Why? Picnic Hill Market & Cafe!

You know you’ve become part of a neighborhood when a new place opens up and not only are you curious about it, but you have multiple friends message you to find out if you’ve gone yet. So, when my friend Megan asked if I wanted to check out the new Picnic Hill Market & Cafe in Fairmount Circle, I immediately said yes.

I was expecting a sandwich shop and bakery a la J. Pistone’s. And while there are grab-and-go, some grocery items, and beer and wine for sale, Picnic Hill also has a full-service restaurant and bar.

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The menu has a wide variety of appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts, ranging from Korean chicken wings to roasted salmon to a classic cheeseburger. There’s a kids menu, too, with multiple things I know Jeffrey would love!

Aside from the regular menu, Picnic Hill has nightly specials from Tuesday through Friday. Thursday’s special is Birds & Bubbles Thursday, which is exactly why Megan and I picked that night to go. For $18.50, you get two pieces of fried chicken, your choice of either mashed potatoes or four-cheese penne, and sparkling wine.

If there are two things I love in this world, it’s fried chicken and sparkling wine. I didn’t know how much I needed them put together!

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The chicken was super crispy and the penne was dreamy (we both got the penne, so no reports on the mashed potatoes.)

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The other nightly specials are Tequila Tuesday (tacos and margaritas), Burger Wednesday, and Fish Fry Friday.

This cute, cozy spot is more than meets the eye and I cannot wait to go back and order off the full menu!

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Why? Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre Contest Giveaway!

***This event has been postponed.***

Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest to benefit Our Lady of the Wayside is always a fun and delicious night for a fantastic cause. I love a good appetizer and I love seeing local chefs have some friendly competition with each other!

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You can sample tons of tasty small bites, then vote on who should be awarded the Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre title. There is also live music from Elite Dream Band, wine and craft beer samples, silent auction items, and amazing ballpark views.

The event takes place on Thursday, April 2 at the Discount Drug Mart Club at Progressive Field. There are 14 participating restaurants, including Cleveland Chop, Tartine Bistro, Mallorca, The Woods, and Zak Bruell Restaurant Group.

Tickets are $80 and all proceeds benefit Our Lady of the Wayside’s mission of supporting over 1,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities. For Our Lady of the Wayside’s clients, nursing care isn’t an option, at an annual unfunded cost of $650,000. Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre Contest will support Wayside’s nursing program.

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Tickets are available online or you can enter to win two tickets to the event right here! Here’s how to enter:

1.Leave a comment here letting me know which participating restaurant‘s hors d’oeuvre you’re most excited to sample.

2. Visit Our Lady of the Wayside 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 instructions on the Cleveland’s Finest image for an additional entry.

4. Follow @OurLadyWayside 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 win tickets to @OurLadyWayside #ClevelandsFinest2020 from @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2020/02/18/why-clevelands-finest-hors-doeuvre-contest-giveaway-5 

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, February 23 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the event for myself and two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? M Cellars!

It’s no secret that I love visiting Ohio wine country, especially M Cellars. Not only are they a small business that is relentlessly committed to quality, they are also committed to supporting other local small businesses in the products they use in their tasting room. To put in simply, they’re doing it right and putting out tremendous wines in the process.

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I recently had a chance to talk with Matt and Tara Meineke about what makes M Cellars so special. First, if you have the chance to visit the winery and meet Matt and Tara, you’ll instantly see why I vibe so much with M Cellars. They’re a young couple who took on this passion project and are balancing the business along with raising two young girls, making time for each other, and just being charming, lovely people to talk to.

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The vision for M Cellars started on Matt and Tara’s trips to Niagara on the Lake. They fell in love not only with the wineries, but with the wine-making styles they discovered in that region. Matt started experimenting with making wine at home and in 2007, they were able to acquire the land to start M Cellars. They planted grapes with the guidance of the agriculture program at Ohio State University and, since 2015, M Cellars wines have been crafted entirely with grapes grown on site.

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M Cellars is truly a labor of love and a family business. You’ll find Matt down in the cellar making the wine or out and about talking to wholesale buyers to increase M Cellars footprint.

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And you’ll find Tara behind the counter at the tasting room or sharing M Cellars’ story on social media. They’ve taken their personalities, passions, and strengths and poured them into different aspects of the business to make it work.

Matt and Tara pride themselves on M Cellars offering something distinctive and different than the typical Ohio wines. Through their years in business, they have stayed true to that mission, not trying to overreach, but rather excelling in their niche.

One of the distinctive varieties of wines you can find at M Cellars are sparkling wines, which are not typical for Ohio vineyards. Sparkling wines are labor-intensive, but Matt and Tara have a passion for them and work to produce some amazing ones, including the Brut Rosé, which is my favorite of the wines that M Cellars offers (maybe…I really like the Meritage too…and the Pinot Noir.)

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There are many ways you can experience the distinctive difference of M Cellars wines. You can visit the tasting room, which is cozy and homey and gives you the opportunity to try and buy several varieties of M Cellars wine.

You can visit one of the several fabulous Cleveland-area restaurants and bars that carry M Cellars wine, including Urban Farmer, Quintana’s Speakeasy and Bar, Adega, Table 45, Lola, The Flying Fig, Toast, Spice Kitchen and Bar, Craft Collective, Beach Club Bistro, and Bistro 83.

Or you can join one of M Cellars’ wine clubs, which offer everything from bottles shipped to you monthly to more hands-on, tasting-room driven clubs with exclusive events and tastings.

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You’ve heard me mention M Cellars a lot on the blog and it’s because I’ve never failed to have a stellar experience whether in the tasting room or enjoying one of their wines at home. But getting to know Matt and Tara has only increased my love for the winery. There’s nothing better than supporting a small, local business that is committed to quality, to growing and strengthening the region, and to having fun while doing it.

Cheers to M Cellars!

***Disclosure: I was asked to tell M Cellars story. In exchange, I received complimentary wine. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Chocolate Fest Cleveland!

As Valentine’s Day approaches, thoughts naturally turn to flowers and date nights and…CHOCOLATE! No matter what your status, you’re probably in a committed relationship with this decadent sweet.

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Which is why Chocolate Fest Cleveland is happening at the perfect time to extend the celebration of this sweet season. Put on by Taste CLE, the event takes place on Saturday, March 14 at Lago Custom Events.

Chocolate Fest Cleveland includes chocolate samples, wine and chocolate pairings, classes including truffle-making and more, a chocolate martini bar, craft beer, wine, and food.

General admission price for the first 100 tickets is only $35 and includes 14 sample tickets, 2 alcohol tickets, a sample bag, pizza, and snacks. The price increases to $40 after the first 100 tickets are sold through March 8.

Tickets are on sale online. You won’t want to miss this decadently delicious event!

***Disclosure: I have a partnership with Taste CLE, for which I receive a portion of ticket sales from the link in this post. I will also receive two complimentary tickets to Chocolate Fest Cleveland if I reach a certain number of ticket sales. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Allison Rose Foundation Yellow Brick Road Celebration!

This month, the Allison Rose Foundation will host its second annual gala event: the Yellow Brick Road Celebration.

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The event takes place on Saturday, January 25 at the Embassy Suites in Independence and focuses on giving guests the “courage” and “heart” to advocate for children and young adults with food allergies.

The Yellow Brick Road Celebration will raise funds to expand the Allison Rose Foundation’s educational curriculum and scholarships, create additional awareness campaigns, contribute to research and advocate for change to save lives.  A portion of the proceeds will also go to the new Cleveland Clinic Food Allergy Center of Excellence.

The event will feature hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, raffles, and a keynote speech from Broadway star Jessica Vosk, a star of the musical “Wicked,” who will share her story of managing anaphylactic food allergies.

The Allison Rose Foundation was created after the tragic death of Allison Rose Suhy from an extreme food allergy reaction. Her parents turned that tragedy into an opportunity to help other families manage food allergies and hopefully never deal with the same sort of tragedy.

Tickets for the Yellow Brick Road Celebration are currently on sale online for $100 for those 21+ and $50 for those ages 16-21. Click here to purchase tickets and attend this inspiring night of turning tragedy into a true community effort of giving back.

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Why? Red & White on Thursday Night Giveaway!

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to get out more? Or maybe to try a new restaurant or two? Then I’ve got the event for you: the 23rd annual Red & White on Thursday Night to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio.

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Happening Thursday, January 23 at Quaker Station at the University of Akron, this event brings together the winners of Akron Life Magazine‘s 330 Flavor Awards, wine and craft beer samples, silent auctions, and an exclusive VIP lounge for a evening filled with food, fun, and philanthropy.

You will get to enjoy both savory and sweet small bites from BOMBA Tacos & Rum, Crave, Gervasi Vineyard, Saffron Patch, West Side Bakery, Trattoria Vaccaro, Missing Falls Brewery, and more.

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VIP guests will enjoy exclusive food and high-end tastings, specialty cocktails from Brown-Forman, and more, as well as access to all the general admission food and drink.

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Plus, all the proceeds from the event benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio, which is working to help the over 2.6 million people in Ohio living with arthritis.

Tickets are $85 for general admission and $125 for VIP admission. Tickets are available online.

 

Or you can enter to win 2 general admission tickets to Red & White on Thursday Night right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Check out the list of participating restaurants and leave a comment here telling me from which you’re most excited to sample food.

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

3. Hope over to my Instagram page and complete an additional entry there on the Red & White on Thursday Night image.

4. Follow @ArthritisFDN and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to attend #akronredwhite thanks to @ArthritisFDN and @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2020/01/08/why-red-white-on-thursday-night-giveaway-4 

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, January 12 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

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Why? Getaway!

This past weekend, I took a big step outside my comfort zone in two ways: I traveled solo and stayed overnight in a cabin. I’m pretty bad at both alone time and things involving nature, so this was sure to be an adventure.

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I stayed in a Getaway cabin in in Lisbon, Ohio at Getaway Beaver Creek. Getaway cabins are essentially tiny houses, with a kitchenette, bathroom with both toilet and shower, desk, and bed.

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The queen-sized bed is against a wall with a huge window to look out into nature.

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Your Getaway cabin includes pots, pans, utensils, cups, a kettle, coffee, tea, a radio, and some books.

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You also have access to an outdoor campsite with chairs, a picnic table, and a firepit with wood to make a camp fire.

And of course, there’s a s’mores kit! Getaway cabins include lots of cute touches like a cellphone “lockbox,” postcards to send to loved ones, crayons for if you brought the kiddos (or for you)…ways to relax and unwind and disconnect.

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Your cabin locks with a keycode and you receive a text message prior to check in with your cabin name and keycode. There’s also a main office when you arrive at the cabins, as well as a phone in your cabin to call to the office, which made me feel secure, especially when traveling alone.

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The Getaway cabins are in a secluded area, but all in a horseshoe near each other and every cabin was occupied on the day that I stayed.

Getaway also helps you out with a website that includes nearby hiking trails, as well as restaurants and attractions. Being not a big nature girl, plus being by myself in January, I opted for more of the attractions than the hiking.

I had a delicious lunch at The Vineyards at Pine Lake, which boasts a lovely view, tasty wine, and great food.

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I highly recommend the Chicken Francaise paired with the Vineyard White wine and I also grabbed a bottle of the Pinot Noir to take back to the cabin with me.

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And of all the crazy, fun coincidences, Mariah’s parents happened to be having lunch there too, so I guess I’m never really alone!

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The bartender at The Vineyards at Pine Lake recommended I check out Birdfish Brewing, so I popped in to one of their tasting rooms for a quick sample of the local brews.

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After some time in the cabin unwinding, watching movies (no Wi-Fi, so bring DVDs), reading, and eating lots of popcorn…

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…I decided to venture out in the evening to Numbers Brewing Company for some live music.

So whether you’re in to exploring nature or exploring new-to-you places, Getaway makes a great jumping off point. Plus, with being solo, I found myself chatting away with people more than I would have otherwise, finding out some cool recommendations from the locals, and really getting a better sense of the area.

I was surprised at how modern, cute, and comfortable the Getaway cabins are and honestly how safe I felt, even being by myself. And Getaway gives back too: for every Getaway, one tree is planted by the non-profit One Tree Planted.

You can book a Getaway cabin that will accommodate two people or four (the four-person has a second, lofted queen bed.) And you can make your Getaway as laid back or active as suits your personality. You can also saev $25 off your next Getaway using code WHYCLE25 when you book.

***Disclosure: I was invited by Getaway to help promote Getaway Beaver Creek. In exchange, I received a complimentary one-night stay. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

So, is anyone else confused as to when the weekend actually started (or ended for that matter?) It was a lovely, relaxed holiday weekend around these parts…

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On Friday night, I met up with my friend Michelle for dinner at Laurentia Vineyard and Winery. Michelle and I went to college together and hadn’t seen in each in way, way too long!

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It was wonderful to reconnect and so easy to chat. Plus, Laurentia makes for such a pretty, cozy place to meet.

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I tried the 2016 Pinot Noir instead on my usual Cabernet Sauvignon and really enjoyed it! For dinner, I had the Roast Chicken Gnocchi, with chicken, spinach, mushrooms, parsley pesto, and bone broth.

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The flavors were delicate, which made me glad I chose the Pinot Noir over the Cabernet.

It was a fabulous night of good food, good wine, and reconnecting with a good friend.

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Despite not having the outcome we were hoping for, my friend Anne and I had a great time on Saturday night watching Ohio State play in the Fiesta Bowl.

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We went to Brew Garden in Strongsville, which has tons of both bar and table seating and lots of TVs, making it the perfect place to take in a game.

They also have a great beer selection, with lots of Ohio brews (we both liked the Twisted Kilt from Thirsty Dog.) We shared the Spinach and Artichoke Dip and the Mean Green Nachos, which were both tasty and good for splitting.

Next time there’s a big game, check out Brew Garden for a place to watch it!

Adrenaline Monkey

Jeffrey had a high-octane adventure at Adrenaline Monkey on Sunday.

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It’s a great place for kids (and adults) to run, climb, jump, swing, and get out some of that pent-up winter break energy.

Adrenaline Monkey has winter break day camps and extended hours while the kids are out of school, so check it out. I can vouch for it buying us an extra hour and a half of sleep this morning, too!

Little Women

On Sunday, my mom and I went to see Little Women. Having read the book and seen various film adaptations, I was still so excited to see this new version.

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The cast is superb, the cinematography and costumes are beautiful, and the story is the one you know by heart, even if you didn’t remember that you do.

It is heartwarming and beautiful and empowering, so grab your best friend, your mom (or if, like me, they’re one and the same), and get to the theater to see it!

So, that was the weekend. Not bad for the last of the decade. How was yours?

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend filled with holiday cheer, so let’s get right to it…

Country Lights

On Friday night, we went to Country Lights at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark. Country Lights quickly became one of our favorite holiday traditions.

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From the wonderful decorations both inside and out…

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…to the unique magic of building a toy with an elf helper in Santa’s workshop…

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Country Lights always delivers on the Christmas fun!

This event sells out quickly every year, so stay tuned for when tickets go on sale next fall!

Tannenbaum Trail

On Saturday, my friend Anne and I hit the Tannenbaum Trail, sponsored by the Ohio Wine Producers Association.

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For $65 per couple, you receive a small Christmas tree, as well as 2 wine tastes, a small bite, and an ornament at each of several Geneva-area wineries. You can even travel the Tannenbaum Trail over three weekends!

Anne and I were able to get to seven wineries on our adventure: Urban Vintner, Cask 307, Silver Crest Cellars, Stonegait Winery, Grand River Cellars, Debonné Vineyards, and South River Vineyard.

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The two tastes were just enough wine to allow us to experience the wineries, but still be able to get to a lot of different places. And the small bites were just the right amount of food!

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We ended our day at M Cellars, which was not on the Tannenbaum Trail, but is one of our favorite spots when we’re at the wineries.

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This is the second year that I’ve done the Tannenbaum Trail and I love growing my ornament collection and trying new wineries, plus seeing all the beautiful decorations in this festive season!

Kids Holiday Parties

On both Saturday and Sunday, we had kids’ holiday parties, with lots of Christmas crafts…

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…a Santa visit…

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…and lots of holiday cheer!

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It was a fun and festive weekend as we get ever closer to Christmas! How was your weekend?

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Why? Flavors of Northeast Ohio!

I’ve been really fortunate throughout this blogging adventure to get to attend a lot of fabulous fundraisers. One that has been on my must-attend list for a long time was Flavors of Northeast Ohio to benefit the American Liver Foundation Heartland Division.

This unique event brings together several amazing local chefs, who are each given a table of guests for whom they create a multi-course dinner, paired with wine. The menus and tables are themed with the chefs’ creativity, making the evening a full sensory experience.

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But before you even enter the ballroom and take a seat at your table, you can nibble on delicious passed hors d’oeuvres from the participating chefs, enjoy a signature cocktail (this year’s was a painkiller from Porco Lounge & Tiki Room), and bid on auction items or participate in the wine pull.

My table was created and catered by Chef Chris Kafscak of Nomad Culinary. The theme was Game Night and the tablescape was filled with board game fun.

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For our first course, we slurped up some delicious game of Life “College Ramen,” which was much tastier than any ramen I ever made in my dorm room! This course was paired with Kendall Jackson Avant Chardonnay.

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Next up was “Professor Plum & Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen with the Salad,” a fun play on classic Clue characters in the name and a tasty salad too. This course was paired with Robert Mondavy Private Select Rye Barrel Aged Red Blend.

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Our next course was simply titled “Lox,” a high-scoring Scrabble word. In reality, the course featured salmon two-ways with a tasty faro, asparagus, and olive salad. This course was paired with Beringer Bros. Tequila Barrel Aged Sauvignon Blanc.

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From Candy Land, our next course was Gloppy’s Pierogi with Chocolate Red Wine Beef, paired with Juggernaut Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon. You had me at pierogi, but the tender, flavorful beef was delicious too!

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Our last course, themed on Sorry, was White Chocolate Cheesecake paired with Dark Horse Sparkling Brut. The game-board presentation of this dish made it almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

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All of this delicious food and culinary creativity helped to raise $116,000 for the American Liver Foundation Heartland Division and put the 15-year total for this Flavors of Northeast Ohio event at $1 million!

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I may have checked this off my must-attend bucket list, but I’ll certainly be attending this amazing event again!

***Disclosure: I was asked by American Liver Foundation Heartland Division to help promote Flavors of Northeast Ohio. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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