Last weekend was unlike any other that I’ve experienced so far in LA, and one word sums it all up: humidity.
I had to go into lab on Saturday morning, but not until later in the morning. The sky was cloudy and gray like it had been the few days prior, but the Saturday morning news alerted me about thunderstorms that would occur later in the day. Still, I left my apartment in shorts and a t-shirt since it felt warm outside, and made the mistake of “forgetting” my umbrella.
Fortunately, I was able to take cover during the intermittent moments of downpour/thunder, but it certainly slowed me down schedule-wise. It even caused a mini power outtage in my lab building, but I was able to resume my experiments without there being any major crisis!
I finished up mid-afternoon, and made the swift decision to walk over to the grocery store before another predicted downpour. I managed to make it back to the apartment just before thunder was heard again, and saved myself from an unwanted shower.
I spent the rest of the day/evening inputing data and working on an document with a Monday deadline (Saturday nights of a grad student…what can I say?), but at least I was able to include a celebratory pint in all of this. The featured flavor of this weekend was B&J’s Strawberry Cheesecake:
I’m normally not a die-hard cheesecake fan, but the graham-cracker swirl intrigued me and pulled me in to buy this flavor. I guess I could tolerate some cheesecake if it means there’s a sweet and crunchy swirl!
The cheesecake ice cream actually wasn’t that bad, and tasted more like vanilla. There were some frozen strawberries mixed in, and of course the graham cracker swirl is what brought this flavor to the top…managing to keep its crunchy texture and sweet flavor.
Sunday morning was when I experienced the aftermath humidity from Saturday’s tropical rainshowers. While it was nice to listen to the rainfall in the evening, the humidity was such a pain to deal with on my long run the next morning! After mile 6, I was pushing through with all my might to just keep going and not stop. I did make a stop at a nearby Starbucks though, to get some ice water which I held onto for dear life from mile 9 to the finish!
I was a sticky mess when I came back to the apartment, but had to get ready quickly in order to move on and get my lab work done for the day. I had exciting plans that evening, and I wasn’t going to let the humidity stop me from following through with them!
Fortunately, after getting onto the train a little after 3:30PM, I was able to keep cool in air-conditioned spaces as I made my way to Wilshire and Western. This is a stop that I have made frequent visits to, but I had never paid attention to the dark teal building right across the street—the Wiltern.
That is, until now!
The event I was attending was the cocktail hour of LA Grow!, sponsored by Whole Foods and benefiting RootDown LA, a youth-run non-profit organization that focuses on promoting healthy food and nutrition education in South LA.
Inside the theater, I picked up my drink tickets from will call (even though I didn’t use them that night since I don’t drink…), and then proceeded to the actual fest set-up in a hallway, ballroom-like area.
Exhibitors were lined up along the sides of the hallway, and the first food-related booth I noticed was being run by the main sponsor, Whole Foods.
The table featured mashed avocados, which we could top on thick, cracker round toasts. Additional toppings included sea salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sundried pesto. I loved the sea salt and pesto + avo combination, and made frequent visits to this table over the course of the evening.
For those of us attending who don’t drink alcohol, there were several non-alcoholic drink samples for us to taste. Harmless Harvest was giving out pink coconut water (!!) and Rebbl Tonic had a massive spread of elixirs and tonics spread out. The exotic tonics included Maca Mocha, Reishi Chocolate, and Ashwagandha Chai…all of which I tried multiple times, and found myself to be a fan of the chocolate one the most.
I only tried the Ginger Citrus tonic, even though Hibsicus Mint and Forest Berry were also available. I attribute it to the fact that the citrus drink was literally glowing with a bright yellow hue, and that made it difficult to walk away from it 😉
I also passed by the Casamor Farm table, and it looked like the chef was plating small dishes featuring edible flowers! I didn’t get up close to see what exactly was going on since the area was too popular, but it looked quite intriguing from what I could tell.
Another popular table was Kye’s, a to-go food shop that sells unique nori wrap burritos…rather “Kyeritos”! They had both non-veg and vegan flavors available, and you know I definitely got the vegan one to try!
To keep on with the vegan theme, I drifted over to the Cafe Gratitude table, and helped myself to these yam/cauliflower filled savory fold-overs. There was also a green chutney and fruit jam available to coat over as a topping!
I also took some time to check out the pop-up garden/RootDown LA exhibit in the patio area. I was pleased to learn that a program that is invested in the overall health and wellness of urban neighborhoods exists in an area so close to where I live. Kids living in these neighborhoods, and who are involved in this program, are trained to eat and grow their own produce. They are also encouraged to get other members of their community to follow suit. It truly is change happening at the ground level, and based on the display, RootDown LA seems to be meeting their goals!
I also visited the tables of Slow Food Los Angeles, Farm Fresh to You, and Lasan (from who I grabbed a free reusable shopping bag to add to my growing collection)! Rustic Canyon’s table was another favorite of mine.
Marcona almonds coated with lavendar sugar-–need I say more??
I ended up going to many of the tables more than once, trying to avoid awkwardly bumping into others as I was eating. A communal dinner was planned to follow the cocktail hour for those who purchased tickets. It was around 6PM when the announcement to head over to dinner was heard, and that was my signal to head on home.
The air still felt warm outside, but at least now there was a cooler breeze.
As I headed home, my weekend ended just like it had started—I fell asleep to the sound of rain tapping at my window that night 🙂
Are there local youth-driven food and nutrition training programs for kids in your area?