Just the Usual

Just the Usual

Last weekend was a weekend like any other…ya know, new food and new pints 😉

I got a hold of the non-dairy Fudge Brownie B&J’s flavor, and was not blown away at all when I tried it on Tuesday. It tasted like a milder version of Arctic Zero’s Brownie Blast without any brownie chunks or mix-ins for that matter! Ugh, I bet the even the froyo version is better than this!

B&Js Fudge Brownie Non-Dairy Frozen Treat!
B&Js Fudge Brownie Non-Dairy Frozen Treat!

On Saturday, I decided to travel a ways north to check out Leonor’s in Studio City, because they had been on my radar for some time with their all-vegetarian Mexican food options!

Leonor's!
Leonor’s!

They offered pretty much any Mexican item you can think of, and if it usually had chicken or beef in a “regular” restaurant the soy version was the only one available here at Leonor’s. I chose to get the soy chicken tostada, since I wanted something crunchy but still wanted to get my greens in.

Soy Chicken Tostada
Soy Chicken Tostada

The tostada only took up a small portion of the plate, as most of it was greens, and a light sprinkling of cheese. Even though the tostada wasn’t as big as I thought it would have been, at least it had a generous layer of beans and slices of breaded soy chicken.

Leonor's interior
Leonor’s interior

Along with countless cups of water, I was nourished enough to get back on the road and grocery shop at Vons before heading home.

For dessert that night, I had a new-to-me Oikos Greek frozen yogurt pint in Cookies & Cream. It actually tasted something along the lines of oreo cookie soft serve, and was quite delicious.

Oikos Cookies & Cream
Oikos Cookies & Cream

I also had the mint chocolate chip flavor that weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much more like ice cream it tasted than yogurt 😉

Oikos Mint Chocolate Chip
Oikos Mint Chocolate Chip

Another Vons find from the weekend allowed me the opportunity to try PB Crave for the first time. Cookie Nookie was the flavor, and was a PB base with cookie dough flavor, chocolate chips, and honey. I scooped some in a small bowl to get a taste, and while I could detect the sweet swirl of honey (that complemented the PB well), the chocolate chips seemed to have dissolved/be non-existent because I couldn’t taste any chocolate…and the cookie dough flavor? Nothing. I had high expectations for this flavor, but sadly it did not rise to the occasion.

PB Crave - Cookie Nookie
PB Crave – Cookie Nookie

Hmm, at least if I ever have a craving for honey-infused PB, I’ll know where that stems from!

Tostadas, tamales, or tortas??

Leonor's Vegetarian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Del Real Foods Review and Recipe

Del Real Foods Review and Recipe

The day before running the Hollywood Half, I was running around all over the place, just trying to make it to the end of the week. When I got a notice from my apartment complex saying I had a perishable package waiting for me to pick up, I had no idea what it could be…

I then realized when I went to go pick it up that evening, that it was a sample box from Del Real Foods, a company that specializes in Mexican meals, spices, and mixes. I wasn’t expecting the sample box to be a gargantuan package though! I had to haul it up several floors, and it looked as if I had ordered a small desk table or some other piece of bulky furniture.

lunches
Sample box from Del Real Foods!

Upon opening the box, I had four sealed items ready for me to try: cheese & bell pepper pupusas, cheese tamales, and two salsa tubs. I was excited for two main reasons: 1) I wouldn’t have to spend money on buying food for lunch that week, and 2) I was finally getting the opportunity to try a pupusa!

cheese pupsa
Cheese pupusas!

And because I have been dreaming about having a pupusa for years now, that’s exactly what I had first. The package includes five pupusas, which are round, doughy discs with a gooey cheese filling inside and a slightly oiled consistency on the outside. The directions say to warm them up in the microwave or on the stovetop, but I had them chilled and they tasted just fine…like a mild corn cake with cheese filling!

The cheese tamales tasted fantastic too. For these, I followed the instructions and wrapped the tamales in a damp paper towel. I heated them up in the microwave for two minutes, and then cut them up into blocks to stuff into one of my glass containers for lunch.

cheese tamalese with salsa on their own for lunch one day.
Cheese tamales and salsa!

I even made sure to add a layer of one of the salsas at the bottom (fire roasted red salsa!!).

fire roasted salsa
Fire roasted red salsa

For a filling, hearty-but-fresh meal to take to lab one day, I warmed up two tamales as instructed…

tamales
Cheese tamales!

…and then chopped them up, and…

mixing in for salad
Mash it all up!

…mashed it into some fire roasted green salsa!

green salsa verde
Fire roasted green salsa!!

I then mixed it into some greens for a complete salad to munch on when I had a break in lab 😉

cheese tamale salad close
Cheese tamale salad :)
Cheese Tamale Salad
A vegetarian-friendly substitute for chicken or tunas salad...plus, it's cheesy! :)
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Ingredients
  1. - 2 Del Real Cheese Tamales
  2. - Baby Greens Salad Mix
  3. - Two servings (4 tablespoons) of Del Real Fire Roasted Red Salsa
Instructions
  1. - Wrap two of the cheese tamales in a damp paper towel.
  2. - Microwave for ~ 2 minutes.
  3. - Mash up tamales in a bowl with the salsa, until it reaches a malleable, doughy consistency.
  4. - Mix tamale mix into greens.
Will Study for Food http://www.willstudyforfood.com/

Are you a tamale or pupusa fan?

Fala Me to Fala Bar

Fala Me to Fala Bar

Last week was crazy busy, and on more nights than usual, I ended up coming back to my apartment close to 8pm, even with my early morning start to the day. But I’ve always preferred being busy over being too relaxed, so while at times it did feel exhausting, at least it kept my mind occupied.

Because we have a couple students graduating/people leaving from my lab this year, we decided to go out as a lab for lunch on Thursday. It was the first time we had everyone together (well, almost…since my boss was out of town and we were missing one person…haha, the day we actually have EVERYONE together in the same room will be some kind of miracle!!). Spicy Indian buffet food was on the menu, and surprisingly, I didn’t nod off in class later despite it!

One of the plates I had on Thursday...super spicy, and used unpictured naan to mop up all of that!
One of the plates I had on Thursday…super spicy, and used unpictured naan to mop up all of that!

When I got home that night, I decided to kick-off the weekend earlier than usual with a THURSDAY night pint, a So Delicious one in fact. I’ve gotta say…this pint rocks! Since it’s made with coconut milk, you can actually taste the slivers of coconut mixed in with the cookie dough chunks. How have I gone this long avoiding these So Delicious pints?! I’m glad that even though I took a break from Snickerdoodle, this flavor was right up there with it!

Coconut milk + cookie dough = perfection
Coconut milk + cookie dough = perfection

Friday ended up being less busy, and I got home at a decent time. To celebrate the end of this busy week, I made myself a protein-rich snack plate featuring some of my favorites (once warmed up in the microwaved for ~20 seconds).

Friday Night Snack Plate featuring: Lenny & Larrys, Quest, and Combat Crunch. Melted for 20 seconds <3
Friday Night Snack Plate featuring: Lenny & Larrys, Quest, and Combat Crunch. Melted for 20 seconds <3

On Saturday, I had to go into lab for just two hours, and from there made it over to Melrose to see what little food shop was causing excitement on the ‘gram. Fala Bar, a Mediterranean food place that has locations on Melrose and Abbot Kinney in Venice, offers five varieties (!!) of falafel, but is popular because of their falafel burger offerings. Not only are they creative in their menu items and falafel flavors (original, sweet potato  what??, spicy, crunchy, and kale), they also are all-vegan, giving all the more reason to go falafel-crazy!

Fala Bar: vegan-friendly, and in a happening part of town!
Fala Bar: vegan-friendly, and in a happening part of town!

Because I rarely ever stray from ordering similar types of foods at restaurants, I got the fala plate even though the falafel burgers sounded mouth-watering. Definitely getting that when I visit the Venice location (yes, when 😉 ). For my plate, I had to choose one flavor of falafel for the four falafel balls that came with the plate. I went with ‘crunchy’, even though looking back, it would have been more fun to try sweet potato or kale. Maybe my intuitive choice for ‘crunchy’ meant I had some pent up anger I needed to get out? Haha, or maybe I just wanted some crunchy falafel!

Fala Bar's menu
Fala Bar’s menu

Since the storefront is very small, there is no indoor seating…just a couple tables outside under some shade. At least it was all taking place on Melrose Ave., so people-watching was at its prime.

GIGI---they have your snack mix, haha.
GIGI—they have your snack mix, haha.

One of the employees was nice enough to bring out my plate, and it was not skimpy by any means! Underneath my artistically-placed falafel were two kinds of cabbage slaw, and tabouli. Tahini and hummus were in the corners, and a soft, warm pocket of pita bread was served on the side.

Fala Plate ft. crunchy falafel
Fala Plate ft. crunchy falafel

At first I was saving the spreads for the falafel and pita bread, but in the end I just mixed everything all up because it was all so good, and good together. For the price, the plate was very filling and substantial. I did notice that the burgers were cheaper however, and I wonder if they would be just as filling. That’s my mission for next time!

Close-up of this flavor-packed plate.
Close-up of this flavor-packed plate.

Just like last weekend, pints were raised up (for pictures) and dug into :)

Because the So Delicious pint from Thursday blew me away, I decided to keep venturing into the flavor offerings of this brand. The almond milk offering of cookies ‘n cream had me very excited about trying at first, but unfortunately it was a disappointment. The cookie chunks were small, sparse, and did not carry much flavor. I’m not even sure what flavor the ice cream was supposed to be because it was lacking that much! Oh well, not everything can be a winner!

Eh, not worth the price...
Eh, not worth the price…

The Caramel Coffee Fudge flavor Ben & Jerry’s from their non-dairy frozen dessert line was also something I was looking forward to, after PB & Cookies proved itself, but was another disappointment as well. One unsual thing about this flavor was the crunchiness of the fudge blocks. They were fudge chunks, but they made a potato chip-like crunching sound when I ate them. It was odd, but very intriguing, haha.

I'd pass on this one.
I’d pass on this one.

Have you ever tried a falafel made with the not-so-normal ingredients?

Fala Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Roundabout Ways

Roundabout Ways

Two Sundays ago, I realized that if I plan to move out of the DTLA area by the end of the summer, I probably should devote more time to exploring my as-of-right-now urban backyard. One area in particular that I haven’t really spent much time exploring is the Arts District, besides the occasional visits to hidden-gem restaurants (I’m talkin’ about The Springs and Urth Caffe 😉 ).

It also doesn’t help that getting to the Arts District via public transit is a very roundabout process. I had to go all the way to Union Station, just to hop on the Gold Line to get to Little Tokyo, and walk a little southeast…Google Maps also gave me a couple other ideas, but all of them required at least one transfer even though the trip shouldn’t take THAT long.

Anyways, when I did get into the heart of the Arts District, I knew right away by the enveloping murals and vibrant paint colors on the buildings.

Art!
Art!

My destination was Café Gratitude, so even though I was among a variety of restaurants (many of which I have on my foodie bucket list and have yet to visit…) and shops, I still had a ten minute walk to get there.

Located on Santa Fe Ave and within the One Santa Fe apartments complex, Café Gratitude was disguised fairly well. But those lucky ones living in the One apartments…they had Café Gratitude at their disposal! Too bad the rent for a STUDIO ≈ my monthly paycheck.

Cafe Gratitude, DTLA
Cafe Gratitude, DTLA


At least Café Gratitude was open to the public, and this visit would be my fourth time visiting CG (my first was in Venice almost a year and a half ago…followed by Larchmont, and the happenchance meeting with the SD location that opened over the summer).

So fresh and clean inside.
So fresh and clean inside.

My eyes immediately went towards the “bowls” section. I guess I still has sushirito on the brain, because the Accepting bowl sounded quite appetizing.

Sounds good...
Sounds good…

My bowl came within minutes, and at first glance it seemed small but it was perfectly-sized for a late lunch. Underneath all those sea-based greens was “sprouted probiotic” brown rice, mixed with wasabi dressing, and greens like kale, avocado, cucumber, and other greens for flavor. Because the blackened tempeh cubes were obviously the best part of the meal, I was successful in saving them to savor for last.

So much goodness in here, I accept!
So much goodness in here, I accept!

I could have added kimchi to this already delightful bowl, but it would have cost another $4…how much kimchi did they plan on adding for that price??

Accepting!
Accepting!

I didn’t want to leave after eating only because it felt cold outside, and I had to make my roundabout trip back just to get home. At least the gold line train I hopped on to get back to Union Station was one of the new ones, as it still had that “fresh train” smell (is that even a thing?).

It would have been 100% clean if someone had NOT made a crumbly mess...
It would have been 100% clean if someone had NOT made a crumbly mess…

In addition to my nutrient-packed meal on Sunday, I enjoyed some weekend pints of course! On a grocery trip to Ralph’s over the weekend, I came across another B&J core that I have yet to try, and the last new-to-me flavor Arctic Zero from their recent new flavor release.

My sister gave me the heads-up review about this flavor, saying that it wasn’t her favorite, but she thought I would like it since the chocolate flavor was mild and the core was creamy and frosting-like. I took her word for it, and even though I didn’t want to gag after eating the chocolate side of the pint, I was not blown away. This flavor was mediocre, despite the cookie chunks and creamy core. Actually, the core was pretty disappointing. It didn’t seem to have any substance to me…just a bland insertion of what tasted like vanilla frosting. Boring.

No too outstanding...
No too outstanding…

The fruity Arctic Zero that I took home was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t think it would stand a chance to some of the sweeter flavors like Cake Batter or Sea Salt Caramel, but it held its own. I truly liked the mild tartness of this flavor, and I may have enjoyed this more if I had not eaten it that Sunday (since it was unusually cold on Sunday). Needless to say, I was shivering by the end of this pint!

Fruity and tart!
Fruity and tart!

What area (near where you live) do you wish you visited more often?

Cafe Gratitude Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Race Recap – Hollywood Half Marathon

Race Recap – Hollywood Half Marathon

Last week, I ran the Hollywood Half, but it was far from being one of my favorite half marathons to-date. You’d think that a race with a steep race fee and that was super hyped-up would offer a more memorable and enjoyable experience, but for me, that was not the case.

My irritations began with the mandatory packet pick-up that had to be done on Thursday or Friday, since they were not offering race day pick-up…

packet pickup
Packet pick-up at Hollywood Palladium.

That meant I had to leave lab early enough to catch the red line and make it in time to the “expo” to pick up my packet at the Hollywood Palladium.

This so-called expo had absolutely no freebies, but oddly enough, they had ample seats for teeth whitening?

clean
Teeth whitening at an running expo…hmmm

The lack of freebies made me an irritated kind of hungry, and I stopped at Trader Joe’s before catching the red line back to head back home. Once back at my apartment, I went to sleep early in order to get up at 4am to have enough time to arrive by the 6am call time.

Even though I woke up on time, had all of my things laid out, and felt amped up for the race, I got off at the starting line (Hollywood/Highland) only to realize that I had to walk an extra fifteen minutes BACK to Hollywood/Vine to drop off my bag because their gear check was at the finish line. No where on the website or in the e-mail did I see any clear explanation of gear check…yes, they said there would be gear check at the finish line, but they didn’t say participants had to DROP OFF their stuff at the finish line and then walk to the start…how is that a fair assumption when so many other races offer start line gear check?

Needless to say, I got my warm-up run in, running just under a 9 min/mi pace. Unfortunately, this didn’t stay during the race.

My pace maintained within the 9:20-9:50/mi range, with me averaging a 9:40/mi by the end of it. It definitely wasn’t my best, but there were many inclines, and—the major drawback of the course—HARD GRAVEL PAVEMENT. It was the first time in my years of running that my knees acutally felt sore from the constant pounding on extremelt flat, gravel streets.

Another unpleasant thing about the course was the random detours off of Hollywood in order to make it a 13.1 mile course. I understand that in order for it to be a “Hollywood Half” that keeping it within the constraints of Hollywood Blvd would require off-shoots into random neighborhoods, but still, it was far-from-thrilling race course :/

By the time I reached the finish, my knees were ready to hug me. I grabbed some water, my shiny medal (probably the only good thing of this race…), and a handful of snacks when I should have grabbed more because once I left the finisher’s zone, they didn’t allow runners to reenter.

race
Cheesy photo-ops :D

I walked down the strip of road to see if there were any freebies to offered post-race. Besides some fizzy drinks, an energetic emcee, and a food truck that was NOT giving away free food.

stage
Run MC – He was energetic and very good as an emcee!
drinks
Literally the only booth that was giving out edible freebies (carbonated drinks….)

I realized I would be better off stopping by the Starbucks close to the red line station for my post-race breakfast. Other runners agreed based on the line curling around near the door.

cookie and coffee after race
Had to get me something I actually wanted…this hit the spot post-13.1 miles!!!

With my caramel macchiato and butterfly cookie in hand, I found a seat by the window and chatted with my Dad over the phone rehashing the not-so-stellar race experience.

view from the window
View from the window!

If there is anything I learned from this race, it is to not do it again (unless they make several changes), and not assume that any race with a pricey fee will be of good quality…even if the race organizers think it has celebrity status :/

medal
The medal was very pretty though!

Have you ever paid too much for something that was over-hyped only to be very disappointed by it?

Springtime Sushi

Springtime Sushi

Is it really already APRIL?! By the way the weather has been acting, it’s pretty real indeed!

Thanks to my tax return, I finally invested in a BedJet, so it looks like a creature from Star Wars is “hiding” under my bed covers…at least I no longer have to worry about participating in A/C Wars with my roommate! I absolutely love this little machine, and the its ability to keep my skin cool throughout the night. Why didn’t I get this sooner when I was going through ED recovery night sweats?!

I also had the urge to let off some steam on Instagram, after being whistled at a couple times last week while running. Some may say it is to be expected when running outdoors in the city, but that is by no means a valid, acceptable reason. I should be able to wear what I want to workout, and not feel ashamed, fearful, or intimidated by others for doing so.

Loving my new BedJet, and still gonna rock my Nike pros!
Loving my new BedJet, and still gonna rock my Nike pros!

Now onto the foodie-things of last weekend. Since I did not have to set one foot into lab over the weekend, I was able to hang out with my roommate on Saturday afternoon. We went to an outdoor music festival, and it was blazing HOT outside. I made the mistake of wearing strappy sandals, taking advantage of the fact I did not have to go into lab, but forgetting that heat + walking + sandals = blisters. UGH.

Jogasaki---my first food truck in LA (besides Waffles de Liege offered at a race I ran in last year...)
Jogasaki—my first food truck in LA (besides Waffles de Liege offered at a race I ran in last year…)

There were food trucks at the venue, and I took it as an opportunity to try my first one (besides the waffle one at a race I went to last year). Jogasaki was the most popular one there, and the only vegetarian dish they had was the veggie burrito.

The truck menu.
The truck menu.

I don’t know why they didn’t just call it a Sushirito though, since the other menu items were variations on the sushirito…

Veggie Burrito---er, Sushirito
Veggie Burrito—er, Sushirito

My sushirito was cylindrical roll of rice, filled with cucumber, avocado, and marinated seaweed, all of which was rolled up in rice paper. My roommate got a grilled cheese and tater tots (and I cannot imagine how she ate that hot food in the blazing hot weather…). We ate our meals on the grass, and then got up afterwards to check out the freebies.

Spring time music, food, and freebies.
Spring time music, food, and freebies.

The live music was pretty lame because there really was no defined set of acts and performers. A couple people got on stage to say “check, check”, and then they reverted to just playing pre-recorded music.

At least the freebies were worth it. I ended up with several shirts, KIND bars, sunglasses, and between my roommate and I, a bouquet of flowers for our apartment.

Free flowers!!
Free flowers!!
Some of dem freebies
Some of dem freebies

On Sunday, I felt the need to go shopping! I ended up going alone to Culver City after my morning long run, and ventured inside the Culver City Mall for the first time. When I lived in NorCal, my local mall got on my nerves after a while because it was pretty much the only place my friends and I would go, but stepping inside the CCM made me remember those good ol’ times and how much I miss those days 😛

I stopped by the Sprouts next to the mall before heading home, and pick up two Enlightened pints that have been all the rage on Instagram.

Those swirls... :D :D :D
Those swirls… 😀 😀 :D

Frozen Hot Cocoa blew me away…probably because the ingredients listed GHEE as an ingredient (which I have never seen as an ice cream ingredient before!!) and the swirls were insanely delicious. Of course I soon got tired of the chocolate, but those swirls!! I topped the pint with a FitElite Birthday Cake bar, which I bought only because a GNC was in the mall and I had not tried this bar flavor yet. I honestly was not a fan, since it tasted like bland vanilla fudge taffy with a smattering of spherical sprinkles :/ .

Frozen Hot Cocoa pint topped with a FitElite Birthday Cake Bar.
Frozen Hot Cocoa pint topped with a FitElite Birthday Cake Bar.
Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch
Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch

Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch on the other hand, made my Monday evening pleasant. After a long day in lab, coming home to this pint mixed with cookie pieces and oatmeal flakes in a caramel base was super comforting. If the other Enlightened ice cream flavors are just as good as these two, I think I’m going to have many worthwhile Sprouts grocery shopping trips in the near future 😉

Have you heard of BedJet?

Would you eat a sushirito?

Jogasaki Sushi Burrito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hot & Cold

Hot & Cold

After a whirlwind, busy week last week, I was left with a weekend with no commitments and I didn’t waste any time thinking about it!

I originally wanted to take the bus over to the mall in Century City, but the bus I ended up taking stopped too short. I turned out to be more convenient just walking along Fairfax, eventually stumbling upon the grocery stores I have come to know well.

Before shopping, I stepped inside Kaya Street Kitchen for the first time, since I was very hungry and I needed to rest my feet from walking the extra distance the bus stopped short at.

Kaya Street Kitchen Front
Kaya Street Kitchen Front

It’s hard to believe that Kaya’s been at this spot for more than a year now…maybe close to two? I remember when I first moved to LA, it was a Currywurst that was next door to the Vitamin Shoppe…

Signage
Signage

At the counter, I was able to easily place my order for a Happy Tofu bowl. I had green tea noodles as my base (though I could have picked rice or greens), mixed with sambal tofu, garlic kale, tamarind slaw, corn, scallions, and a sweet soy glaze.

Happy Tofu = happy bell-eh :)
Happy Tofu = happy bell-eh :)

After grabbing some water, I sat by the front window and dug into my bowl. Say it was refreshing would be an understatement—the top layer with all the fresh veggies was so crisp and sweet, and the noodles underneath surprisingly kept their warmth. The perfect balance between hot and cold. The entire portion was perfect for lunch, and allowed me to go about my day.

I ended up going to Whole Foods for groceries, and did not end up spending my whole paycheck which I was relieved by! I even made out with some tempting goodies too, like these three pints I enjoyed over the course of the weekend:

I tried the lemon and vanilla flavors of Halo Top many months ago, but I had to try the other two classics…chocolate and strawberry. It made no sense to wait any longer!!

The chocolate-flavored Halo Top ended up being much tastier than I expected! I’m not the biggest chocolate ice cream fan (I can tolerate it as seen with my past B&J’s posts, but that doesn’t mean it’s my fave)! It helped to put a full-sized Lenny & Larry’s B-Day cookie on top!

Halo Top - Chocolate
Halo Top – Chocolate

I absolutely fell in love with the strawberry flavor however! It tasted like frozen strawberry whipped cream! Ahh…it was that delicious! Tell me again why I took so long to try these Halo Top flavors again…let alone Halo Top anything?!?

Halo Top - Strawberry
Halo Top – Strawberry

I also decided to try on the So Delicious non-dairy frozen desserts for the first time. After reading so much praise for the Cashew Milk snickerdoodle flavor, I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Snickerdoodle :D
Snickerdoodle :D

And obviously there was a reason for all the fuss, because it was just that good. It had chunks of snickerdoodle COOKIE DOUGH mixed in, and tasted like a mildly sweet, frozen cinnamon bun. Remember how I raved about Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns flavor? Well, this pint right here is major competition 😉

Do you like to mix hot and cold foods in one meal?

Kaya Street Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Race Recap – Los Angeles FroYo Run 10K

Race Recap – Los Angeles FroYo Run 10K

For the first half of March, I experienced my first running-related injury that kept me out from running for about 1 1/2 weeks. It was groin pull, and it took me by surprise…causing my pace to slow down and my thigh to really feel aggravated. I did end up taking ibuprofen towards the later half of that week, and that seemed to help with the inflammation. I was worried that I wouldn’t be in top condition for a 10k I had signed up for a few weeks prior, but I was able to have enough time to rest up, and do a decent job on race day.

cookie with pb
One of my rest day snacks: a Lenny & Larry’s cookie topped with flaxseed and chia seed PB :)

This race wasn’t as intense as the LA Marathon, but it was a race that I wanted to enjoy running in, as much as eating afterwards…

Instead of waking up two hours earlier than the starting time just to take public transit, I called an Uber around 6am, and only had to pay ~$11 for my trip to the woods of Griffith Park. My driver was like “are you sure you want to be dropped off here?”, referring to the darkness/tall trees, but since I saw some runners in the distance, I said it should be fine.

And with an inflatable Menchie’s character in my view, I’m pretty sure I was in the right place.

menchies
Welcome to the froyo run…

After showing ID, I was able to pick up some goodies that included shades and a hat. Unfortunately, no race shirt was being given away at this race.

Since I was still a little early, I wandered around the tent area aimlessly until it was about race start time.

The 10k began a little after a 7am, and consisted of two loops around an area of Griffith Park. We even managed to run through areas where some of my marathon team training runs took place. To be honest though, running in Griffith Park can get a bit boring after awhile, but there are plenty of hills to wake you up from the creeping mediocrity!

The length of the race actually ended up being closer to 5.4 miles rather than a 6.2 miler/10k. Even so, I ran it at a 9:24/mi pace, which I was happy with since I was still dealing with a lingering injury.

froyo
FroYo Run 2016

Once I made it back down to the tents, I was able to redeem my free FROYO, pretty much the whole purpose of this run!

I chose to get a vanilla snow base, topped with oreo cookie crumbles and M&Ms. Other toppings like granola and almonds were available too, but c’mon, you can’t put that up against candy 😉

froyooooooo
Free froyo and toppings = dream!!

I LOVE how the medal was an actual spoon. When I came home that afternoon, I literally ripped off the ribbon and stored the spoon away in my kitchen drawer. Yup, this is my first “useful” race medal.

froyo medal
I totally just kept the spoon. Why hang something that has some usefulness?!

Since the race didn’t have a spectacular post-race party beyond free froyo, I decided to walk back into the city, and ended up in Glendale’s Atwater Village, where I was many moons ago chowing down on the most gorgeous Mediterranean platter (that also garnered many admiring eyes on Insta 😛 ).

counter
Classic counter

This time, I turned in the opposite direction to check out Hugo’s for some filling, brunch-y vegetarian Mexican food.

hugos_tacos
Hugo’s Tacos, Glendale’s Atwater Village

Hugo’s Tacos also offers meat options, but I appreciate how they have good protein options for veggie peeps too!

Even though it was barely lunchtime, I opted for the nachos platter with soy chorizo and vegan cheese.

nachos tray
Nachooooooos

I ordered at the counter, waited at the bench in front, and my nachos were ready within ten minutes. I grabbed my tray and walked over to the side of the food stand, and found a table to sit down at.

The nachos looked great from the side, but oh so magical from the top…

nachos
Bird’s eye, pretty eye.

By eating my nachos with a fork, I was able to add a good-sized dollop of cheese, cubed potatoes, spicy soy chorizo, and zucchini cubes onto each crispy tortilla chips. There was a refreshing green dollop of guac on top, and fine layer of white beans on the bottom.

veganized monster nachos
Vegan cheese, soy chorizo, white beans…what more can you ask for in a tray of nachos?!?

I felt perfectly full at the end of this meal, and did not feel like I had to waddle to the bus stop. I had replenished my depleted energy stores from my run in the morning, and refueled enough to go grocery shopping at the Sprouts in Burbank.

I even had enough energy to anchor myself to the table and finish up that 20-page paper that owned the rest of that weekend, too. 😉

Have you ever had to deal with an annoying running injury?

What’s your favorite froyo topping?

Hugo's Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Baskin-Robbins Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich Review

Baskin-Robbins Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich Review

Disclaimer: I was compensated with a gift card for this review, but all opinions are my own.

To be completely honest, I had no idea Sunday was Easter until two days prior when I was at the post office and I overheard a customer wish the employees a Happy Easter weekend…am I really that out of tune with the rest of the world? I guess I’m still suffering from #20pagepaperwithdrawls

Coincidentally, I had some time to stop by a Baskin-Robbins to try out one of their newest creations—the warm cookie ice cream sandwich.

Baskin-Robbins, SoCal style.
Baskin-Robbins, SoCal style.

My first experience was with C.R.E.A.M., then Stax, and not surprisingly back to the classic Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor. What amazed me about this type of ice cream sandwich though, was the fact that I technically had 31 flavors to choose from for my ice cream. It was just that in reality, I was restricted to what the store offered that day.

The possibilities are endless...
The possibilities are endless…

In creating my sandwich, I chose the double chocolate and peanut butter chocolate cookies, with a pop-rocks flavored sherbert as my ice cream filling. The woman who was helping piece my sandwich together didn’t seem to judge me too much for buying ice cream at 11am 😉

My cookie sandwich <3
My cookie sandwich <3

Once the cookies were warmed and the ice cream was scooped into the middle, I was offered a topping. I chose rainbow sprinkles of course (since I’m both a five-year-old kid and a grandma at heart), and paid $3.99 (well, with the gift card) for the entire sweet masterpiece.

Gotta get a close-up of those sprinklez!
Gotta get a close-up of those sprinklez!

The cookies were warm, but the ice cream surprisngly stood up to the heat. Some of it did melt into the wrapper, but for the most part, the cookie sandwich held up! It was also interesting to see actual peanut halves in the peanut butter cookie.

Overall, I thought my combination was well-balanced in textures and flavors. I can’t even compute how many possibilities for ice cream sandwiches there are (I left my probability skillz back in undergrad calculus…), but I’m sure any and all of them would be delicious!

Baskin-Robbins Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vegan Glory

Vegan Glory

Oh wow, it’s been a long time since I last posted! That’s what a 20-page paper and a presentation can do to ya—make you disappear, haha.

Now that the work and deadlines have simmered down, I no longer have to stay up until midnight and can go back to sleeping early like a GMa…and I can also go back to posting about delicious weekend food outings :)

Two weekends ago, the anxiety started to build up knowing that I had plenty of work to do on the horizon. Even though I knew that I should probably get started on all that work, I still went out for a late lunch before doing some grocery shopping errands.

Vegan Glory was my destination, since it was fairly close to the Grove and many of the stores I like going grocery shopping like Trader Joe’s and Vitamin Shoppe. I was actually quite hungry when I arrived, and my hunger cues were pushing me towards something very carb-heavy 😉

Simplistic, sleek gray interior!
Simplistic, sleek gray interior!

After looking at the menu, I ended up choosing to get the soy fish yakisoba. I thought it was an intriguing choice since I’ve had both before, but never together. Plus, it was said to be spicy so that obviously means it’s bound to be full of flavor!

Menu!
Menu!

The serving size was fairly large, as everything came on a massive plate. The noodles were stacked high, and veggies were tossed in and out and all around.

Soy fish very chewy and layered; oiled noodles with lotsa flavor
Soy fish very chewy and layered; oiled noodles with lotsa flavor

There’s no doubt that everything was quite filling, and by the time I got to the last noodle, I was truly full. The people at the table in front of me had saw my dish come to the table, and one of the ladies in that group pointed over to my dish when the waiter asked her what she wanted 😛

Soy fish yakisoba!
Soy fish yakisoba!

After a nourishing late lunch, I was able to go about my regularly scheduled business for the day…and even get going on the 20 page paper that would consume any free time I had over the next week and a half…

Have you tried soy fish?

Vegan Glory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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