Three Restaurants, Two Days: Making Good Choices During a Weekend Filled With Eating Out

October 13, 2015

I love when family comes to visit. This past weekend, my sister Laura and her boyfriend Chuck were here, and it was a jam-packed few days. On Sunday, we hosted a brunch, and invited some cousins and friends (check out what I made here). But that was just the tip of the iceberg!

Laura and Chuck rented a convertible, and I loved tooling around town with the top down.


What a sucker I’ve been, driving all these years in a car with a roof!

Because we were Read the rest of this entry »

Power Through the Weekend

February 10, 2012

I have a goal for this weekend. It’s the same goal I have most every single day, but because last weekend didn’t go very well, I’m really focusing on it this weekend, so crappy weekends become the exception, not the norm. My goal is to exercise and make good food choices. I will work out both Saturday and Sunday, and I will not consume any gas station junk food.

I’m well-equipped to hit this goal out of the park, but as recently as 24 hours ago, I felt the opposite. Yesterday, I went to the gym to do my first weightlifting workout in a week. I didn’t intend to go a week without hitting the weights, but it just happened: I had the aforementioned craptacular weekend, followed by a Monday workout on an exercise bike, followed by a Tuesday night aerobics class at Slimmons, followed by an unexpected run on Wednesday (more on this in my next post). That’s a lot of wonderful cardio, but by Thursday all I really wanted to do was head to the bench press and blast my pecs <insert musclehead flexing and growling here>.

So I went to the gym, did my typical five-minute warm-up on the treadmill, and then headed over to the bench press I had been thinking about all day. What commenced was a terrible workout, soured mainly by my own attitude, which went from gung-ho to the toilet bowl in about 90 seconds.

Basically, thanks to my seven-day absence from the weight room, I discovered quickly that I felt weak, and I soon grew annoyed that I wasn’t completing the reps that I wanted to complete. No matter what I did – bench press, chin-ups, dips, flies – I wanted to do more reps than I could actually do, and it pissed me off. The actual reps wasn’t the thing that pissed me off – it was how feeble I felt after just one week away. It didn’t like not being able to accomplish something that I accomplished so recently.

It really shouldn’t have been such a big deal. I can’t expect to walk in and pick up right where I left off. But it ate at me, machine after machine, and after a while, I just wanted to throw in the towel and go home.

But I didn’t. I soldiered on for a full 30 minutes, then jumped on an elliptical for another 20 minutes and watched “Wipeout” on TV. Nothing gets my mind off a crappy situation like seeing dudes getting smacked in the nuts over and over and over again. By the time I got home, I felt happy that I carried on and finished a solid workout, and a little depressed by the thought that it only took my body a week to deteriorate as much as it did. What that means is that I can’t go a week without lifting weights. Ever. And that thought brings two sound effects to my brain simulatenously – this one:

And this one:

The only way to get back what I lost during that week is to keep lifting weights, so earlier today, I went back to the gym, and I brought a couple things with me:

  1. A better attitude.
  2. My friend Kristy.

I haven’t worked out with Kristy in a looong time. All last summer we took the same boot camp class (as did Kristy’s hubby, Mike), but I haven’t been to that class in months. I got her a guest pass to my gym, and we did a killer workout, both individually and together. After a warm-up, we did a 20-minute set with free weights (focusing on a variety of upper body exercises) while pedaling away on exercise bikes. Then we split up, and I did more weights: squats, leg presses, inclined bench press. We met up again at the end, and Kristy finished with lunges and flies, and I did a ton of sit-ups.

That workout was fantastic. It felt awesome to follow up a bad workout with an excellent one! Kristy came over after the gym, and we made a delicious lunch (which I will share in an upcoming post).

Speaking of food, there will be a couple occasions this weekend where I’ll be dining out. What I generally do when a menu is placed in front of me is jump immediately to the salads section, and find one that sounds good. With that salad in my mind as an option, I then peruse the rest of the menu, looking for other healthy options. Sometimes I find and order them, and sometimes I stick with the salad. Twice in the past week, I’ve stuck with the salad, and they were good. Here’s the citrus and berry salad I got at Hugo’s, one of my favorite restaurants:

Strawberries, oranges, mango, jicama, asparagus, green beans, greens, and some crumbled goat cheese, with a berry vinaigrette (that was a little on the tart side).

And here’s the salad I got at Cabbage Patch, a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles that I had never heard of until I walked into it:

Roasted baby beets, avocado, and mixed greens with a little cheese. Balsamic vinaigrette on the side. Fantastic.

I kinda fell in love with Cabbage Patch – it’s quick and reasonable (a perfect lunch spot if you work downtown), it has healthy options, and it’s in a fun two-story space that uses what looks like reclaimed wood. OH! And it has a mysterious skylight! There’s a frosted skylight at the top of the two-story space that brings light all the way down to the counter where you order, but the restaurant is located on the first two floors of a 10-story building. So, either the building has a center atrium/courtyard/light well that the skylight accesses, or… the skylight is completely fake! A sham! A ruse! See? Mysterious!

Here’s to a weekend filled with good choices!


Abate Fetel, Bullet, and More

April 16, 2011

Four food-related topics today.  Let’s see what’s on the docket…

1) Abate Fetel Pear.  Remember this guy, that followed me home from Whole Foods the other day?

It’s an abate fetel pear, which is a pear variety that was developed in Italy hundreds of years ago by monks.  I had never heard of it or seen one before, and this morning, I ate it for the first time.  Well, first I cored it:

And then I cut it up:

And then I ate it.  It was fan-freakin’-tastic!

I followed the advice that I found on this blog post, and ate it while it was still a little bit firm.  My mom, who’s in town visiting right now, also had some of it, and we agreed: that is one tasty pear.  I’m not a good enough writer to describe how it differs from other pears, and I’m not even sure I could differentiate between pear varieties in a blind taste test anyway, but if you see one, try it.  You’ll enjoy it!

2) Bullet Radish.  Last week, I shared a new radish discovery: French radishes, which are more cylindrical than regular radishes.  They reminded me of bullets, so I snapped this pic:

Here’s one of the comments from that post, from my sister Laura:

Love the radish-bullet comparison photo! Maybe you could trim one end of the radishes to a little bit of a point to really hammer that comparison home?

I enjoy a good challenge, and have never really whittled before, so I pulled out my paring knife, stuck a piece of straw between my teeth, and went and sat under a tree by the swimmin’ hole to gave it a whirl.  After playing around with a couple practice radishes (and promptly eating them), I took a particularly bullet-esque radish, and did what I think is a nice little carving job on it.  What do you think?  Does it look even more like a bullet now?

I should try carving zucchini into little pistols, and create targets with concentric onion slices, and create a whole firearm-themed salad.  It’s kinda dorky, but anyone that knows me will confirm that I’m a dork and that’s exactly the sort of thing I’d spend my time doing!  At the very least, I could start carving soap or something – you know, so I already have a hobby I can focus on when I get sent to prison for being too handsome.

Wow.  I can’t believe I just typed that.

3) Lunch at Hugo’s.  My mom and I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Hugo’s, for lunch, where we met up with a couple of my friends from high school.  I love Hugo’s because they have a huge, varied menu, with a ton of healthy options, and lots of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free stuff too.

They have a section of their menu that I don’t think I’ve ever ordered from before – the Create-A-Bowl page.  Basically, you pick 3 to 5 items from a list, and they throw them together in a bowl, and you can add a protein and a sauce if you’d like.  There’s literally thousands of variations, so you can switch it up every time and never ever get the same dish twice.  Here’s the menu page:

I created a bowl.  I ordered steamed veggies (which was broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini), cooked beets (which were roasted), and sauteed leafy greens (which was kale and chard).  I asked them to add sliced turkey breast, and the Honey Chipotle sauce.  Here’s my lunch:

It was delicious.  Filling, loaded with veggies and protein, and a lot of flavors and textures.  And pretty healthy to boot!

4) Squash.  A couple of you asked, in the comments section, to share what I did with the butternut and delicata squash I peeled when I was experimenting with my new vegetable peeler.

The answer is quite boring.  I chopped up the delicata in chunks, and put it in a Tupperware.  Then I chopped the butternut into chunks, and that went into another Tupperware.  The next day, I brought the delicata Tupperware to work, and for lunch, I nuked it for about 5 minutes (I added about 1/4 cup of water, and covered it with paper towel, so it would steam).  Then I ate it.  The day after that, I did the same thing with the butternut.  If I had planned my lunches this week a little more than I did, I might have thought to throw in some herbs and/or spices, or maybe a touch of brown sugar or honey, but I didn’t, and I didn’t mind.  Most of the time, I eat pretty simply, and most of the time, my simple meals satisfy me completely.  Oh! I didn’t eat the butternut plain – I ended up using a packet of soy sauce to gussy it up.

Keep it up, David!