Happy Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo

May 5, 2014 is one of the favorite holidays for many. Why? Well, you have a perfect excuse to wear sombreros and ponchos, drink margaritas, and snack on chips and salsa. Yet, do we really aware of what we are celebrating?
Stefan Lovgren, contributor for National Geographic News, says that Cinco de Mayo is often times mistaken with Mexican Indepence day which is celebrated on September 16th! In his article, he says that:

“May holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.”

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Welcome to West Side Market

West_Side_Market_interior

I wanted my 30th anniversary blog post to be super special that is why I devoted this post to the West Side Market. This place embodies everything delicious that is in Cleveland, but most importantly, you can find foods from different cultures!

Crain’s Cleveland Business on the Web describes Cleveland’s West Side Market as:

A popular place to shop for fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, the building is one of the largest indoor/outdoor markets in the country.”

West Side Market is one of the oldest markets in Cleveland area, and believe it or not, it has been operating ever since since the end of nineteenth century. It’s over hundred years! On December 18, 1973, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Now, West Side market has over 100 vendor combined of food representatives of all sorts of ethnic groups. There you can find anything from mouth-watering smell of Middle Eastern spices to hand-crafted cupcakes you have only seen on the pictures. 20140430_211924000_iOS

West Side Market is located at the corner of West 25th and Lorain which is short drive from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, so you can easily visit both of the places on the same day. 

My first encounter with the West Side Market was quite memorable. Me and my friend were shopping for some deli and coated buffalo chicken wings. On the same stand, there was a skinned rabbit. If its cooked in the crock pot with sour-cream, carrots, bell peppers, and onions, it is delicious and very tender. It is even more tender than under-cooked chicken breast. I made a joke about it being a cat instead of the rabbit. People who were looking to buy something from this vendor totally freaked out. They looked at me with big round eyes and said; “you have to be kitten me.” Good thing, everybody were in a good mood. I explained to them that this skinned animal is an actual rabbit as you can tell by its legs and the fur left on them. In the end everybody just laughed at this situation, but nobody bought that poor skinned animal.

 

@Valenti’s_Italian

@Valenti's_Italian

Hot banana peppers stuffed with sausage, topped with marinara sauce and parmesan

Valenti’s Ristorante represents fine Italian dinning in Cleveland. The food at Valenti’s is obviously Italian with a hint of grandma’s cooking. The restaurant’s owner describes this place as:

Valenti’s Ristorante celebrates Grandma’s table, a tradition of eating great food with friends and family. Or A tavola non si invecchia. “At the table one never grows old.”

If you ever went there, you would experience comfort food outside of your couch area in the really nice set up. White tablecoth, piano music, fire place, and summer outdoor patio create a soothing atmosphere for a romantic dinner or business meeting during the lunch time.

If you like to fish for food promotions on twitter, just type in the search tab @Valenti’s_Italian. You will see the official Twitter account of Valenti’s.

Breakfast Fun

Breakfast Fun

It’s so easy to put a smile on your loved ones faces by serving them this simple breakfast platter that looks like face.

Check out Cute Food For Kids website for more amazing breakfast ideas inspired by moms from all over the world.

Here are some of the pictures I found online while browsing for creative breakfast ideas:

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Mr. Cucumber Tanning

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Somebody Grew Kale-Hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

bunny-pancakes

Easter Bunny Loves Pancakes

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My Buttery Nose Is Melting

 

Swirls on the Cake? That’s Easy!

Ever since I was little, my favorite part of the cake was decorations and frosting.
In this video, you can see for yourself how easy it is to make your cake amazingly beautiful just by adding some buttercream swirls on top.
The decoration tool that was used in this video is a simple cake decoration bag with a standard tip. If you can’t find one at you local grocery store, you can easily obtain it on Amazon as well as many other accessories for baking and cake decorating.

She Saw the Culture Change

Ever since 2004, Ukraine became known to the world not only for the tragedy in Chernobyl, or heavy weight champions boxers Brothers Klitschko. In 2004, Ukraine underwent a first wave of massive riots in downtown Kiev, where thousands of people decided to camp out on the main square demanding fair elections of the new President. Almost ten years later, a new wave of protests would spread around the country in less than two month. Everything started with this amazing, yet dangerous, social phenomenon – Maidan.

big-1-300x200 I happened to have a friend who actually was a part of this movement. She spent countless days and night at Maidan, helping to prepare food, or just hanging out. It certainly was dangerous to be threre, but she was very brave and wanted to make a differece, to be a part of ‘making a new history’. I asked her about social aspect of everyday life at Maidan, and this is what she shared with me:

Maria Dudka, “I will try to write neatly…
Anyways, you certainly know about our culture, about how our people like to throw trash everywhere, to spit on the ground, and to be disrespectful towards other people. It not the case for every single individual, yet it’s quite common.
Ever since Maidan started big time, everything has changed. The closer you would get to Maidan, the more culturally pleasant people would behave themselves.

PianoMan

PianoMan

One can definitely say that society underwent some major social changes. We still have a lot to learn, but now, at least, we have a strong foundation. A huge step towards a better future was made. And everything started with such a small thing as a simple student riot in downtown Kiev.
Now, the phrase “Glory to Ukraine” makes so much sense, so much hope and soul; you can feel it in the air. I wouldn’t even think of something like that a year ago. Maidan_sandwiches

Maidan is truly a state within the state. Here people have their own rules and laws. Once can’t consume alcohol, or it is suggested not come empty-handed. Not for someone won’t let you through, but because you naturally have a feeling to give something back to this community.

1467384_530759453687063_1486664655_n-300x225In terms of foods, people would usually bring sandwiches or meats and cheeses for sandwiches. Young girls would bring homemade cookies, but only when there is no shooting or fights with a riot police. People also bring fruits and vegetables, bread, meat, they bring everything!
Maidan itself has a fulltime kitchen! People cook everything from soup to pot roast. It’s not as good as at home, but it definitely has a sweet taste of freedom! When there is no time for cooking people would just drop off homemade sandwiches and pots with hot tea. The bravest fighters would refuse to eat anything, probably, because of the adrenaline rush. But it’s a different story…”

Who Would’ve Thought…

Who Would've Thought...

The whole world was shaken up by what happened in Kiev, Ukraine on February 18-20th. A hundred of Ukrainian gave up their lives for better future for fifty millions.

All I know that they will never be forgotten. However, there is plenty of work to do in terms of investigating who was behind the shooting.

As I’m trying to keep up with what’s going in my homeland, I found an article by BBC News Europe about the ongoing investigation of who shot at protesters in Kiev.

Now, here is the good part. This post may serve as an introduction for my next post. I have guest blogger who shared with me few insights abut every day life @Maidan, what made it so special, and how the whole concept of culture changed for many people.

The Science behind Wine

The Science behind Wine

Victor Hugo: God made only water but man made wine

What is so special about wine? And Why so many people like wine? In this post, I would like to share with my readers some finding I’ve discovered while researching this topic.

In the article The Origin of Wine published in Scientific American, author Brendan Borrell says that wine has been around for over 9,000 years. Basically, its roots go all the to the origin of Western Civilization if not earlier.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word wine as we know it today was originated from Latin vinum and Old Church Slavonic vino.

If you familiar with Greek Mythology, you probably heard about Dionysus. Another name he goes by is Bacchus which is derived from Roman Mythology. He is a god of wine and festivity.

Collection of quotes from famous people about wine:

Paulo Coelho: Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.

Charles Baudelaire: One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.

Galileo Galilei: Wine is sunlight, held together by water

Benjamin Franklin: Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried with fewer tensions and more tolerance.

Thomas Jefferson: By making this wine vine known to the public, I have rendered my country as great a service as if I had enabled it to pay back the national debt…

Below is very important chart that everybody would find useful at some point:
wine-and-food-pairing-chart