Victory Lap

So as you could tell from my last blog post, I PASSED THE BAR EXAM!

Finding out that I passed was the proudest career moment of my life thus far. I worked really hard, twice, to achieve this goal. I had a huge smile of my face for several days after finding out the results and I still look at the screen shot I took of the screen telling me I passed because I can’t believe I really did it. I checked my scores with my boyfriend, drank a bottle of prosecco in celebration, and then went out for drinks and dinner to celebrate. It was probably one of the best nights of my life!

I also made a baller thank you breakfast for my boyfriend.

Behold:

This is my breakfast special: a layer of hash browns, with an egg scramble with onion, pepper, cheese, bacon and sausage topped off with avocado and more bacon on the side. I made a variation for myself that was the same but instead of scrambled I had mine sunny side up which is my new favorite way to eat eggs.

Last week my Dad was also in town on a stopover before going to the Grand Canyon for Memorial Day so we continued the celebration with several meals out at Circa in Manhattan Beach and Pecorino in Brentwood. When I was in high school if I made the honor roll my Father would take me out to dinner. Food is the best incentive ever for me so I obviously strove to make the honor roll every semester of high school. He declared our dinner at Pecorino to be the “final honor roll dinner”. It was nice to be around my old stomping grounds. We even popped into Tavern for a drink.

I was very anxious about bar exam results in the weeks leading up to May 17th. I started to work out more in order to distract myself. In addition to running I expanded my cross training. I start marathon training for Long Beach the week after the 4th of July. My working out hasn’t been focused since February and I definitely haven’t done a “long run” since then. Here is a rundown of what I’ve been up to.

Spinning

Thanks to hanging out with Gillian, I’ve been spinning more than usual. The week I got bar results we met up for a #SoulDate and went to Huckleberry after.

I could not love their brisket hash more.

Over out matching orders of brisket hash we decided to expand our spinning horizons and check out Fly Wheel. Fly Wheel is similar to Soul Cycle in that it’s a very expensive spinning class. However, the first Fly Wheel class is free! Obviously, we were in a Fly Wheel class about 10 days later.

Source

The Fly Wheel studio was very open and bright. The shoe rental is always free which I appreciate. When you arrive at the studio you sign in on computers and there is both cold and room temperature water available.

Gillian and I were attracted to Fly Wheel because of the torq board element. Basically, each bike has a little computer. You can control your “torq” or resistance and you also can see your RPM’s while you bike. The instructor tells you about where you should be in torq and RPM as you progress through the class. At the end of class you can go online and check your stats. There is also a leader board at the front of the room. At various times in class the instructor told us to sprint and put the leader board online.

As a competition junkie, I loved the torq board. It made me push way harder in class. Gillian loves competition as much as I do and for the class we went 1 and 2 on the torq board. Gillian got the number 1 spot. Unsurprising because she is a total badass and just ran Rock n Roll San Diego yesterday (her first) in under 4 hours.

Overall, I enjoyed Fly Wheel. I like that I can track my stats and I loved that the shoe rental is complimentary and how open and welcoming the studio is. The price of Fly Wheel and Soul Cycle are the same but Fly Wheel comes with more free “extras”. Let’s be honest, if I’m spending that much on a spinning class, it’s nice for them to throw in the shoe rental. I loved being able to track my distance and calories. On the whole, I think I like Soul Cycle more than Fly Wheel but I’ve also been doing it longer and have my favorite instructors etc.

Swimming

I’ve wanted to get back into swimming for a while and I finally bite the bullet and bought a swim suit online. I managed to find one at SwimOutlet.com for only $22. I decided to jump on it. Living in Manhattan Beach and South Bay there are tons of open pools with cheap lane swimming. Going into marathon training I want to have plenty of cross training options lined up for myself. Luckily it is pretty inexpensive to swim laps at the pools near my home (think $4). Way cheaper than Soul Cycle. Clearly, I need cost effective cross training options.

So far I’ve checked out the Hawthorne pool and one of the public pools in Manhattan Beach. I’ve loved both! Both are clean, there are always open lanes and they have kick boards readily available. I’m starting to look up beginner swim workouts. I’m not technically a beginner. I swan club at Northwestern when I was in middle school and I played water polo my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I wasn’t super talented, but I enjoyed being in the pool and spending time with my friends. I liked the occasional two a day work outs a lot less. I haven’t swum in a long time so I’m easing back in and looking up workouts online.

Today in fact, I went to the pool and completed an even 2000 yards. I did a warm up, alternating sets of kicking and pulls, a ladder, 200 yards of kicking and cool down. I realized I was going to be 200 yards shy of 2000 so I tacked on the kicking workout because I was so close to 2000.

Anyone out there swim? Any workouts you want to share?

Running

On the running front, I finally went to a running group in Manhattan Beach last week. I ran a mile to the store, 5 miles in my group and a mile home. Holy hills. My legs were DEAD the next day. I usually do not run in groups but I really dug this run in particular. I’ve been struggling to stay motivated, especially on the hills in my hood.

On Saturday I partook in a running and yoga class on the beach with the same running group. We did the run on soft sand which was more challenging than my usual run.

And finally, I am putting together my marathon training plan which will start in July! I’m taking this month to base build. Basically, I don’t want to feel dead after the first few weeks of training and I want to be able to hit the ground running next month. I’m piecing together a plan based on Hal Higdon and Nike. I want to do plenty of cross training and allow of rest days that will work with my schedule. What marathon training plans have you used? Any suggestions?

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Tartine

When I travel I don’t really do much sightseeing. Mostly I like to wander from restaurant to restaurant or bakery to bakery. What can I say? I like food and usually I see some sites along the way.

There is also a growing list of restaurants and bakeries that I cannot enter without losing all restraint. Tartine in San Francisco is definitely on that list. Like when I go to Flour in Boston, the moment I enter Tartine I have the overwhelming compulsion to purchase everything in sight and horde treats for later.

Obviously I told my dad that one of the big things I wanted to do while in San Francisco was go to Tartine. We ended up marching though the mission at 8:30 am on a Sunday morning and then standing in a line before the bakery opened. I’m pretty sure my dad’s internal monologue was something along the lines of “this better not suck” and “why and I in this line for a pastry”. Thankfully Tartine did not disappoint (I knew it wouldn’t!) and we were able to snag a table so we could sit down and enjoy our treats.

I did not get the chocolate hazelnut tart. Next time.

Because I have an utter lack of self control I got a sweet breakfast item, a savory breakfast item and snack for later.

Oh and this latte which was served in a bowl. I love a coffee beverage that is too big to fit into a conventional mug.

The lattes at Tartine are delicious. For me they are up there with Blue Bottle with the rich and smooth flavor. I almost tried to get another to go but I didn’t want to stand in a line which continuously snaked out the front door.

I also got a morning bun fresh out of the oven.

Sweet, orangey, gooey and delicious. I wish I’d ordered 12.

Food porn at its finest.

I made the executive decision that a mere morning bun would not sustain me on the ride to Healdsburg so I also ordered quiche.

It’s been a while because I am woefully behind on my blogging but I believe this quiche had local yellow tomatoes and bacon and some form of cheese. It was delicious. The crust was well cooked and a little less flakey than the quiche crust at Flour but good nonetheless.

Oh, and I got a chocolate chip cookie for the road. Can you blame me?

Seasonal Sunday

Hello friends!

It has been three weeks since I have had a regular weekend in LA.

First I went to Chicago and ran a marathon!

Then I went to San Francisco.

And I ate my face off.

While I had so much fun the past few weekends I was really looking forward to hanging in my hood this weekend and getting back into my routine.

Routine on Sundays means breakfast, iced lattes, farmers markets, and enjoying my hood.

It’s starting to cool down in LA. We don’t have a traditional change of seasons but the weather does crisp up a bit which is nice. I’m going to go ahead and count that as a change. Mmkay? With cooler weather comes oatmeal!

Doesn’t that picture just look like fall? I actually put vanilla in the oatmeal while I cooked the oats. Then I topped with granola, cinnamon, and obviously brown sugar. Oats without brown sugar? I would never!

Then I took to the streets and stopped at one of my favorite LA coffee shops, Café Luxxe.

Cafe Luxxe has several locations on the Westside and our former governor has been known to frequent them (and I’m not talking about Gray Davis).

I got my usual, an iced non fat latte. I pretty much never get a hot drink unless it’s below freezing. Even then, I prefer cold. My Mom does the same thing and I think it might be genetic.

After I moseyed on over to the Farmer’s Market. So much has changed since the last time I was there! It’s a whole new season!

What’s in season now?

Squash! I love butternut. Some of my favorite butternut squash recipes are butternut squash risotto, butternut squash potato pancakesbutternut squash ravioli, and honey roasted butternut squash.

Kale


Pluots


Persimmons


Grapes and Pomegranates


Brussels Sprouts, one of my favorites!


Yams


Peppers and Swiss Chard


Jujubes (Chinese Dates)

I love eating mostly seasonal produce because I can really tell when the seasons are changing. If I’m eating butternut squash, it’s fall!

After the FM I walked home through an art festival! I love my new neighborhood for having stuff like this just randomly happening on a Sunday afternoon.

I didn’t buy anything but I got freebees from Pirate’s Booty!

Last night I also went back to yoga. Sunday just isn’t complete without yoga for me. Since I do yoga every Sunday I kinda feel like yoga resets by body, if that makes sense. I haven’t done yoga since before the marathon. Last night I felt like I was wringing my body out post marathon. This is going to sound so weird but I felt like I could still feel the marathon in my body. I felt a little bit heavy in my inversion but I think it’s because my arms haven’t been properly worked in a while.

I know the blog has been a little “food light, running heavy” recently but I’ve been baking and I hope to start bringing more food content back to the blog this week. I also have more marathon related writing to do, so there is a lot to look forward to.

What is your favorite fall food?

Chicago Eats

I ate a ton of delicious food while I was home in Chicago last weekend. For the most part I didn’t really blog my eats. I wanted to chill out with my family and not worry about photographing everything I ate. There were some important eats that needed to be documented. I also thought it would be a good idea to put some food on the blog before you start thinking that I’ve completely turned into a running blogger.

First, let me introduce you to cider donuts! I woke up Friday morning prepared to carb load on donuts. Runner’s World told me to.

I have been on the hunt for cider donuts since I moved to LA. What makes this cider donut so special you ask? Well, despite the fact that it just looks like a simple cinnamon sugar donut, in reality it is so much more. Yes, there is cinnamon sugar on the outside but the donut is made with apple cider giving the cake itself a little something extra.

See…

It makes the difference. I promise the sugar and the cider flavor are perfection together. I actually ate two because it’s been two years since I was able to eat cider donuts. Every bite was amahzing.

One more gratuitous photo?

Sure!

After eating donuts (and making a pit stop for cupcakes) my Mom and I finally made it to the expo to pick up my bib and peruse the booths.

First we took care of business: picking up my bib, verifying my d chip and taking pictures.

Then we noshed on gratuitous free things. Lara bars for me and peanut butter for Mom. We also picked up a shirt that has a map of the El train and says “run like El“. Best shirt ever? Hell yes.

After we went to Manny’s Deli for sandwiches and potato pancakes. Manny’s was heavily tweeted about by @mayoremmanuel (the fake Rham Emmanuel twitter account which I followed religiously) and was a fixture of my Mom’s working life when she worked down town. I had a huge corned beef sandwich. It was epic!

The next day we headed back downtown to pick up the little bro! The boats were going to winter storage.

After securing the brother we went to another Chicago classic for breakfast: Lou Mitchells.

Girls get Milk Duds at Lou’s. We also ate unphotographed donuts while waiting in line. They we not cider but they were so delicious: simple little donut holes with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

I decided to order the Katherine Classic breakfast: pancakes with a side of breakfast potatoes.

Holy crap so good! Potatoes were perfection and the pancakes oh the pancakes! These were some of the best pancakes I’ve had in a while. So light and topped with butter and a little bit of syrup. Oh my goodness best breakfast in Chicago!

I also had coffee, obviously.

Carb load complete.

You know what happened the rest of the weekend…

I ran a marathon!

Here is a gratuitous finish line photo…

And with my brother…

And nearing the end…

And this is what it looks like between mile 26 and mile 26.2 when you’re crying and about to finish a marathon. In case you were wondering. I know you were.

Did I mention I ran a marathon last weekend? Ha. Get used to looking at them.

As this post demonstrates, I love eating in other cities.

Guess where I’ll be eating this weekend?

Yep, I’m taking my first trip to San Francisco! In addition to continuing my post marathon victory lap I will be eating with my treat soul mates Carolyn and Chrissy. Should be a fantastic weekend!

Creature of Habit

Above anything else, I am a creature of habit.

It’s why I end up at either Coffee Bean or Starbucks almost every morning.

It’s why I need chocolate every night before bed (obviously while being lawyerly and reading).

And it’s why I almost always eat the same breakfast. Strike that. I have eaten the same breakfast every day, with the exception of when I go out and the less that 5 times I’ve made a breakfast smoothie in the past 11 months. I saw Kaitlin blog Van’s waffles last November and I have had them nearly daily since. It was a very serious and exclusive relationship unlike most of my other relationships. Sometimes with butter, sometimes with honey or sometimes with nothing but it was always the same story.

I loved Vans because I could eat them quickly, in the car while driving or while walking to school. Seriously, I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but outside of a good brunch, I have a hard time getting excited about it. Doesn’t hurt that I don’t love many breakfast foods like eggs and I know this will get me kicked out of the Healthy Living club, but I don’t love nut butter.

I know. Take a minute to absorb that information.

I hope I haven’t lost you.

In recent weeks, while I love Vans, I’ve noticed that they are not filling me up the way they used to. I need more protein in light of all the running I’m doing for marathon training. I played with a few ideas to dress up Vans but in the end I decided to just try something new for a change.

I am so glad I did. Sorry Vans, I now only have eyes for muesli. This was made, of course at my Mothers suggestion. She is very concerned about the nutritional quality of my meals while marathon training.

The best part of muesli is that I can make it the night before. It actually is very similar to the breakfast cookie. There are plenty of variations, and I feel like the night before thing will encourage me to be more creative with my breakfasts and HEY maybe they’ll make the blog from time to time!

Here is how it went down. I gathered all of my ingredients the night before.

The oats and the almond milk are the base of this breakfast and everything else was selected by me because it is what I had on hand. I also grabbed a container to make my muesli in.

Morning reminder not to get too cray cray or over anxious.

I combined 1/3 cup oats, a sprinkling of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, some raisins and macadamia nuts in the mug.

Then I added unsweetened vanilla almond milk until the oats et al were submerged.

Saran it and fridge it overnight!

The next morning I opened the fridge to a delicious surprise!

So good, like freezing cold oatmeal. The muesli was so refreshing in the morning. I was able to eat it relatively quickly and didn’t have to spend any time prepping it. Also, it only dirtied one spoon and one mug which is pretty awesome. I hate cleaning in the morning.

Like I said, I have several variants in mind that I want to try and share on the blog. I see a very happy relationship blossoming with muesli.

Do you have a go to breakfast item or do you like to mix it up?

What’s in Season Now: August

I realize that I always say one of the best ways to save money at the farmers market is to buy what is in season but I never blog about what is in season or what I’m buying. I thought I would take you WITH me to the beautiful, epic Santa Monica Farmers Market for a little peek at what is in season now.

Peaches

Eggplant – When I saw eggplant a few weeks ago I let out a squeal of delight. I LOVE eggplant and please note that there are about 5 varieties at this booth alone.

Heirloom Tomatoes – Both minis and full size perfect for Grilled Heirloom Tomatoes

Peppers

Bunches of herbs – Actually these are pretty much available year round, $1 for a bunch!

Summer Squash – Again, squeals of glee when I spotted these a few weeks ago! I’ve been using them in this risotto recipe to make summer risotto.

Papaya Melon – Like honeydew but 100% better! Sweet and mild, this is what I use in my Prosciutto Melon Salad.

Carrots – Normally I associate these with Fall, they are so good when honey roasted.

Ginormous ArtichokesGrilled artichokes are good but I need to find other recipes.

BerriesSo summer.

What are you loving at the farmers market right now?

Pretend it’s Summer Oats

Two years ago almost to the day, I was accepted to UCLA Law. The acceptance was both a huge honor and totally threw a wrench in my plans. I’d already committed to a school in Boston (and paid for a year’s worth of yoga <- don’t question what was important to me) but UCLA was my dream school with a program which was the reason I was interested in law school so I figured I at least needed to visit and give UCLA a shot. Once at the school I got the full court press from various staff members. One of the big selling points, outside of the strength of the school, was the weather. “It doesn’t rain between March and December” I was enthusiastically told. It was music to this Midwest to New England girl’s ears.

Well, I am here to tell you…

VICIOUS LIES!

Its 52 degrees and rainy right now. No bueno southern California. No bueno!

To compensate for this terrible weather I made summer style oats. Like yesterday, close your eyes and pretend.

In the mix:

  • Brown sugar
  • Cherries
  • Coconut
  • Granola

Coconut makes everything taste more like summer in my opinion and I just could resist adding these amazing cherries to the mix.

Its killing me that it was 90 and sunny the first week of finals and now it’s raining but the rain is actually coming at a decent time. I really need a running break. After 8 miles yesterday, my knees want a vacation from my vacation. I have an EPIC dinner planned tonight. Dinner will be SO epic my foodie friend and I have a countdown going. Stay tuned!

The Griddle

Here is the thing about law school finals: they last for over 2 weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I need all that time to study but after a week of working in near isolation I needed a breakfast/vent session with a good friend. Danielle and I decided to hit The Griddle in West Hollywood for giant pancakes and a catch up sesh (which included statements such as “that was HARDLY discussed in the class so why did he test us on it?!”, “8:15 AM for a 4.5 hour final?! That is a violation of my Civil Rights!”).

I’ve been to The Griddle once before, pre-blog when I had only been in LA for about two weeks, and I’ve wanted to go back ever since so I was excited when Danielle suggested it.

Thing that is awesome about The Griddle?

You get your own personal French press!

The Griddle is known for their HUGE and super sweet pancakes. I’m sure there is other stuff on the menu besides pancakes but seriously, why bother? The fact that the pancakes are so large and sweet informed my choices. I only ordered one pancake and I chose one of the “less sweet” types.

Danielle went for the Nutella French Toast:

See what I mean about large and sweet? I didn’t save room for a bite of her French toast but she said it was delicious.

I opted for the Honey, Cinnamon and Rolled Oats pancake.

In the words of Danielle, “even when we go to The Griddle you order something healthy”. HA! Only healthy because of the rolled oats and I love rolled oats. I only ate about half of this pancake. Can you blame me? The pancake is literally bigger than the plate! The oats cut the sweetness a little bit and the honey was just the right amount of sweetness. Oh, and obviously we added maple syrup.

We also ordered bacon, you know, to chase the sweet pancakes with.

It was so good that Danielle couldn’t wait until after I took a picture to dig in.

Overall, I still love The Griddle. Perhaps because I went for the first time a week or so after arriving in LA it feels like quintessential LA to me. I need to go more frequently and remember that it’s a great place to bring out of town visitors. The lines on Saturday and Sunday are insane but we didn’t have to wait early on a Thursday so check it out on a weekend if you can because otherwise you might have to wait for an hour for service.

What is your favorite breakfast dish? I don’t really like eggs all that much, so for me breakfast is all about pancakes and bacon!

Cheddar and Scallion Scones

Another day, another amazing creation from the Flour Cookbook. These scones are delicious and super easy to make!

It’s as simple as combining the dry ingredients…

combining all the wet ingredients…

I am having a love affair with Creme Fraiche. So much more amazing than sour cream!

Combining the two together and placing them on a baking dish is a circle…

Brushing with yoke…

Wipe the drool with your apron…

and bake. Wait and wait and wait while your apartment starts to smell like cheese. These babies smell ah-maz-ing! And then, they are ready. Everybody out of the oven.

Again, wipe the drool off with your apron. Cut them up and enjoy the best breakfast ever.

This scone is really very light and had cheese melted in the middle. Does it get any better than that? Nope. I am surprised by how easy the recipes in the Flour Cookbook really are.


The treats are special and decadent but totally do able. It just goes to show how little ingredients, like creme fraiche, can make a dish unique and even more delicious.

Melted cheese, soft interior, and crispy crust.

I realize that this is like foodie torture, making such a good savory breakfast item and not sharing the recipe. There is a cure! Order the book and make them for yourself!

I am off to a pumpkin patch so that I can pretend like its really fall! Hope ya’ll are having a happy Sunday!