Monday, March 28

eat food.

  ohs

A variety of these "food rules" (above) were published back in 2009 by The New York Times. A lot of them were funny, most I agreed with but some were just plain unreasonable. Although I'm down with the sustainable and sensible eating and I am definitely cautious of my consumption habits (most of the time), I think it's important to, for lack of better words, eat like crap, every once and a while. Although typical junk food (i.e. Doritos) isn't usually what I crave, I'm known for the occasional late night trip to In-N-Out or Chick-Fil-A for some fries (and lots of dipping sauces) to feast. I feel like I see it every day, especially going to USD where everyone is, literally, perfect: people don't enjoy their food. Even guys are worried about their waistlines and to see a girl eating something other than a salad at school is actually shocking. I know you're probably thinking, "she's definitely the source of American obesity," but I'm not suggesting pigging out on a daily basis. I'm just saying that if you want something, eat it. Don't agonize over the calories or "it going straight to your ass." JUST EAT IT! And enjoy it, you only live once!

Saturday, March 26

twerk twerk bounce bounce clap clap

                  


On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending my very first Girltalk show. Although I was with a few veterans, I was determined to fit in the best I could. Allow me to set the scene: small, skinny, sweaty and hairy Jewish guy, dancing and jamming to his own beats, on some very expensive-looking equipment while a very large crowd in a very small space jumps up and down uncontrollably (one-third of the fans most definitely on a drug or two), mesmerized by the toilet paper, confetti, water and balloons emerging from the ceiling. Needless to say, this quickly became one of my most favorite concerts ever.

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The best friennnddd

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The man

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The best part

Wednesday, March 23

la la la la la la bamba!

As I mentioned earlier, I hadn't updated in a while because I was on my very LAST spring break trip ever (til grad school that is...), a cruise to Mexico with my best friend AJ. We tried to rally our group of friends, but AJ and I were the only ones dedicated to an insane, going-out-with-a-bang vacation. It was AJ's first cruise, but I'm embarrassed to say it was my 10th. Although the food was only decent (and I'm a little bit of a food snob if you couldn't tell), the best part of the cruise, I think, was meeting people. We met people from all over and even with some we discovered mutual friends. Meeting people when everyone's on vacation, just relaxing and not stressing about anything, is the best because everyone's always in a happy mood. How could you not have the time if your life? But wonderful people aside, the other highlight was one of our ports, Puerto Vallarta.

Of course when my dad, Juan the Cruise Director as I like to call him, found out Puerto Vallarta was a stop (PV as he likes to call it), he gave us a list of places we had to check out there, his old stomping grounds. We only had time to eat at one restaurant, but Juan definitely did not let us down. La Palapa, located literally on the beach (tables in the sand!) served up some of the best and freshest seafood we had ever had. Leave it to AJ and I to treat ourselves to a $100 dinner for no special reason. There's not much I wouldn't do for good food.

Feast your eyes on... the appetizers...
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Fresh Goat Cheese and Beet Salad

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Tortilla and Shrimp Soup


Then the sun started to set so I had to capture that...
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And finally came... the main events... 
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Scallops with Saffron Polenta


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Red Snapper with Herbed Risotto and Plantains


Needless to say, it was a pretty picturesque and perfect dinner (although maybe more appropriate for an actual couple, but I'm not above it) and a pretty awesome cruise in general, I definitely did not want it to end.

Tuesday, March 22

LA (kinda) finally winning me over: part two

After an afternoon in Santa Monica, AJ and I ventured to none other than Hollywood to see Erin. We admired the incredible view from her amazing apartment and then headed off for our next feast: The Village Idiot. It was dark and trendy but didn't give off that cold vibe many chic-y restaurants tend to send. We requested a beer menu and to my surprise, Saison Dupont was listed!! This was clearly a good sign. The restaurant also mixed brews, which created some really interesting and delicious tastes (and conveniently upped the alcohol level...)

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super classy in a wine glass!


Although there was a two hour wait, of course Erin worked her magic and we were sat immediately. After enjoying chugging the beer, we ordered some grub...
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Veggie Pot Pie...to DIE FOR


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Fish and Chips

Monday, March 21

LA (kinda) finally winning me over: part one

I've always had a little bit of a grudge against LA. Don't get me wrong, it's a city full of booming businesses, great food and who could forget, Hollywood. And I'm absolutely not above running into celebrities at Trader Joe's and giggling over their fame. But the problem for me is identifying the stars. From the naked eye, it's hard to tell who's famous and who's not. That's because most of the people that live in LA, actually think that they are famous, but they most definitely aren't, which doesn't allow for friendly conversation or new friend-making, something I'm very much into, especially during a night out on the town. And being from Texas, where even strangers can turn into your new best friend, this is a hard thing to get used to. Nevertheless, after my most recent visit to LA last weekend to visit a friend and prepare for my cruise to Mexico (hence the lack of updates), LA definitely impressed me more than it had in the past. I blame it on the food and my discovery of Santa Monica (which I LOVED).
The first stop was Santa Monica, where AJ and I met our friend Kendra for lunch at Real Food Daily, a vegan restaurant. Although a vegetarian, I'm extremely skeptical of vegan food. Lots of it is great, but oftentimes there's too much fake cheese and fake meat and it ends up tasting just plain weird. But I swear on my life this restaurant would win over even the most dedicated meat-eater. We started with the nachos, which were made with cashew cheese (surprisingly delicious), black beans, salsa and guacamole. Sadly, they were devoured too quickly to capture a photo. I tried to document the rest...
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Veggie Wrap

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Kendra and I

Friday, March 11

sleepless in san diego

After being on my death bed with a cold/flu and not sleeping for two days, I have finally recovered. Last night, as I re-entered the world of current events, to my dismay, a 8.9 magnitude earthquake, followed by a tsunami, struck Japan, making it the headline on all of my news apps. Of course this is a tragedy on so many levels and I'm sending my positive thoughts to everyone over there, but still, I was immediately concerned for my own safety. Besides the fact that I'm just a tad paranoid about these types of things, you might be wondering how this could effect little ole me in San Diego, California. Well, thanks to the life science credit USD requires us to have before graduation, I took a natural disasters class two years back, mostly to try and ease my fear of tornados and hurricanes, which I previously dealt with on a monthly basis living in Texas and Florida.

I was never really concerned with earthquakes, probably because I hadn't experienced one, and I had DEFINITELY never thought about tsunamis (my only knowledge of tsunamis was through Disney's not-so-famous TV movie, Johnny Tsunami, ignorant, I know, but that's why I go to college, right?) Thanks to Dr. Cathcart (still one of my favorite professors), I learned that even if an earthquake occurred halfway around the world, there would still be a chance of a tsunami in any coastal city, depending on the positioning and techtonic plates and all that jazz. Of course living in Mission Beach, which will likely be under water in 100 years, isn't the best place to be during a situation like this.

So of course I stayed up until 3 a.m., researching online, reading every weather channel site and forcing my fellow late-night-Facebookers to calm my anxieties about being whisked away in a giant wave. When I finally fell asleep, I awoke only three hours later to a text and three missed calls from my parents, shouldn't they know me by now? I'm the queen of paranoia, of course I was aware of the situation. So I woke myself up (another sleepless night, whoa is me), headed to the couch and proceeded to watch the news for an hour. What I've come to learn about the news is that most of the time, they really don't know what they're talking about. Their reporting was so contradicting I had to just give up and go back to sleep, hoping USD would text/call/email me if an evacuation was necessary.

San Diego's ETT (estimated time of tsunami, that is) was at 8:41 a.m., and I have yet to see any major changes in the ocean from my bedroom window (knock on wood). Sometimes, I wish the only tsunami knowledge I had was from Disney Channel, but I guess it's better to be prepared and aware rather than under water. Until then, I'm ready for this dreary fog to burn off and the tsunami advisories to go away and for our beautiful Mission Beach to be back in commission.

 sunset

Tuesday, March 8

Guilty Pleasure #2

Potatoes
There are few things I love more that potatoes. There's just something about them. If I'm sick, I want potatoes. If I had that extra Long Island Iced Tea that I just didn't need, I want potatoes. No matter how you cook 'em, they're just too good. Crispy potatoes from Naked Cafe  alongside their Naked Croissanwich, heaven. Hash browns from Olive Cafe, perfection. Waffle fries from Chick-Fil-A, embarrassing (but delicious!) But a loaded baked potato from McAllister's (that you have to go all the way to Texas to eat), MY DREAM COME TRUE. It's everything I could ever want in an extra large, 1000+ calorie, carby hunk of goodness. Allow me to paint a picture of this feast. First, they take a potato that weighs at least 10 pounds and cook it until its soft. Then, they slab at least a pound of butter and probably another pound of sour cream on to the top. Depending on the type you choose, next comes the toppings, which include (but are not limited to) ham, turkey, bacon, a million kinds of cheese, bell peppers, onion, pot roast, more cheeses and chili. The cheese is always last and definitely a crowd pleaser because they don't skimp out on it, making this the perfect spud.
 oversized potato
                                          This picture doesn't even do it justice.
But potatoes and I have a lot history. My best potato memory would have to be when I was in Vegas for my 22nd birthday. My brand new camera broke (typical) the first night we were there and I wasn't about to let it go. So some friends and I took a really interesting/expensive cab ride to the nearest Best Buy to get it fixed. I was quite frazzled until... DUN DA DA DUUUN! I saw a Jason's Deli in the near distance (their spuds are comparable to McAllister's). I immediately coerced my friends to make a pit stop there. After, I plopped down on the curb, waiting for our cab back to the strip and fully devoured my loaded spud. Obviously I felt much better after this minor miracle (and was granted a new camera thanks to Best Buy's great customer service!) OH HAPPY DAY, VEGAS WAS SAVED.
 eating a potato

"If you want to learn about culture, spend a night in its bars."
           Ernest Hemingway


                                                                      sol

Monday, March 7

sprinkles is totally overrated

I know it's good. And if someone shoved a Sprinkle's cupcake into my face, I wouldn't hesitate to eat it. But there's something just a little evil about a cupcake store that gets as much hype as it does. Lines out the door, absurd prices and (in my opinion) a much-too-rich-and-sweet cupcake. But I wouldn't bring something down without providing a superior alternative: CUPS LA JOLLA.  Besides having a chocolate cupcake (that's batter reminds me of my moms') with peanut butter cream on top, dipped in chocolate to create a shell over the peanut butter, Cups also has many vegan and dairy free options and even offers cooking classes. Plus, the lounge is just super cuticle, with a little puppy patio outside for your dogs. For example:
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Peanut butter cupcake from the outside...


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After digging in...
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And... we cleaned our plates.
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Saturday, March 5

Manicotti di Allie

I've always wanted to have my own cooking show. I think it'd probably be the best job in the world (well, next to being an editor). But today, I learned that that will never be possible. As much as I love food, love to cook and love to bake, I discovered that I am, for lack of better words, a hot mess in the kitchen. I think it's because I really like to make up my own recipes, combining a few different recipes and throwing in a few ingredients of my own and unfortunately, this leads to a completely disasterous-looking stove top with cheese just about everywhere (including my hair). I also really hate cooking for only myself. There's something really depressing about slaving over the stove and putting your whole heart and soul into a dish, only to sit alone and talk to yourself about how good it is (not to toot my own horn or anything). So last night, I invited two of my good friends, Lauren and Kirsten, over to be my guests as I prepared quite the long-time-coming feast.
On the menu: manicotti di allie (hardeehar-har), garlic bread, sauteed garlic spinach (needless to say our breath was not the best) and cookie dough truffles for dessert.

manicotti di allie

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*Tip: Salt and pepper to taste throughout the cooking process!

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Ingredients
Ricotta Filling: 20 oz. whole milk ricotta  / 20 oz. part skim ricotta 
/ Spinach / Pinot Grigio / Garlic /Scallions
Cheesy Sauce: ½ cup heavy whipping cream / ¾ cup milk 
/ 2 cups parmesan / 2 cups mozzarella
Tomato Sauce: 2-32 oz. cans crushed tomatoes / Garlic
 / Basil / 1 small onion
Manicotti

Step One: Tomato Sauce:
Sautee diced onion and 2 cloves of garlic with olive oil in a deep pot. Once tender, add both cans of crushed tomatoes and basil. Cover and heat on low to medium low for one hour.

Step Two: Cheesy Sauce
On low heat, combine milk and whipping cream. Bring to a simmer and add 2 cups parmesan and 1 cup of mozzarella. Whisk until smooth. Add basil and set aside.

Step Three: Ricotta Filling
Sautee 1 bag of spinach and chopped scallions with two cloves of garlic (diced) and olive oil until wilted. Add ¼ cup of Pinot Grigio and cook until wine evaporates. Add all ricotta cheese and 1 cup of the cheesy sauce. Mix and set aside.

Step Four: Boil manicotti noodles for 5 minutes until they are al dente. Cool. Stuff manicotti with ricotta mixture. In a large, glass dish, cover bottom with tomato sauce. Put manicotti in dish and cover with more tomato sauce. Add the remaining cheesy sauce to the top and cover with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes covered and 15-20 minutes uncovered, until top is browned.

Step Five: FEAST

...but save room for zee truffles! nom nom nom nom nommmmm

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Friday, March 4

Miho Gastrotruck

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I've always been a big fan of roaming food, aka food trucks. I was first introduced to them while interning at San Francisco magazine last summer but I kind of forgot about them until I read a blog post by my wonderful boss, Erin, about food trucks in San Diego, so my friend, Lori, and I decided to try one out. Miho Gastrotruck wanders around San Diego, serving up some seriously delicious all-American cuisine. The food rotates every two weeks, but when I spoke with the guy behind the counter, he said that typically, they have a burger, an additional meat/poultry dish, a salad and a vegetarian option. And they always have Belgium-style fries (which were FANTASTIC) that are served with a side of their HOMEMADE KETCHUP (!!!) which is a tad on the spicy side, but absolutely to die for. I ordered the portobello burger, a little skeptical because often the portobello isn't cooked thoroughly or lacks flavor, but this one was very tender, bursting with flavor and topped with salsa verde, pesto aioli, caramelized onion, arugula and on a tasty brioche bun (YUM DOOD).

No matter what the menu, the owners of Miho promise the best quality, locally sourced food in all of their menu options. Needless to say, I'll be back to Miho Gastrotruck and I'll be on the lookout for other food trucks in San Diego.  

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Clearly my new besties...
                                                                                           
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Wednesday, March 2

meet my nuggets

If you haven't noticed, one of my most favorite words is nuggets. This may seem odd, probably to most people, but I can't help it. I'm not sure if I was inspired by Chelsea Handler or maybe my cousin, Clare, but nuggets has become a permanent word in not only my vocabulary, but in most of my friends' and families' as well. It's a little ironic since I'm a vegetarian and don't really eat nuggets (unless they're soy, of course).  And as ridiculous as it sounds, this nuggety word (it can be conjugated, too!) has become a major part of my life, starting with one of my favorite classes I took in college, Media Art. Our final assignment was to create a comic book depicting a conflict or life struggle. While most of my classmates were using human characters to accomplish this, I decided that two nuggets would be the protagonists in my story.
Unfortunately, I'm not blog-savvy enough to put the entire PDF-ed comic book on here. But I can give you a little preview of my final creation, which earned me an A as my final grade in the class.

*If anyone's actually reading this, I'd be happy to email you a copy of the full thing :] savedbythenuggets1
Aren't they just TOO CUTE!? Totally justifies my nugget obsession (at least I think so).