Monday, October 5, 2015

#CLEfood - Alley Cat Oyster Bar

The Flats are back. After years of hoping and waiting and wondering, this waterfront entertainment district is back in business, better than ever. Gone are the old refurbished warehouses - they've been replaced with modern spaces built to take advantage of their prime location. If you haven't been there since your last visit to the Basement or Fagen's, you need to check it out.

There are a lot of new restaurants in the area, but Alley Cat Oyster Bar is the jewel, perched seductively along the Cuyahoga, loaded with windows that open wide to catch the breezes and multiple levels of decks to take full advantage of of it's prime location.
Alley Cat, Zack Bruell, cleveland flats, restaurant
Before dinner we took advantage of the beautiful night and walked along the boardwalk. We got there right at sunset and the views were gorgeous.
#ThisisCLE, waterfront dining, Cuyahoga River restaurant
It was our second anniversary, and my husband knew that reservations at Alley Cat would make me a very happy girl. It was a Monday night but the restaurant was packed. (Pro tip: Make reservations well ahead of time if you want to eat during prime time.)
The multi-level structure offers up great views from most areas. There's lots of wood and windows with a rustic vibe. Our only complaint about the space that we had was the noise. We were right under a speaker originally and the volume was high - it was super annoying because we found ourselves shouting. We asked to be moved and the server easily obliged and even remarked that he had just asked the manager to turn down the volume because he thought it was super loud too. After our move and the sound adjustment, we were able to relax just in time for our food to come out.

We started with the hush puppies. They are a side, not an appetizer, but I couldn't resist. They are one of my favorites normally but these were bland and greasy. Skip those and try the charred broccoli caesar or BLT mussels instead.

The menu is broken up into appetizers, oysters (a dozen varieties!), salads, entrees, sides and the Catch of the Day which offers seasonal fin fish entrees.

Mr. EDC ordered halibut in a dashi broth with foraged mushrooms and a variety of summer squash. Thankfully one of our waiters thought to bring a spoon so the delicious broth could be fully enjoyed.
My choice was the walleye served with smashed cauliflower, rainbow carrots and asparagus with a cherry reduction. If this is ever on the menu when you go - order it! It was some of the best fish I've ever had but the veggies totally made the dish. 
We absolutely loved our meals and our service was good. We had a seasoned server as well as several trainees - and they were all friendly and attentive.

If you love Zack Bruell restaurants, you won't be disappointed. If you've never been, this is the perfect excuse to try out one of his great spots and see what the new Flats looks like too.

Alley Cat Oyster Bar  
1056 Old River Road  
Reservations: 216-574-9999

Friday, October 2, 2015

Life Lessons with Regina Brett for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is one of my favorite months. If I can't have Summer, sandals and the beach, Fall with its colorful leaves, pumpkins, apple cider, Halloween and cozy sweaters is my next favorite season.

But October is great for another reason - it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I'm sure that each and every one of you reading this has been impacted in some way by this disease. I know I have - many relatives and friends have been diagnosed and battled breast cancer.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I had the chance to meet Regina Brett and hear her speak. She is one of my favorite columnists and I was beyond excited.
Regina is not only an award winning writer, she is a breast cancer survivor. She is truly inspirational. Instead of cancer making her give up, it made her appreciate life even more. Her poignant stories will make you want to laugh and cry and laugh some more.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her:
Lesson #21 Note Cards (pk Of 10)

  • No one is in charge of your happiness except you
Lesson #36 Note Cards (pk Of 10)

  • Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
Lesson #16 Note Cards (pk Of 10)
She also stressed the importance doing your monthly breast exam, getting those mammograms and not letting fear stop you.
She signed books and very willingly took photos with all her fans. She even took a selfie with me to post to her Facebook page.
Oct 2015
If you ever get the chance to hear her speak, do it! You will leave a little bit happier. A little bit more appreciative. And with a whole lot of life lessons.

If you purchase the note cards pictured above, all proceeds go towards purchasing wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer at HairPeace Wig Salon at The Gathering Place.

You can also heck out her article about How Cleveland Are You and follow Regina on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Pinterest