Friday, September 25, 2015

Pierogi Book Club - 300 Sandwiches

Kermit reading to Robin. Aww. 

Welcome to another Pierogi Book Club review. For those of you new to this blog feature, I read a book that I want to read and I tell you about it. No book voting amongst peeps brought together by cheap wine and a convenient time, just books I want, when I want. 

This time, I picked  Stephanie Smith's 300 Sandwiches: A Multilayered Love Story. 

300 Sandwiches
One day, Brooklyn-based writer, Stephanie Smith, made her boyfriend of two years a sandwich. After gobbling down his turkey and Swiss on whole wheat toast, he declared, "Honey, you're three hundred sandwiches away from an engagement ring."

With that announcement, the author got to work making him sandwiches. 


Smith took her boyfriend's challenge to heart and commenced with the creating of sandwiches. She started a blog (which evolved into her book), each post a new sandwich recipe, from the "Oooey Gooey Fig and Mozzarella Panini" to the "Cleaning out the Refrigerator Duck Confit Sandwiches." Like most bloggers, she included insights about her life, friends, family and of course her boyfriend - good and bad - in each post. 

And then...the internet.

Smith, who was a writer for the New York Post's infamous Page Six, got her own feature about the sandwich for a ring deal. Shortly after the story went online, the internet exploded. Headlines accused her of striking a mighty blow to feminism and jerky dudes everywhere told their women to get in the kitchen make them a sammich. 

I remember reading the story on Jezebel and similar sites, which is why I picked up the book in the first place. The internet is full of sorta kinda truths that somebody told this guy's aunt that she heard from the lady down the street stories. I wanted to read for myself, if this woman was honestly being forced to make sammiches in return for her ring. Turns out, they are just a nice couple that, one day decided to put their "agreement" on the internet for all to see.

The book struggles with what it wants to be - a cook book or a memoir. I found myself wanting to read more about the person behind the viral story - and the aftermath of going viral. I once had a post get a small fraction of the amount of traction that 300 Sandwiches did. It is a very distinct, unforgettable feeling when you have the urge to pee and vomit all over yourself at the same time that your antiperspirant stops working. I can't even imagine what it was like for her and her boyfriends, family, friends and co-workers see the crazy that the internet can bring. 

Foodies will enjoy the recipes for each sandwich, and kitchen chickens like myself might be encouraged to make something other than peanut butter and jelly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Punch Bowl Social Giveaway Winner

Punch Bowl Social ticket winner.

Congratulations to the winner of the Punch Bowl Social tickets! The winner has been notified and if you still want to go (which you do), check out the info for the opening!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Punch Bowl Social Grand Opening - Giveaway

Punch Bowl Social Grand Opening. 

There was a time when The Flats was THE place to be. And now, finally, it is happening again.

If you haven't been to The Flats in awhile, you need to visit again soon. So much has changed and it is once again, an exciting place to be. New apartments (!), restaurants, bars, and entertainment - something for everyone - has popped up all along The Flats.

Punch Bowl Social, an "Eatertainment" venue, will be hosting their Grand Opening shindig at the new Cleveland location on Saturday, September 19 (bringing 225 new jobs with it).

This new edition to the East Bank of the Flats features "locally sourced menu, craft cocktails and grown-up games galore." The style of the venue is a 27,000 square foot combination of Mountain Lodge, Industrial, Victorian and Modern, with a 4,000 square foot roof top patio(!) - the cherry on top of a sundae of my kind of fun. 

Entertainment options include eight lanes of bowling, an 80s arcade (!), foosball, ski-ball, private karaoke rooms (!), checkers, darts and anything else you can imagine that doesn't require a smart phone.

The Grand Opening party benefits the Salvation Army and for ten bucks, you can imbibe in punch, wine, beer and small bites from the menu while Cleveland indie rockers The Lighthouse and The Whaler play. 


Now, for the fun part. The awesome folks at Punch Bowl Social Cleveland have given me 2 tickets to giveaway to one of you lucky readers. 

There are several ways to win:

1. Follow ClevelandChick on the twitter.
2. Visit the Punch Bowl Social's event page on the Facebook.
3. Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite arcade game is. 

4. Leave a comment and tell me your favorite karaoke song.
5. Go to the Twitter and tweet about the giveaway. Be creative!

You can tweet once a day, and leave me a comment here for each of the tasks you complete. I let a computer pick the winner, so if you don't comment, it won't be included. 

The winner will be selected on Wednesday, September 16, at 7 pm, so get tweeting!

Disclosure: The awesome peeps at Punch Bowl Social Cleveland gave me a pair of tickets to attend and a pair of tickets to give away. The words are all my own and are fueled by too much CLE Sports talk radio and one too many hazelnut coffees. Whew. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

5 Questions Answered By Someone Awesome - Sarah Stilgenbauer

What makes someone awesome? 

Like any good recipe, there are ingredients that you see and some that you don't. You don't see the flour or sugar in a completed chocolate chip cookie, but I assure you, the absence will be noted. 

I'm continuing my adventure of finding people that I think are awesome, telling them that they are awesome and trying to find out why they are so awesome. 

You can read my original blog post about the idea here. So far, I have asked questions of Scott Wise - the Scotty in Scotty's Brewhouse, Rik Danburg from your Cleveland Indians, past Browns Kicker, Billy Cundiff and BFF author, David Collins.  

This time, I asked my friend and past colleague, Sarah Stilgenbauer, 5 questions. 

Sarah and I worked in the same department within a behemoth of an organization, although not on  many projects together.  She is one of those people with a great spirit and attitude, which is more than awesome. It wasn't until I left and we connected on social media that I realized her amazing extracurricular activities. She is smart, witty and a surfer (!). 

After seeing fantastic pictures of her adventures in surfing, I had to catch up with her and ask her 5 questions.

Sarah Stilgenbauer with her board. 

1. I know you because we worked at the same nonprofit. I've always said that working for a nonprofit is more than career, it is a calling. How did you get involved in nonprofit work?
Great question! I can't point to a single moment when I realized that the non-profit sector was where I belonged. I just seemed to find myself there. My mom was involved as a trustee at a historic theater throughout my childhood - and I was always there; either playing in the next room during board meetings or as a student in their summer theater programs. When you get involved in the arts, a great deal of it is nonprofit. 

I was intrigued by the management of these organizations, since it's easy to see how things could be done better when you're not the one responsible. So I got my masters in nonprofit management so I could gain a deeper understanding of the complexities being faced by those at the leadership level. 

At my core, I firmly believe that there are things in this world that everyone should have access to, but that will never succeed in the marketplace - and I don't think we should expect them to. Art and healthcare are at the top of that list. 

2. When we worked together, I noticed you were hardworking and professional in everything you did. After we connected on social media, I saw that you are also an awesome surfer! I never thought you could do that on Lake Erie. How did you get involved in surfing here?
I've been interested in surfing since college. It's another thing that sort of snuck up on me. Woe to the person who mentioned to me that they surfed - I'd inundate them with questions about it. I started watching the guys (and girls) surf the waves at Edgewater in fall and spring a few years back - I never thought I'd be among them. Two years ago (2013), two things happened to change that: I bought a stand up paddleboard (SUP) and I met an honest to goodness waterman: surfer, waterskier, kitesurfer, sailor. He encouraged me to get out there in anything. I'd get these texts at 6 am: "WAVES @ EDGEWATER NOW. Get out there!!!!" It took about a year to get confident enough to go out on my own, but I do – and now the solo sessions are some of my favorites. I’ve met some great people doing it – and I’m headed to Canada this coming weekend for Ladies of the Lakes – a gathering of women who surf the Great Lakes. I can’t wait to get good enough that I can chase a storm to Western Michigan or Wisconsin and be fairly assured that I’ll catch a few rides for my trouble. 

Sarah stand up paddling (SUP)

3. You have also gone on some amazing camping solo expeditions. I would be terrified that I would be gobbled up by a bear (maybe I watch a little too much reality tv). What is it like out there and what is the best thing about it?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been as successful with that as I would like. I bought a used tent last year with the intention of camping with friends, but somehow, I didn’t end up with many friends who camp! I’ve stayed solo on family land – which doesn’t totally count. I was supposed to go on a solo expedition earlier this summer. But thunderstorms moved in and the ranger did not recommend that I set up camp. I really need to try that one again – you load your gear on a boat (or in my case, my SUP) and go to your assigned island campsite on a lake in NY. That feels safer to me because a) a bear would have to swim out to get me, and b) so would ax murders. Can you even swim with an ax? I like to think it takes too much effort for someone to bother.

One of my greatest anxieties in the more trafficked campgrounds is that someone will see me setting up as a woman on her own – especially since I would likely camp off-season. People are more frightening to me than bears. The author of the book, “Wild” did a great job of showing the more subtle aggressions that concern me as a woman in the woods. But I do hope to face those anxieties and get out there. The only thing stopping me at this point is me. 

4. What is the best piece of advice that someone gave you and what piece of advice do you wish someone gave you?
The best piece of advice was from a boss who is now one of my closest friends. I almost missed an external deadline, and was mortified. He said something like, “It’s not the only mistake you’ll ever make. It’s not the biggest mistake you’ll ever make. Solve the problem, learn from it, and you won’t let it happen again.” I’ve carried that with me, and shared it with others. Mistakes happen – I think it’s good to keep that perspective. 

I wish I was raised with a bit more respect for decorum. I tend to put it all out there, regardless of audience. I’ve had to learn to hold back in some situations, and it always feels “wrong” to me – like I’m lying. If I had learned to practice this earlier in my life, I’m sure it would come more easily now. 

5. Last question, who do you think is awesome and why?
This is hard for me, I think so many people are awesome in so many ways: hidden and obvious. Broadly - anyone who has moved past shame, fear, or self-doubt to find and take a path to fulfillment. It could be as profound as a refugee fleeing to build a new life or a single woman deciding to become a mother, or as simple as learning a new skill, like ballroom dancing.

Sarah on Lake Erie in the winter. Brr.