Why? Weekends!

It was another fun, festive weekend! Here’s what we were up to:

Brewnuts

On Friday, my mom watched Jeffrey for the day, so that I could have my self-proclaimed “Mommy’s Holiday Get Sh*t Done Day.” The day included gift shopping, grocery shopping, party prepping, and some time for me, too.

I started my day at Brewnuts, which I had been dying to get to since they opened their storefront in Gordon Square.

The store is as adorable as the donuts are tasty. Brewnuts are HUGE donuts and a great balance of sweet frosting and not-too-sweet dough. I had a hard time deciding which to get, but I chose the mint chocolate coffee, made to look like a Frappuccino.

IMG_8581

Yum! Brewnuts also has a large selection of craft beer and options to make your coffee or hot chocolate boozy.

IMG_8580

Whether you stop for a morning treat or an after-work libation and donut, Brewnuts is an awesome, funky, tasty place to try!

The Beauty Room

From there, it was time to pamper my long-neglected toes with a pedicure at The Beauty Room in Tremont.

IMG_8584

I met up with my girlfriend Kimberly, which meant that the pedicure was also good for my soul! Add in some pomegranate mimosas and you have the makings of a perfect morning!

IMG_8582

The Beauty Room is bright, inviting, and has a wonderful selection of products and services (everything from massages and facials to blowouts to manicures) to make you feel, well, beautiful! And starting my day with so much relaxation guaranteed a productive, low-stress remainder of the day at the stores.

Goodyear Blimp Toys for Tots Drive

On Saturday, Matthew, Jeffrey, my parents, and I drove down to the Goodyear Blimp hangar to participate in their annual Toys for Tots drive.

IMG_8623

For a donation to Toys for Tots, you get to drive through the Goodyear Blimp hangar and see the hangar and blimp all decked out for Christmas.

IMG_8598

Santa is also there to greet you, as well as Marine in full dress uniform to accept your donation.

Jeffrey loved getting to check out the blimp up close, as well as any chance to have even a brief audience with Santa.

IMG_8597

What a cool thing to be able to see and a great way to drive donations to a wonderful cause!

Jeffrey’s Holiday Play Date

For the third year in a row, we packed our house on Sunday with Jeffrey’s friends and their families for a holiday play date.

 

IMG_8630
The calm before the toddler storm 

 

We played winter carnival games, did a holiday book exchange, and generally had a fun, slightly chaotic, wonderful time.

And while the food at the party tends toward the simple pizza, cookies, and brownies, I did add in a new addition this year: spiced wine (recipe here).

IMG_8627

This was the perfect cozy treat and I loved that I could leave it in the slow cooker to stay warm for the entire party! Plus, anytime the toddler count in your house climbs to double digits, you need wine too.

The holiday play date has become one of our favorite traditions and I love the chance for everyone to get together in this festive season!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Advertisements

Why? A Christmas Story House!

I love the movie “A Christmas Story,” especially because parts of the movie were filmed in Cleveland. But I had never been to A Christmas Story House. The holiday season seemed like the perfect time to remedy that!

IMG_8382 (1)

A Christmas Story House is located in Tremont. You can tour the house where parts of “A Christmas Story” was filmed, including iconic scenes like Ralphie on the stairs in his pink bunny suit, the leg lamp scenes, and the shoot-out with Black Bart.

IMG_8371

The entire house is hands-on, so you can sit, touch, and pose to your heart’s content.

 

Even though Jeffrey hasn’t seen the movie yet, he was immediately drawn to Randy’s kitchen hiding spot!

IMG_8375

You can also see Ralphie and Randy’s bedroom, complete with Ralphie’s Red Ryder essay.

Our tour guide also gave us tips for spotting which scenes were filmed in Cleveland when you watch the movie.

After touring the house and yard, you head across the street to the museum, which is filled with memorabilia from the film.

IMG_8388

We also got a chance to see the A Chirstmas Story LEGO prototype, which was created by a fan of the movie and his 9 year old daughter.

IMG_8392

The prototype has been submitted to LEGO Ideas and, if it gets 10,000 votes, will be reviewed to be created and sold by LEGO. You can head over to LEGO now and give it a vote online.

A Christmas Story House is open year-round except major holidays. It’s a fun way to interact with the history of one of the most popular movies filmed in Cleveland.

Plus, if you visit A Christmas Story House, you’ll save 10% off your meal at The Rowley Inn, which is right across the street.

IMG_8396 (2)
Saving 10% and getting a great meal makes Jeffrey excited 😉 

After my last visit, I couldn’t wait to get back to The Rowley Inn and lunch there capped off a perfect morning of Cleveland nostalgia.

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Welcome to the time of year where every weekend is so packed with fun and festivities that they might burst. So, let’s get right to it!

Pajamas and Popcorn

On Friday night, Jeffrey’s school hosted Pajamas and Popcorn, a family movie night with pizza, popcorn, kids in PJs, and cookies.

IMG_8241

The movie was “Horton Hears a Who,” so there were also cute Dr. Seuss photo opps. It was a really cute idea and a fun way to ease Jeffrey into the movie theater experience.

The Capital Grille

On Saturday night, we met up with my parents to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with dinner at The Capital Grille.

IMG_8253

I started with the Blackberry Bourbon Sidecar, because apparently I like cocktails with bourbon now. I’m clearly growing as a person. Matthew and I also shared the lightly-breaded calamari with cherry peppers that give it a nice kick.

IMG_8255

For my entrée, I decided to be the only non-red meat eater at the table because I just couldn’t resist the evening’s fish special: grilled swordfish topped with crab gratin.

IMG_8256

Paired with a nice Sauvignon Blanc, this meal had lots of delicate flavors that were executed perfectly. Swordfish is one of my favorite fish and when you top it with crab…wow! My dad ordered the lamb chops, which received rave reviews!

For dessert, Matthew ordered the warm double chocolate cake with port-wine cherries and I had the apple crostada.

Each was the perfect compliment to our meal. We have never been less than totally impressed with the food and the service at The Capital Grille. And during the holiday season (until December 30), The Capital Grille will also be open for lunch from 12-3pm.

Breakfast with Santa

Sunday morning, we attended the John Carroll Alumni Breakfast with Santa. The event includes a Mass, a toy collection for Bellefaire JCB, breakfast, and of course a visit with Santa!

IMG_8282

My favorite part of this event has been how my friends and I have used it as a chance to gather with our kids. I spent the morning with people I’ve known for 18 years (whoa) and got to see our kids forming friendships with each other too. It’s really special, especially being up on campus with our future Carroll students!

If you’re a John Carroll alum, you have another chance to celebrate the season on campus at the annual Christmas Reception this Wednesday, December 6. It’s truly one of my favorite events of the year, so don’t miss it!

Om for the Holidays Cleveland

While Jeffrey was napping away his Santa-induced exhaustion, I headed to Om for the Holidays Cleveland.

IMG_8360
The rainbow in this pic. I just can’t. @namastenik led an awesome flow!

Om for the Holidays was the brainchild of Angela from Universal Architect and Scare Your Soul. It brought together not only some amazing merchants for holiday shopping…

…but also live music, coaching, community-building, and yoga.

What better way to kick off the busy holiday month than with an opportunity to not only accomplish some holiday gift-buying, but also a chance to nurture your soul with like-minded folks?

IMG_8359

Merry Everything, indeed!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours? Is Christmas crazy starting to creep into your life yet?

jenclesig_pur

 

 

Why? Legacy Village Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop!

The holidays are fun and festive not just for kids, but for adults, too! Legacy Village invites you to a grown-up way to be jolly at the Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop, happening Thursday, December 14.

LVBarHop17

From 5-9pm, participants can enjoy access to exclusive Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop drink and appetizer menus from the participating Legacy Village bars and restaurants. Hop on over to Bar Louie, California Pizza Kitchen, Granite City Food and Brewery, Brio Coastal Bar and Kitchen, The Capital Grille, and The Melting Pot for festive libations and jolly bites!

You’ll also receive giveaways courtesy of Legacy Village and a photo opportunity with Santa Claus (available until 8pm). Plus, it’s the perfect reason to wear your most fun, outrageous holiday sweater in public (and maybe get some of your holiday shopping done as you’re hopping around)!

Tickets are $10 per person and a portion of the proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. So, you’ll not only have fun, but benefit a great cause too! You can purchase tickets online. Hope to see you at the hop!

And check out info on all the other great Legacy Village holiday events here and here.

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

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Weekends!

Has your turkey coma lifted? I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgiving weekends! Here’s what we were up to:

Thanksgiving, Parts 1 and 2

This year, we flip-flopped our normal holiday arrangement, which meant we celebrated Thanksgiving with Matthew’s family on Thursday and with my family on Saturday. Since I’ve prepared Thanksgiving dinner for my family for 11 years now (!), it was kind of odd to be just hanging out in my jammies, watching the Macy’s parade. I kept thinking I was forgetting to cook something!

For Matthew’s family dinner, we brought caramelized butternut squash (recipe here) and this gorgeous cake from Kelsey’s Bakery.

23843254_1693430067354881_1628465324766233302_n

This cake was as tasty as it was pretty, with moist chocolate cake layered with caramel buttercream. The frosting was the perfect level of sweetness and everyone from Jeffrey to my father-in-law loved the cake!

Kelsey’s Bakery has a kiosk at Beachwood Place for the season, so check them out for some holiday sweetness.

On Saturday, we hosted my family for Thanksgiving, part 2. I cook as if we’re feeding an army…I counted and I made enough side dishes that everyone could have their own!

IMG_8084

I use my grandma’s stuffing recipe and my great grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe. Everything we eat is traditional and tastes just like it always has, which I love at the holidays!

IMG_8082

It was so nice to be able to celebrate with everyone in our families (and get a little breather between all the eating, too!)

Holiday Decorating

The rest of the weekend was spent preparing for Christmas. We went and picked out our Christmas tree…

IMG_8074

And then covered it in lights and sparkles and ornaments with lots of history, tradition, and stories.

IMG_8110

Jeffrey also has a small tree in his room with his own ornaments (think: lots of Lightning McQueen, fire trucks, and the like).

IMG_8098

Even the pups are in the holiday spirit!

IMG_8101

I love Christmas time and I love having the house all sparkly and twinkly. I think this year is going to be the peak of Jeffrey’s Christmas excitement, too, which makes everything more fun.

I’m glad we had such a nice, productive weekend at home, too. The next weekends are jam-packed with chasing Santa all over the Cleveland area! Stay tuned…

jenclesig_pur

Why? Michaelangelo’s Amarone Wine Dinner!

In order to properly prepare myself for Thanksgiving, I put on my eatin’ pants (OK, a boxy dress) and headed to Michaelangelo’s for their Amarone Wine Dinner.

Michaelangelo’s is one of those restaurants that fell into a black hole for me…I always heard great things, but somehow never got there. After last night’s dinner, though, I have a feeling I’ll be a regular at this charming and delicious Little Italy spot.

We started our evening with prosecco (as all evenings should start) and a selection of appetizers, including crostini with artichoke espuma, arancini, and crimini mushrooms stuffed with ricotta and spinach and truffle cream.

IMG_8022

I tried to restrain myself, knowing how many courses were to come, but the appetizers were delicious!

We were treated to the history and wine-making techniques associated with Amarone wines, courtesy of Alfred from Southern Glazers. These big red wines pack a higher alcohol content, but also a lot of body and flavor.

Our antipasto course was an Ora King Salmon torte, served with baby arugula, white peach emulsion, and Amarone glaze.

IMG_8024

Next was the risotto course (shouldn’t risotto always have it’s own course?!), with Amarone risotto with grilled Nebrodini Bianco mushrooms.

IMG_8025

Rich, earthy, and so delicious!

Our next course was grilled New Zealand lamb chops with parmesan roasted cauliflower and red currant-Amarone reduction.

IMG_8026

The lamb was tender, flavorful, and perfectly cooked and the cauliflower could make anyone love eating their vegetables. This course was paired with Valpolicella Ripasso, a more cost-friendly version of Amarone.

Our last savory course was braised beef shortrib with dried Washington state cherries, rosemary spaghetti squash and fried leeks. We were treated to two different Amarone wines with this course!

IMG_8031

The shortrib by itself was amazing, but a bite with all the elements on the plate was truly something special. And the flavors stood up to the large and in charge Amarone wines paired with this dish.

The meal ended with the decadent and sweet triple chocolate mousse torte that was as fluffy as the cloud of foodie happiness I floated home on.

IMG_8032

The food, the wine, and the knowledge and experience that were all shared at the Amarone Wine Dinner made the entire evening truly a treat!

Stay tuned for more special event dinners at Michaelangelo’s (they had a Truffle Dinner a couple months ago) and, the next time you’re thinking about dining in Little Italy, pop into this delicious restaurant for an experience you’ll love!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Michaelangelo’s Amarone Wine Dinner in exchange for covering the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a busy and fun weekend! Here’s what we were up to:

All Aboard! The Science of Trains

One of my favorite things about the Great Lakes Science Center is that it allows Jeffrey to learn through hands-on exploration. When you combine that philosophy with something Jeffrey already loves like trains, you’re bound to have a great experience!

From the moment you arrive at the Great Lakes Science Center, you’re greeted in a way that lets you know what the latest exhibit is all about.

 

IMG_7923

All Aboard! The Science of Trains is open through February 19 at the Great Lakes Science Center. Jeffrey loved taking a ride on the Dominion Energy Train…

IMG_7931

…as well as checking out the model trains from the National Model Railroad Association Ohio Division 4.

There are also hands-on exhibits that allow you to explore things like friction, power…

IMG_7945

…rail safety, and even the history of trains in Cleveland.

IMG_7947

There’s even a real Plymouth Switcher on the front lawn of the Great Lakes Science Center!

IMG_7954

All Aboard! The Science of Trains not only brings trains to life, but takes them beyond Thomas the Tank Engine to teach the science behind them.

IMG_7941

Check it out at the Great Lakes Science Center before February 19!

Punch Bowl Social 

All that train time worked up an appetite, so we picked up Matthew and headed to Punch Bowl Social Cleveland for lunch. We kicked off our Fri-yay with a sampler of the namesake punches.

IMG_7964

My favorite was the King’s Cup, with two kinds of rum, pineapple fennel seed shrub, white pear fuji apple tea, and lime juice.

We selected some of Punch Bowl Social’s newest menu items to enjoy. We started with the lobster bacon fries, generously topped with real lobster, bacon, creme fraiche, green onions, and cheddar cheese.

IMG_7960 (1)

These fries were rich and delicious and more than enough to share (although you might not want to!)

For our entrees, we went with seasonal comfort food. Matthew had the golden chicken pot pie, with chicken, tasso ham, vegetables, and mustard cream, topped with puff pastry.

IMG_7963

This was packed with delicious flavors and was the perfect winter dish!

I had the autumn pot roast, with whipped sweet potatoes and seasonal roasted vegetables.

IMG_7962

The roasted vegetables and whipped sweet potatoes were the perfect compliment to the tender beef.

And Jeffrey enjoyed his grilled cheese in between pretending to bowl.

IMG_7959 (1)

Punch Bowl Social really is a great spot for the whole family, from family-friendly brunch and lunch to adult fun in the evenings with great cocktails, bowling, and karaoke. And if you haven’t been in awhile, be sure to check out the delicious new seasonal menu items!

barre3, Bites, and Blog

On Saturday, I co-hosted “barre3, Bites, and Blog” with barre3 at Legacy Village.

IMG_7976

We had an awesome turnout of strong ladies, many of whom had never taken a barre class before. Liz Ferrante, the studio owner, led us through a challenging and centering hour-long class that gave those new to barre3 a great sense of what the classes entail.

IMG_0225

We laughed, sweat, and generally had a great time together! After class, we enjoyed some delicious and healthy nibbles generously provided by Luna Bakery & Cafe and Whole Foods.

IMG_0224

Luna made granola and yogurt cups with fresh berries and gluten-free lemon zucchini walnut muffins, which were amazingly moist and yummy! We also got to try some tasty Health Warrior chia bars and sparkling water courtesy of Whole Foods.

We also had fun raffles for the class attendees, with shirts from barre3 and some great local items purchased at Banyan Tree and Merchant’s Mrkt at Legacy Village.

IMG_7978

This event combined so many things I’m passionate about: fierce and inspiring ladies, local businesses supporting each other, and finding fitness that makes you feel strong and centered.

Thanks so much to Liz and the whole team at barre3 Legacy Village for making this event happen and to all the awesome ladies who spent part of their Saturday sweating and shaking with me!

So, how was your weekend?

***Disclosure: I was invited by the Great Lakes Science Center to visit All Aboard! The Science of Trains and received two complimentary admission tickets. I was invited by Punch Bowl Social to a complimentary lunch featuring new menu items. I was asked by barre3 Legacy Village to co-host and promote an event and in exchange, I received a complimentary 5-class pass. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? The Rowley Inn!

Tucked away in Tremont, caddy-corner to A Christmas Story House, is a hidden gem of a restaurant: The Rowley Inn. This place has so many things I love in a Cleveland restaurant: friendly and fun, with plenty of kitsch, but also really amazing food and drink.

We started our evening with A Pink Nightmare, a tasty cocktail with 1800 Silver, Campari, lime juice, housemade simple syrup, grapefruit juice, and a splash of Sprite.

IMG_7893

The cocktails at The Rowley Inn are named from “A Christmas Story” and are as yummy as they are creatively named. I couldn’t pass up the Be Sure to Drink Your Ovaltine, with whipped cream vodka, Kahlua, half n half, and Ovaltine (of course).

IMG_7895

We also got to sample the Red Ryder, with Bulleit bourbon, lemon juice, maple, and cranberry. It’s possible that I don’t actually hate bourbon, because I thought this was delicious!

The Rowley Inn offers more than just great cocktails, though. The food is billed as Cleveland-style comfort food and that is the perfect categorization. Pierogi are featured prominently throughout the menu, so you know how I felt about that!

We started with two gloriously deep-fried starters: The Rowley Inn shrimp cocktail and the fried pickles.

These appetizers started a recurring theme for the night of LOVING the sauces and toppings that came with our food. Yes, the food itself was great, but the sauces elevated the dishes and showed an attention to detail and understanding of flavors that was truly impressive.

Next up was the Southwest chicken salad, with Cajun-rubbed chicken, avocado, black beans, corn, tortilla strips, and more.

IMG_7897

Yum! This salad was packed with fresh flavors and was a nice balance to all the heavy, comfort food we were eating.

One of our favorites of the evening was the chicken club, with avocado, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, spicy mayo, and a walnut pesto that was to die for!

IMG_7898

I want to eat this all the time.

We also tried the Cleveland’s Best Grilled Cheese, with smoked gouda, a mozzarella/provolone blend, and a touch of mayo.

IMG_7899

OMG. I’m on grilled cheese overload because Jeffrey eats it all the time, but this was truly amazing.

Next up was the Cleveland burger, with pierogi, kielbasa, kraut, beer cheese, and stadium mustard.

IMG_7901

This burger still cheers for the Browns, wears shorts as soon as the temperature is above 60 degrees, and loves Drew Carey. It’s THAT Cleveland. And I love it THAT much.

You think we’re done? This is a Cleveland bar, my friend. We kept eating.

The Rowley Inn says their mac ‘n cheese is so good it’ll make you wanna slap your momma. Um, apologies to my lovely mother, but yes. Yes, it does.

IMG_7902

We also tried one of The Rowley Inn’s most original offerings: Loco Moski. This is their take on a traditional Hawaiian dish. Sauteed pierogi are topped with hamburger patty, fried egg, gravy, and caramelized onions.

IMG_7904

It’s like poutine. With pierogi. On crack.

We rounded out the savories (and our expanding bellies) with a sample of a brunch item: chicken and waffles with gravy and perfectly spicy hot sauce.

IMG_7905

The cinnamon waffles gave the dish the perfect balance of sweet and savory and makes me want to spend my Sunday Funday at The Rowley Inn for sure (with some more of that Ovaltine concoction too).

For dessert, it was more pierogi…

IMG_7909

These are candied apple pierogi, filled with cooked apples and topped with candied apple pieces and caramel candies. So original!

I was flat-out blown away by the dishes at The Rowley Inn. Comfort food can  incorporate elements that excite and challenge your palate. I love all the Cleveland memories wrapped into The Rowley Inn and I love the quality and imagination of the dishes.

The bar is open every day at 5:30am (for real) and the kitchen is open daily at 11am on weekdays and 8am on weekends. And if you stop in after a visit to A Christmas Story House, you can save 10% on your food bill! Make The Rowley Inn part of your holidays and beyond!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tasting dinner at The Rowley Inn with a guest. I also received a gift card to use on a future visit (which I will be making oh so soon). As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? AMP 150 Winter Harvest Dinner!

Remember how I was just saying how Cleveland hotel restaurants elevate the “hotel restaurant” to a true dining destination? Well, AMP 150 was always at the forefront of that trend in Cleveland. The Winter Harvest Dinner on Friday, prepared by new Executive Chef Joseph Dubbs was a bounty of seasonal deliciousness and showed the quality for which AMP 150 has become known.

We started our evening with a craft cocktail with Cleveland Whiskey that had been finished in a maple syrup barrel. This innovative take on a whiskey sour even had me enjoying whiskey!

IMG_7798

The courses at the Winter Harvest Dinner were all served family style, which allowed us to get to know our tablemates and gave the event the feel of a holiday dinner. The first course featured butternut squash soup with lump crab…

IMG_7802

…lamb meatballs stuffed with feta and served with tzatziki sauce (my favorite of the first course)…

IMG_7804

…and Belgian endive stuffed with bleu cheese and topped with crispy prosciutto.

IMG_7803

The second course featured lots of elements traditionally found in a Thanksgiving meal, but with a gourmet, AMP 150 twist. There were Brussels sprouts au gratin, with so much cheese and bacon…

IMG_7805

…couscous with surprisingly tart cranberries…

IMG_7808

…sweet potato gnocchi with sage brown butter (oh, yes please)…

IMG_7807

…smoked pork loin with delicious pears and mustard…

IMG_7810

…and a beer-brined turkey with crispy sage.

IMG_7809

And, just like any holiday dinner, you keep eating long after you’re full! The third course featured a trio of tasty treats: pumpkin roll, key lime tarts, and dark chocolate bark with pistachio, cherry, and candied pineapple.

We also enjoyed another Cleveland Whiskey cocktail: a grown-up chocolate milk.

The seasonal harvest dinners at AMP 150 are not only a bounty of great food, but are also a great deal! $50 per person gets you all that food, plus drink pairings with each course. Stay tuned for the next one in April!

And if you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a holiday dinner without cooking, AMP 150 has both Thanksgiving and Christmas reservations available!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the AMP 150 Winter Harvest Dinner. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary tickets for myself and 2 tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? The Burnham!

Hotel restaurants in Cleveland should no longer be called “hotel restaurants.” The name carries the connotation of unimaginative food that you’re stuck eating in some random city because you don’t know where else to go. Cleveland’s hotel restaurants, on the other hand, take food, drink, and ambiance to another level and turn into destinations in and of themselves, both for locals and visitors.

This is certainly true of The Burnham, located in the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

IMG_7740

Named for one of the city’s original architects, The Burnham’s menu pays homage to Cleveland’s roots, while also celebrating the city’s status as a destination worthy of the most fervent foodie. You’ll find pierogi and kielbasa on the menu, but also gnocchi and pork belly.

IMG_7747

But I’m getting ahead of myself in my excitement. Let’s start with cocktails: a Sacre Bleu for me, with Watershed Vodka, St. Germain, lemon, lavender, and butterfly pea flower. And a Manhattan for him, because Matthew can’t resist bourbon.

IMG_7742

For our starters, we decided to share the lobster bisque with cognac whipped cream and puffed pastry and the buttermilk fried calamari with green tomatoes and key lime aioli.

Our server Jessica insisted we couldn’t pass up the Ohio City Pasta shitake mushroom and potato pierogi, served with caramelized vegetables (pictured above). All the starters were delicious, but my favorite elements were the unexpected ones, like the caramelized vegetables with the pierogi or the green tomatoes with the calamari.

And we definitely saved some of the lobster bisque to enjoy with our bread service from On the Rise Artisan Breads. Now would be a good time to point out that The Burnham sources from local businesses like On the Rise, Ohio City Pasta, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, and Watershed Distillery. And you know how much I love that!

For entrees, I chose the crispy skin salmon with Ohio City Pasta sweet pea and sun-dried tomato gnocchi, charred onion, and asparagus coulis.

IMG_7750

As with the appetizers, the accoutrements of this dish are what took a delicious, perfectly-cooked piece of salmon to another level of tastiness. The sun-dried tomatoes and sweet peas balanced each other so well.

Matthew chose the scallops and pork belly, with sweet potato puree, charred onions, and bacon jam.

IMG_7751

If you read that last sentence, you’ll know that there is literally nothing not to like in this dish!

Then came dessert. I blame Jessica, our server, for the fact that three desserts appeared on our table, but the fact that they all disappeared is all on us! Matthew and I chose the cherry crème brulee and the spiced caramel pumpkin tart, respectively.

IMG_7752

But then Jessica insisted we couldn’t miss the sweet potato cheesecake and, oh, was she right!

IMG_7755

I am not a cheesecake fan by nature, but this light and fluffy version, topped with toasted marshmallow and candied pecans and set atop a graham cracker crust had me cleaning the plate.

From the cocktails to the food to the service, our dinner at The Burnham was everything you’d want a downtown date night dinner to be. Don’t miss getting there while the fall menu is available. And order the third dessert…you’ll be glad you did!

Oh, and if you’re at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown before Saturday, be sure to check out the Hilton Passport Project.

IMG_7735

This traveling project, which aims to raise the number of Americans who have their passports (currently only 41%) is in Cleveland to help you get your free passport photo, fill out an application with help from a State Department representative, and check out some amazing Hilton properties you can then visit with your new passport.

***Disclosure: I was invited by the Hilton Cleveland Downtown to tour the Hilton Passport Project and enjoy a complimentary (excluding cocktails) dinner at The Burnham. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur