Valentine’s day gift ideas, strEat Mobile Bistro Review and Quick sports update

With Valentine’s day a little over 2 weeks away, I was thinking back to the first one we celebrated. I can’t help but giggle for new couples approaching their first V-day together because it sparks excitement, awkward anticipation…and a lot of questions – what should I get him/her, is it too mushy, how much should I spend? These are all very fair questions because you don’t want to put all your chips in when you’re holding a full-house and he/she is only holding a pair of 9’s. Awwwkwarrrd.
Sooooo, here’s a couple of rules and gift ideas. Clearly every relationship is different and you have to use some good judgement based on how serious you two are.
– Valentine’s Day Rule #4 – If you’ve been dating for less than 1 month – don’t go overboard and become the poster child for ‘how to lose a guy in 10 days’. On the flip slide, at least do something! Small and sweet; at least the very least, a card. And don’t just sign it silly, write a short note.
– Valentine’s Day Rule #24 – If you’ve been dating for less than 6 months, technically I think this warrants a dinner date. Ahhhh, the euphoria, the puppy dog phase. Your ‘other’ may be on their way to being your ‘significant other’ and probably expecting something more personal.
– Valentine’s Day Rule #50 – If you have met your love interests’ parents, refer to Rule #24.
– Valentine’s Day Rule #99 – If you’ve been together less than a year and celebrated this past Christmas together, well, sounds like you two are a duo. Think meaningful gifts.
So just to help you little lovebirds out out, here are some Valentine’s day gift ideas:
Between $25 – $50
– Personalized stationery – You can order at a paper store like Paper Trails or to be cost effective, do it yourself.  Get some heavier paper from a craft store like Catan’s. Then create a template in Word and to make it a little more personal, copy and paste a picture to serve as the background. Choose a picture that relates to a hobby, interest, etc. Format the picture properties and effect so it’s ‘washed’. Then bring it to Kinko’s and they can print and cut it for you.

– Great Lakes Brewing Company beer glasses
– Chocolates – Cleveland based Malley’s is a lifesaver or venture out to hip, Lilly’s handmade chocolates in Tremont. The latter has a really cool champagne, wine and beer selection. While google’ing local chocolates, I discovered Mitchell’s chocolates, headquartered in Cleveland Heights.
– Journal
– Cuff links
– Mani or pedi or both!
– Art from Don Drumm (great idea if you are from Akron)
– Jewelry from Something Different in Ohio City; you can count on finding something unique.
– Flowers always bring a genuine smile to every girl’s face.
Under $100
Ugg slippers
– Private yoga class. Cleveland Yoga is a great option. I also attend classes at Inner Bliss but didn’t see this offered on their website.
Apple TV – warning: probably more of a guy’s gift.
And if you are interested in doing something together, consider:                                                                                 – Couples massage – oohhhhhhh. I personally advocate Lakewood Massotherapy
– Cooking Class                                                                                                                                                                               East Side – I have purchased a class for two at the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking.In some classes, we prepared one of the 5 courses then afterwards enjoyed the meal with our fellow cooks and in others, we watched the chef prepare a multi-course dinner and then consumed. It’s BYOB.  Very nice.                     West Side – I have heard about Gatherings Kitchen in Lakewood but haven’t made it there yet. Would be interested if anyone has any feedback.

strEat Mobile Bistro Review

Last Saturday, we met up with Rooms and JWebs in Tremont to attend StrEat Mobile Bistro‘s grand opening. Started by Tim Schmitz, StrEat’s is a food truck serving traditional comfort food with a touch of creativity. The food truck concept may be new to you but its starting to take off around the country and Cleveland is starting to embrace it. You may have noticed food trucks popping up in the Ohio City area lately. Well on it’s first day, strEat Mobile was parked outside of the Flying Monkey and we were one of their very first customers:
Service – Very friendly. There is a sign outside the truck with their menu and prices. But if you need some time to decide (or warm up!), menus are inside the Flying Monkey as well.  We ordered our food at the truck and then grabbed a table and beer inside the bar. Not yet sure how the logistics of retrieving/delivering your food will work because some customers went out to the truck to get their food and in other cases, one of the StrEatMobile cooks brought it into the bar.
Location – Perfect for us as we’re always looking for reasons to visit Tremont during the day 🙂 Plus the food compliments the Flying Money bar, scene and customers. strEat Mobile caught the flag football crowd and OSU basketball fans. Obviously a very easy setup for strEat Mobile if they want to relocate to a different Tremont corner or neighborhood.
Taste – Bizzle had the Pork Belly Sandwich and Waffle Fries. He gave it 5 stars and provided the following culinary report, “The sandwich was awesome! Loved the spicy peanut butter, cucumber, cilantro mix in the sandwich… so good. The fries were outstanding as well. I don’t do condiments with my fries so they often times lack the extra pop that I assume most people like (and typically get from ketchup or whatever). These fries were seasoned and so good. Great job!”  JWebs concurred by ‘liking’ Bizzle’s comment in FB.
When Rooms ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, I figured it would be gooey american cheese – but not so! Dare I say feta? She loved it and I took a bite – which was my favorite one out of all the ones I took from everyone else’s plate. Our new friend, TommyBoysAdventures, ordered the bisque and enjoyed his meal as much as the rest of the group.
Last but not least, I ordered the mac & cheese which the menu describes as “really really good”. I liked it but would have preferred a little more salt and pepper so I would rate this particular dish on that specific day as ‘really good”. The fries though…out of this world.

Cost – Reasonable. Prices are comparable to bar food. Not sure if they only take cash so bring some just in case. Bizzle just notified me that they credit cards.

Green Factor – its local! I wonder if the truck is running the whole time? 😉
Why visit/go back? I’ll definitely re-visit strEat Mobile in a few more weeks and see how their menu and dishes develop. The prices are good, the food is hot and who doesn’t love a little Saturday afternoon comfort meal with a good beer? Next time I’ll probably get the grilled cheese and chili. Also, I’m always impressed by young entrepreneurs and kinda think we have a duty to rally around them. Applause to Flying Monkey for supporting this – its a win win for both of them.
And in case your interested…
– Cavs face the Denver Nuggets tonight. I think it’s very possible we break the losing streak right here and now. Let’s go Cavs!
Forbes wrote a special feature on the NBA’s Most Valuable Teams. Per their analysis, the Cavaliers ranked #15 out of 30 and dropped 26% in value within the last year. My guess is without the renewal of season ticket holders in anticipation of LBJ’s return, we would’ve dropped much much lower on the list. Case in point, the article states, ‘ Perhaps in response to the departure of James, a Chinese investment group that was expected to finalize the purchase of 15% of the team last year, has apparently pulled out of the deal’. If I were a betting person, which I’m not, I’d put my money on the Cavs dropping in the bottom 5 next year.
Just curious, was anyone else aware of this?? I don’t really remember seeing this in the news.
Tennessee Titans fire their coach of 16 seasons, Jeff Fisher.  I wish this would’ve happened about 2 weeks earlier so the Brownies could have at least interviewed him for the head coach positoin. Although ESPN reports the Titans will still try to trade or release Vince Young, I would be surprised if they still went this route and gave up their former #1 pick. They would essentially be starting from ground zero – new headcoach, new assistant coaches, new qb. Hey….sounds familiar. Welcome to our world, Tennessee!
– And per Thursday’s WKNR X’s and O’s show, while LeCharles Bentley was at the Senior Bowl, he spoke to a Browns insider who shared that Mike Holmgren and Eric Mangini were a lot more involved with the offense scheme then many have thought. There was also a lot of surprise with Daboll’s quick bolt to the Dolphins and salary raise, so either the little guy deserves a lot more respect than we’ve given him or . Does that mean Holmgren is to blame, at least partly, for the struggling offense (ranked 31st with 16.9 points/game, 29th with 289.7 total yds/game , 20th with 102.9 rushing yards/game and 29th with 186.8 passing yards/game)? I suppose we should forget about 2010 and look ahead because this is really the first time that the Browns front office, general management and coaching staff are all unified and present a convincing, cohesive front.
Alright Cleveland, I’m signing off. Enjoy your weekend!
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