On Saturday, March 30
La Dolce Vita hosts its Mambo Italiano Salsa Dance Party, when it transforms its charming ristorante into a Latin Quarter hotspot. Can't dance to save your life? No sweat, lessons will be offered at 9:30 p.m. (30 minutes before the party kicks off). The front half of La Dolce Vita will be cleared out to make room for the high-energy party, while the dining room will be left alone for dinner guests. A full bar and select food items will be available for order throughout the party, as there is no cost for this event.
On Monday, April 1
Dyngus Day descends upon Cleveland in a big way. Inspired by events in Buffalo—home to the country's largest Dyngus Day celebration—DJ Kishka decided to import the Polish tradition of marking the end of Lent. "If I had to sum up Dyngus Day, it would be: 'It's go time!'" says DJ Kishka. The epicenter for the party is Detroit Shoreway, nicknamed "The Polish Triangle." A close second is Tremont.
The entire Detroit Shoreway neighborhood will be participating, including The Parkview, Happy Dog, Spice, Reddstone, Luxe, Stone Mad, XYZ the Tavern, The Harp, Toast Wine Bar and Battery Park Wine Bar, to name a few. Each place will offer live entertainment, Polish beer and festive cuisine. Shuttle services will be offered between all the locations. Here are some specifics: Starting at 4 p.m., The Parkview will host the Miss Dyngus pageant. After the crowning of Miss Dyngus, she will place the ceremonial pierogi on the Dyngus float. The float is part of the famous Accordion Parade, which will travel up W. 58th Street and end at the "Kishka's Beer Heaven Tent." While hanging out in the tent, sample food provided by Sterle's Slovenian Country House and enjoy live cultural music. As a bonus, Willoughby Brewing Co. has created a Dyngus Day brew for the event, which will be featured in the Beer Heaven Tent as well as at the participating bars.
Over in Tremont, Prosperity Social Club (1109 Starkweather Ave., 216-937-1938, prosperitysocialclub.com) kicks off the Dyngus Day fun at 4 p.m. Enjoy the live polka music of Stan Mejac and sample some homemade Polish delights such as kielbaski corn dogs and fried cabbage. For a real-deal Dyngus vibe, hit Roosevelt Polish Veterans Post 58 (2442 Professor Ave., 216-241-1788). Starting at noon, the joint will dish up ethnic specialties like kielbasi sandwiches and Tyskie beer. Plug the old-fashioned jukebox filled with Polish music and other eastern European favorites. Sokolowski's University Inn (1201 University Rd., 216-771-9236, www.sokolowskis.com), the Polish epicenter of northeast Ohio, opens at 11 a.m. and runs until 9 p.m. While listening to the live Polka music (starts at 5 p.m.) we recommend the "Polish Original" sandwich, stuffed with bratwurst, kielbasi, red cabbage, pierogi, cheese, grilled onions, and sour cream on sourdough bread. The South Side (2207 W. 11th St., 216-937-2288, www.southsidecleveland.com) goes Polish on Dyngus Day, opening at 11 a.m. Try the Polish chicken and dumplings with pepper cream sauce. Or the Polish stuffed egg with ham, cheddar, sour cream and baked with bread crumbs. Once again, Tremont Tap House (2572 Scranton Rd., 216-298-4451, www.tremonttaphouse.com) celebrates Dyngus Day by pushing the culinary envelope of Polish food. Try the jajecznica (soft scrambled eggs, mushrooms and scallions), or bigos, a traditional Polish beef stew with sauerkraut, sausage, duck confit and roasted apples. Doors open at 4 p.m. 12112 Mayfield Rd, Little Italy 216.721.8155, ladolcevitacleveland.com
Tuesday, April 2
Provenance at the Cleveland Museum of Art kicks off its next special menu, inspired by the exhibition "American Vesuvius: The Aftermath of Mount St. Helens by Frank Gohlke and Emmet Gowin." The prix fixe menu features dishes themed after the cuisines of the Pacific Northwestern, paired with wines from the Willamette and Columbia Valleys of Oregon and Washington. Pairings include roasted chicken with mushroom bread pudding, grilled asparagus and red onion vinaigrette, recommended with a Firesteed Pinot Noir; a hazelnut-crusted Pacific cod with crispy fingerlings, cucumber, carrot, fennel and celery root salad, recommended with a Bergevin Lane Calico White; and braised artichokes stuffed with goat cheese and garlic herb bread crumbs with roasted pepper coulis and arugula, paired with an Andrew Rich's Roussanne. "Spring is going to be an exciting time for guests at Provenance and the Cleveland Museum of Art," says chef Dog Katz. 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, clevelandart.org