Delicious Vegan Bakery: Poison Berry Bakery in Cleveland, Ohio

lillie kitty2

Poison Berry Bakery

12210 Larchmere Blvd

Cleveland, Oh 44120

Vegan lover’s will enjoy this colorful bakery on Larchmere Blvd., catering to just about everything a vegan could possibly be looking for – vegan pastries and vegan snacks that are all animal and cruelty free. They also serve a tasty vegan Saturday brunch!

Located near historic Shaker Square in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Poison Berry Bakery is a unique, artsy, family-friendly coffee shop that offers an array of desserts, pastries, vegan cheese, vegan jerky and (as the sign on the window states) some of the best coffee in the universe!

vegan jerky
Try out some delicious vegan jerky such as Smoky Carolina BBQ and Mesquite Hickory Bacon.

 

VEGAN CHEESE
You can purchase delicious vegan cheese inside Poison Berry Bakery such as mozzarella, gouda, and provolone to take home.

 

Next time you are looking for one of those rare vegan food spots, give Poison Berry Bakery a try. Check out other cool happenings on Larchmere Blvd by clicking here.

 

 

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Free Family Event: A Harp Quartet, Coloring and Cocktails

I live for finding free family events for my family. And when the event includes an opportunity for a musical exposure – the better!

LES DELICIES

The group Les Delices, directed by Debra Nagy performed at the Cleveland Bop Stop to an audience of children aged 5 to 12. Monthly, the Cleveland Bop Stop offers several musical events for children during the day. By night they are a full fledged jazz club where every cocktail purchased goes towards funding their musical education department.

ANGELS
Angelic harp coloring sheets

 

The setting for the event included several small round tables outlining the stage. On each table were unique coloring sheets that included a few pictures of the Harp’s past history: The Pharaoh, and angelic angles. While we colored Les Delices (a quartet of piccolo, violin, cello and harp) played several delightful songs including a silly story of the mouse and the frog led by vocalist Debra Nagy.

PERFORM
Les Delices performing at the Bop Stop

 

Should you find yourselves thirsty or hungry during these events, the Bop Stop offers a small appetizer menu such as ranch popcorn and flatbread pizza to name a few. Parents can sip on wine, beer, and other cocktail favorites.

To our surprise, we were pleased to find out Les Delices gives free family musical events and paid performances throughout the year! If you would like to go to one of Les Delices events, or visit The Bop Stop for a family/adult jazz event, check out the links below for more information:

View Les Delices live performance here:

Les Delices: http://www.lesdelices.org/outreach/

The Bop Stop Calendar: https://www.themusicsettlement.org/calendar

outside
Outside the Bop Stop

Help your Garden this Spring by making a simple Mason Bee House.

Did you know there are well over 500 different species of bees in the State of Ohio alone? The mason bee is often less talked about in comparison to our friend the honey bee, but just as important nonetheless. Although, mason bees help pollinate our fruit and vegetable reproduction, they do not produce honey like the honey bee. Mason bees are always looking for shelter each spring to lay their eggs. Why not take a moment this spring to give these little friends some help? One simple way is to provide the Mason bee some shelter for its eggs. In exchange they can aid with any growing backyard garden.

What is a Mason bee and how do they differ from the Honey bee?

Although honey bees are the most common bee type, have you ever really gotten to know the mason bee? Mason bees are docile male and female workers that carry pollen on their abdomen whereas, the honey bee carry on their hind legs. For this reason mason bees are able to pollinate 100x more! Mason bees are docile because they don’t have a hive or a queen bee to defend like the honey bee. The females do carry a stinger like the female honey bee, however the sting is similar to that of a mosquito bite.

Another way they are different from the honey bee is their natural blue hue color. At times they have often been mistaken for a pesty house fly.  Their main purpose from March (they peak in the Spring when the temperature is a steady 50 degrees or higher) to June is to help pollinate flowers, especially fruit trees and fruit bushes. Their average life span is about 8 to 10 weeks. Whereas, the honey bee works year around.

Finally, Mason bees only fly a few hundred feet away from their nests. The honey bee will travel up to 3 foot ball fields away in search of pollen.

How can I make a Mason Bee House?

Mason bee houses are simple to make at home or at local workshop in your area. They are even simple enough to make alone, or with your kids, and are a great way to help out your garden and give shelter to some of the most awesome pollinators on the planet.

Starting in the month of March, female mason bees look for shelter to lay their eggs. You will definitely want to have the house prepared ahead of time. If made with cedar wood (as I will explain below), the houses can easily be stored away at the end of June until the following Spring.
To start measure and cut four pieces of cedar wood as follows:
dimensions
wood
Drill 2 to 3 holes either side with 1inch screws:
drill3 house
You should have the shape of a house
house
Mount the house to the last slab of wood by drilling holes in the back
LILLIE DRILL
Roll approximately 40 to 50 tubes of newspaper each 6 inches long to be laid within the house.
ROLL
This is where the females will lay the eggs. A cool fact: female eggs will be laid towards the back of the house and male eggs will be laid towards front. This is to protect the female from predators such as woodpeckers.
packing

Once your house is complete follow these steps to insure your Mason Bees have a proper set up:

  1. Hang your house on a building, garage, post or tree that stands at least 3 to 6 feet tall.
  2.  The house should face east towards the rising sun each morning.

3. Make sure that mud is easily accessible for the bees to grab. You can easily dig a small mud patch near the house. Mason bees use the mud to securely pack and seal their eggs in the tubes.

4. Having your fruits and vegetables nearby the house helps since mason bees do not travel far.

Sources: Information gathered from The Mason Bee Workshop at the Shaker Lakes Nature Center in Ohio

Local Guide: Top 5 Events to Visit in Cleveland with Kids this Holiday Season

Kid tested…mother approved!

1. Crocker Park Christmas Tree Lighting- Westlake, Ohio

CRO

Enjoy decked out holiday shopping in this open air shopping center. Each year Crocker Park comes alive with their annual Christmas tree and lighting countdown. Eat at popular restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory and the Yard House. You can walk the plaza while the kids drink warm hot cocoa cooled with vanilla ice-cream from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Invite family and friends to experience their new outdoor ice-skating rink that opens on November 18th. Top the tiresome evening off with a movie and a stay at the beautiful Hyatt Regency within the center.

 

2. Snow Tubing – Boston Mills Brandywine, Boston Heights, Ohio

BOSTON MILLS

This wintertime activity is safe and enjoyable for family members 3 and up! For only $25 per person, grab a snow-tube (no worries, you get a nice lift up the hill) and slide down the best hills ever! If your family is feeling extra adventurous, enjoy sliding down the hills at night too. Afterwards, enjoy a small snack bar which does carry hot cocoa.

3. Coventry Village Holiday Festival – Cleveland Heights, Ohio

COVENTRY

This eclectic, hippie, earthy street is known for its love of nostalgia. A trip to Coventry Village is great anytime of year, and the Christmas theme just adds to the fun. Among shopping at the cool unique shops such as Big Fun, and City Buddha, Coventry sets out a money machine (fake money can be used at stores on Coventry only)!

The B-Side Liquor Lounge turns into a kids only club for the afternoon. Kids can dance with a DJ and sing to Frozen (among other kid favorites) on the Karaoke machine. Other activities include photos with Santa at Piccadilly Vegan Ice Cream, and a throwback movie. Grab a selfie with Rudolph, The Grinch, and Frosty!

Enjoy great eating at Tommy’s Restaurant who is know for their great handmade milkshakes, handmade french fries, and huge vegetarian selections.

4. Winter Lights Lantern Holiday Circlefest and GLOW – Cleveland Museum of Art & Botanical Gardens

ART MUSEUM

Known as one of the top art museums in the country, the Cleveland Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens creates a beautiful “Glow” theme on its lawn during the Christmas holiday. Admire beautifully glowing art pieces on the lawn. Throw on those ice skates and don’t fall eating freshly made kettle corn from the local vendors. Come early before the Museum’s annual artsy night parade to enjoy a craft. Watch chefs prepare you an exquisite dish in the cafe, or snack on fresh baked cookies along with a glass of wine or champagne. Of course, there will be plenty of hot chocolate. Best of all – entry into the art museum is FREE!

5. Light Up Lakewood! Lakewood, Ohio

LAKEWOOD

Usually happening on the first weekend in December, this outdoor walk around festival caters to both the very young and old at heart. This annual event is full of plenty of activities for the kids such as Santa pictures and crafts in the library (come early enough to grab a number to meet him!). Eat at the nationally known, Cleveland born restaurant Melt Bar and Grilled for fantastic grilled cheese and beer. Grab glow sticks and free hot cocoa while you pass people dressed as Star Wars and other characters on the street (was that just a black Santa Claus? YEP!). Don’t forget to stay for the night parade and tree lightning. Did I happen to say that a DJ spins the tunes while you’re taking this all in?

 

Cool Coffee Spots for Cleveland Coffee Lover’s

Calling all coffee lovers! I am talking about the coffee lovers who take their coffee straight black – no sugar, no cream. And, those who need a little bit of sweet to their coffee treat. Regardless of where you fall into this category, I got you covered.

We all know we can easily find a Starbucks or McDonald’s on the next corner, but sometimes (mostly all the time for me) we should support our local coffee shops. Believe me, most of these coffee entrepreneurs are getting their beans from some of the best bean growing countries around the World (i.e. Africa, South America). When you buy local and support local, they want you to come back. They aren’t mass producing on a large quantity. Meaning that they care taking extra care and control about where they are getting their beans from. In return,  we get great tasting, strong, aromatic scents coupled with a unique in store ambiance that only coffee relaxed Cleveland locals or visitors would truly appreciate.

JUMA

Juma Gallery

20100 Chagrin Blvd, Shaker Heights, OH 44122

(216) 295-1717

Aside from great coffee and tea, enjoy warm bagels, pastries, mimosas, and a few featured sandwiches such as turkey and swiss. Relax to an array of light music inside or outside (when Cleveland weather allows) on the decorative patio. In the mood for shopping unique shoes and clothing? In the adjoining room find unique men and women’s clothing. And yes, that mimosa can join you while you shop.

BEVIAMO

Beviamo Cafe – Tremont, Ohio

2275 Professor Ave

Cleveland, OH 44113

This coffee shop gives you a comfy, cozy feel as soon as you enter the doors. Lounge on plush couches or chairs with pillows. Let the kids (or the kid within you) play video games on the flat screen. Enjoy organic smoothies and small plates that are vegetarian inspired.

JAVA

Gimmie Java Coffee

3427 Lee Rd, Cleveland, OH 44120

216-921-1114

Open Until 630

This adorningly decorated coffee shop located at the corner of Lee and Van Aken offers delicious pastries and sandwiches to pair with your cup of Joe. Chat with the friendly owner while he graciously makes your drink. Watch your morning news or read the paper near the fire place.

ROOT

The Root – Lakewood, Ohio

15118 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107

(216) 226-4401

Open until 9 PM

Native Clevender’s from the 1990’s will reminisce of Coventry Arabica days when they step into this coffee spot. Wooden tables and unique arts and plants surround this cozy shop. Enjoy a small unique menu of food (both vegetarian and gluten free) while you sip and enjoy coffee, tea or kombucha. Locals play string bass and other music on select Friday nights.

AVALAUN

Café Avalaun

4640 Richmond Rd, Cleveland, OH 44128

(216) 245-6666

Open until 3 PM

Do you love a good french press or pour over? What about an entirely delicious gluten-free menu? The kids can enjoy playing on the chalkboard while you wait

DEWEYS

Dewey’s Coffee

13201 Shaker Sq, Cleveland, OH 44120

(216) 991-1101

Open until 8 PM

An old-time favorite amongst the locals, on one side of the entrance sip coffee inside or outside while watching the hustle and bustle of Shaker Square city life. Enter through the other door to enjoy delicious ice cream and popcorn. This location also offers small ready-made pastries and dishes. Come on a Friday night to enjoy a BYOB of wine.

Outside of Ohio? Give these cool coffee places a try when you are passing through…

AMEILS

Amelie’s French Bakery

157 E Main St, Rock Hill, SC 29730

Phone: (803) 403-9409

Open until 11pm

This cutely decorated café in downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina not only offers coffee, but also serves delicious croissant sandwiches and delectable macaroons.

TWIN

Twin City Hive Coffee & Lounge

301 Brookstown Ave #300 Winston-Salem, NC 27101

(336)745-7051

Open until 9pm

Quaint, cute and contemporary coffee shop with knowledgeable coffee loving friendly staff. Great pour overs that can be enjoyed inside or within outside decorated corridor. Unique small gifts available for purchase.

Not in the mood to go out to a shop? I recommend supporting local by grinding up some beans from The Fig Leaf Coffee Company. I purchased these great tasting beans from Mexico at a local farmers market at Legacy Village in Beachwood Ohio.

FIG LEAF

 

Great Healthy Local Eats: Munch in Solon, Ohio

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We must make small gradual changes to our health!

One of the absolute hardest parts of healthy eating is being out on the go and you get hungry. Yeah, you can grab a protein bar, yada yada. But, even that gets old after awhile. What you want is to grab a filling sandwich, salad or soup just like everyone else – But, you want it to be a healthy, nutritious, guilt free meal. And, dare I add nice ambiance into the mix?

munch3

Delicious Munch Menu

In walks the healthy fast food spot Munch. Munch, located in Solon, Ohio is ran by super nice husband and wife Scott and Jamie. Their menu specializes in healthy vegetarian soups, salads, wraps and sandwiches, along with high-quality meats for meat lovers. Got a bit of a sweet tooth? Special treats include freshly baked cookies, ice-cream, smoothies, parfaits, and chocolate (and or almond) milk.

 

much4Local artists artwork line the walls.

And, if things couldn’t get any better, the décor of this place is absolutely gorgeous! It’s full of artwork from local Cleveland artists, beautiful wooden tables and delightful music!

 

munch5My girls enjoying the food and sights.

The kids enjoyed off the bone turkey sandwiches, full of romaine lettuce and cheese, along with a bowl of delicious onion soup. We splurged a little bit off the healthy track and let the girls select from a wide variety of local kettle chips and chocolate almond milk.

 

munch6A vegetarian selection – Papa’s Portabella Melt

My hubby, being the vegetarian that he is, was highly pleased with his pita sandwich. The Papa’s Portabella came stuffed with marinated portobello mushrooms, red onions & herbed mayo. He added some bean sprouts for extra veggies.

munch1

 

Turkey lover’s would enjoy the Moe’s Home Roasted Turkey Breast.

My teen and I also enjoyed some turkey off the bone on pita better known as Moe’s Home Roasted Turkey Breast. It was stuffed with melted cheese, tomato, lettuce, red, green and yellow bell pepper. I also selected the bean sprouts and herbed mayo. The homemade all natural pickles were also an added delight!

All in all, I would highly recommend Munch when considering my next “on the go” meal, or even for a break from the typical food places you go to. We are all guilty of “insanity” at some point in our lives. We want more for our business, but we don’t do anything new to change the outcome. We want better relationships, but we don’t do any internal soul searching within. And, we want a healthier lifestyle and body, but we don’t do  anything new to change our eating habits or exercise more.

 

munch7Healthy Drink options on tap! Gotta love it!

Thank goodness for healthy eating places such as Munch that recognize people do want “real” food and cucumber water as a selection. If you are trying to make a switch to a healthier lifestyle, here are some small things you can do NOW that can make all the difference in the world to your body.

 Simple Substitutions:

1) Eliminate the can foods – prepare fresh soups and put in freezer. That way when the kids or someone is sick, you are not reaching for a can that’s been on a shelf for months.

2) Eliminate the Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and the dancing lady with umbrella – Believe it or not, Pink Himalayan salt, black peppercorn and garlic cloves make great natural seasoning. They also hold very unique health benefits.

3) Eliminate the “fake fruits juices” – just say no to high fructose anything!

4) Eliminate the Cow’s Milk – as hard as a pill this may be to swallow our bodies were not made to consume cow milk. Cow’s milk can disrupt the digestive track and is made from mucus. Believe me, we still love our cheese, but we are slowly trying to eliminate it. Daya cheese is a delicious tasting cow free alternative. Even replacing your regular consumption with Almond or Rice milk is a great start.

5) Eliminate the plastic – plastic is not a good receptacle for water, drinks, or food to be stored in. That plastic gets into our bodies and can cause all types of problems. Do your best to limit your plastic consumption by keeping things stored in glass containers or BPA free containers. Glass containers are becoming very popular and can easily be bought online or by recycling glass jugs from the store and filling them with water.

6) Eliminate the fake sugar products: syrup’s, sweeteners, dollar store honey. Buy local honey native to your area at local farmers markets. Period, pretty much!

7) Eliminate the fast foods – limit as often as you can. Visit local eateries in your area such as Munch!

8) Stay away from commercial grocery stores – more than likely if there is a particular store chain on every corner, the less and less you are getting away from fresh, local organic food choices that are not full of all the additives that our bodies do not need.

To view the menu and for more information visit Munch at http://www.munch216.com/

 

 

 

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Gin, Cider and Soul Food; Lakewood, Ohio

As a native Clevelander who has carried the travel bug for a long time, I love when I come across hidden treasures in my own town. It kind of ties me over until my family and I can go on our next out of state adventure. I believe every state and city have their own hidden jewels. You just have to get out and find them and on occasion sometimes they find you!

As we are slowly getting our dates night back, my husband and I have been venturing into other neighboring cities in Cleveland. One evening, we decided to set our sights on Lakewood, Ohio. Or, I should say, he surprised me by finally driving us to a few spots we had our hearts set on visiting.

The city of Lakewood like other nearby Cleveland cities has been revitalizing it’s streets with friendly enticing nightlife that not only lures the locals, but their neighboring city friends as well. You can find many favorites such as Melt Bar and Grilled (delicious colossal grilled cheese sandwiches), or if you are looking for something new I highly recommend giving Griffin Cider House and Southern Café a try.

 Griffin Cider House in Lakewood, Ohio

GRIFFIN

 

Griffin Cider House, a Lakewood favorite since 2015, has five star ratings for good reason! Not only is the ambiance and vibe cool inside, but it has the largest selection of gin in the state of Ohio, 10 cider taps, 3 craft beer taps and home to one of the most expensive gin’s I have ever come across called Nolet’s Dry Gin “The Reserve. If you love this particular type of gin they can make you a $100 drink called “The Gold Reserve.” It comes with Nolet’s “The Reserve”, Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth, Saffron and little gold nuggets to garnish.

Can’t decide? Take a “flight.”

PHLIGHT

 

If you aren’t necessarily a gin drinker, this bar is called Cider House for a reason. The Cider selection of beer would be appreciated by any Cider beer lover. We were so overwhelmed by the variety of selections that we decided to do a “flight” of ciders to sample.

The four we sampled were called After, Pear, Wake and Cranberry. If you like sweet I suggest the Cranberry and Pear. After and Wake had a soft tasting apple finish. All the samples were a delight on the tongue.

To top it off our bartender (the awesome lady with the cool tattoos) was super cool and was a wealth of information. She schooled us on the different ciders and gin’s and did a great job recommending places to eat nearby.

The owner was also super-friendly and welcoming and made a great House Martini (yes, I have a sweet spot for a good local Martini).

You can sit at the bar and chat it up with the locals, or you can venture to the back room for a comfortable setting of plush couches and small tables to enjoy your drink.

 

Southern Cafe in Lakewood, Ohio

As hungry as we were, we took the advice of our bartender and ventured a few streets over to Southern Café for some southern comfort soul food. My husband and I had been craving some really good soul food since our trip last summer to Winston Salem’s Sweet Potatoes Soul Food Restaurant near downtown historic Winston Salem, North Carolina.

 

 Southern Café surely did not disappoint at all! Oh my goodness this food was finger lickin good – and I do not say that often! Good vibes, friendly staff and great music greeted us again when we opened the door. We immediately were given a seat and greeted by a friendly server who offered us water in mason jars (just like my southern grandma would, I love it!).

 

Fried Green Tomatoes with house hot sauce remoulade.

GREEN TOMATOES

After wanting to order absolutely EVERYTHING on the menu, we ordered fried green tomatoes with a hot sauce remoulade as an appetizer to start. Talk about DELICIOUS! Hot, crispy, seasoned perfectly!

There was not a long wait at all until our main dishes came. My husband ordered fried perch fingers, nicely sweetened sweet potatoes, and some the creamiest, most delicious grits we had ever tasted.

Fried turkey breast with gravy and onions, Mac and cheese, greens and corn bread muffin.

SOUTHERN

The mac and cheese lover that I am, I had to order a side of mac and cheese, collard greens with a hint of sweet, and fried turkey smothered in onions and gravy. Mouthwatering!!Everything was seasoned so perfectly. I  truly appreciated our kind waiter mentioning that the turkey was purchased and selected carefully from a local butcher (you could definitely tell!). Each of our meals came accompanied with a cornbread muffin (not too sweet) that was the perfect complement to our perfectly seasoned food.

Without a doubt, Southern Café would be an impressive and affordable choice to bring your family and friends to for an over the top satisfying and tasty meal.

Next time you visit Cleveland or if you are a local neighbor, a visit to Lakewood  to visit these two establishments is definitely a must!

 

 

 

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