Category Archives: Tremont

Clue Into Cleveland Blogs, Ohio Blogging Edition

Tremont Farmers' Market

Tremont Farmers’ Market

Last night, a handful of Cleveland bloggers headed to Tremont for July’s Ohio Blogging Meetup.

Before converging on the Lincoln Park Pub for Taco Tuesday and a chat about blogging, we browsed the Tremont Farmers’ Market.

I grabbed a peach and cherry pie from Gray House Pies and chicken paprikash pierogi from Pride of Cleveland Pierogies; however, my favorite treat of the night was a cucumber and mint popsicle from Popsmith.

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Giveaway: Dishcrawl Cleveland’s Neighborfood

Dishcrawl Cleveland's Menu of Non-Profits to Benefit at Neighborfood

Dishcrawl Cleveland’s “Menu” of Nonprofits Benefiting from Neighborfood

Cleveland is filled with so many incredible nonprofits that it can sometimes be difficult to choose how to give back to the community.

Not the worst problem to have, I know. But Neighborfood, a new event on June 22 from food tour company Dishcrawl Cleveland, wants to make it a little easier for us.

With a literal “menu” of local nonprofits to choose from, a portion of each ticket goes to community causes while showing off one of Northeast Ohio’s delicious neighborhoods.

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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.

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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.

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.

Guest Post: Smitten with Tremont's Wine and Design

As you read this, I’m on the road to Virginia to spend the week with my family. While I’m gone, I have a few local bloggers clue-ing into the things they love about Cleveland.

First up is Kimberly, who not just shares my enthusiasm for this city, but is also a wonderful friend (and is usually wearing an outfit I want to steal). Thanks, Kimberly, for taking the time to share a bit about Wine & Design!

With Why CLE and Kimberly at Velvet Tango Room

Hi all! I’m Kimberly from SMITTEN…in cleveland, where I write about everything I’m smitten with, be it food, fashion, beauty or home. While Amanda is taking some time off, I wanted to share one of my most favorite shops in Cleveland with you.

Wine & Design is one of those treasures that unless you happen upon it, you might just miss it. Located on Starkweather in Tremont, it sits right next to St. Theodosis church. Just a few steps away from Lilly’s Chocolates and Lucky’s Cafe. Wine & Design is the perfect urban mix of stylish home furnishings and delightful, affordable wine finds. The concept works well and also serves as home base for owner Greg Morris’ interior design business.

This little boutique draws you right in with their gorgeous renovated storefront and artfully decorated windows. Once inside, you immediately feel welcomed and at home. There is an easy feel about the space and that has a lot to do with Greg’s charm and passion. Wine and accessories line the walls mixed with local art, custom  furniture and whimsical gift ideas. It’s like you’re stepping into a friend’s home. A friend with really great taste.

Stop in on a weekend for a wine tasting. You’ll find quite an impressive collection of wines under the $20 mark and Greg is always quick with a recommendation.

All the wines they carry are handpicked (or should I say tasted) to ensure you go home with the perfect bottle. Also available are a few more expensive wines and champagnes perfect for gifting.

Aside from the delectable wine and modern-yet-spirited housewares is a unique design business. Greg has designed everything from personal homes to public spaces and has even helped out with a few set designs for movies that have been filmed here.

Have a few pieces you love for a room and not sure where to go next? Looking for the perfect sofa or table? He takes on every project, no matter the size, with incredible insight and passion all wrapped up in a laid-back exterior.

Many times I’ll pop in looking for the perfect hostess gift or a bottle of wine for dinner with friends. You will find exactly what you’re looking for and have it wrapped and ready to go.

Keep an eye out for their monthly wine tastings which are larger than the weekend ones and typically feature 4-5 wines and nibbles. One visit and I guarantee you will be smitten too.

treats at a monthly tasting

My First Dance with Velvet Tango Room at "Last Tango in Tremont"

I can finally cross another thing off my “What?!? You’ve never been there?” Cleveland list after I found myself on the doorstep of the Velvet Tango Room for the first time.

If you don’t know what you’re looking for when you’re driving by Velvet Tango Room, you’ll likely miss it (I almost did until I noticed the small sign in their front window). But once you cross the threshold, you’re transported from an unsuspecting Cleveland neighborhood into a bygone era.

From the well-appointed furniture to the vintage decor, beautiful piano, and private backroom, VTR seemed like a set straight out of Midnight in Paris. The mood reminded me of that glow of romance and anticipation you get on a first date.

Last week’s trip to VTR was for Emerging Chefs’ Last Tango in Tremont dinner.  The sold-out crowd took over the Velvet Tango Room’s backroom and patio, which is where Scott and I snagged a table with Smitten in CLE, Why CLE and @TheRealCLEGuy.

The setup was a little different compared to previous Emerging Chefs. As Eat Drink Cleveland noted in her recap, some of the table settings were better suited for cocktails and small bites instead of a five-course meal. Despite this, though, the layout provided an intimacy you don’t always have a chance to enjoy at a large culinary event.

Chef Brian Rosander designed the menu for the evening. While the first course was being served, he came and spoke to each room about his inspiration for the evening. Because of the recent heatwave, Chef Rosander created dishes that were all chilled. His goal with chilled dishes was to not only provide us a refreshing escape, but also showcase the flavor of the ingredients without dampening them with heat.

Velvet Tango Room’s Paulius Nasvytis handpicked a cocktail to pair with each dish. As wonderful as VTR’s vibe is, it’s their dedication to cocktails that makes them famous. The combination of fresh, artisan ingredients and VTR’s experts behind the bar contributes to these consumable masterpieces, and guests at Last Tango had the chance to enjoy a cross-section of five of them.

The evening’s first act featured a bowl of Chilled Pea Bisque. This creamy, refreshing soup was topped with a dollop of fresh crab. It’s difficult to create a dish that’s equal-parts hearty and fresh, but the bisque achieved this. And honestly, adding crab to almost anything will make me happy.

The dish was paired with a White Lotus cocktail, a subtle drink whose taste of honey took me a few sips to identify, but really elevated the beverage. I always like to think about what time of year I’d prefer to drink a specific cocktail, and the White Lotus struck me as the ideal Springtime drink – fresh, citrusy ingredients with a bit of warmth that would be welcome after a long winter.

The second course was a sampling of Toulouse sausage, and Aligot, Purple Majesty, and American potatoes. Chef Rosander introduced the dish by saying it was his take on a French-inspired antipasto.  The sausage, in particular, topped with a light creamy cheese was my favorite part of the plate.

A bite of this chilled sausage, followed by some of the Aligot mashed potatoes and then a sip of VTR’s Manhattan packed the biggest flavor of the evening.

VTR’s Manhattans will knock you for a loop. If I had to pick a drink from the evening’s selections that reflected VTR’s essence, it would be this classic – deceptively straightforward but perfected by VTR’s attention to detail and the flourish of the Italian-imported cherry that accompanies it.

While I thought the second course featured the best individual mouthful of the evening, Chef Rosander’s Chicken Mousselin with tomato tarte tatin maintained the best overall flavor throughout the entire course. A seasoned cut of chicken was topped with a juicy, roasted tomato, drizzled with basil oil and garnished with a bit of fresh basil.

Everyone agreed that it was reminiscent of a caprese salad and was the dish I’d want to try to replicate at home for dinner (though I doubt I could come close!).

In my opinion, this dish also had the most complementary drink pairing of the evening. It was served with an Apricot Lady – whose tartness was tempered by the egg whites. The drink and dish were ideal for summer and most-exemplified Chef Rosander’s goal for the evening to provide a chilled, fresh – yet still flavorful – meal.

The only lowlight of the evening for me was Act 4, a savory twist on a traditional French clafoutis. A clafoutis is most often served as a dessert – filled with fruit and dusted with powder sugar. While Chef Rosander’s clafoutis had apples baked into it and powder sugar on top, it also featured poached pork belly.

I appreciate Chef Rosander taking a chance to try something different with the dish. Unfortunately, the cooled flavor of the pork belly didn’t come through as well as I would have liked and I personally found the chewy, soft texture off-putting.

The Berkshire Martinez that accompanied the course had a sharp bite of gin and bitters. When it comes to gin, it seems people fall into two camps — with strong feelings of either love or hate for it.

Fortunately I love gin and thought this was one of the better drinks of the evening (I even got a second serving when Scott – a non-gin fan – couldn’t stomach a sip of it). After looking up the ingredients for a Berkshire Martinez, I was not surprised when it took me to the blog of one of my favorite food writers (and singer of Velvet Tango Room’s praises) Michael Ruhlman.  The Berkshire is Ruhlman’s variation on a Martinez, named after the road in Cleveland Heights where it was first made.

The fifth course was a return to form for Chef Rosander, as we wrapped the evening with a Ginger fruit tartare over rosemary cream catalana and rosemary-chocolate ganache. The fruit and cream ended the meal as subtly as it began with the bisque, while the chocolate ganache added a dark richness to it.

Dessert concluded with VTR’s White Russian.  I have fond memories of White Russians as they were the first cocktail I ever drank — though VTR’s was far superior. I was particularly excited for this beverage because it showcased VTR’s specially-made ice cubes, designed to cool your drink without melting and watering it down.

As we leisurely sipped our White Russians and watched some distant fireworks, I reflected on how a tango is equal parts teamwork, passion and dedication to the craft.  Thanks to Emerging Chefs bringing them together, Chef Rosander and the Velvet Tango Room performed a nearly perfect dance that was music to all my senses.

The next Emerging Chefs event takes place Friday, August 3 at Saint Rocco’s Church when Chef Jeff Fisher presents an evening of Italian summer fare. Tickets for Sagra di San Rocco are only $50 and are on sale now.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend Emerging Chefs Last Tango in Tremont with a single media pass; Scott purchased his ticket. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Emerging Chefs' Last Tango in Tremont at Velvet Tango Room

The latest in Emerging Chefs’ 2012 Culinary Performance Series, Last Tango in Tremont on July 2

A couple weeks ago Kimberly at Smitten…in CLE wrote that people fall into two categories — those who have been to Cleveland’s Velvet Tango Room and love it and those who have heard its praises sung but haven’t made it out there yet.

Unfortunately, I fall in the latter. From the comfortable atmosphere of a vintage-style speakeasy to their almost-religious devotion to crafting cocktails, VTR has long been heralded to me as one of “the best bars in the world.”  But since moving to Cleveland I just haven’t had a chance to go.

I don’t have a good reason for why I haven’t been.  However, I have a feeling that my first visit there is going to make up for lost time:

On July 2nd, I’ll be heading over to 2095 Columbus Road for Emerging Chefs’ next installment in their 2012 Culinary Performance Series — Last Tango in Tremont.

After May’s impressive Ode to Pig (here’s Eat.Drink.Cleveland’s review – yowzers!), the only way Emerging Chefs could possibly top it is with a trip to the Velvet Tango Room.

I love the different artwork Emerging Chefs is putting out for this month’s party, inspired by the film it takes its name from

This month’s production (I don’t think the word ‘event’ does it justice) will be backdropped against VTR’s garden and private backroom.

As live jazz plays, Chef Brian Rosander of Rosander Event Kitchen will create a five-course menu to pair with cocktails by Paulius Nasvytis, the owner and genius behind Velvet Tango Room.

From 6-9pm, guests will lavish their senses with this three-part feast of culinary excellence, libations and VTR’s timeless ambience. Weather permitting, a silent showing of the scintillating “Last Tango in Paris” will play in the courtyard.

Tickets cost $75, but since one of VTR’s masterpieces costs around $15 (and worth every penny I’ve heard), I consider this an equitable price for the caliber of the evening. Plus, one lucky foursome will be gifted by a ‘naughty’ Bananas Foster served up by Paulius.

I’m looking forward to popping my Velvet Tango Room cherry (hopefully with one of their imported Italian cherries!) on July 2nd.

If you’d like to join me, tickets can be purchased at http://emergingchefs2012-4.eventbrite.com.

Disclosure: I will be attending Emerging Chefs with a media pass while Scott is purchasing his ticket for the event. As always, all opinions and the choice of which events I post about are my own.

Blog Swap: MissWineOH says, Wines you HAVE to try

Today is the Ohio Blogging Association‘s Cleveland November Blog Swap. As part of it, I’m happy to introduce you to Tammy, Chief Tasting Officer at MissWineOH . On this day, bloggers from around the Northeast Ohio area are guest posting on one another’s blogs as a way to get to know each other in our blogging community. For a full listing of blog swap participants, please visit Poise in Parma today.

I met Amanda at a Wine and Cupcakes event recently, and we have a shared love of the city of Cleveland and its culinary and wine delights. I’m happy to be swapping blogs with her today and sharing some of my favorite wines.

Many of us head out for social gatherings or parties in restaurants during the holiday season. And many of those events are held in our local restaurants, where some of the best chefs in the country make their homes – and their incredible food. Some of Cleveland’s best restaurants also have some pretty intimidating wine lists. When you are blessed with great food, you can also be cursed with the “what do I pick off this wine list?” dilemma.

Your first avenue of information should always be the sommelier if he or she is available – a good sommelier can recommend the perfect wine to compliment your palate, your food and your budget.  Your second avenue, however, can be this list.

As I’m a huge fan of eating in my neighborhood, these picks are from Tremont restaurants, but these wines (or very similar ones) are widely available.

Lolita

Chef Michael Symon’s bistro is reflective of his love of Cleveland. Funky, locally inspired and always changing. One of my favorite things there is the early and late Happy Hour menu. 

Nessa, Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain, 09 8.50 gl – 34 btl 
This spanish white has abundant peaches and pears and a crisp minerality that will blend seamlessly with the Lolita Happy Hour mussels (only $5!).

Revelry, “The Reveler”, Colombia Valley, 08 (Petite Verdot, Merlot, Cab)
10 gl – 40 btl

Washington State makes some great wines, and I love that this one uses Petite Verdot as the primary grape in the blend. It’s inky in color, and you’ll like the chocolate and coffee flavors on the finish. It’s an INTERESTING wine – in that “wow, pretty cool, I’ll sip and savor this a while” sort of way. And I love putting the Lolita burger with it.

Parallax

While Parallax has a lovely by the glass menu, their strength is in their bottle selections. They specialize in asian fusion and seafood – and they have a sushi menu!

Sauvignon Blanc, St. Supery, Napa Valley 2010 – 40 btl
Grapefruit and lime are the highlights with this wine, but it’s not overly tart like you will find in many New Zealand Sauv Blancs. This one is a perfect complement to the asian fusion and seafood that dominates the menu at Parallax. I love to order this and an assortment of sushi and settle in for a sensory feast.

Pinot Noir, The Four Graces, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 09 – 72 btl
While on the higher end, this pinot noir is one of the best you will find on a restaurant list in Tremont. The subtle fruit and soft tannins on this pinot serve any of the meat dishes well. I particularly love it with the Duck Confit and brussel sprouts.

Dante

Dante is a great place to stop in early or late if you find yourself having trouble getting a dinner reservation. They have a lovely bar, 2 pages of wines by the glass and 50 wines under $50 to pair with Chef Dante Bocuzzi’s incredible menu. Their wines reflect the Italian influence of the food.

Vernaccia, Le Rote, San Gimignano, Toscana, 08 8 gl – 32 btl
A Tuscan Vernaccia at this price in a restaurant in Tremont, I’m all over it. Vernaccia is a grape grown and pressed in a particular town in the Tuscan region of Italy (San Gimignano), and this particular wine is medium bodied and just the right balance of acid and fruit. You’ll want to make sure it is well chilled. Pair it with the octopus, or any of the fresh seafood dishes for a little slice of Tuscany in Cleveland.

Barbera d’Alba, Boffa, Buschet, Piemonte 08 11 gl – 44 btl
A quintessential Italian red, the Boffa is a dry selection made from the barbera grape. This wine has some spice on it, but I’d pair it with the venison or polenta, depending on which direction your culinary tastes lead. This wine also works well for the vegetarian dishes on the menu.

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One piece of advice I always give: Ask for a taste if you are unfamiliar with the wine. The worst possible thing they can say is “no” – and I’ve never had a sommelier refuse a taste.

Do you have favorite dishes you don’t know what to drink with? Just ask!

Happy Sipping!

Clue Into Being Active in CLE

HermesCleveland.com offers way to get active in Cleveland

By no stretch of the imagination am I an athlete. If you’ve been following this blog even for a short while, you’ll know my huge loves are food and the arts. And although I enjoy watching sports, I don’t often participate in them.

A huge reason for this is that I’m just not that good at it.  Combined with the fact that I can be overly competitive, I tend to beat myself up when I don’t do well and end up not having a good time.

Despite this, though, I’ve recently started pushing myself to be more active. It started by joining Hungry in CLE‘s kickball team For Whom the Ball Rolls.  Part of the Hermes Sports and Social league, we meet every Tuesday at Tremont’s Clark Field to play kickball.  And it’s a lot of fun (even if I am too hard on myself)!

I haven’t played kickball since grade school and have quickly realized how little I remember of the game.  But I’m learning, and even if I still can’t figure out how to kick the ball so that it’s not a pop-up out, I’ll get there eventually.  In addition to Hungry in CLE, fellow bloggers @MildlyRelevant and Why CLE? are on the team.

Thanks to OH Blogging Association, I'm running my first 5K on July 9th

I can also thank blogging for introducing me to the other sports activity I’m undertaking this summer.

When Poise in Parma announced that July 9th’s Ohio Blogging Meet up would be The Run for the Pierogies, I initially planned on cheering everyone on and meeting up for brunch after the race. The last time I participated in any sort of running (and I use the term loosely) was over ten years ago.  And even then, I grudgingly walked it as part of the mandatory fitness tests in high school.

However, another one of the great things about the Ohio Blogging Association is being able to learn from other bloggers’ stories and take motivation from what has motivated them.

After these bloggers – Poise in Parma, Healthy Heddleston, WhyCLE, HungryinCLE, Finishing Firsts, A Slice of Kiwi, Mojamala2 – shared their experiences about running or getting fit (whether it was ten years or just a few months ago), I realized I could stop joking about my lack of athleticism and lace up my sneakers at the Run for the Pierogies.

And if nothing else, there is the promise of pierogies at the end of it.

Pierogies!

For once, though, I’m not setting a lofty goal.  I want to have fun while doing this and figure if I push myself too hard, I’m going to discourage myself from doing it at all.  So after clocking myself walking a 5K at a little over 50 minutes, I’m hoping to end up somewhere between 45 and 50 minutes.

Between getting winded quickly, the shin splints and hamstring strain, I’m taking it slow and confess it’ll be more of a “Speed Walk for the Pierogies” than anything else.  But it’s ok. I’m having fun and looking ahead to future 5Ks.

If you’re likewise trying to find small ways you can get more active in Cleveland, check out Hermes’ Cleveland Sports and Social activities. They offer leagues throughout the year, including volleyball, bowling, softball and skeeball.

You can also join me at the Run for the Pierogies in Parma on July 9th (a Hermes Road Racing event). There is a 1 mile and a 5k option.  Registration is $20 each and benefits the American Cancer Society Parma Area Relay for Life. The American Cancer Society is an organization that’s personally close to my heart, so I’m glad my first 5K is going to support it.

Since I’ve needed to kick myself into gear, I’ve found that Active.com and Cool Running’s Couch to 5K program are excellent resources for training.  Although I’ve had to modify some of Couch to 5K’s tips because I’m ridiculously out of shape and have a shorter time frame for my training, I’m planning to continue working on this after the 5K is over.

Have your own suggestions for how to get more active in Cleveland, including any 5Ks after July 9th you’d like to recommend?

Share them in the comments section below!

(Images from HermesCleveland.com, OHBlogging.com and Facebook.com/OHBlogging, respectively)