My friends Sarah and Erica and I go to Zumba each week. We used to take a class that had been feeling very… senior citizen home inspired, to put it nicely. Often times, I wouldn't even need to shower after a class. Listen… it's not gross if you don't sweat. One day, a few weeks ago, Sarah came to class with some amazing news. She had found Bill. And Bill was going to get our butts in shape.
I didn't believe it until tonight when I ditched our old Zumba instructor and waltzed into Bounce Night Club for Zumba with Bill. $5 per class for one hour. About a gallon of sweat later, I was laughing, crying, dancing and BURNING off my lunch (which I will get to in a minute). Seriously CLE people, if you sat on your couch tonight instead of going to Zumba with Bill, be ashamed. Be very, very ashamed. You could have had the work out of your life. You could have gotten through 30 minutes of class and thought, "Thank GOD I survived this!" while looking over and seeing Sarah laughing that it's only halfway through. Seriously. Get there. This Thursday is the next class at 6:30. If you don't live in CLE, you can probably just skip through all of this, and the next few paragraphs about the amazing lunch I had with my dear friend Wendy.
Now, let's talk about Stonetown (more like SOULtown). Wendy and I were feeling chilly in the cold, cruel winter weather in Cleveland, and decided we needed more junk in our trunks to keep us warm. And to attract attention, of course. A client of ours told us about this new soul food restaurant near our office. Boy, were we in for a treat. Stonetown has been open for just a month, and I'm their new regular apparently. We met the owner Adrian, who was very friendly and excited that Wendy and I enjoyed our fried okra (don't even joke about how delicious this was) and collard greens.
Now, I ordered the catfish po' boy even though I didn't think I'd like catfish. I was getting extremely mixed messages about what a catfish tastes like – is it fishy? is it dry? is it slippery? does it taste like perch? does it taste like chicken? LIKE WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE, SUSAN (our server)???? She was extremely patient with me and didn't judge me when I ordered a side of mac 'n cheese as a back up in case I didn't like okra or catfish. Wendy cleverly called this my Mad Money of food. Well, I have arrived, people. I ate the BEEP out of that fried okra and po' boy. Holy. Stonetown. Cow. It's right there on Prospect next to Titan's Gym, so that when you're done eating your weight in soul and goodiness, you can hop on the treadmill and work it off. If you walk past this sign, you've found it:
I should mention that I couldn't quite eat as much as I wanted to because I also ordered a gallon of Kool-Aid. If you put Kool-Aid on a menu, and then casually MENTION it will arrive in a mason jar you better believe I'm going to order that. So I did. And I crashed hard back in my office at work. So hard in fact that I believe I did a jig all the way back to the office from Stonetown but that part was a little hazy because of all the sugar in my system. Wendy was not embarrassed. I'm pretty positive. Here is a picture of the amazing Kool-Aid gallon jug (note its size compared to my face).
Weeknight Dinner: Cari's First Time for Tilapia Tacos
Ok, now on to my dinner. As promised, I made Tilapia Tacos. Today was a day of firsts – first time eating okra, first time eating catfish, first time getting my butt kicked at Zumba… so, why not try tilapia for the very first time?? Yeah – let's do it! These tacos are easy peasy, so hang tight because you're only about 10 minutes away from a yummy and good-for-you din din.
First, chug some water because I'm certain you took my advice and are just returning home from Zumba with Bill.
What You'll Need:
- 4 steaks? breasts? … filets? of tilapia. 4 tilapias. You know what I mean. You need four of them. Let's move on.
- 1/2 avocado
- 4 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 1 plum tomato, diced
- 4 tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 package of taco seasoning
- Your leftover spicy cilantro jalapeno sauce from last night's dinner
- 6 white corn tortillas (the small ones!)
Mr. Grumpy was in charge of chopping the tomato and cilantro while I cooked the fish. If your Mr. G is feeling too grumpy (or you have yet to be blessed with his presence), then start by chopping those two items up and your avocado as well.
Next, heat your oil in a pan over medium-high heat. In the meantime, season the tilapia with the taco seasoning. Once your pan is hot 'n' ready, slap in two tilapias (I still don't know what to call those) and cook them for about 3 minutes on each side. (Side note: Mr. Grumpy is really upset that I didn't know they were called filets. He MUST have forgotten this is my first time for tilapia. Everyone else was patient with me, Mr. Grumpy.).
Now, the pan will probably get hot and the oil will pop. This is extremely painful. Mr. Grumpy shared some great advice that went as follows, "Woman, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." Thanks for your empathy…
Once they are cooked, let them sit on a paper towel while you cook the other two… FILETS. While those are cooking, take three tortillas and wrap them in a damp paper towel. Microwave them for 30 seconds. Then, repeat with the next 3 tortillas. Don't forget to take your tilapia out of the pan once it's cooked for 3 minutes on each side. There's a lot going on…
Now, you're ready to assemble your tacos! Take a tortilla, add in a bunch of tilapia, a bundle of tomatoes, sprinkle on the avocado and spicy jalapeno sauce, and garnish with some cilantro. And… you're done!! Told you it was easy peasy.