Good Things Come in Twos

Good Things Come in Twos

Over the past few weeks, I came across some new-to-me food products, but I was stuck trying to figure out a way to get them featured in a blog post.

Then I realized that all of them came “in twos”, and at least for each product I tried, I was able to compare and contrast two different flavors. I didn’t have a strong dislike for one flavor over another for each of the products, so then it hit me—“good things come in twos”!

A developing veggie chip brand, protein bar company, and well-known greek yogurt company with novel “flip” creations are all featured here for your reading enjoyment!

Crunchables are dehydrated veggie snacks that are flavored with an intriguing spice mix, and right now, the company is going through its first steps as a start-up! I was excited when Michelle and Cindy (founders of Crunchables) asked if I could sample two of their products:

The BBQ chips had a mild cheese-like flavor, and the dehydrated veggies used here were broccoli crown pieces. They actually were coated with a dark red powder, and had a sweet taste with a spicy kick of an aftertaste.

BBQ
BBQ

The Nacho cheese chips were thick, flat pieces of dried eggplant. Even though the flavor was titled as “nacho cheese”, these chips actually reminded me of buttered toast!

Nacho Cheese
Nacho Cheese

Beyond the fact that the snacks are just seasoned dehydrated veggies, gluten-free, raw, and vegan, the veggies that are used for the snacks can be traced back to “ugly veggie” origins. The company is focused on a food waste reduction angle, and by working with local farmers to use veggies that would otherwise go to waste, they’re able to lower costs and reduce food waste. I think that’s a pretty cool!

When I heard there was a protein bar that was branded as Too Busy To Eat, and when I confirmed its existence because the name sounded hilarious, I was fascinated and knew that I had to see what these bars were all about.

toobusy
These bars were bigger than I had expected, given their nutrition facts!

I was sent the Double Chocolate Chip and Cookie Dough flavors to review. I immediately fell in love with the DCC flavor, as I found it dense, but very chewy. It had a slight crunch, and if I had to compare it to another common protein bar, I’d say it’s like the Double Chocolate Chunk Quest bar except TBTE’s flavor is much more palatable in my opinion 😉

Even if I wasn't "too busy to eat", I'd eat this Too Busy To Eat Double Chocolate Chip Bar. It has a fudgy texture with chocolate crispies mixed in, and it is outstanding at maintaining a mild chocolate flavor despite it literally being all chocolate! I couldn't detect any of that "protein flavor" that is usually common in these kinds of bars (I often found it an issue with the Chocolate Chunk Quest bars...), and I highly recommend this bar by itself, or cut up and added as a dense topping to yogurt, oatmeal, etc.
Even if I wasn’t “too busy to eat”, I’d eat this Too Busy To Eat Double Chocolate Chip Bar. It has a fudgy texture with chocolate crispies mixed in, and it is outstanding at maintaining a mild chocolate flavor despite it literally being all chocolate! I couldn’t detect any of that “protein flavor” that is usually common in these kinds of bars (I often found it an issue with the Chocolate Chunk Quest bars…), and I highly recommend this bar by itself, or cut up and added as a dense topping to yogurt, oatmeal, etc.

The cookie dough flavor wasn’t too bad, but it didn’t remind me of anything related to cookie dough. It had a milky flavor, light crisp texture, and overall had more of a vanilla flavor rather than cookie dough.

This Cookie Dough flavored Too Busy To Eat Bar did not remind of cookie dough to be honest. It tasted more like a vanilla fudge bar with crispier mixed in. I mean, it tasted alright as a protein bar, but I wouldn't compare it to cookie dough, even in its raw form.
This Cookie Dough flavored Too Busy To Eat Bar did not remind of cookie dough to be honest. It tasted more like a vanilla fudge bar with crispier mixed in. I mean, it tasted alright as a protein bar, but I wouldn’t compare it to cookie dough, even in its raw form.

They also have a Vanilla Coconut “superfood” bar flavor, and the bars have about 20 grams or protein, 20 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of sugar. They are grass-fed whey protein-based (so while not vegan, they are vegetarian), gluten-free, contain organic cashew butter, and do not have any artificial preservatives or colors. Like I said, even if I wasn’t “too busy to eat”, I’d be pretty happy munching on these TBTE bars 😛

Kroger had a Friday Freebie deal a few weeks ago for any free Chobani Flip. I had been wanting to try the new Cinnabun Fun flavor ever since I learned about four of the newest flavors being released. Other than the random toss-in of pecans, this flavor met my expectations. I always wish that there is a greater topping-to-yogurt ratio for these yogurts though 😝

Cinnabun Fun Chobani Flip
Cinnabun Fun Chobani Flip

I’d be the last person to confess my love for carrot cake, but I was flipping over this Carrot Cake Creation Chobani Flip!

carrot
Carrot Cake Creation

The yogurt was actually “sweet carrot”-flavored, and had a good amount of cake pieces glazed with cinnamon, walnuts, and white chocolate. Of course, I wouldn’t argue if Chobani decided to add more toppings to balance out the yogurt 😛

Which of these food items would you most like to try?

Pizza and a Movie

Pizza and a Movie

After spending ten straight days running, it felt glorious to sleep in, and not have to worry about getting a mandatory workout in. It was the absolute perfect way to start the three-day Independence Day weekend!

Since my sister was staying with me for a few days, we had tons of fun things planned 😉

The fun began later in the morning, after stopping by lab to check on an experiment. We were out by noon, and proceeded to take the train + bus to WeHo for a scrumptious lunch before hitting the movie theater.

 Enter, EVO Kitchen
Enter, EVO Kitchen

While it wasn’t a completely vegetarian/vegan establishment, EVO Kitchen offered plenty of organic, vegan, and gluten-free options. Many of the menu items could be made meatless upon request however. This was a fact that pleased my sister and I, after taking an extensive amount of time looking at the large offering of pizzas.

 All the pizzas sound amazing. Right before getting our pizzas, the waiter gave us some garlic salt and pepper flakes!
All the pizzas sound amazing. Right before getting our pizzas, the waiter gave us some garlic salt and pepper flakes!

The restaurant itself was small and cozy, with a smattering of booths and small tables + chairs. There was a bar to the right, and from where we were sitting, we could see part of the kitchen and the cooks hard at work!

iterior
The cozy interior.

It took a while for our pizzas to arrive (or maybe we were just that hungry?) but when they did, my sister and I split our pizzas in half to share with one another. 😉

On top: the BLEU CHEESE STEAK without steak - mushrooms, onions, marinara, mozzarella and gorgonzola // on bottom: the BBQ CHICKEN without chicken - BBQ sauce, tofu cubes, scallions, onions, soy cheese.
On top: the BLEU CHEESE STEAK without steak – mushrooms, onions, marinara, mozzarella and gorgonzola // on bottom: the BBQ CHICKEN without chicken – BBQ sauce, tofu cubes, scallions, onions, soy cheese.

Out of the two pizzas, the one I ordered [the BLEU CHEESE “STEAK”] was my favorite. I ordered it with multigrain crust, and it came out super crunchy as a result. There was also a mild tang to the marinara, and overall, was perfectly-sized for a lunch portion.

 The chili flakes added a pop of color...and just look at those scallions!
The chili flakes added a pop of color…and just look at those scallions!

The BBQ pizza, from the slices I tried, was good…just not mind-blowing. The BBQ sauce tasted more like ketchup than a spicy BBQ sauce, but at least the tofu cubes were quite chewy and added variety to the toppings.

 BBQ with tofu!!
BBQ with tofu!!

After lunch, we made a semi-made dash for the bus stop to head to The Grove. We wanted to make the 4PM showing of Inside Out, but ended up having to get tickets for the following show at 5:30PM…not because we missed the bus or anything, but rather all of the seats for the 4PM show were reserved. I have never heard of reserved seating for “regular” movies before (plays, yes), nor have I ever had to pay $15 for a movie that was not in 3D.

 A nice looking theater---inside & out (haha...)---but the $15 ticket price? Not so nice...
A nice looking theater—inside & out (haha…)—but the $15 ticket price? Not so nice…

Good thing Inside Out was beyond worth it. The story, concept, characters, and ending were all on point, and I was glad that I was patient enough to wait to see the movie with my sister. After leaving the theater, we couldn’t stop talking about our favorite scenes 🙂

Since it was still sunny and gorgeous outside, my sister and I stayed out longer to get some snacks from Trader Joe’s.

 Festive times at The Grove.
Festive times at The Grove.

It took us an hour or so to get home, but once we got back to my apartment, I made some scrambled eggs on toast for my hungry sister.

 Had to prove to my Dad that I was not starving my sister.  ;)
Had to prove to my Dad that I was not starving my sister. 😉

We stayed up until 11PM (which is unusual for me 😛 ) watching Friends and munching on snacks. It was nice to not have to worry about getting up early again the next day—especially since we had another fun-filled day planned for the 4th!!

Have you seen Inside Out?

How do you like your pizza?

Click to add a blog post for EVO Kitchen on Zomato

Refueling After 26.2

Refueling After 26.2

I mentioned in my marathon recap that my plans for a post-run marathon lunch eventually turned out to be dinner plans, but I was still able to enjoy the food I ate and celebrate the feat of the morning.

After finally getting back to my apartment, and quickly freshening up, I took the bus over to Mid-City and got off at the cusp of Beverly Hills. My predetermined dinner location was The Addiction Bistro, which according to my prior research, had burger, fries, and wurst plates. The fact that they also served these dishes with vegetarians & vegans in mind (by offering a separate menu) was what secured this place as being my go-to restaurant for post-marathon fueling.

 Front of restaurant
Front of restaurant

I arrived a little after five, and other than a couple sitting outside, I was the only patron. I had the entire restaurant to myself, and was given some water while I looked over the separate vegan menu.

SAMSUNG

My eyes drifted towards the Addiction Burgers selection, and I decided to go with the “Buffalo” Burger, which supposedly came with a mix of buffalo wing sauce + blue cheese ranch. The burger also came with some side pickles, and the vegan version consisted of an all-soy patty that looked suspiciously like the real deal (but I was told that it certainly wasn’t).

I waited for a short while, and since I had the restaurant all to myself, I didn’t have to be secretive in my phone photo-taking antics:

addicitonB

I found the dark red-colored walls to be an interesting color choice, and it made the restaurant appear quite dark except for the area closest to the front window. It was past 5pm, but that small area in the front of the restaurant was so bright—blinding in fact. 

With no other people in the vicinity to watch, I turned to my phone while I continued to wait for my burger to be brought out. When it was, I was surprised by how small it looked.

SAMSUNG

It was adorable though, and I ate it in a “deconstructed” manner, meaning: bun with cabbage drenched in sauce -> patty -> bottom bun. The small knife and fork at my table came in handy with this odd burger-eating approach of mine 😉

Just look at the sauce though…and the patty? The waiter was not kidding when he said it would fool a carnivore. 

theaddictionbistro_buffranceh (5)

By eating the burger piece-by-piece, I was able to take my time and enjoy the meal instead of gobbling it up in <10 seconds. Even though the burger was top-notch in both flavor and texture, its itty bitty size did not fulfill the job of sating my post-marathon hunger. 

Obviously dessert was in order, so I made the short walk east towards Fairfax Ave., and made my way towards Sweet Rose Creamery—the Mid-City location.

sweetrose_midcity__1

The lack of people at my dinner destination was made up for at my dessert destination—I came in just as two groups in front of me purchased hefty sundae orders. At least it bought me some time to check out my surroundings:

sweetrose...

I immediately made the painting on the wall the wallpaper of my phone—so gorgeous! And in the corner by the utensils, there was a pile of board games for friends and family to play with over ice cream.

sweetrose_midcity

After looking at the menu on the far wall behind the counter, I chose two seasonal flavors (minty peas and cinnamon buttermilk sherbert with candied mandarinquats <— say that ten times fast!) for my double scoop serving of ice cream in a cup. 

The girl behind the counter asked if I preferred an order to my scoops, but I figured that since I had never tried these flavors before, would it really make a difference? She ended up scooping minty peas first, and adding the more elaborately-named flavor on top. She also let me know that it was the last day these flavors would be on the menu, and that their next rotation would be in a year! Good timing, right?

SAMSUNG

I found a seat by the window, where I also found the two-person group that was in line before me. Both individuals were enjoying personal sundaes, but I was pleased to dig in into my two-scoop cup of sweetness.

Minty peas and cinnamon buttermilk sherbert with candied mandarinquats closeup

All I can say is those. mandarinquats. I had so much fun digging through the scoop for them! The cinnamon buttermilk scoop was definitely more on the milky side than sherbert side, which was what I preferred. Minty peas had quite an unusual (but still tasty) flavor. It had an earthy quality to it, and a mild, grainy texture. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, but I slowly got used to it, and was even slightly sad when it was all gone. 

By the time I finished by burger + ice cream celebration, I realized that I had been awake for almost sixteen hours straight…and most of those hours were spent on my feet. I was surprised that the soreness had not kicked in too much, and I was grateful to make it home in one piece, shower, and get into bed for some much needed shuteye! 

I was not surprised to find my legs in “angrier” shape the next morning…and don’t get me started on what it was like Tuesday. I can’t say I didn’t know it was coming though 😉

Sweet Rose Creamery on Urbanspoon The Addiction Bistro on Urbanspoon

What did you eat after your first marathon?

What was the most exotic ice cream flavor you’ve tried?

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