Grooving and Grubbing Locally: Florida Feasting & The BlueFire Band


Over Thanksgiving (I know…this post is a little overdue), I went on a nice and relaxing vacation to Florida with my family. We stayed near two of my favorite Florida fooding spots: Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Clearwater Beach. While we didn’t have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, we did some proper feasting fit for the Holiday’s reputation of face-stuffing. A borderline unhealthy amount of feasting. But there was so much to try and so little time and that’s what vacation is for….at least in our book.

There weren’t any good shows going on that I was aware of while we were in town. However, we fortunately got to catch a local jazz rock band, The BlueFire Band, in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea one night after dinner. They were very impressive and I’m very grateful we randomly discovered them. I was able to get a few decent videos on my phone – check ‘em out below.

{The Grub}

As usual, I could ramble on about every meal, but to keep things short and sweet here is a list of my absolute favorites:

  • Keegan’s Seafood Grille – Thanks to Guy, my parents discovered this place on a previous trip. The Char Broiled Octopus had me speechless. SO GOOD.
  • Aruba Beach Cafe – Pretty much everything. Highly recommed the Coconut Shrimp, Mahi Mahi Sandwich, and their drinks too! Great Piña Colada.
  • Maggie Mae’s – Wonderful breakfast/casual brunch spot right on the bay. Down-to-earth atmosphere and amazing food. Cajun Style Fish Po’ Boy and the Hillbilly Taters.
  • Columbia Restaurant – Also right on the bay, but a bit less casual. 1905 Salad, Paella, and their Sangria and Mojitos are the best.

{The Grooves}

If you’re ever in Florida and have the opportunity to catch the BlueFire Band, do it. They are all really talented and have a contagiously energetic stage presence. You’ll hear a handful of classics that are done with great musicianship and BlueFire’s own unique twist. The violinist is fantastic and I can now say I’ve heard excellent live blues performed on a violin. Check out these short clips I took while digging their tunes:

Pizza and Pop: The Two Ps of the late 1950s & early 1960s in NYC

Finished cheese pizza

It’s not perfectly circular, but that makes it more delicious!

I’m surrounded by East-coasters at work who often complain about Cleveland’s pizza scene. Everyone agrees that the gourmet pies are great (looking at you Dewey’s and Angelo’s) but what about your average, Friday night pizza? These East-coasters claim that this is the pizza arena in which Cleveland falls short, saying it’s a bad mix of Chicago style and New York style. Being a good-Ohioan, I put up a fight, but without knowing much about NY style pizza, my argument didn’t last long. I realized searching for flights to NYC just to try a slice seems a little too crazy, so I decided to make my own pizza. I found this recipe on a great blog called Serious Eats. As the name would suggest, they’re pretty serious about their food. I love that this article compares a few different pizza dough methods and explains what’s happening at a science-y level. (Science-y is the technical term if you were wondering.)

The Grooves

Many a months had passed and I still hadn’t finished the pizza post. For example, it’s currently December 31 and the pictures below are from my family vacation to Michigan in July. You might be asking “Pizza seems like a pretty simple post to write. What’s the hold up?” and that’s a fair enough question to ask because I was constantly asking myself the same thing. And my answer time and again would be “this playlist has become the bane of my existence.” Dramatic? Probably. But just what music truly captures pizza? Besides Macaulay Culkin’s hilariously amazing band Pizza Underground, which transforms different The Velvet Underground songs into beautiful works about pizza. But even though Lou Reed loved a slice of pie, one band mockingly covering another band does not a pizza playlist make. What’s a gal to do? A little more research and I read that America’s favorite food is pizza, so I needed some mainstream grooves that appealed to a lot of my fellow countrymen. Then, I found this article in New York Eater that describes the various pizza scenes in New York. Dom DeMarco runs a quintessential New York Style Pizza Eatery called Di Fara and he started slinging pies in 1961. So I decided to make a playlist capturing the mainstream music scene in NYC in the late 1950s & early 1960s. This also seemed to be a little challenging until someone told me about the Brill Building Sound. I strongly recommend reading this Paste Magazine explanation of Brill Building music, but here’s a little snip it, “Such music (British Invasion) is seen as eternally rebellious. But it’s an immature rebellion, pure arrested development—Peter Pan’s cry of “I don’t want to grow up.” The Brill Building Sound creators were interested in growing beyond that, musically, emotionally and intellectually.” Bold claim, I know. So this playlist attempts to give you just a taste of the writers and musicians from this Better-than-the-Beatles era.

For added topping: To honor this by-gone era, The New Pornographers played their new hit, Brill Bruisers, in the Brill Building.

The Grub

This recipe makes 3 pies!!!! And it’s fantastic, but it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. Everything has to be measured using a kitchen scale. You can certainly attempt to make the dough without a scale, but I felt I should warn you. As for the toppings, classic NY style is just mozzarella cheese, but I made both a margarita and a pepperoni pizza that turned out quite well. I haven’t tried this, but according to the internet (and when would the internet lie?) you can bake just the crust and freeze for later. That way, instead of cutting back on the recipe to make just one pie, you can make all three and have some on hand for future use.

dough ingredients


  • 22 1/2 ounces (about 4 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tbs sugar
  • .35 ounces kosher salt (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 oz lukewarm water
  • Toppings of choice


  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in bowl of food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times until incorporated. Add olive oil and water. Run food processor until mixture forms ball that rides around the bowl above the blade, about 15 seconds. Continue processing 15 seconds longer.
  2. Transfer dough ball to lightly floured surface and knead once or twice by hand until smooth ball is formed. It should pass the windowpane test (also, see picture below). Divide dough into three even parts and place each in a covered quart-sized deli container or in a zipper-lock freezer bag. Place in refrigerator and allow to rise at least one day, and up to 5.
  3. At least two hours before baking, remove dough from refrigerator and shape into balls by gathering dough towards bottom and pinching shut. Flour well and place each one in a separate medium mixing bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at warm room temperature until roughly doubled in volume.
  4. 1 hour before baking, adjust oven rack with pizza stone to middle position and preheat oven to 500°F. Turn single dough ball out onto lightly flour surface. Gently press out dough into rough 8-inch circle, leaving outer 1-inch higher than the rest. Gently stretch dough by draping over knuckles into a 12 to 14-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to pizza peel.
  5. Add toppings of choice.
  6. Slide pizza onto baking stone and bake until cheese is melted with some browned spots and crust is golden brown and puffed, 12 to 15 minutes total. Transfer to cutting board, slice, and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining two dough balls, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.

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The Morning Groove: Van Morrison with Lemon Vanilla Crêpes

Morning Groove - Solid BreakfastGrowing up, whenever we would put on a Van Morrison record or if he happened to come on the radio, my dad would tell us how Van the Man was his “Morning Groooooove.” When he was a young man in the Navy, he and his shipmates would jam out to Van Morrison while completing their early morning tasks. So naturally whenever I hear his music, I automatically think of the morning and therefore, BREAKFAST (or BRUNCH if you like to sleep in like me). My dad makes great French Toast, but we already did a post on that in March so I figured I would whip up another favorite: Crêpes or “Palatschinke” as my family would call them.

The Grooves

Van’s distinct voice overflows with soul and his music is filled with a unique energy that no one can come close to replicating. Similar to this wonderful meal, his songs are soothing, full of substance, and seamlessly blend together a variety of styles. Van is appropriate for many occasitons, but I agree with my dad that his collective sound makes for a fantastic morning grooooove :)

Here’s a sampling of Van the Man to enjoy during your Breakfast/Brunch prep and feasting. What are some of your favorite VM songs? What do you consider your “Morning Groove.”

The Grub

A few Saturdays ago, I picked up some Great Lakes Christmas Ale Bacon from The Pork Chop Shop in the West Side Market and made some brunch for my roommate and neighbor once we got back. Since everything besides the crêpes is pretty standard, I’m not going to write out a full recipe for each item. I simply fried up the bacon in one pan and fried the chopped up redskin potatoes in another. I usually season my breakfast potatoes with salt, pepper, garlic (minced or powder), paprika, and a pinch of cayenne. Once the bacon was finished, I removed it from the pan and then started frying the eggs in the remaining oil.

Morning Groove - Christmas Ale Bacon     Morning Groove - Eggs Cooking In Christmas Ale Bacon Grease :)

{Kitchen Tip} If you’re a carnivore and love bacon, SAVE YO’ BACON GREASE. You can save it for later or you can cook your eggs in it! Yes, it’s moderately unhealthy, but that’s not exactly what I was going for with this meal and sometimes…you gotta feed the soul. It makes those already deliciously perfect, fried sunny-side-up eggs even more wonderful and glorious. Especially when it’s Great Lakes Christmas Ale style – Although, it was quite the chore cleaning the cinnamon-sugared pan.

A lot of people would argue that you need a crêpe pan to make a proper crêpe. While this is probably true, you can still make decent ones if you have a large enough pan that has a low enough rim and can be handled well. My Oma had a fantastic palatschinke pan and I hope I can find one similar soon, but my standard frying pans and skillets will have to do for now.

Lemon Vanilla Crepes - IngredientsIngredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1.5 cups milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1-2 pinches of salt
  • 1 tbs oil


  1. Mix all ingredients together and lightly beat for a few minutes.
  2. Heat and lightly grease pan – I used butter
  3. Remove pan from burner, place medium-sized ladle of batter into pan, and swirl around so it spreads to cover bottom of pan.
  4. Once underside is slightly browned, carefully flip over to cook other side. Remove from heat, stack, repeat, and enjoy.
  5. Garnish or fill with powered sugar, jam, fruit, sauce, etc. Since these ones already have the lemon vanilla flavor, I kept it simple with a small sprinkling of powdered sugar and folded it up twice into a small triangle. However, I prefer my fruit and jam filled crepes/palatschinke rolled :)

Lemon Vanilla Crepes - Batter     Lemon Vanilla Crepes - Cooking

Autumn Eats & Beats: Quinoa Stuffed Squash with Fall Tunage

This delicious and nutritious stuffed squash recipe was inspired by a number of things:  some of our veggie friends subtly hinting that we haven’t given them enough love, the squash at the Tremont Farmer’s Market looking too good to pass up, but mostly we wanted to post a seasonal recipe that would give a proper nod to Autumn because we have yet to do so. Since typical fall weather seems to be in full-effect and those glorious Indian Summer days seem to be behind us, now seemed like a good time to pay tribute.

Fall is an absolutely beautiful, fun, and delicious season and we’re well aware that most people share that same sentiment. In addition to the other glorious aspects of fall (Flannel and cord fashions, football tailgating, changing leavesIMG_6374, Halloween concerts, etc.), the food is one of the best factors. It’s tough not to crave all of the great fall flavors and dishes when you’re constantly reminded of them every time you hop on social media, flip through a magazine, or stop at the grocery store. I wanted to capture those fantastic fall flavors in this recipe, while also keeping it veg-friendly and relatively healthy.

It seemed appropriate to pair a fall inspired meal with a fall inspired playlist. Certain genre’s, songs, bands, etc. remind me (and maybe you too) of a particular season or time of year. While some are more obvious, like reggae in the summer or Yonder Mountain String Band’s “Snow on the Pines” in the winter, others just seem to just have a feel and mood that fits the season at hand. Whether it’s because you always heard that one song the first couple weeks back at school or you paint a picture in your head of a late autumn street-scape whenever you hear that particular band or for whatever other reason, these artists and tracks remind us of fall.

 The Grooves

I compiled an Autumn playlist with some songs that I think have a “fall vibe” as well as those that more obviously fit the season. What songs, musicians, and music remind you of fall?

The Grub

These squash tasted as delicious as they looked when I scooped them up at the farmer’s market and the filling is loaded with different textures, flavors, and nutrients. You can add more spices if you want a bigger kick and/or lose the goat cheese if you want to make it vegan.


  • IMG_63602 squash of your choosing (I used 1 butternut and 1 acorn)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2-3 small carrots
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup spinachIMG_6361
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3.5 oz. goat cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Oil and water for cookingIMG_6367


  1. Preheat oven to 375° and lightly oil baking sheet. Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. If using butternut squash, you can cut off skinnier part and create a small valley/canal to place quinoa mixture in later. Brush insides of squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.
  2. While squash is baking, wash (shrooms), clean & peal (carrots), chop (spinach), slice (garlic) etc. your veggies. Slice the garlic and cut carrots into small pieces. Sauté garlic, carrots, and mushrooms in cooking oil – I used and highly recommend coconut oil – until carrots are soft. Season with salt and pepper and about half of each of other spices.
  3. Rinse quinoa in cold water. You need to use a fine mesh strainer and since I have NO IDEA where mine is….I used one from a large tea pot. Took a bit longer than usual, but got the job done :)IMG_6369
  4. Toast quinoa with a pinch of salt in small pot with a small amount of melted coconut oil for 2-5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer (med-low), and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. While quinoa is cooking, turn pan with veggies up to med-low and stir in chopped spinach and pine nuts. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then add mixture to quinoa, along with dried cranberries and remainder of spices. Taste and salt & pepper as needed.
  6. Fill squash with quinoa mixture, top with spoonfuls of goat cheese, and broil for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melty and starts to brown slightly. Then, enjoy!



Grooving & Grubbing Locally: Cincy Stylee

This past weekend we took a short trip to Cincinnati (and Covington, Kentucky) to visit some friends and see two of our favorite bands at The Madison Theater:  The Werks and Zoogma. It was fun to get together with so many of our friends we don’t see very often and the concert was an absolute blast as expected. Our friends know we LOVE trying new spots, and they do as well, so we did some pretty hardcore food-ing even though we were only there for less than 48 hours.

{Local Grub}

On Saturday, we grabbed brunch with some of our favorite ladies in Over The Rhine. OTR is a really unique area that has experienced an impressive evolution. Adrienne’s older brother graduated from Xavier University in 2001. That year, OTR hit the news for rioting and looting and bouts of extreme violence. In recent years, this area has done a complete 180. Similar to Cleveland’s Tremont and Ohio City, locally-oriented stores and restaurants dot the streets. Even a hilarious puppy parade was happening in Washington Park! (We’re looking at you, yorkie terrior dressed as Elvis!) We grabbed some food at Taste of Belgium and it was hands-down AMAZING. As a result, we wanted to make it the highlight of our post. It definitely lived up to the sensational reviews and it’s crystal clear why Guy Fieri made a stop there on Triple-D. Also, thanks to a very generous and outgoing patron near us, we were able to try a of couple dishes we didn’t even order! He insisted that we sample his sandwich and appetizer – while his daughters rolled their eyes, saying he does this all the time. Either way, in addition to being friendly, he also has great taste in menu items.

Amanda ordered their famous Chicken and Waffles and here are her thoughts:

SO good. Their waffles have a very unique texture and are very dense – almost similar to that of a biscuit, but still crispy on the outside. I wasn’t expecting it, but it was a nice surprise and the flavor was on point as well. The chicken was equally impressive. It had the perfect amount of breading, seasoning, and sauce on the outside. The inside was juicy and tender which made it one extremely tasty piece-o-chicken. I’ve had my fair share of chicken and waffle renditions and this is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.

Adrienne ordered the brunch burger and here is what she thought:

Everything about this burger was great! It was a brunch burger, so there was a patty, egg, cheese and bacon, and it was all sandwiched between two waffles. It was delicious, but the best part was the maple syrup as a dipping sauce on the side. The bacon and cheese were salty, so the sweet syrup really rounded out the taste. I did try to pick up the burger– huge mistake. It all fell apart. Looking back, I’m not sure why I thought picking it up was a good idea. Back to the point: use a fork and knife and get this burger!


That evening we went to Eli’s BBQ for dinner before the concert and, while  it’s a very different atmosphere than Taste of Belgium, it was still very tasty. The policy is BYOB, so most diners eat out back on picnic tables and enjoy the  beverages of their choosing. The weather was absolutely gorgeous all weekend which made the down-to-earth atmosphere even better. Their pulled pork was tender and flavorful. That, along with their solid southern side dishes, made for an extremely delicious dinner. Be sure to check this place out if you’re a BBQ fan (and/or a cheddar jalapeño grits fan) and happen to be in the area! Get there early though – we arrived right before the line got reallyyyyy long.

{Local Grooves}

We won’t be featuring The Werks or Zoogma for this post since they are from Dayton and Mississippi, respectively. However, you should definitely give them a listen and DL their tunes because they both have a great sound, impressive musicianship, and most of their tunes are FREE.99. Check out The Werk’s bandcamp page and Zoogma’s website to give ‘em each a listen and get some music.

For our Cinci installment of Grooving and Grubbing locally, we put together a playlist of some standout area artists. Peridoni actually opened for The Werks and Zoogma on Saturday, but we unfortunately had some scheduling obstacles and couldn’t get there in time to catch all of their set. Hopefully we’ll get another chance to see them soon and we highly recommend that check them out as well! On another unfortunate note, the Skeetones “mutually decided to pursue personal interests” for an indefinite and possibly infinite amount of time and Pharaoh Loosey seems to be on a possibly unending break too.  At least we can still enjoy their recorded tunes and dream about their return.

Although it’s short, this playlist is packed with cinci-bred talent and we are loving each group’s sound. Did we miss any key artists? Let us know! We couldn’t find Rumpke Mountain Boys on SoundCloud and couldn’t leave them out, so we included the video below too!

This city should definitely be proud (much like us Clevelanders) of what it has to offer. It was a great trip and I hope we can make it back down there soon. Thanks for a wonderful weekend Cincinnati – we’re glad we get to share the beautiful state of Ohio with you <3

Jalapeño-Garlic-Lime Salmon with Coconut Saffron Sauce

This is one of our favorite times of the year:  The Indian Summer days of Autumn. The unseasonably warm weather is great because the leaves are already changing into beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow, but the grass is still green AND you can comfortably take off your jacket. It offers nice little breaks between all of the cold spells and allows you to slowly get used to that impending REALLY frosty weather that will be upon us (too) soon.

Jalapeño-Garlic-Lime Salmon with Coconut Saffron Sauce - Ready to Enjoy!

I thought this summery salmon recipe would be a fitting nod to these relieving, semi-sunny temps. As much as I LOVE fall recipes…if you’re also feeling like you could use just one short break from them, this might give you a brief relief from all that pumpkin spice and apple flavor we’ve been bombarded with recently. It’s fresh and relatively healthy too – which is very helpful when your body’s vitality is tested by all these changes in the weather.

In spirit of the variety of temperatures we’ve been experiencing and will continue to have through November (and maybe even December), I chose a playlist that features a medley of genres. Each song was selected based on the ingredients due to it’s album, artist, content, and/or track name.

The Grooves

While this is very subjective, I think the playlist below includes a decent amount of summer-esque tracks, as well as those with more of a fall feel. For whatever reason, early fall seems like one of the best times to enjoy some ‘grass and the mellow Coconut Records and Bright Eyes songs also fit very well with the Autumn months in my opinion. On the other hand, bands like Phish and DMB remind me of summer – probably because of their large tours during that time of year. Upbeat jams and beats from musicians like Big G pair well with warmer weather too.

I tried my best to incorporate a wide range of genres, but honestly struggled with the ones I’m not as familiar with. However, it still turned out to be pretty diversified so I hope you find at least a couple that you enjoy for your meal prep and/or dining experience.

The Grub

The garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro added the perfect amount texture to the filet and the flavor comes just about full circle with lime, salt, and pepper in the mix. It could easily be served as is, as a sandwich, or as tacos. However, I wanted to make more of a traditional dinner and keep it on the healthier side, so I chose to serve it with steamed rice. The sauce just added some additional flavor and texture to the dish.

Now, this sauce was a bit of an experiment for me which was fun and a good learning experience too. At first, I was just going to use coconut milk with lime, but quickly realized it didn’t have quite enough flavor. I wanted it to remain relatively subtle and avoid adding something spicy because I didn’t want to take away from the taste of the salmon and Jalapeño-Garlic topping, so I decided saffron was the best way to go. The nice shade of yellow it gave the sauce offered a great color contrast to the overall plate as well. Also, I used light coconut milk because it was what I had in the pantry at the time, but I would highly recommend using the regular kind to make the sauce a little thicker. 

Ingredients:Jalapeño-Garlic-Lime Salmon with Coconut Saffron Sauce - Ingredients

  • 1 large salmon filet (about 6- 8 oz.)
  • 2 tbs. chopped jalapeños
  • 1 tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 bunch/handful of cilantro
  • 1-2 limes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • salt and pepper
  • oil
  • 1 cup steamed white rice (optional)

Directions:Salmon Ready for the Oven

  1. Lightly oil glass baking dish and preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Salt and Pepper filet and place in oiled baking dish.
  3. Cut lime into thirds. Cut 1/3 into slices, use 1/3 to squeeze on filet, and set aside last third for sauce.
  4. Cover filet with minced garlic, chopped jalapeños, and lime slices.
  5. Place in oven and bake for 18-25 minutes -depending on size of filet
  6. While salmon is baking, place coconut milk and saffron in small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer on low. Squeeze and stir in last 1/3 of lime before serving.
  7. Once salmon filet is cooked through, plate with steam white rice, pour sauce over fish and rice, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Coconut Saffron Sauce - Simmering        Coconut Saffron Sauce - Ready for Plating

Salmon - Finished Baking!

Happy National Coffee Day!

Happy National Coffee day to all! There are few gestures that mean the same thing in every language, but we’re convinced that the event of sharing a coffee with someone is universally understood.  Most can relate to grabbing a cup of java and catching up with a friend. Even Hollywood has picked up on this trend, which is why Friends had the Central Perk and Jerry Seinfeld started his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – everyone does it.

To celebrate, we wanted to share some of our favorite local coffee shops paired with a handful of standout acoustic acts from Ohio, and one particular classic rock tune that is arguably the best song about coffee (in Amanda’s opinion at least…).

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Great CLE Coffee Spots:

We hope you check out some of these solid spots and dig the jams and pics as well. What are some of your favorite spots to get that coffee fix?