Happy Friendsgiving!

November 19, 2012

On Saturday, my friends Ivy and Danny had a bunch of people over for Thanksgiving.

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Here we all are around the Friendsgiving table! Luckily, there is no kids table!

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Ali: “My dad asked me what friendsgiving was, and I told him that it is Thanksgiving with friends. Then he asked what Thanksgiving with family was, and I said, ‘…Thanksgiving?…”

Every year I am thankful for the month of November, because without it, I wouldn’t have been born.

500full Does anyone else think it’s silly that a storm of such great proportions is named after the subdued female lead of “Grease”? I think Sandra, always spoken with an authoritative, Ivy League snob-esque accent would have been better suited. Or better yet, Olga. Olga is a perfect name for this “Frankenstorm” hurricane that is bringing conditions typical of tropical storms as far inland as our fair city of Cleveland.

IMG-20121029-01728 Yesterday evening, after a lovely catered affair at Windows on the River discussing the future of the surrounding area and industry with the Flats Forward committee, Stephen, Danny and I headed for Edgewater to watch the 20’ tall waves crash over the rocky shoreline. Stephen was convinced this was a novel idea and I was convinced he was a crazy storm chaser and we quickly discovered that he was wrong and I might still be right. There were at least one hundred cars moving in and out of Wendy Park and lower Edgewater Park (including news crews), parked with windshield wipers moving full force to batter the rising, trusting water of a very angry Lake Erie.

Canada supposedly is gaining beaches by the second as ours recede under the mighty force of the water. In most coastal situations, the area bordering the ocean is evacuated and so the closest you can ever get to the water is by looking at the television, watching a poor newscaster get soaked / nearly pulled under. Last night, and today, here in Ohio, it was an entirely different scenario.

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Above, a photo of waves crashing over I-90 between the E55th and E72nd exit was shared by over 15,000 people on Facebook last time I checked early Tuesday afternoon. That’s about how many people – including me! – lost power in Cleveland Heights alone last night!

550143_10152219880980007_706897749_n Ricky ventured out to the Lake today, when conditions were slightly calmer inland, but just as gusty and tumultuous on the water and captured the shot above, which I think is gorgeous. From fury comes beauty!

Stay strong, stay safe Cleveland!

a little bit of spice

October 29, 2012

599350_10101126308031704_1562732871_nWhat a weekend! It’s been a bit since Nidhi and I have found time to sit down and blog because our lives our crazy busy awesome, alas, on this rainy Monday morning as I sit and wait for news of Sandy’s devastation from my family huddled in our New Jersey home – where even my dad’s nuclear power plant observed the State of Emergency issued by Gov. Christie – carving out time to relay life in Cleveland is finally possible!

Look forward to posts about (1) MOCA, now open in University Circle for just over three weeks, I’ve been there twice including a behind the scenes tour through the Sculpture Center and CIA’s Sculpture X Symposium; (2) CleSocial in another city (Indy, which, baby, has nothing on the CLE!); (3) Glamping Part Duex and more, more, more.

285632_10101126323001704_754886346_nFor now, Halloween Part One and another Son Gitano show at the infallible Barroco Grill in Lakewood! On Friday night the girls hauled it over to the Westside to watch Stephen’s Latin Fusion band, Son Gitano, play a gig at the Columbian restaurant. They play their frequently, which means there is always a packed house and lots of dancing. This time was special because the owner’s family was up from South America. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone move her hips so separate from the rest of their body! Incredible!

Some of the ladies had never seen the band perform, despite their multi-summer performances at Wade Oval Wednesday, nor had they been to Barroco, but by 552385_10101126330002674_1088080466_nthe end of the night everyone was pledging to come back for the to-die-for Arepas (featured on the Food Network) and body-moving tunes.

On Saturday morning, Nidhi ran in the 10th Annual Run for Justice in the rain, as Batman (Batwoman? Was there a Batwoman? IDK, I hate comic books). You’ll have to ask her what radioactive bug bit her and gave her the motivation to wake up early and run. (I know, Spiderman was bitten, but I don’t have any Batman jokes. SHeesh).

Meanwhile, I was sleeping, cleaning, unraveling yards of shiny fabric and hoping they’d turIMG-20121027-01717n into something resembling Halloween costumes. After four episodes of David Tuttera’s “My Fair Wedding” I had Ariel and Prince Eric costumes from the Little Mermaid, and a tail I am quite proud of! A few weeks ago I walked into JoAnn’s hoping for inspiration and saw this amazing green sIMG-20121027-01723caly fabric and had to have it. On Saturday one of the episodes featured a bride who was obsessed with Mermaids. And I finally decided the blonde moment was done and moved on to reddish brown hair. Obviously, me being Ariel was my destiny.

Nidhi was Bat(gender?) again. She was smashing. I loved her felt eye mask. I want to create something similar for the Mix Masquerade event at CMA this Friday!

On Sunday I prepped some materials for the Collective Upcycle boutique’s Winter 2012 location (which will be in Downtown CLE! yay!) and dreamed of al175542_10102034821927363_735435112_ol the things I wish I could actually get down over the weekends – like crafts, blogs, crafts, crafts, crafts. Sigh. I also took time to oogle over all the goodies in the Halloween package my mom sent – full of Vera Bradley, a Mermaid card and candy, which somehow Stephen managed to consume 70% of in two days.

After a scrumptious Halloween Sunday dinner at Stephen’s parents’ house in South Euclid (his 9 year old cousin was also Batman. Did a new movie just come out or something? I am so out of the loop!), we braved the hoards of shoppers at G.Eagle and purchased the necessities for the storm: hummus, bananas and hard cider.

jamie_lee_curtis_halloween The best Halloween movies were printed in the Plain Dealer this weekend and so after making spiced cider from TJs we opted to watch the original Halloween since neither of us had ever seen it! I have to say, it was such a let down. Not that I was hoping for nightmares, but the whole time I couldn’t stop thinking about how this child, Mike Meyers, couldn’t have possibly learned how to drive a car or move from the front yard to inside of a house through a locked window in under .5 seconds after sitting and starring at a wall for 15 years. Also, all the actresses were idiots. Never assume anyone’s dead until their heads are severed. Never.

Tonight, after a Windows on the River event hosted by the Office of Councilman Joe Cimperman concerning the redevelopment of the Flats, we plan to watch the waves crash over the rocks as Lake Erie demonstrates its power to us innocent bystanders. Tiff’s bday at Barking Spider is sure to be a hoot and then on to pumpkin carving just in time for Trick or Treaters on Wednesday!

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FYI: B-side in Coventry is hosting their ever popular Mug Nite this week with a spooktactular theme of course and from 4pm-close Chipotle (on the same block!) is offering $2 burritos for those dressed in costume. YUM.

***If you’d like to learn more about the band, check out some demos and their FB page! *** Also, check out Barroco’s Owner’s newest place, Helvetica, also in Lakewood. *** Thanks to Julie @ Wearing Mascara  for the pics from Barroco! ***

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best blog cleveland magazine 2011 Congrats to Alexa, who for four years has been sharing her adventures in CLE with so, so, so many readers! While CLESocial has made great strides in our short existence, Alexa’s already hit 1,000 posts! AMAZING.

To celebrate and thank her readership, she’s teamed up with the absolute best local restaurants to give away an amazing grand prize worth over $1,000 in good eats and drink. To enter, surf over to Cleveland’s A Plum for details and the entry form. But hurry, the contest closes this weekend!

Good luck, oh, and be sure to thank your gals at CLESocial with a good meal when you win ;) 

Have you heard of glamping? Well, it’s this super awesome thing where you have really glamorous tents with really glamorous beds and do really glamorous (not campy) things. CleSocial and co. went camping this past weekend at Kelleys Island and it was very fun and glamorous – if you count plaid flannel as glamorous.

We got to Kelleys Island around 6pm and took the ferry across. I drove the car onto the ferry and it was so cool, basically like I was driving down a big blue watery road. Here is a sweet guy in the car in front of us making eyes at my camera during the picture taking process.

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Once we got to the campground, we quickly determined the best campsite location would be on beach/waterfront/wind area. My 8 person tent (that only held a 5 person orgy, please, any more would be crass) was dubbed “The Palace”.

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Then Hans and I built a fire! If you analyze my glamorous outfit, you can tell that I am channeling my inner Real Housewife. Even though I have never seen the show, I am assuming they wear a lot of leopard print and plaid also.

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The first night, we made foil packet dinners, which are basically the best thing ever (if you don’t know, the only reason people go camping is because you get to eat so much food that is so bad for you because you are being “active”).  Foil packets consist of a bunch of root vegetables, meat, and gravy that you stuff into aluminum foil, fold up into a packet, and let rest on the fire for 40 minutes and by then you’ve basically eaten your hand.

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The first night, it got down to 40F and we sat around the campfire while Nick played guitar and we sang songs. Then we grudgingly trekked to The Palace, where it was actually 40F and there was no fire to warm my butt by. GROUND IS COLD. But, when we woke up we had amazing breakfast. Did you know that Penzeys Curry powder spice can make basically anything taste good? Curried potatoes for breakfast!

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Then we walked into the Forbidden Forest…

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Thanks to Jessica for some of these pictures! Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion of CleSocial goes Glamping!

Last Saturday, I, along with Julie, Tiffany, Ashley, and Lindsay, ran one complete marathon. I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Nidhi, if you ran in a relay marathon before and hated it, and you hate running, why the f did you sign up for another one?!” HEY PEOPLE. It turns out if you go on facebook when drunk, sometimes you will sign up for anything even if no one asks you if you want to be on their relay team! Oopsie.

We decided to drive down to Akron the night before because the stupid marathon started at 7 am. THAT IS SO EARLY. We hit a hotel snafu in which the Radisson decided that we couldn’t split a room 5 ways (though they had explicitly told us we could when we made the reservations) and we would have to get another room. We cancelled our reservation and went and stayed at the Comfort Inn, which the hotel staff was very lovely to us. There was a pool. I forgot my swim suit.

We ate dinner at the Macaroni Grill that night, carbs yeah blah blah. I STARTED FREAKING OUT BECAUSE I HAD TO RUN FOUR MILES THE NEXT DAY. FOUR MILES IN A ROW. OMG. I BARELY SLEPT.

Anyway, the morning of the race was torture. We woke up at 5:30, scrambled to put our running outfits on, and ate breakfast like super quickly. Comfort Inn was so accommodating and put breakfast out an hour early for the runners! Bleary eyed.

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Since I ran first, the ladies on my team dropped me off at the beginning point with Julie (she ran 2nd) and then at 7:02am, I was off! I say 7:02am because I was hanging out with Julie and not really paying attention AND THE RACE HAD SOMEHOW STARTED WITHOUT ME NOTICING. OOPS. SO MUCH ENERGY. THEY SHOULD TELL YOU IT STARTED.

I started running. I was determined to run this entire FOUR MILES without stopping, even though the most I had run before was 2 miles. I started off at a slow slow pace and continued with that slow slow pace for most of the race. It turns out, when you run at a slow slow pace, you can live tweet a four mile run. You’re welcome, tweeps. (These have been edited to be placed in chronological order.)

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Yeah I think I destroyed my hip in the process of running too far, so I thought some Warrior 2 would help. Then I went home and soaked in a tub of Bengay.

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Yeah, they give you medals for running a relay. TEAM WORK, IT MAKES THE DREAM WORK.

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And then I signed up for the Cleveland 10k. It’s not until May, so I totally have time to train, right? I will never sign up for a race that I actually have to train for. Yes, I will regret this probably.

Anything Goes!

October 7, 2012

My friend Dave and I bought 4 season tickets for the PLayhouse Square Broadway Series. It was really neat that we bought them in May, were super excited for basically 2 weeks, then got really sad that the series didn’t start until even AFTER college football season started. But it’s here now!

On Wednesday, I went with Dave, Nick, and Stephanie to go see Anything Goes, the first play of the series. I was SUPPOSED to go with a date but then he cancelled because of relatives being in town. I told him I would forgive him if he bought me chocolate the next day for our date reschedule so he brought me roses and candy! Let it be known that I can be bought. This might have been the first time someone has bought me roses so I might be a little excited.

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Anyway! The play was awesome. I saw it when I was in high school and completely forgot the plot. My favorite song is “The Gypsy in Me” since it was just so unexpected and random. The entire play is so campy and ridiculous, I was laughing throughout the entire thing! Here is a picture I took that apparently I wasn’t supposed to take.

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You still have time to go see it, it’s here until October 14! Tickets here.

And though I’m not a great romancer, I know that I’m bound to answer when you propose, Anything Goes!

applicious

October 1, 2012

IMG-20120930-01521Yes, Microsoft, please do add this ‘word’ to my dictionary because after picking 21.5 pounds of apples this weekend, I have a feeling the next few weeks will be very ‘applicious”.

The last weekend of September may have been the busiest of the month, if you can believe it. Between the Critical Mass Bike ride and the Akron Marathon, everyone but me was doing something athletic (Although I did go swimming. Twice. And when I swim next to floaters, my speed feels fast). 

Instead, I ate A LOT at the first annual “Potluck in the Park” hosted by Neighborhood Progress Inc. (NPI). Stephen used to work for the org and invited me to go (and make our lions share of  acorn bread) and the event was simply fantastic. As a registration table volunteer, I was in aIMG-20120929-01509we of the sheer number of people who came and how many amazing “chefs” live in Cleveland.

Nearly everyone brought food that was locally sourced, even though that wasn’t a ‘requirement’ and while I’m not either, it was great  to see an array of vegetarian and vegan dishes. And there was a great showing of educational tables offering tips on gardening, crafts and free non-disposable water bottles. If you missed out, man o’ man, you missed out on one of best events Edgewater Park has ever seen.

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Prior to eating two giant plates of the best homemade veggie lasagna and jambalaya ever, I spent the afternoon in Ohio City and Tremont, picking out a gorgeous reclaimed wood farm table from the Dredger’s Union closing sale and watching an episode of the 1961 show “Route 66” in the basement of a church. I don’t think I neeIMG-20120930-01526d to explain the awesomeness of the first activity, so on to the bizarre church experience: A friend sent an email earlier in the week announcing the episode that would show Tremont as it was in the early 60’s. Always interested in the history of place, I signed up for the free event.  Stephen and I were the youngest people by 50 years, except for the Pastor who was convinced he knew me since we’ve both lived in South Jersey and Pittsburgh! We had to leave early, because the film started late, but I cannot wait to see the end. Why doesn’t programming like this exist on TV nowadays?Oh, and Tremont was cool back then, too :)

IMG-20120930-01520On Saturday, I wished I lived on the West Side, because after spending the day there, we returned to Tremont and resided at Lava Lounge for hours, celebrating Juliana’s 29th birthday. On Sunday, I was happy to be an EastSider, as we awoke early to roadtrip to Eddy’s farm on Caves Rd for Pick-Your-Own-Apples. Amazingly, this is one of the few area farms with apples still left to pick after the severe weather we had earlier this year. There, we picked four different types of apples and sampled grapes straight from the vines. I had never done this before and it was an enlightening experience for sure. I have ever ever ever tasted grapes so, well, grapey! Amazing. I think I need to start growing grape vines. Not even for wine. Just for grapes. YUM.IMG-20120930-01524

IMG-20120930-01527As usual, Sagree was prepared with a thermos of tea, a book and plenty of blankets to lay on under the shade of the apple trees. One of the greatest things about living in Cleveland is that in minutes you can be in the heart of the city, out in the country where the landscape is stunning, or on a beach!

We tried to make a quick stop at Patterson’s for apples fritters, but that was impossible as the line to the counter was 40 people deep. Luckily, Ivy and Danny were kind enough to pick up some for us as we dashed off to pick out carving pumpkins and then ran off to Euclid Beach.

IMG-20120930-01518Prior to May, I had no clue Euclid Beach existing. Since May, I’ve been there practically once a week! It’s a fantastic city resource and used to be even better prior to 1969 when an amusement park sat on the site. Unfortunately, the Humphrey family’s park stopped being profitable in the mid-60’s and so it closed down just as nearby parks like Cedar Point were gaining traction (the advent of the interstate and Cleveland’s race riots helped shut down the  Euclid Beach amusement park as well).

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This weekend, the annual event remembering and celebrating the park occurred and once again Stephen and I were one of the youngest people by decades. I took a walking  tour of the grounds and it was so wonderful to hear anecdotes from people who remembered certain rides from their childhood. And of course, being a design freak, I loved the old postcards and token’s from big band shows and arcade games.

IMG-20120930-01515In between all of these things, I of course studied, feel asleep while studying, did laundry, shopped online, painted my nails a yummy fall color from Zoya and made the first apple dish of the season!

The super easy recipe prompted me to start last night after moving my table into the kitchen and rescuing an antique Singer sewing machine from the curb. I got it from the Glucose Design Group, an organization that is putting together a website and documentaryIMG-20121001-01542 on the impact packing your own lunch can have on your health. I found them at the Potluck and tasted this yummy concoction of apples, cinnamon, honey and orange juice and was in love.

I’ve eaten about half of it between dessert, breakfast and lunch. That’s probably not the “bring your own lunch” impact they were hoping for! :)

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They forgot the “im”

September 25, 2012

Seen at E. 40th and Payne, Cleveland, OH. #instagramthatshit

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Do you ever feel like someone from your past has a voodoo doll made up of you and is stabbing you as you go on in your love life?

Urban Foragers

September 24, 2012

Today you will learn how to tune into nature and turn seemingly useless acorns into edible delights. But first, a bit of blog keeping: apparently Nidhi has given up on our fair city and her socialite status. COME BACK FROM MICHIGAN and be fabulous in CLE again, bestie!!!!

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FFB4426C-C64E-4015-AA58-371CF41EFEDC Acorns are ubiquitous whether you live out in the woods or in the middle of a large city because oak trees are hardy and resilient. Acorns may also be one of the most sustainable sources of food; but certainly one of the most labor intensive. If all Native American tribes and Pioneers used this much effort in bread-making, I’m certain I would have thrown myself to the wolves. 

If you are anything like me and 99.99999% of the world, you’ve never picked up an acorn and said “I bet this is a fabulous substitute for flour in muffins”. In fact, you likely didn’t know or care to know that there is fruit inside of an acorn! And you most certainly did not ever entertain the idea of spending a Sunday afternoon boiling and re-boiling and re-re-re-re-re-boiling acorn meat to release all of it tannic (read: harmful to your kidneys) acid.

B8DA6A61-A5FA-4CC0-B11B-F76C7E3579F3I can honestly say I was not overcome with excitement when Stephen proposed scavenging for acorns, but since it was a lovely morning and I’d never been to Shaker Lakes (a travesty, I know), I agreed to the hunt if it could be prefaced a lovely brunch at Bon Vivant (see earlier post). Stephen claims he felt an urge 8BD44B7E-B2C8-4EA8-9C97-50BF2AD4742Eto Google “acorn bread” after viewing some plump acorns on the ground, but I think he must have been replaying a scene fro m his childhood, when he attended a Pioneer Day in Chagrin.

Last weekend, once we found the mother of all white oak trees (the type of oak lending the meatiest, tastiest, least poisonous acorns) I did actually enjoy myself – until I was whacked on the back by an angry acorn, tumbling 50 feet from the top of the tree.

After two hours of careful gathering (soft shells are no good, as are ones with holes in them frIMG-20120916-01421om worms or squirrels), we amassed somewhere between 600 and 800 acorns, later resulting in 12 cups of acorn flour. FYI: If the idea of behaving like Pioneers and baking, smashing, drying, boiling, blending and baking acorns is tantalizing, know that the greatest time sink is the shelling process. And I thought pistachios were annoying!

The foodstuffs you can produce with acorn flour is endless, as it easily IMG-20120923-01497substitutes for all-purpose flour; We’re thinking muffins and pancakes for starters. The bitter taste of the acorn dissipates the more you boil, but to me, it could never be something to eat on it’s own, like pistachios or almonds. However, I did thoroughly enjoy the bread and look forward to making my own to share with skeptical co-workers and friends.

Make your own by following our slightly amended version of the recipe below.

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“Urban Forager” Acorn Bread by Ava Chin, the Urban Forager, is a professor of creative nonfiction and journalism at the College of Staten Island-CUNY

IMG-20120922-01472 1 cup acorn meal
½ cup corn meal
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon melted butter or oil
2 teaspoons sugar, with a little on reserve for the yeast
1 packet of yeast with ¼ cup of warmed water
1 egg
IMG-20120922-01478 ½ cup tap water
½ cup of milk

***Stephen added cranberries and walnuts, based on rec’s from other bloggers.

1. Combine acorn and corn meal with flour, butter, and sugar.
2. Mix yeast with warmed water and reserved sugar (follow packet recipe), and allow to sit until frothy.
IMG-20120922-01474 3. Add yeast, egg, water, and milk.
4. With floured hands and on a floured surface, knead dough until stiff.
5. Allow dough to sit in warm place to rise, covered. ***We found this to take about an hour.
6. When dough has doubled in size, knead again, and allow to rise.
7. Place dough in greased pan, or fashion it into a desirable loaf shape, IMG-20120923-01492 before placing into a pre-heated oven, 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Voila, acorn bread!

Squirrels, watch out.

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Link to Urban Foraging on The Local, by the NYTimes.   

IMG-20120923-01494 Everything you ever wanted to know about acorns, and more: http://www.grandpappy.info/racorns.htm

http://honest-food.net/2010/01/03/acorn-cake-and-acorns-around-the-world/

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/12/recipes-for-the-mighty-acorn-a-forager-experiments/67228/

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