Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

So, what does your family's holiday meal include?

We'll be enjoying turkey dinner with all the traditional side dishes. Mmmm, the side dishes...

We're deep frying the turkey for the first time this year. Wish us luck!

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Need a couple of last minute gift ideas for the foodie or cook in your life? Or maybe a fun gift for yourself this holiday season? I have a couple of local ideas to share...

1. Gift certificate to a Friday Supper Club event or cooking class at Gatherings Kitchen in Lakewood. The Friday Supper Club events are so much fun, and a really unique gift. The concept is that a small group (about 12-16) gather on Friday evenings to spend a few hours preparing a multi-course meal and learning tips and tricks from the pros in an industrial kitchen that will make anyone jealous. Each pair is responsible for one dish, and then you sit down to enjoy the meal with your new-found friends from the kitchen. "R" and I attended one this summer, and here are a few highlights:

Chef Ruth showing one of our "supper club friends" how to prepare a delicious beef dish.The chorizo-stuffed mussels that "R" and I were in charge of making. I, uhh, chopped stuff--- that's about it.Lastly, a shot of the gorgeous table where we settled in for our meal.
It's BYOB, which is a lot of fun. For just $55, it is so worth it. You can also win two passes to an upcoming GK event over at today!

2. Cooking Classes from The Chubby Cook. Scott and his crew have launched their cooking classes, with several fun concepts that I haven't seen anywhere else. Also, if you register for a January class and use the code ALF2012- then 40% of all proceeds will benefit the American Liver Foundation and Stephanie's Liver Life Challenge goal of running the Disney marathon. Disclosure- I work for the American Liver Foundation, and manage the LLC program in Cleveland.

3. Gift certificates or The Deck from the Cleveland Independents. Visit their site to purchase certificates for some of our area's best independently-owned restaurants, or buy "The Deck" for that foodie in your life to enjoy all year long. It offers 52 cards with discounts offered on each card for a particular restaurant. You can have fun working your way through the deck for 12 months. Both options can be purchased through "The Shop" section of the website.

Well, I hope that this was helpful if you're looking for any last minute gift ideas. Shop local! I hope that this week flies by, because my whole family is coming in from NY and I couldn't be more excited to celebrate with them. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Key Rewards Week Winner

So who enjoyed free lunch from our area food trucks yesterday? What did you have? Thanks Key Rewards Week!Now, KeyBank also generously provided a $25 MasterCard gift card for me to give away to one lucky reader. Thank you to everyone that commented on yesterday's post! If I had been able to get out, I would have tried Hodge Podge. So, drum roll please...

The winner is #18, Mark Johnston. Mark, please email me your mailing address to claim your prize. If I do not hear from Mark by Monday, then I will select another winner using

Thank you, KeyBank. Enjoy the rest of, there are still lots of fun promotions coming up!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FREE Food Truck Lunch On Wednesday

If you haven't caught on yet, it is #KeyRewardsWeek and Clevelanders have already enjoyed free Starbucks on Monday and a free Josh Cribbs T-shirt on Tuesday at participating locations. That's right, folks--- KeyBank is basically "picking up the tab" Monday-Sunday through different promotions each day.

Wednesday's freebie is one that I was pretty excited to learn about. They have partnered with 10 area food trucks to offer a FREE lunch.Now, you'll have to find the trucks on your own. They'll be scattered throughout the area, and you can track them through social media.

Here is a list of the participating trucks:

- JiBaro (@JibaroWorldEats)
- StrEat (@strEatmobile)
- Nosh Box (@TheNoshBox)
- Fahrenheit (@rock1chef)
- Dim and Den Sum (@DimAndDenSum)
- Hodge Podge (@hodgepodgetruck)
- Umami Moto (@UmamiMoto)
- Motor Mouth (@MotorMouthFood)
- Zydeco (@ZydecoBistro)
- Sweet! The Mobile Cupcakery (@mobilecupcakery)

I love that KeyBank decided to partner with local, independent food trucks during Key Rewards Week. You do not have to be a Key member to get this offer. You can learn more about the week-long promotion and other offers at

But, the fun doesn't stop there for one lucky reader. KeyBank is offering a $25 MasterCard gift card to one of you. Just simply leave a comment on this post telling me which food truck you want to try for FREE tomorrow, and you'll be entered to win. I will pull a random winner on Thursday.

Go forth and be "rewarded" with a free lunch on Wednesday thanks to KeyBank!

Disclosure- KeyBank offered myself and one reader a $25 gift card in exchange for this post. However, I believe in promoting the partnership with our area food trucks for this promotion and the opinions stated are 100% my own.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Giving Back This Holiday Season

Today I have something special to share...two ways that we can give back to our (food) community this holiday season.

The first local business that needs our help is Lucy's Sweet Surrender. It is a Cleveland bakery, located on Buckeye Road, that is owned by Michael and Marika Feigenbaum. Over the past two years, I have followed news of multiple break-ins, a shooting, stolen delivery vehicles, etc. that have all happened to this one local business. Yet, the couple remained encouraged to stay at their location and provide wonderful pastries and treats for their community. Well, after another recent incident, they have finally decided to move locations. You can read more about the move in Laura Taxel's post here, but the point is that they need our help. Approximately $20,000 worth of our help. So let's rally behind this wonderful local bakery and help them make the necessary, and safer, move to the new location. Please consider making a donation. No amount is too big or too small, and there are even some incentives for those who give. Not that we need a reason to give back to our community this holiday season!

Secondly, one of my favorite food bloggers, Miss Cleveland Foodie herself, is once again hosting her fabulous gift certificate giveaway to benefit Veggie U. The list of restaurant certificates in the prize package (3 this year) is insanely long, and you'd be nuts to not donate for an entry to win such a unique and fantastic prize. It also helps that all proceeds are benefiting such a worthy, and local, cause. You can read more about it over on her site, but I encourage you to donate (every $5 donated earns you an additional entry) and support this important educational program for our youth. This year, they also offer the option of donating online- which makes it even easier to give!

Please take the time to support these two worthy fundraisers. The true gift of the holiday season is giving.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Help Me Set My Top 10 List for 2012

Wow, December. How did it get here this quickly?

Well, it's the time of year that I start thinking about my New Year's Resolution for the blog. Every year, I have challenged myself to dine at 10 new (to me) restaurants that are pre-selected (by me). The first year, I fell short with 5 left to go. I carried them over into 2011, and I'm happy to report that I've visited 9 out of 10. This dumb surgery got in the way of completing the list, but hey I do have a few more weeks so I guess it's not entirely out of the question.

This year, I want to do something different. I'm tired of reading blog reviews of the same restaurants over and over again. So help me spice up this blog in 2012 by challenging me to come dine at your favorite local hidden gem. I'm talking about hole-in-the-wall, "why doesn't everyone eat here?", best food in your area that no one talks about kind of place. Tell me about them! East, west, south...I don't care, I'll drive there.

I'll compile a list and reveal the 10 that I will be dining at in 2012 on January 1st. So come on, what restaurant/bar do YOU think should make my list?