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?

jenclesig_pur

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!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a long holiday weekend and the unofficial start of summer, so of course there was lots of fun to be had…

Goldfish Swim School

Crazy early on Friday morning, Jeffrey and I headed to Goldfish Swim School – Cleveland East Side as part of a segment on WKYC on swimming safety.

Jeffrey got to spend an hour taking a swim lesson, while WKYC did various live shots. He had a great time just doing something he enjoys anyway (albeit usually not that early!)

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You can see Jeffrey swimming along here and here.

We’ve been so happy with his progress at Goldfish Swim School, not only in swim skills, but also in self-confidence! We definitely feel confident going into the summer season that he is ready for all the pool and water fun the season brings!

Luca West

On Saturday evening, my mom and I met up for a Girls’ Night Out at Luca West.

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From perfect cocktails to delicious food, this is a great spot to dine! We started with an appetizer course of the Sacchetti, white truffle and ricotta-stuffed sacchetti pasta with white truffle and aged fig balsamic.

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This is one rich dish, but so worth the indulgence! Pro tip: use the bread to sop up the extra sauce!

For our entrees, we both chose veal: grilled veal chop with truffle butter for Mom and veal piccata for me. Both were served with roasted potatoes and asparagus.

We both cleaned our plates! The veal was tender, the piccata sauce was bright and citrusy, and the sides were the perfect compliment.

For dessert, we went with a trio of traditional choices: crème brûlée (so smooth and creamy), cannoli, and tiramisu (light and fluffy perfection). All were delicious and left us with something to take home to our husbands, too!

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I am always so impressed with the food and the service at Luca West…truly a fabulous place to enjoy an Italian feast!

Tremont Greek Fest

On Sunday, we crossed another item off my 2019 Blog Bucket List at the Tremont Greek Fest.

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The festival offers lots of traditional Greek food prepared from family recipes, from gyros to souvlaki to lamb shank. You can grab a gyro to go or stay and enjoy a full dinner platter.

Matthew had the jumbo gyro and I had the souvlaki pita. Both were so flavorful!

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Of course, we couldn’t skip the pastry table. The baklava was nutty, sticky goodness!

There are also vendors, Greek music and dancing, and a couple carnival-style games.

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Festivals always say summertime to me, so it was great to spend the unofficial kick-off to summer at a festival that I’ve always wanted to attend!

Jeffrey’s Birthday

Monday brought Jeffrey’s 5th birthday!

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Since we had his big party last weekend, we spent the day with our parents and him, playing in the backyard, exchanging presents, and of course eating.

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I made grilled garlic tequila lime flank steak (recipe here), street corn (recipe here), guacamole, and salsa, so we could all build our own perfect platter of Mexican-style deliciousness.

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For dessert, we went with our go-to Mitchell’s Ice Cream for a build-your-own-sundae bar.

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It was a lovely, relaxed afternoon celebrating our favorite young man!

How was your weekend?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a super busy weekend in the CLE, so let’s get right to it…

Partner Yoga

On Friday night, Matthew and I took a Partner Yoga workshop at Yoga Roots. Both of us have practiced for a long time, but never like this!

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Led by Yoga Roots teachers Sharon and Nick, the workshop put you and your partner in poses together, from feet touching in child’s pose to planking on top of each other!

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The room was filled with lively conversation and laughter. It was a great way to not only connect with your partner, but to build connections within the Yoga Roots community too. After class, we grabbed some wine and snacks for a little picnic on our mat.

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This was a fun and unique date night and a cool way to expand our practice!

Donut Fest

Saturday, we continued our annual tradition of attending Donut Fest.

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Held at RedSpace, this event brings together 12 donut purveyors to offer samples of their tasty treats, along with local coffee vendors to help wash it all down.

This year, some of our favorites included the chocolate strawberry creme stick from Jack Frost Donuts

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…the chocolate clementine donuts from Fiona’s Coffee Bar and Bakery

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…and the sour cream donuts from Goldie’s Donuts & Bakery.

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While Donut Fest is definitely a sugary overload, I feel like the bakeries have moderated the sample size from the first year, so you can actually enjoy something from each of the shops. Plus, who doesn’t love the chance to taste test so many different types of donuts under one roof?!

Anne Cate Studio Opening

Saturday night, my friend Mariah and I attended the grand opening party for Anne Cate‘s studio space in Mentor.

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This space is part office, part production studio, which can also sell some of the skyline merchandise. It’s sleek, modern, and perfectly pretty in Anne Cate’s signature pink and black!

I can’t wait to see what fabulous things Anne Cate has in store (haha) for this space!

Partners Brunch Around

On Sunday, I joined some of my fellow Playhouse Square Partners for brunch in Tremont. We had groups at 4 different Tremont restaurants and I was lucky enough to land at Fat Cats.

As one of Tremont’s longest standing restaurants, Fat Cats has stood the test of time and remains a delicious spot to eat. I had the Williams Wake Up Breakfast Sandwich, with egg, avocado, bacon, and slaw.

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Served on lightly grilled bread and with a side of sweet potato fries, this was a perfect brunch item: sort of breakfasty, sort of lunchy, and totally yummy!

After our brunches, the groups from the various restaurants all met up for a drink at The Flying Monkey Pub.

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What a great Sunday Funday!

Bright Ideas

After that, I headed to The Brecksville Theatre to see my friend Wes in their production of “Bright Ideas.” This show is a campy and fun look at parents trying to get their kid into a very exclusive preschool.

We definitely laughed a lot and found some very relatable moments in the show. It’s playing February 15, 16, and 17 and you can purchase tickets online.

So that was our busy weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Affogato Cat Café!

This week, Affogato Cat Café opened in Tremont. Jeffrey is obsessed with cats, so a visit to Affogato made it onto our 2019 Bucket List and was quickly accomplished.

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Affogato is co-owned by three young, entrepreneurial folks, two of whom are John Carroll alumnae. As you can imagine, I was excited to discover that bit of trivia!

There is a small (think: four tables) café area, with coffee house drinks and treats, all with fun cat-themed names. Jeffrey had a Meowcaron and I had a Café au Lay on My Keyboard.

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The café uses lots of local products, like Rising Star Coffee and Storehouse Tea.

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The café area has windows that look into the cat lounge. To enter the cat lounge, you need to make a reservation for a one-hour time frame. Weekday reservations are $10 per person, weekend reservations are $12, student reservations are $8, and a 10-hour day pass is $49. Children are welcome and those over 5 years old require a separate reservation.

Before you enter the cat lounge, you get a review of the cat lounge rules and then it’s kitty time.

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The cats in the lounge currently range in age from 8 months to 13 years, with all the different energy levels and personalities that go along with it.

Jeffrey’s favorite was Trish Panda, who enjoyed playing string toy games and even let Jeffrey pet her a bit.

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With the exception of Prince, the resident cat, all the cats in the lounge are adoptable through the Cleveland APL.

The cat lounge has everything from cozy places to curl up with a furry friend to desks to work. There are phone chargers, books, games, and cat toys…everything you need to make a visit fun, productive, relaxing, or whatever else you might be seeking.

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I’m seriously wishing I saved my papasan chair from college after seeing how much Jeffrey liked this one!

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I am a confirmed dog person, but I did find the residents and the concept of Affogato Cat Café to be really sweet. Adoptable animals always have a special place in my heart Affogato provides a great way to find a new adoptable pet or just have some cozy kitty time. Jeffrey certainly loved it, if his individual goodbyes to each cat are any indication.

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Affogato is now open Wednesday through Sunday from 11am-9pm. Remember, if you want to visit with the kitties, you need to make a reservation online.

 

Why? 2019 Blog Bucket List!

Hey there, 2019! I’ve been thinking about this new year from a blog perspective in terms of where I’d like to go that I haven’t been.

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Image Source 

So, here’s my current 2019 places-to-go bucket list:

1.Il Rione Pizzeria – How have I not been to this place yet?! I’m pretty sure I could house one of those pizza solo.

2. Flight Cleveland – While I’m in the neighborhood for Il Rione, obvs. I like my Bucket Lists to be efficient.

3. Affogato Cat Café – OK, this is on Jeffrey’s bucket list. And we’re going today. So I mostly like just being able to already check something off.

4. Marble Room Steak and Raw Bar – See my reasoning for #1. How have I not been here yet?!

5. The Georgia O’Keefe: Living Modern exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art – Georgia O’Keefe is a sorority sister of mine. And I’ve heard the exhibition is a stunner.

6. More general day trip/small trip exploration. Jeffrey is getting to be a great road trip buddy. We’ve had a blast on our Columbus drives. Currently on my list to get to: Toledo, Pittsburgh, Amish Country, and Cincinnati.

7. Nell and Rose – This just looks like a great place to shop!

8. The Van Aken District – In the same vein, I want to get some more local boutique shopping on at this new spot.

9. The Lake Erie Bluffs in the Lake Metroparks – Spectacular views of our Great Lake? What’s not to love?!

10. The Tremont Greek Fest – I live for summer fairs and festivals and this is somehow one I’ve never been to. Is it less crazy than Taste of Tremont?

What’s on your 2019 bucket list?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Tour de Bruell!

Every year, six of Chef Zack Bruell‘s restaurants host the Tour de Bruell, happening through September 3.

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If you purchase an entrée at all six participating restaurants, you are entered to win a private dinner for eight prepared in your home by Chef Zack Bruell.

Those overachievers who completed the Tour de Bruell by July 4 were entered into a drawing to win a progressive dinner through all six of the restaurants hosted by the Chef himself.

Last week, the winners of the progressive dinner, along with some very lucky bloggers…

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…gathered to eat our way through all of Chef Bruell’s restaurants on the Tour de Bruell.

We started at Table 45, located at the Intercontinental Hotel. Chef Bruell told us that this sleek, modern restaurant is his favorite from an aesthetic standpoint. Our course at Table 45 consisted of deliciously fresh sushi,

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as well as a cocktail called the Champagne Floh, made with champagne, Elderflower liquor, and local Floh vodka.

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From there, we boarded a chauffeured limo bus with the Chef (sidebar: sometimes being a blogger lets you do ridiculously awesome things) and headed to our second stop: Parallax.

Parallax is the oldest of the six restaurants and, if you asked me prior to this progressive dinner, my favorite (I think it still might be, but this night made it harder to choose). At Parallax, we enjoyed scallops that just melted in your mouth.

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Then it was off to our third stop: Alley Cat Oyster Bar. Alley Cat not only boasts an amazing seafood and fish selection, but also incredible views!

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This course consisted of ridiculous huge shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell, and a mini version of Alley Cat’s seafood charcuterie board.

 

Everything was fresh and delicious and the seafood charcuterie board was a unique twist on a common concept.

Halfway through the tour! We got back on the bus and headed to Chinato. Located right at East 4th and Prospect, this is the perfect stop before a game or concert downtown!

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The Bolognese sauce at Chinato has slow-roasted pork shoulder and is incredibly rich and flavorful!

Back on the bus for a short jaunt to Playhouse Square for stop five: Cowell & Hubbard. This restaurant prides itself on getting theater-goers to the show on time, while still providing the highest quality food and service.

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Our course here was trout that actually made me like trout!

Finally, we ended our evening on the most lovely, secret-garden patio at L’Albatros Brasserie, with a sensational cheese plate and grapefruit sorbet.

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It was truly a treat not only to experience all these restaurants, but to hear their history from Chef Zack Bruell himself. It’s also easy to appreciate his impact on the Cleveland culinary scene when you visit all the restaurants in one night. The sheer variety of cooking styles, menu, décor, and clientele served is impressive.

I’m so grateful I had the chance to tag along with the lucky Tour de Bruell winners. And the Tour isn’t over yet, so if you want to send your summer out with some great food, you have until September 3 to complete the Tour for a chance to win a private, in-home dinner. Trust me, the color commentary alone from Chef Bruell makes this a prize you’ll want to win!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Tour de Bruell progressive dinner. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Engage Cleveland Young Professionals Week!

It bears repeating that it is a great time to be a young professional in Cleveland! The community of YPs is growing, with people living and working and playing in Cleveland proper more than ever.

Engage Cleveland! seeks to bring YPs together to network, as well as to enjoy Cleveland. Their annual Young Professionals Week in the summer offers events that encompass non-profits, sports, restaurants, music, and more. YPs can get an expansive taste of Cleveland and meet people with similar interests, while also connecting with organizations with which they can continue involvement after YP Week is over.

As a media partner for Young Professionals Week, I tried to choose events that reflected my diverse interests, so naturally I chose yoga and donuts!

On Sunday, I attended a class put on by HikYoga Cleveland.

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HikYoga combines hiking and yoga for a fun way to get outdoors and get your downdog on. We took a hike on the Towpath Trail near Tremont and the Flats, with stops along the way for meditation, vinyasa flow, and balancing poses.

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We ended our hike at the Cleveland script sign for a fun group photo opp…

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then returned to Forest City Brewery for a beer and some conversation with our fellow YPs.

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HikYoga hosts events around the area, including Forest City Brewery, Rocky River Reservation, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And thanks to YP Week, I have a new fun activity to try again!

On Wednesday, I attended a donut panel discussion and tasting at Hub 55 with some of Cleveland’s sweetest donut bakers: Courtney Bonning and Kelly Brewer of Big Mouth Donuts, Katie Flesher of Peace, Love and Little Donuts, Trevor Gile of Daylight Donuts, Dustin Goldberg and Jeff Sabroff of Goldie’s Donuts and Bakery, and Shelley Pippin of Brewnuts.

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The panel discussed the donut craze in Cleveland and the impact of donuts on the nationally-renowned Cleveland food scene, as well as on the diverse neighborhoods where these donut purveyors opened their shops.

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Plus, we got to taste the sweet subject of our discussion!

 

So, whether you enjoyed yoga, donuts, meeting new people, or exploring new interests, Engage Cleveland Young Professionals Week had something for you. And there are still events through June 30 that you can attend. Also, stay tuned to Engage Cleveland for more ways to get engaged to this fantastic city!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Engage Cleveland! to be a media partner for Young Professionals Week. In exchange, I received complimentary registration to two events of my choosing. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? The South Side and Hi & Dry!

Last week, I met up with some fabulous lady bloggers for a taste of two fabulous Tremont restaurants: The South Side and Hi & Dry. The South Side was opened in 2003 by Sherman DeLozier with the idea of being a middle ground for Tremont’s restaurants: not too fancy, not too casual. And Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky, who grew up in Parma, does just that with fabulous and fun menu offerings.

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We got a broad taste of The South Side’s menu, including items that will be appearing on the summer menu starting in early May. The gazpacho and seafood shooters and Big Fat Greek Salad (watermelon, cucumber, tomato, onion, feta, and basil), both tasted just like summer should: fresh and delicious!

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The tuna and avocado salad was incredible and had everyone going back for seconds!

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The beets and grapefruit salad was also light, bright, and so good!

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We also got to sample several different kinds of tacos: steak, shrimp, and black bean and kimchee.

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Pair them with a habanero tequila and peach margarita and you’ll want to spend your taco Tuesdays at The South Side!

The South Side also pays homage to Natasha’s Eastern European roots with things like deep-fried pierogi stuffed with mac ‘n cheese and kielbasa kebabs (kielbasa and potato pancakes).

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A bite of these with the chipotle aioli is SO GOOD!

But Chef Natasha didn’t stop there and showed us her skill with fish and pasta, too. The mushroom ravioli with truffle and beet fettucine with goat cheese and dill were both well-prepared and delicious!

The pesto-crusted salmon and tomato-roasted grouper also elevate The South Side’s menu to true gastro pub status. The food is creative and tasty, while still being accessible and not too pretentious.

The South Side strip and St. Louis style ribs will keep the more traditional meat-eaters happy, with just enough of a foodie flair.

Oh, you’re a pizza fan? Try the shrimp primavera pizza!

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And if you’re looking for brunch decadence, look no farther than the Money Ball, a meatball wrapped around a 6-minute egg and baked under a blanket of pie dough, served with buttermilk sausage gravy.

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The South Side truly has something on their menu for everyone! The food, drinks, and staff are easy-going and genuinely wonderful. If this place slipped off your Tremont radar, as it did mine admittedly, make sure you get there soon for all this Cleveland-grown deliciousness!

We then waddled (literally) down the street to Hi & Dry for a sampling of their playful cocktail menu and some duckpin bowling.

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All of Hi & Dry’s cocktails are named after hashtags. I think the #CaseoftheMondays (pictured here) is my favorite! And while Hi & Dry is primarily a bar and arcade destination, there are some fun bar food menu items, including this SPAM sandwich.

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So, whether you’re in search of a great meal, a great drink, or a great time, you can’t go wrong stopping at The South Side or Hi & Dry (or both)! These locally-owned, locally-focused restaurants are true gems in the Tremont neighborhood!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tasting at The South Side and Hi & Dry. Much thanks to Tricia of Planes, Trains, and All of Our Meals for organizing this event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a wonderful holiday weekend, filled with family and friends! Here’s what was hopping:

Dyeing Easter Eggs

On Friday, Jeffrey and I had our friends over to dye Easter eggs. We dye eggs every year and I love how Jeffrey has gotten more interested in it as time goes by.

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Check out his masterpieces!

Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter Egg Hunt

Speaking of annual traditions, on Saturday we went to the Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter egg hunt. This is one of our favorite holiday events!

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You ticket includes an Easter egg hunt in the Hershey Children’s Garden, which is filled with tons of candy-filled eggs, as well as fun spring decorations.

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There were also crafts and outdoor games like bean bag toss and giant tic-tac-toe to enjoy. Plus there was a visit from a very special bunny in a very special bunny car!

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You also got admission to the Cleveland Botanical Garden to check out their Spring Blooms event. Spring Blooms replaced Big Spring and has all the bright spring colors and flowers you’ve come to expect, but fewer children’s play elements.

We really enjoyed our morning at the Easter egg hunt! For an event that draws around 1,000 people, it is very well organized and always a lot of fun!

Dante and Justin Timberlake

On Saturday night, I celebrated my dear friend Kimberly‘s birthday with dinner at Dante, followed by the Justin Timberlake concert.

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Our meal at Dante was perfect, from the aptly-named Something Fun cocktail…

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…to the honey-roasted Brussel sprouts with goat cheese and polenta with pork belly (OMG, both were life-changing!)

From there, it was off to an awesome night of music with Justin Timberlake, with a special guest appearance from LeBron James, too!

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What a fun night!

Easter

The rest of our weekend was spent enjoying Easter with our families. On Saturday, I prepared a traditional and locally-sourced Polish Holy Saturday feast, with pierogi from Janka Meat Products and Pierogi, kielbasa from Pinzone Market Fresh Meats, and sauerkraut from Wholesome Valley Farm via Fresh Fork Market.

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On Sunday, we had Easter bunny treats to discover…

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…time with both Matthew’s and my families and lots of smiles and good memories!

It was a great weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur