Category Archives: Restaurants

In My Backyard: Cafe Melissa and Two Bucks Avon Reviews

Cafe Melissa Avon Lake, Ohio - Narwhal Mural

I should’ve known I’d love Cafe Melissa as soon as I saw the narwhal in their mural

Although I’ve lived in Avon Lake for three years, until recently I had only one or two suggestions for where to take people to eat.

I was more likely to drive downtown or even the far Eastside to dine out. It was easy to see the chain and fast food restaurants and overlook my suburb’s local gems.

Then Scott and I went to Strip Steakhouse in Avon which jumped to the top of our Cleveland restaurants list and motivated us to start exploring our backyard a bit more.

Our curiosity has been rewarded not just with special occasion restaurants like Strip, but dining that’s good for any budget in Avon and Avon Lake.

Next time you’re out my way, here are 2 places we recently checked out that we’d recommend:

Continue reading

Events Around Cleveland: Jump Back Two Spaces Edition

Bummed that Jump Back Ball is still over a month away? Unable to go this year?

Fortunately, there are a few things going on in Cleveland between now and February 23 to wet your Jump Back whistle.

Get a Clue! Trivia Night

Jump Back Ball is hosted each year by PlayhouseSquare Partners, the theatre’s young professionals group.

However, Partners doesn’t stop there.  From our annual OSU tailgate to theatre outings, dine-arounds and putt-putt in the Palace, we’re busy year-round with events for Cleveland’s under-40 and young-at-heart crowd.

Our next event is Thursday, Jan. 17: the first annual Get a Clue! Trivia Night at Black Dog Kitchen & Bar in downtown Cleveland.

Continue reading

Emerging Chefs’ Naughty Claus Review

Ohio City’s Speakeasy, host to Emerging Chefs’ Naughty Claus event

Christmas came early for Cleveland food-and-drink lovers at last week’s Emerging Chefs Naughty Claus.

Going in, I knew if there was anyone who could break up the monotony of holiday meals, it would be the Emerging Chefs team. And I was not disappointed as they teamed with Chef Adam Lambert from Ohio City’s Bar Cento/Bier Markt/Speakeasy for an evening of Christmas mischief and culinary adventure.

Located beneath Bier Markt, the sultrily-lit prohibition-themed Speakeasy lounge warmly welcomed us from the frigid December night.

Naughty Claus Course 1: Snow Globe on a Half Shell

After settling into a corner booth with Jen and her husband Matthew, we started the meal off with Chef Lambert’s interpretation of a Snow Globe.

Using a classic Christmas Eve ingredient – oysters – as the basis for this dish, Lambert created the illusion of a snow globe by encasing it in a gel-like substance mixed with juniper, tonic and Douglas fir.

Although it was beautiful to look at, I unfortunately found that the consistency and taste of the gel overpowered the oyster too much, leaving only a hint of it.

While the snow globe’s taste wasn’t to my liking, it was paired with a Bijou. Made of gin, vermouth and chartreuse, it had a very potent, evergreen-like flavor. Stirring in a few ice cubes from my water cut the bitter bite and resulted in a nice cocktail for gin lovers.

Naughty Claus Cocktail 2: Milk Punch

This was followed by Lambert’s XXX-Mas Cookies and Milk Punch.

Ladies, next time you’re having a bachelorette party, these *ahem* ”mature audiences only” cookies are a delicious alternative to your typical adult treats.

The suggestively-shaped, lightly-flavored cookies were topped with foie gras and whipped chantilly icing and paired with a warmed rum and milk punch.

Honestly, I’m thankful the punch – my favorite drink of the night – came in such a tiny mug. If I didn’t have work early the next morning, I could have curled inside an oversized bowl of it. The dish was a milk-and-cookies combo fitting for a Naughty Santa.

Naughty Claus Course 3: Truffled Arancini “Snow Balls”

The third course was a pair of “Snowballs” – arancini topped with white truffle shavings. The rich, savory interior of these fried rice balls mixed very well with the light breading that coated it – a winner with me and my tablemates.

It was served with truffle-infused Everclear. Although I wasn’t a fan of the cocktail’s heavy truffle flavor on its own, I decided to give it a second try to see how it paired with the arancini.

After taking a bite of the dish, then a sip of the cocktail, I was floored. The original truffle flavoring of the drink had been replaced with an almost fruity flavor.

I know that there are drink and food combinations which complement each other in taste, but this was the first time I ever had the sum of a pairing actually change its parts. I really enjoyed the experimentation this pairing lent itself to.

Naughty Claus Course 4: Who Ham for One

Chef Lambert’s next course was “Who Ham for One,” in which he took traditional Christmas ham and wrapped and cooked it around a chicken bone to replicate the look of the ham in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

To complement the playful presentation, Chef Lambert prepared the meat with clove, cherry and pineapple – full of succulent flavor.

Unfortunately, my allergy to red wine kept me from trying the mulled Sangiovese served with it – but as Jen noted in her WhyCLE recap, it was her favorite of the evening and a perfect fireside sipper.

Naughty Claus Course 5: Kosher Khristmas

The last course of the night was my overall favorite, both in presentation and taste: Chef Lambert’s Kosher Khristmas.

Inspired by A Christmas Story, he served an Asian-style shredded duck with crisp and colorful vegetables. It was presented in – what else – small Chinese take-out boxes.

Enjoy it we did!

The duck was so moist and rich. Like the milk punch, my Christmas wish is for more servings of this dish.

The Kosher Kristmas was paired with a chilled sake sangria – whose slight fruitiness provided a refreshing contrast to the duck and cut down on the meal’s richness.

Chef Lambert didn’t even waste the ham bone, featuring it prominently in Naughty Claus’ Leg Lamp

Regardless of whether you were nice or naughty, Chef Lambert left us all with sweet treats: a bit of coal for our stockings made of bitter fernet hard candy and more of those delicious cookies with a glass of homemade scotch eggnog.

It was an evening of indulgence, to be sure – with plenty of bawdy laughs and misbehaving elves rounding out the night. We even got a visit from Jolly Naughty Ol’ St. Nick bearing gifts courtesy of Ambience.

Missed Naughty Claus? Chef Lambert and his team have put together a delicious New Year’s Eve menu for Bar Cento, located upstairs from Speakeasy. You can view the full menu – along with details on their other Bier Markt, Speakeasy, Market Garden and Nano Brew parties at http://bit.ly/VnHoUE

Disclosure: I was provided one ticket to Naughty Claus in exchange for blogging about the event. The opinions here are my own.

Ohio Blogging Cookie Swap: Recap and Recipe

Bit o’ Blogkeeping: You have until 11:59pm on Monday, Dec. 24 to enter my Damn Right I’m From Cleveland giveaway. I’ll announce the winner on Christmas Day!

Cookie Monster Heaven

As I’ve blogged before, my lack of cooking skills is a bit notorious. In fact the last (and only) time I ever baked something was a few years ago.

And even then, I wouldn’t really call it baking. I made cookies from those Pillsbury cookie dough rolls and still managed to burn them to a crisp.

However, last week I donned an apron once again when I got roped into decided to make cookies for the 3rd annual Ohio Blogging Cookie Swap.

I was told baking is more fun in the company of friends so when WhyCLE offered up her kitchen, I figured this was as good a time as any to learn how to actually make cookies from scratch.

Continue reading

Giveaway: Fabulous Food Show is Ready for the Holidays

Although Hurricane Sandy put a delay on a lot of the Halloween festivities, I think it’s safe to safe the holiday season is finally upon us. And with the arrival of HallowThanksMas, my brain turns to food.

That’s kind of a lie. My brain is usually turned to food, but more so over the next two months. As I prepare for Scott’s family coming into town for Thanksgiving and the usual myriad of holiday dinners, I’m looking everywhere I can for food and drink ideas.

Fortunately, the Fabulous Food Show is coming back to Cleveland for its 7th year with 3 days of chef demonstrations, tips and treats (Nov. 9-11)

I’ve enjoyed this show since first moving to Cleveland and last year loved exploring its local food highlights.

This year’s Fabulous Food Show couldn’t have come at a better time as Hometown Hero Michael Symon kicks things off with a demonstration in the Main Kitchen Theatre on Friday at 11 am.

In addition to Chef Symon’s appearances throughout the weekend, the show also sees returns from Celebrity Chefs Guy Fieri and Anne Burrell.

Michael Symon at last year’s Fabulous Food Show prepares a Braised Pork Shank with Shaved Brussel Sprouts Salad

New to the show this year are Sandwich King Jeff Mauro, French cuisine master Jacques Pepin, and longtime veterans of food television Sara Moulton and Mary Ann Esposito. I’m excited to see the show incorporate chefs like Pepin, Moulton and Esposito from long-running PBS cooking shows (especially Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito - I’m nuts for Italian food).

However, no matter what sort of food you enjoy there should be no shortage of things to do since a total of 8 stages throughout the I-X Center will feature 100+ live demonstrations throughout the festival. Other things I’m looking forward to:

  • Maria Isabella, author of In the Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs, challenges local chefs like Dante Boccuzzi, Nolan Konkowsk, Zack Bruell and Ben Bebenroth with their favorite recipes for last-minute entertaining
  • Tri-C’s Hospitality & Culinary Arts department presents the NEO Culinary Challenge
  • The Great Sugardale BAC-ON pits national finalists head-to-head with their most creative bacon-themed recipes
  • Michael Ruhlman and Laura Taxeltwo of my favorite Cleveland authors - present on bacon curing and the West Side Market, respectively
  • Taste of the Holidays and the Vitamix Spirit Lounge’s Holiday Batch Drink Contest feature the region’s food and drink experts sharing favorite seasonal flavors

Save time to browse more than 500 vendors at the Food Show Market Place and By Hand Fine Art & Craft Fair, sampling products, services, and unique artistic items for the holidays. And afterwards sample a selection of wine and beer in the Grand Tasting Pavilion.

At last year’s Fabulous Food Show, Robert Irvine, Joe Crea, Michael Symon, Michael Ruhlman and Steve Schimoler discuss Cleveland food inspiration

Tickets for the Fabulous Food Show start at $25 for one-day general admission if purchased online ($30.00 onsite during the show). Reserved floor seating and weekend passes are also available.

Information about all of the ticket options are available at www.fabulousfoodshow.com/tickets.aspx. And you can enter to win a pair of general admission tickets in my Fabulous Food Show giveaway.

***

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway!
Leave a separate comment on this post for each entry

1) For one entry in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite dish is for the holidays (and if you have a link to the recipe, feel free to share).

2) If you’re a fan of Clue Into Cleveland and the Fabulous Food Show on Facebook, leave a comment on this blog post letting me know (good for one entry). If you’re not yet a fan of either, you can become one here and here.

3) Follow @ADHicken and @FabFoodShow on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did both (good for one entry).

4) Twitter users can also get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “I want to win tickets to the Cleveland @FabFoodShow. Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway for your chance to win: http://wp.me/pPIgG-1AY”  (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, Nov. 6 at 11:59PM to enter. On Wednesday, Nov. 7, 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!

***

Disclosures: I was provided 2 tickets to give away to the Fabulous Food Show and 2 for a guest and I to attend. My thoughts and the choice of events I share are my own.
Regarding the Facebook components of this giveaway: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of the Facebook pages listed and not to Facebook.

Tremont Doubleheader: OH Blogging and CLE Beer Week

Kind of love that this is how Southside labeled our receipts at the OH Blogging dinner

Sadly the bulk of Cleveland Beer Week falls during one of work’s busiest times of year so I haven’t really had a chance to enjoy much of the festivities.

However, when I saw on Monday that Tremont Taphouse was showing Monty Python and the Holy Grail on their patio and serving up ale in Grail goblets you could take home, there was not much that could stop me from heading over.

(The fact that they also had turkey legs didn’t hurt in convincing Scott to go – the man is one Ren Faire away from buying a turkey farm)

This is what happiness looks like:

I didn’t completely get my fill of Tremont, though, despite Monday night’s feast of turkey, mussels and beef tongue-oyster tacos. Come Tuesday night I was ready to head on back to Tremont, this time to Southside for the monthly Ohio Blogging meetup.

As we head into the busy holiday months, I was thankful for a laidback meetup – just a casual dinner with old and new blogger friends.

It was my first time at Southside and after winding through the bar, they took us into the side room off the patio. I loved the stone fireplace and Day-of-the-Dead-inspired skeleton artwork looking down on us.

It was a great spot for our boisterous crowd to catch up on things – from toasting Poise in Parma’s third blogiversary to highlights from Fitbloggin’, some race and event updates, and a heads up about an upcoming WordPress tech talk.

In attendance we had:

(**If I missed your meetup recap, please let me know and I’ll add it in**)

If you want to quiet a group of bloggers, bring them food. This somewhat worked for us – though I will say I enjoyed a fun talk about comic books with Team PiP and got some new ideas to add to my comics pull list.

However, good-looking food ultimately wins out – even over comic book talk - and I had to dig into the salad I ordered as soon as it was put down in front of me:

After a lunch of rich buffalo chicken dip, I decided to go the salad route with Southside’s Broiled Scampis Salad. Large shrimp were mixed over a bed of crisp baby spinach with grilled apples, dried cranberries, tomatos and fontina cheese.

I liked the mix of tastes and textures – the tender grilled apples were my favorite part, especially when topped with Southside’s smoky Charred Tomato salad dressing.

Some restaurants may scrimp on the shrimp, but I thought the Southside offered 4 very-good-sized shrimps in the salad. The shells were a little more difficult to remove than usual (though that could have just been me being in a messy mood) and there wasn’t a place or room to discard them; however, I made due and the taste more than made up for it.

And even though I couldn’t make it to a lot of Beer Week, I did try a new-to-me brew. Southside had a selection of Oskar Blues brews including the Old Chub which I ordered. While it didn’t completely blow me away, it was a nice dark malted barley with a bit of a smoky taste to it.

My Tremont doubleheader has me in the mood for even more of the neighborhood’s eateries and I can’t wait for PlayhouseSquare Partners’ Tremont Dine Around on Nov. 7.

Throughout the year, our Membership Committee puts together these neighborhood dine arounds where both members and non-Partners can come out, explore the restaurants in a different neighborhood and meet new people.

When rsvping, you rank your order of preference from 4 Tremont restaurants – Fahrenheit, Lolita, Prosperity Social Club, and Southside. Each attendee gets assigned a restaurant where they’ll meet their small group at 6:30 for dinner. Afterwards, everyone is invited to meet up at The Treehouse for a post-dinner drink.

While you do get to list your preferences, I really enjoy the mystery of not knowing which restaurant I’m going to until a couple days before.

If you’d like to join me at the PlayhouseSquare Tremont Dine Around, here’s more info about rsvping. And for all you bloggers and blog supporters out there, sign up for the November statewide blog swap over at the Facebook event page and come join us at our December Holiday Party & Cookie Swap.

An Overdue Visit to Sokolowski's

With family and friends scattered up and down the East Coast, I love any excuse for them to travel west and pay a visit to Cleveland.

Whether they come to check out the local sights so they can shut me up or just because they miss Scott and me, I will never pass on an opportunity to show guests around the city I love.

And although I enjoy picking out the perfect places to show off, it makes me even happier when someone visits with their own ideas on what they want to see.

Our friends Lish, Matt and Amy drove out from Philly last month to spend a day at Cedar Point. And I’m glad to say the 12+ hour marathon of roller-coasters and Halloweekend haunts exceeded their expectations.

However, every good ride warrior needs some fuel before their journey and Lish had only one spot in mind for where she wanted to go for dinner: Sokolowski’s.

When Lish told me she had read about the renowned Tremont establishment, she asked if I had ever been. I was ashamed to admit I hadn’t gotten around to it yet even though it was on my to-do list of Cleveland must-eats.

So I killed 2 birds with one stone by taking them there after they arrived on Friday night.

Walking up to Sokolowski’s, I enjoyed taking in the nostalgic feel of the building. Even though the city has changed around it, it’s a neighborhood watering hole and supper club that hasn’t after perfecting their formula long ago.

When I saw the patio, I wished it wasn’t mid-Fall so we could enjoy eating outdoors; however when we got inside the warm decor welcomed us in. It was like walking into a grandparents’ house with pieces of Polish heritage and Cleveland pride in abundance.

As a first-timer, I wasn’t sure which of their many doors to enter but after finding the one along the right side, we got in line. Sokolowski’s doesn’t hide the fact that they’re cafeteria style, so be prepared to stand for a little bit waiting to place your order and get your food.

Now, I know that because of ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’ and ‘No Reservations,’ Sokolowski’s is one of Cleveland’s well-heralded treasures when it comes to foodie tourism and that over the years that attention has added to the crowds.

However, the fact that it’s also frequented by locals and repeat guests is a testament to the fact that the reason people flock here — and stay — is because it’s damn good.

Honestly, the line we stood in - although long - flew pretty quickly. Surrounded by polka cds to browse and polka music playing throughout the restaurant, we had all the entertainment we needed while we waited. And as we made it closer to the front of the line, the staff behind the counter were very helpful and efficient in getting our food ready.

Considering in most other restaurants I’d be sitting as long at my seat waiting for dinner, this wasn’t so bad.  Plus you can’t knock a wait when at the end of it you get a delicious and filling meal.

I wanted to try a few Sokolowski classics so I selected their meatloaf, along with cabbage and noodles and greenbeans (I had to have at least one healthy dish). And because I couldn’t help myself, I added on an order of pierogies. All this with a large bottle of Weihenstephaner and salad – I was in heaven with so much food.

While the cabbage and noodles and butter-laden pierogies were fairly popular all around, I think we all agreed that the meatloaf was the best.

When it comes to meatloaf, I’m not a fan of recipes that call for brown sauce. A sweet, tomato-based sauce is what I want – just like my mother made when I was a kid.

With just one bite, Sokolowski’s transported me to Mom’s kitchen. The large juicy chunks of tomatoes in the sweet sauce soaked into the meat – I enjoyed every bite of this savory, delicious dish. And there were a lot of bites – with Sokolowski’s offering up one of the most ample plates of food I’ve had the joy of ordering and eating.

I think that’s the thing behind Sokolowski’s success – between the decor and the food, it felt like we were at home. It was the perfect Cleveland welcome for our friends who had just finished an 8 hour drive. Plus, I got to cross off another item on my Cleveland bucket list.

Since 1923, Sokolowski’s University Inn has been serving Cleveland as one of the area’s oldest family owned restaurants specializing in Polish and Eastern European cuisine.

Besides their usual fare, Sokolowski’s is currently running a clam bake special every Saturday this October. From 4-9pm, they’re offering a choice of chicken or steak plus clams, clam chowder, candied yams, potatoes, corn, and a slice of pumpkin or apple pie. My mouth is watering as I write this.

***

From Sokolowski’s to Greenhouse Taverm, I love my Cleveland food. Fortunately, I and all CLE food lovers are in luck this week as Cleveland’s a Plum is celebrating her 1,000th blog post – congratulations! And to celebrate she’s partnered with some of her favorite Cleveland restaurants and giving away over $1,250 in food and drink – woot! You can enter here.

Giveaway! L’Amour du Vin Wine and Food Event

Oct. 18 at Avon Oaks Country Club

After last weekend’s trip to the Put-in-Bay Island Wine Festival, I thought I’d be all wined out. Ha! What am i talking about? I could never be tired of wine.

Good thing, since next Thursday, Oct. 18, there’s a local event whose name is literally all about embracing our love for the grape. And I have a pair of tickets to give away for it:

L’Amour du Vin is Lorain County’s premier wine and food tasting event featuring not just wines from around the world, but also some of the best restaurants from Cleveland’s western suburbs – my side of town!

From 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Avon Oaks Country Club, guests can taste their way through 15 local eateries including AMP150, 87 West at Crocker Park, Oberlin Inn, Wood & Wine, Aladdin’s, and Kiedrowski’s Bakery (among many, many others).

A recent addition to the list of restaurants includes Tom’s Country Place; plus Wood Fire Grille and Flavor The Town Catering just announced they’ll be hosting a tasting table on the main floor in addition to L’Amour du Vin’s VIP Lounge.

Bonus! Whiskey, bourbon and vodka tastings in the VIP Lounge

Speaking of the VIP Lounge, if you need a break from wine tasting, check out that ticket option because besides exclusive dishes and specialty drinks, VIP ticketholders will be able to enjoy whiskey, bourbon and vodka tastings from Brown-Forman and  Watershed Distillery.

I’ve always found that great food and wine can only be made better when paired with good music, which will be provided throughout the evening by the Jazz Ensemble at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.

Celebrating its 15th year, L’Amour du Vin - presented by EMH Healthcare - is one of the key fundraisers for the Arthritis Foundation of Northeastern Ohio.

In our region alone more than 1.5 million people suffer with arthritis. But because of the funds raised through events like this, the Arthritis Foundation is able to support research and educate the public about the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of this disease which affects one in five Americans and nearly 300,000 children.

The Arthritis Foundation has made it their mission to empower people to Take Control of their arthritis and lessen its impact through such efforts as the Arthritis Answers help-line and Aquatic and Walk with Ease fitness programs.  Here’s a bit more about the Arthritis Foundation’s impact across the country:

Click image for larger version

Tickets for L’Amour du Vin are $60 for general admission and $90 for VIP admission. You can purchase tickets by clicking here.

In addition to the funds raised through ticket sales, L’Amour du Vin’s silent auction and raffle will go to support the Arthritis Foundation of Northeastern Ohio.

Auction highlights include a number of spa and vacation getaways and packages for local restaurants and entertainment. I think the wine bottle raffle is what’s calling my name the most, though:

For $40, guests have a chance to win a five-night/four-day Western Caribbean cruise out of Miami, FL. However, no one goes home empty handed as each person who enters will win a bottle of white wine.

With L’Amour du Vin being only one week away, I’m excited to give away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader:

There are 4 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway

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

1) I’m allergic to red wine (I know - worst Italian ever!) so I’m always in the market for a new white wine to try. For one entry in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite white wine (type + winery or brand if you know it).

2) Facebook users: Share this link http://wp.me/pPIgG-1yF on Facebook then leave a comment letting me know you did (good for one entry).

3) Follow @ADHicken and @ArthritisFouNEO on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did both (good for one entry).

4) Twitter users can also get an extra entry each day for tweeting the giveaway with a link to this post. Sample tweet you can use: “I want to raise a glass to @ArthritisFouNEO at #LAmourduVin. Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway for your chance to win: http://wp.me/pPIgG-1yF”  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

You have until Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 11:59PM to enter. On Wednesday, Oct. 17, 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 invited by the Arthritis Foundation of Northeastern Ohio to help promote L’Amour du Vin. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary VIP tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, though, the choice of events and opinions I share are my own.

Giveaway: CCFA Movie Gala with Luxe at Capitol Theatre

Capitol Theatre and Luxe partner to help the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America

Call me old-fashioned, but there is nothing like dinner and a movie when it comes to date night. And in Cleveland, the Capitol Theatre and surrounding restaurants in Gordon Square are Scott’s and my go-to.

Luxe Kitchen & Lounge, XYZ, and Stone Mad are all great dinner and drink options right around the historic Capitol, while Happy Dog, Spice, Reddstone, and Battery Park Wine Bar are just a walk away. If you’re in the mood for a well-crafted coffee, there’s Gypsy Beans. And Sweet Moses Soda Fountain is perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth.

On October 25th, one of Gordon Square’s finest – Luxe - is teaming up with the Capitol Theatre to present a night full of culinary and cinematic treats, raising dinner and a movie to new heights.

At the second annual Cleveland Movie Gala to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, guests will enjoy gourmet food from Luxe, cocktails and staggered film screenings from 7 to 11pm.

I love the Capitol’s 1920s-era decor and architecture and think it’ll be a fantastic backdrop for the event. And with Chef Brian Okin’s creativity and skill in the kitchen, the food is sure to match (here’s my review of the CLE Dinner Club visit to Luxe if you want a glimpse at his talent).

CCFA Movie Gala: Oct. 25, 7-11pm

All of this will go to support the work of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.  CCFA continually works to find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis while improving the quality of life for children and adults affected by these diseases.

From clinical research to educational programs and supportive services for those with chronic intestinal diseases, CCFA is there to help the 1.4 million Americans who are currently diagnosed (in Northeast Ohio alone, there is an estimated 20,000 people diagnosed).  This video from a young boy who just had surgery for UC really helped demonstrate the importance of CCFA’s work for me.

I hope you’ll join me at the CCFA Movie Gala and support the Northeast Ohio chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Purchase general admission tickets for only $50 for an evening of food, two drink tickets and a movie ticket (VIP tickets include all of this + an open bar for $100).

You can also enter my giveaway to win 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) My favorite excuse to visit Capitol is for their Sunday Classics series. Watching Charade surrounded by the Capitol’s vintage aesthetic is a great way to spend a Sunday morning. What’s your favorite classic film? Leave a comment on this post for one entry.

2) Like the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation – Northeast Ohio Chapter 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-1wW) 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 win tickets to @CCFA_NEOhio’s Movie Gala. Enter @ADHicken’s #CCFAneo giveaway for your chance to win: http://wp.me/pPIgG-1wW”  (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 Thursday, Oct. 4 at 11:59PM to enter. On Friday, Oct. 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 general admission tickets to give away to the CCFA Movie Gala and a pair for myself in exchange for this post. As always, though, my thoughts and the final choice of events I share are my own.

Tremont's First Annual Steelyard Chef

The tree-and-church-lined Lincoln Park in Tremont is often buzzing with festivals and markets

Before Scott and I moved to Cleveland, we flew out one weekend to take a look at the city. We kept hearing about this place called Tremont from a couple of coworkers who used to live there.

Unfortunately, this was before we owned our GPS and being a bit directionally challenged we couldn’t find it (I’ll confess that at the time I don’t think we realized it was a neighborhood in Cleveland and not a nearby town).

So after returning home wowed by the rest of Cleveland but disappointed we didn’t have a chance to visit Tremont, we put it at the top of our to-do list for when we moved here.

A trip to Prosperity Social Club was our first Tremont adventure, whose old neighborhood charm and vintage bowling machine instantly won the neighborhood a spot in my list of favorites (their selection of gin and tonics doesn’t hurt either).

Enjoying our latest visit to Prosperity in Tremont with Scott’s mom and grandmother

Of course, as we learned each time we returned to Tremont, it’s difficult to not find something to like.

Culinary experiences abound, like homemade ethnic cuisine at Sokolowski’s, fine dining from Dante, Lolita and Parallax (among many others) and pubs like Tremont Taphouse and Treehouse.

Art galleries and local businesses such as Loop, Wine and Design and Visible Voice offer unique local shopping. And architecture and cultural centers give a glimpse into Cleveland’s rich heritage.

All this is set against a gorgeous backdrop of tree-lined streets and green spaces like Lincoln Park.

For the past 30 years, Tremont West Development Corporation has worked to maintain this dynamic community. While protecting the neighborhood’s history and culture, they work with local businessowners and residents to continually improve Tremont for the future.

Chalk artist at Tremont’s Arts and Cultural Festival a few weeks ago

They also host events throughout the year to showcase the neighborhood’s gems. Every Tuesday, they help host the Tremont Farmers’ Market, and on the second Friday of each month, the Tremont Artwalk. Other events like Taste of Tremont, Arts in August and the recent Arts and Cultural Festival fill the year with more reasons to visit and stay.

Tremont West’s latest event is the first annual Steelyard Chef.  Starting at 6pm on Oct. 10, four of Tremont’s finest restaurants will come together and go head to head for a new neighborhood fundraiser.

Chefs from Dante, Fat Cats, Fahrenheit and Lolita will each prepare one entree that will be rated by guests. At the end, the chef with the highest number of votes will be awarded the title Steelyard Chef.

Tremont resident Anjelica Pozo, a nationally renowned ceramic artist, has created a one-of-a-kind art piece which will be displayed in the winning restaurant until next year’s Steelyard Chef is crowned.

Steelyard Chef @ St. Theodosius, Oct. 10

For $75, guests will be able to enjoy each chef’s dish, as well as passed appetizers prepared by the competing restaurants, an open bar featuring beverages donated by Goose Island Beer Company and Wine Trends, and dessert from A Cookie and A Cupcake. Live entertainment will be provided all evening by the Tony Koussa Jr. Band.

This all takes place on the grounds of Tremont’s historic St. Theodosius Orthodox Cathedral, where guests can marvel at one of the neighborhood’s most iconic sites – the onion-shaped domes and classic Russian architecture of the oldest Orthodox Christian church in Ohio.

Tickets are available at tremontwest.org/index/webapp-paypal-form. Proceeds from Steelyard Chef will benefit neighborhood development.