Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Refinery


 I am a New Tampa-ite, so traveling south of Busch Blvd. makes me
somewhat uncomfortable, and my general comfort zone consists of the
college area hang outs near where I work and the yuppie young
professional joints closer to the Wiregrass Mall. It’s sort of slim
pickings for non-chain that have excellent, reasonably priced food. So
when people at work and in the blogosphere started raving about this
laid-back small restaurant with a focus on local produce and
sustainability I stood up and listened. The Refinery in Seminole
Heights is a kitschy and quirky establishment in what I’m pretty sure
is a renovated mid-century era home. I visited last week with a few
friends for Girl’s Night Out.
I am one of those irritating people who always tries to find the
bright side. It probably makes me bad at writing reviews of anything
because not only do I hate writing negative comments, but I can
usually find at one positive thing. I’ve been mulling over my recent
Girl’s Night Out at The Refinery for close to a week now hoping time
would help me characterize the experience more positively, because if
I’m being honest I’ve never been had an establishment that I’ve heard
such wonderful things about be such an overall disappointment.
Let’s start with the pros.
I really did love the atmosphere. The kitchen was open to the dining
room, they serve water and soda out of Mason jars, the plates were
eclectically mismatched and chipped, and I loved the grapey purple
paint on the walls (I’m trying to decorate my apartment so seriously
it was like my favorite thing about the whole visit). I could
definitely see this as a fun place to hang out and grab something to
eat before heading off to The Independent or another neighborhood hang
out. They wait staff, or at least our waiter, was also very
knowledgeable about the menu.
Now onto the rest.
While knowledgeable I didn’t find our waiter especially pleasant or
helpful. He seemed to think we were a bother to him and he was
molasses in January slow about ev-er-y-thing. Seriously.
The wine and beer list was very limited. I will say it up front. I am
a HUGE Cigar City Brewery fan. So I was somewhat, ok clearly a lot,
disappointed that at a restaurant that claims to be about local food
there were only two Cigar City brews on the menu. Additionally, I just
felt like the beer menu leaned more towards craft IPAs, generally not
a personal favorite, without a well rounded selection of other types
of beer.

Strawberry Panzanella

The food was sort of hit and miss. My salad, Strawberry Panzanella,
was fantastic. The strawberries were super sweet and ripe, which
surprised me as it is not Florida strawberry season, and they paired
well with the peppery greens. Though the Tomato Saffron Vinaigrette
tasted like olive oil to me.  For my entrée I ordered Ale Braised
Chicken which smelled divine, but ended up being very dry and over
cooked. The barley however was perfectly cooked and the hop gravy was
excellent and provided the good ale flavor I was missing in the

Ale Braised Chicken with Hop Gravy

The Refinery’s menu changes weekly, based on the local season, but two
items are ever present; the 5-Spice Hanger Steak and the Burger. My
friend Nina ordered the burger. Her words were it lacks flavor. Also
her French fries, while tasty, were cold. This is a personal pet peeve
of mine. I will send French fries back if they are not burn your
finger tips hot.

Refinery Burger and French Fries

The best dish on the table hands down was the Mushroom Ragout, ordered
by my friend Kim. I expected more of a dark sautéed mushroom and
garlic with olive oil, but what was presented was a bright and acidic
tomato based ragout over smooth polenta. It was excellent.

Mushroom Ragout with Polenta. The crappy Iphone pictures do not do this dish justice. I apologize.

My overall verdict at this point is general disappointment and a sort
of “Meh” feeling. I will probably give The Refinery another shot;
maybe in the spring or summer when in season produce isn’t limited to
Cabbage and Oranges. For now though thumbs down.

Every Which Weigh: Trip to the Dark Side


This Week: +3.8
Total: -54.8

I was sort of expecting a gain this week. I did just spend a week on a cruise ship. I did my best to make healthier choices especially at breakfast and lunch, but I definitely splurged at dinner. So I’m actually pleasantly surprised that I didn’t gain more. Now that the holidays have passed it’s time to get back on track.

And so it goes…


It’s September 1st. The start of school at Hogwarts and my last official post in my year of blogging every day. It’s been a long year and a short year and nothing seems to have changed but nothing stayed the same. Since I started this project, I have lost 41 pounds, baked dozens of cupcakes, tried new foods, joined a book club. made new friends, run two 5ks and started training for a half-marathon. been out dancing so late it reminded me of college, been to concerts and movies and read several dozen books, I’ve been on dates (the good, the bad, and the weird) and been on trips and spent tons of time with family and friends.
There is a lot coming up in the next few months. I’m going to take a little bit of a blogging break and think about where I’d like to go with the blog from here, including a possible move to WordPress, and I actually think that after writing here everynight for a year I’m going to miss this. So goodnight.

Tuesday: Weight Watchers Day


Weigh-in: -4.8
Total: -41.2

Lately I’ve sort of gain and losing the same pound or so over and over again. I hadn’t really made any progress since around mid-July. But I was really careful this week (though I still managed TF’s with BFFMandy and a pizzeria date) and I finally kicked the last few pounds to reach a forty pound loss. I could not be more stoked. My next mini-goal is approximately 6 pounds which will put me at right around 20% of my starting weight.

Matt Nathanson, Maroon 5, and Train


It seems fitting to write about a concert as a wind down my year of blogging. It was about a year ago that I blogged about the Jack Johnson show. That seems like it was ages ago and only a few weeks ago at the same time; it’s funny how that happens. Anyway, my friends Harkiran, Hannah, Shana, Bethany, and I went to see Matt Nathanson, Maroon 5, and Train at the Tampa Amphitheater (still not calling it the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheater). I do plan to come back an post picture, but it’s exceedingly late and my computer is being ridiculous about recognizing my iphone. So let’s just have the highlights shall we?

– Matt Nathanson called 1-800-Ask-Gary; the recorded message indicated we were out of the service area.
– People trying to do the Awkward clap during Faster
– Maroon 5 opened with Moves Like Jagger; said Tampa is better than West Palm and called it sticky sweaty hot. 
-Adam Levine. Just Adam in Jeans and a white tank top….so hot.
– Sing-a-long to This Love
– Girl With the Broken Smile. AMAZING!
– Train was Train. The Lead singer of Train (who I will henceforth refer to as Crazy Hair because I can’t remember his name) looked like he was wearing a members only jacket…
– Crazy Hair tweeted a picture of the crowd holding up their phones like lighters.

– Save Me San Francisco was fun; “I’ve been high, I’ve been low, I’ve been yes, and I’ve be oh hell no…”. This is probably my favorite Train song.
– To “ward off the rain” Train covered Rihanna’s Umbrella, it was actually quite good.
– Some girl got proposed to during Marry Me.  Crazy Hair proclaimed Train married to Tampa.
– Hey Soul Sister and Drops of Jupiter were clear the favorite songs of their set.


I’m having one of those way to involved in a good book nights. This happens to me occasionally; I am currently reading The Weird Sisters and it is over all and excellent book (though not having a sister I have no comment on the portrayal of the sisterly relationship). I really wanted to finish it before the the library takes back their e-book and now I will be totally exhausted in the AM. On the plus side…new book tomorrow. Yes, I do read that much. Don’t judge me. 


I fell asleep on the couch while I was reading. This is one of my favorite ways to drift off. Even when I was a child I would read at night to help prepare myself to go to sleep (now I also read early in the mornings to help myself wake up!). This sort of easy slide into sleeep always feels so relaxed and restful to me.