I didn’t go out of my way to carbo-load the day before the marathon, but I did eat throughout the day, kept hydrated, and stuck to foods I knew wouldn’t throw me off.
I was sent two vouchers for a free bread item and a drink to use at one of 85C Bakery’s newest locations—in Glendale. Since E and I have been hanging outside of lab together more frequently now, I asked if she wanted to make a day out of it, and she happily agreed.
We met in downtown and then took a bus that stops close to the Galleria. From there, it was a short walk to the bakery.
E and I both got trays and walked through the aisles, seeing what lovely little bread creations we’d come across.
I decided to get a cranberry cream cheese yudane roll, while E got a wild mushroom cheese bread loaf.
For my drink, I opted for a hot green milky tea. E ended up going for a cold lemonade. We found seats by the window, and as soon as we had our food and drinks, we settled in.
My cranberry cream cheese yudane roll had a rough texture on the outside, but this was completely opposite of its interior texture. The roll had a sufficient amount of cream cheese and cranberries (though both of these ingredients tended to separate from one another) and was quite chewy. The milky green tea on the other hand was watered down in my opinion. There was a faint taste of tea, but overall, it just tasted (?) like warm water.
After our bread/tea break, we walked over to the Galleria and made a round inside the mall. Both of us did end up buying something to add to our wardrobes, but we didn’t spend too much time shopping.
We soon walked over to the Americana at Brand right next door, and stopped to sit down and hydrate with some water. As it approached 4pm, I felt like it would be wise to head back and rest up for my race the next day, so we made our way to the bus stop for the ride home.
Do you prefer sweet bread items (danishes, sweet rolls) or just go for the 100% sweet stuff (cakes, pies) ?
How is March ALREADY AT ITS END?! How is my visit to see my cousin an event that occurred a little over a month ago, and did I really just run a sub-4:00 hour marathon only this past Sunday?
Well, I guess we truly are approaching the end of March, seeing as I’m writing up another DegustaBox review! My box for March came packed with a bunch of goodies!
There was a a good balance of sweet snacks and savory staples. Of course, I went for the sweet-flavored stuff first! This time, I went straight for the Loacker biscuits—“Gran Pasticceria Tortina Dark”
This wafer-based biscuit is described as a “hazelnut tartlet” and has a smooth, creamy dark chocolate shell over a melt-in-your-mouth wafer cookie.
The other cookie-based snack was this bag of Mrs. Thinster’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Thins. Apparently more exotic flavors like Key Lime Pie and Cake Batter are available, but these chocolate chip crispy cookies irresistible.
The chocolate in these cookies had a mild, sweet flavor, and a buttery, crisp cookie base.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a full-sized, peanut butter and jelly-filled croissant among this month’s mix of items! The bread itself was sweet and soft, and reminded me of a cake you’d find in an Asian bakery.
The filling on the inside didn’t look like a lot, but it was just enough.
I remember having the Sweet Oat & Flax Good Thins crisps as part of my December DegustaBox, and so I was elated to see that the sweet potato flavored ones were included in this month’s box.
The sweet potato chips were light, crispy, sweet, and extremely light in density.
Boboli Pizza Crust was also included, and at first I was like, what am I going to do with this? Since I share a kitchen with an elderly couple (my landlords), I don’t do much heavy cooking. Plus, I wanted to see if I could utilize this large, dense disc of bread for a meal besides pizza…
As a result, I added it to my usual veggie-dense crockpot dinner bowl, as well as into some split pea soup that also had tofu cubes thrown in.
The crust was soft, chewy, not super cheesy (even though cheese strands were clearly visible), and I even had portions of this 12″ crust on its own when not thrown into the dinners seen above.
One item I didn’t particularly favor was this Lemoncocco drink:
It has Italian origins, but the drink itself has a “milky” appearance. It is essentially coconut water with a hint of lemon, but I thought the citrus flavor was overwhelming and made the drink taste slightly bitter.
Another product I had an adverse reaction to were these Energems. At least I did at a previous time. With this in mind, I decided not to give these a try. I brought and left them in lab, and my co-workers made use of them—I think some of them benefited from the caffeine boost!
These quinoa bars were a favorite of mine!
They were lightly sweetened, and had a mix of textures, but they were still easy to eat. Not only were they easy to consume, but they were also colorful and the box had the most gorgeous packaging!
The small box of Goya Quinoa Blend that contained black beans, bell peppers, and spices mixed with white quinoa and brown rice held enough grains to make four weekday lunches.
It was very simple to prepare with the microwave. I simply added a serving of the mix into a bowl, filled it to the level of the grains with water, and simply microwaved it from 7-12 minutes. I added a small, sliced Yukon gold potato that was also microwaved ~2 minutes. I cooled off the mix in the fridge in lab, took it out around lunch time, and any excess water that was there right after microwaving had been absorbed by the rice.
The potatoes did a good job of absorbing the flavors, and overall made for a nourishing lunch!
The last product in this month’s box I have yet to try is this chickpea pasta:
I plan to soak a serving in water overnight before I plan to use it for lunch, so that it can respond well to a spin in the microwave. I’ll have to add my own spices and toppings, but I think this pasta will be a new favorite of mine since I expect it to have a naturally nutty, rich flavor thanks to those baby chickpeas 🙂 !
Which would you rather try from the following: the quinoa snack bars or the quinoa-rice mix?
I returned to California early last week, and I was in a deep funk for a couple days. My two weeks off from lab, spent with family, was JUST what I needed and my only regret was that it wasn’t longer!
At least I had a surprise package waiting for me…I tried Enlightened Roasted Broad Bean Crisps for the first time thanks to a little box with some fun-flavored goods:
They were the dessert flavors: Cocoa Dusted and Sweet Cinnamon.
I had both flavors straight out of the bag. Out of the two, I loved the cinnamon-flavored ones the most since they reminded me of those churro twists from Taco Bell I had long ago…
Cocoa Dusted was good too, I just preferred cinnamon over chocolate coating 😛
I decided to keep close to West LA since I knew DTLA would be abuzz with the LA Fit Expo going on. I also had to go into lab, which would have cut into any day plans if I had scheduled any. So after lab, I came back to Culver City and had lunch literally across the street from the train station…at Sweetgreen! I find it hilarious that my first outing to a restaurant for 2017 is Sweetgreen once again…I dined at a Sweetgreen in Mid-City last year as my first outing in 2016!I wonder if it will become tradition…
They recently opened up shop here in a complex called The Platform. It was already in full swing with customers eating outside even though it was cloudy out.
The seating arrangements inside were too small, and if everyone in line had decided to dine in, there would have been no way. I did get a seat however, by the window. It was just a table that wasn’t wiped clean since the last customer, and only had one chair so I had to sit with my bag on my lap, haha!
When it was my turn to order, I decided to get a warm bowl. The Shroomami sounded amazing, with glazed tofu, rice, kale, …, and it was vegan so even more of a plus!
I also got a slice of bread on the side, and enjoyed the bowl while people/train watching through the window.
After eating lunch, I got grocery shopping done at Sprouts. I love it when restaurants/grocery stores are all in one area since it makes running weekend errands so much easier.
While picking up staples for the week, I came across another RX Bar flavor I have yet to try—Peanut Butter! When I was checking out in line, there was a guy in front of me who noticed my purchase-to-be, and asked where he could find them. As soon as I told him, he dashed over to the bar aisle while the cashier began to check out his items!
I tried the bar as I was waiting for the train to go home. I like the smooth texture of the bar, and it kind of made me think of the Chocolate Coconut flavor without coconut, and with a mild peanut scent reminiscent of how the maple scent defined the Maple Sea Salt flavor. I guess I could understand why that guy at Sprouts was in such a mad dash to get those bars for himself?
We left Houston on Thursday morning, and since we left in the late morning, the four hours to Dallas seemed longer than it actually was. We got to Dallas around 3:30pm, and we were all ravenous. My sister and Dad had taken turns driving during these four hours, but I had a lingering headache which grew as the hours ticked on.
We stopped at a vegan diner on Beckley Ave, just outside of downtown Dallas—Spiral Diner! Once we were inside, I was immediately reminded of Saturn Cafe in both Berkeley and Santa Cruz.
We were seated right away and my sis and I ploughed through the menu trying to figure out which entree would satisfy our raging appetites. For me, I had to go with the nachos. I was craving some chips and faux queso like crazy! My sis got a faux Philly cheesesteak and my Dad a pesto pasta dish with toasted bread.
All dishes came out beautifully presented, and close-to-perfection in taste.
I ate every single chip (plus some of my sister’s) drenched in vegan queso, sour cream, beans, olives, jalapeños, and guacamole. It hit the spot, and with several gulps of water, my headache magically went away 😉
Whatever headache my sister may have had prior to this sandwich must have gone away too, no doubt about it!
I also had some of my Dad’s pasta dish. It wasn’t packed with flavor but it definitely tasted rich and filling with this particular sauce and pasta. The pasta was like a version of rigatoni that was smaller.
For the next four hours on the road, my Dad agreed to drive since it was getting dark and I did express my tiredness from lack of sleep from the past couple of days. We made it back to Tulsa close to 10pm, and I went to sleep right away.
My sis and I only had four more days back in Tulsa, and ended up having to pack in more errands than “fun” things, but I didn’t mind too much since at least we had each other’s company. We did see Fences with a family friend, but it was too long and slow for me. We also didn’t do anything exciting for New Years…on the agenda was wearing fuzzy robes, watching whatever was on TV, and sleeping before midnight struck!
I also went back to running on a trail I grew fond of over the past two weeks. I hit 40 miles total for both the weeks I was away, and was even running at faster-than-normal paces. I had to stop and take a picture on my last run on Monday. I literally can’t believe that two weeks went by so fast…
This trip was special in so many ways, and I think that’s why I felt pretty blue in the days leading up to my departure and my departure day. Time is so, so precious, and it’s trips like these that make me wish we could pause frames in time to replay over and over again. While I do plan to see my sis before her graduation, I may not see my Dad until then…so not for at least another five months! But at least it will be an exciting time then as well…Europe is in our future!
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.
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!
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.
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!
I found fudge…
…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?
After running strong on Sunday morning, and diving head first into sweets the day before, I wasn’t sure what I wanted for my late lunch. I ended up deciding on Ethiopian, considering that it had been a long while since my last encounter with injera 🙂
Plus, it gave me an excuse to finally set foot in Little Ethiopia—where there are Ethiopian restaurants literally rubbing shoulders with one another. I’m not sure how they ALL survive, but I’m glad they do 😀
Rahel Vegan Ethiopian Cuisine was my stop for the day. It was refreshing to see that, even though Ethiopian cuisine is very vegetarian friendly, there was an entire restaurant devoted to serving just the vegan options of the cuisine.
The restaurant was split up into two seating areas, but most people were seated in the larger room where a tall window brought in lots of sunlight.
As a single diner, I thought it was best to help myself to the lunch buffet offered between 11am-3pm each day, rather than figure out something from the menu.
The buffet was split up into a cold and hot section, and the injera rolls were kept inside a large basket. The cold food bar had mixed salad, beets (my love!), cut-up injera with spices, and dressing.
I wanted to load up on all the side dishes, so I helped myself to one injera roll for every plate I ended up getting.
Plate #1 was a masterpiece. Since I was sitting in the center of the room, it was hard not to draw attention to myself due to my phone picture-taking, but it’s all part of the food blogger duty 😉
The spongy texture of the injera—perfect for absorbing all of the spices from the lentil stew and nutrient-dense veggies!
Seconds and thirds (and an unpictured fourth) were necessary for the full buffet experience. I left Rahel feeling stuffed, but since I was only a 20 minute walk away from the Grove, I put my full belly to work.
Disclaimer: I was compensated with a gift card for this review, but all opinions (as always) are my own.
When Panera Bread first opened a location in my hometown a couple years ago, my family and I had never heard of the restaurant chain, but we were fascinated by it. I mean, a fast casual restaurant that offered high-quality soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta—and obviously, bread? It was certainly a game-changer in the restaurant scene of my suburban community, which was already flooded with too many restaurants serving that “all-American” burger and diner fare…
It’s hard to believe that they’ve been around since 1987, and already have 1,900+ bakery-cafes in almost every state in the country, as well as some locations in Canada, but I guess that shows that they’re doing all the right things to stay afloat in the ever-changing food industry.
One thing I always admired about Panera Bread was their commitment to community. I was able to see this first-hand with my hometown location, since in my high school days, I often practiced with a music group that used a local church’s kitchen space for our weekend rehearsals. We’d often see tables full of loaves of bread that were donated to the church by our local Panera Bread, and every week, they would be distributed to whoever needed them.
Since moving to LA however, I’ve paid more attention to trying out local restaurants, and places that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I didn’t consider paying a visit to restaurant chains as a “unique experience” since I thought I could visit the same restaurant in another city and the ambience, service, and food would be the same…
But I soon learned that Panera was opening up a new location in Beverly Hills—-which caught me by surprise since we all know that neighborhood has some strict polices about what it considers is worthy for its borders 😉
It recently opened this past Thursday, and while I missed out on the opportunity to snag a coffee tumbler or enter for a chance to win free bread for a year, I visited the new location over the weekend to see how this location stood against its competitive Beverly Hills neighbors.
This Panera Bread location was able to secure the former Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce building as its home, and as a result, many of the building’s features were worked into the design of the restaurant. This was certainly evident when I walked in.
For only being open three days, everything was in full swing. I was able to easily place my order for a Soba Noodle Bowl with Edamame and a French Baguette on the side. I chose to sit in the back, where there was ample seating, dim lighting, and an exposed brick wall that brought a cozy feeling into the room.
And even though the design has kept many traditional features dating back to 1940s Beverly Hills, this location has added Panera 2.0 Enhancements, with the most prominent enhancement being the Rapid Pick-Up area.
As I was getting my water, I saw this area in action—customers waiting for their orders were able to sit across from the shelving unit, and were able to monitor the status of their order on a screen next to the shelves. I’m sure anyone who comes in hangry and desiring food ASAP would appreciate the real-time information about their order!
Fortunately, I did not come in during one of my hangry episodes. Even so, I didn’t have to wait long for my dine-in broth bowl.
The noodle bowl was comprised of soba noodles and a medley of vegetables including spinach, napa cabbage, mushrooms, onions, fire-roasted edamame, all of which was marinating in a miso broth.
And of course, letting the side bread roll soak up the miso broth was mandatory after finishing up the noodles and veggies!
Overall, I found this Panera Bread location to be quite cozy and welcoming. The brick walls may play a large part in that, but the feeling of the entire restaurant was upbeat and customer-friendly. Calling the busy Beverly Dr. home will definitely be a perk for this location going forward, since the rich and famous sometimes need the comfort of familiarity, and a warm broth bowl on the occasional cloudy day.
Since I had plans on being in Santa Monica for my long run over the weekend, I thought it would be ideal to grab lunch nearby after my 12 mile taper run. I was in the mood for a personal pizza, and so I took a bus from Ocean Ave. that was headed in the east direction of Wilshire. I was set to dine at Milo & Olive for my post-workout lunch.
The small, gray establishment was not hard for me to miss, since I have paid a couple visits to the the Vitamin Shoppe nearby. There were already groups of folks waiting outside and inside the tiny cube of a restaurant.
I had my name added to the waitlist, but I don’t think I had to wait as long as some others. Since I was dining alone, I was able to get a table relatively quickly (within 15 minutes). I was taken behind the baked goods counter, and given a table by a large window. I also had a great view of the hustle & bustle of the restaurant in front of me.
I love the way the paintings were arranged on the walls, but I was fixated on this one in particular:
I also couldn’t help but admire the high ceiling paneled with wood.
There were lots of pizzas to choose from, but after confirming if the Quattro Formaggi was suitable for vegetarians, I ordered that…
…and sipped on some water from this fancy-looking jar while I waited for my warm pizza pie to arrive. The waiter “warned” me it would be at least fifteen minutes, but I understood…perfection can’t be rushed 😉
When the pizza did arrive, it garnered stares from the tables around me. It demanded attention, as made obvious by its bubbling cheese, glistening green kale, and aroma of calabrian chili oil.
The pizza looked bigger than a “normal” personal pizza at first, but it was actually just the crust that looked puffy and large. The center of the pizza was quite thin, and it was almost as if it was just a circle of melted cheese. The underlying crust was barely visible.
The pizza itself was quite filling, even though I didn’t demolish it entirely (I left a bulk of the crusts on my plate, mostly eating the slice up until the border where the cheese ended). I was contemplating a cupcake for dessert, but decided that it would be in my best interest to head back home and rest upstudy for an exam the next day. There would be next weekend after all, and I did have some gelatin-free gummies waiting for me in the meantime to get me though an afternoon and evening of studying!
Do you like eating the pizza crust? Plain or with a dip/sauce? I used to dip leftover pizza crust in ketchup when I was younger! Otherwise, it was just too dry for me.
Thanksgiving with my family this year turned out to be quite successful. It was also even more special to me than in previous years, since it was the first time I returned for a visit from LA. And while we didn’t keep up with our older “traditions” like going out to a movie with our close friends or feasting on a Tofurky ball, I would say being able to run a Turkey Trot and digging into Trader Joe’s fake turkey roast were good “replacement” traditions 😉 .
We made the usual side dishes (deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc.), but instead of getting store-bought rolls, I took charge of the bread dish and provided some savory muffins to our feast. I added cauliflower puree and some stevia (instead of plain sugar) so that the dish could contribute more nutritionally to the feast as well 😛 .
Savory Cauliflower Muffins
Soft, moist savory muffins with cauliflower puree. Great with cranberry sauce!
Mix all-purpose flour with 2 stevia packets or sugar.
For cauliflower puree, process 1 cup of cauliflower in a blender with enough water to get a pourable consistency.
Add wet ingredients (cauliflower puree, liquid aminos, buttermilk, water) to dry ingredients and mix in a bowl.
Line a muffin tin with non-stick parchment paper or spray with PAM.
Pour batter into muffin cups.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brown (oven times may vary, so check with a toothpick).
Let them cool once out of the oven.
After cooling, serve on a plating dish, and enjoy with family & friends!
Tastes great with a tart cranberry sauce!
By Will Study for Food
Will Study for Food http://www.willstudyforfood.com/
The muffins paired perfectly with our cranberry sauce, and they may have also paired well with our vegetarian gravy (didn’t try that, but in retrospect, I’m thinking I should have!). I also could not get enough of the other star dishes on our table:
If you are looking for some other great, healthy recipes for the holiday season, check out Aloha.com for their collection from contributions from other food bloggers as well!
I may be late in my Thanksgiving recap and recipe to share, but how was your Thanksgiving 😀 ?
Happy Thanksgiving to all the US readers out there! I thought I’d share a simple recipe for today that I also was able to share with my “guinea pig” classmates last week. Since it passed that trial, I think it’s worth putting up here 😉
I am actually pretty glad with the decision I made regarding whether or not I should return “home” for Thanksgiving. I didn’t think it would be a good idea at first since my last set of exams for the semester are looming near, but then I realized that seeing my family and friends again for a couple days would most likely do more help than harm.
Despite how beautiful LA is, and how much I adore the city life, I think a small break from it all is necessary. In fact, I think it may actually strengthen my love for the more—at least I hope!
So even though a couple of my classmates and I are planning to spend the “real” Thanksgiving with our families, we decided it would be an awesome idea to throw a pre-Thanksgiving get-together for just our class. We had a potluck that consisted of a variety of foods—enough to stuff everyone into a food coma that affected attention spans in lab for the rest of the day 😛
My contribution was cornbread with a twist. I did use Fleishmann’s mix, but with some alterations, ended up with something sweeter and nuttier.