My First Time – Getting a Chocolate Pedicure

This article first appeared in the Tampa Bay Times. It has been slightly updated and I’m posting it here for my blog readers to enjoy.

I have gotten pedicures before, and I’ve done things like a foot soak detox before, which I thoroughly enjoyed, as this is said to remove the harmful toxins from the body, allowing my body to feel a lot healthier. But after a friend of mine recommended I checked out a process known as a chocolate pedicure, I had to skip my traditional one and try it. It had been a rough week so being pampered sounded good to me.

It turns out there are several benefits to using chocolate for pampering. First, there are antioxidants in chocolate. Second, cocoa butter, a key ingredient in several types of chocolate, is a great skin moisturizer. Lastly, and in my opinion, most importantly, just the smell of chocolate has been proven to release endorphins which are a mood booster.

I had mine done at a Spa in New Tampa that has since closed it’s doors. However, I did learn the Spa Evangeline offers a similar pedicure! Theirs is called the Dulce Delight

Here are the details on Spa Evangeline’s Dulce Delight:

Inspired by Chocolate Pi’s Salted Caramel signature dessert. A coffee salt exfoliant of Arabica bean extract energizes, exfoliates, and soothes dry skin. A full body dark chocolate mask is applied, and wrapped in a cocoon for better absorption & detoxification. Shower off, and a Sweet Cream body milk massage seals the deal. A sampling of salted caramel to conclude.
Also available as a hand and foot treatment.
120 minutes

I would strongly recommend doing a massage and a pedicure. By the end of the day you will smell like a dessert, and feel like a million bucks!

How my pedicure went down:

My pedicure began with a warm chocolate foot bath. The aroma of the chocolate and the bubbles of the jets in the foot bath melted all of my leftover stress away within minutes. Just as I was beginning to feel the calm come over me I was presented with a chocolate martini. Delicious. Its smooth texture went down like chocolate milk, and in the bottom of the glass was a piece of chocolate for me to munch on while my pedicurist scrubbed my feet. (I highly recommend grabbing a chocolate martini at Edge if you get your treatment at Spa Evangeline. Their drinks are delicious!!!)

My pedicurist used a cocoa scrub to wash and exfoliate my tootsies, and then it was time for my mask. I never had a mask on my feet before, but it was extremely moisturizing and felt so nice. The mask was, of course, infused with chocolate.

Following the mask my feet were massaged with chocolate oil. After that my toes were dried and nail polish was applied. My feet have never felt so good. My treatment delighted my senses to say the least.

When I got home my husband asked me if I had baked brownies. The scent was strong, and made us both hungry, but I was more interested in continuing my tranquil state than cooking. I felt so good from a day of chocolaty indulgence that I already wanted to book another one.
Chocolate Pedicure
Where to get it: Get a similar one at Spa Evangeline
Located at The Epicurean Hotel across from Bern’s Steakhouse

1203 South Howard Avenue
Tampa, FL 33606

Cost: $85 for the 60-minute experience as of February 2017.

Three things I learned
1. Chocolate contains 300 different compounds, some of which can have a significant impact on one’s health and beauty.
2. Chocolate re-mineralizes and energizes the skin.
3. For some people the scent of chocolate has a psychological effect of relaxing your mind and therefore relaxing your body.

Would I do it again? Yes! It was so relaxing and luxurious. I look forward to the day when I can afford one every week!

The My First Time was a column about me trying new things in Tampa Bay. I’m reviving it here on my blog! Got a suggestion for something I can try? E-mail me at famousashleygrant@gmail.com.

Have you every wondered what a chocolate pedicure would feel like? This post is about my first time having one.

Recap of my Visit to Oldsmar Chick-Fil-A and a Giveaway!

Thanks to my affiliation with Tampa Bay Bloggers, I got the chance to dine at Chick-Fil-A in Oldsmar. Although I did get to feast for free in exchange for a blog post and social media love, this didn’t have an impact on my recap. All opinions are my own!

Let me tell you guys, it was a fabulous night! I have been in a blah mood since losing my dad, and this was the first real outing I had scheduled of the New Year. Mixing food with friends turned out to be just what I needed! Here’s how it all went down…

First, we got schooled in all things Chick-fil-a. For example, did you know the reason the fil-a in the name is a play on the word filet? And, have you ever noticed that the C in the logo is a chicken?!? We also learned that the process to become a franchise owner is an extensive one. I consider this a testament to Chick-fil-a’s quality of service. They care so much about their brand that they are very careful with who they give one to. I actually love this about them!

Then, we ATE!!! I was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited to learn that my favoritest salad of like EVER was back on the menu. Check it out:

GAHHH!!! For those of you who don’t know, this sexy beast is the Southwest Chicken Salad. It is my like favorite thing EVER on the menu. I cried when they took it off, and I’m ecstatic it’s back!!!

Of course, there are some fries in the background because I don’t know about yous guys, but I can’t go to Chick-fil-a without ordering their waffle fries. I always get it with the Chick-fil-a sauce because duh! Dipping! It’s so good. If you haven’t tried it, you gotta try it. And, I totally recommend you stop by the Oldsmar location and give them some love if you are in the area.

Finally, if you are in the healthy eater mindset, Chick-fil-a has you covered there too. Check out this super food salad they have on the menu:

Oh yeah, that’s my kind of healthy eating. Want some of their food? The manager was nice enough to give me a calendar, and he gave me one to give away to you guys. I’m sorry I didn’t post this in time to let you score January’s free offer, but there are like 11 other months, if you win I really hope you will forgive me. Okay, get in on the giveaway below. And, if you can’t wait to learn if you won or not, you should check out the FREE APP, that lets you score freebies at Chick-fil-a. Be sure to like Chick-fil-a of Oldsmar on Facebook too. They often have fun events at their location that are worth checking out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get Stuffed Like a Turkey at Piquant and Love Every Minute!

piquant_1003UPDATE: This restaurant has closed

So, recently I had the AHHHHHMAZING opportunity to have dinner at Piquant. For those of you who don’t know, this is a restaurant located in Hyde Park Village. They are an American spin on French cuisine, and although I was treated to a meal here for their preview of a new menu thanks to my affiliation with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, all opinions below are my own.

When we first arrived, we were treated to the cocktail you see above. It’s a blend of equal parts Deep Eddy Peach Vodka and Rumchata, a squeeze of lime and a pinch of cinnamon. They said it tastes like Peach Cobbler. For me, it was a little too sweet, but the other bloggers seemed to enjoy it. For some reason, the older I get the less I like sweet drinks. Anywho…moving on…

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Our first course was Octopus Provencal featuring chorizo-rubbed seared Octopus, Spanish evoo, potatoes, Provencal sauce. I keep it real on this blog, so I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I loved this dish. It was my first time having octopus and I’m NOT a fan. Bleh! The potatoes though- those were delicious!!! Love me some potatoes ya’ll!!!

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Next we had the Pork Belly Benedict featuring crispy pork belly, lemon-thyme scone, beefsteak tomato, poached egg, avocado Hollandaise. Ya’ll!!! This dish was pretty darn tasty. I love me some porkt belly, and the scone was surprisingly moist. Most scones I’ve eaten are far too dry. This? This was good! I would eat this again if given the chance for sure.

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For our first salad sampling we tried the Vertical (Uriah’s Farm) Salad featuring a mix of Bibb, Frisee & Arugula, roasted Red & Golden beets, toasted almonds, goat cheese and passion fruit vinaigrette. The cool thing about this salad is that it’s as farm-to-table as you can get at a restaurant. They grow the stuff vertically nearby, and then Piquant gets the goods at the peak of freshness. I didn’t like the beets so much, but the greens, almonds and dressing – YUM!

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We were supposed to have another salad sample after the beets, but to our surprise the chef had other plans. EXCITING ones! He created this delicious croissant loaf. Yep, bread that is just as fluffy and flaky as a croissant, but in loaf form to make a sammich!!! So, naturally chef sliced the bread, toasted it and made the best turkey club sandwich I think I’ve ever had. It was so delicious I wasn’t even mad they cut the turkey sandwich from our scheduled samplings!

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Our other salad sampling was a Salmon Salad featuring seared fresh salmon, golden lentils, heirloom Spring, beefsteak tomatoes, crispy Brussels sprouts and passion fruit vinaigrette. I REALLY didn’t like the Brussels sprouts, but the rest of the salad was pretty tasty. This could totes be a lunch I would eat one day! I’d just ask for mine sprout free. Ha!

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As we waited for our first signature entree sampling, we were treated to a swig of Impatience wine. This was delicious! Paired perfectly with the salmon too.

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Our first signature entree sampling was Duck Confit featuring leg of house-made crispy Duck Confit, golden lentil ragu and duck Demi glace. The duck was good, the rest? Not so much! I’m very finicky I guess. But, I did enjoy the duck leg quite a bit.

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Our other signature entree sampling was Salmon Napoleon with layers of pate brisee, ratatouille, seared salmon, hollandaise and fresh dill. This is TOTALLY a dish my husband would have liked. I ate it and enjoyed it for the most part, but I wish my hubby could have been there because I suspect he would have been begging for more.

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Taking a slight break from ALL. THE. FOOD. we were treated to another cocktail that rocked my world. Equal parts Pumpkin Spice Baileys and Crown Royal Vanilla shaken and poured over ice. What’s not to love? This drink was so frikkin good I considered asking for another. Going to have to nab me some of those bottles before they sell out since the Pumpkin Spice is limited edition!!!!

Finally, it was dessert time. And holy crap did Piquant go all out. I’ll share them in order from my least favorite to my most favorite because after all, you should save the best for last. Am I right?

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This dessert was the JBF Passian Fruit Ganache Gateau which consists of chocolate cake, passion fruit ganache, almond croquantine, passion fruit curd and milk chocolate buttercream. I had one bite and quickly moved on. FAR too sweet for me!

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This is the Chocolate Cherry Croissant Bread Pudding which consists of warm croissant bread pudding with European Chocolate wafers and cherries. Served with vanilla gelato and caramel sauce. The gelato and the caramel sauce – I was all over the deliciousness!!! But, I sadly was not a fan of the bread pudding itself.

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Now, my favorite!!!! Oh my GAWD you guys!!! These are the Croissant Donut Beignets. Yep – I said CROISSANT DONUT!!! Omg! These warm, crunchy Croissant Donut Beignets accompanied with signature dipping sauces makes for an interactive dessert that will tickle your taste buds and have you foodgasming something fierce. I loved these little suckers so much I wished I had saved more room for them, because DAYUM, they were good! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!

Well folks, there you have it. Your sneak peek at the new items on the Piquant menu, and how I felt about them. Overall I had a VERY pleasant experience, and would love to munch on a few of the items again and again and again. If nothing else I’ll take more beignets and Pumpkin Baileys with Vanilla Crown please! So good!

Now, I want to hear from you!!! Have you eaten at Piquant? What did you think of the place?

The Summer Menu at Winghouse is an Overall WIN!

Tonight I had the exciting opportunity to try some of the yummy dishes at Ker’s Winghouse on Hillsborough Ave. with the Tampa Bay Bloggers. Although my meal was comped and I was given a gift card as compensation, this did not influence my review. All opinions below are my own.

Ker’s Winghouse unveiled its new summer menu and I gotta tell you guys, it’s damn tasty! Lots of pulled pork awesomeness and it’s an overall huge win in my book. Here’s what I tried tonight and what I thought of each item:

These yummy Pretzel Bites come with two dipping sauces – honey mustard and Wisconsin Cheese Sauce. I’m a bigger fan of the cheese for sure! Off to a good start? I’d say so. Give me more of the food!!!

Next up was The Pork Nachos. These nachos feature crunchy tortilla chips topped with slow roasted bbq pork, jalapenos, diced tomatoes, shredded cabbage, cilantro lime sauce and Wisconsin Cheese sauce. And yes. They’re every bit as delicious as they sound!!! I really liked these a lot and would highly recommend them.

Then, it was time for the Taco Salad which features lettuce topped with chili, cheese, diced tomato, fried jalapenos, tortilla chips, and a cilantro lime cream sauce. I personally would have done a different dressing for this salad, but it’s still pretty good nonetheless. The fried jalapenos were an interesting touch too. I’ve never seen that done before, but it worked and took away a bit of the spice.

After that we were given some Chicken Pasta Salad to nosh on. This dish features white meat chicken, rotini, cucumbers and Parmesan cheese. This could use a splash of Italian dressing imho, but I thought the chicken on top of it was good. I couldn’t help but laugh as my husband declared, “I’ll never get used to cold pasta noodles. It’s just not right.” That lapse in judgement aside, with a little dressing on top I think this dish could be a great side. Not sure I’d recommend it as a meal though.

I can’t believe I forgot to Instagram these, but we also got to try the summer tacos. You get your choice of shrimp, chicken or pulled pork. Below the photo shows all three, but I of course went for the pulled pork. I was very happy with my choice. So tasty!

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Don’t hate me y’all, but this was my favorite bite tonight! The pulled pork sandwich was our final dish and it comes with coleslaw and fried onion strings on top and it is simply heaven in your mouth!!!! I know, what a shocker- I loved this and it was pulled pork. But, seriously, it’s soooo good I didn’t even need the pickle and chips that it comes with. And, it’s huge. You can even ask for extra bbq sauce if you’re so inclined. A MUST if you’re a pulled pork fan.

So, we weren’t technically going to get this to try, but after chatting with the manager, about desserts, he brought my table a slice of the new guava cheesecake. This is one of the few things that Winghouse doesn’t make on site. They order them in from a local bakery. Holy guava Batman!! So yummy! It was really quite tasty and I guess we were a little too obnoxious about how much we liked it because before we could say #datcheesecakedoe everyone was getting a slice to try.

I had an absolute blast trying these dishes and can’t wait to visit again to catch a game or just to stuff my face with good eats. The staff was so friendly and I even got to bring my hubby. Super fun!

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And, p.s. LOVED sitting with Billie Jo of Tampa Bay Afternoon Delight. She and her hubby were a hoot and a half to dine with 😀

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