breakfast with santa, plus how you can play santa

1st Birthday 161When I was a little girl, my parents would take me and my siblings downtown at Christmas to see Santa and Mr. Jingeling at Higbee’s followed by lunch at Silver Grille then a cookie from Hough Bakery. Each year would warrant us getting all dressed up and piling in the station wagon where I could barely contain my excitement. Santa. Santa Claus was here and I was just a quick car ride away from the most magical place.

Soon downtown started to change as did my family tree. The holidays were different, but the spirit was always present. I’ll always cherish those memories and the traditions of my past. Now that I have a family of my own, I look forward to creating new holiday memories and Christmas traditions with Jamie, Natalie and whomever else joins our family down the road.

We started one tradition a few years ago – cutting down our tree at Whispering Pines. This past Sunday, was the start of another. Breakfast with Santa at Fahrenheit.

Now in its fifth year, this brunch has a cult following of sorts. And now I know why. When Rocco Whalen does something, he goes all out. This is not just your typical breakfast with Santa (a very authentic-looking Santa at that). No, that’s not good1st Birthday 170 enough for Rocco. There were really impressive reindeer (my niece couldn’t tell if it was Dancer or Prancer, but definitely not Rudolph), Shrek, Mickey Mouse, Elmo, Cookie Monster, ornament coloring, an elf and a very cool Santa Witness shirt (playing off Lebron’s shirt) for each child – even infants. The restaurant itself was cozy and warm and decorated beautifully. We knew instantly – all 16 of us, that this was the first year of our new tradition. I’m excited to bring Natalie back year after year and watch her take in all the wonder and magic that comes with this time of the year.

And if all that holiday hoopla isn’t enough to tickle your mistletoe, did I mention just how good the food was – especially considering it was a buffet, which I normally avoid. My favorites were the chicken and waffles, variety of cheeses and banana foster pancakes. The bloody mary and mimosas were good, too.

I’ve always been a huge Rocco supporter. I adore him. He’s genuine, ridiculously friendly, almost outshines me with his passion for Cleveland (ok, maybe it’s a tie) and, of course, is an amazing chef. And after our experience on Sunday, I’m an even bigger fan. It was really well organized, too, and instantly put me in the holiday spirit. For as long as Rocco hosts it, we’ll be there.

An Opportunity to Play Santa

I don’t like forward e-mails. 99% of the time I automatically delete them. But the one I received this morning I stopped to read. And one hour later I was at the store picking up a Christmas card for Nate Elfrink, a 7-year-old boy from West Jefferson, Ohio who is dying from cancer and about to celebrate his last Christmas. Through the help of his mom, Nate is hoping to receive 1 million Christmas cards due to the pure joy he has in opening them. Please help bring a smile to his face and make his wish come true. Cards can be sent to: Nate Elfrink // 2415 Taylor-Blair Road // West Jefferson OH 43162.

You can read more about this amazing little boy here.


  1. Julie
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    This is a wonderful cause… but please note that as of today, Nathan’s parents have requested that no more cards be sent to him (see this article )

    “The family asks that instead of sending cards, people consider making donations in Nate’s name that could help other children. They suggest supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the hospice program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, both of which have provided Nate with care.”

  2. Posted December 18, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    How fun! This does not surprise me, knowing Rocco. He always does an amazing job and gives 110% in what he does. I agree that his buffets are some of the only ones I will happily enjoy!