BUSY WEEKEND: On Set with Bowflex, A Killer Olympian Workout, Meeting Animals at the Fair!

September 2, 2015

I’m still playing catch-up. My last post was about a race two weekends ago… and now I’m gonna recap this most recent, jam-packed weekend!

My friend Rob at Bowflex invited me to the set of a new commercial they were shooting in Malibu. Drake was there!

david-drake-aaron

(Not really. Rob used the Drake Shake app to digitally add Drake to this pic of me and Aaron.)

The commercial was for the Bowflex TreadClimber, one of their products that I’ve used while visiting my aunt and uncle. I had no involvement in the commercial whatsoever, except to Read the rest of this entry »

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Photo Phriday

April 6, 2012

Happy Friday! Since yesterday’s Haircut Photo-Essay got a great response (thanks for all the compliments on my new ‘do!), I thought I’d share some other random-ish photos that have built up over the past few days. First, though, I wanna give a great big appreciative shout-out to my friend Tavi, who was the one that actually cut all my hair off AND took all the photos in yesterday’s post. Our little haircut/photo shoot yielded 173 photos (!), which I edited down to 11.

Because we both knew what the end result was going to be, I let Tavi shave my head in whatever manner he wanted. That’s how I ended up with the Mohawk in the 6th photo, and the more Tintin-esque ‘do in the 7th (click here to see both). But what you didn’t see was what Tavi did in the back. He gave me what he called the “hare krishna” – and here’s a photo of it that didn’t make the cut for yesterday’s photo-essay:

It’s quite possibly the best mullet I’ve ever sported. Or worst mullet. Or both. I’m so glad I only had it for a matter of minutes.

A few of you, in your comments, asked if I’ve noticed a difference in my head shape, since the buzz cut was inspired by my hairstylist’s observation that I’ve lost weight in my scalp, and to answer your question: YES. I think my entire head is narrower, and I used to have bulges of skin along the back that are no longer there. This isn’t the first time I’ve buzzed my head – I did it my freshman year of high school as a member of the swim team, and I’ve done it in the past decade, too, most recently a few times about four or five years ago. A picture of me from that last head-buzzing period is in the ‘Keep It Up, David’ header at the top of the page, and here it is again, next to one of the new pictures of me… which means it’s time for a…

‘BEFORE’ and ‘CURRENT’ Photo Comparison! Photo on the left is from March 2008. Photo on the right is from yesterday. I see a difference. Do you?

I’ll be sure to add that to my collection of ‘Before’ and ‘Current’ photo comparisons in the Photo Gallery.

Now for some other photos I’ve been meaning to share:

The View From The Gym. I’ve had three great weightlifting workouts this week at the gym, and during each one, I’ve taken a moment to look out the windows. My gym is on the second and third floors of a building right at the base of the Hollywood Hills, which means I get to sweat my ass off while seeing this out the window:

Not too shabby!

Locker Room Signage: My gym has a fun sense of humor with their signage, as evidenced by the last rule on this sign in the locker room:

Yes, I know, I broke the third rule because I wanted to share the fifth rule. Shhh… it’ll be our secret.

New Kicks. Because I raised the most money during a specific five-day period leading up to my big 63-story stair climb last weekend, I ended up winning a new pair of shoes from a local running store! Yesterday I headed to Fleet Feet Sports in Encino, where a nice guy named John helped fit me with a great new pair of shoes. I ended up picking the Nike Air Pegasus, partly because they fit well and were comfortable, and partly because I loved the yellow:

Love them! My prize had a $100 limit, and these were $95, so I ended up paying $3.31 in tax. No complaints from me!

Border Grill Truck. I got dinner last night at a food truck. The Border Grill truck was parked outside the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, the venue for a great Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra concert I attended that explored the connections between food and music. The special guest speaker at the concert was Susan Feniger, the restauranteur behind the Border Grill restaurants, and one of the earliest Food Network stars (her show with partner Mary Sue Milliken, Two Hot Tamales, debuted in 1995, shortly after the network first launched). I’ve been a couple times (years ago) to one of Feniger’s restaurants, but this was the first time I’ve eaten at her truck.

The truck serves burritos, quesadillas, and more, but I ordered two tacos and ceviche. One of the tacos was Yucatan Pork (roasted achiote pork, pickled onion, orange salsa), and the other was Citrus Chicken (with tomatillo and creamy salsa fresca). The ceviche had fish, lime, chile, pickled onion, and a couple tortilla chips, and was served in a paper cone, like you’d find at an old-school water cooler.

It was all ridiculously delicious. I wouldn’t object to following the Border Grill Truck around, eating my way down their menu.

Eating reasonably from a food truck… new workout shoes… a great exercise week…

…Keep it up, David!


Bottega Louie

June 14, 2011

I’m so excited – my friend Heather is in town!  I’ve known Heather since my first year in college, when we both started studying theater design and production at the University of Michigan.  Since graduating, Heather has built a wonderful career touring the country (and the world) as a stage manager with various musicals – often times with her husband John, who also works behind-the-scenes on tours.  Their work brings them through Los Angeles just about every year, and it’s great to see them.  They arrived in town yesterday, with the current tour of Les Miserables, and while John had to work last night, Heather was free, so the two of us went out to dinner.

A friend had highly recommended a place called Bottega Louie, so we went there.  It’s a huge, cavernous place with high ceilings, and it’s very spare: not much decoration on the white walls, simple fixtures and lighting.  It’s also very open: you can see everything happening in the kitchen, and at the other end of the room was their huge pizza oven.  During the day, you can apparently get grab-and-go items for lunch, and there’s also a long dessert counter filled with chocolates and tarts and tons of macaroons.

Here’s their website – like the actual restaurant, it’s very bare-bones!

And here’s one of the entrances:

I don’t know how I managed to take a picture without any people in it (I guess you can see part of a person inside), because the place was packed.  They don’t take reservations, so we put our name on the list, and had a drink at the bar (sparkling water for me) while we waited.  Oh, and addition to being huge and open, it’s also loud.  There’s nothing in that 10,000 square foot room to absorb any sound.

After a 35-minute wait, we got seated, and ended up getting a spectacular table, in the corner, with a perfect view of the kitchen.  Here’s Heather, with the kitchen behind her:

The station directly behind Heather turned out to be where they put butter into their butter dishes, so I got to see them do that all night!

The food was delicious.  The menu is big and varied: pasta, pizza, lots of salads, and tons of sides.  I could easily go back and make a meal out of the side dishes!

What we ordered:

I ordered the ceviche (the dish in front), which had shrimp and other seafood, as well as mango (I think) and it was deliciously seasoned and light.  Heather’s Italian salad is back left and my Louie salad (with shrimp, avocado, a ton of veggies, and dressing on the side) is back right, and the back center dish is a combo of heirloom tomatoes and watermelon, with a balsamic element of some sort, that Heather ordered.  It had yellow and red watermelon, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had yellow watermelon before!  It was good!  Spoiler alert: it tastes like watermelon.

Everything was really delicious.  I was tempted by their macaroon selection on the way out, but didn’t get any:

You’ll probably see Heather pop up in this blog again.  It didn’t happen last night, because I forgot, but I was planning on having someone take a picture of the two of us, because I have a great “before” picture, and we need a great “current” picture – did I mention that Heather has lost, and kept off, over 50 pounds?  Because she has.  And she looks great.  And she did it while traveling the country for work, living out of suitcases and eating out a lot.  Amazing.

Keep it up, Heather!  And…

..Keep it up, David!


Lunch at Spago

February 21, 2011

Man, did I have a great meal the other day.  Delicious food, wonderful company – it was a really special time.

Way back last fall, I was able to do something really nice for my friend Felise, who I’ve met and become friends with because she’s also a regular at Slimmons, and ever since then she’s wanted to return the favor by taking me out to lunch.  Well, months and months went by, and no lunch, but we finally were both free a few days ago on Saturday, after one of Richard Simmons’ classes.  So Felise took me to Spago.  Spago, in Beverly Hills, is the flagship restaurant in the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group.  It won a James Beard award a few years back, and was one of three restaurants in Los Angeles to get 2 stars in the Michelin Guide in 2008.  It appears Felise doesn’t mess around when she wants to take someone to lunch!

Here’s me and Felise at our table.  It was a great table, tucked away in the corner, so we could see most of the main dining room:

Felise, who is also trying to eat healthily, had called ahead, and asked if they had reasonably healthy menu options, and the host told her that we could basically order any food that was on the menu, but have it cooked any way that we liked.  So we started looking over the menu, but had barely started when our server returned, removed the menus from our hands (politely) and said, “you’ll have time to look at these in a few minutes – we’re going to bring some things out from the kitchen.”

A few minutes later, the amuse-bouches started arriving.  An amuse-bouche is a one-bite appetizer, which literally means, in French, ‘mouth amuser’ – that much I knew from watching umpteen seasons of Top Chef.  The definition also includes (and I just read this online) that in fine dining situations, amuse-bouches are never ordered from menus, but instead sent out as a present from the chef to his patrons.  In total, they brought us 4 amuse-bouches, and, true to tradition, they were comped on our bill at the end of the meal.

First up, a tuna tartare in some sort of sesame cracker that was formed into a cone.  If you’ve never had tartare before, it’s raw meat (usually steak or fish) that’s blended with herbs and maybe a light sauce:

It was fantastic.  Then they brought out 2 more, in rapid succession:

On the left is smoked salmon, with a little salmon roe in the center, served on a blini (a little savory pancake) with creme fraiche.  On the right is ceviche, which is a cold soup made from raw fish or seafood that is cooked only in acid (typically, lime juice).  I forgot what kind of fish was in this ceviche, but it also had a little blood orange segment in it, too.

I can tell now that I’m going to run out of ways of saying how delicious everything was at Spago, so maybe I’ll just stop trying, and tell you now, and for the last time – it’s amazing.  Wonderfully attentive service, exquisite food – if you have the chance to go to Spago, don’t pass it up!

The last amuse-bouche was bacon confit with a bechemel sauce, wrapped in pastry:

Confit is a cooking technique (and a preservation technique) where meats are slowly cooked in salted fat, and bechemel is a white sauce.

Some of the items in these dishes were certainly things that I wouldn’t eat on a regular basis, but since everything was literally one bite, I didn’t worry about calories or fat.  Not at this meal!

We were finally picking up our menus and looking again, when Felise asked our server what she recommended that was lower in fat and calories, but still flavorful, and without skipping a beat, the server responded: “We have a fantastic red snapper with asian vegetables, and we can steam the fish, steam the vegetables, serve the miso/ginger/soy glaze on the side, and bring you some steamed brown rice.”  Sounds delicious to me!  We both ordered it.  And here it is (I forgot to photograph the rice, but you know what that looks like):

The vegetables included bok choy and lotus root, which I don’t think I’ve ever tried before, and I’m telling you, I could eat this every single day with no problems at all!  The fish was delicate and flaky, the vegetables tender.

Although our server suggested ordering a fresh berry plate for dessert, we were both full and decided to pass.

Thank you again, Felise, for a terrific lunch!

Keep it up, David!