The Running Foodie

How was everyone’s weekend? Lots of eating and running around here 🙂

Friday was a yoga and Taco Bus kind of night. Yoga feels sooo good after a week of running. My poor hip flexors.

Along with Taco Bus I picked myself up a bottle of Skinnygirl margarita. I can’t help it…I love sassy and savvy Bethney. It wasn’t actually as good as I remembered, but I still dig it. After dinner we watched Goon again and I promptly passed out on the couch. Crazy Friday night.

Saturday we started our day off with Pho Quyen. Pho for him and BBQ Beef with Rice Vermacelli for her.

Then we made our usual trifecta. A stop at Marko’s Meats for some yummy sausage, salami and Happy Hippos. And a stop at Total Wine where we had a lovely wine tasting and stocked up for the month.

On the way home we also stopped at Sports Authority, where I spent too much money on some much needed fitness gear.

I ended up with a yoga towel, which I need desperately. I’m tired of slipping and sliding on a sweaty mat! A handheld water bottle because I need to run with water on my long runs and I’m afraid my clutzy self will fling a loose water bottle from my sweaty hand. I may end up returning this though. I used it on Sunday and it leaks. I thought of getting a camelbak but they’re pricey and I don’t want anything on my back. I’m also not a huge fan of the fuel belts. Any suggestions?? Maybe I’ll just have to make due with a water bottle.

I also came out with a running hat and shorts. I LOVE the hat. I figured I should invest in one for long runs because they have more ventilation and protection than a regular hat. This thing worked wonders for me. And the shorts were surprisingly comfortable and I love them too. Running shorts are equivalent to finding the perfect pair of jeans to me. SO many shorts are “booty shorts” and I’m sorry, but I don’t want to have to worry about my butt hanging out when I’m trying to get my run on. Longer shorts tend to not be any kind of dri fit material. And these shorts I’ve strayed away from because I’m not a huge fan of elastic waistbands and I’m always worried the attached underwear is going to ride up. The waistband on these though is great…very comfy. And the underwear inside is more the length of boyshorts so no riding up. I approve!

Dinner on Saturday was very notable. One of the best dinners we’ve had in a while. I love when Jon’s in the kitchen 🙂

That there is roasted lamb with a rosemary, garlic, deliciousness rub. On the side are roasted red potatoes and broccoli rabe with lemon, garlic and a special ingredient 🙂

Delicious!

I needed to get an 8 mile run in this weekend so I got up at 6 a.m. on Sunday, downed a clif bar and some water and headed downtown.

Although I’m not really a morning person, I love seeing the sunrise and watching the world wake up around me.

I definitely did not run 8 straight miles. I kept having to slow myself down because I was running too fast and knew I’d wear myself out. Around mile 4 is when I started my stop and go routine. It makes a run so much harder…any time I stop, starting up again kinda sucks. Especially when I started to feel blisters forming on my insoles. (Any suggestions for special running socks?) With my walking breaks I’m guessing I actually ran a total of 7 miles, which I’m still happy about. I just keep reminding myself it’s only the second week of my training and that was the first time I attempted 8 miles.

On my way home I stopped for everything bagels with cream cheese and lox for myself and a sleepy Jon. And after a shower and a power nap I went to pick up my buddy Tamsyn from the airport.

We had a full day of fun starting with…

Datz. Aka Foodie Heaven.

I started with a Huckleberry Lemonade, which I wasn’t expecting to come out so “cocktail” looking. It was darn tasty. Very light and refreshing.

You can’t go wrong with the sandwiches here. I got the Ty’s Two Fister which was pastrami (house smoked), corned beef, honey mustard and swiss cheese on pumpernickel. Yum is not the word. And I love the chips they serve with a blue cheese drizzle.

We were joined by Tamsyn’s sister and her boyfriend. And we all tried bites of each other’s meals, which was quite hilarious as we were passing sandwiches around the table.

I can’t leave this place without a sweet treat. I tried a salted caramel macaron and it was truly delectable. And the perfect size treat.

I also had a few bites of Tamsyn’s limencello gelato, which was like a sorbet and so light with nice bursts of lemon. Perfect ending to a hearty meal.

Datz Tampa on Urbanspoon

Next we were onto some shopping. None of us had been to Nordstrom Rack before so we decided to check it out. Definitely one of those places where it’s hit or miss. There’s a lot to go through and I was on sensory overload by the time we left. I ended up a pair of turquoise earrings (my fav) and a pair of heels for work.

Then it was on to International Plaza where most of our time was spent in the new H&M. So glad I finally made it in to check it out. And I came out with this cute little number.

Tamsyn has always been my best shopping buddy! I don’t see her nearly enough and will miss her 😦

Can’t beat a weekend with a mix of food, shopping and fitness!

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Cookies, Happy Hour and a New Dress

Ghiradelli chocolate chip cookies are the bomb.

So far in my life they’re the best homemade cookies I’ve made. I use the recipe right on the back of the Ghiradelli chocolate chip bag. And I add walnuts. Quick, simple, easy.

They’re that perfect mixture of crunchy and chewy and nothing beats having one of these gooey ooeys straight from the oven.

Jon had been requesting cookies for a few weeks and I had been hankering for them as well, so I finally remembered to get some chocolate chips at the store. These never dissapoint! Although I have yet to try the New York Times best chocolate chip cookie recipe, which according to Pinterest, is out of this world.

I probably had the most unhealthy day that I have had in a long time yesterday.

I always eat a nice healthy breakfast. But then lunch came. I had brought a burrito from Taco Bus that Jon had gotten me when he called the night before saying he was picking up dinner and I was already half way done with stir fry leftovers.

Then after work we all gathered at the Postcard Inn beach bar for goodbye drinks with a coworker who is moving.

The whole hotel has a really cool retro surfer theme to it. And the bar was pretty cool too.

I got the Hunch Punch, which was made with moonshine, pineapple juice, orange juice and grenadine. It was dangerously good and quite strong so I only had one. We ordered a bunch of appetizers to munch on as well. I had a few bites of almost everything. Two wings (not thrilled with them), a coconut shrimp (awesome!) and a few beef nachos (also really good).

After some chatting I left to go get my mom for some errands and dinner. One of our stops was Old Navy. I used to never like this store, but now everytime I go in there I walk out with something. I’m kind of a plain Jane. I like clothes with simple to no designs so I can wear them forever. And Old Navy is pretty good about supplying those kind of clothes. I got a new pair of running leggings, the cutest sleep shorts with seahorses on them, an extra pair of these shorts that I really like and this dress.

Isn’t it pretty? I love the color and simplicity of it. I can easily wear it out to dinner or to a cocktail hour. I’m always finding I need more nicer dresses for Junior League events and other professional type outside of work events. This fits the bill.

After some shopping we headed to Macaroni Grill for dinner. I hadn’t been here for AGES. I’m not a big fan of chains, but for anyone who knows the Tyrone area in St. Pete there’s not too many options for local eating. But, I’m going to say it, it wasn’t half bad. The atmosphere is pretty nice and the service was excellent. I loved seeing that they still do a lot of the same things like have a woman sing “happy birthday” in Italian to you on your birthday, have the servers write their name on the paper table cover and have “learn to speak Italian” recordings in the bathroom. The menu had changed some since I’d last been. It was two sided on a long piece of paper and really had the feel of an Italian bistro…much nicer to look at than a laminated menu. I noticed my old favorite (the Pasta Milano) but decided to give the Chicken Scallopine a try. The food was just ok…nothing special, but definitely edible. We also got the house Chianti, which they pour very generously.

Thank goodness I had three days of awesome workouts at Fit for Fashion this week. I’ve now been back for a month and I feel awesome. I will never stray again!

I also signed up for this December’s Color Run. So excited! They seem to be doing one everywhere so I’m sure there’s one where you’re located!

I have a looong day at work today. Going to see Rocky Horror tomorrow night. Then Mother’s Day Sunday. It’s going to be a fun, not-too-busy-thank-goodness type of weekend 🙂

What’s on your agenda for the weekend?

P.S. This came up in my Facebook newsfeed the other day. Love it!

Pre-run Yoga Poses for a Better Run

Local Love

Whew, I am loving these busy weeks but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I am looking forward to a few low key nights next week. Let’s get to it!

Keep St. Pete Local Launch Party

St. Pete has been flourishing with a live local movement and it’s really been at the forefront (at least for me) in the past 6 or so months. Keep St. Pete Local is a new business alliance that has recently formed to be a resource for businesses and residents alike about living local. They had their launch party this past Tuesday and Jon and I attended.

The party took place at Nova 535, which I’d been to before, but never for a party. It’s really a cool space. Brick walls and tons of unique art hanging. Cool lighting and awesome local music playing. They have an upstairs too with an outside patio that’s a nice place to hang if the crowd gets to be too much for you. There was a lot of local restaurants that brought food, but we didn’t end up getting our hands on any. We were only there about an hour. Long enough for one drink and to hear a little bit about KSPL’s plans.

Really neat thing they did was write questions on paper on all the tables for people to answer. Great way to let everyone voice their opinions.

After we left we were HUN-GRAAAY so we headed to Taco Bus. Taco Bus = Love.

We were still alive and kickin’ after our burritos and decided to end the night with a drink at nearby Steelhouse Brewery. They don’t seem to get a lot of foot traffic, but it really is a cool little hole in the wall type of place. Nice atmosphere, nice people, nice everything!

Bonefish Grill

Wednesday I had a Junior League meeting at Bonefish Grill. I haven’t been here in forever. Jon and I used to go, then I think we had a few bad experiences and stopped going. It was really good though! Prices are definitely steep. My total was about $30 for one drink and an entree. I tried their new Winter White Cranberry Martini. I’m not normally a martini person and was afraid it’d be too strong. But it actually turned out to be super sweet, which was what I was in the mood for. We got an order of Bang Bang Shrimp (duh) for the table. So good. For an entree I had the crab cakes, which were just perfect. Lots of lump crab with little filler. They flaked perfectly and the remoulade with them was a great side kick. My sides were mixed veggies and the potatoes au gratin. The potatoes were very cheesy, but in a good way 🙂

Ale and the Witch Birthday Party

Happy 1st birthday to our fav place ever, The Ale and the Witch. We stopped by last night to show our support and have a nightcap. It was extremely crowded so we didn’t stay long. I had the Blackberry Pear Fox Barrel cider, which I thought would be too sweet, but it was actually just right! Very similar to a lambic. They had some local restaurants giving out food for just $2, but we didn’t partake. Although I was jonesing to try Farm to Fork Organics‘ mac and cheese.

Up on deck is First Friday tonight, then Les Miz tomorrow plus fun with Jon’s fam!

What fun things do you have planned for the weekend?

Carbalicious

Hey all! Hope you’ve had a great start to your week, and to your November 🙂

I’ve certainly started off on the carb-a-ohlic foot. Breakfast was egg beater eggs on a small honey wheat bagel. Lunch was leftover pasta from last night.

And dinner was Taco Bus. I’ve been having a craving!

 

The Chef had his usual Lengua Torta and I had my usual Burrito with Cochinita Pibil. I also got us the Butternut Squash Centro, which was really good. Definitely got me in the Fall mood. But I think it was supposed to come with chips and there were no chips in the bag 😦 I’m so bad at checking my takeout boxes before I leave places. I’m just so hungry and glad it’s ready I rush right out of there!

Some Halloween candy for dessert 🙂

I love how all around the blogoshpere it seems that each month is a chance for new beginnings. It just so happens that this past week I created something I like to call my “happy list”. Truth is, after we got back from Portland I was feeling a bit down in the dumps. The stress of reality hit me so hard, it was really quite overwhelming. I finally decided to sit down and write out a list of what makes me happy and then figured out a list of things for me to accomplish each month. It’s my thought that accomplishing my goals each month of all the things that I love to do will make me happy 🙂

Here’s my list and I’ll revisit at the end of the month to see how I did.

1. See one show a month.

2. Read every night. (Alternate between pleasure book and educational book.)

3. Blog every day or every other day.

4. Start writing creatively again. (My mom suggested I write one sentence a day describing my day. I also have a friend who writes in a journal every morning. I’d like to try one of these and/or write poetry again.)

5. Go to two community events per month.

6. Volunteer at least once a month.

7. Go to arts related event once a month (exhibit, event or class).

8. Do one craft project a month.

9. Plan one date night per month.

10. See friends once per week.

11. Have outing with mom once a month.

Also, Tina is doing something this month where she’s saying what she’s thankful for each day. I’ve decided to follow along 🙂 Today, I’d like to say that I’m thankful for my body and it’s ability to allow me to live my everyday life.

Conversation Starter: Do you have a “happy list” that you follow?

 

Tampa Bay Hits a Homerun

I have to say that I am very proud to be a part of the ‘Burg, and Tampa Bay in general. We live in such a wonderful area full of culture and community. St. Pete is not too big and not too small…it’s been the perfect place to launch new projects. And everyone here seems to have a common interest in…well…everything. From our food to our shops to our sports teams. We see people come together when a favorite restaurant is closing or when a team is on their last leg.

Like last night…

(Source)

(Source)

The Chef and I had just finished watching X-Men and I didn’t even realize the game was still on until I saw the overload of Rays comments on Facebook. Then I found out it was 7-0 until the 8th inning…8th inning! And now they’re tied and in the 11th? The Chef couldn’t grab the remote control fast enough to switch it to the game.

We sat biting our nails all the way until Longoria became the superstar for the night. Watching his team player’s reactions from the dugout was pretty priceless. The Chef jumped up and screamed victory, while I laughed with happiness.

And then that sense of community surged through me…seeing the players rejoice and the fans cheering…it made me think of how proud we all are of not just our team, but our city as well. Too much? Ah, well…

Another reason to celebrate Tampa Bay? The food, of course.

We had take out from Taco Bus last night, which was perfect since the Tampa bus was being featured on Man vs. Food! I really wanted to watch it, but we were in the middle of X-Men and it wasn’t going to happen. I’ll have to catch a re-run. But just another reason to be proud of Tampa Bay and all we have to offer!

Wednesday’s special is chicken mole so I got a chicken mole burrito. De-lish. I would have gotten an inside picture if I hadn’t been continually stuffing my face…sorry 🙂 Doesn’t beat our hole-in-the-wall place in Cape Coral, but it was still a damn good competitor. I tried ordering their Butternut Squash Centro also, but I could only half understand the man on the phone when I was ordering so he may have said they didn’t have it? Either way we ended up with guacamole, which is okay. I love guac, but this is not the best. Needs some salt and lime juice and a bit more pizzazz. But I love that it comes with full crispy tortillas.

Not pictured is the amazing Horchata I finally decided to try. Seriously. If you have never had this you need to either track down someone who makes it or make it yourself. My first thought after my first sip was “F$*k that’s good”, which tell you something right there (I hardly ever swear, even in my head). Creamy and full of cinnamon flavor, it’s the perfect pairing to a spicy Mexican feast. Thank goodness the The Chef helped me because I’m pretty sure I could have downed the whole humungous cup they give you.

Something to read

Health Magazine’s Food Awards: The Best New Eats of 2011

Conversation Starter: Do you have a sense of community where you live? What do you love most about the area you live in?

Low Key is the Key

After a long, strenuous week there’s nothing like a low key weekend with your favorite gal pals.

Friday I was uber tired and didn’t want to do too much. The Chef had gone home for the weekend and I needed dinner so my friend and I decided to meet up. We decided on Three Birds Tavern, which is a regular place for us. One of the few restaurants in St. Pete that is consistently good.

We started off with sharing the veggie egg rolls, which was a special that night. They were chock full of avocado and had a nice bit of spice to them.

For my entree, out waitress had me at “diver sea scallops” when reciting the specials.

Partnered with bacon brittle and paired with mashed potatoes and their signature garlic spinach this was a perfect Friday night dinner. Kendra was our waitress and was so nice and conversational. We had a little problem with receiving the happy hour special…we arrived before 7 but by the time someone came to our table it was after 7…but she fixed it right away.

After dinner we were in need of a sweet treat. Gelato! It took awhile since it was a Friday night, but we eventually found a spot close enough to Paciugo.

Extra dark chocolate and creme caramel…marriage made in heaven.

Accompanied with a walk through the park.

We rounded off the night with a glass of champagne in my friend’s courtyard.

Saturday I had to wait on a plumber…luckily he came early so I didn’t have to wait around most of the day. I worked on a present for a friend’s bridal shower (details will be in an upcoming crafts post). Then I headed to my friend’s place again so we and another good friend of ours could lounge by the pool while sipping on margaritas. We took a trip to Taco Bus as well…you would have thought it was Cinco de Mayo rather than Labor Day weekend 😉 It was a perfect not too hot, not too sunny type of day and was oh so chill.

We took a stroll downtown and stopped for a drink at Mandarin Hide. I can’t really take most bars on a weekend because they get so crowded and obnoxious. Luckily we found our own little corner and had fun people watching, which included a group of sailors and a bachelorette party haha.

Today I had a bridal shower to go to at Parkshore Grill. I normally don’t like the food there, but today it was really good! I had the Parkshore Burger that was topped with maytag bleu cheese, bacon and caramelized onions. Served with a side of vegetable salad, which was broccoli and cauliflower in a light dressing with a little cheese. The bride used to work there so she was able to tell me that they make most of their stuff in house and nothing is frozen.  All meat and seafood is fresh and some of it’s local. It was a small party with a few girls I’ve never met so it was low key and fun. They had done the bachelorette party the night before so it was fun to hear about all the shenanigans 🙂

The Chef just got home from work…we have a game night to attend tonight. So glad I have off work tomorrow! I love 3 day holiday weekends!

Conversation Starter: What’s on your agenda this weekend? Do you prefer low key nights or nights out on the town?

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!

Tacos and Theme Parties

Every Saturday morning the guy and I go through our list of “go to” places to eat. It usually takes about an hour to finally come to a decision…yesterday morning was no different 🙂 But boy did we decide on a good one…

It took us forever to find an authentic mexican place that can hold a candle to our favorite taqueria in Cape Coral (we live in St. Pete, but the guy’s family lives in the Cape). The Taco Bus’s Tampa location has been a favorite of Tampa Bay locals for awhile now, but we never made it up there to try it. Thank goodness they finally decided to bring a second location to St. Pete’s Grand Central District. The hardest thing to find in an “authentic” mexican place is the authentic taco, and Taco Bus definitely has it down with it’s flour soft tortillas, heaps of meat and crisp vegetables. Our favorites are the barbaoca (stewed beef), cochinita (pork) and lengua (tongue…trust me, don’t knock it ’till you try it!). Of course there are many other things on their menu such as burritos, tostadas and tortas. We ended up with a lengua torta, a cochinita torta and Saturday’s special pork tamale. We’ve seen the tortas bigger and with more meat, but boy they were still delish. We never tried the tamales before, but it’s definitely going into the rotation…I’m not a big tamale person, but this was chock full of slightly spicy pork and the masa was perfectly soft. I’m now a fan 🙂

Half of my cochinita torta…

And the amazingly yummy tamale..

After lunch we headed to the grocery store so I could gather ingrediants for a Date and Blue Cheese Cheese Ball I was making for our friend’s retro themed birthday party that evening.

The recipe is from Epicurious. The first time I made it I had a guest who was allergic to nuts so I rolled it in bacon instead of the called for walnuts. This time I made it with the walnuts, but I have to say both ways are pretty awesome.

And it’s SO simple…you just need a few ingrediants…

The recipe calls for medjool dates, but the first time I used regular dates and I really don’t think you can tell a difference.

Mince the dates (warning, things can get a bit sticky) and shallots, and grate some lemon for zest.

Mix together the cream cheese, blue cheese and buttermilk.

Add the dates, shallots and zest.

Form into a ball…

…wrap in plastic wrap, and voila!

Stick in the fridge for at least two hours. Then toast and chop up the walnuts, and chop up the parsley. Mix them together and roll the cheese ball over the mix until it’s covered. Serve or stick back in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. Easy as that!

Brought these two crackers to use as vehicles to the mouth. I was excited to see the new pita chips from Kashi…I dug ’em, but the guy prefers Stacy’s whole grain pita chips.

Party itself was fun except for the over abundance of bros and hoes in South Tampa. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that the only place I can stand for over a half hour on a Saturday night in SOHO is The Dubliner. At least you’re able to find a nook for you and your friends to hang out in and actually hear one another talk. And there’s live music! But overall the night was full of fun festivities and we met some new faces, which is always nice 🙂

After a long night and not waking up until almost noon, I walked out of the bedroom to this…

Wheat germ and walnut pancakes with cinnamon apples…umm YUM.

Now it’s a lazy day of watching a Pawn Stars marathon while trying to avoid much needed apartment cleaning…

What’s your favorite “go to” recipe for parties?