Weekend recap

This past weekend flew by - my dad and step mom were in town visiting for the first time in Miami.  I ran the ING Miami Half Marathon on Sunday for Team Fox.  It was the third half I have done, and was a new personal record.  We had a blast, packed a lot in but also had some good down time in between meals and activities - an overall success.  We also tryed all new places to eat and go, a bit risky but it proved to be successful, so now I have a couple great new go-tos, success #2 of the weekend.

Their flight was delayed (too much fuel in the plane, seriously) so they came in and we walked to a great place in our neighborhood, Jaguar. A Peruvian spot with delicious ceviche, tasty drinks, and a great vibe.  My dad and I had pisco sours ( I don't think I've ever had one) which will be a repeat order, I had a great shrimp dish, and my step mom and dad each ordered mahi mahi, prepared different ways.

Saturday morning we went to the Coral Gables Farmer's Market; Farmer's Markets literally give me endorphins, I am not sure why but I LOVE them.  They picked up some stone crabs to bring back to DC for a dinner on Monday, we got freshhhh squeezed grapefruit juice glasses, my dad treated himself to some 10 am pork tacos, and then they got this adorable key lime tree for our backyard.  I can't wait to harvest (aggressive) the little guys!

Then we went to Garcia's upon a a recommendation from a friend and it was a rinse-repeat for sure.  We had beers and fish sandwiches watching yachts, tug boats, and our fellow diners the entire meal (good people watching in this town).  We sat outside on the second floor deck and ate up the January Miami Saturday afternoon.  This is a great spot.

We went back and there was an every man for themselves exercise/read/have a beer period.  We then went to Cibo's Wine Bar in the Gables for some carbo-loading for me and wine drinking for others (at least this is what resulted).  I searched for an Italian restaurant near to us for dinner before the race, and I got one with the added bonus of a "wine angel." I'm being serious here.  We sit down and realize that the floor-to-ceiling glassed wine case has a svelte young lady strapped in like a rock climber (...) who could hoist herself up to get your bottle of cab. 

Sunday morning I got up at 4:30 for the 6:15 race start because it was the first time I had used public transit to get downtown and I was a little nervous about making sure I got there in time.  I enjoyed a peanut butter and banana sandwich on a whole wheat hamburger bun (probably should have shopped for breakfast) and made my way downtown.  With more than 25,000 runners from every country in Latin America, and across the world it was pretty awesome.  You run over two bridges linking Miami to Miami Beach, the course hits so many great spots and I was just enjoying myself (except mile 8 wasn't the best) and the runners.  I met my three fans at the bag collect, a go-to meeting spot, and we headed back to the Grove.

We then headed to our favorite brunch spot so far in the Gables, Chocolate Fashion.  I had to get over the name at first, but it is a tasty place.  French owned and operated, they have wonderful coffee drinks, breakfast foods and a good lunch offering.  I enjoyed the bagel-lox platter with a side of potatos lyonnaise and a latte.  I needed a little downtime so people read the Sunday Times, watched TV, and snoozed.  We then walked around the Grove and did a little shopping before we got ready for dinner and drinks on South Beach.

We started at The Tides which we just happened upon and it was a great Art Deco hotel, recently redone on Ocean Drive.  Enjoying $6 mojitos (a SoBe steal), we wandered around the lobby loving the decor and feel.  We then headed up to the Eden Roc a famous old Miami Beach hotel for dinner.  We ate at 1500 which is fabulous, we had a charming server, delicious food and wine, and the chef even came out to say hi - a great way to end a treat of a weekend!

With Tuesday upon us, reality has officially set back in.  I am excited to revisit some of these new finds and it has reinvigorated me to continue to explore this town.


Zig-zag steal-deal

Alert alert!  Home decorating deal here!  These rugs are adorable, come in a great range of colors, and would look so cute in a bathroom or snazz up a small living room or entry way in a snap.  They are also under $80.  From Urban Outfitters, these rugs are a steal, which color do you like?  I'm partial to the yellow and gray.

Asian vegetarian meal

Last night I made this delicious soup from smitten kitchen and some brussel sprouts to go along with it.  Although we sat down at 10 p.m. which is just too late for a Wednesday night dinner, schedules have been packed and sitting down to a meal is important even if you're then so hungry you don't speak.  At least you're sitting together.

The carrot soup with miso was great, nods to that tasty dressing you get when at a sushi place.  The brussel sprouts were a good side dish and in the crisper so I put them to use.  I just roasted the brussels in the oven and made a quick 1/2 soy sauce 1/2 balsamic vinegar glaze (it was intense).  Finding the miso paste was a little more of a challenge than I would have liked. Whole Foods prevailed on trip #3.

Carrot soup with miso and sesame (via smitten kitchen)
2 T olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled & chopped into thin pieces
1 large onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
2 T grated fresh ginger
4 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken as it was on hand)
1/4 cup miso paste (add more to taste)
toasted sesame oil and thinly chopped green onions as garnish (**include these, makes the soup divine)

Heat olive oil in pot and add carrots, onion and garlic.  Stir and cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes.  Add broth and ginger to pot, put lid on and bring down to a simmer for 30 minutes.  Make sure teh carrtos are tender, remove pot from heat and I used my immersion blender to puree the soup.  Then add in miso psate to hot bottom stirring carefully to make sure it is completely dissolved.  Serve with scallions and tosted sesame oil.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
1 pound brussel sprouts, rinsed and sliced in half.
1-2 T olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 Meyer lemon (optional, I had one on hand)

Preheat oven to 400, place brussels on baking sheet after being tossed in olive oil.  Cook for 25 minutes.  In small sauce pan heat soy sauce and balsamic, reducing liquid to almost half. Remove from heat and toss with brussels in a large bowl.  Add in increments as this is extremely pungent and different people will like different amounts.  Juice 1/2 of lemon over brussels and serve.

Hope you enjoy!


Oversized clutches - fooling onlookers

A definite sign of a put-together woman is walking down the street, midday, with nothing in her hand but an oversized clutch.  Who are these people?  I would like to sometimes become one.  My bags are stuffed with papers, my wallet which is the size of some clutches, sunglasses, granola bars, innumerable rubber bands and chapsticks, among other necessities.  Sometimes, on the weekends if running a precalculated number of errands I'll put my credit card and drivers license and a few other things into a clutch and go.  It just looks so chic and also helps out your shoulders to not slug around that gym bag and purse one can use Monday - Friday.

Oversized envelope clutches are to be very "in" for this Spring.  There are a great number of options of price ranges and materials.  I like the structured look more myself.  There are a lot of cool laptop bags by designers that could be used an oversized clutches as well (the blue ASOS is an example).  Here are a couple that struck my fancy.  Enjoy! xo


Seeking juicer guidance

One of the major perks of South Florida living is the citrus.  It really is amazing.  I just got back from the first Coral Gables Farmers market of the season (in January, so crazy to me still!) where I bought a 1/4 bushel of grapefruit, some guacamole that would make you cry in delight, and a mystery fruit that we think is a very large guava.  (I am trying to force myself to speak more Spanish and the conversation I had with the woman at the stand in Spanish I think left us both more confused than anything, but it was $3 and "like a papaya" so I went for it.)  The grapefruit is honestly divine.  I cut it up in quarters to eat with a banana, but we also juiced one for a little glass.  It. was. out. of. sight.  The thought of juicing a couple grapefruit every morning for your weekday breakfast along with a hard boiled egg or some toast with apple butter (two of my morning staples) seems so luxurious I can barely stand it.  So we have decided to invest a simple but nice juicer.  I have begun my online search.  I would love one day to have one of those ultimate ones where you can throw in carrots, celery, anything, and the juice magically appears in a cup below.  But for now for the sake of cost and counter space, we'll get something more basic.  

Does anyone have any thoughts on this matter?  Any juicers that are great and/or we should avoid? 

Image via My Pinterst


Surprise finds at Sundance

Last night I did some extremely light reading, thumbing through the catalogs we've gotten this week before recycling pick-up tomorrow.  I opened Sundance, a catalog a cute former coworker loved and still reminds me of her, and was wowed by the options.  I was having a "I want" moment on almost every spread.  The relaxed, eclectic yet tailored looks were so appealing to me.  None of these clothes in my mind are trendy, just great pieces that you would hold onto.   Almost everything is more casual yet would elevate your look to something more funky and fashionable than my jeans, white t-shirt, grey cardigan trap I may-may not fall into at times.

Sundance has some great home things as well, but I'll leave that for another date.

Some pieces I especially loved -

All images via Sundance.

All-star avocado

I am not ready to commit to my other four, but within this elite ranking is the illustrious avocado.  This list doesn't include dishes, but simple ingredients that I love in almost any form.  If anyone asked asked if I should add avocado to a dish,  I would most likely say sure.  The creamy fresh flavor, eating them at the perfect consistency, and the great nutritional value are just some of their all-star qualities.  So tasty on their own with just a little salt on toast is amazing.  And, when I really want a tasty no fuss snack, I will halve one and pour a little soy sauce in the cavity, eating it with a spoon to scoop directly from the skin.

Recently I saw a recipe by Giada for Linguine with Avocado and Arugula Pesto.  YUM.  I have yet to make it, but I thought I would share it and see if anyone had any thoughts or maybe had even made it before.  A great vegetarian dish, or if you served this with grilled chicken breasts you would have a complete tasty and healthy meal. 

1 pound linguine pasta

2 medium avocados 

3 cups baby arugula leaves 

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

3 T fresh lime juice (2 large limes)

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

1 cup grated Parmasan

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (see Cook's Note)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place in a serving bowl.

Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the avocados and place in a food processor. Add the arugula, basil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper - blend until smooth

Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss together. Add the cheese and almonds and toss together until coated, adding the pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce.

My note:  I will probably add 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes to give it a little heat.  

Now to end with some food porn.  Not a great activity to look up when craving your mid-afternoon snack.  I torture myself sometimes when looking up recipes on Pinterest.  

 Images via Food Network and My Pinterest


DL 1961

A few years ago when skinny jeans came onto the scene, I was less than thrilled.  My athletic lower body does not equal the chopsticks I desired in order to wear this new cut of pantaloons.   I eventually bought a pair because the great thing is that if you're wearing boots constantly (like most NYC and Chicago ladies), skinny jeans allow you to slip in and out of boots without bunching and such. 

Visiting a girlfriend in Atlanta last year we went to a boutique and in a moment of impulse I bought a pair of these jeans.  One year later, these skinny ankle jeans are staples.  I love the amount of stretch they have so they're not too legging-like and they look SUPER flattering.  The ankle "Angel" jeans look fantastic with flats and are great to wear with boots.  I plan to buy more pairs of DL 1961's in the future and although not cheap, they are not so expensive that I feel silly spending $200+ on a pair of jeans.  (Although when you think of dollar per wear, for a good pair of jeans, it's not a bad place ot put your spending money....)

Without further ado, here are the DL 1961 jeans I would stand on a podium and endorse like a crazed lady -

All images via DL 1961.