Category Archives: Wine

Why? Grapes and Ale!

Friday night, Matthew and I got to take in the awesome Progressive Field renovations, enjoy tasty food and drink, and mingle with friends and fuzzy mascots alike at Our Lady of the Wayside‘s Grapes and Ale fundraiser.

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Much like the refreshed feel of Progressive Field, this event felt new and fresh this year. Matthew and I agreed this was our favorite Grapes and Ale so far! We got to check out the VIP area, with a special wine tasting of premiere reds and whites, as well as tasty appetizer from Spice Kitchen and Bar.

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The wine and beer selections at the main event were expansive and all available at your local Giant Eagle, which makes finding your new favorite very easy! I’ve always been impressed by the variety of libations at Grapes and Ale, but the food this year was at a new level in terms of variety and taste.

Barrio and Sweet Moses were two of the food providers and were able to use their new Progressive Field locations for service. We enjoyed a delicious chicken taco and some decadent sea salt caramel ice cream with fudge sauce from these local gems.

Hodge’s served up some addictive crispy pork rinds. But my favorite of the evening came from The Tree House Gallery and Tea Room, whose slider with both a pierogi and a sparkler made for a creative, delicious, and much-talked-about dish.


It was a great evening at Grapes and Ale. We were so impressed not only with the new feel of Progressive Field, but with the quality of the event as well. It was a good time for a wonderful cause!


***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Grapes and Ale. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary VIP Majic of Wine Tasting tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Summer Flight Night at Bin 216!

Last night, Playhouse Square Partners hosted a Summer Flight Night at Bin 216.


The coursed meal provided a lot of delicious food and wine, with seasonal ingredients and tastes. Our first course was a cheese and fruit tray, served with a vermouth aperitivo. The general manager of Bin 216, who took us through the courses, explained that in Europe, serving a vermouth apperitivo is common to wake up the palate for the courses ahead.


The next course featured my favorite wine of the evening, paired with one of my favorite summer vegetables. We enjoyed an asparagus salad with chopped hard boiled egg and dijon, paired with Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc.


The wine helped soften the acidity of the asparagus and made for a delightful, light start.

Our third course was one of my favorite food courses of the evening: seared mahi mahi, served on top a quinoa salad and paired with William Hill Chardonnay.


Next up was a creative play on the classic beef Wellington dish. A vegetarian Wellington was paired with Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare Rose.

IMG_3436Our last savory course was tied with the mahi mahi for my favorite food of the night: duck confit served on top parmesan risotto and paired with 10 Span Pinot Noir.


The Pinot Noir was a light, summery red and complimented the richness and smokiness of the duck and risotto well.

Finally, we capped off the evening with lemon sorbet, served in a hollowed-out lemon, and paired with Poema Cava.


While I am usually a huge fan of any bubbly wine, this Cava was too sharp for my taste. I loved the sorbet, though, which helped give my palate the sweetness I craved without being too heavy or filling.

All in all, it was a delicious evening in one of my favorite theater-district spots. I love the intimate and lounge-like vibe of Bin 216. Cheers to another fabulous Partners event!


Amanda and her secret wine stash

Playhouse Square Partners will be kicking off our 25th year with a Christmas Eve in July party on Friday, July 24. Join us on U.S. Bank Plaza from 5:30-8:30 for libations, food, quirky Christmas decor, live music from Billy Morris and the Sunset Strip, and more. For more information and to purchase tickets (only $10 for Partners, $15 for non-Partners), click here.

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


Why? Downtown Drinks!

I wanted to share two recent happy hour experiences at two of downtown’s best restaurants: Urban Farmer and The Greenhouse Tavern.

Before one of the Cavs games, Matthew and I met up with Amanda and Scott for happy hour at Urban Farmer. The happy hour runs until 6pm and is available in the bar, lounge, and patio. We snagged a patio table and started with a Cavs specialty cocktail: the wine and gold.


Unfortunately, this drink was not on happy hour, but it was delicious. Tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup were topped with a pinot noir float. I was skeptical about the combination of tequila and wine, but the drink was well-balanced and tasty. There are specialty cocktails on the happy hour menu for $5, as well as $4 house wines and draft beer.

We ordered a selection of items off the happy hour food menu, including the charcuterie board ($8), the cheese plate ($10), the deviled eggs ($5), and the marinated shrimp ($8). When there was a kitchen mix-up with our shrimp and grits order, the manager graciously brought out a selection of happy hour food items on the house. So, we also got to try the chicken pops ($6), the braised beef popover sandwich ($5), and the beef tenderloin ($7).

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My favorites were the cheese and charcuterie board (get both) and the braised beef popover sandwich (so tender and flavorful)! Urban Farmer offers a great selection of happy hour food and drink for really reasonable prices. I would definitely make it an after-work stop!

A couple weeks later, I met up with Amanda, Alicia, Nadine, and Stephanie for a much-needed evening of fabulous food and friends at The Greenhouse Tavern. Happy hour at The Greenhouse Tavern is available throughout the entire restaurant until 5pm, then at the bar. Since we were able to score seats on the patio, we skipped the happy hour deals in lieu of people-watching on East 4th Street.

I picked the animal frites and the barrel-aged Tobasco fried chicken (because, you know, I was eating healthy).

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I loved every decadent, delicious, James-Beard award winning bite. The fried chicken I ordered is available on the happy hour menu. And while the animal frites are not on the happy hour menu, you can get the gravy frites.

So, in two different areas of downtown, I had fantastic after-work drinks and dining experiences, without spending a ton of money! Where is your favorite spot for happy hour downtown?


Why? Twilight at the Zoo!

As you know by now, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is not just for kids. There are so many fun events happening this summer put on by the Cleveland Zoological Society that are the perfect way to get your dose of adult fun at the Zoo.

Today I was going to tell you all about Date Night at the ZOOvies, presented by the Cleveland Airport System. But tickets went on sale yesterday and sold out that same day! There’s some serious buzz about these great Zoo events!

If you missed out on ZOOvies tickets, don’t worry, because there’s another Zoo event that you can enjoy this summer: Twilight at the Zoo, presented by Medical Mutual.


On Friday, August 7, the Zoo will host 18 local bands, spanning rock to pop to swing to reggae, who will serenade you under the summer sky, while you get to check out the Zoo critters after hours, eat and drink, and just generally have a fabulous time!

The general admission party goes from 7pm-midnight and includes admission to the Zoo and all the bands, small bites, beer, wine, and soda. General admission tickets are $75 in June and $80 in July.

The VIP party, presented by Scene Magazine, goes from 6pm-9pm and includes all the general admission amenities, plus open bar, priority parking, and tasty food from AMP 150, Choolaah Indian BBQ, Sterle’s Country House, and more! VIP tickets are $150.

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Twilight at the Zoo is always one of the hottest parties of the summer, plus proceeds benefit our wonderful Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Buy your tickets today! And stay tuned here later this summer for your chance to win your way into Zoo events… It’s going to be a wild summer at the Zoo!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Date Night at the ZOOvies and Twilight at the Zoo. In exchange, I will receive complimentary tickets for myself and to give away to these events. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Grapes and Ale Giveaway!

Do you like wine? Beer? BBQ? How about all of these combined? Grapes and Ale, a fundraiser to benefit Our Lady of the Wayside, is the event for you, then!

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This great summer event keeps getting bigger and better each year! On Friday, June 26, Grapes and Ale will take over Progressive Field‘s newly-renovated Right Field District and “The Corner” with over 300 wines to sample, craft beer tastes for purchase ($5 for 10 samples), and succulent BBQ fare and sweet treats from some of Cleveland’s hottest restaurants, such as Barrio, Corleone’s, Hodge’s, and Sweet Moses.

Plus, all of this fun and frivolity benefits Our Lady of the Wayside, which for nearly 50 years has been providing residential and transportation services to children and adults with developmental disabilities.

There are two ticket levels available for Grapes and Ale:

Premiere Grand Tasting – $50 – unlimited food and wine samples, access to “The Corner” to purchase craft beer samples, souvenir glass, and live entertainment

VIP Majic of Wine Tasting – $125 – all of the above, plus private wine blind tasting, complimentary parking, hors d’oeuvres and featured wines, and one-hour early admission

Tickets are available online or you can enter to win 2 Premiere Grand Tasting tickets right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment on this post for each):

1. Leave a comment telling me whether you prefer grapes (wine) or ale (beer) to sip in the summer.

2. Visit Our Lady of the Wayside and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow Our Lady of the Wayside on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following.

4. Follow @OurLadyWayside and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

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

I want to attend Grapes and Ale, CLE’s hottest BBQ, thanks to @OurLadyWayside and @WhyCLE:

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, June 14 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 Grapes and Ale. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary VIP Majic of Wine Tasting tickets for myself and 2 complimentary Premiere Grand Tasting tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Pier W Patio!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win 2 Big Kahuna tickets to the Luau on the Lake? Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries!***

Patio season is in full swing and I personally like to soak up every moment of it. There’s nothing better than sitting outside with a cocktail and some friends, enjoying the summer!


When Pier W asked if we’d help kick off their patio season with a little pre-opening party, we couldn’t possibly say no! The Pier W patio features a cocktail, wine, and beer selection, as well as a menu of more casual, patio-friendly food. It’s the same high-quality experience you expect from Pier W, just in a more outdoorsy setting.


We enjoyed the flatbread with goat cheese and artichokes, the shrimp tacos, and the scallop ceviche. My personal favorite was the ceviche…no one has fresh, delicious seafood quite like Pier W!

This season, the Pier W patio will also feature a raw bar and, if the oysters we had last night are any indication, it is not to be missed!

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Plus, you can relax in the Adirondack chairs and take in a fabulous view of Cleveland.


Pier W is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year and, as we toasted with our champagne to this Cleveland icon, I was struck by how Pier W keeps getting better and better each year. The menu is always fresh, updated, and delicious and additions such as the patio keep Pier W on the forefront of the Cleveland restaurant scene. Cheers to Pier W!


I know where I’ll be spending a lot of time this patio season. I hope to see you out there, too!

What are some of your favorite patio spots in Cleveland?

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Pier W patio party with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Luau on the Lake Giveaway!

Summer event season is in full swing and one of my favorite summer parties is celebrating it’s 10th year with an even bigger and better soiree. The Luau on the Lake to benefit Shoes and Clothes for Kids happens on Saturday, July 25 at Wendy Park at Whiskey Island.

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This year there are three tickets tiers, with even more fun to enjoy:

General Admission – $50 through June 26; $60 through July 20; $65 at the door – inlcudes island buffet, beer, wine, soft drinks, and souvenir cup. Pre-mixed Island Cocktails available for purchase.

Big Kahuna  – $60 through June 26; $75 through July 20 – includes all the above plus 3 Island Cocktail drink tickets, Hawaiian lei, VIP cup and tote, and half-hour early admission

Tiki God – $125 per person or $200 per couple through July 10 – includes all of the above plus open bar (beer, wine, liquor, and Island Cocktails), appetizers, VIP tent with seating and port-o-lets, and one-hour early admission

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No matter which price point you choose, you’ll be helping a wonderful organization that provides not only shoes and clothes, but also confidence and dignity, to local children.

You can purchase tickets to Luau on the Lake online or you can enter to win two Big Kahuna  tickets right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite island cocktail.

2. Check out the Luau on the Lake Facebook event page and leave a comment here letting me know you visited the page.

3. Follow SC4K on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following.

4. Follow @SC4K and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

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

I want to be a Big Kahuna at the @SC4K Luau on the Lake thanks to @WhyCLE: #SC4KLuau15

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 7 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 tickets for myself and 2 Big Kahuna tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Market at the Foodbank!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Timber! at the International Children’s Theater Festival at Playhouse Square? Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

On Sunday, the Greater Cleveland Foodbank hosted its 20th annual Market at the Foodbank event. Every dollar raised at this event has the spending power to provide 4 meals to people in need. Last year, the Foodbank provided 45 million meals to the needy in our community.

So, obviously this event benefits a great cause. It also provides a fun evening of wine and food to enjoy. Here are my 10 favorites (in random order) from this year’s event:

1. AMP 150‘s speck-wrapped asparagus. Simple, but really tasty.

2. Sterle’s Country House‘s chicken paprikash, served with a smile by their new chef, Jeff Jarrett. I particularly liked the creme fraiche instead of sour cream.


3. Bomba Tacos and Rum served up made-on-site guacamole with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese, complimented by their yummy plaintain and yucca chips.


4. Pub Frato. Not only were their braised beef tacos delicious, but it’s rare to find a restaurant at one of these events that I had never even heard of before. Pub Frato bills itself as “Concord’s own gastropub.” Based on the food we tasted and the friendliness of the staff, I can’t wait to check it out!

5. Portside Distillery‘s Rusalka Vanilla Stout, plus the coolest beer pulls this side of Market Garden Brewery.


6. The Clevelander sandwich from Sans Souci, which featured pork cheek, local swiss, Tony Packo’s pickles, and a mystery sauce of deliciousness.


7. The amount of food and drink. Last year, a lot of purveyors ran out early in the evening. This year, there was plenty to go around!

8. The balance of sweet and savory offerings was also much more balanced at this year’s event, but there were still plenty of sweet treats to enjoy. Our favorites were from Mitchell’s, Fantasy Candies, and Lucky’s Cafe.


9. The lobster, apple, and bacon bites from the Rusty Anchor at the Music Box. Not only were they good to eat, but I love something I can eat without a plate at a strolling food and wine event!


10. The generosity of the attendees and participating restaurants to make Market at the Foodbank’s 20th anniversary the best one of these events we’ve attended!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Greater Cleveland Foodbank to help promote Market at the Foodbank. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary general admission tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to jessica z. (Comment #2) and Laura (Comment #5), who each won a $10 Bruegger’s gift card to thank a deserving teacher for Teacher Appreciation Week. You can still get in on Bruegger’s Teacher Appreciation special Big Bagel Bunch for $9.99 through May 8 by clicking here.

Also, have you entered to win tickets to United Way of Cleveland’s Rock the Catwalk fundraiser? Check it out! The giveaway closes tonight! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

Wow, was it a gorgeous weekend in Cleveland! It was also a crazy busy weekend, so I’m going to update you on 2/3rds of my weekend activities today. Pop back on Wednesday to hear all about Market at the Foodbank.

On Friday evening, I met up with Kimberly for the Handpicked Bridal Event, held at MOCA Cleveland.

IMG_2817The modern and intimate atmosphere of MOCA was the perfect setting for this modern and intimate bridal fair. Everything at the event is literally “handpicked” by the planner, Baci Designer. This means there aren’t 27 different DJ’s or caterers or bakers vying for your attention. There are one or two of each category of vendor, handpicked to fit the vision of the event and be the best of the best.

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Check out the awesome lighting design from Something New Entertainment, which really helped set the scene!

Two of my favorite designers at the show had offerings that even a non-bride-to-be could appreciate. Destination Tree creates awesome keepsakes featuring “destination” signs with your own personal theme, such as Cleveland locations, places you’ve traveled, and more. And The Wandering Wardrobe is always a must-stop: I scored two adorable summer pieces for under $100!

As we left with our adorable macaron favors in hand, we wished we had been able to attend a bridal fair as unique as Handpicked when we were planning our weddings!

From there, Kimberly and I headed to a late dinner at Trentina. We both had been to Trentina for the tasting menu, but decided to go with the a la carte menu that night. Kimberly chose the risotto and I had two half-portions of pasta. The half-portions are a great way to either not have to choose between various delicious options or to give you enough room to also get an entree.

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I had the charcuterie ravioli in brodo and the modern ricotta knodel. I love how Trentina’s dishes have subtle, delicate flavors. You can taste every element, but it’s all very artfully and lightly done. The knodel was my favorite of the two dishes…light, airy, and completely delicious.

Of course, the service, wine selection, and atmosphere were spot-on as well. Trentina was a wonderful spot to wrap up our girls’ night out!


On Saturday, we took Jeffrey to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with our friends Jason and Patty and their son Lincoln. It was a perfect day to be at the Zoo!


It was so cool to see Jeffrey smile and get excited to see all the different animals! By far, his favorites were the elephants and the monkeys. I think this look of wonder on his face says it all!


We spent three hours wandering the Zoo and could still have spent more time. I can’t wait for our next trip, especially since I still haven’t ridden the Circle of Wildlife Carousel!

Sunday morning, I met up with Alicia, Amanda, and Kimberly for brunch at Luxe. We’ve figured out that brunch meet-ups are easier to schedule than after-work engagements, plus who doesn’t love a bellini and pancakes on a sunny patio?!

Luxe has a brunch happy hour from 11am-1pm, when all mimosas, bellinis, and bloody Marys are half-price. What a great idea! I enjoyed the pear bellini and the apple pancake, which had a fabulously fluffy pancake wrapped around apples, ricotta, caramel sauce, and whipped cream.


The patio was bustling yesterday with both humans and furry friends (Luxe has a pup-friendly brunch on the patio). It was great food, great company, and my first farmer’s tan of the year…not too shabby for a Sunday morning!

Like I said, stay tuned for my Sunday evening at Market at the Foodbank recap. For the moment, I still need to recharge from all the fun of this weekend!

How was your weekend? What did you do to enjoy the perfect weather?

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Handpicked Bridal Event. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary tickets. Matthew and I are members of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Sarah @ Cooker Girl (Comment #55), randomly-selected winner of two tickets to the Greater Cleveland Foodbank’s Market at the Foodbank fundraiser. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets online.

Also, you have through today to enter to win a set of Aveda Rare Bloom makeup. Check it out and remember you can tweet daily for additional entries!***

This weekend was the perfect balance. I love when that happens (and it’s so rare)…when I get to do mom things and friends things and blogger things and home things and feel like a lot of different aspects of who I am are fulfilled.

The fun started on Saturday afternoon, when we attended a first birthday party for one of Jeffrey’s friends from Kindermusik. It was held at Lifetime Fitness and had tons of great stuff for the kids to do, including a bounce house! Seriously, what could be more fun than spending your afternoon in a bounce house? Well, seeing how much fun Jeffrey had made it even better!

PicMonkey CollageThe cake was from White Flower Cake Shoppe, so it was not only tasty but completely adorable. Look at the sweet little ladybug smash cake!


I’m so glad Jeffrey is making friends and has such fun playmates and play dates!

On Saturday evening, I met up with my favorite yoga buddy Alicia for a special class at Inner Bliss Yoga Studio. Our friend Ylonda taught a class that combined three different Sanskrit chants, along with a powerful vinyasa flow and Ylonda’s cello playing during savasana.

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Photo Credit: Poise in Parma

Not only did the class provide a great workout, but it also simultaneously refreshed and invigorated my soul. If you practice at Inner Bliss, I can’t recommend Ylonda’s classes highly enough!

Being believers in detox to retox, Alicia and I went to grab dinner after class. We wanted to check out the new Bomba Tacos and Rum, but faced with a nearly two-hour wait, we decided to go back once some of the initial buzz dies down. We ended up at Rocky River Wine Bar and were not at all disappointed with friendly service, great wine, and tasty food.


I enjoyed the duck flatbread, with duck confit, brie, caramelized onions, and cherries. But I even more enjoyed the chance to sit, relax, and catch up with a wonderful friend. What a great night!

On Sunday, I headed to the Ohio Blogging Association meetup at XHIBITION. This Ohio City store is about more than just clothing, it’s about a lifestyle. The store sells everything from men’s clothing to magazines and books to home goods to personal care products.

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We got a tour of the store and got to hear about the brands, buyers, and philosophy that make this unique and fashion-forward store the hot spot that it is. I have to admit that my initial reaction was that the clothing was too edgy for my (and Matthew’s) taste, but upon closer look, I found shirts, sweaters, and jeans from great designers that would make even a conservative dresser happy.

I loved the Baxter of California styling products and snagged some for Matthew. I’ll also be back for some of the Detroit Wick candles, made in repurposed bottles of Grey Goose, Dom Perignon, and more.

Aside from getting to explore the store, we were also treated to tasty brunch nibbles from Jack Flaps. We got to try the spicy and delicious breakfast bahn mi sandwich, the root vegetable hash, and mini waffles with lemon curd, berry compote, crushed Golden Grahams, peanut butter fluff, and bacon pecan crumble as topping options.


Not only was the food tasty and creative, having Jack Flaps there was a reminder of how supportive Ohio City businesses are of each other. That is so great to see and definitely a reason why the neighborhood is thriving!

So, all in all, it was a perfect and perfectly balanced weekend! How was yours?

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the meetup at XHIBITION with other Ohio Blogging Association members. While in attendance, we received a $50 gift card to shop at XHIBITION, as well as complimentary food from Jack Flaps. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***