Wining, Dining and Learning

Food & Drink

Wining, Dining and Learning

Posted by Ivan Sheehan and tagged with chef, food, restaurant, University Circle, wine; 12:00am, February 8th 2010

Whether it's walking into a wine retailer, aimlessly walking aisles of bottles, looking for familiar words and attractive labels, or faced with a hopelessly long restaurant wine list, few potables have the ability to confound more so than wine. There is plenty of literature available on the subject, but structured tastings and courses led by those in the know make learning an entirely enjoyable enterprise. When the wine learning takes place at one of Cleveland's best restaurants, it's a match made in gastronome heaven. 

Starting February 16, L'Albatros Brasserie + Bar general manager Brandon Chrostowski, certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, will lead a series of introductory wine classes, Wine 101, at the popular French boîte in University Circle.

"When you break it down, which we are trying to do, to the fundamentals, it's simple," says Chrostowski. "Through five consecutive Tuesdays, we'll run our guests through the major regions, the things that are talked about in the news, or in the wine shops - help people feel comfortable ... with talking wine." 

The first class will tackle viticulture and vinification, along with sparkling wines of the world, from cava to Franciacorta. "It sounds like a lot to bite off, but having taught these classes before, there are major points you want to hammer home," says Chrostowski. "It's going to be full of definite points. Why does wine from California have more alcohol than wine from Germany? What does malolactic fermentation mean and what does it do?" 

The initial course will introduce the most important, though often overlooked practice of enjoying wine. "It will outline how to taste - what's in the class, what to look for," says Chrostowski. "Every time they taste, they can start to look for three or four factors to describe the wine.

The second class will cover France, specifically Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Loire Valley. "It's simple things: how is Bordeaux divided? What's the difference between a Left Bank and a Right Bank wine? What's with the grand crus, and how do they differ from a premier cru in Burgundy?" The classes are designed to provide a framework, so a class attendee may see Gevery-Chambertin in a retail situation or wine list, and immediately think "Cote d'Or, Burgundy, and pinot or chard," says Chrostowski. 

The third class will focus on Tuscany and Piedmont, with a bit of Spain, namely Rioja, thrown in for good measure. The fourth class will explore the ever-popular New World wines of South America and the United States, focusing on California's varied offerings. 

The fifth class will discuss dessert wines, including fortification, sherry, port, Cognac, Armagnac and Madeira.

Each class will include six to eight tasting wines, with hors d'oeuvres that are representative of the wine regions being highlighted. "David Uecke is the chef de cuisine, and he's got a really nice touch with food," says Chrostowski. "The flavors speak for themselves, so, without actually going to places like Tuscany, you'll be immersed in its wine and little bites of its food." 

Chrostowski will provide study materials condensed from his wine studies, featuring maps and outlines, which will provide guests cheat sheets and a place to take additional notes. That classes are limited to 25 spaces, and the cost for all five classes, from February 16 to March 16, is $150, inclusive of tasting pours, hors d'oevures and study materials. Call the restaurant (216-791-7880) to make reservations. 


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Fresh Start: Week of February 1

Arts , Food & Drink , Health & Education , Home & Style , Region

Fresh Start: Week of February 1

Posted by Peter Chakerian and tagged with art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, concert, culture, food, free, government, lecture, Ohio, politics, University Circle; 12:00am, February 1st 2010

If the future of northeast Ohio depends on critical thinking – done very much outside the box – then putting thinking into unobstructed action is the best way to live towards expectations. The future of the region is also the subject of this week’s Fresh Start selections. Whether your fancy is classical music, environmentally conscious living or understanding important political shifts with local implications, these events are sure to serve you (and your community) well.  All you need to do is avail yourself.

CityMusic Cleveland

If the best things in life are free, CityMusic Cleveland most certainly is a case in point. Since 2004, this chamber orchestra has delivered classical music to neighborhoods all across northeast Ohio at no charge. Under the leadership of music director James Gaffigan, CityMusic Cleveland’s performances have astounded critics and residents, with an impressive oeuvre featuring the likes of Mozart, Rossini, Stravinsky and Verdi. Their regular season is a tour de force of performances in non-traditional locations stretching from Willoughby Hills and Slavic Village to Rocky River and Elyria. In addition to free music performance, there is no-cost parking, no-cost childcare and no ticketing – now that's accessible! Score the latest “tour” schedule, which starts Tuesday, February 2 and runs through the weekend, here.

The League of Women Voters

Ohio’s Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is the first woman Secretary in the Buckeye State’s history. Awarded the coveted John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her work in 2008, Brunner will speak about her three years in office and her work to ensure the integrity of Ohio voting in the 2008 presidential election. The League of Women Voters’ “First Thursdays” speaker series hosts Brunner at the gorgeous Trinity Commons (the Art Gallery) at Cleveland's Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Avenue, on Thursday, February 4 at 7 pm. Her lecture, A View From the Top, is free, open to the public and will feature a post-talk Q&A. She’ll likely talk about her decision, made one year ago, to run for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Senator George Voinovich.

2010 Cleveland Botanical Garden Sustainability Symposium

The 2010 Cleveland Botanical Garden Sustainability Symposium isn’t free like the first two programs, but the return on investment for the registration fee is almost instantaneous. This day-long, eco-minded happening is packed with amazing local, regional and national speakers, environmental exhibitions and a dynamite vegetarian luncheon. Want to know how to decrease your impact on the earth? Learn what a single person can do to help the environment on Saturday, February 6 at 9 am. Teachers, students, horticulturalists, gardeners, landscapers, conservationists, homeowners and concerned citizens are all promised to learn a thing or 20 about protecting the planet, and their little corner of it. Speakers and program outline can be found here.


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Fresh Start: Week of January 25

Region , Arts

Fresh Start: Week of January 25

Posted by Peter Chakerian and tagged with art, business, Cleveland, culture, development, festival, film, theater; 12:00am, January 25th 2010

Our future is inescapably tied to the past, and this week’s three Fresh Picks show just how important remembering that really is. A forum on the future of our Sixth City explains how important immigrants have been (and continue to be) to Northeast Ohio. A dark comedy reveals how important our ties to others are. And a film festival reveals to all of its viewers just how important it is to remember that we are all citizens of the world. If it's not an epiphany, at least it's another Fresh Start to your week in Cleveland:


Cleveland’s Immigrant Entrepreneurs 

Cleveland’s robust immigrant population had a lot to do with its success as the Sixth City well into the early 20th century. Can the city’s latest generation of immigrant entrepreneurs restore economic success and commerce here? If so, what will that triumph look like? Lev Gonick, the VP for information technology services and chief information officer at Case Western Reserve University moderates a panel discussion about it Wednesday, January 27 at 7PM. Panelists include Forest City Enterprises board co-chair Albert B. Ratner, AlphaMirror CEO Yehuda Borenstein, and 5iTech Founder/President Leon Polott. The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage hosts.


Anna Bella Eema by Lisa D'Amour 

Written by the Obie Award–winning playwright, this intriguingly dark comedy is a co-production between Cleveland Public Theatre and contemporary theatre troupe, Theater Ninjas. Staging at CPT’s Storefront Studio, Anna Bella Eema is set in a trailer park on the edge of oblivion and spins an eerie tale of a woman, her daughter and a strange girl made of wet earth [Pictured: (L to R) Cassie Neumann, Faye Hargate and Beth Wood in Anna Bella Eema at CPT; Photo by Steve Wagner]. When the trailer park is scheduled for demolition (making way for a highway), something supernatural happens. Think campfire ghost story meets social commentary in one act. Theater Ninjas Artistic Director Jeremy Paul directs the production, which debuts Thursday, January 28 at 7:30PM and runs until mid-February.


The Standing Rock Film Festival 

For the past seven years, Standing Rock Cultural Arts in Kent has hosted an incredible, indie short film festival, allowing filmmakers and videographers from all over the world to showcase their original cinematic works. Every year, Standing Rock gurus Jeff Ingram and Gary Lockwood are inundated with a steady stream of DVDs, High-8s and VHS tapes to consider screening at the festival. Last year, the duo debuted experimental films, music videos and work from 2007 People’s Choice Award Winner, Julia Pott of London, England. Take in this year’s selections Saturday, January 30 at 8PM. 


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Historic Golf Course In Jeopardy


Historic Golf Course In Jeopardy

Posted by Ivan Sheehan and tagged with benefit, Canton, history, Ohio; 12:00am, January 18th 2010

Editor's note: As contributor Julie Cajigas prepared her feature article highlighting the accomplishments of William Powell, she received the following letter from the Ohio chapter of the NAACP. OA's edit staff then contacted the organization for permission to reprint the letter in its entirety. The letter is a call to action, and we encourage you to show your support.

Historic Golf Course In Jeopardy

During the first week of January you have most likely read articles in your local papers, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal , USA Today or saw the numerous television salutes on the passing of the Golf Trailblazer and American Hero, Dr. William Powell on Dec. 31, 2009.

Mr. Powell, a decorated World War II Veteran returned from the war and was denied permission to play on many golf courses because of his race.  Rather than give in to injustice, he built his own course in 1946 and welcomed all people to come and play regardless of race or gender.

As PGA of America President Jim Remy stated upon learning of his death, “He was born with a fire within his heart to build on his dream.  In the process, he made golf a beacon for people of all color.

Clearview, the course he designed, built, owned and operated is on the National Register of Historic Places and is now in jeopardy of being destroyed because of a surface coal mine company, Buckeye Industrial Mining Co. planning to blast and strip the property that abuts Clearview.  It is imperative that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) deny this permit!!.  To this date ODNR has never denied a permit for coal mining in our state.

Current plans call for blasting operations to be conducted Monday through Saturday, April 22 to September 21 from 7am to 7:30pm and from September 22 to April 21 from 8am to 5pm.  This will destroy the business at Clearview as there will be no golfers coming to play with all the blasting and dust. This is turn will also destroy this National Historic Site.

Will you write a letter and send it to Renee Powell expressing your opposition to ODNR ever permitting any coal mining near Clearview?  Your letter will greatly help the officials realize the significance of Clearview an important part of our American history

Please mail your letters by January 23 to:

Renee  Powell

P.O. Box 30196

East Canton, Oh 44730


email address:

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Fresh Start: Week of January 18

Arts , Health & Education , Region

Fresh Start: Week of January 18

Posted by Peter Chakerian and tagged with artist, Cleveland, concert, parks, theater; 12:00am, January 18th 2010

All the world’s a stage. As Shakespeare saw it, while seasons, scenes and players all change over time, there’s always something happening, and there’s something for everyone – be it increased time outdoors, challenging theatrical works or music that stands the test of time. In any given week, you can experience the Bard's "seven ages" and learn more about yourself, and your surroundings, in the process. Cleveland really is as you like it; these three fresh picks are sure to make you more than merely players:

Becoming a Naturalist 

For many of you, “more time outdoors” was on that list of New Year’s resolutions. But maybe you want to take that goal to the next level. If so, check out the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association’s open house Thursday, January 21 at 7PM and learn about becoming an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist. Sounds involved, right? Not at all. With 40 hours of “combined classroom and field-based instruction” and an equal number of volunteer service hours, you can learn something new and edify others in the process. Eight additional hours of advanced training and 20 service hours annually is all it takes to maintain your certification – and the CVNPA hosts that service work as well. Their program officially begins in April. 

Big [BOX] at Cleveland Public Theatre 

Bold new work that pushes the envelope is what you get with this venerable artist showcase every year. Over eight consecutive weekends, CPT’s Big [BOX] offers confidence and credence for artists to experiment by producing their own music, dance, dramatic works and performance art. Artists score the keys to the theatre at the beginning of the week and construct their new work without intervention. When the weekend comes, “It’s showtime!” and the audience never knows quite what to expect. If the thrill of the new quickens your pulse, plan to attend these performances, beginning with People4Change, presented by The Them and directed by Raymond Bobgan on Friday, January 22. The Big [BOX] schedule runs Friday-Sunday through early March. 

The Song is You! Our Huckleberry Friend: The Songs of Johnny Mercer 

The Savannah-born songwriter, lyricist and co-founder of Capitol Records has been called the “great folk poet.” Mercer’s lyrics are pure Americana, honored most recently in John Berendt’s (non)fiction novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and the subsequent Clint Eastwood film. The author of “Skylark,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” and dozens of other unforgettable works would be 100 years old today. Cuyahoga Community College hosts a centennial concert in his honor Saturday, January 23 at 7:30PM, featuring vocalists Vince Mastro, Helen Welch and Evelyn Wright. Hosted by Bill Rudman and jazz pianist Joe Hunter, this should be a treat.

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