TASTE TESTER-Naya Bistro & Lounge

In honor of Earth Week, I wanted to sample some local restaurants who use organic ingredients or ingredients grown locally. I came across an amazing little spot in Highland Heights right off of Route 271 called Naya Bistro & Lounge.

The restaurant was chic and contemporary.  Definitely a great place to take a date for dinner.  I arrived during Happy Hour and was surprised at how great the specials were. $5 glasses of house wine, $5 appetizer menu, and $7 martinis.

The staff was incredibly personable and friendly. I even made friends with the  bartender Diane. She informed me that Naya is home to a variety of organic wines and that some of their cocktails are even made with organic liqueur.   I had the opportunity to taste a new signature cocktail of theirs that contains organic cucumber liqueur.  It was one of the most refreshing things I have ever tasted. Definitely a concoction fit for a warm summer day.

Diane had also made a martini called a Patriot Martini that was red white and blue. The colors separated perfectly and the cocktail gave me drink ideas for this summer’s Fourth of July festivities.

The Happy Hour menu had a wonderful selection ranging from chicken egg rolls to pita pizzas. I ordered the Margherita Pita Pizza, Potato Skins and Chicken Egg Roll.  The portions were a good size; just enough to share with a friend but not so much that you couldn’t eat it all yourself.  The essence of the food really spoke to the freshness of the ingredients. The pizza tasted of fresh tomatoes.  It’s proof that organic and locally grown ingredients make a difference in the quality and flavor of the food.

The potato skins also had a unique twist.  Instead of using traditional russet potatoes, Naya uses red skin potatoes. I enjoyed the consistency of the red skin potatoes better because the potatoes did not overwhelm the other ingredients. Sometimes russet potatoes can be thick and overbearing. Naya has really mastered the perfect balance of potato, bacon, sour cream and green onions. The dish was served on a plate of greens and with a cheese sauce, which added to the presentation.

The chicken egg roll was hearty and contained chicken, cabbage, red peppers, and sesame oil. They were served with a sweet and sour sauce.  If I was blindfolded, I would have thought that these egg rolls were made fresh from an Asian restaurant. It really took my taste buds to a trip Far East.

 

I am so glad I stumbled across Naya. Not only was the food delicious, but the staff was a joy to be around. It will definitely be a place that I visit again and again, especially during the Happy Hour (Monday through Thursday from 4pm to 7pm).  If I were to give this experience a grade, it would definitely get an A.  It is a chic, trendy restaurant that doesn’t give you a stuffy feeling.  It was a great atmosphere with a great staff and great cuisine to match.

Naya Bistro & Lounge

6323 Wilson Mills Road (Right near RT 271)

Highland Heights, OH 44143

Spring Looks for Ladies!

ATTENTION LADIES!

Even though the weather may be cold, it doesn’t mean you can’t look hot.

The selection for women at NEXT Beachwood this season will have you right on trend and turning heads.

Big trends for the spring include stripes, neon colors, metallics, and one-piece garments.

As you can see below, NEXT has a variety of styles to choose from.

Whether it’s rompers, dresses, or neon-colored tops you are looking for, come to NEXT Beachwood for what’s in this Spring.

Special thanks to Ariel Charlotte for modeling these looks.

Tuesday? or Shoesday? MEN

Whether you’re in the streets, causing a scene or eating five-star cuisine, NEXT Beachwood has shoes for every occasion.

It doesn’t matter if you have a classic look or want an original style, NEX T has you covered.

Get familiar with these shoes for men while they are still available.  Great shoes like these usually don’t last long.

LDRS Launch Recap

We had our friends from LDRS in Chicago come down for the launch of their Spring ’11 collection exclusively at Next. Tensions may have flared over the proceedings of NBA playoff basketball, but everyone kicked back on the raining Saturday afternoon and witnessed the Bulls come back against the Pacers on the livestream. Enough about that, if you missed out, take a look at the pics.

… and remember what you need: gear, girls, goodtimes.

LDRS1354 now available at Next Coventry and Beachwood.

LOCAL ARTIST SPOTLIGHT-DJ $crilla

Cleveland is the Rock ‘n’ Roll capital of the world so it’s no surprise when it comes to local musical talent.  I sat down recently with Cleveland rapper DJ $crilla.  Not only is he an Ohio Hip Hop Award winner, but his attitude on music, style, and life make him an extraordinary emcee and person. His sophomore album titled $eamless dropped April 5 and is available on iTunes.  I got a chance to speak with him about his music, his career, and the man himself.

So $crilla…

1.) Your new album is titled $eamless, is there any significance to the title?

$crilla: $eamless is a musical experience from beginning to end. It represents both my love for rapping and dj’ing. I decided to put a lot of elements of DJ’ing into this album, and you’ll be able to hear that in the music. I called the album $eamless because the album has no gaps/deadspace. Each song is transitioned and mixed into the next.

2.) Your debut album “Me, Myself & I” won Album of the Year at the Ohio Hip Hop Awards. With such a successful debut, how did you approach your sophomore follow-up?

$crilla: It took about a year and a half to complete $eamless. It was really important for me to take my time and try to come with a strong follow-up to Me, Myself and I. However, I wanted to make sure I didn’t try and recreate another Me, Myself, and I. I’m at a different place in my life, different challenges and obstacles. I wanted this album to reflect on the ups and downs I went through, yet express them in a new creative way.

3) Who is your musical inspiration?

$crilla: Musically, I’m inspired by passionate and talented people. I have a wide variety of people I listen to for inspiration. 2pac, Lupe Fiasco, Coldplay, Linkin Park, and Stevie Wonder are a few. B.oB. is another artist I think is super talented, I want to see him be as big as Jay-Z.

4.) Who inspires you in life?

$crilla: I’m inspired by my family of course. They have overcome some challenges, and that makes me work harder. I’m also inspired by Cris Carter (former Minnesota Vikings WR). He turned his life around when it was in turmoil, to become a truly great person. I had the chance to meet him and he was even cooler than I had imagined.

5.) What is your favorite cocktail?

$crilla: I don’t really have a favorite cocktail. But my favorite drink right now is an Arnold Palmer.

6.) What’s the best kept secret about Cleveland?

$crilla: Best Kept Secret about Cleveland? New Heights Music Group!

7.) Who would you love to record a track with?

$crilla: I’d love to record B.o.B, Bun B, Ludacris, or John Legend.


8.) What is the best lesson you’ve learned about the rap game?

$crilla: The best lesson I have learned is you can’t please everyone. A lot of people will try and change you, and you just need to remain true to who YOU are. So what if some people don’t like you, don’t let that stop you.

9.) What advice would you give to aspiring emcees?

$crilla: Invest in yourself. Don’t be afraid to lose money, because most artists do. I’d also advise people to not half-ass things. I understand everyone has a different financial situation, but really invest in your music and presentation. If you hand someone a CD that looks like you just burned the CD and wrote your name with a sharpie….Someone will be less likely to listen to it.

10.) Who are the Top 5 artists in your ears right now?

$crilla: 5 artists I’m listening to currently  (in no particular order) B.o.B., Big K.R.I.T.T., Lupe Fiasco, AZ, and of course Michael Jackson. A mix of old and new!

11.) What is your favorite place to travel to?

$crilla: My favorite place to travel to is Tampa, FL. I just seem to always have a great time everytime I visit, so that is my #1. San Diego is a close second.

12.) What is one thing you want to achieve before you leave this earth?

$crilla: I’d like to have a family, raise some children and put them through college. Simple, yet fulfilling.

13.) What can we expect from DJ $crilla in the future?

$crilla: You can expect more creativity, and just all-around good music. I’m going to stay focused, and try to be the best person I can along the journey.

Thanks again to DJ $crilla for a great interview. Make sure you follow him on twitter @DJScrilla and @NewHeightsMusic.

Here’s a track from $eamless called “Erotic.” Take a listen!

Movie Review-Scream 4

When I watched the original Scream, it scared me to the core.  Granted, I was a lot younger then, but the concept of the ghost-face killer stalking innocent people and toying with them over their telephones seemed very plausible.   There was no magic, no ghosts, no monsters, no witchcraft and this made the story very believable.

When I had heard that the horror movie franchise was being revived for Scream 4, I was curious to see how director Wes Craven would continue the tale of Sydney Prescott after so many years had passed.

Being a fan of the Scream movies, I was entertained. The story contained some funny moments and a great cast of characters. The list of actors who make cameos include Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, and many others.  However, the story’s comparisons to the original movie made it somewhat predictable and I did not find myself scared at all.

The story follows Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) as she returns to her hometown of Woodsboro years after she fell victim to the ghost-face killer.  Sydney makes the trip to Woodsboro to promote a book she wrote about moving past the devastating events in her life.  As soon as she returns, the ghost-face killer reignites his killing spree. The blend of classic Scream characters like Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and  Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette) with the new faces Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) and Sidney’s cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) help to bring the past chapters up to present day.   I also enjoyed the integration of current technologies in the story as well. The ghost-face killer is using web technology to stream the murders live online as they occur. This was an interesting concept to include which I liked.  The higher use of cellular phones as opposed to landlines made it interesting and updated as well.

The story tried hard to tie this installment in with the past chapters. These exhausted references to the past made the story somewhat predictable. It also made the story feel like it was just a tired remake. It felt unoriginal.  I also did not care for how the movie ended.  It seemed a bit over-dramatic and not very feasible. It had me leaving the theater disappointed.

My personal grade for this movie would be a +C. I was entertained throughout the film and it kept me guessing the identity of the killer. I think the fans of the entire Scream franchise will enjoy it because they get to see their favorite characters revive their roles.  However, my biggest complaint about the movie is that it did not affect me like the original. I was expecting to be scared. A horror movie should leave me scared. This movie did not. I did not find myself jumping out of my seat  or checking underneath my bed before going to sleep.  The predictability of the story made it less realistic to me.  So my opinion of Scream 4? I hope they Scream no more.

I Heart Dilla

This is long overdue and I apologize for not getting these pictures up sooner, but better late than never and what could be better than our event with Jake AKA DJ Tuggle, Ma Dukes, and the JDilla Foundation. This is the second year Jake put on this event and based on his passion I expect it to continue.

We had killer beats, friends, donuts, and screenprinting all day, check the rest of the pics after the jump.
Continue reading “I Heart Dilla”

Stalley | Coming 4.24.11 To Grog Shop

Stalley is touring in support of his new mixtape “LINCOLN WAY NIGHTS” which I have not stopped listening to since it dropped. I cannot stress how great this mix it; it’s more of an album than most other MC’s ever put out. Click the picture above to download the mixtape for free.

Great Lakes Winter Surfing

Keep in mind it almost felt like Summer the other day, but just a month ago we had snow all over the place. I stumbled upon this video of Jamie Sterling surfing in Lake Superior. I know it’s not Lake Erie, but I know some cats definitely get out there and ride Erie waves when they’re large enough. If you’re a Great Lakes surfer, hit me up, I’d love to interview you: Dave@RuleofNext.com.