Pizza Pals

Pizza Pals

I’ve always had a sweet spot in my heart for the month of May—it truly is a month of changes, but the changes are usually hopeful, sometimes with a tinge of nostalgia, and almost always involve connections.

It also is the beginning of “free time” for a lot of people, since students are free to go on vacation (if they aren’t necessarily given a summer break anymore, which is my case!) and usually, people have a more relaxed schedule in general.

Even though my work has not died down in the slightest (actually, I would say it’s increased over the past two weeks and my summer will most certainly be busy), having a boss away for the summer does allow one to be more flexible schedule-wise 😉

And when your flexible schedule meshes with another person’s blogger’s schedule, it’s bound to result in good happenings.

I was able to meet Julianna this past Saturday, and chat with the vibrant lady over some hot, fresh-out-of-the-brick-oven pizza. I’ve been following her blog over the years, reading about her undergrad journey in UCLA from the beginning. She’s graduating soon and heading off the Atlanta, and I couldn’t be more excited for her :) !

We met outside the pizzeria Prova, and thankfully my awkward handshake didn’t scare her off (haha, it’s a habit I developed after grad school interviews two years ago!).

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Prova Pizzeria

The enticing menu made us take a while to make a final decision on what to get, but Julianna got one of the tomato sauce-less pizzas with egg on it while I went the same sauce-less route, ordering a mozzarella pizza with artichoke and mushrooms.

Our pizzas were the thin-crust kind, with a really flat center and easy to fold. Seeing the golden yolk on Julianna’s pizza made me second guess my pizza choice, but seeing as though I left nothing but half a piece of one slice’s crust, I’d say I wasn’t too regretful of my pizza combination.

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Mozzarella with artichokes & mushrooms :)

I always get a bit nervous before blogger meet-ups, but once they happen, I find my nervousness to be a silly feeling. In the few blogger meet-ups I’ve had to-date, I’ve always left each feeling happy that I got to know someone I’ve been following for years in person. Julianna was no exception, and her energetic, positive personality certainly matches how she expresses herself in her blog posts.

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Another pic cause it was just that good.

One of the things we asked each other was our favorite dessert, and of course I had to say ice cream. Even though I couldn’t find a certain flavor of Halo Top I thought would be in any of the grocery stores near Prova, I happened to find it the next day close to home, and stayed true to my answer 😉

Halo Top Birthday Cake! It’s been so coveted that only three (!!) pints were left when I stopped by my local grocery on Sunday.

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Sprinkles, that’s it?

Would I say it was worth the hype? Probably not…I mean, it had sprinkles and a very creamy vanilla flavor with an iced-cake like texture (if you can imagine that), but it got really old, really quick. I guess putting confetti-colored sprinkles on anything nowadays means it’s a birthday cake :/

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The packaging is cute tho.

Do you get nervous before blogger meet-ups or meeting someone for the first time in person?

Are you tired of the birthday cake trend or do you love it?

 

Newton Womens Fate Running Shoes

Newton Womens Fate Running Shoes

When I ran the RNR Las Vegas Half with Team Challenge, and trained in the months prior with the LA chapter of the team, our chapter manager did her best to organize post-run brunches and giveaways…one of which I won 😉

It was a ticket to a local running store, and they even had a foot analysis machine that one of the employees asked if I wanted to use to “find my right shoe”. (Funny this is, I didn’t wear this “perfect pair” until after my second marathon, even though I picked up this pair mid-December of last year!)

I ended up going with another pair of Newtons since when I asked the employee that was helping me if she recommended the Nikes, she vigorously shook her head, haha!

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These were the Women’s Fates in pink, so at least I actually got a pair of Newtons marketed towards women this time around (all though, my “men’s” pair certainly feels softer and firmer in comparison).

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These shoes felt lighter and flatter, had skinnier laces, and much more vibrant-colored fabric and applique.

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When I first took them for a run, they felt extremely light, as if I had thin slices of cardboard under my feet.

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They didn’t need to be broken into, perhaps because they were so light.

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I’ve put in about 200+ miles on them up until this point, since I’ve also been interchanging them with my men’s pair. So far, still good…I’ll just have to see how the next 200 miles fare on these!

What was the most expensive thing you’ve won from a giveaway?

Never Enough Froyo

Never Enough Froyo

Sunday was a peaceful day for me. After a pleasant long run in downtown (because of the overcast skies and lack of people due to it being early in the morning on a non-working day), I was able to fit in a shopping trip to Sprouts. They were having a BOGO deal on Arctic Zero (!!), so that honestly was my main reason for the trip 😛

I had to get all of this done in the morning since I had to go into lab for an hour in the afternoon (ugh), but it was also a refreshing change to do “my weekend things” in the morning vs. afternoon.

Since I traveled to the Sprouts in Westwood, and I FINALLY had cash on hand, I decided to stop by The Bigg Chill for some morning froyo.

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The Bigg Chill

Having cash on hand was a major moment for me, since I always use cards. Inside the small establishment within a strip mall, the ambiance was very much like a classic ice cream parlor (at least at the counter, the tables and chairs seemed to be more modern. 

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Classy counterspace.

After ordering at the counter, I sat across from the glowing neon sign on the far left wall, next to all the Quest bars on a rack, haha. It’s actually a trend I’ve been seeing at many froyo places that offer low-carb options.

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So shiny!

The counter was packed with so many edible (and non-edible) items, but behind the counter I was able to see the variety of toppings I could choose from, and at first wasn’t sure what size I wanted either. I ended up going with the 8oz macaron flavor that was dairy-free, topped with vegan chocolate chip cookie dough, mochi (all-time fav), and strawberries.

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So much stuff & lotsa toppings.

The macaron flavor was very smooth and had a milky taste to it, and mixed with the mochi, it was perfection. The strawberries were just for show, and while I had high hopes for the VCCCD, it wasn’t that great, and rather than having a fudgy consistency was somewhat oilier than it should have been.

But if we’re talking about appearances, it was certainly one beauty of a cup.

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That swirl, and the cookie dough!

What are your go-to froyo toppings?

The Bigg Chill Frozen Yogurt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

Last week was a hectic one, and this week was insane. Thankfully it’s Friday, and my vacation to the PNW is coming up 😉

Since last week was graduation, and we had two people in my lab walk in the ceremony and officially receive their PhDs, everyone has been feeling the stress (and excitement). I would say for me, it’s more stress than excitement, but I’m doing my best to work it out, and work it out with the people that are involved.

Did I mention that I need a vacation?

Snacks leading up to graduation were alright, and featured some new-to-me bars. I tried the NoGii brand for the first time, and Oh Yeah! One’s newest flavor: chocolate birthday cake!

The NoGii super protein bar in chocolate peanut butter flavor had a mild after taste and the chocolate layer seemed filmy, but the chocolate flavor itself was alright.

NoGii Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crisp Super Protein
NoGii Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crisp Super Protein

The cookies & creme flavor had a harder texture, but it didn’t have an abnormal aftertaste.

NoGii Cookies & Creme Super Protein Bar
NoGii Cookies & Creme Super Protein Bar

The campus bookstore was fully stocked of Oh Yeah! One’s newest, chocolate birthday cake, and it tasted more like a stick of fudge with sprinkles. Perhaps if it had a cake-like center things would have been more different?

OhYeah! One Bar - Chocolate Birthday Cake
OhYeah! One Bar – Chocolate Birthday Cake

On the Saturday after graduation, one of my lab mates and I attended a series of talks in the afternoon. Prior to the event, we had a light lunch at Dinette, a small but cleanly-designed eating space in the heart of Echo Park.

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Somewhere in Echo Park

Even the umbrellas looked fresh.

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Dinette

The ordering counter was encased in glass, and there were pastries/savories placed by the display case on the side.

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Such clean windows at the ordering counter
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Behind all those pastries…

The menu was written on a classic blackboard, but I knew I wanted the avocado toast, and it didn’t take much convincing for my friend to order it either 😉

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Menu!

We were able to find an empty table in the patio area as we waited for our names to be called and our toasts to be handed over to us.

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Patio seating…don’t mind that guy’s leg, haha.

My friend’s name was called before mine even though she ordered after me, but they handed her my toast as well.

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Avocado toast with olive oil and chili flakes…

Each toast was placed on branded parchment paper in a baking tray, and spread generously with heapings of avocado, chili flakes, and olive oil drizzle.

Just look at it though…

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I SAID, avocado toast with olive oil and chili flakes…

Once our toasts were eaten and not a crumb was left, we ended up walking in the wrong direction for ten minutes before turning around and heading to the actual event! We stayed in the area until about 4pm, and then took the bus back home since we live in the same general area (and since neither of us have a car!).

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Heading home.

It was a nice break in routine to spend a weekend outing with another person, instead of having yet another solo adventure…and it was even someone from work, which made it more fun in since I got to know them in a more casual setting.

An (avocado) toast—to sharing more weekend outings with acquaintances that slowly become friends :)

What is/are your favorite topping(s) for toast?

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

Quest Labs – Product Review

Quest Labs – Product Review

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily paid nor given complimentary product by the company to write this review. This review is based on the products I personally ordered from Quest Labs/Quest Nutrition. All opinions are my own.

A couple weeks ago, Quest Nutrition opened up a new site called Quest Labs as a way to test out new products before releasing them to the general public.

Even though I don’t consider myself to be obsessed with Quest bars as much as I used to be, I did want to try these flavors out because of a) FOMO and b) how could I pass up the chance to try new bar flavors?!

Since the website was sold out of the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip singles, I ended up getting a full box. I hoped that I wouldn’t find them disgusting since they would be my “box for the week”, but it ended up being one of my faves! Perhaps it was due to the fact that it was VERY much like its cousin CCCD, except with a little bit more spice and some oat flakes thrown in.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quest Bar
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quest Bar

Blueberry Muffin hands down was my all-time favorite. It was like a fruity version of the Smore’s bar, and the golden color of the graham cracker pieces is eye-catching!

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Blueberry Muffin

Rocky Road was the third bar flavor offered through Quest Labs, and it didn’t score to well by me. It reminded me of the chocolate and peanut butter bar actually because both have nut pieces. But besides the varied texture, the flavor was a bland protein chocolate one :/

rocky road
Rocky Road

Besides releasing new flavors of the chewy bars Quest is known for, a new type of bar was introduced for testing out…

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Strawberry cereal bar with proyo and unidentifiable nut butter :P

a cereal bar!

I think the first time I ever had a cereal bar was when General Mills made bars from their actual cereals, and they had a “milk”/cream filling or whatever. As a kid, I thought that concept was beyond cool (at first), but then after finding they were too dry and hard to bite into, the novelty died away.

I was able to get a single bar of 4/5 flavors (the waffle flavor was sold out, except for the box).

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Quest Crunch – Strawberry

Strawberry and chocolate were both similar in that both had an iced swirl on the top, and were consistent in tasting like their respective flavors.

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Quest Crunch – Chocolate

Cinnamon Bun had some sparkle to it, from the cinnamon obviously, but the bar itself wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, it had a slight chewiness to it which I liked.

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Quest Crunch – Cinnamon Bun

Peanut Butter and Chocolate was my absolute favorite though. Not sure why…maybe it was the chocolate drizzle? I just surprisingly found myself really enjoying this flavor!

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate

If I were to order any of these bars again, Blueberry Muffin and OCC would be my first picks. I could live without Rocky Road, and while the cereal bars were a nice change and a good showing of Quest’s creativity, I wouldn’t necessarily try too hard to make these a staple snack to have around the apartment. Hmm, I wonder what they’ll decide to do after hearing all the feedback from everyone who tried these out 😉

Which flavor would you try?

Are you a cereal fan (regular or bar form)?

Time Needs to Like, Freeze for a Second

Time Needs to Like, Freeze for a Second

The past two and a half weeks or so have been a whirlwind! Each day has been non-stop busy for me, and while I’ve always preferred being busy over being bored, it can get pretty overwhelming when your list of things to-do never seems to end…

BUT, the food side of things have been pleasant (especially the pints!), and over the past two weekends, I got my fair share of vegan eats.

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There was one day last week however when I was snacking after a long day, and a squirrel came very close to me, very hungry as well ;)

Might be easier to go into detail if I break it down…

New Snack Attack:

I first tried Buff Bake spreads a couple months ago (their cookie flavor), and thought I’d give the white chocolate flavor a go. I spread it generously on a birthday cake cookie (♥♥♥♥) and it served as the perfect pre-run fuel. It definitely had a milder, sweeter taste than the cookie flavor I tried before, which had a thicker, drier protein aftertaste. This flavor still had a dryness to it if the oils weren’t mixed fully, but I would say it is the protein spread version of PB&Co’s WCW.

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Buff Bake – White Chocolate on top of Birthday Cake Cookie

I’ve seen so many rave reviews for the Oh Yeah! One Almond Bliss bar, and when I saw it fully-stocked at my campus bookstore, I had to try it during one of my breaks from lab 😛 . Upon the first bite, I could have mistaken it for an Almond Joy. I do find it funny how it has exactly three almonds at the surface though 😛

I loved it so much that I paired it with a macadamia cookie for a Thursday night snack plate. I melted both for about 20 seconds, and the bar came out warm and melty, while the cookie stayed put in its consistency. It was still a knock-out snack plate though 😉

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Oh Yeah! One Almond Bliss Bar
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Winning on a Thursday ;)

Pint Party till Infinity:

I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad trip to Sprouts, but I have had stellar ones. Trips that included deep discounts on soy yogurts, salad boxes, crockpot staples, and even Arctic Zero! Speaking of which, I was enlightened by my Dad that they are having a BOGO deal on them this week…

…and speaking of Enlightened…

I just had to grab and try both the Mint Chocolate Chip and Sea Salt Caramel when I saw them on the freezer shelf during my last grocery trip. I did enjoy the earthy mint flavor of this pint:

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Enlightened Mint Chocolate Chip

But Sea Salt Caramel absolutely took my breath away. Some would argue that the caramel swirls might be too sweet, but it was all too perfect for me…ahh, if they weren’t almost $6 a pint, I would have stocked up for sure.

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Enlightened Sea Salt Caramel

For now, they are just weekend treats…maybe Sprouts should have a sale on these in the near future!

That same weekend, I cam across another Mint Chip, but this time it was Halo Top’s version.

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Halo Top Mint Chocolate Chip

It wasn’t as bright blue/green as Enlightened’s, nor was it as minty, but Halo Top’s texture has always seemed to be just as creamy as the real ice cream guys’, and this flavor was no exception.

Now I just need to hunt down the Birthday Cake flavor…where are you?!

If you aren’t getting tired of my ice cream samplings just yet, my final share from these past two weeks was THIS amazing thing:

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So Delicious Soymilk Cookie Dough Pint

When I stopped by the grocery store last Friday to pick up my pint for the night and to kick off the weekend, my favorite Snickerdoodle was not in stock. What was the next best thing with dough chunks mixed in? Obviously this guy.

As I make my way through So Delicious’ other dairy free pints, this Soymilk Cookie Dough flavor is occupying the #2 spot for now, and rightfully so!

Vegan ‘Ventures:

My weekend adventures were nothing out of the ordinary, but I was proud of myself for being able to allocate enough time for myself, even while still having to follow through with my other responsibilities.

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One Veg World Inside Restaurant

On the same weekend I went to Sprouts, I stopped for lunch at One Veg World in Pasadena for a nutritious & delicious JACKFRUIT carnitas burrito.

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Jackfruit “Carnitas” Burrito

It was apparently one of their newest menu additions, and while the size was small, the filling was juicy and flavorful. Brown rice + jackfruit + that mysteriously tasty vegan-friendly cream sauce was just a combination that can’t be beat! Oh, and the avocado made it even more refreshing 😉

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Brown rice mixed in!

Last weekend, I felt like I was in a tighter time crunch so I didn’t get too adventurous…I went to a tried-and-true favorite, just at a new-to-me location.

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VEGGIE GRILL :)

Nestled in a shopping complex in WeHo, I found another Veggie Grill I have yet to visit.

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Typical Veggie Grill interior :)

I used this visit as an opportunity to get the Mondo Nachos…something I’ve always had my eyes on, but was slightly fearful about getting because of the calorie content.. Something that I struggled with when I had an active eating disorder/was in limbo about recovery because I always wanted to “make it fit” but it never did when my “calorie rules” were strict.

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This one garnered alotta likes on the ‘gram.

But I made up for that suffering this time around, and I actually, to my pleasant surprise, did not have second doubts when I placed my order. The nachos were soon at my table, and after taking the first bite and hearing that crunch, I couldn’t believe I held back from ordering this for so long…

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Okay, just look at the guac…

The cheese, the soy bits, the guac,the crema…it was all so, so perfect. Maybe it was meant to be that I waited this long to have them? To stand as another moment of progress and accomplishment in my recovery journey?

Haha, I’m getting emotional over nachos —> typical food blogger right here 😛

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you don’t blog for a while and feel like you have to “catch up”?

Veggie Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

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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!

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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…

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Cheese tamales!

…and then chopped them up, and…

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Mash it all up!

…mashed it into some fire roasted green salsa!

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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 😉

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Cheese tamale salad :)
Cheese Tamale Salad
A vegetarian-friendly substitute for chicken or tunas salad...plus, it's cheesy! :)
Write a review
Print
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

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