Monday, January 28, 2013

Great Big Home & Garden Show Giveaway

Well, it's that time of year again. I'm dreaming of sunshine and sandals. By the end of January, I'm officially sick of winter! One of my favorite ways to focus on the upcoming spring is to head to the Great Big Home & Garden Show. Not only will you see landscaping and flowers that are a much needed break from the snow, but you also can get ideas for all those projects you want to tackle once the weather warms up.

Here's what I'm most looking forward to:

U.S. Landmark Themed Gardens - every year I love to wander the gardens. They are pretty, inspiring and even give you a whiff of spring with all the fragrant flowers. Cedar Point, Beverly Hills, Napa, Sonoma and Las Vegas and more will be represented. 

Celebrities in the House - local favorites Stefanie Paganini and Matt Fish (Grilled Cheese King and owner of Melt) will be joined by Ohio native Top Chef contestant Chris Crary, home improvement staple Matt Fox, and Peter Walsh of "Extreme Clutter." Food, decorating and clutter busting - I'm in!

Stage It! Sell It! Is something I'm really interested in. My fiance and I have two houses to sell so I'll be seeing what DesAnn Collins of Design by DesAnn has to say for sure. 

Did someone say Fashion? Not what you would normally expect at the Home & Garden show but always one of my favorites! This year The Architectural Justice Project Runway Fashion Show by the Virginia Marti College and the Q104-Legged Fashion Show will delight the fashionistas and the dog lovers at the show.

"Pasta Favorites" from Dante Boccuzzi. If you've been to any of his three local restaurants (Dante in Tremont, DC Pasta in Strongsville and DBA in Akron,) you know this man knows his pasta. I'm hoping he'll share some of his secrets. 

Tickets are on sale now. Purchase online to receive $3 off the admission. And if you use Promo Code EDCLEVE you'll receive another $1 off. Click here to buy tickets now.

Or you can win a pair of tickets by doing the following:

1. Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment telling me what home or garden project you want to tackle this year and why.

2. Follow @GreatBigShow and @EatDrinkClev on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you did so.

3. Tweet the following: " Get inspired and win tickets to the @GreatBigShow from @EatDrinkClev  #CLE #giveaway " and leave a comment telling me you did so. You can Tweet once per day for additional entries.

Contest ends at midnight Thursday Jan. 31st. Winner will be selected by and posted here on Friday February 1st. Good luck! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy Dog

I love Fridays. It's the end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend. Even if I have no plans at all, it's a delicious feeling. Another awesome thing about Fridays is that Happy Dog is open for lunch. Perfect way to start the weekend a little early.

I love hot dogs. Not just ANY hot dog, mind you. It has to be all beef, crisp and juicy and with the perfect bun to dog ratio. No boiling or footlongs for me! My favorite hot dog is an all beef cooked on a wood stick over a campfire. Swoon.

Every time I go to a baseball game, I have to get a hot dog too. And I'm not alone. Americans are crazy for their hot dogs. We have declared July as National Hot Dog Month. Approximately 19 billion hot dogs are eaten annually in the United States, and baseball fans will eat more than 26 million hot dogs at American ballparks in a single baseball season. That's a lot of hot dogs!

And why are they called hot dogs? German immigrants brought Americans the wienerwurst which is German for Vienna sausage. Additional German immigrants referred to smoked sausages as bundewurst. This German word is translated to English as dog sausage.

The common hot dog is elevated to a whole new level of yum at Cleveland's Happy Dog. Their menu appears simple: they ONLY serve hot dogs, tator tots and french fries. But when you experience it in person, it's a whole lot more!

The amazing Chef Eric Williams of Momocho is the culinary genius behind this concept. 50 different toppings, most made in house, are available to dress your weiner. Co-owner Sean Kilbane came up with the fun menu/order form (example borrowed from their website:)
The combinations are endless! If you have problems deciding, they have a list of "suggestive weiners" that give you recipes to try.

Here's some of my favorites
The Michael Symon and a Chicago Style both include Alien pickle relish
The Michael Symon is a taste sensation. It's a flavorful combo of housemade chunky peanut butter, Alien pickle relish and Sriracha hot sauce. Who knew Thai peanut sauce could taste so good on a hot dog. I've tried it with the bacon-balsamic marmalade added and that was delicious too.
My 2nd favorite is sloppy joe, mac 'n cheese, Top Secret Fry Sauce, and a dill pickle. It's good without the pickle but the added freshness and crunch of the pickle is oh so good. Get two pickle spears - one for each side of the bun!

Other tasty choices are bourbon baked beans, garlicky escarole, roasted garlic aioli and cucumbers
Cucumbers, sloppy joe and apple horseradish coleslaw
The possibilities are endless! My fiance and I normally get three dogs and split them all so we can try more concoctions. Another must try is the tater tots. I love a good tater tot but what makes these little bites shine is the abundance of toppings for them too.
My favorite dipping sauces are the black truffle honey mustard, Top Secret Fry Sauce, and the Hawaiian pineapple jelly mixed with the garlic aioli. For an extra buck, you can get your tots or fries topped too. 
I definitely recommend the tator tots over the fries. All the nooks and crannies hold onto the sauce better. 

Any day of the week, Happy Dog is a great place to get your hot dog fix. They are open for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays too and at 4pm throughout the week. Monday is Trivia Night. They host an extremely popular Polka Happy Hour but you'll need to get there at about 3 to even think about getting a seat or a hot dog. The next one is 1/25 from 6-9pm. Click here for their full music line up.