Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vacation like a boss

Ah, vacation. Glorious vacation. I must say, since the stress and hard work of training for TM and studying for the PMP exam, this vacation is highly anticipated and very much welcomed. Down here in Florida, it's sunny blue skies with the high temp of 80 degrees at the peak hours of the day. It feels absolutely wonderful, not humid nor too hot. Since we've been down here, I've laid by the pool, done a little work, light reading and of course an afternoon run before dinner. I've never felt so relaxed. 

Before this trip, I tacked on a quick trip to Disney World to once again attend Epcot's 16th annual International Wine and Food Festival with my former roommates, Talley and Christine. I arrived in Orlando mid-day Sunday, made it to the hotel, and since Talley and Christine were out at the parks (they went down a day ahead of me), I decided to relax by the hotel pool and take my time getting ready before our amazing dinner at Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. This is our second year taking this trip and I hope to make it a tradition from now on. Just the 2 short days is all I need, and it's a total blast. 

Ohana serves amazing selections of meats similar to Texas de Brazil but definitely fancier. The steak and shrimp are my favorite, followed by the wings and their amazing dipping sauces to go with them. Since we had collected a bit of money from our old apartment's security deposit, we used the money for our trip to Disney World, so basically the meal was free (okay, not really but at least it felt like it!).
Then there's the festival. This year had some of the same items as last year's menu but thank god because many of them were absolutely amazing, like the lamb sliders with tomato chutney from New Zealand, the escargot wrapped in filo dough from France, and of course the sushi-grade salmon and tuna sensation with chunks of fresh avocado drizzled in soy sauce from Japan. To-die for, let me tell you. Then there were a few new treats such as the lamb chop with goat cheese potato salad from Australia, the seared filet of beef with sweet potato puree from South Africa, spicy shrimp taco from Mexico, and the Kefta (beef stuffed pita) from Morocco. All were absolutely incredible. It's the best food festival I've ever been to. Then there's the Eat to the Beat concert series and every year our favorite band Hanson performs during the festival. We basically revolve our trip around this concert and the festival, lets be honest. We've loved Hanson since the days of MMMBop and I can't believe 14 years later, we're still attending their shows. This year, they performed on Halloween, so what did they come out on stage dressed as? STORM TROOPERS! I LOVE Star Wars so this completely made my day. See a shot of Taylor Hanson below for a lovely visual. So much fun!

So, once I got back from Disney World, I turned around and headed right back to Ft. Myers, Florida with John the very next morning (I did not plan this, it was truly an accident that I booked these flights back-to-back, I swear). We enjoyed lunch at the club, pool time and relaxation. I decided to cook a nice meal for our first night at the condo instead of going out to dinner. My friend Liz brought me squid ink black linguine from Italy when she was traveling with her family on vacation. I saved the linguine and decided to take it with me to Florida so I could make a dish called "Love Mussels" that Liz recommended from The recipe was super simple - shallots, green onion, garlic, capers and Italian seasoning to eventually make an incredible marina sauce. Throw in fresh mussels (and I added shrimp), let it simmer; the mussels open up in the sauce and then pour over the black linguine. Voila! Or should I say, "Mangia!"

So, what's next? Well, we are heading to Miami tomorrow for a weekend getaway and wedding of a friend of John's. We are staying a swank hotel we booked using a Groupon deal, pretty pleased about that. Should be a lot of fun! How am I ever going to get back into the swing of things back in RVA after this wonderful vacation? I'll tell you how... by signing up for 2 more races this month. To motivate me during vacation and the upcoming holidays, I signed up for both the HCA 8K that occurs during the Richmond Marathon weekend and the RRRC Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving Day. It'll be a great workout before I down a huge feast at my parent's house. Gotta keep up the races to stay motivated... it really works!

So that's all for now... glad I can finally find the time to update my blog. Although I'm pretty sure no one reads it, at least I can record my food and fitness experiences somewhere special to me... And if you do read this - hope you enjoy!