PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete: Yelp’s Black & White Ball

November 13, 2013 at 11:53 am

Sunday was my 6th event as part of Yelp Tampa Bay’s PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete. It was Yelp’s Black & White Ball at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Gold Club.


The previous five days and five events that I attended thanks to Yelp Tampa Bay:

Tuesday 11/5: Yelp’s the Mac Daddy event at MacDinton’s.
Wednesday 11/6: The Gallery of Yelp event at the Florida Craftsmen Gallery.
Thursday 11/7: Yelp’s 50 Shades of Plaid event at The Birchwood.
Friday 11/8: Yelp Plays with Fire event at Painting with Fire Studio.
Saturday 11/9: Yelp’s Secret Cash Mob at Sweet Divas.

My friend Amy agreed to be my date for the ball.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-2

We navigated the busy downtown waterfront scene (thanks partially to Ribfest in Vinoy Park), parked in the Vinoy parking deck, then made our way to the veranda next to the entrance to the hotel. There we found our Yelp people.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-3

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-4

We checked in with Shanna at the Yelp table…

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-24

and then got in line. I was a little worried because there was a large line forming behind some picked over and empty tables.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-26

Before I let myself get annoyed Amy and I decided to abandon the line and go sit at a table with some friends. That was a good decision because soon a plank full of sliders arrived at the table.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-9

Left to Right:

Chicken: chicken, melted jack cheese, Red Sofrito (tomato, bell pepper, cubanella, onion, garlic, white wine, cilantro, cilantro) garlic aioli, Cuban bread
Salmon: Ground salmon patty, preserved lemon aioli,  smoked bacon, avocado, heirloom tomato, on a toasted brioche bun
Lamb: lamb patty, Greek salad, and tzatziki, on a toasted brioche bun
Veranda Burger: Kobe beef patty & Confit pork belly, melted Swiss cheese, tomato jam

I tried one of the salmon sliders first.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-10

I only ate what was between the bun, but the salmon patty may have had some sort of bread crumbs in it although the description just says “ground salmon patty”. It was delicious!

Trays of the Russian Standard blackberry infused vodka sodas were also being passed and I tried one of those. A vodka soda is an NSNG approved cocktail, but the fruit infusion does increase the carbs a bit. I was putting life into living here. It was was fairly warm, in the 80’s, Sunday afternoon and this drink was very refreshing.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-11

That’s Kate in the background.

I also tried one of the lamb sliders, and this one was my favorite of the two that I tried. Again, I didn’t eat the bun.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-13

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-33
The wait staff at the Vinoy were awesome!

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-14

The venue was spacious and felt luxurious. There was plenty of room for 100+ Yelpers.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-16

My friend Ali snapped some photos of the appetizers on the table once they restocked it.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-17

Thanks Ali! There were beer selections available from MillerCoors as well as red and white wine, but I stuck with my one cocktail and water. This was Ali’s picture:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-18

They had live music which was very nice.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-22

I had fun hanging out with my friends, including Grace from Grace Dishes and her boyfriend Jason (below left):

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-19

Kate is one of my NSNG buddies, so we both dutifully ate around the bread.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-20

One of my new Yelp friends, Jessica, stole the show by wearing her wedding dress to the ball!My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-21

The nice folks from TapSnap (who I first met at the Yelp NOVA 535 event) were there taking fun photo booth photos for everyone.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-23




It was yet another lovely event thanks to The Vinoy and Yelp Tampa Bay. Thanks Brett!

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-25

One more post to go to finish out my Yelp’s PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete adventures.


Life beyond Yelp: FOOD

November 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Whew. I still have two Yelp events that were part of Yelp Tampa Bay’s PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete to recap, but man…seven events in a row means lots of photos and less time in between to write about them. I know, my life is tough.



Plus, regular life is happening in between all of these fabulous events. So today I’m going to catch up a little on all of the things that happened in between Yelp events in the last week. This one is all about food.

Not pictured are the two fun size PayDay bars that I greedily ate one day in a random moment of complete weakness. Leftover Halloween candy. They were delicious and totally gave me a buzz and made me think about food for the rest of the day. That food obsession is what I hate more than anything. I got clean again the next day, but it is hard to fight that dragon.

Food that I thought was photo-worthy (mostly #NSNG no sugar, no grains):

I made a recipe out of Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan one night and I think it was our favorite from that cookbook so far: Chicken Nanking.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-1

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-2

It’s sweet potatoes and green beans and chicken in the most delicious sauce. The kids really loved it. I used frozen green beans and it turned out great.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-3

I made pancakes from Paleo Cupboard Sunday before last:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-11

Local raw honey from Parkesdale Farm Market:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-12

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-13

They were only ok. I think I needed some better (finer) almond meal. I used Bob’s Red Mill almond meal/flour and it is pretty mealy. I made mine without any honey, but did put a bit of honey in the boys’ pancakes. They liked them.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-14

When making almond flour pancakes I like to keep them silver dollar sized so they are easier to flip and hold together. Also, they are more dense and filling than traditional pancakes, so the portion should be less.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-15

Cal spotted these Sassy Cucina (local) dips and sauces at Rollin’ Oats one day:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-16

The ingredients looked good to me (although why “low fat”?), so we bought a few varieties. The whipped feta spread is delicious but very garlicky.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-17

Chad grilled some beautiful tuna steaks one night. We marinated them in Tessamae’s Chesapeake marinade first.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-18

One night I made a chicken pesto with spaghetti squash, kale, and Sassy Cucina basil pesto.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-21

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-22

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-23

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-24

Very tasty!

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-25

I had leftover spaghetti squash with sautéed onions and kale, goat cheese, and bacon for breakfast the next morning.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-44

Another photo-worthy breakfast involved zucchini and radishes.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-81

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-82

Somehow between my three last veggie co-op boxes I have ended up with a bazillion radishes. So I need to try to just put them in everything. This somewhat strange-looking combination was actually very tasty:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-83

After Yelp’s Secret Cash Mob on Saturday, Ali and I went to lunch at Parkshore Grill.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-89


My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-80

I got the Sesame Crusted Tuna Steak salad with oil and vinegar dressing.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-85

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-88

Unsweetened iced tea:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-86

I really like Parkshore Grill for simple, quality, well-prepared food. Great NSNG lunch.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-87

This past Sunday I tried a new almond flour pancake recipe with some Honeyville almond flour that I ordered from Amazon. It’s supposed to be a higher quality brand and produce smoother, lighter baked goods. I don’t really bake or eat “paleo” baked goods that often, but I like to make pancakes on Sunday for the boys (and myself). So I’m working my way through every recipe I can find on the interwebs for low-carb pancakes that I can create NSNG for me.

This week I used the recipe from Yummy Inspirations for Grain Free Fluffy Almond Pancakes.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-90

They turned out very pretty.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-120

Pork bacon from U.S. Wellness Meats:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-91

I gave the boys maple syrup on the side.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-92

The boys and I really liked them but Chad said he thinks the best ones so far were the pumpkin ones I mentioned in this post. I liked these, but since there are a million recipes for grain-free pancakes on the web I plan to just keep trying them all.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-93

Lunch yesterday was inside out wraps:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-126

They were slightly messy but delicious.

Breakfast this morning:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-333

I fried one slice of bacon and set it aside then used the bacon grease to make a hash out of 1/2 of a sweet potato (diced), onions, bell pepper, and kale. Then I crumbled the bacon over that and added two fried eggs. So delicious. I love breakfast. It’s the best.

Okay, up to date with the photo-worthy food.