Ren Fair, Honda Grand Prix and Anthony Bourdain

Hi all! Not a lot has been going on, but this past weekend was SUPER busy. Def one of those weekends where you feel like you need a weekend from your weekend 🙂

I got two free tickets to the Bay Area Renaissance Festival through work so Jon and I decided to go early Saturday. I’d never been and was so excited to go!

 

It was definitely an experience. I thought it was so cool how they transform this field into a village. Everyone is in awesome costumes and has their own “character” that they play. We walked around and looked at all the vendors first and got an idea of what kind of shows were going on.

Luckily we ran into a friend who works at the Festival and after we watched her guide the Maypole we got some tips from her on what shows to see.

We ended up watching a band called, Craic, for awhile. They were pretty awesome. They played on bagpipes, pots and pans and even swords!

We also got peaks of a few other shows. I really wanted to see the jousting, but we ended up missing it. Saw a little fencing and comedic play fighting. Jon even threw tomatoes at someone! It was the Renaissance version of a dunk tank. Too bad I didn’t get any pics :/

After walking around for 2 hours we were starting to feel the sun and also wanted lunch. In trying to think of places in Tampa we could go to I remembered hearing awesome things about Boca, a restaurant in Hyde Park. So we headed there. The most exciting thing about this place is that they focus on fresh, organic and local food.

Our service was also excellent. The waitress did a great job of walking us through the menu and was attentive without being too attentive.

We were hungry so we ordered the Nor-Cal flatbread to start with.

Confit pulled chicken, artichokes, goat cheese, spinach and pomegranate syrup. I liked this at first, but the more I ate the more I wasn’t impressed by it. The actual flatbread was awesome and the perfect texture. But the whole dish as a whole was missing something. Jon thought the artichokes got lost and I always prefer having cooked spinach on pizzas/flatbreads…it’s easier to eat and melds better.

Then the sandwiches came…

I got the Grilled Chicken Sammie, which had smoked chicken, house smoked bacon, manchego cheese and fresh fruit preserves. Served on a pretzel bun with a side housemade BBQ potato chips. This was my kind of meal. I loved this sandwich. The mix of cheese, smoked meat and fruit was perfect and I mean really, you can’t go wrong with house smoked bacon. BBQ chips are my fav so I was uber excited about seeing them on the plate. They could have used a bit more flavor, but they were very good.

Jon ended up with The Italian which had prosciutto, soppressata, tomato, burratta, basil and pimento pesto. I had a few bites and this was also excellent.

With full bellies we headed back to St. Pete and had dinner plans with friends. We spent the night hanging out at their place and had an awesome dinner of smoked pork, roasted asparagus and pureed sweet potatoes. I was exhausted and ended up falling asleep while we were watching The Sitter.

Good thing though because the movie seemed terrible. And for those who have seen it…what an odd way to start a movie amiright?

We had another long, but fun day Sunday too. The day started off with going to our friend Karen’s place to watch the Honda Grand Prix. She lives in a condo building downtown that looked over one of the turns.

Best seat in the house!

I’d never seen a car race before so this was very exciting.

I didn’t take any pics of the food spread but my oh my were there delicious choosings! Firehouse deli subs, buffalo chicken dip, bean dip, pizza bread, cupcakes and more. Karen knows how to throw a party and set the mood with the cutest Grand Prix themed decorations.

I made Edible Perspective’s Chocolate Yogurt Dip to contribute and served it alongside fresh strawberries and graham crackers. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but it was more of a grey color than a nice chocolate color. I think because we only had dark cocoa powder so I used that? Jon also thought it wasn’t sweet enough. I ended up adding an additional tbsp of cocoa powder and think I should have added another dollop of maple syrup as well.

After the race we headed home to get changed and ready to head back to Tampa. We were going to see Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert at the Straz Center!

We stayed longer than expected at Karen’s and were trying to get in some rest time before Tampa so we left later than planned. We were hoping to grab a quick dinner and drink at Taps, which is across the street from Straz. It was crazy busy though (and the hostess/server was rude) so we ended up skipping dinner for the time being. We were so hungry after the show and of course it’s 9 p.m. on a Sunday and just about everything is closed. Luckily, our trusty Taco Bus is open 24 hours on Sundays! Thank goodness.

Anyway, we were in the mezzanine for the show so we couldn’t quite make out Anthony’s and Eric’s faces, but it was a good time. They started off by “drilling” one another with questions and then sat down for a conversation about a chef’s responsibility for their patrons. They talked about the importance of sustainability and eating local, which was awesome. Then they took a few audience questions, which was nice. Would have been nicer if people had asked better questions 🙂 Overall it was a fun show, but very much like just watching them on TV.

5K Training Update

I am so pumped for Friday’s race! I have my last run today before the race and my pace has been getting better and better with each run. I had to break down and buy some leg compressor sleeves though, because I was starting to get shin splints pretty bad. Hopefully they really work!

I ran 3 miles Monday without stopping and was so impressed with my body. Following a training schedule has really helped and I’m so proud of what my body has accomplished.

I’ve been using the MapMyRun app during my outside runs and I highly recommend it. Since I don’t have the money to spend on a fancy Garmin I rely on the app to tell me how far I’ve gone and what my average pace is. It’s really helped!

And speaking of outdoor runs…I don’t think I’ll ever be able to run on a treadmill again. I’ve had to a few times since starting to run outside since I don’t always have time to drive downtown for a run. But it is SO boring. Watching TV doesn’t help because I usually can’t hear it and loose interest fast since I don’t know what’s going on.

See you later this week with a race recap!

Do you have a Renaissance Festival in your area? What about restaurants that focus on local food? See any good shows lately?

Alumni Love, Philanthropy and Allergies

Hi all!

Some fun stuff has been happening around here.

I got my hairs chopped off. I’ve had long hair for quite awhile, but with the already hot and humid days we’re experiencing here in FL I couldn’t stand to feel it on my shoulders anymore. So off it went! I love it though…I really needed a change!

This past weekend was Eckerd Alumni Reunion weekend! I didn’t officially register (just didn’t have the $$$) but I was on a planning committee for a few of them and got to go to those those since they were open and free. One being the EC Night Out at The Hurricane on St. Pete Beach. I took my friend/neighbor/coworker Ashley with me who’s also an EC alum and we had a great time. I’m not a fan of The Hurricane’s food so it’s been awhile since I’ve gone there. The event was on the rooftop bar, which I never knew they had. It was so beautiful up there! It was a bit windy, the roof shingles kind of shifted below your feet but the view was wonderful and the drinks cheap.

The next day I planned to do my first outdoor run in my 5K training (I’m a treadmill runner) but because of a late night and cheap wine I didn’t think I had time to drive downtown so I just went down to the gym. Then it was off to EC Beach Day at Ft. Desoto. It was an absolutely gorgeous day out…perfect for the beach. I only stayed an hour, but wish I had brought Jon and my swimsuit to stay and soak up the beautifulness. P.S. BBQ food is so wonderful after a good run 🙂

 

That same night I had a team bonding event for work at a Lightning game. Once again I got to live it up in a suite which was fully catered with tons of yummy food, beer and wine.

Unfortunately, they lost, but it was a fun time all the same. After the game Ashley and I grabbed Jon and another work friend to keep the night going. We ended up at the new Wood Fired Pizza next to World of Beer downtown. I tried a few bites of the bianca pizza they got. The thin crust was really good. The pizza itself wasn’t too exciting, but I’d definitely give it another try. It’s pricey too! But they had a lot of cool sounding toppings including sirachi!

Sunday was a perfect day of relaxation that started with yoga at The Dali. It was a nice class with a great instructor. The atmosphere was neat, but since it’s not an actual yoga studio the space lacked a bit of the peacefulness that normally comes with a studio. Like people walking in during class and the sound of the cafe kitchen in the background. Still a nice experience though.

After yoga, Lora and I went to brunch at Cassis. I had a bellini with the smoked slamon BLT, which I’ve gotten before and it was just as good if not better. Cassis is one of my fav brunch places. It’s consistent and the atmosphere is so bright, airy and casual.

I’m a new member of the St. Pete Young Professionals, which is a part of the St. Pete Chamber, and they had a First Annual Philanthropy Fair yesterday. I ended up being “that person” who wore jeans and everyone else was in business casual…oops. Luckily, I’m not easily embarassed 🙂 What a great event though! As if I need another thing on my plate (I just want to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way). It was fun learning more about non-profits that I knew about and learning about ones I’d never heard about. I really do love volunteering. It makes you feel good while at the same time giving you added life/work experience. 

I did my first outdoor run on Tuesday, which actually went a lot better than I thought. 2.5 miles in 27:42 at a 11:13 pace. Not too shabby for someone who doesn’t run regularly right? I’m right about where I want to be. I know I’m not going to “win” the race. I just want the experience! Unfortunately, this week I’ve had post nasal drip, a scratchy throat and a hacking cough so that did not make my run fun. I went to a doctor yesterday though and found out I just have allergies. I never have allergies! Thanks loads of oak pollen flying around everywhere! I guess it’s really high this year so people who don’t even normally get allergies are getting them. Crazy.

Do you have really bad allergies right now? Do you like volunteering?