Monday, January 4, 2016

A Very Cleveland New Year's Celebration

Mike & I didn't do much over the long New Year's weekend, but one of the things we managed - aside from a lot of sleeping & reading - was creating a very long, very exciting Cleveland Bucket List full of all the places we want to go, restaurants we want to try, & adventures we want to have in our city. We're still putting it all in order, but if the way we rang in the new year is any indication, I think 2016 is going to be a very Clevelandy year indeed.

We weren't sure how we were going to spend New Year's Eve right up until the day of, but it all turned out to be a low-key holiday in the most perfect of ways.

We met a couple friends for dinner at Market Garden Brewery, a local craft beer joint in nearby Ohio City, where I tried two beers I'd never had before - a k├Âlsch & a hefeweizen - & really enjoyed both (which is a big deal for me, given my general tendency toward bad beer). It was my first time there, but this was a perfect time for it: Market Garden is in the process of opening a 35,000-square-foot production brewery facility in 20in Ohio City 16 that's expected to produce about 6,000 barrels of beer in its first year - triple its current capacity! (Did you know that in early 2015, Conde Nast Traveler named Cleveland the best beer city in America?) I predict a few more visits to come.

After dinner, we headed to Lakewood - the suburbs, yes, but arguably Cleveland's best one! - for a low-key apartment party, where we caught up with friends & consumed the growler of Market Garden brew we'd brought along with us. I basically ate my body weight in cheesy dips from Heinen's, a new grocery store in downtown Cleveland housed in the historic & grandiose Cleveland Trust Rotunda Building. And though the TV we were watching didn't have sound, we rang in the new year with a silent New Year's Rockin' Eve show supplemented by our own joyful countdown. At midnight, we shouted a champagne toast, & Mike & I shared out first New Year's Eve kiss & said cheers to our first full year together - the first of many, I hope.

When we woke up the next morning - around noon, because holiday - Mike & I headed to our favorite local brunch spot, Prosperity Social Club (which was also one of Cleveland's most popular bars in 2015, according to Foursquare) (which may or may not be reputable). Though I usually get their breakfast empanadas, I decided to take a more authentically Cleveland route to welcome the new year. Because this city - & this neighborhood, in particular - boasts deep & abiding Polish roots, I thought it only appropriate to order the Polish Breakfast: three fluffy potato pierogis, grilled kielbaski, & herbed scrambled eggs with bacon & smoked cheddar. In case you're unsure whether that was delicious, rest assured that oh my God, it totally was.

Good beer, good friends, good brunch? OK, maybe none of those are specific to the CLE. Still, the way we celebrated the holiday was a perfect representation of what I want the year - & my life here, more generally - to look like. I want to keep exploring, keep eating & drinking, keep making friends, keep adventuring the hell out of this city. I want to do all of it with Mike. And I want it to include a lot more pierogis, please.
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