Why? Ohio Blogging and Mitchell’s!

On Wednesday evening, the Ohio Blogging Association attended a “sweet-up” (vastly superior to a tweet-up) at the new Mitchell’s Ice Cream shop and factory in Ohio City. The evening was hosted by Edible Cleveland, a quarterly magazine that celebrates the vibrant local food scene.

Matthew, Jeffrey and I made it a family affair: baby’s first blogger meet-up!

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Before we got to the sweets, we got to enjoy some savories thanks to The Agrarian Collective.

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From strawberry gazpacho to Sriracha-pickled radishes, there was quite a variety of delicious nibbles. My personal favorite combined the honey whipped ricotta with the prosciutto and crostini. Yum!

The Agrarian Collective is offering a series called Edible Thursdays, with events from a blueberry picking party to a class on cooking over an open fire with my friend Clark Pope. Each class is $45. Check ‘em out!

But it wasn’t called a “sweet-up” for nothing! Mike Mitchell, co-owner of Mitchell’s Ice Cream, was on hand to chat with us about locally-sourced ingredients, his passion for sustainability and buying local (reasons why Mitchell’s has no desire to expand their stores outside the Cleveland market), and when people get angry about ice cream (read: a favorite flavor is discontinued).

photo5 (1)Mitchell’s has always been a personal favorite because of the taste (remember, they won my unofficial pregnancy root beer float contest), but hearing their commitment to quality and the Cleveland community makes me love them even more!

All the while, we had a view of the ice cream factory, which reminded me a bit of Willy Wonka’s factory. This is where the magic really happens!

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The Ohio City shop has two levels, both of which offer views of the factory, along with selling Mitchell’s delicious creations. You have to check it out…it’s quite the operation and a great use of a vacant piece of property in one of Cleveland’s busiest neighborhoods.

We learned how to create to perfect ice cream scoop and got to sample some flavors in development: strawberry jalapeno, amaretto browned butter, orange rose blossom, and hazelnut. We also received an ice cream scooper and a coupon for a free scoop of Mitchell’s!

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Matthew loves making homemade ice cream and even got some tips from Mike Mitchell! It was a definitely a sweet evening! Kudos to Edible Cleveland and Alicia for organizing it! Stay tuned to the Ohio Blogging Association page for more upcoming events and ways to connect with other bloggers.

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Why? Match Works Tavern Lunch!

As I’ve written here before, Match Works Tavern in Mentor is one of our favorite restaurants and has become a “special occasion” destination for us. From birthdays to anniversaries to our rehearsal dinner, we’ve never been disappointed with the food or the service. Owners Tom and Denise Quick are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, which makes going there even more worthwhile in my mind.

We knew we wanted to take Jeffrey out for a meal before Matthew heads back to work on Thursday. We love eating out and want our little man to get acclimated to coming with us. Considering everything I’ve already told you, the choice of where to go was pretty obvious for us. Besides, how could I say no to a lunch date with these cuties, who brought me flowers no less?!

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For my lunch, I had the Monte Cristo sandwich, stacked high with French-toast-style bread, smoked pork loin, swiss cheese, mustard, and local maple syrup. Delicious!

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The house-made fries had just the right peppery bite and were a nice compliment to the sweetness in the sandwich.

Matthew chose the tuna “nacho” special, with tuna tartare served on top paper-thin wonton crisps and garnished with seaweed, cilantro, and Sriracha.

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This was a great summer meal, as it was light, but still full of flavor. We each paired our meal with a local craft beer from Thirsty Dog. For dessert, we shared the chocolate mousse, which we know we love from Match Works (plus, it gave me a chance to check another item off the list of foods I can now eat again).

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Match Works provided yet another tasty meal for yet another special occasion. Jeffrey did very well at his first meal out and we can’t wait to continue to let him soak in the atmosphere at some great Cleveland restaurants.

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Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to itsahero (Comment #27), randomly-selected winner of 2 Big Kahuna VIP tickets to the Shoes and Clothes for Kids Luau on the Lake! Please check your email for more details. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets online. When you purchase your tickets, enter Why CLE in the comments section for a chance to win a social media prize pack at the Luau on the Lake.***

It was a weekend filled with celebrations with some of our nearest and dearest. On Friday evening, Alicia, Kimberly, Amanda, and their husbands made dinner for Matthew and me to fete our second wedding anniversary.

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From baked brie to steaks from Pinzone’s and lobster tails from Lobster Brothers on the grill to a decadent chocolate cheesecake, the food was delicious! But what was even nicer was the time with friends.

Cheers! With a Scott and Jeffrey photo bomb...

Cheers! With a Scott and Jeffrey photo bomb…

The evening was my Mom’s idea and I can’t thank her enough for setting the wheels in motion. We’re also so grateful to our amazing friends for pampering us with an incredible meal! Even Jeffrey found this an occasion worthy of getting all dressed up…

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Saturday and Sunday saw back-to-back Father’s Day celebrations. On Saturday, Matthew’s family came over for a traditional hot dogs and hamburgers cook-out. The weather was perfect and the kids had a great time running around the back yard. Matthew’s Dad was in his glory, surrounded by kids and grandkids!

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On Sunday, Jeffrey and I had some surprises up our sleeves to celebrate Matthew’s first Father’s Day, starting out with Jeffrey’s outfit for the day…

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After the three of us celebrated in the morning, my parents came over for the third cook-out of the weekend (tequila lime marinated flank steak FTW). Our grill certainly got a work-out this weekend! It was a lovely weekend celebrating lots of special moments, made all the more so with the new little man in our lives. This picture pretty much says it all…

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How was your weekend? How did you celebrate Father’s Day?

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Why? Father’s Day!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win 2 Big Kahuna VIP tickets to the Shoes and Clothes for Kids Luau on the Lake? Check it out! Remember, you can tweet once per day for additional entries.***

This year, Father’s Day has taken on a new meaning and significance. In just two weeks, I’ve seen Matthew become such a wonderful and loving father to Jeffrey.

Image Source - etsy.com

Image Source – etsy.com

I had no doubt he would be a great dad, but to see it happen has been more amazing than I could have imagined. Happy first Father’s Day, Matthew! Jeffrey and I love you so much!

Photo Credit - Rich Jeschelnig

Photo Credit – Rich Jeschelnig

And, of course, Happy Father’s Day to my dad and my father-in-law, who are fully embracing their grandfather roles and who taught us so much about the love of a father.

Photo Credit - New Image Photography

Photo Credit – New Image Photography

I hope all the dads out there have a wonderful Father’s Day weekend!

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Why? Luau on the Lake Giveaway!

It’s summertime in Cleveland and what better place to enjoy this season than Wendy Park at Whiskey Island? On Saturday, July 12, the park will be turned into a luau fit for a Tiki god for the Shoes and Clothes for Kids Luau on the Lake.

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There will be food, drinks, music, a limbo contest, sand volleyball, and, new this year, a 24-team cornhole tournament. The winner of the cornhole tournament will receive a cornhole set and 4 Indians tickets. All this lakeside luau fun benefits Shoes and Clothes for Kids, which provides no-cost shoes and clothes to children in need.

To help get you ready for the luau, there will be a kick-off happy hour on Thursday, June 12 at The Clevelander. Your $20 admission gets you unlimited drinks and an appetizer bar, plus you’ll be entered into a raffle to win a Big Kahuna package for the Luau on the Lake and be able to purchase Luau on the Lake tickets at the lowest price.

Tickets for Luau on the Lake are $40 for general admission/$50 for Big Kahuna VIP admission through June 13, when the price for each goes up $10. General admission includes unlimited food, beer, wine and soft drinks. VIP admission includes all that, plus three island cocktails, a lei, souvenir cup, and tote bag.

You can purchase tickets online or you can enter to win two Big Kahuna VIP 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. Leave a comment telling me your favorite beach/island destination.

2. Leave a comment if you like Shoes and Clothes for Kids and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both.

3. Follow @SC4K 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 be a Big Kahuna at the @SC4K Luau on the Lake thanks to @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-1Z2 #SC4KLuau14

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, June 15 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Shoes and Clothes for Kids to help promote the Luau on the Lake. In exchange, I will receive 2 Big Kahuna VIP tickets for myself and 2 Big Kahuna VIP tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? #EatatPRV Pop-Up!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Mike Tetreault, winner of two tickets to see Ernie Krivada at Tri-C Jazz Fest. Please check your email for more details. Tickets are still available for the Tri-C Jazz Fest concerts by clicking here.***

Friday night was the fourth anniversary of Matthew’s and my first date, so it seemed fitting that we ventured out for our first date as parents.

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We’re very lucky to have family nearby who are all clamoring to watch Jeffrey, so it was no problem to find someone to watch the little man for a couple hours. Our destination was the monthly MIX happy hour at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

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The atrium at the Cleveland Museum of Art is fast becoming one of my favorite spaces to be. Just look at that beautiful sunlight! The theme for this month’s MIX was Fete, celebrating all things French and summery, with music and bright decorations.

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In addition to the usual MIX fun and frivolity, there was an added element with a pop-up restaurant from Provenance, the restaurant at the Art Museum. Chef Katz presented a small bites menu packed with interesting and flavorful choices.

We started with the Chicago Cuts Cheese and Charcuterie, accented with purple mustard and local honey.

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We also tried two of the specialty cocktail offerings: the Lavender 75 (gin, lavender syrup, lemon and prosecco) and the Thyme & Ginger (vodka, ginger, thyme, and lime juice). I had just a taste of each, but both seemed like perfect summertime sippers.

Matthew and I also shared the grilled octopus, served with pickled fennel, vanilla crumble, and mustard greens with a lavender vinaigrette.

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For our non-shared small plates, I had the pan-seared pork belly, served with fava beans, peach puree, kale, and housemade apple chips.

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The pork belly melted in my mouth and the apple and peach flavors were the perfect compliment.

Matthew had the LVP (lamb, veal and pork) burger, topped with lemon garlic aioli, kohlrabi slaw, and pickles.

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The bite I snagged of the LVP was juicy and flavorful and I could eat a ton of the housemade chips!

Tasty food, generous portions for small plates, creative cocktails, and a beautiful and festive atmosphere? I’d say our first date night as parents went pretty well!

Provenance is open for brunch on Sundays from 11am to 3pm, for lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 3pm, and for dinner Wednesday and Friday from 5pm to 9pm. Make a meal there part of your next stop at the Cleveland Museum of Art! And stay tuned for more information on the next MIX happy hour, happening the first Friday of each month.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the #EatatPRV pop-up with a guest. I received two tickets to MIX, as well as vouchers for four small plates from the pop-up. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Tri-C Jazz Fest Giveaway!

Tri-C Jazz Fest, now in its 35th year, has become a fixture in the Cleveland cultural scene. But this year, Jazz Fest is making some exciting changes. While there will still be tons of great jazz music, there’s a new location and a new feel to the event.

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Playhouse Square will host this year’s three-day Jazz Fest, putting jazz into one of Cleveland’s most celebrated neighborhoods. In addition to the scheduled concerts in the theaters, there will be free concerts on Star Plaza, with food trucks and Great Lakes Brewing serving up tasty treats to go along with the music.

Tri-C Jazz Fest runs from June 26-28. The line-up includes:

  • The Sean Jones Quartet plus the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra with Christian McBride
  • The Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra
  • Trombone Shorty plus John Scofield Uberjam
  • Bassist Marcus Miller plus the Dave Koz Summer Horns Tour
  • Dave Holland Prism (with Kevin Eubanks)
  • The Christian McBride Trio
  • Jamey Haddad’s Global Drums
  • Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band playing the music of Oliver Nelson and Jimmy Smith
  • Vocalist Gregory Porter
  • Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington
  • Singer/pianist Eliane Elias

Click here for more information on the artists and to purchase tickets. Or you can enter to win two tickets to Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band on Sunday, June 28 right here!

Ernie Krivda Tri-C JazzFest

Tri-C Jazz Fest describes Krivada: Esteemed as a legend of the Cleveland arts scene, Krivda has a distinctive improvisational style and unique compositions that have been documented on more than 30 recordings under his name and as a guest artist. Performing selections from Bashin’: The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith and other Oliver Nelson/Jimmy Smith collaborations, Krivda and his big band will blow the roof off the Ohio Theatre. This concert will swing and swing hard. 

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 Cleveland cultural event.

2. Leave a comment if you like Tri-C Jazz Fest and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @TriCJazzFest 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 swing to the music at @TriCJazzFest with @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-1YL #TriCJazzFest

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

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

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Tri-C Jazz Fest. In exchange, I will receive 2 tickets to the concert of my choice for myself and 2 tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Happy Anniversary!

Today is Matthew’s and my second wedding anniversary. We pretty much agreed that remembering to say “Happy Anniversary” to each other was a victory and that we’d have to make time to celebrate once we have an older-than-six-day-old baby.

Matthew and I tend to have all of our milestones around this time of year:

June 6, 2010 – First Date

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Not from our first date, but close enough

June 3, 2011 – Engagement

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June 2, 2012 – Married

Image Credit - New Image Photography

Image Credit – New Image Photography

May 27, 2014 – Birth of our son

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It’s been a whirlwind four years and there is absolutely no one else I would rather take this journey with. I love you with all my heart, Matthew, and can’t wait to see what our next Junes (and every other month) bring.

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Why? Welcome and Thank You!

Welcome to the world, Jeffrey Alan!

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Matthew and I are ecstatic to have you here and overwhelmed by our love for you, even when you look at us like we’re crazy!

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I now live in a house full of boys…whoever would have thought it?!

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I have so many more pictures, but you can see Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for all of that. What we wanted to say, other than “welcome” to Jeffrey, is “thank you” to all of you. Matthew and I are blown away by how many congratulations and well wishes we have received.

The power of social media to share wonderful news and to allow those near and far to connect is really pretty awesome! We wish we could thank each of you individually, but for the moment, please accept this mass thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts!

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Why? Memorial Day!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Paul Rosenberger (Comment #8), randomly-selected winner of 2 tickets to Our Lady of the Wayside’s Grapes and Ale fundraiser! Please check your email for further details. If you did’t win, you can still purchase tickets by clicking here.***

I hope everyone is enjoying the unofficial kickoff to summer! Mother Nature gave us some gorgeous weather this weekend! In the midst of the cook-outs, festivals, and other Memorial Day fun, it’s important to remember the true meaning of the day.

Image Source - memorialday-quotes.com

Image Source – memorialday-quotes.com

“A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.” – George William Curtis

With gratitude to all those who have served, particularly those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

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