Yelp asks, Who is Jack Dusty? Elite event

January 22, 2013 at 6:00 am

Saturday night Yelp Tampa Bay outdid themselves once again with a fabulous Elite event at the new restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, Jack Dusty.

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This was my first time visiting the Ritz-Carlton, and it is one gorgeous resort hotel.

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Rather than get a babysitter, I ditched Chad in favor of taking the other Caroline as my date.

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We were ushered through the opulent lobby of the Ritz-Carlton…

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to the curtained-off entrance of the brand new Jack Dusty restaurant.

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It’s was not yet open to the public (opens this week!), so we felt lucky to get this sneak peek of the beautiful restaurant.

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We were immediately greeted by a very happy waiter serving custom cocktails and wine.

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Darn you stupid Whole30 with your “no alcohol” rule! I really wanted one of these cocktails with a raspberry on top, which was three kinds of rum, red wine, and a pomegranate infusion.

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Luckily I had the other Caroline there to do all my taste-testing and to rub it in.

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I knew that I would not be able to eat many of the things being offered due to my Whole30, but when a waiter described the ingredients of this ceviche topped with plantain, I had found something I could taste!

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And it was delicious. I snagged a few more of those throughout the evening.

The other Caroline (it’s actually pronounced “Carolyn” in case you didn’t realize that, and why would you) got to try one of these fried green tomatoes topped with crab.

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She really seemed to like it, but whatever. My Whole30 willpower was standing firm.

We were highly entertained by the DJ who I’m pretty sure thought he was Chris Brown.

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While it was still light outside, we decided to check out the patio.

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The view out there was amazing.

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It was a gorgeous evening, perfect for dining al fresco.

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When I took the following photo I yelled up at the guy you can barely make out about four stories up to “Smile!”

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I think he just frowned more deeply.

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As we ventured back inside in search of more food and beverages we took a loop around the bar area which is a focal point in the center of the restaurant.

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Well hello there mermaid.

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The bar included a raw bar…

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where I found something else I could eat. Oysters!

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I also found my cocktail for the evening:

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The other Caroline tried caviar for the first time.

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Right around this time I had my Whole30 slip up. I tried a bite of sashimi, afterwards realizing that it had soy sauce on it.

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I swear the bite that I had did not taste like soy sauce at all! But dang, it was good.

Then I saw something that I KNEW I could eat…olives!

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I may have eaten a dozen or so. Many were stuffed with roasted garlic. Mmmmm.

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MyFascinatingLifeCarolineCalcote-23(click here for a closer peek at the menu)

As the evening progressed things got crowded around the bar.

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Everyone seemed to be having a great time and we kept making loops through the restaurant and back out onto the patio.

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I met the executive chef, Jeff Thomas, aka “Chef Gator”.

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I also ran into my friend Kat of Sneakers and Fingerpaints.

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We got up close and personal with King Neptune.

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Kat and her cute husband on the patio, where the view may be even more gorgeous at night:

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About this time there were waiters walking around with trays full of desserts…

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that we couldn’t eat! They were just for looks, and the waiter gave us an explanation of each of them.

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Ice cream in a tin, beignets, chocolate cake in a jar, some kind of English toffee in a cauldron (?), sorbet on a stick, and I can’t remember what that was in the far back left. But my Day 13 Whole30 brain was thinking that it needed it.

They were passing around ice cream cookie sandwiches which were not off limits for the other Caroline, and although she tried to resist (why???), she finally caved in and had one.

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She said they were good but would have been better if the cookies had been soft instead of crunchy.

Brett, the Yelp Tampa Bay community manager, seemed to think they were pretty good.

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Brett is the one who arranges all of these amazing Yelp events for us here in Tampa Bay, and he outdid himself once again. Thanks Brett!

The other Caroline tried one more cocktail just to make me jealous…

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and then we called it a night.

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We left with goody bags from Jack Dusty…

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When I got home I opened the bag to discover that we had been given a Jack Dusty t-shirt.

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Expect to see this shirt at Bodypump soon.

So, do you know the answer to this question?

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If not, let me tell you about this neat little website called Google.com . It knows EVERYTHING!

Thanks for being my date CC! You are the best. And thanks to the Ritz-Carlton, Jack Dusty, and Yelp Tampa Bay for a fun evening with my bestie.

Cya.

Jack Dusty's on Urbanspoon

Preparing for my Whole 30

January 7, 2013 at 10:47 am

First of all, before I forget, prices go up tomorrow night (at 11:59 p.m. CST) for the Dirty Girl Mud Run.

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If you were thinking about doing it, sign up today! If you use the code FLBLOGGUEST you will get 20% off as well. I’ll be in the 8:30 a.m. wave with team Mud Bloggin’.

[Disclosure: my registration for Dirty Girl was comp’d in exchange for helping them spread the word]

So over the weekend I started getting ready for my Whole 30 adventure. By “getting ready”, I mostly mean eating carbs and drinking alcohol. Whoops. I have definitely set myself up for the biggest carb flu ever.

Chewie came home from his luxurious pet resort on Saturday.

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We sure did miss him, but I know he had fun at Love My Dog, as evidenced by the daily log and photographs that they sent home with him. He’s smiling in all of the photos, I think.

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In their comments they said that he has a big personality.

Saturday night I got together with a bunch of my girlfriends to watch Magic Mike.

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I had margaritas and a ton of carbs, including pizza, crab Rangoon, and the carb-alicious sushi that was my contribution to the evening’s goodies.

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Thanks for having us over Paula! I have missed hanging out with these ladies lately.

On Sunday the preparations for the Whole 30 started in earnest. While making breakfast for the boys, I boiled a dozen eggs to use throughout the week.

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Having eggs already boiled and peeled makes things so much easier. Cal likes hard-boiled eggs also, so he’ll eat them for breakfasts as well. A dozen eggs fit perfectly into a quart-sized Ziploc.

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I decided that I would make a trip to the new Whole Foods in Carrollwood to stock up on approved foods for the week.

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Before I left I checked the store’s events calendar and saw that they were having a smoothie tasting while we would be there.

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They had samples of both their Kalicious smoothie and their Very Berry smoothie.

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The boys were surprised, but they liked the Kalicious better than the Very Berry!

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During the “event”, smoothies were BOGO 50%, so I let the boys each get a smoothie as an afternoon snack. Having been converted to green smoothie lovers, they decided to get “Green Dream” smoothies, which have apple and pineapple instead of banana and lemon.

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They loved them.

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I spent all of my Christmas money on the highest quality meats that I could find at Whole Foods…

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as well as on some specialty items that I guess will become my staples for the next thirty days.

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Once we got home I dived into one of my new cookbooks, Paleo Comfort Foods, a gift from my awesome mother-in-law, and made a couple of recipes.

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As you can see, there are lots of things I want to make out of this cookbook.

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I made paleo mayonnaise…

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and three pounds of homemade breakfast sausage.

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I couldn’t get all organic, pastured meats, but I got the highest quality of everything that I could. I’m not aiming for THE MOST PERFECT WHOLE30 EVER. I’m aiming to not knowingly break any of the rules and to do the best I can with all the helpful suggestions. The rules themselves are simple…

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but some of the suggested details get pretty complex. For my first Whole 30, I’m going to try not to get bogged down in the details and focus on the RULES.

To continue my set up for the week, I roasted some butternut squash and sweet potatoes. When I pierced the butternut squash, it cried.

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So after all of that, I was as ready as I was going to be. We spent the evening eating pizza and enjoying the last few hours of our holiday break. Farewell grains, dairy, legumes, and alcohol. Consume you again one day.

After prepping all that sausage I divided it into half-pound portions and froze most of it. I kept out a portion to make for breakfasts this morning.

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The boys liked it! I had it for my breakfast also (I’ll be chronically my Whole30 food on the blog, hopefully, so more on that later), and I think it is really good. It has some heat, but that is totally adjustable depending on how much cayenne you add.

This morning Chewie and I walked Mack to school.

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Back to the usual routine. Stay tuned for way too many Whole 30 updates. Unless I kill someone and have to go on the lam.

Cya.

p.s. I finally did the drawing for the GoGoSqueez giveaway from our Fast Fruit Party.

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Congratulations Christie!

[Disclosure: I was given free samples of GoGo Squeez to try, as well as some to give away.]