Five Things Friday {12/26}

Happy Friday, friends! I hope everyone is able to enjoy a nice 4-day weekend!

  1. We kicked off our Christmas day with our second annual dim sum brunch at Lai Hong Lounge. We figure there’s a reason Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas, but we wanted to one-up it with dim sum and it’s just so darn good! We kept a bunch of faves from last year, too.
    Lai Hong Lounge BBQ Baked Pork Buns

    BBQ baked pork buns.. these are my fave!

    Lai Hong Lounge Dry Braised Green Beans

    Dry braised green beans are SO good.

    Lai Hong Lounge Garlic Pea Shoots

    Garlic pea shoots.

    Lai Hong Lounge Pan Fried Mixed Mushroom Bun

    Pan-fried mixed mushroom bun.

    Lai Hong Lounge Roast Peking Duck

    The prettiest Christmas duck I ever did see.

    Lai Hong Lounge Roast Peking Duck Roll

    Duck bun all wrapped up!

  2. No trip into Chinatown is complete without a stop at Rogue and a walk by the water.
    Rogue The Bruery Seven Swans a Swimming Quad

    The Bruery – Seven Swans a Swimming Quad

    Nathan Brittany Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco California

    Such a clear, beautiful [and windy] day!

  3. I’ve been powering through some sort of cold or something this week so I’ve spent a lot of time on the sofa the past couple days. I’ve also done my best to make sure I’m getting my greens and proper fuel to get better fast. I decided to whip up this smoothie on a whim and it was awesome!
    Chocolate Cherry Protein Green Smoothie
    Skoop Core Power Mamma Chia Chocolate Cherry Green Smoothie
    Ingredients
    – 1/2 bottle Cherry Charge Mamma Chia Energy drink
    – 1 bottle Chocolate Light Core Power
    – 1 scoop Skoop A Game
    – 1/2 english cucumber
    – 1-2 handfuls spinach
    – 4-6 ice cubesBlend it all up and enjoy! It would also be awesome with some frozen cherries in there too.. next time!
  4. We watched The Interview on Wednesday night. I’m not really sure what all of the craziness was about but I’d say if you’re in the mood for a silly, chuckle here and there kind of Seth Rogan movie, go for it. Pretty much what you can expect from him. On the flip side, Gone Girl. Watched that last night; you need to watch it, too. Best movie I’ve seen in a while.
  5. If you are in the bay area, or know anyone in the bay area, looking for a personal trainer, I’m running a special in January. First 1-hour session is $50, normally $80, and if you purchase a package of 10 sessions, you get 10% off. If you’re not in the bay area but still want to train with me, check out my 4-week personalized training package!

Hope you enjoy your last weekend of 2014!

Sprint 2 the Table

Food for Thought

Any fun weekend plans?

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What I Ate Wednesday #75: We Did It Right

I think in the process of running my parents all around the bay area, we ran ourselves into the ground a little too. Unfortunately, they’re heading back home today and as much as I may need a little more sleep, I don’t want them to go. It has really felt so much more like home with them here. If I had my whole family with me, I wouldn’t think twice about where I was. Anywhere. I miss ’em already but Nathan and I both made sure we did it right!

There was some healthy food…
The Plant Cafe

Venus Breakfast Berkeley California

…some home cooked meals…
Sweet Potato Zucchini Red Pepper Frittata

Black rice bowl chipotle orange chicken Half Baked Harvest

Jerk shrimp fried plantain wheat berries Half Baked Harvest

…some brunching…
Challah French Toast Tomate Cafe

…a little pizza…
Zacharys Chicago Style Pizza

…more than one ice cream/gelato trip…
Olive Oil Dark Chocolate Chunk Gelato

Coffee Break Chocolate Peanut Butter Tuckers Ice Cream Alameda

…LOTS of Asian food…
Coffee Ribs Lai Hong Lounge

Eel Clay Pot Lai Hong Lounge

Pea Shoots Lai Hong Lounge

Sake Jime Salmon Iyasare

Iyasare Berkeley California

Drunken Noodles Spice I Am

Spicy Grilled Pork Bibimbop HRD Coffee Shop

Chisari Yojimbo Alameda

Sushi Yojimbo Alameda

…a few drinks all around…
Bear Republic Beer Sampler

Lagunitas Beer Sampler 2

Lagunitas Beer Sampler

Buena Vista Cafe Irish Coffee

21st Amendment

…and so many incredible memories.
Bear Republic Cheers

Buena Vista Cafe Irish Coffee Cheers

I absolutely cannot wait to see them again. It’s been such a great week. Cheers!

Food for Thought

Where is your favorite place to take out-of-town visitors?

Mom and Dad Do San Francisco

I’ve been a bit MIA on the social media scene for the past few days since my parents have gotten into town, but I make up for it with pictures!

Wednesday

Citizen Chain San Francisco

Biking is good for your ass.

Mom Dad Golden Gate Bridge

First view of the bridge!

Biggest Sweet Potato Ever

Biggest sweet potato I ever done seen!

Thursday

Sweet Potato Zucchini Red Pepper Frittata

Feeding the fam before a day of drinking. Killer frittata!

Bear Republic Beer Sampler

Bear Republic beer samplers! #1 and #2 for the day.

Bear Republic Cheers

Cheers!

Sbragia Healdsburg California

Doin’ wine country.

Sbragia Healdsburg California

Mom and Dad doin’ wine country.

Lagunitas Beer Sampler

Lagunitas beer sample #1.. #3 for the day.

Lagunitas Beer Sampler 2

Lagunitas beer sampler #2. Made it #4 for the day and Dad could hardly wait 😉

Friday

Pacifica State Beach

Dragged em to the beach.

Mom Me Pacifica State Beach

The boys went climbing and we took a sit.

Iyasare Berkeley California

One of the many beautiful dishes at Iyasare.

Saturday

Eggs Benedict Spice I Am Source Vegetarian Gelato

Ran around town with Mom while the boys took a rest day. So much good food!

Sunday

Alcatraz Cutoff

GET ME OUT! Oh.. there’s the door.

Alcatraz Dad

He looks a little too happy to be behind bars. Ha!

The Plant Cafe Blueberry Kombucha

Blueberry kombucha on tap to top off a delicious lunch at The Plant.

Buena Vista Cafe Irish Coffee

Buena Vista Cafe. Home of the original Irish coffee.

Buena Vista Cafe Irish Coffee Cheers

Cheers! Again!

We may or may not be drinking and walking them into the ground. And you bet your butt we’re headed to more breweries and doing lots more walking tomorrow. But we’re having a great time and I love having them here!

Food for Thought

What is your favorite thing to do when you have out-of-town visitors?

Baby Steps

My parents got here yesterday and I honestly could not be happier to have them here! We had a great day walking through San Francisco, taking them to a couple of our favorite places [Liguria, Lai Hong Lounge, Rogue], I cooked up a pretty tasty dinner [if I do say so myself ;)], and we polished off the last of the cheesecake

.

Mom Dad Golden Gate Bridge

I wanted to preface this post by saying that I actually wrote it last week. Though, I didn’t really want to hit publish on Valentine’s Day so I saved it. My feelings, unfortunately, haven’t budged since then [sorry ma], but I can guarantee you, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this week with my parents. It’s the best.


You know that saying “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”?  Somehow I always forget how true it really is. I’ve been doing my best over the last couple months to roll with the punches but damn, change is hard. It’s not that I thought moving to California would make everything easier because trust me, leaving my family and friends was not easy. It still isn’t easy and I certainly have my off days.

Grass is greener

Rather than complaining about something, Nathan and I might say “welp.. that was a day” or “ok, that was food” [not that that ever happens in my kitchen ;)] and let’s just say last week was a week. I’ve been turned down from some pretty silly jobs since I’ve moved and while it might get me down one day, I might also laugh at it the next. You’re telling me I’m under-qualified for what?! Yea.. it happens. So I’ll concentrate on what I know best—eating and working out. Except somehow that was working better for me a year ago too.

I know I’ve mentioned feeling like I’ve found my stride in my food and workouts. That I feel like my body is regulating. And then shit hits the fan in another aspect of life and suddenly I’m questioning myself again. I find myself looking at my wedding pictures and thinking I had the willpower to do it then, so why not now? Sure, it might just be a couple pounds since the wedding but when I’m having a crappy day, I feel it and I see it. I thought I figured out my food and my workouts are consistent, as always, so what gives?

The other night I decided to take a look back at a week of food and workouts I tracked on My Fitness Pal. Turns out, I was consistently burning about 4000 calories from workouts per week. Now? We’re looking at about 2500 or so. Oh, so there’s a change in my body? Go freaking figure. I can share posts about throwing out the scale until I’m blue in the face, but it’s really easier said than done.

Screw the scale

Remember this little post? Yea. A year ago I was doing a minimum of 45 minutes of cardio everyday. Minimum! And you know what? I still wanted more out of myself. I’ve learned a bit since then and significantly cut back on my cardio but seeing the changes in my body makes sometimes makes me reconsider. And then I remember that I’m still getting my workouts in and I have better things to do than spend that much time on a machine.

Driving Cardio SomeEcards

I wish so, so hard that I didn’t feel this way. I wish that I could just enjoy my damn self. I wish that I could just say screw willpower and really mean it. My time will come when I truly accept my body for the way it is and what it can do. And we will figure out life in California. And I’ll figure out what the hell I’m supposed to do with my life. One step at a time. They may be baby steps right now, but we’ll get there.

In the meantime, I’m going to [try to] forget my crazy and make the most out of my time with my parents this week. I can guarantee you I wouldn’t have more fun if I had a 6-pack. Almost. Right?

Food for Thought

Do you question yourself?

What I Ate Wednesday #70: Beer, Food, and Sunshine

Monday we took advantage of Nathan’s day off and went into San Francisco for the day. We also took advantage of sleeping in and having a nice breakfast at home.

Protein Oatmeal Love Grown Foods Granola A Loving Spoon

I’ve been loving topping my oats with my homemade nut butters, honey vanilla-bourbon peanut butter, and Love Grown granola.

After we were sufficiently fueled up, we hit the road! First stop was Rogue Ale House. Nathan had been before, but I’d never had a chance to go and it was such a nice day, I was excited to get some beer and sit outside.

Rogue Ale House Sampler

I tried the Beard Beer, Old Crustacean Barleywine, Menage-a-Frog, and XS Imperial Stout. Nathan’s Double Chocolate Porter was the winner.

We didn’t have a set lunch plan but after some Yelping, we landed on Lai Hong Lounge. It was that good on Christmas!

Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco Chinatown California CA

Pea shoots, garlic cabbage core, XO beef chow fun, coffee-rubbed ribs, pan-fried mushroom buns, and pork shu mai.

We ordered entirely too much and came home with leftovers of everything. The coffee-rubbed ribs were almost like dessert; they were even served with some whipped cream on the side! It was all so good.

We were in need of a post-lunch walk and what better place to go than Buena Vista Cafe? We haven’t had an Irish Coffee since we were last in San Francisco in May 2012!

Buena Vista Cafe Irish Coffee

Just as good as I remember.

And then we continued down to the pier. It was so nice to be out in the sunshine and enjoy the fresh air.

Alcatraz San Francisco California CA

San Francisco California CA

After a nice walk, we made our way back home for a nice, light dinner. Thank goodness because we were still stuffed from lunch! We ended up not sitting down to eat until about 8:15.. whoops!

Roasted Portabello Mushroom Spicy Mango Slaw Chunky Guacamole

Roasted portabello caps with spicy mango slaw and chunky guacamole.

They were supposed to be tacos, but I opted to go tortilla-less for something a little lighter. Nathan made his into a burrito.. whatever works! The slaw was SO good and even though I only made a half recipe, there was still a ton leftover. It made a great addition to my salad and Nathan’s turkey meatball sandwich yesterday for lunch. Another meal plan success!

Monday was such a fun day. We didn’t go crazy doing too much running around, but it was a nice, relaxing day doing what we love—beer, food, and sunshine.

Food for Thought

When you go to a brew pub, do you opt for a sampler or a pint?
Have you ever had a real Irish Coffee?

Bumming Around This Old Town

For the first time since the move, we had a lazy weekend. It’s been nice going out on adventures every weekend, but I think it’s all caught up with us and we just needed a weekend of bumming around. We have to remember sometimes that it’s just necessary to recharge for the week.

As usual, the weekend’s events were based much around food. Nathan found a legit banh mi place where the sandwiches are $2.50 a pop! He was entirely too excited and had to try them immediately so before heading over the farmers’ market, we stopped in and picked up 2 sandwiches for him; bbq chicken and roast pork.

Banh Mi Ba Le BBQ Pork Sandwich Yelp

BBQ Pork Sandwich – photo taken from Yelp

With his breakfast [and lunch] in tow, we went over to the farmers’ market. We ventured over there a few weeks ago, but only for a quick bite and didn’t really get a chance to walk through. After I got my coffee and a delicious vegan burrito from Donna’s Tamales, we went to check out all of the stands. I can’t wait until we have all of our stuff back and I can really stock up and start cooking!

We grabbed a couple small things here and there, but the big purchase was our special Sunday night dinner—half chicken and rosemary roasted potatoes from RoliRoti. Unfortunately we got there too late for the brussels, but that just meant I had to whip some up at the hotel! It was so delicious and nice to have a special meal.

Sunday Dinner RoliRoti Chicken Liguria Foccacia Pedroni Balsamic Vinegar Brussels Sprouts Sweet Potato

Perfect way to kick off a new week.

Back-tracking to dinner on Saturday, we went back to Burma Superstar, which was our very first dinner in California. We tried all new dishes this time—much lighter dishes this time—and were pleased overall. We’ll definitely be heading back again to try more.

Burma Superstar Rainbow Salad Chicken Basil Pea Leaves Coconut RiceThe star of the show was definitely the pea leaves which we first tried at Lai Hong Lounge. I’m on a mission to find them to make at home!

And speaking of home, this is our last week at the hotel! On Friday, we finally get to move into our new place. That’s not to say we will necessarily have our things delivered yet, but at least we’ll be in our own place. I have a feeling we’re going to putting the oven, disposable baking trays, and paper plates to good use but I think we’ll have fun getting creative with it 🙂

You can be sure I’ll be getting creative in the kitchen soon and I can’t wait to share what I whip up! This week ahead is for getting everything prepared for the final leg of the move and getting myself ready for the Hot Chocolate 5K on Sunday.. first race since October! And this one ends with chocolate 😉

I hope you all had a marvelous weekend!

Food for Thought

Did you do anything exciting over the weekend?
What do you have planned for the week?

Our Jewish Christmas

My family has never really been the typical Jewish “let’s have Chinese and go to the movies on Christmas” kind of family. But since Nathan had the day off and we have so much to explore, we figured we might as well take advantage! I had the whole day planned.. and when I say the whole day, I mean where we were eating 😉

First stop, Chinatown! Yelp is huge in San Francisco [maybe more of California too?] so I really looked to that to figure out where we wanted to go. When we visited last year, we went to Yank Sing for dim sum. It was our first dim sum experience and we both absolutely loved it but we wanted to try a new place. Thanks to Yelp, we ended up at Lai Hong Lounge.

Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

Not even half of the crowd that was there when we first arrived!

It was nuts! I had to fight the crowds to make my way up and get a number for a table. She told me it would be about a 2 hour wait.. good thing we weren’t hungry! I grabbed a ticket and we went for a walk; it was such a gorgeous day, we were happy to find a park.

Washington Square Park San Francisco California CA

Christmas day in sunny San Francisco!

As we explored, we grabbed a little appetizer of some coffee and a baked bbq pork puff and made our way to Washington Square Park. I have to say, the sun in California is definitely more intense than in Maryland. I actually took my jacket off and it was only in the 50s at that point.. that never happens! When we started to get antsy [and hungry], we made our way back in hopes that it was time to sit down! Only another 20 minutes or so went by before they called our number.

Time to feast!

Garlic Pea Shoots Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

Sauteed Garlic Pea Shoots

Baked BBQ Pork Bun Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

Baked BBQ Pork Buns

Baked BBQ Pork Buns Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

The delicious pork bun filling. YUM!

First to the table were the pea shoots and pork buns. They were both recommendations from Yelp-ers and they were fabulous! The pea shoots were crunchy with a nice, light garlic flavor and we were happy to find that they weren’t very oily. The pork buns were something special; we’ve only ever had steamed pork buns but these were baked which gave them a nice crunch on the outside. I also really enjoyed the ratio of filling to bun. I often find that there is too much bun for the amount of filling but this was perfect. Both were repeat dishes, for sure!

Pan Fried Mixed Mushroom Bun Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

Pan-Fried Mixed Mushroom Buns

Next up were the pan-fried mixed mushroom buns and the pork and mushroom noodle roll. Again, having only had steamed buns before, this was a nice change. The pan-fry with the sesame seeds on the bottom gave it an awesome crunchy texture and flavor; we’d get it again just for that crunch! Unfortunately my picture of the noodle roll was too blurry to share but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Although it might have been our least favorite of the dishes, it still had lots of flavor from the brown sauce and an added crunch from the noodles.

Peking Duck Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

Our Christmas [Peking] Duck

Peking Duck Bun Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

All made up and ready to devour!

The star of the meal was the peking duck. Nothing beats the crispy skin paired with a perfectly cooked duck and plum sauce all packed up with green onion in a little steamed bun. So many textures and flavors! This was another recommendation from Yelp and I’m so glad I saw it because it’s not on the menu! As soon as it came out, everyone was looking over at our table asking about ordering it.

Yelp was such a great tool to use for lunch and I’m thrilled that it worked out so well.. plus we have leftovers for dinner tonight! YES!

Post-dim sum-stuffing, we made our way back to East Bay and headed to the movie theater to see Anchorman 2. Honestly, this movie was just as ridiculous as expected. It definitely had its funny moments, but if you consider the first Anchorman movie and the cast, you should know what to expect. It was a fun way to break up the day but I could have waited until it came out on DVD to see it.

After the movie, we drove into Berkeley for another Yelp-recommended restaurant; Himalayan Flavors. I’m glad Lai Hong Lounge worked out so well or Nathan may never trust me to make a restaurant decision again! Unfortunately, dinner was a miss.

Himalayan Flavors Berkeley California CA

Clockwise from the top: Mixed tandoor, Buckwheat pancake w/ onion, herbs, & spices, Mushrooms & eggplant in onion tomato sauce w/ garlic & ginger, and Lentil soup

It took about 10 minutes to place our order and another 20 for me to get my glass of wine. The most flavorful dish that we had was the lentil soup and that comes complimentary with each entree. The food was cooked nicely but lacked any flavor. We also ordered the dishes medium hot and there was no heat at all. Each dish came with either basmati or brown rice so we ordered one of each but they only brought out basmati. Seeing as how it took over an hour for our food to come out, I didn’t bother asking for anything else.

Like I said, it’s a good thing lunch worked out! But the night ended on a high note when we got back and Nathan turned the TV on.

Mariah Carey Christmas Michael Buble

Best. Christmas song. Ever.

Mariah Carey saved the night with her duet with Michael Buble. All I Want for Christmas is You is obviously the best Christmas song out there and I made Nathan suffer through it. So maybe it ended on a high note for me 😉 Regardless, we’re going to have a fabulous dinner of dim sum leftovers tonight and I’m psyched!

I hope your holiday was just as wonderful as ours!

Food for Thought

Do you celebrate Christmas?
What was your favorite part of the day?