I spent the weekend celebrating my impending birthday and it was nothing short of perfection…
On Saturday, I gathered some of my favorite ladies and went winery hopping in Geneva. We started at Laurentia Winery, which has fast become a favorite of mine thanks to their excellent wines (their Cabernet Sauvignon is incredible) and beautiful tasting room.
We ordered tons of nibbles for the table, from cheese and charcuterie boards to a brie, fig, and pork belly flatbread (I didn’t share, but it’s my birthday party, dammit) to hummus and more.
Plus, a trio of decadent desserts made even more special with the sweet additions of Mariah’s candles and sparkly “Happy Birthday.”
From there, we headed to M Cellars, where a bottle of their fantastic Brut Rosé enjoyed on the patio with live music convinced Elizabeth, Alicia, and I that summer is not quite done yet!
What a beautiful weekend in CLE! Here’s what we were up to:
On Friday night, Mom and I met up for dinner at Lola Bistro. It was the perfect night to sit outside and take in the great weather and the game night crowds on East 4th Street.
Lola Bistro is in the process of unveiling a new menu. Our server told us Chef Symon was recently in town to help develop the new dishes. For our appetizers, we selected one new dish and one classic one.
The Beef Cheek Pierogi, with mushrooms and horseradish crème fraiche, is still on the menu and is so delicious!
We also enjoyed the seasonally-perfect Tomato Salad, with fresh and pickled tomato, peaches, almonds, dill, and farm cheese.
Mom had the Strip Steak, with stilton au poivre, frisee, pickled shallots, and chives. The steak was perfectly done, simple, and delicious.
I had the Duck and Foie Gras Meatloaf, with celery root puree. The slices of meatloaf were thin, almost like terrine, and the flavor was smoky and rich, with just the right amount of foie gras.
For dessert, I couldn’t pass up the 6am Special, another item I’m so glad stayed on the menu. This decadent dessert has brioche French toast, maple-bacon ice cream, and roasted apple.
Mom had the My Dad’s Favorite Cake, with lemon cake, strawberry buttercream, lemon curd, raspberry jam, and vanilla bean ice cream. I love the combination of berries and lemon!
It was a fantastic dinner! The new menu at Lola Bistro is definitely worth a visit or two!
The Foundation Room is a membership-based space at House of Blues, with a great menu of cocktails and food;
a funky vibe, with lots of cozy spaces;
and a gorgeous new flower wall from CLE Flower Walls on the patio overlooking East 4th Street.
Foundation Room membership benefits range from food and beverage discounts to exclusive presale access to backstage tours. Click here to learn more about the various membership levels and elevate your House of Blues experience.
***I was invited to a complimentary event at the Foundation Room, with cocktails, food, discounted parking, and a swag bag. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
This annual event is a fundraiser for North Union Farmers Market and supports not only the markets around town, but also their Access Programs, Mighty Locavores, and more.
I had the cool opportunity to be a judge for the beef competition of the Top Chef Garlic Grill-Off. Chefs from Nomad Culinary, CLE Kraut, and EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute presented their beef and garlic creations.
I was blown away by the creativity, plating, and downright deliciousness of all the food!
Congratulations to Nomad Culinary, who won the competition. It was a tough choice picking a favorite, for sure!
We also checked out all the varieties of garlic for sale, the live entertainment, and the kids area! There is so much to do at the Cleveland Garlic Festival! This is definitely an annual tradition for us.
***Disclosure: I was asked by North Union Farmers Market to help promote the Cleveland Garlic Festival and to judge the Top Chef Garlic Grill-Off. In exchange, I received four weekend passes to the Garlic Festival. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
We actually had a few other things this weekend, including another festival, stopping by Matthew’s regatta, and a baptism, so you get the picture…it was a busy weekend!
Since Jeffrey starts school this week, I’m glad we squeezed in so much fun! How was your weekend?
While the stores are starting to stock pumpkin spice and Halloween decorations, there is still plenty of time to enjoy summer at Legacy Village.
Dine on a Patio
One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to dine al fresco. Legacy Village has four great patio options surrounding their Lawn, where you can enjoy a meal outdoors, along with some people-watching and summer breezes.
Bonus if you can do this on a night when Legacy Live is happening, so you can enjoy the live music, too!
Legacy Village’s outdoor events are a great way to hang on to that summer feeling. Legacy Live, a free outdoor concert series, continues every Friday and Saturday evening through Saturday, August 31.
Food Truck Mondays continue through Monday, August 26 to give you a tasty, picnic-atmosphere lunch option.
Yoga in the Village has two more events this summer to get your downdog on outdoors: tonight (Tuesday, August 20) and Tuesday, September 17.
And the North Union Farmers Market continues its outdoor market packed with seasonal deliciousness at Legacy Village every Sunday through Sunday, September 29.
The Generous Pour
If you have never experienced The Generous Pour at The Capital Grille, don’t let your summer end without giving it a try!
The event includes unlimited pours of seven wines that you can add on to your meal at The Capital Grille. It’s a perfect way to toast to the end of a fabulous summer! You can enjoy The Generous Pour through Sunday, September 1.
Lilly Pulitzer is the quintessential summer wardrobe, so stop by the store at Legacy Village to grab that perfect dress, romper, or accessories to end your summer in style!
The show is playing at the KeyBank State Theatre through Sunday, September 1 and is truly something to see. You know the story, of course, but there are new songs and the costumes are incredible. Disney never skimps on production value!
Dinner at Home
On Thursday (Matthew’s actual birthday), we enjoyed a family dinner at home with tacos and birthday cake, which is a meal that can keep everyone from a 5-year old to a 40-year old happy!
Jeffrey helped make the cake, which made it even more special!
Masthead Brewing Co.
Then on Saturday, we gathered with friends at Masthead Brewing Co. for one last birthday celebration of this big year.
Masthead was the perfect spot to meet up: great beer, delicious food, a nice patio, convenient parking, family-friendly for those who wanted to bring their kids…
We ordered lots of pizza and pretzels to share and of course enjoyed lots of craft beer, too!
It was a fun few days celebrating! Where are your go-to birthday celebration spots?
Located on the 12th floor of The 9, Azure has stunning skyline views and an expansive outdoor space with bar seating, cozy couches, and some fabulous plant walls.
We sampled some of the delicious food you can get at Azure, including Savory Ahi Tostadas, Shishito Peppers, Crab Cake Sliders, and delicious mini desserts.
We also sampled some of Azure’s signature cocktails, including boozy lemonade and strawberry mules.
Azure Rooftop Lounge is now officially open for the season and is a fabulous spot for a summer cocktail (or two). Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 3-6pm and includes $2 off cocktails and sangria, $3 off wine, $1 off beer, and $9 starters.
***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Summer Kick-Off at Azure Rooftop Lounge with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Cleveland Indians Game
Despite the weather on Saturday, we bundled up and headed to our first Cleveland Indians game of the season.
We enjoyed the activities on the Family Deck and Jeffrey picked up his Tribe Town MVP kit, filled with fun Indians merchandise!
Even better, the Indians got a win over the Seattle Mariners! Despite the fact that it felt more like football weather, our first Tribe game of the season was a home run!
Mommas and Margaritas
On Sunday, I hosted some of my mom friends for a Cinco de Mayo/Pre-Mother’s Day celebration. Appropriately titled, “Mommas and Margaritas,” we had margaritas, guacamole, salsa, hot corn chile dip (recipe here), and lots of laughs.
I couldn’t do it without these ladies (and others in abstentia) and I was so glad we had a chance to celebrate an early Mother’s Day!
It certainly felt like patio season this weekend, which is perfect timing for a new restaurant to open in The Flats. Lindey’s Lake House is taking over the former Coastal Taco location and opens to the public today.
Lindey’s has the same owners as Coastal Taco and Cedar Creek Grille and the menu brings together favorites from both those restaurants, as well as the Lindey’s location in Beachwood.
The vibe makes you feel like you’re relaxing on the patio at a friend’s vacation home, with a lot of white walls, vintage vacation photos, and cute decor accents.
As at Coastal Taco, the large bar that looks out to the water is the focal point. The cocktails are summery and delicious. We particularly enjoyed the Dockside Buzz (Bulleit Bourbon, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, ginger beer, and bitters) and the Farmers Market Rickey (Beefeater Gin, Domaine de Canton, lime juice, watermelon, and mint).
We shared the guac & house chips and the sweet & spicy calamari to start. The calamari was lightly breaded and the citrus Asian red chili glaze was so good!
For my entree, I had the Miso-glazed Outer Banks cod. The glaze was flavorful, without overpowering the delicate white fish.
Matthew had the crab cakes, which were very good. We both really enjoyed the vegetable hash that came with our entrees.
Do not skip dessert at Lindey’s! The homemade pies are truly something special. Matthew loved the Key Lime, which was not overly sweet and very creamy.
My blueberry pie was packed with real blueberries and didn’t have that artificial glaze filler.
The food and atmosphere are sure to make Lindey’s Lake House the place to be in The Flats this spring and summer!
***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Friends & Family Opening of Lindey’s Lake House with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
This weekend, Mom, Jeffrey, and I headed down to South Florida for a little spring break trip. The reason for our visit was to celebrate my Great Uncle Ray’s 80th birthday, but we also squeezed in some other South Florida fun.
We stayed at B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale, which was right on the beach. Jeffrey loved both the time on the beach and at the hotel pool.
We brought home lots of seashells (and sand!) The last time Jeffrey was in this part of Florida, he was just under 2 years old, so his excitement over the ocean was almost brand new.
While at B Ocean, we had a delicious lunch at the Naked Crab. The rock octopus was so smoky and good!
We also took a stroll down A1A…
…and found Bo’s Beach, a perfectly-situated beach front restaurant with delicious Frose cocktails and yummy churrasco steak.
Everything tastes better with beach breeze blowing through your hair!
Not only was the lunch so tasty, but it was a great chance to connect with some Florida alumni and hear what’s been going on at campus lately from the new president, Dr. Michael Johnson, and his wife, Jill.
Now, to the point of the whole trip: Great Uncle Ray’s birthday! We surprised him and he was truly shocked when he opened his door to the three of us standing there!
From a delicious birthday dinner at Cooper’s Hawk (get the gnocchi with roasted butternut squash)…
…to time spent at their house in the pool, it was a wonderful chance to catch up and celebrate!
And while we had lots of other fun on the trip, the whole point was the family time. There’s truly nothing like face-to-face connection and I’m so glad we had a chance to make it happen for this big birthday!
How was your weekend? Are you doing any spring break travels?
It’s called TapeScape: Sticky Science and it features a two-level, 1,300-square foot, all-ages playground made out of packing tape! The playground is lit with bright colors and is truly a fun climbing and sliding experience for the whole family!
It’s truly amazing that packing tape can support the weight of people and create an entire playground. Of course, TapeScape: Sticky Science explores the science behind the polymers at work in tape, as well as things like adhesion and cohesion, how geckos cling to class and more.
There are also some cool duct tape fashions to check out!
TapeScape is part of the Great Lakes Science Center’s movement toward creating their own exhibits, rather than bringing in traveling exhibits. In fact, Matthew volunteered one evening to help build TapeScape, so it’s as local as it gets!
TapeScape is open now through September 3 and has fun for the whole family, including a TotScape area for the smallest tape climbers.
Don’t miss it!
Wade Oval Walk Against Hunger
On Friday, we couldn’t pass up the chance to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! So, Jeffrey and I met up with friends Elizabeth, Mia, and Charlie for the Wade Oval Walk Against Hunger.
There was a lot of other fun on Wade Oval that day, too, from food trucks to lawn games to live music!
It was such a fun way to spend a Friday afternoon and we contributed to a great cause too!
Azure Rooftop Lounge
Does it feel like a switch got flipped and we’re all in summer mode?! It certainly feels that way to me! On Friday evening, Matthew and I attended the season opening of Azure Rooftop Lounge at The 9, which put me even more in summer mode.
Azure Rooftop Lounge is an expansive space, with bar seating, comfy couches, and high top tables. You can get views of everything from the skyline to Progressive Field to Playhouse Square to even snippets of Lake Erie.
Of course, you can also enjoy tasty cocktails while taking in these views. Azure’s build-your-own drink menu let’s you construct your perfect mule, margarita, or mojito, all just right for summer sipping!
There are also delicious menu items from Chef Nelly Buleje, including tuna tartar, bruschetta, burgers and chicken sandwiches, and custom-built bowls in styles like Mediterranean, sweet berry, and Pacific.
The food and the drink at Azure elevate this to more than just your average rooftop bar! Azure has lots of fun events planned for the summer season, including Rooftop Rose on Tuesdays, Rooftop Happy Hour from 4-6:30pm, and Summer Nights every Friday and Saturday night with a DJ.
Don’t miss the fabulous views, food, and fun at Azure this summer!
***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Azure Rooftop Lounge Kick-Off with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of our weekend adventures!
Oh my goodness, we could not have crammed more into this weekend if we tried! So, let’s get right to it:
#HamilFlow and Ginko (hey, that rhymes)
Friday night, I watched as one of my favorite people paired two of her favorite things and, boy, was the result magical! Alicia taught a 75-minute yoga class with the music of “Hamilton: An American Musical.” Much like the musical itself, the class was inspiring, fun, and fast-paced. This class sold out fast, so stay tuned because Alicia has promised a sequel!
After class, we headed downstairs to Ginko for what is always the finest sushi in Cleveland.
Ginko always has the freshest and most inventive sushi offerings. It’s so fun to sit at the bar and watch the chefs create, too!
Dessert that evening was a chocolate pot de creme, so who can resist that?
It was a perfect Friday night!
On Saturday afternoon, we headed to St. Francis of Assisi School for their production of “Seussical, Jr.” My friend Melissa was the director of the show and I was so impressed with her work and the talent of the cast!
Plus, it’s a great musical for kids to enjoy! Jeffrey especially loved seeing his friend Dean (Melissa’s son) in the cast as one of the Whos!
There were opportunities to donate, to learn about community efforts to help those with cancer, and just generally show your support for those battling cancer.
The game also took place during the Monsters and Cavs ongoing food drive for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank‘s Harvest for Hunger program, so there were lots of ways to do good while taking in the hockey action.
This was Jeffrey’s first hockey game. From meeting the Monsters Girls and practicing his shot on the concourse to high-fiving the players before the game (check out my Insta for the video), he had a great time.
The Monsters games definitely have a family-friendly atmosphere, with lots happening on the ice in between the action and plenty to cheer about.
They also have a more family-friendly price-point than some other sports, making it easy to take your whole family (and in our case, some of Jeffrey’s godparents, too). You can check out the Monsters upcoming games and promotions online to get in on the icy fun for yourself!
***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland Monsters Purple Game. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets to the game and the opportunity to participate in the pre-game high-five tunnel. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
We had groups at 4 different restaurants in the area, then all met up for a cocktail together after our brunches. I had brunch at Luxe Kitchen and Lounge. Luxe has a Sunday happy hour from 11am-1pm with half-off bloody marys, mimosas, and bellinis. Talk about a Sunday Funday!
For my brunch, I chose the buttermilk fried chicken thigh, served with country gravy, braised swiss chard, and a biscuit.
This was savory brunch perfection! It had been way too long since I had been to Luxe. Now, I just need it to be warm enough for their fabulous patio to open!
***Disclosure: I am the co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
So, that was our weekend! Plenty to keep us busy for sure! How was yours?
I wanted to hold off to do an evening edition of the Weekend Recap, so we could squeeze as much juice out of the unofficial end of summer as possible. So, here’s our weekend:
Memphis Kiddie Park
On Friday, Jeffrey and I met up with friends for a play date at Memphis Kiddie Park. This park is the perfect size for small kids, with just the right amount of rides to keep them entertained, but not overwhelmed.
Jeffrey’s favorite is the roller coaster, but I still managed to convince him to enjoy some of the “tamer” rides like the carousel and the train, too.
And we snuck over to Fiona’s after our dinner for some Mitchell’s Ice Cream (try the sundae with Fiona’s homemade mini donuts…yum!) The Corn Roast is in its early stages and still small, but I’m hoping it will grow bigger each year!
Good Home Cooking
Between Friday night at home and Sunday at my mom’s, we enjoyed some yummy home cooking! On Friday night, I made this Cheesy Ham and Gruyere Bake (recipe here) but added in some hatch chiles from Heinen’s for some extra kick.
My mom made way too much delicious food when she had us over on Sunday, but my favorite was this tomato tart, which looks complicated, but is easy to make and so delicious (recipe here.)
We got to see lots of critters, as well as take a wagon ride through the Farmpark.
We also enjoyed the birthday party classics of pizza and cake, although the dirt cups were my personal favorite!
The Farmpark is a great place for a birthday party (we had Jeffrey’s second birthday party there)! It gives your guests lots of things to do and see beyond just eating and opening presents and it makes a theme pretty fun and easy too (ours was Elmo on the Farm.) Stay tuned for some grown-up happenings at the Farmpark tomorrow…
Last year, Jeffrey saw some of the planes from a downtown parking deck and really enjoyed it. So, this year, I wanted to find a fun way for him to see the Air Show, but realizing that he’s not ready to sit out at Burke Lakefront Airport yet.
Which is why I jumped at the Great Lakes Science Center‘s Air Show Family Picnic. You got admission to the Science Center, lunch on their outdoor deck, and a great view of the Air Show. When there was a break in the action (or Jeffrey just needed a break), we could pop inside and explore the Science Center. Plus, there were experiments and bubbles set up outside to keep kids entertained too.
The Air Show views were outstanding (including quite a few flyovers of the deck we were on) and it was the best way to experience the Air Show with a three year old!
So, that was our weekend! I think we sent off summer in style! How was your long weekend?