Tag Archives: neo food tours

Get Inspired by Locavore + Cleveland's Other Fall Feasts

Image source lifeinthecle.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

Image of Adam Reidy from lifeinthecle.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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


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

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

Founder Todd Gauman leads an NEO Food Tour in Shaker Square

NEO Food Tours
Aug. 28 and Oct. 16

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

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

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

Graphic courtesy of Emerging Chefs

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation-NEO

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

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

Taste of the Browns
Sept. 10

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

Dinner in the Dark
Sept. 10

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

Image source wsm100.org

West Side Market 100
Oct. 7 and Nov. 3

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

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

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

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

Image source wsm100.org

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

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

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

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

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

Happy eating!

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

All I Want for Cleve-Mas, Part 2: Local Holiday Shopping in Cleveland

Shop local this holiday season at stores like Crafty Goodness and Room Service, as well as the fun Cleveland shopping events mentioned below.

Happy Thanksgiving, Clue Into Clevelanders! I hope you have a great holiday with family, friends or relaxing at home.

Of course, the day after (and even Thanksgiving night for some stores) kicks off the holiday shopping season. Before you get swept away in the craziness of shopping for gifts, I suggest making a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see Brian Ulrich’s Copia: Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores.

Scott and I went last week for the Museum’s Buyer’s Remorse Party where Ulrich led a tour through his exhibit and spoke about his photography series.  

The zoned out faces of shoppers in contrast to the delicate portraits of thrift store workers were striking. And although the photographs of abandoned malls and big-box stores were surprisingly beautiful in their quiet desolation, they were also incredibly sad and had a clear impact on exhibit goers.

For me, the series was a perfectly timed reminder of the importance of buying local. 

At times, that means gifting experiences. For fans of Cleveland theatre, check out All I Want for Cleve-Mas, Part 1 about tickets you can give for local holiday shows. 

Or you can gift museum memberships, certificates for some of the city’s amazing restaurants, or tickets to Indians Snow Days and the Frozen Diamond hockey game at Progressive Field.

If you’re looking more for a tangible gift, there are plenty of stores and events inspiring Clevelanders to shop local:

Cleveland Craft Coalition's Black Friday party is just one event in the coming weeks where you can find unique and local handmade gifts.

Cleveland’s Buy Handmade Events

This city has an amazing community of artists and shop owners who champion handmade, local goods.  Unique and funky clothing, jewelry, baby goods, artwork and home decor can all be found at these events from Black Friday through December (updated 12/6):

You can also check out locally made products year-round at stores like Crafty Goodness, Dredgers Union, Room Service and Salty Not Sweet (to name just a couple of my favorites).

Yelp Shops Local Pledge

Finally, head over to Yelp to learn more about their Shop Local campaign. Across the country, Yelp is challenging communities to make an effort to support our cities’ great local businesses and encourage others to “Shop Wisely. Give Locally. Yelp On!”

As part of the campaign, Yelp Cleveland is hosting Shopping Crawls in Cleveland Heights (Dec. 4),  the Near Westside (Dec. 10) and Lakewood (Dec. 17). 

You can also take the 30-day pledge. From Nov. 25 through Dec. 24, check into the Yelp Shops Local event page, see that day’s task and use the hashtag #YelpShopsLocal on Twitter and Facebook to keep everyone across the country in the loop on how you’re shopping local.

Dine and shop with NEO Food Tours on Dec. 1 and 8.

Shop-and-Dine Holiday Tours

On Dec. 1st and 8th, NEO Food Tours is offering Shop-and-Dine Holiday Tours of the Cleveland Heights and Ohio City neighborhoods. In addition to showcasing the neighborhood’s restaurants, the tour will make stops at locally-owned retailers.

For instance, on the Dec. 1st Ohio City tour, the newly opened SOHO Kitchen & Bar will host a pop-up restaurant in Room Service (other stops include Campbell’s Sweets Factory, Bar Cento, Salty Not Sweet, Dragonfly, Something Different, and BonBon Pastry & Cafe). 

If you’d rather explore the eastside on Dec. 8th, Cleveland Heights Mayor Ed Kelley will lead the Cedar Lee tour, stopping at the Heights Art Gallery, Abrash Gallerie, Lopez on Lee, Taste, Revive, The Wine Spot, and SweetieFry.

NEO Food Tours is also offering an extended Black Friday special. Go to neofoodtours.eventbrite.com, use the code  BLACKFRIDAY_6011 between now and Nov. 29, and save 10% on the General Admission price. 

Tickets include food and drink at every stop, as well as tax, gratuity and a donation to a local organization (the Cleveland Heights tour will benefit the Heights Emergency Food Center and Ohio City will benefit Ohio City Incorporated).

These are just a few of Cleveland’s local shopping events this holiday season.   If you know of any others, please leave a comment below with more info!

For another great post about shopping local, check out The Chef’s Widow’s My Favorite Things (she also has a pretty sweet giveaway of CLE stuff). 


Disclosure: I work with NEO Food Tours doing outreach to the community on our monthly food tours. However, I started working with them because of my love for promoting the community’s dining and shopping establishments and as always am sharing opinions here that are 100% my own.

October's Brewery and Harvest Happy Hour Food Tours

Enjoy an afternoon in Ohio City's Historic Market Square District with one of NEO Food Tours' October events

The lucky thing about being a fan of food in Cleveland is that we not just have fantastic restaurants, but our strong culinary scene also features markets, breweries and specialty shops.

This month, NEO Food Tours is rolling out a few events that spotlight the variety of tastes that Cleveland offers the adventurous foodie.

We’re starting things off on October 14 and October 28 when our Harvest Happy Hour Tour explores Ohio City’s Historic Market Square District .

From 2-5pm, guests will “dine, drink and donate” through the Historic Market Square District as they discover firsthand the neighborhood’s impact on the Cleveland culinary scene.

Stops will include the West Side Market and local artisans such as Bonbon Bake Shop, Room Service, and Campbell’s Popcorn Shop.  A visit to Chef Matt Mathlage’s Light Bistro (one of my Ohio City favorites!) completes the afternoon.

And when the tour wraps up at 5pm, there’s still plenty of time to continue shopping or keep the happy hour going at the many restaurants that made Ohio City one of USA Today’s “best neighborhoods to bar hop.”

Tickets are $55 and include gratuitity. Furthering our commitment to the Northeast Ohio region, we’re donating $5 from every ticket to Ohio City Inc.

NEO Food Tours' Brews n' Pubs Tour spotlights some of the places that make Cleveland's beer scene so good.

In October, NEO Food Tours is also getting a taste of Cleveland’s brewing resurgence. During Cleveland Beer Week, we’re offering a Cleveland Brews n’ Pubs Tour.

The tour on October 15 will make stops at 4-5 breweries and pubs throughout the Cleveland area, including Indigo Imp and Market Garden Brewery.  At each stop, beer enthusiasts will sample various beers and food, as they talk with some of Cleveland’s brew-masters. 

Transportation between stops, beer sampling, gastropub fare and gratuity are all included in the $60 ticket. 

With the Brews n’ Pubs tour, we’re excited to partner with Taste of the Harvest to offer a special Beer Masters Ticket. For $100 (a savings of $15), you can attend both the Brews n’ Pubs Tour on October 15, as well as Cleveland Beer Week’s only local hand-crafted beer tasting on October 21.

It’s been an amazing 6 months working with NEO Food Tours (I can’t believe that much time has gone by!) and I’m really proud to see how we’re growing and offering events that showcase all of the region’s culinary assets.  

Tickets for the Harvest Happy Hour tours can be found at  http://marketdistrict1.eventbrite.com.

Tickets for the Cleveland Brews n’ Pubs tour can be found at http://clebeertour11.eventbrite.com.

Disclosure: I work with NEO Food Tours as their Communications Co-Director. However, I got involved with NEO Food Tours and am sharing these events on Clue Into Cleveland because I believe in our mission of promoting the neighborhoods and dynamic culinary industry that call Northeast Ohio home.

Gearing Up for NEO Food Tours' Kamm's Corners Market Series with AMP 150 – July 10

Part of NEO Food Tour's new Kamm's Corners market discovery series will include a horse-drawn wagon ride through the historic neighborhood

I don’t think I’ve ever looked more forward to a 3-day weekend than I am this July 4th holiday.  And while it’s partially because I love picnics and July 4th is always full of them, it’s mostly because I need that one extra day to work on my to-do list. 

I looked at my planner this week and July and August are going to be a revolving door of things. That’s not to say I’m not excited. There’s going to be my first 5k (7/9), IngenuityFest’s SpeakEasy 2.0 (7/15), Brick and Mortar Pop-Up with Chris Hodgson (7/11 and 13), a handful of trips to Blossom, roller derby’s season championships (7/16) and friends coming to visit. And of course – all of the blog posts about them!

However, I know that by the time August 18 rolls around, I’m going to be in desperate need of the trip to Virginia I’m taking for my birthday.

So this three-day weekend will give me the time to work on other upcoming stuff before the scheduled craziness begins Tuesday with a trip to see Jersey Boys:

NEO Food Tours

The big project right now is NEO Food Tours. Last Wednesday we wrapped the first Tremont tour and tickets for E 4th on July 20 just went on sale. With three of these signature tours under our belt, we’re expanding our line of tours starting July 10th.

The second Sunday of July is when we kick off our first Market Discovery Tour Series with the Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market Tour featuring AMP 150. It will be an ongoing series from July through October so if you can’t make it July 10, you have three more opportunities to join us on the second Sundays of August, September and October.

Seeing what Todd, Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market and AMP 150 have put together has me really excited not just to help promote the monthly series through community/media outreach, but also because as a food-lover and avid student of Cleveland it sounds like it will be a really unique tour to attend.

Here are a few things you’ll find on the tour (and tell me if this doesn’t get you excited because it has me really pumped):

  • Meet at AMP 150 in the Cleveland Airport Marriott with a mimosa toast (ok, I love AMP 150 and mimosas )
  • From AMP 150, a shuttle will take guests to the Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market (I have wanted to check out Kamm’s Corners for over a year now )
  • At Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market, enjoy a live chef demo and fare from the local market vendors (I’ve always loved our local markets and the idea of a chef demo sounds right up my alley )
  • Horse-drawn wagon from the West Park Historical Society guides the tour through the historic neighborhood (love history and learning about Cleveland’s different neighborhoods )
  • After returning to the Cleveland Airport Marriott, the culinary team at AMP 150 will serve a special fixed menu brunch (did I mention how much I love AMP 150 — so √√ and !)

Plus $5 from every ticket will be donated to Kamm’s Corners Development Corporation.  I know that Todd, myself and everyone at NEO Food Tours feel very strongly about supporting the community and giving back to organizations like KCDC, who have been active in Cleveland for over 30 years.

Check out our Eventbrite page to buy tickets for the Kamm’s Corners Market Tour with AMP 150. Tickets to the July 20 E 4th signature tour are also available on Eventbrite.

Scott and I at this year's Jump Back Ball

Jump Back Ball 2012

In other good (but busy) news, I found out last week that I will be co-chairing Jump Back Ball 2012.

I’ve written before about PlayhouseSquare Partners (if you’re interested in joining, let me know — there are lots of benefits in addition to discounted tickets). Plus, earlier this year I had a great time blogging a first-timer’s guide to Jump Back Ball

So needless to say — I’m honored, excited and admittedly a bit nervous about co-chairing.  Fortunately, because of my co-chair Meredith, all of the other Partners, and the team at PlayhouseSquare, I know that it’ll be a fantastic night of revelry!   More details will be posted soon and throughout the coming months as planning gets underway.

With the months ahead I can’t help but be excited; however, I first need this long weekend to plow through my to-do list. And while I’m at it — take in some beautiful Cleveland fireworks. 

What are your plans for the July 4th weekend?

(photo source)

Bits and Bites of Cleveland: Brick and Mortar Pop-Ups, Silver Spoon, NEO Food Tours

As can be seen from this snapshot of the recent Silver Spoon Awards, Cleveland is full of people hungry to sample the wide variety of skilled chefs that call Cleveland home.

UPDATE: Chris Hodgson’s Brick & Mortar Pop-Up has been rescheduled to July 11 and 13.

While there is certainly no shortage of amazing restaurants in Cleveland, there often seems to be a shortage in time to try them all out.

Fortunately, the Cleveland food scene has remedied the situation with culinary events that help the community more easily explore the chefs and restaurants that make their home here.

Below is a sampling of a few recent and upcoming food events. The events listed below – much like Chef Jam and Emerging Chefs – don’t just serve up delicious food but also provide unique access to our vibrant food community.

The team from Deagan's Kitchen serving up

Silver Spoon Awards

I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile. The Silver Spoon Awards was an excellent strolling food event that kicked off the last couple of weeks of delicious dinners.  The event on May 26 benefited the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. Scott and I volunteered for the first couple hours of the night at the silent auction and then explored the restaurants that were there.

The restaurants that were featured included the winners of Cleveland Magazine’s Silver Spoon Awards. My favorites? Deagan’s Kitchen‘s shrimp tacos (can’t wait to try this restaurant out!), AMP 150‘s Vidalia onion soup (a superb seasonal alternative to their mushroom soup), bacon guacamole with fried wonton crisps from Bac in Tremont (I never want to eat guac with tortilla chips again), and pretty much every dessert at Sweet Melissa‘s table.

However, the best part of the evening was learning more about the Arthritis Foundation’s impact. While we sampled some of the dishes, we met a couple whose son was diagnosed with arthritis at only a few years old. They shared their story of how the Foundation has provided more than just access to health services, but more importantly a network of friends and family that have supported them over the last ten years. The conversation demonstrated the true value of this organization.

You can learn more about how to contribute to the Arthritis Foundation by visiting northeasternohio.arthritis.org, and for more reviews of the Silver Spoon Awards, check out WhyCLE and CLE Food and Brews.

Chef Jonathon Sawyer's latest project kicks off by hosting Chefs Chris Hodgson and Lee Anne Wong in Chef Sawyer's new Noodlecat space.

Brick & Mortar Pop-Ups

From the mad mind of food-obsessed Chef Jonathon Sawyer comes Brick & Mortar Pop-ups.  These pop-up restaurants are an avenue for chefs to experiment with different concepts and unique dining experiences in a temporary setting. The first two pop-ups will give a sneak peek to Chef Sawyer’s new space Noodlecat on 240 Euclid Ave. as it plays host to Food Truck Master of the Universe Chris Hodgson and Bravo’s Top Chef contestant Lee Anne Wong.

On July 11 and 13, Chef Hodgson will be serving up a menu of B.E.L.T. Steam Bun, Rib-Eye Taco, Peking Quail, and Orange “Chicken” (which is really going to include orange glazed crispy shortbreads). Chef Lee Anne Wong follows up on June 23 and 24 with Easy Japaneasy – a selection of “fingers, sticks and slurp.”

Tickets for these dinners are $50 each. Chef Hodgson’s tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite at the link above; to rsvp for Chef Lee Anne Wong’s dinner, email contact@brickandmortarpopups.com.

What I particularly like about this concept is Chef Sawyer opening up Noodlecat early and sharing it with other chefs – giving them an opportunity to be inspired by a new space and exposing new audiences to their creativity.

Michele Iacobelli-Buckholtz at Murray Hill Market introduces a selection of cured meats, fresh parmigiano-reggiano cheese, prosciutto wrapped figs, and turkey on pepper jack drizzled with cranberry mayonnaise at the second stop on NEO Food Tours' Little Italy event.

NEO Food Tours

The last NEO Food Tours in Little Italy wasn’t just fun, but a learning experience as I got to explore a neighborhood I had only scratched the surface of on previous visits. And who better to guide us through the streets than La Dolce Vita’s gregarious owner Terry Tarantino?

The menu included a delicious caprese, homemade charcuterie (my favorite being prosciutto wrapped figs), Michaelangelo’s tortellini and gnocchi with house Bolognese featuring duck and veal, and eggplant and white bean/tuna crostinis (my favorite dish of the entire night).

For a full review of the evening, read Hungry in CLE’s post Mangia! Mangia! You can also catch a glimpse from the coverage on NewsChannel5.

Although the next tour of Tremont on June 22nd is sold-out, tours will continue to be offered on the third Wednesday of each month with an exploration of E4th on July 20th. In addition to these signature dinners, NEO Food Tours will soon be offering gastro-bike events, market tours and brewery/wine tours.

More information can be found by following NEO Food Tours on Facebook or @NEOFoodTours.


I love these sort of events and definitely recommend them because they allow you to easily explore what’s out there — and as I’ve discovered the last few weeks there’s a lot!

Disclosures: Volunteers at the Silver Spoon Awards were able to attend the event for free and enjoy the food while not on their assigned shift.  Additionally, I volunteer with NEO Food Tours assisting in PR/community outreach.

Exploring Little Italy with NEO Food Tours


Visit www.NEOFoodTours.com


Have you entered my giveaway for a Coventry Village-inspired change purse? You have until May 23rd at 11:59 pm.


There’s no doubt that Northeast Ohio is in the middle of a culinary renaissance. And while the neighborhoods the chefs call home are benefitting from their presence, the restaurants are likewise finding inspiration from the history and uniqueness of the area.

Todd Gauman, Pat Johnson and Melissa Looney saw this and wanted to put something together that would educate and entertain others about the connection between the two. 

With NEO Food Tours, they’ve created a series of events that will combine the best of both worlds: dining and learning about the restaurants from the chefs themselves while exploring the history and culture of our neighborhoods.  They premiered their guided walking tours at the end of April with a sold-out tour of Ohio City.

To follow up with the success of that event, NEO Food Tours will be heading to the eastside on June 1 with a tour of Little Italy. The walking restaurant tour of this historic neighborhood will meet at La Dolce Vita Bistro at 6:30 pm.

La Dolce Vita’s owner Terry Tarantino – one of Little Italy’s most passionate advocates – will be the special guest tour guide for the evening, sharing stories from the neighborhood’s past and present as the small group strolls from stop to stop.

In addition to La Dolce Vita, the tour will make stops at Gusto, Murray Hill Market, Michaelangelo’s and Trattoria on the Hill.  An intimate, progressive course dinner will unfold – starting with an opening course at the first restaurant and concluding at the last stop with a sweet and savory dessert.

At each restaurant, the small group of guests sits for approximately 20 minutes, talks with the chef or owner about what inspires their culinary creations, and enjoys a small off-menu plate paired with a specially made beverage to complement the food’s flavors.

You can buy tickets for the Little Italy tour here.

NEO Food Tours’ Little Italy event comes just in time for the neighborhood’s first Art Walk of 2011, which takes place June 3-5.  So after you’ve learned about the neighborhood and experienced its restaurants through the eyes of one of its avid supporters, you can come back for a second helping that weekend to explore its art galleries and shops.

After the Little Italy trip, NEO Food Tours will bring monthly tours to the region on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm.  The next one on June 22nd will explore Tremont’s colorful and varied personality.  The food tour series will then rotate through the Westside, Eastside and Downtown neighborhoods – as well as outer neighborhoods and suburbs, giving guests an opportunity to fully experience the region’s culinary renaissance. 

Emerging Chefs' Mardi Gras en Mai - just another one of the many appetizing upcoming events in Cleveland.

If you’re still hungry, there are a wealth of events coming up to satisfy your palate.  One week from today on May 27 will be Emerging Chefs’ next dinner – Mardi Gras en Mai.  The menu was just released (can’t wait for the mango habanero popsicle!) so once you take a look, buy your ticket and join me at what will be another very unique dinner.

Other culinary fun includes:

Between NEO Food Tours and all of the other events, I’m looking forward to a very appetizing few weeks.

NEO Food Tours 411:


Disclosures: Clue Into CLE guest blogger Elizabeth Grepp and I were asked to assist NEO Food Tours with their PR and outreach and I am a member of Emerging Chefs’ Affiliates program.  The opinions in this post, though, are 100% my own.