If We Were Having Froyo, Pizza, Nachos and/or Coffee…

If We Were Having Froyo, Pizza, Nachos and/or Coffee…

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post like this, but I also wanted to share all the fun foods I ate with my sis when I was in MV two weekends ago, so here we go with this mixed post!

If We Were Having Froyo, Pizza, Nachos and/or Coffee…

I’d say Golden Spoon’s Froyo is pretty top-notch, and I’d highly recommend paying them a visit, since they squeeze out the perfect amount for you (in that perfect swirl) and you can pick from decadent sauces as well as toppings. My sis got a small condiment cup of Nutella with her froyo, which I thought was an interesting way to serve it since in so many other soft-serve kind of places, it’s expected that you grab a spoonful and drizzle it over the top.

Golden Spoon, Mission Viejo
Golden Spoon, Mission Viejo

I would literally just come here for the sauce collection:

Chocolate, caramel, everything...
Chocolate, caramel, everything…

My froyo creation was pretty bomb:

Had to go for the (crunchy!) Snickerdoodle pieces.
Sister’s froyo and Nutella cup // I had to go for the (crunchy!) Snickerdoodle pieces.

I’d also tell ya that I booked a flight to Germany! I was able to score a deal I could not pass up for late May/early June, around the time my Dad and sister and I went to Europe last year. My main reason is to go hang out and reunite with my bestie E. She’s really close to the Belgium/Luxembourg side, and after doing some research on Google Maps, I figured it’s about three hours from her place by car to Amsterdam! Whatever we end up doing, it’ll be a fun time for sure and I cannot wait!! It’ll also be a good chance for me to practice my four years of high school German, haha!

If We Were Having Froyo, Pizza, Nachos and/or Coffee…

My sis would NOT recommend cashing out a few extra bucks for Daiya’s version of a vegan pepperoni pizza:

Daiya Pepperoni Style Pizza
Daiya Pepperoni Style Pizza

We did the reverse on the night we had the Golden Spoon froyo, and had dessert before dinner. We weren’t super hungry to eat out, so we stopped by Sprouts to pick up snacks for latter. When we spotted the frozen pizzas, we thought why not give Daiya’s version a try? I’ve been wanting to try many of the frozen vegan pizzas I see in Sprout’s frozen aisle, and sharing one with my sis that night was the perfect opportunity to do so.

She baked it accordingly and we split it in half, but I ended up eating 3/4 of it since she wasn’t to enthused about it after her one and only slice. I have to agree with her and say there was really no crust to hold onto at the edge, the dough didn’t taste fully cooked (still had a doughy consistency even though the vegan cheese and pepperoni were hot), and the cheese was extremely gooey. I must say that for a frozen vegan pizza, it was pretty good and you can’t really demand to much out of that…but, I’ve had high-quality vegan pizzas at restaurants before so I wouldn’t say this was the best.

And since I brought up high school German, I might as well add that I’ve been learning Spanish independently since about late October last year, and I feel like it’s been such a useful way to utilize my commute time thanks to podcasts and Duolingo :P. My fave podcast is Coffee Break Spanish, and while I was racing through Season 1, I’m sort of “taking my time” with Season 2, haha! The challenging part of not taking a formal Spanish class is the fact that I tend to pass over the small things like memorizing verb conjugation and direct/indirect object pronouns and all that jazz. I made flashcards, I just have to be more adamant about using them 😛

If We Were Having Froyo, Pizza, Nachos and/or Coffee

I’d say that Portolla Coffee House is a little too pretentious for me, and this Rose Cardamom Latte with soy milk was not worth $6. We just needed some table place and coffee to help us get some work done on the following Sunday morning, but we also wanted to check out what we thought would be a cool new coffee place. Eh, not rushing to come back any time soon…

Rose Cardamom Latte
Rose Cardamom Latte

But they were selling baked goods from Mr. Holmes!

Mr. Holmes cute baked goods!
Mr. Holmes cute baked goods!

Can’t believe it was a little over a year ago that I visited their Highland Park location!!

I’d also admit that work has been keeping me busier than ever! I’m all about taking breaks in between and having balance, but sometimes I feel like there is just wayyyy too much to be done. It’s hard to stay motivated at times, but my boss has been doing really well with his projects and a happy boss = a happy workplace, haha! Kidding aside, I am proud of myself for accepting that any work is good work, meaning that it all contributes towards the end goal. Even if I don’t get everything checked off my list for a particular day, it’s easier for me now to accept it and just move on to tomorrow. As long as I put in a good effort, I should feel anything BUT bad. 

If We Were Having Froyo, Pizza, Nachos and/or Coffee

I’d recommend staying at Union Market (where MV’s Portolla is) until lunch time so you can just walk on over to Tacos Cancun. 

Tacos Cancun, MV
Tacos Cancun, MV

They have such a sunny vibe, and they also have plenty of vegetarian (and can make vegan) options. My sister got a burrito, and I just had to have nachos.

Vegan Nachos
Vegan Nachos

And their nachos were perfect—the chips were the crispy, fluffed up kind with a sharp crunch. The cooks forgot to add cheese, so my plate was automatically vegan which I did not mind at all, because the guac made up for it.

I would also add that I’ve definitely had my ups and downs with running this training cycle, but thankfully I think my shin issue is resolving. I met with my coach recently and he was able to help me adjust my forefoot landing. Apparently I was landing too much on the inside of my forefoot, causing direct stress on the tibia. Once I made a slight adjustment and added a higher kick in the back, I was good to go! It was like a miracle cure, but he also recommended I do a lot more posterior strength training targeting the glutes and hams especially. We’ll see how that goes in the coming weeks, and hopefully it gets me race ready, because I’ll admit, I was feeling unmotivated as of late.

What would you tell me over Froyo, Pizza, Nachos and/or Coffee…?

Golden Spoon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Before Her Mid-Summer Departure

Before Her Mid-Summer Departure

In the second week my sister stayed with me, we ate out for dinner on most nights since my landlords were back. On that Monday night, we went out to dinner with my lab bestie E, at Tocaya in downtown SaMo.

Tocaya, Downtown Santa Monica
Tocaya, Downtown Santa Monica

E and I both had long, exhausting days, and were pretty much falling asleep on the train when on our way to meet my sister. My sister was waiting for us in her car, and from there it was an easy drive.

<3

For a Monday night, the restaurant had a large crowd. We didn’t have to wait too long to order though. We all got bowls, with mine being the Venice Beach Bowl. I just went with the “chef’s suggestion” as listed on the menu, and had the bowl with roasted cauliflower, sweet potato, lentils, garbanzo beans, pickled onions, cilantro-curry salsa, vegan picadillo (pea-based protein) & vegan chipotle jack.

♥

We found a table by the wall, and sat there pretty quiet until our food came. Once we had food in our bellies, we were able to keep a conversation going! It was a fun evening out, and since going out to eat on weeknights is a rare occurrence for me, I found it to be especially enjoyable. We went back towards DTLA to drop E off at home, and then returned back to my place.

The rest of the week was spent getting back into the work grind, with my sister leaving that Thursday morning to have enough time to see our friend who was graduating. She was gone for two weeks, but came back for one night at the end of the month since she was leaving for Oklahoma to spend some time with my parents.

♥

For that night, we ate at Tender Greens, and after hearing me talk about the exquisite Falafel Plate I had at the Culver City location a few months back, she was excited to try it for herself. Although, her plate didn’t exactly match what I had.

Oddball cartoons
Oddball cartoons

This time around, I had the Falafel Salad. But it was honestly nothing to be over the moon about. The falafel was too dry, and the tahini sauce was more of a decoration than something to dip into.

Falafel Salad
Falafel Salad

My sister liked her plate though. She didn’t’ have the dollop of green hummus I had previously, but she had her mashed potatoes so she was perfectly content.

Falafel Plate
Falafel Plate

I drove her to the airport early the next morning, and then drove back home to park the car and head to lab. The following weeks were crazy work-wise, but now as I write this, it’s a little less hectic now.

Words to remember...
Words to remember…

 

I’ve still got tons to do (when is that going to change haha), but that doesn’t mean the weekends are completely non-existent 😉

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

Weekend One with the Sis

Weekend One with the Sis

The first weekend my sister stayed over was spent apartment scoping, food tasting, and shopping (for her, while I anxiously tried to plan my upcoming week in lab/submit a very important email…). It’s funny how this was a weekend in early June, and this post is only going live in mid-July… #PhDStudentLife

We drove down to Irvine after we went to lab. She was able to help me finish faster and with lab experience of her own, I could tell her to do something without worrying if she knew how to do it accurately, haha. We were on the road before noon, and had enough time to stop for lunch before her apartment viewing appointment. So Veggie Grill at the Irvine Spectrum it was!

♥

Because my visits to Veggie Grill have encompassed many of their locations, I like to visit when they have seasonal specials just so I can make sure I am trying something completely new. Their summer menu was featured this time around, and the Super Rica burger was calling my name…

♥

My sister went with her favorite Southern Fried Chik’n plate, as usual, but I did not regret my choice.

The Super Rica Burger, made with Beyond burger, chorizo queso, fire-roasted poblanos, cherry pepper, charred onions, lettuce, tomato, house made "corn nuts" + crispy fries
The Super Rica Burger, made with Beyond burger, chorizo queso, fire-roasted poblanos, cherry pepper, charred onions, lettuce, tomato, house made “corn nuts” + crispy fries

It had the perfect blend of spicy, creamy, and crunchy. I didn’t have fries on the side, but the coleslaw was not some poorly made side dish—it brought it’s out flavorful punch too!

♥

I guess I was hungrier than I thought, because I finished my plate entirely and helped my sister out with hers.

It was soon approaching 1pm so we made our way back to the car and drove towards the apartment complex she booked a tour at. The visit was alright, but the cons definitely outweighed the pros. Finding a place in the OC that was decently priced and clean was surprisingly not too easy a task, and I could tell my sister was feeling frustrated. I was able to propose a solution for her that didn’t solve the housing problem, but at least it took her mind off the issue for a little bit.

Churned Creamery, Cypress
Churned Creamery, Cypress

We were able to stop by Churned Creamery in Cypress for a tasting of their constantly-churning ice cream (the ice cream is in huge vats that are consistently being mixed through). They had number of options, including their unique CroCream: a croissant stuffed with ice cream and toppings.

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The servers were all super sweet ladies enthusiastic about ice cream. After sampling a few flavors, I went with one of their recommendations—Whiskey cream ice cream stuffed in a warm, crispy croissant and topped with Mochi cubes.

♥

The croissant was a flaky, golden brown on the outside and edges, but perfectly soft on the inside.

Whiskey Cream Crocone with mochi and strawberries ♥
Whiskey Cream CroCream with mochi and strawberries ♥

My sister of course got her chocolate fix with an ice cold, thick chocolate milkshake mixed with a scoop of Oreo ice cream. She could not deny that it was quite a dense and thick shake indeed.

♥

Looking at all the flavors of ice cream they offered, the possibilities seemed endless! It just so happened that we could have gone by their Irvine location (their grand opening was that day…), but the Cypress staff accommodated us on short-notice without a doubt.

We were back on the road and headed home soon after. Our plans the following day turned out to be similar—woke up, long run before going to lab, getting out and feeling crazy ravenous, and driving up to NoHo only to find out the restaurant we were planning to have lunch at was closed on Sundays…

We ended up getting veggie burgers at a chain restaurant, and then driving to the Glendale Galleria to find a graduation gift for our friend who graduated at the end of June. While at the mall, I made a stop at GNC and picked up the new Quest Hero bars.

Blueberry Cobbler was my favorite, with a vanilla yogurt coating and a fruity, chewy filling.

Blueberry Cobbler
Blueberry Cobbler

Vanilla Caramel was decent, but I thought the texture of the filling was pretty dry.

Vanilla
Vanilla Caramel

I could go without having another of the Chocolate Caramel Pecan flavor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a chocolate lover (such as my sister) found this to be their favorite of the three.

Chocolate
Chocolate Caramel Pecan

Even though apartment hunting was a bust on this particular weekend, at least we made the most of our dining out choices. And just having my sister for company made the weekend all the more enjoyable.

Veggie Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Week One With the Sis

Week One With the Sis

I’ve finally caught up on my travel posts, but coming back meant starting a crazy work schedule in lab. Summer is no time to slack off, haha. 
 
A lot of my time-intensive experiments were beginning at the end of the month, so the the two weeks after my trip were spent planning for the arduous weeks ahead. At least I had my sister with my for moral support. 
 
With no landlords in the house for the first week we were back, we had free reign over the kitchen. Scrambled eggs, with a side of bread and cooked veggies from a pan was our staple dish, and of course we accompanied it with snacks. 
 
Throughout the week, I sampled many of the snacks I brought back from our trip, including these Grenade protein flapjacks.
 
♥
 
The original Grenade bars contain gelatin so unfortunately, I haven’t been able to sample those, but these protein flapjacks were a decent option for vegetarians. One of the reasons I love the U.K.? The “suitable for vegetarians” logo…
 
grenade-coconutchaos
I had the Coconut Chaos and Fused Fruit flavors, and while the coconut one was my favorite of the two, I thought the chewy but dense consistency of the bar made it seem more like a slab of dry cake rather than a flapjack (if we are using the word to refer to pancakes here, haha)! 
 
♥
 
The Cadbury’s Oreo Mint bar was an immediate favorite of mine, as it had a soft mint cream filling with a slight crunchy texture from the Oreo cookie pieces. 
 
♥
 
I also picked up a number of Nakd products, including a bar flavor that was new and some flavor-infused raisins…
 
♥

I didn’t think the Apricot Crunch flavor had enough “crunch”, as its texture and flavor consistency was similar to other Nakd bars, but it had a mild fruity flavor that seemed to distinguish it from the other bar flavors. Although, I must admit it’s been a while since I had a Nakd bar, so I can’t be too sure, haha! The cherry-infused raisins however were unlike anything I’ve ever had before.

♥

I’ve never been too keen on raisins, but these seemed to taste as if cherry juice was individually pumped into each raisin to give it a kick of flavor. I wouldn’t mind eating these to fulfill my daily fruit serving!

And then there were the chocolate spreads…

♥

This Cadbury’s chocolate spread was thinner than Nutella, but it literally tasted like a melted Cadbury’s milk chocolate bar so all was good.

♥

It made a packet of plain oatmeal much tastier, 😛

 This Malteasers Teasers spread won me over too.
 
♥
 
It had small crunchy malt pieces, and my sister and I added it to some yogurt with a broken Wispa bar (a bar I wasn’t too fond of chocolate-flavoring-wise, but it did have an airy, bubble filling.
 
♥

After a few days cooking and snacking from home, my sister and I had dinner out on a Friday evening since that’s when my landlords came back from their trip. It also happened to be a long, exhausting day for me at lab, so having my sister come pick me up from the train station and drive down to downtown SaMo was such a relief.

We had dinner at Wahoo’s Fish Taco, which surprisingly had plenty of veggie options. You could substitute tofu for pretty much any meat item, and so that made it easy when figuring out what burritos and tacos to get.

♥
 
♥

It felt so great to be out on a Friday night with company, chatting about our days and looking forward to the weekend. I was going to drag her into lab with me (just for the mornings 😉 ), but after that we had plans to go to Irvine to check on a potential apartment for her.

We split a burrito packed with tofu, rice, and black beans, and had tacos made to our liking. Mine was topped with a delicately-cut avocado.

♥

With the taco and half a burrito, my sister and I managed well. The meal was satisfying and just enough for both of us.

♥

Instead of walking over to the beach (it’s literally a few blocks away), we drove back home and transitioned into couch potato mode. We fell asleep immediately, but got up the next day feeling refreshed. The week had been a great start and welcome for June!

Wahoo's Fish Taco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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