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

Enlightened Pints from Summer

Enlightened Pints from Summer

I admit, this post is extremely overdue, but as you can probably guess from how delayed my posts have been, it’s obviously because I’ve been very busy, haha! But as the year comes to a close, I seem to have a need to catch-up on a lot of things in my life, blog posts included! And writing about ice cream pints that Enlightened graciously sent me over the summer? I’m glad I finally have some time to put together a review post!

The review box I received upon my return from Europe in early June contained the following flavors: 

Butter Pecan
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Chocolate
Snickerdoodle
Toasted Almond
Vanilla 

My sister was visiting me that week, and so I was happy to share some of the flavors with her as well 🙂

Butter Pecan – This flavor had a nutty flavor, with slight maple undertones. The pecan pieces had a roasted, crunchy texture despite being mixed into soft ice cream. 

Butter Pecan
Butter Pecan

Chocolate – My sis had the privilege of trying this flavor. Of course, she was a fan. I suggested she wait a couple minutes to let the pint soften after taking it out from the freezer. She agreed that it had much creamier texture after doing so!

Chocolate
Chocolate

Toasted Almond – With Toasted Almond, the creamy ice cream with bite-size nut pieces was perfect enough as a simple treat—but then I added a mini Lenny & Larry’s chocolate chip cookie on top. A flavor explosion ensued 😛

Toppings make things better.
Toppings make things better.

Chocolate Peanut Butter – I forgot to take an “inside-the-pint” pic, but it was literally a smooth chocolate base with HUGE peanut butter chunks. It reminded me of Halo Top’s Peanut Butter Cup with the hardened peanut butter pieces, so this flavor was a winner in my book. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter
Chocolate Peanut Butter

Snickerdoodle – Ahh, I had high hopes for this one…maybe I should have added a Snickerdoodle cookie as a topping. The ice cream itself was smooth and had a light cinnamon flavor, but maybe the addition of cookie pieces or cinnamon cake pieces would have done the trick to make this flavor a stellar one. 

Snickerdoodle
Snickerdoodle

Vanilla Bean – I absolutely loved the smooth and creamy texture—literally like velvet! I even added one of my favorite bars from the summer, GoMacro’s Protein Replenishment!  I’m still on Team GoMacro, but I was obsessed over the summer, haha!

Vanilla Bean + GoMacro Protein Replenishment
Vanilla + GoMacro Protein Replenishment

I also happened to try two other flavors that I wasn’t sent, but were also new-to-me at the time. Found them at Sprouts, my all-time favorite grocery store (besides Grocery Outlet, haha):

Red Velvet – I found this to be a “dark” flavor, if that makes sense, haha! It looked like a dark chocolate, but it definitely had a lighter, milder flavor than a bitter dark chocolate (so, better than I expected!). I also liked the cream cheese swirl, and it reminded me of  Frozen Hot Cocoa without the chocolate bits. It would have been cool however, if there were cake pieces thrown in!

Red Velvet
Red Velvet

Black Cherry – This was a flavor I definitely did not expect to be a favorite of mine, but it was smooth, had a light and fruity taste, and a fair mix of small chocolate chunks and chewy cherry pieces. It’s soft lavendar color was appealing too! Another cookie topping proved useful here too!

Black Cherry topped with snickerdoodle :)
Black Cherry topped with snickerdoodle 🙂

It feels good to get caught up on this review, haha! Looking back at all these pics is making me crave some ice cream now, and seeing that it’s going to be in the mid-80’s today by afternoon, it doesn’t seem like too crazy of an idea to have some 😛

Which of these flavors would you try?

Buff Bake Protein Cookie Review

Buff Bake Protein Cookie Review

Disclaimer: I was provided samples from Buff Bake and all opinions are my own.

I’ve had Buff Bake spreads before, but when I tried my first Buff Bake protein cookie, I wasn’t sure what I had put in my mouth…

buffbake_wcpb
I thought a cup of coffee would work well with this Buff Bake WCPB protein cookie, but sadly this cookie was pretty stale 😑… definitely does not have soft status like @lennyandlarrys

I didn’t want to waste it, but as I was eating it I couldn’t help but think I had made a mistake in my choice of a morning snack. I thought I was being adventurous for trying a protein cookie different from the likes of Lenny & Larry’s, but to my disappointment, I regretted not picking up their white chocolate macadamia flavor from the campus bookstore…

I expressed my dissatisfaction on Instagram, and to my surprise, Buff Bake actually reached out with a response to immediately send over some fresh cookies to try! They commented that the cookie I had purchased had an older packaging, and that I needed a proper introduction to their product (okay, so I added the last part, but I’m sure they wanted to redo the first impression…)

They immediately sent over five different cookies in crisp, colorful packaging. I was shocked by how quickly they came too…within two days of their commenting on my Instagram! Oh, which flavor to begin with?!

cookies
The colors just popped out at me!!

Because the snickerdoodle Lenny & Larry’s has my heart, I had to try Buff Bake’s version for comparison’s sake.

snickerdoodle
This Snickerdoodle one immediately became a favorite of mine. To me, it looks more like a dense, puffy cake than a cookie (like one of those Pfeffernusse cookies), but it’s incredibly chewy and has a nice cinnamon/nutmeg aroma to it. Oh, and then there’s the nice addition of a thin glaze on top! I’m glad I got the opportunity to give these cookies-more-like-cakes another shot 😉

I would say the Lenny & Larry’s version is still my favorite (specifically if it comes out dense and chewy in the middle, because sometimes even they come out with fluke cookies…), but Buff Bake’s version was pretty good too. Definitely could see this paired with a glass of hot chocolate—the perfect sitting-by-the-fireplace holiday snack.

I then moved on to the birthday cake flavor. This one came with frosting on the top as well, but only a little in the middle? I don’t have an explanation…

birthday_Cake
I love it when birthday cake-themed foods are colorful, mixed with sprinkles, and come with a generous amount of frosting on top. The birthday cake @buffcake cookie is another dense, puffy cake-like flavor. It had a slight dry flavor (wasn’t as moist as snickerdoodle), but the frosting on top helped to some extent 😀🍰🍪

I’d say my second most favorite was Chocolate Donut.

chocolate_donut
I’m a bit surprised as to how this is not the @buffbake Birthday Cake protein cookie flavor. With frosting and sprinkles like this, this is Chocolate Donut?! Well whatever its name is, I’ll take it 😉🍩🍪 #teamfrosting

If I have to pick between team vanilla or team chocolate, I’d go with vanilla only because I can’t handle dark chocolate or chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. That was the case with Chocolate Chocolate Chip. While it had a dense texture and was full-flavored, it was just too much chocolate. There, I said it.

chocolate-chocolate-chip
There is such a thing as too much chocolate, sorry!

And finally, I gave WCPB another shot. I still found it slightly drier and stiffer compared to the other flavors, but compare to the one I originally had, it fared much better.

WCPB
Alien cookie, 😛

It had a quirky shape and lotsa chocolate chips, but it added character.

Which of these cookie flavors speaks out to you?

The Lion’s Pack Cookie Dough Review & An Overdue Survey

The Lion’s Pack Cookie Dough Review & An Overdue Survey

Disclaimer: I was not provided compensation or product samples from The Lion’s Pack. The products were purchased by me, and all opinions are my own.

After hearing so many positive reviews about The Lion’s Pack (previously The Lion’s Choice), I decided that now was a better time than any to make my first purchase and try one of their most raved about products—their high-protein, vegan-friendly edible cookie dough! I was already spending money online with online gift shopping for friends and family, so I thought why not just get a 4-pack of the cookie dough, ignore the fact I was paying $45 for said cookie dough, and “act pleasantly surprised” when it arrived at my doorstep.

I later learned that it takes at least two weeks for an order to arrive, since it takes a week to get onto the production line (they make all of their orders fresh), and then another week to package and ship out. The USPS tracking was a mess too. I ended up going to the post office because I received a tracking notification that said the postman tried to deliver the package but the receptacle was blocked? It made no sense since the mailbox I use is right by the front door. I ended up going to the post office the next day, but they didn’t have my package either. Fortunately, it was waiting for me that evening on the doorstep.

From my calculations, it took ~16 days for a 4-pack order to arrive from the day of order to the day of delivery. My anticipations and temporary frustrations vanished when I opened the parcel:

dough____
The Lion’s Pack Edible Cookie Dough

I ordered the Birthday Cake, Snickerdoodle, Samoa Cookie, and Oreo Cookie flavors. I twisted open the birthday cake flavor first, and after gazing into the confetti-mixed concoction, I grabbed a spoon and dug in. Honestly, I had high hopes but the flavor didn’t match my expectations. It tasted like vanilla dough with sprinkles…no magical frosting swirl or cake bits like one would imagine.

birthday_cookie
Birthday Cake

Snickerdoodle was similar in that sense, but it did have a cinnamon-like flavor and what tasted like crystallized sugar beads.

snickerdoodle
Snickerdoodle

Oreo cookie was amazing. It literally had oreo cookie pieces with the cream filling still intact.

lionspack_oreo
Oreo Cookie

I mean, wow.

oreo_
Hello 🙂

And finally, Samoa Cookie. There were coconut flakes immersed throughout and chocolate chips to accompany them. Out of the four, this tasted the most like the type of cookie dough you would roll into balls for baking, and chewy, textured cookies would result.

samoa_cookie_dough
Samoa cookie dough with coconut flakes peeking out 🙂

I love how all of the flavors are vegan-friendly, and one jar is ~1000 calories, which is about what a Ben and Jerry’s pint would come out to. They can easily fit into one’s meal plan for the day, and they have a good amount of probiotics too!

Because it does take two weeks for an order to arrive, I already placed my second order so that it will arrive a few days after I come back to LA 😉

Now, time for a survey because it’s been way too long. Found this one first on Irina’s blog :

1. Do you eat blue cheese?
I love blue cheese in salads (I’m a fan of feta), and as a special add-in ingredient in sandwiches or Mediterranean plates with falafel, but I wouldn’t say it’s my go-to cheese. Actually, I don’t find myself eating dairy-based cheese on its own as much as I used to.

beanitos
I will have it if it coats some white bean-based chip puffs that are >> than Cheetos Puffs.

2. Can you whistle?
No, not really. I can blow a bubble with chewing gum.

3. Do you get nervous before a doctor’s appointment?
It depends on the type of visit. Usually no, but it depends.

4. How many televisions do you have?
One, but I predominatly use my humble laptop to mostly watch YouTube and Netflix. I did have a TV in my old apartment that belonged to the apartment complex, and since moving, now have a TV in the room I rent.

5. What do you think of hot dogs?
How about veggie dogs? I love veggie dogs!

6. Do you do push-ups?
Yeaaaa-no. LOL!

7. Favorite girl’s and boy’s names?
I don’t really have favorites. Never given it much thought actually.

8. Do you have ADD?
No, probably the opposite! I’m always complaining of being tired/needing more sleep.

9. What is one thing you dislike about yourself?
I feel like this is an un-motivating question…

10. What’s in your pocket right now?
Nothing because I am wearing my pajama pants with cupcakes and macaroons on them 🙂

fitjoy
If I did have pockets, they would be holding bars for sure. Maybe not these ones because these Fitjoy Bars were sub-par…
barz
Chocolate Peanut Butter (top) & Mint Chocolate Crisp (bottom)

11. Do you own slippers?
Yes! Bunny ones in fact, but I haven’t worn them since moving since my room is carpeted. My old apartment had “wood” flooring so I wore slippers so my feet wouldn’t get dirty.

12. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
I’ve had some annoying running-related injuries (groin pull and a posterior shin splint, ugghhh), but I think the worst injury that I remember was when a girl threw a softball at me in my middle school P.E. class and it hit me right on the mouth. I had braces, so my lips were swollen and bruised for like a week. Needless to say, that girl became my enemy…

13. Favorite flavor of ice cream?
This is the hardest question ever. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Birthday Cake, Strawberry, Cookies & Cream, the Ben and Jerry’s core pints…I could go on…

chocolate_sea_salt
It would also be hard question to answer if it was changed to which flavor RX Bar is my favorite. Chocolate Sea Salt is a contender though!

14. How do you ring in the New Year?
Drinking sparkling cider and going to bed right after the ball drops.

15. Favorite month?
August because 1) birthday month and 2) summer weather at its finest.

Take a spin at this survey! 😉

Monkey Bread!

Monkey Bread!

Having my sister over, even if only for two full days, for the three-day weekend was such a treat. I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since we were both exploring Seattle with our friend, but I think it’s never too soon to hang out with family!

snickerdoodle
Lenny & Larry’s Snickerdoodle – my favorite!

I picked up my sister from Union Station on Friday night, and from there we went back to my apartment for dinner and relaxing. Our definition of relaxing was a simple dinner, dessert (a Lenny & Larry’s snickerdoodle cookie—one of my favorite flavors!), watching the Olympic Trials, and figuring out our lunch/movie plans for the next day. I stayed up until 10pm with her, and felt myself get sleepy right when my roommate got home! Good timing?

The next morning, I went for a quick run before my sister and I began the day. I’m so lucky that she works in a lab as well (as an undergrad volunteer), and so she was extra helpful when I asked her to assist me in my morning lab duties. She helped me shave off an hour I would have otherwise spent working on my own, and by the time we were both done, we were starving!

We ended up taking a extremely long bus ride to Westchester, because when I told my sis about a certain restaurant baking up cheesy monkey bread, she just had to have it 😉

truxtons
An upscale Denny’s?

Truxton’s American Bistro was in a neighborhood I had yet to visit, but is actually pretty close to the Marina Del Rey/Playa Vista area. When we went inside, I thought we had stepped into an upscale Denny’s!

They have a wide selection of entrees, and of course a weekend brunch menu, with everything served all day. My sister opted for a benedict-based dish while I decided to get the Berkeley Plate.

For our app, we split the warm, golden monkey bread—fresh with marinara, ranch, and olive oil dipping sauces!

monkey_bread
Monkey Bread to share!

The bread was light and fluffy, and had a melt-in-your-mouth type of texture. The ranch sauce was too much of a liquid to my liking (reminding me of the ranch you find with the baby carrot stick lunch packs), so I stuck to the marinara.

benedict
My meal on top, sis’s on bottom!

My sister’s dish was mouth-watering, but my plate was a 10/10 on presentation. I asked for my side to be steamed veggies, but the other half of the plate was a crisp veggie patty topped with slices avocado, onion, sugarded cranberries and pepitas, all of which was placed on a bed of arugula.

the_berkeley_PLAte
The Berkeley Plate

The patty was crisp on the outside, but soft and steaming on the inside. It was seriously a flavorful and filling meal.

burger
Each one was sugar-coated!

After our lunch, we took another bus to Playa Vista, to get to the closest movie theater to watch Finding Dory! We found a Cinemark in a secluded but upscale shopping and dining plaza near the ritzy apartment complexes of Playa Vista, and got ourselves some popcorn and Sour Patch candy to snack on because, #alwayshungry.

theater.
Gotta get those snacks!

The movie was a sweet one, and while I did think it had a slow beginning, I’d say it was worth the money spent…oh, and if only for the short film, which was another sweet story titled “Piper”.

When the movie ended, we made a quick stop at the Whole Foods in the complex to grab some Halo Top. It seems like whenever I am out with my sister all we think/talk about is food, but I’ve been trying to get my sister to try Halo Top ice cream for a while now and this was our chance.

wfmarke
Just one more stop!

It was almost 8pm by the time we got home, but there was still some sun left. We were able to take the train home, and had a quality conversation throughout the ride. It felt so good to pass the time I usually spend quiet/bored with good company. With Halo Top in our hands and Friends playing in the background, we spent the rest of the night basking in relaxation and then heading off into good rest. It’s amazing how a good day and good company can really impact the quality of your sleep 😉

How did you spend the holiday weekend?

Truxton's American Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Stax of Sweetness

Stax of Sweetness

I knew that a fun-filled week of free food, beaches, and vegan favorites would eventually come to an end, but at least it ended on a sweet note.

Our trip to Tustin eventually became a trip to Irvine. The day was still gorgeous, bright, and sunny when we pulled up to the parking lot at University Town Center, right across from the UC Irvine campus.

 University Town Center!
University Town Center!

The little shopping and dining area very much gave off a college town vibe, and it reminded me of my undergrad days…

 Beautiful arches...one of which decorates my dessert destination!
Beautiful arches…one of which decorates my dessert destination!

My purpose for the visit that afternoon was to get my cookie-and-ice-cream fix at Stax Cookie Bar, a custom ice cream sandwich shop that also serves up other sweet specialties. I was fortunate to try some of those as well 😉

 Welcome to Stax Cookie Bar!
Welcome to Stax Cookie Bar!

I first met Marina, who had reached out to me about coming in for a tasting. She greeted me with a smile and an overview of all their goods—cookies, ice cream, shave ice galore!

cookies!!!!
Stuffed cookies (smookies!) and a wide variety of other cookies!

I was then greeted by another staff member who encouraged me to try whatever I wanted and to make sure I left feeling “full”. How could I argue against that 😀 ?

 Fun wallpaper to stare at while munching on cookies & ice cream.
Fun wallpaper to stare at while munching on cookies & ice cream.

I first learned about the Smookie, which is really a warm, shapened piece of cookie dough that can be topped with any flavor ice cream and fudge, caramel, or whipped cream.

 So many ice cream flavors...which to choose??
So many ice cream flavors…which to choose??

I chose to have the Nutella-stuffed Smookie as my base, topped with a scoop of green tea ice cream and whipped cream. Best decision ever.

 The perfect Smookie.
The perfect Smookie.

The Nutella filling was obviously the best part 😉 ! It was also at the right temperature, coming out of the oven after just 3 minutes of warming up.

 The undeniably good filling with melted green tea ice cream (:
The undeniably good filling with melted green tea ice cream (:

For my other ice cream-related dessert, I was able to customize a ice cream cookie sandwich so that I had birthday cake ice cream (how convenient 😉 ) in between a mocha and snickerdoodle cookie. I had all flavor and color profiles represented here!

 The masterpiece.
The masterpiece.

My Dad liked the birthday ice cream the best, and I could certainly see why. The ice cream was perfectly creamy, and the added swirls of color tasted just like icing. It wasn’t just for show.

 Who needs birthday cake when you can have it in ice cream form...and sandwiched in between two cookies?!
Who needs birthday cake when you can have it in ice cream form…and sandwiched in between two cookies?!

To add to all the sweet excitment, we were given another dessert to try—a generous portion of green tea shave ice! Topped with syrup and freshly cut fruit.

 The presentation itself was beautiful!
The presentation itself was beautiful!

It tended to melt pretty quickly, so being the resourceful person that I am (haha), I used to top off the leftover cookie pieces from my ice cream sandwich. We weren’t able to completely finish it, but if our stomachs had been large enough, there’s no question we would have annihilated the cup and then some 😛 .

I asked Marina about their vegan options, and she pointed to two of their specially-vegan flavors. I was urged to take one for the road, so I chose to try their vegan (and gluten-free!) coconut chocolate chip cookie. I was also gifted with a beautiful stack of cookies!

 My stack of Stax cookies // one of the two vegan cookies offered
My stack of Stax cookies // one of the two vegan cookies offered

The vegan coconut chocolate chip cookie was more fragile compared to the regular cookies, but its flavors were just as great, if not better than a standard cookie. It tasted just like a sweet oatmeal bar with gooey chocolate mixed in and rich coconut oil gleaming on the surface.

Stax has plans to open more locations in the future, and I surely hope they do, since I can’t have this be my only visit 😉 . Ice cream sandwich and cookie bars may have started out as a trendy thing, but based on my experience, Stax has taken it to the next level!

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Let’s Get Together

Let’s Get Together

I would definitely go as far as to count last weekend as being one of my more social weekends of the semester. It’s been hard to get together with a lot of my classmates since the beginning of this year—due to things getting busier in our respective labs, other commitments, etc.—but three of my girl friends and I were able to take time out of our busy schedules to meet up for brunch and see a musical at the Cupcake Theater in Hollywood. One of my friends found a Groupon deal about a month beforehand, and we were able to get tickets to see Avenue Q for $16!

So on Saturday morning, I woke up around 7AM (but I felt like I could sleep in, surprisingly!) and got ready. I hopped on board the Metro Expo, then onto the Metro Red, and got off at Hollywood/Vine. The Hollywood Half was underway, and I walked alongside the course as many half marathoners were finishing up. It was the first time I was witnessing a race I wasn’t part of (as a runner OR volunteer), and part of me wanted to jump in, snag a medal, and grab a couple freebies as well 😉

SAMSUNG

BUT—I resisted the temptation, since I was hauling a heavy purse, and was wearing denim shorts & converse, which don’t exactly match the description of running gear all to well!!

My friends and I wanted to have brunch before heading over to the theater at 12pm, so we decided to meet up at Eat This Cafe. It opened at 10AM, and being the early bird that I am, I arrived way too early at 9:20AM. Good thing I packed some notes to review to keep me busy for the next 40 or so minutes. I even found a bench in front of the cafe to comfortably sit on while doing so.

eatthis

 Fun murals and paintings near the cafe.
Fun murals and paintings near the cafe.

When the restaurant did open up, I waited inside since I couldn’t get a table until our full party showed up. The interior space was quite small, but I love the cool shade of blue painted on the walls. There were plenty of tables (but not for long, as I would soon find out!), and even a more intimate, cozy corner booth.

inside_eatthis

My three friends came soon after, and we were all seated at a table by the window. All of us started off with waters, and one of my friends got orange juice while another got a mimosa to start off her day. When she was asked for ID, she gladly handed over her card to the waitress, loving the fact that she looked so young 😉

After looking over the menu, we placed orders for a truffle panini, french toast, corned beef hash, and vegan tofu scramble (can you guess which one was mine 😉 )? We had no problem getting into a conversation, but when one of my friends noticed a familiar face walking outside the window, we all stopped and tried to figure out who she was pointing at. And surprisingly, it happened to be one of the professors we knew from school—dressed in a simple t-shirt and jeans, just strolling around Hollywood like a regular ol’ person. He even stepped inside the cafe for a moment to make change!

Haha…yeah, we know that professors/teachers are like everyone else, but it’s still strange to see them out of context.

So after that happened, our brunch spread soon arrived. It was no problem getting pictures, because all four of us whipped out our phones at the same time to get pictures of our feast.

BRUNCHSPREAD

Mine was the prettiest though, I must say.

 My gorgeous, healthy, earthy, beautiful vegan scramble.
My gorgeous, healthy, earthy, beautiful vegan scramble.

My scramble was mix of light, chewy tofu pieces, diced peppers, and mostly roasted potatoes. Ketchup was served on the side, and I got full pretty quickly. There is just something so filling about potatoes!

We took out time getting through brunch, and left the cafe close to 11:30AM. Fortunately we were able to find parking, and quickly got in line to get our seats before the show started.

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Cupcake Theater is pretty much the size of a walk-in closet, and due to the bad lighting it was hard to get any pics, but the show itself was well-put together. One of my friends happened to see the show on Broadway, and thought the execution in this production was on par with the one she saw in NYC.

Now, the show itself…some of the themes of the show weren’t exactly PG, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the actors themselves were quite talented. The production/staging crew also did an excellent job with scene changes, lighting, props, etc. So, at least organization-wise, it was a great showing!

My friends and I split up when the show ended around 2PM, and I decided to head down to The Grove to get some grocery shopping done before calling it a day.

After doing some grocery shopping, I stopped to grab a cool dessert before catching the bus home. I’ve been meaning to try the Halo Top Creamery Pints. The store I was at offered all four flavors, but ‘lemon cake’ sounded the most unique and appealing…

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The nutritional stats also looked intriguing. The whole pint has 28 grams of protein and is only 280 calories.

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The texture and flavor were simply amazing. It seriously tasted like a cold and creamy iced lemon cake. There was just enough sweetness to balance out the lemon though, so it was far from being sour!

The rest of the evening was spent catching up on homework (oh statistics…), and getting to sleep early because a long run was in the plans for Sunday morning!

Yes, I’m still making it a priority to keep up with my long run maintenance goals! On Sunday, I got away from the usual DTLA loop I fall into, and instead ran from Culver City Station to Marina Del Rey and back. I had to take a bathroom break at a nearby Ralph’s around mile 8, but was also able to get a cup of water (with ice!!) from Starbucks before making my way back. Running with a plastic cup wasn’t that bad actually!

 Cool down walk after a 15 mile run. It always feels good to finish a long run!!
Cool down walk after a 15 mile run. It always feels good to finish a long run!!

I finished my 15 mile run close to the restaurant I was meeting a friend from my marathon training group at. The restaurant opened at 11AM, and so I patiently waited by the entrance.

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After letting the waitress know I was waiting for a friend, I was seated at a table near the cash register, and given the menu.

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LA Vegan may be a hole-in-the-wall kind of place, where most of the orders end up being take-out by the residents that live in apartments and houses nearby, but they had a variety of items to pick from their menu—everything from burgers to curry.

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When my friend joined me, we sipped on some waters and ended up talking about our marathon experience instead of looking at the menu. The waitress politely reminded us while refilling our waters, but we were quick to both order a curry dish.

I ordered the Spicy Pineapple “Shrimp” Curry, which came with a side of brown rice.

 Soy shrimp, fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, basil and pineapple in coconut milk red curry.
Soy shrimp, fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, basil and pineapple in coconut milk red curry.

I remember trying soy shrimp when I found it at a Grocery Outlet long ago…and being absolutely repulsed by it when I had it with a homemade salad. I didn’t think I could ever be a fan, but this curry helped to change my mind.

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The pineapple chunks were a great addition as well, and added some pleasant sweetness to the already-spicy coconut milk-based red curry.

Since my friend had to run some errands soon after our early lunch, she was able to offer me a ride. I asked if I could be dropped off near a ice cream/cookie place that recently-opened, because I obviously couldn’t pass up my long run dessert 😉 !

C.R.E.A.M. {cookies rule everything around me 🙂 } was where I ended up concluding my lunch, and after all this time knowing of its existence in Nor Cal (and never having the chance to stop by one of those original locations), I had the chance to try out one of their newer franchises.

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For a basic cookie ice cream sandwich (their specialty), you are able to pick two cookies, and a scoop of ice cream to get sandwiched in the middle. Oh, and of course there are toppings and sauces if you wish for that as well.

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The girl behind the counter was ready and willing to help, and even though I felt somewhat rushed when reading through all of the cookie and ice cream choices, I was happy with my ice cream-cookie sandwich choice of snickerdoodle + carnival cookie(s), green tea ice cream, and confetti sprinkles.

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I was able to eat my cookie sandwich conveniently at a table facing the door.

 Just enjoying this beautiful day...
Just enjoying this beautiful day…

The cookies were crispier than I imagined them to be, but the ice cream helped remediate that. The cookies became much more softer, especially in the middle, once in contact with the ice cream.

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Since there are plans to open up a few more C.R.E.A.M. locations, I think it would be difficult not pay these guys a visit a few more times. I think it would also be wise to keep my schedule more open when I make my visits to Nor Cal, and make time to visit the locations that started it all!

Eat This Cafe on Urbanspoon
Cream on Urbanspoon LA Vegan on Urbanspoon

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