Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Things I want to Do in Cleveland- Part 1

Do you ever feel like there are tons of things that you say, "Oh, I want to do that" and then never do?  I feel as if I'm always saying that and then promptly forgetting what those things are.  In light of this realization I'd like to make a list of some of the things I'd like to do in Cleveland- either for the first time, or to revisit.

1.  The Natural History Museum
2.  Walk around Little Italy
3.  Hike in the Metroparks
4.  Eat at Niko's on Detroit
5.  Eat at Palookaville Chili (when it opens- which should be soon)
6.  Eat at one of Michael Symon's restaurants
7.  Go to the West Side Market
8.  Pier W's Happy Hour
9.  Momocho's Happy Hour
10.  The Zoo

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Restaurant Review: Momocho

Last Saturday The Dude and I met up with two of his friends and their ladies for dinner at Momocho in Ohio City!  I hadn't been there in three years so I was super excited to go.  Apparently we had the time wrong and everyone else had to wait for a half hour.  While there were waiting they ordered the smoke trout guacamole with bacon and chile poblanos along with the blue cheese guacamole with garlic confit and chile verde.  I decided to be brave and try the smoked trout.  I'm not normally a fan of smoked things, but I enjoyed this guac a lot.  Of course, due to my dairy allergy I could not try the bleu cheese version.

To drink I ordered a pomegranate margarita, on the rocks, with salt.  Nom, nom, nom so good.  It tasted like a margarita with just the right amount of pomegranate flavor.  Next time I go I'll have to try a new flavor.

For my entree I had the grilled hanger steak taquito.  The steak was great and I asked for a side of the original guac to go with it.  The tortillas that came with were my one complaint.  First off mine all had a weird slice in them so they were falling apart.  Secondly their edges were very hard- as in too hard to eat.  Others at the table had no problems, so I'm not sure what happened to mine.  Overall the food was great and I can't wait to return!

Momocho Mod Mex on Urbanspoon

Around Town...

 Here are a few pretty cool things going on in the next few days in Cleveland!  I'm on Spring Break so I'm looking at all sorts of fun things to do!  Any suggestions?

March 24- April 3 The Cleveland Film Festival- Tower City Cinemas

March  27 C-Town Chow Down- A Convoy of Cleveland's Finest Food Truck- Lincoln Park, Tremont

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Entertainment Review: Play House Square- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

On the 12th after our fabulous dinner at Bricco my date- henceforth referred to as "The Dude"- took me to The Hanna Theater at Play House Square in downtown Cleveland to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).  First off, from the time he ordered the tickets our experience was fantastic.  After ordering the tickets he received an email intended to help us plan our entire night downtown.  It included helpful links about the show, activities they host surrounding the show on varying nights, information about parking, and a comprehensive list of places to either eat or get drinks before or after any of their performances.  I thought this was a great touch that helped get us excited about our upcoming visit.

I had not been to the theater district since the winter of 07/08 to see Wicked.   And I'd forgotten what a cute little area it is.  The Palace and Ohio Theaters were the first two we saw after parking and they had bright marquees that seemed so "big city" to me.  There were several nice looking restaurants and casual eateries and the vibe was great.  Around the corner from the bigger theaters was The Hanna which also boasted it's own marquee.

Having printed our tickets at home we were able to go directly to our seats which were in the first row of the balcony slightly stage left.  We could see the stage perfectly.  The play was super engaging from the get go.  The three actors did a fantastic job of being high energy while going through all 37 of Shakespeare's plays in 2 hours.  There were tons of Cleveland specific references from the Indians, to LeBron, to Tom Hanks (he acted in the Great Lakes Theater Festival for 3 years back in the late 1970's when it was located at the Civic Auditorium in Lakewood- coincidentally I performed there for several years in high school :) )  I was laughing out loud for the majority of the show, and my only complaint was based on my own lack of knowledge of Shakespeare's comedies- the tragedies are covered so much more thoroughly in school. 

The Dude also seemed to enjoy it.  He had said this was his first visit to the theater in his adult life.  He commented that it seems as if it'd be a good idea to be a season ticket holder as they seem to put on a variety of shows that would appeal to a wide range of people.  I concurred.

In short, this show is going on for 7 more days, and you should try try try to see it!  I would say it would appeal to any one with a decent knowledge of Shakespeare's plays, and who is in their 20's to 30's as many of the jokes included pop culture references referring to Facebook, Jersey Shore (I think) and other such things.  If you go let me know how you like it.  And remember, the theater doesn't have to be an expensive night out.  Playhouse square offers Smart Seats for $10 or $20 dollars to many of their shows- though look in advance because it seems like they sell out fast!

What are your favorite shows to see?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Restaurant Review: Bricco (Downtown Cleveland)

Last night I was treated to a wonderful meal at Bricco in the theater district downtown.  We did not have reservations but had heard, rightfully so, that they maintain a few tables to be first come first serve and we were seated after sitting for about 15 minutes at the bar. (We arrived at approximately 5:45pm)  Their menu is rather extensive with a nice sized appetizer section, several types of pizza, a few salads, a large pasta section and, their entrees.   The interior was split into three sections- one side had table cloths and a bit more of an upscale vibe.  In the middle was the bar area, and on the other side was a slightly more casual area where we sat.  The tables were some sort of brushed aluminum, and it still had a very nice atmosphere.

Our server was very prompt and helpful.  After we ordered she brought us a basket of bread and butter.  This is the one place during the meal I was disappointed.  The bread did not seem fresh and was a bit heavy for my taste.  Finally our meals came.  I had ordered the grilled sirloin steak.  It was supposed to come with a smoked mozzarella potato cake, in addition to a sesame truffle vinaigrette and fresh vegetable- but as I'm allergic to dairy I asked for the potato cake to be substituted.  The waitress suggested substituting with orzo, which I'd never had, and I agreed to try it.  I'm so glad I did.  The orzo was prepared plainly with just a little butter or olive oil and was delicious.  My steak was a very nice size and was prepared a perfect medium rare as ordered.  I even ate a few of my green beans, the fresh vegetable of the day, which were nice and crisp and sprinkled with sea salt.

My generous dinner date ordered the grilled maple glazed center cut pork chop with a sweet potato risotto cake and fresh vegetable, much to my chagrin.  (Pigs are my favorite animal- so I rarely consume them!)  He said that it was very good and commented that the maple glaze made him feel like he was eating breakfast.  He also ordered the half wedge salad and enjoyed that as well.

After eating at Bricco we both agreed we would gladly return.  It was the perfect spot for a nice date.  Immediately after dinner we headed to the Hanna Theater for a show- a review of which is forthcoming!

Bricco on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 11, 2011

March- My Goal Progress

First of all I must apologize, I never fully recapped my February of happiness.  So I'll leave you with this there were only 7 or 9 days that I didn't do anything outside of work or hanging alone that I didn't do anything the entire month.  Some days I did two or three things.  I found myself quite happy at the end of the month- and am still writing down what makes me happy every single day. 

This brings us back to my March goal of preparing for Job Search 2011.  Today I decided I had to stop postponing things and requested letters of reference from a ton of people I work with.  I'm still at a loss as to what to do about my cover letter and resume.  I need a basic body for my cover letter that can be tweaked if there are any major differences in my job.  But how do I show how AWESOME I am at teaching in a short letter or on a one page resume?  Is it possible?  I know I'm good, great even.  I LOVE teaching, it's important to me, and I cannot wait to find myself in front of my own classroom again getting kids to learn and maybe even like literature- from the classics to new inspiring young adult lit. 

It's been hard to be inspired about teaching as I keep hearing acquaintances, some friends, and the media talk about teachers in a somewhat negative way.  There are perks to being a teacher too- but there is a lot of things that we do that no one ever recognizes.  The extra hours before and after school, the original worksheets and assignments that we create specifically for classes, the hours and hours of grading on the weekends, the money we spend so that our students have pens, pencils, and paper.  The general public doesn't know that even when I'm sitting on my couch watching The Office, I'm also googling lesson ideas, printing out worksheets, researching teaching methods and more.  At my current job I get spit on, cussed at, and am at risk of injury daily.  In fact one of my coworkers recently got a concussion.  This isn't to complain- I like my job a lot, it's to point out that we go through a lot more than people realize, and I think deserve to be treated with a bit more respect because we are well educated professionals, just like private sector employees. 

Anyone with any ideas on how to translate my passion into words and put it into a cover letter please let me know.  Even as an English teacher I sometimes struggle with finding the right words to get my point across. 

Are you searching for a job too?  Any tips or tricks?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mini Review: The Plank Road Tavern

Last Thursday my coworkers and I ventured to The Plank Road Tavern in Lakewood.  It's located at the corner of Lauderdale and Detroit in the old Panini's.  I was of course, starving when I got there and decided to order the friend pickles and onion rings.  They were DELICIOUS.  I also had a hard cider.  I don't remember if there were any drink deals or what have you so I will have to go back to do a full review.  I will say the interior has been changed drastically and it looks great.  I'm excited to revisit sometime in the future.

Plank Road Tavern on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Weekend of the Groupon

I suppose the title of this post is a bit misleading because really it was a weekend filled with Groupons AND  Living Social deals! 

First on Friday I attended the Lake Erie Monster's game down at The Q.  My date had stolen my idea and bought a Living Social deal to get two $28.75 tickets for $12 each!  That's a savings of $33.50!!  Then, on Sunday we went to see The Adjustment Bureau at Crocker Park using a Groupon where I got 2 Fandango tickets for $9.  This ended up saving me $9.50!! And after the movie we went to TGIFriday's where I used another Groupon that had cost me $10 for a $20 certificate thus saving me $10.  Total savings for the weekend: $53 dollars between the two of us!  I saved just under $20 on my own.

I'm signing up for every deal website I can find, and I'm trying to be careful to only buy deals that I know I will use and are in line with my lifestyle already.  Here are some links to local deal sites for Cleveland.

Living Social- Cleveland

Groupon- Cleveland

Less.com- Cleveland

Daily Deal Cleveland

What are some of the best deals you've found?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March- A New Month, A New Goal

I will do a final recap of my February goal soon, but today is the first day of March so I feel the need to get a new goal down in writing. 

While at work today I thought about this a lot... what do I need to change in my life.  I came up with several thing I think I could work on, but I think some are more pressing than others.  So here is my goal for March:

Prepare for Job Search 2011

Unfortunately this has to be a more serious goal than perhaps my last two have been.  Yet the reality is my job is in jeopardy for next year, and right around now is when job postings start popping up for area school districts, and I have to be ready.  I'm tired of searching for a new job every spring.  I graduated college five years ago, and this certainly isn't where I thought I'd be career wise.  So this time I'm coming out "guns blazing."  I'm starting from scratch. 

Instead of just updating my resume I'm redoing it now.  After last year and this year's positions I have a lot more real world experience to highlight.  I'm rewriting my cover letter from scratch. (Does anyone else find cover letters super awkward?)  I'm creating a website that highlights my experiences and skills as a teacher- an online portfolio if you will. 

I know that I am good at what I do.  Now I just have to convince everyone else of this.  If any of you have creative ideas to make me stand out from the crowd please let me know.  Any tips, tricks, and suggestions are very very welcome!

Do you have your dream job?  If so how did you find it?