Why? Taste of the Browns!

On Monday night, Matthew and I went to Taste of the Browns, a fundraiser for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. This event combines two of Cleveland’s favorite things, food and sports, to raise needed funds to help the hungry in our community.

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Over 30 restaurants were represented, serving delicious small bites.

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Such a great set-up from Deagan’s Kitchen and Bar!

Here are some of our favorites from the evening:

The eggplant rollatini and shrimp and polenta from Corleone’s Ristorante

The sweet potato and chorizo hot cakes from AMP 150‘s new brunch menu

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The crab and chorizo chowder from Pier W (loved the contrast of the cold crab salad with the warm chowder)

The lamb meatballs from Bar Cento/Bier Markt

The pork lollipops with pancetta from Cleveland Browns craft services

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The pork ravioli with mushrooms and butternut squash from Johnny’s Downtown

The French onion cups from Edwin’s Restaurant (even better that they were bite-sized with no silverware required)

The tacos from Barrio (so smart to have the taco truck outside to give everyone a nibble as they walked in)

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The grilled avocado from Fahrenheit

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And the always delicious rosemary and garlic frites from Sawyer’s Street Frites

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So much amazing food! Plus, there were amazing silent and live auction items, plus a wine pull to raise even more money for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

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Every dollar raised funds 4 meals for the hungry in Northeast Ohio!

One of the most unique parts of Taste of the Browns is the chance to sit in a quiet stadium, sip some wine, and relax with this view…

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This event is nothing short of a touchdown, with fabulous food, great auction items, a cool venue, and a wonderful cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Taste of the Browns. In exchange, I received two complimentary media VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Favorite Fall Fests!

It’s unofficially my FAVORITE season (sorry for being basic). I adore fall and last year, Jeffrey and I fall fested all over the place, so I thought I’d share some of our collective wisdom on the places that are fun, festive, and fritterlicious. Hopefully this gives you some fun options for fall festivities!

Patterson Fruit Farm Fun Fest

Dates: September 17-October 30

Location: Patterson Fruit Farm, 8765 Mulberry Road in Chesterland

What: Hay stacks, tractors, corn maze, wagon ride, and all manner of apple goodness

Pro tip: Go on a weekday if you can. Weekends reach 10+ level of craziness.

Admission: $5 weekdays, $8 weekends for all over 2 years of age

 

Maize Valley Fall Fun

Dates: September 10-October 30

Location: Maize Valley Winery, 6193 Edison Street NE in Hartville

What: Wagon rides, a pumpkin cannon, corn maze, animal train ride, various animal races, plus a winery

Pro tip: Do your winery tasting before heading out to the corn maze for a real challenge!

Admission: $10 for all over 2 years of age

 

Ohio City Street Festival

Date: Sunday, September 25, 11am-7pm

Location: West 25th Street between Lorain Avenue and Bridge Avenue

What: Arts programming, the Ohio City Farm Stand and tours, live music, a Kids Zone, food and merchandise vendors, yoga, giant board games

Pro tip: Go to this. That is all.

Admission: Free

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Hiram House Camp Pumpkin Festival

Date: Sunday, October 9, 10am-5pm

Location: Hiram House Camp, 33775 Hiram Trail in Chagrin Falls

What: Bounce house, hay maze, pony rides, food, crafts, Euclid Beach Rocket Car

Pro tip: You have to park at Orange High School. And the festival is spread over a massive area, so wear your walking shoes.

Admission: $5 for all over 12 years of age

The Great Pumpkin Fest at Halloweekends

Date: Saturday and Sundays through October 30 from 11am-7pm

Location: Cedar Point, 1 Cedar Point Drive in Sandusky

What: Trick or treating in the kids area, fun house, foam pit, Peanuts characters, live shows

Pro tip: This is worth the drive. It lets the kids have one last taste of an amusement park mixed with fall fun.

Admission: Cost varies based on age/height

Those were some of our favorites from last year, but I also have the Mapleside Farms fall festivals on my radar. Which fall festivals are your favorite? No matter where you celebrate, get out and enjoy the lovely weather and pumpkin and apple goodness of the season!

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Why? YP Events!

Over the last two days, I’ve had a chance to attend two great young professionals events that just reinforce what an active and engaged YP community we have in Cleveland!

On Wednesday night, I attended the Playhouse Square Partners BBQ With a View. Held on the roof of the Playhouse Square parking deck, this event offered great BBQ food, beautiful lake and city views (complete with some fly-bys from the Air Show), and the chance to find out more about the Playhouse Square Partners organization and committees.

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We also had some tasty libations from Pope’s Kitchen (Clark is a Partners member!) and Mancan Wine in a Can (a Cleveland company with a legit wine product).

And there was the reveal of the theme for Jump Back Ball, happening February 25, 2017. This year’s theme is Roaring Back to the 20’s, with plenty of glitz, glam, gangsters, and Gatsbys.

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Tickets for this fabulous party go on sale on October 24 and are sure to sell out fast!

If you missed the BBQ or if you were there and can’t wait for the next chance to hang out with some cool Playhouse Square Partners like myself, here are a few upcoming events that are open to all:

I hope to see you at a Partners event soon! Not only do we have a great time, but we do great work benefiting the Playhouse Square Foundation!

And last night, I attended a scavenger hunt through the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with the Cleveland Zoological Society’s Ambassadors’ Circle. Joined by Alicia, Amanda, and Scott, the “Flaming-GALS” team scavenged through the Zoo, answering questions and posing for fun photo opps.

What was so cool about the scavenger hunt was that it made you find places in the Zoo that you might not always stop to see and, in the process, you learned more about the animals and the place they call home in Cleveland.

Plus, seeing the giraffes come in for the night with the sunset behind them was pretty sweet, too!

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This was the first scavenger hunt put on by the Ambassadors’ Circle, but I hope it won’t be the last. From creative team names like “Tequila Mockingbird” and “The ScAvengers” to interesting questions to silly photos (oh, and appetizers and beer and wine and great raffle prizes), this event was a winner!

The Cleveland Zoological Society’s Ambassadors’ Circle has some upcoming events exclusively for members of Ambassadors’ Circle:

  • YP Meeting on Thursday, October 6
  • Volunteer opportunities for Boo at the Zoo on October 20-22 and 27-29
  • Zoo History Tour on Wednesday, November 9
  • ZooKeepers’ Circle Reception on Wednesday, November 16

Whether you’re passionate about the arts, animals, meeting new people, or benefitting great Cleveland institutions (or all of the above), Partners and Ambassadors’ Circle offer two great ways to get involved and, I can say with authority, have a lot of fun, too!

***Disclosure: I am the vice co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. And I was invited to attend the Ambassador’s Circle scavenger hunt with complimentary admission for me and a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Parker’s Downtown!

Last week, I met up with Mom for a swanky girls’ night at Parker’s Downtown, the restaurant in the new Kimpton Schofield Hotel. Parker’s Downtown boasts an interesting cocktail menu, as well as a diverse wine list of both glasses and bottles.

After selecting our drinks, we enjoyed a starter of soup. Mom chose the classic French onion soup and I went with the cauliflower soup, served with tarragon, curry oil, and king crab.

Both soups were delicious! I loved the crab, curry oil, and tarragon, which added complexity to an otherwise simple dish.

For my entree, I selected the roasted pork belly, with ash ravioli, miso broth, and brussel sprout leaves.

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Not only was the pork belly beautifully plated, but it was incredibly tasty too! The pork belly was tender and really meaty. And the miso broth and delicate brussel sprout leaves were lovely and light additions to the meal.

Mom chose the pork tomahawk chop, with figs, whipped potatoes, and housemade BBQ sauce.

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The plating of this dish, much like the pork belly, was impressive! And the taste was impressive, too. There are lots of elements to this dish, but they all worked together to create a great entree.

And then there was dessert…a chocolate peanut butter brownie a la mode for me and a vanilla bread pudding with bourbon sauce for Mom.

So decadent. So good. The perfect end to an all-around wonderful meal!

Parker’s Downtown is a great example of how hotel restaurants are being elevated to new heights and making great destinations, even for people not staying at the hotel that houses them. With it’s interesting menu, beautiful city street views, and fantastic service (our server Josh was so on point), Parker’s Downtown should be on your list for your next delicious dinner in Downtown Cleveland!

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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.

Taste of the Browns Logo

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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