German Food, Rocky Horror and Mother’s Day

Hi all! Hope everybody had a wonderful Mother’s Day! I was glad to have my mom with me here in Florida this year to celebrate.

But before we get to Mother’s Day festivities let’s back it up to Friday…

After a long day at work (seriously Friday took forever to come last week) Jon and I were pretty pooped and didn’t get to thinking about dinner until about 8 p.m. We ended up at Cafe Vienna, which is our go-to place for some awesome Austrian food.

I still get a kick out of the glasses they serve their wine it. So cute!

I couldn’t resist my fav…the Jaeger Schnitzel. It’s pounded pork with a mushroom wine sauce served with spaetzle, a vegetable on the side and lingonberries. Yum!

Saturday morning we slept in and it was glorious. I really needed those extra hours of sleep after a lot of early mornings last week. And then Jon decided to whip up this.

Homemade biscuits and gravy. How am I not as big as a house? Needless to say this was a great way to start the day.

After a few hours of lounging I made a trip to the store and then rushed back home to make falafel veggie burgers and kale chips. I was meeting up with my friend Lora to go see Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Park and wanted to bring some yumminess along. For those who aren’t familiar, local theatre, American Stage, does a show in the park each spring and the gates open a few hours before the show so people can have a picnic. It’s so much fun!

The veggie burgers were super easy to make, but they came out too dry and fell apart while I was cooking them 😦 They tasted yummy though. Not sure how to fix it…maybe add greek yogurt? I’m using it today as a salad topping, which I may just stick with 🙂

The kale chips were also super easy. My first time making them! I cooked them at 350 for about 16 minutes with just a drizzle of olive oil and red pepper flakes. They didn’t get crunchy enough and by the time we got to the park they were soggy from being in a bag. But they also still tasted good! Jon thinks they need to be cooked at 250 for a half hour so they dehydrate more rather than cook. Will have to have a redo!

 

(The only pic I managed to take since I was rushing through all this to make in time to Lora’s.)

So despite my failed cooking attempts we managed to have a nice picnic still. Lora contributed cheese and yummy chips and salsa.

We got to see some friends as well. Including our friend Betty Jane who was working on the show!

This was my first time seeing Rocky Horror on stage…and I must say I’d rather watch the movie. All of the actors did a fabulous job, but I did not like the screenplay adaptation of the movie. It moved to fast and for people who had never seen it before it was a bit confusing.

This was also my first time being involved in the participation part of the show. We didn’t bring any props but the nice people behind us loaned us some newspaper…

We did the Time Warp! I wasn’t familiar with any of the callback lines, but it was fun to hear everyone else do them. It was a rowdy crowd!

Sunday was another lazy morning of sleeping in followed by cleaning and laundry. Then we headed to Red Mesa for Mother’s Day dinner.

Jon and I had gone to Red Mesa for his birthday right after we started going out. That was about 5 years ago and we hadn’t been back since! Not sure why (we think maybe cause it’s not on our normal path of places to go) because the food was delicious! You get free chips and salsa, which were awesome. We ordered a gaucamole as an appetizer and a pitcher of sangria. The gauc was very yummy and fresh tasting with nice chunks of avocado in it. The sangria was realllyyy good and had a hint of cinnamon in it, which was different than most sangrias I’ve had. For an entree I got the chicken enchiladas. I was disappointed at the small size of the enchiladas at first, but it ended up being the perfect amount. The enchiladas themselves were bursting with flavor and had a perfect mole and verde sauce on them. The rice and black beans were equally good. We will definitely be back!

After we were rolled out of the restaurant we headed home and put on the Ides of March, which was a pretty good movie. It was nice to see Ryan Gosling in a non-romantic role. And it made me so glad that I am not in politics!

Somewhere during the movie Jon whipped up some special Mother’s Day crepes.

Inside that puppy is Nutella and banana. Oh ya. Do I really even need to say that this was amazing?

How was everyone else’s Mother’s Day? To all the moms out there I hope you got pampered lots!

Living Local

How was everyone’s weekend! Mine was fun and busy, just the way I like it 🙂

Friday

Potluck Day at work! Unfortunately potluck days are loosing steam. hardly anyone brings anything in anymore 😦

There was still some goodies though!

It was a LONG work week so when it came to dinner we took the Chinese takeout route.

General Tso with the last of my woodchuck cider.

Saturday

Saturday was my first day “on the job” for a freelance project I’m working on. I got to go around interviewing local business owners, which was both fun and interesting. Definitely learned more about what it’s like to own your own business and also the history behind some popular St. Pete places.

The morning started off with Cafe con Leche at Pipo’s.

I normally stay away from coffee and espresso because I get heart palpitations (I’m fine with tea), but I needed some caffeine and cafe con Leche sounded so good.

I slurped it down like it was my job. De-lish.

Lunch was at Ferg’s. Never actually eatten here and it was pretty good!

Meatball sliders with a side of apple. I love how they cut it into slices…I like it so much better then having to bite into one. Weird I know!

Later I attended St. Pete’s first ever Cash Mob. A cash mob is basically where a group of people all gather and then hit up a local store all “flash mob” style and buy something to support that business. We ended up at Haslam’s. I love bookstores. There’s something so peaceful about them. I had 3 different books in my hand at one point, but finally settled on one. Which I’m embarrassed to say…I can’t remember the title! Eek I’ll let you know later.

I was ready to keep the busy-ness going and Jon and I had dinner and a party on the schedule, but only ended up with dinner. We were half tired and half too full to do anything but lounge on the couch.

Dinner was at a favorite, Cafe Vienna.

Jon insisted we try something different this time (I’m such a creature of habit) so I got the Pork Alfredo. It was really good and exactly what I was in the mood for. Pork stuffed with goat cheese and spinach. Some kind of gravy on top? Veggies and potatoes on the side.

We both got a hankering for something sweet later in the night.

So I whipped up some 5 minute chocolate chip cake. Love this stuff! So easy and it kicks the chocolate craving. However, this batch didn’t get mixed too well (oops) and I used a different recipe which wasn’t as good as the first one I tried.

Sunday

After such a busy Saturday and a long time since we had a weekend by ourselves at home, we totally just sat on our butts Sunday.

That is, after we made a trip to Halong Bay for dim sum, another favorite place of ours 🙂

BBQ pork steam buns, dumplings, lotus leaf rice and custard buns just to name a few.

About a year ago Jon had gotten the flu…he thought he was feeling better so we went to get dim sum and ordered one of our favs, salt and pepper calamari. Needless to say he was not better and all that food made him worse. Ever since then we haven’t ordered the calamari because it brings up some not so nice memories. Well…we ordered it Sunday cause Jon wanted to give it a whirl.

Unfortunately, it still made him think of that dreaded day 😦 This stuff is so good though. It’s rich and crispy, and with all the cracklings on top it’s very addictive.

After a whole day of lounging Jon pulled together a last minute dinner of curry lentil soup.

Lentils with pureed chic peas and spinach, curry and probably some other fun things I missed 🙂 So good and so healthy!

Monday was nothing special, but I did try out my new heart monitor watch! Separate post on that to come.

Feed Me Seymour

Happy Saturday! Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend 🙂

Wednesday was a pretty typical day…had an awesome Open Gym session at Fit for Fashion. The guy and I were going to go hang out with some friends but decided on a night in instead with wine and chinese food. I did try something new though! Our fave go to chinese dish is chow mei fun with chicken, but I wanted some spice so I tried the Chicken Schzeuan Style. It was good! No too spicey and not too covered in sauce…it came with green peppers, carrots, mushrooms and water chestnuts.

Thursday I got my hairs trimmed at Number 9 salon. When I first graduated school and started living in St. Pete full time it took me forever to find a decent salon.  I had been going to a great place in Tampa, but it was just too much for me to keep crossing the bridge. I finally stumbled across Number 9’s website. It looked like a cool place with very talented stylists. I booked an appointment and have been going there for the past 3 years. I’ve pretty much been to every stylist there and have never had a bad haircut. Frank, the owner, is the best of course.

After my head had a weight of hair taken off of it I changed quickly at home and headed to the beach to meet up with the guy and some friends. We had a drink at Jimmy B’s, which as far as beach bars go, really isn’t a bad place.

Then we grabbed a bocce ball set and played until the sun went down.

I had never played before, but I was actually kinda good 🙂 Apparently you’re supposed to play up to 21 points!? We got bored at 7 and stopped there 😉

At this point it took everyone about an hour to figure out what they were doing the rest of the night. All I knew was that it was 8 o’clock and I was hungry. The guy and I decided to go get a bite on our own and then head home. We were jonesin’ for some Taco Bus so headed there. By the time we got our food (lengua torta for him and cochinita pibil tacos for me) it was 9 o’clock and ready to chew someone’s arm off. Hence my title since that seemed to be the trend for the week. And hence no photos since I immediately scarfed down our food when we got it.

Yesterday I came home from work, did a quick 30 minute treadmill workout (I like to alternate 5 min. running and 5 min. speed walking super uphill) and was ready for dinner. The guy wasn’t too hungry yet and I’m patient so we waited until about 8 to head out…I was again at the point of chewing on someone’s arm. We went to Cafe Vienna for the second time. It was just as good! I got the Jaeger Schnitzel, which was covered in that amazing red wine mushroom sauce that I fell in love with last time. The guy tried the Sauerbraten, but had to send it back because he thought it didn’t taste right. The menu says “beef loin” so he was expecting a tenderloin, but instead it’s marinated middle round. It’s marinated for at least 5 days, but the guy knows his food and his meat and he says it’s not a great cut. No one was at fault…just turns out there’s some dishes that are not for everyone! We also shared a bratwurst plate as an app, which was SO good. We wanted to sit at the intimate looking bar this time, but the place was packed!

This morning I had to get up while it was still dark to do a volunteer shift for Junior League. So by the time I got home I was ready to head out for lunch. Of course the guy is not hungry. And of course once I laid on the couch for 5 minutes I was headed for an hour nap. We ended up at Thuy Cafe for bahn mi at 2 p.m.! Again…chewing arm…

After lunch we headed to one of our fave places…Marko’s Meat and Deli.

Look at all that meat!

And yummy European desserty treats!

Including Happy Hippos!

If you have never had a Happy Hippo you need to hunt them down now. We both fell in love with these on trips to Italy and Sicily (he went with fam and I went on a college trip). Crispy wafer goodness with todiefor creamy filling.

Well, we’re at home now and if you’ll excuse me I have a cocktail being made for me with Pinnacle Whipped vodka. I know…I thought it sounded kind of gross to, but have been itching to try it ever since I heard mixing it with orange juice makes it taste like a creamsicle 🙂 I’ll let you know how it is!

Conversation Starter: What’s your limit on how long you can wait to eat? I start getting ansy/cranky at 3 or 4 hours past my last meal/snack.

I’ve leave you with some yummy salads I had this week:

Fresh Market chicken breast with sundried tomatoes and that smoked mozzarella I was so excited to try. Turns out it sounds better than it tastes 😦 The sundried tomatoes helped balance it out but it was just too smokey.

Fresh market chicken breast with Publix crumbled bleu cheese and dried cranberries…def a keeper!

Both topped with this new dressing I tried…

I love Brianna’s!

What I’m Loving Right Now

Things that I love right now:

YogaBlu

I’ve made an oath to myself to include yoga into my fitness schedule once a week. I have a friend who’s quite the yogi so I usually go where she goes, which led me to YogaBlu. Beautiful space, great staff and probably the best class I’ve taken in the Tampa Bay area. I go to Destry’s YogaFlow class, but unfortunately she’s moving in a few weeks 😦 Time to test out another teacher!

My fitness routine consists of a lot of cardio and some weight lifting, which leaves my muscles sore and tight. Yoga is pretty much the only thing that really helps me stretch out…plus I just love that “yoga high” you get after a class.

Fit for Fashion

I’ve been exercising regularly since I was 18. But I never really knew what the hell I was doing. I knew how to run and that’s about it. It wasn’t until I was out of college that I started getting into yoga and zumba classes, and thus realizing I really loved a group class setting. After my friend taught a zumba class at F4F I went on their website and saw all of the other types of classes that were taught. Most of the classes were boot camps and I decided to give one a whirl. It. Kicked. My. Butt. And I loved every minute of it. The setting was also very comfortable. It’s mainly an all women fitness studio…there are a few co-ed classes offered and the occasional guy will show up (usually dragged by his girlfriend). Most of the classes are taught by owner, Rebekah Reidy, but she just recently hired a new trainer to take some of the load off. The best thing about the classes is that they are always different, which means you never get bored. And it’s not all boot camps…there’s an awesome circuit style weight lifting class called Pink Iron (one of my favs), yoga, pilates and running clinics. Whether you’re just starting to get into working or you’re training for a marathon, this is a great place to go. The price is also the cheapest in St. Pete at $10 a class, but if you’re over your budget one week you can hit up an Open Gym, which is free.

Rollin’ Oats

I’m really on a health food kick right now so after a sweat session at F4F on Monday I headed to Rollin’ Oats for the weekly grocery shopping. I hadn’t been in there in ages so it took me a bit to find everything I needed. Plus their aisles are so narrow that two carts can barely fit down one. But I was all googly eyed at all of the different products and definitely got a bit grab happy, which showed when all of the goodies were rung up. I want to keep shopping at local health stores, but going to try another one in the area to see how prices compare.

MyFitnessPal iPhone App

I’ve always hated counting calories. And a lot of times for a lot of reasons I think it’s silly. At the same time I practically do it every day. I’ve tried a food journal and online website, but I’ve always fallen off the wagon. But ever since I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone I’ve been going pretty strong. They make it so super easy to find different foods, and they have even added a barcode scanner feature. It’s important to note that I’m not a crazy calorie counter who is doing it to loose weight. I in no way am looking to loose weight (my fitness focus is strictly in the tonage area). I mainly like to track my cals so I know that I am eating enough. Or it’s nice to know that I have extra wiggle room at the end of the day for dessert or an extra drink 🙂 Anytime I go out to eat I pretty much stop counting for the day, because please…it’s pretty much worthless at that point. You can also keep track of how many calories you burned during a workout, and it automatically adds it to your allotted calories.

Cafe Vienna

The boy and I have driven past this place a few times and it’s always been on our list of “places to try”. So this week when they popped up on Groupon I snatched that puppy up right away. After a long few days and lack of motivation to cook we decided we wanted to go out to eat last night. I remembered the Groupon and the decision was made.

What we drank:

The boy drooled over the draft German beer selections and promptly ordered one 🙂

He also chose one of their premium house wines for me, which was a really delish Riesling. Light and fruity and not too sweet. It was also served in the most adorable glass I’ve ever seen:

What we ate:

Escargot

Not the best I’ve had, but you can never go wrong with tons of garlic butter 🙂

Spaetzle

Noodles were very tasty, but were under seasoned. We doused it with salt and pepper and it was much better.

Agramer (mine)

Pounded breaded pork loin stuffed with swiss cheese and prosciutto served with lyonnaise potatoes, cooked carrots and the most amazing red wine, mushroom sauce.

Wurst Plate (his)

Mine was good, but next time I want this (I’m truly a meat and potatoes gal at heart). Bratwurst, Debrizinger and Veal loaf sat happily on the plate alongside sauekraut and german potato salad.

Viennese Nut Cake

Lots of nuts and buttercream, but we both wished it had more cake.

Overall, everything was delicious. And the atmosphere was wonderful…the decor is adorable right down to the antique cuckoo clock. And authentic German music played through the speakers sealing the deal that I want to visit Germany/Austria one day. To top it off the staff was super sweet and it definitely felt like a great neighborhood place…while we were there the staff seemed to know everyone who was walking through the door, welcoming them with hugs and boisterous hellos. We could definitely get used to that.

Things that I definitely don’t love:

Gratzzi  

I remember Gratzzi being one of my first dining experiences when I moved to St. Pete.  I remember walking up the stairs of BayWalk and entering the restaurant and being impressed by the simple elegance of the decor. And I remember the food being really good. This was six years ago so I can’t really get any more specific than that. But as the years went on in their BayWalk space the food got worse and worse, and eventually I stopped going. So when they closed it was not a big surprise. But ever since they reopened in their new location I’ve been highly curious…everytime I walk by the dining room seems to be full and I’ve heard rave reviews both from critics and people walking out of the restaurant.

Finally, after a long yoga class my friend and I decided to give it a whirl. The decor resembles their old space, but with a bit more of a modern flair. I really liked how they had smaller booths for two rather than chairs. Our waiter was very nice and accommodating. The menu looked exciting and filled with classic Italian favorites. I ordered the Rigatonacci alla Vodka, one of my favorite Italian dishes that I rarely let myself order. My friend got the Chicken Piccata. Needless to say neither one of was impressed. I still can’t pinpoint what I didn’t exactly like about my dish…it was definitely too salty and lacked much other flavor. My friend picked at her chicken, which she said was too oily. We determined that we may come back, but only to sit at the bar for happy hour and maybe sample some apps. More frustrated than disappointed by Gratzzi since it’s so hard to find a good go-to Italian place in the Tampa Bay area.