Friday, October 29, 2010

The Fun Never Ends in 2010....

.... at the 2010 Food and Wine Festival!

You saw my sneak peak at F&W after the Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon, however that was just a teaser for us, sit back, relax and grab a lime, cause 2010 was the Food and Beer/Tequila festival for this semi-abnormal gal. 

I'm so in love with this picture!
BUT it wouldn't be a Disney day without some attempted jumping shots!

Ok, so this wasn't our day for the jump shot, but it was fun getting strange stares from the other park goers!

But enough of my cute friends and I, let's get down to the business at hand, food and wine tequila.

Got to get something in the belly before the I popped by the Brazil stand for some Shrimp Stew Coconut and Lime.  Tasty, filling but not very coconut-y. I was pleasantly surprised by 4 count shrimp plating and gladly shared with my fellow festival foodie friends (hello alliteration!). I mean, I wanted to save a little room for some tequila....

Ok, fine, here is the tequila, so I'll stop yapping about it:

Served up with lime, salt and the oh so tasty sangrita , which may or may not be one of the driving forces behind standing in line for the "secret" taqueria inside Mexico, which considering there are "cattle lines" set up outside isn't so secret anymore!  (psst, I'm really loving this picture, too!)

Cheers, friends!

Next on the menu: Poland and the infamous Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream. If you are at F&W you must try this....seriously, even my veggie heads, the sausage is cooked separately, so just ask for it without, cause those onions are to.die.for.  I really must learn how to properly caramelize onions. Drool.

I didn't get anything at China (although I gladly helped Ash take down the Gingerita) but this label cracked me up- "Pure Draft Beer" in a bottle? conflicting message much? Yep.

There is nothing conflicting about how amazing the new South Korea stand is. Hello Lettuce Wraps with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw, yes, I will eat you everyday. Umk?thanks.

And thank you sir, for this lovely pour of South African La Capra Pinotage, my only glass of vino the entire evening.

And what is better to follow a glass of African Red than with a tasty Altenmünster Octoberfest?

And what is a beir without a sausage? Not much! hehe. And while this Nürnberger Sausage in a Pretzel Roll may have been lacking in, ahem, girth....well, it was satisfying in the flavor department, so what more does a girl need?

Ash seemed to be a satisfied customer, at least!

Then we wandered around to Belgium where Dr. Smith  another photogenic cast member poured me a 6oz glass of Hoegaarden. Now before you go lecturing me on the fact that Hoegarrden can be enjoyed at nearly any decent restaurant, but I don't usually order it for some odd reason. I should, because this so hit the spot. Such a lighter yet more malty contrast to the heavy, hoppy Octoberfest of Germany. 

I also had a taste of Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream at the new Belgium stand. The mussels themselves were very tender and flavorful, but the toast points were rock hard, which made it difficult to enjoy the lovely garlic cream.  The girls really enjoyed the Belgium Waffle and I kind of wish I had ordered it instead, but eh...I'm not sure waffles go with beer!

While we were standing in line for Paris the announcement came on to "take small children by the hand"....Jenna and I obeyed of course, and we enjoyed the fireworks show with our Escargots Persillade en Brioche and Sparkling Pomegranate Kir

(Recycled picture from last year-enjoyed in the same spot, but without the sunlight)

Unfortunately we didn't know the start of the IllumiNations show would mean the end of our night at F&W, since all the booths sneakily (in my opinion!) shut down while the fireworks had us entranced.

No worries...we still had more fun in store:

Like being silly on the tram....

....and dancing the night away with friends at Bar Louie (where I may or may not have had more tequila shots....a lady never "shoots and tells." hehe)

Now that is what I call a successful freakin' fun day with some of my favorite girlies! (and guys).

Love to all,
~ the, "why can't I eat around the world everyday?" gal, Jess

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Or rather I'm still alive.....

I've just been spending time with all these crazy kids and our homecoming hoopla....

See you sometime after Friday night and our Tiger Takedown of the Buffalos!
Love to all,
~ the "yes, homecoming week is one of my favorite parts of being a teacher" gal, Jess

Friday, October 15, 2010

September 26th and 28th, 2006

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

 So I was just walking home from class and I cut through the towncenter and was thinking how nice it smells, just some tropical flowers, spiciness from the restaurants and cigar smoke from Angry Moon when I get a wiff of dog shit....that was unexpected and unwanted....when we get a dog I vow to always clean up after it.  But seriously the towncenter does smell good, minus the shit and dumpsters. But I guess that is life in general right? It's great expect for the shit and garbage!

Love to all,

Thursday, 28 September 2006

What good is comfort? I mean we have all these comfort vices....mac'n'cheese, ice cream, cigarettes, alcohol, cozy blankets, mindless television, sleeping ridiculous amounts.  But what are they but a distraction from the problem at hand.  What if that problem could be eradicated.  But what if that problem was part of your dream.  Then what? Do you give up? No way right.  Follow the American what no one else can.  Be an individual. Do something that no one else with your background ever could.  This is supposed to be a comfort too.  Right, I've always found endless pressure to be the best comfort ever.  That's all I've got.

Love to all,

Yep, that was me, Junior year of college, being a deep and thoughtful. Possibly angsty? I hope not...I prefer philosophical? ha. Cause we all rememberhow well that philosophy class went for me!

I'm actually glad I stumbled upon these posts though, cause just like then, I've been having a war with my thoughts recently about how long I can work in a self-less career like teaching, because while I usually love my job, I've been incredibly drained for most of this term and am struggling with that feeling. I have a really hard time balancing selflessness and selfishness. But I just have to remember that life is great, minus the shit and garbage! 

 If you have had enough of the deep and dreary stuff, check out a more recent flash back: Epcot's Food and Wine Festival circalast year!

I'll be F&W bound with my college roomies is just a few hours, so enjoy 2009's antics, while we nibble and sip our way to new memories for 2010!

 Love to all,
~the, "this is why it's good to reflect, because life is circular" gal, Jess 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sushi House

Sushi. With my bestie. And a Groupon? Check it.

And a sushi cam? Come to Momma.

 Tokyo Sunrise: California roll wrapped with salmon accompanied with
       lightly cooked chopped crab, scallop, and spicy mayo sauce

Happy Sumo: avocado, cucumber, crab, tuna, salmon, cream cheese,
       and whole roll is fried tempura style.  Spicy Mayo, eel sauce, sesame topping.

 Rainbow : California roll topped with colorful fresh fish filets

Tiger Eye: Chopped Tuna wrapped with Calamari and drizzled with Ponzu Sauce and tempura flash fried.
Thanks to my $15 Groupon Jenna and I were able to get quite the spread. My favorite was surprisingly the Happy Sumo. I do love a great flavor profile that includes multiple fish, spicy sauce, avocado and cream cheese but tempura is NOT usually not my thing (well, except tempura veggies of course! hehe). I would gladly make make an execption to my anti-tempura stance again to enjoy that roll! 
I was really excited to try the riceless Tiger Eye roll, not because I dislike rice-quite the contrary!- but I LOVE calamari even more. However, neither Jenna nor I were fans of this roll; it has a very odd meaty quality that I don't associate with sushi and was oddly bland. Makes me a little gaggy just thinking about it and it was the only roll that we didn't demolish. 
Overall, I really enjoyed visiting Sushi House. It is a nice little gem, tucked away in a strip mall in front of the Florida Mall itself and I would greatly enjoy making habit of visiting it after a little H&M spree, since that is the only reason to drag me over to the "tourist" side of Otown. If you happen to be in the area yourself, and don't worry I won't judge why, check it out yourself!
Love to all,
~the sushi fiend, Jess 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This Meal is Brought to you by the Letter "P"

And "P" is for very favorite supermarket and once of the reasons it would be so hard to move out of the true "deep south".

If you want to be technical, nearly all my home cooked meals are courtesy of Publix (with the assistance of far too large a portion of my paycheck each month!), however, this lovely and filling salad, really has the stamp of Publix my approval.

I give you the quickest Asian Salmon Salad ever....and I have this lovely black bag to thank for it.

When I was perusing the sale flier last week I saw a "new item" of Publix Premium Bagged Salads, BOGO. You had me at "buy one!"

The star of tonight's show was the Makoto Honey Ginger Salad Kit which contains a mix of romaine and green lettuce, dried pineapple, honey roasted soy nuts and ginger salad dressing. I just mixed all the components together and then topped it with a fresh salmon burger, from the seafood counter, also at Publix.

This was a great "go to" dinner after a long day teaching 125 students plus dealing with parents and administration which kept me at school from 7am until 6pm! Even better was I had 1/2 a bag of salad left, which I topped with the other (camera shy) salmon burger that I proceeded to lug to school for lunch the next day. Nothing gets me through my crazy mornings at school like knowing some yummy leftovers are in my lunch bag!

I don't usually cater towards the "premade" stuff, since it tends to be overpriced, but both these items were great and I would gladly purchase them again, sale or no.

Love to all,
~the "didn't you get my Sesame Street reference?" gal, Jess

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Racing Eats: Food is NOT Fuel in my World

See, I'm a foodie, first and foremost... and yes, this is a lifestyle in itself.  Rachel has been doing a series on owing who we are, as well as not being sorry for NOT being sorry, and that couldn't be more true when it comes to my relationship with food, because seriously, food is my number one lover. Sorry boys....but the good news is I also love to share my lover, with my lover.

So, for my first race (which was at night....therefore I had to get through a full day of eats before the start, ya dig?) I continued to take pleasure in food and eat like I always do, veggie heavy, saucy and beautiful. Just like moi!

For my race day lunch Jenna and I trekked over to  Chai Thai which is only a few blocks from her house.

You have to love a place that offers lunch specials on a Saturday! Tasty salad, hot and crispy spring roll, but the real story here is that beautiful bowl of Panang curry (tofu and veggies please). I know many people would cringe at the idea of eating Thai curry before a race, but this is what I eat and I'm not going to eat the boring marinara over whole wheat penne or pizza, cause that just isn't me (not that I don't enjoy pasta or pizza, I just like rice and curry better! hehe)

The whole time I was running (or speed walking!) I was day dreaming about beer. What else? See Sam Adams always does a special "Festival" beer for Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. Last year's 14th Anniversary Ale blew my mind and I was hoping for the same this year.

As soon as the relay shuttle dropped us off at Epcot- in the back alley of America, it was oh so convenient for me to run right to the Sam Adams booth and get my 15th Anniversary Ale and a Lobster Roll. The beer was refreshing and tasty, but didn't hold a candle to 14 from last year. The lobster roll was flat out ick: cold and flavor-less. I'm so glad that my race voucher was used to "purchase" this because it wasn't worth the $7.50 it would have cost me.

I walked around the "after party" which was just 20 of the F&W booths around the world showcase while Jenn ran her portion of the race. I stopped at a new booth (to me anyways) Singapore and picked up a Shrimp Cake with Spicy Noodles.

 And took a one-way trip to salt city. Whooah. The noodles were tasty though, thankfully. I decided to lay off the eats for a little while and wandered over to wait for my wonderful teammate at Argentina, which we had chosen as our meet up location.

"Why Argentina?" you might ask.

Um, yeah....that's why (picture from last year-I was sick of the low lighting issues)- this Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Pureé didn't stand a chance against two hungry girls at 1am! So delicious. I didn't want any more liquid refreshment at that point though, and just stuck with my trusty water bottle the rest of the evening.

Jennifer and I wandered around the after party a bit longer and I finally made one more purchase as it was getting a little cool out....well that and I'm a soupaholic

So, just ignore the sausage plate (another recycled picture from last year) and focus on the beautiful Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. Perfect, perfect, perfect ending to the night.

The next day I couldn't get enough water, so when Jenna and Jesse- my besties and wonderful Orlando home away from home- suggested I join Jesse's family for lunch at Little Saigon it didn't take much convincing.

We started with a shared plate of shrimp rolls and fish sauce (there were more, I wasn't quick enough with my camera!).

And then my shrimp and crab Pho arrived. Honestly, there are no words. Do you ever have that meal that you didn't know you were craving, but it ends up being the perfect thing? Yep, it was one of those days!

Check out those beautiful glass noodles. I added some extra mint and basil, plus fish sauce and then proceeded to nearly drain every drop. More please? While we are doing the foodie 20 questions, does anyone else get so involved with their food that they get a buzz off it? Cause I do, and this meal was an amazing bowl of intoxication. See I told you food is my lover....I even get drunk off it's kiss.

Love to all,
~the "I run so I can eat, not eat so I can run" girl, Jess

Monday, October 4, 2010

Smoked that Golf Cart!

Two months ago I was at a summer workshop for high school science teachers at UF and I met this cool fellow biology nerd, Jennifer. And it turns out she was a beginning runner too- actually Jenn is much more advanced than me, she was running with a team and had already done a few 5ks. So, fast forward 2 crazy weeks of 13 hour days, nights out and not enough sleep, and we registered for a 1/2 marathon. But, it was just as a relay after all- and while I'd NEVER actually run a straight mile, I thought, "hey, it's just 5 miles...and I have 2 months, I'll manage" and my teammate had done 6 miles before, so she just had to tack on 2 more. Besides, I always make great decisions when I'm functioning on 4 hours sleep.

See, we kind of forgot that we were teachers....we were on a euphoric summer buzz. Opps.

Because we didn't factor in a few things:

ONE- we were both "beginning" runners- myself still pretty damn inexperienced, in spite of badly dabbling in the sport for the past year
TWO- it's summer, ladies....and yes it's nice and relaxing for teachers who haven't taken a breath for the entire school year, but it's hot as blazes. Yeah, fun times.
THREE-we are teachers....see, teaching isn't a job, it's when the 2nd week of August rolled in, um, yeah...running wasn't a high priority. Or showering for that matter. Like I said, it's a lifestyle.

Taking all that into account I made the "grandiose" goal of staying one foot ahead of the golf cart (and not so secretly praying that the driver would be a really cute, late 20's guy who enjoys watching curvy gals butts bounce for 5 miles and would buy me a beer at the after party)

Well, I didn't get to find out who was driving the golf cart, cause I never saw the golf cart....whoot. But I'm far too ahead of myself as usual. So, let's rewind to the expo:

Umm, actually the expo was nice, but nothing amazing. 'Course, what do I know, it was my first expo, so obviously I have nothing to compare it to. Jenna, my bestie and wonderful hostess for the weekend, was so kind to accompany me, since Jennifer, my teammate, (yes, two Jenn's!) wasn't arriving until the A.M. and I get kind of nervous doing new "big" stuff like navigating the Wide World of Sports Complex. Turns out it was painless....and I resisted dropping any money at the booths since I haven't really "earned" any race stuff yet. (Expect for my awesome LuLu shorts....I will drop $50 on Reverse Groove shorts any day!)

I did think these shirts were pretty funny though, the tank says "I'm slow. I know. Get over it." And the tee says, "I'm only doing this so I can post the picture on Facebook"

Jennifer arrived the next day and after spending the afternoon writing lesson plans for our respective classes and schools, we got our gear on and headed out to Disney. 

And waited in a field for 2.5 hours! I lost Jenn at 8:30pm, when she got bussed over to our relay transition point.  In retrospect I wish I would have danced around with the other people up by the stage and just had a little more goofy fun, but I was nervous and just went into super reserved mode. 

I choose not to run with my camera-so I don't have any on sight photos, but my portion of the course was pretty simple....a straight shot down one of Disney's inner highways to Animal Kingdom, a quick round about the park and then down to the transition point, to pass it off to Jenn. I ended up walking about 3 of the 5 miles total, but I was totally hoofing it during my "walk breaks" and honestly may have been just as fast "walking" as I was "running!" Go figure! Overall, I averaged a 14:80 pace. Lots of room for improvement, but I'm ok with that.

It was great seeing the familiar faces of Kelly and Meghann and hearing Meghann's encouraging words...I had gotten pretty run down by then, but after seeing them I actually ran all the way to the transition point!  That is what is so amazing about the blogging community- even though I've only met Meghann a few times, (once before either of us had blogs!) and only Kelly once, we are involved with and supportive of each other's lives anyways. I love that about our Blogosphere!

So, how did we do?

Not too shabby! You can see how much faster Jenn is than me....she did nearly twice the distance I did, in only 30 mintues more-but I'm so pleased that we placed 305th out of 610 teams....much higher than I expected! 

Maybe the Princess Half isn't unattainable? My tight hips and sore ankles still need a few more days to think it over. Regardless, I'm taking the rest of October off from running and am excited to get back into my regular gym schedule of yoga, spinning and Body Pump, which I'd nearly abandoned getting ready for this race.

This post has gotten a bit wordy, so I'll save all my race related eats- including the Wine and Dine after party for tomorrow!

Love to all,
~the I'm still wondering if that golf cart driver was cute, but I'm glad I didn't have to meet him gal, Jess

PS. How sweet are the signs my parents posted at my parking space and on my front door, after doggie sitting all weekend? It was such a wonderful suprise, as I was a little bummed they couldn't come down for the race.