A Weekend in LV, Part 1

A Weekend in LV, Part 1

My weekend trip to Vegas was planned on a whim, mostly due to the fact my bestie from Nor Cal moved there recently. BlogFest was also occurring the weekend I planned to visit, and there wasn’t any time-sensitive experiment holding me back in lab, so everything seemed to work out in my favor.

I worked some long days earlier in the week (including a 12hr stint the day before I left), but once Thursday arrived I was ready to for the desert country.

My MegaBus wasn’t leaving LA until 12:45, so I took it easy in the morning. I decided to take the weekend off from running since I knew the 90-110 temperatures in the Vegas heat would be unbearable to run in. After getting some coffee, I packed up the remainder of my stuff at home and then made my way to Union Station.

It was pretty hot in LA as well, so I was antsy until the bus came and we could finally sit down in an A/C regulated area. The bus ride was pretty uneventful, but I was able to fall in and out of sleep pretty easily. My body had been wanting to catch up I suppose!

Protein House, Las Vegas
Protein House, Las Vegas

I arrived in LA around 6, and my friend had just gotten off work so she was able to swing by and pick me up. I was expecting myself to experience a weather shock but the 105 degree temperature difference felt insane. She also looked pretty exhausted, so finding some place to eat for dinner was an immediate priority.


I had been wanting to check out The Protein House ever since it was featured on the Food Network in one of those undercover, we-fix-your-restaurant shows.

Pick-Up Counter and Protein Cookies
Pick-Up Counter and Protein Cookies

Many years later, I was standing in one of their locations with my friend, deciding which plant-based protein entree to get and a smoothie to complement it.

Counter and Shaker Bottle Rack
Counter and Shaker Bottle Rack

I ended up getting their Plant Power Bowl and the Chocolate PB Crush crush shake while my friend got a Spicy Thai Chicken Wrap and a Peanut Butter Dream smoothie. With her purchase, she was able to score a free shaker cup—something she said she probably will not use, haha.

My smoothie, her wrap
My smoothie, her wrap

Our food came out relatively quickly, and while our smoothies were flavorful and thick, both of our entrees were pretty dry. A little mix of some sauce and everything would have been dandy…

Plant Power Bowl ~ Organic Tofu, Grilled Portobello Mushroom, Quinoa, Chopped Garlic, Sweet Potato, Squash, Red onion, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Black beans, Chickpeas, Siriacha, Pinch Pepper & SeaSalt, Red Pepper Flakes
Plant Power Bowl ~
Organic Tofu, Grilled Portobello Mushroom, Quinoa, Chopped Garlic, Sweet Potato, Squash, Red onion, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Black beans, Chickpeas, Siriacha, Pinch Pepper & SeaSalt, Red Pepper Flakes

My friend was still pretty tired after we ate, so we just walked around the Town Square shopping mall a few miles off the strip since she works there. We spent an hour or so walking through Sephora and some of the other boutiques. Around 9pm, she dropped me off at my AirBnB which…was quite an experience.

The listing forgot to mention a few things…like the apartments were in a semi-sketch area (doubt that anyone would say that but…), the private room I was renting was opposite another private room housing two male guests and that there was a shared bathroom for both rooms, and that some rando would be sleeping on a pull-out couch in the living room my entire stay without a shirt on. Welcome to Las Vegas πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

But my room was clean and everything else seemed okay. It was a weird situation, but I could tolerate it for the weekend.

The next day was the second day of BlogFest and since my friend had to work all day, I spent most of the day at the convention center. I woke up at the crack of dawn, and was ready by 7:30. I decided to walk over, and despite the weirdness of the surrounding area, it was a safe walk over. Even though it was early in the morning, it was already hitting the 90s, and I couldn’t avoid sweating despite my attempts at walking slowly and under shade patches.

I was able to make it to the day’s earliest event which was the networking breakfast with a yogurt bar sponsored by Bell Institute.

Wecolme to Blogfest 2017!
Wecolme to Blogfest 2017!

I made sure to get a bowl of Good Culture cottage cheese topped with berries and a large mug of hot coffee with creamer.

Yogurt bar!
Yogurt bar!

I stayed for the keynote speech and the morning sessions, and around noon stopped by the expo to, ya know…pick up as many freebies as I can!

So many booths, gotta catch 'em all!
So many booths, gotta catch ’em all!

I grabbed enough protein bars, protein powders, kale chips, and other random items to fill one large reusable bag and my backpack. I was (mentally) tired to stay any longer, so I made the decision to walk back to my room in the 105 degree heat around 3:30pm. I wanted to rip off my skin and dunk my organs in an ice bath by the time I got back, but I survived. Opening the door and finding a half naked guy sleeping on a pull-out bed in the living room was awkward, but I retreated to my room and counted the hours until I could hang out with my bestie the next day…

Have you ever had an awkward hotel/lodging experience?

Protein House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Alwheys Good Protein Cookie Review

Alwheys Good Protein Cookie Review

Disclaimer: I was not provided compensation except for product samples for review by Alwheys Good, and all opinions are my own.

When it comes to cookies, I feel like everyone has their own opinion on what is the best cookie. For me, I prefer soft and chewy cookies, ones with not a lot of nuts (or none at all), and if there is frosting on top I won’t complain!

My favorites growing up used to be those frosted sugar cookies that are in almost every supermarket. I knew to always expect them (with excitement of course!) when someone in my elementary school classes had a birthday. I also remember my Dad baking store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough from time to time, and I preferred eating them right away when they were out of the oven. Warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookies that practically crumbled in my hands were >>> day-old, hard, crisp chocolate chip cookies that I tried to pass on to friends.

Nowadays, I like to keep things simple as sugar (or snickerdoodle) when it comes to cookies. I don’t really care that much for chocolate chips or other chunky additions anymore, but that also depends on how I’m feeling. Obviously I didn’t mind when it came to sampling these Alwheys Good Cookies:

Alwheys Good Protein Cookies
Alwheys Good Protein Cookies

I was sent samples of their three flavor to try out, and couldn’t wait to bite into these soft and dense-looking cookies. The are made for cold-processed whey protein, which are ideal conditions for preserving amino acids. The company also donates part of its profits to spinal cord injury research and related charities. Hmm…reminds me of this race I ran a while back. Maybe both groups should connect and work together? I’m sure anyone running Wings for Life in the future would love to see Alwheys Good cookies in their post-race goodie bag πŸ˜‰


Each pack comes with two cookies approximately the size of the palm of your hand. All of my cookies stuck together on their flat sides, so it actually looked like a huge Madeline cookie except larger in size!


All of the cookies were extremely soft, and tasted more like a sponge cake than an actual cookie. I actually liked this chewiness, but the people out their who like crispy cookies or thick shortbread may not favor this texture.


This flavor was surprisingly my favorite seeing that the base was chocolate versus vanilla. I’m guessing because I found it to have the most “character” from all three flavors—white chocolate chips in a chocolate cookie, how’s that for a spin on things? πŸ˜‰

Which of these three flavors would you like to try?

Protein Treats of the Last Few Weeks

Protein Treats of the Last Few Weeks

*EDIT: WHOOPS! Meant to schedule this post for earlier this week, but better late than never! As you can see, I survived my first all-nighter, and the long days after it, haha!

This will most likely be my only post this week, as I have to get to packing…for lab. Yup, I’m going to be living up to my title as a grad student and will be pulling an “all-nighter” this coming week.

Actually, I hope it won’t take me ALL night, but I do know that there won’t be a point in going home after finishing up, since I’ll have to be back the next day bright and early for another experiment!

I just hope hope HOPE that it will pay off though… work hard now, play hard later I suppose?

Since I’m most likely slaving away at my lab bench as this post is live, I thought I might as well finish up this review of sorts (more like a collection of food product photos that didn’t fit in posts from weeks ago), featuring products from Quest, D’s Naturals, and P28.

These were all finds from Vitamin Shoppe, purchased in order to help me get my protein up, as well as rack up enough points before July so I could get my member award certificate.

In an effort to get my protein intake up and consistent, I thought I’d finally try the Quest protein powders that are now available in a variety of flavors.

quest (4)

Salted Caramel is my favorite so far, with a whopping 22g of protein for a 100 calorie serving. To get the most bang for my buck, I mixed it into some yogurt, and topped it with an ANSI Cheesecake bar and L&L birthday cookie. It was an amazing treat for sure!

quest (5)

I mixed Banana Cream and Vanilla Milkshake with cottage cheese and oats respectively. The former came out more liquidy than I cared for, but I’m surprised the banana smell didn’t knock me out! The oat cake was fine, but not surprisingly, was quite dry. It was more of an experiment rather than an intentional meal…obviously this needs a lathering of nut butter…

quest (6)

quest (1)

quest (2)

quest (3)

When I tried the Cookies & Cream flavor, I once again had cottage cheese on hand.


A serving of this, plus a rapsberry truffle D’s Naturals No Cow Bar and a dollop of Signature Blend P28 Spread for a fulfilling bowl after a weeknight dinner. The mixture of textures was picture-worthy in my eyes.


When I bought the Signature Blend, I got another P28 jar for free due to a BOGO free deal. The Peanut flavor was the one I ended up with, and while I enjoyed it for the first couple days, I grew tired of the flavor and texture later on. Compared to regular peanut butter, it is less creamy, but there are still enough oils to get a fluid mix going. It was still good enough to flavor an otherwise plain owl of steel-cut oats!



When the exhaustion gets real, it helps to get nutrition in check. Products like these feature here help with not having to worry about getting enough protein for those long, hard days. I’m all about whole foods and getting my fill of fruits and veggies, but sometimes it doesn’t work out when you have to pull all-nighters in lab! At least we have microwaves to cook our food if necessary…just have to make sure I use the right one πŸ˜‰

Do you sacrifice a lot for your job?

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)

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!

Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder Review

Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder Review

When it comes to protein powder, I prefer using it as a thickener for yogurts and for making smoothie bowls since I am unfortunately not the owner of a fancy blender or Nutribullet. Of course there are so many other ways to incorporate and utilize protein powder, but I stick with what I know best most of the time πŸ˜‰

bobs red mill (3)
FREE protein powder, and a shaker bottle πŸ™‚

However, I was nudged to try to find other ways to use protein powder when I was sent a sample kit of Bob’s Red Mill protein powders. Since they came in flavors like chai, vanilla, chocolate, and unsweetened protein fiber, the variety was a reason in itself to experiment.

bobs red mill (2)
Protein Fiber Oat Cake with Hershey’e Kisses

The furthest I went with experimentation was using the unsweetened protein fiber to make a warm, dough-y cake topped with Hershey’s Kisses. All that went into this bowl was one packet (a typical serving size scoop), a packet of maple and brown sugar oatmeal, and some water and almond milk. It didn’t have any flavor on its own (not even the oatmeal helped surprisingly), but with the Hershey’s kisses I was able to get some spreadable chocolate distribution going. Looking back however, I think this fiber could easily have been used to make a microwaveable pizza crust, and even sturdier oven-baked pizza crust.

bobs red mill (1)
Chocolate Protein Powder

For the rest of the powders though…they were destined to be a part of pro-yo creations. I also tried them mixed with just water to see how the flavors held up on their own.

bobs red mill (4)
Chai Protein Powder Packet

Out of chocolate and chai, chai had the best flavor profile, and even smelled like a warm tea blend upon opening the packet.

bobs red mill (5)
Chai Protein Powder

The vanilla flavor was the only flavor I received in a standard size bag, and I literally went through it in about a week!

Vanilla Protein “Smoothie” Bowl with PB!!!

I was adding it to oatmeal, in addition to yogurts, and even used it to make a smoothie bowl with almond milk, and topped with a very liquid serving of peanut butter (more like peanut juice?). You can even see the chia and flax seeds swimming around!

Do you find protein powder to be a necessary staple or just another product pushed by the fitness industry?



Korean in Burbank

Korean in Burbank

I was in the mood to venture out on Saturday, knowing that the Saturday to follow would be best spent close to home…to prepare for the arduous 26.2 mile journey on Valentine’s Day!

The week leading up to Saturday was taper week, and honestly, running ANY distance lower than 20 miles sounded appealing after that monsoon run! After a Tuesday 8 miler, I enjoyed a bowl of oatmeal with a melted Combat Crunch bar (cookies & cream flavor)!

 So warm and melty
So warm and melty

With the melted CC bar in there, it didn’t matter that I did not include some sort of nut butter or spread…the chocolate coating was perfect enough!

Before heading to Burbank for a late lunch on Saturday, I stopped by the library to pick up some holds…for the very first time since moving to LA! So far, I’ve only used my library card membership to download free music. After almost a year and a half, I managed to get around to actually checking out some books πŸ˜›

My pre-lunch snack was this Mission1 bar, in chocolate brownie. It was extremely chewy, with a consistency equivalent to chocolate taffy. I know they are the latest craze on social media right now, but to me it just tasted okay. Perhaps things would be different if I let it melt atop of some piping hot oatmeal…

At least the bar looks presentable?
At least the bar looks presentable?

From the library, the bus ride to Burbank took about an hour. At least my stop was right in front of Tony’s Darts Away on Magnolia.

Small pub vibes.
Small pub vibes.

I always feel so awkward when I walk into pubs, but my reason for ever venturing into one has always been for the vegan food. From what I can recall, all of my pub visits have involved vegan food—even one hidden in downtown Fresno that served pretty tasty vegan Mexican food!

After standing around awkwardly for five minutes, I made way to the counter and learned that I could order what I wanted at the front and then sit down wherever I wanted. I was able to find a table by a stack of board games, despite a loud birthday party that took up several tables.

I ordered the vegan Korean bowl, since it sounded appetizing with its kimchi, sticky rice, and glazed vegan pork slices. I didn’t have to wait too long to dig into this earthy, insanely-delicious bowl either!

Vegan Korean bowl featuring glazed vegan"pork" and sticky rice!!
Vegan Korean bowl featuring glazed vegan”pork” and sticky rice!!

The vegan “pork” ended up being my favorite of course, and I saved it for last to mix with my sticky rice. The kimchi was what I had first, and it was flavorful and tasted fine on its own. The entire bowl took me a while to finish, but I made my way to the very bottom. Even though I did feel full, I knew that a walk down a couple blocks on Magnolia would get my appetite revved up for some dessert…I did remember passing by a Yummy Cupcakes after all!

Do you drink?

Do you visit pubs for the drinks or food?

Tony's Darts Away Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars of the October

Bars of the October

Yes, we are already approaching the middle of November, but I happened to try many bars for the first time throughout the month of October that I couldn’t hold back on sharing! For some reason, many of these bars were able to distract me from the clutch of Quest, haha…at least for a little while πŸ˜‰

One of these brands was Oh Yeah! I was used to staying away from them in the past since I knew that many of their bars contain gelatin, but not their Quest-like Victory Bars!

Victory Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (1)
Victory Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

The Victory Bars are longer, more rectangular, and have clear-cut corners compared to Quest Bars, but their chewy texture makes them a contender in the protein bar world.

Victory Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (2)
Simply, cookie dough.

The cookie dough flavor tasted better to me than cookies n cream, perhaps because it was less chunky (and less overwhelming), but cookies n cream was still a decent flavor!

Victory Bar Cookies N Cream
Now let’s add some WHITE chocolate chips.

I got a hold of some Honey Stinger bars from Fresh & Easy one weekday morning, since they were deeply discounted. Since the store is closing its doors for good, a lot of well-known bar brands were fiercely marked down, but the PB and chocolate Honey Stinger bars were calling my name for some particular reason, so I just went for it.

Honey Stinger Bars!

The bars are thinner in width than I prefer, but I love how the bottom is a solid chocolate layer. And because of their bargain price, I didn’t feel like the purchase was a complete waste!

Peanut Butter n Honey and Rocket Chocolate

The brand I was most anxious to try was Robert Irvines’ FitElite bars. I know that his crunch bars contain gelatin so I have been staying away from those, but after double and triple-checking the ingredients of the FitElite bars, they looked pretty safe to me!

FitElite Cookie Dough (1)
FitElite Cookie Dough

Obviously these bars are punch towards Quest, but their smaller, dough-ier appearance makes them look like a peppy distant cousin of currently-popular low-carb protein bar.

FitElite Cookie Dough (2)
FitElite Cookie Dough Chunks!

The chunks looked irresistible!

Cookies ‘n’ Cream also had a similar appearnce, but toned it down with the chunk amount.

FitElite Cookies 'n' Cream (1)
FitElite Cookies ‘n’ Cream

I was on the way home from one of my weekend adventures, and ended up having this bar on the Metro! When have I ever exhibited patience when it comes to bars πŸ˜‰ ?

FitElite Cookies 'n' Cream (2)
I couldn’t wait till I got home to eat it, haha.

Have you tried any of the aforementioned bars?

More Fun in Proteinland

More Fun in Proteinland

I wrote a post way back when expressing my love for some protein-rich products, and couldn’t resist following up with some of my recent protein-rich finds.

Recent meaning, since summer. Back in July, I hopped on the PEScience bandwagon after seeing so many rave reviews about the company’s protein powder collection. The first flavor I had to try was Snickerdoodle.

 Select Protein - Amazing Snickerdoodle....this giant tub lasted me a while actually!
Select Protein – Amazing Snickerdoodle….this giant tub lasted me a while actually!

I also received a free bottle, which I now use for getting in an adequate daily amount of H20 πŸ˜‰

 Not for shakes, but for water ;)
Not for shakes, but for water πŸ˜‰

I did get a chance to try Blondie though, since I was given a sample packet of that with the giant Snickerdoodle tub I ordered.

 Sample packet of Amazing Blondie
Sample packet of Amazing Blondie

I pretty much only use protein powder as a thickener (for yogurt, which makes the wonderful creation known as proyo πŸ˜‰ ). But with the sample packet of Amazing Blondie, I mixed it with a spoon of Nutella for an interesting, sweet mix!

Amazing Blondie Protein Powder with Nutella
Amazing Blondie Protein Powder with Nutella

Just like cookie dough or icing, it would probably be perfect if added as a topping to something else, but it tasted just as good on its own. 

Some of the fun proyo bowls I made using PEScience’s Select Snickerdoodle Protein Powder included the following: 

A proyo mix with a base of pear yogurt with chia seeds:

Snickerdoodle Chia Seed Pear Proyo
Snickerdoodle Chia Seed Pear Proyo

Another proyo mix with a strawberry base and chocolate caramel-filled eclairs:

Strawberry Greek Proyo with Caramel-Filled Eclairs

I wasn’t able to get a homogeneous mixture every single time with my bowls, but I liked the oatmeal like appearance. As long as its thick like greek yogurt, I’m good!

I also made an almon milk-based protein puree with the powder, and added Nutella of course πŸ˜‰

Almond Milk Protein Puree with Nutella
Smoother in consistency than yogurt, but super tasty!

Once I noticed my PEScience jar diminishing in its contents, I knew it was time to stock up and try my next protein powder. Vitamin Shoppe was finally having a sale on Garden of Life products, and so I bought myself a tub of RAW Meal to try, in chocolate cacao flavor!

Garden of Life Raw Meal – Chocolate Cacao

I couldn’t wait to dig into this tub of plant-based goodness.

Inside the tub!!

Here’s just a collage of some of my proyo creations to-date made with this powder. The jar is still sitting in my cupboard, becoming lighter with each passing weeknight πŸ˜‰

Raw Meal proyo bowls!

Along with exploring more of the protein powder world, I managed to finally come across a Combat Crunch bar! It was at my campus bookstore of all places, and I munched (more like chewed heavily) on the White Chocolate Raspberry flavor as an appetizer before dinner.

My first Combat Crunch bar.

I love the appearance of these bars—a smooth coating with small, crunchy puffs—but the bar was far from crunchy. My jaws had to go to work with chewing this bar, but at least the flavor wasn’t off-putting. The filling stayed true to its raspberry name. I noticed that in the ingredients list for Muscle Pharm’s Combat Crunch bars, they specifically state if a certain flavor contains vegetable glycerin or just glycerin. Fortunately the WCR flavor contains the former, but some of the flavors may require further inspection if I come across them in the future!

What protein-rich finds have you come across lately?

B-UP Bars Review

B-UP Bars 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 B-UP. All opinions are my own.

Because of the rising popularity of Quest bars, it’s no surprise that other folks want a piece of the low-carb/high-protein “pie” πŸ˜‰ .

I first learned about the B-UP bars when I was visiting family over winter break. On one of the days I was hanging out with my close friends at the local mall, I stopped by the GNC there with the intention of purchasing Quest bars, but B-UP caught my eye (at least for a moment). It was interesting to see a new brand in the low-carb/high-protein space, and so I kept the name in mind to check out later.

I originally thought there were only three flavor offerings (Sugar Cookie, Chocolate Mint, and Cinnamon Roll), but when I recently visited the B-UP website to place my order, I learned about the three additional flavors that were added to the line-up! I was more than eager to dive in, order the sample pack of six total bars, and see for myself how good these bars really are (and if they are worth Quest bar competitor status πŸ˜‰ ).


My order arrived in less than a week, and since I ordered the sample pack, I received each of the six flavors PLUS a mini Sugar Cookie bar and a stretchy bracelet. The package also came with a sweet note!

cinnamon_roll (1)

I first tried the Cinnamon Roll flavor on a morning of running and lifting weights. Since it was a 6 miler-kind-of-day, I was tired and hungry by 9AM despite eating something before all of my physical endeavors.

cinnamon_roll (2)

This bar hit the spot, but not without rocking the tastebuds! It was more on the spicy versus sweet side, and it definitely had that chewy, β€œrough protein” kind of taste.

Sugar Cookie had to be my favorite out of all six—so I was glad that the complimentary mini-size bar I got was that flavor!

sugar_cookie (1)

Unlike the Cinnamon Roll flavor, it had a lighter, airy texture, and contained the right amount of sweetness. It would make the perfect base for topping with nut butter, chocolate sauce, whatever! πŸ˜›

Peanut Butter was another favorite of mine, as the peanut butter chunks reminded me of the chocolate chunks well-known in Quest’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bar.


When I observed the bar from its side, I noticed it’s stratified layers (almost like horizontal stretch marks, haha), and while the bar was chewy, it left a dry taste in my mouth. But then again, it is peanut butter-flavored, and peanut butter does have the tendency to make you demand for water…

peanut_butter (2)

Chocolate Mint was less chewy, harder in texture, and the mint flavor was STRONG.


Not sure if I was a fan of the chocolate ANDMINT!!! combo (it seemed as if the mint was screaming to be noticed πŸ˜› ).


I had the last two bars—Vanilla Peanut Butter and PB&J—together on Saturday morning.


I was a fan of Vanilla Peanut Butter for sure. It seemed to be the gentler cousin of Peanut Butter, and while it still had it’s peanut-ty roots, the gentle scent (and taste) of vanilla was able to shine through.


I love how PB&J actually had a pink layer on top of the bar—such an adorable touch, and it was flavored with beet juice concentrate so no “weird” ingredients were involved. πŸ˜‰


Overall, these bars had a softer, chewier feel to them when compared to Quest bars, which tend to lean towards being dense, chunky pieces akin to fudge. They also looked to be smaller, so it was disappointing to have the bar disappear from my hands within a few bites…but such is the life of a bar fanatic! πŸ˜‰

Have you tried B-UP bars?

Are you a fan of low-carb/high-protein snacks?

Race Recap: Brazen Almost New Year’s Race

Race Recap: Brazen Almost New Year’s Race

I was hesitant to make my last run of 2014 a trail run, but given my options, I had little choice. Despite having numb hands at the end of the run (even with running gloves on!!), it turned out to be an okay run…but certainly not one I would consider running again if given the choice.

The race start in Lake Chabot—fuh-ree-zing temps!!

I woke up around 6AM, and assembled my cold gear essentials together while sipping on some coffee before heading out the door. At least the freezing temperature gave me the opportunity to try on a new pair of Mizuno gloves and some new socks (definitely was in need of some new socks πŸ˜‰ )!


It took us about an hour to get to Lake Chabot in Alameda County, where the race was held. By the time I got to the tents, the half marathoners were already on foot. I was desperately trying to keep warm, so I could only imagine what they were feeling like!

Even the SKY looks frozen!!

The 10k didn’t start until it was close to 9AM. My legs were feeling sore from running in my old gym shoes from previous days’ workouts, since I didn’t pack my Hoka One Ones, but I didn’t have any other choice but to run in my flatly-padded shoes. Oh well, I just had to suck it up and brace myself for the steep climbs ahead. 

The first 2 miles were manageable. I was running at a consistent 9:20/mi pace and it was mostly flat up until we crossed a single-file bridge. At that point, there were hills to run up climb. It got to a point where the hills were so steep that running seemed impossible, and it literally turned into a hike. There were so many defeated looks plastered on the faces of runners around me, but I tried to put the obstacle into perspective: this was a hill that had to be conquered, and after reaching the top, I told myself that I could get back to running business.

We had a turn-around a little after mile 3, and it was all downhill from there—literally. The steep climbs turned into precarious slopes, and having good balance and control of your legs was more than necessary…it was mandatory for survival. Needless to say, I was relieved when I saw the single-file bridge again in the distance, since I knew flat grounds were near. From that point on, it was smooth running to the finish. Of course, my legs felt beat up (mostly from the shoes I was running in, plus the added intensity of the hills), but I guess the heavy finisher’s medal made up for it…


There wasn’t much in post-race festivities and freebies, but there was a huge buffet lined up with sweets and savories:


Nothing on the table struck my fancy, and instead, I made my way over to the Naked Smoothie truck parked near the entryway to the park.


Along with giving out samples…


…they were giving out free t-shirts with four decals of our choosing! Gotta love free t-shirts—especially ones that can be used as PJs πŸ˜€ 


It took about 3-5 minutes to prepare a t-shirt and get it pressed with the decals, so I was in line for a good forty minutes. It was worth it though, and with my Dad standing in line as well, we were able to pick up one for my sister. 

By the time we left the race grounds, it was nearing noon and we had agreed to meet my cousin at Bacheesos in Oakland for lunch. With my sis and I away at school for the past couple months, we had not seen her since summer, and so I was looking forward to the opportunity to meet up with her again!

The restaurant was on a street corner, and even though the sign(s) were tiny, we were able to spot out its location before finding parking. 


Parking was (surprisingly) free, and so we proceeded to walk towards the restaurant without having to pause and sift for spare change. 


We met my cousin inside, and found some seats near the wall. The interior was spacious, and a lunch buffet was already line up. 

bacheesos interior

The lunch buffet offered a grand selection…

bacheeso's buffet

For the first pass, I got a variety of veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, beets, bell peppers, eggplant discs), pita bread, hummus, a yogurt-based dip, and a generous dollop of moussaka. At first I confused the potato-laden dish for babaganoush based on appearance, but when I actually tried it on my plate, I found it too bland for my liking, and didn’t go back for seconds of that. 


Speaking of seconds though, I did go back for more of the veggies and eggplant discs. I also had some scrambled eggs with the hummus, and what a combo that was πŸ˜€


Once we had our fill at lunch, we went back to my cousin’s place and hung out for a while. Along with catching up, we played a cards and had some coffee before leaving in the early evening. To round out the day, we stopped for some froyo before heading home.

Ending the day with a fun cup of frozen yogurt! Flavors here are: original tart, peppermint stick, and fancy french vanilla! πŸ˜›

What was your last race of the year?

Bacheesos on Urbanspoon

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...