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.
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.
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!
We also enjoyed the crispy Brussel sprouts, with pine nut and pomegranate…
…and the whole roasted cauliflower, with golden raisins and almond chimichurri.
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.
Nighttown is a Cleveland classic, a celebrated jazz club that’s been open for more than 50 years. I’d been to a couple events there, but never just popped in for dinner, which I had the opportunity to do this week while celebrating my bestie Mariah’s birthday.
The bar and restaurant have the feel of a neighborhood pub and you can tell that it’s frequented by regulars who are well-known by the staff. They have a great selection of cocktails, spirits, and wines to enjoy. I had an Old Fashioned that was simply made and simply delicious.
For dinner, I had the swordfish special with basmati rice, flash-fried cauliflower, and remoulade.
Similar to the drink, the preparation was straight-forward and well-executed.
Mariah had the Halloumi Kebobs, with halloumi cheese, citrus couscous (Mariah substituted mashed potatoes), and chive oil.
Delicious! I could serious live on halloumi.
Nighttown is participating in Cleveland Independents Restaurant Week through November 16, so you can get a three-course, prix fixe meal (only $33 for dinner) to try out something new. And you should definitely come for dinner and stay for the entertainment! Check out Nighttown’s awesome line-up of live performances here.
It might have been my first time dining at this Cleveland institution, but it won’t be my last. I loved being treated like a regular even on my first visit and look forward to actually making myself one at Nighttown!
Our group was in the bar area of The Fairmount, which is large, with plenty of seating both at the bar and at high-top tables and cozy couches. If that’s not your style, The Fairmount has a lovely, quieter dining area, as well as an adorable, secluded patio.
I ordered a bourbon cocktail, as has become my habit these days. The Blind Date has sage and allspice-infused Russell’s 10-year bourbon, date-infused vermouth, and bitters. Rich and flavorful, this was a fantastic drink!
I am intrigued by The Fairmount’s shared cocktails, which serve 4-5 people, and come in Moscow Mule, Sangria, Scorpion Bowl, and Mimosa. I definitely will be rounding up a group to try these soon!
To nosh, I ordered the Cast Iron Brussels, a popular choice with our group. Tossed in balsamic vinaigrette, these make eating your veggies a piece of cake!
I also ordered the Kung Pao Chicken Fritters, with crushed peanuts, pickled peppers, green onions, and yum yum sauce. Lightly breaded and with just enough spice, these were a perfect nibble.
The Fairmount has an expansive happy hour menu, offered Monday through Friday from 4-7pm. Seriously, you can save on everything from craft cocktails to tacos. Check it out!
For a restaurant with a neighborhood-bar feel and delicious food and cocktails, give The Fairmount a try!
What a beautiful weekend in CLE! Here’s what we were up to:
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.
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!
We also enjoyed the seasonally-perfect Tomato Salad, with fresh and pickled tomato, peaches, almonds, dill, and farm cheese.
Mom had the Strip Steak, with stilton au poivre, frisee, pickled shallots, and chives. The steak was perfectly done, simple, and delicious.
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.
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.
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!
It was a fantastic dinner! The new menu at Lola Bistro is definitely worth a visit or two!
The Foundation Room is a membership-based space at House of Blues, with a great menu of cocktails and food;
a funky vibe, with lots of cozy spaces;
and a gorgeous new flower wall from CLE Flower Walls on the patio overlooking East 4th Street.
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.***
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.
I was blown away by the creativity, plating, and downright deliciousness of all the food!
Congratulations to Nomad Culinary, who won the competition. It was a tough choice picking a favorite, for sure!
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?
It was a busy weekend of celebrating the start of Jeffrey’s summer break and our seventh anniversary. Here’s how we acknowledged those special occasions:
On Friday, Jeffrey and I kicked off his summer break by taking a trip to our favorite summertime spot: Cedar Point.
This is the third year we’ve gotten season passes (Jeffrey has the awesome Pre-K Pass, which is such a good deal). I love the ability to go up there as many times as we want, stay as long as we want without feeling pressured to do everything in one trip, and save on food and merchandise purchases and parking.
Jeffrey loves the spinny rides and I did my best to hang in there with him!
You can climb up into some of the trucks and even take a ride in a monster truck!
It honestly felt like summer as soon as we arrived and we can’t wait for lots more trips to Cedar Point this season!
Art in the Village
Saturday morning, Jeffrey and I met up with friends to check out Legacy Village‘s annual Art in the Village.
We strolled through all the talented vendors from Northeast Ohio and beyond, listened and danced to live music, and let the kids run around the lawn. All in all, a pretty nice way to spend a couple hours!
***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.***
An Evening in Coventry Village
On Saturday, Matthew and I had a date night in Coventry Village. We started with dinner at Pacific East. We shared the massive and delicious Sushi Bridge, with sashimi, nigiri, a California roll, and a spicy tuna roll.
We also shared the roti canai appetizer. Pacific East has a huge menu with both Japanese and Malaysian cuisine, so everyone can find something to suit their tastes.
From there, we headed to Grog Shop to hear my dear friend Melissa and her School of Rock classmates rock out in an awesome performance.
Melissa started taking drum lessons at School of Rock earlier this year and she’s already a total pro on the drums! I was so proud of her for learning a new skill and totally killing her gig.
And if you haven’t been to Grog Shop, it is such a cool, funky place to see live music (with a killer local craft beer selection), so check it out!
On Sunday, Matthew and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary.
We spent the day doing yoga, playing with Jeffrey in the backyard, and making dinner at home, so it was pretty perfect!
I made this delicious paella (recipe here), which was packed with everything from chorizo to chicken to shrimp to clams to lobster.
It was a lovely, relaxed day and a wonderful way to celebrate seven great years!
It was a low-key weekend, which is exactly what I needed after just returning from a trip (and traveling again this week!)
Yoga Roots 30+ Social
On Saturday evening, I attended a social for everyone who reached 30 or more classes in the Yoga Rootsfall challenge. Of 186 people who participated in the fall challenge, 27 of us reached 30+ classes!
Held at the home of studio owners Scott and Kim, the social was a great chance to celebrate reaching 30+ classes, meet other yogis, and see each other in something other than yoga pants! I was surprised how many of us didn’t know each other, just from being on different class schedules!
There were delicious nibbles from the studio’s neighbors: Gigi’s on Fairmount and On the Rise. I could eat Gigi’s bruschetta and On the Rise’s raspberry bars all day! And there were custom cookies from Sarah, one of the Yoga Roots teachers.
I’ve talked before about really finding a home at Yoga Roots and Saturday night was just another example of why that is so true. Yoga Roots is genuinely a community, not just a studio, which is what keeps me coming back (and has me geared up for the spring challenge, too)!
Sunday morning, we attended the monthly Family Yoga class at the Mandel Jewish Community Center. This has become one of our favorite family activities. Each month, the class is a bit different, but always explores mindful movement, breath work, and meditation in a way that’s fun for all ages.
This month, the kids participated in an obstacle course that involved my friend Robin and I being bridges in both down dog and plank as the kids crawled under us!
So, we got some exercise in too! The next Family Yoga class takes place Sunday, April 14, with sessions at 10am and 11am. Cost to attend is free for Mandel JCC members and $10 for non-members. You can sign up online.
Nothing says love to me like shopping local, female-owned businesses. So, since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I thought I’d round up some of great gift ideas, whether to help you complete your shopping or just round out your own personal wish list!
If cookies or other dessert treats are more your speed, put in an order with Annie’s Signature Sweets (her lemon lavender cookies are unique and the perfect shape for Valentine’s Day) or stop in and check out the wide selection of dessert deliciousness at Luna Bakery & Café.
Want to give (or get) something sparkly this Valentine’s Day? Both Bombay Taxi Boutique and Oceanne Jewelry are local and female-owned with beautiful, unique pieces to choose from.
What lady wouldn’t like a little vino for Valentine’s Day? CLE Urban Winery is female-owned and makes award-winning wines (I really enjoy the C-Town Cabernet Sauvignon).
For a lot of gals, it’s all about the bag. So, where can you find a perfect purse from a local, female-owned business? Go for the modern classic leather bag from Fount or grab a city-pride wristlet or tote from Anne Cate.
This Valentine’s Day, there are lots of ways to get the presents you or your significant other want, while supporting local, female-owned businesses! You’ll be showing some creative Cleveland ladies the love too!
If you follow my Instagram stories, you know that you can usually find me at On the Rise Artisan Breads on weekday mornings. They have seriously the best flat white I’ve ever had: it’s an amazing combination of fantastic coffee, Hartzler Family Dairy milk (no fat-free here), and Ellen the barista’s gorgeous latte art.
It doesn’t hurt that On the Rise is filled with the most glorious smells of baking bread, croissants, the signature Jennifer cookie…even when I don’t indulge in a treat, just the smells of them make me happy.
On the Rise is offering some delicious holiday specialties to help you celebrate the season with local, artisan pastries.
The Panettone is the On the Rise take on a traditional Italian sweet bread, packed with candied citrus, raisins, and vanilla bean.
The Panettone is $13.50 and is the perfect hostess gift or additional to your Christmas breakfast table.
And the Buche de Noel cake is a gorgeous, decadent dessert centerpiece (and dessert should always be the centerpiece, if you ask me). Vanilla chiffon cake is wrapped around chocolate mousse, then topped with swiss chocolate buttercream, meringue “mushrooms” and “trees,” and a chocolate pistachio truffle.
The Buche de Noel is $50 and serves 10-12 people.
Beyond these signature specialties, the On the Rise holiday menu also includes Cranberry Walnut Levain, Chocolate Cherry Bread, Cranberry Open-Faced Croissant, Chocolate Ganache Pecan Tart, Caramel-Poached Apple Bread Pudding, and Pear Frangipane Tart.
For all your holiday treats, from an individual nibble before a day of shopping to a perfect addition to a party to a delicious breakfast for the family, head to On the Rise Artisan Breads. I’ll be there, with a flat white in hand!
***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote On the Rise Artisan Breads’ seasonal offerings. In exchange, I received a complimentary Panettone and Buche de Noel. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Cleveland has been experiencing quite the brewery boom! It can be hard to keep up, but I do it for you guys, right?! I had been wanting to check out Boss Dog Brewing Company in Cleveland Heights after hearing lots of positive feedback about both the beer and the food.
On a recent visit, I tried both the Put-N-Berry, a honey ale with a touch of blackberry, and the Gimme S’more Porter, which was served with a toasted marshmallow on top.
I enjoyed both beers! The Put-N-Berry was perfect for summer sipping and the Gimme S’more was full of flavor and fun (who doesn’t love a toasted marshmallow?).
For my dinner, I chose the chicken fried duck, which is topped with maple chipotle drizzle. Oh my goodness, so rich, so flavorful, so good!
My friend Melissa got the Portobello mushroom sandwich, which she really enjoyed. She was pleased with all the vegetarian options on Boss Dog’s menu.
Boss Dog is also part of the Cleveland Brewery Passport through Destination Cleveland. This passport includes 30 local breweries that you are encouraged to visit. After you make a purchase of beer, food, or merchandise at the brewery, you can receive a stamp on your passport.
Stop by Destination Cleveland when you hit 8 stamps for a Cleveland bottle opener or all 30 stamps for entry into a getaway drawing. You can grab your passport at the Destination Cleveland offices downtown or at any participating brewery. This is such a cool incentive to try new places and explore the great local beer scene in Cleveland! And if you’re looking for a place to start, I say give Boss Dog a try!