More Things From October

More Things From October

After spending a Saturday together in Hollywood exploring the history of broken relationships, I didn’t get a chance to see my sister for another two weeks. She soon got busy with work, classes, and…a boy?

Also finally tried some new-to-me flavors of Square Bar, as it's been a long time since I had them! Not a big fan of the dark chocolate coating though...the cherry filling was alright, but overall just wasn't to my liking.
Also finally tried some new-to-me flavors of Square Bar, as it’s been a long time since I had them! Not a big fan of the dark chocolate coating though…the cherry filling was alright, but overall just wasn’t to my liking.

Haha, yes. She’s yet another one of my once-single friends to get herself a BF lol. I briefly met him the night of her graduation when they were just friends, but since it was 11pm and I was suffering from deep exhaustion after the day’s celebrations, I fell asleep under my sister’s dorm bed soon after he arrived. No shame—I needed my beauty sleep!

I also got my hands on this new Halo Top flavor: Mochi Green Tea! It had a smooth green tea flavor ice cream base that was quite mild, and actual Mochi pieces that held their own. Most of them sunk to bottom, but it was good overall!
I also got my hands on this new Halo Top flavor: Mochi Green Tea! It had a smooth green tea flavor ice cream base that was quite mild, and actual Mochi pieces that held their own. Most of them sunk to bottom, but it was good overall!

I met them for brunch on a Saturday, soon after getting my morning long run in. He had come into LA to drop off a friend at the airport, and my sis picked him up on her way from the OC. They picked me up from my place, and we had our brunch at a local favorite—Truxton’s American Bistro.

Menu
Menu

My sis and I were crazy for their monkey bread when we visited their Westchester location two summers ago, but this time around, we were looking for something that wasn’t 100% carb.

The poor BF had to spend the night in the airport so he was literally falling asleep at the table. I used the time to catch up with the sis, and also figure out which brunch item to get.

Truxton's American Bistro
Truxton’s American Bistro

I ended up going for a squash and Brussels sprouts hash topped with a fried egg. The other two got sandwiches.

Oh my hash...
Oh my hash…

I think the pictures can speak for themselves, but it was definitely a mouth-watering dish. The crostini on the side wasn’t super necessary (actually, it was hard to bite into and didn’t help with mopping up any leftover sauce), but it helped somewhat.

Sister's Berkley Burger and my side crostini
Sister’s Berkley Burger and my side crostini

They were both pretty tired after that, so my sis dropped me off after taking me to Sprouts for a quick grocery trip. I invited them to check it Cold Rolled with me, but apparently her BF doesn’t like sweets (I was personally in shock), so I let it be and let them head back to get some rest 🙂

The following day, I made plans to check out the Body Worlds exhibit with E.

Body Worlds
Body Worlds

It was actually an intriguing display…actually, everything looked so cleaned, polished, waxed, fixed, etc. to appear “real”, but they did have a video explanation of how everything is preserved and that, in fact, all of the displays were donated human bodies…

Nervous system // scoliosis
Nervous system // scoliosis

It was also a really hot day for October in LA (felt more like July…), so retreating inside the California Science Center where it was cool and air-conditioned was a smart idea.

Have you seen a Body Worlds exhibit?

Truxton's American Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Warm at Wirtshaus

Warm at Wirtshaus

While everyone around me has slowly been getting back into their work routines, I have not had to worry about that one bit 🙂 . In fact, I felt slightly bored this week. I wasn’t feeling that creative with my snacks and meals, and so when I finally received a jar of Muscle Butter that should have come with my original Vitamin Shoppe order of Lenny & Larry’s cookies and Quest protein powder, I felt obligated to try it by itself, in some proyo, and in some unpictured OIAJ because I finished it that quickly 😛

Muscle Butter - Glazed Donut
Muscle Butter – Glazed Donut

While it does taste nutty and sweet, I wouldn’t call it butter if we’re naming things based on consistency. It was actually quite crumbly, and reminded me of cashew burphi that needed to be pressed together a bit more.

On Saturday morning, I woke up around 6am feeling ravenous. The cold weather must have gotten to me because I had a hankering for a full, hot bowl of oatmeal with a generous dollop of peanut butter on top. In fact, two instant packets did the trick, along with a tablespoon of chia seeds.

Maple & brown sugar oatmeal from the packet(s), PB, and chia seeds for a delightful Saturday morning breakfast.
Maple & brown sugar oatmeal from the packet(s), PB, and chia seeds for a delightful Saturday morning breakfast.

After breakfast, I tuned into the FIRST robotics kick-off online. I previously blogged about my experiences volunteering and judging the competitions here & here. After learning about this year’s game, I couldn’t be more excited for all of the high school robotics students currently involved in this program! It’s a medieval theme, and I’m sure it will be just as thrilling for the audience as it is for the students come competition time 🙂 Has it really been six years since my last kick-off as a high school student??

After breakfast, I was off to lab just for a little bit. I was very hungry around noon, so had to stop for a snack before truly heading out for lunch. I ended up traveling to the Grove area again like last weekend, but this time, I went a little bit farther out. I walked along North La Brea to reach Wirtshaus.

Wirtshaus on N. La Brea
Wirtshaus on N. La Brea

Since it was a seat yourself kind of place, I chose to sit outside only because there was a giant heat lamp next to me. Once I was settled in, one of the waiters brought over a mug filled with napkins, forks, and knives, and placed it on the table.

Where there is a heat lamp, I will sit.
Where there is a heat lamp, I will sit.

I was also given a menu, and had a choice between only two vegetarian entrees. I ended up going with the Vegetarische Wurst Cali, since the bratwurst apparently had apples, yukon potatoes, and sage mixed in. Plus it was cheaper by $1 compared to the Vegetarische Wurst Europa 😛

With the wurst, I was also allowed to pick two sides. The red cabbage and roasted garlic brussels sprouts intrigued me the most. When my plate came, I was surprised by how “small” it looked at first, but it was indeed very filling.

German food can be vegetarian---vegan even!!
German food can be vegetarian—vegan even!!

Along with my sides, there were three refreshing pickle slices and a small cup of spicy mustard.

Beautiful brussels sprouts
Beautiful brussels sprouts

But my favorite was the brussels sprouts…maybe they should offer a dish that consists of a BOWL of these with chopped vegetarian bratwurst mixed in?? Feel free to take that idea Wirtshaus 😉

Sweet, brine-y red cabbage, pickles & mustard, close-up of this veg-bratwurst
Sweet, brine-y red cabbage, pickles & mustard, close-up of this veg-bratwurst

After lunch, I did some grocery shopping while trying to run away from the rain. I was peckish in the late afternoon, and I stopped by Whole Foods to get a snack.

Seeing that it had been a while since I last had a Hail Merry tart, I felt like having one in a flavor I hadn’t tried before.

Hail Merry's Chocolate Almond Butter Tart...it's hard to resist picking it up and eating it as a hand-hold, but breaking into it with a fork is just as fun!
Hail Merry’s Chocolate Almond Butter Tart…it’s hard to resist picking it up and eating it as a hand-hold, but breaking into it with a fork is just as fun!

Just like I remembered, the ganache layer was undeniably delicious. Once broken into, it was hard to not see the almond butter layer making its appearance.

For a cold and almost rainy LA day, it seems like I intuitively chose some (heart)warming foods 🙂

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

Out of the Way, but Worth It

Out of the Way, but Worth It

I think I started to get frustrated with recent chilly weather LA has been having after the first two days of it. I’ve also started to feel jaded from school—since the semester is winding down and rotations are wrapping it up. It makes sense, but it can be difficult to shake-off when you know you need to study!!

Being able to spend a few days with my Dad when he was in town for business helped to break these mundane routine feelings as of late, and it was just what I needed to freshen my perspective. It was nice to see him even though I would be seeing him again the following week for Thanksgiving break 🙂

As in previous instances, we only got to get together around evening time since we both had our tasks to fulfill during the day. Since we were staying in the Pasadena area the first night, we decided to check out My Vegan for dinner—voted Pasadena’s best vegan restaurant.

SAMSUNG

Strip mall vegan restaurants oftentimes turn out to really be stand-outs, so I had no worries!

myvegan_pas_menu

For a weeknight, it had a fair amount of customers dining-in around 6pm. There was also someone waiting by the door for a take-out order. From the booth, it was easy to get some pictures of the surroundings.

myvegan

To start off, we split a spring roll appetizer, and I knew what I wanted after a quick glance at the entrees and went for the P.E.T.

rice-springrolls-PET
My P.E.T. came with brown rice, and included pumpkin, eggplant, tofu, mushroom, onions, garlic, bell pepper, basil, and chili. The spring rolls were crisp and fresh since they were stuffed with lettuce and wrapped with rice paper. The peanut sauce on the side was great for dipping!

My dad ordered the Green Curry, which included eggplant, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, basil leaves, and of course all of which was swimming in a spicy green curry sauce. Even though he requested that his dish come out milder, it was still too spicy for him.

greencurry

We finished off our meal with some greek yogurt cups from Trader Joe’s nearby, and I promptly went to sleep since I was feeling quite exhausted from my day as a whole.

The next day was one of my on-campus-for-pretty-much-the-whole-day days, but even though I got out of my late afternoon lecture as the sky was turning dark, we made the hour (and then some) trek to Costa Mesa to check out a restaurant that has been on my foodie bucket list since learning about its existence almost two, three years ago!

 The anti-mall in Costa Mesa, at night.
The anti-mall in Costa Mesa, at night.

I was finally approaching Seabirds Kitchen!

SAMSUNG

Since it was prime time for dinner, we were lucky to find a seat in a corner booth.

seabirds

The menu selection was current for Fall, and quite overwhelming. I ended up ordering first, while my dad took some time to decide what it is he wanted exactly…and to make sure it wasn’t too spicy!

seabirdsfallmenu

For appetizers, he ordered a carrot ginger lemonade and we split the burnt brussels sprouts.

carrotginger_brusselsprouts
roasted to a crisp and tossed with fried garlic, lime and dijon mustard

I couldn’t wait to dig into my Holy Smokes Bowl when it arrived—as it had the bbq jackfruit Seabirds is famous for!

 brown rice, bbq jackfruit, sautéed greens, cauliflower, pickled red onion, coconut bacon, Seabirds sauce and kentucky bbq sauce
brown rice, bbq jackfruit, sautéed greens, cauliflower, pickled red onion, coconut bacon, Seabirds sauce and kentucky bbq sauce 

My dad ended up ordering the Butternut Enchiladas, which sounded innocent at first, but then when I pointed out it had roasted pasilla pepper sauce, the appeal of the dish was quickly lost. In my opinion, it looked beautiful in appearance!

 butternut squash, spinach, black bean and mushroom enchiladas with roasted pasilla pepper sauce, almond feta, Seabirds sauce and cilantro. Served with arugula salad and sliced avocado.
butternut squash, spinach, black bean and mushroom enchiladas with roasted pasilla pepper sauce, almond feta, Seabirds sauce and cilantro. Served with arugula salad and sliced avocado.

So even though we had to make an hour-long trek back the next morning, I can’t deny that I felt nourished and content from my meal at Seabird’s. The next day was more of a low-key day anyways, so the return trip didn’t feel too rushed. Sure, it may have been out of the way—just for a restaurant—but it was absolutely worth it 🙂

My Vegan Restaurant on Urbanspoon Seabirds Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Fig & Brussels Sprouts Protein Roast

Fig & Brussels Sprouts Protein Roast

Happy Monday! Thought I would keep things short, sweet, and protein-filled with a recipe for today:

Fig & Brussels Sprouts Protein Roast
Serves 1
A weekend lunch with three simple ingredients---figs, brussels sprouts, and egg whites!
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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. - 10 or so plump fresh brussels sprouts, halved
  2. - 4 or 5 figs, quartered
  3. - 1/2 onion sliced
  4. - Handful of mushrooms, sliced
  5. - Chili powder
  6. - Salt
  7. - 1 tsp brown sugar
  8. - Dill or rosemary (some dry green herb you like)
  9. - Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Spread sprouts on a foil. Spray lightly with Pam.
  2. Broil at 400F for about 10 minutes.
  3. Turn and broil another 10 minutes or until done (browned, but not burned).
  4. Saute onions in a pan and add sugar, salt, and spices.
  5. Add mushrooms and cook a bit.
  6. Add sprouts and toss.
  7. Turn off stove. Add figs into toss, and serve right away.
  8. Serve with bread 🙂 !
Will Study for Food http://www.willstudyforfood.com/
Okay, so the protein mostly comes from the hard-boiled egg whites in this dish (per 100g, egg whites have 11g of protein while brussels sprouts and figs have ~3 1/2g and ~1g respectively), but I can’t deny that combining figs, brussels sprouts, and egg whites all together was pure serendipity. My friend’s grandparents grow figs in their backyard, so when we were gifted with a plate full of green California figs, I had to figure out some way to make use of them instead of just gobbling them all up as is (even though they tasted incredible on their own!!)

 Green fig glory.
Green fig glory.

Adding brussels sprouts and egg whites “just happened” to follow, and what resulted was a great way to refuel after a Saturday morning gym session and running morning errands.

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The last of my friend’s figs gifted to us were used in the making of this dish…sometimes you just don’t know how much you’ll miss something until it’s gone! Now I’m left with two options: 1) wait till next summer to make this again or 2) bring the empty plate back to my friend’s house, leave it nonchalantly on the counter top, and keep reiterating to her howmuchIloved♥ those figs 😉

Figs—love ’em or hate ’em? 

Baagan Review

Baagan Review

The last restaurant I had to eat out at for 2013 happened to specialize in vegan cuisine. Go figure.

It all started with plans to check out the after Christmas sales at Roseville Galleria. I stumbled upon Baagan while perusing through Yelp, and realized it was about 10 minutes away from the mall! I knew immediately that I had to drag my friends here ;).

Baagan Storefront
Baagan Storefront

Their standing as a local business was another huge plus. After ordering and paying at the front, we helped ourselves to some chia powder samples, chili sunflower seeds, condiments, and water. Samples Water Condiments Galore... My sister and friend got sandwiches, but even though one was Veggie Hummus and the other Tomato Basil Pesto, they looked very much alike.

Which 'wich is which?
Which ‘wich is which?

I had the Trio Boat, since I felt like sampling a little bit of everything (a quinoa dish, warm veg dish, and a salad of some sort). They change it up every week, and this week, they had a beet salad, quinoa with craisins, and brussel sprouts mixed in seasonings and olive oil.

The mmmazing Trio Boat!
The mmmazing Trio Boat!

My dish was definitely the prettiest of the three ;). Despite eating outside in the cool-ish temperature, I was craving a smoothie to pair along with the sampling dish. Enter the Dark Velvet, a smoothie comprised mostly of banana and a lot of dark cacao. Also some other greens mixed in, but my sister nor I could distinguish anything from the strong cacao flavor—it seriously bit back!

Dark Velvet

For the majority of the time we consumed our meals, we were a quiet bunch. We had to devote all of our attention to demolishing every morsel in sight ;).

Demolished.

While I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and thought Baagan offered some excellent foods, my sister’s reaction was so-so. She thought the food tasted fine, but after the first few bites, the novelty began to fade away. Our opinions didn’t matter though, as the place was packed even on a Monday afternoon! I also noticed a lot of elderly folk were fond of the place :P.

After our nourishing lunch, we made our way to the Roseville Galleria for some after Christmas shopping. My sister was on a quest to find a new pair of jeans since a pair she’s had for just about five years was beginning to wear down.

Waiting outside the dressing room in a store where my sister was trying on jeans. Notice the cute fox purse?
Waiting outside the dressing room in a store where my sister was trying on jeans. Notice the cute fox purse?

After several loops of walking, my sister got some Zebra Popcorn at Popcornopolis, but we didn’t leave before sampling some other flavors.

Cupcake Batter Popcorn sample at Popcornopolis.
Cupcake Batter Popcorn sample at Popcornopolis.

After some more browsing and dressing room visits, each of us bought something from American Eagle (my sister found a nice pair there :D), and I managed to pay for my items solely through giftcards. The perks of after Christmas shopping!

Baagan on Urbanspoon

Do you like getting a dish with a sampling of different foods, or do you prefer sticking with something you know?

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