Tag Archives: Ohio blogging

Clue Into Cleveland Blogs: Ohio Blogging at The Oak Barrel

Photo tweeted by @sos_jr at last night's Ohio Blogging Meetup

Photo tweeted by @sos_jr at last night’s Ohio Blogging Meetup

There were only a few things that would make me venture out of the house into yesterday’s snow storm. Dinner at The Oak Barrel was one of those things, especially for Ohio Blogging’s latest meetup.

When I looked out my office window halfway through the day and saw the snow pelting downtown, I was second-guessing this decision. However, Scott and I actually lucked out after leaving around 5:30. It had stopped snowing and the roads were clear.

We were rewarded for this decision by a delicious dinner and good company.

At the recommendation of pretty much everyone at our table, I ordered Chef Demetrios’ Dr. Pepper Braised Pork Shank. I was *this close* to ordering my usual go-to of mac and cheese or steak, especially because the bacon-wrapped tenderloin with bleu cheese whipped potatoes and duck confit mac and cheese sounded so good.

Dr. Pepper Braised Pork Shank from The Oak Barrel

Dr. Pepper Braised Pork Shank from The Oak Barrel

However, I’m glad I went with the ultra-tender pork shank. Sitting atop garlic mashed potatoes, the juices from the meat and the sweet-and-spicy soy chile jam saturated the potatoes. A hearty serving of succulence, it was well-worth the under-$20 price. Even better on my wallet, we took advantage of The Oak Barrel’s Wine Wednesdays with a half-priced bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

Because of the weather, our meetup group was smaller than usual. However, this allowed for more indepth conversations with people I don’t always get to see like Stuart and Julie Smith from sosAssociates.com and Valerie from Motherhood in Progress.

Before I get to my round-up of last night’s bloggers, I want to share 52 Weeks of Cleveland’s remembrance of Sean Kilbane, co-owner of Happy Dog. Over the weekend, Cleveland lost someone who was not just doing great work within the local restaurant, bar and music community, but had made an impact on individuals and groups like Secondhand Mutts with his constant generosity and friendliness. Hot Dogs, Frostie’s, and Pinball is a beautiful reflection.

What I learned from the bloggers at Ohio Blogging’s Oak Barrel Roundtable

1) Last month, the Cleveland Public Library opened up their new TechCentral MakerSplace. Anyone with a library card can now access laser engraving, 3D printing, photography, videography and graphic design technology. sosAssociates.com was at the TechCentral MakerSpace’s grand opening and has more information about this great addition.

2) Although Scott and I love our two full-of-personality cats, I do occasionally worry about how we’ll need to prepare Chloe and Cupcake when Scott and I adopt children. Fortunately, Motherhood in Progress shares some very good tips about how to get your cat ready before and after a baby’s arrival from her own recent experiences.

3) East and West sides met last Saturday for Believe in CLE’s yoga event at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Nearly 800 yogis took over the museum’s beautiful atrium, and Poise in Parma was invited to assist the class. Read her recap on the mat: #believeinCLE at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

4) The Cleveland Institute of Music and Severance Hall have joined forces to showcase the young talent of the CIM Orchestra in one of Cleveland’s most stunning spaces. WhyCLE? is hosting a CIM@Severance giveaway. Enter to win two tickets to their concert on February 12.

Stay up-to-speed on the next Ohio Blogging meetup at facebook.com/ohblogging.

Clue Into Cleveland Blogs, Ohio Blogging Edition

Tremont Farmers' Market

Tremont Farmers’ Market

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

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

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

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Ohio Blogging at Whole Foods University Heights

Ohio Blogger Meetup at Whole Foods Cleveland

Valentine’s Day is only a couple days away. If you go out to celebrate, WhyCLE has Cleveland Valentine’s events for every sense and Bite Buff has some delicious dining options for you.

Me? Scott and I keep it quiet on Valentine’s Day because we celebrate our anniversary the following week.

This year, we’ll be checking out the new Die Hard movie and then picking up a dinner for home. After last week’s Ohio Blogging Meetup at Whole Foods Cedar Center, we have some inspiration.

Audree Sinnett and Ines Rehner speak at Ohio Blogging Whole Foods Meetup

Whole Foods Market Wine Buyer Audree Sinnett and Sweet Designs’ Ines Rehner

This was Ohio Blogging’s 3rd annual trip to Whole Foods. And as last year demonstrated with a pizza making contest, they always have something delicious up their sleeve.

This time around the theme was “Chocolate Three-Way” featuring a selection of chocolate-infused tastings.

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Events Around Cleveland: Jump Back Two Spaces Edition

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

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

Get a Clue! Trivia Night

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

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

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

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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.

***

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. 

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.

OBA's Night at the Theatre with PlayhouseSquare Partners

The most recent OBA Meetup took Cleveland bloggers to one of my personal favorite spots in the city, PlayhouseSquare

Sometimes when I’ve been go-go-go on a project, it’s really easy for me to lose sight of why I’m doing it.  In those cases, I have to take a step back and try to look at things as if I’m brand new to it.

I had the chance to do that last week when the Ohio Blogging Association’s latest meetup traveled to PlayhouseSquare for a behind-the-scenes tour with Partners, the theatre’s young professionals group.

Old show posters hang on the backstage wall of the Palace Theatre stage

The last backstage tour I attended was right after joining Partners a few years ago. And now that we’re about to launch a new season of Partners events I figured it was about time I brushed up on my PlayhouseSquare history — the OBA meetup was the perfect excuse.

Our tour last Wednesday wrapped through the Palace, State, Ohio and Allen Theatres on Euclid Avenue.

We heard tales about ghosts haunting the theatre, how some of the murals and artwork came to be (and in many cases came-to-be returned) and why the State Theatre lobby was the longest in the world. (Fun Fact: because the State Theatre’s auditorium is actually behind the Ohio, a lobby the size of three was needed to accommodate a marquee on Euclid next to the other theatres).

And just like when you re-read your favorite novel, I even learned a few new things while seeing the backstage dressing rooms for the first time and catching a glimpse of the Ohio Theatre as it undergoes the installation of new seating.

A bunch of us never realized the column heads in the theatre had a longhorn skull design (thanks, Scott, for pointing it out!)

The evening was the perfect way to reaffirm why I love being a part of PlayhouseSquare Partners. Sure, I love the fact that through Partners I’ve met friends, had fun at theatre and non-theatre events, and gotten discounts to Jump Back Ball.

However, going on the blogger tour and seeing fellow Clevelanders get so excited about PlayhouseSquare reinforced my #1 reason for being a member.

Being a member gives me the ability to support an organization that makes a huge impact on the city.  An organization that is a great example of how you can rebuild yourself in Cleveland, even after almost-being razed to the ground in the 1970s.

From contributing to PlayhouseSquare’s education mission to fundraising through Jump Back Ball, Partners helps the country’s 2nd largest theatre district provide entertainment and vital economic development to Northeast Ohio. Oh, and we have a lot of fun while doing it!

8/2: Partners’ free YP Night at Cinema at the Square

If you’re interested in learning more about PlayhouseSquare Partners while enjoying a free movie, you can join us on August 2 at YP Night at the Cinema.

Starting at 6pm,  PlayhouseSquare Partners is hosting a free pre-movie party for young professionals in the Ohio Theatre. There will be drinks, movie theater snacks, and networking. Plus, all of the Partners committees will have info about this year’s upcoming events — including the announcement of this year’s Jump Back Ball theme.

If you like what you see and want to join Partners, we’re also offering 20% off your membership that evening. So a $100 Mezzanine membership will cost only $80 (you’ll save twice if you plan on attending Jump Back Ball, because one of the membership benefits is a discount to JBB).

A ticket to the YP pre-party also gets you a free ticket to the West Side Story sing-a-long

And after the party, you’ll have a free ticket to the West Side Story Sing-a-Long which starts at 7:30pm.

I may not be that great at math but even I can see that adds up to a good deal.

Admission for YP Night at the Cinema is free, but tickets are required. You can get a free ticket by calling 216-640-8408.

A glimpse from the Palace Theatre stage, where all of the films in the Cinema at the Square are playing

After last week’s blogger tour, we grabbed drinks and a small bite to eat at the newly opened Alex Bistro where I got to mingle a bit.

Unfortunately, after having a particularly hectic day at work, I was a bit too flustered to have a chance to talk as much as I’d like with everyone — especially a few bloggers like Katie O, Karen and Lillia that I saw in real life for the first time after following them online.

However, it looks like I’ll have a chance to do that at our next event when the OBA goes to the Happy Dog for a blogger roundtable in the Underdog. In the meantime, I’ll have to suffice with keeping up on their blogs!

Some of the blogger tour enjoying dinner and drinks at Alex Bistro (photo courtesy of WhyCLE)

You can too – check out these bloggers and some of the recaps from the PlayhouseSquare tour:

Disclosure: As mentioned in previous posts, I serve on the board of PlayhouseSquare Partners. From time-to-time, I will share upcoming Partners events because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as a member and feel it’s an organization other Young Professionals who want to support the arts will enjoy as well.

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