Monday, December 10, 2018

Cleveland's Local Eatery

Cleveland's Local Eatery (C.L.E.) has opened in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood in the former Acropolis Restaurant Tavern space on Memphis Avenue.
 I can't find any information online, but I'm pretty positive that the new ownership of the space fell within the same family, but with a revamped concept and decor. It's fresh, modern and Cleveland-centric.
They are offering breakfast, lunch, and limited dinner service (closing at 7PM).
Mr. H and I decided to split two sandwiches on Saturday afternoon for lunch, including the Patty Melt with fresh cut fries...
...and the Classic Gyro ($8.99).
Both were solid and the price point should do well in the neighborhood.

But where this spot really shone was the customer service. You can immediately tell that it is family-owned and operated, and we were comfortable and checked in on from the moment we walked in the door to the final moments of the meal when we were served a housemade brownie with our check.
Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

6019 Memphis Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44144

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Holidays with Heinen's

Mr. H and I were recently treated to a Heinen's Holiday Entertaining event at the insanely gorgeous Trevarrow Inc. kitchen showroom. Seriously, what dream kitchens are made of. 
We were there for a cooking demonstration on how to prepare a perfect holiday roast, with amazing wine pairings included. Heinen's has some of the finest meat in town, with a dedication to quality and sourcing.
It couldn't have come at a better time, as the family has started to plan what Mr. H and my brother will be making for Christmas dinner. Perhaps a Boneless Rib Roast...
or Crown Roast of Pork...
or Boneless Strip Roast...
Each were expertly prepared and delicious! So were the wines...
...but I've come to expect that from Heinen's. Their wine selection is top-notch, the price points you can get high-quality wines at are a steal, and the staff in the wine department at any store location will never steer you wrong. We get the best recommendations from them!

Our favorite wines from the event (all pictured above) were the Jackson Estate Pinot Noir and the Liparita Cabernet Sauvignon. Since the event, I've already picked up a bottle of the Liparita and a splurge bottle of the Dragon's Tooth.

Heinen's has all of your holiday needs covered; from beverages to help you entertain guests (or deal with your family?), weekly deals, recipes, events, and more. Check it out for yourself.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend this event with a guest, and received a goodie bag and gift card in exchange for my engagement. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Weekend Bites

This past weekend's fun truly kicked off on Friday at noon. I was working from home, so I was able to scoot out to meet Mr. H in the neighborhood for a bite at Sabor Miami Cafe. I had a sweet tooth craving after lunch, and lucky for us...the new Lilly Chocolates and Confections location is right on the way home from the cafe. This Peanut Butter Maple Crunch Bar may be one of the best things I've had from them. Think "naked candy bar" for the texture and flavor.
Saturday started with a fueling at Cleveland Bagel Co., and I couldn't stop thinking about what foods I would top with this Everything Mix if it happened to find its way into my stocking this year. Hint, hint!
We killed some time before Ohio City Provisions opened at All Things For You vintage shop on Lorain. I picked up two gorgeous small ceramic Christmas trees. But as soon as Ohio City Provisions opened their doors, we were there to not only meal plan for the week, but to also start dreaming of what to make for Christmas dinner this year. Does your family make the same meal every year, or switch it up?
Saturday evening brought Date Night, with dinner out at Luca Cleveland. Both the Piatto di Mar and the Cannelloni di Vitello were insanely delicious and left us scraping the sauces off the plates. Then we hopped over to a new-to-us bar, Tributary. I enjoyed the setting, the craft cocktails were quite good, and the bar started to get busier as we left around 9:00PM. Before that, it was a little too dead in there. It's relatively new, but with the location on Detroit Avenue being near several of our favorite areas to dine in, I can see it being convenient for people to stop in before or after a meal nearby. We'll be back.
Sunday was mostly spent at the house preparing for the week ahead, but we did pop out to Creekside Restaurant for breakfast before grocery shopping at Heinen's in Brecksville. I've just never been enamored with the food at Creekside. You? 

We stocked up on some great wines from Heinen's for the holidays ahead, and snagged two of these planter beauties for our front porch.
It ended up being a busy weekend, but one on our own terms with no outside commitments. A great way to start December, because the rest of this month does not look that way!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Recipe: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

Every good cookie recipe should start with caramels...
...and chocolate chip cookie dough, in my humble opinion.
Well, this one does.

Mr. H and I partnered with Heinen's to bring you a cookie recipe to make for the holidays.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars (Time: 45 minutes, Serves 30)

1 cup unsalted softened butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. soft caramels (unwrapped)
1 cup crushed pretzels
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9" x 13" baking dish with foil and liberally coat with nonstick cooking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the softened butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Mix well, then scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Turn the speed to low and add the flour. Beat to combine, then mix in the chocolate chips.

Press half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Layer the crushed pretzels on top of the cookie dough base.
In a medium sauce pot, add the sweetened condensed milk and unwrapped caramels. Set over medium-low heat and stir until the caramels melt, making a smooth caramel filling.

Pour the filling over the base.
Drop the remaining cookie dough over the caramel filling in small 1" clumps.
Bake the bars for 25-32 minutes (we pulled them out at 28 minutes once the top was a nice golden brown, but the first layer of cookie dough was not entirely cooked through), until the center is just set. I suggest checking them every couple of minutes towards the end.
Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and allow the bars to cool completely. Then lift the bars out of the pan by the edges of the foil and cut (we used a biscuit cutter to make round cookie bars). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or you can freeze the bars to make them last longer.
This ooey, gooey cookie bar was decadent and totally holiday indulgent-worthy. 

All ingredients were purchased at Heinen's. In early December, Heinen's will be hosting a holiday baking weekend sale on many of these items included, like butter, eggs, Pillsbury flour, Nestle Morsels, and Domino Sugar bag. Give these cookie bars a try then, and be a hit at your next holiday gathering!

I did adjust the recipe above slightly from the one we followed, since our bottom layer of cookie dough was slightly under-cooked and I felt there was too much caramel at the original 10 oz. included.

What's your favorite holiday cookie this time of year?

Disclosure: I was provided with a Heinen's gift card to purchase items used for this recipe in exchange for this post. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Lobster and Pho

Located in the Rockside Corners Shopping Center in Independence, Lobster & Pho is bringing Louisiana-style seafood boils, East Coast lobster rolls, and Vietnamese phở to diners all in one spot. Sounds like a strange combination, right?
Other than the creepy glowing tanks filled with your next meal's live seafood right as you enter, the place actually kind of works. Nothing will blow your mind, but the food coming out looks good, no matter which section of the menu you're focused on.

I split The Beginner ($38) seafood boil, which includes a 1/2 lb shrimp, 1/2 lb clams, 1/2 lb crawfish, half blue crab, 1/2 lb snow crab legs, and 1/2 lb mussels.
We ordered it at a mild spice level and with the Signature Cajun and Garlic Butter Mix for the seasoning. Even at the lowest level of mild, it had plenty of great flavor and a tiny kick of heat. Besides the obvious of being incredibly messy to eat (don't worry--- bibs, gloves, and wipes provided!), it was plenty of food to share for lunch and we both enjoyed the seafood included.

Now, I'll just have to head back to enjoy a bowl of phở this winter, and also try a lobster roll to get a glimmer of our summer trips to Maine.

Plenty of free parking available in the strip mall lot, and this casual restaurant is family-friendly.

Lobster and Pho
6901 Rockside Road
Independence, OH 44131
(216) 525-0028