Category: cle restaurants and bars

the many great establishments that i frequent. no chain restaurants included. those are for the burbs.

AAF-Cleveland + The Hipp = 2012 Chili Cook-Off

Who wants some chili!?

The month of March not only means chilly weather in our fair city, but it also calls for the annual AAF-Cleveland Chili Cook-Off. This year, 12 local marketing agencies and vendors will be competing against one another to see who holds the title for the best chili recipe.

This year’s battle will take place this Thursday, March 8, from 6:00-8:30pm at The Hipp. Located in the Agora, The Hipp is one of Cleveland’s newest restaurants, featuring an array of modern American dishes. The restaurant can be accessed from the lobby with entrances on both Euclid and Prospect. There is also a large (free!) parking lot on Prospect.

Tickets are available for $10, which includes one free drink ticket. You can purchase tickets at before the event or at the door the night of.

If you don’t work in the advertising/marketing industry, but love chili, please don’t be a stranger! This event is open to everyone!


bar + kitchen x 2 = happyincle

photo courtesy of Downie Photography

We all like bars. We all like kitchens. These two things equal intoxicating libations and delicious food, consequently leading to good times.

We also know how fast our food scene has become in the last 5 years and it isn’t stopping anytime soon. This is a good thing for all of us who enjoy supporting local talent, eating good food and never stepping foot in chain restaurants.

I am happy to see two more “bar+kitchen” establishments coming to our lovely city. Let’s give a big CLE welcome to Spice Kitchen+Bar and Black Dog Kitchen & Bar!

Late next week, the founders of Spice of Life Catering Co. will open their first restaurant at 5800 Detroit Avenue in the D-Sho (Detroit-Shoreway) neighborhood. Located in the former Snickers/Cheddars/Crazy Mac’s/La Boca/Roseangel/La Boca space, Spice Kitchen+Bar will feature local, seasonally-inspired food and drink. Not only will this location serve as a hip restaurant, but guests will also have the opportunity to purchase prepared foods at the storefront. But there’s more! Spice will also feature their very own gardens, filled with ingredients which will ultimately end up in your savory meal. And to top it off, guests will also be able to enjoy a future rooftop patio over-looking Lake Erie.

Another new eatery is on it’s way — but we’ll have to wait a little while longer before we step foot in this restaurant. There isn’t much information online, but once Black Dog Kitchen & Bar starting following me on Twitter, I had to do a little digging. No exact location has been set, but Black Dog Kitchen & Bar is slated to open this June/July in Ohio City. From my understanding, they will feature modern American grub with an emphasis on creative tacos, burgers and sandwiches. Make sure to check out their initial menu on their Facebook page.

Here’s to more great food in our fantastic city! Let’s go 2012!




5 days of thanks

I really enjoy long weekends. Especially when they involve holidays that include stuffing your face with stuffing. *Random thought — why is there no restaurant establishment and/or chain named “That’s the Stuff” where all kinds and variations of stuffing are served, 24/7?

It was a very relaxing (yet busy) weekend filled with family and friends that never cease to amaze me. Let’s recap this bullet point style, yo!

Hopefully your holiday weekend was a cornucopia of awesomeness. If not, then make sure you party rock it out this Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa.

cause this city is my city

Driving into work this morning felt similar to a music video. The grey clouds broke way to let the blue sky and sun shine through on the skyline. At the same exact time, “This City” by Patrick Stump started to play on the radio (KISSFM).

I immediately thought about the great weekend I had just had, seeing friends and family, eating a “Sexy Burger” from Reddstone, chomping on frites from Lava Lounge, having good conversation with the bartender at Stone Mad Pub and having Sunday brunch at Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar.

My thoughts got a little deeper as I pondered about my life and all the good things that surround me. I won’t get into details, but in a nutshell, life is pretty good. And CLE is part of that reason. Though we have numerous issues, the heart of our city and its people (not talking about the naysayers, here) are strong. We have people who care and who are willing to put every ounce of energy into making our city a better place to live, work and play.

And like Patrick says, “I was born and raised here. I got it made here. And if I have my way, I’m gonna stay here.”

the past two weeks

My life has been hectic, fun, magical, sad, crazy, productive and relaxing over the past couple weeks. It would best be expressed via images and brief descriptions of my fave moments.


An impromptu Tina's visit. Jello shots galore.
Kirk and Yvonne's beautiful wedding in Little Italy. This night also included visits to Mia Bella, Battery Park Wine Bar and my toilet.
A Happy Dog dog that tasted like heaven. Fried egg always included.
I will miss you "Ninja" -- hopefully you are happy with your new owners. Tear.
A very beautiful night at Ingenuity Fest. Moon over CLE!
Another night at Tina's. I am becoming a regular. And that's scary.

more MIA for me

After a fantastic weekend filled with perfect weather and loved ones, I realize I have much to be thankful for. I am in love with just about everything around me and things are looking smashing. Except for the fact that my birthday is just over four months away (and it’s a milestone bday).

I will once again be MIA for the next few days. Tomorrow is my very last day of work as I start a new chapter of my career. But before I get into the new work groove, I will be spending a little time at a lake house and taking a road trip to Milwaukee for my cousin Jenny’s wedding. Labor Day weekend is looking G-double-O-D-good.

Change is good. Life is good. It’s all good.

P.S. If you frequent Little Italy and have not yet taken a trip to Michaelangelo’s, you are missing out. I can safely say that I consumed the best pasta I have ever had in my life. Try the black truffle stuffed Sacchetti with black truffle cream sauce. You will not be disappointed.


i still feel krusty

I am pretty sure I need to see a doctor. I have not been to one in probably 6+ years and I am pretty sure there are multiple things wrong with me. However, all of these self diagnosed concerns may simply be symptoms of seasonal allergies. Either way, I need to get something scheduled to see if I need surgery, drugs, therapy or all of the above.

I also may be recovering from this past weekend, which included the 20th annual Krusty’s Summer Sauce Camp at Whiskey Island. After a Friday night out at Bar Cento, Krusty’s on Saturday and a 5:00am triathlon on Sunday, I suppose one might feel a tad overworked. Next year I am going to try and get the CLE Triathlon moved to a non-Krusty’s weekend, but somehow I don’t see that happening.

After a very fun weekend, I only managed to get a couple photos but at least Metromix was there to capture a fantastic group shot. Why is it always so difficult to take a couple pictures. Oh wait, because my Droid Incredible has no battery life!


good thing this was taken before we were all drenched in sweat.

This one brings a smile to my face, because this may be the first time plum has sang karoeke in front of anyone! Thank you, Lakewood Village Tavern.


they were getting really into it.

Here’s to Tuesday. May all your tacos be crunchy.

luau on the lake

It’s balmy and sunny in the CLE. The beaches are crowded. The boats are sailing across the shores of Lake Erie. Our current weather conditions scream summertime.

While we don’t live in a tropical climate, one can dream of palm trees swaying along the landscape of Whiskey Island. But wait – you can experience a little island flavor in the Northcoast! This Saturday, the 6th annual Luau on the Lake will be held at Wendy Park.

This Hawaiian-themed party benefits Shoes and Clothes for Kids and includes amazing food, drinks, music, volleyball, raffles and enough fun for any big Kahuna. There is not much time to purchase your discounted pre-sale tickets, which ends this Wednesday, July 13th.

  • DATE: Saturday, July 16, 2011
  • TIME: 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • LOCATION: Wendy Park at Whiskey Island, 2800 Whiskey Island, Cleveland, OH 44102

For more information and to purchase your tickets, please click HERE. Aloha!

things you should do right now

After an enjoyable three-day weekend filled with friends and festivities, I have some items to add to your to-do list, if you have not checked them off already.

Market Garden Brewery & Distillery – The newest hot spot on W.25th is more than hot. It’s like surface of the sun hot. After food and beverage consumption this past weekend, I suggest you try the mussels, tacos and #1 wheat ale.

Pop Up party – This third installment was held on Friday at Battery Park Wine Bar featured the musical stylings of Graydar. This was my first Pop Up party and I really enjoy the concept. It’s like a pop up shop, but a one night shabang. A legal rave, if you will. Dancing is required.

Cleveland Museum of Art Solstice Party – Quickly becoming CLE’s party of the year, there is not much to say about this cosmopolitan affair because you really need to go and experience it for yourself. Strolling through the art galleries at 1:30am is reason enough to check this party out!

Edgewater Beach – Yes, many are frightened by our city’s only public beach (it does need some work), but it can be a beautiful place if you give it a chance. Plus, you cannot beat the people watching. Thongs, kite surfers and hookahs, oh my.

SPACES – It’s not an art gallery. It is a forum for artists to explore and experiment their craft. Not only one of the coolest venue’s around, they also host one of the coolest benefit’s every November. Attend the exhibitions, donate, volunteer and enjoy the creative genius!


ahi nama

after a very pleasant weekend of relaxation, rejuvenation and a little rampage, i have one more thing to add to my bucket list — SALSA. not the edible kind, but the cuban born dance form.

and since i already have taught myself other variations of dance including hip hop, crump and booty pops, i figured i should give ballroom a shot. but as far as i’m concerned, salsa seems to be on the more exciting and spicy side of ballroom dance. and i like spicy.

while listening to the rhythmic sounds at roseangel on saturday night, i really wanted to just pick a random mama sita and bust out some latin polish flavor on the dance floor. the temperature was roughly 900 degrees that night, which was most likely due to the amount of sexiness happening all around me. i really wanted to join in.

if you are interested in seeing some of the best CLE salsa dancers, i suggest you go to roseangel on any given saturday night. order a pitcher of sangria, get a table in the back, and enjoy the show. and if you would like to partake, let me know. who wants to be my salsa partner!?!

of course, i didn’t get any photos from the night, but you can view some here at TropicalCleveland (who hosts every saturday night dance party).