Saturday, July 27, 2013

100 Awesome Things - #82 Pierogies


Pierogies from the Red Chimney.
I love pierogies. If I could eat them every day of my life, I would be ok with it. I might not live long, but I would die happy.

My favorite kind are the classic potato/cheese. I love them simply in butter and a little crispity.

Some people like onions or sour cream with their pierogies, but I promise, just butter is delicious.

Homemade ones are best, especially if they are made by Polish church ladies. St. John Cantius in Tremont has tasty ones during the Polish Festival.

Here are my local pierogi favorites:

The Red Chimney - This Slavic Village staple serves everyone from local politicos and the crime scene detective to neighborhood folks and gangster types.  The food is delicious and if you don't get the pierogies, you are ordering wrong. The pierogies are the kind that are stuffed so full that sometimes they crack a little and the tastiness oozes out. My folks love the city chicken and stuffed cabbage too.

Prosperity Social Club -  I have no idea why it has taken me so long to find this joint in Tremont. They have loaded potato pierogies that are pan fried, baked and topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, onions (I leave those off - yuck) and bacon aioli.  Prosperity's pierogies are made by a little lady in the neighborhood that only makes them for Prosperity.

Great Lakes Brewing Company has a yummy pierogi and bratwurst combo that is accompanied by red cabbage and they have Christmas Ale, so there you have it. My favorite in Ohio City.

And, no, Mrs. T's is not good in a pinch. Those pierogies are dough pockets. Blech.

Where is your favorite pierogi place?

Fun Pierogi shirts: http://happinessisahotpierogi.spreadshirt.com/

Monday, July 22, 2013

Brohio Shirts

My version of the Brohio shirt can be yours for a little fee.
It is safe to say I am a fan of the humble t-shirt. I especially fond of my Cleveland t-shirts. I think I have the entire collection by GVArtwork and Fresh Brewed Tees, with a few Rubber City Clothing shirts thrown in for good measure.

The Indians' Nick Swisher, is about as Ohio as it gets. He loves to call everyone Bro, as in "Sup Bro?" and Brohio was born. Swisher, being the awesome guy he is, created some Brohio shirts for himself and friends and then started giving them out at games. You can get his version by purchasing an Indians ticket to sit in the "Brohio" section. I encourage you to do so.

And I encourage you to check out my version here: Happiness is Brohio

I'm selling my version of the Brohio shirt that I put together after entering the Indians Mayor of Brohio contest. $1 from each shirt will go to the Cleveland Foodbank and the rest will go to me taking my pops to Spring Training this year.

The shirts are printed locally, in Brunswick.

If you are interested, please share this with your friends, and if you aren't, no worries Bro.

Brohio sign for the Tribe game showing my Bro-ness.

Disclaimer: this is in no way shape or form associated with Nick Swisher, the Indians, or anything or anyone associated with the ballclub. Just my idea to raise some extra cheese for Spring Training.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Don't Call Me Cleveland - Working With Bloggers

Pearls Before Swine is an amazing cartoon. Read it.
A funny conversation happened on Twitter today, and it hit on something as a blogger, irritates me to no end. Honestly, it irritates me in real life, you know that place with fresh air and a little sunshine, as well.

I have received numerous blog pitches (people/companies wanted me to hawk their product on my little bloggity blog), with the introduction of "Hello Cleveland." There are certainly much worse things to be called than my hometown, and in fairness, my name isn't listed anywhere.

But, when I respond to an email, signed with my name, and I am referred to as Cleveland again, or the dreaded, Dear Blogger, you go right to the virtual circular file.

Bloggers are no longer the techno nuts rambling on about which Star Fleet Captain was the best (ok, some, like my cousin do). Bloggers are everyone. Moms and dads, sports nuts, professional people looking for a way to connect to their community - no matter how far from home that might be.

Bloggers are also a great resource to share your message about your event, your nonprofit or your home grown product. But, here is a little understood fact - bloggers are also professional people.

Here are a few tips if you want to enlist the army of bloggers in your area:

1.   When you connect to the blogger, remember it is a person. Use their name.

2.   Some bloggers are waaaaay organized with their own editorial calendars. If you have a pitch, toss  it to them at least 6 weeks before the event.  Don't get cranky pants if they can't fit you in. Bloggers also talk.

3.   Don't offer a product or service for a blogger to promote if it doesn't fit with their blog. Case in point - I had someone that sent me numerous emails to promote a scrapbooking software. Never have I ever, except for right now, talked about scrapbooking. If you read a few of my posts, you could see that.

4.  Read the blog before you send something to the blogger. It is frustrating for someone to send me an email and then ask me what my blog is about.

5.   Offer the blogger something. Look, we are all pretty good people, but if you want me to promote your event, a pair of tickets would be nice. My favorite giveaway so far was from GVArtwork. I got a t and got to give one away. Awesome fit.

6.  Don't ask for editorial control of a blog. Look, you wouldn't go to the NYTimes and demand editorial control of an article, so why would you ask a blogger that?

7.  Expect a blogger to be honest. The Feds require a blogger to state that they were somehow compensated if that was the case. If you blogger doesn't, they might be a bit on the shady side. Also, understand, if your product is stinky, you run the risk of a blogger saying that. You get what you get and don't throw a fit.

8.  Be timely and give your bloggers more info than they would ever need. Everyone has a different writing style, and there may be different interests in your product from blogger to blogger.

9.  Don't ask for too much. Here is another pitch gone crazy. I received a pitch from a UK energy shot company. In return for one 5 ounce sample, they wanted 3 blog posts (which they had control over), ads on my blog, and a week worth of tweets and facebook posts. Umm...no.

10.  Have fun. Remember, (points above), bloggers are professional people, with jobs and families and skills you never dreamed of. Treat them the same way you would treat anyone else from the media.

What else do you have to add?

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Decision - 3 Years Later

Three years ago, the city of Cleveland was on edge waiting for the self-proclaimed King to make The Decision. We all know how that worked out.

Here is what I am thinking about on the anniversary of one of the highlights of the Cleveland Sports Fail Reel.

  • Even after 3 years, I am confident in saying I hate that shirt. It is reminiscent of a wannabe hipster's picnic table cloth.
  • There is not a snocone's chance in the desert of Lefoolio coming back to Cleveland in 2014. Do you hear me true believers? He is not coming back. After everything that went down between Dan Gilbert and Lefoolio, do you honestly believe one of them would take a bite of a giant humble poo pie to make it happen? 
  • It was nice that he convinced his sponsors to use their money to support the Boys and Girls Club. It is wonderful that he finally found philanthropy deep in his soul. It would have had more of an impact if he had a relation to those kids sitting on the gym floor.
  • I'm not angry at him. I don't wish any ill to come on his family. That shiz isn't cool kids.
  • I do, however, wish his debilitating elbow injury would flare back up for a couple of games.
  • Lefoolio is not coming back. I'm not sure if you heard me earlier. But he isn't. Do you remember what it was like in Cleveland during the feeding frenzy of hype surrounding him? That nonsense would have done Shark Week proud. Remember the kids in the Nike commercial, lining up to get 23 painted on their faces? The old folks cheering his last second shot? That stuff brought a tear to my eye. A TEAR.
  • For all the kids that received detentions for tossing powder in the air at their games, remember what he meant to the city. None of that could get him to stay. If the "Clevelanders sing" video didn't stir something in his heart nothing will. If you aren't moved by Dick-Don't-Kill-Wollybears-Because-They-Are-Your-Friends-And-Support-Your-Local-Animal-Shelter-Goddard singing to you, I don't want any part of you.
  • I wish he would have acknowledged Cleveland. I like to think with age comes wisdom and someday, he will be thankful for what he left behind. But, I doubt it.
  • It stings a little that he gave up in Cleveland, and that ring could have been ours. Kinda like the Ravens.
  • I can admit the Lefoolio is a good player. Ok, ok, a great player. But, he doesn't have heart. Colt McCoy and his San Francisco noodle arm have more heart than Lefoolio. McCoy on the sidelines throwing to his dad when he was a Longhorn is the stuff of legend. He wanted nothing more than to play and be part of the team. Lefoolio? Only if it is convenient for him.
  • I don't believe that Lefoolio was prepared for the city to turn on him. He honestly believed his own fantasy of Cleveland giving him a send off parade, throwing glitter in the air as he floated by.
  • No matter how many rings he may win, he will always be a quitter to me. He gave up. 
  • I hope he learned that honesty is the best policy. If he would have been honest about his intentions - that he wanted to win right now and he wanted to do it with his buddies - that would have been more tolerable than the he woke up and after talking to his mama decided South Beach was the best option.
What are your thoughts on this anniversary?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Photo Fun - Dublin P!nk Style


Welcome back to a semi-regular feature here at the Pierogi - Photo Fun. I dig through my digital archives and post a photo that I snapped years ago, but for one reason or another, it resonates with me.

If you have ever met me in person, you will quickly find out I am one for stories. I love listening to them and I love telling them. Something usually simple and mundane for someone else holds a special allure for me. In case you haven't noticed, what is average and matter of fact for one person, is something completely different for someone else.

I took this picture hanging out the window of a bus somewhere in County Cork, Ireland.  I was incredibly excited because I was going to see P!nk during my trip to Dublin. This trip was important and memorable to me for many reasons. The trip was particularly important because it was the first time I traveled to a foreign country on my own...and it was in the middle of the US hitting Afghanistan.

When I landed at the Dublin Airport, I was greeted with people caring signs scrawled with "Why are we USA's whore" and the like. I had no idea, and most Americans at the time didn't either, the US was using the airport in Shannon, Ireland to refuel before continuing on and the Irish were less than happy.

When I got to my hotel I was scared out of my wits. I was tired. I needed a shower. I was hungry. And I was afraid. I turned on the TV and there were massive marches in London and Dublin protesting the engagement. They expected 10,000 people in Dublin for their march and 100,000 showed up.

I stayed in my room, laying low like the US Government recommends you do until I couldn't take it anymore.  I wandered down to the pub on the corner, Murphy's, to get a bite to eat and then I planned sneaking back to the hotel and crashing. I vividly remember standing at the bar, trying to be as un-American looking as I possibly could to avoid an ass kicking. I quietly ordered food and a pint of Guinness. Then looking around and feeling relatively safe, I ordered another pint of Guinness.  Service is not exactly speedy in Irish pubs.

An older gentlemen came up to me and shouted, "SO WHAT PART OF AMERICA ARE YOU FROM?"  My immediate reaction was to focus and keep from wetting myself.

His name was Paddy (no, I'm not making that up) and he kept trying to get me to join him and his group of friends. His group was a mixture of young and old and appeared like an interesting display of class and seemed friendly enough. But I politely declined. I wanted to eat my sandwich and bolt.

As I mentioned, service is less than quick in Irish pubs. Unlike America, no one was in any hurry.  I ordered another pint and my internal dialogue flowing through my brain was getting the best of me.  Paddy and his group were seated by the door and as I chomped down the last bite of my ham and cheese sandwich, staring intently at the group, sizing them up, I decided if things got ugly, I could outrun most of them.

My tummy full of sandwich and Guinness, I tentatively approached my new friend Paddy. Turns out that his group was comprised of reporters from all over Ireland, a few Scots and several academic types from Trinity College.

The group welcomed me in and we had a wonderful time chatting into the night. As the nerd that I am, I read several book about Irish culture before my trip, with one article stuck with me saying if you make friends with some Irish blokes, and they include you in the rounds of drinks you are in. And...at some point it will be your turn.

Things get a little hazy at this point.

No sleep, lots of stress, little food and lots of Guinness and a wee bit o' Jameson. I remember feeling very warm and extremely happy when I noticed that everyone's glasses were close to empty. I stood up, swaying a bit, and announced I was getting a drink, and I wanted to know everyone's orders.


A mid-level professional type shooed me off, slurring, that I was a guest in their fine country and they would have none of it. My response was my best Superman pose - hands on hips and all - and announcing that I was not going to have everyone call me the bloody American when I left.

There was a split second, looking around at their faces, that I was afraid I offended my new friends and my second thought was wondering if my shoes were tied tight enough to outrun them. My fear evaporated when they errupted into cheers that would rival Browns Stadium after a sack on Roethlisberger.

When that pub closed, we all ended up in some all night Chinese restaurant in downtown Dublin (there are few all night places) that I ate an ice cream sundae at.  I don't know...it had those little vanilla creme wafer cookies on it and I was hooked. I stumbled back to my hotel around 6:30 am only to have the hotel owner call my room at 7 am to check on me. She was worried that I was an American traveling alone and wanted to make sure I was ok.

The next night, I saw Pink at The Point in Dublin and it was an *amazing* show. It was amazing for gobs of reasons. First, this was 2004, so I only really knew of her from radio and video. This girl has a set of pipes on her *and* she is a fantastical performer. Standing in the audience, it was shocking to me that the crowd knew every single word to every single P!nk song. And then P!nk sang Bobbie McGee and I might have been one of 4 people that knew the words.

 After the show, I went back to Temple Bar and chatted with other P!nk fans and between sips of Guinness and a bunch of rowdies screaming Who The F*ck is Alice, I got schooled. I have always taken for granted that I can see my favorite artist. If they don't come to Cleveland, I can drive to Indianapolis, Chicago, wherever without much trouble. Imagine if your favorite band never toured to your country.

Crazy to think about.

After typing this all out, I really want to see P!nk again.

Who is going to see her at the Q in Cleveland?