Brave, Macarons and Cabaret

Happy Monday!

I don’t mind paying the extra dollar for Yogi tea just for the inspirational quotes 🙂

It was a grand weekend that started off with a lovely girls night. Dinner at BellaBrava with great food and fun conversation. I was hungry and dove right in to my food so no photos. I had a house salad, the chicken marsala with mashed potatoes and green beans and a glass of house chianti. Perfection. I pretty much licked my plate. BellaBrava never disappoints. And we kept running into people we knew! It was the place to be.

After dinner we started walking over to BayWalk for a movie, but quickly made a pit stop at Le Macaron, which I’ve been dying to try.

It is too cute in there. Bright and elegant. And the man serving us was French and very nice in helping us girls choose the perfect after dinner treat.

There were so many macaron choices to choose from. Everything from indulgent to unique. And they serve Norman Love chocolates! They also have gelato, but I was too distracted by macaron choices to give the flavors a look.

I went with a coconut macaron and a hazelnut chocolate. Both were pretty divine. This is only the second or third macaron I’ve had in my life so I don’t have much to compare to, but it was a great mix of soft and crunchy with lots of coconut flavor. The chocolate was thick and had lots of tiny hazelnut pieces strewn throughout.

After our treat we went to see Brave!

(Source)

Yes, we love cartoons. What of it? This has been out for a while so there weren’t many people in the theater. It was a great movie though. Not really what I expected, but it had a great message and I loved the characters.

Saturday after some time with mom Jon and I went to welcome back our friends from France and hang with them for a bit. Then it was off to Alesia for dinner with fellow St. Pete Shakes member and friend, Rob and his wife, who were gracious enough to share two extra tickets to Cabaret with us. Dinner was great, but the portion size was a bit skimpy. Jon and I got the same thing…the short ribs with potatoes au gratin. He wasn’t too thrilled with it, but I thought the flavor was pretty good and I loved their plate presentation.

After dinner we headed over to freeFall Theater for Cabaret. Such an excellent show, I’m so glad we had the chance to see it. I’ll be writing about it for ARTICULATE so keep an eye on that for more details on the show.

Sunday Jon’s sister Alyson was in town visiting a friend so she stopped by to see us. We took her to Pho Quyen, our fav place to get Vietnamese. The rest of the day was pretty lazy. For dinner, Jon made some yummy and healthy turkey burgers.

Lots of leftovers!

It’s going to be a quiet week around here…at least for now 🙂

Dinner and a Movie

Monday was a pretty quiet day. It’s usually our MadMen night, but now it’s over and we have nothing to watch! We need a new TV show series to keep us busy while we wait for Dexter to come back (which isn’t until September!) Any suggestions?

Tuesday we picked Jon’s parents up from the airport and brought them back to our place for dinner before they had to drive back home. They had spent a week in New Orleans so had lots of fun stories to relay. I’ve never really had an urge to go to New Orleans, but they made it sound fantastic, fun and full of history and culture!

I love intimate dinners.

Jon made a wonderful stuffed chicken with goat cheese and herbs and prosciutto. Yum! Served with a simple angel hair pasta tossed in olive oil and herbs. And roasted broccoli for something green.

Last night I had a date with my mom. We went to dinner at BellaBrava. She’s a vegetarian and they were nice enough to make her spaghetti with tomato sauce and she loved it. They’re very accommodating!

I had the Pasta Brava, which was penne in a cream sauce with peas, ham, crimini mushrooms and chicken.

I’d never dried this dish before, but I’d definitely order it again. I tend to stay away from cream sauces when I eat out because they tend to be very heavy. But as you can see the sauce was nice and light. It satisfied my craving for creamy comfort food without it bogging me down. It was very good…I loved the mixture of all the ingredients. I may have preferred pancetta instead of ham though.

I must also note that my mom tried their sangria and I had a sip. It’s one of the best I’ve tasted! Nice and light, not to fruity and of course very refreshing. Noted!

After dinner we went to the movies to see Bernie.

(Source)

I hadn’t heard of this movie until my mom mentioned it and she wanted to see because she likes Jack Black and it was filmed in Texas (where she’s from).

It was a dark comedy, which is a movie genre I really like. And it was based on a true story. It was really a great movie. Not really laugh out loud funny…more humorous. But the acting was fantastic and the storyline interesting. Jack Black plays Bernie Tiede, who is supposed to be the nicest guy to ever walk the planet. He develops a relationship with an older woman who ends up being very possessive of him. One day he looses it and kills her. He then proceeds to lie to the entire town and pretend she’s still alive. I haven’t seen Jack Black in any serious roles, but I have to say I think I like him better in movies like this rather than the silly comedies he does. Matthew McConaughey was also quite good. This was the second best movie I’ve seen him in besides Dazed and Confused. (I dislike him in all the romantic comedies he’s done.)They also had a lot of interviews with the townspeople of the small town where this happened. I’d definitely recommend seeing it!

We’re off to Key West for the weekend…although it seems like there’s a possible tropical storm heading that way…still looking forward to a fun weekend though. Rain or shine! Crossing my fingers for shine.

Too Darn Hot

I had a lovely run in downtown St. Pete on Monday.

Except…

it’s getting a bit too hot to run in FL. (If you still look pretty after a workout you’re not doing it right.)

I think this may be the last month where I can run outside after work.

I love nights where there’s leftovers and no one has to worry about cooking/picking up dinner.

This is that yummy chicken quinoa stew/chili I was telling you all about that Jon made. Topped with some plain greek yogurt to cut some of the spiciness. Tastes just like sour cream!

This week has been going sooo slow…my work days seem like 2 rolled into 1. After an espicially long work day yesterday I rushed home to shower and change before meeting with Julie at BellaBrava. Julie and I are chair and asst. chair of the Causeway/Publications committee this year in Junior League. Each year is kind of bitter sweet in JL. I’m sad to leave my old committee and all the wonderful people I worked with this past year, but at the same time I can’t wait for the new year to start. It just means new people to work with and to get to know. And also new skills to learn and hone. So far I think it’s going to be a great year!

Anywho there was a New Member meeting last night where we were going to talk about what our committee does so Julie and I met up beforehand to talk about our roles.

We munched on some hummus and toasted pita, as well as the calamari. Both were very good! BellaBrava is becoming a favorite meet up place of mine. Always consistently good.

The meeting was at the St. Pete Museum of History, which I had never been to.

Hello!

I didn’t get to look around, but it seemed like a cool, educational place!

When I got home Jon was putting the finishing touches on a quick chicken stiry fry with rice. We’re not too fond of this brand of rice, but he marinated the chicken and it tasted wonderful! Plus lots of veggies 🙂

We caught up on the past two episodes of Mad Men last night. Anyone else watch that show? We love it and this season is really getting good!

Hope everyone is having a good week so far 🙂

Diana Ross, Italian Night and Mexican Birthday

Hey all!

Last week was pretty uneventful besides me being productive on a freelance project. It involves interviewing local business owners and I’ve been loving getting to know a bunch of them. It’s so fulfilling to see what a tight knit and caring community we have here in St. Pete.

Anywho, my mom’s birthday was yesterday, but we celebrated last Friday. I took her for a yummy dinner at BellaBrava and to see Diana Ross at Mahaffey. BellaBrava is really growing on me. I never disliked it, but wrote it off as whatever American Italian food. But the service is always great there and the food is consistently good. Unfortunately we got seated next to a large party, but they were packed so no matter where we were it would have been noisy. That’s their biggest downfall. My mom got the Eggplant Parmesan Rollatini and I got the Chicken Picatta with mashed potatoes and green beans. Very good and a nice alernative to pasta. I also had a glass on Pinot Blanc, which I’d never heard of before, but it was very crisp and refreshing.

Diana Ross put on a great performance. The only thing I didn’t like was that she didn’t really talk to the audience like most performers. She didn’t even give a “thank you and goodnight”. Just did her last song and walked off. At first we thought she’d come back to do an encore like most performers, but when the lights came up and people started clearing the stage we knew that wasn’t going to happen. This was my first time seeing a show at the Mahaffey though and I loved it. Although our seats were in the second to last row we had a clear, full view. And the theater itself is very pleasing to the eye. Not a bad price for drinks either!

 

It was only 9:30 when the show got out so we headed to Old Farmer’s Creamery for some ice cream. This place is SO good and my go-to place for real ice cream. I tend to always get Superman (I’m such a five year old) but I was craving chocolate so I got Rocky Road. Mmm…they use real mini marshmallows too! I also always get a kids size. It’s the perfect size…you feel like you’ve satisfied a craving without feeling gross and that “oh my god did I just ALL of that?” feeling.

The next day I did a Junior League volunteer shift. Afterwards I called my friend Lora, who I needed to pick some stuff up from. Turns out she was out with some other lovely ladies having an afternoon cocktail so I decided to join them.

 

Yummy sangria overlooking the water at Fresco’s. Perfection. Except for the $9 value of that drink (!!!)

Later that night we headed to our friend Jan’s for Italian night. There was tons of pasta, chicken parm, turkey meatballs and wine. We were supposed to pop in a movie, but ended up chatting all night. How is it that always happens 😉

Sunday we were supposed to meet up with an out-of-town friend for brunch, but she ended up not being able to make it. We headed to brunch anyway! Red Mesa Cantina, another consistent fav.

We started with the dip trio which has guac, queso and black bean dip. I tried their new Duck torta, which was good but not as good as the roasted pork. I’ll never get enough of those yuca fries though!

 

Enjoyed with a margarita 🙂

For dinner that night I got to taste Jon’s Italian Wedding soup. 

I get a free turkey from work every Thanksgiving and it finally made its way out of the freezer. Earlier in the week he made BBQ turkey legs…

…with a sweet potato and kale with bacon. I know, I’m lucky. Then the turkey breasts got grinded for turkey meatballs and the bones went into a pot to make stock. Quite a lot of meals from one turkey!

Fast forward to yesterday, my mom’s actual birthday. We had her over and Jon made vegetable enchiladas with rice and refried beans. I love how I’ll set out to make something, he’ll say “want me to help?” and he’ll end up doing all the work…although we wouldn’t have been eating until nine if I had cooked 🙂

Mexican feast!

Plus carrot cake for dessert. A tip for getting rid of uneatten birthday cake? Bring it to work the next day 🙂

March is shaping up to be quite the exciting month. For one thing I signed up for my very first 5K!!! I’m so pumped and excited. I’ve been wanting to do one for a while now and finally sucked it up and registered. Training has been going well but I haven’t run a full 2 miles yet let alone 3. My goal is to run the whole time without stopping. It’s the Robinson Perseve Twilight 5K, which sounds really neat and pretty. Plus there’s a shindig afterwards.

What fun and exciting things do you have planned for March?

Elvis, Yoga and Birthdays

Needless to say none of the fun things I had planned for the weekend ended up happening. However, other fun things did ensue!

After I got home from work Friday, Jon asked if I wanted to go over to our friend’s house for dinner. We picked up some dinner stuff and headed over for a yummy dinner of BBQ chicken, potato salad and marinated veggies. They have a 6 year old daughter who is adorable and ran around in a Ninja Turtle costume for most of the time we were there. All I can say is…it’s going to be a looong time before we have kids 😉 Love her, but wow what energy! After dinner (it was around 10) I was getting sleepy so I went to lay down on their couch. We all started watching a movie and I promptly passed out.

Saturday was spent doing some errands with my mom. Then she mentioned that there was going to be an Elvis impersernator at The Palladium that night. I dig Elvis and I know my mom does to so we went! This guy was pretty impressive. He went for about 3 hours with only a 15 minute intermission! He sang just like Elvis and some people who had seen Elvis in person said they thought he was better than Elvis! The guy was really entertaining.

It was past 11 when I got home and I already had my jammies on when Jon’s brother (who had come up to St. Pete for the night with some friends) called us to come out and join them for drinks. We quickly rallied and headed downtown. After a few of my fav drinks at Mandarin Hide (The Brooklyn and the Moscow Mule…get ’em) we headed next door to The Garden and got our dance on. It has been agggeees since I went out dancing. I’m much more of a chill at home or a quiet courtyard type of gal, but given the right atmosphere and the right people I let my fun side come out 🙂 Especially when the DJ is playing everything from “Runaround Sue” to “Footloose” to Katy Perry to Run DMC. It was a crazy awesome mix.

I was supposed to meet my friend Lora for yoga the next day. When my head didn’t hit the pillow until 4 a.m. I was certain that that  was not going to happen. However, my eyes opened close to 10 a.m. and texts from Lora motivated me to get up. Before I knew it I was in my yoga clothes heading to Yogani in Tampa. So glad I got up! The class was great and just what I needed. I always have a hard time going to yoga…I have a very active brain and it’s hard for me to relax so I’m always afraid I’ll get bored. But then I end up feeling so refreshed. It has definitely been awhile since I’d been though…my arms were sore Monday! After yoga we had lunch at Whole Foods and I did some grocery shopping. I really need someone to shop with me at health food stores…I just want to buy everything! They call it Whole Paycheck for a reason.

We had an amazingly healthy and simple meal that night. Sockeye salmon (so pretty!), wild rice (WF brand is bleh) and asapargus.

Jon also made some pretty awesome soup for us to have throughout the week. Cannelli beans, bacon, greens, tomatos and shredded chicken. Mmm mmm good.

 

This week hasn’t been too exciting so far. Jon and I are not really celebrators of Valentine’s Day. We did have my mom over for dinner though. We made homemade butternut squash ravioli with a browned butter sage sauce. Um. Yeah. Delish. And of course some red wine and chocolates. I’d never been to Schakolad before and was excited to try these babies. They were very good, but Jon and I both agreed that we liked Sweet Divas better.

  

Jon and my mom also humored me by watching Glee with me. Well, Jon was on the internet the whole time and my mom kept trying to talk to me, but ya know. I’ve missed a few episodes and I clearly need to catch up on some of the stories!

Yesterday was my friend Lora’s birthday. A bunch of us went to BellaBrava for her birthday dinner. It was a fun time filled with good food, wine and conversation. I knew exactly what I was in the mood for too so ordering was easy. A glass of Chianti, Cesar Salad and Spaghetti and Meatballs please. Their cesar is very good with nice buttery crutons. The spaghetti was better last time I had it, but it didn’t stop me from devouring practicially the whole dish.

Tonight should be a quiet night. Lora’s having her actual party tomorrow night so I’ll be prepping some apps and outfit planning (her party is Bond themed!). I have a work event all day Saturday and nothing planned Sunday so we’ll see where the day takes us!

Salad Galore

Hey all, long time no blog…let’s get right into it…

My First Official Salad Beast

I love me some salad. And sometimes I’m in the mood for them more than other times, and this week seemed to be one of those times. Its also something that is so easy to throw together after a long, hard day. So earlier this week, when The Chef was working late and I was too tired to even think I decided to throw a salad together. Usually, I’ll just toss together the standard, tomatoes, cucumbers, meat and cheese, but this time was different…

It was pretty rad. I forgot how good canned tuna is!

New Things I’ve Tried This Week

 

Wasn’t too crazy about these at first, but they grew on me. A nice, chocolatey dessert when you don’t want to down 100s of calories. These are only 60 calories a pop and you’re getting some fruit intake too 🙂

The Chef wasn’t big on these, but I really dig ’em. They’re nice, bite size, crunchy, nutty bits with a slight cocoa flavor. I find them a bit addicting actually.

Not So Antipasti

The reason you haven’t been hearing from me lately is that we’ve been busy getting my mom’s condo fixed up before she moves down here. The past two weekends we’ve been cleaning, painting and other odds and ends. The Chef’s dad has come up to help us as well, which has been a huge help. Also, with these weekends have come takeout. Last night we took out from Westshore Pizza, which isn’t our fav place, but it’s just around the corner.

My plate

White pizza with ricotta and spinach…not terrible, but a bit salty. We also got the strombolli, which had TONS of mozzarella and some ham. I liked that better than the pizza. And for some green we got the antipasti salad, which…was…not really antipasti…unless you normally put things such as tuna and brocolli in antipasti? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Has anyone else ever heard of this? Cause we certainly haven’t.

A Few Notable Dinners (sorry no pics)

Tried the duck quesidillas at Red Mesa Cantina. Came with pineapple (I question it’s freshness) and a nice spicey sauce that had a smooth heat. Great flavor and perfect if you aren’t that hungry (I wasn’t obviously).

Went to Bella Brava for the second time since they moved into their new space. This time it was with The Chef, who is a harder critic. He got the Bolognese, which he wasn’t thrilled with…mostly because his is better 🙂 I got this baked rigatoni dish with sausage, which sounded like perfect, cheesy comfort food. Little did I know it was going to come out encased in a GIANT pizza dough shield. I really wish I had taken a pic of this, but I wanted to deflate it as quick as possible so as not to draw attention. Yes, it was THAT bad. It was a pretty simple dish and I dug it.

These next few days are gonna fly as The Chef and I prepare for our trip to Portland! Can’t wait. Sorry to say, but it will probably be another long period in between blogs. Will try and update if I can…maybe with some quick photo posts 🙂 Have a great week everyone!