Category Archives: Tremont

Why? Dante Next Door!

On Saturday, Matthew and I met up with Kimberly and Chris, where we all had the chance to get a sneak peek at the newest restaurant from Chef Dante Boccuzzi: Dante Next Door. Located literally next door to Dante and Ginko, this bright, airy space serves up brunch and lunch fare with the excellence for which Chef Dante has become known.

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We were encouraged to get a little bit of everything to share and that we did! Our feast started with a box of homemade pastries. The chocolate croissant and the “dirt bomb” (a cake donut rolled in cinnamon) were collective favorites.

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We next sampled three different pizzas, made to order in the brick oven at the restaurant.

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We chose the “Broken Egg” pizza, the “Everything Bagel and Lox” pizza, and the Capricciosa pizza. The Broken Egg pizza reminded me of a quiche, with light and fluffy egg, asparagus, peas, morels, tomatoes, and goat cheese. This mildly flavored pie was my favorite of the bunch.

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The “Everything Bagel and Lox” pizza featured smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill, and hard-boiled egg and the Cappricciosa had ham, mushrooms, tomato, and mozzarella.

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Starting to get full, but determined to try more on the menu, we shared three entrees. First was the pasta carbonara frittata, which brilliantly combines pasta and breakfast for a sinfully rich dish. While the portion isn’t huge, the richness of the sauce and eggs makes this easily a shareable choice.

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Those who could (read: all but me) dug into the Crab Cakes Benedict, which won rave reviews. I’ll be back for you, poached eggs and lemon Hollandaise!

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My personal favorite was the charred tiger shrimp and polenta, which was also served with chorizo and grilled peppers and onions. The sweet and spicy combination was just right and, of course, the polenta was perfectly smooth and creamy.

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In the name of research, we ordered dessert. Two words: Nutella pie. It had a light, fluffy Nutella center, chocolate ganache with sea salt, a caramel layer at the bottom, and an Oreo cookie crust. Ridiculous.

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We also tried the lemon trio, featuring lemon cheesecake, a lemon bar, and lemon gelato. For a lighter dessert option, this is definitely a winner, particularly in warmer weather.

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Dante Next Door is now open to the public. The lunch menu (featuring all the pizzas mentioned and more, as well as many baked pasta entrees) is available Wednesday through Friday from 11am to 4pm. The brunch menu (which we ordered from) is available Saturday through Monday from 10:30am to 4pm.

To experience the more “casual” side of Dante, without sacrificing any of the taste, service, and originality, head to Dante Next Door! They may make a brunch girl out of me yet!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Friends & Family Preview of Dante Next Door with a guest. All food was complimentary and drinks were paid for on our own. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Can you believe it’s almost April? And while the last weekend of March was determined to go out like a lion, I didn’t let that keep me from getting out and about. On Friday night, Matthew, Mom and I grabbed a tasty dinner at Lure Bistro in Willoughby.

We started by sharing the graham-cracker crusted calamari and the lobster nachos.

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I love the lightly sweet breading on the calamari! Next, it was time for sushi. Since raw is off limits for me, I had the crab nigiri and the Dragon roll (tempura shrimp, avocado, cucumber, and toasted eel with sticky soy sauce).

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Lure is one of my favorite local sushi spots and it made a perfect location for a Friday night Lenten dinner. Plus, any time I can satisfy my sushi craving, I’m a happy camper.

After dinner, I needed a little something for my sweet tooth (this is not a pregnancy thing, this is a me-all-the-time thing). So, we stopped in at Malley’s Chocolates for some ice cream. I had a classic chocolate malt, Mom had the perfect hot fudge sundae, and Matthew had the Bordeaux sundae, with toffee chips and almonds.

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Malley’s is a Cleveland classic and their hot fudge is truly second to none!

Saturday evening, Alicia, Amanda, and I braved the crappy weather to take our dear friend Kimberly out for a surprise birthday celebration.

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We started the evening with cocktails at Velvet Tango Room. Pro tip: this is a great spot for a pre-dinner drink. It’s less crowded than later in the evening and, if you’re having a superior cocktail, it might as well be your first drink so you can truly savor it! Along with cocktails, there was also present-giving and general catching-up squealing.

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From VTR, we headed to dinner at Dante. Despite the weather, Dante has rolled out their spring menu, filled with so many delicious options that I need at least three return trips to order everything I want to try. For my dinner on Saturday, I chose the ribeye, topped with garlic and ramps and served with a potato and spinach gratin.

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Since these days I have to order steaks more well done than I usually do, I’m always a bit trepidatious. Will the steak still be tender and have a lot of good flavor? With this one, the answer was a resounding yes. The ribeye was perfectly marbled and just melted in my mouth.

Also, mad props to Dante for having a “Mommytini” that was not only delicious, but could be ordered without trying to go into some long-winded explanation about a drink that is tasty but doesn’t contain any alcohol.

Dessert for me was an apple almond streusel, which was like a candy bar, with an almond crust layered with caramel, apples, almonds, and crumbled streusel topping. And, of course, the birthday girl got to make a wish in her coconut panna cotta.

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It was a perfect evening out with my favorite ladies, celebrating the birthday of such a special friend! Here’s to a year of ridiculous happiness for Kimberly!

On Sunday, I spent the afternoon hanging out with the world’s cutest nieces. We played, painted nails, read books, and watched “Cinderella.”

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Couldn’t ask for a better Sunday! How was your weekend?

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Why? Weekends, Part 2!

So, how did we spend the rest of our staycation babymoon? With a nice mix of relaxing and going out and about! On Saturday afternoon, we headed to the Cleveland Botanical Garden for Orchid Mania.

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The greenhouse is filled with gorgeous orchid varietals from all over the world. Plus, it’s nice and toasty in the Garden, so you can escape the chill and take in some beautiful flowers. Matthew loves taking pictures with his DSLR, so most of our time was spent getting very up close and personal with the blooms.

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There are also orchids for purchase, as well as orchid-themed jewelry and other craft items. Orchid Mania continues through Sunday, March 9. Admission is $11 for non-members and free for members.

Our next stop was Prosperity Social Club, one of those how-have-I-not-been-here-yet spots.

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This unassuming bar and restaurant has a jukebox, a miniature bowling alley game, and a stack of board games in the back for patrons to help themselves to. Those items alone could have kept me happy all night. But the food did a good job, too!

We started with an appetizer of the loaded potato pierogi, topped with cheese, bacon, and onion straws and served with bacon aioli.

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The pierogi are pan-fried then baked, giving them a perfect crispy exterior.

For my entree, I chose the fried chicken, served with mac ‘n cheese.

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The generous three-piece portion (plus the aforementioned pierogi) had me taking half of this home. The chicken was juicy and the breading was perfectly crisp. I could taste a hint of spice in the breading, too!

Matthew went straight for the mac ‘n cheese, loaded with your choice of mix-ins (he got Andouille sausage, chicken, red peppers, sundried tomatoes, and onions).

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We both give Prosperity’s mac ‘n cheese rave reviews! I can’t believe it took us so long to check out this spot, with great food and a fun atmosphere. Prosperity has nightly specials, with $2 off drafts on Mondays, $5 cheeseburgers on Tuesdays, Old World Wednesdays (ethnic specials and live polka music), $10 steaks on Thursdays, and $14 liters of sangria and $10 fried chicken on Sundays. Check it out!

Stuffed from Prosperity, we headed next to the Velvet Tango Room. The craft cocktails and swanky atmosphere make for a wonderful place to enjoy a nightcap. Matthew tried both the mai tai and the India lime fizz, looking for something to make him feel like he was in the tropics. I had a root beer float, with housemade root beer and Tahitian vanilla bean gelato.

On Sunday morning, we each enjoyed a massage at Spa West. What a perfect way to end a weekend of relaxation! I’m so glad we set the time aside to have a babymoon and I’m so glad we did it in Cleveland. We tried out some new spots, returned to some old favorites, and just generally had a wonderful time!

Where are your favorite places to go on a Cleveland staycation?

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Why? Holiday Activities!

It’s December and the holiday season is upon us! Still can’t believe it’s here? Having a hard time feeling festive? Never fear! There are plenty of great holiday happenings to get you in the spirit. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Cleveland during the holiday season:

Check out holiday lights

Image Source - cleveland.com

Image Source – cleveland.com

From Public Square to Playhouse Square to Holidays at the Higbee, from downtown Willoughby to Lakewood, there are plenty of places to see beautiful light displays on any side of town.

Looking for something a little more structured (or indoors)? Go see Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. From now through January 5, the Garden is filled with twinkling lights, holiday music, festive trees, creative gingerbread houses, a train for kids, and much more. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children.

I dare you not to feel festive when you see all that sparkle!

Catch a show

Image Source - greatlakestheater.org

Image Source – greatlakestheater.org

As I mentioned on Monday, it’s the 25th anniversary of the Great Lakes Theater production of “A Christmas Carol” and what better time to reintroduce yourself to this classic Christmas tale? The show runs now through December 22 at the Ohio Theater at Playhouse Square and tickets range from $28-$60.

If dance is more your style, the Ohio Dance Theatre is putting on a limited engagement of the classic Christmas ballet: “The Nutcracker” at the Stocker Arts Center. The show runs December 20 though December 22 and tickets range from $18-$32.

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the holiday classic filmed in Cleveland by seeing the Cleveland Play House production a “A Christmas Story” at the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square. The show runs now through December 22 and tickets range from $25-$72.

Go shopping

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Every weekend from now through December 15, Shaker shops and pop-ups in the Van Aken District along Chagrin Boulevard will be open for your holiday shopping needs. Whether looking for the perfect gift or just something to complete your own holiday needs, this is a fun way to shop unique, local merchants. Click here for more information.

If you’re looking for what to get me for Christmas (and I know you are), you can probably find it at Banyan Tree. I never fail to want just about everything in the shop! So head over to their annual Hot Toddy Party on December 7 from noon until 9 to take advantage of the chance to get your holiday shopping done with booze (and appetizers)!

The Republic of Artists is holding a very cool themed marketplace called Carnival Couture from December 13 through December 15. Tons of great exhibitors, wine, appetizers, and live music make this a holiday shopping event not to be missed. Admission is $2 and proceeds benefit the Geauga Humane Society. Click here for more information.

Sip a holiday drink

Image Source - growler-station.com

Image Source – growler-station.com

The best known Cleveland holiday beverage is no doubt Great Lakes Brewing Co.‘s legendary Christmas Ale. But there are plenty of other tasty locally-made seasonal options, such as Fat Head‘s Holly Jolly Christmas Ale or Pimp My Sleigh Belgian-Style Chrismtas Ale; Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.’s 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale; and Willoughby Brewing Co.‘s Wenceslas Spiced Ale.

If beer isn’t your style, pick up some Hartzler Family Dairy eggnog, add a bit of spiced rum, and have yourself a merry little evening!

What are some of your favorite things to do in Cleveland at the holidays?

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary tickets to Glow. I attended the Social Media Night performance of “A Christmas Carol” with 1 complimentary ticket. I was invited to attend the media preview night for Carnival Couture, but declined due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Fit for a Celebrity!

We as Clevelanders are pretty comfortable with the image of Cleveland as a great Midwestern town, with a lot to offer within our region. But as Cleveland becomes more and more of a hub of film making, actors such as Chris Evans, Jennifer Garner, Kevin Costner, and currently, Katherine Heigl are seen out and about truly enjoying our town. Which got me to thinking that Cleveland really is fit for a celebrity. Here are just some of the reasons why:

The Eats

Most Clevelanders will tell you that one of the best things about our town is the food scene. Cleveland boasts world-class chefs creating menus that rival anything you could find in New York or LA.

The Greenhouse Tavern – Chef Jonathon Sawyer, Chef Brian Goodman, and Pastry Chef Matt Danko have a host of awards and nominations between them, including from the prestigious James Beard Foundation. The creativity and sheer deliciousness of the food at The Greenhouse Tavern are exactly the reason why. These chefs and this restaurant mark Cleveland as a national dining destination time and again.

Lola and Lolita – Chef Michael Symon is a nationally-known figure from the Food Network to The Chew to the New York Times bestseller list. But at heart, he’s a hometown Cleveland guy and his restaurants in Cleveland consistently turn out high-quality, inspired dishes. Lolita is my personal favorite, but both offer a different experience and unique insight into Chef Symon’s culinary talents.

Dante and Ginko – Chef Dante Boccuzzi has worked all over the world, including New York’s celebrated Aureole. His signature restaurant in Tremont, Dante, along with Ginko’s out-of-this-world sushi showcase a world’s worth of travel and culinary expertise.

The Arts

The food scene isn’t the only way to indulge in the finer things in life in Cleveland. Cleveland has a vibrant and exciting arts scene as well.

Cleveland Museum of ArtWorld-class is often used to describe the Cleveland Museum of Art, which houses an impressive collection of artwork, interesting special exhibits, a beautiful new atrium, and a couple tasty restaurants too.

Cleveland OrchestraRecently voted Favorite Orchestra in the WORLD, the Cleveland Orchestra makes beautiful music in an equally beautiful setting. Severance Hall rivals any concert hall you can find for beauty and a true overall experience.

Playhouse Square – The largest theater district outside New York City is right here in Cleveland. From musicals to plays, from concerts to family events, the theaters of Playhouse Square have something for everyone. And the ever-expanding and revitalized Playhouse Square neighborhood means going to the theater never looked so good!

The Shops

What celebrity about town doesn’t want to do a little shopping? Here are some great spots to exercise your credit card.

Yellowcake Shop – From a Clevelander who knows her way around celebrity status from her time on Project Runway, Valarie Mayen’s shop offers trendy and interesting fashions.

CLE Clothing Co.  – Now that you see all the great things Cleveland has to offer, you’ll want some Cleveland swag to show your Cleveland pride.

West Side Market – After being inspired by some of Cleveland’s finest chefs, you’ll want to try your own culinary creations. There is no better place for fresh, tasty, interesting ingredients or to enjoy a piece of 101-year-old Cleveland history.

The Sights

Take some time to see the things that make Cleveland, well, Cleveland.

Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – Cleveland’s best known landmark is a must-visit for any lover of music.

Cleveland Metroparks – The Emerald Necklace is an impressive network of parks, trails, and urban green space that runs throughout the greater Cleveland area. There’s no better place to experience the natural beauty in Cleveland and appreciate Ohio’s four seasons.

The Terminal Tower – Now that the Observation Deck is open, go on up to the top of Cleveland’s original skyscraper and check out the views of our lovely city.

Whether you’re an actual celeb or just want to feel like one, Cleveland offers so many great, big-city-level attractions, all with our signature friendliness and genuine lack of pretension (and probably a lot less paparazzi). Cleveland truly is fit for a celebrity!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Tremont Farmers Market!

I feel a bit like it’s Tremont week here on Why CLE! Tuesday night, our monthly Ohio Blogging Association meet-up headed outdoors for some shopping at the Tremont Farmers’ Market in Lincoln Park.

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The market features local merchants with everything from vegetables to sauces to bakery. One of the best features about the market, especially for this girl who never carries cash, is the option to swipe your debit card at customer service in exchange for tokens to use at the stands.

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Some of the great vendors at the market included Pierogies of Cleveland, which had both hot pierogi to eat and frozen pierogi to take home; Godmother’s sauces and breads; Simple Gourmet Syrups, whose jalapeno lime syrup I couldn’t resist taking home; and Ohio Farm Direct cheese.

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After all that hard work shopping, we needed to cool off with a gourmet PopSmith popsicle. PopSmith’s tagline is “farm to pop” and if the black raspberry chai popsicle I tried is any indication, their popsicles are filled with natural goodness, not overly sweet, and really the perfect summer treat!

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The Tremont Farmers’ Market is open every Tuesday from 4-7pm from now until October 1 in Lincoln Park. Through August 27, each “Tuesday Night in Tremont” also features live music, local chef demos at 5pm, and an all-levels Yoga for All practice at 5:30pm.

Other Tremont merchants also feature Tuesday night specials for your after-market enjoyment, such as Taco Tuesday at Lincoln Park Pub and discounts at Tremont Scoops, Grumpy’s Café, Wine & Design and many more! We took advantage of the cheap and tasty tacos at Lincoln Park Pub, washed down with $2.50 Mexican beers and $3.50 house margaritas.

In attendance were bloggers from:

Always JAM in CLE

Clue Into Cleveland

Dogs in the CLE

From the Cheap Seats

Poise in Parma

The Girl I Mean to Be

It was a fun, relaxed evening hanging out with bloggers I know and some I don’t (didn’t) know as well! Stay tuned to the Ohio Blogging Association page for information on upcoming events.

What is your favorite farmers’ market?

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Why? Taste of Tremont!

The Taste of Tremont is one of the hottest festivals of the summer. Literally, it usually takes place on one of the hottest days of the year! Luckily, the heat wave broke and we had a perfectly beautiful day to enjoy the food, music, and friends.

Matthew and I met up with Kimberly and Chris at Wine & Design.

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I can’t tell you how much I love this little shop. Everything in it is adorable, the wines are reasonably priced, and the owners are so friendly! From wine to chocolate, we popped over to Lilly Handmade Chocolates for something sweet.

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My favorite was the Cheers truffle, with dark chocolate ganache, blackberry powder, and other yumminess. After wine and chocolate, we decided we needed some “real” food. Matthew grabbed a gyro from Dervish Grill and I had a hot stuffed banana pepper from Bruno’s.

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After a quick pierogi break at Sokolowski’s University Inn‘s booth, we stopped at the Dante patio for some music and adult refreshment with frozen strawberry vodka lemonade.

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Next stop was Barrio, where the chorizo taco had just the right spicy kick.

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We didn’t just eat, though! We also shopped some fabulous sales at Banyan Tree and Evie Lou. Taste of Tremont is a true neighborhood festival, celebrating all the businesses in Tremont! We also saw some very cool street performers.

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Needing some more refreshment, we stopped in at Treehouse, where we ran into our dear friend Jennifer.

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What is summer in Cleveland without a Stoli Doli with your friends on the Treehouse patio? We finished off the day with some gnocchi from Crust and an ice cream sandwich from Tremont Scoops, made with delicious chocolate chip cookies and mint ice cream.

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It was such a fun day in one of Cleveland’s best neighborhoods!

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Did you check out the Taste of Tremont? Where was your favorite spot?

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Why? Upcoming Events!

This summer keeps right on flying by, with so many great things to do around Cleveland this month:

Yoga Rocks the Park

Saturday, July 13 and Saturday, July 27 at 10am

Lincoln Park

Image Source - whereismyguru.com

Image Source – whereismyguru.com

Get your om on outside with Yoga Rocks the Park. There will be an hour all-levels yoga practice (with a free kids’ yoga session too), followed by live music. This is a fun community way to practice! Liz Bly will be teaching the July 13 class and Alicia Hansen will be teaching the July 27 class. Tickets are $13.65 and can be purchased online.

The Glasshouse 10th Anniversary

Sunday, July 14

Cleveland Botanical Garden

Image Source - cbgarden.org

Image Source – cbgarden.org

Check out a day of free admission to the Cleveland Botanical Garden, “Creature Features” shows, and two butterfly releases at 2pm and 4pm. All this activity celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Garden’s beautiful Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse. Click here for more information.

Taste of Tremont

Sunday, July 21 at 12pm

Professor Street

Image Source - tasteoftremont.com

Image Source – tasteoftremont.com

It’s the 11th annual celebration of food, drink and fun happening in Tremont. There will be plenty of food from Tremont’s restaurants, a beer and wine garden, cornhole, and live music from SLAP and Big Ship. Admission is free. You pay for your food and drink as you go. Click here for more information.

Dischcrawl Lands on Larchmere

Tuesday, July 23 at 7pm

Larchmere Boulevard

Image Source - dishcrawl.com

Image Source – dishcrawl.com

Dischcrawl Cleveland puts together progressive dinners around Cleveland neighborhoods, allowing you to experience (or re-experience) fabulous cuisine. The destinations are a surprise, but Larchmere has lots of great restaurants, so it’s sure to be a tasty evening. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased online.

Jingle in July

Wednesday, July 24 at 5pm

Lilly Pulitzer at Legacy Village

Image Source - facebook.com

Image Source – facebook.com

The Arthritis Foundation Northeast Ohio Chapter, Great Lakes Region wants you to celebrate Christmas in July and start getting ready for their Jingle Bell Run on December 8. The event will include holiday-themed cookies and cocktails, a presentation from the Lilly Pulitzer fashionistas about fall trends, and more. Plus, 10% of sales that evening benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Click here for more information.

Dreyfus Ashby & Co. Wine Dinner

Tuesday, July 30 at 6pm

Pier W

Image Source - selectrestaurants.com

Image Source – selectrestaurants.com

Join Pier W and Dreyfus Ashby & Co. for a sumptuous wine-pairing dinner. Pier W’s outstanding food and beautiful view will be combined with the expertise of Pier W’s sommelier and Dreyfus Ashby’s regional manager to guide you through the wines paired with the meal. Tickets are $75. Call 216-228-2250 to reserve a space.

What upcoming events are you looking forward to this month?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Dishcrawl Neighborfood Giveaway!

What do you get when you combine the fabulous restaurants in Tremont with a chance to help some fabulous local non-profits? You get Neighborfood, a fun tasting experience from Dishcrawl Cleveland, happening Saturday, June 22.

What is Neighborfood? Your admission gets you tastings at 8 different Tremont restaurants, including Prosperity Social Club, Treehouse, and Press Wine Bar. When you arrive at the event, you’ll be given a map and then be free to go to each location on your own to receive your tasty nibbles.

Image Source - dishcrawl.com

Image Source – dishcrawl.com

What makes it even better is that $10 of each ticket purchase is donated a local non-profit that you select from the list of participating organizations. The non-profits include Merrick House, Cleveland Foodbank, The Gathering Place, MedWish, and more. For a complete list of participating organizations, click here. It’s not just about the celebrating the food, it’s about strengthening the neighborhood!

Tickets are $40 in advance ($45 at the door) 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, or all three of the entries, just leave a separate comment for each.

1. Check out the list of Neighborfood non-profits and leave a comment telling me which you would most like to support.

2. Follow @dishcrawlclv and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you’re following.

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

I want to eat, drink, and do good at @dishcrawlclv Neighborfood thanks to @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-1wh

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, June 3 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Dishcrawl Cleveland to help promote Neighborfood. In exchange, I will receive 2 tickets to give away. I was offered two tickets for myself, but declined due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win 2 tickets to IPM’s Namaste? Today is the last day to enter. Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

It was another busy weekend of friends and family in the CLE! On Friday evening, Matthew and I met up with Amanda, Scott, Kate, and Brian at Dante. We had won $100 in gift certificates from our Playhouse Square Partners’Trivia Night victory and finally were cashing in our winnings.

I hadn’t been to Dante in awhile and now we were there two weekends in a row! Luckily, there is plenty on the menu to tempt me. Matthew and I started with the Maine lobster spring roll, with butternut squash, shiitake, and ginger sauce. The spring roll had huge chunks of lobster and the delicate vegetable and ginger flavors all stayed distinct enough to identify and enjoy.

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For dinner, Matthew had the bone-in strip loin, served with oyster mushrooms and a horseradish potato puree. I had an appetizer size of the pasta special, which was ricotta cavatelli with lamb ragu sauce, and a tasting size of the pasta carbonara with poached egg and pancetta.

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Matthew’s steak was absolutely delicious: perfectly cooked and seasoned. I loved the pasta special with tender lamb and hint of mint in the sauce, but felt that the carbonara tasted a bit flat. For dessert, I ordered another special for the evening: a chocolate mousse with sesame crunch and ginger ice cream.

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One of the things I love about dining at Dante is getting both Asian and Italian-influenced dishes in one meal. It was a tasty and fun evening!

On Saturday, I went up to John Carroll University to speak to potential incoming JCU freshman on a panel called “JCU: Preparing You for the Future.” The incoming freshman class will be the class of 2017! Having just registered for my 10-year reunion, that number gave me pause. But, I got over that and was happy to be able to talk about the role JCU played and still plays in my life.

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From there, I continued the college theme for the day by attending a christening party for my college friend Tracy’s daughter, Nina. It’s hard to believe that a bunch of us who met as freshman are now celebrating children’s lives milestones together.

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The christening party was held at Gambitta’s Party Center and was quite the affair. Tracy’s husband Luca comes from a large Italian family, so the parties tend to be big, filling, and fun. And Nina, the star of the show, was a very well-behaved and entirely adorable guest of honor!

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On Sunday, my friend Katie and I started the day at Harmony Yoga for a power vinyasa class, where I saw this, which I just love:

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Oh yoga studio chalkboard, you are so full of wisdom!

Later that day, we celebrated Easter with Matthew’s side of the family, a week late so everyone could attend. As usual, it was a blast playing with our nieces and spoiling them with Easter treats. The weather was so nice and we took the kids outside for an Easter egg hunt and lots of drawing with chalk.

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I love her face. Pure amazement at the wonder of the Easter egg.

How was your weekend? Are you still involved, formally or informally, with your college?

***Disclosure: I am the VP of Special Initiatives for the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter and a member of the Class of 2003 Reunion Committee. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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