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. 😜👍🏽

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 💀 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 💕

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.

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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

Better Than Cheesecake: 2 Years Later

Better Than Cheesecake: 2 Years Later

Disclaimer: I was provided samples for review by ANSI Nutrition. All opinions are my own.

It’s hard to believe that a little over two years ago, I tried these bars for the very first time.

ANSI (5)
The newest line-up of ANSI Nutrition Gourmet Cheesecake Bars!

Well, not the bars you see pictured above, but rather the original ANSI Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bar flavors that are no longer produced. After looking back at my old review, I realize that I paid most of my attention to the soft, doughy texture of these bars.

But things have changed over the past 2+ years. I was contacted by the company to do a review of their new flavors, since they had a major revamp since I last tried them!

ANSI (6)
Still soft and chewy!

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor is no longer in production, but I found my new favorite to be Chocolate Truffle.

ANSI (1)
Chocolate Truffle

The bars, while still having a soft, doughy texture, now have a coated chocolate layer on the bottom.

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Now with a chocolate coating layer on the bottom!

This addition I feel adds more character to the bar…and also makes for a good oatmeal topper since the chocolate is quick to melt!

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Oatmeal + Chocolate Truffle Bar ♥

The Chocolate Peanut Butter was a satisfactory flavor in my opinion.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter

It could have been an even better flavor if I didn’t see this oozing out.

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Surprise?

I’m thinking it was just oil condensation since the wrapper was sticky as well. The ingredients list was all either plant/milk-based, so this was more of an aesthetic flaw than a taste one.

My least favorite flavor was Raspberry Truffle. I wouldn’t mind if they brought back the Strawberry Supreme Cheesecake.

ANSI (8)
Raspberry Truffle

The raspberry flavor had a somewhat bitter flavor, and overall with the chocolate coating actually tasted quite bland.

ANSI (3)
Raspberry Truffle

I think it’s safe to say that Chocolate Truffle was a winner of a flavor, but Chocolate Peanut Butter and Raspberry Truffle were not the best of improvements. I think bringing back Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and the Strawberry Supreme flavors, while keeping the Chocolate Truffle flavor, would be a trio of flavors worth having around!

First Meal Out in 2016

First Meal Out in 2016

Even though I was back to work after my week in Tulsa, my lab mates were still taking advantage of their break, and I literally had the entire lab floor to myself 😛

I did have work to do though, and kept my energy levels up with some Vitamin Shoppe purchases I made prior to my trip…including two of the newest Lenny and Larry’s cookies!

Coconut Chocolate
Coconut Chocolate
Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl
Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl

From these two flavors, my favorite was Coconut Chocolate. It had pieces of dried coconut mixed in, along with the classic chocolate chip cookie base. The DCPBS flavor was delicious too, but in comparison, was softer and more mundane in its flavor profile.

Along with these insanely addicting cookies, I ended up getting a canister of Quest protein powder with the same Vitamin Shoppe order, since it was on sale. Of course, I’ve been mixing it with yogurt and topping it with interesting cookie butter flavors (like this one—a macaroon cookie butter!!), but I also tried it mixed in with a hot bowl of oatmeal which wasn’t too bad!

Quest Strawberries and Cream
Quest Strawberries and Cream

By the time the weekend rolled around, I was able to make it out to the Grove and walk not too far to reach Sweetgreen. I actually learned about its existence that day while looking for places to eat lunch as I was in-between experiments in lab.

Sweetgreen, by the Grove
Sweetgreen, by the Grove

The restaurant is in a two-story building, so while the width was small, the height of the space was the exact opposite. At the front of the restaurant, a chalkboard listed farms and local partners that Sweetgreen gets its produce and food goods from.

That color though...
That color though…

The ordering-style is set-up so that you build your salad bowl like you would a sandwich at Subway. There are combinations all set and listed on the menu, or you can create your own.

Everything fresh and from modern farms.
Everything fresh and from modern farms.

I decided to get the Hummus Tahina, and from there the process was very simple. The girl who was helping me knew exactly was to put in, how much, and I even ended up “skipping” the person in front of me because my bowl was just done that fast 😛

With bowl, water, fork, and napkins in tow, I climbed upstairs and found plenty of seats.

Upstairs seating!
Upstairs seating!

As soon as I was settled in, I was more than ready to dig in!

shredded kale + chopped romaine, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, pita chips, local feta, housemade hummus, baked falafel, cucumber tahini yogurt
shredded kale + chopped romaine, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, pita chips, local feta, housemade hummus, baked falafel, cucumber tahini yogurt

Everything was perfectly dressed with cucumber tahini yogurt, and just like I save my dollop of nut butter/nutella/cookie spread in my proyo bowls for last, I did the same with my hummus dollop. What took me by surprise the most was how creamy the small pieces of feta tasted, and how doughy the falafel was. Even though this falafel wasn’t green, I actually liked its consitency—at least in this bowl.

Even though it felt like just another week and weekend, at least my first meal dining out for 2016 was a success!

Sweetgreen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

TMI Survey

TMI Survey

When I saw this survey on Irina’s blog, I knew I had to complete it myself. It’s been a while since I last took a survey too…


Making

…do with what I have. I don’t say this in a depressing way, but rather I like the challenge of living on a budget and keeping track of my spending. So far, I’ve been quite frugal, and have actually saved more money than I expected. It’s also a way for me to figure out what I need on a weekly basis, and I’ve been able to avoid wasting things this way.  So far, so good 😀

Cooking

…crockpot-based  dinners during the week, and not cooking on the weekend because I’d rather taste what LA has to offer. 

Drinking

 …coffee with So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer. Where have you been all my life??

 1 tablespoon goes a long way! It tastes great in chamomile tea, as well as coffee :) !
1 tablespoon goes a long way! It tastes great in chamomile tea, as well as coffee 🙂 !

Reading

…any running/fitness magazines I can get my hands on. I love reading them before going to bed, or when I’m on the bus driving to campus in the mornings. 

 Case in point: free magazines I scooped up from Vitamin Shoppe :P
Case in point: free magazines I scooped up from Vitamin Shoppe 😛

Wanting

…a step stool, so I can store more stuff in my kitchen cabinets. I finally got a seat cushion after a countless number of days where studying at the kitchen table resulted in a sore behind.

 So cute, and so comfy!
So cute, and so comfy!

Looking

…forward to seeing the fam a couple of times between now and the new year. 

Playing

…music on my weekday early morning runs. That, and treating myself to Quest bars and coffee before starting the rest of my day are great motivators for me to get out the door!

Wasting  

…time when I get home after a long day. It makes sense to recap on the day’s lectures, but no. My brain immediately goes into lay-zee mode once it hits 6pm. It also doesn’t help that I instantly change into my PJs either…

Planning

…on hosting my girls in December for a week! I just need them to be able to coordinate themselves and find their way to LA first.

Running

…in the mornings as the sun rises. You cannot say you lived until you do this.  

Enjoying

…each day in this sunny, warm-even-in-November city. Being able to run in the morning without putting on layers—but I do want to breakout my armwarmers again!  

Waiting

…for classes to be done! I’m already planning (in my mind) what to do/where to go in the city and surrounding area with the time I have off. Perhaps I can finally get an OC trip in…

Liking

…these KIND Strong Bars that I got as freebies from this race. To be honest, they all pretty much taste the same (except for the jalapeno flavor, which tastes similar to the other two, but spicier), but that doesn’t mean they don’t taste good! They remind me of Nature Valley’s trail mix bars, except more savory of course. 

 Flavors: Roasted Jalapeno, Honey Mustard, and Hickory Smoked
Flavors: Roasted Jalapeno, Honey Mustard, and Hickory Smoked

Wondering

…about where I should take my friends when they (hopefully) visit me next month. I’ve been urging them to make requests, but so far, all I know is that my sister wants me to take her to a “legit” bakery. I have a list…  

Loving

…how I’ve been spoiled with free food, pretty much at least once a day, and at least 3-5 times during a week!

 Some free food from last week!
Some free food from last week!

Hoping

…that my marathon training goes well. Right now it just seems like I’m running like normal, but come January when we start to hit the numbers beyond 13, I’m not sure how I’ll feel!

Marveling

…how DTLA looks from the freeway. I need to remember to never take this for granted. 

Needing

…see “Wanting”, above.

Smelling

…cooked cabbage when I come back to the apartment on weeknights. I use it as a base in my crockpot dinners, and I’m glad my roommate doesn’t (seem to) mind!

Wearing

…dresses on the weekends because between lab/school/running, there isn’t another appropriate time!

Following

…the news, or at least attempting to. Since I’ve recently been caught up with things occurring in my own life, I’m waaay behind on current events. It now feels like I’m reading more about history than current events 😛 .

Noticing

…how irritating undergrads can be (not saying they all are 😉 ). I live in an apartment complex that mostly houses undergrads, and it amazes me how they are so hyper all.the.time. Yeah, I was an undergrad once as well, but I don’t think I was as annoying (or messy, or narcissistic).

Knowing

…that time is flying by so fast, and that this amazing year is almost over! I also know that I don’t want it to end so quickly, but that I at least can look back on the many posts from this year if I ever want to “relive” the life-changing moments that took place in 2014.

Thinking

…about where I was two years ago: in my last year of undergrad, dreaming about something bigger, and where I (want/hope/expect) to be two years from now: only time will tell!

Feeling

…content, happy, anxious, grateful.

Writing

…more blog posts. I seem to be behind on what I want to share ever since moving to the city! I also need to go back to writing in my personal journal, I haven’t touched it since I moved…

Opening

…emails through the phone. It can be such a pain.  :/

Missing

…going to the gym with my Dad, my fluffball of a cat, and the rain. 

Feel free to take the survey yourself!

Events Taking Place Pre-Race

Events Taking Place Pre-Race

There is something about October that (almost) makes it my favorite month. I guess I can go far as to say it’s my second favorite month, perhaps because there is so much going on and my time has been occupied by things that keep me busy, but in a good way. 

Besides studying/lab rotations, spending my weekends exploring the city, eating, and sleeping, running has been a major part of my schedule. I signed up for the Rock n Roll LA Half back in June, excited about the prospect that my fifth half, and my second fall half would take place in the heart of my new home!

SAMSUNG

It was also my first RNR race altogether, and I have to admit that I was majorly influenced by the constant stream of ads for the race series when I picked up and read issues of Competitor from my old gym. More about my experience with the race to come, but for now, let’s get back to expo day

I originally would have liked to make it out to the expo for packet pick-up on Friday afternoon, but I was occupied in lab until about an hour and a half before the expo closing time. I decided to just make it out to pick-up right when they opened at the LA Convention Center at 9:30am the next morning. 

SAMSUNG

I expected it to be crowded, crazy, and take too long, but it was actually the opposite. In fact, I probably was only there for about an hour total for packet pick-up and booth browsing.

SAMSUNG
Not taking the time to browse over-priced expo merch.

There were plenty of vendors, mostly pushing/selling their products at “expo prices”, but there was a good share of freebies being handed out as well. I got (waytoomuch!) reusable tote bags, pens, and other random non-food goods. A lot of the food/beverage samples were being portioned out unfortunately, for me. I did sip on a sample of a vanilla protein shake while checking out the Geico booth, but my favorite booth from the expo was Mahatma Rice’s.

SAMSUNG

Yeah, so I may have gotten a lousy paper fan as my “spin-the-wheel-prize”, but the booth guy was like “hold up!” as I was about to leave, and handed me two sample packs of rice! Um, thank you very much! 😀

Since the expo bored me pretty quickly after I made my way around to all of the booths, I left the Convention Center with one of my reusable totes filled with the freebies I happened to pick up, and boarded the Metro to Venice. I was looking forward to getting off at an earlier stop on the Santa Monica route and not only saving time, but gathering more freebies at Vitamin Shoppe’s health “fair” and getting lunch for the first time at Cafe Gratitude.

My first stop was Vitamin Shoppe for Quest Bars (of course…), but since they were having health fairs in their stores nationwide, I ended up getting yet another reusable bag full of samples! I looked like a super bag lady walking out of the store 😉 !

With my bags in tow, I walked 2 miles coast-wards, and ended up on Lincoln and Rose for part of the walk. I noticed that the area took the name to heart.

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When two cross-streets have a logo, you know you’re in a pretty savvy place B)

My destination was in housed in a brick building, and I would have absentmindedly passed by it had I not looked up at the right moment.

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

When I walked in, I could tell that it was lunch time—the place was packed!

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I was able to get a table for one right up against the wall at the back of the restaurant. Great for picture-taking and out-the-window gazing…

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

I love how the menu items start with “I am…” and then finish with some sort of adjective. I ended up getting the Humble bowl, which, when you think about the ingredients, really does sound humbling!

SAMSUNG

 HUMBLE indian curry bowl  14 Red lentil dal, roasted heirloom tomatoes, sautéed spinach, fresh corn, spicy mint chutney, sweet tamarind sauce, chopped scallions, choice of local brown rice or quinoa
The Humble Indian Curry Bowl ~ Red lentil dal, roasted heirloom tomatoes, sautéed spinach, fresh corn, spicy mint chutney, sweet tamarind sauce, chopped scallions, local brown rice or quinoa

It was humble in flavor too (in other words, it was lacking in spice & seasoning!!)

SAMSUNG

But if were just keeping score based on looks? 10/10.

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I had a hard time picking up the small bits of quinoa though. Perhaps a side order of bread would have been helpful in this case…

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What am I grateful for?

Free stuff. And good food. 😀

SAMSUNG

What are your experiences with race expo(s)?

What are you grateful for?

Cafe Gratitude on Urbanspoon

I Love You More Than Cupcakes (and Free Food and Mediterranean Bowls)

I Love You More Than Cupcakes (and Free Food and Mediterranean Bowls)

Last Sunday ended up being a low-key day, despite my plans to head to SaMo for a run and a brunch at some new-to-me place. I guess the heat from the previous day’s adventures got to me, as well as the voice inside my head telling me I should do some studying so that I wouldn’t be playing catch-up later in the week. I was also feeling a bit of loneliness, and honestly, I just didn’t feel like stepping out on a solo adventure that day. 

But a close family friend must have sensed my thoughts, because she sent the most adorable sign accompanied by a lovely letter: 

sundaylove
No new-to-me restaurant on Sunday, but I did have a new-to-me bar! This thinkThin Lean Protein & Fiber Chunky Chocolate Peanut bar was a $0.50 steal from Ralph’s (after their sale + my coupon). It was my “impulse/going-grocery-shopping-when-hungry” purchase. 

Snail mail can provide the best solutions sometimes…and so can free food. On Tuesdays, my apartment complex gives out free food, and so I spent 45 minutes in line to get a cup of the one thing that was vegetarian. There were also mini tortillas available, but that became a huge no-no to grab since the cooks placed them on the same surface as the chicken/beef that was being cooked for taco fillings.  

SAMSUNG

At least this rice made for a decent, packable lunch for me to bring to school the next day. Mixed with some tahini, it was actually not that bad.

The rest of the week went by so quickly, it all seems like a blur now. Between studying, eating, and sleeping, I also had to make a trip out to meet a potential lab rotation mentor for my first rotation on Friday. I’m not surprised that my busy schedule has already started to effect me. Even though I had plans to go for a morning run before 9 am on Saturday, I just did not want to get up. Instead I slept in until 8:30, made myself a cup of tea-infused hot milk, and finished organizing my laundry from Friday night. 

onesaturdaymorning

I still managed to get a weights work-out in at the gym, and after slowly getting ready, decided to continue with my plans for the day: lunch in Pasadena!

To get there, I started off at Union Station in order to connect to the Gold Line. After learning that fare prices are increasing starting on the 15th, I knew I had to make the most of my trip! It also got me thinking…why did they have to wait until after I moved to increase prices? 

goldline
Waiting for the train.

The time it took me to get from Union Station to Lake Station was about 24 minutes, but with a growling stomach and a sleepy head, it felt much longer. And after getting off, the heat wave outside felt unbearable—but I had to remind myself, food was waiting for me just a mile ahead! 

I got into such a heavy rhythm of walking that I almost missed my destination. If I had not turned my head at the corner, I would have missed the discrete Real Food Daily sign! 

SAMSUNG

I stopped to take a look at the menu outside, and went in confidently with my order in mind. 

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At the counter, I ordered an item from their salad selection, specifically the Mediterranean Bowl. Flatbread and feta sounded so appetizing at the time, especially alongside a cool salad. 

Since the inside of the restaurant was packed, I volunteered to sit outside, which wasn’t so bad at all since there was shade and I had the whole area to myself. 

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Out of all of the vegan restaurants I’ve visited in LA so far, this establishment has to be the quickest in terms of food delivery. Despite the busy crowds, my food came to the table within ten minutes.

Arugula, tomato, avocado, lemon herb Za’atar dressing, cucumber kalamata salsa, white bean basil salad, quinoa tabouli, almond feta, whole wheat Za’atar flatbread
Arugula, tomato, avocado, lemon herb Za’atar dressing, cucumber kalamata salsa, white bean basil salad, quinoa tabouli, almond feta, whole wheat Za’atar flatbread

I loved the almond feta dollop in the middle, and did a pretty good job of “eating my veggies first” so I could save the feta and coat my bread with it.

Details

It took me a while to get to the bottom of the bowl, but the mission was accomplished.

SAMSUNG

I also took my time eating because I wanted to savor my time in the shade before absolutely having to get back out in the sun. You’d think that after I heard about how there would be a heat wave over the weekend on the news, I’d make plans to head west and cool off at the beach, but no—I go and do the exact opposite and head even more east.

Oh well. The sights in Pasadena are well worth it. 

 Stopping at the Vitamin Shoppe for my weekly box of Quest bars / taking a break in the shade near some bank or corporate building / approaching Colorado Blvd.
Stopping at the Vitamin Shoppe for my weekly box of Quest bars / taking a break in the shade near some bank or corporate building / approaching Colorado Blvd.

I made my way down Colorado Blvd. to eventually get to the Memorial Park Station. As I waited for the train, I admired the intriguing artwork hanging from above:

memorialparkstation

I made it back to Union Station within 20 minutes, but had to wait another hour for a shuttle to get back home. In the meantime, I people-watched…since there are some pretty interesting characters using public transport 😛 . There was this one guy trying to sell off his day-pass or something, and it got serious enough that a lady reported him to security and from there…it just turned out interesting. Such is city life!

Is there a huge heat wave right now where you live?

Real Food Daily on Urbanspoon

Better Than Cheesecake

Better Than Cheesecake

Note:  I was not monetarily paid to write this review, nor were these samples given to me by the company. I personally purchased these bars, and all opinions are my own.

When it comes to cake, I prefer chocolate and vanilla (with loads of frosting) over carrot or cheesecake. I can’t say I’ve always been cheesecake’s #1 fan. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never had the perfect slice?

Until that happens, I think the ANSI Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bar does a decent job of being a good substitute.

Ansi Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bar
Ansi Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bar

These bars obviously rival Quest with their low carb (they have 17-19g of fiber) aura and main ingredient of whey isolate protein. They are also free of rBST and rBGH hormones. While not suitable for vegans due to the milk-derived ingredients, I contacted the company to make sure these were okay for vegetarians. I got a response that deemed these as vegetarian-friendly, and was also glad to see that these bars were gelatin-free. For every (60g) bar, there is 20 grams of isolate protein.

I found all three flavors at my local Vitamin Shoppe, and decided to try two of the flavors Monday morning before heading to lab.

I tried the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor out of the two first.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Flavor

When I was taking a picture of it, I noticed that my bar was about to tear apart! The sales associate was right when she said these are some of the softest food bars that they sell. The look of the bar reminded me of vanilla fudge, and to keep true to its name, there was sprinkling of chocolate chips within the bar.

The flavors were simple in that it tasted like sweet and soft vanilla fudge, almost like biting into a cloud. I say that as if I’ve eaten a cloud before 😛

I followed up that bar with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake flavor.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Flavor

It reminded me of the ThinkThin Creamy Peanut Butter bar in terms of consistency and taste. The marble appearance reminded me of a Quest Cookie Dough bar. Compared to its chocolate-chip-more-like-vanilla sibling, this bar was less soft, but it still had a chewy, fudgy texture.

Strawberry Supreme Cheesecake
Strawberry Supreme Cheesecake

Since I felt obliged to try all three flavors, I went back the next day to get the Strawberry Supreme flavor after lab. It looked very much like the chocolate chip flavor in appearance, and indeed tasted soft, fudgy, and more like vanilla than cheesecake. The strawberry pieces added some interesting crunch—like pop rocks but not quite.

Reading and Eating
Reading and Eating

I had this bar in my car while reading the March 2014 issue of Runner’s World. Nothing like catching up on some reads while having an afternoon snack!

Are you cheesecake’s #1 fan? 🙂

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