Why? Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse!

It’s been a long time since there was a Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Cleveland. And it’s been a long time since Frank & Pauly’s occupied space in the 200 Public Square building. So, it seems only fitting that the new Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Cleveland would occupy this long vacant space, bringing a triumphant return to both.

Over the weekend, Ruth’s Chris Cleveland hosted two nights of VIP dinners to debut this incredible space and amazing menu. The restaurant pays homage to it’s New Orleans heritage in décor, food, and hospitality.  Ruth’s Chris Cleveland is massive, with beautiful chandeliers (different in each room) and lots of red and black notes. Our server Craig was the ultimate host for the evening, taking us through the menu and history of the restaurant and making us feel like family.

We started our dinner with the crab stack appetizer, featuring huge chunks of blue crab on top avocado, mango, and a cucumber salad with rice wine vinaigrette.

IMG_0759

Light and fresh, with flavors that beautifully complimented each other, this was a great, not-too-heavy way to start our meal.

Next up was the lobster bisque, creamy and rich.

IMG_0760

When Craig told is hushed, almost reverent tones about the 40-ounce Porterhouse for Two, Matthew and I knew exactly what we would have for our entrée.

IMG_0762

Cooked to perfection and served, as all Ruth’s Chris steaks are, on a 500-degree plate, this was one sizzling steak! Ruth’s Chris steaks are prepared in a broiler, which seals in all the juicy flavor. Seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and parsley, these steaks don’t need anything else to shine. Matthew’s favorite steak is the New York Strip and I always enjoy filet, so the Porterhouse provided both of us with what we love.

At our server’s suggestion, we created our own surf and turf by ordering the King Salmon, served with roasted fennel and a thyme cream sauce.

IMG_0763

Even if you’re not a meat-a-tarian as we are, you can make an entirely amazing meal on the seafood options at Ruth’s Chris!

The side dishes at Ruth’s Chris are built to share, which we did. We enjoyed the garlic mashed potatoes and lobster mac ‘n cheese (with an impressive 4 ounces of lobster).

I pretty much wanted to go face-first into both of these. Even something simple like mashed potatoes or the bread on the table was done to perfection.

Finally, dessert…the chocolate duo with lava cake and chocolate mousse was a wonderfully sweet end to an all-around fantastic meal.

IMG_0767

Ruth’s Chris Steak House is a decadent, high-end, lovely addition to the downtown Cleveland restaurant scene. It opens it’s doors to the public today, Monday, March 13, with dinner service seven days a week. Happy hour in the lush bar area is available 4-6:30pm every day but Saturday. And you can celebrate Easter with Ruth’s Chris on Sunday, April 16 from 12pm-9pm.

The next time you want not only a great steak, but a fully immersive New Orleans experience, head to Ruth’s Chris Steak House!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the VIP Opening of Ruth’s Chris Steak House Cleveland with a guest. All choices of what to order, along with all opinions, are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? John Carroll Alumni Events!

On Wednesday night, the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter hosted a pre-St. Patrick’s day happy hour at the Flat Iron Café. From sipping on a Great Lakes Brewing Co. Conway’s Irish Ale to catching up with old friends, it was a relaxed evening of alumni fun!

IMG_0698

The Cleveland Alumni Chapter has a lot of great events planned for spring and summer and we would love for you to join us! There are over 20,000 alumni in the Greater Cleveland area and you’re all a part of our Chapter, just by being a Carroll graduate. So, grab your old buddies and relive some Dolan memories at these events:

Day of Service at Ronald McDonald House

When: Monday, March 20, 3pm-6pm

Where: Ronald McDonald House Cleveland

What: Join other alumni to prepare a meal for the residents of the Ronald McDonald House (note: this event repeats on the third Monday of every month, so you have multiple chances to participate).

Cost: Free

Register here

5th Annual Mass and Dinner in Little Italy

When: Saturday, April 1, 4:30pm Mass, followed immediately by dinner

Where: Holy Rosary Church and Nido Italia

What: One of our favorite events! Mass is followed by a delicious multi-course Italian dinner with plenty of chance for conversation and catching up.

Cost: $35 for adults, $15 for children ages 4-13 (you can also reserve an entire table of 8 for $280).

Register here

2nd Annual Founders’ Day Celebration

When: Wednesday, April 19, 6pm

Where: Great Lakes Brewing Co. Tasting Room

What: Gather to celebrate the 131st anniversary of the founding of John Carroll University. Appetizers and one drink ticket included.

Cost: $20

Register here

Outings to the Cleveland Indians Games

When: Saturday, July 8 at 7:10pm (versus Detroit Tigers) and Sunday, August 6 at 1:10pm (versus New York Yankees)

Where: Progressive Field

What: Cheer on the defending American League Champions and have fun with your fellow alumni too!

Cost: $26 per game or $47 if you purchase tickets for both games

Register here

Even if you’re not a Carroll alum, I bet you know one or two (I mean, there’s 20,000 of us around town)! Let them know all the great things happening to not only stay connected to Carroll, but also have fun around town!

***Disclosure: I am the president of the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Yuri’s Night Giveaway!

“Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!” – Yuri Gagarin

The Great Lakes Science Center is preparing for Yuri’s Night 2017, one of the hottest parties in Cleveland. Yuri’s Night celebrates Yuri Gagarin, who was the first human to complete an orbit of the Earth, as well as all the achievements in space flight since then.

16112706_10154451142258757_4326186950328237825_o

On Saturday, April 8, the Great Lakes Science Center will be filled with food, drink, music, and fun in celebration of Yuri’s Night. Tricky Dick and the Cover-Ups will keep the dance floor packed. There will also be a space-themed costume contest and a scavenger hunt, if you’re feeling like showing off your competitive side. Add to this an open bar, appetizers, a chance for conversation with Astronaut Greg Johnson, and amazing lakefront views, and you have all the makings of a cosmically fantastic night!

VIP tickets for Yuri’s Night are $100 and include early admission, access to the VIP lounge with it’s own bar and additional menu items from restaurants like Melt Bar & Grilled and Sushi 86, and complimentary parking. General admission tickets are $60 in advance and include open bar, appetizers and specialty bites, live entertainment and demonstrations, and access to the scavenger hunt. Tickets for Yuri’s Night are currently on sale 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):

1.Leave a comment here letting me know why you would like to attend Yuri’s Night.

2. Visit Great Lakes Science Center and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @GLScienceCtr 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 blast off to Yuri’s Night at @GLScienceCtr thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2017/03/09/why-yuris-night-giveaway #giveaway #staycuriouscle

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

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, March 14 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Great Lakes Science Center to help promote Yuri’s Night. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary general admission tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Disney Musicals in Schools!

Last night, members of Playhouse Square Partners Encore Society had the privilege to attend the Student Share Celebration of Disney Musicals in Schools.

This amazing program provides select Cleveland Metropolitan School District elementary schools with licensing for a Disney KIDS musical, a costume kit, and instruction from professional teaching artists from Playhouse Square.

The 17-week program culminates in the performance of a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical at the school, plus the chance to perform one of the songs on stage at the Ohio Theatre at the Student Share Celebration.

IMG_0648

The evening began with all the students in the program performing an original Disney Musicals in Schools number written by Alan Menken, called “It Starts with a Dream.” To see this group of students from 4 different schools come together to perform a collective number was inspiring!

Then, each school in the program performed one number from their chosen musical. Euclid Park School performed “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” Orchard STEM School performed “Be Prepared,” and Warner Girls Leadership Academy performed “Hakuna Matata,” all from The Lion King KIDS. Wilbur Wright School performed “Prince Ali” from Aladdin KIDS.

The enthusiasm, talent, original takes on familiar stories, and adorable costumes made each performance something truly special to see. Our host for the evening, WEWS anchor Leon Bibb, did a wonderful job of pointing out how these types of experiences create lifelong memories and interest in the arts.

The goal of the Disney Musicals in Schools program is to establish a sustainable musical theater program in each school. The schools who participated in this year’s program will receive licensing and show kits for next year, but the staff of the school will lead the program with less guidance from Playhouse Square, in order to establish an independent program. And next year, new schools will begin the process. Click here for information on how to apply.

The evening was one of the most moving and exciting nights of theater I’ve been to in awhile. To see young children becoming invested in the arts and to know that these programs can continue at their schools for years to come is something truly special. Playhouse Square is not only dedicated to amazing theater experiences for adults, but also to prioritizing access and exposure to the arts for children. As a donor, that makes me feel great about where my donation is going! What an amazing program!

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

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

I went into this weekend feeling like we didn’t have much planned, but we certainly managed to fill the time! After school on Friday, I took Jeffrey to Playground World. Since last Friday’s unseasonably warm weather, he keeps asking to go play outside, so I figured an indoor playground was the next best thing.

He had a great time and burned off a lot of energy, so much so that he ended up just chilling in a hammock for awhile!

Friday evening, we stayed in and enjoyed a tasty dinner with shrimp and asparagus penne (recipe here) paired with the North Coast Syrah from CLE Urban Winery.

img_0578

The spicy Syrah was a perfect match with the pasta, which had a bite from red pepper flakes. I’m really impressed with CLE Urban Winery’s selection of wines (plus, I love the names and labels)!

On Saturday, we all bundled up and headed to the Lake Metroparks Farmpark. It’s the season at the Farmpark when there are lots of new lambs and kids. We even got to see some one-day old baby goats.

We also got to take advantage of Maple Sugaring Weekends. There are lots of special activities, from sampling maple syrup and maple candy to tapping a maple tree by hand. Jeffrey loved the sweet maple candy!

img_0613

Maple Sugaring Weekends continue March 11-12 and all the activities are included with your regular paid Farmpark admission.

You can also see tons of handmade, award-winning quilts at Quilts 2017, at the Farmpark through March 29.

img_0614

So, whether you like baby animals, maple syrup, or warm blankets (or all of the above), the Lake Metroparks Farmpark has something for you right now!

Since we came home with a quart of delicious maple syrup, it seemed only right to make breakfast for dinner on Saturday night. This was my first time making homemade pancakes (recipe here) and while my flipping skills need work, the result was quite tasty.

img_0617

I also made Fresh Fork Market breakfast patties (a delicious combination of bacon and sausage) and Pope’s Kitchen Bloody Mary’s. So much local goodness in one meal!

Sunday morning, I got up and out bright and early to meet up with my friend Abby for a class at Barre3 Legacy Village. It was the perfect start to my week, with a great workout provided by our teacher Kylie.

img_0622

Kylie incorporated a lot of familiar yoga postures into the class, so I felt right at home. And having a friend to shake and quake with made the tough parts of class much easier!

When I got home, I discovered Matthew and Jeffrey making macarons. Yup, you read that right. Well, I suppose I earned a cookie or two after the barre class, right?

img_0627

Sunday evening, we met up with friends Elizabeth and Andrew and their daughter Mia for dinner at Brim Kitchen + Brewery. This is our second time at Brim and I’ve yet to be anything less than fully impressed with both the beer and the food.

I had the Fe-BLUE-Larry beer, a fruit beer that wasn’t overly sweet. It was 8.3% ABV, but was deceptively easy-drinking. We all shared the Chips & Dip appetizer, with edamame hummus, avocado mash, and golden beet puree (my favorite of the three yummy dips).

For my entrée, I got the mac and cheese and added grilled skirt steak. The steak was perfectly done and added great flavor to the already tasty mac and cheese.

img_0631

Brim Kitchen + Brewery is quickly becoming a go-to spot for us. Their “Full Glass, Full Plate, Full Heart” motto comes through in everything they do!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? EatPakd!

I will confess to being the worst at packing lunches. Luckily, I don’t have to pack them for Jeffrey for school yet. But often for play dates, someone will suggest packing lunches and having a picnic. I always agree and then proceed to pack my child the most embarrassing compilation of food.

You want me to cook you a dinner? Fine. You want me to put a lunch in a bag? I can’t manage it for some reason. Let alone the number of times I’ve packed something and left it at home, necessitating a “packed” lunch that is essentially whatever random goods I could pull together from the Walgreens food aisle. It’s not pretty.

Which is why EatPakd is a god-send! EatPakd ships you pre-packed, kid-approved lunches that are crafted by nutritionists. Jeffrey and I recently had the chance to sample EatPakd and I was impressed with both the variety and quality of the lunches.

img_9963

The Aloha Pak featured ham, whole wheat crackers, sliced cucumbers, pineapple bites, and chocolate coconut cookies. This Pak was created by a junior chef (kiddo) named Darla. It was healthy and balanced. And Jeffrey loved everything from the fun packaging to the food itself.

img_0891

We also got to try the Breakfast for Lunch Pak (with an egg, cheese and veggie quesadilla), the Turkey and Cheese Please Pak, and the Turkey Meatball Pak.

img_0010

Each Pak has a main dish, vegetables, fruit, and a small sweet treat. Jeffrey really enjoyed the brownies (and I thought they were pretty tasty too). When you go online to check the Pak options, you can even see calorie, sugar, and fat counts. You can order from the large selection of the pre-made Paks or build your own (assuming you can be trusted to construct lunches, which I clearly cannot).

You simply place your order online and then presto! A refrigerated box of Paks lands at your door, ready for mealtime goodness. So many times convenience and healthy balance don’t go hand in hand, but with EatPakd, they do. I can feel good about the lunch I’m giving Jeffrey, while also saving time!

EatPakd works on a subscription plan and you can choose 4, 8, or 12 Paks per week. 4 Paks per week costs $26, 8 Paks per week costs $50, and 12 Paks per week costs $72. Click here for more information on subscription plans.

And if you want to give EatPakd a whirl, you can use code WHYCLE at checkout, which will get you 4 Paks for just $11. The code will expire on March 1, 2018 and is valid for new customers in the delivery zone only.

EatPakd is now available in the Cleveland area, so check ’em out for healthy, delicious, and easy lunches that both you and your kiddo can feel good about!

***Disclosure: I was invited to try 4 complimentary EatPakd lunches and to share my experience. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series!

Every year, the KeyBank Broadway Series at Playhouse Square gets better and better! The variety and caliber of the shows in the 2017-2018  series is nothing short of extraordinary. Cleveland’s position as the second largest performing arts center in the country and it’s spot at the top of the list in season ticket holders means we can get the best of the best.

And it all kicks off with the exciting launch of the national tour of “Waitress,” the musical scored by the brilliant Sara Bareilles. The musical, adapted from the film of the same name, will take the stage from October 17-November 5, 2017.

 

600x600-waitress-minisite
Image Source

 

Next up is “On Your Feet! The Emilio & Gloria Estefan Musical,” which will have you conga-ing through the theater aisles. The rhythm is gonna get you from December 5-23, 2017.

 

600x600-onyourfeet-minisite
Image Source

 

Did you know that Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a sequel to the “Phantom of the Opera?” It’s called “Love Never Dies: The Phantom Returns” and you’ll be able to see it at Playhouse Square from January 9-28, 2018.

 

600x600-loveneverdies-minisite
Image Source

 

It’s unbelievable to me that the groundbreaking musical “Rent” is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary tour. You can relive all the great songs and story when it returns to Playhouse Square on March 6-25, 2018.

 

600x600-rent-minisite
Image Source

 

I really appreciate that the Broadway Series also includes a straight play. As much as I love musicals, straight plays bring so much warmth and heart and humor and pathos, which will certainly be felt when “The Humans” takes to the stage April 10-29, 2018.

 

600x600-thehumans-minisite
Image Source

 

And in the same breath, let’s go from a straight play to a big, bold musical that is everything you think a Broadway show should be. Disney’s “Aladdin” brings the animated favorite to life on the stage from May 2-27, 2018.

 

600x600-aladdin-minisite
Image Source

 

The musical sensation everyone is talking about, singing along with, reading history books about, and taking out second mortgages for tickets for is coming to Cleveland. “Hamilton: An American Musical” will be in Cleveland for an impressive SIX WEEK run, from July 17-August 26, 2018.

 

600x600-hamilton-minisite
Image Source

 

These shows, all of them, will be an incredible sight to see on our home stages. I am very excited for the 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series and continually reminded of how lucky we are to have Playhouse Square in our community!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Oh, Cleveland. I love you and your crazy weather swings. I feel like Jeffrey got his first lesson in Cleveland’s weather habits this weekend. This was our Friday evening:

img_0322

We played in the backyard and grilled hot dogs and brats for dinner. It was glorious. And I’m pretty sure Jeffrey thought it was going to stay that way.

And then, winter came back. But it came back just in time for the kurents to scare it away! Jeffrey and I attended the Cleveland Kurentovanje parade, a Slovenian tradition that features fuzzy kurents that are believed to scare away winter.

The parade was small, but packed with tradition. And while we didn’t head down to the Slovenian National Home for the polkas and shopping, it seemed like everyone was excited to enjoy a full day of Kurentovanje fun!

We also grabbed lunch at Cafe 55, which had a front-row view of the parade. Big ups to the folks at Cafe 55 for making an off-menu grilled cheese for Jeffrey to enjoy!

img_0327

On Sunday, we met up with my parents for a delicious brunch at Creekside Restaurant and Bar. I’ve always been a big fan of this restaurant, but it was so nice to be there as they celebrate their 25th anniversary this month. Their food is consistently tasty and they regularly update their menu, while still retaining favorites.

Matthew and I both ordered the chicken and waffle, with pecan chicken, Cajun butter, and hot sauce.

img_0485

It was the perfect blend of sweet and spicy and the chicken and waffle were both spot-on in preparation.

Creekside Restaurant can keep everyone from Jeffrey to my parents to my grandpa happy and have done so consistently for 25 years. Here’s to another 25 of deliciousness!

So, that was our weekend outside of Jump Back Ball. How was yours? How did you deal with the crazy weather changes?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Jump Back Ball!

The 26th annual Jump Back Ball at Playhouse Square transported guests back to the 1920’s with glitz, glam, flappers, and speakeasies.

img_0439

We started our evening in the VIP reception and seated dinner. The cocktail reception featured performers from Cleveland Burlesque, passed appetizers, drinks, and fun photo opps.

img_0479

We then moved into the lobby of the Allen Theatre for a delicious dinner provided by The Driftwood Group that featured roasted chicken, potatoes, and vegetables.

img_0378

I love having a seated dinner option at Jump Back Ball to have a chance to both relax with friends and fuel up for the dancing and fun to come.

After dinner, we all headed to the State Theatre (with a stop to take in the sounds of Wesley Bright and the Honeytones). The decor was created by members of Playhouse Square Partners and was nothing short of gorgeous!

img_0438

On the State Theatre stage, there was tons of dancing and singing along with Faction, who did a phenomenal job playing a mash-up of everything from the 80’s to today, rock to pop. Of course there were plenty of friends with whom to enjoy all the music and dancing and cocktails too!

img_0428

I’m so grateful for all the wonderful people that Partners has brought into my life! They make everything from Jump Back Ball to board meetings a good time.

The one hiccup to an otherwise flawless evening came when one of my dress straps decided to stop working, right in the middle of the Cupid Shuffle (and the State Theatre stage, for that matter). Thank goodness for the prepared and helpful Playhouse Square Red Coats, who helped me out with a safety pin, and for fellow JBB-ers who helped fix me back up!

img_1017-1

Seriously, though, JBB 26 was a wonderfully fun and well-executed evening, all to support the Playhouse Square Foundation. After 26 years, Jump Back Ball remains one of the premier fundraising galas in Cleveland! If having fun was illegal, we would have been caught by the fuzz for sure!

img_0443

I can’t wait to see what Jump Back Ball 27 will have in store!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball. In exchange, I received one complimentary ticket when I purchased a ticket of equal value. Also, I am the vice co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? The King and I!

Shall we dance on a bright cloud of music? Shall we fly? Shall we dance? If the dancing is at “The King and I,” currently occupying the stage of the Connor Palace Theatre at Playhouse Square, then the answer is a resounding yes!

img_0307

I can remember watching the film version of this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic with my mom. I loved the music, I loved how funny the story was at points, and I loved the costumes and sets.

So, it was such a treat to not only get to see the story played out on the stage, where it was originally meant to be seen, but also to see that my favorite things about the movie were in this production.

The costumes and sets are beautifully done and transport you to Siam, with a dash of jolly old England thrown in. The relationship between Anna and the King is just as funny and tense and, yes, romantic as the one between Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr in the film. The entire production was breathtaking and sweeping and just lovely.

It’s always difficult to overcome someone’s favorable first impression of a story. Think about when your favorite book was made into a movie. The chances of you loving what was on the screen as much as what you saw when you read it are slim. For me, that’s what I expected from this production of “The King and I.” I thought I’d enjoy it, but I was hesitant to believe that anything could surpass a movie that was integral in my falling in love with musicals in the first place.

“The King and I” did just that. My Mom, who introduced me to the film and is known to sing “Shall We Dance” to Jeffrey on a regular basis, proclaimed it “the best thing [she’s] ever seen.” Truly, it is a wonderful production. Whether you love “The King and I” already or just want to fall in love with this story, don’t miss it!

The show is still at the Connor Palace Theatre at Playhouse Square through this Sunday, February 26, with two performances on both Saturday and Sunday. Click here for tickets.

jenclesig_pur