Sunday, July 31, 2011

Little Italy, Coventry & Gordon Square

Brunching it up at Washington Place Bistro
Ugh. I feel disgusting from all the eating I've done this weekend. But, Jen raved on and on about Cleveland's restaurant scene, so all of the gorging was worth it! And, the Pickle was such a good little diner. 

We started at Washington Place Bistro for brunch in Little Italy. Yay for monkey bread and mimosas! 

From there, we spent a couple hours on Coventry in all of the shops. We hit Big Fun, Next, American Apparel, Winds of Change and City Buddha. (What happened to Brigade??? I didn't know it moved to Beachwood Place.) We would have stopped in Blush, but it was randomly closed.

I CANNOT WAIT to get him in these hilarious American Apparel 70s short with knee socks!
Jen's flight was tonight, so we persuaded Phil to join us at Luxe on the patio since he had never been and Gordon Square is sort of on the way to the airport. Dylan CRUSHED the short rib and potato gnocchi (why wouldn't he?'s awesome). Then we went across the street to Sweet Moses for malts and sundaes. They had the cutest little table for minis, and Dylan made friends with a little girl and her giant lollipop.
Mmmm..Sweet Moses!
I can't believe we almost hit every place on our list. We only missed Tremont and some East side stuff, but Jen has been to those places before. I realized that I left out Chagrin Falls as a must-see neighborhood. I haven't been in a while, but need to hit up Jeni's soon. Who's in?

Downtown, E. 4th Street & Ohio City

Striping it up at The Greenhouse Tavern rooftop bar.
On Friday and Saturday, Jen practically became mayor of my parking garage since we jetted back and forth to downtown each day. On Friday, we started at the Downtown Farmers' Market where we filled up on food truck eats and bought out Ohio City Pasta. 

Dylan loved his pulled pork enchilada, but he ended up with mud butt the next morning. :(

From Public Square, we walked to the Rock Hall to see the awesome Women Who Rock exhibit. Loved our visit, but we almost missed Gaga's meat dress since its display was obscurely positioned in the exhibit (it's on the 6th floor in the display case on the other side of Rihanna's outfit).

We found the PERFECT souvenir for the Pickle: a Rock Hall maraca. Please note his Rock Hall attendance bracelet.
After the Rock Hall, we went home for Dylan's nap and got ready for our girls' night out. Since Jen interned with the agency I work for, we met up with Lisa, one of my co-workers, at The Greenhouse Tavern. We gorged on dinner (the pot de creme is AMAZEBALLS) and headed up to the rooftop for fresh air and great views of E. 4th Street. 

Love to see this place busy!
We ran into other peeps we knew, including another co-worker, Julia, and Alexa.

Chatting with Julia, we realized all four of us were dressed in stripes and Michael Kors watches.
On Saturday, we headed to the West Side Market to pick up veggies, more pasta (I know) and cottage cheese pirogi (Phil's fave). There was a fun band playing at the Ohio City Open Market, so we stopped by and then visited Room Service and bought hilarious inappropriate Barbie greeting cards. 

Since Jen always shows me awesome Charlotte shops, I really wanted her to see The Dredger's Union, so we went back to E. 4th. 

For dinner, we cooked up beer can chicken, all our amazing Ohio City Pasta (rosemary and roasted red pepper pasta tossed with pesto and roasted red pepper sauce), and made a salad with veggies from our garden and the Market. Mmm!

Jen and I went to see Friends With Benefits (JT's character's name was Dylan!) when the Pickle went to bed. Loved it! Since I had only a few hours of sleep the night before, I passed out when we got home. 

Please see this amazing onesie Jen bought Dylan from!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Operation Life Doesn't Suck After Baby commences this weekend

Last summer when I was super pregs and had limited traveling options, my favorite out-of-town gal pals came to visit me and my belly. Luckily, this summer, I’m getting a repeat performance.

My friend Jen from Charlotte is visiting this weekend, and Sarah and her minis are coming in next weekend for Dylan’s one-year birthday parties (Yes, parties…one for each side of the fam).

Sarah has been my mom role model ever since I visited her and three-week-old Ella and realized that you can be a mom and not be a hermit. I’m hoping that I have a similar effect on Jen as we eat, shop and stroll in the Cleve off and on with The Pickle.

Here’s the tentative itinerary for the weekend:


Ohio City/Tremont/Gordon Square:

East Side:

When friends come into town, what’s on your must-see list?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Road tripping in the super sexy veggie van

Yesterday was the annual Veggie U Food & Wine Celebration at the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio. (Note: this Milan is pronounced “Mylan.” I guess I was trying to fancy it up by pronouncing it like the city in Italy. Whoops.) I attended for the first time and had a blast stuffing my face and sweating my ass off (OK, sweating wasn’t so fun, but at least everyone was).

I first heard about Veggie U from my friend Michelle at Cleveland Foodie a couple years ago. Veggie U is a program that educates fourth graders across the country on the importance of making wise food choices and understanding where their food comes from. As a new mom, I am all about that! I’m so proud that my Pickle loads up on the veggies. I love being a Veggie U donor and supporting their efforts.

Since the event was an hour away, a group of us hired a church van super sexy veggie van as deemed by Suzanne as our stylized method of transportation. It was hard to stay sexy since said van didn’t have air besides the lovely wind from the highway that ganstered up my hair. It also had a questionable tire. But, we had a blast with our hors d’oeuvres, Busch beer and seat dancing!

My fave foods from the event were Jeni’s Ice Creams, a goat cheese mousse salad, Washington Place Bistro’s pork and fried tomato dish and a mini champagne bottle with a straw. I waited in line three times for Jeni’s (What? It was hot!). The flavors I tried were goat cheese with cherries, pistachio and honey, lemon and blueberries and a taste of Allison’s sweet corn and black raspberries. I am seriously considering serving some at the Pickle’s one-year birthday party since Heinen’s sells pints.
Jeni & Charity are BFFs!
There was a fun panel discussion that featured The Greenhouse Tavern's Jonathan Sawyer (Noodlecat), Chipotle’s founder Steve Ells, former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl and Veggie U Farmer Lee Jones. I asked the panel about their favorite veggies and will always think of Farmer Lee Jones whenever I eat asparagus since he said he lusts after them when they’re not in season.
Panel discussion
We noticed on the drive in that part of the farm had a big sign noting that the oregano being grown was for Chipotle. Yay! When Steve Ells said his favorite veggie is broccoli rabe, audience members shouted to make a new burrito with it. Yum!
Oregano for Chipotle!
Near the end of the event, the organizers gave away all of the beautiful fresh veggies on display and I got myself a hefty handful of carrots. I was so excited that the Pickle and I ate some for breakfast. Everyone was right: they are so sweet!

Initially, I had planned to go to Taste of Tremont today, but I think I’ve had my fill of heat and food this weekend. Have fun!

*Disclaimer: I was given a free ticket to the Veggie U Food & Wine Celebration during a blogger dinner at Washington Place Bistro in May.

Friday, July 15, 2011 close

I have a personal goal of conquering all 50 states. To be considered a legit trip, I have to stay overnight. Since I haven't checked off any new states in a WHILE, I was excited at the chance for a biz trip to Tulsa this month. Well, it was a no go, so Oklahoma will remain lonely for me. 

Got a few visits brewing, but I haven't bought any flights yet. On the horizon: Vegas for Phil's 40th (lucky #7 trip for me!), maybe Boston for a conference for Phil, Chicago and San Francisco to visit a newly relocated friend. I'm also still aching to take the Pickle on an international trip. Stay tuned.