Category Archives: Fall

Giveaway: A Night of Wine, Food and Chocolate at Locavore

NMSS Ohio Buckeye Chapter's Locavore - September 27

NMSS Ohio Buckeye Chapter’s Locavore – September 27

I think it’s safe to say most (if not all) of us love eating local. There’s something about a meal prepared with fresh, local, high-quality ingredients that just tastes better.

For all of you local culinary lovers who missed last week’s Taste of the Browns giveaway, today’s giveaway features another great food event raising money for an excellent cause.

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5 Recommendations for Wintertime Fun in Cleveland

Today is the Ohio Blogging Association‘s All State Blog Swap where bloggers from all around the state are swapping posts.

This guest post is by Danielle from Find Time for Fun. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Danielle wanted to share her love of the area with her two young children but  struggled to find information about family friendly activities. Visit FindTimeforFun.com to learn about events, attractions and ideas for fun at home.

Then visit Poise in Parma to read the rest of today’s All State Blog Swap posts and check out my post Clue Into Cleveland’s Top 5 for Out-of-Town Guests.

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Winter is right around the corner, which means the snow will be here before we know it!  While winter certainly isn’t my favorite season, I do try to make the best of it.

Thankfully, Cleveland offers many fun wintertime activities; some will have you playing outside while others will help get you into the Holiday spirit.  Below are my five recommendations for winter fun in Cleveland.

The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation (photo from www.clemetparks.com)

Tobogganing at the Chalet in the Mill Stream Run Reservation – Remember how much fun it was to go sled riding when you were young?  Channel your inner child this winter and go Tobogganing in the Cleveland Metroparks.  The Chalet has two 1,000-foot refrigerated ice chutes that can operate with or without snow and are open from the end of November to the middle of March.

Snowshoeing at Penitentiary Glen Reservation – Lake Metroparks offers nearly 7 miles of snowshoeing trails for guests to explore.  Beginners can start with the Peppermint Trail, a short quarter-mile loop.  Snowshoes can be rented by the hour or by the day, and rental is available daily from the middle of November through early March.

Rink at Wade Oval in University Circle

Outdoor Ice Skating at the Rink at Wade Oval – There is something about ice skating outdoors that makes it even more enjoyable.  This winter, get the full ice skating experience at the outdoor Rink at Wade Oval.  Admission is FREE and Skate Rental (if needed) is only $3 per person.  The Rink is open from the end of November through the middle of February.

Lolly the Trolley Holiday Tours – Riding through Cleveland on Lolly the Trolley is a great way to see the city.  Add Christmas lights and decorations to the mix and you have a truly unique and memorable experience.  During the month of December, there are a number of Special Holiday Tours including: A Christmas Story House Tours, Silver Bells Plus Tours and Family Fun Night Tours.

2012 Glow at the Garden (photo from www.cbgarden.org)

Glow at the Garden – While visiting The Cleveland Botanical Gardens is always a great option, it is especially enjoyable during the holiday season.  From late November through the end of December guests can view the decorated trees and gingerbread houses while listening to Christmas music, ride on the garden express train, decorate their own gingerbread houses, and do some holiday shopping at the gift shop.

Those are just some of the events and activities that make winter in Cleveland fun.  Leave a comment below and let us know some of your favorite wintertime activities in Cleveland. 

PlayhouseSquare Doubleheader: Jump Back Ball Kick Off and Staging Success Premiere, Nov. 15

Celebrate PlayhouseSquare’s next 90 years at Jump Back Ball

This year one of Cleveland’s landmark institutions is celebrating its 90th birthday. As the country’s largest performing arts center outside of New York, PlayhouseSquare engages our community and attracts over one million guests each year to 1,000+ annual events.

But that wasn’t always the case.

Although PlayhouseSquare was downtown Cleveland’s cinematic and entertainment destination for many years, the post-WWII flight to the suburbs combined with a growing interest in tv, led to both the proverbial and literal wrecking ball landing at the door of PlayhouseSquare’s theatres.

Who saved PlayhouseSquare, though?

It’s an empowering story that exemplifies the resilient, passionate attitude I love about Cleveland. And on Thursday, Nov. 15, you can experience it when a new documentary on WVIZ/PBS tells the story of the volunteers, civic leaders and organizations who put PlayhouseSquare on its remarkable road to renewal.

Thanks to fundraisers like Jump Back Ball, PlayhouseSquare is able to provide arts entertainment and education for Northeast Ohio

Staging Success: The PlayhouseSquare Story blends nostalgic older films and photos with stunning new footage and interviews from the people that helped usher PlayhouseSquare into a new era.  It premieres Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8pm (encores: 11/16 at 9 p.m., 11/18 at 4 p.m. and 11/22 at 10 p.m.). Find your WVIZ/PBS channel at ideastream.org/programs/channel_guide.

While the Staging Success story has a happy ending, PlayhouseSquare still needs your support to continue this vibrant renaissance for future audiences.

Hands down my favorite way to support PlayhouseSquare’s mission is to snag a ticket to Cleveland’s craziest party – the 22nd annual Jump Back Ball on Feb. 23, 2013.

As much fun as I had planning last year’s Jump Back Ball, I’m ecstatic this year to have been selected as one of PlayhouseSquare’s Jump Back Ball bloggers.

Especially because this year’s Jump Back Ball co-chairs Maurie and Sam have picked a fantastic theme: Jump Back 2 Spaces, featuring decor, activities and surprises from some of your favorite board games.

Feb. 23, 2013 at PlayhouseSquare’s State Theatre

Now you’re probably thinking – February 23 seems like it’s really far away.

However, as someone who has attended and volunteered for Jump Back Ball in the past, trust me when I say this: you want need to get your tickets now!

Fortunately, before you tune into Staging Success on Thursday night, PlayhouseSquare is hosting Jump Back Ball’s Kickoff Happy Hour.

Stop by the Market Garden Brewery from 5:30-7:30pm on Nov. 15 to enjoy free apps, drink specials and prizes. PLUS buy your tickets at the lowest price they’re ever going to be!

Enjoy a pint of Market Garden’s Festivus at the Jump Back Ball Kick Off

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

  • You’ll save the most money. Attending the Kickoff Happy Hour is the only way to get tickets for $135 each. The price increase the next day by $20.
  • 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 use it every year because breaking my purchase up over the course of 4 months makes it really easy on the bank account.
  • Last year’s event sold out very early. If you want to go to Jump Back Ball, don’t wait — each year the event sells out earlier than the year before.  The earlier you purchase tickets, you’ll not just save money but also guarantee 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 will be transformed into an homage to board games like Monopoly, LIFE, Clue, and Candy Land, with guests invited to dress up either in their finest or a theme-inspired outfit.

My suggestion: Save even more on your ticket by becoming a PlayhouseSquare Partner. One of the many perks of the tax-deductible Partners membership (starting at $100 for 1-2 people) is you get to enjoy a ticket price of only $110 at the Kick Off (limit 2 tickets).

If you buy 2 tickets to Jump Back Ball at the Kick Off, the $50 difference between the regular price and the Partners discount makes up for half of your membership. While the other half is made up by the tax deduction, invitations to other social, networking and volunteer events and an assortment of other perks.

And the best part about buying a ticket to Jump Back Ball or becoming a member of Partners on Nov. 15? You can go home that night, tune into WVIZ and know you’re Staging the Success of PlayhouseSquare’s next chapter.

Keep an eye on Clue Into Cleveland and playhousesquare.org/jumpbackball over the next few months for more information about Jump Back 2 Spaces.

Disclosure: I was invited to blog about Staging Success and this year’s Jump Back Ball in exchange for one general admission ticket to Jump Back Ball 2012. I will also be attending an advance screening of Staging Success as both a blogger and PlayhouseSquare Partner. My opinions on Jump Back Ball, though, are always 100% my own. Aerial photo of PlayhouseSquare is courtesy of PlayhouseSquare.

Fabulous Food Show Discounts + Giveaway Winner

Back for a 7th year Nov. 9-11

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for Fabulous Food Show tickets. It was nice to see I’m not the only one whose favorite holiday (or anytime) dish is stuffing.

And many many thanks to everyone who linked to or posted a recipe for me – I’m going to have to try out a few of them when we have family visiting.

After counting up all of the entries and removing 2 pingbacks, the winning entry selected by Random.org is…

Congratulations, entry number 26 – Andy Tojek, for winning a pair of general admission tickets to the Fabulous Food Show! I will email you today to confirm your prize.

It’s also not too late to purchase tickets.

This Friday through Sunday, the 7th annual Fabulous Food Show will take over the I-X Center with 100+ live presentations, 500+ fine food and art exhibitors and a Tasting Pavilion with 350+ wines, spirits and specialty beers.

One-Day Gen. Admission costs $25 if purchased in advance online ($30.00 during the show). To purchase one-day, weekend and other special packages, visit www.fabulousfoodshow.com/tickets.aspx.

There are also new discounts for veterans and children this year:

New This Year: Fabulous Food Show discounts for children and veterans. Other promos available through Giant Eagle, the Lottery and local businesses

  • To foster the next generation of chefs and food enthusiasts, the Fabulous Food Show will be offering new kid-friendly cooking content throughout the weekend, free admission for young chefs 6 and under, and $15 admission for 7-16 years old (onsite purchase only).
  • In honor of Veterans Day on Sunday, November 11, veterans and active military can purchase half-price tickets ($15 onsite with ID).Former White House Chef Sam Morgante will also host the Taste for the Troops military cooking competition on Sunday at 3pm in the Main Kitchen Theatre.  Five branches of the military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and the Coast Guard – will go head-to-head in a judged cooking contest using a secret ingredient.A portion of the event proceeds will be donated to support veteran’s affairs.
  • And because I always love a good promo, Giant Eagle shoppers can purchase $17 general admission tickets for Friday’s show at participating locations’ customer service counters. Saturday and Sunday advance tickets can be purchased at Giant Eagle for $25 with no service fees. More info about this and other Fabulous Food Show promotions.

Enjoy the show!

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 Taxel – two 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.

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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.

Batten Down the Hatches

Not garden gnomes anymore

I had a giveaway for the Fabulous Food Show planned for today but with the power outages, flooding and the fact that our commute to work is going to be very long and rocky, I’m pushing it off until tomorrow.

Please be very careful out there, Northeast Ohio. And to my friends on the East Coast, keep those hatches battened down. The hurricane veterans that they are, my parents and sister in Virginia are prepped, safe and sound. While Scott’s family in DC and NJ are fortunately also stocked up.

But there are a lot of people along the East Coast and in our region that will need help in the days, weeks and likely months to come. With fond memories of summer days visiting Brigantine off of Atlantic City, seeing the destruction and loss of life going on there is difficult.

However, we can support community relief efforts by donating to the American Red Cross’s Disaster Relief Fund (or if you’re in an area heavily affected and you’re able to, make a donation to your Local Red Cross Chapter). The Red Cross also posted this article with helpful tips for giving during a disaster.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my originally planned post. In the meantime, please take a note from my garden gnomes and stay safe and indoors as much as possible!

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.

MIX: Masquerade Celebrates Museum of Art's New Atrium

Earlier in October Cleveland young professionals got a new monthly event to add to their calendars: Cleveland Museum of Art’s MIX First Fridays.

And after their first party showcased the Half the air balloon exhibit, November’s MIX turns its attention to the opening of the Museum’s stunning new atrium.

The Ames Family Atrium, along with the new Museum Store and Chef Doug Katz’s Provenance Restaurant and Café, are the latest additions to the Cleveland Museum of Art’s building expansion.

Museum guests have gotten a sneak peek at the space since it partially opened to the public in August. And this Sunday, Oct. 28 the whopping 39,000-square-foot piazza officially opens!

It’ll be the largest free public space in Northeast Ohio, bridging the original 1916 and 1971 buildings and new east and west wings with a beautiful curved glass roof.

Over 40 groups will come together on Sunday from 11am to 4pm to showcase Cleveland’s different cultures and celebrate with a day of music, dancing, art-making and other family-friendly activities.

And on Friday, Nov. 2 the Atrium will host its first public evening event at
MIX: Masquerade.

Now, in my opinion, that photo of the Atrium is reason enough to get tickets, but MIX: Masquerade has a few more tricks up its sleeve in case you need convincing.

For those who don’t get their fill of Halloween festivities earlier in the week, the Nov. 2 party will feature mysteries and ghost stories throughout the galleries from 5-7pm.

Then at 7pm, slip on a mask if you’re so inclined to get into the Masquerade spirit, as 2 DJs and an orchestra take over the Atrium.

There’s so much going on, the Museum is extending its hours until 11pm that night.

Tickets are $7 for members, $14 for non-members (yet another reason to join). Call 216.421.7350 or visit clevelandart.org/mix for tickets. Reservations are strongly suggested.

Sip a cocktail, explore the collection, dance the night away and enjoy the view!

Disclosure: I was invited to blog about MIX in exchange for attending. As always though, the choice of which events I share is my own.

Smartphone Rehab (or An Excuse to Get Away to NY)

It doesn’t matter where we are, Scott will always ham it up for the camera (and that’s why I love him)

Some blogkeeping: Today’s the last day of the L’Amour du Vin giveaway. You can enter here until 11:59 tonight and I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.

I have an addiction. To my cellphone.

Whether it’s checking my email, refreshing news apps to see if there are new articles to read (regardless of whether or not the topic interests me) or checking Twitter and Facebook for the nth time today, I spend almost every moment I’m not doing something (and some moments I am) with my hands on that touchscreen.

I know it’s not an unusual – or new – compulsion to have (my similarly unhealthy WebMD obsession gave me this guide to smartphone addiction).  But the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

So, seeing how disruptive my phone habits had gotten, I turned my cell off on Friday night and headed out of town for a bit of a social media getaway.

Enjoying a glass or two at Johnson Estate Winery, New York’s oldest

Our destination was Westfield, NY outside of Chautauqua. The area had come highly recommended from Alicia @ Poise in Parma, who had visited the Chautauqua Institute last year.

Despite the area’s reputation, though, for providing a tranquil escape, I could feel the withdrawal setting in as we headed out.  I mean – between FourSquare and Instagram alone – I think I actually use my phone more often when I’m on vacation than at home.

I feared that not having my phone for two days on a scenic roadtrip was going to be too difficult of a test.

However, I had the support of Jen, Kimberly and Alicia – a few of my other social media/smartphone addicts with me, a pile of books and board games and a weekend full of plans to keep me from suffering from withdrawal.

If you’re looking to escape, the Captain Storm House B and B is picture-perfect

The 8 of us took over the Captain Storm House Bed and Breakfast, a beautiful Queen Anne revival house whose rooms were reminiscent of the house in CLUE.

Fitting, since our Friday and Saturday nights were spent playing board games like Apples to Apples, Say Anything, Marry-Date-Dump and a childhood favorite Fireball Island.

After throwing together a homemade waffle bar, we set out on Saturday morning for a tour of some of the area’s wineries. We enjoyed Noble Winery’s beautiful fall foliage against the backdrop of Lake Erie, as well as some interesting historic cellars like the one at South Shore Wine Company.

While I didn’t think some of the wines stood up against those from our trip to Geneva, I enjoyed the white and ice wines at the Johnson Estate Winery and picked up a bottle of their spice wine to savor over the winter.

Samplings at Southern Tier

Our last stop for the weekend was Southern Tier Brewing Co. It was my first visit to the brewery and after I sampled a bit of their brews, it was the highlight of the weekend’s sight-seeing.

I picked up a couple of bottles of Mokah and Choklat and took advantage of a nice buy 2, get 1 free sale on Back Burner. I love Barley Wine ales and can’t wait to break into those.

All of that beer got me in the mood for Cleveland Beer Week kicking off this Friday and running through the 27th (because you know you need more than just 7 days to fit in all of the great beer events!).  Fortunately, Cleveland Food and Brews posted a helpful guide for Cleveland Beer Week on his blog.

Now I just need to narrow my list down! No easy task though I know I’ll at least be starting things off with Fat Head’s Victory brunch and Lilly’s Big Bang Theory-inspired chocolate and beer pairing on Saturday.  Bazinga!

Ohio’s Fall foliage and a picnic welcomed us back from the weekend

As Scott and I enjoyed a roadside picnic on our drive home from New York, I was happy to realize I only thought about tweeting 2 times the entire weekend. Instead I focused on having a fun time with friends without being constantly distracted by my phone.

Now that I’m home I’ve noticed my “smartphone rehab” was much-needed and that I’m not constantly checking my phone as much as I did – in fact it’s sitting very comfortably at the bottom of my purse right now.  But while I’m not hoping for a relapse, I wouldn’t mind another excuse to getaway again. :)

Do you think you’re too dependent on your phone or social media?  If so, what do you do to try and break the habit? (I could use all the tips I can get!)

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.