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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Birthday Celebration


It's been quiet over here for the last four weeks. Because I flew to NYC to attend our annual staff conference for work the last week in January, and then promptly caught the flu and spent 11 days bouncing between our bed and our couch. It was horrible. One month later, and I'm still congested and coughing. Nightmare.

In the meantime, it was also my birthday and I did some amazing celebrating with family and friends. That included a dinner party in our home, catered by my buddy, Chef Jeff Jarrett. He's done some in-home stuff for us before, and it's always delicious, easy, and interactive. He's launching a new business focusing on these in-home experiences, called Traveling Knives Culinary. Stay tuned for more details soon.

He kicked us off with a Tuna Tartare to start.
We were just plain having fun watching him cook, plate, and do all the work! Best way to "dinner party" in my opinion. Yes, it's a verb now in my book.
Then came my favorite course of the night, Seared Pork Belly with rosemary creamed leeks, apple butter, and a radish and green onion salad.
Next up was a beautiful and delicious Beet and Chickpea Salad with honey goat cheese, kale, toasted breadcrumbs, and a lemon vinaigrette.
Scallops with butternut squash puree, apple, and parsley followed.
Finished with a grassfed NY Strip with a toasted farro risotto, broccolini, and a tart cherry demi. I want a jar of that tart cherry demi! And I loved his use of the farro in a creamy, rich way.
Having him do all the work in the kitchen left Mr. H and I to just enjoy the evening with my parents and some of my closest friends around the table!
The meal was topped off with a Chocolate Salted Caramel cake from A Cookie and A Cupcake. We still dream about that cake from our wedding, so it was amazing to have it appear again for my birthday.
I wasn't too thrilled about turning 35 this year. I'm no longer in my "early 30s" and that was bothering me a bit, if I'm honest. But, if this is what 35 looks like, then I'll take it!

I'm feeling much better, so we should get back to our regularly scheduled program over here on the blog. Goodbye, flu, it's been real.