Becoming #teamnakamura: The Reception at Plant Cafe

After Sean proposed back in December, we took a few photos and then of course we were starving so we went to the Plant Cafe on Pier 3.  This was my first visit there and we loved it because of the fresh, organic, locally grown & sourced food.

So when it came time to find a spot for the reception, I immediately wanted to see if the Plant did events so we contacted their Catering Director, Sarah, who was awesome! and got their menus.  They were very reasonably priced for their location and were willing to work with us to create a custom menu.

We had a very small wedding with only 21 guests and we knew we didn’t want to be in some hotel ballroom so we looked at a few other restaurants to compare prices, what was included, etc.  After getting information from these other venues, we decided to go for it with the Plant Cafe at Pier 3 on the Embarcadero.

They had an option where we could either get the cake thru them, or you could bring your own and pay a $3.00/per person cake cutting fee.  We decided to go with them and that experience is outlined here.

We decided to have the reception on the patio which overlooks the bay, and it was such a beautiful day.  The weather was just perfect and even though we only had 1/2 of the patio for our party, I never even realized that the were others dining on the other side.

From the beginning I wanted to have a long table for all the guests to sit together.  We wanted to be able to see and talk to everyone throughout the meal. And do selfies with the whole fam :). lol

Wedding Selfie, The Plant Cafe, Pier 3, San Francisco

Because they use a lot of seasonal ingredients, we had to wait until we got much closer to the event, to make the food selections.

There were 3 different menus to choose from with prices ranging from $35 per person to $50 per person.  We decided to go with the 4 course meal which included an appetizer, salad, entree & dessert.

We love food! as most of you probably know, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time.   So it was really important to us to have a great meal.

For the first course, we choose an Avocado & Grapefruit Salad with wild arugula, shaved fennel, macadamia nuts, black pepper and macadamia nut dressing which was vegan & gluten free.  We decided on this salad because of Sean’s Hawaiian background.

Plant Cafe, Pier 3, Avocado, Macadamia Nuts, Grapefruit, San Francisco

For the second course, we went with my Italian background and selected a Crispy Polenta Cake with Parmesan cheese & wild mushrooms.

The Plant Cafe, Pier 3, San Francisco, Crispy Polenta, Mushroom Ragu

Because we were such a small group, we were able to select the entree at the table.  We had 4 selections for the guests to choose from a Seared Cod, a Pan-Seared Chicken Breast, Grilled Shrimp Skewers or a Corn & Pablano Pizza as the vegetarian option.

I’m pretty sure that 17/21 choose the Seared Cod which was amazing.  It was served with a stir fried black rice with miso roasted spring vegetables and a citrus butter sauce.  My dad was so impressed with the black rice, which I’m pretty sure he never had before, he practically licked his plate clean ;).

The Plant Cafe, Pier 3, San Francisco, Cod, Black Rice

And then for dessert…Sean & I love dessert!!  So we asked them to see if they could make our favorite dessert, creme brulee.  At first Sarah wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to do it because they didn’t have the proper dishes to make it in.  But she was able to find some and I’m so grateful, because this was truly one of the best creme brulee’s I’ve ever had (and I’ve tried a lot!).  I’m not entirely sure what the actual flavoring was, but it had a bit of chocolate on the bottom and then some espresso mixed in.  It was amazing!

The Plant Cafe, Pier 3, San Francisco, Creme Brulee

After the creme brulee, came the cake…I was super happy with the way that the cake came out.  Because the cakes were a bit cool when we tasted them originally at the tasting, the butter in the buttercream was much more prominent.  This time, it was so yummy and exactly the way we wanted it to be.  And we were super unique with a peanut butter cake,  raspberry preserves for the filling and a peanut butter buttercream frosting, all made with organic ingredients.  It was soooo yummy.  We had cupcakes for the guests to take home and we could have eaten them all ourselves!

Being as we were such a small party and we didn’t have a “traditional” reception, there was no dancing but we did still do a cake cutting, which was fun.  Having done so many weddings, I’m a pro at the cake cutting, but Sean was not and had no clue what I was talking about on how to hold the knife, etc. But we got it done and fed each with no smashing of cake ;).  Neither of us wanted to waste any of that yummy goodness.
The Plant Cafe, Pier 3, Organic Wedding Cake, a.hana designs, peanut butter & jelly cake

And then it was time for a siesta before heading to the Giants game.

A huge Thank You to the Plant Cafe at Pier 3 & Sarah, our catering director, for an absolutely fabulous luncheon.  The food, the venue, the views, everything was so awesome, we received so many compliments and it was a truly amazing afternoon.

If you are a foodie, and love organic, locally grown food, or if you just love yummy food and are in the San Francisco area definitely check out the Plant Cafe for your next event or your next meal.

Review: Daily Greens Juice & 4 Day Cleanse Book

** Disclosure: I was sent 3 bottles of Daily Greens Juice and the Daily Greens 4 Day Cleanse Book to review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. ***

Sean & I love juicing and we even did a 3 day cleanse back in April so when I had the opportunity to try Daily Greens I jumped on it.  I’m always up to try some new brands.

Daily Greens is the brain child of Shauna Martin, who was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago.  She attributes her recovery to drinking a green juice a day along with a healthy lifestyle.  She wanted to share her drink your veggies habit with others.

Daily Greens is manufactured in Texas and is available for sale via their website, as well as some Whole Foods locations, I found 5 locations here in San Diego, and other stores around the country.

They have the following juice lines: Core Greens, Chia Infused Greens & Green Infused Hemp Milks.

I received 3 bottles of juice from the Core Greens collection: Purity, Renew & Elevate.  They were overnighted to me with four ice packs in a cooler bag.

Daily Greens, Core Greens, Green Juice, Juice Cleanse

There are 6 different green juices in the Core Greens line, so there is a lot of variety.  The three I received are what they include in their 4 day cleanse kit.

Purity: 60 calories, 12 grams of sugar, 2 grams protein and includes: Kale, Parsley, Broccoli, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon & Basil

Renew: 90 calories, 18 grams sugar, 5 grams protein and includes: Mint, Spinach, Cucumber, Watermelon, Dandelion Greens, Pineapple, Celery, Lime & Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Elevate: 140 calories, 24 grams sugar, 4 grams protein and includes: Pear, Spinach, Watercress, Cucumber, Lime & Madagascar Vanilla

Daily Greens, Core Greens, Green Juice, Juice Cleanse, Purity, Renew, Elevate

Taste wise they were very green, not bad or hard to drink, but just different from what I typically drink, which tends to include apple. The Purity & Renew both tasted kind of thin, but considering they didn’t really have much in the way of calories, that’s not surprising.

My favorite of the 3 was probably the Elevate because it was a little sweeter, the sugar content was significantly higher than the other 2 and the Madagascar Vanilla added a unique flavor to the juice.

I do have to say though, in comparison to the Suja cleanse, that I had so much more energy the day I drank these juices.  I was a bit shocked in fact, because I had a really tough time the first day of the Suja cleanse.  I think I’ll be starting my day with hot lemon or lime water and a Daily Greens Juice more often.  And even Munch wanted to try them too 😉 lol.

Daily Greens, Green Juice, Juice Cleanse

Since I did this “mini” cleanse a few days before the wedding, I didn’t really have time nor the supplies to do a true cleanse, but I am definitely looking forward to doing the seasonal 4 day cleanses outlined in the book.

The Daily Greens 4-Day Cleanse book includes a foreword by the actress, Mayim Bialik and outlines four different 4 day Green Juice & Raw Food Cleanses: New Year, Spring, Summer & Fall.  Also included is information for what to do pre cleanse & post cleanse maintenance meal ideas.

Daily Greens, 4 day cleanse, shauna r martin, mayim bialik, juice cleanse, raw food cleanse

I’m super excited to try one of these cleanses, unfortunately Sean & I have been traveling so much, I haven’t been able to commit to one yet, but I fully intend to as soon as we have a full week here at home so I can have time to prep, etc.  Oh and I need get a juicer, that’s an important part of a juice cleanse 😉

Included in each of the four cleanses is a shopping list for both the juice & the food.  This makes things so much easier because you aren’t just guessing at what you need.

Each day is outlined for you as to what juices & food you should eat.  You drink several juices for breakfast and lunch.  They also give some extra food options if you are still hungry for lunch and afternoon snack, although they say that your need for additional food will decrease the farther you are into the cleanse.  Then you finish up the day with a raw food appetizer & dinner for each day.  It’s nice that there are food options so that you aren’t just drinking all your meals.

I’m looking forward to trying this out and I’ll definitely be sharing my experience.

Have you ever tried a juice cleanse?

#TeamSeanandJenny: Lake Tahoe Food: Bite American Tapas

As most of you know, Sean & I are serious foodies and we love to try new places.  We found a super yummy Tapas place in Incline Village, NV called Bite American Tapas.  We ended up eating there twice, mostly because it was so yummy, but also because it was close to where we were each night.

We tried a bunch of different foods over the 2 days, although there was one thing that was sooo good we had to have it twice.  What was it?  You’ll have to read down to see. 🙂

The menu is broken down into 5 sections, snacks, soup and salad, sliders, share plates & sides.

We didn’t try any of the snacks but we tried at least one thing from each of the other sections.

Butter Lettuce Salad
Beets, Grapefruit, Fennel, Red Onion, Candied Pecans, Goat Cheese, Rice Wine Vinaigrette

Bite American Tapas, Butter Lettuce Salad, Tapas, Lake tahoe
I thought this was a great salad, I’m not normally a fan of beets but these were amazing! Super soft and didn’t taste earthy like they normally do.  The only thing I didn’t really like was the fennel, not really my thing.
Chinese Chicken Salad
Fulton Valley Chicken, Mandarins, Crispy Wontons, Five Spiced Cashews, Carrot, Ginger Vinaigrette
Bite American Tapas, Chinese Chicken Salad, Tapas, Lake Tahoe
This one, I didn’t like very much.  I ate a little of it, but not my favorite.
BLT Sliders
Bacon, Maine LOBSTER, Roasted Tomato
Bite American Tapas, BLT Sliders, Bacon, Lobster, Tomato, Lake Tahoe, Tapas
This is hands down the best thing I ate all weekend.  Wow! The combination of super crispy bacon and the Maine lobster was amazing!  I could have eaten a dozen of these.
Share Plates:
Grilled Wild Fresh Catch Silver Dollar Tacos – Mahi Mahi
Cabbage, Radish Slaw, Chipotle Aioli, Lime
Bite American Tapas, Fish Tacos, Tapas, Lake Tahoe
They used Mahi Mahi that night and they were yummy, but I think the fact that I had just eaten the amazing BLT before made them not as remarkable.  There were enough though that Sean & I were each able to have 2.
House Cut Sweet Potato Fries – Creole Maple Mustard
Yum! These had some spices on them that really gave them a nice & different flavor
 Bite American Tapas, Sweet Potato Fries, Tapas, Lake Tahoe
House Cut Paper Thin Onion Rings
These were so paper thin they were almost see-thru.  They were also yummy.
 Bite American Tapas, Onion Rings, Tapas, Lake Tahoe
Warm Apple Turnover Bites with Crème Anglaise
These were ok, I had much higher expectations but they were warm and made in house.
 Bite American Tapas, Apple Turnovers, Tapas, Lake Tahoe
Bite Ice Cream Sandwiches
I actually like these better, but I wish the cookies were warm vs. cold
Bite American Tapas, Ice Cream Sandwiches, Lake Tahoe, Tapas
Overall this was a great place and I fully recommend it.  We really enjoyed our meals there and if you have a chance to check it out definitely get the BLT Sliders!


Wedding Planning: Cake Tasting

I don’t talk a lot about things outside of running, but Sean & I have another very exciting event coming up at the end of July.  Our wedding!!!  We are super excited and when Sean had to come to San Francisco for a work conference, we felt like it was the perfect time to get in a little wedding planning as well.


Let me preface this with a little back story.  When I lived in Orlando, I spent 6 years as a wedding planner, planning over 250 weddings.  It was a lot of fun, I worked with so many amazing couples and vendors.  There are times when I miss it, but it was also stressful and took up most of my weekends which can limit the long run/race schedule significantly.

But that being said, one of my favorite parts of course was when I had the opportunity to meet with a cake vendor and get to experience what my couples got to experience when they went to the shop to pick their cake.

Sean & I have picked a very us venue for our reception.  We went to The Plant Cafe at Pier 3 after he proposed for lunch and then again the next day.  When we decided that we were going to get married in San Francisco, I contacted them and they #1 had availability and #2 were surprisingly reasonably priced for where they are located.  They are an organic restaurant that uses 100% organic and local ingredients, including organic produce, free range organic poultry and sustainable seafood.  This is how we like to eat most of the time, although we do on occasion get off track ;).

The only thing I was a bit concerned with was the wedding cake.  I could get my cake from The Plant or I could get it from another cake vendor and pay a cake cutting fee.  Hum…well as long as it was a good cake, I figured that since it went towards our F&B minimum I wanted to go that route.

The Plant Cafe, Pier 3, San Francisco, Organic, Wedding, Wedding Planning

As you’ve probably seen, Sean & I both have a huge sweet tooth and we really love amazing desserts so we had high standards for our cake.  I spoke with my event manager and asked if we did the cake with them, if we could do a tasting.

I’ve been to a number of different cake tastings that are done in a lot of different ways.  Some of the bigger bakeries don’t really give you the option to pick flavors.  Some have it set up with pieces of cake, dollops of filling and buttercreams.  Some make tiny individual cakes.  Our event manager basically just left it up to us as to what flavors we wanted to try, which was a little surprising at first.  I was expecting to get a list of flavors and then maybe if there was something we wanted that wasn’t on the list we could add it in.  They can make both vegan and non vegan cakes.

She did send us a list, after I asked, of different flavors that they had done in the past and again told me that the pastry chef could make anything that we wanted.

So we picked the following, non vegan flavors:

Lemon Raspberry*
Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Ganache & Buttercream Frosting
Peanut Butter & Chocolate*
Almond with Peach Compote & Earl Grey Tea Buttercream
Salted Caramel*
*These were selections that Sean & I picked that were not on the list she sent over

We got to The Plant this week, it was beautiful down by the pier when we got there, and our event manager brought out the cakes.  They were super cute, little mini cakes with a dollop of frosting on the top.

The chef had made 6 for us to try which was even more than I was expecting.

What we tried…

1)**Peanut Butter Sponge Cake with Raspberry Jam & Peanut Butter Buttercream
2) Chocolate Sponge Cake with Caramel Ganache & Caramel Buttercream and Sea Salt
3) Chocolate Sponge with Whipped Chocolate Ganache & Vanilla Buttercream
4) Almond Sponge Cake with Peach Compote & Earl Grey Buttercream
5) Peanut Butter Sponge Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache Filling & Chocolate Buttercream
6) Lemon Chiffon Sponge Cake with Raspberry Jam & Lemon Buttercream
**Extra cake that was made because she had the ingredients on hand

And our thoughts…Yum, Yum! Ok well really, we were surprisingly drawn to different flavors than we were expecting.  I love lemon cupcakes and I really thought that was going to be my favorite but I was a little disappointed.  I think it was just a really light lemon flavor and some of the other cakes were so much more vibrant.

A little note, I’m not a huge fan of chocolate so I didn’t really care for the Chocolate Cake with the chocolate ganache.  But the chocolate cake with caramel and the sea salt – Amazing!! Getting the little kick of sea salt at the end is always my favorite part and this did not disappoint at all.

The Peach & Almond cake was good, it was a different type of cake with a different texture, the almonds were more of a rough chop which made it interesting.  The peach compote was the star of this cake.

The cake that was by far our favorite was the Peanut Butter Sponge Cake with the Strawberry Jam & Peanut Butter Buttercream!  I’m so glad that she added this one on at the end because it was truly amazing.  They use an organic peanut butter which gave the cake a nice texture, it was a little oily due to the oil in natural peanut butter, which made the texture almost that of an olive oil cake, which both of us love!!


So now, we just have to decide if we want to have just one flavor for the cake or 2 since we’ll have 2 tiers.  Decisions, decisions…

Thank you to The Plant for giving us the opportunity to try out some amazing dessert.  It was a lot of fun and I’m really glad we were able to partake in one of the best parts of wedding planning :).

Suja Fresh Start Juice Cleanse

Last week, the Monday after I moved to San Diego, Sean & I started the week off by doing the Suja Fresh Start Juice Cleanse.  We had been eating a lot of unhealthy foods on the weekends and while we were eating well during the week, it was adding up and making us, well me especially feel not so great.

As the saying goes, you can’t outrun a bad diet – lol.  I don’t think I had a horrible diet but just a combination of a lot of travel, eating out and too many desserts were taking their toll.

So we decided on a Juice Cleanse to start us off.  We picked the Suja Cleanse after a lot of research and looking at various cleanse, pretty much because it was the most inexpensive.  Juice cleanses are expensive and we don’t have a juicer or the time and patience to do it ourselves.

Suja is made here in San Diego, so even though it is a national brand, it is still a local business and they sell the 3 day cleanses at Whole Foods (at a discounted price from their online store).  The Whole Foods prices was $129.95 + tax and the Suja online store price was $162 + $36 shipping.

Suja Juice Cleanse, glow, Juice Cleanse
Each box includes 3 of the following 16 oz juices that are to be consumed in this order:

1) Breakfast – Glow (Apple, Celery, Cucumber, Kale, Collard Greens, Peppermint & Spearmint Tea & Spinach)

2) Mid-Morning – Fuel (Carrot, Orange, Apple, Pineapple, Lemon & Turmeric)

3) Lunch – Purify (Carrot, Apple, Celery, Cucumber, Beet & Lemon)

4) Mid-Afternoon – Fiji (Apple, Celery, Cucumber, Kale, Collard Greens, Lemon, Ginger & Spinach)

5) Dinner – Green Supreme (Apple, Kale & Lemon)

6) Dessert – Vanilla Cloud (Almond Milk, Honey, Coconut, Cinnamon, Vanilla & Nutmeg)

They recommend starting the day out with a cup of hot lemon water so I did that all three days, mostly because I like to have something hot to drink in the morning.

Here is my recount of how it went & Sean’s will follow.  We wanted to give you both a male & female perspective on how this went.

Day 1: Mon, Mar 23
Started the day with a cup of hot lemon water around 7:15a
Juice 1: Glow around 8:00a
I have a weird taste in my mouth, not sure if that’s from the juice or from having been sick. I’m not really feeling very energetic – more sleepy.

Suja Juice Cleanse, glow, Juice Cleanse Juice #1

Juice 2: Fuel around 10:15a
Tasted better than I was expecting since I’m not a huge fan of carrot juice
It’s been 2.25 hrs – I’ve really been fighting off the whole blood sugar dropping issue – trying to drink more water but it’s not really helping the hunger issue

Juice 3: Purify 12:50p
I don’t really like beets but it’s not too bad taste wise. I’m just so hungry…
Hum… It’s been about 45 minutes….since I finished this bottle. My ears are feeling hot and I’m definitely sleepy.

So bad but I took a little nap on my lunch break.

Juice 4: Fiji 3:15p feeling really sick – Sean and I are talking about eating real food to get us thru, we are so hungry.

Juice 5: Green Supreme – 6:15-30p – this one made me feel kinda sick – it tasted fine but I think my sugar was so low it was like a shock to the system.

Sean got home around 7ish and we went for a short 2 mile run. My legs felt so sluggish and by the end of the run, I was exhausted. This juice has a bit more calories, 220 vs the others that were under 200 for the bottle.

Juice 6: Vanilla Cloud – tasty and somewhat filling. It says to drink 3 hours prior to bed for proper digestion but I was so exhausted, I think I fell asleep about 20 minutes after I finished mine. I slept relatively well and didn’t feel hungry so that’s good.

Day 2: Tue, Mar 24
Started the day with 2 cups of hot lemon water

Juice 1: Glow around 8:30a I took about 45 minutes to drink it. I’m feeling a lot better today, so far anyways. I’m not feeling like my sugar is dropping every 5 seconds.
More hot lemon water – just because I like it 🙂

Juice 2: Fuel around 10:45a
It’s noon and I’m feeling like I have a lot more energy than yesterday
I still want food but it’s not quite as bad.

Juice 3: Purify 1:20p
I’m hungry and my stomach feels like it’s going to start growling. I still have more energy than yesterday but I really want to eat something more substantial.
It’s 3pm and I’m getting a little tired, I feel like I should have a snack
I ended up eating a ½ of a small sweet potato around 3:45p. I’m not sure if it really did anything for me.

Juice 4: Fiji 4:15p I wasn’t super hungry so I guess that the sweet potato helped a little but I needed to get the juice in so I could have something before Sean & I go for our run this evening. There isn’t a lot of time left to drink the last 2 before I go to bed.

Juice 5: Green Supreme around 7:30p I drank this after my run with Sean and then about 30 minutes later I drank Juice 6 Vanilla Cloud and promptly fell asleep lol.

Day 3: Wed, Mar 25

Started the day with some more Hot Lemon Water – I like having something hot to drink in the morning and since we didn’t have any green tea at the time.

Juice 1: Glow 7:30a.  It’s almost 9a and I’ve got a headache, I’m feeling lightheaded and a little hot & cold (fluish)

I’ll be honest, after this I got distracted with work and stopped writing my experience.  I drank a lot more green tea and all my juices.  Around mid-day, I did eat a half of an avocado and I drank my last green drink on the way to my softball game.  Sean & I drank our Vanilla Cloud after our run about 8/8:30pm. I felt a lot like day 1 on day 3 – weak and run-down.

IMG_3738 And we are done! Yea!

They recommend starting back on real food slowly so I started Thursday with an energy bowl from Jamba Juice, then a half an avocado & baked egg, a bowl of cereal and then for dinner, we had avocado salads, miso soup & a California crunch roll from the local sushi place.

Suja Juice Cleanse, 3 day, juice cleanse
I exercised every day while on the cleanse, I ended up losing 8 pounds, I’ve since gained back a lot of it, but I was super weak while exercising.  Running 2 miles seriously felt like 15 and I had to force myself to run every step.  Even after starting to eat real food again, I’m still dealing with the calorie deficit to a degree.  I am extremely lucky to have a fast metabolism and I eat small meals all day long so this was a huge shock to my system, especially after having been sick the week before.

I had always wanted to do a juice cleanse and I am really glad I did it so I could experience what it was like.  Would I do it again?  Maybe for a day.  But I don’t think that it would be good for me and my body to do this on a regular basis.  Not only do I need more calories, I love food.  Drinking juice here and there is fine, but it’s so not the same.

Sean’s take 🙂

In preparation for our Suja 3-day Fresh Start juice cleanse, I decided to buy the Suja 3-day Essentials Fresh Start cleanse available exclusively at Costco the week prior. The Costco version consists of 3 organic juices (a spicy cayenne lemonade, a mega-green juice, and an almond-banana milk) per day and a recommended mini meal plan to compliment or supplement the juices. The beauty of the Costco option is that it’s extremely reasonable to tryout at $30 for 9 juices, a $10 investment per day.

I successfully ramped up with the Costco Essentials plan, and each day I supplemented the 3 juices with a big healthy salad from Green Spot Salad Company which I ate for a late lunch. After my ramp up period, I flew out to Phoenix for the big move. Jenny and I enjoyed some solid meals over the weekend before starting the full cleanse, and we picked up our 18-juice kits from Whole Foods on Sunday. I should note that for folks living in San Diego, the Hillcrest Whole Foods has a ton of the Suja kits in stock, even though it was clear that a lot of kits had recently sold.

 So, I’ll skip over all the amazing details Jenny has already covered about the juices and their contents. I did take some photos of each day as I went, so I’ll let those to the talking. In general, I really enjoyed the cleanse. I definitely did feel like the first day was the toughest as I’d skipped coffee and had what I can only assume was a bit of a caffeine deprevation headache. On the second and third days, I wanted to make sure my calorie intake was slightly higher as I had additional activities planned in addition to daily runs with a boot camp on Tuesday and a softball game on Wednedsay, so I supplemented on those days with one small salad consisting of organic mixed greens, spinach, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, corn, red peppers, sprouts, jicama, avocado, and apple. I did not add dressing or egg or bacon or any other protein that I might have normally. We were allowed to eat raw veggies as part of the rules of the plan so I definitely took advantage of it.


The juices were all very tasty. I love green juices and the overall variety of the 6 different juices. My favorite was probably the 2nd juice each day which had a carrot and pineapple base. My least favorite was the 3rd juice of the day due to the beet, although I will admit that it was relatively subtle and still very drinkable even if you are not a fan of dirt flavor, err, I mean beet flavor… haha.


Although I did feel the calorie deficit each day (enough to cut roughly 5-6 lbs), I really did feel energized and in a healthier state with each day of the cleanse. My goal was to really bring some focus to my eating and fueling strategies, and I could definitely see myself doing  this plan monthly or even trying out a longer juice plan in future. I love chewing my food, too, so having the raw veggie salad was a saving grace. For a bit of back story, I’ve been eating large salads daily since 2013 and am a huge salad person. I will also comment that doing this cleanse really does make “real” food taste amazing once you add that back in, so if you’re bored with the tastes in your current diet, this could really reset your taste buds. 

Last Day!!  

I admit that I did miss my normal caffeine infusion in my diet, so I supplemented with some black tea and that was actually quite nice. Tea was technically also allowed as part of the plan as were the raw veggies, avocado, sweet potato, and broth. I do have a small vanilla creamer addiction which I normally add into my coffee. It’s a habit I’m trying to cut back on as I know the partially-hydrogenated oil in there is not ideal. I did end up using one teaspoon of creamer in my tea on days two and three. I did manage to refrain from eating any desserts that were brought into our office on the first day… apple pies and home-made stuffed cupcakes… OMG that was tough. I, did, however, manage to wrap up a cupcake and save it for Thursday after the cleanse was done.

Ok, that’s it. I’m starting to write a book here. I would like to thank Jenny for sparking the idea for us to try this cleanse out together. I’m so happy that we did. 🙂

Runner’s Den AZ Pancake Run – 5K Race Recap

A few weekends ago I had a great confidence boosting run weekend – I ran 20 miles with the Cave Creek Chicks on Saturday and then on Sunday I headed down to the Paradise Valley Mall to run in the Runner’s Den AZ Pancake Run.


15 miles into 20

This was the 37th year for this race and it is a flat & fast race.  They have had multiple elite athletes participate in both races, in fact the 10k American Record was set at this race twice over the years.  This year Olympian & American Record Holder in mile, Alan Webb participated in both races.

I’ve wanted to run this race in the past, but it never really fit in with my schedule.  Now that I’m doing things a little differently to train for my upcoming 50K, I’m running more back to back on the weekends to get my legs prepared.  I originally signed up to run both races and had every intention of doing so when I got there that morning, but we’ll get to that in a little bit.

You have the option of picking up your packet on Saturday at Runner’s Den so I did that.  They gave us a cute Brooks shirt, it still had the tags on it and everything, a coupon for a free short stack of pancakes from IHOP and a unique bib. It was nice that the race was so close to my house and it didn’t start until 8am so I was able to sleep in.  After so many races of having to get up before dark, this was a nice treat.  I got up, made myself two pieces of toast with peanut butter, got my water bottle filled and then took off.


It was somewhat cool when I left so I decided to wear one of my long sleeve shirts, a running skirt and a pair of ProCompression marathon socks along with my new Altra The One2 – which I love!!  I’ll review these shoes once I have worn them a bit longer. I got there with plenty of time.


Since the race was starting in the mall parking lot there was a ton of parking :).  I made my way over towards the port-a-potties, did my business and then hung out for a while – they had packet pick-up that morning as well, TVs set up that would be scrolling the results and some vendor tents along with the pancake station.

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It got closer to 8am so I lined up somewhere I thought was about midpack, turns out I was much closer to the front, but that ended up being a good thing.  They announced that last year they had 10 people go under 17 mins in the 5K and that the first women came in at 17:01 so we knew this was going to be a fast race.  The only thing I was a little surprised at was that they didn’t play the National Anthem like they do at most races.  Considering how big of a race, that was interesting but anyways.


And then we were off.  I really was worried about how my legs would react after the 20 miles the day before so I was trying not to run too fast.  I was far enough near the front that I didn’t really need to do too much in the way of weaving in and out around people.  I wasn’t really trying too hard, I figured if I was going to run the 10k later, I needed to conserve something for that :).

I passed the first mile marker around 9:02, I started about 20 secs after the leaders.

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Free Race Photos rock!! And I really want to see this movie too!

It was a nice & quite course – the only thing I didn’t like and it was my fault for not wearing my visor was that the sun was in my eyes after the first turn around and I couldn’t really see anything.  This was probably why the 2nd mile was the fastest – lol.  During the third mile, I started to feel a little light-headed and sick, which I originally contributed to running faster than I have in a while, but it started getting worse as I got closer to the finish line so I had to back off a little bit.  I ended up finishing in 26:51:74 (8:39 avg pace) which was only 5 seconds slower than my PR – I just looked that up on and I had no idea I was that close – oh, well, I’ll get it next time :). After I finished I wasn’t feeling that great so I took a few minutes to relax and then decided that if I felt that lightheaded and dehydrated I should probably skip the 10k.  I didn’t need to run it and I know that I didn’t refuel properly the day before after my 20 miler which contributed.


So I went over to get my post race pancakes, which the folks from IHOP were making practically to order.  It was really cool to see them out there.  I got my 2 piping hot pancakes, took them over to one of 3 topping stations.  They had berries, apples, chocolate chips, butter, syrup and whipped cream.  I dressed my pancakes, got a banana and a Shamrock Farms Rockin Refuel Vanilla drink.  The pancakes were really good, the Rockin Refuel was surprisingly good too – I’m super picky with milk drinks, I don’t normally drink real milk, but this was lactose free so that was a huge plus.

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After getting some food, I felt a lot better, but I still wasn’t going to run the race, so I headed over to the start to watch Alan Webb warm up and start the race.  I ended up talking to another runner about his upcoming trip to Italy during the 31 minutes it took Alan to run the 10k.  Crazy!! The 2nd place runner didn’t come in until after 34 mins.


Alan Webb killing it in the 10k

I didn’t regret skipping the 10k and I’m glad I had the chance to get in some speed work.  After a lot of slower runs lately, my confidence in my speed was a bit low.

All in all it was a great running weekend and I feel a lot better about my upcoming races.

If you are in Phoenix and want to run a flat & fast 5k/10k this is a great race.  I can see why they have been putting on the race for so many years.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to run it before I move.

Food Tour: Chicago

I love food. And this makes trying to eat clean all the time, really difficult.  I like to try new things and it’s hard to restrict yourself especially when you are in a new place and doing a lot of walking and other exercise.  So, I do my best to add in a salad with each meal, no soda and no alcohol and lots of walking so I feel good about what I’ve eaten.

Sean & I arrived in Chicago Friday afternoon after both of our flights being delayed.  We took the L to downtown, checked into our hotel and then relaxed a bit before heading out for dinner.  It was about 9pm after we did our run, got changed, etc. so we asked the front desk for some recommendations for good, Chicago food that didn’t require us to be dressed up – lol.

Stop #1: Lou Malnati’s

We ended up at Lou Malnati’s off of State St.  When we arrived, they said there was a 45 min wait so we put our name on the list, gave my cell phone number for the text alert and then went to see if there was anything else near by with a shorter wait.  But to our surprise it only took about 10 minutes for our table to come up so in we went.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this is the Flagship location for them which is probably one of many reasons why they were so busy at that time of night.  Both of us love pizza so we wanted to have try the signature deep dish, but it takes a bit to prepare, so we started out with a Malnati’s Salad, which is Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, Volpi salami bits and gorgonzola cheese with our Sweet Vinaigrette and romano cheese.  We 86’d the black olives and tried to have the cheese on the side, but our server forgot that gorgonzola was a cheese, oops.

We also ordered The “Lou” for our pizza.  It’s a spinach mix, mushrooms, roma tomatoes covered in cheese.  We both love veggies so this was a perfect fit for us. We got the small size, which was 4 pieces, just big enough for us.  The crust was pretty good, I’m really picky about good pizza crust and I’m not normally a fan of deep dish because the crust is either too doughy or too crispy.  This one was good, a little too crisp for me in the spots that didn’t have toppings, but overall it was good.

Lastly, because it’s not a meal without dessert, we got the Chocolate Chip Pizza.  The cookie portion was really good, but in my opinion there was a little too much ice cream and whipped cream, it kind of took away from the cookie.

Lou Malnati's, Chicago, The Lou, Deep Dish Pizza, Chocolate Chip Cookie Pizza, Malnati Salad

Stop #2 – Pleasant House Bakery

After running to the Chicago Marathon expo to pick up Sean’s packet, we were only a few miles from Pleasant House so I asked really nicely if he would walk over there with me.  It was about a 3 mile walk, oops, but it turns out that we walked a few miles of the race, around mile 20.5 or so.  I found Pleasant House online looking for inexpensive healthy eats online and they came up for their kale & mushroom pie.  They hand make their pies and grow as much produce as possible at their farm, which was really cool to me.  It’s definitely a hole in the wall, we literally almost walked right by, because we couldn’t tell #1 if they were open and #2 where the front door was.

They have had a ton of press, but it was not super busy when we were there, it felt really homey.  You order your food at the counter, they have a chalkboard menu and a special of the day, along with a few house made sodas available for order.  We ordered 2 “Royal Pies”, the Kale & Mushroom, since that’s why we wanted to go there to begin with, and then I asked what she would recommend and she said that the Steak & Ale was their biggest seller, so we tried that too.  We also got a Pleasant Farms Salad and I initially ordered water, but then saw a sign for a Ginger Fizz, their home made, real ginger ale, Sean got a root beer, but it wasn’t house made.

The pies, were so good, the crust was soft but flakey, not soggy at all as some pies can be.  The Steak & Ale was a super yummy, it tasted almost like sloppy joes, I guess would be the closest thing I can think of.  The kale & mushroom was a bit more like a thick mushroom soup.

Now the Ginger Fizz, they had it on tap so they put some in a glass, but the fizz was so much, that they had to let it sit for a few minutes before they could continue to fill up the glass.  I think it took about 10 minutes for it to be ready.  But it was so worth it.  It wasn’t sweet at all, but you definitely got the real ginger zing that is so good.

You bus your own tables here and they will bring the food to you.  It was definitely worth the walk and we didn’t feel overly full afterwards either.  At $7.95 each for the pies and salad, I felt like that was a decent amount of food for not a lot of money.

Pleasant House Bakery, Chicago, Royal Pie, Kale & Mushroom, Steak & Ale, Ginger Fizz, Pleasant Farms Salad

Stop #3 Glazed and Infused

We just happened to see this little donut shop as we were walking back to the hotel after snacking at Pleasant House.  It was around 4:30pm give or take, so they didn’t have their full selection, Sean really wanted to try the maple bacon, but they were out.  So I had a glazed seedling apple cider and he had a chocolate with chocolate curls.  I ate my whole donut that evening, while Sean ate half then and the other half before the marathon.

The donuts are $3 each but decently sized.  I didn’t feel like mine was overly sweet even with the glaze.

Glazed & Infused, donuts, chocolate, apple cider, chicago

Stop #4 Quartino

We were a bit late, yet again on our way out to dinner, so after searching yelp & open table to see what was available.  Well not much at that time, big surprise, Saturday night in the city, the day before the marathon.  Oops.  So we started walking up State St to see what was available and we crossed the street at Quartino and asked to see if there was any space, well they were able to seat us outside.  It wasn’t horribly cold, although it wasn’t warm either, but it was open so we said sure.  As they were seating us, I noticed that they were cleaning off another table that was a bit more sheltered by the building so I asked if we could have that table, which was perfect.  It made it a lot warmer than if we were out in the open, because they didn’t have heaters out there, which was a bit odd, but ok.

Quartino serves most of their entrees in a tapas style so they are small and perfect for sharing.  They also bring the food out as soon as it is ready so they definitely recommend sharing.  We were pretty hungry and Sean wanted to do a bit of carb loading 🙂 so we tried the following.

A spinach salad (I love spinach and I really dislike iceberg lettuce which is used a lot in regular salads), it had pear, walnuts and it said ricotta, but it tasted more like a parmesan.

Margherita Pizza – basic but my fav 🙂 Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, & Sweet Basil

My absolute favorite of all our tastes was the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese which is just a traditional meat sauce, but it tasted just like in Italy, light and no overly seasoned.

We also tried the gnocchi which was in a pesto sauce, we think there might have been a bit of asparagus in the pesto as well which is a little different.

Our least favorite entree was a Rigatoni with Tuscan Kale, Roasted Butternut Squash, House-Made Pancetta, & Ricotta Salata – it wasn’t bad, just I’m not a huge fan of the butternut squash so that might have been a part of it.  Or maybe we were so full from all the other things we ate lol.

Even though we had to eat outside, I would totally go back to Quartino again, and from the number of people with reservations and waiting for tables, it definitely was a hot place.

Quartino, Chicago, Spinach Salad, Gnocchi, Pesto, Tagliatelle Bolognese, Margarita Pizza, Rigatoni

Stop #5 Portillo’s Hot Dogs

We didn’t get breakfast on Sunday morning because of the race.  I didn’t even have a chance to get coffee as I raced from spot to spot to try to see Sean so we decided to hit up a spot that my Chicago friends told me about.

This definitely seemed like the place to be after the race, there were tons of runners with their medals & bibs on.  I got in line to get a hot dog & an Italian beef while Sean got us a salad.  He got the salad in like 2 minutes, it took me almost 40 minutes to get my order.  I’m thinking that was the Italian beef that took so long…

But once we finally got our order, the hot dog was totally worth the wait!  It was amazing!  I don’t eat hot dogs often (just at the ballpark) but this was a great one.  We got the jumbo dog with everything but onions, which means it had mustard, relish, tomato, a kosher pickle and peppers like the ones you can get at steak and shake lol except fresh.  It was amazing.

The Italian beef was good, but way too much beef for us, I ate half of the sandwich, and I thought that was more than plenty.  The salad was good too, although we should have gotten the dressing on the side because it was way over dressed.

Next time, hot dogs & salad only :).

Portillo's, Chicago, Hot Dog, Italian Beef, Spinach Salad

Stop #6 Magnolia Bakery

This wasn’t planned but we happened to see it on our way to the Bean and since I had a Magnolia Bakery cupcake after running NYC Marathon last year, we figured we should have one here too to commemorate Sean’s race too.

I had an apple cider cupcake and he had pumpkin with cream cheese frosting.  I said this and it’s going to sound funny, but I really enjoyed my cupcake, the cake was really flavorful, the icing wasn’t super sugary and was really light.  I would have loved it if I hadn’t tasted the pumpkin one.  The cream cheese frosting was AMAZING!! It really made that cupcake, so flavorful and rich.

You can never go wrong with cupcakes :).

Magnolia Bakery, Cupcakes, Pumpkin, cream cheese frosting, apple cider

Stop 7: Sushi Taiyo

We weren’t sure what we wanted for dinner but as we walked back to the hotel, it was starting to rain and we decided to just get some sushi because it was easy and the restaurant wasn’t overly packed, although it really filled up after we got there.

We had 2 different salads, a Ginger Salad & a Seaweed salad, both of which were great, the ginger salad was huge!! Way bigger than I was expecting.  And then we had 2 rolls, one, my favorite, soft shell crab and then a Honey roll which is albacore, cucumber and sesame honey sauce rolled in tempura crumbs.

Everything was great, it felt good to eat a lot of veggies but nothing super special.  That came next 😉

Sushi Taiyo, Chicago, Ginger Salad, Seaweed Salad, Honey Roll, Spider Roll

Stop 8: Pierrot Gourmet at the Peninsula Hotel

Pierrot Gourmet ended up being our last stop on the food tour.  After finishing our sushi & salad we yelped for a place to go for dessert and this came up.  Since we both love creme brulee we thought it would be perfect.  We got there about 20 minutes before they closed, walked in and saw so many amazing looking desserts.  It was a hard decision but we decided on the following:

A vanilla bean creme brulee with fresh berries, a fruit tarte with an almond frangipane and carmelized fruit and I choose 2 macaroons, Caramel Fleur Du Sel & Strawberry Mascarpone but the server brought the caramel, a nutella and an almond one – he did end up bringing the strawberry one but we ended up with a few extra.

Of the desserts, the creme brulee was by far the best, although it did have a stronger egg taste to it.  The macaroons were super soft, but they were also super sweet, I had one bite of each to try them but didn’t go back for seconds on any of them.

A great way to end our food tour.

Pierrot Gourmet, Chicago, The Penisula, Macaroons, Cappucino, Fruit Tarte, Creme Brulee, Dessert

I would recommend any of these restaurants, especially Quartino and Portillo’s for the Hot Dogs.  We had a great time eating our way thru Chicago and I can’t wait until our next vacation to see what new things we can try. Buon Appetito!

Post Run Eats: Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro San Diego

When I was in San Diego for the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, Pete & I had seen an ad for Eclipse Chocolate in the San Diego Dining magazine and it looked amazing, so after looking at the website we decided to hit it up.  I went a second time over Labor Day weekend and this review shares a bit of both visits.  Seeing as I’m addicted to dessert this is so totally like Willy Wonka’s for a sweets loving foodie like myself.

From their website: Our Mission- To craft premium artisan foods & confections with a unique culinary perspective while maintaining sustainable & ethical operations that support our local community.

It’s very unique in the fact that the founder was originally a sculptor before starting to hand make exotic chocolates, not a traditional chef background.

They are a Silver Fork winner for 2013 from San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles.

The unique thing about all their food is that everything is infused with chocolate, vanilla and/or caramel.  All food is made from scratch with all natural ingredients.  They have vegan & gluten free options.  They have a good selection of alcoholic beverages as well, but I rarely drink, and would much rather a drinking chocolate at a place like this :).

Eclipse Chocolate, Menu, Brunch, foodie, san diego, california

Both times I’ve visited have been on Sundays and they have an awesome brunch so I always go with the tasting trio, for $20, which allows you to choose one entree and then 2 options from the sides, soup & salad & dessert options.  There are a lot of different options to choose from.

Both times, I started off with a Soy Salted Dulce de Leche drinking chocolate (31% white) which came with home made marshmallows.  My dining companion tried a Soy Double Dark Cocoa (61% dark).  Both were AMAZING!!

Eclipse Chocolate, Drinking Chocolate, Dulce de Leche, Double Dark Chocolate, San Diego, California

For my entree on my first visit I selected the farm house eggs & bacon, which was 2 eggs, brown sugar glazed bacon and buttermilk toast with orange peel, vanilla bean butter and for one of my sides, sea salted fried red potato wedges with a chile burnt caramel hollandaise with serrano sea salt & chives (I had the hollandaise on the side). The potatoes are Vegan & Gluten Free.

breakfast, farm house eggs, brown sugar bacon, buttermilk toast, orange peel vanilla butter, sea salt, potatoes, eclipse chocolate, san diego, california

On my second visit, I chose the Avocado Benedict, which was the best benedict I’ve ever had.  I will clarify though, I’m not a huge fan of hollandaise sauce so I did get it on the side. From the menu: buttermilk toast+hickory salted avocado+soft poach egg+chile burnt caramel hollandaise.

My dining companion chose the Buttermilk Pancakes in Blueberry Maple Bacon flavor, OMG!!! AMAZING!! There were blueberries & pieces of bacon all thru the vanilla buttermilk pancakes with roasted white chocolate as well. There was an amazing maple topping a little bit of orange peel butter.

Eclipse Chocolate, San Diego, California, Blueberry Maple Bacon Pancakes, Brunch Eclipse Chocolate, San Diego, California, Avocado benedict, brunch

For my second side, I had the Bleu Cheese Pecan salad, baby greens, dried cranberry, point reyes bleu cheese, chile spiced pecans & a vanilla vinaigrette.  I love a good salad and this was definitely a good one.  The vanilla vinaigrette really complimented the other flavors.

The other salad was Beet & Green Apple.  Again, I’m not a huge fan of beets but the flavors all mixed together were really complimentary.  My only complaint on this one would be that there was way too much cheese.  From the menu: baby greens+roasted beet+herbed chevre+candied cocoa nib+vanilla vinaigrette

Eclipse chocoate, san diego, california, beet & green apple salad, bleu cheese pecan salad

On my second visit, we decided to make sure we had room for dessert, my favorite, and since I hadn’t just raced, it wasn’t all about having food as fuel like the previous visit after the race.

I love Peanut Butter and decided to try the Frozen Peanut Butter Mousse, milk chocolate peanut butter mousse+brownie crust+vanilla creme fraiche+serrano sea salt. This is not for the faint of heart, it’s super super rich and oh so peanut buttery.  We both took a bite of this and thought that nothing could beat it, however, the churros, where freaking amazing.  Warm, buttery and covered in cinnamon sugar, they literally melted in your mouth.  I tried them with the 2 sauces, one was chocolate and the other was maybe strawberry rhubarb? I can’t remember exactly. But really, I’m a purist and the churros were absolutely amazing on their own.

Eclipse Chocolate, San Diego, California, Frozen Peanut Butter Mousse, Dessert, Foodie, Brunch Eclipse Chocolate, Brunch, San Diego, California, churros, foodie

Eclipse wasn’t that close to downtown, from what I could tell, but I’m not super familiar with San Diego, but the website says it is in the South Park area of the city.  It wasn’t overly crowded either time I went and we didn’t make it there until at least 11am, so unlike some of the other areas of town.

If you like unique food & local venues, I totally recommend Eclipse and I can’t wait to go back and try something new next time I’m in San Diego.

Question: Have you ever tried incorporating sweet flavors into more savory dishes?

Food Lover: 2 weeks of not so clean eating

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I love food and I have a super crazy sweet tooth.  The past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind as far as food goes with trips out of town for both personal & work events and I’ve been eating not so cleanly.  I don’t have any more planned trips until the end of July so I will be trying to get back on board with my normal clean eating diet starting this week.

This is going to be a super heavy photo post and everything was sooo good.

Starting with my work trip to Atlanta, we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead and they had some amazing food, even in banquets.

Lunch in The Cafe.  Cafe Turkey Club on multigrain bread with a roasted garlic aioli, Soy Cappucino & Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brulee (my favorite) with a lemon macaroon & fresh berries. Great way to start out the event!

Club, Sandwich, Ritz Carlton, Buckhead, Atlanta, Lunch Cappucino, soy milk, creme brulee, macaroon, ritz carlton, buckhead, atlanta, coffee, dessert

Tuesday night dinner, my boss & I have a tradition of going for a steak dinner the night before the event.  It’s our way of regrouping and starting the event off right.  This time around, we went across the street to Lenox Square and hit up Prime.  The food was amazing! Although the timing of the service was a bit off.  We attempted to start with what were absolutely AMAZING oysters but the seafood person was a bit behind so they actually came right after the first course and just before the entrees which was a bit odd, but ok.  I also had my favorite, spinach salad, love, love, love spinach, and a New York Strip steak before a great apple pie dessert, with a tiny bit of vanilla ice cream (which we shared).

Oysters, Prime, Buckhead, Atlanta, dinner Prime, Buckhead, Spinach, Salad Prime, Buckhead, New York Strip Prime, Buckhead, Atlanta, Dessert, Apple Pie

I didn’t have time to take a lot of photos of the amazing banquet food that we had the opportunity to eat at the Ritz Carlton, but these are a few from our dinner function.  I like to try a little of everything, just so I can comment when the guests talk about something.  Started off with an excellent plated salad, with goat cheese stuffed with something, maybe pears.  Then we had a buffet dinner, which included 3 meats, the salmon was excellent! and a bunch of different carbs, risotto & mashed potatoes, lots of veggies including purple carrots, cauliflower & green beans.  Then to top it off, some gran marnier creme brulee & a fruit tarte.

goat cheese, pear, salad, ritz carlton, buckhead, atlanta, banquet, dinner Dinner, banquets, ritz carlton, buckhead, atlanta, meat & carbs gran marnier, creme brulee, fruit tart, ritz carlton, buckhead, atlanta, banquet desserts, dessert

So after getting home from Atlanta, I headed out to San Diego for the Rock n Roll Marathon weekend with my friend/running buddy, Pete.  We travel to races a few times a year and always eat like kings, he loves food as much as me :).

We started out our food/running weekend at the Ocean Room, which was kind of a nondescript, somewhat empty place when we arrived.  But the food was really good.  We started out with a Kamikaze Roll, which was made with panko oyster, avo, gobo, cilantro, cucumber, tuna & tonkatsu sauce – YUMMY!! After which I had the seafood stew, which I would highly recommend.

Kamikaze Roll, Sushi, Ocean Room, San Diego, California seafood stew, dinner, san diego, california, ocean room, fresh fish

We decided against dessert at the restaurant and instead found a cute little gelato place called Chocolat Cremerie.  I only like fruit flavored gelato so I got a mix of strawberry, lemon which are my staples, but I mixed it up and added in some peach too.  It was pretty good.

gelato, chocolat, strawberry, lemon, peach, dessert, san diego, california

Breakfast on Saturday was pretty normal, eggs and toast, I didn’t want to eat too much before our shake-out run with Meb.  No photos since it’s so boring :).

Now lunch on the other hand was absolutely amazing!!  We went up to La Jolla on checked out this restaurant called Whiskandladle.  They have a sister restaurant called Prep Kitchen, which we plan to check out next time we go.  It reminded me a lot of the Fox Restaurant Concepts that we have a lot of here in Phoenix. We had the best server, I forget her name, darn it, but she was super cute (tiny) with short dark hair.  She was one of the best servers we’ve had!

So I started off with a cucumber & honey mimosa, which was a nice change from the normal orange juice.  Nice & light.  I chose the fish tacos for my entree, although I was super tempted by the special which was a pork carnitas, but I can get pork anytime and the tacos were made with yellow tail! and came with yummy house made chips. I very rarely eat chips, but I love house made chips, these were really good, but a bit salty, although I think that was a good thing with the race the next day.  To finish off the meal, we had fresh strawberry shortcake with homemade whipped cream, fennel & I think kumquat. Amazing!! I’m practically drooling just thinking about this meal.

cucumber, honey, mimosa, whiskandladle, lunch, la jolla, california Yellow Tail, Fish Tacos, house made chips, whiskandladle, la jolla, california, foodie strawberry, shortcake, muscat, wine, dessert wine, fresh strawberries, homemade whipped cream, dessert, whiskandladle, la jolla, california

We finished off Saturday, where I was finally able to meet the amazing & super speedy Rhea, one of my instagram friends, I love how social media brings people together, and her friends, Vanessa & Sean, who are equally speedy and amazing at dinner.  We went to a place called Buon Appetito, which was in the Little Italy part of  San Diego.  I thought it was ok, but not great.  I normally eat pizza the night before a race but they didn’t have any so I went with my second choice, lasagna.  It was prepared differently than I’ve had it so I’m thinking that the owners were from a different part of Italy than I’m familiar with.  I’m a lasagna connoisseur and this was not my favorite, however I ran really well the next day so I’m not knocking it :).  I think the best part of the meal was meeting Rhea and talking with her and her friends.  I love hanging out with other runners – it’s so inspiring to hear why everyone started running and what they have achieved.

lasagna, buon appetito, dinner, prerace, carbloading, little italy, san diego, california

After the race, we went to a really cool, eclectic place, called Eclipse Chocolate, which I’ll have a separate review coming up on.

And so as you can see, I’ve eaten a lot of really yummy food in the last 2 weeks, but it’s been pretty heavy on the dessert course so I’ll be concentrating on eliminating sugar from my diet for the foreseeable future, just to get back on track for a little bit.

Do you get off track, diet-wise, when you travel?  I try but I just love food and when I’m not in my normal routine, I don’t always eat as well as I should.


What I Crave…Post Race Food

I really try to eat as clean as possible.  I eat tons and tons of veggies, whole grains, very limited sugar (boo!), very little alcohol and drink my green juice daily.  But that being said, I absolutely love food.  All of my memories revolve around the food I eat.  I’m extremely fortunate and I am incredibly grateful for great genes and a very fast metabolism.

What I crave post race…Burgers with a side of fries…

Chuckbox The Big One

After the Phoenix Marathon (half for me), I went home immediately after the race, since I was exhausted from lack of sleep.  I waited until Sunday when I got a burger from The Chuckbox in Tempe.  I’m still relatively new to the Phoenix area so I’m still discovering new places and I was actually at another, much more healthy place, next door, meeting with my team for the Ragnar Trail – Zion, UT and all I could smell were these burgers.  So of course I had to have one.  Oh and my team still needs 2 more runners so if anyone is interested, please email me at

The Chuckbox

We walked in and there was a line that snaked around the restaurant – it was 2:30pm! That really shows how popular of a place this is – although, it is in the university area & a Sunday so that could be part of it ;). There was a diverse crowd so I don’t think that was it.

Check out the menu early because you are asked for your order way before you are actually at the counter.

Chuckbox Menu

Chuckbox Woodfire Grill

They have quite the system for getting the burgers to you.  I’m not quite sure how they keep track of the burgers but there is a system of toothpicks on the buns.

I picked the Big One with a wheat bun (still trying to stay semi healthy – lol) with a side of fries. They have a great topping bar with a variety of toppings, I’m boring and just like ketchup, yellow mustard & tomatoes so I didn’t really take advantage of the topping bar to the fullest.

The Big One Chuckbox My Way

Chuckbox Burger Bar

Overall, I can’t say it was the best burger I’ve ever eaten but I did really enjoy it.

I paid for my own meal, or rather my friend did, and I have no affiliation to The Chuckbox, they have no idea who I am, I just enjoyed my visit and wanted to share my experience with others that crave burgers post race.

What do you crave post race?