Ice Creamin’

Ice Creamin’

After scarfing down a beautiful pizza, and before face-planting in bed into a deep sleep, I walked along Main St. back to Venice for an ice cream fix. Before finding Areal, I had walked past Kippy’s, a vegan ice cream shop proudly serving coconut-milk based frozen desserts.

Kippy's!
Kippy’s!

At the front, several cartons of coconut milk ice cream were on display, ready to be scooped as if I were in a vegan Baskin-Robbins.

Ready to scoop!
Ready to scoop!

The “mini” was actually a small, compostable cup with two scoops of coconut milk ice cream.

Yessssss
Yessssss

From the flavors featured above on the menu, I decided that my two flavors would be Coconut Honey and Cinnamon Date, and since I couldn’t forget toppings, I asked for some mulberries even though they were $1 extra.

Toppings & seating
Toppings & seating

I found a seat at a long picnic table inside the shop, where two women were already sitting (though on the other side). One of them was speaking about the place with enthusiasm, and it was fun to inadvertently pick up on pieces of their conversation and their thoughts on veganism.

From the two flavors I purchased, I thought Coconut Honey was actually the blandest. Cinnamon Date was excellent in comparison, with an overwhelming (in a good way) nuttiness and spice to it. The mulberries were a disappointment however. I assumed they would be chewy like the mulberries I first tried last year, but they were surprisingly crunchy and off-putting. So I only found 1/3 of my combination appetizing, but I was glad to support a plant-based dessert shop, since I can only imagine what these businesses have to go through to get started and rally support once up and running.

Later on that weekend, I tried some new-to-me pints even though they were not vegan. After seeing both the Triple Chocolate flavor of Enlightened pints, and the limited edition Empowermint Ben & Jerry’s at Gelson’s Market, I couldn’t resist not purchasing them and giving them a try.

Enlightened Triple Chocolate
Enlightened Triple Chocolate

In brief, I found the Triple Chocolate Enlightened pint to be too overwhelming after a few spoonfuls (too much chocolate for me, but perhaps suitable for a choco-holic), but the Empowermint B&J’s was actually pretty good! It was creamy, and had caramel swirl kindred to what you would find in the Vanilla Caramel Fudge flavor, with the base ice cream flavor being a minty vanilla of course (though the pint says its peppermint ice cream). Because the pint displays some political imagery, I imagined this pint would be a fun snack to have while watching the debates this fall. I wonder if this flavor will stick around that long??

Empowermint!!
Empowermint!!

A random snack I had during this weekend as well was my first flavor of Picky Bars! Now that they are at Trader Joe’s, it’s making it easier to purchase them and have another bar brand to keep an eye out for.

I first learned about them through Runner’s World, spotted them at REI, and then the other day noticed them along with other more familiar bars at good ol’ TJ’s. I had to try Cookie Doughpness first, and was intrigued by the sticky consistency and fruity, cinnamon flavor that made me associate this bar with what I think a sticky oatmeal raisin cookie would look/taste like. So the bar wasn’t exactly cookie dough, but it was DOUGHPE!

Cookie Doughpness!
Cookie Doughpness!

Again, I am loving that there is another vegan-friendly bar out there finding its way into the mainstream market, and I’m looking forward to supporting the runners behind the bars.

Kippy's Ice Cream Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Waffle Love

Waffle Love

It’s hard to believe that it’s March, and what’s harder to believe is that even though it’s spring break time, I have more work than ever!! On the agenda is a 20-page paper, getting ready for a meeting involving a number of professors revolving around my lab project, and keeping up with the work I do on a daily basis. But this too will pass…and going out and having delicious dessert plates will make it easier for it to go by!

Before having it really hit home that I have TONS to do in the next two weeks, I actually had a pretty chill week last week, as well as a fulfilling weekend. I treated myself to two new B&J pints that week, including a core and a vegan flavor:

I am so glad PB & Cookies was the first non-dairy B&J pint I tried, because it was insanely delicious! It had legitimately-size cookie sandwich chunks, and thick PB swirl pieces. The almond milk-base was surprisingly tasty as well!

macch (1)
Non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s—vegans rejoice!!

I would even go far as to say that this flavor is part of my top picks! The brownie batter core flavor though…

b&j_browniebatter
Brownie Batter Core

Besides having to “deal with” the chocolate, I was a fan of everything else. It was funny how most of the brownie pieces were on the vanilla side. I also did a pretty good job saving the core for last, when I was able to truly taste the crunchy, yet smooth brownie batter.

On Saturday, I was able to catch an afternoon showing of Zootopia, and I was thoroughly entertained by it. It may be animated, and a product of the Disney factory, but the story, (heart of the) characters, and poignant moments were all too real. I knew I wanted to see it after seeing the sloth trailer months ago, and after my sis saw it own, we spent one morning texting each other all the funny and our favorite parts of the movie.

Sunday was even more low-key, and after morning lab work, I hopped on a bus in downtown and headed towards Monterey Park in east LA. After seeing countless pictures of lattes decorated with classic anime characters and potted plant puddings, I knew I had to pay Macchiato a visit.

Macchiato
Macchiato

Macchiato is just one of countless Asian coffee/tea/dessert shops strung together on the same block. Even so, it was packed on Sunday mid-afternoon, and I assumed it was because so many students who work well in coffee shop settings needed to get their study on for the midterms they needed to take before spring break!

Studying away (and snacking away!)
Studying away (and snacking away!)

I looked at the menu at my seat, which was in the far corner of the cafe close to the employee kitchen. It was by no means the prettier part of the cafe, but at least I was able to get a seat. As other patrons came in after me, most ended up getting their goods to go.

Menu
Menu

The ‘Feed Me Waffle’ section was calling out to me—so I went with the Macchiato Sundae Waffle.

Feed Me Waffle
Feed Me Waffle

After fifteen minutes or so, a plate stacked with waffles, ice cream, and fruit was placed before me.

My Waffle Sundae
My Waffle Sundae

The waffles were crispy, drizzled with chocolate syrup, and had a small schmear of Nutella on the bottom. The ice cream was of the Neapolitan variety, with a small ball of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry and whipped cream in between each!

Ice cream up close.
Ice cream up close.

The fruit was a balanced mixed of berries, mango, and banana.

Crispy, crispy waffle!!
Crispy, crispy waffle!!

I had the waffles first, and tried to mix the berries and ice cream together to add to the waffle, but that ended up being too complicated! The ice cream alone on each waffle was good enough. That meant saving the fruit for last, but that was no problem 🙂

What’s your favorite waffle topping?

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

A Nourishing Week

A Nourishing Week

Last week was National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) Week, and while I hinted about my recovery process in my LA Marathon post and Instagram post about how it was the first time I ran with a “truly healthy body”, I still have yet to post on the story of how my recovery has progressed in the last year. I still wanted to take part in spreading awareness even if in a small way. I decided to participate in the good ol’ fashioned way—bathroom stickies.

Felt like spreading the word.
Felt like spreading the word.

I stuck these all over the bathroom in my building where I work, and I hope they found good homes (and not in the hands of an OCD janitor, haha).

On Saturday, I wanted to check out the newest Sprouts location on North Brea, so with that as my main plan for the day, I scouted all the restaurants that were closeby. That’s when I realized that I had yet to pay M Cafe de Chaya a visit!

M Cafe
M Cafe

My first impression was that it attracts all of Hollywood’s yoga-going, juice-drinking young women (and men, haha) with its fresh, macrobiotic ingredients and unique dishes.

Inside M Cafe de Chaya
Inside M Cafe de Chaya

It wasn’t too crowded, so I was able to find a seat inside once I placed my order at the front. You see the woman leaning over the counter? I think I had my second celebrity-in-a-restaurant spotting, because I’m pretty sure it was Jeannie Mai from that one daytime talk show I don’t watch, haha…

Interior
Interior

One thing I don’t mind watching before diving into was this Japanese Seitan Katsu Kare. The traditional dish is normally served with a pprk cutlet, but this version has a nice, crisply-breaded seitan cutlet along with brown rice, a Japanese-style brown curry, assorted vegetables and house pickles.

Japanese Seitan Ketsu Kare - brown rice, crispy seitan cutlet, Japanese-style brown curry, assorted vegetables and house pickles
Japanese Seitan Katsu Kare – brown rice, crispy seitan cutlet, Japanese-style brown curry, assorted vegetables and house pickles

After finishing up dinner and enjoying each bite, I proceeded onwards and northwards to Sprouts!

The new Sprouts!!
The new Sprouts!!

To be honest, I was blown away by this location. I love the set-up, and it looked much larger than the other Sprouts I have visited. The day I visited, there were a ton of BOGO deals which I went gaga over, like Silk yogurts and salad boxes ♥♥♥

After my grocery trip, I didn’t think anything else could match my most exciting moment of the day (I’m seriously a g-ma at ♥). That was until I found out there was a Target north of Sprouts. I realized this after walking in the “wrong north” from Sprouts, making one giant loop only to come back down on Santa Monica Blvd realizing that my sense of direction was off that day…

This cutie outside of WeHo Target :)
This cutie outside of WeHo Target 🙂

When I was in Fresno, I learned that Target sold the exclusive B&J’s Cake My Day flavor. I went in with the intention of finding and buying that flavor alone, but when I also came face-to-face with the new non-dairy flavors AND a new core flavor, I had to stock up (even if meant risking melted ice cream on the bus)!

I enjoyed Cake My Day that night, and loved how the raspberry swirls complemented the mild cake batter ice cream flavor. The frosting was more subtle and harder to detect, but the cake pieces were present in every delicious bite!

Cake My Day!!!
Cake My Day!!!

I had Coconuts for Caramel, one of the new core flavors, on Sunday evening while finishing Fuller House and before the Oscars. I was excited to dig into the caramel and sweet cream coconut ice creams, mixed with fudge flakes and a caramel core I would be efficiently eating around so I could save it for last, but mid-way through the pint, I found myself getting bored/irritated by the coconut flakes mixed within the ice cream. It also made me feel a bit off later that evening, but I would say the ice cream was worth trying if only for the oh so sweet caramel core.

Coconuts for Caramel Core
Coconuts for Caramel Core

Plus, it wasn’t the only thing that irritated me after a while. While I enjoyed Fuller House at first (minus the cheesiness and annoying kids…), I found the last episode to be a poor excuse for a season 2 entry. C’mon DJ, just get with Steve already 😛

Have you tried B&J’s newer flavors or non-dairy desserts?

Have you watched Fuller House?

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

There’s Always Time for Ice Cream

There’s Always Time for Ice Cream

I’ve gotten so distracted by my work lately, that eating out—and even running—have started to retain less and less of my attention. Last year around this time, I was celebrating my weekends with long run victories and skipping all over LA finding good places to eat post-runs.

Of course I’m still eating and running, but this past weekend, I wasn’t in the mood to eat out and I had plenty to do anyways. On Saturday, I volunteered for a STEM-related event my campus was sponsoring. Along with nourishing young minds, I was nourishing myself with this delightful veggie sandwich. It was stuffed with lettuce, tapenade, and layerzzzz of swiss cheese.

one fine veggie sandwich
Free (veggie) food for volunteers!!

Instead of going out to eat afterwards, I made a quick stop downtown to grab some groceries from Walgreen’s and the Whole Foods that recently opened. I found two truffle-jammed B&J pints, and since they were Walgreen’s exclusives, I couldn’t pass them up.

I had Triple Caramel Chunk Saturday night, and fell head over heels for this caramel-insane pint! I loved the mild, sweet caramel ice cream, and the caramel swirl that reminded me of the Karamel Sutra Core flavor. Of course, the mini caramel truffle cups were smallest, but best part!

triple_Caramel_CHunk
Triple Caramel Chunk

On Sunday, rain and thunder were in the forecast for LA. Even so, my marathon training team still drove all the way to the beach to get in our longest, grittiest run pre-marathon of 22 miles. It was the best/worst decision I ever made. I felt strong and amazing for the first six miles, but by mile seven, it was pouring, I was soaking wet, and I loathed the fact that I wasn’t even half way done yet. The last two miles were what killed me…the wind gusts were so great off the ocean that sand was literally sticking to my legs. Not to mention the fact that it was freezing cold! I wanted to smack our team captain in the face for making us go out for the run, but then it was probably one of those things that would help us out on race day…if we survived the monsoon run, we could survive a milder 26.2 in two weeks, right? 😉

I came home later that day soaking wet, and ready to dig in into my other pint: Truffle Trifecta.

truffle trifecta
Truffle Trifecta

It was all chocolate ice cream so I wasn’t expecting it to be an all-time favorite, but it was fun trying to find all three truffles that were supposedly mixed in this entire pint!

chocolate_top
It’s ALL chocolate?

I found fudge…

chocolate truffle
Fudge truffle

…and caramel…

caramel_truffle_now_where_is_the_marshmello_truffle
Caramel truffle

…but “marshmallow”? Nope. I couldn’t find any white, pectin-based marshmallow truffles to my disappointment.

Even though I treated myself to some decadent ice creams this weekend, I am looking forward to a lab-free weekend coming up! It’s also taper week, so my long run on Sunday will only be 8 miles…meaning more time for doing what I love best: hopping all over LA and stuffing my face with its good eats!

Do you easily get caught up with work?

Halloween Eats

Halloween Eats

I honestly think Halloween was truly the last day of summer this year. The temps reached close to mid-80s here in LA, and it wasn’t until Daylight Savings kicked in that things started to feel much cooler and hinting at winter days ahead…

Regardless, I continued to do what I needed to do (lab) and do what I wanted to do (EAT) because to me, it felt just like any other Saturday. For some reason, Pasadena was calling my name, and so I hopped on the Gold Line to make it to lunch.

 California Chutney in Old Pasadena
California Chutney in Old Pasadena

California Chutney seemed like the perfect place to stop on by for lunch. When I had learned about their naan tacos, I knew I had to see what that food-fusion concept was all about.

 California Chutney inside.
California Chutney inside.

The restaurant is in a large space, and it’s relatively easy to order. There were puffy little naans warming up on a large hot surface, and at the counter, the menu was explained to me by one of the servers. There were naan tacos, rice plates, salad plates, and plenty of delicious-sounding sides. I chose to get two naan tacos, and I was given extra condiment cups to sample some other chutneys from the chutney bar 🙂 .

 Chutney bar...
Chutney bar…

My two naan tacos came out fantastic—stuffed with chickpeas, paneer cheese cubes, kale, mango chutney, green onions, and tomato, I was more than ready to dig in!

 Two naan tacos with chickpeas, paneer and kale, green onions, and tomato. Need I say more?
Two naan tacos with chickpeas, paneer and kale, green onions, and tomato. Need I say more?

I didn’t eat it like a taco though. I attacked the fillings first, and ate the naan last, allowing it to absorb all the saucy flavors!

 Naan taco insides.
Naan taco insides.

After that satisfying lunch, I felt like putting all that food to walk and taking a stroll even though it was still a bajillion degrees outside. I ended up walking towards the town hall building, and noticed some unusual statues in the distance…

 Town hall building...but those heads?!
Town hall building…but those heads?!

Those heads certainly took me by surprise! I’ll have to get to the bottom of their significance some other time, since I wasn’t too curious that day to inquire about their presence further. Instead, I decided to head down south to Alhambra for dessert.

 CremeBee in Alhambra!
CremeBee in Alhambra!

A lot of my classmates from last year call Alhambra home, but I’m not sure if they have experienced the wonders of CremeBee yet…

 Soooo cute inside :3
Soooo cute inside :3

It’s like walking into a clear blue sky inside, and the temperature is set to a degree just as cool.

 Look at all those honey bears!
Look at all those honey bears!

CremeBee specializes in honey-infused frozen yogurt that can be topped with crazy cute toppings like wafer sticks, marshmallow clouds, Ferrero Rocher, and of course, cotton candy. I decided to get the Cloud 9, which comes with a head of blue cotton candy and marshmallow clouds, but I asked to have chocolate wafer sticks in place of the marshmallows (because of the gelatin).

 The Cloud 9 with Chocolate Wafer Sticks.
The Cloud 9 with Chocolate Wafer Sticks.

When my masterpiece was complete and ready to be devoured, I was handed a hand sanitizing wipe, which I thought was odd at first. I used it before pulling at the cotton candy though, and then realized it was for after I was done…when my fingers would be a sticky mess. What a total facepalm moment!

 So. much. honey.
So. much. honey.

I still enjoyed the frozen treat though. There was so much honey throughout!

 Spun Sugar <3
Spun Sugar <3

The best part of course was the cotton candy. It mixed quite well with the frozen yogurt, adding a fruity flavor to it. I couldn’t have cared less for the chocolate wafer sticks though, which try as they might just didn’t fit in with the light & airy vibe the yogurt, honey, and cotton candy all contributed to.

I ended up leaving East LA soon after, and stopped by Target before heading home. I ended up buying this new flavor to try later on that weekend from B&J’s, which includes BEER as an ingredient. There is no alcohol in it though, I triple checked!!

 Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale Pint
Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale Pint

When I got around to consuming it, I was less than enthused. It seemed to be not too far off from the flavor profile of the salted caramel core which was ok, but the beer flavor was slightly off-putting for me. Just another indication that I will never be a fan of alcoholic drinks I suppose!

 The ice cream doesn't contain alcohol, but the fact that I wasn't a fan of this flavor proves that beer and me will never get along. :P
The ice cream doesn’t contain alcohol, but the fact that I wasn’t a fan of this flavor proves that beer and me will never get along. 😛

So despite the lack of candy, I think I got my fill of sugar this Halloween! At least I did preface it all with some carb-o-licious “tacos”, and I’m gonna go ahead and count those bits of kale and tomato as part of my daily vegetable serving 😉

Did you eat anything spectacularly sweet this Halloween?

California Chutney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Can’t Go Wrong with Carbs

Can’t Go Wrong with Carbs

The week after LDW was one that started off slow, but once it picked up momentum, I couldn’t believe it was the weekend by the time Friday rolled around. My meals during the week were the routine, somewhat mundane meals I have often talked about on the blog, but my proyo bowls for this particular week had a new addition to them.

 Wowbutter!
Wowbutter!

I found this intriguing jar of Wowbutter while shopping at Sprouts over LDW, and was fascinated by how it tasted exactly like peanut butter…even though it was completely peanut-free! Soy nuts were the key ingredient instead, and the crunchy version tasted much better than regular ol’ crunchy peanut butter I’ve had in the past.

wowbutter_proyo
Me and my predictable proyo bowls :9

I had it topped on Raw Meal mixed in with lemon greek yogurt, and altogether it was an awesome combination!

On Friday night, I was able to meet up with a few of my classmates from last year, and I was especially excited about this meeting since I had not seen them since the beginning of summer! We’ve all been crazy busy in our respective labs, and so when one of my friends invited me to a wine & lasagna night being held at her house, I couldn’t pass up the invite! Plus, CARBS!

friday night lasagna
Multiple servings of freshly-made lasagna, soft garlic bread, and brownies from the box 😛

After lab, I carpooled with my friend to her house, and helped her and her roommate (a first-year actually!) with lasagna prep. I was on zucchini-cutting duty ;D . After a couple hours, more people arrived—mostly first-years by the time everyone showed up, but a few of my classmates/friends showed up as well, and it was nice seeing them again!

After getting my fill of food and chatter, I started to feel tired around 11pm (shocker I even stayed up that late, I know…) and my friend graciously offered her bed for me to use. I still couldn’t get to a sound state of sleep, since people had to pass through her bedroom to get to the only bathroom in the house, and the constant party noise/bright lights from the dining room didn’t help…so it wasn’t really until 2am that I finally got some shut-eye. Well…my friend’s dogs were a bit noisy, but they’re adorable lap dogs so I’ll give ’em a pass 😉

On Saturday morning, my friend dropped me off in lab, where I spent an exhausting morning on my feet collecting that data. I did force myself to go grocery shopping though, and when I was finally done with everything by the late afternoon, I came home to find my roommate stepping out to go to a party. I had the apartment to myself for the rest of the evening, so that obviously only meant one thing: TV & ice cream!

 Chubby Hubby? Don't mind if I do...
Chubby Hubby? Don’t mind if I do…

I had high hopes for this flavor, but was somewhat disappointed with the odd shape of the pretzels. They were definitely not the usual knot shape, but had the shape similar to that of cheese puffs. They were covered in chocolate though, so maybe that made up for it?

I did like the peanut butter swirl though (even if it was only a sliver in the entire pint).

My low-key Saturday night soon became a productive Sunday morning: an early morning long run followed by lab work, and an insatiable craving for donuts once I was finished with all of that. California Donuts was on my mind, so I decided to finally pay them a visit before heading home to catch up on some reading for class.

california donuts (1)
Outside of California Donuts

I expected to find a stand-alone donut shop decorated with bright lights and a room for seating, but what I found was a strip mall donut shop with counter service. Even though it was too hot for steamy donuts, there was a still a long line at the burn-me-to-a-crisp hour of 3pm.

california donuts (2)
“Stop staring at me!” the donuts cried.

At least standing in line gave me enough time to figure out what in the world I wanted…

california donuts (3)
A Koreatown institution.

Once it was my turn, I ended up choosing one flavor that caught my eyes initially—blueberry cinnamon toast crunch, and then I had to pick a chocolate-based one for “balance”, so butterfinger crunch it was 😉

california donuts (4)
Donuts eaten with a fork.

To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the too soft, too doughy consistency of the donuts (yes, even though dough is part of the name!). The glaze for each was flavorful, but I felt like it couldn’t do much to affect the taste of the entire donut. When it comes to desserts in the cake family, I prefer a 50/50 cake/bread-to-icing/frosting ratio…maybe even more in the icing/frosting department. In terms of this personal rubric, unfortunately these two donuts didn’t meet the mark.

california donuts (5)
Closer…

But they sure were pretty to look at!

california donuts (6)
They were photogenic though…

I think for now, Donut Friend seems to outrank California Donuts in my book…but there are still a bajillion more donut shops to check out in the LA area and beyond, so my ranking may or may not change in the future 😉 !

California Donut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Localita & the Badasserie

Localita & the Badasserie

Last weekend was another hot one here in LA, and because I was feeling overwhelmed from the hectic first week of classes, I ended up not venturing out too far over the weekend.

My weekend started on Friday evening, with a quick stop to 7-11 before heading home from campus. I needed a pick-me-up from the accumulating week-o-stress, so I made the rare-for-me stop at the gas station convenience store just so I could get my hands on the 7-11 exclusive Ben & Jerry’s flavor—Nutty Caramel Swirl.

 Chocolate and peanut chunks galore!!
Chocolate and peanut chunks galore!!

Upon opening this pint, I could not believe the amount of chocolate chunks and peanuts there were! If the very top layer was indicative of what was yet to come, this was going to be a fun flavor to dig through!

 Look at that swirl!
Look at that swirl!

And indeed it was. When I was younger, I hated mixing nuts with chocolate, but obviously my palate has changed over the years, because this flavor is now in my top 5 B&J flavors!

On Saturday, I woke up at a leisurely pace, made my way over to lab, and as soon as I got out, felt the strong heat wave that made me change my original plans to head out north. At the time, it just wasn’t worth the commute for me, given the unbearable weather and all :/

Instead, I decided to head to downtown for some quick grocery shopping, a bite to eat, and then head home to catch up on some {class-related} reading. I used it as an opportunity to check out a small local vegan cafe I had heard about that had limited day hours—Localita & the Badasserie.

 Entrance sign.
Entrance sign.

They are only open until 3 or 4pm during the week, and so I was able to swing on by an hour before they closed up shop for the day. I almost missed them though, since they were nestled in a hub of downtown among a collection of factory garment shops. In fact, the storefront is more like a food counter, with no “real” restaurant seating.

localita (4)
There were some bar stools and a small table in the back though…

There was also no A/C, which made me frustrated since I couldn’t escape from the heat wave. I could feel myself sweating as I ordered, and even so, I still made the silly decision to order a HOT quinoa bowl.

 Quinoa bowl selection.
Quinoa bowl selection.

With a name like Chili Chili Bang Bang though, I expected the heat to come through from the chili…not the temperature as what happened.

 My small, but filling AND HOT bowl of quinoa chili.
My small, but filling AND HOT bowl of quinoa chili.

It was something I could have easily made at home, and unfortunately not worth the perspiration 😛

I did find this quote on one of he napkin holders though provoking however.

 Napkin holder quote.
Napkin holder quote.

After leaving Localita sweatier than ever, I managed to get to the grocery store, and along with my weekly purchases, decided to cool off with a pint of Vanilla Caramel Fudge.

 Vanilla Caramel Fudge
Vanilla Caramel Fudge

While it was no Nutty Caramel Swirl, how can you go wrong with a vanilla base with caramel and fudge swirled in? A delicious way to end a super hot Saturday!

Sunday started off slightly hectic, and while things didn’t go as planned, I still managed to get what I needed to get done done. I ended up breaking a 10 mile run into chunks, first running 5 miles in the early morning and planned to run the final 5 with a group I’ve been running with lately.

Unfortunately, my ride slept in because her alarm didn’t go off, so I ended up joining my marathon group’s first practice of the season. They were only running three miles, so I tacked on the extra two before heading into lab. I was somewhat frustrated by having to do this since it was getting hotter, and I wasn’t expecting to have to make up the miles like this.

Still, I got it done, even though I was a sweaty mess while doing my experiment in lab 😛

By the time afternoon rolled around, I indulged in yet another pint. Peanut Butter Cup was on my list for quite a while, and I was finally able to check it off.

 Looks naked
Looks naked

Wowza…all peanut butter ice cream, and no skimping on the peanut butter cups! There were legitimately full-sized peanut butter cups, cut in half, mixed thoroughly in the ice cream.

 But it's not
But it’s not

It may have been peanut butter overload, but hey, how can you say no to a pint of sweet & satisfying healthy fats 😉 ?

So even though my restaurant outing for the weekend was a miss, I think my ice cream tastings made up for the irritating heat.

It is starting to cool down here in LA though…hopefully the temperature will stay this way throughout Labor Day weekend!

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Weekend Therapy

Weekend Therapy

This past weekend marked the final weekend of summer, in academic year terms that is. The semester officially begins this week, but since I’ve been in working in the lab all summer, I feel like my routine will pretty much stay the same (other than having class/seminar thrown in).

I did face some highs/lows in the week leading up to the weekend (grad student admin & apartment issues…what else is new?), so my weekend kick-off pint was well-deserved for an assortment of reasons—Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy, it couldn’t have been more fitting! Funny thing was I actually bought this in the morning while out for my run. I didn’t have to worry about it losing its “ice cream integrity” since it was able to sit in my freezer all day while I was out at work 😉

 Ice cream to melt the stress of the week away!
Ice cream to melt the stress of the week away!

It says there was chocolate pudding ice cream mixed in here, but it honestly just tasted like chocolate ice cream + chocolate cookie bits + chocolate brownies. I mean, that’s not at all bad, but perhaps if there was a pudding swirl, this flavor would be right on up there with the other flavor elites 😛 . Swirl or no swirl, I enjoyed this pint while watching the finale of The Astronaut Wives Club.

I had originally planned to run a 9 miler the next morning, but when I woke up on Saturday, I felt like making a cup of tea and just relaxing before heading out for morning lab work. Sometimes you’ve just got to listen to your body when it comes to these things 😉

Unlike the blazing hot weekend before, this Saturday was cooler and cloudier, and so by the time I finished up my work mid-afternoon, I was’t dragging my feet to the train station. I did want to head out to Santa Monica though, so I was prepared to come home dog-tired after this half-day “adventure”.

I hopped off at Main St. about an hour later, and walked for another 10 minutes before I reached my late lunch destination for the day: {Euphoria Loves} Rawvolution.

 Painted blue walls and a juice bar.
Painted blue walls and a juice bar.

The interior was had a cozy feel with some lounge areas with pillows, similar to The Springs. There was a kitchen in the far back, and a juice bar right in front of it that mimicked an alcoholic bar set-up.

It was a pick-your-own-seat kind of place, and I of course found a spot that would allow me to take as many restaurant/food pictures as I felt like taking (duh). When the hostess came by, I asked for some water as she handed me the menu. She came back with this mason jar, filled with lemon-infused water. I guess this eco-friendly trend has been picked up by the restaurant world lately 😉

 Trendy water drinkin'
Trendy water drinkin’

I was immediately intrigued by the Nachos Grande option on the menu, even though I thought about getting a full entree plate (like a scramble or enchillada), but when nachos are ever on the menu at a vegan establishment, there is a 95% chance I’m gonna get them 😛

Though the portion was small, the presentation was grand.

 Nachos!
Nachos!

After cutting through the colorful mash at the center of the plate, I found that the walnut taco meat formed the base layer, with a pile of salsa and a whole lotta guac on top. The swirly drizzle on top of the guac was cashew mayo, and all of this was decorated with blue corn chips.

 Walnut taco meat, salsa, and guacamole!!! And chips for dippin'
Walnut taco meat, salsa, and guacamole!!! And chips for dippin’

The chips themselves were not light and crispy, but tasted more like flatbread chips. Somewhat chewy and bland, they were not something I’d package and sell on their own, but they served their purpose as a vehicle for the better-tasting stuff on the plate.

Other than the plate being watery towards the end due to the salsa, the dish as a whole was filling and delicious. It was awkward asking for the check at the end, since I was given the check at my table, but had to go up to the cash register to pay. No one told me this though, so I ended up sitting at my table for an embarrasing length of time until I realized everyone was getting up to pay!

Before heading home, I picked up some groceries from Haggen, as well as the Banana Split Ben & Jerry’s pint.

 Banana Split -
Banana Split – Banana & Strawberry ice creams with walnuts, fudge chunks, and fudge swirl. 

It says on the pint carton that strawberry ice cream is in here, but I found that it was actually a banana ice cream base with frozen strawberries mixed in, with walnuts and fudge chunks of course. The fudge swirl was not as thick as it could have been, but it there was a plentiful amount of it. It was more like chocolate sauce/syrup, which is more associated with traditional banana splits anyway.

Ice cream therapy on Friday and Saturday, along with a nourishing plate of raw vegan nachos helped me sleep for a solid 8.5 hours that night (only if my weeknights could match up!!), and I had plenty of fuel for my long run the next morning 🙂

What does your weekend therapy look like?

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Salad Dream

Salad Dream

Sunday was just as hot as Saturday, and so after my group run in the morning (with a new team for a race I’ll be running in November—details to come soon!), I came back to my apartment around mid-morning to freshen up before heading out again for lab-related work.

I finished up with my duties around 2pm, and decided to head downtown since I knew the skyscraper-like buildings would make things feel 10 degrees cooler 😉

It still took me at least an hour to get from Point A to Point B, but at least Point B was the Arts District.

 Arts District murals.
Arts District murals.

And Point B-1 was none other than The Springs.

 The Springs
The Springs

The Springs is more than a simple eatery. Food is just a part of the space that includes a shop of natural, wellness-inspired home goods & clothing, a juice bar, and a yoga center. I obviously came for the food though…

 View of the juice bar.
View of the juice bar.

The seating arrangements were also quite relaxing as well. I sat on a booth-like bench covered in pillows, and my table had a mini candle. My hostess also brought over a small shot glass and matching jug for water. I also didn’t need time to order since I had done my research beforehand, yet again 😉 . One whole-sized falafel salad, please.

 Come to eat, stay to nap.
Come to eat, stay to nap.

I think the staff began to feel an aura of impatience slowly surround me as time went on, since they stopped by to let me know the “status” of my salad. I thought this was thoughtful of them, but when my hostess brought my bowl out, she looked just as happy as I was! She said that I was about to feast on one of the most gorgeous salads ever made—or something along those lines 😉

How could I disagree with her? Just look at that falafel…and the way the hummus was artistically “painted” along the side of the bowl. It’s something only a vegan artist in DTLA could think of, haha.

 Falafel Salad - romaine, mized greens, tahini dressing, harissa, falafel, quinoa tabouli, zatar crackers.
Falafel Salad – romaine, mized greens, tahini dressing, harissa, falafel, quinoa tabouli, zatar crackers.

I took my time savoring this salad, and saved my favorites (the falafel, crackers, and hummus) for last. I did love the dressed mixed greens too though, and the harissa was definitely not missed by my palate!

 Fawning over falafel---and hummus and zatar crackers!
Fawning over falafel—and hummus and zatar crackers!

I left The Springs feeling reenergized, but I needed to conclude the day (and weekend) with another pint of ice cream. I had another B&J’s Target exclusive—Brewed to Matter.

 Two words: COFFEE. FUDGE.
Two words: BROWNIE. BATTER.

It turned into more of a frozen yogurt rather than remain its ice cream consistency by the time I ate it. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the Coffee-Buzz flavor, I was able to tolerate the coffee ice cream this time around. Perhaps it was because of the decadent brownie batter swirl (how do the folks at B&J’s even come up with things like batter swirls and what not?!). 

Salad, ice cream…I’d say this Sunday was complete in my book 🙂

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Natural Beauty

Natural Beauty

Last Friday was certainly one of the best days I’ve had in a while. It was the example of a perfect summer (and birthday) weekend. I still had lab duties during the day, but Fridays tend to be less-demanding, and I was able to meet my Dad a little after 3PM. We made our way over to Culver City, and took a short nap in the parking lot of a grocery store before heading over to the Hare Krishna Temple.

We’ve been wanting to pay the temple a visit since learning about its existence in LA. Since this would be my Dad’s last visit to SoCal before moving out-of-state, it was obviously a no-brainer to make the visit a priority this time.

The whole block by the temple is a quiet, residential area of condos/apartments that I later learned were mostly occupied by members and volunteers of the temple.

 Quiet stretch of apartments.
Quiet stretch of apartments.

The temple itself was a small, clean, and peaceful place for worship. One of the head patrons of the temple even spent a good half hour with us, explaining the history of this particular temple. We also took some time for ourselves for personal worship, and were amazed by the extremely diverse community visiting the temple. There didn’t seem to be any exclusivity, and everyone that came in was greeted warmly and with respect.

 Front of temple.
Front of temple.

Dinner was being served right next door, at Govinda’s Natural Food Buffet…a local favorite just based on the crowd.

 Small and cozy.
Small and cozy.

Inside, there was a humble-sized buffet line serving cold and hot foods, which change daily. There were even desserts and pizza being sold separately!

 Delicious looking line-up!
Delicious looking line-up!

The menu that night included a salad bar, brown and basmati ric, lentil soup, whole mung daal, chow mein, steamed cauliflower and carrots, sweet & sour steamed veggies with tofu sausage pieces, and apple halavah for dessert.

 Menu up above.
Menu up above.

I started off with a loaded salad, and a balanced plate of hot foods.

 Buffet Round 1 - Loaded salad with hot food plate including steamed carrots and cauliflower, brown rice, and sweet n sour veggies.
Buffet Round 1 – Loaded salad with hot food plate including steamed carrots and cauliflower, brown rice, and sweet n sour veggies.

I went back for another loaded plate, and unpictured dinner roll, and a sampling of the apple halavah.

 Buffet Round 2 - Loaded hot food plate including steamed carrots and cauliflower, shredded beets, tofu salad, mung daal, brown rice, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Buffet Round 2 – Loaded hot food plate including steamed carrots and cauliflower, shredded beets, tofu salad, mung daal, brown rice, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
 Apple halawah - not too sweet, and had a mild apple flavor.
Apple halawah – not too sweet, and had a mild apple flavor.

After dinner, we stopped by Sprouts so I wouldn’t have to worry about grocery shopping for the week later. Then we drove over to Dockweiler just as the sun was starting to set. Perfection.

aintitbeautiful
Beauty and the beach.

The weather was just right. The moment was just right. The Friday night crowd was just right (mini beach bonfires everywhere!). And being able to enjoy this natural beauty with my Dad—who I probably won’t see until winter—made it all the more perfect.

Of course, getting back home was far from being perfect because TRAFFIC. By the time I was all good and settled back at the apartment, it was almost 9:40PM. Still, I made time for B&J’s while watching The Daily Show with Dad before going to bed.

 Buffet Round 1 - Loaded salad with hot food plate including steamed carrots and cauliflower, brown rice, and sweet n sour veggies.
Chocolate ice cream? Tasted more like a frozen chocolate mint  bar, so all was good. The swirls were barely there, but at least the cookie balls made up for it! They also kept their firm crunch too!

It’s days like these that make me wish every evening could end the same way 

What is your best summer evening memory?

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