Why? GV Art and Design T-Shirt Giveaway!

So, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, there’s been some changes to the look of Why CLE? One of those changes is the new picture greeting you on the side bar (and as my avatar on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. Yikes, we have lots of avis, don’t we?).

The shirt is from GV Art and Design, which has a whole line of awesome Cleveland that I <3 apparel. I personally love wearing my Cleveland pride for everyone to see. Especially when I travel, I’ve found these kinds of shirts always get a response and I sometimes even meet fellow Clevelanders by wearing them.

If you want to share your Cleveland pride too, I have a great deal and a giveaway for you! You can save 10% off any item from GV Art and Design’s website by using the discount code WHYCLE. You can also enter to win your choice of one of GV’s Cleveland t-shirts right here.


Why? Jim Alesci’s Place!

Sunday afternoon, I attended one of the tastiest, warmest, most fun Ohio Blogging Association meet-ups we’ve ever had. Jim Alesci’s Place showed off their new Solon location in style, with a ton of delicious food and fabulous hospitality. Alesci’s is a family business that has come down through the generations.

In fact, this picture that hangs behind the cheese counter is of Jim Alesci’s dad manning the cheese counter at Alesci’s years ago. This family business embraces it’s heritage and all the traditions that go along with it.

We were greeted with a selection of tasty cheeses, meats, and bruschetta. My favorites were the Drunken Cow and the Taleggio.

Everything we tasted is available at the market, which has not only high-quality grocery items, but prepared foods, a sandwich bar, beer and wine, and an amazing bakery.

I loved the build-your-own-pizza case, where you can pick up sauce, cheese, dough, and all the toppings to make a delicious pizza at home.

After our tour, it was time to sit down and taste some of the prepared foods available at the market and through Alesci’s catering. Now, we bloggers can eat, so when I tell you that all of us were overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of what we were served, you know it was something really special.

I’ll highlight just a few of my favorites:

The pancetta pasta salad, with caramelized onions, peas, figs, and gorgonzola had some of the lightest, most delicate pasta I’ve ever tasted.


Why? Ginko Happy Hour!

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good happy with girlfriends. Last night, Kimberly, Nadine, and I met up at Ginko for sushi, cocktails, and plenty of laughs.

Ginko not only has the best sushi in Cleveland, but the have phenomenal happy hour deals. From 4:30-6:30pm, Mondays through Fridays, you can get $5 select rolls and appetizers, half-priced specialty cocktails, and $5 beer and wine.

We shared the edamame and the spicy scallop chips (not a happy hour special, but worth ordering regardless), which feature spicy scallop playfully served on top of Pringles.

I enjoyed the spicy tuna roll, the vegetable tempura roll and the roll of the day, which yesterday was white tuna and cucumber. All of these rolls were only $5 during happy hour!


Why? Pier W Patio!

Patio season is in full swing and I personally like to soak up every moment of it. There’s nothing better than sitting outside with a cocktail and some friends, enjoying the summer!

When Pier W asked if we’d help kick off their patio season with a little pre-opening party, we couldn’t possibly say no! The Pier W patio features a cocktail, wine, and beer selection, as well as a menu of more casual, patio-friendly food. It’s the same high-quality experience you expect from Pier W, just in a more outdoorsy setting.

We enjoyed the flatbread with goat cheese and artichokes, the shrimp tacos, and the scallop ceviche. My personal favorite was the ceviche…no one has fresh, delicious seafood quite like Pier W!

This season, the Pier W patio will also feature a raw bar and, if the oysters we had last night are any indication, it is not to be missed!

Plus, you can relax in the Adirondack chairs and take in a fabulous view of Cleveland.


Why? Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Membership!

In case you didn’t already know, we have a world-class zoo here in Cleveland. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo offers the chance to see everything from elephants and giraffes to bears and reindeer, plus participate in special events from Kids Days to Twilight at the Zoo. There’s something for all ages at the Zoo!

One of the best ways to experience the Zoo is by purchasing a Zoo Membership. This is the second year that Matthew and I have a Zoo membership. From the time Jeffrey was little, the membership allowed us to take him to the Zoo and tailor our schedule around his capacity to take in the animals (read: we didn’t feel the pressure to do everything in one day).

And now it allows us to easily make the Zoo part of our regular plans, whether it’s going to The RainForest in the winter…

Boo at the Zoo…

or simply a play date (the Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter is a favorite).

But the Zoo isn’t just for kids! We’ve loved the adult Zoo events like Twilight at the Zoo, Date Night at the ZOOvies, and Zippity Zoo Doo.

A Zoo membership pays for itself in about two visits, which is easy for anyone to accomplish. So, what does membership get you?


Why? Boo at the Zoo!

It’s hard to believe it’s almost Halloween! And while there are lots of spooky and not-so-spooky ways to celebrate around Cleveland, one of my favorites is Cleveland Metroparks Zoo‘s Boo at the Zoo.

This annual event combines all the animal fun of the Zoo with the festivities of Halloween for a kid-friendly great time.


Earlier this week, the Zoo started to get the animals in the Boo at the Zoo spirit with some pumpkin feedings. The elephants, tigers, and bears all got to enjoy some pumpkin snacks (cinnamon and nutmeg sold separately).

At Boo at the Zoo itself, there is so much to enjoy, from a hay maze with fantastic light-up and inflatable decorations…

to trick or treat stations to friendly animals to visit with…

to a dance party to the chance to get encased in a giant bubble!

We’ve attended this event for two years now with Jeffrey and before that, we took our nieces. There is something for kids of all ages and interests to enjoy (including the awesome adult treat stations)!


Why? Yoga Strong + Barre Fly Cleveland!

Now that downtown Cleveland is the hot spot to live, a host of lifestyle amenities are popping up around there too. Adding to that mix is Yoga Strong + Barre Fly Cleveland, a beautiful new space offering both yoga and barre classes.

Barre Fly and Yoga Strong both began in Canton, where they currently operate as separate studios. But the Cleveland location combines the two into one space, allowing you to easily take classes from both styles.

Barre Fly offers classes in barre, pilates, barre booty lift, aerial yoga, lyra hoop, and their signature classes (H)HIIT and BarreFly.

(H)HIIT stands for Hammock High-Intensity Interval Training and involves 15 minutes of resistance band work and 15 minutes of aerial hammock time. This would be a great choice for those working downtown looking for a quick workout!

Most of Barre Fly’s classes involves some aerial element in the suspended hammocks, making them different than your average barre class.


Why? Bar 145 Avon!

Sometimes when I get invited to blog-related events, it takes some convincing to get Matthew to come with me. But when I told him we got invited to a burger and bourbon tasting, there was no hesitation!

So, we headed out to Bar 145 Avon for an evening of great gastro pub food and a couple unique bourbons. Bar 145 specializes in “Burgers, Bands, and Bourbon,” and I have to agree on the two out of three we got to try.

We started with orders of two of Bar 145’s most popular appetizers: the warm baked pretzel bites and fried cheese curds.

I could have devoured the whole plate of either of these appetizers. And the cheese fondue with the pretzel bites was smooth, creamy, and delicious!

We got to sample three different types of burgers: the Americana, the Balsamic Bleu, and the Cry Baby (an off-menu special available until mid-February).

The Americana is a classic cheeseburger, with American cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, pickle, and mayo, served on toasted brioche. The Balsamic Bleu features Stella bleu cheese, balsamic glaze, arugula, and shaved carrots on a toasted pretzel roll. And the Cry Baby features cajun mayo, onion straws, and cheese on an onion roll.