Time Flies When You’re Living Life

Time Flies When You’re Living Life

Ahhh, no post for about two weeks! I kind of needed the break, and life has been “much too distracting” to find the time and patience to put a post together. I haven’t even been perusing through the ‘gram much lately either. It makes me happy that I’m busy/engaged enough with life right now to not be glued to a screen.

I didn’t even go out for lunch or dinner over Easter weekend. That Saturday, I was extremely exhausted and ended up taking naps in the afternoon in addition to “sleeping in” until 7:30am. I did get some new flavors of bars to try and a jar of D’s Naturals spread…

salted-caramel
Post run noms from this morning! Got around to trying the Salted Caramel Oh Yeah! One bar and thought it tasted fantastic! Definitely has a salty kick, but the caramel-flavored shell coating and fudge-like center of the bar helped to balance it all out. And there’s something about that purple-colored wrapper that’s just so eye-catching. 😜👍🏽

I did force myself to get out of the house to go see a critically-acclaimed anime movie called Your Name. I went to a late afternoon showing at an indie film place in Santa Monica, and did not regret it! The movie was fantastic—the animation, storytelling, plot twists—critics say the director of this movie is the next Hayao Miyazaki and if they are coming to that conclusion based on this movie alone, I feel they are right on the money!

maple-glazed-dnut
This Maple Glazed Donut Oh Yeah! One nutrition bar definitely hits you with the scent of maple syrup when opened, but the flavor is quite bland in comparison to the other new flavors I tried in my previous recent posts. Be wary of delicious sounding flavor names!

Because I felt so exhausted on Saturday, I moved my long run workout for the week to Sunday. My coach usually has me doing Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday workouts as my “key” workouts, while the rest of the days are easy aerobic recovery days. So on Sunday, I set out to do a mix up long run that was 30k in distance, with fast intervals thrown in. Since the workout was broken up in 5k chunks, it was mentally manageable.

blueberry-cobbler
This Blueberry Cobbler Oh Yeah! One nutrition bar may be one of my new favorites. Served cold, it tastes like a blueberry ice cream bar. 🍦

Obviously, I was ravenous and smelly by the time that was over. I quickly showered and took the train over to E’s place since she invited me to her landlords’ Easter brunch. I didn’t have pics from the event since I wasn’t in a phone picture-taking mood, but we were fed well. I was also introduced to the delicious treat that is a Ferrero Egg. Where can I get more of them??

cocoa-glazed-cinnamon-roll-
On Saturday, I felt dead exhausted 💀 sleep 😴…the kind of tired that makes you feel like staying in bed ALL DAY is a very good idea…but I did manage to have this Cocoa Glazed Cinnamon Roll @dsnaturals Fluffbutter from Vitamin Shoppe. After snacking on this, and taking yet another nap, at least I had enough energy to go see @yourname.movie ! Loved this cocoa scented jar that had a soft butter texture just as much as I loved the movie 💕

Afterwards, E and I spent the rest of the day in downtown SaMo, walking down the pier and laughing at a sign that said “Weed Week” that was flying through the sky attached to a plane. We then walked in circles around the promenade only to sit down for coffee and later Pinkberry. When I got home, I crashed and fell into a glorious night’s worth of sleep!

The following week kept me busy—I honestly can’t recall all of the things I did, but there was so much done, yet so much left to do! #LifeofAResearcher . I was so exhausted by Friday night, and a new pint flavor was exactly what I was craving:

justlike a milkshake
This legit tastes like a {vegan} melty chocolate milkshake with cream-filled cookie chunks. Sometimes it pays off to try a new flavor—I was about to buy Snickerdoodle (which I know I love), but felt a little daring on a recent trip to Ralph’s. Now I think I may have another new So Delicious favorite…

It was also an interesting week for my training program too! My coach had me try a double run on Saturday…15.5 miles in the morning and 10 miles in the PM. It sounded daunting at first, but I was also looking forward to the challenge! I ran the morning run with one of my marathon team teammates, but the weather was not in our favor. It got hot really quickly, with temperatures reaching the 80s by 8AM. It was a tough workout for sure, but having someone to run the longer run of the day with certainly helped!

I noticed that my upper left calf started to feel sore, so I made sure to spend some time rolling it out/massaging it when I got home. Before getting in some hours of rest and recovery, I stopped in Culver City to address the other “R”: REFUEL.

Tender Greens seems to have locations all over So Cal, and in my two and half years living here I had yet to visit…somehow a Saturday that got into the 90s persuaded me to walk through the doors of their Culver City location…

Tender Greens, Culver City
Tender Greens, Culver City

The set-up was ordering at the front, and then walking towards the back to pay and get your meal. I found it odd that you had to pay in the back, and then even more awkward waiting around the front to pick up your meal, since they could have easily handed you a number placard to place on your table and have them find you. At least there was ample, spacious seating at this location, and some spots out on the patio as well.

sit
Very spacious

The unusual set-up didn’t bother me too much in the end though, because the giant Falafel Plate I ordered hit the spot and vanquished my hanger.

falafel plate
Falafel plate with side kale salad (garlic dressing + parmesan), a green dollop of hummus that looked like guacamole, tahini sauce, and a crisp crostini bread.

After eating everything though, I wondered how it would affect my PM run. When I did go out for my 10 miler in the evening, I was relieved that the temperature was much cooler. It helped that it was a beach run and that the sun was setting. I felt great for the first half, but then tummy issues slowed me down for the last half. I did make it home in one piece though, and was proud of myself for conquering my first long run double.

falafel_plate
Close-up of everythang.

After talking to my coach, he affirmed that practice makes perfect and that I’ll get used to these the more I do them. He also recommended that I try refueling with foods that are simple in carbs, some fats, and low protein no more than two hours before the PM run—recommendations that I’ll definitely put into practice for the next time!

Tender Greens Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Spiraling Out of Texas

Spiraling Out of Texas

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.

beckley
Spiral Diner on Beckley Ave., Dallas

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.

dinee
Have a seat!

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.

spiral
Just guess what I got…

All dishes came out beautifully presented, and close-to-perfection in taste.

gorgeous_nachos
Oh hello nachos…

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 😉

guacnjalapenos
Guac!

Whatever headache my sister may have had prior to this sandwich must have gone away too, no doubt about it!

sandwich
Sis’s gorg sandwich

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.

pasta
The vegan parmesan & peas made it pretty.

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!

1-2
Post-run requirements – fuzzy socks and a snack. Tried the Oh Yeah! One Cinnamon Roll Bar: “NYE snack from yesterday was the Cinnamon Roll Oh Yeah! One bar. The swirl and caramel ombré color of this bar were 😍 but the taste not so much 🙁. Was it too much cinnamon? That’s my guess because something was overpowering the sweetness. Okay, next time at @vitaminshoppe it’s on to the next one!

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…

1-3
“I’m going to miss running on this trail! I was able to run 40 mi/week for two weeks (consecutively!), most of which was done on this trail by the Arkansas River. I also had to include some muggy Houston runs 😅 haha but I’m so excited to see my mileage ramping up, and to be running faster paces that look to be consistent. Ready to head back to Cali and keep up the work!!”

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!

How did you enjoy the last days of 2016?

Spiral Diner & Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Brief Bar Break?

A Brief Bar Break?

I’ve made it clear on this blog time and time again that I am a self-proclaimed bar queen. But I’ve been thinking about cutting back on the bars, and exchanging them with breakfast meals I’ve been missing—like a hot piece of toast smothered with nut butter or oatmeal with nutella and granola. Every time I do think about going on a “bar break” though, I ended up learning about a new flavor of a bar or a new bar brand, and FOMO sets in. I immediately have the desire to try it!

That’s what happened this past week when Quest Labs released a new trial flavor that they restocked after first selling out—Mocha Chocolate Chip.

mocha_chocolate_chip

I got a box, and when I tried bar one out of twelve, I was actually very pleased with how it tasted and its chewy, soft texture. It has a subtle coffee smell, and crumbly chocolate chunks are mixed throughout. While it was appreciation at first bite, I grew bored of the bars as the week wore on. I felt “compelled” to eat them because I didn’t want them to go to waste, but I feel like it also got in the way of me being flexible with my morning foods.

Along with this MCC bar box order, I decided to get one bar of the waffle-flavored cereal bar since I missed out the first time Quest Labs released it.

protein-crunch-waffle

It smelled a lot like maple syrup and the cereal part of the bar did not cause my mouth to go dry like many cereal bars I have had in the past tend to do. Overall, I like the flavor and it was of a decent size, but I was relieved I didn’t have a box of them to worry about!

As much as I love bars, I think I’m going to take a break from my “box a week” pattern. There are some days I do honestly crave a protein bar, but I want to see if I can get away from being constrained to specific ones over the course of a week. I think it’ll be good to change things up like this, as it will be more of a mental relief than a physical one…though I don’t think my body would mind the change either. I’m not making promises though—I just want to try to see if I can relieve myself of this thing that has become routine.

When Saturday rolled around, bars were the last thing on my mind. I spent the majority of the day in downtown SaMo and was especially hungry for Mediterranean food at Hummus Bar Express.

hummus_bar_express_

Downtown SaMo surprisingly wasn’t packed. My guess was that everyone was heading in the direction of DTLA for tailgating and the football game. I took this golden opportunity to my advantage, and ordered myself a veggie plate that came with hummus, babaganoush, 8 falafel pieces, and a large slice of not pita, but laffa bread.

hummus_bar_express_2

All was good at this moment—the falafel was green and crispy, the hummus smooth and thick:

hummus_bar_express_1

And the bread…the bread I could eat for days

laffabread

It was a flat, pliable piece of bread that tasted good with everything. Even the falafel! If I ever come back to Hummus Bar Express, I don’t think I would object to ordering just the laffa bread with maybe some babaganoush on the side…it was that good!!

Have you ever felt the need to take a break from a food routine?

Hummus Bar Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fast Food, South Indian Style

Fast Food, South Indian Style

Fast food has never been my go-to dining choice when eating out, but there is something intriguing about the concept at the international level. That’s why I did my research prior to my trip—in addition to the traditional home-cooked meals I would be served by well-meaning family and friends, I also wanted to be a patron of the Indian versions of Subway, McDonald’s, and KFC.

You know, for the experience.

When I first discovered Subway had franchises in India during a previous visit, I was fascinated by the menu offering—sandwiches to please the vegetarian palate were not just restricted to the classic ‘Veggie Delite’. In fact, there was a menu catered for vegetarians specifically, and it included toppings like falafel patties, aloo patties, and paneer cheese blocks. The sauces were guaranteed to be vegetarian-friendly as well.

Since this Subway discovery occurred in my pre-blogging days, I knew I had to stake it out again for the purposes of this blog…and of course since I had a craving for it!

We found a Subway kiosk at the Express Avenue Mall food court. The mall itself is a feast for the eyes!

Express Avenue Mall, est. 2010
Express Avenue Mall, est. 2010

The Subway:

Subway, Indi style!
Subway, Indi style!

Even though I had more than the Veggie Delite to choose from, I knew right away that I wanted the Veg Shammi.

veg shamis // aloo patties // flier for subs
veg shamis // aloo patties // flyer for subs

After purchasing the stout sandwich, I found a seat by a window, and waited for my Dad who decided to buy some watermelon juice since it was in season.

seating area // view from my seat // classic Subway napkin
seating area // view from my seat // classic Subway napkin

Even though the guy only put ~3 shammis in my 6-inch sandwich, it appeared to be very filling:

Veg Shammi Sandwich Subway

This is how the shammi in my sandwich looked like. How does it compare to the staged photo?

Veg Shammi Real vs. Ideal

My heart was set on Subway this time around, but maybe next time I’ll try an Indian-version of Quizno’s? I found it ironic that it was right across from the Subway stall!!

Quizno's in India!

I was able to make it to a McDonald’s the next day for a late lunch. It was in a three-level establishment at Citi Centre, and the actual meal orders took place on the 3rd/rooftop levels. If you wanted to have a soft-serve cone or McFlurry for dessert first though, stay on the first floor!

McDonald's on the 1st (Dessert) Level.
McDonald’s on the 1st (Dessert) Level.

McDonald’s was right next to the escalator, so I didn’t have to walk around the crowded food court in an awkward fashion. Phew…

display case // ordering // ad for paneer mcroyale sandwich // mcd's bag
display case // ordering // ad for paneer mcroyale sandwich // mcd’s bag

Like all other standard food establishments in India, there was a good vegetarian selection to choose from. I stayed with a classic, but unique option—the McAloo Tikki Burger.

the menu // orders come in a bag down a u-shaped conveyor belt
the menu // orders come in a bag down a u-shaped conveyor belt

My order came down from the sky the upper-floor in a bag ready to go. It came out like so:

McAloo Tikki Burger Real vs. Ideal

...
The McAloo Tikki is comprised of a patty made of potato, peas, and indian spices all coated in breadcrumbs. In addition, it comes with a sweet tomato mayo sauce, sliced onions, and tomato.

It was a small burger, slightly bigger than my palm. The breaded patty itself was warm & crispy, and the sauce did indeed have a spicy tang which I liked.

The bill was not as expensive as it looks…

25 INR rupees = $0.50
30 INR rupees = $0.49

After eating, we climbed up the stairs to the rooftop just to see what that looked like. Apparently there was rooftop dining! It was too hot too eat up there though. It would make for a good dining option in say…November or December when the weather isn’t in the mid-90s?

...
another ordering counter at rooftop level // view from top // an ad // view from top // “meck-thaa-nls” <– if you want to literally translate it!

As for KFC, I almost didn’t have a chance to eat there since time was running out for my trip.

caption
KFC Storefront // KFC @ Citi Centre -> “So Veg, So Good”

I had plans to have something different for lunch one day, but when plans didn’t work out, and I happened to notice a KFC nearby, I had my chance! One thing to note, I find it ironic that the slogan for KFC India is “So Veg, So Good”…just comes to show how important it is to please the vegetarian population here 😉 !!

I visited an actual KFC restaurant vs. a kiosk found at a mall. There was one counter for orders/pick-up.

caption
Waiting in line to make order.

Notice the “So Veg, So Good” shirts?

caption
Clearer shots of the menu and back.

The Paneer Zinger looked interesting, but I played it safe and went for the Veg Rockin’ burger. Would be a match for the McAloo Tikki??

caption
Veg Rockin’ Burger on front menu // receipt // stairs for upstairs eating…I think?

When I finally had the burger, I deemed it to be a step down from the McAloo Tikki. The spicy mayo was dabbed on the patty rather than spread, and the excuse for chopped lettuce was nothing compared to the humble onion rings/tomato slice that was in my McAloo Tikki.

caption
the bag // wrapped burger with ketchup // inside

More like a not-so-rockin’ burger to me, unfortunately.

Even though the menu items were unique, and even with the slightly altered branding of these well-established US fast food chains in order to appeal to the demographics of a different nation, the nutritional quality of the food was still not the best. Like I said earlier, my reason for even visiting these establishments was for the experience/novelty factor. I found none of these menu items, except for the Veg Shammi from Subway, to rank nowhere near the nutritious, fresh food that I had been eating in my relatives’ homes.

Have you eaten at a US fast food restaurant in another country?

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