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West Side Wine Spots

Hello! I’m Holly, the Cleveland-based writer behind “Rust Belt Runner,” a blog where I detail my journey with running, yoga and healthy living. As part of the Ohio Blogging Association November Blog Swap, today I am sharing about one of my other loves: wine.

I knew the Cleveland, Ohio area was home to many wineries, but it wasn’t until after moving here just over a year ago that I realized how truly extensive the options here were. From wineries, to wine tasting shops and wine bars, a pour is available almost anywhere to suit any palate. Today I’d like to share my favorite Cleveland Westside wine picks:

John Christ Winery (Avon Lake, Ohio): A visit to John Christ Winery includes reasonably priced samples at the bar, followed by a chance to share a bottle after selecting your favorite. Small plates and appetizers are also served here. Sit and enjoy the cabin-like atmosphere inside this historic building, in operation since 1964.

Rocky River Wine Bar (Rocky River, Ohio): I enjoy the upscale and intimate atmosphere here, which is perfect for a girl’s night out. Sit around a barrel of wine as you enjoy a selection from the house pours. Happy Hour specials are also available here during the week, along with wine flight options. In the summer, sitting outside is an extra delight.

Battery Park Wine Bar (Cleveland, Ohio): Here the motto is “You Only Live Once” YOLO and with a casual, yet upscale atmosphere it’s easy to partake in a memorable evening filled with wine here. Built in an old smokestack building, Battery Park Wine Bar has great Happy Hour specials, along with gourmet small plate options throughout the week. Come here for a snack or dinner and let the wine flow!

Wood and Wine (Avon, Ohio): I stumbled upon Wood and Wine, quite literally by simply seeing a sign on the interstate. This off-the-beaten-path restaurant and wine bar has amazing wood-fired pizzas made in the 900-degree oven, cheese platters and a variety of other entrees. The atmosphere here is casual, not crowded and truly just comfortable. Local wines are on the menu too.

There are so many options for wine-lovers in Cleveland. I have many more establishments I still want to check out. But next time you are in town or passing through the Westside, I hope you can enjoy trying out one of these local favorites!

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GrilledShane.com, the perfect accompaniment to MissWineOH

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Please welcome GrilledShane as a guest blogger on MissWineOH. This post is part of the Ohio Blogging Association‘s Blog Swap this month. Many thanks to Poise in Parma for organizing and compiling the complete list of swaps.

So, here’s Shane, and all his grilled cheese glory!

Hesitant to partake in the Ohio Blogging Association Blog Swap, all my concerns vanished once it became apparent that I would be paired with a MissWineOH. A better partner, a wine blog, I could not have found to compliment my sandwiches. This has been a great experience for everyone involved and I must thank Tammy for her being such a gracious host.

Bread may be the staple of life…but with cheese it is heaven. Throw in some wine and you have a party.

Everyone remembers the traditional grilled cheese sandwich consisting of American cheese and processed white bread. However, not everyone realizes that a grilled cheese sandwich can (and should) be so much more. That is why I created GrilledShane.com…to educate the world on the amazing possibilities of the grilled cheese sandwich.

As far back as I can remember, my mother would make grilled cheese sandwiches with a special sweet butter that Nanny (my grandmother) used for the same exact sandwich. As I matured and could cook my own grilled cheese sandwiches, I still turned to my mother to make that simple, yet delicious sandwich. The mother’s touch of tradition and nostalgia simply made the gooey cheese and toasted/grilled bread taste all the better…even when still cooked with white bread and American cheese.

That emotional attachment attracted me to the grilled cheese sandwich and led me to become obsessed with a sandwich. Yes, I GrilledShane, am obsessed with the grilled cheese. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

Even as someone who creates only vegetarian sandwiches, the grilled cheese sandwich possibilities are as endless as one’s imagination. Discover a new ingredient? Try it in a grilled cheese sandwich and you will be amazed at your new creation. Over the past three plus years, I have included such odd ingredients as mashed potatoes, edamame, nachos, grapes and tofu and each one was more enjoyable than the previous.

Recently, I created 80 new recipes in just a few weeks time, split between savory and sweet creations, for a new GrilledShane cookbook that will be released in November. Although I can’t specifically mention the ingredients I used, I don’t want to ruin the surprise, the versatility of this sandwich became more and more evident as the absurd, but delicious, ideas flowed out of my head.

Now these sandwiches from the cookbook, as well as the many original recipes on my blog, are not only sandwiches to be eaten specifically for lunch. Many could be eaten as a main course to a foodie feast or a great breakfast on a lazy weekend morning or the perfect finish to a multi-course experience.

Obviously, MissWineOH focuses on wines, of which I have very little knowledge. Sure, I know that I prefer white wines over reds, but that is as far as my experience in the wine world goes. However, I do know that wine and cheese is as classic a pairing as peanut butter and jelly. Wrapping the cheese in some unique and flavorful bread and melting it does not change the fact that wine is still the perfect drink of choice when enjoying a unique and gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.

grilledshane is devoted to all things grilled cheese: homemade recipes, news, and humorous anecdotes. Original gourmet vegetarian grilled cheese sandwiches are created with a unique twist. After reading, you will come to realize that grilled cheese sandwiches can be much more than two pieces of bread and one slice of cheese. MELT, a 100-recipe cookbook authored by GrilledShane is to be released just in time for the holiday season, November, 2012.

Beer Love for Valentine’s

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Throughout February I’ll be putting up guest posts from some great women I know who know their beer. While I don’t necessarily agree that beer is a better pairing <ahem> I am a fan of the brew, and have some great craft beer and cupcakes events coming up soon!  This is a completely different pairing adventure – Enjoy!

If you are looking for a creative pairing that isn’t winecentric  – perhaps your significant other is a beer fan? Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to try a new adventure. This first post is from the wonderful Renee DeLuca, the Brewer’s Daughter. See more about her at the end. Many thanks to Renee for this great creative contribution!

His and Hers Beers

Valentine’s Day often brings to mind Cupid, roses, romantic dinners, chocolate and wine for two…but let’s not forget about delicious craft beer pairings that will romance any palate! Men and women alike are discovering that beer and food go better together than wine ever could—think about it: wine is always going to have that grape note. With beer, the flavor possibilities are endless.

Your options for fantastic food and brew combinations have never been greater. Here are some of my favorite pairings for beer lovers. Get to your local beer specialty store and ask for further recommendations when it comes to specific breweries.

Valentine’s Day Brew Menu for Two

Starting with a nibble on some cheese and crackers? Each type of cheese longs to be paired with a different type of beer. Some of my favorite combinations include an aged Gouda with a brown ale, Marscapone or an herbed cheese with a Hefeweizen, or a sharp blue cheese with a crisp IPA.

Add a burst of romantic red to your salad by tossing in some dried cranberries or tart pomegranate seeds. Pair with a light Kolsch or cream ale.

Sharing a seafood dinner? Try those aphrodisiastic oysters with a dry stout. Or pair a blackened fish with nice porter for balance. Perhaps crabcakes and an Abbey Tripel. Mild fish or some steamed mussels and a witbier.

Lovers with a hearty appetite for roast beef or lamb will appreciate a Scotch ale with dinner. Or how about a petite filet and strong ale to balance out?

Dessert on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to include chocolate, but it often does. There are many delicious chocolate stouts, bocks and porters. Don’t just drink them with your dessert—cook with them! Add beer to your brownies? Oh yes! But dessert pairings go beyond the obvious.

Top that bread pudding with an Abbey Dubbel reduction. How about ice cream made with beer? Several brands are now including brews in their ice cream recipes too—why not make a beer float? Fruit desserts call for a nice Helles or Dortmunder style beer.

The key to enjoying delicious beer and food pairings is to keep your mind and your taste buds open to all the possibilities. And as in romance, you never know when an unexpected pleasure will surprise you and become a lifelong love. Cheers and happy Valentine’s Day!

Renée M. DeLuca, is the daughter of pioneer microbrewer Jack McAuliffe. As owner of The Brewer’s Daughter Marketing & Public Relations Agency, she offers media and marketing services within the craft beer industry. She lives in NE Ohio with her husband, two teenagers, a 100 lb. yellow lab, two cats, and a refrigerator full of beer. You can find her on Twitter or read what she’s got to say here

Get a Clue Into Cleveland – Wine Bars

Ohio Blogging Association logoToday is the Ohio Blogging Association‘s November Blog Swap. As part of it, I’m happy to introduce you to Amanda from Clue Into Cleveland. On this day, bloggers from around the Northeast Ohio area are guest posting on one another’s blogs as a way to get to know each other and our blogging community. For a full listing of blog swap participants, please visit Poise in Parma today.

Good morning, Miss WineOH readers!  My name’s Amanda from Clue Into Cleveland and I’m thrilled to kick off this week swapping blogs with Miss WineOH. 

In addition to sharing a love of wine, I also lived in Virginia once upon a time. After moving to Philadelphia for a few years, my job took me to Cleveland and I fell in love with the city.

From amazing arts to delicious food, there are so many reasons to explore this beautiful city on Lake Erie’s shores.  And in keeping with both my and Miss WineOH’s interests, I figured I’d share some of my favorite wine bars to check out in Cleveland.

From the east to the west sides of the city, here are 6 places where you won’t just find a good selection of vino but a lovely setting to savor a few glasses:

Wine Bar at night

courtesy of Insider Ohio

Westside Winner: Market Avenue Wine Bar

When I first moved to Cleveland, the Market Avenue Wine Bar was the first place I visited in the historic Ohio City neighborhood. Tucked down the side street of Market Avenue, it’s a cozy retreat for wine lovers.

As you first walk in the door, the dark wood of the front room envelops you instantly. And the tasting room in the back is filled with antique lounges and chairs – creating an eclectic and comfortable vibe perfect for special events and parties.

Market Avenue’s selection of wines is amazing – with their website boasting over 700 offered by bottle and 75 by glass. They also offer a selection of small plates made from ingredients found at nearby West Side Market. The best part is their customer service. The staff is always knowledgeable. If you’re like me and not sure what to order, they’ll help you narrow down your choices or pick something to suit your tastes. And more importantly they do it without any pretension.   

The last time I visited was for Miss WineOH’s Wine and Cupcakes Tasting. While I was there, I sampled their Spann Chardonnay Viognier – a pleasantly surprising experience that made me rethink my opinion of Chardonnay.   Because they also sell their wines at $10.00 off list price, I snapped up a bottle to enjoy at home.

dvine logoDowntown Favorite: D’Vine Wine Bar

A few years ago, knowing my love of wine, my friends hosted a bachelorette party for me at D’Vine Wine Bar.

Located on W. St. Clair, it is a convenient walk from most places in Downtown Cleveland. When I want to people-watch but also avoid dealing with the craziness of W.6th, D’Vine is an excellent choice. The expansive main room is beautifully lined with brick and stone walls and huge windows that look out on the street. 

I love D’Vine Wine Bar for its selection of flights.  There are 15 flights to choose from and each flight features four 2 oz pours.

For fans of red wines, there are flights like Passionate Pinots, Merlot vs Cabs and Red Royalty. For those of us who drink white, there’s Shades of Sweetness, Food Friendly Whites and ABC…Anything But Chardonnay.  And you can take a tour of Italy without worrying about airfare by ordering their Trip Around the Boot Flight.

To pair with their wines, D’Vine offers a menu that includes sliders, pizza and – my personal favorite – baked brie puff pastries.

grotto logoExcellent Eastsider: Grotto Wine Bar

Grotto Wine Bar opened in Shaker Square right after I moved from the neighborhood, so sadly I’ve only been there once. I say sadly because I enjoyed the experience so much that it put them on my top 6 list. I wish it was still just a few steps from my front door.

Grotto has won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence two years in a row. The stone fireplace, wood beams and old-world villa decor are a fitting match to the restaurant’s Italian menu

As part of the Salerno family of restaurants with Little Italy’s Gusto and Tremont’s Lago, the quality of their food fits right in with Shaker Square neighbors Fire, Sarava and Sasa.

However, this is a post about wine and for those who want variety, Grotto is a must-stop in Cleveland with more of a wine book than wine list.  The 10+ pages of wine are available for download prior to a visit, though I prefer to let the 1000-bottle wine cellar inspire me when I get there. As a bonus, with Shaker Square Cinemas right down the block, I can catch a movie on Tuesday nights and then save 10% off my bill at Grotto with a ticket stub.

la cave du vin logo

Hidden Treasure: La Cave du Vin

Hidden in the basement of a building on Coventry, hunting down La Cave du Vin is for the Indiana Jones of wine drinkers. But when you navigate its labyrinth, you’re well-rewarded.   

I love this bar because my moods change quickly – one moment I’m in the mood for a glass of wine, the next I want a beer.  At La Cave du Vin, I can jump between lists  and enjoy excellent choice and quality for both (in 2010, they were rated among the top 25 beer bars in the world by RateBeer.com).

They also serve my favorite cheese board, hands down. Their Brie and Blue board features triple cream brie and Carr Valley “Billy Blue” goat’s milk blue cheese, dark Belgian chocolate, an assortment of dried fruit, and roasted figs. If that doesn’t sound appetizing, their Edibles menu offers a variety of other cheese and meat boards, as well as olive tapenade and antipasti platters for sharing. Although the service can occasionally be slow when the bar is crowded, hanging out in this unique space and leisurely enjoying a quality drink make up for it. 

visible voice patio and wine

Courtesy of Creative Advocacy

A Well Read Wine Bar:Visible Voice Books

If you like to curl up with a book while you drink your wine, Tremont has a quirky bookstore where you can do just that.

Visible Voice Books is one of Cleveland’s handful of locally owned independent bookstores. Offering both new and used books, it’s a wonderful place to browse the shelves and discover a new author or book.

In addition to unique events like Tremont ArtWalk showings and Classic Radio Nights, Visible Voice Books offers a selection of wine to enjoy in the shop or outside in their courtyard.The wine bar features wines from small, privately owned wineries with a focus on organic wines and those grown on sustainable farms. They also offer seasonal highlights.Although their wine list is not as long as the other wine bars in this post, I can think of only a few things more relaxing than hiding out with a glass of white wine and a book about Cleveland.

Next on my list: Wine Bar Rocky River

There’s so much for me to still explore in Cleveland – and that includes wine bars. Between recommendations from friends and honors like Cleveland Magazine’s Best Wine Bar  and the Best of the West’s best patio dining and wine tasting, the Wine Bar Rocky River is next on my list.

On top of an appetizing wine list, they also offer full lunch, dinner and brunch menus. In particular, their black bean ravioli dish with chorizo sausage, sweet corn, roasted peppers, and cilantro is calling my name.

And for the special pooch in your life, Sundays feature a Doggie Brunch on their patio (don’t worry there are heaters and firepits for crisp fall days). While you partake in food and libations, Cleveland pups can enjoy a bowl of water and dog treats.

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As with wine, tastes will vary on where you like to drink your favorite bottle and these are just a sampling. If you’re not sure where to start, lists on Urbanspoon and Metromix Cleveland can help you find your way.

A Note from MissWineOH: Wow! Being relatively new to Cleveland, I learned a few things about wine bars in neighborhoods I’ve never explored. I hope you have found one to check out! Thanks, Amanda, for adding to fun and knowledge at MissWineOH.

Where do you like to go for a glass of vino in Cleveland?

A Love Affair, with Wine.

While I’m constructing tales of our last two wine adventures, Darrell White, a twitter friend, volunteered to guest post. So here is his story of wine and love, and why he’s drinking under $20 whites these days. I hope to show he and his lovely wife the beauty of inexpensive reds in the future.

LOVE Wine Charms

The Tale Begins….

My brother just wouldn’t leave me alone. “Have you met Beth Hurst yet?” Having just arrived at the University of Vermont, a first year medical student plopped down in the midst of 3500 UVM coeds, I had no interest in meeting a girl who Randy had decided was possibly “The One”. Seriously…3500 girls who didn’t know who I was! No way, man. No girlfriend for THIS guy! This was gonna be fun!

Well, I’d love to hate him for it, but I can’t. My brother was right. I met Beth at a med school/nursing school picnic, went on one date, and pretty much said “so long” to my excellent adventure meeting those 3500 UVM coeds. We went from a couple of dates to pretty much spending as much time together as we possibly could. This was one of those classic good thing/bad thing situations, though. I discovered that I couldn’t concentrate on my studies with Beth sitting next to me in the Library so  we did an Upstairs/Downstairs arrangement so I wouldn’t flunk out. Worked pretty well, at least for the library issue.

There was the problem of our shared vocations,though. We found ourselves talking mostly about school, the hospital, medicine and such, pretty much to the exclusion of everything else. We risked a kind of burn-out, not only on our chosen fields, but also from each other. We needed some sort of hobby, something that we could learn about from scratch and enjoy together.

Enter Bob, the world’s most unlikely wine merchant.

Right next door to Burlington is the town of Winooski, a funky little mill town on the river that at the time was struggling to stay afloat. Keeping the rivers of beer flowing for UVM students was the “Beverage Warehouse”, purveyors of all of those kegs the frat houses rolled out on Friday and Saturday nights. Turns out the Beverage Warehouse was also the biggest wine merchant in the area. In the back of the building through an almost hidden door (it was almost like they were embarrassed)  lurked a cavernous room filled to the brim with wine. The room was populated by a single man, rather short and…how should I say it…round. Clothed each and every day in a pair of green Dickie’s work pants and a yellow Dickie’s work shirt with his name on the breast pocket.

“Bob.”

What a find! Bob became our wine muse. He may still be the single most knowledgable wine guy I’ve ever met, including the sommelier at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. Here was a guy who made us feel like he had nothing better to do than teach a couple of kids who were two nickels short of a rub how and what to drink when it came to wine. Being the over-read wonk that I’ve always been I peppered him with questions about what was in the Warehouse, how it was stored, why it was priced that way, what he liked. I remember him chuckling when I pressed him about having the Opus One bottles upright on the shelves instead of on their side in a temperature controlled box. “Ah, they never stay here long enough for that to matter. The last 3 bottles I sold went to some idiot rich guys who drank the first one straight from the bottle on the way to the car.”

So began our love affair with wine, one that went a long way toward letting us continue our love affair with each other. We can both still remember our “firsts”, those first wines that made an impression. Best white? Easy. A Muscadet de Sevre et Main for…wait for it…$2.15/bottle! Can you imagine? Our first memorable red was an M. Marion Cabernet Sauvignon; no idea what year or where in California it came from, but I can STILL taste the amazing explosion of fruit, see the inky purple color. Cost us all of $4.25! Sigh.

Our wine “thing” (some would call it an obsession, at least for me not without reason) also became a very effective way to expand our social universe as we moved all over kingdom come chasing the medical training thing. The first wine “tasting” we held was in Beth’s Burlington apartment and was co-hosted by my sister, Tracey, a UVM senior at the time. White wine varietals, I think it was. Very few memories of that one, actually, probably because the one memory I DO have is that not a drop of wine was discarded. You know, the “clean plate club” approach to tasting!

On and on we went, our palates expanding with our income, our experiences becoming ever more extravagant along the way. I became an insufferable wine snob, conversant with Parker and the Wine Spectator and unwilling to suffer through anything rated less than 90 from either. Our tastings expanded as well. Those intimate, 6-12 person explorations of something new and different exploded into massive gatherings of 50-75, parties at which we happened to drink wine. In truth, our little diversion, our tiny shared hobby that allowed us to concentrate on our couplehood became too big.

Like work.

Until it went away. Funny, just about the time when we might have had to have an intervention for our dating intervention I got sick. Some sort of GI thing which was made worse by alcohol. Red wine was worse than white wine, was worse than beer, was worse than spirits. No alcohol for me for two, whole years. This, along with a not so little business and financial set-back, Beth’s rediscovery that beer was pretty good, and the Wall Street Journal’s introduction of a pair of wine writers who rated wine with words like “Delicious” and “Yech”, actually allowed me to fall in love with wine all over again. To fall in love with wine for exactly the same reasons and in exactly the same way as I did when Beth and I were squired through the process by Bob.

I stopped reading about wine, stopped checking ratings, and just started drinking wines that made me happy! Drinking stuff that I would rate as “yummy”. We’re on an under $20 white wine kick right now (at 50+ reds are giving us some problems), and we are drinking them together. Loving them, and falling in love all over again. Or maybe more accurately, falling more deeply in love, even after all these years.

With wine and with each other!

Dr. Darrell White can be found blogging at Sky Vision Centers – when he’s not enjoying wine with his wife, or doing CrossFit. His bio can be found here.  and you should call his offices for those things eye related in your world.
Or you can follow him on twitter
, and enjoy his tweets!

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