It's patio weather in Cleveland!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When it comes to summers in Cleveland, when one has the opportunity to sit on a patio, one sits on a patio.

Alternately, when one has the opportunity to sit on a patio with a Lake Erie view, you run as fast as you can to sit on that patio.

Case in point, Pier W

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Piew W is one of Cleveland's finest dining establishments. Known for a critically acclaimed seafood menu and a breathtaking view of Downtown Cleveland, every trip I've ever made to the restaurant, whether for brunch or a happy hour on the patio, has been spectacular.

This includes my most recent trip to kick off this summer's patio season..

Friends on the patio!

Hanging out with some of my favorite CLE Bloggers, Allison, Shibani and Alana. Our heads may be covering the Cleveland skyline but I promise it's there!

My love of oysters knows no bounds. I mean, we had our own personal oyster shucker!

Sunset over the lake photo? Check. Here's mine and Alana's dates for the evening, Seanski and Edie hamming it up for the camera - thanks for the photos, Alana! Good times had by all.

Champagne, oysters and sunset aside - another favorite from the Pier W patio menu were the crispy pork wings which I'm still craving to this date.

Thanks again to the fine folks at Pier W for inviting myself and my fellow Cleveland blogger friends to this event - as always though, my opinions are my own.

Happy Tuesday, kids - the sun is shining, so go find a patio!

Spring was most definitely sprung!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hello old friend. I've missed you!

{{ As a reminder, if you're still looking for a daily dose of plum, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram.}}

How do I even begin to update you all on my whirlwind month of May (and end of April)? There were trips to Toronto, Nashville and Detroit. Overnight guests three weekends out of the month and numerous trips to Canton. 

Guys, I was all over the place.

This is not a bad thing, but whoa delly the number of pics I took. So instead of publishing gobs of photos, I'm going to share a single image that most accurately represents the weekend's festivities. 

Here goes!

My sissy is officially a Nouna (Godmother in Greek) to the most adorable little boy, my cousin Owen. That face he's making is totally all, "um, I'm not going in there!" And that face my Mom is making in the background is all, "um, I'm totally not supposed to be in this picture!"

I was honored to be able to standup as a bridesmaid in my dear friend Foxx's wedding - her and Brian make such a wonderful couple and have surrounded themselves with quite a crew if this picture is any indication! This particular photo was taken by the wonderful Marianne Mangan at Stone Mad Pub in the D-Sho - bombs anyone?

This little light of mine had her first communion and it was perfection.

My cousin Marissa and little Gabriel a.k.a., Boomer, also got welcomed into the Greek Orthodox faith this past month - what a precious nugget!

I'm kinda cheating with this one but there was just too much family fun when CK's Dad and Step-mom came to visit us from STL. They did a lot more than just help us with our backyard patio lighting though!

This pic, even though you can barely see my face and I'm apparently attacking my friend's heads, sums up my whirlwind 24 hours in "the bubble" a.k.a. Grosse Pointe, Michigan, with my college roommies. When we reunite it's always more than your average good time.

So that's that. We're officially, for the most part, caught up.

Now, let's keep this fun rolling straight into summer.

Happy Tuesday, kids!

Provenance at CMA Culinary Series: Food and Wine Inspired by Art + Giveaway

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Update: This contest is now closed, congrats to @BiteBuff - you're the big winner!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Cleveland Museum of Art is my favorite space in Cleveland.

I'm also fairly certain that eating and/or cooking is my favorite pastime - combine the two and I'm happy as a clam.

Lucky for us, the CMA has wonderful dining establishments right in the heart of the museum and a new monthly culinary series that allows one to indulge in seasonal specialties. The Food and Wine Inspired by Art Chef's dinner series at Provenance is an 'artistic experience for the senses' where the incomparable Chef Partner Doug Katz crates a unique five-course menu with wine pairings. 

CK and I were invited to attend the April 15 event and were, as usual, greeted by the wonderful Provenance at CMA staff and a table full of lively guests. I truly think my favorite part of these dinners is getting to meet fun new Clevelanders that love food and wine as much as we do.

Let's get to the good stuff though, the food, wine and A GIVEAWAY.

April 2015 Food and Wine Inspired by Art Dinner at Provenance
Amuse-Bouche: Spring onion bisque with grilled local ramps, EVOO and dried kalamata olives + Dry Creek Chenin Blanc
First Course: Braised artichoke salad with shaved Iowa prosciutto, local feta, micro basil and roasted pepper-fennel chutney + Au Contraire Chardonnay
Second Course: Pan-seared Scallop with jumbo lump crap, roasted asparagus, glazed radishes, green goddess sauce, lentil chickpea-almond pilaf + wine the same the first course
Third Course: Grass-fed filet of beef with Anna potatoes, red wine jus, fried sage and shallot butter + Justin Cabernet Savignon
Fourth Course: Strawberry rhubarb crisp with minted local yoghurt + Domaine Chandon Brut

Yes, we ate and drank very well this evening. The New Creation Farm filet of beef was so good that I think all future beef tenderloin is ruined for me, thankfully I can run to the farmer's market and pick some up. Whether I'll be able to cook it as well is yet to be determined.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Provenance, I'm able to provide a pair of complimentary seats at the table to a future Food and Wine Inspired by Art dinner to a lucky cleveland's a plum reader, a $130 value! Upcoming events through July are listed on the website.

Enter for your chance to get a seat at the table by completing one or all of the following:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite season - spring, summer, fall or winter.

2. Tweet the following (You can tweet once per day but must leave a new comment each time letting me know you did so.)

I want to win two seats at the @ProvenanceatCMA Food and Wine Inspired by Art dinner table from @clevelandsaplum!

3. Share this post on your Facebook page - - leaving a separate comment letting me know you did so.

You have until end of day on Tuesday, May 5th to enter to win - GOOD LUCK - the winner in in for a real treat!

The one where I catch myself on fire

Monday, March 23, 2015

You guys, this past Thursday evening, while cooking dinner for my family, the string on my favorite zip-up hoodie caught fire.

We can blame the damn power boil feature on my fancy new stove for this one.

The thing is, I didn't even realize the string was on fire until I smelled something burning, looked down, and realized it was me... I WAS ON FIRE.

It started spreading so fast!

I fumbled around trying to pat the flame out, but mid-panic decided to run out the backdoor and strip off my burning clothes - a hoodie, t-shirt and bra - ALL on fire mind you. My hair even singed.

I can only image the show my neighbors got.

The image below shows the three non-living layers that got burned. 

Except there's a fourth layer, my skin, that now has blisters over a very, very sensitive area. Ahem.

Photographic evidence, doh.
Sweet Jesus.

In hindsight, I probably should have just gone to the sink and simply places the damn hoodie string under some water. Way to buckle under pressure, Alexa.

Genius.  A genius with blisters on her boob.

R.I.P. favorite grey hoodie, you'll be missed.

Window Nation: Cleveland windows

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Who says you can't get new windows in winter?

I didn't, and neither did Window Nation.

As CK and I continue to tackle getting our new home organized, we have a pet renovation project in the works that recently had its first item checked off the (very long) task list: new windows courtesy of Window Nation!

So, there's this "carriage house" on our property. But I'm not sure who are we kidding calling it a "carriage house" though, it's really a lofted garage, but because it's over 105-years-old it once housed carriages/horses. There are even trapdoors for hay distribution and the floor is old sandstone.

Truthfully, I'm shocked it's still standing, having not been given the same proper updating and attention that the home has, but we have a soft spot in our hearts for the thing. There's just so much possibility! 

Now that we have new windows from Window Nation, we just need to drywall (or something to that effect), add some flooring, put in a heat source and BOOM - multipurpose room. I'm thinking a music/game/storage space would just be divine.

But back to the windows, in total we had 8 double-hung windows replaced by our friendly Window Nation team. From start to finish - the measuring, picking out the windows and installation - the team was a dream to work with. Super friendly, professional, knowledgeable and FAST. 

Oh my goodness, SO FAST. I swear I blinked and all the windows were installed.

Kenny from Window Nation tearing out our god knows how old windows and prepping for installation.

TA-DA - new windows! Here's CK and I with the Window Nation installation team upon completion.

I sincerely can't thank the Window Nation team enough, such a pleasure to work with. In fact, I'm already thinking about my next project with Window Nation - vinyl siding for the carriage house. Who knows, by the end of this pet project our #HalleysCarriage may end up being cooler than our actual house!

Stay tuned for updates - I have a feeling this "carriage house" renovation is going to be a fun (and long) one.

Happy Tuesday, kids!