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Let’s keep the yoga event train rolling, shall we?  Last week, I shared details about my upcoming series at Platform Beer Co. — tickets are already selling for both dates! Today’s class announcement is about another exciting event I’m bringing back from two years ago with some of my favorite partners in town. I invite you to join us!

Yoga on the Viaduct at Luca Italian Cuisine
to benefit the Arthritis Foundation
Wednesday, July 31st
All levels yoga class at 6:30PM
Class pass includes one complimentary glass of wine and appetizers at Luca after
$25 per person // REGISTER HERE

Learn about my summer yoga series with the Arthritis Foundation here.

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It’s turning into “summer yoga event week” here on the blog, so it’s time for me to share details on an upcoming event that was a ton of fun last year and that you should join me for next Friday — Chakra Pop.

Chakra Pop is an all levels yoga event taking place on Friday, June 21st at 6:00PM at Wendy Park at Whiskey Island in Cleveland. The 60-minute yoga session, led by Melissa Klimo-Major (of Balance & Brews fame) with guest instructors Erika Whites and Alyssa Gustwiller, will include a mix of traditional yoga poses and vinyasa flows, plus an introduction to the chakra system — AKA the network of energy centers in the body. Each of the seven major chakras are associated with a color — which you’ll find incorporated into the practice that evening!

Your $25 registration includes one chakra pop color packet for the post-practice celebration of color, plus access to our color warriors who will pop you with color before and during practice. (Hey, that includes yours truly! I’m assisting the event!)

And this year, there’s an after party! After Chakra Pop, everyone will be heading to the Burning River Fest to toast the start of summer and celebrate local clean water efforts. This year’s Chakra Pop event will contribute a portion of proceeds directly to the Burning River Foundation, and if you purchase your ticket through us with your Chakra Pop registration, they’ll cover $5 of your BRF ticket. Select ‘+ BRF entry’ when you check out. (BRF admission is $15, FYI.)

PURCHASE TICKETS NOW
TICKET GIVEAWAY ALERT
I’m giving away a pair of tickets to this year’s Chakra Pop over on Instagram this weekend.
Click here to enter!

Tell all your friends about this year’s Chakra Pop by inviting them to the Facebook event page here. I hope to see you next Friday night!

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The pop ups are back! I’ve been itching to team more regularly and summer time is the perfect time to take your yoga practice outside. Add the perfect opportunity to connect with your fellow yogis after class PLUS give back to a local non-profit… it’s a win for everyone!

You may remember my first Yoga + Beer session at Platform back in 2017. It was second class back after maternity leave and it was the perfect opportunity to reconnect with some of my favorite students. I hope you’ll join us for one of the two upcoming sessions I just scheduled in partnership with Platform and the team at the Arthritis Foundation!

Yoga + Beer at Platform Beer Co.
to benefit the Arthritis Foundation
Two dates: Sunday, July 14th and Sunday, August 18th
All levels yoga class at 10AM
Class pass includes one complimentary beer
$20 per person // REGISTER HERE

Connect with me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

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photo c/o Allison Hopkins Photography 

Now nearly a full season into the KeyBank Broadway Seriesyou now most likely know I’m again serving as Playhouse Square’s Community Engagement and Education’s blogger for the fourth season in a row. Join me as I to take you behind the scenes to interview a member of the featured show’s cast, crew or creative team for each of the KeyBank Broadway Series performances. The next show is one I’ve been very much looking forward to all season long: Dear Evan Hansen. (No relation, ha!)

Today on the blog, I’m sharing my Playhouse Square Behind the Curtain interview with Aaron Lazar, the actor that plays Larry in the show.

Tell us about yourself. How did you discover performing?

My Uncle was Prince Charming in a community theater production of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. They needed a Grumpy. I stepped in, age 9.

How did it bring you to the theater, specifically Dear Evan Hansen?

I really discovered the theater in high school. I played the leads in my high school musicals. Continued performing through college, went to graduate school for musical theater and then moved to New York City. I first heard about Dear Evan Hansen when they were casting for the off-Broadway production. Then a few years later I sent a tape in from LA for future Broadway replacements. 6 months later, they called and offered me Larry on the tour.

You’ve had quite the varied career between acting on the stage and screen. What advice do you have for those interested in exploring both aspects of the art form?

Acting is acting. Preparation is very important. Prepare well and you reduce nerves and fear which get in the way of creativity. So rehearse. In the theater, you get lots of that 6 days a week/8 hours a day. In film/tv, you get little to none, so you prepare on your own.

In Dear Evan Hansen, you play Larry – Connor and Zoe’s “busy and distant” father. What’s one of the things you enjoy about playing this role?

I enjoy Larry’s journey from a man who is closed off to his son, to a man who is open to his son. It’s very powerful to experience all of that in the course of the play. It’s important to me that the audience experience a grieving father who struggles with how to handle his feelings given the long and complicated history with his son. I think that’s very real for a lot of people. We all do our best to manage our feelings in times of trauma. It’s my hope Larry allows folks to grieve, to feel, to open up… even if just for the few hours they’re in the theater. And I hope that Larry’s journey plays a part in inspiring audiences to leave the theater with more empathy and compassion. The world needs more of those.

Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Dear Evan Hansen has been referred to as “the first great American musical about social media” – how do you find this topic and other important ones included in the show resonate with audiences?

Very powerful, very relevant. I’m a parent. Tech influences all of our choices, but for young people who don’t know the world before tech, it’s important to keep them grounded in what’s real. As David Brooks says, ‘we live in the Instagram world where everyone posts their moments of joy. But as much fun as you at brunch with your bloody Mary can appear, it doesn’t actually add up to much.’ Kids don’t know that. We have to guide them.

As you tour Dear Evan Hansen around the country, what tips do you have for surviving the touring lifestyle?

Great question! For me, a kitchen is key. Most hotels don’t have them, so the 1 – 2 week stays are tougher. You try to find Air BnBs with kitchens. Eating out can get tiresome depending on the city, so I like to buy groceries and try to prep meals. There’s also meal delivery services, which can be fun. Our company does everything they can to help us, so we’re lucky!

What makes Dear Evan Hansen stand out from everything else that you worked on?

Brilliant score. Brilliant lyrics. Brilliant orchestrations. Brilliant play. The creative team cares about the show very much. The company of cast, crew, and musicians work hard to maintain the show’s integrity. And we’re sold out – basically every city we are playing. All of those things combined make for a rare experience in the theater.

Photo by Matthew Murphy.

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Dear Evan Hansen runs June 10 – 30 12 in the Connor Palace at Playhouse Square. For more information, please visit the show’s page on the Playhouse Square website.

Learn more about Playhouse Square: follow Playhouse Square on Facebook, on Twitter at @playhousesquare & on Instagram at @playhousesquare. As before and always, many thanks yous to the Playhouse Square team for the opportunity to serve as a Broadway Buzz contributor!

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I’ve never considered myself to be a person with a green thumb. Only in the past few years have I been able to keep a few houseplants alive and I’ve left all the tending to our home garden to my husband. Even with our very little bit of land, the chance to eat the tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce and other items grown in our own backyard allows someone to get a small glimpse into what farm-to-table really means.

If anyone in the area fully understands what goes into that popular culinary trend, it’s the team at Spice Headquarters. I recently joined Chef Ben Bebenroth, Spice’s chef/owner, to help harvest their first crop of asparagus at Spice Acres. After all that work, it was time to enjoy the fruits of our labor at their popular dining experience, the Planted Landscape series.

Spice’s Plated Landscape dinners have been on my Cleveland culinary bucket list for a very long time – since they introduced the series – so I was giddy when we arrived at Spice Acres that evening. I brought my mom (the person who has taught me the most about food over the years) along as I knew she would appreciate the combination of farming (she didn’t pass along her green thumb tho!) and cooking. We were immediately greeted by the Spice team and guided back to a pasture for cocktails and appetizers — and a sneak peek into our dining area for the evening. A few more Spice team members were also on hand: Chuck and Hayley, Spice Acres’ resident farm dogs.

We had a leisurely half an hour to enjoy the specialty cocktail of the evening, passed hors d’oeuvres and conversation with fellow guests. Imagine our surprise when a few friends walked in: Mike and Tess Smith of Thyme Table and Thyme Catering. We would have easily been making fast friends with strangers, but it’s always nice when someone you know and love roll up!

After a few bites and sips, the Spice crew started the tour of the Spice Acres, where guests got an intimate look into the workings of the farm, what was currently growing and even the chance to learn how to harvest asparagus, the evening’s featured ingredient. Despite being there the Saturday before with Chef Ben for more than an hour, I learned so many new facts about everything that happens at the site during the group tour that evening. No wonder the Spice team has been working hard with their Spice Field Kitchen initiative to bring learning opportunities on the farm to many – there’s always something to share!

Then it was time to eat! Post tour, we sat at the long, extended dining set up, under a canopy of trees strung with Edison lights, to see how the Spice team would use the featured ingredient in so many ways. Here’s what we enjoyed that evening:

Chilled Spice Acres Asparagus Soup
Asparagus and spice acres honey kombucha, radish, peas and wild greens
Paired with Domain de Solitude Cotes du Rhone Blac, France ’18

Spice Acres Asparagus Salad
Fermented and raw asparagus, mushrooms, baby brassicas, house beer vinegar, creamy maple and black walnut dressing
Paired with Anne Amie Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon ’18

Lake Erie Walleye
Poached walleye, asparagus sage, seasonal crumble and braised salad turnips
Paired with Chehalem Inox Unoaked Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, Oregon ’17

Tea Hills Turkey Roulade
Charred spring vegetables, pickled rhubarb, spring greens and asparagus cream
Paired with Maison Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages, Burgundy, France ’16

Spice Acres Sundae
Spice Acres asparagus ice cream, lime and house made crumble
Paired with Anne Amie, Cuvee A Amrita Sparkling, Willamette Valley, Oregon ’17
(My attempt at a picture just didn’t do this dessert justice!)

There were so many delightful surprises on how the feature ingredient was used that evening: the soup’s brightness, the salad’s freshness, the walleye’s flakiness, the turkey’s heartiness and the fact that someone figured out how to use asparagus in ice cream – twice! Every course we careful dissected yet appreciated like we never had that green veggie ever before. It’s easy to say that I’ll never forget those five courses – because of the food but also because of the ambiance and atmosphere.

LONG STORY SHORT: It seems as though everything the Spice team touches turns to gold – or at least a delicious bite of food – so I highly encourage you to check out what they are up to this summer with their many culinary events around town. A full list and schedule of this year’s Plated Landscape dinners are available on Spice’s website. I know I’ll be back to the farm… and the restaurant… and the patio bar… these poor folks won’t be able to get rid of me, ha!

My deepest appreciation to the entire Spice Headquarters team for having us at their Plated Landscape dinner. Follow along with the Spice companies at their websiteFacebookTwitter and Instagram. p.s. their monthly Yoga on the Farm series starts this Saturday the 1st at 12PM – details here!

Disclosure: The team at Spice Headquarters invited me and a guest to attend their Plated Landscape asparagus dinner. My thoughts and opinions are always 100% my own.

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Throughout my career, I’ve had the chance to work with many of the wonderful individuals in the Cleveland events community. Seeing the end results of all their planning and coordination is always a treat, but it’s important to remember the amount of hard work, dedication and the sheer amount of STUFF that goes into each and every one of those weddings, galas, conferences and so on. Many designers collect all those items for their own collections, so imagine how many incredible things one designer would have after 40 years!

After decades of designing events for the world’s tastemakers including Martha Stewart and Gloria Vanderbilt, as well as our region’s well-heeled elite (think members of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Indians), Stephen Tokar of Tokar Event Design is closing his business and moving to Europe. But as one could imagine, after that many years in business, Stephen has collected quite the inventory and is now ready to get rid of it all! He is hosting a Million Dollar Inventory Sale where shoppers will have the opportunity to see the elements that went into Tokar’s many designs — and purchase them for their own use.

The Million Dollar Inventory Sale doesn’t formally begin until Thursday, but Stephen invited me to his warehouse to get a sneak peek… and do a little shopping. As I don’t consider home decor my strong suit, I brought some reinforcements: my “work husband”, Vince and new-gal-to-our-team, Hannah. We took the opportunity to sneak out of the office on a Friday-before-a-holiday to kick off our weekend at Stephen’s warehouse.

As we shopped, we had the chance to catch up with Stephen as he and his team assisted shoppers. As we walked his warehouse together, he shared incredible stories about pieces we found, how he was still finding new ways to style items together and even making suggestions on how to use pieces for our own homes and events. We asked him about his plans post-sale — as Stephen is of Hungarian descent, he’s moving to Budapest for the next chapter in his adventure. You could tell he didn’t make the decision to close his business and move from Cleveland lightly, but you could also see the excitement in his eyes for what was in store in his future.

If you’re not in the industry, you may not know what to expect when walking through Tokar Event Design’s warehouse. Think furniture of all sizes and styles, theatrical props, mirrors, chandeliers, candelabras, so much luxury fabric (we were in heaven!) and much, much more. It was almost overhwelming as there were so many gems to choose from — I didn’t know where to start! But we ended up finding some incredible items, including a really great desk lamp and this wonderful statement piece that will be finding its new home in my living room.

Stay tuned as I get this beauty into my house and onto Instagram next week!

Interested in some shopping?! Tokar Event Design’s sale takes place at Stephen’s Midtown Cleveland studio at 7029 Euclid Avenue from 10AM to 6PM on Thursday, May 30th, Friday, May 31st and Saturday, June 1st. Prices range from $5 for designer pillows and candlesticks to $2,500 for Italianate room-sized garden pergolas and gorgeous Grecian statuary. There’s really something for everyone! Tell your friends about this mega sale at the Facebook event page.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve announced a pop up yoga event, so you know I’m excited to share some yoga news with you today! Better yet: I’m partnering with one of my favorite teams in all of Northeast Ohio again for another summer filled with down dogs outside. In partnership with Legacy Village, welcome back our Yoga in the Village series!

Join me on Tuesday, June 25th for a 60-minute yoga class on the Legacy Village Lawn. I’ll lead an all-levels yoga class from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Join us after class at Bar Louie. The restaurant will offer a special Yoga in the Village drink menu and complimentary mini spa services from Ladies & Gentlemen Salon & Spa!

Yoga Class Cost: $15 per person (plus Eventbrite fees). In addition to the 60-minute yoga class, participants will receive a gift bag that will include a $5 Legacy Village gift card along with other coupons & goodies from Legacy Village shops & restaurants!

Even better yet: a portion of your ticket cost will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation of Northeast Ohio. PLUS 20% of proceeds from food/beverage sales at Bar Louie that evening will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation!

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED as space is limited. REGISTER TODAY!

From one of last year’s Yoga in the Village sessions.

Invite your friends to this June yoga event via the Facebook event page today!

STAY TUNED for even more yoga fun on the lawn at Legacy Village this summer. We’re hosting classes each month through September — more dates coming your way soon!

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One of my most used cookbooks in my collection.

Speaking of meeting chefs, I vividly remember the day I met Michael Symon. It was 2009 and I was working as the Annual Fund/Special Events Manager for Great Lakes Theater. As part of a major fundraising effort, three days filled with ten different events was to kick off with a private home dinner featuring Chef Symon cooking for the guests. I was fairly nervous as months of planning were about to fruition when I pulled up to the Rocky River residence. I took a deep breath before opening my car door and the second I stepped out, I could hear Chef Symon’s recognizable laugh all the way from the backyard grill. That moment immediately set me at ease and the evening went off without a hitch… plus he was absolutely lovely and the food was incredible.

Chef Symon and I have run into each other several times since, but my favorites of those times have been at the biannual Five Star Sensation, University Hospitals (UH) Seidman Cancer Center’s mega food and wine event. The 2019 affair, presented by Huntington Bank, will take place on Saturday, June 15 at Cuyahoga Community College’s Eastern Campus. Five Star has been reimagined with a new look and new features for 2019, though will still include some of the country’s top chefs and vintners, plus a very special silent auction.

Thanks to the team at UH, I have had the incredible opportunity to attend Five Star in 2015 and in 2017 and so can share it is unlike any other event happening in Cleveland.  Imagine my delight when I realized that 2019 was another Five Star year (hurrah!) AND that I’d get the chance to chat with Chef Symon himself about all things food, non-profit events, this year’s Five Star highlights… and a bit about his favorite sports team. It’s an honor to bring this interview to you today!

Selfies at the 2015 Five Star Sensation

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Chef Symon, tell us how you got involved with University Hospitals’ Five Star Sensation.

I was a prep cook at Five Star at sixteen years old when I worked at Sammy’s, when Wolfgang (Puck) used to host it. I’ve always been involved with it in one way or another since – whether it was hosting parties for the chefs or cooking at the event going back 30+ years being a prep cook. Then after Wolf had done it all those years, the organizers asked me to take over as the host chef. This is the sixth year and third event I have done in this role.

Serving as the host chef of the event, you’ll bring together nearly 30 chefs from around the country – all right here in Northeast Ohio. For those that come from out of town, what about the event and/or Cleveland that surprises them the most?

It’s always great because it’s been a mix of people that have been doing the event. Some have been doing it a long time and then there a lot of new chefs that have never done it, and some that haven’t been to the city. The ones that have been coming forever have been impressed with how far the culinary scene in Cleveland has come. The new ones are always kind of surprised: for the good, bad, indifferent, a lot of people have opinions on Cleveland. The ones with the opinions that aren’t as great – it’s great to see them come and their eyes open to the city. When you bring them to the West Side Market, they’re like, “this doesn’t exist anywhere else in the United States” so I think they are always very impressed by the culinary history of the city. They are really blown away.

As someone with a love for many different types of foods and cuisines, how do you decide what to serve at an event like Five Star?

It kind of depends on my mood! I will look to see what all the chefs are serving. I feel, as the host, it’s my job to let everyone do what they want to do and if I feel that there is an opening or a void, to fill in that opening or void. I try to do something that none of the other chefs are doing, so there is a variety there. I feel as the host chef, it’s not your job to show off – it’s your job to be the host of the event and to let the other chefs – a lot of them whom have traveled a long way – to come and do their thing.

More selfies with Chef Symon at the 2017 Five Star Sensation

You and your restaurants have supported countless non-profits and their food and wine events over the years, and in that time, even more have popped up. How can these events, guests and non-profits help to support you and your establishments after the event is complete?

We’ve always been very supported over the years! I feel very blessed that the city has always embraced me, our restaurants and the Cleveland food scene in general. I would say to continue to do what they have always done and, for the charities, do things that are important to them. We always try to do things that are important to us and important to people we are close to, and I think people should do that same thing.

One thing many don’t know about Five Star is the prep day prior to the event including my volunteers of University Hospitals that have benefited from their treatments and services that UH Seidman. Many of those volunteers also give their time for the Saturday evening event. What is it like to have them as a part of the event?

It’s incredibly special to hear people’s stories and what they went through. Some of them are survivors. Some of them lost someone close to them. That’s what makes events like this so special. Speaking personally for myself, shortly after we started hosting the event, Liz(Michael’s wife)‘s father found out he had esophageal cancer and he’s made it through that to a full recovery. It’s examples like that why events like this are important – they raise money, they raise awareness and they are able to give a service to people maybe they couldn’t have. What Seidman has done is truly amazing, so to be a part of that is truly special.

What are you looking forward to most about this year’s Five Star Sensation?

These events are great because chefs are busy people: you’re in your restaurants, you’re traveling, you’re doing all these things, and you don’t always get to see each other that much. To be able to all get together for great causes is always enjoyable, so I’m looking forward to seeing some close friends of mine that I don’t get to see enough of and being able to do it for a great cause.

Okay, now for some quick fire questions:

  • Most underrated ingredient? Salt.
  • What food do you splurge on when looking to treat yourself? Ice cream.
  • Most important tool/appliance in the kitchen? Your oven, but two most underrated tools that I use the most that a lot of people don’t have is a bench scraper and a microplane.
  • Your prediction for this year’s Browns record? 11-5
  • If you weren’t a chef, what would you be today? Gardening, but I’m going to do that today anyways!

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Ready to sign up to attend Five Star?! View details about individual admission and as well as sponsorship opportunities or for more information, please call 216-844-0416.

Many thanks to the entire University Hospitals team for this wonderful opportunity in advance of this year’s Five Star Sensation! Follow University Hospitals on Facebook and Twitter, and UH Seidman Cancer Center on Instagram at @uhseidman to keep in touch all year long. Follow Chef Symon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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I’ll never forget meeting Chef Ben Bebenroth. It was the Spring of 2013 and Spice Kitchen + Bar was announced as a finalist for Cleveland Magazine‘s Silver Spoon Award for Best New Restaurant. (Spoiler alert: they would go on to win that award.) I was working for the Arthritis Foundation at the time, serving as event lead on the Silver Spoon Awards Party, when the committee decided to ask Spice if they wanted to be featured in the VIP Lounge. Fast forward to going to meet with Chef Ben and his beverage director to discuss details — a 3pm meeting turned into a late afternoon happy hour with bourbon cocktails, housemade pork rinds, plenty of laughs… and just enough event planning.

That first impression has stuck and every interaction I’ve had with the Spice Headquarters team since has felt the same: welcoming, generous, full of laughter and delicious. You may remember I had the opportunity to enjoy their Whole Beast Feast earlier this year. I had been reminiscing about that meal when their team invited me to join Chef Ben to help harvest their first crop of asparagus at Spice Acres.

Spice Acres is a 13-acre sustainable family farm nestled inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park – a hop, skip and jump away from some of my favorite hiking and biking trails. I’ve had the lovely opportunity to visit in the past – namely for their you-pick-flower days, but never made it much further past those wildflower fields. When I arrived this past Saturday, Chef Ben arrived riding a tractor — I told him I didn’t need such a grand entrance! — to kick off the tour and harvesting.

Organic grown ginger root in one of the Spice Acres’ greenhouses.

Despite his training at Johnson and Wales University, I immediately felt that Ben was more comfortable in his work boots than a white chef’s coat as he prepped me with a knife and a crate as he showed me to the asparagus field with one of their farm dogs, Chuck, escorting us along. The Spice Acres team originally planted the asparagus three years ago and are incredibly excited about the first ever crop this year. Ben shared they had harvested more than 90 pounds of asparagus in the two days prior to my visit but there was still plenty for us to harvest that day.

While Ben offered how to properly cut the asparagus off the plant, we had an incredible conversation about many topics you could tell he was passionate about, like his recent speech to a group of city planners. He challenged them to think bigger and broader in regards to making better choices for their constituents and the planet. Between topics like the environment and consumerism, he’d throw in an incredible fact about the growing of the asparagus — like how the Spice Acres team set the foundation for the plants with a specific blend of soil and layers of wood chips and other materials to provide the best possible growing conditions from day one. He even encouraged me to eat a piece raw right there from the field. I will tell you it was the best bite of vegetable in my entire life — you could taste the thought and care put into this food.

Once done harvesting, Chef Ben took me on a tour of the rest of the Spice Acres property — this time, guided by the other farm dog, Hayley. (No, I didn’t get any non-blurry photos of the dogs. Yes, I’m the worst crazy dog lady EVER.) We came across Farm Manager Andrea harvesting more asparagus nearby rows of berries, including gooseberries, blueberries, red raspberries and more. It was a bit on the cool side, but really the perfect day to walk the grounds! A very special section was a plot of land recently dedicated to Ben’s grandmother, whom had recently passed away at the age of 98. She had shared gardening and farming with Ben throughout his childhood, so it was important to him to continue her legacy in this way.

Farm Manager Andrea in the field.

Ben took some extra time to show me the area where they grow their mushrooms. The team at Spice Acres grow four varieties of mushrooms, including shiitakes which I had the pleasure of learning how to pick that morning. They recently received several of logs from Killbuck Valley Mushrooms to add to their operation, which Ben was very excited to get up and growing.


An important thing to know about Spice Acres is that it is also a venue for “learning and lauding” food, which the team does through on-site workshops, events, school tours (they were hosting 60 Cleveland Metropolitan School District kids for a field trip in the upcoming days!) and innovative dining experiences with their restaurant, Spice Kitchen + Bar, and catering company, Spice Catering Co. staff. For example, a good deal of all that asparagus will be put to good use at the upcoming Plated Landscape dinner right at the barn on the Spice Acres property this Thursday, May 16th.

An outdoor pizza oven as part of the “food cart” at the farm.

LONG STORY SHORT: First impressions can be a make or break, but your ongoing reputation is just as important, and with this tour on Saturday, Chef Ben and his team maintained my belief it’s impossible to find a nicer, more welcoming team than those hard-working hospitality professionals on the Spice Headquarters team. Not only did I learn so much about farming, the environment and the impact of my own footprint on this earth, I went home with two bundles of purple asparagus – plus some shiitakes and chives. It all made for the perfect additions to our Mother’s Day dinner menu! My deepest appreciation to Chef Ben, Andrea and the entire Spice team for their continued hospitality and generosity!

Yours truly with Chef Ben and Farm Manager Andrea

STAY TUNED: I’ll get to enjoy the fruits of my labor as I’ll be attending this Thursday’s Plated Landscape dinner featuring this incredible vegetable. These events has been an item on my CLE culinary bucket list for a very long time, so I encourage you to consider buying tickets to join me that evening. More info and tickets here. A full list and schedule of this year’s Plated Landscape dinners are available on Spice’s website.

Follow along with the Spice companies at their websiteFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: The team at Spice Headquarters invited me to a tour of Spice Acres with Chef Ben in advance of their upcoming Plated Landscape dinner. My thoughts and opinions are always 100% my own.

Connect with me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

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From the Cleveland Flea Spring Flea, May 2019 // B at thirty-six months old

Two years ago, on my first Mother’s Day, I shared my thoughts on this crazy thing called motherhood here on the blog. Then fast forward another 12 months to get us to Mother’s Day 2018 for another round of musings. So today, on my third Mother’s Day — and now another year in to this thing we call parenting — I no longer wonder, I know.

From Mother’s Day Weekend 2018 // B at eighteen months old

I know I’m raising a fierce, smart, fearless female that is going to run the world one day.

I know she is going to be a better person because of how independent she is already at the age of two and a half.

I know she’s going to give me a run for my money. (Spoiler: the teenage years are probably going to be a DOOZY with this one.)

I know we’ll always have each other: near or far, no matter the circumstances.

I know I’m doing my best, despite those moments when I question everything.

I know she’ll understand all this when she’s older, whether or not she makes the choice to give motherhood a go.

From Mother’s Day Weekend 2017 // B at six months old

To my (not so anymore) Baby B: thanks for making me a mama, and specifically yours.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas out there.

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