Why? Masthead Brewing Co.!

There are so many new breweries popping up in Cleveland that it’s hard to keep up with them all! I had been hearing great things about Masthead Brewing Co., so earlier this month, Matthew and I stopped in before a show at Playhouse Square to check it out.

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Located in the historic Bryant Building, Masthead is renovating this gigantic space to house both a restaurant and production brewery space.

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We decided to start with a four-beer sampler, with the Wit, Coffee Stout, Poblano Chili Stout, and Midwest Red IPA.

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While I chose to get a glass of the easy-drinking Wit to accompany my dinner, I really enjoyed both of the stouts too. For our dinner, we chose to start with the cherry peppers, stuffed with smoked mozzarella and wrapped in speck ham and topped with spicy honey.

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Somewhat surprisingly to us, the peppers were cold, but very tasty with a nice spice from the honey.

We started with the Hawaiian pizza, with rosemary ham, jalapeno peppers, and pineapple. The perfect balance of spicy and sweet, with a deliciously thin and chewy crust, right out of the huge pizza oven, this was the perfect pie! We devoured it and almost immediately moved on to the spicy soppressata pizza, with fresh mozzarella and giardinera. Yum!

Masthead Brewing boasts a huge space, good beers, yummy pizza, and a laid-back vibe that all spell taproom success in my book. It’s in a great location for a pre-game or pre-show bite or an after-work happy hour. Cheers to one of the new kids on the brewery block!

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Why? Grapes and Ale Giveaway!

Progressive Field is the hottest place to be this summer and not just because of our fabulous Cleveland Indians and some pretty awesome concerts set to play there. The stadium will also host to Our Lady of the Wayside‘s Grapes and Ale fundraiser.

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Our Lady of the Wayside is celebrating its 50th Anniversary of supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities. All proceeds from Grapes and Ale benefit this amazing organization, which is expanding services into Summit County to help even more people!

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Progressive Field will once again host this fabulous evening on Friday, May 19. You’ll get to sample BBQ bites from some of Cleveland’s sauciest restaurants, including Smokin’ Rock & Roll, Melt, The Aurora Inn, 100th Bomb Group, and more.

There will also be over 300 international wines to sample included with your admission, as well as craft beer samples available for purchase at The Corner. Your hosts for all this food and fun will be Kenny Crumpton from Fox 8 News, Chip Kullik from Majic 105.7, Jeremiah from Q104, and Marc Bona from cleveland.com.

General admission tickets to Grapes and Ale are $50 and include unlimited wine and food samples, access to The Corner to purchase craft beer samples, a souvenir glass, entertainment by The Ace Molar Band featuring Todd Meany from Fox 8 News, and access to take your chance to win fabulous Chinese auction prizes.

You can also upgrade to VIP tickets, which are $125 and include all of the above plus access to a private Majic VIP area with featured wines, beers, and Tito’s Vodka cocktails, plus hors d’oeuvres from The Garden Grille & Bar and desserts from Cupcake Cravings.

You can purchase tickets online now. Or you can head over to my Instagram page at @whycle for details on how to enter to win two general admission tickets to the event!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Grapes and Ale. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary VIP tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a relatively low-key weekend, which is great because it feels like the next couple weeks are completely packed! On Saturday afternoon, Matthew, Jeffrey, and I went to visit baby Nolan, the new arrival for our friends Nathan and Lane.

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Nolan is just precious and we couldn’t be happier for Nathan and Lane! Since you always take the new parents food when you visit, we stopped to pick up lunch at On the Rise Artisan Breads.

From my curry chicken salad to Matthew’s pork bahn mi to Lane’s burrata sandwich, everything looked, smelled, and tasted just delicious! There’s such care put into the food at On the Rise. And we couldn’t pass up the amazing chocolate chip cookies!

On Saturday evening, Mom and I headed to another John Carroll University Founders Day celebration, this time with the newly-founded Akron Canton Alumni Chapter. We went to a restaurant that’s long been on my list: Trattoria Vaccaro.

We enjoyed a sampling of flatbreads and cheese before settling in for a huge and delicious meal. We had a limited menu to select from, which didn’t skimp of the flavor. I chose the lasagna bolognese.

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It’s honestly rare that I can’t (or don’t) finish an entree, but my goodness, this was gigantic! And so good! The bolognese was so flavorful and there was so much meat and cheese in each layer of the lasagna.

Mom selected the vegetable risotto, with zucchini, squash, and mushrooms. It was lighter than most risotto I’ve had and filled with flavor!

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For dessert, we had our choice between a selection of decadent and delicious mini parfaits.

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I’m so glad I was able to not only celebrate Founders Day with even more alumni, but also finally get to Trattoria Vaccaro! I will definitely be back to this warm, welcoming, traditional Italian spot.

Sunday, we had plans to attend a charity 5K at Jeffrey’s school in the morning, but Jeffrey was unfortunately feeling under the weather. So, a relaxing day at home was what was called for. With a little help from Heinen’s prepared foods on the potatoes, we made a delicious grilled chicken dinner (I am obsessed with Cidergeist Bubbles, FYI) and we wound down the weekend quietly.

Also, this weekend I shared my first post as a blogger for Northeast Ohio Parent. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to share our great Cleveland adventures on their site. I have found them to be required reading since having Jeffrey, so being a part of their team is truly an honor. You won’t see any changes here at Why CLE, but I’ll give you a heads up when I’m posting there (and if you’re not already familiar with the site, check it out!) 

How was your weekend? Are you feeling the oncoming busy-ness of spring in Cleveland?

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Why? Recess on Detroit!

Last night, members of Playhouse Square Partners and friends took to the Gordon Square Arts District for Recess on Detroit. The “recess” theme started last year with Recess on 25th. The event is a scavenger hunt through local businesses that not only puts you in touch with some of the cool places in a neighborhood, but also raises money for the Playhouse Square Bus Fund.

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Our evening kicked off at Old City Libations, where we enjoyed signature cocktails made with Old City Soda, as well as the chicken paprikash pierogi (OMG, so good).

From there, it was next door to the Near West Theatre, which moved into it’s beautiful new space in 2015 (I know that because it was a question on our scavenger hunt). While we weren’t able to go inside, we did get a fun photo opp in front of the marquis.

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Next up was Superelectric Pinball Parlor. This bright, fun, retro establishment boasts tons of pinball games to enjoy, as well as cool artwork to take in while you play.

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Finally, we ended our hunt with a sweet treat at Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop. Matthew and I shared the Bob Feller Sundae. While I’m not usually one to share ice cream, this sundae was large and rich and definitely good to split.

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Salted caramel ice cream is drenched in hot fudge and topped with Spanish peanuts, caramel corn, whipped cream, and a cherry. It’s the baseball classic Cracker Jack in ice cream form!

The scavenger hunt also encouraged to pick one other Gordon Square business to patronize, so we popped into the fun and funky Land of Plenty: Vintage and Modern, where I picked up an adorable postcard (watch your mail) and an equally adorable purple beaded bracelet.

It was back to Old City Libations to hear the results and while our team didn’t win the scavenger hunt, I feel like we’re all winners for having a fun night in a cool neighborhood for a great cause!

If you’re interested in checking out a Playhouse Square Partners event, our always-popular Trivia Night is happening on Wednesday, May 24 at Kennedy’s Theatre at Playhouse Square. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

***Disclosure: I am the vice co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? JCU Founders Day!

Yesterday, John Carroll University celebrated the 131st anniversary of its founding. Originally called Cleveland University and founded on the site of what is now St. Ignatius High School, John Carroll has been an integral part of Cleveland since its inception.

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Last night, the Terminal Tower lit up blue and gold to mark Founders Day!

While the university is 131 years old, the tradition of celebrating Founders Day with events for both students and alumni is only in its second year. I took Jeffrey up to campus during the day to see the decorations and festivities.

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The St. Ignatius statue was ready for a birthday party!

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And the infamous Pacelli lion was painted for the occasion. I definitely remember spray painting my sorority letters on that lion a time or two!

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The Office of Alumni Relations also provided blue and gold cupcakes, because what’s a birthday party without cake?!

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But the most meaningful part of the day on campus was the chance to fill out an “I ❤ JCU Because…” balloon and getting the chance to read what others wrote on their balloons.

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John Carroll truly is a special place that is a lasting part of the lives of the people who attend!

The Founders Day celebration continued in the evening with an alumni event at the Tasting Room at Great Lakes Brewing Co. (one of the founders, Dan Conway, is a JCU alum!)

We enjoyed beer, tasty small bites, and conversation with alumni from many different years and backgrounds. It was a great reminder of how John Carroll is in Cleveland, not just on the campus, and how our connections with the university and fellow students remain so valuable.

Obviously, I’m a proud John Carroll alumni and I’m so glad that the university has taken up the tradition of marking Founders’ Day! If you’re a John Carroll alum, click here to find out about more upcoming alumni events both in Cleveland and nationwide.

***Disclosure: I am the president of the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Grapes Under Glass!

What happens when Heinen’s – Downtown Cleveland and The 9 Cleveland combine to put on an event? You get Grapes Under Glass: An Unprecedented Wine Tasting Event.

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All events will take place in the stunning Cleveland Trust Rotunda, a truly unique and beautiful place to enjoy a glass (or two or three) of wine. You will have access to wines from wineries such as Duckhorn, Cline Cellars, Moet Hennessy, Robert Mondavi Winery, and many more.

You’ll also nibble on food paired specifically to the wines, created by The 9’s Executive Chef, Nelly Buleje, as well as Heinen’s culinary team and Chefs Matt Mytro and Paul Minnillo of Flour Restaurant.

On Friday, April 28, there will be a Napa Blue Chip Wine Tasting, with a who’s who of Cabarnet-Sauvignon based wines. On Saturday, April 29, you can participate in various themed Wine Seminars. Then, that evening is the Main Tasting Event, with 23 wineries represented, along with food pairings. The fun caps off on Sunday, April 30 with a Bubbles Brunch (YES!).

Tickets can be purchased for individual events or in an event package, which can include overnight stays at The 9 Cleveland. Click here for more information, including pricing on events and packages, and to purchase tickets.

The Cleveland Trust Rotunda has quickly become a symbol of downtown Cleveland’s renaissance and the perfect place for a high-class event. Grapes Under Glass will be quite the event, so raise a toast!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Grapes Under Glass Main Tasting Event with a guest. Due to scheduling conflicts, I declined my tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

***Note: Thoughts and prayers are with the Godwin family, our local and national law enforcement officers involved in looking for this man, and all those affected by his actions. Please be vigilant and safe. There are several reputable new organizations reporting reliable details on this story. I encourage you to select on your own and to stay informed.***

It was a lovely Easter weekend in Cleveland! On Friday, I took Jeffrey to Playground World for their Easter Egg Hunt.

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While it was really (I mean, really) crowded, the staff at Playground World did a great job at sectioning the Egg Hunt by age groups and keeping everyone organized and safe. It was a really well run, although simultaneously crazy, event!

Friday evening, perhaps seeking some extra zen after the Easter Egg Hunt, I attended an Easter Yoga Workshop at Harmony Yoga. Harmony teacher Kanela led us through a challenging vinyasa flow, mixed with reflections on spirituality and the Easter season. It was a perfect way to center and remember what Easter is all about before the busy weekend ahead!

On Saturday morning, we took Jeffrey to the Cleveland Botanical Garden‘s annual Easter Egg Hunt. This is such a lovely event, from the chance to experience Big Spring (still open at the Garden through Sunday, April 23) to fun crafts to seeing the Easter Bunny to the Egg Hunt in the Hershey Children’s Garden.

Jeffrey also loved seeing the Easter Buggy, a hot pink car complete with bunny ears, nose, and tail!

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Saturday evening, we hosted our parents for a traditional Holy Saturday dinner of kielbasa, sauerkraut, and pierogi. So many family holiday traditions center around food and it’s wonderful (and delicious) to be able to keep them alive!

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On Easter Sunday, we divided our time between the families, with brunch with my family and dinner with Matthew’s family. Of course, we took time at home first to inspect all the goodies left by the Easter Bunny!

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Lots of candy and lots of Paw Patrol filled up Jeffrey’s basket this year! He’s understanding more and more about each holiday and really gets excited for each celebration!

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I hope you had a great weekend, whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, or simply the Indians and Cavs various victories!

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Why? Beasts ‘n Brews Chilifest!

There aren’t many things I enjoy more than a good outdoor food fest! So, when there’s one that combines a trifecta of chili, craft beer, and live music, you can bet I’m excited! The third annual Beasts ‘n Brews Chilifest returns to Legacy Village on Saturday, April 29 from 1-5pm.

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Local chefs and farms will bring their finest chili for festival goers to sample and vote for in the “Best of the Fest” competition. There will be grass-fed beef chili, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. Your $5 admission gets you a personal chili spoon for digging into all the tasty goodness.

After enjoying all that chili, you can quench the fire on your palate with a selection of local craft beers from a variety of breweries and cocktails from Watershed Distillery available for purchase. Then relax and listen to local bluegrass musicians to cap off a fun day!

All of this fun and food benefits North Union Farmers Market‘s mission of championing local foods, specifically targeting their education and accessibility programming.

For more information and to purchase tickets for Beasts ‘n Brews, click 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.***

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Why? Silver Spoon Awards Party Giveaway!

Cleveland loves good food and loves a party! So, a party designed to celebrate all the great food in Cleveland is bound to be an amazing evening!

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Cleveland Magazine‘s 23rd annual Silver Spoon Awards Party  to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio is happening Wednesday, May 3 at the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum at the Cleveland History Center.

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You can enjoy delicious small bites from Cleveland’s top restaurants, unlimited wine samples, silent auctions and raffles, and the chance to check out pieces of Cleveland history all in one place!

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There is also an exclusive VIP lounge with additional small bites, specialty cocktails from Brown-Forman, and a late-night after party.

Tickets are currently on sale for $100 for general admission and $150 for VIP admission. You can purchase tickets online and can save 10% by using promo code WHYCLE at checkout.

Or you can enter to win two general admission tickets to the Silver Spoon Awards Party right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment here telling me which participating restaurant you’re most looking forward to sampling.

2. Visit Cleveland Magazine’s Silver Spoon Awards Party and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @SilverSpoonCLE and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to attend @SilverSpoonCLE thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2017/04/12/why-silver-spoon-awards-party-giveaway-4 #giveaway

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, April 17 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Silver Spoon Awards Party. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary VIP tickets for myself and 2 complimentary general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Aside from Yuri’s Night, there was lots of other fun to be had over the weekend! On Friday, as you know, we woke up to this:

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So, it was indoor activities for us! Jeffrey and I met up with one of his little friends for an unofficial birthday celebration at Chuck E Cheese’s. Jeffrey has so much fun playing the games and winning tickets!

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Friday night, in order to try to warm up a bit, I made hatch chile mac ‘n cheese (recipe here), but added in some shrimp too. It was hearty and tasty and definitely helped warm us up!

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On Saturday morning, we took Jeffrey to Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark. As Jeffrey’s enthusiasm for the holidays increases, it’s always great to find new ways to enjoy the season!

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Aside from getting to meet the bunny, we enjoyed a nice breakfast buffet.

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And we got to visit some of the newest members of the Farmpark, including some 3-day-old lambs!

I am continually impressed by the Farmpark’s events and the Breakfast with the Easter Bunny was no exception! If you want to enjoy Springtime on the Farm, you can check out a wonderful indoor play area, plus lots of new critters through May 7.

On Sunday, Jeffrey and I met up with my parents for brunch at Punch Bowl Social. This gave a whole new meaning to Sunday Funday! Punch Bowl has a great Bloody Mary bar, with Pope’s Kitchen mix and lots of fun fixings.

 

I ordered the blue plate special of shrimp and grits, with tender belly ham and jalapeno. The flavors in this dish were spot on, which is great because it will be joining the Punch Bowl permanent menu toward the end of the month.

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Mom went with the chicken and waffles and I managed to snag a bite. Crispy, sweet, spicy, and so good!

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After we stuffed ourselves, it was time to burn off some of our brunch with a family bowling outing.

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This was Jeffrey’s first time bowling and Punch Bowl made it so easy, with a ramp for rolling the ball and gutters that popped up automatically for his turn (although I could have used them myself, too). We all had a wonderful time and lots of laughs!

I’ve continually been impressed with our experiences at Punch Bowl Social, from the food and drinks to the game options to the hospitality. Stay tuned for a more full description of our morning on Cleveland Plus soon!

We capped off an active and completely lovely weather Sunday with another fun race as part of the Healthy Kids Running Series. And then lots of sleep!

What a great weekend! How was yours?

***Disclosure: I was invited to brunch with my family at Punch Bowl Social in order to write a piece for Cleveland Plus, as well as sharing some thoughts on this blog. Our food, drink, and fun were complimentary. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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