ten things this tuesday: travel edition

TODAY’S POINT OF BALANCE: I have decided to add a special weekly feature on the blog to help spice things up a bit and to provide myself some much needed entertainment. I proudly introduce to you:


For the first installment, I’m presenting a photo journal of my previous and favorite travel destinations.

1. ITALY: because taking photos like this never gets old:

2. FRANCE: Sure, your loving husband/tour guide took four years of high school French. What do you mean you can’t find a bathroom? Just go climb that tower over there instead:

3. ASHVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA: As Heather can tell you based on her recent travels, it’s such a great town! Plus, I will always travel the distance to be a bridesmaid for a great friend…

…and to eat wedding cake as good as this one:

4. CANCUN: because it’s always better sitting on a beach when it’s snowing back at home:

5. LONDON: Good friends, fun tour stops and Rick Steves. What more could a girl need?

6. GREECE: Gyros. Olives. Wine. And this view. Enough said.

7. HAWAII: because I seldom get to travel with this guy:

…and hiking up a mountain with this lady was pretty memoriable:

8. CHICAGO: It’s like a big Cleveland – just further West!

9. BAHAMAS: because drinking a pina colada NEVER gets old:

10. LAS VEGAS: This one gets its own post… on Monday! SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO!

What travel destinations are topping your “to do” list?  I’m longing to go to Thailand, Costa Rica, Germany… the list is too long!!!

June CLE Blogger Dinner at AMP150

One of my faithful readers and hilarious sorority sisters, Michael Ann, recently sent me an article from entitled Food bloggers: Helpful or disruptive? While I appreciate the points made, I have to ask does this man look too disrupted?

Chef Ellis Cooley (c/o greendogwine.com/)

That’s Chef Ellis Cooley who graciously stopped by our table at our third meeting of the CLE Blogger Dinner Club. Seven lovely ladies gathered at AMP150 Bar & Restaurant for an assortment of wine, cocktails, appitiziers, small plates, large plates and great discussion!

Chef Ellis chatted with us for a few moments that evening. He was preparing for St. John Medical Center’s 2010 Top Chef fundraiser the next evening. I think he was grateful to get away from the many, many pounds of beets for a few moments before the event!

As usual, the service was on point at AMP150. Stephanie, our server for the evening, was very knowledgeable and took care of all of our needs during our meal.  A major shoutout to her as she was probably one of the best servers I have come across in a very long time!

And, of course, there was food! Inspired from Mary’s dinner order from the previous week’s visit, the PASTA PRIMAVERA with Handmade Herbed Pasta, New Vegetables and Ricotta for my main dish:

From the side order menu, I also ordered the squash salad with tomato:

I LOVED my pasta. I’m considering buying a tub of ricotta in bulk and eating this for the rest of my life. I was indifferent on the squash salad, but I did eat it all, so I obviously didn’t hate it.

Overall, another blogger meet up success was in the books! I encourage you to check out these lovely ladies below as I’m honored to have spent the evening with them and call them my “blends” (yes, that’s blogger friends to the non-bloggers in the crowd!):

Allison at Green Dog Wine

Carly at So I Married a Chef

Katrina at Bite Buff

Sue at Skinny Eats Cleveland

Suzanne at Life on Mars

Tina at The Wellness War

restaurant review: The Stone Oven

My best friend Mary is moving back to Western Ohio this weekend. While I am incredibly excited for her to be closer to her family, I’m incredibly depressed for myself! We decided to sneak in one more lunch before she departed the CLE at The Stone Oven:

c/o stone-oven.com

From their website: The Stone Oven StoryIn 1993, Tatyana Rehn had a craving for the luscious, crusty breads of her European homeland and could not find them in her new home in Cleveland, Ohio. She began making her own bread and before long found herself working at all hours of the night to shape loaves for friends and family. What started as a passionate hobby later turned into a business, providing many Clevelanders their first experience of hearth-baked European bread. Today, the stores continue to serve European breads and pastries, along with a full menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches.

c/o stone-oven.com

To sneak in a non-working work day lunch, we met on a busy afternoon at the Lee Road location in Cleveland Heights. I’ve eaten at all three of Stone Oven’s locations previously – the other two being downtown at the Galleria and on the East side at Eton Collection. I’ve always had solid meals, including their Mediterranean and Garden Variety salads, their home made soups and the excellent baked goods. If available on your next visit, I highly suggest the katamala olive bread.

First, I have to give the staff of the restaurant a lot of credit. They were moving lunch orders like it was NOBODY’s business that afternoon. We met in the middle of the lunch rush and hardly waiting a few minutes for our orders.

As great minds think alike, we both ordered the Smoked Turkey w/ provolone cheese and honey mustard dressing. I ordered mine with the Miller Multigrain nine grain bread and the dressing on the side. Mary chose chips. I chose the tabouli.

Let’s break down that lunch basket, shall we?

the tabouli: If you know me, you know I’m picky about over-saucing food. When this tabouli came out, I first noticed how dry it looked. It tasted the same way. I was grateful at first that it wasn’t soggy, but the lack of moisture was noticeable. I wished for a bit more lemon juice or olive oil just to dampen it a bit. Otherwise, I appreciated the flavors of this side. I, unfortunately, only had a few bites and left the rest.

the smoked turkey: I was seriously craving some turkey that day and this did not disappoint. I’d love to know where The Stone Oven gets their turkey breast. This was incredibly tasty, with a nice smokey flavor and cut at the perfect size to give a nice hearty bite as you worked your way thru the sandwich. I could easily eat a pound of this lunch meat for my meal and be perfectly content.

the provolone cheese: Another fine deli choice, I thought the cafe used another great selection in this pairing when it came to the cheese. I also liked that they gave you two slices of cheese on the sandwich, which would help balance that hearty turkey flavor.

the honey mustard dressing: I didn’t hate this “dressing”, but I’m glad I ordered it on the side. It was definitely more “dressing” than “mustard”, it was on the heavy side, even for a dressing.  While there was nothing wrong with the actual taste of the dressing – pretty much what you expect from a honey mustard dressing – I enjoyed smearing on just the amount I wanted along the way.

the Miller Multigrain nine grain bread: So fresh, you can tell it was baked only hours before. It was incredibly soft with seeds running throughout. I’m kicking myself for not purchasing a loaf to take home with me that day.

LONG STORY SHORT: If you are looking for a solid lunch from a bakery/cafe style menu, don’t look any further than The Stone Oven. As I mentioned, they have three locations around Cleveland with very helpful staff at each.  Grab a sandwich, grab a seat and enjoy!

Stone Oven Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon

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