***Disclosure: I received a media rate while staying at the Wyndham WEC through the travel campaign with New Creative Media. All opinions expressed are 100% my own and my family’s. Any additional expenses incurred were my own. ***
It's really no secret that I am a total foodie. I love learning about food, cooking it, and of course, eating it! Whether it's good old American faire or something exotic from the other side of the planet, I just LOVE experimenting with different foods. I get very excited thinking about trying great new dishes. (If only those pesky calories didn't get in the way!)
So of course, I was very excited about our stay last weekend at the fabulous Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square. You see, a lot of people don't know this, but Cleveland is definitely a foodie town. We have tons of great restaurants including some owned by Iron Chef Michael Symon, and we also have the amazing West Side Market. (This is THE place to head if you're looking for fresh, locally sourced meats, produce, and even ethnic specialties!) So basically, there are very high standards in Cleveland when it comes to eating. We take our food very, very seriously.
The Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square offers not only a beautiful setting for weddings, conferences, parties and more; they also have some very skilled chefs at their on-site restaurant, Encore! who specialize in turning an ordinary meal or occasion into something truly extraordinary.
I'd love to share 2 different experiences I had at the Wyndham. First, there was a wonderful "Happy Hour" especially for the Wyndham Weekends Bloggers. How cool is that?! Then, I'd like to show you how fantastic dinner at their upscale restaurant, Encore! is, even for the kids!
Wyndham Weekends Blogger Happy Hour
When we arrived to this stately hotel, the generous folks at the Wyndham gave us bloggers an amazing welcome reception on the beautiful 3rd floor balcony. We had such a spectacular view of Playhouse Square, Cleveland's iconic Theater District!
The only thing that distracted me from this beautiful city view was the food! We had our own private buffet, which included delicious appetizers including juicy Caribbean Jerk Wings, Hawaiian and Margherita Pizzas, Tri-Colored Tortilla Chips with a tangy, Mango Salsa or Creamy Spinach Dip and more!
We also had a nice bar where the bartenders, Janae and Kimberly, served us cocktails, beer and wine. They even created some specialty "mocktails" for the kids! Sophie and Xander couldn't wait to try these Blue Raspberry and Cotton Candy concoctions.
Take a look at the fabulous greeting the Wyndham gave us in the slideshow below:
We truly got a VIP welcome, and felt like celebrities during our Happy Hour. The food and drinks were full of flavor and creativity, and the staff was out of this world.
We traveled with a 3 year old and a 4 year old. This always comes with some hiccups. One such hiccup occurred during Happy Hour. Sophie accidentally knocked her glass off of the table, and of course, she got soaked and the glass shattered.
Mortified, I started picking up shards of glass and apologizing profusely. The servers, Janae and Kimberly must be mothers themselves, because they came over and helped Sophie get all dried off. They even dried off her feet and her shoes! And they assured me that it was no big deal and not to worry about this snafu. Now THAT is going above and beyond, in my opinion!
Dinner at Encore! at the Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square :
I wasn't sure that the Happy Hour could be outdone. I mean, it WAS pretty darn special. I couldn't have been more wrong, though, because dining at Encore! was even more decadent. (I know...How is that even possible, right?)
When we arrived for our special VIP Blogger Dinner, we were greeted by Brianna, who is probably one of the best servers I have ever met. That's a bold statement, too!
Once we were seated at a cozy corner table, Brianna brought us some ice cold water, our special VIP menu, and took our drink orders. I ordered a Long Island Iced Tea and Dan had a Jack and Coke. (Be prepared...The bartenders here definitely don't skimp on the alcohol!)
As we perused the mouth-watering menus, we enjoyed some hot, freshly baked Ciabatta bread with sweet cream butter. This was ridiculously good, and made me get that warm, fuzzy feeling that occurs when you sink your teeth into true comfort food. There's just something about piping hot bread fresh from the oven...Heavenly.
We had some really tempting entree choices, but Dan and I both ended up choosing the NY Strip Steak. I got mine with sauteed mushrooms and onions while Dan opted for the creamy Bearnaise Sauce. (This is a creamy, buttery wine sauce that can make ANY steak shine.)
After we placed our entree orders, we were presented with a very pretty tossed house salad. These included super-fresh, crisp greens, cucumber, and red, ripe tomatoes. Dan and I both selected the Italian Dressing, and it was absolutely perfect. It had the nice tanginess that one would expect from an Italian dressing, as well as a fresh, herbal flavor.
When our steaks arrived, I was ravenous. My steak, which was ordered Medium-Well, was cooked to absolute perfection. The meat was also perfectly seasoned, melted in my mouth, and didn't need any steak sauce. (No good steak ever needs it!) The sauteed mushrooms and onions complemented the steak beautifully, causing a flavor explosion in my mouth. And I don't even particularly like onions. These were very soft, almost caramelized, making them absolutely to die for. Dan's steak was a perfect Medium-Rare, and he was just as pleased.
The sides were great as well. Along side these oh-so-crave-worthy steaks were buttered asparagus and a mound of whipped potatoes. I am an asparagus freak, so I happily devoured mine as well as Dan's. He's weird and claims to be allergic to most vegetables. Which of course is a load of bull. He just doesn't want to eat his veggies.
The kids ordered grilled ham and cheese with fries. These sandwiches were quite generous in size, and came packed to the brim with oozing, melty, cheesy goodness and hearty slices of flavorful ham. The bread was nice and buttery and perfectly toasted. The kids absolutely LOVED them!
I do want to point out just how amazing Brianna, our server, was. Xander was already running on empty when it was time for dinner. He was being good, thank God, but he was visibly sleepy.
Once the kids' meals came out, Xander accidentally bit his finger while shoving fries into his mouth. Hey, he's only 3. He hasn't perfected his table manners just yet. Anyway, he let out one little cry and said it hurt. Brianna just happened to be nearby, and she came over to him, stooped down to his level and cooed at him a bit. She also came back a few minutes later with a bright blue band-aid that she found especially for Xander. She even put it on his finger herself! Of course he didn't actually NEED a band-aid, but it sure did make him happy! This server definitely went above and beyond, and we tipped her very, very well.
But the most memorable part of dinner aside from the food was what happened next. Like I mentioned, poor Xander was all tuckered out. He actually ended up falling asleep quietly at the dinner table. He started sitting up, and then laid down in his chair. It was so adorable! Of course that meant missing dessert, since we chose to speed things up and get him into one of the comfy beds in our hotel room. I heard from others that the cheesecake was phenomenal.
Check out this slideshow highlighting our dinner at Encore! :
Overall, we were positively delighted with our dining experience at the Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square. The breakfast buffet is amazing, but I think that dinner and special events are where this hotel really shines. They offer a wide variety of inspired dishes that are out-of-this world tasty, and the atmosphere and service couldn't have possibly been any more relaxing and luxurious.
So if you're ever in the Cleveland area, the Wyndham's restaurant, Encore! is definitely worth stopping for.
Locals, if you have any weddings, parties, or special events in the works, let the Wyndham take care of you! Their staff is dedicated to making your special day truly unforgettable.
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I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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