#ThisisCLE Archive

Thursday

28

August 2014

5

COMMENTS

Exploring Cleveland: That’s a Wrap

Written by , Posted in Travel

I can’t believe it has already been almost 3 weeks since my visit to Cleveland! When you get back to the daily grind time just seems to fly by. The past few weeks have been crazy, and until pretty much November the craziness is going to continue – but it’s all good craziness, so I can’t complain one bit. Mike made my birthday extra special this year with a great night that included dinner at The Purple Pig and we celebrated my mom’s birthday at Taxim and Mike’s birthday at Ada Street, so there has been a ton of amazing eating going on. Next week Mike and I move to Lincoln Park and the week after that we leave for 3 weeks on Germany. All super exciting things, but lately my mind is running in a million different directions every minute. What that means is that this may be a bit of a ramble-y post, complete with excess exclamation marks and run-on sentences…just getting that out there and apologizing in advance! (You may be thinking to yourself – wait, don’t all of her posts have excess exclamation points and run-on sentences? Yes, yes they do, but I’m totally fine with you keeping that thought all to yourself, thankyouverymuch)

There were several places that I visited on the tail end of my time in Cleveland that didn’t really fall into any of my previous posts, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t just as awesome and deserving of some blog time! Hence the catch-all “That’s a wrap” title of this post. I’ll start where I left off after my Ohio City post….

After our stop at The West Side Market, Charity and I hopped in her car and drove over to the lakefront to check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, affectionately referred to by those in the know as the “Rock Hall”. I don’t think I mentioned it in my previous post, but earlier in the afternoon we joined up with a film crew that followed us around to get footage for Positively Cleveland. I am definitely not a fan of being filmed, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t just a little bit cool when everyone in the crowded market was asking who we were – celebrities for a couple of hours! At the Rock Hall the guys set-up out back for the perfect skyline view for my interview. I’m pretty positive that I went all Will Ferrell in Old School and blacked out for a few minutes while they were asking me questions, but it was a thrill and I’m beyond flattered that I was chosen for such an awesome experience!

Cleveland skyline, film crew

Ok, where was I? Back to the Rock Hall. Charity and I were both fairly exhausted at this point, but we were on a mission. Beyoncé recently donated several of her outfits to the museum so exhausted or not, we were going to see Beyoncé’s clothes! There were just a handful of Beyoncé’s outfits on display so we snapped a few pictures of those, perused the surrounding exhibits, then headed out. There were so many cool things to see and I know I’ll be back to spend more quality time here when I’m back in Cleveland!

Cleveland, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Pyramid

Cleveland, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Beyonce

Cleveland, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Beyonce

After the Rock Hall Charity drove me back to my hotel to get freshened up for dinner. I had an hour or two to kill before Charity would be picking me up again so I could’ve taken a nap, but I thought to myself – there will be time to nap when you’re back in Chicago! So I put on a fresh coat of mascara and headed out once again. I walked back to East 4th Street to check out a couple places that had caught my eye the night before. I had one drink on the rooftop of The Greenhouse Tavern and then walked across the street to try out a cocktail at the Society Lounge.

The rooftop at The Greenhouse Tavern was a cool, laid-back scene and all the food I passed on my way up looked and smelled fantastic. Society Lounge is in the basement and they’re going for more of the speakeasy, craft cocktail, secret password vibe (no actual secret password required). The drinks take a bit longer to make here, but they’re well worth it!

Lion + Maven | Exploring Cleveland

Lion + Maven | Exploring Cleveland

After my drink at Society Lounge, Charity picked me up and we headed to University Circle for a fabulous dinner at L’Albatros. After dinner we drove back downtown where I snapped a few quick pictures of the world’s larger permanent crystal chandelier in Playhouse Square before Charity dropped me off to check out AHA! Light Up Cleveland. AHA! was produced by LAND Studio and was a “multi-day festival of lights celebrating the recent development boom and “illuminating” changes to our urban landscape. […] to illustrate what is possible in beloved public spaces through artist installations using light, video projections and live cultural participate on events.” The lighting installations were a great complement to the kick-off of the Gay Games 9 and “magical” is the best way I can describe the atmosphere that night. Between the lights, the people, and the setting, Cleveland was looking pretty impressive that night.

Cleveland, Playhouse Square, Chandelier

Cleveland, Downtown, AHA Cleveland, Light Fixtures

Cleveland, Downtown, AHA Cleveland, Light Fixtures

Cleveland, Downtown, AHA Cleveland, Light Fixtures

Cleveland, Downtown, AHA Cleveland, Light Fixtures

Cleveland, Downtown, AHA Cleveland, Light Fixtures

Cleveland, Downtown, AHA Cleveland, Light Fixtures

After hanging out for awhile I decided that it was time to walk back to my hotel and get some rest. The next morning I grabbed a cup of coffee at Pour Cleveland (really good and right across from the Holiday Inn Express!) and Charity picked me up along with her husband and brand new baby, Max, so I could squeeze a few more drops out of Cleveland on Sunday morning. We grabbed a quick breakfast at Luna Bakery & Café. I had a delicious crepe, but Charity’s Nest Egg left me with order envy – it was basically a grilled cheese with a sunny egg in the middle, kind of amazing, right?!

From there we drove over to our last stop, the Cleveland Museum of Art. The museum was recently renovated and is absolutely beautiful. We didn’t stay long because I had to drive back to Chicago, but I loved what I saw. Even if you’re not an art lover you will love the space, plus admission is FREE! I couldn’t even believe it. This is definitely an area that deserves it’s fair share of exploration in Cleveland.

Lion + Maven | Exploring Cleveland

Lion + Maven | Exploring Cleveland

Lion + Maven | Exploring Cleveland

Lion + Maven | Exploring Cleveland

My trip to Cleveland was short but very sweet and I was sad for it to come to an end. I was so impressed with this city that I had never even considered visiting and I highly recommend a visit to everyone, especially if you’re as close as me in the Chicagoland area. Major thanks to Positively Cleveland for making this weekend happen and to Charity for making it so memorable! Cleveland does indeed Rock.

 

*My expenses during my time in Cleveland were paid for by Positively Cleveland. As always, all content on Lion + Maven comes from my own, unbiased thoughts and opinions. 

Tuesday

26

August 2014

0

COMMENTS

Exploring Cleveland: Dinner at L’Albatros

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

After a busy morning and afternoon exploring Ohio City, both Charity and I were more than ready for a relaxing evening on Saturday. Charity’s recommendation for dinner that night was L’Albatros, a French Brasserie + Bar in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. I love French cuisine so I was beyond excited to check it out.

University Circle is another gorgeous neighborhood about a 15 minute drive from downtown. It is home to Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, and several other impressive cultural and medical institutions. On our way to L’Albatros we drove down Martin Luther King Boulevard so I could catch a glimpse of Cleveland’s Cultural Gardens, a collection of 31 public gardens, each commemorating a different ethnic group whose immigrants have contributed to the heritage of the U.S. and Cleveland. I would have loved to spend more time exploring this beautiful area, but our reservation at L’Albatros was waiting! L'Albatros, Cleveland

When we walked into L’Albatros I immediately fell in love. As soon as we stepped in I was greeted by the intoxicating aromas from the open kitchen immediately to our right. The space is split up into smaller sections, making it the perfect setting for an intimate dinner with friends or loved ones. In fact, my cousin and his wife had their first date AND got engaged here, so I think it’s safe to say that L’Albatros does special occasions very well. They also have an outdoor patio that Cleveland.com named one of the top 10 patios in Cleveland this summer and judging by its popularity on this beautiful summer night, it was no wonder why!

L'Albatros, Cleveland

Once Charity and I were settled into our cozy corner table that looked out to the patio, we got straight to business and ordered a bottle of wine and an assortment of cheeses. L’Albatros has a “cheese guy” (fromager? cheesemonger? we just went with “cheese guy”) who brings out the full selection of the restaurant’s cheeses to your table and cuts off your pieces right then and there. We opted for a couple funky, a couple soft, and one hard, and we were off to cheese-lovers’ heaven! Served with sliced bread and a little bit of honey and fig jam, this was the perfect way to start a very memorable meal.

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Wine

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Cheese

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Cheese

After the cheese came the Escargot. I absolutely love escargot and Charity had never tried it before, so this was a no-brainer. L’Albatros’ version is made with toasted garlic and fennel butter (lots and lots of butter) and we both really enjoyed it. The addition of fennel was a twist that I’ve never tried before and it worked very well. Make sure you have a few extra slices of bread to sop up all of that delicious butter, it’s always my favorite part!

We also each ordered a salad to add in a bit of lightness after our first two courses. Charity ordered the popular Radish & Cucumber salad and I ordered their special, mixed greens topped with heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. These were both cool, crisp, fresh salads that hit the spot.

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Escargot

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Beet Cucumber salad

L'Albatros, Cleveland, salad

For our main dishes Charity and I both went with fish, Charity with the Roasted Cod, a fixture on the menu, and me with the Amberjack, a special for the evening. The cod was served with spätzle, sauerkraut, crème fraîche, and cornichon aioli – I had a bite and can attest that it is very tasty! My amberjack was served with summer squash and several other great seasonal ingredients. This was my first time eating amberjack and I was very happy with my order. 

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Cod

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Amberjack

We were both happily full but just couldn’t say no to dessert. We shared the dark chocolate tart with Meyer lemon curd, not too rich but just enough sweetness to satisfy; it was a great way to end an already fantastic meal.

L'Albatros, Cleveland, dessert, chocolate

Our dinner at L’Albatros was my favorite meal during my time in Cleveland. I would definitely rank L’Albatros as my #1 recommendation of where to eat in Cleveland based on my experience and all the great things I’ve heard from others. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a special occasion or just in the mood for some delicious food, L’Albatros fits the bill!

 

*My expenses during my time in Cleveland were paid for by Positively Cleveland. As always, all content on Lion + Maven comes from my own, unbiased thoughts and opinions. 

 

Tuesday

19

August 2014

4

COMMENTS

Exploring Cleveland: A Saturday In Ohio City

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

My favorite way to get to know a city is to find where the locals go, then go there! Obviously the touristy things are also fun, but I like to get a feel for what a city is actually like to people living there. One of the things that I found to be unique and really loved about Cleveland was that it’s a big city but it had a great small town vibe. Everyone that I met was so friendly and I found some really amazing locally-owned businesses where the owners take great care and pride in what they put out. Case in point: my Saturday morning in Ohio City.

Like Chicago, Cleveland has its neighborhoods and Ohio City is one of them. I started my morning in Hingetown which is a small neighborhood within Ohio City that boasts a bunch of awesome business all packed into a couple of blocks. I started my morning bright and early with a Mocha at Rising Star Coffee. Their store here in Hingetown is in an old firehouse and was beyond charming. Friendly people, great coffee, fresh bagels, and a cute setting had my morning off to a great start!

Cleveland, Rising Star Coffee

Cleveland, Rising Star Coffee, Bagels

Cleveland, Rising Star Coffee

Cleveland, Rising Star Coffee, Pour Over

Cleveland, Rising Star Coffee

With a solid caffeine buzz I headed over to Harness Cycle just a short block away for a spin class with Danielle. They recently opened this Hingetown studio and like Rising Star Coffee it was just SO CUTE! The class was challenging and fun; if you’re familiar with Flywheel spin classes they’re very similar. You ride in the dark to the beat of an awesome playlist with an encouraging instructor that keeps the energy high and makes sure you have a great workout. If I lived in Cleveland I would definitely be a regular!

After spin I walked a few doors down to grab some fresh, cold-pressed juice at Beet Jar. Keeping with the theme of the neighborhood, it was another super cute space with delicious offerings. I went with a green juice and their signature Bravocodo Sandwich that had smoked coconut, avocado, red onions, cashew mayo, and mixed greens tucked between two slices of toasted Sicilian bread. This sandwich was amazing. Seriously. The juice was great, but this sandwich was just beyond. It’s very rare that I would choose a meatless sandwich over one with meat, but this sandwich would absolutely be the exception!

Cleveland, Harness Cycle

Cleveland, Beet Jar

Cleveland, Beet Jar, Juice, Sandwich

From the Beet Jar I drove back downtown to my hotel to get freshened up to meet Charity and head back to Ohio City for brunch and a trip to the West Side Market. Our first stop was at Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream. Ice cream before brunch – what can I say, priorities! I had a waffle cone with a scoop of their seasonal Toasted Hazelnut and a scoop of the Black Raspberry Chocolate Chunk – both SO good, but the hazelnut was my fav.  Mitchells’ ice creams are made with high-quality ingredients like grass-fed dairy raised on nearby family farms, seasonal fruits, and locally-roasted nuts, to name a few. If I’m going to indulge in ice cream I feel a little less guilty when it’s this good!

Next we walked over to The Flying Fig for brunch. All the outdoor patios in the area were bustling on this sunny Saturday afternoon and the Flying Fig’s was no exception. Charity ordered the Warm “Egg Salad”, a gruyere-chive soft scramble on top of multigrain bread, and I ordered the Migas – local scrambled eggs with chorizo sausage, tortillas, peppers, scallions, roasted chili, aged cheddar, tomatillo & crème fraîche, with breakfast potatoes. Delicious! The Fig has been around for 15 years and is all about the farm-to-table movement. Their goal is to “support small family farms and local food artisans while creating critically acclaimed menus that evolve frequently to reflect seasonal availability”. Great food and a goal worth supporting, what’s not to love?

Cleveland, Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream

Cleveland, Flying Fig, Brunch

Cleveland, Flying Fig, Brunch

We had one more stop to make in Ohio City at The West Side Market. The West Side Market has been around since 1840 and is Cleveland’s oldest publicly owned market. The market is home to over 100 vendors that collectively offer a little bit of everything. Meat, dairy, seafood, produce, spices, baked goods, candy, flowers…it’s all there. I don’t think anywhere could top my love for Seattle’s Pike Place Market, but I will say that Cleveland’s West Side Market definitely bears some resemblance and I had a great time there!

Cleveland, West Side Marke

Cleveland, West Side Marke

Our visit to the market ended our time in Ohio City but there were still so many other great places in the neighborhood that I didn’t get a chance to check out. I’m sure that I could have spent the entire weekend exploring this little pocket of Cleveland! I definitely recommend adding Ohio City to your itinerary if you’re planning a visit to Cleveland!

 

My expenses during my time in Cleveland were paid for by Positively Cleveland. As always, all content on Lion + Maven comes from my own, unbiased thoughts and opinions. 

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