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.

sit
Very spacious

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

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

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

falafel_plate
Close-up of everythang.

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

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

Race Recap – Owasso Marching Band Run to the Beat 5k

Race Recap – Owasso Marching Band Run to the Beat 5k

For about five weeks, I’ve been frustrated when it comes to running. After beginning to see improvements in my pace, and after finally getting into the 35-40 mi/week range, I began to feel posterior shin pain in my left leg. At first it was mild, and it came about during a week I was feeling tired all over, so I dropped my mileage substantially and took it easy. When the pain didn’t go away right away, I knew it must be an injury, and as much as I hated having to do so, I lowered my mileage for a few weeks after, and slowed my pace in order to not exacerbate the injury.  I even ended up sacrificing $45 that I paid as a registration fee for a 10K I was planning on running at the end of July, since that was when the pain really started to kick in and I decided it was best not risk making the injury worse.

It’s been something I’ve had to figure out on a weekly basis, and it’s something I wish would go away ASAP. I first had it checked out by a chiropractor at the IDEA expo as an area I could get free KT tape for. I then went to a running store to replace the Newtons I had run 500+ miles on, and got some suggestions from the sales clerk there on what I could do in the meantime to help my shin heal faster. This was about three weeks before I made the trip to Oklahoma, and with the pain still there (less intense on some weeks, and more intense on weeks I tried to increase mileage), I tried Graston for the first time. I’m not sure if it really helped, but the PT who conducted the procedure advised that I should notice the effects 72 hours after the procedure was administered. I’ll be keeping an eye on it as this week continues, but dealing with this injury (though now healing) has really dampened my enthusiasm even though at the back of my mind, I know that it is a temporary set-back.

Since I was in Oklahoma for a week, I did want to participate in a race since my Dad could attend as well. The Graston Guy (lol) said running on Saturday would be okay, and so I was able to participate in the β€œRun to the Beat 5K” in Owasso. The race was benefiting the Owasso High School Marching Band, and being a band geek myself back in the day, I was glad I was helping out a local band attend marching reviews, purchase instruments, and refurbish uniforms.

Owasso is a town about 20 minutes north of metropolitan Tulsa, and the drive reminded me of the drives I used to take on the way to Sacramento when I lived in Nor Cal just a few years ago…

Sunrise and new running shoes to help with my pronation.
Sunrise and new running shoes to help with my pronation.

The race, and race-check-in, was taking place at Owasso High School, home of the Owasso Rams. The weather was about 20 degrees cooler than predicted, with gray clouds looming overhead and with rain being in the new forecast as well.

Race Check-In
Race Check-In

Packet pick-up was underwhelming, but I did get a new race shirt along with promo cards for other local races I knew I would not be able to attend, since they would be taking place from September-November.

Packet Pick-Up
Packet Pick-Up

A fun run took place on the football field starting at 7:00am, which I assumed was about a mile based on the times people were finishing. By the time the last person was in from the fun run, everyone else began to assemble for the 5k race. I positioned myself close to the front, since I wanted to set myself up to run between an 8:20-8:50/mi pace.

Getting ready to begin
Getting ready to begin

One thing that distinguished this race from all of the Cali races I’ve run was that an actual hunting rifle was used to signal the start of the race, rather than a blow horn or…something less intense? Haha. A few girls in front of me covered their ears with their hands, knowing that the rifle was going to be LOUD. The guy holding the rifle looked so serious, as if the sanctity of the race depended on his ability to shoot the rifle, which I thought was absolutely comical.

Do you see the hunting rifle in his hands?! (Okay maybe not...the picture is blurry, haha)
Do you see the hunting rifle in his hands?!

When we were given the motion to take off, I could feel my shin slightly act up when I initially pushed off, but once I got going, the pain subsided. I was averaging a 7:45 pace (!!) for the first 0.6 miles, and for the first mile, ended up with 7:56 or something like that. As the race continued, my pace slowed slightly, but I was able to maintain within an 8:20-8:30/mi pace for the rest of the time through. I was pushing, but not so hard that I was going to keel over.

The last turn had us go around the football stadium bleachers in order to cross the same finish line the fun run runners crossed, which was next to the football field and on the track. I finished with an 8:23/mi pace according to my Garmin, and while it wasn’t as speedy as my last 5K back in June, I was very ecstatic with my performance and time, given my shin troubles in the past weeks.

Start/Finish on the Football Field
Start/Finish on the Football Field

There wasn’t much in race freebies other than water bottles, bagels from Panera (though they did have a wide variety of flavors available), bananas in the raw (ugh), and one table for an energy drink whose name I already forgot.

My Dad was patient enough to wait until everyone crossed the finish line so that the β€œaward ceremony” could begin. Small medals were given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers in male and female age groups. With my time, I ended up getting second in my age group.

After the race, we drove back to Tulsa for some breakfast since it was 9:00 and all we had that morning was some coffee. We went to an old favorite, Old School Bagels, and it was just as lively as I remember from last December.

BAEgels
BAEgels

It was warm enough to sit outside this time around though (even though the clouds above begged to differ), and my Dad and I split the same two bagels as we did last time: a savory honey wheat bagel with egg and cheese, and a sweet cinnamon bagel with Nutella. I also had a couple sips of his black coffee. They were playing the women’s Olympic triathlon on one of the TVs they had outside, so all of us on the patio had our eyes glued to the screen as we ate.

Love this.
Love this.

After breakfast, we proceeded with our Saturday wrapping up some errands, napping, and getting food ready for a dinner we were having with some family friends later that evening. The rest of my Saturday seemed to go smoothly since my mind was put at ease from the results of the race. Even though the pain isn’t completely gone yet, I was still able to run at a solid pace despite it. I think that mentally gave me a confidence boost, as well as assurance that it will eventually heal.

 I was also grateful that I was able to run a race with my Dad in attendance after almost a year! The last race he saw me run was the RNR Las Vegas in November, so having him waiting for me at the finish line was a great motivator as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a local race taking place around the holidays so he can attend again, but until then, I’m looking forward to a fun and challenging fall racing season (if my shin continues to cooperate of course)!

Have you ever had an annoying exercise-related injury?

Red, White, and Chew

Red, White, and Chew

My sis and I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning, with the goal of getting things wrapped up in lab and then heading off to Santa Monica for brunch.

I am honestly so grateful for the Expo line expansion…what would have originally been almost an hour and a half trip to the ever-popular Santa Monica now only takes 30-40 minutes!

chomp_eatery
Chomp Eatery

One of the stops is a convenient seven minute walk to Chomp Eatery and DK’s Donuts. One day when I have cash on hand, I will be back for some of their mouth-watering donuts, but my sis and I headed right next door to Chomp Eatery: a place we knew that takes credit cards and serves up an irresistible novelty.

The Unicorn Melt was something I came across on Instagram. It’s basically a grilled cheese with a rainbow theme, in that the cheese is colored with organic food coloring and melted so that a rainbow oozes out when the slices are pulled apart. Sound appetizing yet?

Since my sis and I decided to split the Unicorn Melt, we each got our own meals as well. I of course got one of the wellness bowls.

gojiberriesbowl
Of course I go straight to the bowls part of the menu…

The bowl I chose to go with was none other than the Goji Berries Banana Bowl, which had a plain greek yogurt base, and heavily topped with granola, cacao nibs, goji berries, banana , and agave syrup.

gojiberries_banana_bowl
Looks like a small bowl but there was tons of yogurt and a mountain of granola!!

My sister got one of the burger with a veggie patty, and it was an overflowing tower of rich, nutrient-packed veggies and creamy add-in like avocado and a fried egg.

burger_and_melt
Burgers + melts

My sister, a self-proclaimed carb-lover thought her burger + melt may have been too much at one time, but she enjoyed her burger. We both agreed that the melt wasn’t outstanding in taste, but as far as presentation and creativity goes…how could it be anything less than 110%? Not to mention, it was a pretty festive and fitting rainbow on the inside.

unicornmelt___
A red, white, and blue cheese melt!!

After devouring our sandwiches and chewing every last goji berry, we walked towards downtown Santa Monica, stopped inside Cotton On, and then boarded the train from the new downtown station in order to get to Union Station on time.

After dropping off my sister later that afternoon, I felt extremely exhausted and could not wait to go to bed—early! Haha. Needless to say, 4th of July was very low key. No fireworks, no veggie dogs…just plenty of lab work in the morning as usual, and then relaxing at home. At least I did sort of celebrate with a patriotic grilled cheese!

Chomp Eatery & Juice Station Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The 100 Degrees Solution

The 100 Degrees Solution

Over the weekend, temperatures reached record highs, and it was extremely hot! It made no sense to walk outside, but did I consider that? Obviously not…

I wouldn't have tried this refreshing treat had I not stepped out in the hot sun!
I wouldn’t have tried this refreshing treat had I not stepped out in the hot sun!

But I don’t regret that decision too much because I finally tried an acai bowl! At Kreation Organic, in the “fancy” Beverly Hills to be exact πŸ˜‰

I thought the utensils were organized really well, haha!
I thought the utensils were organized really well, haha!

I stepped in and wasn’t sure where to look because the walls were covered and everything was calling my attention! I did spot the “cacao” Amazebowl on their wall menu though, and decided that sounded delicious enough to order. In the meantime, I sampled their kale chips…

Or should I say, chip??
Or should I say, chip??

My bowl came out in a compostable bowl, and I was ready to rip the plastic bowl off! Looking at this meal in front of me, I realized that this is probably the only way I will be able to get my fruit intake up (and eat bananas) !!

The Cacao Amazebowl - cacao, soymilk blend with banana and almond butter, topped with bananas, strawberries, apple, bee pollen (!!), granola, and honey.
The Cacao Amazebowl – cacao, soymilk blend with banana and almond butter, topped with bananas, strawberries, apple, bee pollen (!!), granola, and honey.

The bee pollen sprinkling was so eye-catching.

kreation_organic 3JPG
Oooh bee pollen….

The following day, my acai/smoothie bowl craving was still going strong! Sunday was immensely hot, and so that craving was very much justified. Since I was on my way to Sprouts for some grocery shopping, I stopped inside Bon Bon Berry and tried the Aloha Bowl (as much as I did want to try the chocolate flavor, I decided to go a different route to change the flavors I try)!

Strip mall smoothie bowls...anything to cool off on a hot day!
Strip mall smoothie bowls…anything to cool off on a hot day!

Since absolutely no one was walking outside, I wasn’t surprised that no one was indoors either. But at least it was at least 30 degrees cooler inside (or at least it felt like it)! I ordered the bowl at the counter, found a seat near the far wall, and waited for my bowl to come.

Empty because no one is outside, to come inside, on this hot day!
Empty because no one is outside, to come inside, on this hot day!

Unlike the bowl from the day before, the Aloha bowl I had before me was covered in coconut shreds and more fruity in flavor, perhaps due to the mango and banana combo. It still had granola and honey swirled in.

Aloha Bowl!
Aloha Bowl!

Obviously not as fancy as the Kreation Organic bowl, but it was just as satisfying. The customer service was great too, and it seemed like they really took care in fulfilling the order and making sure the bowl was cold, refreshing, and full of flavor!

You can never have too many close-ups of an acai/smoothie bowl!
You can never have too many close-ups of an acai/smoothie bowl!

Are you a fan of acai/smoothie bowls?

Kreation Organic Juicery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gelato in a Cup

Gelato in a Cup

It was only about a fifteen minute walk to Amorino from Beverliz Cafe, and so even before all of that rice-veggie-hummus goodness had time to digest, I was ready to inhale allthegelato.

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Amorino storefront.

I say that like I haven’t had gelato in ages, and truth is, I haven’t! Ice cream, yes, but real gelato? It’s been some time…

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Flower gelato!

Amorino is a global gelateria chain, with only two locations in California—Beverly Hills and SF. Inside is just as extravagant as the gelato flavors offered!

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Inside.
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Lines on a Saturday.

And on a early Saturday evening that feels just as hot as mid-day in July, it was no surprise there was a long line.

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THE GELATO. And ice cream macaroons!

There were so many flavors to choose from, and even though I could have gotten as many flavors as I wanted to fit a cone and molded into a shape of a flowering rose, I went for a cup as I always do. I only needed three flavors to make me happy, as long as it included speculoos, tiramisu, and salted caramel πŸ˜›

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My precious cup. And I love the baby cone it came with πŸ™‚

I found a table near the window, grabbed a napkin, and tried each flavor in its own first.

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Elegant wall decor & logo napkins.

I ended up mixing everything together as time went on, but I was reminded of the identity of each flavor through the occasional uncovering of caramel sprinkles and chocolate-fudge-cake-like chunks.

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There’s some flavor peeking through!

The portion size (the classic cup) was just enough, and I left with another happy gelato memory. True, it may have been a more unique experience if I had sampled all three flavors (plus some) in the shape of a rose, but I was glad I didn’t feel “rushed” in having to eat the ice cream before it melted!

Speaking of rushed, the following day was a crazy one—a blazing hot long run with my marathon team in the morning, followed by five straight hours in lab on my feet, and a grocery haul before coming home. There was no time to go out for more weekend foodie adventures, so I used it as an opportunity to get back to trying ice cream pints.

I’m giving B&J’s a break though, and ventured out into the Talenti section of the dairy desserts aisle. I guess I was still on a gelato kick?

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Talenti Caramel Cookie Crunch

I’ve only tried three Talenti flavors to-date, and even that was almost three (!!) years ago!

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Such a nice swirl—and cookie pieces!!

At least caramel cookie crunch did not disappoint. It was like eating crushed Oreo ice cream with a soft caramel layer swirled in. I consumed this pint while watching SNL, and then hit the books before getting to bed early. Whatever exhaustion I couldn’t get rid of with my sweet treats, I hoped to get rid of through quality sleep!

Amorino Beverly Hills Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sweet Tooth Central

Sweet Tooth Central

Sometimes, it can be hard to resist even the smallest of sweet cravings. Saturday was just one of those days I felt like having dessert as my main meal, and even if it was past the “normal” breakfast time frame, pancakes were just calling my name…

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Just a glance at Bea Bea’s menu.

It may have been a length journey traveling to Burbank via public transit (almost two hours!), but when I made it to Bea Bea’s, all seemed right with the world πŸ™‚

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Inside the restaurant.

I made it in an hour before closing at 4pm, and was able to get a table and plenty of time to look at the menu. They had daily specials that sounded appetizing, but I was definitely here for the one and only Matcha Green Tea Monster.

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There’s no room for specials when green tea pancakes are involved!

These green-tea infused pancakes with marscapone, white chocolate chips, and whipped cream were almost too beautiful to eat. I’m not even sure why syrup was given on the side—totally unnecessary, and such a distraction πŸ˜‰

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How gorgeous is this?!

I tried the marscapone/whipped cream first on its own, and then lathered that all over the pancakes anyway because it was rapidly melting. I doubted the fact that there were white chocolate chips mixed in, but I soon spotted the familiar shape poking through.

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Marscapone, whipped cream, chocolate chips!

Unlike the gargantuan (but delicious up to a certain point) stack of oreo pancakes I had a couple months back, I was able to demolish this stack of pancakes and still have room for another sweet treat. Like a cupcake. A Sprinkles cupcake, yes.

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The pet store next to Bea Bea’s. Couldn’t resist fawning over this adorable cat πŸ™‚

So I was back on the bus, this time off to Glendale to check out the Sprinkles location at Americana at Brand.

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Americana in Glendale

It was 5pm by the time I got there, but it felt like mid-summer, especially with the crowds.

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Right in front of the bus stop!

Unlike the Beverly Hills location, this Sprinkles was styled like a kiosk, with the only seating some outdoor tables close by.

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Ahhofcourse…there is a line -.-

The cupcakes were prominently displayed behind a curved window that followed alongside the queue.

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Lots of choices!

But with a menu in hand with the daily cupcake and ice cream flavors, I knew exactly what my cupcake sundae would consist of.

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Pumpkin cake + caramel ice cream…I think it’s a very good choice indeed πŸ™‚

On a late-September day that felt like mid-July, the only way to bring back the autumn mood was with a pumpkin cupcake and caramel ice cream.

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Side view!

My favorite part of these cupcake sundaes is obviously the top with the frosting and all. Frosting > cake in my opinion πŸ˜‰

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Happiness in a cup πŸ™‚

I enjoyed my autumn-inducing dessert near the main fountain, since all of the Sprinkles-designated seats were taken. A security officer even took notice of my sweet treat, and paid her compliments πŸ˜› .

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Enjoying the view and outdoors.

Surprisingly, my sugar cravings commenced as I finished the last morsel of my cupcake sundae. I guess I had my fill, and was ready to head back home knowing I was able to successfully appease my sugar cravings.

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Heading home.

No shame in a little sugar indulgence now and then—especially if it’s a Saturday, and if the word cake is involved πŸ™‚ !

Bea Bea's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So That’s What It’s Called!

So That’s What It’s Called!

The one thing I like about being independent in lab is being able to coordinate my lab schedule with my life schedule—at least for the most part. For the current experiments I’m doing, I had to plan weeks in advance to make sure everything I needed to accomplish was covered, but with a little maneuvering and careful planning, I was able to make myself free sometime within the time frame of my sister’s birthday. It also happened to be a weekend after some of the more time-intensive experiments, and so this “mini break” was much, much needed.

I left LA around 7:30AM by bus, and then transferred on to the train to head up to Fresno. Like my first trip a couple months ago, this train ride was far from anything you’d expect from an amusement park, but at least it got me to my sister πŸ™‚

After picking me up from the station, my sister dropped me off at the dorms while she dashed to class. I took my time settling in and soothing my sore head from a lingering headache.

When she came back, we were both ready for an afternoon tea-esque snack, so we headed out thinking a place called La Boulangerie would be able to satsify us.

After some driving around with a confused GPS, we realized that even though La Boulangerie existed and served French pastries and snacks, it wasn’t the Parisien dessert shop my sister had previously visited and had told me about. She then realized that it was Le Parisien she wanted to go to πŸ˜›

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Le Parisen front.

We found the right cafe among other establishments in a strip mall, and my eyes immediately latched onto the sugary collection in the display case.

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So many sweets to choose from!!

My sister and I had been talking macaroons on the way over, but some of these other beauties were making me change my mind…they even had discount, day old pastries that still looked appealing.

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These day-old sweet hearts still look good!

I wasn’t in a jelly-filled, powder-sugared donut mood though…I saw an incredibly looking chocolate tart, and I was sold. My sister got three small pastries, and a vegetarian crepe.

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All for ourselves!

We were the only ones in the cafe at the time, so we found a table right in the middle that wasn’t too close to the window or the sun rays coming through them.

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A chocolate tart with chocolate ganache to DEVOUR.

My chocolate tart had a swirl of mousse, and a thin layer of chocolate ganache. The crust was hard to cut through, but if I had eaten it as a handhold rather than from top-to-bottom with my fork, I may have appreciated the crust layer more.

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Orange, mint chocolate macaroons, and lemon meringue

My sister lover her orange macaroon, but wasn’t much of a fan of her lemon meringue or mint chocolate macaroon. She decided that fruit macaroons > non-fruit macaroons, but I can’t take her word for it until I try a non-fruit macaroon, since I’ve only tried lemon and blueberry flavors so far…

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Vegetarian crepe

She did love her vegetarian crepe though, filled with an assortment of colorful vegetables and cheese, all wrapped up in a rectangular thin crepe. I even helped myself to a few bites.

We got back to her dorm a little before five, and though it would be smart to get some homework/reading done before dinner. When we did get in the car again, we blasted the radio and drove off into the sunset…sort of πŸ˜‰

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Friday sunset

We were both craving Mediterranean, and we found out that a new Mediterranean grill had opened up in Clovis just a few weeks ago that was worth checking out.

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Ark Mediterranean Grill

The shopping area Ark Mediterannean Grill was housed in was busy for a Friday night, but the restaurant only had a few other patrons besides ourselves. There was a long table with at least a dozen people near the back of the restaurant, I’m assuming all family, and enjoying an evening out together.

There wasn’t much in options for vegetarians other than the falafel plate or a falafel sandwich, so my sister and I both got the plate. We avoided twinning when I chose to have bulgar instead of rice.

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The vegetarian-friendly falafel plate

Along with a well-balanced plate of falafel, bulgar, hummus, and cucumber salad, we also got four thin triangles of pita bread and a cup of tahini sauce.

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Pita bread and tahini

The inside of the falafel reminded me of a pretty amazing falafel plate I had a few weeks ago in Glendale, but these falafels were on level with the ones of So Cal. And of course, the hummus was exceptional. To be honest, I don’t think you can ever have “bad” hummus unless the chickpeas have spoiled or something πŸ˜›

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Just like the one I had in Dune…

While picking through the bulgar, I noticed what looked like short, thin noodles mixed in, and I was reminded of what my friend used to eat when were kids. Her mom used to prepare something similar, and I was always fascinated by what it was called. Apparently, after simply Googling the phrase ‘noodles mixed with rice Mediterranean’, I found out it’s called Riz Bil Sh’arieh (or more casually, Lebanese Rice). The key is broken vermicelli noodles πŸ˜‰

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Riz Bil Sh’arieh! So that’s what it’s called!

After this nourishing meal, I felt pumped for the race I was planning to run the next day. Once we got back, I managed to also have some energy to read a few papers before heading to bed, but my sister and I did make some time to laugh out loud during our countless study breaks πŸ˜€

Have you ever had Riz Bil Sh’arieh?

Le Parisien Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Localita & the Badasserie

Localita & the Badasserie

Last weekend was another hot one here in LA, and because I was feeling overwhelmed from the hectic first week of classes, I ended up not venturing out too far over the weekend.

My weekend started on Friday evening, with a quick stop to 7-11 before heading home from campus. I needed a pick-me-up from the accumulating week-o-stress, so I made the rare-for-me stop at the gas station convenience store just so I could get my hands on the 7-11 exclusive Ben & Jerry’s flavor—Nutty Caramel Swirl.

 Chocolate and peanut chunks galore!!
Chocolate and peanut chunks galore!!

Upon opening this pint, I could not believe the amount of chocolate chunks and peanuts there were! If the very top layer was indicative of what was yet to come, this was going to be a fun flavor to dig through!

 Look at that swirl!
Look at that swirl!

And indeed it was. When I was younger, I hated mixing nuts with chocolate, but obviously my palate has changed over the years, because this flavor is now in my top 5 B&J flavors!

On Saturday, I woke up at a leisurely pace, made my way over to lab, and as soon as I got out, felt the strong heat wave that made me change my original plans to head out north. At the time, it just wasn’t worth the commute for me, given the unbearable weather and all :/

Instead, I decided to head to downtown for some quick grocery shopping, a bite to eat, and then head home to catch up on some {class-related} reading. I used it as an opportunity to check out a small local vegan cafe I had heard about that had limited day hours—Localita & the Badasserie.

 Entrance sign.
Entrance sign.

They are only open until 3 or 4pm during the week, and so I was able to swing on by an hour before they closed up shop for the day. I almost missed them though, since they were nestled in a hub of downtown among a collection of factory garment shops. In fact, the storefront is more like a food counter, with no “real” restaurant seating.

localita (4)
There were some bar stools and a small table in the back though…

There was also no A/C, which made me frustrated since I couldn’t escape from the heat wave. I could feel myself sweating as I ordered, and even so, I still made the silly decision to order a HOT quinoa bowl.

 Quinoa bowl selection.
Quinoa bowl selection.

With a name like Chili Chili Bang Bang though, I expected the heat to come through from the chili…not the temperature as what happened.

 My small, but filling AND HOT bowl of quinoa chili.
My small, but filling AND HOT bowl of quinoa chili.

It was something I could have easily made at home, and unfortunately not worth the perspiration πŸ˜›

I did find this quote on one of he napkin holders though provoking however.

 Napkin holder quote.
Napkin holder quote.

After leaving Localita sweatier than ever, I managed to get to the grocery store, and along with my weekly purchases, decided to cool off with a pint of Vanilla Caramel Fudge.

 Vanilla Caramel Fudge
Vanilla Caramel Fudge

While it was no Nutty Caramel Swirl, how can you go wrong with a vanilla base with caramel and fudge swirled in? A delicious way to end a super hot Saturday!

Sunday started off slightly hectic, and while things didn’t go as planned, I still managed to get what I needed to get done done. I ended up breaking a 10 mile run into chunks, first running 5 miles in the early morning and planned to run the final 5 with a group I’ve been running with lately.

Unfortunately, my ride slept in because her alarm didn’t go off, so I ended up joining my marathon group’s first practice of the season. They were only running three miles, so I tacked on the extra two before heading into lab. I was somewhat frustrated by having to do this since it was getting hotter, and I wasn’t expecting to have to make up the miles like this.

Still, I got it done, even though I was a sweaty mess while doing my experiment in lab πŸ˜›

By the time afternoon rolled around, I indulged in yet another pint. Peanut Butter Cup was on my list for quite a while, and I was finally able to check it off.

 Looks naked
Looks naked

Wowza…all peanut butter ice cream, and no skimping on the peanut butter cups! There were legitimately full-sized peanut butter cups, cut in half, mixed thoroughly in the ice cream.

 But it's not
But it’s not

It may have been peanut butter overload, but hey, how can you say no to a pint of sweet & satisfying healthy fats πŸ˜‰ ?

So even though my restaurant outing for the weekend was a miss, I think my ice cream tastings made up for the irritating heat.

It is starting to cool down here in LA though…hopefully the temperature will stay this way throughout Labor Day weekend!

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Eat the Rainbow

Eat the Rainbow

We had a massive heat wave pass through LA this past weekend, so without hesitation, I was all about ice cream and salad consumption for three days straight!

It all started Friday night with a B&J’s pint—Half Baked to be precise!

 Half Baked
Half Baked

This pint was much more creamier than its froyo version (although both are quite good!), and had a plethora of cookie dough gobs and brownie pieces.

 Friday night ice cream = the best.
Friday night ice cream = the best.

I was a little sad when the pint was fully demolished, but I knew I still had Saturday and Sunday left for ice cream revelry!

Speaking of Saturday…after stopping by lab in the morning, I made my way over to Mid-Wilshire (slowly, but surely through the heat wave and via public transit). At least what awaited me inside of Powerplant Superfood Cafe was a salad I thought I could only dream about.

 Powerplant Superfood Cafe
Powerplant Superfood Cafe

Once inside, I pretended to take my time making a decision by looking up at the menu, but I already knew what I was going to get.

 The menu up above.
The menu up above.

I found a table by the wall, where I could people watch while waiting for my colorful salad to arrive.

 The guy and his phone, haha :P
The guy and his phone, haha πŸ˜›

For salad prep, you’d think it would be pretty quick but I ended up waiting for what seemed like forever. I couldn’t complain when I finally chowed down on it though. But first—I had to let my eyes take it in.

 BBQ Cauliflower Salad.
BBQ Cauliflower Salad.

I’m really not sure why this BBQ Cauliflower Salad is not called the Rainbow Salad. It has blue tortilla chips with black beans, slices of green avocado, orange carrots, red & spicy cauliflower, and charred yellow corn on top of even more greens

 And the sauce...
And the sauce…

I also can’t forget the creamy BBQ sauce dressing, and sliced cherry tomatoes!

The one thing I love about salads—good ones that is—are that because of their complexity in texture, flavor, and ingredients, they take a long time to eat. I was digging through this rainbow salad for at least twenty minutes, and I didn’t get tired of it at all. I cleaned my bowl like a good cafe patron, and continued on with my day feeling refreshed and ready to take on the heat of the 3pm sun!!

After a late afternoon of grocery shopping and errands, I came home close to 6pm, and managed to snag a B&J’s Target exclusive to treat myself to for Saturday night. ‘A Swirled of Difference’ made a difference to how my Saturday night turned out!

 YESS
YESSSSS

Peanut butter ice cream with a peanut butter AND raspberry swirl…it was like PB&J in ice cream form, people!

 PB&J in ice cream form, sans bread.
PB&J in ice cream form, sans bread.

I went to sleep earlier that evening since I had a morning group run scheduled the next day, but even though the heat raged on during the night, I had had enough cooling foods during the day to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Do you crave salads when it’s hot outside?

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Golden Mean Evening

Golden Mean Evening

My sister and I had a splendid weekend in San Diego last weekend, but the fun didn’t stop on Sunday night. My friend was also in the LA area with her family, but we unfortunately couldn’t meet up until Monday, which was also her last day in town πŸ™

Nevertheless, we still made time to see eachother. I was free only in the afternoon, but since she was traveling with her aunt and brother, transportation wasn’t an issue and we were all able to travel by car.

We ended up going to 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica, and walked around for a few hours under the hot sun. We had arrived when it happened to be the hottest time of the day—even though we were by the water!

 Santa Monica as busy as ever...even on a Monday evening!
Santa Monica as busy as ever…even on a Monday evening!

We were all too tired to do some real shopping, and honestly, we were all just counting down the minutes until we could sit down for dinner πŸ˜›

My friend was eager to check out yet another one of my vegan finds πŸ˜‰ . So Golden Mean Cafe for dinner it was!

 Building art on Wilshire.
Building art on Wilshire.

Even though we were dragging our feet all the way there, our walk on Wilshire was still a fun one. Despite the small storefront, we I spotted it right away and alerted my friend and sis.

 Golden Mean Cafe.
Golden Mean Cafe.

My friend, sis, and I were able to hold a table by the door, while we waited for my friend’s aunt and brother to park the car nearby. The time spent waiting for them was efficiently used to figure out what we should chow down on.

 Glimpse of the menu!
Glimpse of the menu!

I knew right away that I was in a rice roll kind of mood, so I decided to get the spicy “tuna” dragon roll. Of course, my sis and friend think identical to me, and decided to get that as well…along with hummus, falafel, and a curry bowl. For their last night in LA, they were going to go all out πŸ˜‰

 Inside of Golden Mean. There's even upstairs seating!
Inside of Golden Mean. There’s even upstairs seating!

My friend’s aunt and brother eventually joined us, and her brother also got a dragon roll (it’s really that popular)! Her aunt ended up getting a curry bowl after learning that they ran out of vegan pizza.

We had to wait a long time for our food to come out because 1) we were waiting until everyone was present before making our orders and 2) the kitchen was extremely small, way in the back, and had to make enough food for five people. We kept ourselves as alert as possible with copious cups of water that our hostess continually refilled.

But finally, our feast was ready! And all of the dishes that came out at the same time were presented so beautifully.

 Dragon roll, hummus, falafel on the other side of the table.
Dragon roll, hummus, falafel on the other side of the table.

I was glad with my decision to get the dragon roll…

 sunflower seed tuna in a brown rice nori roll topped with avocado and sesame seeds with mixed green salad.
sunflower seed tuna in a brown rice nori roll topped with avocado and sesame seeds with mixed green salad.

Not only was it beautiful, but it was packed with flavor, and even more so with the wasabi. One of the rolls even had two pieces of carrot strings sticking out (to mimic a dragon I suppose)?

Close-up of roll, wasabi, and inside of roll
Close-up of roll, wasabi, and inside of roll

Everyone fully enjoyed their meals, and I demolished the roll (wasabi included) with just the chopsticks I was given. Yes, this is a talent πŸ˜‰ .

Before leaving, my sister, friend, and brother shared a slice of carrot cake while my friend’s aunt got a slice for the all-nighter on the road. Her aunt also graciously covered the cost of dinner for all of us πŸ™‚

 Vegan carrot cake.
Vegan carrot cake.

After dinner, we had to face traffic before I was dropped off back in my apartment, but I had a fun time chatting it up with my two besties. It was sad having to say goodbye, knowing that all of our summers were winding down and our respective school lives would take over again (even though for me I’ve been on campus pretty much everyday this summer…), but having the chance to spend a couple of hours with two of my favorite people ever is always worth it β™₯.

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