Category Archives: Breweries and Beer

Giveaway: Tackle Hunger at Taste of the Browns

Enter to win 2 tickets to Taste of the Browns

Thank you again to Smitten in CLE, Wearing Mascara and Cooker Girl for guest posting while I was on vacation. If you didn’t have a chance to read their posts yet, check them out below:

To celebrate being back, I’m giving away 2 tickets
to one of Fall’s tastiest events.

This September, the Cleveland Browns will team up with 25 of Cleveland’s finest chefs and the Cleveland Foodbank to tackle hunger at the 14th annual Taste of the Browns.

On Monday, Sept. 10th from 6-9pm, feast on award-winning food, wine, beer and cocktails, hang out with current and alumni Browns players, and enjoy beautiful views of downtown Cleveland from the AT&T Club Lounge at Cleveland Browns stadium.

Last year’s Taste of the Browns was not just a lot of fun (here’s my recap), it more importantly helped raise over $140,000 for the Cleveland Foodbank, Northeast’s Ohio largest hunger relief organization. For every dollar donated, the Foodbank can provide four nutritious meals to the hungry. Thanks to these donations, they’re able to reach 223,700+ people annually through their member agencies.

A selection of food from last year’s Taste of the Browns

On hand at Taste of the Browns will be an all-star lineup of Cleveland restaurants serving up signature dishes like:

  • Momocho’s wild boar tamales
  • AMP 150′s Ohio corn soup with pickled ramp and corn salsa
  • Market Garden Brewery’s chicken and jalapeno sausage on pretzel crostini
  • Pier W’s lobster taquitos with avocado and corn juice
  • Greenhouse Tavern/Sawyer’s Street Frites’ whole braised beef shin a’la bourguignon

When you’re not sampling the food, you’ll enjoy the evening’s entertainment and auctions and meet Browns legends such as event co-chairs Cleveland Browns Offensive Lineman Joe Thomas and former Defensive Lineman Al “Bubba” Baker.

Al “Bubba” Baker will also raffle off one of the evening’s most sought-after prizes – a catered tailgate party for 30 guests from his Bubba’s Q restaurant. The winner will not just get all the food and fixings for the perfect Browns party, but Baker himself will personally deliver it.

Other auction items to look forward to include tickets to see a Broadway musical in NY, DisneyWorld passes, a family membership to the Cleveland Zoo, and a Gibson SG Guitar. The prize that tops my wishlist, though, is the Tour de Bruell: dinner for two at all five Zack Bruell restaurants!

This is the auction item I want (but am likely going to be outbid for) at Taste of the Browns (image source: albatrosbrasserie.com)

Tickets are $150 (50 percent of which is tax-deductible) and all proceeds will benefit the Cleveland Foodbank.  They can be purchased at http://cleveland.com/tasteofthebrowns or by calling the Foodbank at (216) 738-2126.

You can also enter the Clue Into Cleveland giveaway for a pair of tickets!

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) Leave a comment on this post telling me which Taste of the Browns restaurant you haven’t been to before that you’d like to try.

2) Like Cleveland Foodbank and Clue Into Cleveland on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did both.

3) Post a link to this page (http://wp.me/pPIgG-1rZ) on your Facebook wall and leave a comment letting me know you did.

4) Twitter users can get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “I want to tackle hunger at @CleveFoodbank’s #TasteoftheBrowns. Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway and you can too: http://wp.me/pPIgG-1rZ”  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

5) Subscribe to receive Clue Into Cleveland blog posts in your inbox or blog reader like Google Reader and leave a comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “You’ve Got Mail” section of this page.

You have until Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 11:59PM to enter. On Wednesday, Sept. 5, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

 
Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets to give away to Taste of the Browns and a pair for myself in exchange for this post. As always, though, my thoughts and the choice of events I share are 100% my own.

Guest Post: What Not to Buy in Cleveland

Today’s the last day of my twenties and I plan on spending it doing nothing except sitting by the water and maybe eating some fresh crabs.

Hopefully, I’ll get the rest and relaxation I need because once we get home we’ll be busier than usual playing host to a few out-of-town family and friends throughout September. Thankfully, Julie is here today to tell me what we should and shouldn’t do when people come to visit Cleveland.

Julie looking fabulous at WhyCLE’s wedding

Hey guys!

My name is Julie and I blog at Wearing Mascara. I live in Lakewood and couldn’t be happier there! Major thanks to Amanda for letting me crash on her blog today!

**********

So there you are, awaiting your best friend’s arrival in the city you love: Cleveland. Or, maybe you are a visitor of Cleveland. In both scenarios, you want a cool Cleveland-related product, either for yourself or your friend. You ask yourself, “What do I buy?” While that’s a good question to ask, I challenge you to consider what not to buy in Cleveland. With so many awesome products here, I’m going to explain just that and some alternatives.

What Not to Buy in Cleveland:

Frozen Tater Tots

You know, I totally get it. You’re at the grocery store and you see them, with a gold light and a smokey aura surrounding them: Tater Tots. They are cheap, {not healthy} and you just know your guest will love them. But, you must hold back, my friend. It turns out that just around the corner, there’s this awesome restaurant called Hodge’s that will give you free tater tots. AND, they are awesome little taters. Taters, that when put in front of you, you regret even going out to dinner with whoever you are with because you want them all for yourself. Put back the frozen taters, pick up some ice cream instead, and take your beloved friend to Hodges for free tater tots that come with every table (oh, and I didn’t even mention their corn bread…mmmm).

Cheap Beer

Your best friend was actually your college roommate. You have memories of sipping Natty Light together on the porch of your favorite fraternity while “studying” for your math final the next day. Natty Light is a cheap way to enjoy socializing in college and even though it tastes like pee, you drink it because you’re on a college budget. Instead of going for the Natty {pee} Light, pick up a Great Lakes variety instead. I recommend the Dortmunder Gold Lager. Cheers!

A Shirt From {Instead Chain Store Here}

You, my friend, have a great sense of style. In fact, your friend who is visiting you covets every look you have. He/she wants to own your closet and will borrow every piece of clothing if he/she could. “Please, please, buy me some clothes for my birthday!” says your friend. Even if you don’t have a good sense of style, head over to the CLE Clothing Company and pick out something for your friend and yourself. Anything you buy from there will look good. Plus it’s local, Cleveland themed, and super handsome/cute… what could be better?

Blah Chocolate

Both you and your pal have a sweet tooth that reminds you of the days when your metabolism was so high that you could eat anything {Oh, those were the days}. While it’s tempting to pick up random chocolate bars and goodies at your local Giant Eagle, make another stop to Malley’s Chocolates. With 22 locations throughout the area, there’s no excuse not to make a quick stop to pick up your favorite variety. I’m obsessed with their Famous Fudge Sauce.

Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, etc.

As tempting as it is to go for a chain pizza place the moment your friend walks off the airplane, consider going to a local spot instead. Since I’m lazy and don’t like to travel far for pizza, I’m going to give you my favorite pizza place in Lakewood, my current residence: Angelo’s. They are great for eating in and take out. Now, my mouth is watering for their deep dish. Want more pizza ideas? Check out Bite Buff’s post and the comments section for great ideas!

Well, there you have it. To be honest, I could have written so much more. The City of Cleveland just offers so much that it would be ludicrous not to buy something local, especially for you and your out-of-town friend. Now, please excuse me while I grab my Malley’s Famous Fudge Sauce and a spoon…

xo,

Julie

Get Inspired by Locavore + Cleveland's Other Fall Feasts

Image source lifeinthecle.wordpress.com

I love seeing Clevelanders – especially young Clevelanders – finding inspiration and getting involved in a cause that matters to them.  Whether it’s the arts, the homeless and hungry, the preservation of a historic landmark or building awareness for a disease — if you see an organization or an issue that needs your support, get out there!

Recently, I’ve found inspiration from Charlene at Life in the CLE who is helping to organize the National MS Society’s Locavore fundraiser this September.

When she was 18, her best friend Adam Reidy – who was poised to qualify for the 2002 Winter Olympics – was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Although he missed his opportunity to compete, he’s faced the life-long challenges of MS with a positive attitude.

Inspired by Adam’s journey, Charlene has become deeply involved over the years with the National MS Society’s mission. After reading about Adam’s story and the MS Society’s upcoming event on her blog, there’s no way I wasn’t going to share it.

Image of Adam Reidy from lifeinthecle.wordpress.com

On September 7th at Windows on the River, Locavore will raise funds to support the Society’s mission of finding a cure for multiple sclerosis, while also supporting the thousands of Ohioans who live daily with MS.

Locavore will feature local food and drinks grown or produced within 100 miles of Cleveland. Wine and beer will be paired with Lilly Handmade Chocolates, as well as treats from AMP 150, Carrie Cerino’s, Corleone’s Ristorante, Indulgence, John Palmer’s Bistro 44, Momocho and Nosh Eatery.

Event tickets are $75 and Patron tickets are $95 (which includes an exclusive champagne tasting). All proceeds from the evening will be used to provide programs and services to more than 20,000 Ohioans who have been diagnosed with MS.

Tickets can be purchased here. For more information about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, visit www.MSohiobuckeye.org.

***

Over the coming weeks and months, there are a full slate of events like Locavore that will keep attendees’ stomachs full and tastebuds happy. However, because of my blog vacation, I realized I’m not going to have enough time to cover them all.

So before I leave, enjoy this roundup of a few other culinary events I’m looking forward to:

Founder Todd Gauman leads an NEO Food Tour in Shaker Square

NEO Food Tours
Aug. 28 and Oct. 16

There are only 3 tours left in NEO Food Tours’ 2012 season and one is already sold out.

On August 28, explore the history and food of Cleveland Heights and the Cedar Lee District at NEO Food Tours’ next guided restaurant tour. The Mayor of Cleveland Heights will be co-hosting and stops will include The Wine Spot with a special presentation from FarmShare Ohio, Taste and Lopez Southwest Kitchen.  Tickets available at 2012cedarlee-eorg.eventbrite.com

Because September’s Ohio City tour is already sold out, your last chance to experience an NEO Food Tour won’t be til Oct. 16 in Chagrin Falls. Although the restaurants haven’t been announced yet, each stop will feature a presentation with the chef/owner and a small plate and beverage pairing designed especially for the evening.

Graphic courtesy of Emerging Chefs

Emerging Chefs
Aug. 31, Sept. 29 and Oct. 28

This Fall, Emerging Chefs has a “Flavorful Trifecta of Feasts” lined up.

After their heralded turn at Dinner in the Dark this week, The Black Pig on W 25th Street is hosting Emerging Chefs’ Midnight Brunch at the end of August. When the clock strikes twelve on the evening of August 31, Chef Nowak will introduce his twist on the “fourth meal” with a multi-course celebration featuring rare meats, cheeses and drink pairings. This will be a fun way to check out one of Cleveland’s newest (and already buzzing) additions!

With the arrival of autumn, comes Emerging Chefs’ Harvest Moon on September 29. This culinary celebration of all things Fall will showcase Chef Ben Bebenroth and one of my favorite restaurants that opened this past year — Spice Kitchen & Bar. Bundle up in your fall sweaters because (weather permitting) guests will be dining al fresco on Spice’s patio for what may be the last time this year.

The Trifecta culminates with Emerging Chefs’ most extravagant event to date: Chef Steve Schimoler’s The Roaring Twenties – A Culinary Play in Three Acts. “Extravagant” is probably an understatement when it comes to this black-tie/1920s inspired gala on October 28. Only a handful of tickets will be available for the evening which will include period cocktails and champagne in Crop’s grand bar, a five-course meal straight out of the 1920s in their bank vault, and an after-dinner cigar and cocktail party.

Graphic courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation-NEO

L’Amour du Vin
Launch Party Sept. 6; Event Oct. 18

The 15th annual L’Amour du Vin will help raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation and features an evening of cuisine paired with wines from around the world. I’ll actually be sharing more info about this October event in the coming weeks, but in the meantime learn more at their free Launch Party on September 6 at Crocker Park’s 87 West.

Taste of the Browns
Sept. 10

Likewise, I’ll soon be posting details (and a giveaway!) about the return of one of my favorite Fall events: the Cleveland Foodbank’s Taste of the Browns on September 10. As a teaser, though, here’s my recap of last year’s event. Come back the week of August 27 for your chance to win tickets.

Dinner in the Dark
Sept. 10

I love Dinner in the Dark’s continued dedication to dining for a cause. Their next event is September 10 at Luxe and although the participating chefs and 6-course menu will not be revealed until the guests arrive, I would recommend anything involving Chef Brian Okin after last month’s extraordinary CLE Dinner Club. Plus, Dinner in the Dark just posted the charity that will be benefitting from the Sept. event: The Covenant Adolescent Chemical Dependency Treatment & Prevention Center. Tickets available at dinnerinthedark-luxe-eorg.eventbrite.com.

Image source wsm100.org

West Side Market 100
Oct. 7 and Nov. 3

Last — but certainly not least — are all of this Fall’s events celebrating the Centennial of West Side Market! The goal of WSM100 is to offer something for everyone while commemorating the history, tradition and importance of the Market.

On October 7, West 25th is going to be closed off all day long for the West Side Market Street Festival and Parade.  A WSM-themed parade, featuring current and past vendors, neighborhood block clubs and community groups, will step off at noon, while music, food and more festivities will be going on throughout the district from 11am to 8pm.

The event will mark the first time in a decade that West Side Market has been open on a Sunday. In addition to freshly prepared foods from WSM vendors, festival attendees can enjoy two beer gardens and the Ohio City restaurants and food trucks that will be selling food along W. 25th Street all day.

After filling yourself with deliciously local fare, 3 stages of dancing and live music and family-friendly activities at the Ohio City Farm’s OC Harvest will help burn away the calories.

Image source wsm100.org

The West Side Market Centennial Gala on November 3 not just marks the end of WSM100’s year-long celebration but will most importantly raise substantial funding for the care and growth of West Side Market in its next 100 years.

Organized by Cleveland’s Iron Chef Michael Symon and Food & Wine’s Best New Chef Jonathon Sawyer, the gala fundraiser will feature food sourced from WSM and prepared by an all-star list of national and local chef talent:

  • Cleveland’s Britt-Marie Culey, Chris Hodgson, Eric Williams, Paul Minnillo and Rocco Whalen (in addition to Sawyer and Symon);
  • NYC’s Andrew Zimmern, April Bloomfield, Andrew Carmellini and Karen DeMasco;
  • Philadelphia’s Jeff Michaud and Marc Vetri;
  • and Chicago’s Paul Kahan.

In honor of the milestone, WSM’s neighbor Great Lakes Brewing Company will debut the commemorative hand-brewed lager Butcher’s Brew.

More information about both events and Gala tickets are at wsm100.org. While the street fest and parade are free, tickets to the gala are $250 with proceeds helping to ensure the future of this worthy Cleveland institution.

Happy eating!

Disclosure: I was asked to blog about Taste of the Browns in exchange for 2 tickets for myself and 2 to giveaway on my blog. I will be blogging about this event in more detail over the next few weeks.

4 Reasons You Should Buy Tickets for Luau on the Lake – Plus a Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who followed, liked and tweeted their entries in the Luau on the Lake giveaway.  Without further ado, let’s get on to announcing the winner!

After entering everything into random.org…

…the winning entry is Lucky Number 13 – @BrianMusick!  Brian, please email me at clueintocleveland (at) gmail (dot) com to get your tickets.

If you didn’t win, I still have good news for you.  Shoes and Clothes for Kids is raffling off a special prize basket for any blog readers who attend Luau on the Lake. All you need to do is enter “Clue Into Cleveland blog” in the Special Notes section when purchasing your tickets and you’ll be entered in the raffle.

Why should you buy tickets for Luau on the Lake? Here are 4 ways that the local Shoes and Clothes for Kids makes a difference in the lives of Greater Cleveland’s children:

  • For every $1 spent, SC4K is able to purchase between $20 and $25 worth of brand new clothing
  • SC4K also purchases and distributes discounted Payless Shoe gift cards instead of shoes, allowing families to purchase new shoes or boots of their own choosing that are stylish and fit properly
  • SC4K distributes its items through a network of 35 distribution partners located throughout Greater Cleveland — by providing new shoes and clothes through these partner agencies, SC4K connects families to other important programs and services that improve and enrich their lives
  • SC4K charges no fees to their recipients or distribution partners — relying heavily on the support of donors and 900 group and individual volunteers to pack clothing in the warehouse, work at the office and help at special events

Last year, 2000 backpacks with school supplies were given away as part of SC4K and Charter One’s Gear for Grades Campaign

This year marks SC4K’s forty-third year of service to families in the Greater Cleveland community — and throughout the year they will distribute new clothing and Payless Shoe gift cards with a retail value of $2,300,000.

So support this great organization – go get your tickets for Luau on the Lake! And do it fast, because after this Wednesday, July 11 the price on General Admission tickets will go up from $40 to $50.  Additionally, VIP tickets – which offer the best value ($50 for early entry, special island cocktails and souvenir lei and tote) – are available only through tomorrow.

Disclosure: As was mentioned in my giveaway post, I was invited to attend Luau on the Lake in exchange for posting about the event and hosting a giveaway. However, as with any event I post about, I am sharing this event because I think it is something that would also interest other Clevelanders.

Photos courtesy of Shoes and Clothes for Kids.

Grapes, Ales and BBQ to benefit Our Lady of the Wayside

July 4th is only one week away which means it’s BBQ time in the Hicken household! Pulled pork, BBQ chicken, brisket and of course ribs – we can’t get enough of it. Unfortunately, our BBQ skills are pretty much limited to crockpot recipes so we often turn to local restaurants or markets when we’re jonesing for the best.

The good news is we don’t have to turn too far with many tasty options in the Cleveland area. I’m a personal fan of Bubba’s Q especially because it’s only 5 minutes from my house.

For my fellow summer BBQ lovers, there’s an event coming up that will showcase Cleveland’s sauciest BBQ, as well as plenty of wine and beer to help wash it all down.

On Friday, July 13, Progressive Field will open its doors starting at 6:30pm for Grapes and Ales.  Featuring BBQ from restaurants like Hot Sauce Williams, Battery Park Wine Bar, Famous Dave’s, 100th Bomb Group and Progressive Field, as well as more than 200 wine samplings, it’s a great way to unwind after the work week (just don’t wear white if you’re like me because you’ll get bbq sauce on it).

ESPN 850 WKNR is also hosting a Market Pavilion beer garden where tastings from Great Lakes, Goose Island, Magic Hat, Pyramid Breweries, and others are available for 50 cents each. All of this is enjoyed against the backdrop of live music from Colin Dussault’s Side Project featuring Jim Tigue and Eroc Sosinski and Progressive Field’s Indians Hall of Fame exhibits.

However, Grapes and Ales is more than just a tasting event; proceeds from the evening go towards Our Lady of the Wayside. Based right around the corner from me in Avon, Ohio, Our Lady of the Wayside provides homes and services to more than 450 developmentally disabled children and adults throughout Cuyahoga and Lorain counties.

What started over forty years ago when a local family began to foster children with mental retardation and other disabilities has blossomed into the far-reaching organization it is today – offering residential services and wellness programming 24/7 for individuals with a variety of developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, behavioral issues, and significant physical disabilities.

OLW’s programming includes support for families with children who have disabilities; nursing and transportation services; and arts, aquatic and equestrian therapies.  Their goal is to provide support so that children and adults can remain in a home environment away from institutional settings, thus building greater self-esteem, promoting a more independent lifestyle, and increasing their quality of life.

OLW has recently also focused their expertise into the field of Autism with two after-school social skills programs for children with moderate-to-mild autism and Aspergers.

Along with Giant Eagle, American Airlines, OLW and Progressive Field, Cleveland’s local radio and tv stations have come together to host Grapes & Ales with appearances from 105.7′s John Lanigan, Q104′s Tim Richards, ESPN 850′s Mark “Munch” Bishop and FOX 8′s Kenny Crumpton.  (If my coworkers are any indication, I know there are more than a few people out there who would go just so they can “Kick it” with Kenny!)

General admission from 6:30 to 10pm costs $50 and includes a souvenir wine glass, wine samplings, BBQ, entertainment and a silent auction and raffle. Beer samples cost 50 cents each.

For $125, guests can attend the VIP Majic of Wine Blind Tasting from 6-7pm which features the “Best of Grapes” wine selection, free parking and everything else included in the General Admission ticket.  And because every group should have a designated driver, tickets for anyone not drinking cost only $20 and feature BBQ, Aquafina and Pepsi products.

If you’re interested in joining me on July 13, tickets are available two ways: by calling 440-934-6054 or online at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e5u5re6o88cf79cf&llr=kjdaz5eab.

And if you want to say hi, keep an eye out for the couple camped by the BBQ.

Disclosure: Grapes and Ales logo and photos from last year’s benefit were provided by Our Lady of Wayside. In exchange for previewing the event on Clue Into Cleveland, I was invited to attend Grapes and Ales with a guest. However, as with any event I post about, I am sharing this event because I think it is something that would interest people who read my blog.

PlayhouseSquare Partners' Bartending for Buses

PlayhouseSquare Partners Presents Bartending for Buses, May 17 at Around the Corner

Although Jump Back Ball may be the first thing that comes to mind when PlayhouseSquare Partners is mentioned, the young professionals group also organizes a number of other programs year-round to support Cleveland’s downtown theatre district.

From helping out at the International Children’s Festival to Neighborhood Dine-Arounds and the recent Mini-Golf Par-Tee, Partners offers a broad spectrum of volunteer opportunities and social events for the community to enjoy.

Whenever we have an upcoming event I think you guys might enjoy, I like to share it.  And our next event on May 17 will give you an opportunity to not just eat, drink and be merry, but also help raise money for a great arts cause – PlayhouseSquare’s Bus Fund.

Next Thursday from 7-10, join PlayhouseSquare Partners at Around the Corner (18616 Detroit Ave., Lakewood) for Bartending for Buses.

While the theatre can help introduce students to the arts by providing discounted and free tickets, many schools are still unable to afford the cost of busing students to and from the theatre. Through fundraisers like next week’s “celebrity bartending night,” PlayhouseSquare Partners helps overcome this roadblock by raising money for the bus fund.

Longtime Partners like my Jump Back Ball co-chair Meredith will be doing their best Tom Cruise impersonation and slinging drinks behind the bar. Tip them well because all tips from the evening will go towards the Bus Fund.

School trips are many children’s first introduction to the arts and local theatres, especially for those who may not otherwise be able to afford it. So stop by Around the Corner next Thursday, let us pour you a beer or shot, and drink up — for the kids!

Disclosure: I serve on the board of PlayhouseSquare Partners, but – as with any event I post about – am sharing this event because I think it is something that would interest people who read my blog.

Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Market at the Foodbank!

The 17th Annual Market at the Foodbank is Sunday, April 22

If you’ve gone grocery shopping recently, you’ll likely have noticed that the Cleveland Foodbank’s Harvest for Hunger is in full swing.  Adding a $1, $5, or $10 donation to your groceries is a fast and easy way to help reach this year’s goal of providing food for 16 million meals.

You can also help reach this goal while celebrating a night of fun and food at the Cleveland Foodbank’s annual Harvest for Hunger party: Market at the Foodbank (formerly Market Under Glass).

From 6-8:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, enjoy delicious food and drink from 50 of Cleveland’s top restaurants and beverage purveyors, including Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat, Spice Kitchen+Bar, SOW Food, AMP 150 and Zach Bruell’s restaurants (the growing list of participants can be found here).

And as you have your fill of what is sure to be incredible cuisine, you’ll enjoy live entertainment and the Foodbank’s assortment of silent auctions and chance raffles — all while helping support local hunger relief efforts.

This will be the first year that the party takes place in the Cleveland Foodbank’s 110,000 square foot community food distribution center. By hosting the event at the Foodbank, guests have a unique opportunity to not only enjoy all of the festivities, but also see firsthand the impact of their contributions.

Purchase tickets at www.cleveland.com/marketatfoodbank or 216-738-2046 for $85 per person; day-of tickets cost $100.

VIP tickets are also available for $150 per person, which gets you entrance to a VIP reception from 5-6pm with hors d’oeuvres by Zack Bruell’s restaurants, a special address by the Cleveland Foodbank’s President and CEO Anne Goodman, and a first-look at the auction.

And I have a special announcement: Clue Into Cleveland readers have a chance to win a pair of tickets to Market at the Foodbank!

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway

 **You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) Leave a comment telling me how you’re helping (or plan on helping) Harvest for Hunger achieve their goal of providing food for 16 million meals. (Need ideas? Check out this blog post.)

2) Follow @ADHicken and @Harvest4Hunger on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did both.

3) Like “Clue Into Cleveland” and “Cleveland Foodbank” on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did both.

4) Twitter users can get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “Want to attend @CleveFoodbank’s Market at the Foodbank on 4/22? Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway to win 2 tickets: http://wp.me/pPIgG-18l″.  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

5) Subscribe to receive Clue Into Cleveland blog posts in your inbox or blog reader and leave a comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “You’ve Got Mail” section of this page or adding me to your Google Reader.

You have until Thursday, March 29 at 11:59PM to enter.  On Friday, March 30, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

***Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets to give away to a reader. As always, though, my thoughts and the choice of events I share are 100% my own.***

Cooking with Beer at The Chubby Cook

Scott works on the Beer Cheese Soup at Chubby Cook's Cooking with Beer Class

3 years ago today, I said “I do” to my best friend and partner in crime — Happy Anniversary, Scott!

When it comes to anniversary presents, Scott and I tend to gift each other “experiences” in an attempt to not add anymore to the amount of clutter we already have.  So, this year, he got us tickets to the Chicago Comic Book Convention and my gift to him was a cooking class last week at The Chubby Cook.

The Chubby Cook opened their doors in Beachwood last June.  What started as Scott Groth’s food blog transformed into a brick and mortar establishment for catering and homestyle meals to order. Cooking classes had also been in the plans, and a couple of months ago they were added to The Chubby Cook’s menu.

In addition to their back kitchen, The Chubby Cook has a front room great for private parties or enjoying your delicious meal at the end of a cooking class

Cooking classes at The Chubby Cook are recreational and designed for everyone. Scott G. promises a fun, very hands-on (you’ll be involved in the entire process) experience that anyone – even non-cooks like me – can enjoy.  Plus, you will go home very very full (in some cases, with a to-go container).

From how to prepare fish and cooking with maple to cajun style and Passover recipes, there are a variety of topics to choose from (and that’s just a selection from the next month).  He also offers specialty courses like Vegetarian, Raw Food and Gluten-Free baking, as well as a series dedicated just to grilling.

With all of the choices, I thought it would take long to decide which class would be perfect for our anniversary. However, when I opened up the class catalog, I immediately found my answer: Cooking with Beer.  So a couple of Sundays ago, Scott and I made the drive out to Beachwood from Avon Lake.

Scott Groth, the Chubby Cook himself, demonstrates how to clean and cut leeks before class begins

This was my first-ever hands-on cooking class, so I was a little nervous.  But Scott G., who was also the teacher for this particular class, and Chubby Cook team member Randy Eagles put me at ease pretty quickly.

Very fitting for a Cooking with Beer class, you could easily shoot the breeze with them over a beer or two. Which is what we did (sans beer) when Scott and I got there early.

Class started with a couple of demos on cutting and cleaning vegetables.  I have horrible knife skills so the demonstration on how to cut onions and leeks was particularly helpful.  Also, the beer nuts they had out to snack on didn’t hurt.

Putting the finishing touches on the main course – Beer Braised Chicken over Pappardelle

We quickly moved into the kitchen where we got to work. On the menu were 5 dishes: Beer Batter Bread, Broccoli and Beer Cheese Soup, a Beer Dip, Green Beans and Bacon in Beer Sauce, and Shredded Beer Braised Chicken over Pappardelle pasta.

Scott G. and Randy delivered on The Chubby Cook promise of a very hands-on class. Although they assisted with some things and coached us through the process, the group prepared and cooked the majority of the meal.

A familiar face was also in our class: Poise in Parma's husband Hans

Scott G.’s goal for his classes is for everyone — regardless of their skill level – to learn and become comfortable with at least a few things.  And how did a complete novice fare? I learned a lot without being overwhelmed – making soup, braising chicken, and learning how to make bread all for the first time.

My Scott, who has a pretty good handle on cooking, even found himself challenged and picked up a few new techniques along the way.

My personal favorite: Broccoli and Beer Cheese Soup with a side of fresh Beer Bread

Overall, I think what most impressed me was how Scott G. and Randy balanced everyone and had us prepare and cook the entire meal in only a couple of hours.

As with anything kitchen-related, there were a couple of moments of minor chaos.  However, whereas I’m typically a complete spaz in the kitchen and incapable of focusing on more than one dish at a time, I didn’t have the panic attack I normally do. I credit a lot of that to The Chubby Cook staff.

Afterwards, we enjoyed the fruit of our labors. My personal favorite was the soup, followed by the tender braised chicken. As we ate, Scott G. and Randy demonstrated how to make a stout milkshake topped with fresh raspberries. I’m not sure which beer dessert I’m going to try first at home: that or the Porter Ice Cream Float they gave us a recipe for.

The first of many helpings of the meal we prepared in class: Green Beans and Bacon, Chicken, and Beer Dip

And how did the class go over as an anniversary gift? Scott enjoyed the experience so much that as soon as we got home, he signed us up for Sushi 201 with Sushi Rock’s Chef Tran in March.  From what Scott G. told us of the amount of sushi enjoyed in Chef Tran’s first class, we’ll be bringing along a tupperware container to savor the menu’s inside-out and deep fried salmon rolls at home.

There are only 7 spots left in that March 13 class so if you want to join me and learn how to make your own sushi rolls, you can register here.  If sushi’s not your thing, though, check out the full class calendar and follow The Chubby Cook on Facebook for more updates and discounts.

Want to win 2 tickets to the Fabulous Food Show?

Update: Congrats to entry #20 – Courtney M. for being selected on random.org as the giveaway winner!

Nov. 11-13 at the I-X Center

Of course you do!

Between the Piston Power Show and this weekend’s LEGO KidsFest, the I-X Center has been hosting a lot of fun events lately. However, one of their most popular (and my favorite from years past) is right around the corner:

Fabulous Food Show

Now in its 6th year, the Fabulous Food Show (Nov. 11-13) is one of my earliest memories of Cleveland. Right after moving here, we attended our first Fabulous Food Show where Scott and I watched a taffy-making demo and met our favorite Food Network chef (tied with Michael Symon, of course!) — Alton Brown.  

While Alton won’t be there this year, there are plenty of Food Network culinary personalities to look forward to, including Michael Symon, Ace of Cakes and Sugar High’s Duff Goldman, Guy Fieri, Dinner Impossible’s Robert Irvine and Bobby Flay.

Scott, Alton Brown and me

The celebrity chefs will be hosting live cooking demos in the Main Kitchen Theatre, which boasts new theatre-style seating instead of the metal bleachers from years past. The Celebrity Autograph Pavilion will also be open if you have that cookbook you’d like signed by one of the chefs.

Although I’m a little bummed Duff is only going to be there on Friday when I’m at work (Scott and I are huge fans), there are plenty of other things to check out at the Fabulous Food Show including:

  • Culinary Celebration Theatre including demos by local talents Chef Kimberly McCune and Michael Ruhlman, as well as others
  • More Chef Demo Stages like The Plain Dealer Taste of the Neighborhood Stage and Farmers’ Market Stage
  • Sweet Street‘s decadent dessert demos and cake walk (another of my favorite show higlights)
  • The Grand Tasting Pavilion featuring wines, beer, Food2 mixologists Alie & Georgia and a Chocolate Bar with chocolate and wine pairings
  • More than 225 food vendors to browse for early holiday shopping (or yourself!)

Additionally, included in every Fabulous Food Show ticket is admission to the Cleveland By Hand show which will also be going on in the I-X Center that weekend.

The Cleveland By Hand Fine Art and Craft Festival features more than 225 quality artistans — from fine oil paintings to pottery, leather tanning, metalsmithing  and woodcarving.

General admission tickets to the Fabulous Food Show are $25. Reserved seating for the Main Kitchen Theatre (which I’d recommend after not getting them in the past), VIP Meet and Greet packages, and $10 wine and spirit tasting passports are also available at an additional cost. 

Tickets can be purchased here or you can enter my giveaway to win 2 General Admission tickets!

There are 6 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) Leave a comment telling me what you’re most looking forward to at this year’s Fabulous Food Show.

2) Leave a comment sharing who’s your favorite celebrity chef (Food Network, local or otherwise).

3)  Twitter users can get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “Want to attend the #CLE @FabFoodShow? Check out @ADHicken’s giveaway to win 2 tickets: http://wp.me/pPIgG-Ti“.  Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.

4) Like “Fabulous Food Show” on Facebook.

5) Like “Clue Into Cleveland” on Facebook.

6) Follow @ADHicken on Twitter.

You have until Tuesday, November 8 at 11:59PM to enter.  On November 9, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – Good Luck!  

Update: Congrats to entry #20 – Courtney M. for being selected on random.org as the giveaway winner!

***
Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets to the Fabulous Food Show. As always, though, my thoughts and the choice of events I share are 100% my own.

Jump Back Ball 2012 Ticket Kickoff – Nov. 3

A couple months ago at PlayhouseSquare’s Young Professionals Movie Night, I was happy to join my fellow Jump Back Ball co-chair Meredith in announcing the theme of this year’s Jump Back Ball:

Jump Back Through the Looking Glass

The planning has been amping up since then — as we recreate the whimsical world of Alice in Wonderland in PlayhouseSquare’s theatres and gather items for the auctions and raffles.

On November 3rd at Market Garden Brewery, you’ll have your first opportunity to purchase tickets at our Ticket Kickoff Happy Hour.  From 6-8pm, enjoy complimentary appetizers, drink specials, prizes and the best deal on Jump Back Ball tickets. 

Why should you buy your Jump Back Ball ticket at the Ticket Kickoff Party?

  • You’ll save the most money. Tickets will be $130 ($105 if you join Partners) at the Kickoff. The next morning, the ticket price goes up to $150 ($125 for Partners) when they go on sale online.
  • No handling fees. When the ticket price goes up the next day, each ticket will also have a handling fee. But if you buy tickets in person at the Kickoff Happy Hour, you don’t have to worry about any fees.
  • You can sign up for a payment plan. I really like the payment plan option. I used it last year and plan on using it again this year — breaking my purchase up between the months makes it a lot easier on my bank account.
  • Last year’s event sold out really early. If you want to go to Jump Back Ball, don’t wait — each year the event sells out and last year’s Jump Back Ball sold out almost a month before the event.  The earlier you purchase tickets, you’ll not just save money but also secure your spot.

If you haven’t attended Jump Back Ball in the past, it’s an evening of fine food, drinks and entertainment wrapped in a creative spirit. The State Theatre at PlayhouseSquare will be transformed into the world of Alice in Wonderland, with guests invited to dress up either in their finest or a theme-inspired costume.

It’s also PlayhouseSquare’s largest fundraiser with the partially tax-deductible ticket supporting the theatre’s non-profit mission.

Here’s my recap of last year’s Jump Back Ball – I’m excited to go from attending and blogging last year to co-chairing the event this year. Stop by and say hi on November 3rd when you get your tickets to Jump Back Through the Looking Glass!

And if you’re interested in PlayhouseSquare Partners — the young professionals group that hosts Jump Back Ball, check out our next Happy Hour this Thursday at Chinato and the OSU vs. Penn State Viewing Party on Nov. 19.

Jump Back Ball 411: