#CLEfood: an Old Fashioned evening with Watershed Distillery at The Black Pig

Considering I regularly use the hashtag #alwaysbecelebrating and work in the events industry, you know I’m the type always ready for a social gathering. But even less than a third of the way through December, I craved something more chill, more kicked-back and more relaxed then the holiday soirees I had been to already this month. Thankfully, fellow CLE blogger Charity from i heart cleveland had just the shindig planned — and perfectly scheduled with the perfect beverage and food pairings.

the black pig

My mom and I joined Charity and other local influencers at The Black Pig last night to get to know Watershed Distillery, a beverage company “committed to producing small batches of artisan-quality spirits” here in the Buckeye State. While they are based in Columbus, they’ve been spending time spreading the good news about their products in the Cleveland and Cincinnati markets recently. While Watershead produces items like vodka, gin and bourbon, they just released a new mix — an Old Fashioned, that we had the pleasure of being welcomed with as we arrived at the restaurant.

Watershed Hearts CLE

I’ll admit — the blend of their bourbon, orange, bitters, cane sugar and cherry juice went down easy. Almost too easy! What a sipper we all enjoyed as we nibbled on The Black Pig’s food offerings, caught up with familiar faces and got to know the Watershed team better.

I take for granted that I was an early Watershed Distillery adopter, so getting to reconnect with co-founder Dave Rigo was a special treat of the evening for me. The company kindly supported some of my previous food and wine events right after their founding in 2010, so I’ve known about their high quality spirits for awhile now. I’m sure their gin was the first I ever had (after a long day of event coordinating on May day a few years back!) and it’s one I always keep in mind when purchasing for Hans’ at-home cocktail cravings.

Watershed

After a night full of beverages, tasty cuisine, party games (such a nice touch, Charity!!) and presents to take home, we left with more than a bottle of Watershed’s Old Fashioned and a tray to make adorable, heart-shaped ice cubed. That sense of contentment after a few warming beverages and the opportunity to catch up with old friends is always at the top of my to-do list — and one of my favorite things to celebrate.

Want to get to know Watershed better? Visit them at watersheddistillery.com, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Instagram… and order their offerings next time you’re out at your favorite restaurant or bar!

Need some holiday cocktail inspiration? Watershed’s website has a whole cocktail recipe section to mix up your routine.

Disclosure: I was invited to this Watershed Distillery influencers event at The Black Pig. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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sights and sounds {new year’s edition}

I realized I forgot to share one last resolution on Thursday: I’d love to get in some regular “day in the life” blogging again. Little bit of structure, run-of-the-mill, top-of-my-head ramblings. Maybe even kick around a few vlogs from time to time — we’ll see where 2015 takes us…

Like 99% of us, the end of the holidays means the beginning of a return-to-normal dietary regimen, which I happily have already been embracing with green smoothies since Christmas. But knowing a dinner at one Cleveland’s most celebrated restaurants was on the calendar for the first weekend of the new year, I left room for one more splurge at Pier W this past Saturday night.

pier w full collage

A sampling of the food served ordered that night — I’m on a salmon kick at the moment, forgive me.

I do love dining with a group of close friends you know so well — the conversation is lively (℅ a few random Cards Against Humanity cards) and they are down for sharing the infamous Pier W seafood tower. Check one off the bucket list! Our server Erin was phenomenal, the food was spot-on across the board and the complimentary champagne (& flutes to take home) in celebration of the restaurant’s 50th anniversary was the perfect surprise! Now when can we go back for happy hour…

Speaking of those smoothies, an orange a day keeps the doctor away:

smoothie

I’ve been keeping my annual & dreaded beginning-of-the-year cold at bay with a combo of vanilla almond milk, protein powder, greens (either kale or spinach), frozen berries and one orange. The burst of vitamin C is working!

As for the current yoga playlist selections to adore: I just stumbled upon James Vincent McMorrow and I must say I’m in love with the soul coming out from his music — or just the fact that there’s a flamingo on one of his album covers.

You also have got to check out his Higher Love cover. It’s my new favorite tune to start out class as we get grounded and moving.

As for something more lively, I’m still grooving to this mashup:

Two of my favorite songs from last year, all in one fab track. The Evolution Yoga yogis had a blast flowing to this during my Christmas morning Holiday Sweet Heat Flow. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two weeks since then! Our Christmas tree came down town — I must admit I miss the twinkle lights in our family room.

But don’t get me wrong: I’m very content it’s January. Based on the conversations I’ve had with my yoga students, friends and family, it seems like most of us are ready for some routine and normalcy again — all while figuring out what changes await us in the new year. I’m processing the process myself, but I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of finding that sweet spot in a new situation. Here’s hoping the balance comes to us all sooner rather than later!

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Ohio Blogging Association December Meetup at TownHall

I’ll admit it — it’s hard to believe I had the energy, creativity and time to plan monthly blogger meetings in the past. Don’t get me wrong — there hasn’t been a blogger meet up that I didn’t enjoy attending! The Northeastern Ohioans who have come to an Ohio Blogging Association meet ups over the years are some of the most fantastic people I’ve met. And since we were way overdue — and an opportunity was presented to me — I thought “let’s get something on the calendar” to celebrate the end of another year.

When Townhall reached out with the offer to host the OBA at its Ohio City restaurant, excitement grew to bring the bloggers here to learn more about what they are doing with their menu — and all at one of my favorite spots to grab gluten free fare.

Photo Dec 15, 6 42 37 PM

Get to know the restaurant a little better (from their About page):

Our product philosophy is written all over our menu. Organically driven, sustainable, and locally sourced. We offer a variety of gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options that are delicious, and nutritious. Our drink menu is marked not only with daily fresh squeezed juices, but also features specialty crafted emulsive cocktails that are made fresh to order, spiked milkshakes, a notable whiskey menu, and 36 rotating local/regional American craft beers on tap.

Townhall is very excited to share they are working towards being 100% GMO free by the beginning of 2015. With their health conscious menu, this probably doesn’t surprise many. Committing to something like this is a grand undertaking. But based on our experience that evening, their team is on the right track.

We all came from around Northeastern Ohio convened last Monday night to learn more — in attendance:

After some lively chatter around the tables (it had been since June we last all gathered together for the OBA “Sweet Up” at Mitchell’s Ice Cream with Edible Cleveland), TownHall treated us with appetizers to start:

town hall app collage

Monday nights are Vegan Nights at TownHall, so my table mates enjoyed the steam buns made with black bean, quinoa and falafel.  I couldn’t wait to tackle the largest crudite platter I’ve ever seen. Paired with a white hummus and a kalamata olive dip, look for this new item to be hitting TownHall’s menu in the near future. I plan to order it again!

For my entree, I ordered the thyme seared Nova Scotia salmon with cauliflower puree, Brussel sprouts and a local maple cider reduction.

Photo Dec 15, 7 30 20 PM

Three of the ladies along side of me all ordered the lamb as their main, which looked OUTSTANDING, and I started to kick myself for not doing the same. But then upon diving into my fish, I was so happy I made the choice I did. The salmon was perfectly prepared, and I’m still trying to figure out how the chef got the puree to taste exactly like mashed potatoes. One other blogger ordered the same and had no clue that the puree was made from  cauliflower! I was so glad I tried something new-to-me instead of sticking with my favorite, their Thai peanut bowl.

For dessert, TownHall provided several skillet chocolate chip cookies topped with Mitchell’s vanilla ice cream:

town hall dessert collage

From the “coolest thing I’ve seen in awhile” file:  a Crowler 32-ounce, flash-sealed can of any draft beer they serve — perfect to take home to enjoy during the holidays. To close everything out, TownHall provided a mini tasting of Townhall’s emulsive cocktails, made with various liquors and fruits, making for a sweet way to end the evening. Overall, it was a well-rounded, delicious meal and an insightful look into what TownHall has planned for 2015!

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Disclosure: TownHall’s PR contact reached out to me with an invitation to coordinate an Ohio Blogging Association meeting at the restaurant. TownHall provided appetizers, entrees and select beverages tastings that evening.  My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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