What I did on my summer vacation (minus the vacation)

I cannot believe I’m writing a blog post titled “summer” with all the fun life and food things I did this summer. Actually, I can because I’ve barely blogged in months. I was actually out to dinner with some of my best law school buddies last weekend and they asked if I ever planned on blogging again. I’ve been busy thing summer with all kinds of things and distracted. I do love blogging and I miss the role it used to play in my life. Hopefully I can find a way to incorporate it more frequently.

Izzy likes lobster in the summer.

I still owe a post on how marathon training is going (spoiler alert: I’m training) but this post is other life things and food happenings from the last few months.

First of all, this is my most proud cooking moment of the summer:

Beer can chicken.

This is so easy. You take a whole chicken, oil it up and season it, place it over a half full beer can. You can use any beer you want because the flavor doesn’t do any work on the chicken. Rather, the beer just keeps the chicken extra moist. Then you cook it on the grill over indirect heat for 90 mins.

It took a bit longer to make this chicken because we ran out of propane (whoops) but it was still probably the best chicken I’ve ever made. Plus, it sounds complicated but it really is incredibly easy to make.

Note: the beer can is supposed to go in the rear end of the chicken and not the neck. Inset your own can’t tell my head from my ass joke here.

Another major exciting thing that happened this summer: I bought a bike!

I had some special gift money that I’d been saving from my Grammy and I decided that it was time to invest in a bike. I went to Summit Ski and Cycle at the recommendation of Joe and purchased a Vitamin A bike from KHS. This bike is a hybrid bike that is between a road bike and a beach cruiser. I’ll be able to use this bike in sprint tri’s when I decide to make the leap. I should always listen to my boyfriends recommendations. He really knew what he was talking about sending me there. The guys at Summit were so nice and helpful. They walked me through all my options, let me test drive several models around the block and even went out of their way to make sure I got the best price possible. I tried out a road bike but decided to go with the hybrid instead. I haven’t biked in a long time. If I decide to be more adventurous than sprint triathlons then perhaps I will consider an upgrade. For biking around town, going to medium length rides and attempting a sprint tri, I feel I made a good decision. A few days later I went back to pick up my baby.

I am also now accepting name ideas.

I’ve been on a couple rides with Joe and a couple of rides alone. I’m mixing it in with my marathon training and so far I really love it. I’m still getting the hang of the gears and biking in traffic and the South Bay’s killer hills but so far so good!

Note: Another bonus, Summit offered me free tune ups for the life of my bike and gave me a discount on all the accessories that I needed to buy for the bike (they threw in the water bottle holder and a water bottle for free!)

I also managed to make it to two concerts this summer.

First I saw Geographer for free at the Getty! I highly recommend checking out the free concerts at the Getty. We had to pay to park (but it’s only $10 after 5) but other than that the concert was totally free. We did, however splurge on dinner at the Getty which was fantastic and probably slightly over priced. No photos but I had an adult grilled cheese with apricot jam and prosciutto. Some of my favorite things! We also smuggled wine into the concert in coffee cups.

#WineSmuggler

The show was pretty good and it made me excited to see more concerts. I took some videos that I posted to Instagram.

Luckily I didn’t have to wait long to see another concert. The second concert we went to was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the Hollywood Bowl. This was another great show.

Two world music acts opened the show: Oliver Mtukudzi and The Sun Ra Arkestra. They were both fantastic and so much fun!

Edward Sharpe was also just fantastic. I’m not as into their third album as I was into their first two but they did a lot of the first and second album so I was a happy girl.

Last major highlight of the summer: Last week was my birthday. That’s right: I’m officially old.

I started out my week long birthday celebration on the Saturday before my birthday. Joe made me homemade chocolate chip pancakes with bacon and mimosas. I even got to look at this cute dog while I ate.

After we went to Raging Waters, California’s largest water park! I had a blast but I was so tired afterwards.

On Thursday I didn’t do anything too special however I did meet up with Eric, Phil and Jessica for dinner the following Saturday. We went to a new restaurant: Louie’s in Mar Vista.

Louie’s is owned by the same people who own North End Caffe in Manhattan Beach. I love North End and my roommate works there AND had tried Louie’s so I was pumped. The owners actually came out to say “hi” which I really appreciated.

I easily decided to drink an old fashioned which is the drink of the moment.

For dinner Joe and I split bacon fries, the short rib po boy and the pork chop special. The prices are all between $4 and $16 and the plates are between being a full plate and a small plate.

The bacon fries were good. The bacon was in the form on a powder that is referred to as “bacon crack”. It was pretty good and Joe loved the tomato romalade sauce that it came with. They also offered ketchup which was cool cause some restaurants in LA are very picky about the sauces they offer. I usually don’t mind this (as long as the sauce is as good as the Father’s Office aioli) but I liked that they didn’t force their sauce on us.

I loved the short rib po boy. It was served open face with arugula, horseradish crème fraiche, and yellow tomatoes on the most delicious bun ever. I would order this 1 million times.

Then we had the pork chop. It was a pork chop with Japanese flavors with bread pudding and cranberries. It was a delicious take on a thanksgiving meal. Usually I’m not that gaga over pork chops but this was probably the most moist pork chop I’ve had… ever. It was off the specials menu.

I really want to try the desserts at Louie’s but it was a birthday party so of course I brought birthday cake! FYI- when you work at Susie Cakes you bring your own cake to your birthday party.

I ordered a 6 inch chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream on the outside and coconut butter cream on the inside. I love coconut butter cream with chocolate and we only do it by special order at Susie Cakes so I was pumped to have the combination for my birthday cake! It was so delicious. There are few food items I love more in this world than chocolate cake from Susie Cakes.

So that was most of the fun things I did this summer (at least the non running parts). I also spent the 4th of July in South Dakota (which is really fun, I promise) and went to a couple weddings. I’m really looking forward to the Fall. I have a trip to SF on the books for September, complete with my first 49er’s game and a trip to Chicago booked for October. Yes, Northwestern football and cider donuts are calling my name. Oh, and I’m running 26.2 miles through Long Beach. Should be a fantastic Fall! I’ll be back with a running update soon I promise.

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Any Excuse for a Cupcake

One Year Ago: Corona Del Mar and Big Foot Lodge

Hey gang, how was your labor day? Mine was fantastic. I ate treats and did plenty of this…

Yes, the sun felt so good today. I met up with Danielle for sun, discussions about important topics (boys) and sipped on coconut La Croix (going to be a new addiction).

This being the last weekend of Summer I decided that I needed to celebrate on Friday. Even though Summer in LA doesn’t really end until, like, October I still decided to mosey on over to Susie Cakes anyways. You know me, any excuse for a cupcake.

Another excuse for a cupcake? Susie Cakes has a new seasonal cupcake!

Salted caramel and apple cupcake

Swoon.

The frosting was salted caramel and the cupcake was pretty much an apple spice cake. It was the best Susie Cake cupcake I’ve had in a WHILE. Seriously, while I love Susie Cakes I had a strawberry cupcake a few weeks ago and it wasn’t my fav. So glad to have my faith restored.

Can you blame me for coming up with random excuses for a cupcake?

How did you celebrate labor day?

The Great Apartment Hunt Begins (and I self medicate with Susie Cakes)

Its official: I can no longer live life on the opposite side of the 405 from Susie Cakes.

While there are parts of my current apartment I love (huge studio loft with tons of light) there are aspects of it that I just can’t deal with anymore (excess of undergrads in my building, small kitchen, proximity to school). Thus I made the decision to move. My lease isn’t up until August 1st but I would love to move before then. I also want to move now because, this time next year I will be buried in bar studying and definitely won’t have time to move.

Saturday kicked off the grand hunt. Truth? Apartment hunting totally stresses me out! Its fun in theory but waiting for applications to be accepted, looking at place after place and trying to find an apartment that will accommodate this critter…

just stresses me out.

So in an effort to make this more bearable, let’s play a little game called Apartment Hunter! Yes, I love House Hunters. I watched a TON of House Hunters with my Mom whenever I’m home and I not so secretly would love to be on the show. With no further adieu…

Here is my Must List:

  • 1 bedroom
  • Allows my cat
  • Bigger kitchen than I have now (a full size oven would be nice)
  • Quiet neighborhood, quiet apartment
  • Decent light
  • Parking
  • Refrigerator (not always included in apartments in LA)
  • Walking distance to Tavern (I’m totally not kidding. How else would I pick a neighborhood?)

And my Want List:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Dishwasher
  • Air conditioning
  • Bath tub
  • Outdoor space
  • Community space
  • Laundry onsite

Truthfully, I totally don’t expect to get everything on my want list. If I were able to get two of them or even none of them, that would be fine with me if it’s the right place.

Last Saturday I looked at three apartments.

Apartment 1 – Above my budget, no fridge.


Pros: good size, hardwood floors, quiet building with lots of community space, parking and allows cats

Cons: above my budget, no fridge

Apartment 2 – Quiet location, great kitchen



Pros: quiet, secure building with parking, a nice kitchen, plenty of space and some community space. Dishwasher (!)

Cons: No a/c

Apartment 3 – Lots of light but on a busy street


Pros: allows pets, lots of light, friendly manager, parking, beautiful pool, nice size in the apartment

Cons: small kitchen, bedroom window looks out on loud and busy street

In the end I put an application in for Apartment 2 and am just waiting to hear back so cross yo fingers! If it’s not accepted this week get ready for Apartment Hunters Round 2 starting this weekend.

All of this back and forth is crazy stressful for me so I walked to Susie Cakes after looking for apartment and bought myself a little reward. June is strawberry month at Susie Cakes so I got the seasonal cupcake: Strawberry with White Chocolate!

Oh yes, apartment hunting was worth it to enjoy this cupcake. This was slightly different than other Susie Cakes cup cakes. The cake was white and the center was strawberry and crème! The frosting was white chocolate. It was soggy, in a good way, and completely melted in my mouth. Definitely worth trying if you like cup cakes, Susie Cakes, or strawberries. Cup cakes like this should be mandatory for apartment hunters!

What are your apartment must haves?

Things to be Thankful For

Hey Blog World! Today was a good day. I have had such high energy this week and today I was reflecting on all the wonder things I have to be thankful for.

For example: I have great friends, I can run 10 miles and will soon be a half marathoner, I get to study race at a top institution with a one of the kind program, I can and do make choices to make myself happier everyday, I help those around me, and I get to blog for fun. How lucky am I and how is this my life? Things always turn out so much cooler than I could have ever imagined.

And on top of that I sorted out my situation for next summer and took a job offer. Wahoo! This demands a celebration so I went to Susie Cakes (obviously).

Seasonal Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

Soft and moist, with light seasoning. The cream cheese wasn’t heavy at all. Simply delicious. The best celebration treat ever!

I might have gotten a cookie for lunch tomorrow to. So shoot me.

Its just too cute.

So you’ve had a cupcake treat, what are you going to make for dinner? Answer: a creation from the brand new, yet to be released Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook. This book is completely vegan and emphasizes local, pure food. What do I mean by pure? No preservatives. While I am not vegan I do eat mostly local (all local produce) and eliminated almost all preservatives from my diet in order to lose weight and fuel my runner’s body.

I used the pasta that I had, cut down the recipe, and substituted some major ingredients but I kept it vegan and let me tell you: best white wine sauce ever! In the past when I made white wine sauce I’ve use butter. Let me tell you, this is better. Did I just say better than butter? Why yes I did.

I don’t want to post the recipe because this book literally just came out. Buy it here! I will say that the sauce had grape seed oil, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, spinach (swapped with arugula), white wine, and vegetable stock. I wouldn’t have thought about the veggie stock but it was a great addition and gave the sauce a lot of flavor.

So the deal with the pasta: I didn’t have spaghetti. It ended up being a mash up of whatever I had left over but I think it looked pretty good.

As I mentioned above, this white wine sauce was better than the sauce I made in the past with butter. I am still in disbelief and will most definitely be making more from this book. If you are a vegan or just want to eat delicious wholesome food you should get this cookbook. There is tons of basic information about healthy eating and living a more healthy lifestyle. Left Coast Approved!