Jon’s Birthday

*Note: My apologies on the dated post, but I just realized I never hit publish on this puppy. Opps!

As if having your birthday on Thanksgiving wasn’t enough…


I decided to surprise Jon by taking him somewhere he’s wanted to go for a long time…


Oh yes, he was a happy guy!


Cigar City Brewing Company is a local brewery in Tampa, FL. Named after the fact that Tampa was known for its cigars back in the day and had the nickname “Cigar City”.

Now, I am not a beer drinker…I just have never developed a taste for it. There are some beers I’ve tasted that I’ve liked, but I can only manage a few sips. But I still have an interest in the beer making process and have picked up some knowledge from Jon.

photo9(Some grains we got to taste that they put in the beer. It was yummy!)

Cigar City does tours for $5 and it includes a tasting glass and free drink. Pretty good deal!

The brewery is kind of small…at least smaller than I expected. But they actually opened another space next door to them that they’re not giving tours of yet. They’re also expanding their tasting room very soon, where they’ll have 50 beers on tap. Holy beer!



Our tour guide, Bob, was great. He made the tour fun and welcomed as many questions as people had. He talked about Cigar City’s history, some of the beers and walked us through their process. We even got to taste a few of the beers.

And yes, I tried them. And yes, I kind of liked them. But as usual…I only had a few sips then poured the rest into Jon’s glass 🙂


If you live in the Tampa Bay area I definitely recommend checking this place out! It’s a fun (and cheap) thing to do.

Jon’s parents were in town this weekend. I had a certificate to The Vinoy sitting in my dresser for forever and finally realized Jon and I were never going to use it (too close to home) so I gave it to them to use since it’s more of a vacation for them.

We met up with them later Saturday night.


Yay Christmas!

We had a nice drink in the lobby. I hadn’t been to The Vinoy since they finished renovating their lobby. It looks really nice, but kind of too modern for the historic building that it is. Jon’s parents said they loved the place though and were having a great time!

We went to dinner at Red Mesa, which was wonderful. I had the pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and black beans. We had a bite of all of our dishes and everything was delicious. Definitely a great spot that we need to go to more often.

Sunday morning I picked up my friend Tamsyn at the airport. (She lives in Ft. Myers but flew to visit her parents for Thanksgiving.) It seems we’ve started a tradition every time she’s in the area…Datz and shopping.

Oh Datz…I love you oh so much. I feel like I haven’t tried any other wonderful restaurants in Tampa simply because I always want to go to Datz.

I had to try their new Popsicle Cocktail. I got the pumpkin chai flavor.


It’s a pumpkin chai popsicle served in sparkling wine. The popsicle melts down and you have a fun cocktail. It’s definitely a fun and unique drink. Flavor wise I think it could be a bit better.

For lunch I had the Holy Guacamole Mezrah. Turkey, muenster cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing on country white bread. Very good. I love how they put tons of meat on their sandwiches, but I actually wish there had been less on this sandwich. I wanted to tasted all of the flavors together, but there was only a small hint of the cole slaw and Russian dressing. I had a few bites of Tamsyn’s Havana Hottie too, which was soooo good!


Tamsyn was in need of some furniture so we explored a few local shops before hitting up International. I always say I need to visit Tampa more often…there are so many cute little stores that I want to stop into! And warning for any shoppers…looks like malls are going to be terribly crowded until Christmas. International was crazy! Or maybe it was because it was Black Friday weekend?

Side note…I took this cutie with me to CrossFit the other day.


She was really good. I tied her up by the door and she just laid down and watched us the whole time. Probably thinking “What the hell is Mom doing?”


Do you take your dog to workout with you? Or do you workout with your dog at all? I’ve taken Maddie on a few runs…nothing over 3 miles yet. She seems to like it!

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!