Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend, with lots of buddies, beverages, and brunches, so let’s get right to it…

100th Day of Kindergarten

On Friday, Jeffrey’s class celebrated their 100th day of Kindergarten. All the kids had to make a project using 100 of something they love, so Jeffrey built a roller coaster with 100 LEGOs.

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He was so proud of the project, plus his class made special 100 day t-shirts and crowns, too. I can’t believe the school year is more than half over!

Griffin Cider House & Gin Bar

On Friday night, I met up with Amanda at Griffin Cider House & Gin Bar for some low-key cocktails and catching up. We happened to run into our friend Kate, too!

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Griffin Cider House has an expansive gin selection, but if gin isn’t your thing (and it’s not mine), there are still plenty of great cocktail choices, like this bourbon apple cider that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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It’s a chill spot that’s perfect for hanging out with friends!

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

On Saturday, I gathered some of my favorite ladies for a Galentine’s brunch at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.

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From bottomless mimosas to delicious food, this was the perfect spot for our celebration. I had the shrimp and grits, with andouille, poached eggs, and a truly spicy and flavorful hot sauce.

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The grits were the perfect texture and this dish had a lot of great flavor!

I also highly recommend a side (or two) of the focaccia bread, which was served piping hot in a mini cast iron skillet.

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Most of all, it was a great morning spending time with some of my girls. I am so lucky to have friends from a lot of different areas of life. Around the table were ladies I met in high school and college and through blogging and motherhood. They all blend together so well and it just makes getting everyone together such a joy!

Blu the Restaurant

On Sunday, I was back on the brunch bandwagon at Blu the Restaurant. My dear friend Anne is heading to Honduras on a mission trip this week, so after her missioning Mass, we wanted to take her out to brunch to send her off well.

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We shared the spicy hash, with barbecued potaotes, jalapeno, poached egg, and spicy hollandaise to start. Everyone agreed these were the tastiest potatoes they’ve ever had.

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We also shared the mimosa bottle service, with blood orange, orange, and pomegranate juices.

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For my entrée, I had the stuffed peppers, with veal and pork stuffed peppers and marinara, topped with fried eggs. I liked the brunch twist on this traditional Italian dish!

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Jeffrey had the Yaya’s Pancakes, which were somewhere between a biscuit and a muffin in terms of shape and texture, and were entirely devoured!

This was a great spot for brunch and I definitely have my eye on a few other menu items for the next time we go back!

I snuck in a bit more food fun this weekend at the soft opening of Proof in Tremont, so stay tuned for that later this week…

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Why? Antoine Dunn Giveaway!

What are you doing on Valentine’s Day? Part of my plans definitely include listening to Cleveland-based artist Antoine Dunn‘s new album, “Everything,” which drops on Valentine’s Day.

“Smooth and soulful are words that describe Dunn, the man and his music. Dunn’s sound channels a timeless style, embodied by Donnie Hathaway, Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles—all sources of inspiration for his music. Contemporary artists such as John Legend, John Mayer, Alicia Keys, and Adele round out the myriad of styles from which he draws.” – source

You can preview the new album now here and pre-order for the Valentine’s Day release. I’m seriously hooked just on the snippets I’ve heard so far!

Beyond that, you can see Antoine Dunn perform live at Playhouse Square on Sunday, March 15. Tickets are currently available online and you can save 14% on tickets with code VDAY through February 14.

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

1.Leave a comment telling me which song on the album preview is your favorite.

2. Visit Harvey Marie Records and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

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

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Why? Zhug!

The newest hot spot in Cleveland Heights is Zhug, featuring a delicious menu of Middle Eastern small plates. Even on a Tuesday night, this relaxed space was packed with energy.

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My friend Melissa and I checked it out for her birthday dinner and were delighted with the flavors and unique options. Melissa is a vegetarian, so we stuck toward those menu choices, although I couldn’t resist the braised lamb, with crispy carrots, dates, cocoa, and pecorino.

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This sauce was rich and flavorful and the crispy carrots added the perfect amount of texture and slight sweetness.

Melissa and I shared the harissa peanut hummus, which is one of the top three hummus dishes I’ve ever had!

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We also enjoyed the crispy Brussel sprouts, with pine nut and pomegranate…

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…and the whole roasted cauliflower, with golden raisins and almond chimichurri.

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I love small plate concepts, where I can taste and share a lot of different bites! Everything we ordered at Zhug was loaded with flavor and surprising twists that added Middle Eastern flair to the dishes.

This welcoming, bustling restaurant is perfect for a date night, where you can explore different tastes together, or for a girls night out. Whether sharing for two or for a group, you can explore a range of different options all in one meal.

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Why? M Cellars!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers to M Cellars!

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

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

This weekend recap could also be titled “How I spent most of my weekend in Tremont…”

Great Big Home and Garden Show

On Friday afternoon, Jeffrey and I checked out the opening day of the Great Big Home & Garden Show at the I-X Center.

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We especially enjoyed checking out the Garden Showcase and getting a breath of spring in January!

This year’s gardens are themed on One-Tank Trips and showed off a lot of creativity in imagining nearby destinations in gardens.

From model homes to ways to decorate both the inside and outside of your house, there’s something interesting for everyone to find at the Great Big Home & Garden Show!

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The show runs through Sunday, February 9. You can save $1 off your online ticket purchase with code CLE2020.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Great Big Home & Garden Show. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the show.***

Prosperity Social Club and Literary Tavern

On Friday night, I was out and about in Tremont with friends for dinner and drinks. We started at Prosperity Social Club, which offers great food and drinks in a casual atmosphere.

 

I had the Maple Bacon Old Fashioned (yum) and the fried chicken (double yum.) The chicken was crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside, and paired perfectly with the mashed potatoes.

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Simple, classic, delicious food in an easy-going setting. Sounds like the perfect place to end the week!

From there, we headed over to Literary Tavern. This cozy bar serves up craft cocktails and small plates in an intimate environment.

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I enjoyed the Blood Fountain, with OYO Bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and red wine. Both the taste and presentation of this drink are spot on!

Game of Thrones Bar Crawl

On Saturday, it was back to Tremont for the Game of Thrones Bar Crawl to benefit A Special Wish Cleveland. When you registered for the crawl, you picked a house (Targaryen for us) and then went from bar to bar with your house.

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From The Treehouse to Post 58 to Crust to the South Side to Dante, we covered a lot of ground on the Tremont bar scene.

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And it was all for a good cause! What a fun way to spend the afternoon!

Children’s Theater Series

Before the bar crawl, Jeffrey, my mom, and I attended another of the Children’s Theater Series shows at Playhouse Square.

This show was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites,” presented by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. This puppet-based theater company did a lovely job presenting these classic stories in a bright, engaging way.

The Children’s Theatre Series is a great way to introduce your child to live theater in a friendly way, with shows that speak directly to them.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Chocolate Fest Cleveland!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why? Monster Jam Triple Threat Series Giveaway!

Being the mom of a boy has brought with it some new interests for me. I am better versed on superheroes and more adept at LEGOs than I ever thought I’d be. One of those new interests is, of course, large vehicles.

Which brings me to the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series, coming to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse with four shows on Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16.

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Monster Jam events feature larger-than-life trucks driven by world-class athletes. Monster Jam has some of the most loyal fans in motor sports, who come back time again for unscripted, adrenaline-packed action.

Plus, at the end of every event, there is a fan vote to determine the champions. You truly become part of the action at an event that is fun for the whole family.

 

Scheduled trucks for the Cleveland shows include Grave Digger, MAX-D, El Toro Loco, and more.

Monster Jam Triple Threat Series tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online. Or you can enter to win 4 tickets to the show on Sunday, February 16 at 6:30pm. 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 telling me who you’d take to the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series.

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

3. Hop over to my Instagram page for additional entries.

4. Follow @MonsterJam 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 #MonsterJamCleveland tickets from @MonsterJam and @WhyCLE #giveaway #mjcle https://whycle.com/2020/01/29/why-monster-jam-triple-threat-series-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 Sunday, February 2 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was another fun and busy weekend, so let’s get right to it…

Quintana’s Speakeasy

On Friday afternoon, Mariah and I slipped away for an afternoon cocktail at Quintana’s Speakeasy.

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Tucked upstairs from Quintana’s Barber Shop, the speakeasy has all the atmosphere of stepping back in time, including a secret entrance (nope, you have to figure it out for yourself.)

I had the What Do Wine Know?, with house mulled wine, ginger syrup, lemon juice, and soda. I love mulled wine and this was a refreshing twist on it!

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I can’t wait to go back and try more delicious drinks in this super intimate location!

Upward Basketball League

On Saturday morning, Jeffrey had his first game with his Lil Cowboys team as part of the Upward Sports basketball league.

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From the announcement of each player, complete with a tunnel to run through…

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…to the fun of the actual game…

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Jeffrey loved every minute!

I’ve been really impressed with the Upward league’s focus not only on skills, but also sportsmanship and character building. It’s going to be a great season for the Lil Cowboys!

Children’s Museum of Cleveland

From there, it was off to a birthday party at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland.

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The museum has really grown since it’s opening, adding new exhibits like Meadow (for little ones), Playlist, Theater, and Brick Works.

If you saw a group of crazed almost six-year-old boys tearing through the museum, that was our group!

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Jeffrey and I rounded out our Saturday with a Cavs game with the John Carroll Cleveland Alumni Chapter.

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We had a reception in one of the new banquet rooms at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, complete with awesome views of downtown and delicious food.

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And while we only made it until halftime (it was a long, busy day), we loved watching all the NBA action!

Catholic Schools Week

On Sunday, we kicked off Catholic Schools Week with a Mass and open house at Gesu Catholic School.

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I can’t believe just last year, Jeffrey went to the open house as a prospective student and now he’s showing off his Kindergarten classroom and projects.

His teachers are just wonderful and I’ve been so happy with his progress this year! I also just love being part of such a warm, caring community.

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So, that was the weekend. Lots of good time with my favorite kiddo (and a little mom break too!) How was your weekend?

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Why? Masthead Brewing!

Last night, Alicia and I grabbed a casual and yummy dinner at Masthead Brewing before heading over to the Hanna Theatre for a show. While you wouldn’t necessarily think of Masthead for a pre-show meal, it’s within a short walk or an inexpensive Uber ride to the theaters.

While I know I like Masthead’s craft beers (the Single Origin Coffee Stout and Falling Fruit are my favorites currently on tap there), I opted for a cocktail last night. I had the Bourbon Jam, with Watershed Bourbon, Grand Marnier, orange bitters, orange juice and raspberry preserves.

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Sweet, but not too sweet, this cocktail was right up my alley!

Alicia and I shared the new-to-the-menu Meatball Pizza, with crushed red pepper, red sauce, and fresh basil.

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I love Masthead’s thin-crust pies and this one is packed with traditional Italian goodness!

We also shared the Brussel Sprouts, with Ohio apples, roasted shallots, bacon, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar. Because we felt better about devouring the pizza with some vegetables nearby.

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Actual footage of me devouring the pizza

We also shared the Everything Pretzel, with pimento cheese, stadium mustard, and IPA honey mustard (my favorite of the dips.)

Then it was off to see “The Office! A Musical Parody” at the Hanna Theatre. The show was funny and light and a great tribute to the sitcom we loved.

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Masthead made the perfect casual stop before this casual show. Next time you’re in the area, grab a pizza and a beer and enjoy! And Masthead is celebrating their Third Anniversary Party tomorrow, so drop in and celebrate!

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Why? Great Big Home and Garden Show Giveaway!

Does this weather have you dreaming of spring? Nothing gets you more in the mood for spring than seeing some beautiful gardens and starting to think about home projects to complete when the weather warms up. Which is where the annual Great Big Home and Garden Show comes in!

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Click here for tickets

 

From January 31-February 9, the I-X Center will be filled with exhibitors ready to inspire and help complete any home or garden project. You can find professionals to hire, buy products, or just get some inspiration.

There are feature homes that focus on tiny footprints and outdoor living.

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There is the Garden Showcase, which is sure to be creative and fun, with this year’s theme of “One Tank Trips.” Not only will you get inspiration for your garden, you’ll get travel inspiration. Plus, you can dine amidst the gardens at the full-service I-X Bistro.

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There are also local and national celebrity guests on both the Main Stage and the Loretta Paganini Cooking Stage, including Laura Leboutillier from “Garden Answer” and local blogger Kristin Gambaccini of “Perfectly Distressed.”

There’s something for all ages at the Great Big Home and Garden Show, with the Playground World KidZone and Home Depot Kids’ Workshops to engage even the youngest home improvement enthusiast.

Tickets are on sale now online. Adult tickets (ages 13+) are $13 online and child tickets (ages 6-12) are $5 online. You can also save $3 on your ticket order with code CLE2020.

Or, you can enter to win two general admission tickets to the Great Big Home and Garden Show, good for any day of the show, 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 what home project you’re hoping to undertake this spring.

2. Visit the Great Big Home and Garden Show and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Hop over to my Instagram page and complete an entry on the Great Big Home and Garden Show image.

4. Follow @GreatBigShow 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 the @GreatBigShow from @WhyCLE #giveaway #clevelandhomeshow #greatbighomeandgardenshow https://whycle.com/2020/01/22/why-great-big-home-and-garden-show-giveaway-9

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, January 25 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Great Big Home and Garden Show. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary tickets for myself, as well as 2 tickets to give away and a discount code to share. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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