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Friends and family, food and brews, stars and stripes. These are a few of my favorite things, and thank goodness for a long weekend bringing them all together. I might not have had the most elaborate Fourth of July weekend, but I got to see a bunch of the people I love. And I ate — a lot.

After the New York Times shared “36 Hours in Cleveland,” a quick list of what to do, see and eat in anticipation of the upcoming Republican National Convention, my friend living in New York immediately sent me a text: “What is spice kitchen and bar???”

I’ve already professed my admiration for Spice Kitchen + Bar here and here, so heading back to the Gordon Square spot once she got into town was a no-brainer. On Sunday, I scarfed down hummus and other Lebanese delights at Taza in the Warehouse District.

Monday, my family was invited to a party at Nuevo, a modern Mexican restaurant opening at the end of July next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The guacamole was creamy and the hibiscus margarita was a taste of the tropics. The weather, not so much.

I can’t wait to return to Nuevo (the start of Cleveland’s plans to develop the lakefront, finally!!) on a perfect, blue day. I’m certain it’ll be one of the best sunset-viewing spots in town.

How did you spend the holiday weekend? And of course I have to ask, what did you wear?!

Pictured top row: Terminal Tower; cheese plate at Spice
Middle: Heinen’s grocery store downtown
Bottom: North Coast Harbor; margaritas at Nuevo; Rock Hall

Photos by Hallie Rybka