Weekend Recap – Parents, Art, Sports and A Marathon

This past weekend was the Cleveland marathon. As you may know, I was supposed to run it and my parents had planned to come in town to watch – but on Friday I learned that I would not be running. My parents still came into town and B and I showed them a great weekend and beautiful weather (for visiting not running) and more of what Cleveland has to offer.

Friday, I hobbled back into work after hearing the diagnosis from my new doctor. I was in a bad mood, as my coworkers probably could pick up on, and so I was grateful when two of them asked if I wanted to grab margaritas after work. Now if it had been two days before my race – I wouldn’t have been drinking. But two days before a race I couldn’t run? Margaritas sounded great!

margaritas from zocalo

Friday night,  my parents arrived and B and I introduced my parents to Greenhouse Tavern. Their first experience was not disappointing – they both loved their Ohio beef burgers, I enjoyed the seafood special (with local Lake Erie Walleye) and B enjoyed the lamb burger – which of course I snuck a taste of, yum! After dinner, we walked around and I showed off some of the new sights, including the new Casino. We didn’t go in, but the street was bumping!

Saturday morning we met my parents and headed over to the east side to experience the Rembrandt Exhibit. The last time I’d been in the Cleveland Art Museum was actually with my parents (last year), so I hadn’t seen this exhibit yet. It was really cool – not only was it a traditional art exhibit that showcased the artist’s work, but it also showed some works that were originally thought to be Rembrandt, but were later discovered to be either works by his fans or members of his studio. The exhibition showed how you could tell what was a real Rembrandt or not, and even showcased some work where it was yet to be determined if the works were his or not. The exhibition was also interactive- we tried out the audio tour and heard a few experts’ opinions on key pieces and played with the computer that let you digitally uncover a Rembrandt work (and see what had been done to touch up the painting through the years, so experts aren’t even sure it’s his). If I had better reception I would have been able to scan the QR codes to learn more about select paintings. If you haven’t gone yet, I definitely recommend checking it out – it’s here until May 28!

my family near the cleveland art museum rembrandt exhibit

Hanging out near the art museum

 After the art museum, we walked (I hobbled) around Wade Oval and then enjoyed lunch at Trattoria in Little Italy. I’m still eating leftovers of the spaghetti and clam sauce!

After our lunch, we headed to Progressive Field to watch an Indians game. Despite having to miss the first inning (for some reason, Will Call couldn’t find our tickets … and then they did but only found 3 of the 4 tickets … and then they still couldn’t find the 4th ticket and so on), we had purchased better-than-usual seats through the Cleveland marathon discount code and got to enjoy a fabulous game, up close. Both my parents were impressed with our affordable but still great seats (as you can imagine, being from NY, my parents are accustomed to pricier Yankees tickets) – and a great ending to the game (we won and Perez struck out three batters in a row in the last inning). Oh, and we also got up on the Jumbotron – the third time this season for B and me!

B and I at the Indians Game

After the game, B went home to relax before the race and my parents and I checked out Colossal Cupcake for dessert. We split two cupcakes – the chocolate peanut butter cup and the almond – which were delicious but slightly more expensive than I expected. Still, it’s nice to have a dessert shop open late downtown! (Dear awesome ice cream shop, like Yogurt Vi or East Coast Custard Truck– please come downtown soon! Thanks, signed Melissa).

Saturday night, in true pre-marathon fashion, B and I watched Saint Ralph. If you haven’t seen it and appreciate a Canadian feel-good (well, sorta) sports movie, I definitely recommend it. We watched it before we ran the Columbus half marathon and B watched it before he did the Tough Guy in England, so it was fitting that he watch it before his first marathon.

Sunday, B woke up early to head to the starting line at 6:15 a.m. I couldn’t sleep, and made it to my parents’ hotel by 7:45 to join them for breakfast and stake out our first marathon watch point-  just about the halfway point. B came by, feeling dehydrated, and at the last minute, his sister Katie (who wasn’t supposed to be running), jumped in and decided to run/walk the rest with him. A few hours later (and some sunburn later), my parents and I cheered on hundreds of other runners and saw B finish strong. I’m so proud of him for finishing the race – especially in the heat – but still disappointed that it’s not something I can cross off my bucket list. I’m so glad my parents were around – it was so great watching all the runners finish, but still was a constant reminder of the fact that I wasn’t able to compete with them all, and my parents helped to cheer me up. Anyone want to train with me for another marathon as soon as my aircast is off?

Me, B (with his Steve Prefontaine mustache) and Mary after their marathon

Hope you all had a great weekend in sunny Cleveland! Did you try something new this weekend?

Who Says Clevelanders Don’t Go To Akron? (A review of VegiTerranean and Escher @ Akron Art Museum)

Clevelanders have a thing about taking sides. When I moved here, one of the first things people asked me was “Westside or Eastside?” I had no idea what they were talking about – but soon found out they were asking about where I lived – and therefore spent my time, because if you live on the Westside you don’t go to the Eastside… and vice versa. I have a coworker that often says about the “segregation” that back in the day, a man could have one family on the Eastside and another family on the Westside, and nobody would be the wiser. So what about the southside – or about 45 min. south of Cleveland – a town called Akron? Well, according to another coworker, “Clevelanders don’t go to Akron.”

So I set out this weekend to prove them wrong. I spent my Saturday in Akron, and I (gasp) liked it! What drove me there? Two words: Escher and VegiTerranean.

A coworker who happens to live in Akron told me that there was an Escher exhibit at the Akron Art Museum a few months ago. I LOVE Escher. He’s one of my top 3 favorite artists (the others? Norman Rockwell and Dali) and I’d been wanting to spend the day in Akron to hit up the famous, critically-acclaimed vegan restaurant, VegiTerranean. Alas, the craziness of planning for a wedding, trips back and forth to NY for various wedding tasks, bachelorette party, showers, etc. meant few free weekends in Cleveland and no chance of visiting the exhibit. SO when the news that the Escher exhibit was extended was released, my coworker wasted no time in suggesting I make the trip down to enjoy some vegan goodness and the exhibit last Saturday.

How was it? Amazing. Awesome. Mind-blowing.  What am I talking about? Both the meal AND the exhibit.

VegiTerranean is a vegan restuarant started by Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders. The menu is vegan, meaning no animal products whatsoever. No meat, fish, chicken – or – even worse- no cheese! Despite the cheeseless issue, I had an excellent meal. I was joined by 2 coworkers, a coworker’s husband and B. B, typically a meat and potatoes guy, enjoyed his meal somewhat.  I ordered the VT Classic – VegiTerranean’s Own Vegan Burger, served with Italian Seasonings, Tomato, Baby Arugula, Red Onion. It came with Chrissie fries, which are amazing. I ate all the fries (as did B) but enjoyed some of the burger leftover later on.

After lunch, one of my coworkers, B and I headed to the Akron Art Museum, just a few minutes from the restaurant, to check out the exhibit. Oh em gee. If you have any interest in Escher whatsoever, I highly recommend you see it. The exhibit weaves interesting commentary about Escher and his life throughout the showcase of his work, which includes his early pieces, Italian work (lithographs etc of the Italian countryside), his symmetry work and some of his most famous pieces, like the metamorphosis pieces, ascending/descending staircases, hand drawing another hand and never-ending waterfall.

Ascending and Descending - image from http://www.mcescher.com/

I don’t know where my love of Escher stems from, but the exhibit definitely fulfills it. My favorite part was the video (similar to this one) showing how his lithograph of this scene within a scene within a scene within a scene (and so on) – it really blew my mind. B loved the real lithograph stone and the woodcut the exhibit showcased, along with the models of some of his works.

All in all, it was a great Saturday. We headed back up 77 and returned to Cleveland (after a stop at the Steelyard Old Navy for some $1 flip flops for B) with full stomachs and swirling brains. We lived to survive the trip to Akron, which as I understand, doesn’t happen often.

Below, a video showing how one of my favorite pictures literally goes on and on and on and on ….