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

Race Recap – Los Angeles FroYo Run 10K

Race Recap – Los Angeles FroYo Run 10K

For the first half of March, I experienced my first running-related injury that kept me out from running for about 1 1/2 weeks. It was groin pull, and it took me by surprise…causing my pace to slow down and my thigh to really feel aggravated. I did end up taking ibuprofen towards the later half of that week, and that seemed to help with the inflammation. I was worried that I wouldn’t be in top condition for a 10k I had signed up for a few weeks prior, but I was able to have enough time to rest up, and do a decent job on race day.

cookie with pb
One of my rest day snacks: a Lenny & Larry’s cookie topped with flaxseed and chia seed PB 🙂

This race wasn’t as intense as the LA Marathon, but it was a race that I wanted to enjoy running in, as much as eating afterwards…

Instead of waking up two hours earlier than the starting time just to take public transit, I called an Uber around 6am, and only had to pay ~$11 for my trip to the woods of Griffith Park. My driver was like “are you sure you want to be dropped off here?”, referring to the darkness/tall trees, but since I saw some runners in the distance, I said it should be fine.

And with an inflatable Menchie’s character in my view, I’m pretty sure I was in the right place.

Welcome to the froyo run…

After showing ID, I was able to pick up some goodies that included shades and a hat. Unfortunately, no race shirt was being given away at this race.

Since I was still a little early, I wandered around the tent area aimlessly until it was about race start time.

The 10k began a little after a 7am, and consisted of two loops around an area of Griffith Park. We even managed to run through areas where some of my marathon team training runs took place. To be honest though, running in Griffith Park can get a bit boring after awhile, but there are plenty of hills to wake you up from the creeping mediocrity!

The length of the race actually ended up being closer to 5.4 miles rather than a 6.2 miler/10k. Even so, I ran it at a 9:24/mi pace, which I was happy with since I was still dealing with a lingering injury.

FroYo Run 2016

Once I made it back down to the tents, I was able to redeem my free FROYO, pretty much the whole purpose of this run!

I chose to get a vanilla snow base, topped with oreo cookie crumbles and M&Ms. Other toppings like granola and almonds were available too, but c’mon, you can’t put that up against candy 😉

Free froyo and toppings = dream!!

I LOVE how the medal was an actual spoon. When I came home that afternoon, I literally ripped off the ribbon and stored the spoon away in my kitchen drawer. Yup, this is my first “useful” race medal.

froyo medal
I totally just kept the spoon. Why hang something that has some usefulness?!

Since the race didn’t have a spectacular post-race party beyond free froyo, I decided to walk back into the city, and ended up in Glendale’s Atwater Village, where I was many moons ago chowing down on the most gorgeous Mediterranean platter (that also garnered many admiring eyes on Insta 😛 ).

Classic counter

This time, I turned in the opposite direction to check out Hugo’s for some filling, brunch-y vegetarian Mexican food.

Hugo’s Tacos, Glendale’s Atwater Village

Hugo’s Tacos also offers meat options, but I appreciate how they have good protein options for veggie peeps too!

Even though it was barely lunchtime, I opted for the nachos platter with soy chorizo and vegan cheese.

nachos tray

I ordered at the counter, waited at the bench in front, and my nachos were ready within ten minutes. I grabbed my tray and walked over to the side of the food stand, and found a table to sit down at.

The nachos looked great from the side, but oh so magical from the top…

Bird’s eye, pretty eye.

By eating my nachos with a fork, I was able to add a good-sized dollop of cheese, cubed potatoes, spicy soy chorizo, and zucchini cubes onto each crispy tortilla chips. There was a refreshing green dollop of guac on top, and fine layer of white beans on the bottom.

veganized monster nachos
Vegan cheese, soy chorizo, white beans…what more can you ask for in a tray of nachos?!?

I felt perfectly full at the end of this meal, and did not feel like I had to waddle to the bus stop. I had replenished my depleted energy stores from my run in the morning, and refueled enough to go grocery shopping at the Sprouts in Burbank.

I even had enough energy to anchor myself to the table and finish up that 20-page paper that owned the rest of that weekend, too. 😉

Have you ever had to deal with an annoying running injury?

What’s your favorite froyo topping?

Hugo's Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Making Time for the Good Stuff

Making Time for the Good Stuff

May may (haha) be flying by in hyperactive speed, but at least I got to spend the second weekend of this month with my dad at home in LA! He knew that it would be impossible for me to make it up to Nor Cal after classes finished, since I’ve got a lot of lab work keeping me busy. But luckily for the both of us, he was able to come down for the weekend prior to his business trip stay. 

This particular weekend began with a walk to lab to fulfill my morning experiment duties, but I scheduled it so that I would be finished by noon and available to let my Dad into my apartment complex. He came bearing my favorites—discount Grocery Outlet yogurts, deeply discounted nut butters, and a gargantuan jar of coconut oil that was apparently only ten bucks!! 

We then decided to head over to the California Science Center in Expo Park to check out the Endeavour space shuttle, among other things. 

 The Endeavour at the California Science Center.
The Endeavour at the California Science Center.

While I was taking this panoramic shot with my phone, one of the museum employees walked over to me:

panorama endeabor

At first it was awkward because he was just staring as I was slowly moving my phone sideways, and I quickly defended myself saying “oh, I was just taking a picture of the surroundings, not you!”, but he ended up being pleased that I was “taking interest” with the exhibit. He stopped to chat with me and my dad for a little bit, and from our conversation I learned that his name was Joe. He pulled out some samples from his jacket of different materials used in the construction of the shuttle, and gave us some “insider information”, but he was actually more impressed by how much my dad knew about everything he was talking about. It was still nice to be able to stumble into a conversation with someone who was especially trained to provide information about the exhibit!

We were at the museum for about 2.5 hours, and decided to walk over to the nearest Starbucks for a late afternoon latte. My legs and feet were dying to get some rest, since I was on them since the early hours of the morning! We sat outside and enjoyed our warm coffee before heading out to dinner. Since my dad had a car, we drove over over to My Vegan Gold near Silver Lake. 


Even though it was after 6PM, the setting outside still had a sunny and bright “it-feels-like-3PM” feeling to it. This caused the interior of the restaurant to be illuminated in a pretty way:

 I love the brick wall and 'Veganism' statement :)
I love the brick wall and ‘Veganism’ statement 🙂

The restaurant wasn’t packed on this Saturday evening, so we had our pick when it came to finding a table. We found one near a window at the center of the restaurant, and once we were situated, tried to figure out the best thing to order off the menu.

To start off, we had the Thai “Beef” Jerky (soy protein), which was cut into strips and sauteed with jerky sauce and coriander seeds. It also came with lettuce romaine leaves to make wraps!

Thai Beef Jerky Sauteed soy protein marinated with jerky sauce and coriander seed serve with romaine heart

My dish was this spicy jackfruit plate, which featured shredded jackfruit that was most definitely spicy, and veggies stir-fried in a cornstarch-based sauce on the side. It also came with a side of sticky rice, which was great for mopping up extra sauce on the plate!

spicy jackfruit - sauce, garlic, onion, spice, with sticky rice and veggies

I forgot what my Dad had (and obviously forgot to take pics…), but I do remember having some of what he ordered, haha!

For the remainder of the evening, we drove to the nearest Sprouts for some groceries (one of the reasons I love it when people visit me and they HAVE a car!!), and then crashed back at the apartment. I went to sleep early since I had a long run/lab duties on the schedule the next day…

On Sunday after my long run and lab duties, I was free when the clock struck noon once again! I was able to schedule a room viewing for the afternoon, and I guess the timing was all-around perfect since Dad was in town! Unfortunately, I don’t see myself living in the housing that we saw, and so even though it was back to the drawing board for potential housing options for next year, I was glad to be able to scratch something off my list!

At around late afternoon, Dad needed a nap so we drove to the nearest Ralph’s. He slept in the parking lot while I treated myself to another B&J’s core—ever since that Speculoos flavor, I’m now on an unofficial “quest” to try all. the. cores.


And Boom Chocolatta? Massive flavor explosion—in an extremely good way.

I mean…mocha and caramel ice cream, with cookie bits mixed in and a chocolate cookie core. It was totally worth all the stares I got when I ate this outside at a table near the parking lot. 

 Give me the fudge!
Give me the fudge!

When my dad woke up from the much-needed rest, we made a few stops to pick up some random items like nail clippers and Truvia, but were on the road a little after 5PM headed towards Costa Mesa.

Dinner tonight was  Native Foods at The Camp!

the camp costa mesa

The Costa Mesa location is one that is near & dear to my heart. It was where I experienced the glory that is Native Foods for the very first time…almost three years ago!!

NF Costa Mesa

Since it was Mother’s Day Weekend, they had a special ‘spring wellington’ dish being made and served. My craving for the native nuevo nachos was at an all-time high, so I went with that while my Dad volunteered himself to be the adventurous one from the both of us and try the wellington.

Even though we had to sit outside since pretty much all the booths were full on the inside, we were able to enjoy the sunshine and cool breeze drifting in from the nearby ocean. And once our food came out, it didn’t matter where we were because all attention was focused towards what was ’bout to be chowed down!

native nuevo nachos after my own heart

I guess the nachos have shrunk in size compared to the dinner portion that was served at my last visit to this location three years ago, but it only made me appreciate my dish even more.

The spring wellington was brought out with good presentation, but the promotional poster didn’t reflect the portion size on the plate (in other words, where is the rest of the wellington…certainly not underneath that humble pile of spring veggies…)

spring wellington

We left The Camp soon after finishing up dinner since nothing much was going on, and drove over to Newport Beach to catch a look at the ocean before driving back to the city.


The temperature was beginning to cool down, and the breeze was picking up in strength, but the view couldn’t be beat.


On a Sunday evening, when the sun is thinking about starting to set, where would you want to be?


The sand was so pristine, and there was barely anyone walking around except for a few locals with dogs in tow. It definitely put Santa Monica—and even Manhattan Beach—to shame 😉

The timing for everything was just right in this weekend. Despite racking up certain responsibilities and being tied down by commitments, I was fortunate enough and grateful to be able to see my dad in the midst of all this exciting chaos! This fun and playful weekend was exactly what I needed to prepare for (and make through!) the following week.

Do you like taking enjoying nature in quiet or busy settings?

My Vegan Gold on UrbanspoonNative Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

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