I’d say the first week of April got off to a good start. I felt like I was able to start fresh, and even began the first week of training with a running coach. Since I plan to run a marathon in San Diego at the beginning of June, we are piggybacking off my training from the LA Marathon, and using the next couple of weeks as an introduction of sorts to his coaching style.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 😉
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.
Hmm, at least if I ever have a craving for honey-infused PB, I’ll know where that stems from!
Tostadas, tamales, or tortas??
As the sun began to set on Friday night the weekend I was spending with my sister, we drove out to River Park for dinner.
Instead of finding some local place that serves food unique to Fresno, we decided to have our Friday girls night dinner at Yard House. Even though they are a chain, bar-and-burgers kind of place, they have a special vegetarian menu with all sorts of tasty items made with Gardein soy protein.
We had to wait almost an hour for a table, so we took our buzzer back to my sister’s car, and even called up our friend and talked to her while we waited.
When we came back to the restaurant, we were guided to a long booth, with a small candle placed at the opposite end. The extraneous space felt awkward, but not as awkward as trying to take pictures of the restaurant in the dark.
But I got a picture of this painting in full light?
Both of us got an appetizer plate as our entree, since the Gardein-based dippers sounded delicious. The pictures don’t do much justice, but the plates were FULL. I ordered the Jerk Gardein Dippers, which had a flavorful, crisp texture to them and came with a sweet and tangy sauce for dipping.
My sister got the BBQ Gardein Skewers, which reminded me of orange tofu (or what would be orange chicken for all you non-veggies).
To be honest, the Jerk Gardein dish, while it was delicious, got mediocre after awhile. I wasn’t too hungry when I first started eating, but I managed to finish the whole plate.
For lunch on Saturday, we drove back down to the Tower District to have tamales at the perfectly-named Casa de Tamales.
They had four different vegetarian options for tamales, but my sister wasn’t keen on ordering tamales. To her pleasant surprise, the girl behind the counter was able to customize some tacos so that they had all the veggie fix-ins, even though this wasn’t on the menu.
I kept it simple and ordered a tamale plate—with portabello & asparagus tamales, rice, and beans all in one plate.
Since it was nice and sunny outside, we were able to sit on the patio.
My sister adored her tacos, and I loved my tamales plate.
It had the perfect balance of tamales, rice, and beans. I had the rice and beans together first, before digging into the tamales.
What I loved about the tamales most was right on the outside: a fresh dollop of green guacamole. The inside was piping hot, and chock-full of mushroom pieces. For a lunch, it was the perfect portion, well-balanced, and kept me satiated for pretty much the rest of the day. I was still feeling somewhat full by dinnertime, but I did have enough room for that outing…
What was the most creative filling you’ve had inside a tamale?
A little power nap was all we needed, but my sis and I ended up taking a long 45 minute afternoon nap when we checked in to our hotel room for the night in San Diego.
But when we woke up around 3, it was still bright and gorgeous outside! We still had time for a beach adventure 🙂
We had trouble getting out of the parking garage (a Zipcar Honda vs. a bunch of SUVs/Hummers/Trucks is not exactly an easy battle to win…), but fortunately we made it out without a scratch.
Our destination was Coronado Beach—which also took a while to get to due to traffic, ending up at the wrong side of the beach due to GPS issues, and having to park in a far off residential area once we found the beach. But, when we found it, it was about relaxation!
Once at the beach, my sis and I laid out our towels and proceeded to sun bathe for the next hour and a half…only because our 45 minute nap wasn’t enough 😉
It was so peaceful though. Sure, there were crowds, but it was a beautiful California summer day, and we were finally able to say we were experiencing a real beach day.
Before heading back for dinner, we took pictures by the water and took our time getting to the car. The crowds had died down by then, and there was no traffic on our drive back to the hotel.
Before leaving for our weekend trip, I learned that Cafe Gratitude had opened a new location in San Diego—and it coincidentally happened to be in Little Italy, within walking distance from our hotel! Obviously this was our prime choice for dinner 🙂
Our stroll through downtown was a fun preamble to dinner, but when we saw the swanky CG location, we were more than ready to eat!
Since it was brand new, I wasn’t surprised by all the eager, vegan-loving San Diegans that were present that night.
Because it was so busy, we almost had to sit outside, even though I had called in beforehand to make a reservation.
After staring long and hard at the menu, we both ended up deciding against a sandwich-based entree since we had our fill of that earlier in the day, and so we both ended up ordering the exact same thing. We both got the ‘Resolved’ entree, described as being a southern soul food sampler containing red beans and quinoa, seared tempeh, smashed maple garnet yams, spiced collards, coleslaw, and a gluten-free jalapeno biscuit.
Oh, and we couldn’t forget adding BBQ sauce on the side…even if it cost $2 (!!) extra.
It took almost half an hour, but at least our plates came full and ready for us to dig in.
My favorite parts of this plate were the sweet mashed yams, the tempeh when dipped into the BBQ sauce, and the jalapeno biscuit (when dipped into the BBQ sauce as well). My sis didn’t like the yams so much, but was a fan of the coleslaw.
It was a meal that we both agreed as being satisfying and sleep-inducing. I’ll admit it now—we are grandmas, but at least we eat well 😉
When we got back to the hotel, we quickly changed into our jammies and watched TV until our eyes started to droop. It was certainly a summer Saturday well spent.
What do you like to do at the beach?