Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Party at Barrel Run Winery -- Rootstown, OH

Last Saturday was Barrel Run Winery's Halloween and Dogs event. Although the event is over, I thought it would still be fun to share my thoughts about the event as a whole and since we sampled food and wine while we were there, it would give my viewers an idea of some of the awesome things that Barrel Run has to offer.

I previously reviewed an event that Barrel Run had going on during the month of September, here's where you can find my post about Yoga in the Vines at Barrel Run Winery.

Sadly, although costumes were encouraged, not a lot of people chose to participate. Our costumes were out in full force and the staff had theirs on as well. We attended the Halloween event for the entire four hours and we had quite a few people in our group which allowed us to experience a lot of food and wine.

Although it was chilly (and a little rainy) we spent our time out on the patio listening to Box of Squirrels.

The sangria of the day was Apple Spice -- I drank many glasses of this delicious concoction. This drink was fall in a glass, I do enjoy Barrel Run's sangria every time I visit, but the Apple Spice is my new favorite. 

Dave and I snacked on some bruschetta.

And some goat cheese with pita bread chips seasoned with Barrel Run's special herb blend. 

Both the goat cheese and bruschetta are on the usual menu and pair nicely with any of the wines. We were pretty hungry and planning on staying a while, so we settled on ordering both, but either would be fine to split if you just wanted something to nibble on while enjoying your drink.

Although there were not a lot of people in costumes, there were many dogs in costume. The "spider" and "bat" were my personal favorites. 

However, Duncan's lion costume ended up winning the costume contest which was judged by Rose's Rescue.

The grounds and patio are decked out for the Halloween celebration.

Later in the afternoon my brother sampled the Hungarian sausage, wine and cheese dip which is new to the menu. Brett gave this dish a thumbs up.

While Brett was eating his food, Dave and I decided it was time for something sweet and tried the Dutch Apple Caramel Cheesecake. The cheesecake was divine and really hit the spot after our savory appetizers.

Cheers to the Halloween party next year.

The weather and weak showing of costumes is far beyond the reach of Barrel Run -- although it would have been lovely to have no rain, a little warmer weather and all people in costumes. Otherwise, there was nothing we would have changed about the event. We enjoyed seeing some new menu items, it was great that there was a bar both inside and out due to the large number of attendees. I also liked that the event was the weekend before Halloween, it gave us a chance to enjoy some festivities without missing out on anything else that will be going on this upcoming weekend.

If you're attending next year, make sure to get there early, the patio was packed and although we got a table, we were sad to miss out on a fire table. If you missed out on the party, and are looking to avoid the party scene for Halloween on Saturday stop by Barrel Run for some good wine, great food and to hear music from John Stipe who is performing from 7-10.

My rating for Barrel Run Winery's Halloween Party:

My cost includes four glasses of sangria, two appetizers, cheesecake and a glass of wine. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Secret Cellar -- Kent, OH

Wednesday night my friends and I went out to the Secret Cellar for a mid-week evening out. As I mentioned in my Grapes in a Glass review, my friend Dennis has an affinity for wine and likes to try new wine bars around our area.

The Secret Cellar is located in downtown Kent underneath the Buffalo Wild Wings. It is slated as a Gatsby-era speakeasy. The lights are dimmed and the decor channels a time when simple-elegance guided decor styles and jazz music was at a forefront. The Secret Cellar hosts many musical acts throughout the week, we intentionally chose a night we no live music, because we wanted to get the over all ambiance of the location.

When Dave and I arrived there were only two people at the bar, the bartender told us that Tuesday and/or Wednesday is usually a slow night for the Secret Cellar. As a result our group got to sit in the comfy "VIP" area -- which is a large alcove with couches, tables and ottomans.

Once everyone arrived and we got settled, we got down to the wine business. The Secret Cellar had BOGO wine flights that evening, we got sixteen glasses of wine for $14. The three of us who were more adventurous split the two flights and each ordered an additional glass of wine for ourselves.

All of the appetizers had speakeasy type names -- such as Sidecar, Hotsy Totsy, Bees Knees. I was a bad blogger who didn't write them all down, because I was ravenously hungry and well into my wine flight at this point, so please forgive me.

Two of us ordered the hummus which Dave and I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Steph and Preston ordered the caprese. 

Dave and I also ordered some cheese fondue.

And Dennis ordered the chocolate fondue. 

Overall, we had zero complaints about the food. Everything paired nicely with our wines and was easy to eat. we only had one small table in our area, but were able to make up for it by using the ottomans.

The lighting overall was pretty dim, but we got some photos of just outside our "VIP" area. 

Overall, we had a good experience at the Secret Cellar. The bartender was friendly and helpful, the ambiance was nice, we enjoyed the food and our wine. Of course, it helped that we visited on a slow night. Apparently a group of people in their late twenties with full times jobs are the only people who like to go out and unwind on a Wednesday night. We'll probably visit the Secret Cellar again on a night when they have live music, due to its close proximity to us and the fact that we are often downtown,

My rating for the Secret Cellar:

That cost include half of the wine flight price, two appetizers, one glass of wine and tip. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Apple Picking at Monroe's Orchard -- Hiram, OH

Last weekend Dave and I visited Monroe's Orchard for our yearly apple picking trip. We chose Monroe's because it is decently close to our apartment and we wanted to head to Burton after to attend their Apple Butter Festival, so Monroe's was on the way.

Monroe's Orchard offers the Pick Your Own apples Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00-4:00. The market is open 9:00-6:00 daily if you would rather pick-up your product than pick your own, they also have cider! 

Last weekend we were only allowed to pick Jonathan and Melrose apples -- the varieties vary each weekend, so make sure to call first if you're looking for a specific variety. 

You can pick a half bushel of apples for $15.00 and a peck (a fourth of a bushel) for $10.00. We chose to pick a peck of apples, that was more than enough for our needs.

After we were done picking apples, we were able to take a hay ride around the orchard. 

We had a picturesque fall day last Sunday when we visited Monroe's Orchard, it was a fun date for us. Apple picking a Monroe's is also fun for families, there were several families picking apples at the same time we were and the kids were having a blast. The children who were on the hay ride at the same time as us were having a great time. I think of apple picking as one of those quintessential fall activities that you should try at least once -- make sure to stop by Monroe's before the end of the season!

My rating for Monroe's Orchard:

Monday, October 12, 2015

Apple Butter Festival -- Burton, OH

Yesterday Dave and I drove to Burton to attend the Apple Butter Festival. This two day event is held in the Century Village area of Burton and is hosted by the Geauga County Historical Society.

This event is all about apples, we got apple hand stamps.

We got to try our hand at stirring the apple butter in a giant copper kettle. We arrived at the festival about one hour before it closed, so this was the last copper kettle on the grounds. There were stands all throughout the green area at the start of the festival, there had been a lot of apple butter made earlier in the day!

The fully restored Century Village Museum is an "authentic representation of a Western Reserve Village from 1798 to the end of the 19th century. The Museum contains over twenty historically authentic buildings, more than 15,000 museum artifacts, and a working farm with a sugar bush for making maple syrup." (You can learn more on the Geauga County Historical Society Website).

We arrived too late in the day to purchase apple butter, a woman in front of us in the lemonade stand line said that she had purchased the last few jars.

We did get to see demonstrations in broom making and weaving. A very knowledgeable local showed off artifacts from prehistory -- he was quick to tell Dave the pointy stones were spearheads and not arrowheads, but he still doesn't know how many spears it takes to kill a mammoth, knowledge of that fact was apparently very important to Dave.

It was a picturesque day in the Century Village and a fun fall outing. 

We were at the apple butter festival for about an hour and had fun stirring the apple butter and touring the various buildings at Century Village. There was plenty of fall foliage surrounding the area as well giving us a nice fall afternoon experience.

Later on, we wandered into Burton square and caught the end of Oxtoberfest, a small craft and business event centered around a community ox roast -- maybe next year we'll get a chance to attend and review the full event.

My rating from our Apple Butter Festival experience: