Why? Weekends!

Another busy weekend in the CLE! On Friday night, Playhouse Square Partners hosted a tailgate-themed Season Kickoff Party, in order to drum up new membership and unveil the much-anticipated theme for Jump Back Ball 2015.

Image Source - playhousesquare.com

Image Source – playhousesquare.com

That’s right: this year’s Jump Back Ball we’ll be Jumping Back to the Future! The ticket kickoff happy hour will be on Monday, November 10 at the brand new Hofbrauhaus. Stay tuned for more details on how to get your JBB tickets at the lowest price!

Sunday morning, Matthew and I checked out the friends and family preview of the new brunch menu at Prosperity Social Club. We happened to run into Amanda and Scott, which made the morning even better!

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Prosperity’s brunch menu offers mostly savory entree options, but still satisfies your sweet tooth with fried cherry pies and apple bread pudding, which is moist and seasonally delicious!

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There are also plenty of fun brunch cocktails, from a Sriracha bloody mary to a grown-up blueberry lemonade for your Sunday Funday pleasure.

For my entree, I chose the fried chicken and biscuits, with sausage gravy and smoked cheddar cheese, served with a side of savory potato hash.

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This was a hearty meal and, while the potato hash was tasty, I would have had plenty without. You can also get this dish topped with an egg. For a brunch that will carry you through the whole day, I certainly recommend this dish!

Matthew chose the Morning Glory mac ‘n cheese, with breakfast sausage, a variety of peppers, and smoked cheddar, topped with a fried egg.

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This is an interesting twist on mac ‘n cheese and a nice way to bridge the breakfast/lunch gap.

Overall, the brunch menu at Prosperity offers a lot of tasty, homey, not-too-fancy choices for a brunch that can be easy like Sunday morning. Brunch service begins this weekend on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am to 3:30pm. Come for the brunch, stay for the relaxed and fun atmosphere!

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How was your weekend?

***Disclosures: I am a board member of Playhouse Square Partners. I was invited to attend the brunch preview at Prosperity Social Club with a guest. Our meals were complimentary, but our alcohol was paid for ourselves. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Chefs Unbridled!

Saturday evening brought fall-like weather and one of my favorite fall events: Chefs Unbridled to benefit Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center.

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Set at the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club Polo Fields, Chefs Unbridled has live and silent auctions to benefit Fieldstone Farm, as well as live music from the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and a wonderful tasting dinner from some of Cleveland’s finest chefs.

This year, Matthew and I decided to select our favorite appetizer, entree, and dessert from the tasting dinner to share with you.

Appetizer

Urban Farmer Cleveland Steakhouse brought our favorite appetizer of the evening: scallop chips with bacon jam and tomatoes.

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The scallop chips are a housemade variation on the classic shrimp chip. The bacon jam is deliciously salty and the tomato added just the right fresh notes. Don’t ask how many of these we ate.

Entree

I had two favorite entrees from the evening. The first, which was Matthew’s favorite as well, was the grilled hanger steak with salsa verde and creamed corn from Driftwood Restaurant Group.

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The steak was prepared perfectly, the salsa was spicy, and anything with Ohio corn is a win in my book.

My other winning entree came from Radius: pork belly with pickled onions and a small cornbread cake.

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This was some of the meatiest pork belly I’ve ever had, which also made it a win in Matthew’s book.

Dessert

Urban Farmer gets the win in this column as well with their devil’s food whoopie pies.

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Rich and decadent, with the playfulness I’ve come to expect from Urban Farmer, these were my favorite sweet treat of the evening and paired perfectly with my 14 Hands Hot to Trot red blend.

Fun Touches

And in a needed category, here were two of my favorite fun touches of the evening: Hodge Podge Truck and an Irish coffee station.

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Who doesn’t love to warm up with boozey coffee and tater tots?!

All in all, it was another fabulous evening at Chefs Unbridled! Did you attend? What were your favorites?

***Disclosure: I was asked by Fieldstone Farm to help promote Chefs Unbridled. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Baby Classes!

There are a lot of activities and classes to try with your little one, even when they’re at a very young age! Two classes that we’ve found are great both for Jeffrey and us are Kindermusik and Stroller Babes.

Matthew and I started taking Jeffrey to Kindermusik when he was only six weeks old. While this might sound like an incredibly young age, Jeffrey has always really responded to music and we thought this would be a great way to get him more exposure to music, as well as to other children.

The summer class, “Peekaboo, I love you,” was for children up to age one-and-a-half. While Jefferey was the youngest in the class, we found he really enjoyed the songs, instruments, and time with other kids.

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Each class is 45 minutes long and goes through various songs, paired with instruments, dances, and interactive time for parents and children. This is something Matthew and I can do together with Jeffrey, which is great. My Mom also takes Jeffrey to a Kindermusik class during the week, so he gets double the music fun!

I loved seeing how our inhibitions went away as we bounced and danced and acted silly throughout the classes.

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Our fall class, “Zoom Buggy,” starts tomorrow and I can’t wait to see Jeffrey’s reactions, especially as he becomes more aware and expressive every day. With each class session, you receive materials for home, including a CD of the class songs, a story book, and tips how to incorporate Kindermusik at home. I will say, singing along with the CD in the car has gotten a lot of smiles from Jeffrey! There are classes for various age ranges at locations around Cleveland, so check out the website if you’re interested.

I also signed up for Stroller Babes, after hearing about it from my friend Patty. I asked Missy, a Stroller Babes founder and instructor, to tell me in her words what Stroller Babes is all about:

We wanted to start Stroller Babes so that moms in our area could get a great workout without sacrificing time with their babies. It is also a great way to get moms connected with one another. It is tough to stay social when you have little ones at home, but Stroller Babes classes provide the opportunity for moms to make new friends who all share the same passion for fitness.

Image courtesy of Stroller Babes

Image courtesy of Stroller Babes

A Stroller Babes class combines walking/jogging/running with cardio and stretching exercises, along with time to play with your kiddo and chat with other moms. Personally, I’ve found that Jeffrey loves the time in the park and I love the chance to connect with women in the same spot in life, as well as get in a much-needed workout, so it’s a win-win(-win)!

Image courtesy of Stroller Babes

Image courtesy of Stroller Babes

Stroller Babes has classes 4 days a week, at various times and locations on the east side of Cleveland, so both working and stay-at-home moms can participate. Stroller Babes also schedules play dates, free introductory classes, and mom’s nights out for even more fun! To find out more and sign up for a class, click here.

Both Kindermusik and Stroller Babes provide great ways for us to interact with Jeffrey and other parents, with fun activities that all of us can enjoy!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Ladies Who Lunch!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Eat*Drink*Cleveland (Comment #30), randomly-selected winner of a $25 gift card to Restaurant Trentina! Remember, Restaurant Trentina is now open for lunch service as well as dinner!***

While I was on maternity leave, I not only got to spend tons of time with my favorite little man, but I also got to be a lady who lunches. My mom and I would often meet up around an activity with Jeffrey, grab a bite, and then Grandma could spend some time with the kiddo.

One day, we found ourselves down in Hudson and lunched at the new Peachtree Southern Kitchen. Chef Matthew Mathlage of the former Light Bistro is at the helm, so I was expecting something tasty.

We started with an order of spicy chicken cracklins, served with hot sauce and honey.

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I had sampled the cracklins at the Veggie U Food and Wine event, so I knew we were in for a crispy treat. I loved the hot sauce and honey combo, which added just the right amount of kick.

For my lunch entree, I chose the daily special of mac ‘n cheese with pork belly and bacon jam.

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So decadent, so good. For those Light Bistro fans, you’ll remember the special mac ‘n cheese was always a good choice and it’s no different at Peachtree.

Dessert was a shared affair of beignets, served with powder sugar and honey.

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As someone who has traveled a lot in the southern US and adores the cuisine, Peachtree is spot on, from the taste to the decor. I felt like I spent an afternoon in the south and it was lovely!

From the south to Italy, another day we lunched at Flour Restaurant. We couldn’t resist sharing the Funghi pizza, straight from the wood-fired pizza oven. The crispy, slightly chewy crust was topped with roasted shallots, wild mushrooms, goat cheese, thyme, and white truffle oil.

We ate the entire pizza. So fast I didn’t even get a picture of it. Take my word for it, the pizza at Flour is not to be missed!

It’s just a short jaunt from Flour to Chagrin Falls, where we took a little stroll with Jeffrey.

When not distracted by pizza, I remember to take pictures

When not distracted by pizza, I remember to take pictures

We had to stop in Elementarie baby boutique, which has a gorgeous selection of clothes, toys, and gift items for the little one in your life. Plus, Jeffrey loved just being around all the bright colors in the shop!

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And no trip to Chagrin Falls is complete without a stop at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. I tried one of Jeni’s ice cream sandwiches, with a hazelnut macaron, dark chocolate ice cream, and chopped hazelnuts.

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The next time you want to be a lady who lunches, I highly recommend Peachtree Southern Kitchen and Flour Restaurant. Both have delicious menus and proximity to great shopping…what more could a lady who lunches need?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win a $25 gift card to Restaurant Trentina? Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

And just like that, the first weekend of September is in the books! Time is just flying by, isn’t it?! On Saturday, we went to my niece’s birthday party at the Kent State University Ice Arena.

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I’m not an ice skater, so luckily I could use “holding the baby” as an excuse not to get out on the ice. Jeffrey loved watching the skaters, though, and dancing with me to the great throwback ’90’s jams (Montel Jordan, what?!).

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It was fun afternoon with the family!

Sunday, we took advantage of the gorgeous weather to spend the afternoon outside at the Cleveland Garlic Festival. From live music to tasty food to garlic to purchase to wine, beer, and spirits tastings, there was something for everyone to enjoy!

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Our first stop was La Campagna, where we split a sandwich with portobello, roasted red pepper, pesto, mozzarella, and garlic. Delicious!

We then headed over to the wine, beer, and spirits tent. I tried a few different beers from The Brew Kettle and really liked the Oktofest and the Kitka Coconut Chocolate Milk Stout. There was also a Black Rajah IPA infused with garlic! Matthew got his Cleveland Whiskey on and is already coming up with things he can mix the Christmas Bourbon with.

We also stopped by Thaxton’s Organic Garlic and sampled some of their many varieties of garlic.

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We purchased the Khabar and Korean Red varietals to use at home.

Still graving some more garlic to eat, I grabbed a sandwich from Sterle’s Country House: chicken schnitzel with spicy kraut from Cleveland Kraut. The chicken was perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. And I could eat a vat of the spicy kraut!

Needing a sweet palate cleanser, we had some Mitchell’s Ice Cream to finish our day. I sampled the Roasted Garlic ice cream, which was surprisingly sweet, but I couldn’t imagine eating an entire scoop, so I stuck with a longtime favorite: Wildberry Crumble. Matthew had the Caramelized Chocolate, which is fast becoming another favorite.

As we were heading out, we got to see the Garlic Festival parade go by.

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What a fun and unique festival and proceeds benefit the North Union Farmers Market! Definitely put this on your calendar for next year!

How was your weekend? Did you get out and enjoy Sunday’s beautiful weather?

***Disclosure: I was asked by North Union Farmers Market to help promote the Cleveland Garlic Festival. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary weekend passes, which covered admission but not food and drink. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Trentina Giveaway!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to timzaun (Comment #10), randomly-selected winner of 2 shopping passes to Fashion Forward Giving Back at Beachwood Place. Please check your email for more details. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase shopping passes online.***

There is a new restaurant in town that everyone is talking about for its elegance, creative menu, and unique place in the Cleveland restaurant landscape: Restaurant Trentina. Awhile ago, Matthew and I had the pleasure of attending their family and friends preview of Trentina’s dinner service and loved every amazing bite.

Image Source - restauranttrentina.com

Image Source – restauranttrentina.com

Trentina is expanding its offerings to include lunch service, starting on Tuesday, September 9. Lunch at Trentina will not be a rushed kind of affair. Rather, Chef Jonathon Sawyer wants us “take back the lunch hour,” by enjoying a true dining experience in the middle of the day.

The a la carte menu combines Northern Italian-style cooking with local ingredients. The menu includes salad, crudo, pasta, entree, and dessert options. From perusing the menu, the Ravioli Charcuterie and the Chicken Boudino Bianco sound like must-orders for me. And the early reviews are quite positive! I definitely want to be a lady who lunches at Trentina!

Lunch service will be available at Restaurant Trentina on Tuesdays through Fridays from 11am to 2pm and reservations are encouraged. To help you take back your lunch hour at Trentina, I have a $25 gift card to give away! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1. Check out Trentina’s lunch menu and leave a comment letting me know which item you would most like to order.

2. Leave a comment if you like Restaurant Trentina and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @TrentinaCLE and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you’re following both.

4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want to take back my lunch hour at @TrentinaCLE thanks to @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-26g

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, September 8 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the friends and family preview of Trentina’s lunch service. Sadly, I had to decline due to scheduling conflicts. I received a $25 gift card to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Playhouse Square Partners Season Kickoff Party!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win two shopping passes to Beachwood Place’s Fashion Forward Giving Back to benefit Cleveland Clinic Children’s? Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

Playhouse Square Partners is kicking off another season of great events, volunteering, exclusive theater access, networking, and Jump Back Ball partying. To celebrate the new season, as well as introduce you to Partners, there will be a Season Kickoff Party happening Friday, September 12.

Image Source - playhousesquare.org

Image Source – playhousesquare.org

The Kickoff Party will take place in the Idea Center building at Playhouse Square starting at 5:30pm. Enjoy tailgating-style fun, including food, drinks (first round is on Playhouse Square Partners), a cornhole competition, and other tailgating games.

Plus, you can learn more about Playhouse Square Partners, including what our committees have planned for the year ahead and the big reveal of the Jump Back Ball 2015 theme! Partners memberships will also be discounted 20% for new members that night, if you’re interested in signing up.

After the tailgating, head outside to U.S. Bank Plaza for the free Summer Movie Series presentation of “Draft Day,” which was filmed in Cleveland and is all about our beloved Cleveland Browns!

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Image Source – playhousesquare.org

You do not need to be a member of Partners to attend and the party is free, too (there will be a cash bar beyond your first drink). Plus, who wouldn’t want the inside scoop on the Jump Back Ball theme?! I hope to see you there for some football-themed fun and games! RSVP to Sarah at sarah@playhousesquare.org.

***Disclosure: I am a board member of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Fashion Forward Giving Back Giveaway!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Jeff Anderle (Comment #23), randomly-selected winner of 2 weekend passes to the Cleveland Garlic Festival. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets online. Remember you can save $1 off your tickets with promo code GFWhyCle.***

I love to shop and when I can shop for a good cause, it’s even better! That’s exactly what you can do at Fashion Forward Giving Back at Beachwood Place.

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Fashion Forward Giving Back happens on Saturday, September 13 from 10am to 9pm and is a day of fashion and fun to benefit Cleveland Clinic Children’s. There will be live music, family-friendly activities, cosmetic samples, exclusive shopping discounts, and a fashion show featuring local celebrities and patients and caregivers from Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

To participate in Fashion Forward Giving Back, you can purchase a $25 shopping pass online, which will get you access to all the great shopping discounts available that day. Or you can enter to win 2 shopping passes 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. Check out the list of retailers with exclusive discounts and leave a comment telling me where you’re most excited to shop.

2. Leave a comment if you like Beachwood Place and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both.

3. Follow @BeachwoodPlace and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you follow both.

4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want to shop to benefit @ClevelandClinic Children’s at @BeachwoodPlace thanks to @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-263

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

The giveaway will close on Thursday, September 4 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Fashion Forward Giving Back. In exchange, I will receive 2 shopping passes to give away. I declined my own 2 shopping passes due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to jimbaumgartner (Comment #123), randomly-selected winner of 2 general admission tickets to the Greater Cleveland Foodbank’s Taste of the Browns fundraiser! Please check your email for details. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets to Taste of the Browns online.

Also, today is your last chance to enter to win 2 weekend passes to the Cleveland Garlic Festival. Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

It’s been a great holiday weekend so far! On Saturday, Matthew and I hosted our third annual cook-out. We always have such a great time having friends and family over for hamburgers, hot dogs, beer, cornhole, and general summer fun and relaxation.

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As hostess, I completely failed at taking pictures, but it was a wonderful group of people from all parts of our lives, from Matthew’s high school friends to my college roommate and her new husband to newer but no less dear friends.

As more and more of our friends start their families, we’ve noticed a change in the cook-out though. Three years ago, we were kicking people out well after midnight, after many rounds of drinks and lots of stories by the outdoor fire pit. This year, the last guests left around 9pm, giving us time to clean up, get Jeffrey into bed, and even get a decent amount of sleep ourselves. No less fun this year, just a different way of doing things!

On Sunday, I decided I needed an evening to hang out with my two favorite boys. I had plans to go to a yoga class and while I definitely need to find time to get back into my flow, I decided what my soul needed more than downward dog was time with my family. We ended up checking out the Cleveland Scene Pig and Whiskey event.

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There was tons of tasty BBQ, whiskey and beer, live music, and other vendors. Before we got our BBQ on, I popped into The Wandering Wardrobe for a bit of shopping. I’ve been following the shop on Instagram and loved all the cute clothes available. Stepping inside the truck is like being in a mini boutique and I scored two very pretty tops for very reasonable prices.

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You can follow the truck around while the weather is still nice and then from November until January, Wandering Wardrobe will have pop-up space in the Warehouse District.

Of course, you can’t go to Pig & Whiskey without enjoying some of both, which Matthew did. Since I’m not a fan of whiskey, I stuck with just the pig.

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I had the pork belly sandwich and smoked mac ‘n cheese from Smoke Ring BBQ. My only regret was not going for the hot sauce, as the medium didn’t pack much of a punch. But the food was tasty and it was nice to have pork options other than ribs or pulled pork.

This was the inaugural year for Pig  and Whiskey, but hopefully it will be back next year! While the beer distributors were local, it would be nice to see some hometown beer options in the beer tent and some lower-priced whiskey (most were between $7-$10 for a shot). Overall, we all had a great time!

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Hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Cleveland Garlic Festival Giveaway!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win two tickets to the Cleveland Foodbank’s Taste of the Browns fundraiser? Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

As the summer festival season winds down, one of the most unique and fragrant festivals is still to come: the Cleveland Garlic Festival taking place on Shaker Square on September 6 and 7.

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The Cleveland Garlic Festival features 14 live bands, a kids’ Mighty Locavores area with activites and fun, appearances by Miss Garlic, all the tasty garlic dishes you can handle from tons of great vendors, and a grill-off competition featuring local celebrity chef competitors and judges.

Cleveland Garlic Festival 2012

Saturday’s grill-offs feature grass-fed beef and free-range chicken prepared by chefs from Cibreo Italian Kitchen, Urban Farmer, The Willeyville and more. Sunday’s grill-off features pasture-raised heirloom pork prepared by chefs from Ligali’s Bistro, Sterle’s Country House, and more.

Ashley Young

Proceeds from the Cleveland Garlic Festival benefit North Union Farmers Market, which operates farmers’ markets around Cleveland. North Union Farmers Market has educational and charitable market programs that are supported by the Cleveland Garlic Festival, helping to bring quality local food to an even more expanded population.

Tickets for the Cleveland Garlic Festival are $9 for adults and $5 for children and seniors for one-day admission. You can purchase tickets online and can save $1 off your admission with promo code GFWhyCle. Or you can enter to win two weekend passes to the Cleveland Garlic Festival 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 telling me your favorite way/dish to use garlic.

2. Leave a comment if you like Cleveland Garlic Festival and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @CleveGarlicFest and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you’re following both.

4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted:

I entered to win passes to attend the @CleveGarlicFest thanks to @WhyCLE and you can too: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-25F

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, September 1 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by North Union Farmers Market to help promote the Cleveland Garlic Festival. In exchange, I will receive 2 weekend passes for myself, 2 weekend passes to give away, and a reader promo code for tickets. Images courtesy of North Union Farmers Market. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur