BodyWorks and Taste of Westshore

October 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

This post is going to be prohibitively long, and I don’t expect anyone to actually read the whole thing (except my friend Debbie, since she was actually with me at the event). So before I get started I want to mention a fun event that my friend Ali has been organizing.

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Seriously, doesn’t that look like fun? If you are local, please check it out!

In case there wasn’t enough rich food in my last post about Saturday night and Fleming’s Prime Steak House, get ready for food overload. That’s pretty much how my weekend went. I think having a late dinner Saturday night interfered with my sleep, as I felt like I got none. I’m sure I did, but you know how when you are waking up constantly you feel like you haven’t actually slept? That was me Saturday night.

Sunday morning I dragged myself out of bed and the boys and I went to Tick Tock for breakfast.

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I got a spinach and feta eggbeaters omelet with tomato slices. I actually had to send the first one back as it was not cooked through. I can eat runny eggs, but not runny eggbeaters. I felt bad sending it back, but it was not edible. I hope the cook didn’t spit in my second omelet! I just about NEVER send food back because I am really scared of that.

After breakfast the boys and went to the gym where I burned off a small percentage of all the food I ate over the weekend. First I did fifteen minutes on the elliptical…

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then BodyWorks.

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This was my first time taking a real LA Fitness group class. It was definitely challenging and very different than Bodypump. It used all hand-weights and was non-stop. We did this different type of squat and my glutes (aka ass muscles) are killing me today. I’m definitely going to give it a go a few more times before making up my mind about LA Fitness. I liked the class, but I still miss Bodypump.

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The vibe at my gym is terrible. Everybody seems sad or angry, especially the employees. It feels like LA Fitness doesn’t care at all about all the former Lifestyles members. People are leaving in droves. I also can’t understand why they haven’t bothered to remove all the Lifestyles branding from the gym.

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They changed ownership in July. Seems like they could have had a contractor out to remove all that stuff by now.

After the gym I went home and got ready to head out for more overeating. I was meeting a friend for Taste of Westshore.

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I won two free tickets from Yelp (You gotta be Yelping people! That was a $50 value!) and invited my friend Debbie to join me since she brought the event to my attention in the first place. The event took place at the Dale Mabry Campus of Hillsborough Community College which is right next door to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

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I had never been to this college before, and was pleasantly surprised by what a nice campus it is. I met Debbie at will call, we got our wrist bands, and immediately began eating. Warning…the following is a very long scroll full of food pictures.

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First up was a sip of beer from Saint Somewhere.

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This sip of beer was the only alcohol I tried yesterday. I was still kind of detoxing from Saturday night. Plus, as I’ve said before, I just don’t really like beer or wine very much.

The first food we tried was from Pelagia Trattoria.

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They had sweet corn polenta with braised short rib ragout and micro horseradish. This was the first thing we tried and it ended up being my favorite bite of the day.

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That polenta was amazing. I definitely want to go to this restaurant now. They also had fresh berries with some sort of cream cheese sweetness.

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I loved watching the chefs preparing everything on site.

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Our next stop was Coast:

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They had Ahi tuna ceviche…

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micro salad with walnut and gorgonzola crunch…

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and a passion fruit cream with seasonal fruit and shortbread crumb.

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I loved all the presentations especially. This event was very well organized. We didn’t have to wait in any lines anywhere. There were so many vendors, as you shall see.

Next up was Blue Water Grill from the Wyndham hotel.

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Their Kobe meatloaf with sour cream mashed potatoes and wild mushroom pan sauce were delicious.

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Next was Latitudes at Mainsail Suites:

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They had pulled pork sliders…

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and crab cakes.

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Both the sliders and crab cakes were served with a delicious cole slaw. I asked the chef what that special herb flavor was and he said it was cilantro, which is what I had guessed. It was so good. There were so many hotel restaurants represented here and it reminded me that when thinking of a restaurant destination I shouldn’t overlook hotel restaurants. I just usually don’t think of them.

The next offering was also from a hotel, The Westin, and it was Aqua.

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I got to try Aqua a few weeks ago at the Road Warrior Influencer dinner hosted by General Motors, and so I knew that it was fabulous. They had oyster shooters…

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and they were actually shucking the oysters just behind the display table.

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They also had these mini-cupcakes and I tried one of the pumpkin spice which had an awesome cream cheese frosting.

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Next to Aqua was JusThai.

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They had General Thai’s chicken with jasmine rice…

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Pad Thai…

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and Thai iced tea.

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This event was held outdoors and it was HOT out there. The Thai iced tea was delicious and it was so nice to have a cold beverage available. JusThai also had bottled water on ice which I appreciated. JusThai was my second favorite table of the afternoon. I definitely want to go back there with Chad and the boys some time.

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I loved their clever slogans (some of which I saw on their little van on my way in).

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The event also included unlimited beer and wine tastings, and while I wasn’t really interested, Debbie did try a few of the wine offerings.

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Next we tried a chicken strip from Zaxby’s…

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and both agreed that we were already full and the chicken strip had been a waste of valuable real estate in our stomachs. But their Zax sauce is really yummy.

Next was the Center Club…

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with some sort of pork creation (which neither one of us cared for sadly).

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LaTeresita on the other hand, is always amazing.

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They had pork, rice with black beans, and a fried plantain. Delish.

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They also had a guava pastry which was awesome.

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By this time we were beyond full and also very hot, so we decided to take a short break in some air conditioning.

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We were ushered through the VIP area (which we did not have tickets for, but offered A/C seating, and a few special vendors like Shula’s Steak House and some sort of sushi from what we could spy through the windows). The VIP area was inside what was obviously the dining hall or café for HCC. The fountains and high ceilings in this building were really cool.

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Again we were impressed with the HCC campus.

After we cooled off a bit we went back outside, and although we were not in the least hungry, vendors kept insisting that we try their offerings.

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Many of the restaurants had some sort of barbecue or pulled pork as I guess that is an easy thing to prepare ahead of time. We were kind of tired of it by this time, however.

One thing we could definitely NOT resist were the mini indulgences on display by Seasons 52. I was just there last week for their autumn tasting menu event, so I knew that these little desserts were something special.

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The people at their booth were encouraging everybody to try one of each! I tried the peanut butter/chocolate and pumpkin pie minis last week, so yesterday I wanted to try some of the others. I tried the pecan pie first (so so good) and then the red velvet cake (also really yummy).

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In addition to tons of restaurants, they also had several local artists on display…

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and live music in the courtyard.

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I think I was kind of dehydrated from Saturday night, so I was happy to try one of these honey lemonades from Arizona tea. It was surprisingly light and refreshing and not overly sweet.

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I thought this restaurant sounded very unusual…

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They explained that it wasn’t Italian/Asian fusion, but rather both types of cuisine were offered in the restaurant. They had a deconstructed seafood Rangoon to try:

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We also picked up a couple of samples from the airport Carabba’s, and found a table to chill out for a few minutes.

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Honestly, I tried a bite of the delicious lobster ravioli, but that’s about all I could touch as I was overly full by this time.

I thought the courtyard was really pretty with the sail sun shades.

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I know that it seems like this post will never end, but that’s also kind of how I felt about the food and vendors at this event. It was really fabulous. I have been to events like this before where you end up waiting in line forever and the vendors run out of food, but that was definitely not the case here. We had to just see what else was left, even though we really didn’t want more food.

Fleming’s was there (the restaurant I had dinner at last night):

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grilling some beautiful meat.

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Somehow I managed to eat this bite, and it was one of the most delicious of the afternoon for sure.

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I took this picture of Debbie just to illustrate that we did actually pass by some vendors without eating. We didn’t get a sample at GrillSmith.

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But the guy at KonTiki…

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literally pushed this plate into my hand before I could protest. It is mojo pork nachos.

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I took one bite and of course it was good, but I just couldn’t eat any more.

We were pretty much done, but I couldn’t resist a little sample from Smoothie King, because it was so hot and I still felt dehydrated.

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We had a great afternoon overeating and chatting and sweating. Thank you so much for coming with me Debbie!

I intended to come home and start blogging but two days of too much food and one evening of too much alcohol totally wiped me out. I ended up taking a two hour nap yesterday afternoon and getting nothing done. But now it’s a new week and I’m committed to some clean eating and some productivity. I’m currently on my third load of laundry and I’ve already emptied the dishwasher and done the dishes in the sink. Oh, and I’ve written two (overly) long blog posts. I guess it’s a good start.

Cya!