Why? Pier W Tour of Italy Wine Dinner!

Pier W is one of Cleveland’s classic restaurants (they just celebrated their 50th anniversary last year) that continually remains relevant due to inspired menus that blend classic seafood choices with modern culinary techniques. Plus, you can’t beat the view, the ambiance, and the spot-on service!

Among the restaurant’s many accolades are “Best Seafood” and “Most Romantic” from Cleveland Scene Magazine’s Best of Cleveland and and “Best Brunch,” “Best View,” and “Best Seafood” from Cleveland Magazine’s Best of Cleveland.

Which is why I’m so excited for Pier W’s upcoming Tour of Italy Wine Dinner on Tuesday, November 1.


Kliment Stevoff, the restaurant’s wine director and Level II sommelier, along with Executive Chef Regan Reik will guide guests through a four-course food and wine pairing. You will not only get to enjoy delicious food, but you will learn more about Italian wines (personally, ones I don’t know much about) and how to pair them.

The menu is nothing short of incredible, with items like lobster carpaccio, lamb chops, and vanilla napoleon. You can view the complete menu here.

Seats for the Tour of Italy Wine Dinner are $85 plus tax and gratuity. This is sure to be a delicious, educational evening you won’t soon forget. Make your reservations today by calling 216-228-2250.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Pier W Tour of Italy Wine Dinner. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary seats at the dinner. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Rollin’ on the River!

On Friday night, Matthew and I enjoyed a little bit of Vegas right here in Cleveland when we attended Rollin’ on the River, a fundraiser for the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. We started our evening at the Westin Cleveland Downtown in the VIP room, where we enjoyed tasty appetizers like bacon-wrapped dates and falafel balls, were entertained by a roving magician, and celebrated the 10th anniversary of this great event with a champagne toast.

The other highlight of the VIP room was the chance to see and take pictures with the Larry O’Brien Trophy. This was such a great chance to see up close the Cavs championship trophy! I love how accessible the trophy has been to fans, from season ticket holder events to making the rounds at fundraisers to public events at places like Jack Casino. It really feels like we all have a little part of that shiny beauty, which I think is a particularly Cleveland sentiment.


From there, we moved into the main room to enjoy dinner, casino games, and entertainment. I particularly enjoyed the “Rat Pack” style singers who serenaded us!


The dinner food included caprese salad, roast beef and potatoes, and turkey and stuffing, all portioned small enough that they could be eaten while mingling through the crowd.


I completely failed at getting a picture of our desserts, but both the baklava and the Vietnamese coffee ice cream were heavenly!

I found myself having quite a lucky night at the Blackjack table, which would never happen if I were playing with real money! We had a great time playing, as well as getting to know our tablemates. When you’re playing for fun, everyone just cheers each other on and chats and has a good time!


Aside from the ticket proceeds benefitting the Hunger Network, you could also contribute that evening by bidding on silent auction items, purchasing raffle tickets for a stay in the presidential suite at the Westin and an Urban Farmer gift card, or donating directly to the Hunger Network’s “Fill-A-Bag” program.

It was a wonderful, swanky evening, all to help the hungry in our community! Cheers to a fabulous 10th year and here’s to many more years of Rollin’ on the River!


***Disclosure: I was asked by the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland to help promote Rollin’ on the River. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? L’Amour du Vin!

I always appreciate food and wine events that feature restaurants I don’t get to that often. I have my favorite spots, but I often forget just how many great restaurants we have in the Cleveland area. Which is why L’Amour du Vin, a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, is consistently a favorite event. The restaurants are all from Lorain and western Cuyahoga County and I inevitably come away reminded of a spot or two I need to revisit.

Amanda graciously agreed to be my date and help me sample all the deliciousness. We started in the VIP room, where Heck’s Cafe served up a wide selection of tasty treats: a steak skewer, a burger with brie and cherry compote, a shooter of the most creamy, dreamy butternut squash soup, scallops, and mini chocolate peanut butter pies.


The burger was almost my favorite, but that soup…it was so seasonally perfect.

Also in VIP were craft cocktails from Brown-Forman, chair massages, charcoal portraits, and complimentary take-home truffles from Sweet Designs Chocolatier.

In the main room, the wine was flowing and the food was sizzling.


We enjoyed tuna tartare from both 87 West at Crocker Park and Wine Bar Rocky River. The mole-style chicken thighs from Market Rocky River were a big hit!


The tostones from BOMBA Tacos and Rum and tacos from Bistro 83 also brought the southwestern spice.


And in the comfort food category, the maple bacon mac ‘n cheese from Bar 145 Avon and the Korean short rib slider from Rue 254 were warm, filling, and delicious!

I always save plenty of room for the Kiedrowski Simply Delicious Bakery sweets. I love the snoogles (flaky pasty with cream cheese filling and glaze), but the mini cupcakes were pretty amazing too!


And Kiedrowski also offered a very timely cookie…


All of this great food and wine help raise funds for those in Northeast Ohio living with arthritis. If you want to help out the Arthritis Foundation too, there is another fun event coming up on December 11: the 2016 Jingle Bell Run. This family-friendly holiday run at Legacy Village is a festive way to benefit a wonderful cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Arthritis Foundation to help promote L’Amour du Vin. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Heinen’s Wine Tasting!

On Monday night, I met up with fellow members of the Playhouse Square Partners Encore Society for a lovely evening in the most gorgeous grocery store: the Heinen’s in downtown Cleveland.


Playhouse Square Partners Encore Society is a membership that is based on your donor level and is in addition to the general membership benefits that all Partners enjoy. Encore Society membership includes priority ticketing, Donor Circle seats, and invitations to exclusive networking events such as this one.

We got to enjoy our choice of wines from the large and varied selections offered at Heinen’s wine tasting stations. You simply use a prepaid card, select the size sample (priced based on the total cost of the bottle), and enjoy!


I always manage to find a new must-buy wine, as well as getting a chance to try wines that are out of our usual price range too. Plus, you can’t beat the beautiful surroundings of the AmeriTrust rotunda in the downtown Heinen’s!

Heinen’s also provided us with some delicious savory and sweet nibbles. The skewers were my favorite…they tasted like pasta salad on a stick!

John Williams of Process Creative Studios, the lead architect and designer on the downtown Heinen’s, spoke to us about the renovations. He focused on the importance of maintaining as much of the original features of the AmeriTrust building, as well as Heinen’s commitment to bringing an urban grocery store to downtown Cleveland.


For a great lunch if you work downtown or for a lovely spot for a drink and a nibble after work (plus a chance to get your grocery shopping done too), head over to the downtown Heinen’s. Click here for a round-up of the upcoming events at the store.

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


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.


Over 30 restaurants were represented, serving delicious small bites.

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


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


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)


The grilled avocado from Fahrenheit


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


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.


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…


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.***


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


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!


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.


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.


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!


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.***


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.


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.


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!


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.

Cleveland Foodbank

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.


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.***


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.


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.


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!

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.


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.


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!


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!


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.***