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. πŸ˜œπŸ‘πŸ½

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 πŸ’€ 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 πŸ’•

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.

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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

Good Things Come in Twos

Good Things Come in Twos

Over the past few weeks, I came across some new-to-me food products, but I was stuck trying to figure out a way to get them featured in a blog post.

Then I realized that all of them came “in twos”, and at least for each product I tried, I was able to compare and contrast two different flavors. I didn’t have a strong dislike for one flavor over another for each of the products, so then it hit me—“good things come in twos”!

A developing veggie chip brand, protein bar company, and well-known greek yogurt company with novel “flip” creations are all featured here for your reading enjoyment!

♦

Crunchables are dehydrated veggie snacks that are flavored with an intriguing spice mix, and right now, the company is going through its first steps as a start-up! I was excited when Michelle and Cindy (founders of Crunchables) asked if I could sample two of their products:

The BBQ chips had a mild cheese-like flavor, and the dehydrated veggies used here were broccoli crown pieces. They actually were coated with a dark red powder, and had a sweet taste with a spicy kick of an aftertaste.

BBQ
BBQ

The Nacho cheese chips were thick, flat pieces of dried eggplant. Even though the flavor was titled as “nacho cheese”, these chips actually reminded me of buttered toast!

Nacho Cheese
Nacho Cheese

Beyond the fact that the snacks are just seasoned dehydrated veggies, gluten-free, raw, and vegan, the veggies that are used for the snacks can be traced back to “ugly veggie” origins. The company is focused on a food waste reduction angle, and by working with local farmers to use veggies that would otherwise go to waste, they’re able to lower costs and reduce food waste. I think that’s a pretty cool!

When I heard there was a protein bar that was branded as Too Busy To Eat, and when I confirmed its existence because the name sounded hilarious, I was fascinated and knew that I had to see what these bars were all about.

toobusy
These bars were bigger than I had expected, given their nutrition facts!

I was sent the Double Chocolate Chip and Cookie Dough flavors to review. I immediately fell in love with the DCC flavor, as I found it dense, but very chewy. It had a slight crunch, and if I had to compare it to another common protein bar, I’d say it’s like the Double Chocolate Chunk Quest bar except TBTE’s flavor is much more palatable in my opinion πŸ˜‰

Even if I wasn't "too busy to eat", I'd eat this Too Busy To Eat Double Chocolate Chip Bar. It has a fudgy texture with chocolate crispies mixed in, and it is outstanding at maintaining a mild chocolate flavor despite it literally being all chocolate! I couldn't detect any of that "protein flavor" that is usually common in these kinds of bars (I often found it an issue with the Chocolate Chunk Quest bars...), and I highly recommend this bar by itself, or cut up and added as a dense topping to yogurt, oatmeal, etc.
Even if I wasn’t “too busy to eat”, I’d eat this Too Busy To Eat Double Chocolate Chip Bar. It has a fudgy texture with chocolate crispies mixed in, and it is outstanding at maintaining a mild chocolate flavor despite it literally being all chocolate! I couldn’t detect any of that “protein flavor” that is usually common in these kinds of bars (I often found it an issue with the Chocolate Chunk Quest bars…), and I highly recommend this bar by itself, or cut up and added as a dense topping to yogurt, oatmeal, etc.

The cookie dough flavor wasn’t too bad, but it didn’t remind me of anything related to cookie dough. It had a milky flavor, light crisp texture, and overall had more of a vanilla flavor rather than cookie dough.

This Cookie Dough flavored Too Busy To Eat Bar did not remind of cookie dough to be honest. It tasted more like a vanilla fudge bar with crispier mixed in. I mean, it tasted alright as a protein bar, but I wouldn't compare it to cookie dough, even in its raw form.
This Cookie Dough flavored Too Busy To Eat Bar did not remind of cookie dough to be honest. It tasted more like a vanilla fudge bar with crispier mixed in. I mean, it tasted alright as a protein bar, but I wouldn’t compare it to cookie dough, even in its raw form.

They also have a Vanilla Coconut “superfood” bar flavor, and the bars have about 20 grams or protein, 20 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of sugar. They are grass-fed whey protein-based (so while not vegan, they are vegetarian), gluten-free, contain organic cashew butter, and do not have any artificial preservatives or colors. Like I said, even if I wasn’t “too busy to eat”, I’d be pretty happy munching on these TBTE bars πŸ˜›

Kroger had a Friday Freebie deal a few weeks ago for any free Chobani Flip. I had been wanting to try the new Cinnabun Fun flavor ever since I learned about four of the newest flavors being released. Other than the random toss-in of pecans, this flavor met my expectations. I always wish that there is a greater topping-to-yogurt ratio for these yogurts though 😝

Cinnabun Fun Chobani Flip
Cinnabun Fun Chobani Flip

I’d be the last person to confess my love for carrot cake, but I was flipping over this Carrot Cake Creation Chobani Flip!

carrot
Carrot Cake Creation

The yogurt was actually “sweet carrot”-flavored, and had a good amount of cake pieces glazed with cinnamon, walnuts, and white chocolate. Of course, I wouldn’t argue if Chobani decided to add more toppings to balance out the yogurt πŸ˜›

Which of these food items would you most like to try?

Yes, It’s Done!

Yes, It’s Done!

It’s so hard to believe that the past couple of months had me so anxious/stressed all over one little day. Well, on Tuesday I passed my qualifying exam, and it literally felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. I had been working on it for so long that I forgot what it felt like to go out on the weekends and explore the city.

Now the only major thing left in this whole grad school thing is getting to the end—defending a dissertation and graduating! That won’t be for at least another 2.5 years, but I honestly think the hard part is over, at least in terms of academic requirements.

Last week however, I was feeling 10x more stress and anxiety compared to how I feel now.

Last Thursday, I stayed home to work from home. I was glad to save time from commuting, and I even squeezed in a run and Whole Foods/Vitamin Shoppe stop before heading home to work.

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RX Bars

To my surprise, I found two new-to-me RX bars at Whole Foods, and snacked on them at the store.

Coffe Chocolate had a rough texture and the chocolate chips against the coffee flavor was strong, and overall I thought it was alright. I truly loved Apple Cinnamon though—tasted like Apple Pie if one added nuts into the crust!

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Coffee Chocolate // Apple Cinnamon

I also had a Smores flavored Combat Crunch bar that I picked up from Vitamin Shoppe, and it tasted like a higher-quality Milky Way bar. Basically a Milky Way bar with a thicker, crispier, crunchier chocolate-coating shell.

smores
Smores Combat Crunch

On Saturday, we got a day break from the rain. I used that to my advantage and went out for a ~11 mi run. I was thinking about attending the women’s march taking place in downtown, but my priority was working on my PowerPoint presentations.

out_
Uplifter’s Kitchen

Before heading to work, I had to get some breakfast in me. I ended up going to Uplifter’s Kitchen for a quick, small bite in a cozy atmosphere. Despite it being sunny, the temperature was still chilly from the rain.

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Where to order

I ended up getting a seasonal mixed berry scone with a cafe latte on the side made with almond milk. I could have consumed this on the go, but I truly did want to give myself a break before transitioning to work mode.

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A seasonal mixed berry scone with juicy fruit!

This scone was encrusted with sugar crystals, and the blackberries and strawberries were so juicy!

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Also got a latte with my scone πŸ™‚

The latte on the other hand, was sub-par. Maybe because they hadn’t sweetened it themselves, and when I got it I was too lazy to figure the right amount of sweetener to add. At least the frothy part looked pretty, and it was made from locally-sources almond milk? That is a plus, right πŸ˜‰ ?

tapatio
Picked a seat by the wall.

I also later found out that my scone made a difference! Haha, apparently, the proceeds that Day were going towards organizations that support women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality and protection from discrimination for immigrants. I was thrilled to hear that, and safely came to the conclusion that I was able to contribute to the day despite my own personal to-do list πŸ™‚ !

Well—since my quals trials are over, I am overwhelmed (with happiness) thinking about what I could do this weekend! Ah, it feels like I need to catch up with the entire world, haha.

Uplifters Kitchen 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.

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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.

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Oh hello nachos…

I ate every single chip (plus some of my sister’s) drenched in vegan queso, sour cream, beans, olives, jalapeΓ±os, and guacamole. It hit the spot, and with several gulps of water, my headache magically went away πŸ˜‰

guacnjalapenos
Guac!

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

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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!

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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 ombrΓ© color of this bar were 😍 but the taste not so much πŸ™. 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…

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“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 πŸ˜… 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

Netflix & Chill

Netflix & Chill

I consider myself an expert when it comes to staying in. It’s pretty much what I do every weekend night, and rare are the occasions when I actually have plans to go out on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night. Last weekend was one of those rare moments since I was able to celebrate my sister’s 21st with her and our two best friends, but my plans for the coming weekend include nothing more than long runs, lots of rest (naps!), Netflix/Youtube/TV and snacks to accompany all of it!

I was inspired by AdoreMe to share what my perfect “Netflix & Chill Night” would look like, from snacks to sleepwear. And because food ranks supreme, might as well start with that:

When it comes to snacks, it goes without saying that bars are the first thing that come to mind for me. Bringing home new bars to try alone, or along with an ice cream pint, are one of my favorite things to put together in regards to a weekend snack I can cozy up with.

Recently, I tried three new-to-me flavors of bars that were mostly misses, but at least I knew which ones I would not be obsessing over in the future.

combatcrunch__chocolatecake
Combat Crunch – Chocolate Cake

One of these major disappointments was this Combat Crunch Chocolate Cake flavored bar. It was dry, too crunchy, and left an icky aftertaste. It was like a Crunch bar desiccated on the inside and left a stale chocolate shell…gross.

The two FitJoy bars I tried afterwards were like chocolate truffles encrusted with gold flakes in comparison, but when not compared to anything else they were pretty mediocre.

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FitJoy – Chocolate Iced Brownie

The Chocolate Iced Brownie would have been perfect has it not been for the random nuts.

fitjoy_cinnamonroll
FitJoy – Frosted Cinnamon Roll

Same thing with Frosted Cinnamon Roll. While the bar was soft and looked decadent, the nuts mixed in threw me off.

If I want to make sure I’m going to have a perfect Netflix & Chill kind of evening, I’ll probably stick with an RX Bar or a Combat Crunch flavor I do like, such as Cinnamon Twist.

I hinted at this earlier in the post, but it also goes without saying that ice cream is one of my weekend necessities. Over the summer however, my acai/smoothie bowl cravings overthrew my ice cream ones, and I had a few weekends where it was all about the smoothie bowls.

front
Juice Crafters, Santa Monica

The picture above suggests it was a foggy, cool morning, but on this particular Sunday, I wasn’t feeling the whole ice cream thing. Turns out I wanted something colder, fruitier, and healthier??

juice-crafters
So much wood going on!

This led me to my first encounter with Juice Crafters. It promptly opens at 7am and closes at 6pm. If I had thought about my weekend plans in (in advance), I could have ordered a bowl to take back home.

I know this now for the future…this particular bowl however, was enjoyed at a local park before embarking on a weekend stroll.

acai_protein_bowl
Time to demolish this.

I’m not sure why I did not think of bringing home smoothie bowls earlier…my weekend nights in have become so saturated with ice cream (not like it’s a bad thing…), but a Protein Acai Bowl is not such a bad option either. When you have an acai blend base mixed with vanilla protein, a whole lotta walnuts and almonds, almond BUTTER, strawberries, and a raw banana (not exactly my most favorite part, but I somehow managed to eat and keep it down when I mixed it completely into the bowl), it’s a combination that can’t be beat.

acai_bowl
Absolute YUM.

So now that I’ve established I need bars and some sort of frozen treat for a night of chillin’, what would be a cozy & fun ensemble to wear? My sleepwear drawer looks almost identical to that of my workout clothing drawer to be honest. Given that confession, it makes sense that I would pick something along these lines from AdoreMe’s current collection:

A sleeveless blue top with crossing straps is in trend with the criss cross strap bras of late, but obviously has more coverage.

An on trend, but soft-looking sleep top!

Normally I’d pair this kind of sleep top with shorts because it gets so hot in LA (and stays that way even at night). Plus I tend to overheat when I sleep! But sometimes cute overrules convenience…

Looks super cozy, but probably very warm! Too warm for LA even.

…these pants look incredibly comfy and warm, but realistically I’d probably wake up the next morning sweaty as if I completed a long run in my sleep!

With snacks on hand, comfy PJs on, and something entertaining to watch on Netflix/YouTube/TV, it’s difficult for me to imagine that I could—or would even want—to do something else to relax. Isn’t this honestly what we all wish to do every weekend πŸ˜‰ ?

Do you prefer weekend nights out or in?

Juice Crafters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Better Than Cheesecake: 2 Years Later

Better Than Cheesecake: 2 Years Later

Disclaimer: I was provided samples for review by ANSI Nutrition. All opinions are my own.

It’s hard to believe that a little over two years ago, I tried these bars for the very first time.

ANSI (5)
The newest line-up of ANSI Nutrition Gourmet Cheesecake Bars!

Well, not the bars you see pictured above, but rather the original ANSI Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bar flavors that are no longer produced. After looking back at my old review, I realize that I paid most of my attention to the soft, doughy texture of these bars.

But things have changed over the past 2+ years. I was contacted by the company to do a review of their new flavors, since they had a major revamp since I last tried them!

ANSI (6)
Still soft and chewy!

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor is no longer in production, but I found my new favorite to be Chocolate Truffle.

ANSI (1)
Chocolate Truffle

The bars, while still having a soft, doughy texture, now have a coated chocolate layer on the bottom.

ANSI (4)
Now with a chocolate coating layer on the bottom!

This addition I feel adds more character to the bar…and also makes for a good oatmeal topper since the chocolate is quick to melt!

ANSI (7)
Oatmeal + Chocolate Truffle Bar β™₯

The Chocolate Peanut Butter was a satisfactory flavor in my opinion.

ANSI (9)
Chocolate Peanut Butter

It could have been an even better flavor if I didn’t see this oozing out.

ANSI (2)
Surprise?

I’m thinking it was just oil condensation since the wrapper was sticky as well. The ingredients list was all either plant/milk-based, so this was more of an aesthetic flaw than a taste one.

My least favorite flavor was Raspberry Truffle. I wouldn’t mind if they brought back the Strawberry Supreme Cheesecake.

ANSI (8)
Raspberry Truffle

The raspberry flavor had a somewhat bitter flavor, and overall with the chocolate coating actually tasted quite bland.

ANSI (3)
Raspberry Truffle

I think it’s safe to say that Chocolate Truffle was a winner of a flavor, but Chocolate Peanut Butter and Raspberry Truffle were not the best of improvements. I think bringing back Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and the Strawberry Supreme flavors, while keeping the Chocolate Truffle flavor, would be a trio of flavors worth having around!

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

Last week was a hectic one, and this week was insane. Thankfully it’s Friday, and my vacation to the PNW is coming up πŸ˜‰

Since last week was graduation, and we had two people in my lab walk in the ceremony and officially receive their PhDs, everyone has been feeling the stress (and excitement). I would say for me, it’s more stress than excitement, but I’m doing my best to work it out, and work it out with the people that are involved.

Did I mention that I need a vacation?

Snacks leading up to graduation were alright, and featured some new-to-me bars. I tried the NoGii brand for the first time, and Oh Yeah! One’s newest flavor: chocolate birthday cake!

The NoGii super protein bar in chocolate peanut butter flavor had a mild after taste and the chocolate layer seemed filmy, but the chocolate flavor itself was alright.

NoGii Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crisp Super Protein
NoGii Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crisp Super Protein

The cookies & creme flavor had a harder texture, but it didn’t have an abnormal aftertaste.

NoGii Cookies & Creme Super Protein Bar
NoGii Cookies & Creme Super Protein Bar

The campus bookstore was fully stocked of Oh Yeah! One’s newest, chocolate birthday cake, and it tasted more like a stick of fudge with sprinkles. Perhaps if it had a cake-like center things would have been more different?

OhYeah! One Bar - Chocolate Birthday Cake
OhYeah! One Bar – Chocolate Birthday Cake

On the Saturday after graduation, one of my lab mates and I attended a series of talks in the afternoon. Prior to the event, we had a light lunch at Dinette, a small but cleanly-designed eating space in the heart of Echo Park.

dinette (8)
Somewhere in Echo Park

Even the umbrellas looked fresh.

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Dinette

The ordering counter was encased in glass, and there were pastries/savories placed by the display case on the side.

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Such clean windows at the ordering counter
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Behind all those pastries…

The menu was written on a classic blackboard, but I knew I wanted the avocado toast, and it didn’t take much convincing for my friend to order it either πŸ˜‰

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Menu!

We were able to find an empty table in the patio area as we waited for our names to be called and our toasts to be handed over to us.

dinette (5)
Patio seating…don’t mind that guy’s leg, haha.

My friend’s name was called before mine even though she ordered after me, but they handed her my toast as well.

dinette (9)
Avocado toast with olive oil and chili flakes…

Each toast was placed on branded parchment paper in a baking tray, and spread generously with heapings of avocado, chili flakes, and olive oil drizzle.

Just look at it though…

dinette (6)
I SAID, avocado toast with olive oil and chili flakes…

Once our toasts were eaten and not a crumb was left, we ended up walking in the wrong direction for ten minutes before turning around and heading to the actual event! We stayed in the area until about 4pm, and then took the bus back home since we live in the same general area (and since neither of us have a car!).

dinette (7)
Heading home.

It was a nice break in routine to spend a weekend outing with another person, instead of having yet another solo adventure…and it was even someone from work, which made it more fun in since I got to know them in a more casual setting.

An (avocado) toast—to sharing more weekend outings with acquaintances that slowly become friends πŸ™‚

What is/are your favorite topping(s) for toast?

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

Quest Labs – Product Review

Quest Labs – Product Review

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily paid nor given complimentary product by the company to write this review. This review is based on the products I personally ordered from Quest Labs/Quest Nutrition. All opinions are my own.

A couple weeks ago, Quest Nutrition opened up a new site called Quest Labs as a way to test out new products before releasing them to the general public.

Even though I don’t consider myself to be obsessed with Quest bars as much as I used to be, I did want to try these flavors out because of a) FOMO and b) how could I pass up the chance to try new bar flavors?!

Since the website was sold out of the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip singles, I ended up getting a full box. I hoped that I wouldn’t find them disgusting since they would be my “box for the week”, but it ended up being one of my faves! Perhaps it was due to the fact that it was VERY much like its cousin CCCD, except with a little bit more spice and some oat flakes thrown in.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quest Bar
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quest Bar

Blueberry Muffin hands down was my all-time favorite. It was like a fruity version of the Smore’s bar, and the golden color of the graham cracker pieces is eye-catching!

blueberry_muffin
Blueberry Muffin

Rocky Road was the third bar flavor offered through Quest Labs, and it didn’t score to well by me. It reminded me of the chocolate and peanut butter bar actually because both have nut pieces. But besides the varied texture, the flavor was a bland protein chocolate one :/

rocky road
Rocky Road

Besides releasing new flavors of the chewy bars Quest is known for, a new type of bar was introduced for testing out…

mixed
Strawberry cereal bar with proyo and unidentifiable nut butter πŸ˜›

a cereal bar!

I think the first time I ever had a cereal bar was when General Mills made bars from their actual cereals, and they had a “milk”/cream filling or whatever. As a kid, I thought that concept was beyond cool (at first), but then after finding they were too dry and hard to bite into, the novelty died away.

I was able to get a single bar of 4/5 flavors (the waffle flavor was sold out, except for the box).

PicMonkey Collage
Quest Crunch – Strawberry

Strawberry and chocolate were both similar in that both had an iced swirl on the top, and were consistent in tasting like their respective flavors.

chocolate
Quest Crunch – Chocolate

Cinnamon Bun had some sparkle to it, from the cinnamon obviously, but the bar itself wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, it had a slight chewiness to it which I liked.

cinnamon_bun
Quest Crunch – Cinnamon Bun

Peanut Butter and Chocolate was my absolute favorite though. Not sure why…maybe it was the chocolate drizzle? I just surprisingly found myself really enjoying this flavor!

pb&chocolate
Peanut Butter & Chocolate

If I were to order any of these bars again, Blueberry Muffin and OCC would be my first picks. I could live without Rocky Road, and while the cereal bars were a nice change and a good showing of Quest’s creativity, I wouldn’t necessarily try too hard to make these a staple snack to have around the apartment. Hmm, I wonder what they’ll decide to do after hearing all the feedback from everyone who tried these out πŸ˜‰

Which flavor would you try?

Are you a cereal fan (regular or bar form)?

Springtime Sushi

Springtime Sushi

Is it really already APRIL?! By the way the weather has been acting, it’s pretty real indeed!

Thanks to my tax return, I finally invested in a BedJet, so it looks like a creature from Star Wars is “hiding” under my bed covers…at least I no longer have to worry about participating in A/C Wars with my roommate! I absolutely love this little machine, and the its ability to keep my skin cool throughout the night. Why didn’t I get this sooner when I was going through ED recovery night sweats?!

I also had the urge to let off some steam on Instagram, after being whistled at a couple times last week while running. Some may say it is to be expected when running outdoors in the city, but that is by no means a valid, acceptable reason. I should be able to wear what I want to workout, and not feel ashamed, fearful, or intimidated by others for doing so.

Loving my new BedJet, and still gonna rock my Nike pros!
Loving my new BedJet, and still gonna rock my Nike pros!

Now onto the foodie-things of last weekend. Since I did not have to set one foot into lab over the weekend, I was able to hang out with my roommate on Saturday afternoon. We went to an outdoor music festival, and it was blazing HOT outside. I made the mistake of wearing strappy sandals, taking advantage of the fact I did not have to go into lab, but forgetting that heat + walking + sandals = blisters. UGH.

Jogasaki---my first food truck in LA (besides Waffles de Liege offered at a race I ran in last year...)
Jogasaki—my first food truck in LA (besides Waffles de Liege offered at a race I ran in last year…)

There were food trucks at the venue, and I took it as an opportunity to try my first one (besides the waffle one at a race I went to last year). Jogasaki was the most popular one there, and the only vegetarian dish they had was the veggie burrito.

The truck menu.
The truck menu.

I don’t know why they didn’t just call it a Sushirito though, since the other menu items were variations on the sushirito…

Veggie Burrito---er, Sushirito
Veggie Burrito—er, Sushirito

My sushirito was cylindrical roll of rice, filled with cucumber, avocado, and marinated seaweed, all of which was rolled up in rice paper. My roommate got a grilled cheese and tater tots (and I cannot imagine how she ate that hot food in the blazing hot weather…). We ate our meals on the grass, and then got up afterwards to check out the freebies.

Spring time music, food, and freebies.
Spring time music, food, and freebies.

The live music was pretty lame because there really was no defined set of acts and performers. A couple people got on stage to say “check, check”, and then they reverted to just playing pre-recorded music.

At least the freebies were worth it. I ended up with several shirts, KIND bars, sunglasses, and between my roommate and I, a bouquet of flowers for our apartment.

Free flowers!!
Free flowers!!
Some of dem freebies
Some of dem freebies

On Sunday, I felt the need to go shopping! I ended up going alone to Culver City after my morning long run, and ventured inside the Culver City Mall for the first time. When I lived in NorCal, my local mall got on my nerves after a while because it was pretty much the only place my friends and I would go, but stepping inside the CCM made me remember those good ol’ times and how much I miss those days πŸ˜›

I stopped by the Sprouts next to the mall before heading home, and pick up two Enlightened pints that have been all the rage on Instagram.

Those swirls... :D :D :D
Those swirls… πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Frozen Hot Cocoa blew me away…probably because the ingredients listed GHEE as an ingredient (which I have never seen as an ice cream ingredient before!!) and the swirls were insanely delicious. Of course I soon got tired of the chocolate, but those swirls!! I topped the pint with a FitElite Birthday Cake bar, which I bought only because a GNC was in the mall and I had not tried this bar flavor yet. I honestly was not a fan, since it tasted like bland vanilla fudge taffy with a smattering of spherical sprinkles :/ .

Frozen Hot Cocoa pint topped with a FitElite Birthday Cake Bar.
Frozen Hot Cocoa pint topped with a FitElite Birthday Cake Bar.
Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch
Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch

Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch on the other hand, made my Monday evening pleasant. After a long day in lab, coming home to this pint mixed with cookie pieces and oatmeal flakes in a caramel base was super comforting. If the other Enlightened ice cream flavors are just as good as these two, I think I’m going to have many worthwhile Sprouts grocery shopping trips in the near future πŸ˜‰

Have you heard of BedJet?

Would you eat a sushirito?

Jogasaki Sushi Burrito 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
Racing for pizza.

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

pp
Inside Pitfire Pizza

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

knightstable
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!

the_salad
Salad.

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 πŸ˜›

PIZZA.
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.

cookie_and_icecream
Spoons ready!

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

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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