Why? Weekends!

There was lots of time with family and friends this weekend, which is just how a pre-holiday weekend should be…

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On Friday night, Alicia, Amanda, Kimberly, and I got together for my favorite grown-up holiday tradition: TWC Christmas (the name is a long story.)

We usually meet up at someone’s house, but everyone was feeling cooking-and-hosting overwhelmed this year, so we instead opted for dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants: Dante.

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From fabulous cocktails to delicious food, Dante is always a perfect spot for an evening out. I had the Wild Boar tenderloin, with honey roasted rutabaga & Brussel sprouts and chorizo potato hash.

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This dish was tender, flavorful, and plate-licking good.

We all shared desserts, but the favorite at the table was the Caramel Apple Walnut Blondie, with apple jam filling, streusel, cider caramel sauce, and vanilla ice cream.

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After dinner, we walked over to The Spotted Owl for a Christmas nightcap.

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They have a special menu of holiday-themed drinks that are all guaranteed to make you merry. I had the Ginger All The Way and it was creamy, spicy perfection.

What a perfect night of fabulous food, drinks, and, most importantly, friends!

The Magic of Lights

On Saturday night, Jeffrey and I checked out The Magic of Lights at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

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There is a drive-through component, where you make your way through millions of dazzling Christmas lights, with themed areas like “Nativity,” “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and “Joy to the World.”

There is also Santa’s Holiday Village, where you can park and walk through the village with a light selfie tunnel…

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…inflatables…

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…”ice” bumper cars…

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…and lots of festive fun.

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The Magic of Lights takes place every day through Saturday, January 4. Tickets for a car are $20 in advance. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote The Magic of Lights. In exchange, I received a complimentary car ticket. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Platform Pub Yoga

My Sunday started out on a funday note with Platform Pub Yoga. We enjoyed a great hour-long vinyasa flow taught by Alicia, then headed downstairs for a beer, a bagel sandwich, and lots of laughs.

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It’s so nice in this busy season to take a time-out for something that totally made me feel invigorated! Plus, part of the proceeds from the event benefited Providence House! The next Platform Pub Yoga happens on Sunday, January 26.

Neil Diamond Christmas

On Sunday night, Mom and I attended Neil Diamond Christmas at Music Box Supper Club.

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The Diamond Project Band did a fantastic job, playing both Christmas tunes and classic Neil Diamond hits.

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Mom and I had a blast singing along! What a fun way to end the pre-holiday weekend!

How was your weekend? Are you ready for the holiday week ahead?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Best Party of the Year!

On Friday night, Mariah and I attended The Best Party of the Year. Any party that calls itself that out of the gate has got to deliver and the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland‘s fundraiser certainly did.

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This year’s theme was the 1920’s, so you saw people dressed as flappers and dapper dans, all living it up in a post-Prohibition world.

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There was fabulous food from great local places like Melt Bar and Grilled (the bacon and pesto on the mac and cheese was divine)…

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AMP 150

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Barrio

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Art of Sucre, Inca Tea, and more.

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There was fun music for dancing from TKO Entertainment. There was a great photo booth, a fully-stocked bar, and fantastic auction items.

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There was also the chance to help a wonderful community organization. The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland strives to help reduce hunger and enhance nutrition in the community by providing food and other health-related vital services. The Hunger Network has over 70 hunger centers throughout Cuyahoga County to serve the community.

So, a super fun and tasty and glamorous night all for a great cause? I think that has every right to be called The Best Party of the Year!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland to help promote The Best Party of the Year. In exchange, I received two complimentary general admission tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Thanksgiving weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year!

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Epic turkey cake from Michael Angelo’s Bakery

Not only do I get to enjoy a delicious, traditional dinner with family, but I also get to officially kick off the Christmas season!

Great Lakes Brewing Co.

On Wednesday (it was a looong weekend), I met up with my oldest friend, Kevin, who was in town for the holiday. What better place to catch up than Great Lakes Brewing Co.?

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I always like going to the brewpub, because I can grab a brewpub-exclusive beer. This time I tried the Meow Meow Pumpkin Milk Stout, which was creamy and rich and specifically noted as being brewed by GLBC’s female brewers.

The Seared Salmon Salad, with pickled carrots, cabbage, sesame seeds, and herbed peanut dressing, balanced out the heavy beer and made for a great lunch.

It’s so great when folks come back to Cleveland for the holidays (and I get face-to-face catching up time!)

E5C4P3 Concert

Aside from all the traditional Thanksgiving fun, I also started a new tradition on Black Friday: attending the E5C4P3 Journey Tribute concert at Music Box Supper Club.

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My friend Lisa’s husband Troy is the keyboardist in this awesome band, who sound just like Journey and definitely know how to keep the crowd on their feet and rocking.

We had a gaggle of girls/Troy fans there and had a riot singing, dancing, and just generally partying the night away.

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E5C4P3 has an upcoming show on Saturday, December 14 at Legends Sports Bar in Parma, which is a fundraiser for Project Noelle. Check ’em out!

Christmas Decorating

It was also the weekend to deck the halls. Jeffrey picked out the perfect tree, as well as this festive Rudolph yard ornament.

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I got to bust out all my favorite Cleveland ornaments, which makes the house feel even more merry!

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Jeffrey made some ornaments for the “big tree” this year…

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…as well as decorated the tree in his room, too!

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So, that was the holiday weekend in this corner of the world. How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Pittsburgh!

This weekend, Alicia, Melissa, and I took a little girls weekend road trip to Pittsburgh. It started with plans to see Sara Bareilles (who wasn’t coming to Cleveland), but turned in to a great chance to get away and explore a different city.

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We’ll start with the original purpose of the trip: seeing Sara Bareilles perform. I hadn’t see her live since her show at House of Blues maybe 8 years ago. She was fantastic! Her voice is gorgeous, her lyrics are captivating, and her personality makes me think we would totally be besties (call me, Sara).

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She played lots of favorites, as well as a bunch of songs from the musical she penned, Waitress and songs from her new album “Amidst the Chaos” (I am seriously hooked on “Fire” and “Poetry by Dead Men” from that album).

We stayed in an AirBNB, which is such a perfect way to travel, especially with a group. We saved money over a hotel, plus we had common area space for hanging out, ordering a ridiculous amount of Thai food which lasted us the whole weekend, and just generally getting more time together in a cozier environment.

We weren’t far from Carson Street, which has a ton of bars. The vibe/crowd is somewhat like the Warehouse District. We checked out Mario’s South Side Saloon, Carson City Saloon, and Local Bar & Kitchen.

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Carson Street is definitely a fun, young, busy place to be. When we were down there on Thursday night, we were in the midst of a ton of Steelers fans watching the game, but we managed to find one other Browns fan in the craziness!

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For dinner before the concert, we went to Morcilla, a beautifully-appointed tapas restaurant in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Much like the AirBNB, a tapas meal allows for a more communal experience.

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Some of the favorites from our table were the Marcona Almonds (lavender sugar, sea salt, EVOO); the Roasted Pepper Conserva (habanada and sweet carmen peppers, sherry vinegar, olive oil, garlic); the Oxtail Montadito (caramelized onion, machon cheese, baguette); and the Crispy Fried Sunchokes (butternut squash romesco, za’atar).

Don’t skip the churros with chocolate hazelnut sauce for dessert!

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The food was flavorful, the service was spot-on, and the restaurant was just charming!

Speaking of food, we also grabbed a couple great breakfasts while we were in town. We couldn’t resist a trip to the famous Pamela’s Diner.

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Their crepe-style hotcakes are so good! I got the specialty ones with apples, walnuts, and caramel!

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We also checked out Cafe Moulin, a small creperie in the Shadyside neighborhood. Since we couldn’t decide between savory and sweet, Alicia and I shared the Tivoli (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, spinach, pesto) and the Cheese Cake (marscapone, chocolate chips, berry compote).

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This place is delicious and adorable!

Beyond that, we also explored the Strip District, which kind of feels like the West Side Market writ large.

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Lots of delicious food shops, as well as some kitschy stores, to explore.

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So, that was our trip. We certainly found a lot to enjoy in Pittsburgh, but more than that, we had such a great time just being away and having plenty of uninterrupted moments to laugh and talk and catch up.

Have you been to Pittsburgh? What are some of your favorite places there?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Nighttown!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Why? The Best Party of the Year Giveaway!

The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland is throwing a party and they want you to know right up front that it’s going to be The Best Party of the Year!

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Held on Friday, December 6 at The Renaissance Cleveland, this party will take you back in time to the 1920s. You can dress as a flapper or someone dapper or just come as you are!

There will be food, cocktails, raffles and silent auctions, beer and wine pulls, and plenty of dancing and merriment. It will be one swanky affair!

Proceeds benefit The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, which provides food and other health-related vital services to individuals and families in need in our community.

Tickets are currently on sale for $99 and can be purchased online. You can save $5 on tickets with code WHYCLE19.

Or you can enter to win two tickets to The Best Party of the Year 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 your favorite decade for a theme party.

2. Visit The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @hungernetworkgc 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 The Best Party of the Year with @hungernetworkgc and @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/10/30/why-the-best-party-of-the-year-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 Sunday, November 3 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland to help promote The Best Party of the Year. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets for myself and two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Jump Back Ball!

There are a lot of great fundraisers in Cleveland for a lot of great causes. But the one that is closest to my heart is Playhouse Square‘s annual Jump Back Ball.

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This event is put on by Playhouse Square Partners (I’m finishing up my sixth and final year on their board this year) and has everything you could want in an amazing party:

  • 2 bands, one rocking the Key Bank State Theatre stage and DJ Smoov rocking the late night party in the Key Bank State Theatre lobby
  • Unlimited cocktails and dinner and late-night eats from Driftwood Catering
  • Gaming tables, auctions, and activities throughout the theatre and lobby
  • Awesome decor created by Playhouse Square Partners
  • Dress like your favorite rock star from the past, like you’re going to the Grammy’s, or in your finest

All of this fun benefits Playhouse Square’s Community Outreach and Education initiatives, including Disney Musicals in Schools, the Dazzle Awards, and more.

This year’s Jump Back Ball theme is From Jukebox to Boombox and you’ll leap back on a musical journey through time on Leap Day, Saturday, February 29, 2020.

Tickets go on sale today at 10am. There are three ticket levels to fit your time and budget:

  • VIP tickets for $200, which includes an extra cocktail party at 6:30pm in the Connor Palace Theatre, with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and music from Sinatra CLE
  • General admission ticktes for $120 for Partners members and $155 for the general public
  • Late night admission tickets for $75, which include admittance at 9:30pm, the late night music and eats, and activities (limited number)

Ticket prices will increase as the event approaches (in fact, General Admission tickets increase by $10 tomorrow, October 30), so grab your tickets now to secure the best price!

I hope to see you at Jump Back Ball 29: From Jukebox to Boombox!

***Disclosure: I am the Communications Co-Chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? The Winchester Music Tavern!

Yesterday, Jeffrey and I kicked off our Sunday Funday with brunch at The Winchester Music Tavern. Located on Madison Avenue in Lakewood, The Winchester is a music venue, bar, and restaurant all in one.

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The dining area is small and relaxed. We grabbed a table and I started out with the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. For only $5, you can pick your mix, hot sauces, and create a fabulous skewer to enhance your drink.

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The Winchester also offers bottomless mimosas or brunch mules for brunch libations.

Jeffrey chose the Winchester burger, topped with American cheese on a brioche bun, with a side of fries. He declared both the burger and fries to be delicious!

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I had the unique breakfast ramen, with red miso broth, bacon, and poached eggs. The broth was flavorful, the eggs were perfectly poached, and it was fun to try a unique spin on ramen.

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The Winchester’s brunch menu also offers traditional favorites, like eggs benedict, French toast, and chicken and waffles.

The Winchester offers brunch on both Saturdays (11am-3pm) and Sundays (11am-4pm). There are also lots of fun weekly happenings, such as Vegan Mondays, Turntable Tuesdays, Boozy Bingo and Modern Kicks Comedy on Wednesdays, Taco Thursdays, and Angry Hour (Punk Rock Happy Hour) on Fridays.

And of course, The Winchester is a concert venue. You can check out the complete line-up of musical acts playing at The Winchester here.

For your next weekend brunch in a laid-back location with tasty food, look no farther than The Winchester!

***Disclosure: I was invited to a complimentary brunch at The Winchester Music Tavern. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? RetroMania Giveaway!

On Thursday, October 10, RetroMania invites you to grub, groove, and give at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

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You can party like it’s 1969 to celebrate St. Augustine Health Ministries, which was founded in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood in 1969. Groove to the sounds of SHOUT!, Cleveland’s ultimate party band playing the music of the 60’s and 70’s.

Get your grub on with small bites from great local restaurants, including Tinman, Rocky River Wine Bar, Element 41, Parker’s Downtown, Berea Depot, and more.

And give, as proceeds benefit St. Augustine Health Ministries, which is a mission-driven, faith-based, not-for-profit organization founded by Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland, dedicated to providing a continuum of health care and social services within the community. The Health Ministries ensure that the needs of every individual are met with dignity, comfort and love.

Tickets are $100 for general admission, which includes food, 2 drink tickets, and valet parking and $150 for VIP admission, which includes a VIP reception, food, unlimited beer and wine, and valet parking. You can purchase tickets online. Or you can enter to win two tickets to RetroMania right here!

Here’s how to enter:

1. Leave a comment here telling me your favorite 60’s or 70’s song.

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, September 30 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

jenclesig_pur

Why? CIAO! Cleveland Giveaway!

The Northern Ohio Italian American Foundation is kicking off Italian Heritage Month with a free outdoor festival in The Flats on Saturday, October 5. CIAO! Cleveland is a celebration of Italian culture that is open to the public from 12pm to 10pm.

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There will be wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, fashion art, music, and of course food. Vendors for CIAO! Cleveland include Lago East Bank, Caruso’s Coffee Roasters, Orlando Baking Company, Miceli’s, Luca Italian Cuisine, Dante’s Inferno, Corbo’s Bakery, and more.

Enjoy live entertainment the Avanti Band, SPAZMATICS, and more. And check out the Medical Mutual Demonstration Tent with wine tastings, cooking demos, and a presentation from Angelo Petitti of Petitti Garden Centers.

This is sure to be a fun and delicious day celebrating the best of Italian culture in Northeast Ohio!

CIAO! Cleveland is free and open to the public, but the demo tent events are ticketed and I have your chance to win two tickets to an event in the Medical Mutual Demonstration Tent! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, or all three entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1. Leave a comment here telling me your favorite Italian dish.

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

3. Visit my Instagram page and follow the directions with the CIAO! Cleveland image.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, September 29 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck! Hope to see you at CIAO! Cleveland!

***Disclosure: I was asked by NOIA Foundation to help promote CIAO! Cleveland. In exchange, I will receive a press pass to the events in the Medical Mutual Demo Tent. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***