Closed Door to Open Sesame

Closed Door to Open Sesame

After two fun half-days at Blogfest, and a full day of work in lab on a SATURDAY, I was more than ready to take back one day of the weekend for myself: Sunday!

Chocolate proyo with loads of granola crunchies :)
Chocolate proyo with loads of granola crunchies :)

After a long run of 13 miles, I made myself a proyo mug and filled it to the brim with granola, all of which were free to me thanks to my expo haul!

This was enough to help me refuel and make it though a few hours of lab in the morning. I was out by 1pm, and immediately got on a bus to head out for lunch.

I only had to walk about 10 minutes from the stop to the restaurant, but I felt like my skin was melting off. Fortunately, I found it before my muscles started to peel off…haha.

What's behind door #1?
What’s behind door #1?

Behind the house-like door, I stepped into the brightly-lit dining room of Open Sesame, and since no one else was dining at 3pm, it was only me face-fo-face with three servers. It was awkward at first since no one out of the three said anything at first, but eventually I was given a place to sit and a menu.

Open Sesame
Open Sesame

I knew that I wanted a platter (what else is new??), and the next task was finding something that fit the vegetarian description. The menu was bound in a red, leather-like cover and was pretty much a book full of entrees, apps, drinks, and desserts. I found the vegetarian platter under the “Entrees II” section. I ordered that as soon as one of the servers came by, and it came out within minutes.

The Vegetarian Platter!
The Vegetarian Platter!

The plate was a colorful piecing of babaganoush (all-time fav), hummus, pickled peppers, fresh tomato slices, two falafel, one grape leaf roll, tabouli, and tahini in a cup.

The cutest thing though was the Open Sesame tissue paper.
The cutest thing though was the Open Sesame tissue paper.

It was almost as if the server read my mind, because just as I thought about how I would be able to mop up the hummus and tahini sauce, she came by with a crispy flat piece of pita bread. I also downed several cups of water to combat the heat I would have to face after leaving the restaurant.

My plans to take a nap that afternoon didn’t make sense since I made it back home closer in the evening. After organizing my plans for the week, I hit the pillow around 9pm and it never felt so good…

Open Sesame Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

All-Nighters and All the Freebies

All-Nighters and All the Freebies

This past week has tested my endurance, patience, and energy levels…between pulling an all-nighter in lab to attending my first bloggers conference, I was on my feet from pretty much the break of dawn till night.

A visit to the new The Halal Guys location in Koreatown wasn’t enough to fuel me (or prepare me) for my all-nighter on Monday. It was good enough for a Saturday afternoon lunch, but I feel like I needed a much longer break than that! Well, at least I did get some kind of break that weekend!

The Halal Guys, Koreatown
The Halal Guys, Koreatown

I first visited The Halal Guys with my sister at their new-at-the-time Costa Mesa location over Thanksgiving break last year. Our Airbnb was a few blocks away, so it was a serendipitous encounter indeed.

Waiting in line...finally made it inside!
Waiting in line…finally made it inside!

As expected, there was a line out the door, and I estimate that there was at least a 30 minute wait from when I first got in line to when I got a seat inside. So, not TOO bad, but in some places, even those that are not considered “fast food” restaurants, I’ve ordered and received food in half that time.

The Halal Guys - Falafel Platter
The Halal Guys – Falafel Platter

I ordered the falafel plate like last time, which came with lettuce, orange rice, five falafel, and sauces. There was some miscommunication at the register about my pita bread, so I ended up missing that. The next time I visit a Halal Guys I’ll have to remember to try the falafel sandwich, as that’s my other only option as a vegetarian :/

The Halal Guys - Falafel Platter
The Halal Guys – Falafel Platter

I didn’t enjoy this platter as much as I did the first time since everything tasted drier than what I remembered. Perhaps it was due to there being less sauce than usually administered, and I attribute that to a distracted employee. It was opening weekend, so I don’t blame her!

And even though I was feeling anxious all weekend about Monday’s upcoming events, I tried to keep my mind at ease with Halo Top and new-to-me Combat Crunch bars: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Coconut.

New Bar!
New Bar!

I topped the birthday cake Halo Top with the CCCD flavor, and I immediately wondered why I had not done this sooner?!

Combination Pint Nights!
Combination Pint Nights!

The bar itself wasn’t my absolute favorite, but the thing I like about Combat Crunch bars is the coated-crispies on the top of their bars. I repeated this combination with their newer Chocolate Coconut flavor with vanilla bean Halo Top, and found this to be the winning combination.

Better combination for pint night!
Better combination for pint night!

I prefer the white chocolate coating of the bar, and was able to detect the coconut flakes inside the bar. It seemed to mesh well with the soft, creamy, but not too overpowering vanilla bean flavor of the light ice cream.

Monday-Wednesday were far from enjoyable, but when Thursday came around, I had something fun to look forward to—Blogfest! I was able to attend this year because I was able to get my registration waived AND it was in LA, so it made it so much easier to attend and work around my lab schedule.

Idea World/BlogFest 2016
Idea World/BlogFest 2016

Gigi invited me to have lunch at Spitz with some other bloggers in downtown/Little Tokyo before heading over to the expo, and this served as my incentive to get through my morning lab work as quickly as possible!

Spitz, Little Tokyo
Spitz, Little Tokyo

Even though it was a weekday, Spitz was packed and busy catering to downtown office workers on their lunch break. I ordered the Garden Bowl, which made for an appropriate light lunch so I would have room for expo samples later!

Garden Platter: raw veggies with roasted chickpeas, hummus, tahini, and three falafel
Garden Platter: raw veggies with roasted chickpeas, hummus, tahini, and three falafel

A short Uber ride later, we arrived at the Convention Center where the expo was taking place. Since Thursday was the first full day the expo was open and all the activities were in full swing, many of the vendors had freebies galore and there were so many eager recepients wandering around.

Walking around the expo!
Walking around the expo!
One of the BlogFest Sessions
One of the BlogFest Sessions

I literally ended up hauling four full-sized bags of free stuff, and now my fridge is stocked with sparkling water to last me for days…

bags
Free stuff! Woo-hoo!!!!

I attended the expo on Thursday and Friday afternoons, met some new and familiar faces (including Julianna and Kaila), and overall had a fun time. It was what I needed to get over the overexhausted/depressed funk from the all-nighter and long working days earlier in the week.

Have you ever pulled an all-nighter for work?

Spitz Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Protein Treats of the Last Few Weeks

Protein Treats of the Last Few Weeks

*EDIT: WHOOPS! Meant to schedule this post for earlier this week, but better late than never! As you can see, I survived my first all-nighter, and the long days after it, haha!

This will most likely be my only post this week, as I have to get to packing…for lab. Yup, I’m going to be living up to my title as a grad student and will be pulling an “all-nighter” this coming week.

Actually, I hope it won’t take me ALL night, but I do know that there won’t be a point in going home after finishing up, since I’ll have to be back the next day bright and early for another experiment!

I just hope hope HOPE that it will pay off though… work hard now, play hard later I suppose?

Since I’m most likely slaving away at my lab bench as this post is live, I thought I might as well finish up this review of sorts (more like a collection of food product photos that didn’t fit in posts from weeks ago), featuring products from Quest, D’s Naturals, and P28.

These were all finds from Vitamin Shoppe, purchased in order to help me get my protein up, as well as rack up enough points before July so I could get my member award certificate.

In an effort to get my protein intake up and consistent, I thought I’d finally try the Quest protein powders that are now available in a variety of flavors.

quest (4)

Salted Caramel is my favorite so far, with a whopping 22g of protein for a 100 calorie serving. To get the most bang for my buck, I mixed it into some yogurt, and topped it with an ANSI Cheesecake bar and L&L birthday cookie. It was an amazing treat for sure!

quest (5)

I mixed Banana Cream and Vanilla Milkshake with cottage cheese and oats respectively. The former came out more liquidy than I cared for, but I’m surprised the banana smell didn’t knock me out! The oat cake was fine, but not surprisingly, was quite dry. It was more of an experiment rather than an intentional meal…obviously this needs a lathering of nut butter…

quest (6)

quest (1)

quest (2)

quest (3)

When I tried the Cookies & Cream flavor, I once again had cottage cheese on hand.

dsnatureals_cookiesandcream

A serving of this, plus a rapsberry truffle D’s Naturals No Cow Bar and a dollop of Signature Blend P28 Spread for a fulfilling bowl after a weeknight dinner. The mixture of textures was picture-worthy in my eyes.

ccandbarandp28

When I bought the Signature Blend, I got another P28 jar for free due to a BOGO free deal. The Peanut flavor was the one I ended up with, and while I enjoyed it for the first couple days, I grew tired of the flavor and texture later on. Compared to regular peanut butter, it is less creamy, but there are still enough oils to get a fluid mix going. It was still good enough to flavor an otherwise plain owl of steel-cut oats!

p28spread

signature_blend

When the exhaustion gets real, it helps to get nutrition in check. Products like these feature here help with not having to worry about getting enough protein for those long, hard days. I’m all about whole foods and getting my fill of fruits and veggies, but sometimes it doesn’t work out when you have to pull all-nighters in lab! At least we have microwaves to cook our food if necessary…just have to make sure I use the right one 😉

Do you sacrifice a lot for your job?

Red, White, and Chew

Red, White, and Chew

My sis and I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning, with the goal of getting things wrapped up in lab and then heading off to Santa Monica for brunch.

I am honestly so grateful for the Expo line expansion…what would have originally been almost an hour and a half trip to the ever-popular Santa Monica now only takes 30-40 minutes!

chomp_eatery
Chomp Eatery

One of the stops is a convenient seven minute walk to Chomp Eatery and DK’s Donuts. One day when I have cash on hand, I will be back for some of their mouth-watering donuts, but my sis and I headed right next door to Chomp Eatery: a place we knew that takes credit cards and serves up an irresistible novelty.

The Unicorn Melt was something I came across on Instagram. It’s basically a grilled cheese with a rainbow theme, in that the cheese is colored with organic food coloring and melted so that a rainbow oozes out when the slices are pulled apart. Sound appetizing yet?

Since my sis and I decided to split the Unicorn Melt, we each got our own meals as well. I of course got one of the wellness bowls.

gojiberriesbowl
Of course I go straight to the bowls part of the menu…

The bowl I chose to go with was none other than the Goji Berries Banana Bowl, which had a plain greek yogurt base, and heavily topped with granola, cacao nibs, goji berries, banana , and agave syrup.

gojiberries_banana_bowl
Looks like a small bowl but there was tons of yogurt and a mountain of granola!!

My sister got one of the burger with a veggie patty, and it was an overflowing tower of rich, nutrient-packed veggies and creamy add-in like avocado and a fried egg.

burger_and_melt
Burgers + melts

My sister, a self-proclaimed carb-lover thought her burger + melt may have been too much at one time, but she enjoyed her burger. We both agreed that the melt wasn’t outstanding in taste, but as far as presentation and creativity goes…how could it be anything less than 110%? Not to mention, it was a pretty festive and fitting rainbow on the inside.

unicornmelt___
A red, white, and blue cheese melt!!

After devouring our sandwiches and chewing every last goji berry, we walked towards downtown Santa Monica, stopped inside Cotton On, and then boarded the train from the new downtown station in order to get to Union Station on time.

After dropping off my sister later that afternoon, I felt extremely exhausted and could not wait to go to bed—early! Haha. Needless to say, 4th of July was very low key. No fireworks, no veggie dogs…just plenty of lab work in the morning as usual, and then relaxing at home. At least I did sort of celebrate with a patriotic grilled cheese!

Chomp Eatery & Juice Station Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monkey Bread!

Monkey Bread!

Having my sister over, even if only for two full days, for the three-day weekend was such a treat. I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since we were both exploring Seattle with our friend, but I think it’s never too soon to hang out with family!

snickerdoodle
Lenny & Larry’s Snickerdoodle – my favorite!

I picked up my sister from Union Station on Friday night, and from there we went back to my apartment for dinner and relaxing. Our definition of relaxing was a simple dinner, dessert (a Lenny & Larry’s snickerdoodle cookie—one of my favorite flavors!), watching the Olympic Trials, and figuring out our lunch/movie plans for the next day. I stayed up until 10pm with her, and felt myself get sleepy right when my roommate got home! Good timing?

The next morning, I went for a quick run before my sister and I began the day. I’m so lucky that she works in a lab as well (as an undergrad volunteer), and so she was extra helpful when I asked her to assist me in my morning lab duties. She helped me shave off an hour I would have otherwise spent working on my own, and by the time we were both done, we were starving!

We ended up taking a extremely long bus ride to Westchester, because when I told my sis about a certain restaurant baking up cheesy monkey bread, she just had to have it 😉

truxtons
An upscale Denny’s?

Truxton’s American Bistro was in a neighborhood I had yet to visit, but is actually pretty close to the Marina Del Rey/Playa Vista area. When we went inside, I thought we had stepped into an upscale Denny’s!

They have a wide selection of entrees, and of course a weekend brunch menu, with everything served all day. My sister opted for a benedict-based dish while I decided to get the Berkeley Plate.

For our app, we split the warm, golden monkey bread—fresh with marinara, ranch, and olive oil dipping sauces!

monkey_bread
Monkey Bread to share!

The bread was light and fluffy, and had a melt-in-your-mouth type of texture. The ranch sauce was too much of a liquid to my liking (reminding me of the ranch you find with the baby carrot stick lunch packs), so I stuck to the marinara.

benedict
My meal on top, sis’s on bottom!

My sister’s dish was mouth-watering, but my plate was a 10/10 on presentation. I asked for my side to be steamed veggies, but the other half of the plate was a crisp veggie patty topped with slices avocado, onion, sugarded cranberries and pepitas, all of which was placed on a bed of arugula.

the_berkeley_PLAte
The Berkeley Plate

The patty was crisp on the outside, but soft and steaming on the inside. It was seriously a flavorful and filling meal.

burger
Each one was sugar-coated!

After our lunch, we took another bus to Playa Vista, to get to the closest movie theater to watch Finding Dory! We found a Cinemark in a secluded but upscale shopping and dining plaza near the ritzy apartment complexes of Playa Vista, and got ourselves some popcorn and Sour Patch candy to snack on because, #alwayshungry.

theater.
Gotta get those snacks!

The movie was a sweet one, and while I did think it had a slow beginning, I’d say it was worth the money spent…oh, and if only for the short film, which was another sweet story titled “Piper”.

When the movie ended, we made a quick stop at the Whole Foods in the complex to grab some Halo Top. It seems like whenever I am out with my sister all we think/talk about is food, but I’ve been trying to get my sister to try Halo Top ice cream for a while now and this was our chance.

wfmarke
Just one more stop!

It was almost 8pm by the time we got home, but there was still some sun left. We were able to take the train home, and had a quality conversation throughout the ride. It felt so good to pass the time I usually spend quiet/bored with good company. With Halo Top in our hands and Friends playing in the background, we spent the rest of the night basking in relaxation and then heading off into good rest. It’s amazing how a good day and good company can really impact the quality of your sleep 😉

How did you spend the holiday weekend?

Truxton's American Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Race Recap – Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases 2016

Race Recap – Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases 2016

Two weekends ago, I ran a repeat race! Last year, I ran California’s inaugural Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases, and I followed it up this year without actually planning for it.

Seeing that my last race was in April, and one that I didn’t find to my liking, I was looking to find any race that would fit my schedule. And since the Expo Line extended about a month ago, it has made it MUCH easier to participate in races occuring in Santa Monica!

Since the Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases was taking place in Santa Monica again, I was easily able to wake up around 6am, versus the 5am wake-up call I set for myself last year. Yes, I was also doing the 10×10 challenge so part of my reason for waking up earlier than usual was to add some miles to the 5k, but this year, I wanted to see how fast I could be in the shorter distance.

Checking in for the race on a bright day in Santa Monica!
Checking in for the race on a bright day in Santa Monica!

The goodies weren’t in a surplus like last year, and consisted of the basic fruit items, coffee, and a slim selection of bars (Kashi and mini Clifs). I remember bringing home a HUGE haul last year so I definitely was disappointed. Oh well…

snackssss
Fruity refreshments and waiting for the race to begin.

There were still many vendors specializing in compression gear set up at tables, looking to inform and guide those living with lymphedema on products that could be helpful.

Kathy Bates is the celebrity ambassador for Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN), and she honored a brave woman by the name of Marie with an Inspiration award. Marie’s speech was very touching, and it really put some perspective on the run/walk. The crowd that was present was definitely a mix of runners looking just to check off another race, and those suffering from lymphedema, their families, and friends. I think that while some of the runners’ initial intentions for signing up for the race were to just run, these thoughts softened after the speeches were heard. It definitely made me feel grateful for my ability to run.

shirt
Race Shirt!

The race started around 9am, and I was worried that the weather would be unfavorable, but the ocean breeze actually made things much cooler. It was still mildly humid and I felt sticky throughout the run, but I was able to achieve my goal of running faster than last year. I ended up being the first female back, clocking in with a 7:56/mi pace!! I had several confidence boosts during my run, with people shouting out my bib number and a group of women runners cheering me on.

After the race, I replenished with water and then headed back towards downtown Santa Monica for some breakfast since it was still a decent hour in the morning. Upon seeing this chalkboard sign, I was immediately tempted to go in.

bowl
Acai is calling out to me!

The Hive is a cafe that specializes in organic and superfood-enriched meals. The acai and similar bowls are just one of the spectacular-sounding goods offered here.

hive
Decorative wall art and fancy seating area.

Because it’s my latest obsession, I ordered a bowl with a dragonfruit base (that’s apparently mixed with some almond milk and banana according to the employee who took my order at the counter), mixed with the “power” mix of almond butter, cacao, and maca. I also had them add cacao nibs, granola, pineapple, goji berries, and bee pollen.

After picking a table in the corner by the window, I waited semi-patiently until my beautiful, cold bowl arrived.

acai_bowl
Dragonfruit bowl with power mix (almond butter, cacao, maca), cacao nibs and granola, pineapple and goji berries, and bee pollen.

The dragonfruit base had a slushie-like consistency, and the pineapple chunks had a tart flavor, but what I enjoyed most was the crunchy granola mixed with the chewy, gummy-like goji berries. The conglomerate textures caused my mouth to have a workout! So not only did I get my cardio in that day via a 5K, but also with my late breakfast, haha!

Even though my day started off wonderful, I soon had to head back in order to go into lab for a bit. It was disappointing having to cut my time in Santa Monica short, but it didn’t sting too much…knowing that I’ll be moving to this fun-in-the-sun place in less than a month is has allowed me to accept that fact that performing a balancing act with work + life now will pay off soon enough!

The Hive - Organic Cafe & Superfood Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hokey Poke & Donut Dance

Hokey Poke & Donut Dance

Last Saturday, I had two reasons to dance (even though I did not actually do so): 1) I tried a (veggie) poke bowl for the first time and 2) I had a “donut” from another well-established LA donut shop.

Before all that however, I decided to stop by the grocery store on Friday before heading home, and while passing by the dairy aisle, I saw that four flavors of Fage’s Crossovers line were on sale…like, $0.39 each on sale!!

MAJOR CLEARANCE YOGURTSSS!
MAJOR CLEARANCE YOGURTSSS!

I’ve tried the coconut curry flavor before combined with cashews, and I still think its my long-standing favorite.

Coconut Curry + Cashews
Coconut Curry + Cashews

The tomato basil flavor with almonds had a tangy taste, and the almonds had a spicy kick as well.

Tomato Basil + Roasted Almonds
Tomato Basil + Roasted Almonds

When I was eating the olive thyme flavor that had roasted almonds as well, it tasted more like sour cream! An awkward flavor profile indeed, but you have to give Fage credit for trying something bold!

Olive Thyme + Roasted Almonds
Olive Thyme + Roasted Almonds

And then there was the carrot ginger flavor with roasted pistachios. I was a fan of this flavor, and would rank it just behind the coconut curry flavor. I think it helps that both of these yogurts are paired with my favorite nuts (cashews and pistachios)!

Carrot Ginger + Pistachios
Carrot Ginger + Pistachios

I woke up on Saturday with intentions to run in the morning before heading into lab for a bit, but I was feeling more exhausted than I thought I felt when I hit the pillow on Friday night. A little extra rest never hurt anyone, so I ended up skipping the run and reasoned with myself that the additional rest would help me run faster in the 5k race I signed up for on Sunday. 

Since my roommate has been busy studying for her CPA exams, she (and her car 😉 ) have been unavailable in joining me to go grocery shopping. This means making an afternoon out of errands, and making the process easier by getting everything done at the Grove…

Before stopping by the Trader Joe’s in the area, I needed to take care of my grumbling stomach with lunch. I came to the realization that Mainland Poke was just a fifteen minute walk away, and after taking a quick look at their menu to ensure they had a veggie option, I was set on going there for a refreshing, crisp meal.

The hot sun beating down made it a harder stroll than it should have been, but after I found the small building and entered, I felt about 20 degrees cooler when I saw all of the cold greens and veggies lined across the counter.

Mainland Poke
Mainland Poke

I was able to customize my poke bowl right from the beginning. I started off with a kale base, and then added cubed tofu, edamame, cucumber, guacamole, wasabi aioli, lemon oil, and pickled ginger.

My Poke Bowl
My Poke Bowl

There wasn’t much room inside, but I managed to find a seat,and was able to chow down on my bowl with chopsticks in peace. The aioli wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be (you’d think it would be with wasabi in its name), so I was grateful for my scoop of guacamole in providing some flavor.

Not surprisingly, I was craving more carbs and something sweet after this light lunch, and I knew this would be the perfect time to check out fonuts before really getting some grocery shopping done.

This way for fonuts?
This way for fonuts?

fonuts was in an unassuming location, with solid doors and tinted windows. Upon stepping inside, everything was wooden from the floors to the walls. It was also oddly quiet.

Fortunately, there were a few other people in there to keep it from feeling like a horror movie!

It may be a little too silent for my liking...but there are "donuts" here!
It may be a little too silent for my liking…but there are “donuts” here!

The unique thing about these “fake” donuts is that they are baked, and not fried. So actually, they’re more like cake. Which is cool, because there is nothing wrong with cake!

The flavor that stood out to me the most was the Hawaiian. It was coco-nutty on the inside and out. It was soft and chewy, with a coconut cream filling.

The Hawaiian
The Hawaiian

I took it over to the countertop they had set up by the wall, and ate it there. While it may have looked like a donut, it tasted like a creamy sponge cake. To be honest, I’m not sure why donuts get so much hype. I guess it’s because I’m a die-hard ice cream fanatic, so when it comes to baked goods, I’m going to be nothing more than appreciative.

Have you ever had a poke bowl?

Baked goods or ice cream?

(Fōnuts) Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Better Than Cheesecake: 2 Years Later

Better Than Cheesecake: 2 Years Later

Disclaimer: I was provided samples for review by ANSI Nutrition. All opinions are my own.

It’s hard to believe that a little over two years ago, I tried these bars for the very first time.

ANSI (5)
The newest line-up of ANSI Nutrition Gourmet Cheesecake Bars!

Well, not the bars you see pictured above, but rather the original ANSI Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bar flavors that are no longer produced. After looking back at my old review, I realize that I paid most of my attention to the soft, doughy texture of these bars.

But things have changed over the past 2+ years. I was contacted by the company to do a review of their new flavors, since they had a major revamp since I last tried them!

ANSI (6)
Still soft and chewy!

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor is no longer in production, but I found my new favorite to be Chocolate Truffle.

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Chocolate Truffle

The bars, while still having a soft, doughy texture, now have a coated chocolate layer on the bottom.

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Now with a chocolate coating layer on the bottom!

This addition I feel adds more character to the bar…and also makes for a good oatmeal topper since the chocolate is quick to melt!

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Oatmeal + Chocolate Truffle Bar ♥

The Chocolate Peanut Butter was a satisfactory flavor in my opinion.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter

It could have been an even better flavor if I didn’t see this oozing out.

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Surprise?

I’m thinking it was just oil condensation since the wrapper was sticky as well. The ingredients list was all either plant/milk-based, so this was more of an aesthetic flaw than a taste one.

My least favorite flavor was Raspberry Truffle. I wouldn’t mind if they brought back the Strawberry Supreme Cheesecake.

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Raspberry Truffle

The raspberry flavor had a somewhat bitter flavor, and overall with the chocolate coating actually tasted quite bland.

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Raspberry Truffle

I think it’s safe to say that Chocolate Truffle was a winner of a flavor, but Chocolate Peanut Butter and Raspberry Truffle were not the best of improvements. I think bringing back Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and the Strawberry Supreme flavors, while keeping the Chocolate Truffle flavor, would be a trio of flavors worth having around!

The 100 Degrees Solution

The 100 Degrees Solution

Over the weekend, temperatures reached record highs, and it was extremely hot! It made no sense to walk outside, but did I consider that? Obviously not…

I wouldn't have tried this refreshing treat had I not stepped out in the hot sun!
I wouldn’t have tried this refreshing treat had I not stepped out in the hot sun!

But I don’t regret that decision too much because I finally tried an acai bowl! At Kreation Organic, in the “fancy” Beverly Hills to be exact 😉

I thought the utensils were organized really well, haha!
I thought the utensils were organized really well, haha!

I stepped in and wasn’t sure where to look because the walls were covered and everything was calling my attention! I did spot the “cacao” Amazebowl on their wall menu though, and decided that sounded delicious enough to order. In the meantime, I sampled their kale chips…

Or should I say, chip??
Or should I say, chip??

My bowl came out in a compostable bowl, and I was ready to rip the plastic bowl off! Looking at this meal in front of me, I realized that this is probably the only way I will be able to get my fruit intake up (and eat bananas) !!

The Cacao Amazebowl - cacao, soymilk blend with banana and almond butter, topped with bananas, strawberries, apple, bee pollen (!!), granola, and honey.
The Cacao Amazebowl – cacao, soymilk blend with banana and almond butter, topped with bananas, strawberries, apple, bee pollen (!!), granola, and honey.

The bee pollen sprinkling was so eye-catching.

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Oooh bee pollen….

The following day, my acai/smoothie bowl craving was still going strong! Sunday was immensely hot, and so that craving was very much justified. Since I was on my way to Sprouts for some grocery shopping, I stopped inside Bon Bon Berry and tried the Aloha Bowl (as much as I did want to try the chocolate flavor, I decided to go a different route to change the flavors I try)!

Strip mall smoothie bowls...anything to cool off on a hot day!
Strip mall smoothie bowls…anything to cool off on a hot day!

Since absolutely no one was walking outside, I wasn’t surprised that no one was indoors either. But at least it was at least 30 degrees cooler inside (or at least it felt like it)! I ordered the bowl at the counter, found a seat near the far wall, and waited for my bowl to come.

Empty because no one is outside, to come inside, on this hot day!
Empty because no one is outside, to come inside, on this hot day!

Unlike the bowl from the day before, the Aloha bowl I had before me was covered in coconut shreds and more fruity in flavor, perhaps due to the mango and banana combo. It still had granola and honey swirled in.

Aloha Bowl!
Aloha Bowl!

Obviously not as fancy as the Kreation Organic bowl, but it was just as satisfying. The customer service was great too, and it seemed like they really took care in fulfilling the order and making sure the bowl was cold, refreshing, and full of flavor!

You can never have too many close-ups of an acai/smoothie bowl!
You can never have too many close-ups of an acai/smoothie bowl!

Are you a fan of acai/smoothie bowls?

Kreation Organic Juicery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars, Birthdays, and a (Quinoa Taco) Bowl!

Bars, Birthdays, and a (Quinoa Taco) Bowl!

Last weekend, a friend from my first year cohort (who I had not seen in almost a year) sent me a text asking if I was doing anything Saturday evening…it was her birthday, and she wanted to celebrate with her friends at Street Food Cinema in Griffith Park. I thought it would be a fun thing to join in on, since I had been meaning to catch up with her for several months! Plus, it would be my first time going to an outdoor movie event, and this one would be showing Monster’s Inc.

Prior to the evening’s festivities, I had work in lab (of course) throughout Friday and the first part of Saturday. When I was in need of a pick-me-up snack on both days, bars from BPI Sports came to the rescue. I found these “BEST” bars recently stocked at the campus bookstore, and tried the S’mores flavor first.

It’s not been getting much love on social media, but I honestly really liked this flavor! I felt like the bar really lived up to it’s name, with chocolate chunks—and even what seemed like cookie or graham cracker pieces throughout—since the bar had a noteworthy crunch to it at some bites!

BPI_smores_
BPI Sports Best Protein Bars – S’mores

I had to try the Cookies and Cream & Chocolate Peanut Butter flavors as well, but these flavors were satisfactory in comparison to the S’mores flavor. Cookies and Cream had a decent amount of crunch to it like S’mores, but the CPB flavor was dull, and seemed to me like a flavorless piece of “chocolate jerky”. It even looks like jerky too (right-bottom corner).

cookie_PB
BPI Sports Best Protein Bars – Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Peanut Butter

I headed out to Griffith Park from downtown, since I had to do some errands there in the afternoon after lab. From there, I took a bus (with waiting at the bus stop + total transit time = ~2 hours, grrr…) and arrived close to 6pm where the theater screen was set up on the lawn withing Griffith Park.

streetfoodcinema
The lawn was already packed with people by the time I got there!

After finding my friend, giving her a giant hug, and catching up with her for a few minutes. I then walked over to where the food trucks were line up (the reason this event was called “Street FOOD Cinema” 😉

SAYfish
Say Fish Taco Truck

Out of all the food trucks available, funny thing was I found a vegetarian option at a fish taco truck, haha!

bowlll
(Veggie) Bowl

This bowl was packed with everything imaginable veggie-wise. And there was no escaping that generous scoop of guacamole! With my bowl in hand, I went back to where my friend set up camp, and sat with another one of my friend’s who had joined while I was off finding food. After catching up and eating with eachother, we expanded our circle as more people arrived. Since the movie didn’t start until 8pm and we had an hour or so until then, we decided to play a game of Phase 10, which is like Rummy and Uno apparently (I’m one of those people who learns how to play a card game when asked, and then promptly forgets how to play later 😛 ).

veggie_bowl
Grilled veggies, dill cream, black beans, cauliflower rice, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, corn tortilla strips, and LOTSA LOTSA GUACCCC

When the movie started at 8pm, we all settled in with our own blankets and relaxed under the dark, cloudy sky as we watched the movie play on the giant screen in front of us. When the movie ended around 10pm, I was glad one of my friends offered to drop me off at home since otherwise I would have had to call for (and pay for…) an Uber!

The next day, I decided to give myself a break from doing a long run since I had some lingering soreness in my legs from Friday. It felt so good to sleep in, and later in the afternoon, my roommate offered to drive us to the new 365 by Whole Foods store that recently opened in Silver Lake!

365_byCHLOE
The new 365 store and by CHLOE.

Before shopping, we ate of course! At by CHLOE :) .

small space
So crowded inside though!

The space was adorable, it was just extremely packed, and my roommate and I were lucky to find a space to sit down! My meal choice was 100% influenced by the first dish I saw someone eating while I was standing in line. I didn’t have to worry if it was vegetarian, because everything on the menu here was vegan!

cute
Cute graphics!

^ Even the ketchup was beet ketchup.

raw juice
With my bowl…I got a free juice?!

I got the Quinoa Taco Salad which was the dish I saw someone eating while standing in line. With my order, I ended up getting a free juice to my surprise. It was ginger-based flavor that I had later at home, which I thoroughly enjoyed while looking over some data for work 😉

quinoa taco salad
Quinoa Taco Salad…so fresh, cold, and delicious!

Back to this salad though…it took forever to come out, but at least everything was presented and placed nicely. Crispy tortilla chips to one side, quinoa in the middle, and some soy chorizo crumbles in the far top corner.

365
Grocery shopping!

My roommate got a portabello sandwich that came in a hot dog bun, which she found to be a choice well-made. After eating up, we walked right into the store, collected the items we had in our mental grocery lists, and were out within 40 minutes (most of that time was spent in line!).

Overall I wasn’t the biggest fan of the store, but I wouldn’t mind paying another visit to by CHLOE again! And if I’m ever in New York City again, I have to make sure I check out the original location 😉

Are you good at card games?

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