Why? Weekends!

This was Jeffrey’s last weekend of summer break, so we decided to continue a tradition we started last year by taking a weekend away as a family. It was a pretty easy choice where to go: Cedar Point, which is easily Jeffrey’s favorite place to go these days.

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Jeffrey had been requesting both beach time and to see the rides lit up at night, so we decided to stay at Hotel Breakers. This provided us some lovely beachfront access, as well as the chance to stay late at the park and be just a quick walk away from our beds.

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When we arrived on Saturday, the afternoon decided to be stormy, so we started out at Breakers’ indoor pool, then had lunch at TGI Friday’s there.

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By the time we finished lunch, the rain stopped and we were able to go enjoy the park.

Jeffrey is tall enough now to ride so many of the “bigger” rides, like the Matterhorn, Scrambler, Tiki Twirl, and Troika. He’s definitely a thrill-seeker!

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We spent Sunday at Cedar Point Shores, soaking up the last of the summer water sliding fun.

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It was so nice to get away as a family and celebrate the end of summer break together! This is definitely one of my favorite family traditions!

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And today, Jeffrey starts his last year at Hathaway Brown‘s Early Childhood program.

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I can’t believe he’s going into Pre-K! I’m so proud of him and excited for all the things this year will bring!

How was your weekend? Is your summer break winding down too?

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Why? Weekends!

It was another busy and fun weekend in Cleveland, so let’s dive right in!

Mad for Plaid

The Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society recently opened a new exhibit, Mad for Plaid.

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This exhibit takes you through the history of plaid in fashion, starting in the time of Queen Victoria.

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Mad for Plaid takes you from the early days of plaid in fashion through iconic UK designers, such as Alexander McQueen and Burberry through plaid in grunge and rock (there are even pieces on loan from the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame) through 1970’s fashion to today.

 

There are even examples from plaid on the silver screen in the form of two costumes from “The Greatest Showman,” which were designed by a local costume designer and worn in the film by Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron.

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Mad for Plaid is now open and is a visually elegant way to experience the history of plaid in fashion. Also, check out StyleMe Saturdays, with monthly free programming including exclusive curator tours, themed discussion, and hands-on demonstrations from Praxis Fiber Workshop.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary curator tour of Mad for Plaid. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

John Carroll Reunion Weekend

It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since I graduated from John Carroll University (probably because I’m still up on campus so often). This weekend, John Carroll celebrated Reunion Weekend, bringing together graduates from class years ending in 3 and 8.

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Saturday morning, I attended a yoga class and the family picnic up on campus. The family picnic had great food, as well as face-painting, balloons, a bubble artist, and a sketch artist to keep everyone entertained.

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Saturday evening, I attended the Reunion Weekend Mass at Church of the Gesu, then headed to dinner and dancing on the Quad. My friends and I made it a girls night at Reunion and had so much fun reminiscing about people and places from our college days.

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We all met on our very first day at John Carroll, when we lived on the same floor in Dolan Hall. To be able to stay friends for all these years and celebrate Reunion together is truly something special!

The dinner, desserts, drinks, and DJ were all perfect! From toasting to National Rose Day to enjoying mini donuts from Donut Lab to catching up with friends, Reunion Weekend was filled with sweetness!

 

We’re already talking about our 20th Reunion, although no one quite wants to do the math on how old we’ll be for that!

Great Lakes Science Center

On Sunday, we met up with friends for a play date at the Great Lakes Science Center. Since we attended the member preview of TapeScape, Jeffrey has been asking to go back for more sticky, slide-y fun!

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In addition to TapeScape, we enjoyed classic Science Center favorites like the Polymer Funhouse and checked out the cool duct tape photo opp, too.

The Great Lakes Science Center always offers something fun and educational that captures Jeffrey’s imagination and attention. It’s a favorite play date spot for sure!

***Disclosure: I received four complimentary tickets, courtesy of the Great Lakes Science Center. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

 

 

 

Why? Weekends!

It was a busy and fun weekend in the CLE! Here’s what we were up to:

John Carroll University Alumni Awards Dinner

On Friday night, I was honored to receive the Rev. William M. Bichl, S.J. Alumni Volunteer Service Award from my alma mater, John Carroll University.

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I served on the Cleveland Alumni Chapter Board for six years and was so humbled to receive this award as I completed by board term. John Carroll means so much to me and has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom received her Masters in Education from Carroll, so being able to share the Awards Dinner with her was particularly meaningful.

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The dinner itself was lovely, with good food and good conversation with the other award winners and their families. The other award recipients were so deserving and have accomplished so much that it was truly amazing to be mentioned in the same breath.

I am so grateful for the chance to give back to John Carroll, to receive the award, and to get to share it with the people who mean the most to me and who supported the time and effort I put into my volunteer work.

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Day Out with Thomas

Saturday morning, we boarded a train for Sodor at Day Out with Thomas at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

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We got to enjoy a thirty minute train ride on Thomas himself, along with lots of other train-themed fun, including train tables, model trains, and the chance to ring a real train bell!

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One of my favorite parts of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad events is that they are volunteer-driven. The volunteers care so much about making the experience fun for the kids, which just adds to how special the memories made are.

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Tickets are still available for this weekend’s Day Out with Thomas events, happening Friday, May 25 through Sunday, May 27. Click here to purchase tickets.

Happy Dog

You can keep our family happy with the food at Happy Dog! We popped in for a quick lunch after our Thomas adventure for hot dogs, tots, and craft beer for Matthew and me. I highly recommend Masthead Falling Fruit!

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Matthew and I both got Chef Symon’s Favorite, with alien pickle relish, chunky peanut butter, and Sriracha drizzle. So good!

Dazzle Awards

On Saturday evening, I attended the third annual Dazzle Awards at Playhouse Square. The Dazzle Awards celebrate high school theater in a Tony Awards-style event, handing out awards for everything from set design and costumes to acting. The winners of the Best Actor and Best Actress awards get to travel to New York City to compete in the National High School Theater Awards on Broadway!

I was so impressed with the talent up on stage and with Playhouse Square’s commitment to celebrating these young people. Playhouse Square Partners helps to support the Dazzle Awards, among other Playhouse Square Education and Community Outreach initiatives, so it was cool to see what our donation dollars support.

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

Moms, Manis, and Mimosas

Sunday, I hosted a little brunch party to celebrate my lovely mom friends. I’m so lucky to have women who are supportive and understanding and funny and caring. I’ve really found my mom tribe!

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So, what better way to celebrate these fabulous friends than with brunch (I made this almond French toast and this crab strata) and Prosecco sangria and manicures?

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We had time to eat and chat and pamper ourselves and it was just lovely! It’s so important to celebrate our friends and I’m glad I had a chance to do it!

It was a great weekend with family and friends! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Welcome to the time of year where every weekend is so packed with fun and festivities that they might burst. So, let’s get right to it!

Pajamas and Popcorn

On Friday night, Jeffrey’s school hosted Pajamas and Popcorn, a family movie night with pizza, popcorn, kids in PJs, and cookies.

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The movie was “Horton Hears a Who,” so there were also cute Dr. Seuss photo opps. It was a really cute idea and a fun way to ease Jeffrey into the movie theater experience.

The Capital Grille

On Saturday night, we met up with my parents to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with dinner at The Capital Grille.

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I started with the Blackberry Bourbon Sidecar, because apparently I like cocktails with bourbon now. I’m clearly growing as a person. Matthew and I also shared the lightly-breaded calamari with cherry peppers that give it a nice kick.

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For my entrée, I decided to be the only non-red meat eater at the table because I just couldn’t resist the evening’s fish special: grilled swordfish topped with crab gratin.

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Paired with a nice Sauvignon Blanc, this meal had lots of delicate flavors that were executed perfectly. Swordfish is one of my favorite fish and when you top it with crab…wow! My dad ordered the lamb chops, which received rave reviews!

For dessert, Matthew ordered the warm double chocolate cake with port-wine cherries and I had the apple crostada.

Each was the perfect compliment to our meal. We have never been less than totally impressed with the food and the service at The Capital Grille. And during the holiday season (until December 30), The Capital Grille will also be open for lunch from 12-3pm.

Breakfast with Santa

Sunday morning, we attended the John Carroll Alumni Breakfast with Santa. The event includes a Mass, a toy collection for Bellefaire JCB, breakfast, and of course a visit with Santa!

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My favorite part of this event has been how my friends and I have used it as a chance to gather with our kids. I spent the morning with people I’ve known for 18 years (whoa) and got to see our kids forming friendships with each other too. It’s really special, especially being up on campus with our future Carroll students!

If you’re a John Carroll alum, you have another chance to celebrate the season on campus at the annual Christmas Reception this Wednesday, December 6. It’s truly one of my favorite events of the year, so don’t miss it!

Om for the Holidays Cleveland

While Jeffrey was napping away his Santa-induced exhaustion, I headed to Om for the Holidays Cleveland.

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The rainbow in this pic. I just can’t. @namastenik led an awesome flow!

Om for the Holidays was the brainchild of Angela from Universal Architect and Scare Your Soul. It brought together not only some amazing merchants for holiday shopping…

…but also live music, coaching, community-building, and yoga.

What better way to kick off the busy holiday month than with an opportunity to not only accomplish some holiday gift-buying, but also a chance to nurture your soul with like-minded folks?

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Merry Everything, indeed!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours? Is Christmas crazy starting to creep into your life yet?

jenclesig_pur

 

 

Why? Terrestrial Brewing Company!

Last night, the John Carroll Cleveland Alumni Chapter hosted a happy hour at Terrestrial Brewing Company.

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Not only is Terrestrial Brewing a hot new brewery on the Cleveland craft beer scene, it’s also co-owned by Ryan Bennett, a John Carroll alumni from my class (you don’t need to know what year that is ;-)).

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Ryan partnered with Ralph Sgro, who worked at Platform Beer Co. previously, to open a small-batch, neighborhood brewery in the Battery Park Powerhouse. Terrestrial Brewing does very little distribution, but rather focuses on creating unique beers that draw people in to their bar for pints and conversation.

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For my libations yesterday, I enjoyed the Feisty, a Belgian blonde brewed with jalapenos that really had a kick. I also had the Space Chimp, a witbier with guava and passion fruit. The small-batch system at Terrestrial Brewing allows the brewer to be creative and experiment with different flavors and styles. Ralph even created a beer brewed with gummy worms!

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Terrestrial Brewing seeks to be a easy-going, neighborhood brewpub catering to the residents of the Battery Park area. It’s dog-friendly, as evidenced by the water bowl club (your pup can have his own water bowl with his name on it there).

It’s also a business that knows the value of partnering with other local businesses. The Terrestrial Brewing mug club features beautiful, hand-crafted mugs from The Glass Bubble Project. Terrestrial Brewing is also co-hosting Carnivore Christmas with Saucisson on Monday, December 11.

It was great to not only check out a cool new brewery, but also support another John Carroll alum. If you’re looking for unique beers in a relaxed atmosphere, head on over to Terrestrial Brewing!

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

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a fun and busy pre-Halloween weekend! Here’s what we were up to:

Story Time and Cupcakes

On Friday morning, Jeffrey and I attended a sweet event at White Flower Cake Shoppe in Solon. We were treated to two Halloween stories…

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…and instruction on how to decorate Halloween cupcakes with White Flower’s famous and fabulous buttercream icing.

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Each child attending received 4 cupcakes to decorate.

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And while ours didn’t quite look like the example cupcakes…

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…they were still VERY tasty!

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Story Time and Cupcakes was only $10 and was a fun and unique activity. The next Story Time and Cupcakes is scheduled for Friday, December 22 with a holiday theme. Click here to learn more!

Playhouse Square Children’s Theater Series: Hansel and Gretel

For the second year, we bought tickets for the Playhouse Square Children’s Theater Series. The Series includes 4 shows between October and May. The shows are age-appropriate in theme and length and are a great way to introduce children to live theater.

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The first show of the Series was “Hansel and Gretel: A Wickedly Delicious Musical Treat.” The show was fun and engaging, with lots of great musical numbers, creative costumes and sets, and a talented cast. This was Jeffrey’s first exposure to a true musical and he almost immediately asked if he could get up and dance during the show!

Tickets are still available for the other three shows in the series: “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” in January, “The Gruffalo” in March, and “Guess How Much I Love You and I Love My Little Storybook” in May. If you have a child that you want to introduce to the theater, this is the perfect way to do it!

Willoughby Brewing Company

After the show, we stopped for lunch at Willoughby Brewing Company. Matthew and I always enjoy their in-house craft brews (he had the classic Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter and I had the Pumpkin Ale) and Jeffrey enjoys the trains and cheeseburgers!

Matthew ordered the BrewCo Burger, with bacon jam, fried egg, marinated tomatoes, and beer cheese.

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It was messy and delicious!

I had the lemon garlic parmesan shrimp pasta, with a generous amount of shrimp, red peppers, spinach, and pappardelle.

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It was light and flavorful! We all enjoyed our post-show lunch!

John Carroll University Homecoming and Family Weekend

On Sunday, we all headed up to my alma mater, John Carroll University for Mass and brunch as part of Homecoming and Family Weekend. I always love having Jeffrey up on campus running around my old stomping grounds! This time, he tried to open up my old mailbox.

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I had the worst mailbox location!

If you’re an alum in the Cleveland area, join the Cleveland Alumni Chapter for a social at Terrestrial Brewing Company on Thursday, November 16 starting at 5:30pm. Registration is free and there will be complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. Click here to learn more and register.

Halloween Party

From there, we had more Halloween fun in store for Jeffrey. My grandfather recently moved into an assisted living facility, which hosted a Halloween party for the families of the residents. There was trick or treating, a piñata, and pizza, punch, and cookies.

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But the best part was seeing Jeffrey have quality time with his great grandfather! Jeffrey is lucky enough to still have two great grandfathers and time with them is so valuable and enriching.

So, that was our weekend! Are you ready for Halloween? Like us, are you already on candy overload?!

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

jenclesig_pur

Why? Pete the Cat!

One of the projects at Jeffrey’s school involves the storybook “Pete the Cat.” The kids got really into the story and even created their own class version of it. Then, Pete himself appeared and every child got a chance to take Pete home for a few days. So, here’s what Pete did at our house:

Pete got to know the natives. While he and the dogs are on uneasy terms…

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…Pete was able to find some feline friends in Cali and Halloween Cat.

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He also found some familiar reading material to make him feel comfortable.

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Jeffrey treated Pete to a concert, a cookie, and some play time with friends.

Since the weather was so beautiful, Pete also spent lots of time playing outside!

As a member of the Hathaway Brown community, Pete of course attended Light the Night to support the Blazers.

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He played games…

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…and even found a guitar to strum.

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The line for the East Coast Frozen Custard truck at Light the Night was a bit long. And since ice cream is like catnip for Jeffrey, his momma, and Pete, we headed to Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream for a sweet treat.

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Pete has an adventurous streak, so a trip to Cedar Point seemed the best way to spend our Saturday. Pete rode the carousel and the “crazy corner cars” (as Jeffrey calls them)…

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…but was quite disappointed that he didn’t make the height requirement for the Raptor.

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He did get to trick-or-treat, though!

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Pete was also a big winner at the arcade and took home a yo-yo from his skeeball skills.

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Pete also got to meet Jeffrey’s grandma and do some baking with her.

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Pete might have had a few too many sprinkles.

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And of course Pete spent a lot of time cheering on Jeffrey’s favorite team, the Cleveland Indians!

Most important, Pete and Jeffrey formed a lifelong friendship (and tired each other out!)

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jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

This weather, right?! What a gorgeous weekend! And a busy one too…

Light the Night

On Friday evening, Jeffrey and I went up to Hathaway Brown for their Light the Night celebration, which kicks off homecoming weekend. From balloon artists to games to music to food trucks, there was something fun for every age.

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While the event was mainly to celebrate the high school athletes, Hathaway Brown did a great job of making even the youngest in the community feel welcome and engaged.

Halloweekends

Jeffrey loves Cedar Point and I love a fall festival, so Halloweekends is the perfect combination! The Great Pumpkin Fest transforms the kids’ areas of Cedar Point with trick-or-treat stations, hay bale mazes, pedal tractors, and non-spooky haunted house, and more Halloween fun.

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Plus, there are still all the favorite rides to enjoy! Jeffrey escorted Brenna on one of the car rides…how sweet are they?!

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Plus, the Halloween decorations throughout the park are impressive! There are tons of pumpkins everywhere, some creatively shaped, too!

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Plus, the summer-like weather and the chance to spend a day with some of our favorite people made Halloweekends quite the perfect day!

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Yoga and Brunch

On Sunday, I met up with my friend Beth for another round of Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch series at Dante Next Door. After a challenging and centering practice, we headed downstairs to brunch. By happenstance, I knew almost all of the other yogis, so I not only had a chance to catch up with Beth, but chat with other Yoga/Brunch loving friends, too.

I’m working my way through the Dante Next Door brunch menu (it’s a tough job). This time, I chose the braised beef croissant, with shortrib, Gruyere, Dijon, and fried onions. The sandwich was so flavorful and tender!

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The flavors reminded me of French Onion soup, just in sandwich form. Delicious!

The next Yoga/Brunch is Sunday, October 22. $15 gets you an hour-long practice, plus a complimentary mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here to register!

So, that was our weekend. How was yours? Did you enjoy the weather and cheer on the Indians?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Hansa Brewery!

Last night, I met up with fellow John Carroll University alumni for a happy hour at Hansa Brewery, sponsored by the Cleveland Alumni Chapter.

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I always enjoy the chance to meet up with other alumni and I had never been to Hansa Brewery, so this was definitely a win-win!

For research purposes (the things I do for you, dear readers) I tried two different kinds of Hansa Brewery beer: the Farmer’s Only Saison and the Stomping Ground Coffee Stout, a collaboration with Rising Star Coffee Roasters. Both were well-balanced and quite tasty.

Speaking of tasty, we got to sample some of Hansa Brewery’s appetizers: potato pancakes, pretzels, and the charcuterie plate.

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The potato pancakes were generous with the potato and the perfect balance of moist and crispy, served with either applesauce or sour cream. The whole grain mustard with the pretzels was a delicious beer-drinking snack!

Hansa Brewery’s full menu offers a panoply of German favorites, including wiener schnitzel, jagerschnitzel, and hackbraten. The décor is also old-world themed and matches the beer and food.

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If you’re looking for great, locally-made German beer and food in a fun atmosphere, look no further than Hansa Brewery!

And if you’re a John Carroll alumni, here are some of the Cleveland Alumni Chapter  upcoming events:

Prost to good beer, good food, and good times!

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

jenclesig_pur

Why? Veggie U Food & Wine Gala Giveaway!

If you haven’t noticed, it is fundraiser season! Thank goodness most of these events are strolling food and wine fests…at least you can walk off a couple calories between tables! Coming up on Saturday, September 30 is the Veggie U Food & Wine Gala.

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Fabulous chefs will prepare delicious dishes to delight your palate, including:

  • Local Bison Bourguignon and potato Puree Tartlet plated with Smoked Onion, Parsnip, Heirloom Carrot and house-made Buffalo Nduja Oil from Chef Vishu Nath of Urban Farmer Cleveland
  • Oyster & Beef Tongue Taco with Ranchero, Pickled Onion and Asian Greens from Chef Andrew Gorski of Parker’s Downtown
  • Lentil crepe, almond basmati rice, local cucumber and radish ceviche from Chef Regan Reik of Pier W
  • Pisco Sour from Chef Adam Wilson of Vitamix
  • Fall Angel Food Trifle – toasted angel food cake with pastry cream, soft caramel, braised pears and candied pecans from Chef Lauren Shaffer of Luna Bakery and Cafe

The event takes place at the historic 925 Building in downtown Cleveland. You’ll also get to enjoy wines from Wente Vineyards and craft beer selections, live music from Tony Quarles and the Discovery Band, the chance to bid on fabulous silent auction items, and the Sysco Farmer’s Market with fruits and vegetables to take home.

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The Food & Wine Gala benefits Veggie U, which creates classroom garden programs for children to learn about good, healthy food by planting their own vegetables and using a scientific approach to learning about plants. Not only does this further the students’ science education, but it also helps foster healthy eating habits.

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Tickets are $125 and include food and wine tastings, entertainment, and valet parking. You can purchase tickets online. Or you can enter to win two tickets to the Veggie U Food and Wine Gala right here! I will be selecting two winners, who will each receive two tickets to the event.

Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

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

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

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

4. Follow @VeggieU 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 enjoy great food for a great cause at @VeggieU Food & Wine Gala thanks to @WhyCLE: http://whycle.com/2017/09/13/why-veggie-u-food-wine-gala-giveaway #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, September 18 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Veggie U Food & Wine Celebration. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets for myself and four complimentary tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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