Why? Taste of the Browns Giveaway!

Football season is upon us, which means its time for the Super Bowl of food events: Taste of the Browns to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, happening Monday, September 19.

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This event combines the talents of so many fabulous Cleveland restaurants and beverage purveyors, all to raise money to help the 1 in 6 people in our community who are food insecure to bridge the meal gap.

Your ticket includes wine and beer tastings, as well as delicious nibbles from over 25 restaurants, like Deagan’s Kitchen, Lago East Bank, Nuevo Modern Mexican, Sushi 86, Zack Bruell Restaurants, and many more.

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Plus, you’ll get to mingle with Cleveland Browns current players and alumni and pose for photo opps, bid on amazing silent auction items, and enjoy the Club Lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium.

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Tickets for Taste of the Browns are currently on sale for $175 for general admission (which provides 700 meals to those in need) and $250 for VIP admission (which provides 1,000 meals to those in need). You can purchase tickets online.

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

1.Leave a comment here telling me your favorite Browns player, current or alumni.

2. Visit Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @CleFoodBank 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 @CleFoodBank Taste of the @Browns thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2016/08/30/why-taste-of-the-browns-giveaway-5 #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 Saturday, September 3 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Taste of the Browns. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary general admission tickets for myself and two complimentary general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

There was so much going on around town this weekend! We were busy bees, going here and there and everywhere. Friday evening, I met up with my lovely sister-in-law Elizabeth for dinner and drinks. I happened to hear about a winery down in Wadsworth and she lives down there, so this seemed like a perfect way to discover Filia Cellars.

We started with a wine tasting, catered to our individual preferences (dry for me, sweet for Elizabeth). My favorites were the Hannah, a blend of Petit Sirah, Syrah, and Grenache, and the Isabella, a blend of Cab and Cab Franc.

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Not only were the wines tasty, but the atmosphere at Filia was great! The winery has taken over an old house and filled it with cozy and adorable decor, plus utilized the backyard as a patio with live music and a local food truck.

Filia also allows you to bring in your own food, so we picked up take-out from The Galaxy Restaurant. I had the Toscano pasta, with shrimp, langostinos, and cherry tomatoes, served over cheese-filled pasta.

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This paired really well with my wine choices! It was a lovely evening, discovering a great winery, as well as having some wonderful girl time to catch up.

On Saturday morning, we took Jeffrey to the Mentor CityFest for the parade. He had fun seeing all the trucks and bands and whatnot, but he also loved getting lots of candy! he tried his first sucker and I think he might be hooked!

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I think he was mad the band didn’t hand out suckers 

That afternoon, we headed over to the Cleveland Garlic Festival for some fragrant fun. My first stop was the Cafe Avalaun stand for garlic fries. These were SO tasty! And I love all the high-quality, all-natural ingredients they use there.

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We headed to the Mighty Locavores area next to let Jeffrey run around and have fun with push tractors, hay bales, and lots more fun.

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Then it was time to eat! We got our dinner from Zest Cleveland, where Matthew enjoyed the Zest Melt (pulled pork, slab bacon, egg, cajun potato, and smoked mozzarella) and I had the Gumbo Ya-Ya. Both were delicious! Of course we couldn’t pass up Mitchell’s ice cream for dessert and a stop at the craft beer tent for some garlic beer from The Brew Kettle.

And we couldn’t leave without some garlic to use in our home culinary adventures. We picked up a variety pack from Thaxton’s Organic Garlic, with a handy cheat sheet as to the varieties and their flavors. Plus, the folks from Thaxton’s are so great!

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The Cleveland Garlic Festival is a fundraiser for North Union Farmers Market, but it’s also just a really fun summer festival!

Sunday, it was time for Alicia‘s flamingo-themed baby shower! From the decor to the favors to the delicious and adorable cake from Michael Angelo’s Bakery, everything was just perfect to help get ready for the new arrival.

Plus, Kimberly came up with the brilliant idea to find flamingo outfits to wear for the shower! I can’t wait to wear this fun dress again!

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I’m so excited for my dear friend and her growing family! And from all the fun at the shower, I know that feeling is shared by many!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

***Disclosure: I was asked by North Union Farmers Market to help promote the Cleveland Garlic Festival. In exchange, I received two complimentary weekend passes to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Chefs Unbridled Giveaway!

There are certain events throughout the year that you know will have the height of great food and great wine. Chefs Unbridled, to benefit Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, is one of those signature events.

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Held at the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club Polo Field on Saturday, September 17, you will enjoy delicious tastings from some of Cleveland’s finest chefs, cocktails, a food truck and cupcake truck, live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a bourbon tasting.

Chefs Unbridled overview - Credit Creed Woodka Photography
Photo Credit: Creed Woodka

 

This year’s chefs represent a diverse line-up of styles who are sure to delight your tastebuds:

Chefs Unbridled - Kuhn Hodgson - Credit Creed Woodka Photography
Photo Credit: Creed Woodka

Plus, Chefs Unbridled always features an incredible live and silent auction, which this year includes items like vintner getaway packages to Napa Valley and Sonoma and a Kentucky Bourbon Trail trip.

Chefs Unbridled is the primary fundraiser for Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, which serves people of all ages who face challenges such as PTSD, ADHD, injuries, and neurological disorders. Fieldstone Farm students work with the horses to overcome barriers and achieve goals. This is one of the largest centers of its kind in the country, serving more than 1,000 students each year.

Tickets for Chefs Unbridled are on sale now and are $140 per attendee. Or you can enter to win two tickets to this incredible event right here!

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

1.Leave a comment here letting me know which chef’s food you’re most excited to try at Chefs Unbridled.

2. Visit Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @fieldstonef 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 #ChefsUnbridled to benefit @fieldstonef thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2016/08/25/why-chefs-unbridled-giveaway-2 #giveaway

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Monday, August 29 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Chefs Unbridled. Due to scheduling conflicts, I sadly declined my two complimentary tickets. I will receive two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends, Part 2!

We spent time other places than the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo this weekend, so here’s how we filled the rest of our time:

On Friday, Jeffrey and I met up with one of his little friends and her mom for a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

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Through the month of August, children ride free with the purchase of an adult ticket, so we took advantage of this deal! We boarded the train in Peninsula, so we didn’t do the full length of the trip, but rather went to Akron and back to Peninsula. I would recommend the shorter trip for younger kids. Our ride was just under 2 hours, which is around Jeffrey’s maximum capacity for being entertained by an activity.

He loved seeing the train come into the depot, plus our trainman obligingly said, “All aboard!” for him as we were getting on the train.

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A trip to the concession/souvenir car netted Jeffrey a new train to play with and helped keep him engaged for the trip.

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The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is truly a unique experience and I love how passionate the volunteers on the train are about the railroad. Oh, and another great thing about starting and ending your trip at Peninsula is that you can walk to Winking Lizard for lunch, which makes everyone happy!

After our Zoo excursions on Friday and Saturday, we had the rest of the weekend fully booked with parties. First, it was a second birthday party for one of Jeffrey’s friends. From delicious cake to fun favors, Jeffrey had a blast (as did we)!

From there, it was off to a wine and beer pairing soiree, thrown by friends Melissa and Tim, who make their own beer and wine. All the libations were delicious, especially when expertly paired with foods representing different seasons.

From spring salad to summer BBQ to football nachos to gingerbread cookies, each season had it’s dishes and drinks (and centerpieces…Melissa is a hostess with the mostest). I was so impressed by not only the food and drink, but the hospitality and friendliness of everyone at the party. I can’t wait for the next one!

On Sunday, I co-hosted with the fabulous Kathleen a sprinkle for our friend Tracy, who is expecting her second daughter in October. I completely failed on getting any pictures of the lovely ladies, but I did get some of the food and beverages (priorities).

We ordered chicken piccata, cavatelli, meatballs, and salad from La Vera Party Center, who not only makes delicious food, but is also incredibly reasonably-priced for their catering options. I made the punch from this recipe. This punch is not too sweet and is also really tasty with a bit of vodka or tequila mixed in!

While I was sprinkling, Matthew and his friend Nathan took in a #Windians game on a beautiful day for baseball!

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So, that was our weekend! It was busy, but so much fun with friends from so many different times and seasons (see the tie in there?) in our lives!

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Why? Weekends, Part 1!

It was quite the whirlwind of a weekend, so we’re breaking up the weekend recap so as to better digest it all. Between Friday night and Saturday morning, we had two events at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo within 12 hours, so I figured I’d start with those two:

On Friday night, Matthew and I attended Date Night at the Zoovies, a fundraiser for the Cleveland Zoological Society. This event includes appetizers, a chance to check out the African Safari and Australian Adventure areas of the Zoo, unlimited Beachhouse wine and Great Lakes Brewing beer, and a movie shown on the big screen under the stars. We even ran into a friend or two, as well!

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We munched on mini Chicago-style hot dogs, veggie burger sliders, Italian hoagie sandwiches, mini deep-dish pizzas, and Korean BBQ wings.

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If it seems like a lot of the food had a Chicago-esque theme, then you may have also guessed that the movie did too: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” During the movie, there was theater-style fare, from popcorn to nachos to boxes of candy.

Date Night at the Zoovies is one of my favorite events at the Zoo because it is just pure fun and relaxation. Such a simple concept of food and a movie, but such a cool place to enjoy it! And since the event sells out every year, I know that opinion is shared by many!

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Saturday morning, we were back at the Zoo bright and early for the Recovery Resources Run for Recovery. Before the run began, we checked out some of the community partners’ tables, as well as the chalkboard filled with inspirational messages to those helped by Recovery Resources’ addiction recovery services.

I have been to the Zoo many a time with Jeffrey, but this was my first time trying to do “the big hill” at a good pace.

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Jeffrey’s face pretty much says it all. It was hot and that was a BIG hill. But we made it! And the folks stationed throughout the Run to cheer everyone on were so sweet and encouraging!

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That is the face of someone who pushed the stroller DOWN the big hill, not UP

One of the best parts about having a 5K at the Zoo is the chance to see some animals not only while you’re doing the run…

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but also afterwards. The Run for Recovery included Zoo admission for the day, so we stuck around for a bit to see some critters, as well as enjoy some of the snacks, music, and happy vibes from the people there for the Run.

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Two Zoo events in 12 hours – check! As for the rest of our weekend…stay tuned!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Date Night at the Zoovies and the Run for Recovery by their respective organizations. In exchange, I received two tickets for Date Night at the Zoovies and two race entries for the Run for Recovery. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Gigi’s on Fairmount!

Last week, I met up with the lovely Reena for drinks, food, and so much good conversation at the equally lovely Gigi’s on Fairmount.

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I love the atmosphere at Gigi’s. It’s got this wonderful, intimate vibe that makes me feel like I’m in a cafe in Paris. The menu includes small bites, salads, panini, and the wonderful bruschetta boards, along with three special entrees each evening.

While all the entrees that evening sounded delicious (scallop risotto, what?!), we decided to share the fromage board and the bruschetta board.

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The fromage board was delightful, especially with the jam and lavender honey. And while it was so tough to choose which four bruschetta we wanted for our board, we decided on the smoked salmon, chicken liver pate, tomato and whipped feta, and the brie and granny smith apple.

These are substantial bruschetta and the board gave us more than enough to share. And the flavors were wonderful, with all the different elements of the bruschetta really coming through.

From the food to the wine list to the intimate atmosphere to staff who let us sit for as long as we wanted over our wine and cheese, Gigi’s on Fairmount won my heart that night and I will certainly back to this neighborhood gem!

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Why? L’Amour du Vin Giveaway!

I can’t believe that the summer is almost over, but as invites for fall events hit my inbox, I realize that it’s true! One of these great fall events is L’Amour du Vin to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeast Ohio, happening at the Avon Oaks Country Club on Thursday, October 6.

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L’Amour du Vin features small bites from some of Lorain County’s and Western Cuyahoga County’s best restaurants, like Bar 145, Kiedrowski’s Simply Delicious Bakery, Heck’s Cafe Avon, Parker’s Grille and Tavern, and Taki’s Greek Kitchen. All this delicious food will be paired with unlimited tasty wine samplings from a variety of vineyards.

There is also a VIP Lounge, with exclusive wines, Brown-Forman cocktails, and a special dish from Heck’s Cafe Avon.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeast Ohio, which works to help the 1.3 million people in Northeast Ohio with arthritis.

Tickets are $75 for general admission and $95 for VIP admission and can be purchased online. Or you can enter to win two general admission tickets to L’Amour du Vin 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 which you’re most excited to try.

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

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

4. Follow @ArthritisFouNEO 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 attend #LAmour2016 to benefit @ArthritisFouNEO thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2016/08/18/why-lamour-du-vin-giveaway-5 #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, August 22 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Arthritis Foundation, Northeast Ohio Chapter to help promote L’Amour du Vin. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary VIP tickets for myself and two general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Despite having made lots of rain contingency plans for this weekend, we actually got in all the fun we originally had planned for the weekend. On Friday morning, Mom and I took Jeffrey to Playground World for some playground fun in some much-appreciated air conditioning.

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The Warrensville Heights location of Playground World has 14,000 square feet of room for play. They offer pay-to-play for $6 per child and even have donate-to-play hours where the price is only $1 per child and they money is donated to a local charity.

Jeffrey always has a great time there, plus it’s a good way to check out playground equipment for home before you buy!

Friday night, we stayed in and, despite the heat, I turned on the oven to make this Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. I actually used both eggplant and zucchini in the casserole and it was really tasty!

On Saturday, we had family in from out of town. Since they were staying in the Akron area, we took them to one of our favorite places in the 330: Gervasi Vineyard.

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We enjoyed time out on the Piazza, playing bocce ball and sipping sangria in this family-friendly spot. I think we might have a budding bocce player on our hands with Jeffrey!

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We also stuffed ourselves with a delicious selection from the Piazza lunch menu: the meat and cheese plate, the Guiseppe pizza (with sausage and banana peppers), baked feta spread, and loaded pita chips with pulled pork.

And you know we got dessert…the decadent ice cream sandwich with brownie cookies and vanilla gelato.

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Not only is the atmosphere at Gervasi absolutely beautiful, but the wine and food are delicious too! Make a trip down to Gervasi soon for a great Ohio wine experience!

Saturday evening, I met up with my friend Elizabeth for a Junior League of Cleveland fundraiser: Glowga. Glowga combined yoga, glow sticks, a bit of shopping, and wine and beer tastings into a really fun evening at Crocker Park.

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Before the yoga class, we got to shop from some local vendors, as well as enjoy nibbles from Aladdin’s Eatery and Bar Louie. Then we were led through a great practice from 3 Sisters Yoga that focused on community, gratitude, and intention. It was really cool to see everyone’s glow sticks raised high throughout the class, too!

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After class, there were wine and beer samples, including my first sip this year of a seasonal favorite: Great Lakes Brewing‘s Oktoberfest. I also tried Sibling Revelry Brewing‘s Swing State Pale Ale, which was crisp and refreshing. I’ve heard so many great things about Sibling Revelry and I definitely want to try more of their brews.

It was a really fun and relaxed evening that combined some of my favorite things (yoga, girl time, and craft beer) into one! I hope Glowga becomes an annual event for the Junior League of Cleveland.

Then on Sunday, we caught up with our visiting family again. We had them over for dinner and made one of my favorite summer meals that is always great for a group: grilled garlic tequila lime flank steak (recipe here).

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We serve this flavorful meat taco-bar style, with homemade guacamole, salsa, and refried beans. So good!

For dessert, I made a Mexican chocolate cake (recipe here) that was devoured before any pictures could be taken of it, but I highly recommend pairing it with some Mitchell’s Vanilla Bean ice cream!

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and so lovely to have time with family that we don’t see nearly enough! How was your weekend?

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Why? Cleveland Zoological Society Adult Scavenger Hunt!

If you’re a young professional in Cleveland, there are so many great groups that you can join, tailored to your interests and filled with fun activities, plus the chance to do good. The Cleveland Zoological Society‘s Ambassadors’ Circle is one of those groups.

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Members get a chance to meet like-minded young professionals, participate in fun events such as Urban Safaris, receive special discounts and invitations to Zoo events, and help support the Zoo’s animal care and learning opportunities for school children.

Membership starts at $10 per month for individuals or $15 per month for couples and includes 4 Zoo passes. You can email yp@clevelandzoosociety.org for more information.

The Ambassadors’ Circle is hosting an Adult Scavenger Hunt at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Thursday, September 1. This event is open to all and is a great chance to not only have fun, but also check out Ambassadors’ Circle.

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So, how does it work? You download the Scavify app before the hunt, then answer questions, upload photos and more throughout the Zoo. You can also participate in the event’s raffle to support Zoo scholarships.

There will be prizes for those who earn the most points on the scavenger hunt, but also for those showing the most spirit (costumes, custom shirts, and posting with the #wildaboutCLE hashtag all encouraged).

There will also be complimentary wine, beer, and small bites at this 21-and-over event. The Adult Scavenger Hunt is team-based, but you can sign up as an individual and be placed with a team. Cost to attend is $195 for a team of 6, $130 for a team of 4, $65 for a team of 2, or $40 for an individual.

Reservations are required, so click here to sign up and then get ready for a #wildaboutCLE evening at the Zoo!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote the Adult Scavenger Hunt. In exchange, I will receive complimentary reservations for 2 for the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? The Capital Grille!

I have to say, I’ve been eyeing the progress on the new The Capital Grille at Legacy Village with baited breath. When I lived in DC, it was a favorite spot (mostly when my parents came to town, since I was living on grad school loans). So, you can imagine my excitement when I found out one was being built in the Cleveland area.

I have a tendency to vilify chain restaurants. But there’s a pretty wide swath in between a place like Outback Steakhouse  and The Capital Grille. This swanky, upscale, classic steakhouse is worth setting aside any chain restaurant notions.

Last week, Kimberly (who loves The Capital Grille from her Florida days) and I snagged seats at the bar and enjoyed a dinner of appetizers. We each started with the cream of corn soup with creme fraiche. As hot as it’s been, this is a wonderful summer soup.

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For our appetizer-dinner, we ordered the lobster and crab cakes, prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella, and tuna tartare.

The lobster and crab cakes were phenomenal! They were all meaty seafood with very little filler.

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Served with a corn salad and aioli, these are a must-order item!

The prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella was delicious as well. Filled with gooey mozzarella cheese, these are like adult, gourmet mozzarella sticks.

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And the tuna tartare, served with avocado, mango, and Sriracha was a great balance of spicy and sweet, packed with lots of fresh flavor.

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Unable to pass up dessert, we ordered the ice cream trio with homemade cookies. Our ice cream flavors were chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry cookie dough (it may sound strange but it was AMAZING). And the shortbread and double chocolate chip cookies were the perfect compliment.

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Of course, I can’t wait to go back to The Capital Grille and dive into a big steak, but this appetizer dinner gave us a broad taste of the flavors and skill at play in their kitchen. This wonderful steakhouse, known around the country for its quality, is now in Cleveland, so be sure to give it a try!

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