I love good food - who doesn't? I love trying new things, both in the kitchen and at restaurants. I also adore farmers markets and support the slow/local food movement. Why a Wannabe? Although I would love to, I have not yet taken a cooking class or had any formal education in Food sciences. That being said, I know a good and/or bad dish when I see/taste it - and I plan to blog about it here! Fitness, my love of festivals, travel and Northeast Ohio are also passions of mine that will make periodic appearances on this blog. I hope you enjoy. ~ MaryLee
Well…it’s official. I will not be running in the Rite Aide Cleveland Half Marathon this coming Sunday. I’m actually very crushed by this. The 2012 race was going to be my very first Half Marathon, but I ended up having a business trip that caused me to drop out of the race. So I tried again for this year. About a month ago, I injured my achilles tendon and finally got it check out last week resulting in “Das Boot” as evidenced below:
Impressive looking, huh? The Cleveland Clinic Sports Health group is one of the sponsors of the Rite Aide Cleveland Marathon and a few months ago, they offered free running health screenings at their facility in Garfield Heights. I had taken advantage of this and had them front and center in my mind when I realized that my injury wasn’t going away with a few weeks of rest. My primary care doctor is with the Cleveland Clinic, so after getting a referral from her, visited with Dr. Joy at the Clinic. She confirmed what I already expected, but also offered a lot of hope. Although this weekend’s Half Marathon is out, she feels that with proper physical therapy there is no reason why I should not be healthy and ready to go for the inaugural Cleveland Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on October 6th. Which is good being that I registered for said Half Marathon last fall!
So I’m really looking forward to this recovery period and believe I will be a stronger runner once it is all said and done. So this weekend, instead of running on Sunday, I’ll be volunteering at the Expo and cheering runners on along the route. I’m also looking forward to the upcoming Rock ‘n’ Roll Half and I’m REALLY looking forward to the 2014 Rite Aide Cleveland Half Marathon! So the countdown to May 18, 2014, begins once this weekend has passed. Oh…and did I mention that May 18th is my birthday? How very cool will it be to have my birth date on a Half Marathon medal? I cannot think of a better way to celebrate yet another year of good health!
This year, I’m celebrating my birthday by walking in the GREAT STRIDES walk at the Cleveland Zoo on May 18 - which is my actual birthday! Please help me meet my fundraising goal of $500 by sponsoring me as a birthday present. Your generous gift will be used efficiently and effectively, as nearly 90 cents of every dollar of revenue raised is available for investment in vital CF programs to support research, care and education. Any amount you can donate is greatly appreciated! Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a devastating genetic disease that affects tens of thousands of children and young adults in the United States. Research and care supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is making a huge difference in extending the quality of life for those with CF. However, we continue to lose precious lives to CF every day. That’s why your help is needed now more than ever to ensure that a cure is found sooner - rather than later.
I’m doing this in honor of a very very special little lady - Mylee Fruits. Mylee is brave, SPUNKY, stylish, super smart, classy and just really incredible. I firmly believe that a cure will be found in Mylee’s lifetime and together, we can make a difference in the lives of those with CF!
Thank you for supporting our team, Mylee’s Smiles, GREAT STRIDES and the mission of the CF Foundation! I cannot think of a better birthday present!!! Donate and find more info by visiting my page - THANK YOU!!!
Well…it’s impossible for this “Foodie Wannabe” to remain a foodie without some serious exercise. Last year (2011), my main goal was to complete the Hermes Road Racing Challenge…and not only did I complete it, I raced 9 qualifying races instead of the 7 required! Not only that, but last year I ran in 12 road races total! All of them 5K’s except for one 4-miler and two 8K’s. Not too shabby for someone that ran her first 5K in Sept 2010! Needless to say, I got hooked.
So being the competitive person that I am (all it takes is attending one game night with me - ha!), I had to set a new goal for 2012! I decided to up the length of my races…make it “The Year of the Long Distance Race”. I had lofty goals of completing my first Half Marathon this year, then in 2013 I would naturally complete my first Full Marathon (uh…riiiight).
The best laid plans often don’t turn out as planned! I started out the year strong. I signed up, once again, for the Hermes Road Racing Challenge (which I once again have already completed!), started with some 5K’s and the Towpath 5 miler in early April. I steadily increased my mileage and completed the Hermes 10 Miler at the end of April. In May I shocked myself and actually placed 2nd in my age group for a 5K. That sounds better than it was as I am NOT a fast runner by any stretch of anyone’s imagination! I was the benefit of a small 5K that included a number of walkers in my age group…but I’ll take it! I had registered for my first Half Marathon in May, however, a business trip put a monkey wrench in those plans and I had to bow out.
After easing off a bit during the extremely hot and dry summer that we had, I started back in August with the Perfect 10 miler in Lyndhurst and geared up for 3….yes THREE Half Marathons in the fall. I know…a bit crazy. There was a method to my madness however. You see, three years ago I decided to get healthy and had weight loss surgery at The Cleveland Clinic. One of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made, but also one of the BEST decisions I have ever made! I had an amazing experience and it was extremely successful for me. I’m healthier than I have ever been in my life and to celebrate the past three years, I wanted to run three half marathons - partly just to see if I could!
Well….I did it! Yes…it was really a mix of walk & jog. I do jog most of the way, however, I will take several walking “breaks” (again, not setting any land speed records here). The first Half Marathon was on September 22nd in Nashville, TN - The Women’s Half Marathon. I used to live in Nashville and it’s a very special place for me. I was able to visit some very dear friends during my trip and I was thrilled to have my Dad there to cheer me on. Not only that, but each mile was like I was running down memory lane…literally! Vanderbilt Univeristy….Belmont University….places I used to work and places I used to hang out with friends back in the day. Jogged past it all!
The second Half Marathon was the Towpath Half Marathon on October 7th right here in Northeast Ohio. This was a very different experience as it’s all in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which means no crowds along the way cheering you on. The leaves were turning and it was absolutely beautiful which makes it easy to get lost in thought. This was also the first time I wore my Newton Running shoes (Lady Isaacs) for a Half Marathon and was thrilled with them. I love the lighter shoe with the larger toe box. I’m “fast” becoming a big fan of these shoes (and no…I’m NOT receiving a thing from Newton for the shout out….just love ‘em). Another note was that this was the third race in the Towpath Trilogy, which I also completed!
The third Half Marathon was the Columbus Half Marathon on October 21st. All I can say is…wow. Had an awesome experience! HUGE crowds the entire way. It was so easy to feed off of their energy. Also, each mile was dedicated to a Patient Champion from Nationwide Children’s Hospital (beneficiary of the Marathon). Each child gave you inspiration for each and every mile and the 12th mile was the Angel mile…dedicated to those that were not there any more to cheer us on. Yup…cried like a baby at mile 12!
So what’s next? I’ve got a 5 mile race and two 5K’s to round out the year, then on to 2013! I’m still debating my 2013 challenge, but I’m thinking of taking a run at some heavy medal with the Rock N Roll Half Marathon series (all about the bling). I do know that I will NOT be doing a full marathon in 2013. At this point, the Half Marathon is still a huge challenge for me and I’d like to work on that distance for a while. I won’t say “never” to a full, but just not any time soon. In the mean time…2012 has been a very good year for this “Runner Girl”.
Incredible last few weeks for Foodies in Cleveland! It was my honor to attend the Fat Chef (FoodNetwork) watch party at Fahrenheit to see Cleveland Chef, Rocco Whalen’s appearance on the show. See Cleveland.com’s story about Chef Whalen’s journey to lose 124lbs during the show’s production right here in Cleveland. Congrats Rocco!
Of course we had to go early for dinner! I was there with my good friend, Kasey Crabtree, and she had the Mixed Italian Grill - Swordfish, Scallops and Shrimp sauteed with Lemon and Herbs, Creamy Polenta.
I had the Garlic Marinated & Grilled Hanger Steak, Herbed Frites with Red Wine Syrup and Roasted Chefs Garden Vegetables. I have to tell you, the Red Wine Syrup really made this an incredible steak! I then partook in Fahrenheit’s incredible Cosmopolitan. It has a citrus twist that sets it apart from your every day Cosmo.
In the spirit of the show, Fahrenheit had a Fahren”lite” menu - complete with calorie counts!
Channel 3, WKYC, was also on hand interviewing participants…
One thing I’ve learned about Cleveland is that Cleveland appreciates local quality food. It is always fun to run into my fellow Cleveland Food bloggers at different events and it was beyond time that Crystal of EatDrinkCleveland and I got to meet in person! All in all…a fun, and naturally yummy, time had by all!
I was fortunate enough to spend New Years in Nashville this year. I spent 5 1/2 wonderful years there and it had been a while since I had been back for a visit. When some friends of mine suggested getting together for lunch, the first place I thought of was Amerigo on West End. This place was hands down my favorite restaurant during my time in Nashville and I’m thrilled to be able to feature it here! Especially since my friends were gracious enough to let the crazy food blogger take photos of their lunches (May we eat now? LOL).
Lunch is a fantastic time to visit Amerigo! So many wonderful options. They have several lunch combinations, the best of which (in my humble opinion) is the half pizza and salad. You have a choice of their Margherita, Classic Cheese or Formaggi pizzas.
Next up is the Chicken Acuto - flame grilled chicken breast over black bean salsa with grilled Roman artichokes and green beans. Topped with a spicy sauce of olive oil, cilantro, lemon juice and seasoning. Great choice if you are cutting back on carbs in the new year!
Two of us could not resist the day’s seafood choice (including myself)….Cedar Wood Roasted Rainbow Trout. I have no words for the amazing flavor that the cedar wood plank brings to this dish! It’s also served with blended Asiago cheese leek potatoes and vegetables. Big fan of the potatoes.
And…last, but DEFINITELY not least…the main reason I REALLY wanted to visit Amerigo’s. Their Tiramisu has got to be the best I’ve ever had. And believe me, I’ve tried to find another. The first time I ever had Tiramisu was at Amerigo’s and I’ve been comparing to it ever since and have never found another that I like as much. I love that there is more custard than cake and the vanilla creme and Kahlua chocolate sauce are amazing.
Seriously, if you find yourself visiting Nashville and you don’t have a lot of time. MAKE the time to stop by Amerigo on West End to at least have some Tiramisu and coffee. You won’t regret it.
Follow Amerigo’s on Twitter at @AmerigoWestEnd. Note that their profile photo is a pic of their Tiramisu…I’m TELLIN’ ya!
I have a confession to make. This post is going to be completely biased. Why? Because I’m a total fan of The Greenhouse Tavern and Executive Chef and Owner, Jonathon Sawyer. I love Sawyer’s passion for the “Farm to Table” philosophy and his love of Cleveland. And he has an amazing heart, which totally comes through in his menu and the atmosphere at both The Greenhouse Tavern and his other restaurant, The Noodlecat. I was extremely excited to hear that he would be representing Cleveland on Iron Chef America and there was no way I was going to miss the Tweetup and Watch Party at The Greenhouse Tavern.
What better way to celebrate than to head over early for a pre-Tweetup dinner? I had the Grilled Ohio Lamb Burger with stinky cheese fondue, champagne shallots, olive dusted pomme frites and tangy yogurt….minus the bun on the burger. I have to say, the flavor was incredible and stinky cheese fondue is one of my new favs!
And it would be cruel of me not to share the dish a friend of mine had…The Animal Style Frites. I almost went into a food coma just LOOKING at this dish! If you are looking for a diet splurge, this is IT! This includes The Greenhouse Tavern’s famous Pomme Frites with bacon, two fried eggs, whole grain mustard, mozzarella cheese curd and brown gravy. Wow.
Next….on to the Watch Party! Chef Sawyer definitely knows how to host a Tweetup! Complete with a giant Twitter wall tracking #TEAMSAWYER!
So what was the secret ingredient??? MINT!!!
And again….Chef Sawyer knows how to throw a watch party, providing samples of the amazing dishes prepared on the show.
We started off with a Chevre Salad with Ohio Lamb Meat Confit, Crispy Mint, Lamb Sausage, Fresh Chevre Cheese, Aged Chevre Cheese and Sexy Chardonnay Vinaigrette…yum!
Next, was my favorite dish of the evening (I had about three of them….SHHHHHHH!!!!) - Mint Fritters with Zucchini, Feta Cheese & Preserved Lemon. The combination of the mint with the feta cheese was absolutely amazing…LOVED! I sincerely hope this becomes a regular dish at The Greenhouse (hint hint).
And last but definitely NOT least, the amazing dessert - The Stoner Sandwich with Shamrock Semifreddo, Fresh Waffles, Sicilian Pistachio and Organic Chocolate Dirt. The perfect minty conclusion to an amazing evening!
All in all, another great evening at The Greenhouse Tavern and Executive Chef, Sawyer, represented Cleveland well. We are all proud of you!