CLE Living

CLE Events: Chef's Fantasy

One of the things I LOVE most about Cleveland is that its really easy to give back. We really have a large amount of non-profits per capita, an its generally fairly easy to get involved, either by donating time or money, or even by attending fabulous fundraiser events.

Nick and I usually attend Jump Back Ball in the winter, and the Cleveland Orchestra's Gala in the fall, but this year, I also attended The Hunger Network's All About The Bag. So when I was approached about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Chef's Fantasy, I said yes because (a) it features some of my favorite chefs, and (b) I don't know a whole lot about cystic fibrosis other than Frankie from the Real World had it and they talked about it on the show. 

So on Saturday, April 30th, I will attend the 18th Annual Chef's Fantasy Dinner & Auction with my dear friend Alexa at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Cleveland. It's going to be a packed evening, starting with cocktails at 6 (VIP starts at 5:30), and ending with an after party at 10pm! The Chef line-up includes some of my absolute favorites: Britt-Marie Culey from Coquette Patisserie, Eric Williams from Momocho/El Carnicero/Happy Dog, and some that are new to me- Richard Arnoldi from the Ritz and Anthony Romano from Sarita. Oh, did I mention each course has a wine pairing?!?!!!!!!!!

It promises to be a fun an fabulous evening, one I cannot wait to experience for the first time. 

Now for some important details:

Date: Saturday, April 30, 2016

Location: Ritz Carlton, Downtown Cleveland

Dress code: Cocktail Party

Buy tickets: Click here

Disclosure: I was provided with two tickets in exchange for helping spread the word about the event. Please also note that all images used in this post are courtesy the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Northeast Ohio. As always, all opinions are 100% my own, and I thank you for continuing to support this blog so I can continue to spread the word about location institutions and events!! XO

CLE Living: Cleveland International Film Festival

Hey Cleveland, starting today, our city plays host to its 40th annual Cleveland International Film Festival. For the next 12 days, Tower City will screen over 190 feature films and over 200 shorts from across the world. Nick and I missed last year's event, but this year, we're planning a packed schedule. Some of the films on my shortlist are Little Gangster, Good Luck Soup, and My Blind Brother, which was filmed right here in Lakewood, at a home owned by Nick's friend and fellow architect from college! 

I'm so excited to binge on some movies over the next 12 days, and I'm hoping to see lots of you there! 

CLE Living: Gatherings Kitchen

There comes a point in your life where the line between friends and family starts to blur. And what better way to demonstrate your love for your family of friends than a home-cooked meal? You know what's even better? A home-cooked meal where neither you nor your friends have to clean up! Recently, my good friend and fellow blogger Charity organized a super fun evening where a group of friends gathered to take a private cooking event at Gatherings Kitchen

I've never done a group cooking class-- in fact, for me, cooking is a solo sport. So this was definitely a new adventure. Gatherings does not serve alcohol, but guests are welcome to bring their own, so armed with a bottle of prosecco (duh!) and a bottle of wine, Nick and I made our way over to Lakewood to cook. We had a group of about 12 people (the private cooking events have a max capacity of 16), and together we set out to cook an Indian menu of samosas and pakoras, lentil soup, Indian bread called khulcha, a lamb dish, a entree of chicken and vegetables, and Indian rice pudding for dessert. Gatherings advertises the event as four courses, but as you can see, we made a LOT of food!

Everyone paired off to work on different portions of our meal, but no one seemed particularly interested in making the chicken korma, so being Indian, and as previously mentioned, a solo cook, I decided to tackle this head on. Now if all of this sounds intimidating, it really isn't. Everything is perfectly portioned out, most of it is prepped, and there are 3 chefs on hand to help out. So at no point do you feel like you're on a sinking ship with no lifeboat. And you know what? It was SO MUCH FUN! We were all drinking wine and prepping food and having conversations, and along the way, I even learned a new way to chop onions! 

We cooked until we had our appetizers ready, and then it was time to leave it up to the professionals to finish off our dishes, and plate them, while we sat down for more alcohol, conversation, and table service. 

I have to say, everything was DELICIOUS!! The quantity of food was ridiculous, so most of us went home with leftovers (which were equally delicious heated up!), AND a cookbook to recreate the recipes at home!!!

One quick tip on cooking Indian food: I highly recommend finding a neighborhood Indian store (just google Indian grocery or Indian store) where you can buy spices for a really low price. They store for up to 2 years in airtight containers or you can freeze them. If you don't have one close, and/or you have Amazon Prime, you can also order kits like this one or this one

Overall, a fun, educational, and delicious way to spend an evening with friends or family or friends who have become family! Find Gatherings Kitchen here or on Facebook. The Supper Clubs (where you participate in a pre-scheduled class) as well as the private cooking events are $75/person! 


Event Recap: 3rd Annual All About The Bag

It seems like it was so long ago when I first posted about All About The Bag! The big night was tonight, and if I had to summarize it in two words, I would say SO FUN!! If you recall, Bombay Taxi donated a one-of-a-kind handmade bag and provided goodies for the gift bag, but as a lifestyle/fashion blogger, I was also invited to be a part of the event. 

The event started off at 6 pm, with an open bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres (sliders and asian rice noodle box), which got everyone ready to have a good time (and donate generously) at the charity raffle. They had two categories of tickets: one for items valued at about $350 and under, and the other truly luxury items like a Louis Vuitton bag, and you just dropped your raffle tickets into the basket for the item you wanted. The catch was that you had to be present to claim your item if you won. In any case, the Bombay Taxi bag above was in great company with a hide bag from Haven Style and a beautiful FOUNT tote, in addition to some of the more well-known national retailers like Kate Spade and Michael Kors. There were other options as well: wine, pampering sessions, gym and studio memberships, lululemon - a nice variety for almost every fashion interest.

Yours truly with Sivan, Priya, and Charity ( Photo credit: Ben Crawford

Yours truly with Sivan, Priya, and Charity ( Photo credit: Ben Crawford

There was a lot of activity around the raffle items until 8:00 pm, when it was time for the fashion show. The show kicked off with a presentation by Brigade and proceeded to a fun awards presentation for 5 finalists from Virginia Marti College who did a Project Runway type challenge. The winner (my fave) was a fabulous young woman, Devi Crump, who designed a dress from Arizona Iced Tea packaging!

To be honest, the fashion show was the least interesting part of the night: the clothes were a little too casual-- they sent SO many people down the runway in denim- I would have liked to see some variety. (Note to any organizers reading: I volunteer to help curate next year's fashion show-- drop me a line!) Still, it was fun to cheer on our CLEbrities as they walked down the runway. 

With Charity (L) and Jessika (R)

With Charity (L) and Jessika (R)

The raffle winners were announced right after the show, and while I didn't win anything, I did get to see the winner of the Bombay Taxi Bag, who was absolutely delightful, and so excited to win!

Overall, this was a really well executed, fun event that raised some much needed funds to fight hunger in our community! It was an absolute pleasure working with the Committee that put this together, and I'm already looking forward to next year's event! 


Disclosure: I was provided with two tickets to attend the event in exchange for promotional help. In addition, Bombay Taxi was a donor (as described in the post). As always, all opinions are 100% my own.