Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Best Is Yet To Come: Becoming An Empty Nester

On the fourth Friday of every month, the women of a local organization I belong to get together for a very informal Happy Hour…or hours as the case may be…hey don’t judge! It’s an awesome way for us to connect with each other in a very non-business setting. The guys meet up as well on the fourth Thursday, but I’m guessing they talk a lot of business with a little sports thrown in for good measure.  Us ladies, well, you just never know where the conversations will go.TBBO ladies night

Side note: TBBO aka Tampa Bay Business Owners is an awesome organization. Check it out by clicking here

While our motto has always been “what happens at ladies night, stays at ladies night”, the discussion this past Friday has been in my head so that means only one thing…write a blog about it. The question of the night…we always have one, you know, as an ice breaker kind of thing…not that we really need it but still…

If you could stay at a certain age forever,

what age would it be and why?

Not surprisingly, no one picked an age under 25. Let’s face it, no one wants to relive the teenage years. And anything that happened between 18 and 25 was just preparation for becoming a real adult.  I think only one person said an age in her late twenties, a few in their early thirties but the vast majority were 40 and beyond.

Yep, mixed in with our quest for the fountain of youth, it does seem most of us are quite content with mid-life and beyond.

If you asked me before I sat on the Howard Frankland Bridge for over an hour on the way home from a soccer tournament a little over a week ago, I definitely would have said 39. It was the age at which I…

  • got divorced, not that I’m advocating getting one but for me it did turn out to be for the best
  • went back to work after being a SAHM for 7 years at what was probably the best job I ever had (and for those not up on your internet slang SAHM means stay at home mom
  • met my current husband
  • and, last but certainly not least, felt like I had control over my life for the first time in over a dozen years which kind of explains the divorce 

So what changed my mind about the age I would like to forever be while sitting in a ridiculous amount of traffic after a very long weekend? If you read my previous blog, you may recall that my son had his last soccer game two Sundays ago. It is one of the many “lasts” that I am experiencing with him before he graduates from high school at the end of May and heads off to college in June (yes, June…lucky guy gets to start in the summer).  And that means my husband and I will officially be empty nesters. Sure our kids will always be our kids, but for the most part we’re done with all of the child rearing years.

Can you say happy dance?

Look, I could sit here and tell you I’m sad over how quickly the years have gone by and I want to turn back the hands of time, do some things over again, blah blah blah. The truth is, though, I really am ok with being 52 and I’m sure I’ll be ok when I’m 62, 72, 82 and 92. I have longevity on both sides of my family so I intend to live that long…sorry kids.

My husband and I have spent a lot of time lately talking about our plans for the indefinite future. Some of the conversations have been filled with dreams of extended travel while others have dealt with the not so fun estate planning stuff. We are getting ready to downsize (in fact, I’m in the midst of the #GreatPurge2015 but that will have to be a topic for another blog) and I can’t wait! The plan is to move to a different area of Tampa Bay which we have yet to agree on where that will actually be, but it will definitely be as maintenance free as possible.

I actually asked the same “pick an age” question the following night to a group of friends and everyone responded pretty much the same as my revised age or should I say symbolic time in our lives. Our kids are moving on, we feel financially secure by our own individual definitions and we are definitely going to embrace growing old.

Seriously, what’s the alternative?


That’s it for now…#BlackerOut


Filed under Call Me Crazy, Empty Nester

Winning Isn’t Everything: Lessons From The Soccer Field

This past weekend marked the end of my son’s soccer career. The competitive team he has been playing on since fifth grade lost all 3 games in the second round of the Florida State Cup.

No, that wasn’t fun, especially when you consider 2 of the 3 games were about 150 miles away…one game at 8 am on Saturday and the other at 2 pm on Sunday with his senior prom smack dab in the middle on Saturday night.  Several of his teammates also went to prom so, suffice it to say, it was a very long weekend.

I suppose there are some that would have forfeited going to the prom if it would jeopardize a potential win and opportunity to move on to the next round. I am just so glad that the team, as a whole, never created that culture or projected that mindset. As the coach said after the loss on Sunday, he appreciated our “low expectations”.

Don’t get me wrong, they always played to win and they were a good team over the past 8 years if you look at their win-loss record. However, by the time they were all in high school I don’t think any of the boys anticipated they would go on to play in college and/or professionally.

Call me crazy but…does it really matter if you win or lose? I believe participating in a sport ultimately needs to be about how you mindfully play a game on a field which, in turn, should determine how you mindfully play the game of life off the field and hopefully make you a great human being.

Win or Lose

All that said I have a confession to make…I didn’t understand why it was even necessary to play the Sunday game. I mean, the chances of going on to the next round were so slim…like paper slim. It would have taken a miracle and major planet alignment. So why not sing a round of “Know When To Fold ‘Em”, save us all the hassle and just forfeit in advance?download (5)

Enter my very wise friend Sarah who played soccer through college and just completed the MBA program at The University of Florida in her late thirties. She did it while maintaining a full time job as a regional director for a pharmaceutical company so she travels a lot for work. Some weeks she is gone Monday-Friday. But without fail, one very intense weekend a month for over two years she made her way to Gainesville from wherever she was to attend classes all day Saturday and Sunday.  And the remainder of the month when she wasn’t working she was slammed with assignments and group projects. She has an amazing work ethic!

So, when we were together this past Saturday afternoon, I mentioned to her my thoughts about just forfeiting the game the next day given their chances of winning and moving on, how tired most of them would be as a result of going to prom and no doubt staying up most of the night plus the distance required to travel to the game.

Why bother?”, I said.

She looked at me and said, “What are you…crazy?

Ummmm….hello…Beth Blacker Call Me Crazy

Anyway, she proceeded to reprimand me (it’s ok…I deserved it) about the fact that if I allowed my son to think it was ok to forfeit I was essentially telling him it’s ok to never complete a task or job if the outcome is a foregone conclusion. And, she advised me based on her years of playing, by forfeiting, there really was no way to determine the intended opponent’s true ranking in the tournament.  In other words, the actual point totals and not necessarily just who won or lost the games on Sunday were equally significant.facepalm

Yep, I deserved that big smack in the head.

I’ve always prided myself on being very driven and highly motivated. And I rarely have backed away from anything. In fact, I knew the odds were so stacked against me starting a baked goods company a few years ago that I subsequently shut down this past January.

That said, I never wanted anyone to tell me not to think the impossible could happen even when I had gone through 2 brokers and 3 manufacturers to try to launch a product nationwide. I still hired a third broker in the hopes that the planets would, in fact, align and we’d find the perfect co-packer. As many of you know, it didn’t happen but every phone call, email, meeting and sample run were all necessary whether we ever made it to retail shelves or not.

So what was up with my lapse in judgment this weekend?

I guess this is the point where I should probably tell you I have never been a very good soccer mom. I mean I understand all of the benefits for exposing children to sports but I don’t enjoy them myself. My idea of an athletic feat as a kid was tackling the key recipes in my mom’s dog-eared Betty Crocker cookbook.

I tried not to impose my lack of interest in knowing the difference between a goal and corner kick on either of my kids, but the fact remains I was not all that engaged through the years. The majority of the times the team traveled overnight my son went with his father. Being divorced, I had a hard time justifying us both paying for gas, meals, hotel rooms, etc. I’m not cheap, just practical.

Besides, I do have an older daughter who until she went to college did not necessarily need to forego her weekends to be 200 miles away watching her brother play. Or at least that’s my opinion.

Oh and did I mention I also had a business that required attending a lot of weekend events as well as helping my husband when his mortgage company exhibited at home shows around the state? So trust me, I wasn’t sitting at home eating bon bons.

I know I’m in the minority in my thinking about competitive sports but you totally lose me when parents get more worked up about the game than their kids. I guess they live by this famous quote…

Vince Lombardi Winning Isn't Everything

Me?…not so much.

And don’t even get me started with the crazy rules including the new “no water break” one here in Florida. Apparently someone has decided that our entire state is at a competitive disadvantage when teams travel out of state because nowhere else do they allow hydration.

That’s 40 minutes on either side of a 5 minute halftime…in Florida…you know, where it feels like 120 degrees most of the year on any open field…with no water?

Again, call me crazy but…THAT’S INSANE!!!!

Seriously, I thought my son was going to pass out two weeks ago when the humidity level was especially high and it was only 10 am. I was getting lightheaded just sitting on the sidelines

…under an umbrella


And that ladies and gentlemen is why I think despite my brain fart this past weekend, I try to always look at the bigger picture with my respect to raising my kids. I know, overall, I am good mom…or as I like to say…the best mom I know how to be. I will never be able to distinguish when a player is off sides, but I have tried to instill great values in both of my kids and thought the best lesson I could teach them in doing anything was to just always try to do their personal best and, of course, see it through until the end.

So the bottom line? I was never going to relish the 6 hours of total travel time that my son undoubtedly was going to sleep through for a two hour game that I pretty much knew there was a minuscule chance of winning (think as small as a speck of dust).

But I have to say, they gave it their all with exactly the right expectations and the right mindset.  And to snap this photo after the loss clearly shows just how much.


No frowns, no pouty faces…just a bunch of goofy guys who played to win but happened to lose…and got to celebrate the loss with donuts to really take everyone full circle to the days when they were 8 or 9 and there was always some sweet treat and Capri Suns after a game. My son told me last night that this photo is probably his all time favorite of the team. He thinks it shows the “fun” in their dysfunction. Score one for the anti-soccer mom !

They were, indeed, a GREAT team…win or lose on the field…and will no doubt continue to individually be great off the field as they move on in life and hopefully be remembered for a lot more than a bunch of soccer games.

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut!


Filed under Call Me Crazy, Life Lessons, Parenting

Happy 420

Unless you were hiding under a rock through your teen years, you kind of know what today is right?

download (2)

Yeah, it’s the day when stoners unite.

Wait, what? They only do that one day a year?

Well, that’s not true but April 20th does have significance to those that do partake.

You don’t know the history? Well, the true “birth” of 420 (as in four-twenty, not four hundred and twenty) apparently dates back to the early 1970s when a group of high school students in San Rafael, CA headed to a certain spot on their campus to indulge in a little “afterschool activity” at, you guessed it, 4:20 pm.

It soon became the code for getting high, quickly spreading around the country in the form of hemp fest celebrations on the corresponding calendar date, 4-20, creating giant cannabis clouds of smoke throughout the land…


And now you know…you’re welcome?????

So I’m guessing this will be a relatively popular choice of ice cream today.Half Baked

My local grocery store thinks the FroYo version (on the left) is the “better choice”. I guess they are concerned about calorie and fat counts, but I’m not sure anyone celebrating today is worried about their diet whether half or fully baked.

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut!


Filed under Call Me Crazy, Holidays, Random Stuff

Did You Hear The One About A Vegetarian Walking Into A Bacon Festival?

I am a vegetarian…well, sort of. I eat any fish or seafood so I guess that makes me a pescetarian, but meat and poultry products haven’t graced my lips since I was 15.

So why would a person who hasn’t touched the stuff in over 30 years want to go to a bacon festival?America Loves Bacon   4.11.15   Tampa FL

Call me crazy but…curiosity mostly…I thought it would be interesting to see who shows up both as attendees and vendors.

And I have to say, I was not disappointed. What can I say, I am easily amused.

Besides, I wanted to pay homage to the Spanish settlers who introduced America to bacon back in the 1500s. I made mention of this particular fact in my blog last week. By the way, did you know there are actually 5 ways to say bacon in Spanish?…


Hmmm…I guess we adopted #5 in English.  And suffice it to say, if you ever travel to a Spanish speaking country you can now feel pretty confident in ordering bacon properly…You’re welcome.

Full disclosure: This is where I have to insert the standard blogger’s thing that this is technically considered a “sponsored post”. I did receive 2 complimentary passes to the America Loves Bacon Festival  this past weekend at the Florida State Fairgrounds (thanks to a fellow member of Tampa Bay Bloggers, Carlos Hernandez of Carlos Eats)  in exchange for writing this, but anything to help promote things happening in the Tampa Bay community and satisfy my curiosity  I will happily sell my soul…ok, maybe not my soul…but you know what I mean. Carry on…

I obviously needed a sidekick of sorts to do all the sampling. I figured my 18 year old son or my husband would happily come along for the ride but they didn’t seem to share my curiosity for this particular field trip.

Their loss and my friend Ellen’s gain. I think her response when I asked her whether she wanted to go was “Shut up!”

I took that as a yes.

We actually had been at the Walk For Wishes that morning supporting another friend who has a son with neuroblastoma and had been a Make a Wish Foundation “wish” recipient last year.

Pediatric cancer survivors helping grant the next "wish"

Pediatric cancer survivors helping grant the next “wish”…     Our friend’s son is the second from the left

The actual walk took place along the just completed (but 40 years in the making) Tampa Riverwalk

Awesome photo opp along the Riverwalk

Awesome photo opp along the Riverwalk

…and then walked an extra 3 miles to and from the Tampa Convention Center to watch yet another friend’s daughter for a little while in a volleyball tournament. Ellen decided that she needed a little extra pre bacon festival prep so she ran up and down the steps outside the convention center just for good measure. She’s the one with her arms up in the air in case you can’t tell.

My friend Ellen during her best impression of Rocky before the bacon festival

Ellen doing her best impression of “Rocky”

By the time we got to the bacon festival, we were really hungry so we made a bee line for the first food truck we saw. Lucky for me it was The Maine Thang, a “pescetarian” based truck and we shared a lobster roll that hit the spot, albeit a very expensive one… $11. Yeah, as usual, I found the most expensive thing to eat in the whole place.

Good friends share lobster rolls

Good friends share lobster rolls

Worth $11? Does it really matter when you are hungry???

Worth $11? Does it really matter when you are hungry???

Onward and upward…

Ellen eyed the booth for Datz Dough, a South Tampa foodie mecca, where she claimed their bacon brownie “ridiculous”…as in ridiculously amazing.

Datz Dough Bacon Brownie

Before I could get a decent photo of the bacon brownie it went into Ellen’s mouth so that means I had no choice but to post this photo…sorry Ellen

Their bacon mac ‘n cheese, though…apparently not so amazing. She took one bite and asked for her sample ticket back. Fortunately, they didn’t argue with her and we moved on to The Madison Chocolatiers West and their bacon donut. Ellen claimed she was only going to take one bite so she could pace herself, but it seemed to have disappeared rather quickly.  I assume that means she liked it.

Madison Chocolatiers West Bacon Donut

This time I got a photo before a bite was taken.

As we meandered around to the various booths and food trucks, the lines were getting longer by the minute. Ellen, however, was clearly struggling with what to get with the precious remaining sample tickets. Then she stopped suddenly, looking intensely at the menu on the side of one of the food trucks and screamed…

"Shut the front door...deep fried bacon wrapped twinkies?"


Yes, all caps do emphasize just how excited she got, don’t they? I waited in line for almost 30 minutes for this…


Is there anything they won’t deep fry or wrap in bacon?


while Ellen sampled these…

Bacon and onion perogies

Bacon and onion perogies

For the record, there were lots of people sporting some interesting articles of bacon inspired clothing/costumes including these guys dressed as slices of the stuff…


Can’t imagine it really would have tasted very good Ellen!

and this one…


Hehe…his shirt says boobies

but I kind of liked this one the best for it’s creative extension of the word “exercise”…

This is one giant stretch!

This is one giant stretch

Did I mention it was hot?

Like stupid hot…as in why are we walking around in the middle of the day when it is so freakin’ hot!

This is Florida in April after all and, yes, you literally could have fried the bacon on the pavement.


But that didn’t seem to deter the thousands of people who showed up and, yes, that included a few protesters stationed right at the entrance/exit to the fairgrounds. I have to question if they thought there was any possibility they were going to convert a single bacon loving soul on their way in or out, but I definitely give them major props for trying.

What exactly is their end game at a bacon festival?

What exactly is their end game at a bacon festival?

When all was said and done, Ellen sampled 8 different things, claimed she was officially “over” bacon and was going home to have celery sticks for dinner.

The next morning she set me a text with the message “Look what Dave (aka her husband) is doing” and this photo…

So much for being "over" bacon

So much for being “over” bacon

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut !

Bacon Fact


Filed under Call Me Crazy, Food, Great Causes, Tampa Bay

History Lessons…Tampa Bay Style

I consider myself a person who really likes history and whenever I travel I love finding tours, museums, whatever to visit. But in my own community, Tampa Bay, I’ve kind of taken it for granted. Then I spent a recent Friday afternoon at the Tampa Bay History Center  as well as the following day at The Ringling Museum in Sarasota and realized there is nothing about our region’s history that should ever be taken for granted.

So let’s start with the History Center…I was invited on a VIP tour with several other Ambassadors for Tampa Bay Business Owners thanks to Timothy Bennett of Armon Events . Our tour guide was Rodney Kite-Powell, who started out working for the center one summer during college when it was essentially a storefront on Harbour Island, an area adjacent to Downtown Tampa, and never really left.


That was about 20 years and several paid grades ago. He is now the Curator of History and we were so fortunate to get his take on all of the museums exhibits and artifacts.  In other words, he was awesome…and so is the museum. Seriously, I know many of you are rolling your eyes, thinking what could possibly be so interesting about Tampa Bay’s history.

Honestly, I used to roll my eyes too. I mean, I never really thought Tampa Bay or Florida, in general, had done much in terms of contributing to our nation’s history and culture other than becoming a mecca for senior citizens and Disney fans.

When  I was working for a research and marketing company almost 15 years ago and the president of the company was very much behind the development of and fundraising for what is now the Center’s permanent home…behind Amalie Arena in the Channelside District of Downtown Tampa and part of the ever expanding Tampa Riverwalk  …I just didn’t get it despite how much I happen to really like American history. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that 15 years ago I still looked upon Tampa as a whackadoodle place, but as I’ve mentioned many times before, because of how much I have connected with the business community here in recent years I have grown to appreciate all that it has to offer more than I could have ever imagined.

So here’s my history lesson of Tampa Bay in a nutshell…#BlackerStyle of course…

  • Spanish explorers came to the region in the early 1500s in search of gold and encountered the native Tocabaga Indians. They never found gold but in the process, they essentially drove the tribe to extinction because of the fighting that ensued and the disease they spread.  No bueno, Espana, no bueno. At least there are a few remnants remaining including the canoe pictured below made from a tree trunk. Not sure I’d trust it today but back then, it definitely was a clever mode of transportation for the Tocabagans.dug out canoe
  • There is, however, one thing the Spanish did bring to this region first that we kind of can’t be too mad at them about…bacon! You’re welcome Estados Unidos. (Sidenote: The America Loves Bacon Festival is this weekend at the Florida State Fairgrounds …I’m not sure the early explorers ever anticipated a festival around “jamón” but I assume you’ll thank me later  if you go)
  • Did you know that the Seminole Tribe was originally from Georgia and Alabama and known as the Creek Indians?  Sorry Creeks but FSU Seminoles does have a better ring to it.  Meanwhile, the United States government is still technically at war with the Seminoles since there was never a treaty signed after the last war between them ended in 1858. Something tells me the Seminoles aren’t too worried about it today given the success of the Hard Rock Casino here.Standing ground
  • Henry Plant was, of course, the gentleman who brought the railroad to the region after the discovery of rich phosphate deposits, giving a huge boost to the local economy. He built the Tampa Bay Hotel , the signature building on the present day  University of Tampa campus and now a National Historic Landmark, as well as several other hotels along the railroad route from the north, encouraging the growth of our tourism industry.  I’m guessing those weren’t exactly of the Motel 6 variety either.Tampa Bay Hotel
  • There is no disputing the role the cigar industry has played in our history. There is only one factory left today but in the 1920s there were 120 and more cigars were being made here than anywhere else in the world. Over 400 million a year to be exact. A few of the older Cubans in our community today apparently joke that their mothers, who worked in the factories, were “strippers”. They are, of course, referring to the fact that their mothers were responsible for stripping the tobacco leaves from the stems and not some of the first employees of a particularly famous Tampa landmark on Dale Mabry Highway.Cigars
  • And last, but certainly not least, Jose Gaspar, the pirate who we “celebrate” every year at the Gasparilla Festival (sorry, hard for me to understand why we celebrate pirates who were essentially rapists and thieves) …Totally made up. Yep, sorry, kids but Jose was part of a marketing campaign in the early 1900s that started the whole Gasparilla parade thing.  Hey, I’m just the messenger…if you want to debate it, you definitely need to hook up with Rodney at the Center.

Oh and two more things…1) Definitely do a docent tour if you go. I think you always get more out of these type of places when you have someone guiding you and 2) If you are looking for a very cool event space, you really do need to put the Center on your short list of possible venues. It has a fabulous 3 story atrium housing a Columbia Restaurant outpost and an outdoor patio overlooking the Garrison Channel.

Tampa History Center entrance 3

I think that’s enough of a history lesson for today. I’ll report on my visit to The Ringling Museum another time. But if you can’t wait, go see for yourself. I promise it will be just an equally amazing  immersion into Tampa Bay’s history.

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut !







Filed under Call Me Crazy, Florida Life, Tampa Bay, Travel

Give And Grub…Sticking It To Hunger…One Meal At A Time

Full disclosure: This is where I have to insert the standard blogger’s thing that this is technically considered a “sponsored post”. I did receive 3 complimentary meals and two t-shirts in exchange for writing this, but anything for a great cause I will happily sell my soul…ok, maybe not my soul…but you know what I mean. Carry on…

If you happen to be on my email list or follow me on social media, you may have seen…and even entered…the contest I was running a few weeks ago for a chance to have lunch with me.

Ok, look, I am not that full of myself to think anyone in Tampa Bay would enter a contest just to break bread with me. I mean, I like food, know food, create some pretty awesome food for family and friends, spent many years working in the food industry plus I do believe I have great table manners and can carry a conversation, but there’s no reason anyone would enter a contest for a free meal with me “just because”.

So what was the hook? Give And Grub, a joint project between Laser Spine Institute, Metropolitan Ministries, Feeding America Tampa Bay and Tampa Bay Lightning. This non-profit food truck hit the roads of Tampa Bay last fall with a mission and passion to help fight hunger with every meal purchased or even with a simple share of the hashtag #GiveAndGrub.


How smart is that?

Call me crazy but…most of us are on social media anyway so would it really hurt any of us to share this hashtag?

And we’ve all gotta eat! So if the food is good (and in this case it’s great…trust me) and the truck happens to show up right outside your office at lunch time, at a Thursday or Saturday Lightning home game, numerous events on any given night or weekend or maybe even the next wedding you attend (yep, they’ll do that), it’s kind of a no-brainer right?

And so far, this no-brainer has amounted to over 30,000 meals delivered to children in need.

I was originally supposed to experience Give And Grub as part of a Tampa Bay Bloggers event, a group I had only recently gotten involved with online. I was really looking forward to meeting some of my fellow bloggers in person before a Lightning game at the beginning of March to sample all of the truck’s amazing offerings, in exchange, as mentioned in my disclosure above, for us all to write a blog about it.

But that was unfortunately during my week or two of being out of focus and the email invite got lost in a sea of a bazillion other emails.

When I realized I had missed it, I reached out to the Give And Grub advocate that had arranged the blogger event, begged for forgiveness and a chance to meet up with the truck sometime in the near future. My wish was granted…and I could bring a guest to boot…woo hoo!

So last week I met up with the truck behind a large office building on Kennedy Avenue at the foot of the Howard Frankland Bridge. This is when I should probably mention the lucky winner who got a free meal (but we didn’t actually eat it together…more on that later) was Kim Kindle, a fellow Tampa Bay Blogger, who also didn’t make to the Lightning game a few weeks before, pictured below with me and some t-shirts we were given.

Crazy Maybe But Gets Give And Grub Tshirts

Tina Rose Hunt, the social media manager for Laser Spine Institute, was also on hand to give us a little background about Give And Grub. Suffice it to say, I was blown away by the information she provided including the fact that every Friday, Metropolitan Ministries delivers a package of 5 meals to every child (to consume at home over the weekend) at two area schools on behalf of the Give And Grub initiative.

They choose the schools based on the demographics provided through Hillsborough County’s Student Nutrition Services Free and Reduced Lunch Program, part of the National School Lunch Program which guarantees every school-aged child meals and snacks during any school day.

nslp (1)

Source: NSLP

Unfortunately, for many of the children who receive subsidized meals during school, once they get home dinner may not happen…or at least not one with significant substance. And while it is bad enough for them to have little promise of a balanced meal at home during the week, can you imagine going an entire weekend?

I asked Tina if they have instituted a cap on the number of free meals they are willing and able to give away and while the initial goal was set at 150,000 over the course of a year, they are considering making this a permanent project. In fact, they are looking to expand the concept to the locations around the country where Laser Spine Institute has other facilities. Obviously, the logical partnership would be if each of those markets has a hockey team so they can carry the branding of their Stick It To Hunger campaign but I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to come up with another clever tagline for any potential partner in those communities.

Anyway, before I knew it, I realized we had been talking to Tina for almost an hour. And after smelling the various foods being prepared and watching customers walk by with their meals that entire time, yeah, I was hungry. I was thrilled to find out I could order 3 meals to sample and, while I love me some good eats, clearly I wasn’t planning to eat it all nor was I about to let any it go to waste.

And by “it”, I mean the Bishop Bowl consisting of blackened shrimp wasabi caramel, saffron red beans, mango and plantains on a bed of cilantro rice…


the Callahan’s Mac Slam, a combination of seared Kielbasa and caramelized peppers and onions on top of cavatappi pasta with a creamy boursin cheese sauce…


the Hedman’s Steak Tacos loaded with marinated skirt steak and served with a roasted corn pico de gallo, chipotle ranch dressing and Tijuana rice…


and finally the Cross-Check Sweet Potato Fries with not one, but two dipping sauces…marshmallow and caramel.


I took it all to go and headed to Centre Club Tampa for, believe it or not, the monthly Food and Wine committee meeting. Yep, I strategically planned it so I could share my bounty and help spread the word to the various committee members. Sure enough, in the blink of an eye the food was gone! My work there…and now here…I believe is done.

Well, that’s not true because I want to make sure that if you are interested in having the Give And Grub Truck come to your office or event, please click here and fill out the request form. And don’t forget, simply sharing the #GiveAndGrub hashtag is the easiest way you can help support this incredible effort to fight hunger.

Ok, that’s really it for now…#BlackerOut !

P.S. In case you are wondering what my companion Kim on this mission ordered, here she is in all of her food glory with the Chicken Parmkos (named after the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos) which,of course, is a breaded chicken cutlet with house-made marinara and aged parmesan chese on a fresh Italian roll.


FYI…I forgot to mention above that all of the menu items are named after Lightning players and others involved with the team. Seriously, now I am really done!


Filed under Great Causes