My Favorite Things

Over here at Chef's Widow we dig shopping local. We hold our middle finger high to Black Friday and we make sure that everything buy for our friends and family during the holiday season comes from the good old 216. We believe in supporting our community and we do so through our wallets.

Every year I love to shout from the rooftops my absolutely favorite local things. I guess I'm kinda like Oprah minus the whole billionaire thing. I love highlighting some well known treasures and the hidden gems. So my friends, I give to you:

Chef's Widow's Favorite Things in the 216:

Home of Cedar Lee, partner of the Cleveland International Film Festival, & generally the best movie theatre's in our fair city. Right now they are running a spectacular gift card special, buy a gift card get 2 free movie passes. Considering EVERYONE in the world goes to movies and loves movies, a gift card to Cleveland Cinema would be the jam.
City Buddha has been one of my go to stops in the CLE since I was 16 years old. Back then I bought massive amounts of incense to mask the smell of those nasty cigs I used to sneak in my bedroom and nowadays I buy sparkly jewelry and beautiful scarves for Biggie Smalls. I could spend hours upon hours in CB perusing the beautiful items especially the amazing wood bed that my heart so desperately desires!
The zoo has been one of our favorite places in this city. We have been members since we moved back in 2003 and has been our go to family day activity ever since. The Chef has especially fond memories of the zoo because many moons ago he got to swim with the seals and sea lions, something he mentions every. single. visit. We have been members for years, you should be too! 
My friend Danielle is probably the most bad ass chick I know. Not only is she a crazy successful entrepreneur but she is also a pioneer in bringing retail back to the streets of CLE. Her shared store with Sean of Wrath Arcane fame is filled to the brim with beautiful, thoughtful items, all hand picked by Danielle herself. It's the best retail shop in downtown Cleveland, hands down.
Duh. It's my fave. Not only because she's mine but also because with every $100 purchase of gift cards, you get a free bottle of GHT/Sineann Collaboration Pinot. Free wine. Happy holiday.
As you might have guessed, I really like East 4th Street. I especially like getting my caffeine fix at Erie Island Coffee. It's cool, it's not pretentious or too cool for school, and the coffee is really freakin' good.
I love love love love love love love Valerie Mayen. Seriously. MAJOR GIRL CRUSH. Last year, she single handed made me a dress to wear to The Academy Awards. And not just a dress. A one of a kind Yellowcake original that totally caught the eye of Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal himself.  Val is by far one of the most honest and true lover of all things Cleveland I know. She rocked out on Project Runway and could have easily left the city to pursue fashion in a city that actually had real fabric stores. But she didn't and now we are lucky to have her very own shop in the Detroit Shoreway.
These chocolates rival chocolate I have had in Paris. They are thoughtful, delectable, and delightful.
Playhouse Square has to be the easiest local present you can possibly buy someone. You can order online, you can order subscriptions for children and adults alike. Just like movie theatre's I can't think of one person who doesn't love a play, comedy show, or chef tour. Can you? Starting tomorrow at 7am Playhouse Square is offering some crazy cyber Monday specials when you buy tix. Check it. 
Christine is one of the most interesting designers I have ever known. She has been featured on DesignSponge and her work is featured in Dredger's Union and Room Service. She is an all encompassing designer who likes to integrate handmade into all of her work. She throws herself into each one of her projects and the end result is that of beauty.
Ramen is good. Ramen made with local ingredients is better. If you haven't been to our new joint, you should. It's good clean kitty fun!
  • Miega Korean BBQ
Yummy yummy food in Asiatown Plaza. Might be my new favorite eat weekly food. No website yet but Asiatown Plaza is worth the drive. Great grocery store, awesome herbalist, and a fabulous art gallery on the second floor.
Sometimes vegans can be jerks and come off as holier than though. Not here. They back what they believe in by making great food, not by shoving propaganda or misinformation in your face. Their cupcakes are to DIE for (no one did!) and the owner is sweet, friendly, and more than happy to answer all of your annoying I'm not a vegan questions. I love that they don't use faux food and I love that it's good. Really, really good. 
An old fave that never disappoints. You could easily do ALL of your holiday shopping here.
A wonderful establishment run by an extremely talented pastry chef. If you haven't had the pleasure of trying out Coquette, you should make a trip immediately. It off the hook good.
Shoes are my friend. Designer shoes are my lovers. I literally run away from this store. Whenever I enter I find myself $200 poorer, but HOT DAMN my stems look good. East and west side locations for all of Cleveland's delight!
Wowza. What a list! We sure are lucky to have such super cool LOCAL paces to buy everyone gidts this year. Screw Target, screw Wal-Mart, screw Peppar Spray and Billion Dollar companies. Support your city this holiday season and you win!
You win a great city to live in. You win a vibrant city, where small business not only survives but THRIVES.
I am so dead serious about shopping local that I have decided to have a little contest. ONE WINNER will take home the glory of this magnificent prize package:
  1. A One Year Membership to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  2. A $25 Gift Certificate to Vegan Sweet Tooth.
  3. Four Orchestra level tickets to HAIR at the Playhouse Square on January 17th, 2011.
  4. $50 Gift Certificate to City Buddha
  5. $25 Gift Certificate to The Greenhouse Tavern
  6. $25 Gift Certificate to The Dredger's Union
  7. $25 Gift Certificate to Erie Island Coffee
  8. $25 Gift Certificate to Lilly Handmade Chocolates
  9. A small collection of paper goods designed by Christine Wisnieski
  10. Local publisher Gray & Co. will donate a "Cleveland Book Sampler" including these popular titles: "Joe Tait: It's Been a Real Ball" by Terry Pluto and Joe Tait; "Pass the Nuts" by Dan Coughlin; "The Cleveland Creep" by Les Roberts; and "Six Inches of Partly Cloudy" by Dick Goddard.
There are 8 zillion ways to enter to win this kick ass Cleveland giveaway!!!!!
The first way is to tweet this:
I want to win the most fantastic LOCAL 216 giveaway ever @chefswidow #happyinCLE
Leave a comment with your twitter link. This will count as one entry. You can do this every single day. Just make sure to leave a comment each time you tweet!
The second way is to share this link on FB, come back here, and leave a comment with your FB link.
The third way to enter is to write your very own Shop Local Blog Post. Share your fave's and link this giveaway in the post. Leave a comment with the link to your blog post and you will get 5 entries into the contest.
The fourth and final way to enter (and this is a biggie) is send me a receipt for at least $50 spent in a locally owned CLE business. You can email me a scanned copy (cc blacked out please) to If you send me a receipt I will give you 10 entries in the giveaway.
This contest starts today Sunday November 27th, 2011 and will end at midnight on December 15th.
Good lucky and happy LOCAL shopping!