New Faces

My friend recently created a Meetup group, called Florida Frugalistas. It’s a group geared towards young women who like to go out to events, dinner, shop, etc., but like to stay on a budget. Last night was the first meetup at Marchand’s at The Vinoy. While that might not seem like a frugal destination, it is the last week of Dine Tampa Bay, where local restaurants offer a special prix fixe menu of $25, $35 or $45. Marchand’s menu was a three course meal for $35. While a good deal, an $8 glass of wine plus tip still makes it a pricey meal. But I’d never been and had heard wonderful things, so I was glad to try it.

Unfortunately, I was a bit underwhelmed.

For my appetizer I had the Smokey Bacon and Potato-Garlic Soup.

The presentation was wonderful. The server serves the bowl with a dollop of sour cream topped with bacon bits. Then in a copper ladle pours the broth of the soup into the bowl. Very nice. However, the soup was luke warm and very unexciting. The broth was flavorless and tasted like plain broth with a bit of garlic.

For my entree I had the Braised Beef Short Rib with cauliflower mashed potato and succotash. (Eck, sorry for the dark photo!)

The mashed potato and succotash were very good and quite tasty, but the beef was a bit dry and could have also had more flavor and a bit more sauce.

For dessert I ordered the Banana-Walnut Bread Pudding with butterscotch-banana sauce. I was actually too full to eat this, and also in a rare mood where I didn’t want dessert. So I took it to go and actually shared it with The Chef tonight after dinner. It was really good and everything a bread pudding should be. And the banana walnut combo is classic. Glad I shared it…it was really rich!

When I mentioned my experience to a co-worker she mentioned that she thinks the chef doesn’t work on Sundays and Mondays. That shouldn’t be an excuse…shouldn’t your staff execute your dishes the way they should be executed?

Although the meal was “eh”, the atmosphere and service more than makes up for it. And the company was wonderful as well. It was nice to meet some new faces in the area (one of which I had a lot in common with) and I’m excited for more meetups! Over the past few years I love how I have grown out of my comfort zone. Whether it’s a networking event or a social event I always try to talk to somebody new and make some connections. It really is so nice to meet new people…and you never know what you might have in common! A few years ago I would have been kind of freaked out to go to an event filled with people I didn’t know. Of course, it does help when you have a friend tagging along 🙂 But I have been to events where I don’t know a soul or barely know a few people and it’s been fun. I think I see a future post coming on…how to go to events by yourself and meet new people?

Conversation Starter: What have you done lately that has been outside of your comfort zone?