A Cold Rolled Concoction

A Cold Rolled Concoction

When I first saw images of Thai ice cream rolls pop up on the ‘gram, I was mesmerized—how on earth could ice cream be molded into such compact rolls, pressed together, and then decorated to a point that they looked too ornate to eat? 

Seriously. Mouth-watering.
Seriously. Mouth-watering.
I had been dying to try the creation, but at the time, all of the ice cream locations that made this exquisite treat were located in the OC, and I wasn’t heading down there as frequently as I do now that my sister’s in the area. 
I did get a chance to try a cookie-butter themed cup of the stuff at the OC Night Market a few months ago, thanks to the Blue Nova food truck. And while I complained in my recap post of the event that it took forever and a day for the cup to be prepared, I realized how much effort is actually required when I paid a visit to a new,  local-to-me ice cream shop that is crafting up this frozen treat for the denizens of LA. 
Cold Rolled Ice Cream Co.
Cold Rolled Ice Cream Co.
Cold Rolled Ice Cream Co. has only been open for a handful of weeks, but by the way their shop on Melrose looks, you’d think they’ve been in the business for ages. 
At work whipping up hand-crafted frozen creations!
At work whipping up hand-crafted frozen creations!
I stopped by on a slightly cool Saturday afternoon for LA, and was able to meet with one of the four shop owners, Tim. He was eager to share the history of Cold Rolled, and it was obvious to me that he had a passion and the expertise for all things ice cream. 
Some highlights of the shop included:
~ A variety of ice cream base options, including all-organic, vegan and non-dairy choices.
~ A number of opportunities to mix and match ice cream flavors and toppings, since Cold Rolled offers 20 flavors and 50+ toppings. 
~The emphasis on making the ice cream-making process an interactive one with the customer: each order is made fresh, and the customer’s name is even spelled on the ice cream before rolling.
~The mural walls decorating the interior of the shop, painted by local street artist Jonathan Cirlin
After speaking with Tim outside the shop, he asked if I’d like to try some ice cream and I was quick to respond absolutely! 
There were separate rolling stations positioned behind a glass counter, with staff members rolling out tailored creations for customers right before their eyes. 
I decided to go with the Matcha Green Tea Premium Creation, which combined a matcha green tea base, red bean paste, and toppings like mochi and green tea Pocky. 
The Premium Creations portion of the menu
The Premium Creations portion of the menu

When one of the staff members assigned to making my cup was ready, he motioned for me to come close to the counter so I could watch ice cream magic happen right before my eyes.

It started off with a mash of green ice cream, which was then pummeled back and forth. The clashing of stainless steel tools is a common sound around these parts, haha!

Step 1
Step 1

Next, the ice cream “puree” was smoothed out , and allowed to freeze flat on the circular metal tray.

Step 2
Step 2

Before rolling out the frozen rectangle into mini rolls, my name was spelled out with condensed milk, making it a more interactive experience.

Step 3
Step 3

Each roll was placed tightly in a circular arrangement inside a cup, and topped with condensed milk and toppings.

TOPpin' it off
TOPpin’ it off

I then allowed my cup a few minutes in the spotlight before devouring its contents in mere seconds.

Before it was all gone...
Before it was all gone…

The rolls were frozen firm, and had a mild green tea flavor. I have to be honest and say I was focused on getting to all the mochi pieces first, but after that was taken care of, I was able to devote my attention to the part of the frozen creation that required the most effort. Overall, it was the perfect treat for a slightly cool but sunny Saturday afternoon in LA.

Cold Rolled is definitely a sweet addition to Melrose Ave., and I’m certainly glad I don’t have to make the trek down to OC (at least) every time I have a craving for ice cream rolls!

Cold Rolled Ice Cream Co.
Cold Rolled Ice Cream Co.

Have you ever tried Thai ice cream rolls?

March DegustaBox

March DegustaBox

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!

DegustaBox for March '17
DegustaBox for March ’17

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”

A “Hazelnut Tartlet?”

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 chocolate is so smooth, you can read the lettering on the shell!
The chocolate is so smooth, you can read the lettering on the shell!

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.

Mrs. Thinster’s Chhocolate Chip Cookie Thins

The chocolate in these cookies had a mild, sweet flavor, and a buttery, crisp cookie base.

Mrs. Thinster’s Chhocolate Chip Cookie Thins Close-Up

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.

7 Days Croissant Peanut Butter and Jelly

The filling on the inside didn’t look like a lot, but it was just enough.

A PB&J Croissant?? Which master genius came up with this idea ๐Ÿ’ก?!

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.

Nabisco Good Thins The Potato One ~ Sweet Potato

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…

It’s hard to tell but there’s about half of a 12″ Boboli pizza crust at the bottom of this (what seems like) a veggie-dense bowl!

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.

soupand veg
Boboli crust in soup and with veggies (topped with mustard)

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!

Energems, eh no thanks!

These quinoa bars were a favorite of mine!

Such pretty packaging colors & font!

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!

This Paul’s Finest Quinoa bar dazzles like a gem. And the fact that it’s sweetened with honey ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ ??? Aw man, so good!

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.

Goya Quinoa Blend

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.

Taking some days off from running has helped me in regards to gaining some free time for meal prep! Vegetarian quinoa by Goya, mixed with a boiled potato has been working as a satisfying lunch ๐Ÿ˜‹ helping me power through the rest of my work day ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿฝ

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:

Tolerant Foods Organic 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ !

Which would you rather try from the following: the quinoa snack bars or the quinoa-rice mix?

Buff Bake Protein Cookie Review

Buff Bake Protein Cookie Review

Disclaimer: I was provided samples from Buff Bake and all opinions are my own.

Iโ€™ve had Buff Bake spreads before, but when I tried my first Buff Bake protein cookie, I wasnโ€™t sure what I had put in my mouthโ€ฆ

I thought a cup of coffee would work well with this Buff Bake WCPB protein cookie, but sadly this cookie was pretty stale ๐Ÿ˜‘… definitely does not have soft status like @lennyandlarrys

I didnโ€™t want to waste it, but as I was eating it I couldnโ€™t help but think I had made a mistake in my choice of a morning snack. I thought I was being adventurous for trying a protein cookie different from the likes of Lenny & Larryโ€™s, but to my disappointment, I regretted not picking up their white chocolate macadamia flavor from the campus bookstoreโ€ฆ

I expressed my dissatisfaction on Instagram, and to my surprise, Buff Bake actually reached out with a response to immediately send over some fresh cookies to try! They commented that the cookie I had purchased had an older packaging, and that I needed a proper introduction to their product (okay, so I added the last part, but Iโ€™m sure they wanted to redo the first impressionโ€ฆ)

They immediately sent over five different cookies in crisp, colorful packaging. I was shocked by how quickly they came tooโ€ฆwithin two days of their commenting on my Instagram! Oh, which flavor to begin with?!

The colors just popped out at me!!

Because the snickerdoodle Lenny & Larryโ€™s has my heart, I had to try Buff Bakeโ€™s version for comparisonโ€™s sake.

This Snickerdoodle one immediately became a favorite of mine. To me, it looks more like a dense, puffy cake than a cookie (like one of those Pfeffernusse cookies), but it’s incredibly chewy and has a nice cinnamon/nutmeg aroma to it. Oh, and then there’s the nice addition of a thin glaze on top! I’m glad I got the opportunity to give these cookies-more-like-cakes another shot ๐Ÿ˜‰

I would say the Lenny & Larry’s version is still my favorite (specifically if it comes out dense and chewy in the middle, because sometimes even they come out with fluke cookies…), but Buff Bake’s version was pretty good too. Definitely could see this paired with a glass of hot chocolate—the perfect sitting-by-the-fireplace holiday snack.

I then moved on to the birthday cake flavor. This one came with frosting on the top as well, but only a little in the middle? I don’t have an explanation…

I love it when birthday cake-themed foods are colorful, mixed with sprinkles, and come with a generous amount of frosting on top. The birthday cake @buffcake cookie is another dense, puffy cake-like flavor. It had a slight dry flavor (wasn’t as moist as snickerdoodle), but the frosting on top helped to some extent ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿช

I’d say my second most favorite was Chocolate Donut.

I’m a bit surprised as to how this is not the @buffbake Birthday Cake protein cookie flavor. With frosting and sprinkles like this, this is Chocolate Donut?! Well whatever its name is, I’ll take it ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿฉ๐Ÿช #teamfrosting

If I have to pick between team vanilla or team chocolate, I’d go with vanilla only because I can’t handle dark chocolate or chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. That was the case with Chocolate Chocolate Chip. While it had a dense texture and was full-flavored, it was just too much chocolate. There, I said it.

There is such a thing as too much chocolate, sorry!

And finally, I gave WCPB another shot. I still found it slightly drier and stiffer compared to the other flavors, but compare to the one I originally had, it fared much better.

Alien cookie, ๐Ÿ˜›

It had a quirky shape and lotsa chocolate chips, but it added character.

Which of these cookie flavors speaks out to you?

I’m Exhausted (An Understatement)

I’m Exhausted (An Understatement)

I’ve been sooo behind on blogging, but I have my legitimate reasons…how’s about moving, a birthday, and 24 hr+ working day/night for starters?

The week before my birthday/last week in my now-ex-apartment was a very rough one. My emotions were raw, and dealing with certain people with these already broiling emotions had me on the verge of waterworks. I did end up crying, but one of my co-workers was there to talk me through it and calm me down.

Even though tension was at an all-time high, I had some comforting snacks to get me through the tormenting week.

A Promax bar mixed with four flavors of froyo and mochi pieces because mochi is life <3
A Promax bar mixed with four flavors of froyo and mochi pieces because mochi is life <3
Bar + pint
Bar + pint
Green pro-frosting made with a free tub of Vega protein powder I got from the blogger expo, mixed with a crumbled L&L birthday cookie.
Green pro-frosting made with a free tub of Vega protein powder I got from the blogger expo, mixed with a crumbled L&L birthday cookie.
A Lenny & Larry's lemon Poppyseed Cookie---so underrated, yet soooo good!
A Lenny & Larry’s lemon Poppyseed Cookie—so underrated, yet soooo good!

A shipment of ANSI Nutrition’s newest protein cheesecake bar flavors was a pleasant surprise to receive in the mail. Funny thing was, I first tried these on one of the worst work days of the week, so they just so happened to be the highlight of that particular day ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Birthday Cake flavor was soft, and had a mild vanilla flavor to it. It could have used some sprinkles, but it was not overwhelming.

Birthday Cake
Birthday Cake

Chocolate Coconut was my favorite flavor from the three newest flavors. It had a tougher texture with the coconut flakes and chocolate coating, and to me, was more pleasant than the Chocolate Banana flavor.

Chocolate Coconut
Chocolate Coconut

The latter was decent, but since I’m not a fan of raw bananas, there was only so much banana flavor I could handle.

Chocolate Banana
Chocolate Banana

So it was no surprise Chocolate Coconut was my winner ๐Ÿ˜‰

When move out day finally came around, I was successfully able to round up an army to help me move out…well, a one man army a.k.a. my Dad, who I hadn’t seen in 8 months!! Honestly, I don’t know how I would have moved OR cleaned my apartment without him.

Before any of the hard work though, we had dinner together at Yalla Mediterranean in Culver City. It replaced Daphne’s Greek, which I had intentions on visiting someday but I guess that just won’t happen.

Yalla Mediterranean
Yalla Mediterranean

Yalla was great though. After waiting in line behind a lady who wanted to sample everythannnnng, my Dad and I were finally able to order our plates. We both got the falafel plate and got to choose from plenty of sides colorfully placed alongside eachother at the counter bar. I picked the steamed veggies to pair with my falafel, along with a slaw, babaganoush, and a dressed beets and kale salad. There was some unpictured pita side, and a whole lotta YUM.

My beautiful platter
My beautiful platter

Our trays were incredibly nourishing, and enough to get us started with cleaning my apartment…at 9pm. We even managed to get my roommate to work, with all of us retiring at midnight. BUT, we continued to work as soon as we got up the next morning…

Aided by baby falafels
Aided by baby falafels

Have you ever had to move? What was your experience like?

Yalla Mediterranean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monkey Bread!

Monkey Bread!

Having my sister over, even if only for two full days, for the three-day weekend was such a treat. I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since we were both exploring Seattle with our friend, but I think it’s never too soon to hang out with family!

Lenny & Larry’s Snickerdoodle – my favorite!

I picked up my sister from Union Station on Friday night, and from there we went back to my apartment for dinner and relaxing. Our definition of relaxing was a simple dinner, dessert (a Lenny & Larry’s snickerdoodle cookie—one of my favorite flavors!), watching the Olympic Trials, and figuring out our lunch/movie plans for the next day. I stayed up until 10pm with her, and felt myself get sleepy right when my roommate got home! Good timing?

The next morning, I went for a quick run before my sister and I began the day. I’m so lucky that she works in a lab as well (as an undergrad volunteer), and so she was extra helpful when I asked her to assist me in my morning lab duties. She helped me shave off an hour I would have otherwise spent working on my own, and by the time we were both done, we were starving!

We ended up taking a extremely long bus ride to Westchester, because when I told my sis about a certain restaurant baking up cheesy monkey bread, she just had to have it ๐Ÿ˜‰

An upscale Denny’s?

Truxton’s American Bistro was in a neighborhood I had yet to visit, but is actually pretty close to the Marina Del Rey/Playa Vista area. When we went inside, I thought we had stepped into an upscale Denny’s!

They have a wide selection of entrees, and of course a weekend brunch menu, with everything served all day. My sister opted for a benedict-based dish while I decided to get the Berkeley Plate.

For our app, we split the warm, golden monkey bread—fresh with marinara, ranch, and olive oil dipping sauces!

Monkey Bread to share!

The bread was light and fluffy, and had a melt-in-your-mouth type of texture. The ranch sauce was too much of a liquid to my liking (reminding me of the ranch you find with the baby carrot stick lunch packs), so I stuck to the marinara.

My meal on top, sis’s on bottom!

My sister’s dish was mouth-watering, but my plate was a 10/10 on presentation. I asked for my side to be steamed veggies, but the other half of the plate was a crisp veggie patty topped with slices avocado, onion, sugarded cranberries and pepitas, all of which was placed on a bed of arugula.

The Berkeley Plate

The patty was crisp on the outside, but soft and steaming on the inside. It was seriously a flavorful and filling meal.

Each one was sugar-coated!

After our lunch, we took another bus to Playa Vista, to get to the closest movie theater to watch Finding Dory! We found a Cinemark in a secluded but upscale shopping and dining plaza near the ritzy apartment complexes of Playa Vista, and got ourselves some popcorn and Sour Patch candy to snack on because, #alwayshungry.

Gotta get those snacks!

The movie was a sweet one, and while I did think it had a slow beginning, I’d say it was worth the money spent…oh, and if only for the short film, which was another sweet story titled “Piper”.

When the movie ended, we made a quick stop at the Whole Foods in the complex to grab some Halo Top. It seems like whenever I am out with my sister all we think/talk about is food, but I’ve been trying to get my sister to try Halo Top ice cream for a while now and this was our chance.

Just one more stop!

It was almost 8pm by the time we got home, but there was still some sun left. We were able to take the train home, and had a quality conversation throughout the ride. It felt so good to pass the time I usually spend quiet/bored with good company. With Halo Top in our hands and Friends playing in the background, we spent the rest of the night basking in relaxation and then heading off into good rest. It’s amazing how a good day and good company can really impact the quality of your sleep ๐Ÿ˜‰

How did you spend the holiday weekend?

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

Hot & Cold

Hot & Cold

After a whirlwind, busy week last week, I was left with a weekend with no commitments and I didn’t waste any time thinking about it!

I originally wanted to take the bus over to the mall in Century City, but the bus I ended up taking stopped too short. I turned out to be more convenient just walking along Fairfax, eventually stumbling upon the grocery stores I have come to know well.

Before shopping, I stepped inside Kaya Street Kitchen for the first time, since I was very hungry and I needed to rest my feet from walking the extra distance the bus stopped short at.

Kaya Street Kitchen Front
Kaya Street Kitchen Front

It’s hard to believe that Kaya’s been at this spot for more than a year now…maybe close to two? I remember when I first moved to LA, it was a Currywurst that was next door to the Vitamin Shoppe…


At the counter, I was able to easily place my order for a Happy Tofu bowl. I had green tea noodles as my base (though I could have picked rice or greens), mixed with sambal tofu, garlic kale, tamarind slaw, corn, scallions, and a sweet soy glaze.

Happy Tofu = happy bell-eh :)
Happy Tofu = happy bell-eh ๐Ÿ™‚

After grabbing some water, I sat by the front window and dug into my bowl. Say it was refreshing would be an understatement—the top layer with all the fresh veggies was so crisp and sweet, and the noodles underneath surprisingly kept their warmth. The perfect balance between hot and cold. The entire portion was perfect for lunch, and allowed me to go about my day.

I ended up going to Whole Foods for groceries, and did not end up spending my whole paycheck which I was relieved by! I even made out with some tempting goodies too, like these three pints I enjoyed over the course of the weekend:

I tried the lemon and vanilla flavors of Halo Top many months ago, but I had to try the other two classics…chocolate and strawberry. It made no sense to wait any longer!!

The chocolate-flavored Halo Top ended up being much tastier than I expected! I’m not the biggest chocolate ice cream fan (I can tolerate it as seen with my past B&J’s posts, but that doesn’t mean it’s my fave)! It helped to put a full-sized Lenny & Larry’s B-Day cookie on top!

Halo Top - Chocolate
Halo Top – Chocolate

I absolutely fell in love with the strawberry flavor however! It tasted like frozen strawberry whipped cream! Ahh…it was that delicious! Tell me again why I took so long to try these Halo Top flavors again…let alone Halo Top anything?!?

Halo Top - Strawberry
Halo Top – Strawberry

I also decided to try on the So Delicious non-dairy frozen desserts for the first time. After reading so much praise for the Cashew Milk snickerdoodle flavor, I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Snickerdoodle :D
Snickerdoodle ๐Ÿ˜€

And obviously there was a reason for all the fuss, because it was just that good. It had chunks of snickerdoodle COOKIE DOUGH mixed in, and tasted like a mildly sweet, frozen cinnamon bun. Remember how I raved about Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns flavor? Well, this pint right here is major competition ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you like to mix hot and cold foods in one meal?

Kaya Street Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Baskin-Robbins Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich Review

Baskin-Robbins Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich Review

Disclaimer: I was compensated with a gift card for this review, but all opinions are my own.

To be completely honest, I had no idea Sunday was Easter until two days prior when I was at the post office and I overheard a customer wish the employees a Happy Easter weekend…am I really that out of tune with the rest of the world? I guess I’m still suffering from #20pagepaperwithdrawls

Coincidentally, I had some time to stop by a Baskin-Robbins to try out one of their newest creations—the warm cookie ice cream sandwich.

Baskin-Robbins, SoCal style.
Baskin-Robbins, SoCal style.

My first experience was with C.R.E.A.M., then Stax, and not surprisingly back to the classic Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor. What amazed me about this type of ice cream sandwich though, was the fact that I technically had 31 flavors to choose from for my ice cream. It was just that in reality, I was restricted to what the store offered that day.

The possibilities are endless...
The possibilities are endless…

In creating my sandwich, I chose the double chocolate and peanut butter chocolate cookies, with a pop-rocks flavored sherbert as my ice cream filling. The woman who was helping piece my sandwich together didn’t seem to judge me too much for buying ice cream at 11am ๐Ÿ˜‰

My cookie sandwich <3
My cookie sandwich <3

Once the cookies were warmed and the ice cream was scooped into the middle, I was offered a topping. I chose rainbow sprinkles of course (since I’m both a five-year-old kid and a grandma at heart), and paid $3.99 (well, with the gift card) for the entire sweet masterpiece.

Gotta get a close-up of those sprinklez!
Gotta get a close-up of those sprinklez!

The cookies were warm, but the ice cream surprisngly stood up to the heat. Some of it did melt into the wrapper, but for the most part, the cookie sandwich held up! It was also interesting to see actual peanut halves in the peanut butter cookie.

Overall, I thought my combination was well-balanced in textures and flavors. I can’t even compute how many possibilities for ice cream sandwiches there are (I left my probability skillz back in undergrad calculus…), but I’m sure any and all of them would be delicious!

Baskin-Robbins Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



My weekend in Vegas was much needed, and much fun, but I didn’t go for the usual reasons people go. There were food, drinks (if you exclude alcohol and include water), and much revelry, and I was 100% sober throughout it all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

After about a year and a half of fundraising with a local organization in Nor Cal near where I used to live, I was able to raise enough funds to run the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half with Team Challenge, a group that fundraises for Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).

In the days leading up to my weekend “off” (every single weekend since visiting my sister in September involved a trip to lab…), I enjoyed some new-to-me snacks that fueled my weekday morning runs.

 This Combat Crunch Cinnamon Twist bar tasted like it was filled with cinnamon sugar! Protein bar churro?
This Combat Crunch Cinnamon Twist bar tasted like it was filled with cinnamon sugar! Protein bar churro?
 I only got these since they were free (Ralph's Friday Freebies!), but they were useful as running fuel.
I only got these since they were free (Ralph’s Friday Freebies!), but they were useful as running fuel.

I managed to stay alert in school and work-related things, just so that nothing would seem amiss ๐Ÿ˜‰

 Proyo bowls at night, salads and sandwiches by day!
Proyo bowls at night, salads and sandwiches by day!

It helped that we had two talks that week, meaning free lunch ๐Ÿ˜›

On Friday of that weekend though, I was OUT—but not without stopping by lab an hour before I had to catch my MegaBus. #lifeofagradstudent

The ride took about six hours, but with naps and a footlong Subway sandwich, the time passed by relatively quickly. I made it to the RTC (regional transit center) around 5pm, where I met my Dad, whom I haven’t seen since August…

We caught a bus that took us to the least exciting part of Vegas, where we would stay for Friday night since Team Challenge only covers hotel rooms for Saturday and Sunday. Our hotel was not luxurious, but it did have a kitchen?! So we ended up going to the Albertson’s next door and having a humble supper ๐Ÿ˜›

 A humble meal, featuring Gardein-stuffed buns.
A humble meal, featuring Gardein-stuffed buns.

I was feeling extremely exhausted and went to bed about an hour later.

The next morning, we got ready as soon as possible, and caught a bus that was headed straight to the Strip. We even got off right near the LINQ, where Team Challenge was gathering its members.

 The LINQ is that little LEGO-looking cube nestled in between those buidlings...
The LINQ is that little LEGO-looking cube nestled in between those buidlings…

We couldn’t check-in until noon, so we left our stuff at the bell hop and then headed over to the convention center for the race expo. It was ~2 mile walk, and more walking was to be done once we got inside…

 LV Convention Center.
LV Convention Center.

After getting my bib, confirming my corral change, and receiving my (ugly yellow neon) race-themed shirt, we made our way past the pop-up shop in order to access the sponsor booths and to collect as many freebies as possible!

 Yes, I am a big deal.
Yes, I am a big deal.
 RUN away from the pop-up shop and TOWARDS the samplesssss
RUN away from the pop-up shop and TOWARDS the samplesssss

During this exploratory time, I even walked past Meb, who was signing copies of his latest book!


We spent about an hour and a half at the expo, and soon it was time for lunch!

 Of course, I went searching for the food samples.
Of course, I went searching for the food samples.

I wasn’t in the mood to navigate the Strip just yet, and actually, I wanted to visit at least one vegan-themed restaurant during this visit. Fortunately, Vegenation was nearby and close to downtown/Fremont St.

Once again, we hopped on the bus, which dropped us off in front of the downtown casinos (including the Golden Nugget, haha). From there, we walked towards glorious food.


Vegenation reminded me of Native Foods, and I guess it was because of the font.

 Such a cute restaurant inside!
Such a cute restaurant inside!

Their menu had an extensive selection, but I wanted something warm to counteract with the cool Las Vegas chill (at least it was cold…LA needs to take a hint ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

 Cute menu!
Cute menu!

My Dad and I shared the vegetable potstickers, which were far from stellar, but at least the Out of Africa Stew made up for it.

 Boring potstickers.
Boring potstickers.

It was an entire bowl of quinoa topped with spiced veggies from okra to sweet potato.

 Out of Africa stew!
Out of Africa stew!

Dad got a “meatball” parm sandwich which he didn’t like in the end, but it was satisfactory for lunch.

 It looked good, but Dad didn't think so :/
It looked good, but Dad didn’t think so :/

After getting our fill, we made our way to Fremont St. and stopped to watch people flying from the sky.

 SLOTZILLA! Shooting people out, flying through the air!
SLOTZILLA! Shooting people out, flying through the air!

We also played some slots at one of the casinos, but I soon got fed up with the bright lights/cough-inducing cigarette smoke (and the occasional cigar, ick), so we didn’t stick around too long. Plus, we weren’t too lucky ๐Ÿ˜›

On our way back to the bus stop, I realized why this area was also known as the Arts District.

 Art in LV!
Art in LV!

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were able to check-in. The first thing I did was use the bathroom (duh), lay out all my freebies, and then take a short nap until the Team Challenge Pasta Party that was being held at 7pm.

 Bars galore, and a super comfy bed with squishy pillows.
Bars galore, and a super comfy bed with squishy pillows.

Even though I was on my feet all day the day before my race, it was all in good fun. And it didn’t stop, as evidenced by the next morning/early afternoon before the famous night race!

Have you ever been to Vegas?

Are you a fan of slots/casino games?

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

Friday Night Pizza!

Friday Night Pizza!

Last Friday, I was bit by the social bug yet again! Instead of a thrilling blogger meet-up though, I ended up going out for some gourmet pizza with some marathon teammates. 

But before stuffing my face with all the pizza (you could say quite literally, after seeing the pics!), I stuffed my face with two, new-to-me bars. I ended up paying bookstore prices for these bars (in other words, much more than what I would pay at GNC) by Oh Yeah!

I was finally able to try two of their new “One” bars—Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Cookies & Creme. 

Oh Yeah! One - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Oh Yeah! One – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

I like how the bars are fully coated, but since I have become used to associating cookie dough-flavored protein bars to actually looking like molded cookie dough, I was thrown off by the chocolate coating at first. 

Oh Yeah! One - Cookies & Creme
Oh Yeah! One – Cookies & Creme

I grew to like the bar as I continued eating. Cookies & Creme on the other hand, could have tasted so much better. Nice try though Oh Yeah! folks? 

Fridays tend to be slow days in lab since everyone is exhausted by the end of the week/anxious to find an excuse to leave early, but I held on until ~6pm, when I headed out to meet my running mates for our pizza dinner! Apparently we had 20 people RSVP, but including me, there was only six of us total! Bring on the pizza now!!

Racing for pizza.

We carpooled to DTLA, and reserved the top floor of Pitfire Pizza…

Inside Pitfire Pizza

…even though we really didn’t need that much space after all…

All this space…what to do??

To start of the meal, we were given full-size pitchers of lemonade, coke, water, and tea. Among the six of us, we literally could have sipped out of our own personal pitcher if we really wanted, haha.

 Want a pitcher?
Want a pitcher?

Before there was pizza, we helped ourselves to plentiful servings of salad. It was hard to resist having more than one plate because the salad was actually pretty good—dressing, onions, shaved parmesan, and all!


We were also able to cut down the order from the original EIGHT pizzas to just four, which included two vegetarian and two meat-eater pizzas. They took a while to make it up the stairs to our “knight’s table”, but when they did arrive, we dove right at them as if we had just finished a Sunday long run ๐Ÿ˜›

That pizza tho.

The veggie-friendly pizzas included a simple marinara & mozzarella pizza which was mostly sauce. I ended up having more slices of this pizza because it was right next to me, easy to pull apart, and simply delicious. The second veggie-friendly pizza was covered in greens, but underneath it all was swirls of creamy red and white sauces. It was definitely the more “gourmet” of the two.

After stuffing ourselves silly (we demolished the food pretty well for six people!!), we thought it would be great to finish off our carb-o-licious Friday night with a cookies-and-ice-cream dessert. We split chocolate chip cookie ice cream sundaes with chocolate or caramel sauce with the person across from us.

Spoons ready!

I ended up sharing one of the chocolate sauce sundaes ๐Ÿ™‚

Our dinner ended around 9pm, and I was more than ready to go to sleep! We had an exhilarating time getting home (driving home clown-car-style, trying to avoid any tickets!!), but we certainly made it home safely. Even though I was content enough to fall into a deep sleep, I was also content with the fact that I would have plenty of energy for my next day’s impromptu 10k race!

What’s your favorite Friday night pizza stop?

Pitfire Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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