Every year Cleveland Magazine picks the 25 best restaurants in Cleveland to feature in their May edition. To coincide with that, they throw the “Silver Spoon Awards, benefiting The Arthritis Foundation. This is a mashup of highlight the best places in The Land to get food and raise money for a great organization. As somebody who knows so many people who suffer from Arthritis and somebody who loves food, I wanted to support this event in every way possible!
“The Silver Spoon Challenge”
This was a term I had heard from a few different people and it perked up my ears. Try food from every establishment there. I thought to myself: “it’s only 25 places, small bites, easy peasy”. Well, I didn’t realize that all of the nominees were also there too, so the total went up to about 45 places. Even then I felt that I wanted to eat one thing from every Cleveland area restaurant around. After trying some not-so-small portions from about 10 different places, I was packed. We did however hit some of the places that we had wanted to try for a long time, so we still call the night a success.
Chopped // Cocktail Style
Most of the people I know have at least watched one episode of ‘Chopped’ at one point or another. For those unfamiliar, each chef gets a base ingredient and a few secret ingredients. They then get a set amount of time to create a culinary masterpiece that will be judged by food critics and other chefs. Key words here: secret ingredients. The masterminds behind The Silver Spoon Awards decided to do a similar challenge, but with cocktails. They chose four bartenders that were in the VIP Lounge and get the contest started. The base ingredient was Woodford Bourbon and the secret ingredients were Chinese 5 Spice, fresh strawberries and cocoa powder. The results were amazing, each drink tasted different but all had similar tones. Ultimately our favorite bartender, Andy from Porco Lounge & Tiki Room, won the contest. The parrot cups and toasted cinnamon didn’t hurt things.
Silent Auction Jackpot
This event had over 1,000 people at it and featured some of the best silent auction items I’ve ever seen at an event. It was packed full of vacations, signed sports memorabilia, gift cards, dining experiences and so much more. These are all great things, but where I think they truly delivered was the use of a mobile site for online bidding. You could watch bids come in, keep an eye on what you wanted and throw bids out there quickly and easily. They partnered with the host, Hilton Cleveland Downtown, so they could use a private, stable WiFi connection for all of their attendees. The other brilliant part of using online bidding is that they actually opened it up in advance of the event, allowing the bids to start working before the event even began. From what I understand they were able to hit their auction goals pretty quickly, raising great money for The Arthritis Foundation through the rest of the night.
If you’re looking to try amazing restaurants, meet some new people, try some new food and drinks, this is the place you have to be. We talked with so many people that had been to this event ten, fifteen, even twenty years in a row. To me this speaks volumes as to how great of an event it is, if you’re ever able to attend we certainly suggest it! My only bit of feedback to the organizers is that having it on a Wednesday night made for a VERY tough Thursday morning :). It was worth it.