Monday, December 30, 2013

Winter Escape: 750 ml Wines

Posted By on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 1:11 PM

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In 2008, 750ml Wines opened in Akron (2287 W. Market St., 330-794-5754, 750mlwines.com), bringing the retail wine bar concept to that part of town. A few months back, owner Karla Walters expanded the concept to Brecksville (8309 Brecksville Rd., 440-526-8100), where business has been "overwhelmingly good," she reports.

Named after the quantity of wine in the typical bottle, 750ml adheres to the philosophy of “good company, great conversation and fine wine." An impressive list of approximately 800 wines by the bottle is augmented by 10 reds and 10 whites by the glass, 20 popular beers, and even a short list of sakes. Wines by bottle hit every conceivable price point, with the most expensive coming in around $400.

“We carry familiar brands, but pride ourselves on our selection,” explains Walters. That selection earned the shop two Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence. If you want to venture into new viticulture territory, staffers will happily and skillfully guide you toward selections that match your tastes. 750ml handles orders of all sizes, from single bottles to full cases, which earn the buyer a 10 percent discount.

The wine-friendly food ranges from cured meats and artisanal cheeses to an array of inspiring flatbreads. Those join a roster of a half-dozen appetizers like stuffed peppadew peppers, edamame hummus and crab cake sliders. Enticing sweet treats round out the menu, with deconstructed s’mores and a fig and orange peel ice cream topping the list.

The space is comfortable and relaxing, a pleasant blend of retail wine shop and easy hangout, with blonde wood and soft lighting giving it an intimate feel. A commitment to sustainability, with an emphasis on recycling and employing packaging from recycled and/or biodegradable sources, distinguishes 750 from its peers. The shop also features a “green seal collection” of wines from wineries that focus on sustainable, organic and/or biodynamic practices.

750ml Wines is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday — Thursday and 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

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Rob Chudzinski Fired, but the Chud Muffins Were Exquisite

Posted By on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 11:12 AM

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The Browns announced last night that they were firing head coach Rob Chudzinski after only one miserable season, and the news has been all over your various feeds today. The senselessness sort of speaks for itself. Chud will be given a gaudy $10.5 million severance package, and in some respects he's escaping from under the thumbs of villainous and literally criminal bosses, so you oughtn't feel too sorry for him.

Here's the Beacon-Journal's take on the current state of the Browns' leadership, post-Chud:

...They are under the delusion they can lure a franchise-changing leader after giving his predecessor less than 12 months to begin to turn things around. When the Browns relieved coach Rob Chudzinski of his duties Sunday night, it illustrated the height of their arrogance, the cartoonish level of their dysfunction. They actually believe there’s a future NFL coaching star out there who wants to work with an owner under federal investigation and a CEO and general manager who have yet to prove they know anything about talent evaluation.

We also encourage you to listen to the podcast on WFNY with Scott Raab, in which Raab outlines some of the more overt crimes within the Haslam fiefdom.

Here's a clip of what we published soon after Chud, our "beefy, corn-fed tight ends guy from Toledo," was hired. We weren't necessarily enthused, but we saw potential:

Notwithstanding the absent “wow” factor, the stats are more or less on Chud’s side. His offenses have been electrifying (excepting, of course, the 2008 Browns). As tight ends coach in 2004, he made of the forgettable Steve Heiden and Aaron Shea a more productive duo than the combined ground attack. In 2007, he called the plays which led to Braylon Edwards’ 16 TDs — more than the entire receiving corps in 2009 (11) and 2010 (13). He turned Derek Anderson into a pro-bowler.

In that piece, we encouraged fans to start calling Browns' touchdowns "Chud Muffins" in honor of the man who would theoretically be orchestrating a lot of them. Though the Browns' win-loss record was somehow worse than 2012's, and though they lost seven consecutive games for the first time since the franchise's return to Cleveland, the passing game was awfully high-octane and fun to watch. Just saying.

In 2013, the Browns scored 26 passing touchdowns. In 2007, back when Chud was the offensive coordinator, the offense threw for 29 TDs. Between those Chud bookends, from 2008-2012, here's the Cleveland passing TD numbers: 11, 11, 13, 16 16. Guh-ross.

The success of the passing game — or honestly just Josh Gordon — can't be interpreted in a vaccuum. No duh. The Browns ran for only four touchdowns (4!!!), and couldn't summon the grit and/or psychic clout to win close games... but still. Chud was hired, in large part, to put butts in the seats, to create a team that would be, "candidly," fun to watch.

And for much of the season, losses obviously notwithstanding, they were.

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30 Northeast Ohio Restaurants Still Accepting Last Minute New Year's Eve Reservations

Posted By on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 9:45 AM

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If it looks like you'll be ringing in the new year from your couch, watching Drew Carey's televised countdown and nursing a pack of leftover Christmas Ale, consider, at the very least, going out for a New Year's Eve dinner.

As of 9:30 a.m. today, there are at least 30 northeast Ohio restaurants still accepting last minute NYE dinner reservations, many of which will also be serving up special holiday menus.

Book at table for two at Little Italy's Club Isabella and enjoy an evening of hand crafted cocktails, a la carte specials, and live entertainment courtesy of "The Piano Man," Dennis Chandler. Or, join chef Brandt Evans and his staff at Pura Vida for some bubbly, exceptional appetizers, and after-midnight breakfast dishes with an exclusive VIP reservation.

Browse the full list of northeast Ohio restaurants still accepting last minute reservations at OpenTable, and make good on your New Year's resolution to be more social.

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Cleveland Beefs Up Downtown Security for New Year's Eve Celebration

Posted By on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 8:19 AM

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  • Photo Courtesy of Cleveland Police, Facebook

As Clevelanders from east to west flock to the city center on Tuesday to usher in the new year, security in downtown Cleveland will get a bit of a boost.

Police confirm they will be taking extra security precautions before and during this year's New Year's Eve celebration due, in part, to the rather high profile acts who are swingin' through town, namely funnyman Drew Carey and electronic dance music trio Krewella.

For starters, police have lined up a bomb search prior to the launch of the evening's festivities, and have increased the number of foot and horse patrolling officers on duty Tuesday. Security feeds will also live stream the event to off-site officials all night long.

Ladies (and gents) should also forgo bringing purses — bags of any kind will not be permitted in the square— and all merrymakers should expect long lines for beer concessions as vendors will be confined to one small area of public square so authorities can keep an eye on the drunken debauchery.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Night Ranger delivers 'some real good American rock 'n' roll' at Hard Rock Live

Posted By on Sat, Dec 28, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Slideshow
Night Ranger performing at Hard Rock Live
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Night Ranger performing at Hard Rock Live

By Annie Zaleski

Click to View 10 slides

During a conversation with Scene for this week’s paper, Night Ranger bassist/vocalist Jack Blades made it very clear that the band was well-prepared for its upcoming Cleveland show. No matter what the weather conditions might be (and as it happened, things were actually pretty good for late December in Cleveland), he pledged that they would “jack that place up” with “some real good American rock and roll.”

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Top 10 Albums and Singles You Didn't Hear in 2013

Posted By on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 at 4:55 PM

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This past year saw some amazing outputs by lesser-known bands. While none of these groups have garnered as big of a following as, say, Kanye West, artistically they are reshaping the muscial culture. Whether it's through remixes, video game soundtracks or even posthumous releases, these musicians challenged musical norms.

1. Thundercat, Apocalypse
Part electronic, part funk, part hip-hop, it's hard to pin down what exactly Thundercat does. Regardless, Apocalypse merges all of his talents into a stunning album, co-produced by Flying Lotus. Amidst slower off-beat love songs, upbeat tracks like "Oh Sheit It's X" and "Heartbreaks + Setbacks" stand out as awesome displays of Thundercat's genius.

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Bacchanalia Gourmet Market to Open in Lakewood

Posted By on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 at 12:30 PM

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Since purchasing Grady's Fine Wines in Rocky River almost three years ago, owner Manny Nieves has transformed the formerly sleepy little carry-out into a bustling neighborhood market. The chef and wine pro — he was the sommelier at the ultra-posh Classics restaurant — stocks every square inch of his west-side shop with the best beer, wine, meat and cheese that he can get his hands on.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed. When local developer Brad Kowit was looking for a quality-minded tenant for an open space in Lakewood, he checked out Grady's — and then offered up the space. If all goes as planned, Nieves will open Bacchanalia Cleveland (14717 Detroit Ave.) this spring in the INA Building, in the space immediately east of World of Beer.

"Bacchanalia will be a lot like Grady's, only bigger and with a lot more variety," Nieves explains.

The roomy 3,100-square-foot space will feature 24 feet of refrigerated meat and cheese cases, shelving and coolers stocked with beer and wine, and a wide-open demo kitchen complete with tasting bar. A focal point of the open kitchen will be the walk-in cooler with floor-to-ceiling, see-through walls, so guests can peer right inside.

In Rocky River, Nieves hosts well-attended wine tastings, happy hours and demos, but the expanded footprint in Lakewood will allow him to offer larger cooking classes, chef events and wine education classes. On other nights, guests can belly up to the bar for meat and cheese boards, or a wine flight paired with small plates.

"I don't want to compete with the restaurants, but instead be a place to go before or after dinner to grab a wine flight and a small plate," he says.

In the coolers, shoppers will find an expanded selection of fine meats, cheeses and prepared foods cooked on site. Hanging behind the counter will be whole prosciuttos, salamis and wheels of cheese. On the counter, a whole leg of jamón ibérico will be hand sliced to order. Creminelli charcuterie and Certified Angus Beef products will be sold at retail.

Nieves will more than double his wine selection at the new spot, while still scouring the globe for the best finds. "It's not the label or the price that matters, but what's in the bottle," he offers. "I look for great alternatives to popular brands. These are the wines that people should be drinking."

Bacchanalia will stock an extensive selection of craft beers, including entire product lines from breweries like Delirium, Rogue, Dogfish Head and Breckenridge.

Fear not, River residents, Grady's is going nowhere, says Nieves.

"We just had our best week of the year last week," he says.

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