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

 

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NYC with Kids

Kids. From the moment they come into our lives they bring new situations and adventures.

I can honestly say that I have delightfully experienced many things and met many new people in my life thanks to my girls.

This past weekend’s trip to New York City was no different.

My oldest daughter, who is 15, was invited to play string bass at the world famous Lincoln Center in NYC with her schools Chamber Orchestra.

What an honor and what an opportunity for all of us to finally take a bite out of the Big Apple…..with KIDS!

As a mom, the thought of traveling to NYC with little ones (4 and 7) makes me a little uneasy. We have only traveled through Manhattan by car a few times a year to drop off my step-children who live in Queens. I was overwhelmed just watching the hustle and bustle from the car.

I would stare out the window thankful that my kids were safely strapped into their car seats – peering their eyes above the brim of the window. And my husband taking on the honking and numerous fender benders that we nearly missed inch by inch as we made our way through the city.

However, we survived New York City! Not only did my daughter’s school place in the competition, but we all grew from the experience.

Here are some cool pics and tricks to help you out if you are considering heading out to the city that truly never sleeps.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Newark, New Jersey to save money before heading into the big city for the weekend. You can save big and it’s only a 20 minute drive away. Great cocktails, ambiance, and kids eat free!

The food trucks making their way through traffic in true New York fashion.

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We choose The Watson Hotel on 57th St. so we wouldn’t have to walk too far with the little ones. It was about an 8 minute walk to our event at Lincoln Center. It had some of the least expensive parking at $37 a day, and the rooms were clean and decent. The prices for rooms were fairly inexpensive as compared to other hotels in the city.

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The premise of our trip! My daughter playing string bass (far left standing) at Lincoln Center. Her schools Chamber Orchestra placed second runner up (third in the nation) and received the honorable Forte Award for most distinguished group. Good news parents: there is an upscale snack bar in the lobby that serves sandwiches, chips, fruits, and cocktails. Perfect breather that your kids will definitely need in between performances.

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We made reservations at The Colesium Bar and Grill. We choose this restaurant based on location (an 8 minute walk from Lincoln Center), a diverse menu that both adults and children could find something they would like, and they were okay with kids eating there. The prices were a little high for bar priced food, but the food was very good.

Next, we headed underground in a glass elevator which was located in the middle of a sidewalk. The elevator took us to an underground mall and food eatery called TurnStyle. The kids went to the well know Dillon’s Candy Store full of a candy emporium!

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We were anxious to hit up Times Square, but getting there was a 20 minute walk. Not good for the little one’s unless you have a stroller. It was also freezing so Uber and Lyft was a MUST! The cost was inexpensive $8 to $12 for a 7 seater vehicle to fit my entire family. We waited less than 10 minutes going and coming back.

Stepping out into Times Square was like stepping into a fish bowl. Wall to wall people. Hang on to your kids and enjoy the lights, sights and people watching.

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The Statue of Liberty and other characters were dressed to take photos with eager tourists, but BE AWARE! They want your money. $20 to be exact for snapping a photo with you.

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Hold on tight to your children! My daughter and I got caught in the middle of another NY traffic jam!

 

Inside the NYC subway near Times Square.

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I had no idea that it was similar to an airport. There were places to eat, small shops and loads of people hanging out. There was live music to watch and people dancing. You buy your tickets ($2 to $4 range) and wait to hear what gate you need to to be at to jump on the train.

If you enjoy a nice beer/cider you are in luck! They have beer/cider on tap in the subway. A small to large costs $6 to $8. You get a cup to go and are free to walk around with it.

I felt more comfortable than I thought I would be waiting at the Subway Station with kids in tow.

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Call it cliche but we wanted to experience all the “New York” like things. On a short walk from our hotel we found Morningstar Restaurant for breakfast. They served lunch and dinner . A cute typical neighborhood New York diner. The food was great, the staff was super nice, fast and accomadating.

A Yummy New York bagel sandwich with turkey bacon, scrambled egg and cheese. This won my kids heart. I enjoyed a coffee with many selections of Brandy to go inside! Morningstar Restaurant.

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Key points to consider when traveling with kids:

1) Google the address and area of your stomping grounds. I always investigate the area with Google Earth when planning where we will stay and where we will go. It helps to familiarize yourself with the area. Many things look better on a website than they do in person.

2) Map the distance between certain attractions you plan to visit. Everything can seem appealing to visit, but may be further away from where you thought. Mapping out the distance between each location will save you so much frustration!

3) Visit the websites of each city, attraction and hotel. Websites are a wealth of information. You can find reviews from recent visitors and events that are going on during your visit. That gives you a step up on visiting as a well informed tourist.

Enjoy your Family Time!

 

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Cleveland Bop Stop Jazz Club, Ohio City

The Cleveland Bop Stop is not new to the Cleveland scene. Although, at times it can seem as if this spot has been only known through word of mouth.Donated and partnered with the Cleveland Music Settlement since 2013, the Bop Stop has been bringing an eclectic, intimate musical setting to the Lake Erie skyline for over 15 years.

My first experience at The Bop Stop 10 years ago was amazing. The light and heat from the cozy fireplace, coupled with a live band was like no other experience I had felt from Cleveland. I truly felt like I was in New York City or some other happening “major city.”

When I went again a few years later to see an electric violin player, I knew The Bop Stop was becoming one of my favorite places to go out to.

 

 

Location, Location

The Bop Stop is located at 2920 Detroit Ave in Cleveland’s Ohio City area within a beautiful view of Lake Erie.

Ohio City has quickly become Cleveland’s oldie but goodie location for sticking with a few popular landmarks throughout the years, such as The West Side Market and giving us new favorites such as Bar Cento.

 

Pom Frittes at friesBar Cento – DELICIOUS!

A visit to the Bop Stop makes for a great drop in to the City’s neighboring bar and restaurant night life that surrounds the area.

Although the parking lot is small, plenty of free parking can be found along Detroit Avenue.

 

Inside

Walking inside the Bop Stop you find small intimate seating of small tables and chairs that surround the stage.

 

Inside the Bop Stop

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 A full service bar with seating and a fire place with chairs make up the first floor. On warm summer nights a small patio overlooking the Lake make for a romantic feel when partnered with your favorite cocktail or wine.

The attire would be dependent upon who is performing that night (anywhere from casual to semi-formal) and tickets can be purchased online atwww.musicsettlement.com or at the door for a higher price. Tickets are very reasonable ranging in price from $10 to $35.

 

Calendar of May Events

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Menu

Small plates and appetizers seem to be the choices at this venue. Snack on ranch popcorn or pulled pork sandwiches. Definitely not a “get your grub on” type of dining. The music is definitely the main event.

Donations & History

The Bop Stop was donated to the City’s beloved Music Settlement with good reason! The Music Settlement was founded on the belief that every child should learn, love and experience music at some point in their life.

Donations and scholarships are awarded annually to potential students who may not otherwise receive private lessons. It also helps to pay for other activities, supplies, and projects within the school.

During the day, The Bop Stop provides young artists with the practice of performing on stage.

At night, the location becomes a full-fledged adult jazz club. Every drink purchased at the location goes towards a student’s scholarship at the School (The Music Settlement)

 

Featured Artists

The variety of performances from the Bop Stop ranges from classical violin to R&B jazz funk. There seems to be something every month that should pique the interests of music enthusiasts from almost all genre of music.

 

The R&B Jazz Group The Xperience

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The Bop Stop also caters to private parties and corporate events! The Bop Stop is a must to visit on the blossoming Cleveland Scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Travel Tips for the SMART consumer

Traveling with family any time of year will cost you a pretty penny. Planning ahead and selecting alternatives to your travels can save your household hundreds, and in some cases even thousands of dollars. The larger your family gets the more important this “strategy” becomes. Here are some of my favorite traveling tips that has proven to be a great benefit to saving money.

 

EXPEDIA TIPS

Expedia has become my first choice in selecting pricing for hotels, flights and car rental for several reasons:

PROS: Expedia allows the customer to choose from a wide variety of hotels and car rentals across the United States without paying any costs upfront. Book your car or hotel in advance and select pay at hotel at the very end of your purchase. This is a great help for families who may not have access to credit cards or enough money to pay for hotel fees up front. It allows the planner to proceed with checking off their travel “to-do-list.”

CONS: You will have to place a credit or debit card on file, but you can cancel your booking up to one week in advance at most locations. Some of the “high end” hotels require you to pay at least one night in advance. This is a small CON as I have never had any issues with placing my card on file and cancelling.

 

DRIVING VS. AIRPLANE TIPS

If you have a large family like mine, traveling on an airplane can seem like a pricey luxury. More than likely, you will save hundreds and hundreds of dollars travelling by car. As I mentioned before, I always start my planning by searching on Expedia. Although I know my chances could be slim on finding discounted seats for my large family, there are those rare instances there (depending on the location) might be some discounted rates. In comparing the difference in price between driving versus airplane, let’s take a look at some simple math.

A family of five flying to Florida round-trip costs $348 per person bringing your total to $1740.

A family of five renting a van to and from Florida costs $650. Don’t forget to factor in gas (approximately $500) the total comes to $1150 or $230 a person.

So far you have saved about $590!

There may be times that absolutely calls for airplane travel such as traveling oversees or traveling from east coast to west coast. In those instances here are a few tips that could help:

Airfordable https://www.airfordable.com/ is a fairly new alternative to affording your airline tickets. For a small fee you simply search for your airline tickets on your favorite airline website or search engine. Upon selecting your flight, upload your screenshot to Airfordable during the booking process. Make bi-weekly payments up to your departure date. And no worries, your rates are locked in!

Southwest Airlines has a superb credit card that racks up points towards your airfare. Friends and family alike have raved about receiving airline tickets for free or little to no cost. More info: (put site)

A final tip: Timing when purchasing airline tickets is also super important in getting the best deals. According to Airlines Reporting Corporation, https://www2.arccorp.com/articles-trends/sales-statistics/  the best time to purchase airline tickets is at least 7 to 12 weeks out. The only exception would be holiday time travel. Purchase those tickets as soon as possible!!

 

AIR BNB VERSUS HOTEL TIPS

I recently began tweaking some final touches to my family’s summer trip. One factor of the planning that always seems to be an issue is finding a large enough hotel room. This room must be large enough to accommodate everyone (which is really code for: teens MUST have their own room, the kids ages 5 and 7 have their own space, and of course the parents need PRIVACY). Some of my favorite hotels over the road that can accommodate for large sized families are Sonesta Suites https://www.sonesta.com  , Comfort Suites https://www.choicehotels.com/deals/best-rate , and StayBridge Suites https://www.ihg.com/staybridge/hotels/us/en/reservation . If you notice a trend the “code word” is : Suites.

Nonetheless, there are times when the city that you are traveling to have no hotel “suites” around. If you are not interested in purchasing two hotel rooms at a time, I highly recommend giving Airbnb https://www.airbnb.com a try! Airbnb https://www.airbnb.com began back in 2008, but its popularity of allowing travelers to live like a local across the World has risen. The average stay per night at any given time ranges in 500,000 area. http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/airbnb-statistics/

Not long ago as I searched for a hotel large enough to accommodate my family, I booked two rooms on Expedia totaling $350 for one night. Uncomfortable with the price, I decided to try a search on Airbnb. That search not only saved me $150, but my family and I will be staying in a full 3 bedroom house, on a Christmas Tree Farm! Savings and adventure! You can’t beat that!

 

GAS TIPS

Guzzle, guzzle! When traveling by car there is no way to avoid a fill-up. So, what can you possibly do to help ease those high priced fill-ups?

My first suggestion before you hit the road is to check gas prices at GasBuddy.com. http://www.gasbuddy.com  You can search by city, zip, and State.

Next, you may luck up and find a bed and breakfast or hotel such as Choice Hotels https://www.choicehotels.com/deals/gift-card that offer a free gas card just for booking with them.

Upon reaching your destination do not forget about good old fashioned local transportation (i.e. bus, train, bike) to get around on. If you are unsure of where to locate alternative transportation try Rome2Rio https://www.rome2rio.com. The site will actually will help you plan your transportation of choice simply by putting in your destination. It will provide you with cost and travel time no matter what city you live in.  And then there is also good old Uber and Lyft which will provide you with a lower cost, less formal alternative to a taxi. Refer a friend a get a free ride! https://www.uber.com/invite/robertb3261

Lastly, here is a list of the BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR GAS. Buy the gas and rack up the rewards!

 

FOOD TIPS

A bulk of your trip expenses will come from hungry bellies. Little and big ones alike will want to snack and drink in between breakfast lunch and dinnertime. When traveling by car or plane try these simple money saving options:

Avoid filling up on drinks and snacks at gas stations or airport kiosk’s by stocking up on chips, fruit, juice boxes and water bottles ahead of time. Our favorite places to stock up without going deep into your pockets are Costco, Dollar General and Trader Joe’s.

Cut your fast-food stops in half by prepping sandwiches in the car and storing them in a small cooler. If you are rushing to catch a flight, have the family eat in the car on the way to the airport. That way, they aren’t wanting expensive food stands once they reach the airport.

Here are a few sandwich ideas that have proven to please everyone in my family:

Mama Sophia’s Turkey Bacon Breakfast Biscuits (Makes 8 to 10 sandwiches)

1 to 2 cans of biscuits (large size)

1 pkg of turkey bacon

1 pkg of cheese (we use Colby Jack slices)

Prepare according to the instructions. Wrap in tinfoil. The biscuit’s and meat won’t spoil easily and when the kids awaken from the first break stop, just hand ‘em out the bag. Simple Simple. Add some fruit and a water bottle or orange juice that you packed and there you have it. Breakfast on the go!

Cost to prepare sandwiches: $12 versus Cost at McDonald’s Breakfast $4+ per person for a family of 5 $20

Savings $8+ for Breakfast!!

 

Mama Sophia’s Grilled Spinach Chicken Wraps

Prepared baked, grilled, or fried chicken

1 pkg of Spinach Tortilla Wraps (or Plain/Gluten Free)

1 pkg Spinach leaves or romaine lettuce

Cheese optional

Condiments of herb mayo, mustard or ranch

You can substitute meat with your favorite deli or veggie meat. Or, pack on some extras veggies! Add some chips, fruit and favorite drink.

Your smart planning just saved your family $21 on lunch! Based on $7+ per person for a family of 5

I hope you and your family save some bucks with my tips and spend the leftover savings on something new and adventurous!