Overcast, with bourbon, crème de cassis, orange bitters, and chocolate foam. Delicious!

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While I didn’t get any entrée pictures because we basically inhaled them after the long wait, I had the sesame-crusted tuna, which was so good. I’m a sucker for good side dishes and the wasabi mashed potatoes and black pepper sauce brought the heat to this dish!

We all shared the Chocolate Bag for dessert: a bag molded out of dark chocolate and filled with white chocolate mousse and berries. Yum!

The next morning, we took a mandatory dip in the hotel pool. There is nothing more exciting for a kid than a hotel pool, I swear!

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We stayed at the Hilton Columbus at Easton, which was beautiful inside and located in close proximity to everything we wanted to do while we were in town.

Sunday morning, we grabbed breakfast at SuperChefs, a superhero-themed restaurant that was as fun as it was tasty.

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I had the croissant breakfast sandwich, with eggs, candied bacon (yes, please), and mixed green, served with a side of delicious hash browns.

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Jeffrey had this gigantic pancake stack. The look on his face says it all!

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Then it was off to COSI for an afternoon of science fun.

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Jeffrey was thrilled with the recently-opened DC Superheroes exhibit, where he could channel his inner Justice League hero.

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I was thrilled that our admission was free with our Great Lakes Science Center membership, as the two museums have membership reciprocity. What an awesome deal!

From futuristic superheroes…

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…to prehistoric dinosaurs, there was so much to see and do at COSI!

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Then it was time to hit the road home, with a mandatory stop at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn on the drive back.

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Yes, I got a bag of cheddar and caramel corn. No, I amazingly haven’t eaten it yet.

It was such a fun road trip and a great chance to get away to celebrate Mom’s birthday. I always have a great time in Columbus, from the food to the activities!

So, that was our weekend. Jeffrey still has one more day off school, so we’ll be fully back to reality tomorrow! How was your weekend?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Anastasia Galentine’s Package!

Last night I celebrated one of my favorite holidays, Galentine’s Day, with my original galentine: my mom!

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We started with dinner and drinks at Bin 216. Bin 216 is offering a special Galentine’s Cocktail Menu through the run of Anastasia at Playhouse Square. There are select wines, beers, and cocktails.

Mom had the lemon drop and I had a Kentucky mule.

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Then we shared a selection of small plates, including the Neopolitan flatbread, the spinach and artichoke dip, and the special of the day: crispy Brussel sprouts.

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So delicious! We capped off the meal with the decadent apple tart.

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Then it was off to see Anastasia, a beautifully staged and costumed show. And the lead actress’s voice blows the doors off the Connor Palace Theatre.

We had single seats, but since we don’t talk during the show, it wasn’t a big deal! We just caught up at intermission and after the show.

What’s more fun than drinks and a Broadway show with your galentine? Playhouse Square knows that combo makes the perfect night out, so through the run of Anastasia, you can score single seat tickets, each of which will be paired with a drink voucher for a complimentary drink from the Bin 216 Galentine’s Cocktail Menu.

It’s a great deal on a great night out with your galentines! Click here to purchase tickets.

***Disclosure: I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote the Anastasia Galentine’s package. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets and drink vouchers. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

So, is anyone else confused as to when the weekend actually started (or ended for that matter?) It was a lovely, relaxed holiday weekend around these parts…

Laurentia Vineyard and Winery

On Friday night, I met up with my friend Michelle for dinner at Laurentia Vineyard and Winery. Michelle and I went to college together and hadn’t seen in each in way, way too long!

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It was wonderful to reconnect and so easy to chat. Plus, Laurentia makes for such a pretty, cozy place to meet.

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I tried the 2016 Pinot Noir instead on my usual Cabernet Sauvignon and really enjoyed it! For dinner, I had the Roast Chicken Gnocchi, with chicken, spinach, mushrooms, parsley pesto, and bone broth.

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The flavors were delicate, which made me glad I chose the Pinot Noir over the Cabernet.

It was a fabulous night of good food, good wine, and reconnecting with a good friend.

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Despite not having the outcome we were hoping for, my friend Anne and I had a great time on Saturday night watching Ohio State play in the Fiesta Bowl.

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We went to Brew Garden in Strongsville, which has tons of both bar and table seating and lots of TVs, making it the perfect place to take in a game.

They also have a great beer selection, with lots of Ohio brews (we both liked the Twisted Kilt from Thirsty Dog.) We shared the Spinach and Artichoke Dip and the Mean Green Nachos, which were both tasty and good for splitting.

Next time there’s a big game, check out Brew Garden for a place to watch it!

Adrenaline Monkey

Jeffrey had a high-octane adventure at Adrenaline Monkey on Sunday.

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It’s a great place for kids (and adults) to run, climb, jump, swing, and get out some of that pent-up winter break energy.

Adrenaline Monkey has winter break day camps and extended hours while the kids are out of school, so check it out. I can vouch for it buying us an extra hour and a half of sleep this morning, too!

Little Women

On Sunday, my mom and I went to see Little Women. Having read the book and seen various film adaptations, I was still so excited to see this new version.

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The cast is superb, the cinematography and costumes are beautiful, and the story is the one you know by heart, even if you didn’t remember that you do.

It is heartwarming and beautiful and empowering, so grab your best friend, your mom (or if, like me, they’re one and the same), and get to the theater to see it!

So, that was the weekend. Not bad for the last of the decade. How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Progressive Dining at Legacy Village!

You probably know that Legacy Village is the perfect place to stroll and shop, but it’s also the perfect place to stroll and dine. Last week, I enjoyed a progressive meal at Legacy Village, taking advantage of three of their best restaurants.

I started with appetizers at The Capital Grille. The lounge is a great place to kick off your progressive meal with cocktails and appetizers. My favorite cocktail at The Capital Grille is the Blackberry Bourbon Sidecar, with Woodford Reserve, Cointreau, blackberries, fresh lemon juice, and thyme.

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My mom got The Bohemian, with Absolut Apeach, mixed berry cordial, champagne, and fresh raspberries.

For my appetizer, I chose the Tuna Tartare, with tuna stacked over fresh avocado with spicy sriracha. So delicious!

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Mom had the Lobster and Crab Cakes, served with corn salsa. Meaty, flavorful, and so good!

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After our appetizer course, it was a short walk to Wild Mango for entrees. Mom was feeling pretty full already, so she opted for the Spinach Salad, with strawberries, cucumber, goat cheese, sunflower seeds, and strawberry vinaigrette.

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I had the Honey-Glazed Sesame Chicken, with dark meat chicken, steamed broccoli, and short grain rice. I would highly recommend this entree!

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For dessert, I swapped my dining companion for Jeffrey and we enjoyed the Pure Dark Chocolate fondue at The Melting Pot.

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Jeffrey loved dipping all the delicious offerings into the chocolate! Messy, but fun!

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I also enjoyed a Chocolate Raspberry Kiss, with Godiva Chocolate Liquor, Chambord, coffee, and whipped cream.

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I’ve always wanted to do a progressive dinner and Legacy Village was the perfect spot for it, with lots of restaurant options to suit your tastes, all in close proximity to each other. You can park once, easily reach all your destinations, and enjoy a diverse taste of Legacy Village!

***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.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

What a beautiful weekend in CLE! Here’s what we were up to:

Lola Bistro

On Friday night, Mom and I met up for dinner at Lola Bistro. It was the perfect night to sit outside and take in the great weather and the game night crowds on East 4th Street.

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Lola Bistro is in the process of unveiling a new menu. Our server told us Chef Symon was recently in town to help develop the new dishes. For our appetizers, we selected one new dish and one classic one.

The Beef Cheek Pierogi, with mushrooms and horseradish crème fraiche, is still on the menu and is so delicious!

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We also enjoyed the seasonally-perfect Tomato Salad, with fresh and pickled tomato, peaches, almonds, dill, and farm cheese.

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Mom had the Strip Steak, with stilton au poivre, frisee, pickled shallots, and chives. The steak was perfectly done, simple, and delicious.

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I had the Duck and Foie Gras Meatloaf, with celery root puree. The slices of meatloaf were thin, almost like terrine, and the flavor was smoky and rich, with just the right amount of foie gras.

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For dessert, I couldn’t pass up the 6am Special, another item I’m so glad stayed on the menu. This decadent dessert has brioche French toast, maple-bacon ice cream, and roasted apple.

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Mom had the My Dad’s Favorite Cake, with lemon cake, strawberry buttercream, lemon curd, raspberry jam, and vanilla bean ice cream. I love the combination of berries and lemon!

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It was a fantastic dinner! The new menu at Lola Bistro is definitely worth a visit or two!

House of Blues Foundation Room

Then we headed down the street to the Foundation Room at House of Blues Cleveland.

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The Foundation Room is a membership-based space at House of Blues, with a great menu of cocktails and food;

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a funky vibe, with lots of cozy spaces;

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and a gorgeous new flower wall from CLE Flower Walls on the patio overlooking East 4th Street.

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Foundation Room membership benefits range from food and beverage discounts to exclusive presale access to backstage tours. Click here to learn more about the various membership levels and elevate your House of Blues experience.

***I was invited to a complimentary event at the Foundation Room, with cocktails, food, discounted parking, and a swag bag. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Cleveland Garlic Festival

On Saturday, Jeffrey and I had a stinkin’ good time at the Cleveland Garlic Festival.

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This annual event is a fundraiser for North Union Farmers Market and supports not only the markets around town, but also their Access Programs, Mighty Locavores, and more.

I had the cool opportunity to be a judge for the beef competition of the Top Chef Garlic Grill-Off. Chefs from Nomad Culinary, CLE Kraut, and EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute presented their beef and garlic creations.

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I was blown away by the creativity, plating, and downright deliciousness of all the food!

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Congratulations to Nomad Culinary, who won the competition. It was a tough choice picking a favorite, for sure!

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We also checked out all the varieties of garlic for sale, the live entertainment, and the kids area! There is so much to do at the Cleveland Garlic Festival! This is definitely an annual tradition for us.

***Disclosure: I was asked by North Union Farmers Market to help promote the Cleveland Garlic Festival and to judge the Top Chef Garlic Grill-Off. In exchange, I received four weekend passes to the Garlic Festival. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

We actually had a few other things this weekend, including another festival, stopping by Matthew’s regatta, and a baptism, so you get the picture…it was a busy weekend!

Since Jeffrey starts school this week, I’m glad we squeezed in so much fun! How was your weekend?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Music Box Tiki Tuesdays!

It’s summertime and there’s no better place to be than on a patio enjoying a cool beverage. Music Box Supper Club wants you to do just that, at a great deal!

Today and every Tuesday this summer, head to Music Box from 4-8pm for Riverfront Tiki Tuesdays. First, you’ll get amazing waterfront views of the bustling Cuyahoga River…

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…and the Cleveland skyline.

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You’ll also enjoy awesome deals on food and beverage. Tiki Tuesdays offers $6 drinks, including piña coladas, margaritas, mai tais, and select Great Lakes Brewing Co. beers.

When we went last week, I enjoyed a refreshing Zombie, with light and dark rum, fruit juice, cinnamon-infused simple syrup, and bitters. My mom had the piña colada, which was light and delicious, without that think, milkshake texture.

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It’s easy to remember how much things cost on Tiki Tuesday, because all the food is also $6. You can choose from a cheeseburger, veggie burger, or kielbasa, all served with fries, or the Pu Pu platter, with meatballs, wings, and ribs.

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The burgers were juicy and the toasted brioche buns were a win in my book. And the Pu Pu platter offered a nice variety of sauces and flavors.

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To add to the fun, you can relax to the steel drum sounds of a Caribbean playlist. And Tiki Tuesdays are pup-friendly too, so you can make it a “yappy hour” deal.

Fun drinks, tasty food, great views, and awesome prices…don’t miss Tiki Tuesdays happening today and every Tuesday this summer at Music Box Supper Club!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Music Box Supper Club to help promote Tiki Tuesdays. In exchange, I received complimentary food and drinks. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a long holiday weekend and the unofficial start of summer, so of course there was lots of fun to be had…

Goldfish Swim School

Crazy early on Friday morning, Jeffrey and I headed to Goldfish Swim School – Cleveland East Side as part of a segment on WKYC on swimming safety.

Jeffrey got to spend an hour taking a swim lesson, while WKYC did various live shots. He had a great time just doing something he enjoys anyway (albeit usually not that early!)

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You can see Jeffrey swimming along here and here.

We’ve been so happy with his progress at Goldfish Swim School, not only in swim skills, but also in self-confidence! We definitely feel confident going into the summer season that he is ready for all the pool and water fun the season brings!

Luca West

On Saturday evening, my mom and I met up for a Girls’ Night Out at Luca West.

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From perfect cocktails to delicious food, this is a great spot to dine! We started with an appetizer course of the Sacchetti, white truffle and ricotta-stuffed sacchetti pasta with white truffle and aged fig balsamic.

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This is one rich dish, but so worth the indulgence! Pro tip: use the bread to sop up the extra sauce!

For our entrees, we both chose veal: grilled veal chop with truffle butter for Mom and veal piccata for me. Both were served with roasted potatoes and asparagus.

We both cleaned our plates! The veal was tender, the piccata sauce was bright and citrusy, and the sides were the perfect compliment.

For dessert, we went with a trio of traditional choices: crème brûlée (so smooth and creamy), cannoli, and tiramisu (light and fluffy perfection). All were delicious and left us with something to take home to our husbands, too!

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I am always so impressed with the food and the service at Luca West…truly a fabulous place to enjoy an Italian feast!

Tremont Greek Fest

On Sunday, we crossed another item off my 2019 Blog Bucket List at the Tremont Greek Fest.

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The festival offers lots of traditional Greek food prepared from family recipes, from gyros to souvlaki to lamb shank. You can grab a gyro to go or stay and enjoy a full dinner platter.

Matthew had the jumbo gyro and I had the souvlaki pita. Both were so flavorful!

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Of course, we couldn’t skip the pastry table. The baklava was nutty, sticky goodness!

There are also vendors, Greek music and dancing, and a couple carnival-style games.

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Festivals always say summertime to me, so it was great to spend the unofficial kick-off to summer at a festival that I’ve always wanted to attend!

Jeffrey’s Birthday

Monday brought Jeffrey’s 5th birthday!

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Since we had his big party last weekend, we spent the day with our parents and him, playing in the backyard, exchanging presents, and of course eating.

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I made grilled garlic tequila lime flank steak (recipe here), street corn (recipe here), guacamole, and salsa, so we could all build our own perfect platter of Mexican-style deliciousness.

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For dessert, we went with our go-to Mitchell’s Ice Cream for a build-your-own-sundae bar.

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It was a lovely, relaxed afternoon celebrating our favorite young man!

How was your weekend?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Spice Spring Supper Club at Borrow Rentals!

Last night, Mom and I celebrated an early Mother’s Day with the best gift we can give each other: time together.

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We attended the Spring Supper Club at Borrow Rentals, with food and expertly-paired wine from Spice Kitchen and Bar. The setting was perfect, with Borrow’s eclectic, vintage decor fitting in perfectly with Spice’s seasonal, farm-driven cuisine.

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We were welcomed with Prosecco (the only way I like to be welcomed) and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.

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Our first course was 3-Way Dandelion Kombucha Soup, with radish, snow peas, and dandelion greens, paired with Corvidae Riesling.

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I was so skeptical about this course and I just loved it. The soup was tangy and spicy, with just enough sweetness from the snow peas to balance it out.

The second course was Guinea Fowl “Caesar” Salad, with romaine, ramp croutons, Styx mountain cheese, and Lake Erie Caesar dressing, paired with The Curator White Blend.

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One of my favorite things about Spice is how hyper-local and seasonal their food always is. Ramps are a sure sign of spring in Ohio!

Our third course was Venison Sausage Pasta, with spring green pea pesto, whipped ricotta, Spice Acres mushrooms, and foraged nuts, paired with Farnese Montelpuciano d’Abruzzo Fantini.

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Rich, delicious, and creatively presented, this dish was a winner!

We ended our spring dining with Angel Food Cake, with Chantilly cream and rhubarb jam, paired with Marenco Moscato d’Asti.

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What a lovely evening of creative food in a creative atmosphere, shared with the lady who taught me to love both!

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?

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? South Florida!

This weekend, Mom, Jeffrey, and I headed down to South Florida for a little spring break trip. The reason for our visit was to celebrate my Great Uncle Ray’s 80th birthday, but we also squeezed in some other South Florida fun.

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We stayed at B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale, which was right on the beach. Jeffrey loved both the time on the beach and at the hotel pool.

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We brought home lots of seashells (and sand!) The last time Jeffrey was in this part of Florida, he was just under 2 years old, so his excitement over the ocean was almost brand new.

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While at B Ocean, we had a delicious lunch at the Naked Crab. The rock octopus was so smoky and good!

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We also took a stroll down A1A…

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…and found Bo’s Beach, a perfectly-situated beach front restaurant with delicious Frose cocktails and yummy churrasco steak.

Everything tastes better with beach breeze blowing through your hair!

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By chance, we happened to be in Florida for a John Carroll Alumni Presidential Reception, so we had a chance to attend the luncheon at The Capital Grille.

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Not only was the lunch so tasty, but it was a great chance to connect with some Florida alumni and hear what’s been going on at campus lately from the new president, Dr. Michael Johnson, and his wife, Jill.

Now, to the point of the whole trip: Great Uncle Ray’s birthday! We surprised him and he was truly shocked when he opened his door to the three of us standing there!

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From a delicious birthday dinner at Cooper’s Hawk (get the gnocchi with roasted butternut squash)…

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…to time spent at their house in the pool, it was a wonderful chance to catch up and celebrate!

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And while we had lots of other fun on the trip, the whole point was the family time. There’s truly nothing like face-to-face connection and I’m so glad we had a chance to make it happen for this big birthday!

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How was your weekend? Are you doing any spring break travels?

jenclesig_pur