Tag Archives: Cleveland Foodbank

Giveaway: Tackle Hunger at Taste of the Browns

Enter to win 2 tickets to Taste of the Browns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Post: Market at the Foodbank Recap

Because Scott and I were at a wedding last weekend where this happened:

I had to miss out on this year’s Market at the Foodbank. Fortunately, Kate Galo (you may remember her from this and also this guest post) was able to attend and blog on my behalf. Enjoy her recap below along with photos from Sarah Casto!

Guests get a taste of local restaurant and beverage purveyors as well as the facility that benefits from the evening’s event – Cleveland Foodbank itself.

I think it’s fair for me to say that I am still growing into my foodie ways, still getting my knowledge of what’s really innovative ingredient-wise, and which just-opened restaurants are super hip. As a person who ate tortilla chips and some grape tomatoes for dinner, I don’t exactly have a particularly discerning palate, and I am willing to eat just about anything.

So when Amanda let me know that after running a great giveaway for the Market at the Foodbank event (congratulations again, @Dawgpndgirl!), she would be unable to attend, I very graciously said, “If you insist, I will go try inventive morsels of food from prestigious Northeast Ohio restaurants and delicious wines while supporting one of the most well-known local charitable organizations. If I must.”

Our good friend Sarah Casto and I dusted off our camera and notebook respectively, and headed over to South Waterloo Road!

Silent Auction prizes included romantic weekend getaways, Cleveland sports tickets, family-friendly birthday parties, dining packages, tours, and more!

The Market at the Foodbank is the Cleveland Foodbank’s annual Harvest for Hunger fundraiser, showcasing restaurants and catering companies from Rocky River to Solon, assisted by Celebrity Servers, and featuring exciting prizes in their Silent Auction and Raffle.

Doing my preliminary research, I was doubly excited to see that this year’s Market at the Foodbank was taking place at the actual 110,000-square-foot community food distribution center. In previous years, the benefit has been held at the Galleria on East 9th Street in downtown Cleveland.

I really enjoyed walking into the dramatically lit and decorated distribution center. I have been there in the past to assist with sorting or with dropping off food and seeing the transformation of a space that can be usually described as “warehouse” into a lit and musical party space was a treat for attendees. Several commented on being able to see firsthand the results of the hard work and fundraising of the Cleveland Foodbank.

Table 45, sharing a table with Chinato, offered a variety of fresh and tasty sushi.

Attendees of the event worked their way through the large distribution center, with chefs and catering companies set up in the open spaces and up and down the aisles, each offering one or two signature items from their restaurants and kitchens, beautifully served. With almost 50 different restaurant and beverage distributors, there were plenty of options for the dessert lovers to vegans.

Baker Leah Smith, cookie purveyor of Bake My Day, said she loved the friendliness and enthusiasm. She shared my surprise at the amount of attendees sampling the Ohio-themed cookies (Browns, OSU and Harvest for Hunger colors graced the sugar cookies) and said how much she appreciated the chance for her start-up bakery to be a part of the event.

Columbus-based start-up Bake My Day served Harvest for Hunger and Cleveland Sports Team themed sugar cookies.

Brandon Chrostowski of L’Albatros Brasserie in Cleveland, now in his third year of participating in the event, noted that there was great energy having the benefit in the warehouse, as well as the importance of letting people really see where their support goes. Attendees sampling L’Albatros’ foie gras and charcuterie certainly seemed to enjoy it!

Current food trends call for fresh herbs, vegetables and fruit, and healthier meals. The Cleveland Foodbank is undertaking several programs to achieve this goal, with Produce to People distributing over 5 million pounds of donated fruits and vegetables to Cuyahoga County communities; Mobile Pantry, where Foodbank trucks are sent to a central location and clients can pick up a three-day supply of food; and Community Gardens, with local agencies and Foodbank staff working together to plant and maintain gardens on the Foodbank property.

To promote community gardening and increased use of fresh fruits and veggies in homecooked meals, Cleveland Foodbank plans to use on-site gardens for education as well as food.

Development Officer Stephanie Mowls let me know that the Foodbank is aiming to double the amount of produce distributed by 2014, and to begin including cooking demonstrations and recipe cards, so the Foodbank‘s clients will also receive ideas for food preparation.

And how to prepare this produce and fresh food? Ben Bebenroth, chef at Spice of Life catering company and Spice Kitchen & Bar, had a great idea. While I slurped down the potato and wild ramp soup that he and executive chef of Spice of Life Brandon Walukas showcased, Ben discussed their restaurant’s commitment to high standards for where their food is sourced from, in working with local farms, and being able to use what’s in season well.

Ben Bebenroth, chef at Spice of Life catering company and Spice Kitchen & Bar, puts the finishing touches on his Potato and Wild Ramp Soup sip.

To that end, he suggested using some of the fresh herbs and vegetables that a client might get from the Foodbank to make a salted herb vinaigrette with vinegar, salt and any herbs you might have on hand in a metal saucepan, using low heat and a little time to make a dressing that can be served over salad, noodles, potatoes, or really any piece of food that’s laying around and could use a little spicy vinaigrette drizzle (a fuller version of the recipe that Ben directed to me is at Edible Cleveland).

And despite Sarah and I not winning anything from the raffle (prizes included Cleveland Indians tickets, an iPod touch, gift baskets and more) or the Silent Auction (among the many offerings were Colorado skiing vacations, tickets to Legally Blonde at the Beck Center, cooking classes at the Western Reserve School of Cooking), we, along with the Market at the Foodbank’s 1000+ attendees, enjoyed the music, the food, the chances to win, and the opportunity to contribute to our fight against hunger.

Opportunities to support the Cleveland Foodbank can be found here: www.clevelandfoodbank.org (select Donate Funds or Volunteer from the options to the left).

Kate and Sarah enjoy one photo in front of the camera.

About the Guest Contributors:

Kate Galo is a homegrown Clevelander who enjoys restaurant dinners, visits to theaters and museums, and gin cocktails. She used to blog a lot more but then she decided she wanted to spend more time reading other people’s blogs.

Sarah Casto used to live near Columbus, Ohio, but became a Clevelander last year. She enjoys photography, exploring Cleveland’s art and food scenes, and volunteering at the Cleveland Museum of Art in her free time.

***

Disclosure: Amanda, here – I was invited to attend Market at the Foodbank in exchange for hosting a giveaway and previewing it.  Because I was unable to attend, Kate Galo and Sarah Casto attended on my behalf to blog about it.

Market at the Foodbank Winner!

I’m so happy that Friday is finally here — not just because this was one looonngg week, but also because it’s time to announce the winner of the Market at the Foodbank giveaway.

After using random.org to pick the winner from the 84 comments:

I am happy to announce that entry #10 – Dawgpndgirl has won two tickets to Market at the Foodbank on April 22. (@Dawgpndgirl, please email me by next Friday, April 6 at clueintocleveland (at) gmail (dot) com to redeem your prize.)

If you didn’t win, you can save money by purchasing tickets ahead of the event for $85 per person at www.cleveland.com/marketatfoodbank or 216-738-2046. Day-of tickets will cost $100.

There are so many reasons to purchase tickets for this Harvest for Hunger fundraiser. In addition to helping the Cleveland Foodbank meet their fundraising goal, the list of participating restaurants and catering companies continues to grow.

Right now almost 50 businesses are confirmed on the Market at Foodbank website. Plus, the list of Celebrity Servers and the prizes that will be up for grabs during the Silent Auction and Raffle are now available.

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

Market at the Foodbank is a great way to support Harvest for Hunger’s goal of providing food for 16 million meals. If you can’t attend, though, there are plenty of other ways to contribute. Learn more about Harvest for Hunger here and have a great weekend!

** Disclosure: Thank you again to the Cleveland Foodbank for providing 2 tickets to give away to a reader. Photos of last year’s Harvest for Hunger benefit are courtesy of the Cleveland Foodbank. **

Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Market at the Foodbank!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harvest for Hunger: Hunger is closer than you think

Updated March 18, 2013: This post has been updated to reflect ways you can support the 2013 Harvest for Hunger.

Harvest for Hunger

22nd Annual Harvest for Hunger is underway – learn more at clevelandfoodbank.org

The last couple of years have been a difficult wakeup call for many.  With an unstable economy, issues such as hunger and people’s inability to afford food have become more widespread and pressing than in recent decades.

In our own region it’s a signficant and growing concern, with the Cleveland Foodbank’s distribution rate up by 59% in the last three years and a recent article in the New York Times demonstrating the changing face of hunger. With nearly 60 percent of Cleveland’s poor now residing in suburban areas, many municipalities are faced with an unprecedented challenge of how to feed so many of their residents.

Although the Cleveland Foodbank makes a signficant effort year-round to keep up with the demand throughout their six-county region, each Spring they partner with the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, and Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio to host one of the largest annual, community-wide food and funds drives in the nation.

Local Anchors Mike Dunston and Macie Jepson participate at the Harvest for Hunger Kick-Off (photo from Cleveland Foodbank)

The 22nd annual Harvest for Hunger recently kicked off on February 13th at Tower City. This food and funds drive will run through Spring with a significant focus during the month of March.

During last year’s Harvest for Hunger, businesses, supermarkets, schools and individuals contributed enough resources to provide over 16 million meals to the 21 Northeast Ohio counties served by the four foodbanks.

Because the need for emergency food in our community continues to rise, this year’s goal is to beat that total.

2011’s Harvest for Hunger raised enough for over 14 million meals (photo from Cleveland Foodbank)

Although this year’s goal is huge, there are a number of ways we can achieve it:

The easiest is Check Out Hunger. When you go grocery shopping now through March 30 at Giant Eagle, Heinen’s, Dave’s Markets, Fishers Foods, Buehler’s or any other participating retailer, make a $1, $5 or $10 donation to Harvest for Hunger everytime you check out. It’s fast, simple and for every $1 donated, the Cleveland Foodbank can provide four nutritious meals.

You can also donate online or organize a food and funds drive at your school or workplace. For family, friends and coworkers who may not be nearby, the Cleveland Foodbank can help set up a virtual drive. Call 216.738.2046 or go to www.HarvestForHunger.org for more details.

YP Pantry Harvest for Hunger

Join YP Pantry for their Harvest for Hunger Happy Hour, 3/21/13

Throughout Spring 2013, the Cleveland Foodbank is partnering with local organizations to host Harvest for Hunger events.

  • YP Pantry, the Foodbank’s young professionals group will host a happy hour at Noodlecat on March 21. Bring canned goods for a drink ticket. More info: eventbrite.com/event/5836562315
  • At select home games in March, the Cavaliers will be collecting canned goods for the Foodbank. The Lake Erie Captains will also host food drives April 4-7.
  • As part of Case Western Reserve University’s Greek Week, stop by the campus on April 13 to marvel at structures built out of cans – all food items go directly to Harvest for Hunger.
  • And on May 10, University Circle hosts the Wade Oval Walk Against Hunger. Hundreds gather for the 2 mile walk around Wade Oval, each donating $10 to Harvest for Hunger.

Check out this list of Harvest for Hunger community events for more.

Market at the Foodbank

Market at the Foodbank – April 14

Finally, you can enjoy an evening out while raising money for Harvest for Hunger by purchasing tickets to Market at the Foodbank. Taking place on Sunday, April 14, Market at the Foodbank is an evening of food and drink from 50 of Northeast Ohio’s finest restaurants and beverage purveyors.

This is the second year the benefit takes place at the Cleveland Foodbank.  By hosting the event at the Foodbank, guests can enjoy the food, live entertainment, celebrity servers, and silent auction raffle while seeing firsthand the impact of their contributions.

Although I’ll have more info over the next couple of weeks about the event, go to cleveland.com/marketatfoodbank to see some of the restaurants who are participating and to purchase your tickets.

As this year’s Harvest for Hunger mission reminds us: Hunger is closer than you think. But so is the solution. How are you going to help?

Need more ideas for how you can help? Visit harvestforhunger.org

Embracing Winter: Brite Winter Fest and Cleveland's First Urban Iditarod

Looking to get outside and enjoy this Cleveland winter? The Brite Winter Festival returns this Saturday 2/18. (photo from britewintercleveland.com)

After the last week of snow, I think we are able to say that winter is finally here.  And just in time for two events that aim to celebrate Cleveland’s snowy season:

This Saturday from 5-10pm, Brite Winter Festival returns for its third year.  The event originally started as the creators’ proactive, grassroots approach to stave off the brain drain they were seeing in Cleveland among their fellow college graduates.

With Brite Winter, they wanted to give Clevelanders a chance to get outside and discover that our winters don’t just need to be tolerated – they can actually be a lot of fun.

For their third annual fest, they’re changing locations and bringing Brite Winter to Bridge Ave. and W.26th in Ohio City.

My favorite game from last year's Brite Winter Festival: Giant Skeeball!

The festival will feature art and games — and sometimes a combination of the two.

Artists from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art’s Community Arts Department, IngenuityFest and local companies like cyancdesign will take over the main festival grounds as well as some of Ohio City businesses to present their art installations.

One of my favorite games from last year – giant skee-ball – is back, along with other games like a Climbing Race Game, Light Fight and a Catapult Smashdown.

This year's Brite Winter moves to Ohio City. Pictured is last year's festival lighting up The Flats. (photo from britewintercleveland.com)

And for festival-goers’ listening pleasure, Brite Winter has eight venues and over 35 bands performing when I last counted.

Something that’s different this year: the festival will feature one outdoor stage and seven indoor venues like Bon Bon Cafe, Great Lakes Brewery and Joy Machines Bike Shop. So if you do need to take a break and warm up from the cold, you’ll have a lot of options for music.

The festival and all music performances are free and open to the public, though donations are always welcome. You can read my recap of last year’s Brite Winter here.

The Cleveland Urban Iditarod descends on Ohio City in March - part relay race/part street theatre to raise money for Harvest for Hunger.

In March, Ohio City will play host to another unique event when Cleveland’s Yo-Yo Syndicate demonstrates that being out in the cold can be enjoyable and help raise money for a local cause.

The Yo-Yo Syndicate, creators of IngenuityFest’s Doodle Bar as well as Cleveland’s branch of Dr. Sketchy, are helming the first-ever Cleveland Urban Iditarod on March 4th.

What is an urban iditarod?

While the real Iditarod is the famous long-distance race where a team of dogs tow a sled across Alaska’s frozen tundra, the Cleveland Urban Iditarod is almost the same thing. Except that instead of dogs, it’s people; instead of sleds, it’s shopping carts; and instead of Alaska, it’s Cleveland.

Have fun with your Urban Iditarod team -- dress yourselves and your cart up like this team from the Chicago Iditarod did. (photo from theyoyosyndicate.com)

Teams of 5 (4 to pull the cart, 1 “musher” who’s behind steering) must fill their cart with 40 pounds of canned food and race it through the course. The carts can be decorated (it’s even encouraged as long as the decorations don’t violate the guidelines) and racers can wear the craziest costumes they can pull together. All of this will help raise food and money for the Cleveland Foodbank’s Harvest for Hunger.

Urban Iditarods have been held in places such as Portland, Boston, Cincinnati and Chicago (where over $18,000 was raised for their local food bank), but this is the first time Cleveland will be hosting one.   With themed teams and contests at each stop, the Iditarod is part relay race/part street theater and will bring Cleveland’s creative community to the Ohio City neighborhood.

The race starts at 11:30 a.m. and the entire route is about 5.5 miles with 20 minute stops at each local west side location. The Market Garden Brewery, who’s also planning the first Ohio City Ice Carving contest that day, will be hosting the Urban Iditarod after party.

If you register online by Feb. 24th, the team fee is only $45 (it goes up to $65 through March 2nd; $100 the day of). The cart deposit is $35, which each team will get back once they demonstrate the cart has been taken home with them after the race.

The "Epic Epicness" of an urban iditarod! The Chicago Iditarod (pictured here) helped raise over $18,000 for their local food bank. (photo from theyoyosyndicate.com)

Although there’s officially only a month left of winter, with Brite Winter and the Urban Iditarod there are a lot of opportunities left to get out and enjoy it.

What do you have planned for your end-of-winter festivities?

 

Event Recap: Cleveland Foodbank's Taste of the Browns

When it comes to Cleveland sports, the Browns always seem to get a bad rap. But while I can’t comment about them on the field (I’ll let someone like Waiting for Next Year or Bitter Orange & Brown wax much more philosophic on the subject than I ever could), I will say I have a new, huge respect for the team after this week’s Taste of the Browns.

Since running the giveaway last month, I’d been looking forward to my first time attending Taste of the Browns.  A roving tasting event, it’s one of the Cleveland Foodbank‘s largest fundraisers. I had also heard a lot of great things about it from Bite Buff, who used to plan the event when she worked at the Foodbank.

I have to confess, Monday’s Taste of the Browns was my first time in Browns Stadium (I’m a horrible Clevelander and haven’t been to a game yet). I see it every day as I drive to and from work, but have never been up close. There is something so impressively massive about the Browns stadium when you’re walking up to it.

Standing beneath the entrance, I definitely had a quiet moment of awe, as one of the area’s high school marching bands played in the background. This awe continued as I took the escalators to the second floor and walked into the event. Not only were there restaurants set up farther than I could even see, the open space was accented by a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window looking onto a magnificent view of downtown Cleveland.

After getting my bearings, it was time to taste. I started with a braised veal on bruchetta with truffles and asiago from Johnny’s Bar on Fulton. It was incredibly rich and tender, melting in my mouth. Definitely a good starter as I continued to make my way throughout the rooms.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you if I stopped at all of the 25+ food stations, because I was in a continual daze of food bliss throughout the evening. Some of the highlights for me included Light Bistro’s lamb kebob and the trifecta of AMP 150’s corn soup with pickled ramps, Bar Cento’s truffles chicken liver mousse with Ohio peach gastrique, and Blue Point’s raw oyster bar in one corner.

Hudson, Ohio’s One Red Door was also there. I’ve never been so I had been looking forward to stopping by their station. They offered a roasted date stuffed with manchego, chorizo and bacon wrapped along with a smoked tomato sauce. This was ridiculous and I need to now make the trip to Hudson to eat there.    

My favorite of the evening, though, was Melange. They’re another reason I miss living on the East Side because I would be there much more often if I did.

At Taste of the Browns, they served a watermelon gazpacho soup with a poached shrimp. After an evening full of delicious but rich foods, this was a simply perfect change in pace. It was fresh with a little bit of spicyness to it. And although the weather has turned cool in Cleveland, it was nice to have that last taste of summer with the watermelon. It was an incredible way to conclude the evening’s food. 

After filling myself, I had to walk it off so I explored the room a bit more. There were auctions and raffles galore and for all the Cleveland sports fans in attendance, a multitude of Browns players and alumni.  In addition to left tackle Joe Thomas who co-chaired the event, Joshua Cribbs, Seneca Wallace, Steve Vallos, Brian Schaefering, Mike Adams, Reggie Hodges and Browns president Mike Holmgren were there to meet fans, sign autographs and enjoy the food with the rest of us.

The player or alumni who really stood out, though, was former defensive linemen and the man behind Bubba’s Q’s bbq smoker — Al “Bubba” Baker. As the other co-chair and unofficial emcee for the event, he brought the Browns players up to the stage to introduce and thank them. Just like what you’ll find at Bubba’s Q in Avon, he was gregarious, bubbly, and warm.

He also donated a double-tailgater for the raffle. The lucky winner won four slabs of baby back ribs, four slabs of St. Louis ribs, four four-pound chickens, a half-gallon of Cole slaw, a half-gallon of baked beans, a half-gallon of macaroni and cheese or a large, double order of fries, 32 muffins and plenty of sauce.

While my raffle tickets may not have been chosen, I wasn’t too upset since the funds raised by the raffle, auctions and tickets went towards the Cleveland Foodbank. Last year’s event raised $120,000. This year, Taste of the Brown was expected to exceed $140,000 with every dollar providing 4 meals to the hungry in our six-county area.

As I looked down on the Browns’ football field towards the end of the evening and reflected on this event’s huge impact, it was that number that impressed me most of all.

Of course, don’t just take my word for it. I reached out to Kate, the winner of my ticket giveaway, to see if she and her guest enjoyed their evening. Here’s what she wrote:

My boyfriend, Justin, and I were thrilled with the Taste of the Browns. We had a blast getting all “dolled up” for the event and were impressed with the stadium, the view and especially the food. Some of our favorites included the sushi by Sushi Rock, the mole tacos by Momocho and the to-die-for cupcakes by Cream-n-Sugar Bakery. The ice sculpture near the bar was a cool touch (pun intended) and the auction prizes were plentiful and impressive. All in all it was a wonderful event for a great cause and we feel very lucky to have been able to attend.”

If you didn’t get a chance to attend Taste of the Browns, there are plenty of other ways to give back to the Cleveland Foodbank. In addition to their year-round need for volunteers and donations, they currently are running the Can of Nothing campaign and will be at this weekend’s IngenuityFest.

And for all of you yoga and Cleveland Foodbank fans out there, The Studio Cleveland is holding an open level class on September 30. As part of National Yoga Month, the Connect Globally, Give Locally event is donation based with all proceeds going to the Cleveland Foodbank. More information can be found on their Facebook event page

Cleveland Foodbank 411:

As was previously disclosed, I was provided one media pass to Taste of the Browns. My thoughts – as always – are 100% my own.

Taste of the Browns Ticket Giveaway

Cleveland Browns Stadium hosts the Cleveland Foodbank Taste of the Browns, Sept. 12


UPDATE: Congratulations to Kate for being randomly selected as the winner of the giveaway.  Kate — Please email me at clueintocleveland (at) gmail (dot) com to redeem your tickets by 9/2. Thanks to everyone for entering and check out this new blog post on how you can save $25 on tickets through Clue Into Cleveland: http://clueintocleveland.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/taste-of-the-browns-winner-and-a-special-ticket-discount/!

 

One of my favorite Ohio Blogging meetups was volunteering at the Cleveland Foodbank in March.  It was the first time I had been there and I was absolutely blown away by the staff and the facilities.

From its LEED-certified, 130,000 sq. ft. distribution center, the Foodbank provides 84% of the food that local pantries use to feed the hungry in Northeast Ohio. Donations of funds and food as well as volunteers are needed throughout the year so that the Foodbank can continue its mission.

One way to support them is through their annual Cleveland Foodbank Taste of the Browns event.

Taking place on Monday, September 12 at Cleveland Browns Stadium, Taste of the Browns is the “Party with a Purpose.” In addition to sampling 25 of Cleveland’s finest restaurants, attendees will be raising funds that will provide food to more than 600 hunger programs in six counties. Last year’s event raised $120,000, which made almost half a million meals possible in Northeast Ohio.

The Cleveland Foodbank serves more than 223,700 different people annually in its six-county area

Sports fans will also enjoy the event as Browns alumni and current players will be in attendance, mingling with guests.  And one of the raffle packages for the evening includes a tailgate party for 30 people catered by former Browns player Al “Bubba” Baker. Baker will personally deliver food from his Bubba’s Q restaurant to the winner.  With Bubba’s Q being right down the street from me, I can say — for the food alone — this prize is definitely worth it!

Taste of the Browns takes place from 6 to 9pm on September 12 in the AT&T City View Club Lounge of Cleveland Browns Stadium. Tickets are $150 and all proceeds benefit the Foodbank.  With $1 = 4 meals served at a local hunger center, one ticket alone can provide 600 meals to the hungry!

Purchase tickets here or by calling 216.738.2126, or enter to win a pair of tickets through the below giveaway!


There are 4 Ways to Enter The Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

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

2) Twitter users can get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “Check out @ADHicken’s giveaway for #TasteoftheBrowns tickets: http://wp.me/pPIgG-JX”.  Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.

3) Follow @ADHicken on Twitter.

4) Like Clue Into Cleveland on Facebook.

(Although not part of the entries, while you’re on Twitter and Facebook, follow @CleveFoodbank and like Cleveland Foodbank to stay up to speed on what they’re doing!)

You have until Monday, August 29  at 11:59PM to enter.  On August 30, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner of the 2 General Admission tickets on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – Good Luck!

***
Disclosure: I was provided one media pass to Taste of the Browns in exchange for this post. As always, though, my thoughts and the choice of events I share are 100% my own.

Social Media Doing Social Good in Cleveland

The community's overwhelming response to Twestival was just one example from last week of the positive impact social media can have in Cleveland.

When I use social media outside of work, it’s always for my own enjoyment – often for sharing things from my blog or learning about what’s going on around Cleveland. However, the last week showed me how social media can also bring about social good through both the recent Ohio Bloggers Meetup and Twestival Cleveland.

Wednesday night was the monthly meetup for Cleveland bloggers in the Ohio Blogging Association.  Past meetups have been social gatherings at Whole Foods and AMP 150.  This month’s was a volunteer night at the Cleveland Foodbank.

The Cleveland Foodbank supplies a majority of the food used in local hot meal sites, shelters, and food pantries. In addition, they provide vital food to child care centers, group homes, and programs for the elderly. They accomplish this by working closely to organize programs with other Northeast Ohio hunger relief organizations and hunger centers like the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, the Catholic Hunger and Shelter Network, and the Salvation Army.

The Cleveland Foodbank at 15500 South Waterloo Road houses and supplies a majority of the food used in local hot meal sites, shelters, and food pantries. The facility also is the first LEED accredited commercial building in NEO.

After being given some background on the Foodbank and a tour of the facility, Hungry in Cleveland, Why CLE, Healthy Heddleston, Finishing Firsts, Cooker Girl, Green Dog Wine, Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Weblog and I got to work.

Our job for the evening was to sort and pack donated oranges that would then be given out to those in need. Each bag had to be around 6 pounds – which is a lot more difficult to measure by hand than I thought. Fortunately, there was a scale there, since I only hit 6 lbs on my first try once the entire night. However, despite my lack of measuring skills, that evening’s group of volunteers was able to sort through a number of large crates of oranges.

Afterwards, a few of us grabbed a delicious dinner at nearby Grovewood Tavern where I enjoyed savory Zinfandel Short Ribs, conversations about Cleveland, and discussing my mutual love of the tv show Castle with HungryinCLE.

The only time all night I measured 6 lbs of oranges on the first try. Winning.

Wednesday night was my first time volunteering at the Food Bank and it was great to be introduced to the friendly and hardworking staff there through the Ohio Blogging Association.

If you’d like to help the Food Bank, they’re currently in the middle of their Harvest for Hunger CampaignHarvest for Hunger is one of the largest annual, community-wide food and funds drives in the nation, providing critical resources to local hunger relief organizations in twenty-one counties in Northeast and North Central Ohio.

Last year’s campaign raised the dollars and food needed to provide over 10 million meals to individuals and families who were struggling to make ends meet. There are a number of ways to support the 2011 campaign including:

  1. Visit the FoodBank’s site and make a donation. I really like the website because it shows you how much your donation will help. For instance, a donation as little as $10 provides 40 meals, while a $500 donation can provide 2,000 meals.
  2. Donate $1, $5, or $10 in the check-out aisle at a participating retailer from March 13 through April 23. Local stores include Acme Fresh Market, Buehler’s Fresh Foods, Dave’s Markets, Fishers Foods, Giant Eagle, Inc., and Heinen’s Fine Foods. Dollars donated in your community stay in your community.
  3. And as I learned at lunch yesterday with Healthy Heddleston, Cooker Girl, Poise in Parma, and Project Mommy, you can contribute through the Chevy Girls Do Good Fan Pledge by liking Gotta Love Chevy NEO on Facebook. With this program, the Chevy Network Dealers will be making a contribution of $6,000 to the Harvest for Hunger campaign.

The day after the Foodbank Volunteer Night, I headed over to Twestival Cleveland. As I mentioned in earlier posts, Twestival Cleveland is an annual Twitter Festival to raise money for local charities around the world. Cleveland’s charity was We Run This City, a youth marathon program that helps students in the Cleveland School District run the Rite Aid Marathon and learn important goal-making skills.

With the support of the WRTC volunteers and the Cleveland social media community, we had over 100 attendees and raised over $2000 for the organization. As WRTC Program Director Tara Taylor explained, the money from Twestival came at an excellent time with the proceeds going to the race fees and t-shirts for the 871 students participating in the race.

Thanks to the support of many social-media savvy Cleveland businesses, Twestival Cleveland was able to put together a number of auction baskets which contributed to the $2000+ proceeds for We Run This City.

After only a few weeks of planning, the large turnout of people eager to support Twestival made me very happy. In particular, one of the most rewarding aspects of the planning process was the response we got from local bloggers and tweeters as well as social media-savvy businesses.

When I was at Twestival, I had a guest at the Marriott come up to the registration table and ask me what was going on. When I mentioned Twestival was a Twitter Festival, she launched into how she thought social media was a waste of time used only for oversharing information.

While you can’t win everyone over to the benefits of Twitter, this past week’s two events brought home the fact that these tools have significantly positive offline implications. Social media for social good for sure.