Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Although we're not doing anything special here to celebrate it. Was talking to someone the other day that grew up on the east side of Cleveland. She said St. Patrick's Day was not a big deal until she moved the west side. Interesting. We have a parade downtown every year; of course the year I took the girls, it was bitterly cold and that's probably all they remember. The ups and downs of homeschooling. That was also the year St. Patrick's Day was on a Friday, and the leader of the Cleveland Catholic diocese gave a special dispensation to partake of corned beef. :)

Monday, March 02, 2015

Cleveland Playhouse Square District and the Cleveland Hofbräuhaus

I'm back! And I'm going to try to stay. This post puts together a bunch of things revolving around Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. I hadn't been there for years, until the BTEG family watched a performance of Newsies back in November. One of the things that is fairly new is a giant chandelier hanging over an intersection in the Playhouse Square district. You can see the intersection in this article talking about how several places have picked Cleveland as a must-visit site in 2015, partially because of Playhouse Square and said chandelier. I will be glad if Cleveland has success (tired of hearing Cleveland jokes,) but it's strange to me to think that the equivalent of a sparkly coat of paint is enough to make an area that has been, and is still a place to put on shows, more desirable to visit. Of course, people have to visit the Bean when they go to Chicago, and this isn't much different; it's a pretty bauble that's fun to look at.

Another new addition to the Cleveland scene is what is probably one of the hottest restaurants in Cleveland at the moment, the Hofbräuhaus. Unsophisticated me did not know that the restaurant that had devolved into a tourist trap in Munich, has evolved into a restaurant chain here in the US. (I'm not sure who owns what on either side of the Atlantic.) Considering there are only six of these restaurants in the US (plus a restaurant and beer garden in FL,) it is kind of neat that Cleveland got one. Of course, Cleveland had quite a bit of immigration from Germanic settlers. (I believe the greater Cleveland area has one of the largest Transylvanian Saxon populations in the US.) And Cleveland is a town that Loves.Its.Beer. It may hardly be surprising that when we saw Newsies in November, there was a line a good way out the door of people waiting for a table. So when Mr. BTEG told me that his company was hosting its holiday party (yeah, it was in January, because reasons) at the Hofbräuhaus, I was glad to get a chance to visit without standing in a huge line. In the picture above, you can get an idea of what the line looked like that night, except that it was hard to get an accurate picture because the tent enclosure snaked around a corner. Apparently people were standing in that line for well over an hour. Some people were smoking and/or drinking beer, but since I don't do either, I wouldn't have had much fun standing out there in January.

Of course, since we dined in a banquet area upstairs, we did miss seeing the shows that happen in the main restaurant, where apparently performers get up and dance on the tables to oom-pa-pa music, and things of that nature. What we did get was a Germanic decorated atmosphere, fairly good German food, and beer. The men in lederhosen and the women in dirndls were very busy all night bringing very, very large mugs of beer, in mugs that are the same as the ones the Hofbräuhaus in Munich used when Mr. BTEG and I were there. Yep, I know I've mentioned here several times about our study trip in Germany as college students. Mr. BTEG had a friend in Germany who lived in Munich, so one weekend Mr. BTEG and I hopped a train there to visit him, and one of the places we went to was the Hofbräuhaus. Said friend mentioned a few times how much of a tourist trap it was, but it seemed like one of those places-you-have-to-say-you-visited-if-you-go-to-Munich, and we had a good time. Although between Mr. BTEG and I, I don't think we finished the beer in the giant mug.

Neither of us is a big beer drinker
So husband and I have been venturing out of the house this winter and doing a few different things! It's not directly related to having only one daughter at home, but maybe there will be more of these excursions in the future, since our lives are becoming freer.