Thursday, September 21, 2017

Event Recap: Taste of the Browns 2017

This year's Taste of the Browns to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank was just as fantastic as every other year. We got to mingle with Cleveland Browns' players, alumni, and icons...
...sit in the quiet and serene stadium...
...bid on silent and live auction packages, featuring many exclusive Browns' packages...
...and, of course, nosh on food from the 25+ restaurant and beverage purveyors.
We enjoyed the Lobster Bisque from Blue Point Grille, AMP 150's Pork "Burnt Ends" with maple bourbon BBQ sauce, the Chicken Liver Mousse from EDWINS, and Shortribs Pierogi from Deagan's Kitchen + Bar.
One of our favorites of the evening was the Lobster Crepinette from Chef John Selick of University Hospitals and Sodexo. He always has one of my favorite dishes at any event he's at. It's a don't-miss station for us.
At this event, you do have to be selective and pace yourself. There's no way I get to try all of them. The setting of the event at FirstEnergy Stadium is always special, with the views of the Downtown skyline and the opportunity to step out into the silent stadium stands. I also love seeing the hope in Browns' fans' eyes as the start of the season is upon us.

The event raises critical funds for the Food Bank, and they are able to provide four meals in a local hunger center for every $1 raised at this event. From the way the auctions and raffles were going, and the packed room, I think it's safe to say that they raised the funds and awareness they were hoping for! I believe that I saw on social media that the event had raised $240,000 for the Food Bank. That's a lot of meals to be served in local hunger centers!

Disclosure: I was provided with tickets to the event in exchange for blog posts. I am a former employee of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Event Recap: Chefs Unbridled 2017

On Saturday, Mr. H and I got to attend Chefs Unbridled to benefit the Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, under a gorgeous tent that is always one of my favorite event settings of the year.
We've attended this event for years, and it always promises a stunning setting, mission-driven messaging and fundraising opportunities, and fantastic food from area chefs.

Some food highlights for me included the Lobster and Shrimp Manicotti from Scott Kuhn at Driftwood Restaurants + Catering.
And the Mole Braised Pork Shoulder with an Ohio Corn Puree and Avocado Relish from Chef Adam Bostwick of Graffiti and Cork & Cleaver.
Other crowd favorites at our table of attendees included the scallop from Chef Matthew Mize of Abo's Grille, and the Seasame Crusted Ahi Tuna (below) from Chef Brittany Logan of Rocky River Wine Bar.
I made sure to leave room for some donuts from the Donut Lab food truck parked outside the tent. There were several dessert options from food trucks that opened up at 8PM.
Seriously, hunt down the Donut Lab truck if you haven't had it before. These little pillows of donut heaven are worth every calorie.

Personally, one of the things that I love about this event is that they do incorporate mission-related activities and special guests of honor, like these gorgeous horses that greeted us when we arrived.
The true stars that evening, sorry chefs!

Fieldstone Farm started the therapeutic riding program in 1978, and serves more than 1,300 students annually from all ages and a variety of special needs. They have over 60 partnering schools and non-profits, and house the Gaitway High School Alternative High School on site with 61 graduates since 2007. The organization has many ways for the community to give, and I suggest that you look into them further if this sounds of interest to you.

It's a beautiful event that benefits a very worthy cause, and we just always feel fortunate to be there to support it.

Disclosure: I was provided with two tickets to the event in exchange for posts. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bearden's

After stopping at my in-law's new house in Bay Village recently, the family headed out to the iconic Bearden's Steak Burgers in Rocky River. Around since 1948, I'm guessing not much has changed. The decor and atmosphere will "teleport" you back in time to a real 50's diner.
They are known for their steak burgers. Luckily, Mr. H was in the mood for one. Served on a butter toasted bun with your choice of toppings.
Even though I was secretly dying to try their famous Peanutburger with peanut butter and sweet pickles, I just wasn't in the mood for a burger. Guess I'll have to go back!

I opted for the Hot Dog with a side of homemade Onion Rings.
Nowhere on the menu did it state that it was TWO hot dogs. I totally would have gotten the Peanutburger if I had known. Oh well, it was still a decent dog and I got to take one home for later. The onion rings' batter was dense and clearly not a frozen product. Even though there were only three, I still couldn't finish them and I also took one home to accompany the hot dog.

Our nephew was enthralled with the train that circles the ceiling and the SpongeBob cartoons on the TV. Certainly a great place for families. You order at the counter, seat yourself, and the food comes out quick and hot.

Bearden's Steak Burgers
19985 Lake Road
Rocky River, OH 44116

Friday, September 15, 2017

City Diner

Mr. H and I continued our Friday evening out in the neighborhood with another stop on Memphis Avenue, at the newly opened City Diner.
It's a classic American diner, but trying to kick it up a notch with the food quality and local sourcing. This isn't your $2.99 breakfast plate special kind of diner, and I'm totally on board with that! We have several of those options in the neighborhood, and our restaurants should be as diverse as the people that live in Old Brooklyn. So, welcome, City Diner!
It's bright and cheery inside, and just retro enough to feel fun without the outdated and grungy feel that diners sometimes have.
The menu leans a little hearty, with several Eastern European inspired dishes. You can also get breakfast served all day.
Every "City Main" dish comes with your choice of salad or soup. Mr. H and I both went for the soup that evening. He enjoyed the Creamy Tomato Soup, and I really liked the Roasted Chicken Soup. Both were clearly homemade and much better than any diner soup I've had before.
Mr. H ordered the Short Rib Stroganoff ($13) with Braised Beef Short Rib, Caramelized Onion, Mushroom-Cream Sauce, and Egg Noodles. It was a little milder in flavor than he had hoped for, but overall it was good.
I got the Pierogi, Kraut, & Kielbasa ($11) with Potato and Chive Pierogi, Caramelized Onion, Homemade Sauerkraut, Kielbasa, Sour Cream, and Warm Apple Sauce. If you look closely, you can see that the onions and sour cream didn't make it onto the plate. I immediately recognized that it was missing sour cream, and our server brought it right over. Sadly, I didn't notice that the onions were missing until I was almost done. However, I did bring it to her attention so she could share that with the kitchen. She said the chef had stepped out of the kitchen to greet customers, so that's probably why. Certainly newly-opened kinks there, but they'll work that out.
I enjoyed this dish too. For the price point, the plates of food were large and clearly higher quality than you'd typically get at a neighborhood diner. I think they'll do well in Old Brooklyn.

City Diner
5109 Memphis Avenue
Cleveland OH, 44144

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Vino Veritas Cellars Opens in Old Brooklyn

On Friday, Mr. H and I decided to spend the evening in our neighborhood. This started with a stop out at the newly opened winery in Old Brooklyn, Vino Veritas Cellars.
I've been a couple of times already, thanks to volunteer meetings with the OBCDC. Bike riding distance and wine involved...of course I'm enjoying volunteering my time with them!

When the weather is nice, you can purchase your wine samples, glasses, or bottles right outside...
...and then head to their outdoor seating area. Cute, but secretly I hope that they add some more comfortable seating options over time. My old butt starts to hurt after a few minutes of perching on a log!
I'm obsessed with the wine corks scattered throughout the gravel.
Since the weather has started to chill, they've now opened up an indoor tasting room and seating inside of a very large greenhouse structure. It'll be open all winter long, but there are plans for a tasting room and production facility to be built on the property in the future.

It was just warm enough that we wanted to still sit outside to soak in the sunset and last hints of summer. There were a handful of tables positioned outside of the greenhouse, and we settled in for a cheese board (supplied by Old Brooklyn Cheese Co.) and two glasses of wine.
So far, my favorite of the four offered is the Sicilian Stallion, but we also like the Chardonnay. The other two are too sweet for my personal taste.

The owner has big plans for this plot of land, and I look forward to seeing it develop. They will also host events, like the pig roast/clam bake Wine, Land and Sea Bash on October 15th. Mr. H and I will be there!

I mean, come on, does your neighborhood have its own winery? A great, fun addition to the community.

Vino Veritas Cellars
4103 Memphis Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44109