Thursday, April 26, 2018

Weekend Bites

Well, it's now waaaay late in the week, but I still had to share what Mr. H and I were up to last weekend, because it was a good one. At one of our stops on Saturday, someone asked how our day was and what we had been doing. We listed it all off, and they said "Wow, that's like a perfect Cleveland day." I agree.

It all kicked off on Friday evening with one last stop at Coquette Patisserie. This lovely French-themed shop is closing its doors this Saturday with a farewell event. We've loved this shop, and just had to take the opportunity to enjoy their macarons, oysters, and wine one more time to say goodbye.
Waking up on Saturday morning to the sun streaming through the windows and this adorable face staring at me was a great start to any day!
Mr. H and I hurried to get out of the house, and headed to the West Side Market for breakfast at Crêpes de Luxe. Grabbing a crepe and heading upstairs to look out over the market is one of my favorite Cleveland sights to see.
Then, we threw our groceries in a cooler and headed to The Cleveland Flea for the first outdoor market of the year. But, that also gave us the opportunity to pop in to the nearby VNTG Home for the first time. I could browse for hours through their vintage wares. I found some great two-toned chargers that I can't wait to bust out for a dinner party!
Then we wandered down the street to the flea.
I picked up some "plant killer friendly" succulents for my bathroom. Fingers crossed.
After the flea, we headed to Old Brooklyn Cheese Company because it was National Raw Milk Day and they had some great samples going all day long.
After a quick stop home to drop off our purchases, we then headed over to Brewnuts for my first visit. More on that later! I do love that there are a handful of great shops to walk to in the Gordon Square Arts District, including the newer Oceanne Jewlery storefront. Even though I had just purchased a necklace from them at The Flea earlier that morning (shhhh, Mr. H was using the bathroom at the time), I couldn't resist a pair of earrings from the new collection.

This was all before 1PM! So, we hit our bed for a nap, and gained enough energy to head out for a nice meal at Cork & Cleaver Social Kitchen to check out the Spring Menu and cap off the perfect Cleveland day.

As you can imagine, I did almost nothing on Sunday after that busy day! Just lots of puppy snuggles, and our weekly chores to prepare for another week. What's your "perfect Cleveland day" look like?

Monday, April 16, 2018

El Rinconcito Chapin

El Rinconcito Chapin finally opened back up in Old Brooklyn in a much larger space (formally Coney Island Company) on Broadview Road. They had been operating out of a small space for a while, and I had just started to hear about them and their Guatemalan cuisine before they closed. It took many months, but then they opened their doors at the new spot around the holidays.

Mr. H and I just had the chance recently to pop in. We had to take it to-go, because they were about to close early for a family emergency. That's when you truly know it's a family-run business!

What I instantly loved was the picture menu (for most items) behind the counter to help guide you.
We wanted to try several smaller items and do some sharing, so we ordered the Ejotes Empanizados which is queso fresco wrapped green beans breaded and fried with salsa, rice, and beans ($10).
This was a dish I wasn't familiar with, but it reminded me of a chile rellenos.

We also got the Chapin Sampler, which allowed us to try small portions of several appetizers on the menu, like Chuchitos, Dobladitas, Mini Pupusa, Planto Frito, and Yucca Fries ($13).
The last thing we tried was an order of the Chile Rellenos ($10.50). You can get either beef or cheese stuffed poblano peppers with salsa, rice, and beans.
This was the only dish that I really didn't care for. I wouldn't order it again, but everything else I would happily get on our next visit. Plenty more to try on the menu too!

There is ample parking available, as they have their own lot. It's very close to the zoo, and absolutely casual and family-friendly (as it was also a former Arby's location).

El Rinconcito Chapin
3330 Broadview Road
Cleveland, OH 44109

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cleveland Brew Bus

Anyone else feeling like last weekend was soooo long ago already? I have a case of the Tuesday Blues today, I think. Maybe because Mr. H and I got to do something different and pretty fun on Saturday evening, the Cleveland Brew Bus.

You get to hop on board a small bus (maximum group number is 20) for a craft brewery tour and tastings all around Cleveland. You get picked up at the new Market Garden Brewery production facility. They have several tours to choose from, and multiple options every weekend as long as there are enough riders. We were on the New Breweries Tour, which includes three stops, tastings of four samples at each stop, gratuity for the brewery servers, and a pretzel necklace.

Our first stop was The Jolly Scholar, located on the Case Western Reserve Campus.
They probably had my favorite beer tastings of the night at this stop, but the worst food. Mr. H and I shared the Crab Rangoon Stuffed Mushrooms, and they were pretty awful, if I'm honest.
Next up was a stop at Nobel Beast Brewing Co. over on Lakeside very close to the WKYC TV-3 station. Mr. H and I were having a great time!
But, of course we were, since we were with good buddies celebrating this guy's birthday!
Along with our four samples here...
...we ordered dinner. The chef came from Spice Catering Co. (and other impressive gigs), so there is a lot of farm-to-table and local ingredients used here.

We shared the CLE Corndog ($7) with Deejay's smoked kielbasa, spent grain batter, honey beer mustard, and caraway kraut.
And the Grilled Bologna ($12) on a Challah bun with gnar-gnar, smoked thousand island, roasted garlic, and cheddar.
Much better than the food at our first stop.

Nobel also had my favorite setting of the evening.
Our final stop was the only brewery that we had been to before, Terrestrial Brewing Company in Battery Park.

They had my least favorite beers of the night, but I did get to try the new brew made with Kool-aid (tart with a fun green glow) and they also had Founder's Breakfast Stout on draft. Lots of pooches wandering around this stop too, so that was a highlight of the evening!
It was a great way to spend a Saturday evening with friends, seeing some breweries that we hadn't been in to yet and pushing us out of our comfort zone to try some brews we wouldn't normally order on our own.

The owner of Cleveland Brew Bus was our tour guide, and she's very knowledgeable about the craft beer industry and Cleveland beer scene. I think she said she and her husband took over the business in 2014. She got us in and out, and on time, which is no small feat when dealing with 20 adults consuming beers and having fun!

Cleveland Brew Bus
Leslie Basalla
(216) 773-2567
tours@clevelandbrewbus.com

Friday, April 6, 2018

Legacy Village's Restaurant Week 2018

Check out Legacy Village’s Restaurant Week, which returns Monday, April 9 to Sunday, April 15. During the festivities, guest can enjoy three-course prix fixe dinner menus for $25 per person at participating Legacy Village restaurants; or $38 per person at The Capital Grille.
Restaurants participating in Legacy Village Restaurant Week include Bar Louie, Brio Coastal Bar + Kitchen, California Pizza Kitchen, The Capital Grille, Granite City Food & Brewery and The Melting Pot. Special prix fixe menu pricing does not include gratuity or tax, and full menus of all participating restaurants are always available.

Personally, I want to check out The Capital Grille. I've heard good things about it, but haven't been yet when shopping over in that area. I also see a stop at Nordstrom Rack while I'm there!

After enjoying a prix fixe meal during Restaurant Week, diners will receive an entry form to complete to be entered into a drawing for a Legacy Village Restaurant Prize Package that includes a $50 gift card to each of the six participating restaurants. Additionally, Legacy Village will select a diner from each night of entries to win a $50 Legacy Village gift card. Entry forms include a coupon that can be redeemed for free Valet Parking (one time use) from April 15 to May 15, 2018.

Disclosure: I was provided with a gift card to use during Restaurant Week in exchange for this preview post. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Ticket Giveaway: Market at the Food Bank 2018

Mark the date for Market at the Food Bank on Sunday, April 29 from 6 – 8:30 p.m. in the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s Distribution Center.
The annual Harvest for Hunger benefit features delicious cuisine from more than 50 of Northeast Ohio’s best restaurants and beverage purveyors. Guests mix and mingle throughout the evening while enjoying musical entertainment, local celebrity chefs, and bid on exciting auction items, while helping to alleviate hunger in our community.

More than $300,000 was raised last year in support of our hunger relief efforts. Market at the Food Bank provides the Greater Cleveland Food Bank the opportunity to showcase its tremendous facility and the amazing work being done to provide access to nutritious meals for those in need in our community.

This food and wine event always includes a handful of my favorites, and a few new-to-me spots to check out. Some of the stations that I'll be sure not to miss are:
- BRIM Kitchen + Brewery
- EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute
- Nomad Culinary LLC
- Strip Steakhouse
- Zack Bruell Restaurant Group

General Admission tickets are $127, and VIP tickets are $202. You can purchase them online here.

Or, you can enter this giveaway to win two General Admission tickets! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway The random winner will be selected on Saturday, April 7th. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was provided with four General Admission tickets in exchange for hosting a giveaway and a post-event review. I am a former employee of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Euclid Fish Co.

After touring the Glidden Point Oyster Farm in Maine last summer and hearing that they had recently started shipping to Euclid Fish Co. in Mentor, Ohio, we knew that we'd make our way out there eventually to check out their Market. Well it took until this weekend to do so, as we don't find ourselves out that way often. But, it was worth the drive.
The Market carries several cases packed with ready-made items, like crab cakes (about 5 flavors), salmon jerky, coconut shrimp, breaded shrimp, croquettes, seafood salads, dips, salmon meatballs, and so much more.
They also offer plenty of pre-seasoned fish and seafood items that are ready to take home and cook easily, like crab-stuffed mushrooms, spinach and feta salmon burgers, stuffed fish filets, and more.
In addition to these cases full of pre-cooked or pre-seasoned items that you can grab and go, they also have coolers with frozen foods like soups, sauces, Ohio City Pasta Co. raviolis, dips, raw seafood, and again...so much more.

They also have lunch and dinners to go, and a catering menu.

This is all on top of the fresh fish displays. All sorts of fresh fish, oysters, shrimp, crab legs, lobster tails, mussels...the list goes on. However, we did notice that the pricing on fish by the pound was higher than what we typically pay at Classic Seafood or Kate's Fish.
We picked up King Crab Legs, Jalapeno Crab Cake, Lobster Cake, Coconut Shrimp, Crab and Artichoke Dip, Lobster Pot Pie, Salmon Jerky, and a Blood Orange and Pepper seasoning. Some of it went in the freeze or pantry, but the items that we snacked on this weekend were tasty and simple to reheat or bake.

While we won't replace our almost weekly trips to Classic Seafood or Kate's Fish, I do see us traveling out to Euclid Fish Co. for the ready-made or pre-seasoned items if we plan to do one of our favorite "appetizer nights" at home or we have guests staying with us. The quantity of items they have outweighs the others, and we saw a few unique items there that I haven't seen before. We'll also be calling ahead to set aside some Glidden Point Selects! I need a local source in my life, they were that good.

The Market is open Monday - Thursday from 10AM - 5:30PM, Friday 9:30AM - 6PM, and Saturday 9AM - 4PM.

Euclid Fish Co.
7839 Enterprise Drive
Mentor, OH 44060
(440) 951-6448

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Perry's Ice Cream

Perry's Ice Cream, a fourth-generation, family-owned ice cream company headquartered in Buffalo, NY is celebrating their 100-year anniversary, and increased distribution in Northeast Ohio. To celebrate, they released four limited-edition retro flavors, and I had the chance to sample them all.
An immediate front-runner for me was the Heavenly Hash (circa 1970s). It reminded me of childhood bowls of similar Rocky Road ice cream at my grandma's house. Chocolate and marshmallow swirled ice cream with swiss chips and roasted almonds.
The Parkerhouse (circa 1950s) has Amaretto ice cream with sliced maraschino cherries.
Mr. H was excited to see the Malt Shoppe (circa 1990s), as he loves a good malt. But this particular one didn't have as much flavors as the others retro flavors sampled.
Last up was my favorite, the Butterscotch Sundae (circa 1980s). Butterscotch ice cream with salty butterscotch swirls and roasted peanuts. I'll be digging into this one again tonight!
All of their premium retro flavors are available in 1.50-quart packages. You can purchase them online here.

This is a brand I was familiar with as a kid, so it was fun to sample their retro flavors in celebration of 100 years in business.

Disclosure: I was provided with samples and branded merchandise in exchange for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Coffee Coffee Coffee

A brand new coffee shop (and bicycle repair shop---more on that later) just opened up in Old Brooklyn. Welcome, Coffee Coffee Coffee!
Our neighborhood has been lacking a good coffee shop, and this one is full of cute, sunny nooks to curl up in...
...with high ceilings and light interiors letting the sunlight just pour in.
In addition to a good cup of coffee (and other great beverages), they are also serving Cleveland Bagel Co. bagels and Herb n' Twine sandwiches (hot or cold). Instantly, I was in love.
In the back of the coffee shop, Sixth City Cycles is taking care of all of your bicycle repair and sales needs.
It might seem like a strange combination, but we'll certainly be bringing our bikes in for a tune-up and grabbing a cup of coffee at the same time. This is a great addition to the "main street" of Pearl Road in Old Brooklyn.

Coffee Coffee Coffee
4193 Pearl Road
Cleveland, Ohio

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 myself...it 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).