Friday, March 27, 2015

Feast of the Bloggers at Jim Alesci's Place

So if you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that I've been crushing on Jim Alesci's Place in Solon for a long time. They were the first Favorite Places post that I shared with you and have been loving the new and greatly improved store.

Recently they reached out to the Ohio Blogging Association and hosted a blogger meetup to spread the word on what they have to offer. I obviously said yes because you know, I need another excuse to go there :)
While I've been a fan for years, I learned a lot about the Alesci family during the event. They were extremely warm and welcoming and really made us feel like part of the family. And in true Italian family style, we were treated to an amazing feast that far exceeded our expectations. So much that I heard comments like "It's like being at a wedding, but better!" 
Yes, it was that kind of event. Check out this menu:
As we got settled in and mingled, we dug into this gorgeous assortment of Italian meat and cheeses.
And were greated by this smiling face and tasty bruschetta:
As we looked around the store, I spotted this in the bakery case. Turns out it was a Cleveland-style cassata cake that they would serve us later. Ah, the anticipation...
After a tour of the store, we were served two green salads:
And wedding soup in demitasse cups:
And the food kept coming...
Frank Alesci serving up an assortment of flatbreads
Super cute tiny chicken pot pie in a mini mason jar
Beautiful veggies
Pizzas
Italian beef sandwiches
And of course there was dessert. Not only the cassata cake, but a whole tower of sweet treats that made everyone swoon.
My favorite was the toasted almond amaretto cake. 

They showed off their beautiful Lavazza espresso machine and an variety of coffee drinks:
And of course there was wine:
Affordable and easy drinking - this is a good wine choice for your Italian feast.
The Alesci's were unbelievable generous to us - not only did they feed us incredible food, they gave everyone a t-shirt and a $10 gift card. 
I put my gift card to use immediately. Here's some of my favorite finds:

Orange and basic olive oil

Get these for your Easter Basket!
Now these are ice cream sandwiches - oh my!
We even learned about a local company Peaceful Fruits that is making sustainable fruit snacks from wild-harvested acai and met the founder, Evan. They are healthy treats, taste great and are helping people in the Amazon have a better life. They are available at Alesci's too.
**Disclosure: As a member of the Ohio Blogging Association, I was invited to attend this event. Food, beverages, t-shirt and gift card were provided by Alesci's. I loved them before the event, and continue to be a huge fan. 
As always, opinions are my own. **










































  




Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#CIFF39

The Cleveland International Film Fest is in full swing. If you haven't gone yet, what are you waiting for!
Cleveland International Film Festival,
The CIFF is nationally recognized as one of the best in the nation. They are even currently in the running for the USA Today10 Best contest. You can cast your vote hereThere really is a film for everyone. One of our favorites this year so far is a local short about the Cleveland Cultural GardensHidden in Plain Sight.

If you haven't been to the CIFF yet, here's a article from Fresh Water Cleveland with some tips from the pros (like me!): Movies, movies, everywhere: A guide to surviving and thriving at the film fest.

This past weekend, my friend Joy and her boyfriend Scott made their annual trek to CLE to catch up with us and catch some films. 
This year, we all stayed downtown at the Renaissance - this might need to be a tradition! Even though we don't have a long drive home, it's really nice to spend the night in our cool city.

Love the view of the still frozen lake:
And we got to see Public Square in full demolition mode:
Dinner was at Pura Vida - not only is it a SUPER close walk from Tower City, the atmosphere is fun, the food is delicious and the beautiful lighting makes it feel like a special event.

blood orange cocktail
Skyy blood orange vodka, St.Germaine, blood orange puree, sparkling wine
The weekend went WAY too fast! We've been taking full advantage of this incredible festival almost daily. After a two day break, I'm back at it today for my annual Girls Night at the Movies.

You can still join in on the fun this year but you better hurry! Buy your tickets or become a member. Click here for details.
#CIFF39, Cleveland


Don't forget - you have until 3/30 to enter to win tickets to Our Lady of the Wayside's Cleveland's Finast Hors d'Oeuvres Contest - enter here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

CLE's Finast Hors d'Oeuvres Contest Giveaway

What is your favorite part of the meal? Dessert? Main dish? Side dishes? 

Regardless of your choice, appetizers rule at Our Lady of the Wayside's 
Cleveland's Finest Hors d'Oeuvre Contest. This year on April 16th, The Terrace Club will be filled with some of the best in Cleveland.
CLEevents, Our Lady of the Wayside
This event is always one of my very favorites. There are SOOO many fabulous restaurants on hand to show off their culinary skills and creativity that it really is hard to pick a winner.

Some of the participating restaurants are:
Barrio
Hodge's
Carrie Cerino's
Spice Kitchen & Bar
The Spread, Horseshoe Casino
Corleone's
The Tree House
Progressive Field
The Woods
Tartine Bistro
The Zack Bruell Restaurant Group

Desserts by Becker's Bakery

Wine & Beer by Tom Gore Vineyards and Mill St. Brewery

Music will be provided by Nate Jones and the Half Naked Monkeys.
cupcakes, brownies
they have desserts too!
And not only do you get amazing food and delicious wine and beer, the purchase of your tickets helps Our Lady of the Wayside. This awesome charity was established nearly 50 years ago. They support children and adults with developmental disabilities by:
  • Supporting 600 children and adults with developmental disabilities
  • Managing nearly 70 homes in more than 30 communities throughout Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain  and Medina counties
  • Operating a transportation fleet of 100 vehicles
  • Becoming a major regional employer with 600 staff
  • Pioneering The Pathways Program, an innovative Day Program for adults with developmental disabilities
Tickets are $80 per person and can be purchased here.

I also have two tickets to giveaway to one of my fabulous readers thanks to the nice folks at Our Lady of the Wayside! Please enter using the Rafflecopter below. Be sure to complete the task associated with each entry and leave a way for me to contact you. If you don't, I'll have to pick another winner. And you don't want to miss this event! Contest ends at midnight on 3/30. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To keep up with our Lady of the Wayside you can follow them on Twitter or Facebook.


** Disclosure: In addition to the two tickets to giveaway, Our Lady of the Wayside is providing a pair of tickets for promoting this event. As always, all opinions are my own.**

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Spring 2015

1st - some blog business: Find out if you're the winner of the CLE Home and Remodeling Show tickets here.

I don't know about you, but here at Eat*Drink*Cleveland we are VERY excited that spring is finally here!

We're back to talking walks...


And are enjoying the Cleveland International Film Festival. Two movies down, 11 more to go!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2015 Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo Giveaway

Monday's spring weather was such a tease! I don't know about you, but it got me thinking of all the things that need done around the house. Spring cleaning, organizing and getting the house ready to sell are all on the list this year.

Just in time to help you get ready for all the projects you've been dreaming about all winter, the Cleveland Convention Center will be filled March 27-29 with exhibitorscelebrity guests and more for the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo. You can find fresh ideas and smart advice for remodeling, home improvement, and redesign.

I'm really looking forward to seeing fellow blogger Ursula Carmona. She's crafty and organized and has lots of great tips for getting your home in order.
Ursula Carmona

URSULA CARMONA

2015 Home & Garden Trendsetter finalist and DIY guru/blogger

First name Ursula, middle name (might as well be) “I-bet-I-can-make-it-myself”, last name Carmona. Ursula claims to have the most awesome job in the world as a stay-at-home wife to an intelligent handsome (albeit handy-less) man, and a homeschooling mom to her three fantastic girls. She's a handy wannabe, and a lover of all things beautiful.

Find out more about Ursula HERE.
Other celebrities include:
CHIP AND JOANNA GAINES From HGTV's "Fixer Upper"

CHIP AND JOANNA GAINES

From HGTV's "Fixer Upper"

Chip and Joanna Gaines specialize in creating peaceful spaces out of chaos, and seeing the beauty in less than ordinary things. The charming Waco duo will be speaking on how to make a house feel like a home.


EFF LEWIS From Bravo's "Flipping Out"

JEFF LEWIS

From Bravo's "Flipping Out" 

Jeff Lewis is widely regarded as America’s most well-known house flipper through his role in Bravo's docu-series Flipping Out.
He has created a brand of properties that are in harmony with and are exemplified by exterior and interior living spaces.  With over 20+ years of experience designing and renovating his own homes, Jeff Lewis Design was formed.  Within a year of starting the firm, House Beautiful tapped Lewis to design their 2010 Kitchen of the Year in famed Rockefeller Center.  In 2013, Lewis launched an interior paint line, Jeff Lewis Color.  The paints are available in over 115 retail locations and ship nationwide through HomeDepot.com
Tickets are $10, but you can save $2 per ticket by purchasing ahead of time online. And if you use promo code EATCLE15HR, you can save an additional $1 on your ticket.

And thanks to the Great Big Show, I have a pair of tickets to giveaway to a lucky reader!

Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Be sure to actual complete the tasks and include a way to contact you. Failure to do either will disqualify your entry. Winner will be announced Friday - the first official day of Spring 2015! 

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Disclosure: I was provided four tickets: two to keep and two to giveaway to a reader. As always, all opinions are my own.***

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lunch at Chinato

One of the benefits to working downtown is always having somewhere fabulous to eat close by. I'm especially lucky because E. 4th Street is a very easy walk from my office. Maybe TOO easy!

Chinato is one of my favorites no matter what time of day it is. I'm super picky about pasta and they never disappoint. 

One of the best things about Chinato is that they will let you order two half portions of pasta instead of getting just one big plate. For someone like me who can never choose, this is a serious bonus.

Here's my latest combo:
restaurant, Cleveland, Italian
Col Buco with slow roasted pork shoulder
restaurant, pasta, Italian
Fettuccini carbonara
And because I have a huge sweet tooth, I couldn't resist this gorgeous orange-scented panna cotta.
dessert, Zack Bruell, Cleveland, restaurant
If you don't work within walking distance, make sure you take advantage of the parking discount program:

Pay for your parking at the Valet on E. 4th and they will validate you. Take your ticket back to the Valet to be reimbursed - you only pay $8 instead of the $15 or more. On Friday and Saturday evenings they have a Chinato-only valet on Prospect in front of the restaurant for $8.


Chinato on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Shrimp with Asian Quinoa Salad

There are lots of ways to try to eat healthier: adding green smoothies to your diet, juicing, cutting out sweets, etc. One of our favorite ways to eat more veggies (and we already eat a ton!) is to eat meatless once a week. Whether you decide to do it on Monday for "Meatless Monday" or pick a random day during the week, it will not only help you eat healthier, it can be better for the environment and your wallet too.
Save-a-Lot is taking it one step further with Meatless March. This promotion coincides with Lent so it's also perfect for Fridays. They asked me to share this promotion with my readers and develop a recipe using seafood. You can follow along by following hashtag #SaveALotInsiders.
Save-a-Lot has an assortment of frozen seafood that is priced right. For my recipe, I selected the jumbo cooked shrimp (source: India) because my local store was out of the raw and a 10 oz. bag cost $7.99. Prices may vary by location.

I decided to create one that would work both as a vegetarian dish or with seafood added for added flexibility. It's also super easy and perfect for an after work meal. The shrimp cooks fast and adds a nice meaty texture to the salad. 
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Shrimp with Asian Quinoa Salad

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Shrimp:
1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
Sriracha, to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

Instructions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together hoisin sauce, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest,garlic, sriracha, salt and pepper. In a large glass bowl, toss shrimp and hoisin mixture to coat evenly. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. While shrimp is marinating, prepare Asian Quinoa Salad.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place drained shrimp on the prepared baking sheet. Discard marinade. 
Place baking sheet into oven and roast shrimp just until pink, firm and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes (less if using pre-cooked shrimp.)

Asian Quinoa Salad:
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T fresh ginger, minced
1 T olive oil
1 cup Red Quinoa
2 cups water
1 T salt
1 cup shelled edamame, thawed
1 lemon - zested and juiced
1 orange - zested and juiced
2 cups bok choy, thinly sliced
1 cup watercress or arugula
2 leaves lacinato kale, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley +/or mint
2 green onions, thinly sliced
4 T olive oil
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
2 T chopped cilantro

Saute garlic and ginger in olive oil. Add quinoa and stir. Add water and salt and cook according to package directions, approximately 15 minutes. Set aside and cool at least 5 minutes.
Eat Drink Cleveland
Stir in edamame, zest and juice of citrus and sliced veggies. Whisk together sweet soy sauce and oil. Drizzle over quinoa mixture and stir to combine.

Serve roasted shrimp over quinoa. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serves 2 - 4, depending on how hungry you are!

For another great meatless meal, try this Lemony Quinoa Salad with Edamame and Mint.

This was my first time purchasing fresh food at Save a Lot. I've always taken advantage of their dry goods value for items like sugar and canned beans. The produce department featured mostly basic items but they were fresh and affordable.
My local store also had a really impressive Hispanic food selection. Make extra roasted shrimp for a delicious filling for Taco Tuesday. And they even have wine.
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#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship with Save-A-Lot. This could include Save-A-Lot providing content, product, access or other forms of payment.