Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend, with lots of buddies, beverages, and brunches, so let’s get right to it…

100th Day of Kindergarten

On Friday, Jeffrey’s class celebrated their 100th day of Kindergarten. All the kids had to make a project using 100 of something they love, so Jeffrey built a roller coaster with 100 LEGOs.

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He was so proud of the project, plus his class made special 100 day t-shirts and crowns, too. I can’t believe the school year is more than half over!

Griffin Cider House & Gin Bar

On Friday night, I met up with Amanda at Griffin Cider House & Gin Bar for some low-key cocktails and catching up. We happened to run into our friend Kate, too!

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Griffin Cider House has an expansive gin selection, but if gin isn’t your thing (and it’s not mine), there are still plenty of great cocktail choices, like this bourbon apple cider that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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It’s a chill spot that’s perfect for hanging out with friends!

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

On Saturday, I gathered some of my favorite ladies for a Galentine’s brunch at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.

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From bottomless mimosas to delicious food, this was the perfect spot for our celebration. I had the shrimp and grits, with andouille, poached eggs, and a truly spicy and flavorful hot sauce.

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The grits were the perfect texture and this dish had a lot of great flavor!

I also highly recommend a side (or two) of the focaccia bread, which was served piping hot in a mini cast iron skillet.

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Most of all, it was a great morning spending time with some of my girls. I am so lucky to have friends from a lot of different areas of life. Around the table were ladies I met in high school and college and through blogging and motherhood. They all blend together so well and it just makes getting everyone together such a joy!

Blu the Restaurant

On Sunday, I was back on the brunch bandwagon at Blu the Restaurant. My dear friend Anne is heading to Honduras on a mission trip this week, so after her missioning Mass, we wanted to take her out to brunch to send her off well.

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We shared the spicy hash, with barbecued potaotes, jalapeno, poached egg, and spicy hollandaise to start. Everyone agreed these were the tastiest potatoes they’ve ever had.

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We also shared the mimosa bottle service, with blood orange, orange, and pomegranate juices.

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For my entrée, I had the stuffed peppers, with veal and pork stuffed peppers and marinara, topped with fried eggs. I liked the brunch twist on this traditional Italian dish!

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Jeffrey had the Yaya’s Pancakes, which were somewhere between a biscuit and a muffin in terms of shape and texture, and were entirely devoured!

This was a great spot for brunch and I definitely have my eye on a few other menu items for the next time we go back!

I snuck in a bit more food fun this weekend at the soft opening of Proof in Tremont, so stay tuned for that later this week…

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Why? Zhug!

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.

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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.

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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!

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We also enjoyed the crispy Brussel sprouts, with pine nut and pomegranate…

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…and the whole roasted cauliflower, with golden raisins and almond chimichurri.

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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.

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Why? Weekends!

This weekend recap could also be titled “How I spent most of my weekend in Tremont…”

Great Big Home and Garden Show

On Friday afternoon, Jeffrey and I checked out the opening day of the Great Big Home & Garden Show at the I-X Center.

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We especially enjoyed checking out the Garden Showcase and getting a breath of spring in January!

This year’s gardens are themed on One-Tank Trips and showed off a lot of creativity in imagining nearby destinations in gardens.

From model homes to ways to decorate both the inside and outside of your house, there’s something interesting for everyone to find at the Great Big Home & Garden Show!

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The show runs through Sunday, February 9. You can save $1 off your online ticket purchase with code CLE2020.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Great Big Home & Garden Show. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the show.***

Prosperity Social Club and Literary Tavern

On Friday night, I was out and about in Tremont with friends for dinner and drinks. We started at Prosperity Social Club, which offers great food and drinks in a casual atmosphere.

 

I had the Maple Bacon Old Fashioned (yum) and the fried chicken (double yum.) The chicken was crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside, and paired perfectly with the mashed potatoes.

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Simple, classic, delicious food in an easy-going setting. Sounds like the perfect place to end the week!

From there, we headed over to Literary Tavern. This cozy bar serves up craft cocktails and small plates in an intimate environment.

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I enjoyed the Blood Fountain, with OYO Bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and red wine. Both the taste and presentation of this drink are spot on!

Game of Thrones Bar Crawl

On Saturday, it was back to Tremont for the Game of Thrones Bar Crawl to benefit A Special Wish Cleveland. When you registered for the crawl, you picked a house (Targaryen for us) and then went from bar to bar with your house.

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From The Treehouse to Post 58 to Crust to the South Side to Dante, we covered a lot of ground on the Tremont bar scene.

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And it was all for a good cause! What a fun way to spend the afternoon!

Children’s Theater Series

Before the bar crawl, Jeffrey, my mom, and I attended another of the Children’s Theater Series shows at Playhouse Square.

This show was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites,” presented by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. This puppet-based theater company did a lovely job presenting these classic stories in a bright, engaging way.

The Children’s Theatre Series is a great way to introduce your child to live theater in a friendly way, with shows that speak directly to them.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Chocolate Fest Cleveland!

As Valentine’s Day approaches, thoughts naturally turn to flowers and date nights and…CHOCOLATE! No matter what your status, you’re probably in a committed relationship with this decadent sweet.

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Which is why Chocolate Fest Cleveland is happening at the perfect time to extend the celebration of this sweet season. Put on by Taste CLE, the event takes place on Saturday, March 14 at Lago Custom Events.

Chocolate Fest Cleveland includes chocolate samples, wine and chocolate pairings, classes including truffle-making and more, a chocolate martini bar, craft beer, wine, and food.

General admission price for the first 100 tickets is only $35 and includes 14 sample tickets, 2 alcohol tickets, a sample bag, pizza, and snacks. The price increases to $40 after the first 100 tickets are sold through March 8.

Tickets are on sale online. You won’t want to miss this decadently delicious event!

***Disclosure: I have a partnership with Taste CLE, for which I receive a portion of ticket sales from the link in this post. I will also receive two complimentary tickets to Chocolate Fest Cleveland if I reach a certain number of ticket sales. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Masthead Brewing!

Last night, Alicia and I grabbed a casual and yummy dinner at Masthead Brewing before heading over to the Hanna Theatre for a show. While you wouldn’t necessarily think of Masthead for a pre-show meal, it’s within a short walk or an inexpensive Uber ride to the theaters.

While I know I like Masthead’s craft beers (the Single Origin Coffee Stout and Falling Fruit are my favorites currently on tap there), I opted for a cocktail last night. I had the Bourbon Jam, with Watershed Bourbon, Grand Marnier, orange bitters, orange juice and raspberry preserves.

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Sweet, but not too sweet, this cocktail was right up my alley!

Alicia and I shared the new-to-the-menu Meatball Pizza, with crushed red pepper, red sauce, and fresh basil.

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I love Masthead’s thin-crust pies and this one is packed with traditional Italian goodness!

We also shared the Brussel Sprouts, with Ohio apples, roasted shallots, bacon, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar. Because we felt better about devouring the pizza with some vegetables nearby.

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Actual footage of me devouring the pizza

We also shared the Everything Pretzel, with pimento cheese, stadium mustard, and IPA honey mustard (my favorite of the dips.)

Then it was off to see “The Office! A Musical Parody” at the Hanna Theatre. The show was funny and light and a great tribute to the sitcom we loved.

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Masthead made the perfect casual stop before this casual show. Next time you’re in the area, grab a pizza and a beer and enjoy! And Masthead is celebrating their Third Anniversary Party tomorrow, so drop in and celebrate!

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Why? Weekends!

It was a low-key weekend around here, which was much needed after a busy week and an aversion to going out in the blustery winter weather…

Salted Dough

On Saturday, Jeffrey and I met up with my parents to check out the newly-opened Salted Dough in Broadview Heights.

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From the same owner as Crust in Tremont, Salted Dough serves up pizzas and a handful of other Italian dishes in a warm, casual setting.

I started with a Maple Bacon Old Fashioned, because who can resist a drink with both bourbon AND bacon?!

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We all shared the Brussel Sprouts, with Dijon aioli, balsamic, and crispy shallots…

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…and the Meatballs, packed with traditional Italian flavors. Pro tip: order the Salted Dough appetizer to dip in the sauce.

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Salted Dough has a wide variety of pizzas, as well as build-your-own options. Jeffrey had the cheese pizza, which made him a very happy camper!

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Mom chose the gnocchi with rosemary and mushroom cream sauce…decadent and delicious!

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Salted Dough offers daily beef, chicken, and fish specials, as well as a daily ravioli special. I had the chicken special.

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The chicken was lightly breaded and served on top of fried eggplant and salted dough. It was covered in red sauce with capers and olives. It was rustic and satisfying!

I couldn’t pass up the tiramisu for dessert. Salted Dough offers several varieties daily, but I stuck with the traditional.

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Jeffrey enjoyed the chocolate gelato.

Salted Dough is a great addition to the south side of town and I can’t wait to go back to try some more of the pizzas!

Vault

On Saturday night, I stopped in at Vault at The 9 to research my next piece for Ohio. Find It Here.

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That’s all I can say for now, but I’ll share the link to the full post on all the craft cocktail and Cleveland history fun I had once it’s done…

The rest of the weekend was spent keeping warm on what felt like our first real winter weekend of the season! How did you stay warm this weekend?

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Why? NCJW Winter Meeting: Headlines and Hemlines!

Spend a fun and fashionable morning with NCJW Cleveland at their 125th annual Winter Meeting on Wednesday, February 5 at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven.

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The theme of this year’s Winter Meeting is Headlines and Hemlines. The morning will include a presentation from Sarah Rogers and Sara Hume from Kent State University Fashion Museum, exploring how the tenor of the times has impacted both fashion and the activities of NCJW Cleveland.

You can start your morning perusing pop-up shops starting at 10am, enjoying a curated shopping experience with unique retailers. Brunch and the presentation begin at 11:30am.

Cost to attend is $40 for NCJW Cleveland members and $45 for non-members. Click here to purchase a ticket and enjoy a morning of fashionable fun!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the NCJW Cleveland Winter Meeting. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Allison Rose Foundation Yellow Brick Road Celebration!

This month, the Allison Rose Foundation will host its second annual gala event: the Yellow Brick Road Celebration.

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The event takes place on Saturday, January 25 at the Embassy Suites in Independence and focuses on giving guests the “courage” and “heart” to advocate for children and young adults with food allergies.

The Yellow Brick Road Celebration will raise funds to expand the Allison Rose Foundation’s educational curriculum and scholarships, create additional awareness campaigns, contribute to research and advocate for change to save lives.  A portion of the proceeds will also go to the new Cleveland Clinic Food Allergy Center of Excellence.

The event will feature hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, raffles, and a keynote speech from Broadway star Jessica Vosk, a star of the musical “Wicked,” who will share her story of managing anaphylactic food allergies.

The Allison Rose Foundation was created after the tragic death of Allison Rose Suhy from an extreme food allergy reaction. Her parents turned that tragedy into an opportunity to help other families manage food allergies and hopefully never deal with the same sort of tragedy.

Tickets for the Yellow Brick Road Celebration are currently on sale online for $100 for those 21+ and $50 for those ages 16-21. Click here to purchase tickets and attend this inspiring night of turning tragedy into a true community effort of giving back.

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Why? Red & White on Thursday Night Giveaway!

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to get out more? Or maybe to try a new restaurant or two? Then I’ve got the event for you: the 23rd annual Red & White on Thursday Night to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio.

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Happening Thursday, January 23 at Quaker Station at the University of Akron, this event brings together the winners of Akron Life Magazine‘s 330 Flavor Awards, wine and craft beer samples, silent auctions, and an exclusive VIP lounge for a evening filled with food, fun, and philanthropy.

You will get to enjoy both savory and sweet small bites from BOMBA Tacos & Rum, Crave, Gervasi Vineyard, Saffron Patch, West Side Bakery, Trattoria Vaccaro, Missing Falls Brewery, and more.

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VIP guests will enjoy exclusive food and high-end tastings, specialty cocktails from Brown-Forman, and more, as well as access to all the general admission food and drink.

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Plus, all the proceeds from the event benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio, which is working to help the over 2.6 million people in Ohio living with arthritis.

Tickets are $85 for general admission and $125 for VIP admission. Tickets are available online.

 

Or you can enter to win 2 general admission tickets to Red & White on Thursday Night right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Check out the list of participating restaurants and leave a comment here telling me from which you’re most excited to sample food.

2. Visit Arthritis Foundation Ohio and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Hope over to my Instagram page and complete an additional entry there on the Red & White on Thursday Night image.

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

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

I want to attend #akronredwhite thanks to @ArthritisFDN and @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2020/01/08/why-red-white-on-thursday-night-giveaway-4 

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, January 12 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

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Why? Getaway!

This past weekend, I took a big step outside my comfort zone in two ways: I traveled solo and stayed overnight in a cabin. I’m pretty bad at both alone time and things involving nature, so this was sure to be an adventure.

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I stayed in a Getaway cabin in in Lisbon, Ohio at Getaway Beaver Creek. Getaway cabins are essentially tiny houses, with a kitchenette, bathroom with both toilet and shower, desk, and bed.

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The queen-sized bed is against a wall with a huge window to look out into nature.

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Your Getaway cabin includes pots, pans, utensils, cups, a kettle, coffee, tea, a radio, and some books.

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You also have access to an outdoor campsite with chairs, a picnic table, and a firepit with wood to make a camp fire.

And of course, there’s a s’mores kit! Getaway cabins include lots of cute touches like a cellphone “lockbox,” postcards to send to loved ones, crayons for if you brought the kiddos (or for you)…ways to relax and unwind and disconnect.

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Your cabin locks with a keycode and you receive a text message prior to check in with your cabin name and keycode. There’s also a main office when you arrive at the cabins, as well as a phone in your cabin to call to the office, which made me feel secure, especially when traveling alone.

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The Getaway cabins are in a secluded area, but all in a horseshoe near each other and every cabin was occupied on the day that I stayed.

Getaway also helps you out with a website that includes nearby hiking trails, as well as restaurants and attractions. Being not a big nature girl, plus being by myself in January, I opted for more of the attractions than the hiking.

I had a delicious lunch at The Vineyards at Pine Lake, which boasts a lovely view, tasty wine, and great food.

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I highly recommend the Chicken Francaise paired with the Vineyard White wine and I also grabbed a bottle of the Pinot Noir to take back to the cabin with me.

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And of all the crazy, fun coincidences, Mariah’s parents happened to be having lunch there too, so I guess I’m never really alone!

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The bartender at The Vineyards at Pine Lake recommended I check out Birdfish Brewing, so I popped in to one of their tasting rooms for a quick sample of the local brews.

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After some time in the cabin unwinding, watching movies (no Wi-Fi, so bring DVDs), reading, and eating lots of popcorn…

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…I decided to venture out in the evening to Numbers Brewing Company for some live music.

So whether you’re in to exploring nature or exploring new-to-you places, Getaway makes a great jumping off point. Plus, with being solo, I found myself chatting away with people more than I would have otherwise, finding out some cool recommendations from the locals, and really getting a better sense of the area.

I was surprised at how modern, cute, and comfortable the Getaway cabins are and honestly how safe I felt, even being by myself. And Getaway gives back too: for every Getaway, one tree is planted by the non-profit One Tree Planted.

You can book a Getaway cabin that will accommodate two people or four (the four-person has a second, lofted queen bed.) And you can make your Getaway as laid back or active as suits your personality. You can also saev $25 off your next Getaway using code WHYCLE25 when you book.

***Disclosure: I was invited by Getaway to help promote Getaway Beaver Creek. In exchange, I received a complimentary one-night stay. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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