Category Archives: Wine

Why? Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre Contest!

It was a beautiful spring evening at Progressive Field last night!


We weren’t there to watch a game, however. We were there to sample some very tasty hors d’oeuvres prepared by some wonderful Cleveland restaurants, all to benefit Our Lady of the Wayside. Matthew also took full advantage of the wine bar, as he should!


There were 12 different restaurants with hors d’oeuvres to try. Our personal favorites? The Woods presented a huge and perfectly-seared scallop on top of citrus risotto. The citrus added wonderful, bright notes to the risotto and went perfectly with the seafood.

We also enjoyed the New Zealand lamb lollipop with blueberry Frangelico cream from Lago and TownHall. While a bit more entree than appetizer for me, the meat was tender and flavorful!


Other notable dishes were the carne asada wonton tacos from Battery Park Wine Bar. I haven’t been there since they switched chefs and if the spicy, tasty tacos are any indication, I’ll be heading back soon.

Sweet Melissa also did a great job with their pan-seared diver scallops with brussel sprout confit, proving they are more than just a place to get a fabulous dessert.


Speaking of dessert, there were plenty of sweet treats last night, with no need to vote on those! Becker’s Donuts and Bakery provided lots of tasty pastries, from brownies to kolacky. And The Chocolate Bar had a chocolate fountain with lots to dip, from fresh fruit to krispie treats to Oreos.


Add to all the food and drink some great live music from Nate Jones and silent and Chinese auctions with wonderful prizes and you have all the makings of a fabulous evening!

Oh, and the winners of Cleveland’s finest hors d’oeuvre? Third place went to Lago/TownHalll; second place went to Carrie Cerino’s, and first place was a tie between The Woods and Corleone’s.


Coming up next for Our Lady of the Wayside is another fun event at Progressive Field: Grapes and Ale! Stay tuned here for more information on this summertime must-attend event and a chance to win tickets!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary tickets and a parking pass to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre Contest Giveaway!

There’s nothing I like better than when good food, good times, and a good cause combine! On Thursday, April 10, that’s exactly what will happen at the Terrace Club at Progressive Field as Our Lady of the Wayside presents their 20th annual Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre Contest.

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Chefs from some of Cleveland’s best restaurants will present hors d’oeuvres for you to nibble, enjoy, and then vote for your favorite. Participating restaurants include Sweet Melissa, Corleone’s, District, Town Hall, and the Zack Bruell Restaurant Group.

There will also be complimentary beer and wine tastings and scrumptious desserts courtesy of Becker’s and Chocolate Bar. The event is hosted by Tim Richards and Desiray Cross of Cleveland’s New 102 and there will be live music from Nate Jones.

All this food and fun benefit the great work Our Lady of the Wayside is doing to help children and adults with developmental disabilities in our area.

Tickets are $80 and can be purchased online. Or you can enter to win two tickets 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 participating restaurants and leave a comment telling me which you’re most excited to try.

2. Leave a comment if you like Our Lady of the Wayside and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @OurLadyWayside 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 help pick Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre with @OurLadyWayside and @WhyCLE:

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

The giveaway will run though Thursday, March 13 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre Contest. In exchange, I will receive 2 tickets for myself and 2 tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends, Part 1!

This weekend, Matthew and I decided to have a “staycation babymoon,” if only to see how many made-up words we could use to describe one weekend. We did so much great stuff, I have to break it up into two posts! Not only was it a fun and relaxing weekend, but it was a great reminder that you don’t have to leave home to find plenty of new and different things to do.

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Friday evening, we went on the Grape Escape wine train on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. This was the first time on the Scenic Railroad for both of us and the sold-out Valentine’s event seemed like a great way to check it out.

All aboard!

All aboard!

The menu consisted of five Italian wines, paired with small bites supplied by Moe’s Restaurant. This proved a particularly good deal for Matthew, since he got to have all my wine! Our first course was prosecco paired with garlic and herb cheese and crackers.

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All the appetizers were cold to make serving/transporting easier. Our second course was pinot grigio paired with a mixed greens salad with cranberries, nuts, and goat cheese.

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All of the servers and trainmen on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad are volunteers. You can tell they just really enjoy and have a passion for the railroad. Unfortunately, since it was winter, our ride took place in the dark and we didn’t get to appreciate much of the scenery. We did get a glimpse of the Boston Mills/Brandywine ski areas and downtown Peninsula, though.

Our third course was “broken-heart” pasta salad, served with a light red wine (the varietal escapes me now).

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Our fourth course was a chicken salad croissant, served with the first of two chianti wines. And the sweet finish to the evening was chocolate mousse with strawberries and shortbread cookies, served with a fuller-bodied chianti.

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It was a fun and unique way to spend Valentine’s Day and I always enjoy crossing something off my Cleveland to-do list. There are monthly Grape Escape and Ales on Rails rides on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (click here for more information), along with many other special events for everyone from adults to families. Hop on board and explore the beauty of our area’s national park, as well as the neat throw-back feeling of riding the rails.

How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day?


Why? Ohio Blogging at The Oak Barrel!

Last Wednesday, a handful of hearty and hungry bloggers braved the snow for the Ohio Blogging Association meetup at The Oak Barrel. It was “Wine Down Wednesday,” where each bottle of wine (even the Captain’s List) is half-priced!


I really enjoy this Valley View spot, which has a gorgeous wood and stone interior, a fantastic craft beer list, and a delicious menu. Matthew chose the open-faced pulled pork BBQ with jalapeno cornbread, apple slaw, and onion straws.


This generous sandwich has just the right combination of spicy from the cornbread and sweet from the BBQ sauce.

I chose the Amish chicken and waffles. I had this dish when Chef Demetrios Athenos was at Deagan’s Kitchen. Crispy breaded chicken breasts are served on top a fluffy Belgian waffle, with cayenne butter and blackberry syrup.


Talk about another great combination of salty, slightly spicy, and sweet! Delicious!

We couldn’t pass up dessert. Matthew had the brownie sundae with Dragon’s Milk ice cream and I chose the Mitchell’s Ice Cream special, raspberry chocolate chunk.


It was a great meal, with great conversation to go with it! In attendance were fellow bloggers:

Alicia from Poise in Parma, with husband Hans

Amanda from Clue Into Cleveland, with husband Scott

Stuart from SOS Associates, with wife Julie

Valerie from Motherhood in Progress

Stay tuned to the Ohio Blogging Association page for information on future blogger meet-ups, hopefully with better weather!


Why? Animal Attractions!

On Thursday night, we got to beat the frigid temperatures at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo‘s The RainForest for the Animal Attractions fundraiser. This annual fundraiser put on by the Cleveland Zoological Society combines food, wine, and zoo critters for a fun and philanthropic evening. All proceeds from Animal Attractions benefit the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and zoo programs.

Some of our favorite foods of the evening included the perfectly-spiced Korean beef tacos from Creekside Restaurant, the smooth roasted red pepper soup from AMP 150, and the ambitious trio of nibbles from Rosander Event Kitchen (crab gumbo, chikpea and tomato couscous, and hanger steak cafe de Paris).


And of course, the mini cupcakes from The Cleveland Cupcake Company were delicious as always!


The bar was sponsored by Samuel Adams and Jacob’s Creek, with a wine tasting event and also a specialty bar from Dewar’s. See, the Zoo isn’t fun just for kids!


There were zoo critters out to play, like armadillos, snakes, lizards, and hedgehogs, that you could pet and learn more about hands-on from the knowledgeable zoo docents.


There were also presentations that not only taught you more about the animals, but did so in a fun, tongue-in-cheek way. We went to “Bear Foot and Pregnant” (seemed appropriate), which taught about bears and mating habits with Jeopardy categories.


Even with all the great food and fun presentations, the best part of the evening was the company! We always love hanging out with Alicia, Hans, Amanda, and Scott!


Events like Animal Attractions prove that the Zoo isn’t just for kids! For more grown-up fun at the Zoo, stay tuned for information on Zippity Zoo Doo, Twilight at the Zoo, and Date Night at the Zoovies.

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Animal Attractions. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Upcoming Events!

As we head toward Valentine’s Day and even beyond, there are lots of great activities to enjoy around town, whether with your sweetie, your friends, or yourself!

Orchid Mania

Now through Sunday, March 9

Cleveland Botanical Garden

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Come see the beautiful Cleveland Botanical Garden filled with sensuous and mysterious orchids. There is also an Interior Design Showcase, Ask the Orchid Doctor, and programs for all ages. Admission is free for Garden members and $11 for non-member adults. Click here for more information.

Go With Me!

Friday, February 7 at 7pm

MOCA Cleveland

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MOCA Cleveland wants to make connecting with people fun and easy. Come to the museum for a fun night of schoolyard games like dodgeball, parachute, and musical chairs. All are welcome, singles and couples alike! Tickets are free for MOCA members and $10 for non-members. Click here for more information.

Mother-Daughter Tea Social

Sunday, February 9 at 2pm

Willoughby Hills Community Center


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Have a lovely ladies afternoon, complete with tea, lunch, desserts, favors, and activities. Proceeds benefit Operation Shower, which throws baby showers for pregnant women whose husbands are deployed in the military. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Click here to purchase tickets.

Lago Valentine’s Dinner

Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15



There are a lot of great places to go for a romantic Valentine’s meal, but dining in one of Cleveland’s newest hot spots, Lago, is sure to be a win! Treat your senses to a delicious prix fixe Valentine’s meal, with amuse bouche, entree, appetizer and dessert. Cost is $125 per couple and includes a prosecco starter and a rose. Click here for more information and to make reservations.

The Nature Conservancy Dinner Meet-Up

Wednesday, February 19 at 6:30pm

Tommy’s Restaurant

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Tommy’s Restaurant is the winner of the 2013 Nature’s Plate Award for Cleveland and the Nature Conservancy is gathering to celebrate the win. All dinner checks for those attending will be discounted by 10% and there will be a discussion of how the Nature Conservancy is bringing together unexpected partners to help the environment. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

All About the Bag

Wednesday, February 26 at 6pm

Executive Caterers at Landerhaven

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Come out for an evening of fashion and fun to benefit The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. There will be a fashion show, local celebs, an auction, and a raffle! Tickets are $55 for general admission and $125 for premier admission. Click here for more details.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a preview of the Lago Valentine’s Dinner and the Go With Me event at MOCA Cleveland, both with complimentary media passes. Due to scheduling conflicts, I declined both invitations. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was a lovely weekend in the CLE! On Saturday morning, I treated myself to a manicure and pedicure at Imagine Salon and Spa. It’s always nice to take a little time to get pampered!

Saturday evening was Matthew’s work holiday party, held at the Crawford Auto Aviation Collection, part of the Western Reserve Historical Society.

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The Collection is filled with beautiful old cars and airplanes and some neat conversation pieces, including the DeLorean that inspired the car in “Back to the Future.” As part of the party, we had a scavenger hunt to complete, which gave us a great chance to explore the entire collection.

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The food and drink selection was provided by A Taste of Excellence. There were some great local options at the bar, including Ferrante wines and Cleveland Whiskey. Some of my favorite appetizers were the egg rolls with sweet and sour sauce, the spanakopita, and the mini bruschetta with mushrooms. There was also a mashed potato bar (finally, a bar designed for pregnant ladies), with all kinds of toppings from cheese to sauteed mushrooms and onions to pulled pork and beef brisket. Ooh, and the baklava on the dessert table were to die for!

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We also spent some time checking out the Euclid Beach Carousel renovation project, which is one of my favorite parts of the museum! It was a really fun night!

On Sunday, Matthew and I started our baby registries. It’s pretty exciting and overwhelming all at once! I can’t tell you how many cute toys and onesies I added just on impulse. I can’t wait to really start putting the nursery and playroom together!

Other than that, it was a nice, quiet weekend. I made a batch of granola from this recipe, which I riff off of. I leave out the coconut (I’m not a fan of flaked coconut), use pecans instead of almonds and cashews, and use original and blueberry Craisins instead of raisins. It makes a great snack or addition to my favorite Chobani.

How was your weekend, Cleveland?


Why? Wine and Canvas!

Last night, I attended my first ever Wine and Canvas event with the Kappa Delta Sorority Cleveland Alumnae Chapter.

IMG_7703Wine and Canvas combines cocktailing and painting into a fun evening of creativity. I am admittedly not an artist in the least, but the Wine and Canvas instructor makes everything as easy as it can be, giving you step-by-step instructions on how to create the painting.

IMG_7706I’m not sure if the absence of wine helped my painting. It definitely made me more critical of my work! The painting selected for our group was a rose. First, we painted the background.

IMG_7702Then, we had time to grab a quick dinner while the canvas was drying. The event was held at Burntwood Tavern in Brecksville. I ordered the cedar-planked salmon, with asparagus and green beans.

IMG_7701It was a light, healthy, delicious meal! Also, props to the bartender who concocted me a fun, fruity beverage that was somewhat like a non-alcoholic mojito.

After dinner and drying were complete, it was time to create the rose. At various points in the process, I didn’t think it looked too much like a rose.


Hey look, it’s Why CLE roving reporter Katie!

But by the end, I was actually pretty happy with the result, if you stand far enough away from it. It’s like a Monet, right? (Please tell me you all remember that line from “Clueless!”)

IMG_7711While I’m still not feeling like an artist, Wine and Canvas was a really fun way to explore a new activity with friends, which is the most comfortable way to explore something new. I’d definitely try it again, perhaps when I could enjoy the wine portion as well! Click here to find out more about public upcoming Wine and Canvas events and get your creativity on!


***Disclosure: I am an officer for the Kappa Delta Cleveland West Alumnae Chapter. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Upcoming Events!

Just because the holidays are through doesn’t mean the schedule is slowing down! There’s plenty of fun stuff to keep you busy in the new year:


Thursday, January 16 at 6:30pm

MOCA Cleveland

THE INTERPRETERS are adults who like to have fun, socialize, create, and take risks in order to “get” contemporary art. For the first thirty minutes each session, THE INTERPRETERS meet and mingle on the museum’s ground floor. Then, they embark as a group on a surprising, interactive one-hour experience in the galleries led by a museum educator. Admission is $10 for non-memebers, $8 for MOCA members. For more information on this recurring event, click here.

Orin Swift Wine Dinner

Tuesday, January 21 at 6pm

Pier W

Pier W Chef Regan Reik and Wine Director and Sommelier Kliment Stevoff will take you through a delicious four-course dinner, expertly paired with Orin Swift wines (The Prisoner is one of my all-time favorites). Cost is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Click here for more information. Reservations required.

5th Annual Pancake Barkfeast

Saturday, January 25 at 9am

Pilgrim Congregational Church

This annual event to benefit Secondhand Mutts gets bigger and better this year! Not only will there be pancakes and all sorts of breakfast sides, but there will also be a local celebrity chef omelette stations, featuring chefs such as Jeff Jarrett of AMP 150 and Anna Harouvis of Anna in the Raw. Tickets are $15 for pancakes-only and $25 for pancakes and omelette. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Cleveland Winter Beerfest 2014

Friday, January 31 and Saturday, February 1 at 7:30pm

Cleveland Convention Center

Warm yourself up with tons of great beer samples from over 300 craft breweries at this inaugural, all-draft event. Tickets are $45 for VIP admission (which gets you in an hour early, as well as access to special limited beers) and $35 for regular admission. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.


Why? Cibreo Italian Kitchen!

Last week, I enjoyed a lovely dinner with Kimberly at Cibreo Italian Kitchen. This was my first off-the-menu meal at Cibreo (I loved their media preview dinner) and I was so caught up in the delicious food and great conversation that I forgot to take any pictures! Blame it on baby brain? But, I still wanted to give you the scoop on what we enjoyed.

We split an order of the meatballs for an appetizer, made with veal and pancetta, served with marinara sauce, pecorino, and basil. The meatballs are huge and packed with classic Italian flavor! This is a great, share-able appetizer to kick off a meal.

For our entrees, I wanted to try the gnocchi, with mushrooms and grapes, but they were sold out. I went for my second choice, a classic lasagna made with bolognese, ricotta, and mozarella. Served piping hot in an individual baking dish, this lasagna was deliciously filling, without being too heavy on the meat.

Kimberly chose the asparagus risotto, which looked fresh and packed with vegetable goodness. Never ones to pass up dessert, we chose the sampler of two gelato: the hazelnut and the zabaglione. Both were a perfect sweet finish to our meal, but I give the edge to the zabaglione, which is made with prosecco. This girl has to get her bubbles in how she can these days!

The restaurant was packed with theater goers and it’s easy to see that Cibreo has become a favorite spot in Playhouse Square. On Monday nights, Cibreo offers a 2-for-$40 menu, which lets you choose one appetizer, two entrees, and one bottle of wine to share. This is a great deal and I will definitely be back, so long as someone saves me some of that gnocchi that I’m dying to try!