Category Archives: Wine

Why? Date Night at the ZOOvies!

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is definitely one of my favorite places to take Jeffrey, but it’s also one of my favorite places for an adult evening out. The Cleveland Zoological Society puts on a host of great events that prove the Zoo is not just for kids. On Friday evening, Matthew and I attended Date Night at the ZOOvies, a fundraiser for the Zoo and an all-around relaxed, enjoyable event.

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Date Night at the ZOOvies starts with the opportunity to explore the Australian Adventure and African Savanna areas of the Zoo. It was a lovely evening and we saw plenty of animals out enjoying the nice weather, too.

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We also enjoyed small bites like hummus, spinach dip, mini chicken and waffles, egg rolls, and sliders, along with wine and Great Lakes Brewing Co. beer.

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The small bites offerings and these adorable hashtag napkins (I love me a good hashtag) are two examples of how ZOOvies has grown and refined as an event since it’s inception. This is a well-run, well-thought out, and thoroughly fun evening!

Before heading back to the Zoo’s amphitheater to check out the movie, we got to mingle with a couple look-alike stars of the show.

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Before settling in to find out exactly “Who you gonna call?,” we snagged some movie snacks like hot pretzels, popcorn, and candy (Sour Patch Kids and wine = #winning). Oh, and Alicia and I might have made the theme song into a singalong (as it should be).

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It was the perfect combination of a fun night out, while still feeling relaxed. This year, Date Night at the ZOOvies sold out in just seven hours! Since this event has grown in popularity so much, there will be two Date Nights at the ZOOvies next year! Stay tuned for one in July and one in August, so you can pick your evening or double up on the ZOOvies fun!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Date Night at the ZOOvies. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Come Out to Play with CHA Giveaway!

There’s nothing better than a fun evening out that also benefits a great cause! Which is why I’m so excited about Come Out to Play with CHA! This fundraiser benefits the Children’s Hunger Alliance, which provides direct access to healthy, nutritious food, as well as teaching children the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity.
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Come Out to Play with CHA takes place on Thursday, August 27 at the fabulous new FWD: Forward Day + Nightclub in the Flats. Not only do you get to check out this hot new destination, but you’ll also get to enjoy tasty food (served until 8:30pm); beer, wine, and signature cocktails (served all night); and silent and live auctions. There will also be music from MICK and DJ Steph Floss.

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Tickets are available online for $75 for an individual ticket or $125 for a couple ticket. 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.Leave a comment here letting me know why you would like to attend Come Out to Play with CHA.

2. Visit Children’s Hunger Alliance and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

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

I want to #ComeOutToPlay2015 with @CHAOhio and @WhyCLE at @FWDnightclub: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-2rD #giveaway

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, August 9 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Children’s Hunger Alliance to help promote Come Out to Play with CHA. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary tickets for myself and 2 tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Stiletto Sprint Giveaway!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Todd Lewis (Comment #5), randomly-selected winner of 4 admission tickets to the National Hamburger Festival. Be sure to check out the Festival, happening this weekend!***

Do you ever feel like your life is an exercise in dancing backwards in high heels? Well, then you’re perfectly prepared for the Stiletto Sprint & Soiree, a fundraiser to benefit the Junior League of Cleveland. The event takes place on Saturday, August 8 at 6pm at Crocker Park.

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The third annual Stiletto Sprint & Soiree will feature an optional short foot race with participants running in their stilettos. After the Sprint, slip on your flip-flops and stay for the Soiree, which includes a fall clothing and footwear fashion show and a beer and wine tasting.

All proceeds from the event support the mission of the Junior League of Cleveland: promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

Tickets are $30 in advance (buy them online) or $40 at the door. 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. Leave a comment telling me which pair of stilettos you plan to wear to the Sprint.

2. Visit Junior League of Cleveland and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

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

I want to attend @JLCleveland Stiletto Sprint & Soiree thanks to @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-2rz #giveaway

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

The giveaway will close on Thursday, August 6 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Stiletto Sprint & Soiree. In exchange, I will receive 2 tickets to give away. I declined my own 2 complimentary tickets due to scheduling conflicts. Also, I was asked to help promote the National Hamburger Festival. In exchange, I will receive 4 complimentary admission tickets for myself and 4 admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Twilight at the Zoo Giveaway!

Remember when I told you to stay tuned, because I had some wild Zoo giveaways coming up?! Well, here’s the first one! Twilight at the Zoo presented by Medical Mutual is coming up on Friday, August 7 and I have two general admission tickets to this awesome party to give away!

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This 21-and-older fundraiser put on by the Cleveland Zoological Society benefits the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The general admission party goes from 7pm to 12am, all over the Zoo. Your general admission ticket includes small bites, Samuel Adams beer, Angry Orchard cider, wine, and soda. You can also rock out to 18 local bands with styles from pop to country to reggae to swing.

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This is one hot party and you don’t want to miss it! Here’s how to enter to win two general admission tickets to Twilight at the Zoo (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1. Check out the list of Twilight at the Zoo bands and leave a comment telling me which you’re most excited to see.

2. Visit the Cleveland Zoological Society and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @clevezoosociety on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following.

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

I’m #wildaboutCLE and want to rock out at @clevezoosociety #TwilightattheZoo to benefit @clemetzoo: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-2qJ #giveaway

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, July 26 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Twilight at the Zoo. In exchange, I will receive 2 VIP tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. Also, Matthew and I are members of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Well, it finally felt like summer this weekend! We had lots of outdoor plans, so the sunny, warm weather was just what we wanted! Friday morning, Jeffrey and I met up with our Kindermusik friends for a play date at Patterson’s Fruit Farm. While there is no apple-picking yet, we all enjoyed some apple cider donuts and some real apple cider to take home.

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DONUTS!

We also enjoyed their outdoor play area, with swings and tractors and slides. Any playground is a good playground!

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I definitely can’t wait to go back for Patterson’s Fun Fest, with a corn maze, slides, wagon rides, and more, starting in September!

From there, we grabbed a quick lunch at Kirtland City Tavern. My recommendation? The soft pretzel appetizer with queso dip. Dive bar deliciousness!

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Friday evening, Matthew and I went on a date night to see the Minions movie. Yes, we’re adults. Yes, we went on a date to see the Minions movie. And yes, I laughed so hard I snorted. It was pretty perfect!

On Saturday, Matthew was part of a team from AECOM competing in the AIA Cleveland Beach Day sand castle building competition at Edgewater Beach. Jeffrey and I went up to cheer the team on and to “help” with the building.

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Jeffrey loved the beach! Playing in the sand and starting to explore the waves made him so happy!

Matthew’s team, which built the Lake Erie lighthouse and monster, won both the Judge’s and People’s Choice Awards, which netted them $600 in scholarships from AIA to distribute to interns. Their sandcastle was really awesome and I’m so proud of all the work that went into it!

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Sunday was one of the hottest and most humid days of the summer, so of course it was also the Taste of Tremont! My parents and I braved the heat and crowds to enjoy food and drink in one of Cleveland’s best neighborhoods! We started with some refreshing sangria at Wine & Design, which is always a favorite stop.

We also munched on cabbage and noodles from Pierogies of Cleveland, jambalaya from Bourbon Street Barrel Room, ribs from Dante, a lobster roll from The South Side, and Jeffrey ate a meatball from Dante and carrot cake pancakes from Grumpy’s Cafe.

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It was another great (and hot!) year at Taste of Tremont!

How was your weekend? Did you head out to Taste of Tremont? Were you at Edgewater and happen to see the cool sand castles?

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Why? Weekend of Festivals!

There’s nothing I love better than a summer festival. I will drag Matthew (and now Jeffrey) all over the Greater Cleveland area to stand elbow-to-elbow with other Clevelanders, drink overly-sugared lemonade, and eat funnel cakes. This weekend, two fabulous festivals are on tap to keep you busy and happy and well-fed.

On Saturday, July 18, St. Malachi Parish is hosting its Homecoming Festival from 2pm-8pm at the St. Malachi campus at West 25th and Detroit.

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There will be live music, food trucks, and a cornhole tournament and other games. There will also be history displays and church tours, as St. Malachi is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year!

Image Source - stmalachi.org

Image Source – stmalachi.org

A lot of you know St. Malachi because of their charitable community work or their 10-mile race. The Homecoming Festival is a great way to learn more about this Cleveland faith institution, have some fun, and benefit the parish in the process. Admission is free.

Then on Sunday, July 19, is one of Cleveland’s biggest (and one of my favorite) summer festivals: Taste of Tremont. The festival takes over Professor Avenue from 12pm-8pm.

There will be entertainment; a beer and wine garden, including signature rum drinks from Portside Distillery; more amazing food than you could possibly eat from places like Lolita, Fahrenheit, Dante, Bourbon Street Barrel Room and more; shopping with Banyan Tree, Evie Lou, So CLE Tees, and more; and just the general happy, fun vibes of a crazy Cleveland street fair. Admission is free, food and drink purchases are on you.

I hope to see you out and about this weekend at one or both of these great festivals! What are your favorite Cleveland summer festivals?

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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.

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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!

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***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.***

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Why? Summer Flight Night at Bin 216!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.***

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.***

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