Sunday, November 24, 2013


This summer started out wonderfully. I logged over 1000 miles on my bicycle and had great fun with friends and family. At the end of August however, I was diagnosed with ALK+ adenocarcinoma of the lung. Needless to say, that has kept me busy. I spent a week in the hospital after diagnosis and ended up going back about two weeks later for a related medical complication (for another week).

Treatment is going well though, and my prognosis actually looks good. As we approach Thanksgiving, I truly have a lot to be thankful for. I may not be at 100% healthwise, but I'm here and all things considered...I feel pretty good. I am surrounded by friends and family who care tremendously for me, and I'm in the capable hands of the staff at one of Cleveland's best cancer hospitals.

I have so many stories to tell all of you - even though chemotherapy has changed my palate and appetite some, I've been able to eat and drink some amazing things. I'm hoping to get a blog or two under my belt during the holidays (no Black Friday shopping for me!) so I can tell you all about them.

I wanted to share a recipe that Cleveland's own Chris Hodgson posted on Dim and Den Sum's Facebook page back in November 2011. This cranberry sauce is the perfect combination of tart, sweet and spiced. It's a hit with my family. Make enough to share (and enough to put on your turkey sandwiches in the days following Thanksgiving)!

Chef Hodgson's Cranberry sauce:
1 teaspoon oil
2 cups cranberries
Juice and chopped zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup Port
1/2 cup sugar, or more if needed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon Sriracha (I used a little more)
1 teaspoon thyme

In a small saucepan sweat ginger, shallots and thyme. Combine cranberries, orange juice and zest, port, sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmering and cook until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sirachi. Season to taste with extra sugar if needed. Now enjoy !

Monday, April 15, 2013

Farenheit was HOT!

My husband and I have wanted to go to Fahrenheit for years now. For some reason, we don't actually make it out to Tremont very often... We hardly went to Tremont at all before we discovered the Taste of Tremont and Churned ice cream.

My in-laws were in Cleveland to see a presentation my husband was giving on Friday, and they asked us to pick a spot for dinner. We initially suggested Michaelangelo's in Little Italy (my Father-in-law LOVES the mussels appetizer they have/had there, and it was back on the menu) but they asked us to select something different. I posted on Twitter, asking other Cleveland foodies where to take them, and several people suggested Fahrenheit.

Can I say wow? Yeah, wow. I was blown away from the moment we walked in the door. The decor is sultry, warm and inviting. I told my husband I'd love to have one of the paintings from the wall - but it was sadly not on the menu.

We shared spring rolls and bacon wrapped, chorizo-stuffed dates as appetizers, and both were wonderful. I found myself wishing I had just one more stuffed date!

My husband got the lobster macaroni and cheese, and I got a strip steak. Both dishes seem like they could be ordinary, but they definitely weren't. The mac and cheese had decently-sized pieces of Maine lobster that were cooked beautifully, and the sauce was well balanced in flavor.

My steak had perfect char and was cooked properly, and the veggies had a great texture. I almost felt like I had too many fries, but I ate them anyway because they were lightly herbed and covered in parmesan and were delicious. They almost tasted as if they had a bit of truffle oil, but I could have been mistaking the headiness of the bites of mac and cheese (that I kept stealing from my husband) for that. The steak was finished with a red wine syrup, which had just a bit of sweetness.

I got the eclairs for dessert, and they were great - but too heavy for me. I needed every last drop of coffee in my cup to cut the heaviness/sweetness! There was absolutely nothing wrong with them, don't get me wrong - it was just overwhelming (due to all the wonderful food we'd already eaten).

My husband and I truly enjoyed Chef Whalen's creations, and will definitely be back. It was a little chilly Friday night, we'd love to go back when it's a little warmer so we can walk around!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Think Spring? Think Gears!

...Or just one gear, if that's your thing.

Okay Cleveland, let's talk about bikes.

I feel like things have changed for me and this blog, a little bit. While this blog quickly became about Cleveland's food scene, there's really so much more to Cleveland than its restaurants. I've been riding my bike more, and have (for the most part) become a year-round commuter, so that's a big part of my life. I recently became an Administrator of Cleveland Critical Mass, a social riding group that meets on the last Friday of every month at Public Square for a ride around the city. We end up at a local bar or restaurant. CCM's March ride ended at The Nash on 80th. We had 147 riders, which was amazing for a chilly "Spring" evening!

For those not familiar, Critical Mass rides take place worldwide on the last Friday of every month. It's purpose is simply to get outside, ride bikes, and have fun. There's no political agenda, and anyone can join in. We have riders of all skill levels and ages, and it's always a good time.

I also participated in my first bike tour of the year, the Chili March Metric which was put on by the Lake Erie Wheelers. There were two rides offered, a 32.7 and a 64 mile ride - I opted for the shorter of the two, but rode it quickly. The weather was beautiful, and approximately 250 riders showed up for the day. If you are interested in bike tours, this page has hundreds all through Ohio, year round.

Cleveland has a lot of great resources for cycling and outdoor pursuits in general. While I am very in love with the restaurant scene here, it's also important to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Cleveland has a lot of bicycle shops, such as Joy Machines (over near the West Side Market), Cain Park Bicycle (Superior/Lee) and the Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op - which offers social rides if you're looking for more ways to get out and ride. There are many more out there, and I welcome you to post your favorite bicycle shop if I didn't mention it already!

Back to restaurants for a minute, Nano Brew is a restaurant/bar brought to you by the same people that run Market Garden, Bier Market, Speakeasy and Bar Cento (all fantastic places, might I add). These folks are avid cyclists that partnered up with Joy Machines to provide a bike tune-up stand and tools to fix you up. They even offer you half off your first beer with your bike helmet, and the beers are very tasty!

If you haven't heard, Bike Cleveland is out there doing great work to advocate for the rights and equality of all cyclists. You can purchase a shirt, or better yet - join Bike Cleveland (it's only 30 dollars per year - 20 dollars if you're a student or have a limited income). Membership will get you discounts at some local shops, too! They also offer volunteer opportunities, if you're interested in becoming more involved in the community.

If you don't know where to go in Cleveland and would much rather have someone tell you/show you where you should visit on bike, you can check out the Great Lakes Bike Tour Co. (Bike CLE) - which offeres bicycle tours, rentals, and helpful guides to the parks in the area where you can ride. Check out their website for more details, or to sign up for a bike tour.

Century Cycles also offers their Night Rides on the Towpath Trail series all summer, and they end up being 12-15 mile rides. Last year they had a pajama ride (which I missed!).

Really, I could go on forever. Other cities are taking notice, too. The more people that become involved in the cycling community - the better it will become. Hopefully the weather is finally turning, which means that it's time to get your bike out (if you haven't already) and ride. If you don't have a bicycle yet, you should get one - there are lots of places to do that, and lots of people who would love to go on a bike ride with you!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Yes, Cleveland, There Is A Christmas Unicorn

I don't normally write about music and concerts, I leave that up to my very capable husband over at Guy About Cleveland - however last night we went to a concert that was so spectacular and so wonderful in every way, that I feel compelled to write about it.

Last night at the Beachland Ballroom was the Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice, featuring one Christmas Unicorn, AKA Sufjan Stevens.

You're a Christmas Unicorn too. It's alright, I love you.

First of all, I have to say that I love my city and I love the people in it - including the visitors! While we stood in line we met and spoke to a couple of women from Columbus who had driven up for the show. The camaraderie that developed between total strangers over the course of one evening made the show even better.
The majority of the music was Christmas/Holiday related with sing-a-longs interspersed. The songs we sang (the audience and Sufjan) were chosen by the spinning of a Wheel of Fortune-style wheel that extended from the floor to the ceiling of the ballroom. Inflatable Santas and unicorns were flung about the room throughout the show while streamers, confetti and tinsel were also thrown around the stage and audience.
There were times where the show took a more serious and sacred tone, with four-part harmonies of old hymns being sung by Sufjan and his band acapella. Those moments caused the hair on my arms to stand on end - and at times I would look to either side of me and observe the rest of the audience standing in quiet awe, in reverence of what was happening before them.
At a climactic point or two in "The Child With The Star On His Head", a bubble machine started - filling the room with even more whimsy and excitement. At the end of the set, white paper confetti shot out of an air cannon for several minutes, blanketing concertgoers with Cleveland's first accumulating snowfall of the 2012 holiday season. The performance was over the top and exceeded my expectations in every way.
What we were party to last night, was a musical and theatrical performance of sorts, led by a man who loves music, loves Christmas, and loves to delight people - who wasn't afraid or ashamed to bare his soul and passion in a magnificent and flamboyant display.
The encore was made up of non-holiday themed songs - all but the final two being performed by Sufjan alone. The night ended with Sufjan's "Chicago" which as an added bonus, happened to be the song we played as the recessional for our wedding in 2011. I ran the gamut of emotions at last night's concert, but ended invigorated; with happy tears in the arms of the man I married.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Food Porn - Braised Short Ribs (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

We have been experiencing unseasonably warm weather here in Cleveland, but it doesn't stop me from getting into the holiday spirit when it comes to food. For me, this means baking bread and cookies, and making food that perfumes the house with its wonderfully comfort-foodie smells all day long, because it takes hours to finish.
As I took pause to gaze yearningly at the snow falling during the Packers/Lions game, something was happening in my kitchen. I started prep for the braised beef shortribs around 2:00, hoping to have dinner around 7.
I chopped the mirepoix and put it in the refrigerator. I set the stock to simmer on the back burner of the stove, and set the container with the seasons ribs on the counter to come back to room temperature. Once the ribs were back to room temp, I seared them and set them aside to rest. The pearl onions went on a baking sheet and into the oven while I cooked the mirepoix. The caramelizing vegetables made the house smell WONDERFUL.
Once everything was put together it pretty much became a waiting game. I started the potatoes and veggies (I made asparagus instead of swiss chard) about 20 minutes before the ribs came out of the oven.

Here's the end result:

I substituted Greek yogurt for creme fraiche in the horseradish cream. I used a 2% yogurt to give it a little more body, but I don't think there would have been anything wrong with using a 0%. The finished product was well received and there was a ridiculous amount of braising liquid/sauce left over. I suppose you could shred the beef and use the sauce as a jus of sorts and make a sandwich the next day!

For those who are curious, here's the recipe. SK is often my go-to for yummy recipes. I've never had a bad meal/dish from the site.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Alive and Kicking!

I realize that every now and again, I return to this blog and lament that I am an absentee blogger. It's true, I lack the dedication that many of my fellow Cleveland bloggers have when it comes to posting.

There has been a lot going on in my life, and I mean a LOT. I've changed my diet a lot due to a medical condition I've been diagnosed with, and have been exercising more. This means, less time spent on the computer, and fewer restaurant trips. In addition to all of that, I just moved!

This blog isn't going away, it's just going to change a bit!

I try to tweet whenever I can - so if you're not following #GirlAboutCLE on Twitter, you might want to start!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I got egged at the Waterloo Arts Festival

The Waterloo Arts Festival is one of my favorite summer events in Cleveland.

The street is the main vein of the Collinwood neighborhood on the East side of Cleveland. Several small businesses occupy the storefronts on Waterloo and are worth your visit, year round. The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern make up one of my favorite music venues. Beachland's Sunday Brunch (PDF) isn't to be missed either. They have a lot of options for just about anyone.

The food I want to talk about today however, is the food I had from the Cracked Mobile Foods truck. Until a few years ago I wouldn't have associated eggs with anything more than breakfast, and as a Thanksgiving side-dish. It's a tough thing for me to admit, but it's true.

Cracked had 6 options, but I chose a sandwich with fried egg, cottage ham, pear preserve, Dijon mustard and white cheddar. The bun was a little large, but still very good. The mildly salty ham was grilled slightly, and the mustard was generous but not overwhelming. Everything went together very well, and I can't wait to try another sandwich.

I love events that have multiple food trucks, because I get to try them. Most lunch stops aren't close enough to me to leave my office, and the ones that stop by the Circle are the same ones - so there's not much chance to try a new one. Check 'em out!

What's your favorite "non-traditional" way to have an egg? Let me know!