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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Foodie Thursday

September 20, 2012

I know, I know, the common term is “Foodie Friday” (in fact, I just wrote about a great Foodie Friday event that happens weekly!) but today, was definitely a food-centric day!

This morning’s early arrival to work was made sweeter (literally) with a french toast bagel and hazelnut cream cheese by Panera.

Quite frequently, different building product representatives will provide us with lunch in exchange for an hour of our attention. We also get Continuing Education credits, which are necessary for obtaining and maintaining architectural licensure. Basically, we win, a lot. Occasionally, we get people who’d rather feed us a breakfast and learn or cookies and learn and so working a stone’s throw from Little Italy and a brand new Panera Bread is perfection.

Cleveland Connects

And the day only got better from here. Stephen and I attended the third ‘Cleveland Connects’ live broadcast from the IdeaStream studios tonight, sponsored by PNC and The Plain Dealer. In exchange for participating in a discussion amongst the city’s brightest local foods champions, audience members were treated to a catered spread by Nature’s Bin, out of Lakewood.

The event was perfectly time with the Mayor’s Sustainabiity Summit and the non-profit Project for Public Spaces’ national conference at the West Side Market this weekend. Fittingly, tonight’s topic was about placemaking and the role urban farms and restaurants play (can, or should play) in rebirthing Cleveland neighborhoods.

IMG-20120920-01430 Moderated by the Chief Editorial Writer at The Plain Dealer with a special presentation by the Senior Director of Markets for PPS in NYC, the conversation between giants like Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s founder, farmers and CDC leaders brought issues and solutions to the table.

Clearly, the best practices of the future hearken back to a time when people did shop at local butchers and grow tomatoes in their backyard, but those were days well before we became accustomed to quick and easy access to things like Folgers and Wonderbread.

Pat Conway reminded us that in the 1880s there were 3000 breweries in America, and less than 300 in the 1980s. He suggested that microbrews – not unlike boutique coffee shops, chocolates, clothing, etc – were an essential component in placemaking, which is certainly true of Great Lakes on West 25th – soon to be rebranded “The Market District”. ***

IMG-20120920-01446 After so much talk about food, I was uber curious what everyone’s next meal was going to be? How many people emerged from the talk at close to 8pm and thought to themselves “let’s grab a bite at Rascals?”. Hmm.

IMG-20120920-01438 Earlier in the day, during lunch naturally, I was scanning Cleveland.com’s pages for Thursday happy hours. Of course, Thursday is the new Saturday night for many people, and so specials abound, but one in particular caught my eye: Thursdays at Sterle’s. Just east of Downtown, on E.55th and Superior, this old Slovenian Hall stands out like a tree on the Great Plains. Not unlike Empress Taytu, a gem of an Ethiopian restaurant, this place is bordered by some of the city’s poorest. But that’s what makes Cleveland Cleveland – the strong immigrant populations that fight for their right to honor their heritage against the grit.

IMG-20120920-01445 Even though I had never heard of Sterle’s, I knew it would be the perfect dinner spot. From 7-10pm and for under $10 a variety of schnitzel and pretzels can be loaded with authentic picked beats and sauerkraut. $5.50 flights of beer – from seasonal local brews to German Pilsners – compliment the hearty fare. Earlier in the night, 12 drafts are discounted. While our server, Josie, was perfectly sweet, overall the service was lacking and confusing. It took us a while to place our orders and when my “veal schnitzel” arrived, my bun was meat free, as though she had been a bit too eager to grab it from the kitchen. She brought us popcorn in apology.

IMG-20120920-01449 Despite the less than attentive service and the average food certainly not the best Eastern European fare I’ve had, but since I lived there and am half Hungarian, I’m really a tough critic!Thursdays at Sterle’s is a winner in my book for the entertainment value alone. From late summer through October, polka bands and djs rock the stage and people dance! Everyone dances! Tonight, we were treated to the Chardon Polka Band, a charming group of young men who were really talented and played music far from the polka you might imagine. After all, Sterle’s slogan is “not your Grandma’s schnitzel”.

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It’s never been a better time to be a socialite! Check out this week’s earlier post for great events happening in our city this weekend!

***Hey you! Interested in PPS and growing our city’s public spaces? Check out these articles!***

What Public Spaces Like Cleveland’s West Side Market Mean for Cities

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/design/2012/09/what-public-spaces-like-clevelands-west-side-market-mean-for-cities/

The great outdoors: five public spaces vital to cleveland’s well-being

Cleveland Public Square during the July 4th Celebration

http://www.freshwatercleveland.com/features/fivepublicspaces092012.aspx

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.

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****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.