Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dining & Dancing on Wednesday

Latin Dance Class- BIG SUCCESS! Great Soul Wellness Studio is a beacon of spiritual light for the Baltimore community. Right after the corner of Moravia and Harford, you will find the black and red fa├žade of the Great Soul Wellness Studio. Up a steep set of stairs and we enter a quaint welcoming space adjacent to the only studio room and two wellness treatment rooms. A treatment is in session so we must keep quiet. I have to give praise to the soothing surroundings including the paint and wall imagery which happen to have been completed by my latin dance partner and friend, Danielle J The lone studio room is exactly what I would have expected fr a multi-functional studio; all classes are conducted in this space so there are mirrors at the front ideal for any dance course but something I would definitely appreciate for Yoga so as to observe my positioning.

Our Dance instructor, Sheena was very helpful and sweet. We started with the basic steps to meringue for warm-up then switched gears to the salsa. The overall vibe was pretty lax; with only 6 or so in attendance everyone could get one on one attention which was a plus.

Post Dance Nourishment

Joe Squared Dining Area

Essentially the sandwich I least aesthetically speaking.

On my way home, I knew a dinner pit stop would be called for since it was already almost 9 and the last thing I was planning on doing was cooking when I got home. No energy for that after all that salsa dancing! I had never actually been to the Joe Squared location on Howard and North Ave since my gentleman and I prefer the delivery option. I decided to compromise by scoping it out while waiting for take-out. (I would have waited to eat in but Top Design was waiting for me) The ambiance was predictable; a MICA mecca. The space is well...spacious? with a dance floor/performance area right as you walk in followed by a bar and a couple tables in the middle area and a fairly sized table top dining room towards the back. Each table was adorned with a mismatched collection of dyed flowers and quirky vases, the walls were covered in bright murals and intricate artwork, and the drinkers and diners pretty much fit the atmosphere. I somehow got this funny face (circa 1957- Audrey Hepburn) vibe; remember that smoky scene where she’s dancing in the beatnik bar in Paris and Fred Austere finds her there? Well I kind of felt like I was there…but a half century later.

So the food. Holy cow. I have to say, I was a little overwhelmed with the first page of the menu where I found like 50 pizza toppings! It’s going to take me a month to choose from this list; so I opted out of the pizza option since it unnerved me and selected the zucchini parmigiano sandwich. This was one of many parm sandwich options ranging from the standard chicken, eggplant, and also a mushroom. They certainly did NOT disappoint. I am telling you this sandwich was decadent. It came on a splendid ciabatta roll and stacked high with lightly breaded and fried zucchini slices. The slices of cheese were beautifully melted along the bottom half of the roll with layers upon layers of the fried zucchini. I stacked it even higher with my request of tomatoes and lettuce; maybe a little much but to me made all the difference in the world. Make note that for dine-in meals, a salad option comes with the sandwiches and soups. For take-out, salad is extra. My waiter was generous enough to allow me to “dine-in” but brought to-go boxes with my meal making my side salad FREE!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Latin Dancing Tonight

I will be attending my first Latin Dancing class at the Great Soul Wellness Studio located on Harford Rd tonight! Should be fun; I am in no way, shape, or form a "latin" dancer or a dancer for that matter with the exception of the awkward side stepping I tend to resort to at social functions. I will be partnering with a mutual friend who was the one who told me about this place to begin with. She frequents the studio for other classes that they host which include:

Belly Dancing
Tai Chi
Drumming circles
Self Defense

I am sure if the Latin Class goes well, I may sample some others- Tai Chi perhaps? Besides classes, the studio offers a variety of holistic treatments/wellness options such as Acupuncture, Massage, Reiki, Shiatsu, Naturopathy ( I have no idea what the latter is...will wikipedia it)

Class Synopsis to follow.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yoga Practice for this week

I plan on attending the following Charm City Yoga classes this week (10/27-11/2)

Mon. (8:30-10:00)

Community Rock n Roll Yoga @ Fells Point
Tues. (7:30-8:45)
Vinyasa @ Towson
Wed. (8:00-9:30)
Community Rock n Roll Yoga @ Fells Point

I am so glad to have recently gotten back into the swing of things with my yoga practice; it seems to be really helping with general calmness and definitely overall flexibility which hopefully will translate to my running. I have also attempted to incorporate the controlled breathing of vinyasa flow to my running, especially during faster workouts where I tend to lose breathing awareness. It is really tough, I have to say.

Super Easy Baking

I am so enthused about the Trader Joe's pumpkin bread mix that I bought the other day from the Towson location, I am wasting energy and time to blog about it! But seriously folks, I have never had SUCH an easy time baking! One box of Trader Joe's pumpkin bread and muffin mix costs like no more than $2.50 and yielded approx 18 delish muffins. All I added was vegetable oil, 2 eggs and water.

I did read online at that modifying the ingredients just slightly will improve consistency and moistness. This version also adds pumpkin butter which definitely could be an asset to pumpkin bread.

2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup water
1 whole Trader Joe's jar of Pumpkin Butter

I may have to try this...

I did jazz the muffins up a bit, I added some cinnamon to the mix and once each muffin was poured, I sprinkled a touch of brown sugar and crumbled almond slices on top. This added extra umph and a crunch that really made a difference.

There are some not so season bread and muffin mix options too for like ridiculously cheap; for sure I know there is banana but I'm sure there's some other simple options.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Baltimore Running Festival Memoir #2

Name: Kipkering (Christopher)
Age: 24
Training Location/Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Event: Marathon
Occupation: Professional runner, agricultural transporter of beans, wheat to other neighboring communities
Favorite Workout: 3 hour run on rolling hills @ high altitude
Weird training quirk: compulsively watches pre-recorded Olympic competition tapes, no eating on the day of marathon
Next Competition: Mountain cliben, Nigera run- 11.5KM

Baltimore Running Festival Memoir #1

Name: Andrew Letherby
Age: 35
Current training location: Boulder, CO
Hometown: Brisban, Australia
Event: Marathon
Occupation: Professional runner, editor of "Run for your Life" Australia magazine
Favorite Workout: Fartlek around the Boulder resevoirs- 1 min ON/1 min OFF-5.3 mile loop
Weird training quirk: Cannot stop watch during training at a weird time, must always round up. On race day, must always run 4 strides; no more, no less. 
Training Goal: Qualify for the Olympics; ran the olympic standard in the Marathon to compete for Australia in 2008 but was not selected.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Baltimore Running Memoirs to come

Boy have I been busy! I have a couple interesting running memoirs from some elite male marathon competitors that ran the Baltimore Running Festival earlier this month. I will post those soon for anyone reading this...

Additionally, lots of exciting dining being done lately but not out at restaurants surprisingly enough. I have actually been cooking for a change; this is prompted more so by the current economic situation and wanting to be on top of my bills. I started the week with a stir-fry inspired chicken dish seasoned heavily with lemon pepper, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and a teriyaki sauce stir fried with zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and broccoli. In a separate pot, I had israeli couscous cooking which ended up being just what the stir fry needed. I opted for the spin on couscous when at Trader Joe's; the fiber was higher and less calories per serving, plus the mix of different grains seemed fun. Plus it had quinoa which is a grain I have never cooked!

I have my friend Jen to thank for the gratis stir fry/wok pan she gave me; newlyweds always have so much stuff to give away.

I attended an event last weekend at Nick's Fish House which actually was a surprisingly neat little place. So it's essentially off the beaten path, outside the city up Hanover St? It was easy to get to but pretty much surrounded by warehouses. The restaurant is right on the harbor where there a plenty of docked boats which proves to be a pleasant view from the patio area. They were hosting a gala of sorts for a grass-roots organization benefiting clean water in Baltimore. I will get details on the actual organization. I can thank Jen (again) for tickets to this lovely shindig.

Let me mention that this events selling point was its seafood buffet. I have decided that buffets are NOT for me. It is the Achilles heal to my nourishment; meaning...I can't stop! Every time I went up to the buffet, there would be something new, plus the element of free makes it even that much more appealing. Five full plates later, I am huddled in the back seat of my friends car anxious to get home and put on the fat pants.