Friday, March 23, 2018

Macaron Masterclass at Urban Farmer

So the day after Mr. H and I brought home the new pup, we had the exciting opportunity to attend a Macaron Masterclass at Urban Farmer (located in The Westin in Downtown Cleveland).
I put my nerves about leaving a brand new puppy home alone in a crate aside, and I was glad that I did! First, I got to get a sneak peek (and good whiff) of the famous cornbread that Urban Farmer serves in the restaurant. I love that stuff. Some of the best in town.
Our pastry chef-led session then kicked off with Kara showing us how to make macarons like a master.
From start to finish, she made it look effortless.
But, once it was our turn, I can tell you that it was indeed not. However, Kara and two additional staff aided the class of 12 every step of the way.
She instilled confidence in us, and we tackled making them from start to finish in small groups of 2-3. Look at Mr. H piping!
We walked away feeling accomplished, and with a box full of macarons, recipes, pastry bags, and tips.

Urban Farmer hosts pastry classes, in addition to bread making and even butchery classes, every few months. They are totally worth keeping an eye out for! You can follow their class availability on the website here, or on Facebook. Space is always very limited, so act quickly. I can see why, because it was such a fun hands-on and educational experience.

Did you know that macarons are best when aged? You actually age them in the freezer or refrigerator, and they get softer and MUCH better with some time. We got to sample them at different stages in the aging process, and you truly could tell the difference. Who knew?

Disclosure: I was provided with one media pass to attend the class, and we purchased one ticket. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Urban Farmer Cleveland
1325 East 6th Street
Cleveland, OH 44114

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Weekend Bites

With a new puppy in the house, we can't be gone long. But we figured out plenty of quick little outings this past weekend to still enjoy.

That started on Friday evening with my first church fish fry, ever. We went to Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Old Brooklyn. They offer three types of fish, all of the traditional sides, desserts, and more. We both ordered the Beer Battered Cod. It comes with two sides, so I got the pierogi and cabbage and noodles. The fish was nice and crispy, but overall everything lacked seasoning. It was a pretty flavorless plate of food, and no salt to be seen. I can't say that I'd recommend this fish fry.
But the evening quickly redeemed itself, as we made it to Old Brooklyn Cheese Co. just before closing to grab some gooey, stinky cheese and a fresh baguette.
I spent Saturday morning at Spa West. As I settled in for my massage and facial, I thought to wasn't that long ago that a Saturday St. Patrick's Day would have meant a super early start on drinking and festivities in Downtown Cleveland. But, here I am.

Well, I had to make up for that by scooting over to Dina's Pizza and Pub in the neighborhood for a green beer and Reuben.
Good thing we had a big lunch, because Mr. H had decided to tackle making Beef Wellington at home for the first time that night. It took four hours, and we ate at 10:30PM, but it was worth the wait!
We popped out for brunch at The Black Pig in Ohio City on Sunday morning. Their toad-in-a-hole hit the spot, as did the Bloody Mary!
While grocery shopping at Heinen's after brunch, I couldn't resist some spring blooms to brighten up the kitchen table.
But, the best part of the weekend was more time with the new pup!
She's stolen our hearts, and I almost forgive her when she poops and pees all over the house.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Puppy News

It's been quiet over here the past couple of weeks. Because...BIG NEWS...we got a puppy!

Meet Brinley, the Bernedoodle.
Having a puppy in the house is so much fun, but also exhausting and messy. It confirmed that I should never have a human child, and furry ones are just enough for Mr. H and I. But, we're enjoying her and our new "family" dynamics. You can expect to see more of this fuzzy face popping up in my social media. I'm a bit obsessed with her. So, pardon the pause over here on the blog, but I've had puppy snuggles to soak up (and we haven't been getting much sleep over here).

Monday, February 26, 2018

Niagara Weekend

The final leg of my birthday celebrations was a surprise, quick getaway to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake. I got home from work, and Mr. H had planned the whole thing out and whisked me away for the weekend. It was actually the location of our first trip together, 10 years ago. We stayed in Niagara Falls at the Sheraton, with stunning views of the Falls. Both during the day...
...and at night.
On Saturday morning, we headed out to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a day of touring the wineries and shops.
My favorite winery of the day was Two Sisters Vineyards.
They not only had some of my favorite wines of the day, but we also enjoyed a delicious Italian lunch with pretty views.
Another good stop was Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery.
That evening, Mr H. had found Tide & Vine Oyster House for us back in Niagara Falls.
The oysters were fabulous, and the food reminded me of some of our favorite Cleveland spots. We actually liked the restaurant so much that we returned for brunch the next morning as we headed home!
The last bit of the trip included a pit stop at Southern Tier Brewing Co. in Lakewood, NY.
We've enjoyed their beer for years, and I've always wanted to take a detour when we've been traveling to see my family in NY. But, we always have the dog and very little time on those trips, so this time it was a great excuse to finally stop. I enjoyed one of their newer releases, a Raspberry White. It will be a perfect summer sipper on the porch, so I picked up a 6-pack!

I came back to Cleveland relaxed with a full belly and a case of wine. Can't beat that. That Mr. H is pretty sneaky, but also so sweet. I'll keep him.

It did give me the itch for some other short weekend getaways. What's your favorite city or region to escape to for a quick trip from Cleveland?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Gas Station Hummus

If you belong to any of the "foodie" Facebook groups in Northeast Ohio, or if you tune in to local news stations recently, you may have heard buzz about a certain gas station hummus. Yes, you read that correctly. GAS.STATION.HUMMUS.

Could the hype be true? Is it really some of the best hummus in our region? I was skeptical.

Well, thanks to some dear friends that gifted it to me on my birthday, I finally tried it for myself.
The short answer is...yes. Go get some.

I had the Dill Pickle and the Pomegranate. They both were very good, but the Pickle in particular just seemed to disappear. That pita too, wow. It was so soft and was right up there with best pita I've tried from any vendor, any city.

Now that just left me wanting to try more flavors, and more foods, from the Sunoco Cafe Olmsted Falls. Not a statement I ever thought I'd see on this blog, but hey, the quest is for the best. Wherever that may take us.

The good news is that the original location in Olmsted Falls is also now delivering these products to some other local Sunoco stations. But, you'll have to check with the source to verify if there is one near you. I'm not going to attempt to list the locations I've seen swirling around Facebook and Twitter.

So, have you joined the hummus hype yet? What are you waiting for?

Sunoco Cafe Olmsted Falls
9796 Columbia Road
Olmsted Falls, Ohio
(440) 235-0351