Cleveland restaurants

Scenes from my Weekend

Whoever decided that weekends  should only last two days demonstrated a serious lack of sound judgement in coming up with this decision. Because weekends and awesome, and they should be longer, damn it! This weekend I managed to fit in a lot of relaxation (read: naps) with a lot of fun, so I feel ready to tackle the week ahead.

Friday, Nick and I attended a super fun event on the GOODTIME III-- it was a white party for AIA,  which fit in perfectly with my "All White Everything" theme this summer. My white seersucker dress (in the middle) is from the Gap, and BONUS, its on sale. Amazing views, perfect temps, and great friends made for a really fun evening. Post, cruise, Nick and I stopped in at Luxe for dinner. If you haven't been lately, its worth a visit-- they have a revamped menu, and the wings are AMAZING.

Saturday was a really nice detox ride at Harness, followed by some meandering and lunch at The Cleveland Flea with Allison. Post nap, Nick and I went to Humble Wine Bar for dinner-- seriously, this place has never failed me-- some rose, some pizza--- a lot of perfect summer evening. I also reached a decision this weekend-- I'm not a fuchsia nail kinda person (even though that's what color my nails are painted right now).

Sunday was a tough day-- it would have been Otto's 7th Birthday. We hung out with Clair and Webster and spoiled them silly with a special breakfast, trip to the pet store, and fun and the dog park. It was a good way to remember Otto and celebrate his life. And then I bought myself some peonies and rose. Because I deserve both. As I type this, I'm a nervous wreck watching the Cavs in Game 5--- by the end of this week, there will be a new NBA Champion, and I really hope its us!

This week is going to be packed with activities--- Cavs games, NKOTB + Nelly + TLC, an Indians game, all leading up to the sold-out Solstice Party at Cleveland Museum of Art! Stay tuned!!

PS: If you're impatient like me, follow along on Instagram for live updates of my week!

Cleveland Eats: Choolah

It is a well-know fact that I have impossibly high standards for Indian food. Having grown up in Mumbai, once gets used to a certain standard, and until lately, Cleveland has fallen woefully short. If the food is good, then the decor is awful (read: everything is covered in plastic), and if the decor is acceptable, then the food is all wrong.

I have 2 basic standards of judgement*: chicken tikka and naan. Chicken tikka should be juicy, served simply on a plate, with a size of green chutney, red onion and lime. Naan should be flaky, have air bubbles, and should be buttered at request so it comes out all glossy and buttery. If you've got these 2 pieces right, then you've got a great thing going. And at most places in Cleveland, at least one of two things go wrong.

I say this all as a preface to say that when I stepped into Choolah this past weekend, I had very low expectations. And I'm happy to say that I was blown away. Now, the thing about Choolah is that is focuses on Indian BBQ (in clay ovens called a tandoor), so its not a full Indian menu, but they do the tandoori food very well.

I ordered the Chicken tikka masala bowl-- the chicken tikka is served on a bed of rice, with the "masala" on the side. Also included is a side of green chutney, which is very nicely spiced but not spicy. I ordered a naan on the side as well as an order of samosas. I LOVED the chicken tikka - perfectly spiced (contrary to what you might think, tikka's are not really spicy) and juicy, and the masala sauce also had a really nice flavor and texture. The samosas were delicious and served with the same green chutney. I didn't ask for the hot sauce, but it is available on request if you want your food hotter. The only downside was the naan-- butter naan did not appear to be an option, and the naan was really close-- almost there. There was a difference in texture, but it might just be US flour vs. Indian flour. The decor was lovely and light and modern, and the 4 tandoors were up front and center so you could see exactly how your food was cooked!

Overall, a great experience, and one that I will certainly go back for! My only request is that they open a second west-side location because I'm about 45 minutes away, and when an Indian girl needs a fix of Indian food, she needs it to be closer!!! So all you east-siders, I'm officially jealous!!!

P.S. Please bring me some Choolah. Please?!

*Note that this standard only applies to northern Indian food-- I have different standard for South Indian food which I will get to at another time.

The weekend I didn't know I needed

I LURVE my weekends! I usually schedule my weekends to the max, only leaving open time for a few naps. This weekend was completely different. About half way through last week, I decided I needed a break and some alone time. N had a poker game scheduled for Friday night, so I made plans of my own. My evening started with some Hot Yoga, which included me getting into my first ever headstand, and then promptly falling over. It was an incredibly difficult and sweaty yet strangely rewarding class, and I followed it with some spicy Indian takeout,  and some movies, during which I promptly fell asleep.

Saturday started with a nail appointment, a lovely chocolate-mint massage, a nice walk in the sunshine with the dogs, more yoga, and finally, a really great dinner at Light Bistro. We tried to get to Velvet Tango Room, but I was not about to wait 45 minutes for a drink, despite the amazingness of their Moscow Mules!

Sunday began with an awesome ride, and a run-in with Alexa (I love living in the same neighborhood as my friends) as we Wu'd together. 

My in-store Jason Wu for Target haul

 A little lunch and nap followed, and the day ended with a Superbowl Party (for which N made these yummy buffalo chicken balls, and I won the prop bet contest). Overall, it was a weekend filled with "me-time", and I didn't even realize how much I needed it!!

Do you ever take a time-out from your busy social schedule? What are your favorite ways to restore and recharge (besides vacation)?

A Weekend Spent Eating Well in CLE

Wow, so much for being on a "diet". Lucky for me, that was NOT one of my New Year's Resolutions, although I am trying to generally just eat healthier. Didn't particularly accomplish that this weekend, but considering how AMAZING my dinner's were, I don't even care.

Friday night, N and I headed out to Crop to celebrate JV's Birthday!! Also in attendance were Allison, Alexa, Tiff, Tim, and Michelle.  I can't say enough good things about this meal- the food was really really good, and the staff at Crop were so incredibly accommodating and kind- they really took excellent care of us. Along with the libations and laughter flowing freely at the table, it made for an absolutely WONDERFUL evening.

CLE cuties: Tiff, JV and Allison

My amazing figs with goat cheese, and the incredible dessert bonanza they brought out for us to share. The chocolate cake-thing in the very back was DIVINE, and I LUUURRVVEED the waffles and berries. 

Then, Saturday night, N and I went to dinner with Wes and Danielle at Dante in Tremont.  While the decor is not particularly one of my favorites, I absolutely LUUURRRVVEEEE the food. I cannot gush enough about the pasta carbonara (TO. DIE. FOR), which I get absolutely EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I go there. My favorite part is that you can get tastings of the pasta dishes, which is about a cup of cooked pasta- a perfect serving, and one that doesn't make you feel like you're about to go into a carb coma. A must if you have plans after. Unfortunately, we were all so hungry when we got there, that we did the whole "eyes-bigger-than-stomach" thing, and ordered waaaaayyyy too much. Needless to say, I had some SUPER yummy leftovers the next day!!

I love these little culinary weekends in Cleveland, as much as my jeans don't!! 

What restaurant's are you looking to try in 2012? I know Bite Buff has a pretty awesome list to discover in her "Year of Fun"- which ones would you add? ( I LURVE Marotta's btw- super cute, cozy and incredibly romantic!). 

Dog Friendly CLE: Wine Bar Rocky River

Did you know that Wine Bar Rocky River has a doggie-friendly brunch every Sunday on its fabulous patio? Someone told me that a few months ago, so N and I decided to take our furry babies over for a nice meal. It was my first time here, and I'm a little mad at myself for not going there sooner! Their patio is absolutely amazing, and the staff is so welcoming of humans and dogs alike.

Otto and Clair waiting patiently for their sweet potato treat

For brunch, N ordered the sausage gravy over biscuits, and declared them the best in Cleveland. Both the biscuits and gravy were very obviously homemade, and the biscuits were perfectly buttery and crumbly and fluffy. I ordered the spicy tuna wrap with sweet potato fries, which were also absolutely delicious!! The tuna was perfectly cooked, and the salad greens were really well seasoned--- YUMMY GOODNESS!!! Otto and Clair were both in heaven; they got fussed over and petted by staff and guests, and had some wonderful scrambled eggs as a snack!! I also snuck them some sweet potato fries (shhhhh!).

I can't wait to go back for another meal!! The Wine Bar also offers a Flight School where you can learn all about wine. The first class is $35 (plus tax and tip) and each subsequent class is $20. A gift certificate for the Flight School would be a great gift for the casual wine lover who wants to learn more about wine!!!