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.

2048_508381495838873_1417260795_n

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!

Advertisements

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!!!!

__________________________________________________________________

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.

_____________________________________________________________________________
“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.

______________________________

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/

in the underbelly

September 22, 2012

276898_394438233955709_1146893989_n MidWay is the official temporary name for the lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge, spanning the east and west banks of the Cuyahoga River, but after reading a list of naming suggestions, I think “the underbelly” most perfectly describes this cavernous, linear space. Something about the term “underbelly” paired with my vision of being trapped inside Moby Dick connotes the forbidden yet accessible feeling of this unusual space.

The Kent State University ‘Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative’ won a grant to study the varied potential of the lower level. Previously, they’ve studied and proposed improvements to other under-utilized zones in the cities including streets and parking decks.

246725_944252603099_2106791125_n Yesterday was one in a series of events that offered the public an opportunity to engage with the lower bridge, which is typically closed. In Cleveland’s heyday, the lower level housed train tracks and a subway that offered direct access to restaurants and shops on the west and east banks. In the future, people have imagined everything from bike lanes to lounges to a bowling alley (or twelve, the bridge is SO long!).

The event, so aptly titled “7/11” ran from 7am to 11pm and was designed to illustrate the functionality of the bridge67173_944253940419_998216007_n any time of the day. Based on Facebook status updates, it looks as though the bridge experienced high traffic volumes during the morning commute and presumably some lunch time and happy hour traffic as people used the space as a physical link from work to play. However, when Stephen and I arrived just before 9pm, two hours before closing time, we arrived not to a booming oasis but to a very dark, unmarked ghost town.

I posted my constructive criticism about the lack of programming, people, and most importantly, lighting, on the CUDC’s event page, and hopefully future events will take into account the difficultly of sustaining interest in a space over a 16 hour period with roughly 400 RSVPS.

198776_944252438429_264833405_n There is great potential to create an attachment to the river, the lake, the surrounding developments. Simply installing speakers and playing music as people walk, run or bike across the stretch of colonnades could be transformative. Permanent establishments as well as pop-up shops, parklets and food trucks could redefine the bridge as a place to find something specific or unknown.

I look forward to future events that work towards planning and programming the bridge and of course, to some solutions that address obvious safety and way finding concerns.

Stay tuned for more reports from the underbelly 🙂

For more on the event, https://www.facebook.com/events/394438233955709/

I’m FALLing for CLE

September 19, 2012

Well, obviously!

B8DA6A61-A5FA-4CC0-B11B-F76C7E3579F3 While strolling around Shaker Lakes, searching for mighty white oak trees bearing edible acorns (more on this bizarre Sunday activity later) Stephen and I had an epiphany: the season is called ‘Fall’ because all the leaves / berries are falling from the trees!!! I can picture the Pioneers saying “Ya know Maw, I reckon the great Fall is acoming”. And then all the acorns just went thud.FFB4426C-C64E-4015-AA58-371CF41EFEDC

***In the interest of full disclosure, in my head all Pioneers have southern accents.  I’m certain all the voices in my head are historically accurate. ***

Anyway, it’s officially Autumn in Cleveland and September is the most perfect month. Luckily, all the great event planners of Cleveland recognize this loveliness. Unluckily, the big push to soak in all that the city has to offer before mandatory winter hibernation occurs leaves me feeling sleep deprived and study deprived. Of course, there is still time to blog. I have priorities, after all.

***If you’re looking for activities for this upcoming Fall weekend, scroll down! For a recap of this Cleveland weekend, stay put!***

IMG-20120915-01396 In addition to the very many fantastic art gallery openings (refer to a future post!) this weekend played host to the epic Ingenuity Festival, this year held at the Port of Cleveland. On Saturday evening we toured the giant warehouses and surrounding platforms overlooking Lake Erie.

IMG-20120915-01391 The space was cavernous and housed more spectacles than my eyes could behold. Some of the art was inventive, some just bizarre and some, plain ordinary. I think my impressions of the event were largely based on my initial shock and quickly onset disgust after viewing a stall for bathfitter. I understand the necessity of sponsorship, but really, bathfitter? I felt like I was on a soap opera – because I think that’s when those commercials air, during the day, when the soaps play (Maybe Calvin from the Brown’s game was right after all!).

IMG-20120915-01387 ***My sense of being underwhelmed could also stem from the fact that I hold events held in warehouses to high standards: I’ve been to majorly rad parties and likewise events in warehouses and bunkers and it might be hard for anything on this side of the Atlantic to ever be as cool as it is in Eastern Europe.***

IMG-20120915-01397 I was also very hungry – because apparently on the weekdays three square meals is perfectly adequate but come the weekends my stomach wants to be fed every two hours. Stupid body. So, when everybody was about ready to abandon the fest and flame throwers, we headed to W. 25th to meet up with friends celebrating a birthday at the new Nano Brew and also to grab grub.

IMG-20120915-01401 This of course, led us to Bogtrotters, which has got to be the strangest sandwich shop in the city (and a not very kind name for an Irishman). I’d heard  rumors swirling about this place, specifically concerning the bi-polar lady who works the counter and sometimes jumps over it to throw people out. Needless to say, I was expecting something spectacular during my first visit.

IMG-20120915-01410And I got it.

Our food, HUGE sandwiches, were free because the register wasn’t working. And the lady was even sweet about it. She was less nice to the group of drunkards who were kicked out after us. I deduced that she probably has a good eye for people’s level of sobriety and in my case, after a very long week of work and extracurricular projects and workshops all day Saturday, I looked dead tired and so she probably pitied me, the sober, tired, hungry girl!

Prior to this epic night, the weekend began IMG-20120914-01382with a trip to Whole Foods for their Foodie Friday, where 5 alcohol samples are paired with food samples for four dollars! Since I was returning to the studio to finish compiling a portfolio for a Saturday morning review as part of an architecture convention in town, I subbed out some of my wine options for extra trail mix. OMG, it was a brilliant move.

IMG-20120914-01384

****While I imagine our readers pour over these posts and wish they could time travel to live our fabulous lives, sometimes you don’t have to have a time machine to be cool like us! Go to Whole Foods on September 29th and see my friend Ariel Clayton perform while you guzzle and nosh!***

And of course, no weekend is complete without brunch! We attempted Luna but there were more people packed into the little Cedar Fairmount cafe than pastries available, and so we ventured to Larchmere, a darling street technically in Cleveland, just south of Fairhill and north of Shaker Square. Amidst Loganberry books and Big Al’s Dinner is a new establishment, Bon Vivant. In the former Bean and Vine location, the contemporary French restaurant feels rich and cozy inside while the garden in back is an oasis that must be experienced.

IMG-20120916-01414 While we had a bit of sticker shock when we saw the $15 prix fixe menu, brunch options are plentiful and the price includes a mimosa or a highly recommended bloody mary – the new chef’s own concoction. My eggs benedict was perfection and Stephen’s tofu scramble was our waitress’ favorite.

I highly recommend the spot not only for the food or ambience, but also for the wonderful service. After refilling my coffee, our waitress came back with a new cup and said “I think this tastes better!” and after waiting not very long after ordering, we were presented complimentarIMG-20120916-01416y mini-muffins as an unnecessary apology.

The best part was when our waitress told me I looked like Britney Spears “in her prime”. She referenced the ‘Lucky’ video, so Stephen pulled up some pics on his phone and when I posed like a doe-eyed sixteen year old starring longingly into the camera he said he saw the resemblance.

***Later, Nidhi said I was prettier and more talented. I’m certain she meant more talented at singing, because I really am. Not.***’

THE FUN STARTS HERE!: THIS WEEKEND!!!

FRIDAY: Join the Brooklyn CDC and area architecture firms in the first official Parking Day. From 11am-1pm in the Prospect Triangle, we’ll be laying down astroturf to create mini-parklets out of asphalt parking spots. studioTECHNE will be screening PeeWee Herman’s Big Adventure with bikes on loan from Joy Machine Bike Shop in Ohio City.

Later, meet halfway at the new Midway, the temporary name for the lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge, open to the public just for the day to explore the potential of this great cavernous space. 7-11 event time is just that, from 7am to 11pm!

SATURDAY:  Celebrate the 8th International Public Markets Conference in Cleveland – which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the West Side Market – without needing a ticket at the Centennial Market, across the street from the WestSide Market from 10:00 – 5:00. With almost 40 handmade vendors and lots of other neighborhood fun happening all weekend long, it’s the perfect outing for everyone!

Later, check out the Latin dance party at SB Eight One in Westlake. Son Gitano, Stephen’s band is a headliner, along with DJ Nacho Mirando.

What: Live Salsa Band Party
Where: SB Eighty One, 24481 Detroit Rd, Westlake, OH 44145
When: 8pm for salsa and bachata lesson, 9pm starts the party
How: Dress up or casual nice and take I-90 to the Clague Rd exit
Why: No work the next day so let’s party!

SUNDAY: Sleep / Study / BLOG 🙂

IMG-20120915-01413 Above: WestSide Market in cardboard, at the 2012 Cleveland Ingenuity Fest.

glbf-map We all know the story of the Little Engine that Could, despite his unfounded fears that he was an inadequate fella’, but this weekend, our little raft for the Lake Erie Boat Float really couldn’t.

stephen battling lake erie Not that it was the heap of recyclables’ fault (because we tested it and it really did remain buoyant!). No, it was Hurricane Isaac’s remnants that damned our mission to set sail a pile of pool noodles, five gallon water jugs, old kiddie pools and mounds of plastic grocery bags – ironed into a sail and braided into rope – into Lake Erie (pictured above).

IMG-20120829-01245 The three year old event designed to help raise awareness about the impact of plastic on our environment held a permit to launch rafts made of entirely post-consumer recyclable material at 10am on Saturday. IMG-20120829-01243Unfortunately, raging winds and rains moved into the area overnight at by sunrise, Edgewater Beach was being pounded by waves I thought were only possible in the ocean!

IMG-20120906-01329 Over the course of the past two weeks, Craft+Wine Club’s regularly scheduled programming had been transformed to include boat building, including two off-site events at Euclid Beach where we tested the rafts (take one and take two, at right), fully confident our little guy would safely take Nidhi out to Canada and back again.

We christened the boat, shown below, something Bridget said she had always wanted to do. Meanwhile, Nick signed his name, Nidhi said “what are you doing?” (I presume, because she asks this of Nick a lot) and Stephen said “you know, I just checked the radar for the tenth time in twenty minutes and there are going to be 8 foot waves”.

IMG-20120906-01332 Nidhi was significantly less confident at 8:30am on Saturday, and so while she was overjoyed that she would not become part of the many sunken ships and IMG-20120906-01331 perished crew lurking in the bottom of the Great Lakes (like she also would have been if she had ridden the noodle cluster pictured at left and below!), Stephen was inversely irritated to learn that this lovely contraption would remain in his van (at the event, PolyFlow wouldIMG-20120905-01326 have been available for us to re-recycle our creation!).

However, having a liking for organization, the float didn’t last in the back of the van long;  but before Stephen banished it to its current resting place on a hook in the garage, we had to put the good fella’ to use and simulate the act of rowing. In the driveway. In raincoats. You didn’t think these were Photoshopped, right?!

ali battling lake erie

Thanks to everyone on team CrAFT: Nidhi, Bridget, Tiffany, Julie, Juliana, Laei, Nick, Stephen, Ricky and Ariel! We’ll get ‘em next year!

Brownies, mmm

September 7, 2012

The endearing nickname for the Cleveland Browns seems a tad too adorable when describing 300 pound, grunting men but I suppose inventing a cuddly name is the only way fans here could remain fans.

IMG-20120830-01259Last Thursday I had the good fortune to have an early morning meeting with someone whose club seats would surely have gone to waste had I not put on a football-loving-facade.

{I’m pretty sure he knew I didn’t have a clue when I said “oooo we are playing the Chicago Cubs” (…in my defense, cubs ARE bears); but he was stuck with four stellar tickets and I looked eager, I suppose.}

IMG-20120830-01251 After a flurry of text messages – apologies to people whom I previously had plans with, offering tickets – it was decided that Nidhi and Nick (who like / know about football) and Stephen and I (who know stadium beer is expensive / happy hour at NoodleCat is cheap) would proudly occupy amazing seats.

IMG-20120830-01260 {An aside for NoodleCat: It was my first visit and the food was super unique, filling and half off during happy hour, plus $1 black labels. Try the steam buns– they are so far from the authentic versions I ate in Asia, but the hamburger-shaped, stuffed goodies are delicious! Just east of Public Square, it is an easy walk to the game and the street front patio is a great place to watch fans!}

IMG-20120830-01271If you’ve been to the club level prior to this season, you’ve still missed out on the newly renovated vendor area ringing the stadium. The view of Lake Erie is stunning and the burgers are gourmet. While observing the awesomeness of the new club level, I was approached by Calvin, a fan, who asked me if I was a Soap Opera star. Well, that’s a new one. I told him I wasn’t. He said I should be and guessed I was 23 years old. We became good friends.

Also, I was so surprised to see a line at the sushi counter.

Sushi and football? That’s a mashup I never envisioned! c’est la vie!

IMG-20120830-01263The stadium itself is also pretty great – I must say this because I know the contractors who built it and they are great people! It’s also amazing to me that it used to be a municipal stadium and is one of the few in the country where the naming rights will never be sold to a bank!

Sadly, the Browns were pretty lousy (some blamed it on the referees, I gathered from listen to angry, shouting fans) and so we left – along with 3/4 of the audience in the third quarter.

While I can’t say I’ll return to the stadium, I am looking forward to the Colts v. Browns in Indianapolis later this fall.

Maybe by then I’ll know a thing or two about the game! 😉

IMG-20120830-01269

it was a BLAST!

August 5, 2012

431990_4435760100356_679252226_n Today, north winds brought waves crashing over the rocks that line Euclid Beach in North Collinwood, and despite the noise, created an atmosphere of serenity.

Yesterday, southern winds ushered in hundreds of people from all over greater Cleveland to join a rocking party on the beach, aptly titled Euclid Beach Blast.

Both scenarios demonstrate why the shore point, former home to the Euclid Beach Amusement park, is a great destination in North East Ohio. And with the combined efforts of the Sewer District, the local CDC and groups like Alliance for the Great Lakes in support of the newly launched Urban Beach Ambassador’s program, the water quality of Lake Erie is on its way to healthy levels, even after a rainfall event. 

458411_444904605522617_644139514_o

The second annual Beach Blast truly was a blast, combining the creativity of neighboring artists with locals’ passion for one of the region’s best resource. The Blast is Stephen’s creation, a way for him to express his love for and belief in the greatness of the north coast shore in a way that people of all ages can enjoy.

BeachLab, an interactive aspect of the Blast and brainchild of Collinwood artist Ivana and CIA employee Ivy, demonstrated to Blast goers the varied potential of the park’s vast property while a masterplanning proposal from MKSK (out of Columbus) and Land Studio (in Ohio City) generated conversation about linking Wildwood, Villa Angela and the Recreation Center to the beach.

557032_4435758300311_277440116_nMy recycled paper roses, manufactured for sale at this summer’s Collective Upcycle pop-up, made a return appearance in the “Recycled Rose Garden”, suggesting that plantings could spruce up patches of under-utilized lawn (above).

561415_483538204992590_203958145_n As a volunteer, I was awarded a t-shirt, a food truck voucher (which I redeemed for a Po Boy at B&M BBQ) and a voucher for a free burrito to Chili Peppers on E.185th (which we redeemed today, and the burrito was sensational. FYI: all Beach Clean-Up attendees at Euclid will be given a burrito voucher in the future, and this fact alone should be motivation enough!).

578848_4435761900401_1629504070_nIn addition to installing my artwork and assisting in the creation of the children’s playground on the plinth of a former amusement park ride, I spent the evening crafting trash mobiles with Nicole of Plenty Underfoot. 

304554_483538488325895_1344259188_n A crew of us made samples at Nicole’s studio last week and tirelessly scrubbed recyclable trash for beach goers to string onto mobiles of their own. You can read about our craft night on the Detroit Shoreway, hereMy mobile is pictured above and is resplendent with bottle caps, plastic toy pieces and a tampon applicator – all found by clean-up crews on the shores of Lake Erie! GROSS! GROSS! GROSS!

219633_482016545144756_1465801136_oFunded by the generous support of backers on Kickstarter, in addition to raising awareness, the Blast provided a safe, fun atmosphere for people of all ages to dance, craft and dine at Cleveland’s Famous Food Trucks! Other activities included games, face painting and of course, music!

In addition to the after-party at the nearby Beachland Ballroom, three bands performed with Lake Erie in the background including The Hesitations singing covers from the ‘50s and ‘60s and Son Gitano, Stephen’s band, performing original Latin fusion jams.

412419_482926978387046_1968983587_o Sad you missed it? I bet you are! Well, never fear, the Euclid Beach Adopt-A-Beach team is always looking for volunteers and clean-up events happen through the Fall with Ivana leading the occasional free yoga class as a cool down to lugging around pounds of recyclable trash!  Planning for the Blast 2013 will likely start soon, so stay tuned to the FB page for details!

Also, the next Urban Beach Ambassador’s training will be held at Edgewater this Thursday at 6:30pm-8:30pm.

556280_451652438181167_2029691742_n Sources:

https://www.facebook.com/euclidbeachblast

http://www.freshwatercleveland.com/forgood/euclidbeachblast080212.aspx