Tag Archives: Tremont

Holiday Hijinks and Haberdashery at Prosperity Social Club’s Smokin’ Fez Monkeys Show

One of my favorite Cleveland bands and Cleveland bars come together to sing in the holidays

“What in the name of sanity have you got on your head?”
“It’s a fez. I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool.”
– Doctor Who

Fezzes are cool, and the Smokin’ Fez Monkeys know what’s up with a nod to this humble haberdashery in their name.

When Scott and I first saw the Smokin’ Fez Monkeys at the 2011 Avon Duct Tape Festival, it was love at first listen.

Their mission is “to do to music what the Wienermobile did to the auto, what M.C. Escher did to the third dimension, what Bugs Bunny did to Elmer Fudd.” And they make good on that promise with plenty of wit, tomfoolery, and jazzy-ragtime-jug band music.

Smoky vocals mix with the sounds of the bass, fiddle, banjo, and Jinglestick — resulting in a show that’s a bit like the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Now, combine the musical hijinks of the Smokin’ Fez Monkeys with the Tremont treasure that is Prosperity Social Club, and you have the makings of a Christmas miracle.

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Giveaway: Dishcrawl Cleveland’s Neighborfood

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

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

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

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

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

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Tremont Doubleheader: OH Blogging and CLE Beer Week

Kind of love that this is how Southside labeled our receipts at the OH Blogging dinner

Sadly the bulk of Cleveland Beer Week falls during one of work’s busiest times of year so I haven’t really had a chance to enjoy much of the festivities.

However, when I saw on Monday that Tremont Taphouse was showing Monty Python and the Holy Grail on their patio and serving up ale in Grail goblets you could take home, there was not much that could stop me from heading over.

(The fact that they also had turkey legs didn’t hurt in convincing Scott to go – the man is one Ren Faire away from buying a turkey farm)

This is what happiness looks like:

I didn’t completely get my fill of Tremont, though, despite Monday night’s feast of turkey, mussels and beef tongue-oyster tacos. Come Tuesday night I was ready to head on back to Tremont, this time to Southside for the monthly Ohio Blogging meetup.

As we head into the busy holiday months, I was thankful for a laidback meetup – just a casual dinner with old and new blogger friends.

It was my first time at Southside and after winding through the bar, they took us into the side room off the patio. I loved the stone fireplace and Day-of-the-Dead-inspired skeleton artwork looking down on us.

It was a great spot for our boisterous crowd to catch up on things – from toasting Poise in Parma’s third blogiversary to highlights from Fitbloggin’, some race and event updates, and a heads up about an upcoming WordPress tech talk.

In attendance we had:

(**If I missed your meetup recap, please let me know and I’ll add it in**)

If you want to quiet a group of bloggers, bring them food. This somewhat worked for us – though I will say I enjoyed a fun talk about comic books with Team PiP and got some new ideas to add to my comics pull list.

However, good-looking food ultimately wins out – even over comic book talk – and I had to dig into the salad I ordered as soon as it was put down in front of me:

After a lunch of rich buffalo chicken dip, I decided to go the salad route with Southside’s Broiled Scampis Salad. Large shrimp were mixed over a bed of crisp baby spinach with grilled apples, dried cranberries, tomatos and fontina cheese.

I liked the mix of tastes and textures – the tender grilled apples were my favorite part, especially when topped with Southside’s smoky Charred Tomato salad dressing.

Some restaurants may scrimp on the shrimp, but I thought the Southside offered 4 very-good-sized shrimps in the salad. The shells were a little more difficult to remove than usual (though that could have just been me being in a messy mood) and there wasn’t a place or room to discard them; however, I made due and the taste more than made up for it.

And even though I couldn’t make it to a lot of Beer Week, I did try a new-to-me brew. Southside had a selection of Oskar Blues brews including the Old Chub which I ordered. While it didn’t completely blow me away, it was a nice dark malted barley with a bit of a smoky taste to it.

My Tremont doubleheader has me in the mood for even more of the neighborhood’s eateries and I can’t wait for PlayhouseSquare Partners’ Tremont Dine Around on Nov. 7.

Throughout the year, our Membership Committee puts together these neighborhood dine arounds where both members and non-Partners can come out, explore the restaurants in a different neighborhood and meet new people.

When rsvping, you rank your order of preference from 4 Tremont restaurants – Fahrenheit, Lolita, Prosperity Social Club, and Southside. Each attendee gets assigned a restaurant where they’ll meet their small group at 6:30 for dinner. Afterwards, everyone is invited to meet up at The Treehouse for a post-dinner drink.

While you do get to list your preferences, I really enjoy the mystery of not knowing which restaurant I’m going to until a couple days before.

If you’d like to join me at the PlayhouseSquare Tremont Dine Around, here’s more info about rsvping. And for all you bloggers and blog supporters out there, sign up for the November statewide blog swap over at the Facebook event page and come join us at our December Holiday Party & Cookie Swap.

An Overdue Visit to Sokolowski's

With family and friends scattered up and down the East Coast, I love any excuse for them to travel west and pay a visit to Cleveland.

Whether they come to check out the local sights so they can shut me up or just because they miss Scott and me, I will never pass on an opportunity to show guests around the city I love.

And although I enjoy picking out the perfect places to show off, it makes me even happier when someone visits with their own ideas on what they want to see.

Our friends Lish, Matt and Amy drove out from Philly last month to spend a day at Cedar Point. And I’m glad to say the 12+ hour marathon of roller-coasters and Halloweekend haunts exceeded their expectations.

However, every good ride warrior needs some fuel before their journey and Lish had only one spot in mind for where she wanted to go for dinner: Sokolowski’s.

When Lish told me she had read about the renowned Tremont establishment, she asked if I had ever been. I was ashamed to admit I hadn’t gotten around to it yet even though it was on my to-do list of Cleveland must-eats.

So I killed 2 birds with one stone by taking them there after they arrived on Friday night.

Walking up to Sokolowski’s, I enjoyed taking in the nostalgic feel of the building. Even though the city has changed around it, it’s a neighborhood watering hole and supper club that hasn’t after perfecting their formula long ago.

When I saw the patio, I wished it wasn’t mid-Fall so we could enjoy eating outdoors; however when we got inside the warm decor welcomed us in. It was like walking into a grandparents’ house with pieces of Polish heritage and Cleveland pride in abundance.

As a first-timer, I wasn’t sure which of their many doors to enter but after finding the one along the right side, we got in line. Sokolowski’s doesn’t hide the fact that they’re cafeteria style, so be prepared to stand for a little bit waiting to place your order and get your food.

Now, I know that because of ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’ and ‘No Reservations,’ Sokolowski’s is one of Cleveland’s well-heralded treasures when it comes to foodie tourism and that over the years that attention has added to the crowds.

However, the fact that it’s also frequented by locals and repeat guests is a testament to the fact that the reason people flock here — and stay — is because it’s damn good.

Honestly, the line we stood in – although long – flew pretty quickly. Surrounded by polka cds to browse and polka music playing throughout the restaurant, we had all the entertainment we needed while we waited. And as we made it closer to the front of the line, the staff behind the counter were very helpful and efficient in getting our food ready.

Considering in most other restaurants I’d be sitting as long at my seat waiting for dinner, this wasn’t so bad.  Plus you can’t knock a wait when at the end of it you get a delicious and filling meal.

I wanted to try a few Sokolowski classics so I selected their meatloaf, along with cabbage and noodles and greenbeans (I had to have at least one healthy dish). And because I couldn’t help myself, I added on an order of pierogies. All this with a large bottle of Weihenstephaner and salad – I was in heaven with so much food.

While the cabbage and noodles and butter-laden pierogies were fairly popular all around, I think we all agreed that the meatloaf was the best.

When it comes to meatloaf, I’m not a fan of recipes that call for brown sauce. A sweet, tomato-based sauce is what I want – just like my mother made when I was a kid.

With just one bite, Sokolowski’s transported me to Mom’s kitchen. The large juicy chunks of tomatoes in the sweet sauce soaked into the meat – I enjoyed every bite of this savory, delicious dish. And there were a lot of bites – with Sokolowski’s offering up one of the most ample plates of food I’ve had the joy of ordering and eating.

I think that’s the thing behind Sokolowski’s success – between the decor and the food, it felt like we were at home. It was the perfect Cleveland welcome for our friends who had just finished an 8 hour drive. Plus, I got to cross off another item on my Cleveland bucket list.

Since 1923, Sokolowski’s University Inn has been serving Cleveland as one of the area’s oldest family owned restaurants specializing in Polish and Eastern European cuisine.

Besides their usual fare, Sokolowski’s is currently running a clam bake special every Saturday this October. From 4-9pm, they’re offering a choice of chicken or steak plus clams, clam chowder, candied yams, potatoes, corn, and a slice of pumpkin or apple pie. My mouth is watering as I write this.

***

From Sokolowski’s to Greenhouse Taverm, I love my Cleveland food. Fortunately, I and all CLE food lovers are in luck this week as Cleveland’s a Plum is celebrating her 1,000th blog post – congratulations! And to celebrate she’s partnered with some of her favorite Cleveland restaurants and giving away over $1,250 in food and drink – woot! You can enter here.

Tremont's First Annual Steelyard Chef

The tree-and-church-lined Lincoln Park in Tremont is often buzzing with festivals and markets

Before Scott and I moved to Cleveland, we flew out one weekend to take a look at the city. We kept hearing about this place called Tremont from a couple of coworkers who used to live there.

Unfortunately, this was before we owned our GPS and being a bit directionally challenged we couldn’t find it (I’ll confess that at the time I don’t think we realized it was a neighborhood in Cleveland and not a nearby town).

So after returning home wowed by the rest of Cleveland but disappointed we didn’t have a chance to visit Tremont, we put it at the top of our to-do list for when we moved here.

A trip to Prosperity Social Club was our first Tremont adventure, whose old neighborhood charm and vintage bowling machine instantly won the neighborhood a spot in my list of favorites (their selection of gin and tonics doesn’t hurt either).

Enjoying our latest visit to Prosperity in Tremont with Scott’s mom and grandmother

Of course, as we learned each time we returned to Tremont, it’s difficult to not find something to like.

Culinary experiences abound, like homemade ethnic cuisine at Sokolowski’s, fine dining from Dante, Lolita and Parallax (among many others) and pubs like Tremont Taphouse and Treehouse.

Art galleries and local businesses such as Loop, Wine and Design and Visible Voice offer unique local shopping. And architecture and cultural centers give a glimpse into Cleveland’s rich heritage.

All this is set against a gorgeous backdrop of tree-lined streets and green spaces like Lincoln Park.

For the past 30 years, Tremont West Development Corporation has worked to maintain this dynamic community. While protecting the neighborhood’s history and culture, they work with local businessowners and residents to continually improve Tremont for the future.

Chalk artist at Tremont’s Arts and Cultural Festival a few weeks ago

They also host events throughout the year to showcase the neighborhood’s gems. Every Tuesday, they help host the Tremont Farmers’ Market, and on the second Friday of each month, the Tremont Artwalk. Other events like Taste of Tremont, Arts in August and the recent Arts and Cultural Festival fill the year with more reasons to visit and stay.

Tremont West’s latest event is the first annual Steelyard Chef.  Starting at 6pm on Oct. 10, four of Tremont’s finest restaurants will come together and go head to head for a new neighborhood fundraiser.

Chefs from Dante, Fat Cats, Fahrenheit and Lolita will each prepare one entree that will be rated by guests. At the end, the chef with the highest number of votes will be awarded the title Steelyard Chef.

Tremont resident Anjelica Pozo, a nationally renowned ceramic artist, has created a one-of-a-kind art piece which will be displayed in the winning restaurant until next year’s Steelyard Chef is crowned.

Steelyard Chef @ St. Theodosius, Oct. 10

For $75, guests will be able to enjoy each chef’s dish, as well as passed appetizers prepared by the competing restaurants, an open bar featuring beverages donated by Goose Island Beer Company and Wine Trends, and dessert from A Cookie and A Cupcake. Live entertainment will be provided all evening by the Tony Koussa Jr. Band.

This all takes place on the grounds of Tremont’s historic St. Theodosius Orthodox Cathedral, where guests can marvel at one of the neighborhood’s most iconic sites – the onion-shaped domes and classic Russian architecture of the oldest Orthodox Christian church in Ohio.

Tickets are available at tremontwest.org/index/webapp-paypal-form. Proceeds from Steelyard Chef will benefit neighborhood development.

Blog Swap: MissWineOH says, Wines you HAVE to try

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

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

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

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

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

Lolita

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

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

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

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

Parallax

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

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

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

Dante

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Sipping!

Exploring Hidden Cleveland

Lolly The Trolley got us where we needed to go on the Hidden CLE Tour

UPDATE: This post is from the 2010 Hidden Cleveland Tours.  For more information about the Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s current series, check their site out here.

Although living in Cleveland the last couple of years has helped me get a decent grasp on what the city has to offer, my awareness of just how much can be found here has increased significantly in the short time since starting this blog. From organizations such as Positively Cleveland and Downtown Cleveland Alliance to blogs like 52 Weeks of Cleveland, I’ve been clueing into the city in ways I hadn’t thought of before.    

In particular this month, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance is making it easier to explore some places in my backyard that I would have typically been unaware of.  With the Hidden Cleveland Tours last Sunday and this Sunday, they’re highlighting a selection of buildings around downtown Cleveland that feature interesting architecture, city history and local culture.   

The Special Collections' Chess Library features a variety of unique chess sets

Lolly The Trolley took us to our first stop – the Main Branch of the Cleveland Public Library. We were met at the steps of the library by ‘Mayor Tom Johnson‘ – the Progressive mayor of Cleveland elected in the early 1900s who supported the Group Plan and creation of the Mall which the library borders.  After a brief history lesson, we entered the library for the main purpose of the stop – the Special Collections department.  Open to the public, the department houses a myriad of antique books and donated treasures for perusing. Among many other things featured in the department are a Sheet Music File, Miniature Books Collection and Tobacco Collection.  However, the highlight of the visit for me was The John G. White Collection of Chess, Checkers, Folklore and Orientalia.  The largest chess library in the world, its pieces document the history, development and technical aspects of chess, and feature many exquisite chess sets as well as a number of books related to the game (including a Birthday Book from the woman that Alice in Wonderland is named after). Located on the 3rd Floor, it’s definitely worth a return visit to explore everything that’s located there.    

A view from the Hanna Theatre's bar seating shows the load-in for the set of A Midsummer Night's Dream

From the library, the trolley took us to nearby Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square – home of the Great Lakes Theatre Festival.  The night before the tour, Scott and I had been at the Hanna to see GLTF’s production of Bat Boy. To go on a tour of the theatre the next day was a real pleasure. Originally built in the 1920s, the venue was reopened in 2008 after a major renovation transformed the space into a 550-seat thrust stage theatre. Although we had seen the theatre’s innovative setup in action the night before, we had a chance to really explore it on the tour. The theatre is set up to ensure that no audience member is further than 12 rows from the stage.  And non-traditional seating options – in addition to conventional fixed seats – allow for a more social theatre-going experience. There are lounges and boxes with movable seats, banquettes, and a bar area where you can grab a barstool and bottle of wine and enjoy the show.  When we attended Opening Night of Bat Boy on Saturday, we sat in one of the center banquettes.  A wraparound couch that fits four, it was the most comfortable and one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve had while seeing a show. After seeing A Midsummer Night’s Dream (the other half of the GLTF’s Spring  Repertory), I’ll be posting a more comprehensive entry on the theatre and both productions.     

Mural from the Slovenian National Home's stage

I’d have to admit, as a theatre geek at heart, I was sad to leave the Hanna.  However, the next stop – the Slovenian National Home  – was definitely a hidden gem that the tour uncovered for me. The Home was built in 1924 by people of Slovenian descent for meetings and celebrations — including community opera productions on the beautiful stage in the main Hall.  Although originally built in the 20s, the Home is still used today and in pristine condition. Located next door is the Slovenian Museum and Archives, dedicated to preserving Slovenian artistic and ethnic works, as well as the history of Slovenian families who migrated to Cleveland — the largest Slovenian community outside of Slovenia.  Currently featured at the museum is an exhibit by Slovenian-American artist Gary Bukovnik titled ‘The Rebirth of Flora,’ as well as the Slovenian Genealogy Society Research Library’s Oral History Preservation Project. With everything it features, the Slovenian National Home and Museum & Archives are fantastic examples of well-maintained cultural history.     

The Ukrainian Labor Temple - now home to CR Studio, Inc.

We completed the tour at the Ukrainian Labor Temple. This stop did an excellent job in demonstrating how some older buildings in Cleveland have been repurposed.   The Ukrainian Labor Temple originially served as both a cultural center similiar to the Slovenian National Home, as well as the focal point for radical labor movements in the city.  However, after it fell out of use, the building was purchased in 1989 and then converted into a photography studio and living space for CR Studio, Inc. During the tour, we explored the studio which was housed in the main auditorium of the temple, as well as a showroom for Ideal Surface which produces concrete designs for commercial and residential projects. The most interesting point of this stop was the opportunity to see an individual’s current story overlay the original building’s function.    

Prosperity Social Club - a laidback, retro drinking establishment

Last Sunday’s Hidden Cleveland Tour was well-worth the $25 ticket price. In addition to the tour, the ticket included appetizers and drink specials at Prosperity Social Club down the street from the Ukrainian Labor Temple. Scott and I had been there before and our visit on Sunday did not fail to please. The bar resides in the building’s original 1938 barroom, and its art deco influence with wormy chestnut walls provides a nostalgic atmosphere that’s unpretentious and truly Cleveland. 
Although there is another tour this Sunday visiting four different Downtown spots, it’s already sold out.  This is the second year the annual tour has been held, so hopefully due to its popularity more opportunities will be offered to experience those parts of the city it may be easy to miss out on.    

       

Hidden Cleveland 411:

Hidden Cleveland Tour
Tour Details
Sponsored by Downtown Cleveland Alliance
@DowntownCLE         


Stop 1: Cleveland Public Library – Special Collections Department
Department Location and Contact Information     


Stop 2: Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square
Great Lakes Theatre Festival     


Stop 3: Slovenian National Home
National Home Location
Museum and Archives     

 
Stop 4: Ukrainian Labor Temple
Labor Temple History
Prosperity Social Club
Location and Hours