Tiramisu Thoughts

Tiramisu Thoughts

I left my house Sunday morning around 7:30am, waking up to a light fog cast around my neighborhood. I only needed to put in 8 miles that day. The running miracle that is ‘tapering’…

I ran a route close to home solo, since many of my teammates are undergrads that went home for spring break. I took it as an opportunity to run AT home, and eat here after the run as well.

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Urth Caffe – Santa Monica

I finished my run on Main St., pretty much at the steps of Urth Caffe. It had been a few years now since I’ve been to one…the visits I paid the WeHo and DTLA locations were when I was a fresh Los Angeleno craving weekend foodie adventures and soaking in as much of the city as possible.

Two and half years later, I walk into this Urth Caffe with a straighter posture and resting LA face (much like a another “resting face” people are more familiar with…). I get in line, knowing that crowds are expected even at 9am on a Sunday, barely giving the menu a glance since I already know what I’m going to get—a Spanish Latte with soymilk and an Earl Grey Tiramisu.

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Feeling like a latte…

I take my honey-glazed, sweet-filled pastry over to a counter seat by the window. I dig in with a fork, and people-watch as I think about a number of things. The fact that I walked into this place on a whim…it wasn’t planned. I felt like having something sweet paired with something warm, Urth was nearby, so I just went.

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Views.

Even two and a half years ago, I would have been riddled with panic if my food plans had to change. Any and all visits were planned, and excuses were made if anything tried to “destroy” those plans.

tiramisooooooo
Hello, gorgeous.

But now, I was digging into this tiramisu with enjoyment. The calorie counter was still ticking in my head, but the number didn’t phase me as much as it used to. I got this tiramisu not because of its number, but because I was craving it as my post-run treat.

When my latte arrived, I held the mug in both hands, took a sip, and was immediately transported to Barcelona.

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Something warm.

A young woman sitting next to me looking over sheet music asked how I was doing with a huge smile, which at first took me by surprise, but then I gave a her a huge smile back. There was no need to hold on to my “resting LA face”. Happiness starts with YOU, and welcoming every smile or greeting bestowed upon you by others only helps to grow and sustain that happiness.

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“I may not be in Barcelona, but I’m going to pretend I was there yesterday morning since this Spanish Latte certainly made me feel like I was”

I left Urth Caffe feeling refreshed and fulfilled with my self-care time and reflections. I have so much to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to. I used to fear the unknown, rather than look at it with anticipation.

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Slice of decadence…

I could sit back, and worry about not hitting my goal to run under 4 hours at the marathon this weekend. I could ruminate over whether or not I can sustain the relationships I am cultivating now in the future. I could be anxious about reaching my academic and career goals…but I’m coming to the realization that letting those thoughts take up brain space leads to wasted time…

I’d rather be using that time laughing with E in lab over a coffee break, smiling to myself when I reread funny text conversations between my sister and I, and taking pride in my daily running achievements (whether that be a new fast pace or just getting out to run despite not having the motivation).

Honestly, life is just too short…get that piping hot Spanish latte, demolish that decadent tiramisu, and take pride in knowing that life is yours for the taking.

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“Run 8 miles, replenish with an Earl Grey Tiramisu”…and enjoy life.

Urth Caffé Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Showing Off My City

Showing Off My City

After reuniting over pizza and dragging my Dad to a 10 mile race on the Saturday morning of my Dad and sis’s weekend visit, I planned to take both of them to some of my favorite places in the LA area so far—more so for my sister’s sake, since she had never been to Santa Monica. So after some homework and nap time, we left my apartment around 3pm and headed over to the Pier/Promenade area.

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We found $5 parking underground…a few blocks from a parking lot that had the nerve to charge $20 for a spot. Guess we showed them! My sis was feeling peckish, so she had some appetizer-size tacos from one of the food stalls at the food court in the upper-level.

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After having the chance to quell her munchies, we walked around the Promenade, and browsed a couple shops—including Urban Outiftters and Crossroads Trading Co. She’s more of a thrifter than I am, but I was the one that ended up making purchases that day (two jeans, one of which was a pair of dark wash Free People flares for only $25!) Yay!

After shopping, we found our patient Dad waiting for us outside. He was able to entertain himself, and us later, by showing us photos of the “interesting folk” that passed by. I (sort of) seriously recommended that he should make it a thing—could get an art book deal or something out of it 😛 !

 Crossing the street to get to dinner!
Crossing the street to get to dinner!

For dinner, we headed over to Real Food Daily since I was craving a huge bowl of wholesome food. My sister was surprisingly still ravenous, but I knew that RFD was the perfect solution!

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The SaMo location would be pretty easy to miss, if it were not for the square hanging sign humbly displayed outside. We entered the dimly lit restaurant, and asked if we could sit upstairs.

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We found a cozy spot in the back corner, and after settling in, we looked at the menu and decided to order family-style since it was the perfect opportunity to get a taste of all sorts of crazy-delicious RFD menu items. In the end, I picked the Not-Chos, my sis the Club, and my Dad the Basic Five, from which we selected five items from the categories of veggies, beans & grains, and one plant protein. After much convincing and a guarantee from our server that “yes, the golden gravy is flavorful, Dad”, we chose as a group our five selections to be the sea vegetables, garlicky greens, soba noodles, mashed potatoes w/gravy, and the almond “tuna”.

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After placing our family-size order, my sister and I climbed downstairs to wash our hands in the restroom. My sister didn’t lock the door since she was just washing her hands, but it was still awkward when one of the kitchen staff shot by me and opened the door to the bathroom without even knocking.

 The kitchen area where a member of the kitchen staff flew right by me!
The kitchen area where a member of the kitchen staff flew right by me!

After that awkward incident, we went back upstairs and chatted amongst eachother while we waited for our food…which, despite our growing hunger, was well worth the wait…

 Not-chos ~ Melted cashew cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, tofu sour cream, guacamole
Not-chos ~ Melted cashew cheese, black beans, pico de gallo,
tofu sour cream, guacamole
The Club ~ triple decker  or in a wrap w/ crispy seitan, tempeh bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, aioli, sourdough
The Club ~ triple decker or in a wrap w/ crispy seitan, tempeh bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, aioli, sourdough
 L-to-R going clockwise ~ almond "tuna", sea vegetables, soba noodles, mashed potatoes with gravy, garlicky greens---they forgot the golden gravy at first, so they brought it in a little bowl off to the side...
L-to-R going clockwise ~ almond “tuna”, sea vegetables, soba noodles, mashed potatoes with gravy, garlicky greens—they forgot the golden gravy at first, so they brought it in a little bowl off to the side…

I mostly attacked the nachos, but I wasn’t a fan of the chips. They tasted a bit too stale for me—but when topped with the almond “tuna”? De.licious.

So obviously I was using the almond “tuna” as an additional topping for my nachos because I couldn’t get enough of it. I also found the sea vegetables, garlicky greens, and soba noodles all flavorful and filling (very filling). My sister finally felt full after (almost) getting through all four sandwich quarters.

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Don’t let vegan food fool ya…it can be quite rich!

My Dad and sis were both pleased with the meal, with my sis saying she hasn’t had anything that tasty and delicious for quite some time, since her dining commons at school has nothing in comparison. I was glad that I was able to share another one of my favorites with them, and thought about taking them to the RFD in WeHo next time.

 Fancy art shows.
Fancy art shows on Ocean Ave.

We left with our bellies full (no room for dessert!) and semi-waddled over to Ocean Ave. We were too stuffed tired to make it down to the Pier, but I didn’t mind since we could always save that for another day. 

 The SM Pier @ night.
The SM Pier @ night

On Sunday, I let my Dad and sister sleep in while I went out for a morning long run with the group I’m training for the LA Marathon with. After the run, I came back to an apartment smelling like omelettes, coffee, and freshly-washed dishes. Gotta love parents!

My Dad had been wanting me to give him a campus tour, so that occupied the rest of our morning after running some last-minute in-house errands and helping the fam pack up. After walking around my campus (very slowly, in heels nonetheless), we decided to have a late Sunday lunch at the Urth Caffe in DTLA. When I told my sister about the amazing green tea tiramisu I had, she looked up the menu and had tre latti on the brain all weekend. I couldn’t deny her the indulgence after letting her in on the secret 😉 ! 

I have got to be honest and say it was hard to find, since it was in the middle of the Arts District downtown.

 Nice art!
Nice art!

It was also the only “edible” location in the area…

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While my Dad looked for parking, my sis and I found our spot in the queue that was (not surprisingly) already out the door.

waiting outside

When we made our way inside, we still had to face some crowds…

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…but, at least our eyes weren’t bored!

 Tea and mug wall // dessert goods // cool mural
Tea and mug wall // dessert goods // cool urth-y mural

There were a lot of seating options, and so we found a table in the indoor patio dining area.

 Beautiful room, not so beautiful display of wasted food.
Beautiful room, not so beautiful display of wasted food.

^ If I wasn’t wary of infectious diseases, I would have grabbed that tiramisu. Pity it had to go to waste 🙁

We ordered family-style again, but we ordered platter-style entrees that would be easy to split among three people. It was a long wait, but all of our food (and teas!) came out at once so it was like a feast:

 Platter
The Mediterranean Platter – a plate of feta cheese, grape leaves, hummus, tabouli, roasted peppers & mixed olives (with pits) garnished with mint, grilled artichokes and pure olive oil served with pita bread.
-  nori sheet stuffed with avocado, organic brown rice, carrots, broccoli, green onions, umeboshi plum paste, and five spice tofu served with a mixed greens salad and wasabi.
Nori Plum Rice Wrap –  nori sheet stuffed with avocado, organic brown rice, carrots, broccoli, green onions, umeboshi plum paste, and five spice tofu served with a mixed greens salad and wasabi.

Pita bread on the side 🙂

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I split the Moroccan Mint Tea with my Dad, while my sister indulged in the English Tea Latte with her Tre Latti!

Moroccan Tea Latté - made with organic green tea and cool creamy mint
Moroccan Tea Latté – made with organic green tea and cool creamy mint
English Tea Latte - a rich creamy organic tea latte perfect for high tea!
English Tea Latte – a rich creamy organic tea latte perfect for high tea!
Tre Latti - vanilla sponge cake soaked in FOUR different sweet milks, a layer of chantilly cream and iced with a caramelized meringue
Tre Latti – vanilla sponge cake soaked in FOUR different sweet milks, a layer of chantilly cream and iced with a caramelized meringue

The description itself sounds like it flew over from Italy personally, and landed on my sister’s plate!

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 Helpin' myself.
Helpin’ myself.

We were able to clean our plates (in other words, no excess food was ordered or wasted), and we left the restaurant happy with our family meal out, yet again.

I was dropped off at home while my Dad headed up north with my sis to drop her off at her college before Monday classes. My Dad actually ended up seeing me the next two days since he had to come back for business, but it was a real parting between my sister and I that afternoon since I wouldn’t be able to see her until Thanksgiving!

But for the time being, I would say we had a pretty swell time ♥

Real Food Daily on Urbanspoon

Urth Caffé on Urbanspoon

Ten Things Over Tiramisu

Ten Things Over Tiramisu

1. I am so glad Urth Caffe has 5 locations for me to check out and that they have such an extensive menu. I’ve already crossed the WeHo location off my list, where I was thoroughly impressed by my Sunday afternoon dessert. 

 Urth Caffe in West Hollywood.
Urth Caffe in West Hollywood.

2. Speaking of which…this tiramisu? Out-of-this-world-insanely delicious.

 If love could be defined in terms of tiramisu, this would be it.
If love could be defined in terms of tiramisu, this Matcha Green Tea Tiramisu would be it .

 Matcha Tiramisu matcha infused mascarpone cheese layered in between matcha soaked ladyfingers topped with whipped cream & garnished with matcha powder.
Matcha Tiramisu = matcha infused mascarpone cheese layered in between matcha soaked ladyfingers topped with whipped cream & garnished with matcha powder. [in other words, SO GOOD…]
3. Everybody in WeHo had the same idea as I did: 3pm tea time on a sunny Sunday afternoon

 Busy day at Urth Caffe.
Busy day at Urth Caffe.

4. I may have taken more than my share of stevia packets. Sorry, I’m not ashamed. 

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5. All I was missing was a leisure-reading book and a sun hat. I’m also surprised I didn’t go back for seconds…

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Okay, now for some things non-tiramisu-related 😉

6. In about 5 months time, I’m going to be doing this. I never thought about doing it so soon, but there is really no time like the present. The topic most definitely deserves a post of its own…

7. I busted out the baking pan and made these last night. Shhh—it’s a surprise for my Dad and sis 😉 . Also plan a separate post detailing what they are/what’s in it!

surprisesurprise

8. Speaking of family, they are arriving tonight and I still am not sure what to do with them for the weekend (haha). How do you pick when there is somuchstuff going on in LA? 

9. I’ve finished week 2 of my first lab rotation, and have been feeling completely exhausted. Like, napping-at-6pm-seems-like-a-good-idea exhausted. The work itself is not tiring, so I guess it’s just because my routine is changing again, and that’s causing some form of subconscious stress?

 Yeah, so I may not be driving, but even commuting by bus can add exhaustion...
Yeah, so I may not be driving, but even commuting by bus can add exhaustion…

10. This week has been crazy in terms of free stuff. We had a vendor show on campus the other day, and I was able to pick up some things that always come in handy (reusable shopping bags, pens, etc.). We also got to go around to different booths and get a card stamped for an entry to win an iPad mini. And of course, there was free food. My favorite was a small bottle that looks like something you’d find in a lab cabinet, but it actually had Hershey’s Kisses in it! 

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Are you a tiramisu fan?

What’s the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Urth Caffé on Urbanspoon

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