Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Seabirds - Vegan Food Truck - OC

Food Trucks...oh what can I say about them. I'm fairly new to the whole food truck craze that I think first started back in '08. Well, let me clarify. The concept is not new as food trucks or "roach coaches" have been around ever since I can remember. Although they didn't use to be "cool." Back then people mainly ate from food trucks when they didn't have much time for lunch and had to get something quick and cheap (like construction workers or people stuck at traffic school or jury duty or hospital workers). Nowadays, food trucks are suddenly the bee's knees. I think Kogi BBQ was the one that started this revolution. Yet, I am not sure what all the fuss is about. I've eaten at a couple, here is my review on Kogi. I find the food to be mostly ok but not earth shattering. For the most part, it is pretty inconvenient to have to stand or "pop-a-squat" to eat your food. Most often in the middle of the day during lunch hour in the heat or worse sitting in your car where sauce can drip everywhere. Yeah, again, maybe it is just me but I just don't see it.

Having said all this, there is something to be said about chasing down your next meal. I mean, I get the sensation of skiing down an Alpine Slope every time I bite into....wait...that's something else. Anyways, I love the hunt. Here's an idea, someone should set up a red velvet cupcake truck and call it The Red October. That way, when I go looking for it, I can just tell people that I'm on the hunt for Red October. I know..it's genius..don't steal my idea. Anyhow, I love finding out about the trucks and going to hunt them down when they are within a reasonable distance from me. If you ask me, it is all very primitive. The whole chasing down your food..hahaha.

So on this fine day, I was looking for something to eat for lunch and did a little web surfing and found that The Seabirds - an organic vegan truck was parked near by. So I went on the hunt for it and found it fairly quickly. As with Kogi, there are just a couple of items on the menu but The Seabirds boost local organic farm fresh produce. Music to my ears. So I got my old standby, 2 BBQ tofu tacos.

Here are the tofu tacos. Looks lovely right? Well looks are deceiving because they were just okay and it wasn't because they were healthy either. They were really salty and on top of that the truck worker that took my order was pretty grumpy and there weren't even that many people in line and it was a nice over-casted day...I mean really? I asked if they had any cupcakes because I read on their site that they recently started selling them on the truck and the person taking my order just scoffed at me like I was barking up the wrong tree. Not sure why...I asked nicely and there was a sign on the truck advertising cupcakes. Anyways, I really wanted to like this truck...I mean c'mon...vegan food truck...so rare...but I won't be going back anytime soon. So very sad.

Tomorrow, I am on the hunt again. Found out a group of trucks will be near me. Will be back to report my findings with hopefully a full and happy belly! :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Week 7 of 17 - Marathon Training

It's only been 7 weeks since I started training for the Chicago Marathon and I gotta say that I am feeling fatigue. This past week I was suppose to accumulate 40 miles for the week and I only managed to get in 36.5 and that was a struggle. My long run for the week went from a planned 16 miles to a completed 12.

Basically, one of two things is happening:

1) I don't think I've ever trained this many miles in any given week...ever...since I started training for marathons. I am a firm believer in the "run less, run better" philosophy. However, this time around, I am doing something different and am actually trying to follow a training schedule and meet my weekly milages. For the most part, I've gotten very close every week.

2) Despite the fact that I've been slowly ramping up the milages week after week, I guess I am just not use to running this many miles. I've noticed that the quality of my running is suffering. I am running more miles but at a slower pace.

So, this week, I have to get in 41 miles but to be honest, I am pretty sure that is not happening since I have a lot of other things going on. I have a rough schedule mapped out on my training tab but I think I may end up doing some shorter faster runs and then do my 17 mile long run on Sunday. I definitely need a "break" this week. I was so tired last week, I actually took a nap in the middle of the day on Saturday instead of doing something productive. Time for a change in plans.

On to the food update, I've not really been cooking as much as I should. Aside from this rare photo of me cooking breakfast for my family recently, I've pretty much been eating stuff here and there. Mostly of the veggie variety. Mainly healthy stuff but I eat the same thing quite often so I'll spare you the details.

Some meals that I've really enjoyed. (home-cooked meal, bento box lunch at 118 degrees, baja crisp at 118 degrees, Indian food from my work caferteria)

(Veggie burger at The Counter, eggs and fruit at Knowlwoods, bowl of berries/chia/coconut milk, veggie sandwich w/ fruit bowl)

Note: I hope to get some product reviews up shortly and do a vegan cupcake post as soon as I find some time. I am also attending a foodie event in the next couple of weeks so there will be a post on that. I am also on a relay team for the upcoming Nautica Tri at Malibu. I did this event last year but will definitely blog about it again.

Upcoming post:
1) Product Reviews
2) Vegan Cupcakes
3) Foodie Event
4) Malibu Nautica Tri Relay Event

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cupcake Wishes and Vegan Dessert Dreams

Remember that show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous? That show always left me with a feeling of "wanting"! The way a regular cake shop makes me feel when I walk in and cannot eat most of things in there. Mainly because I cannot have dairy. Yes, I whine about it everyday because once upon a time, I was able to eat dairy! Those were the days...come back!!

But now...some of my dessert dreams are about to come true. So this may be the end of my no dairy whining. More on that later...

But first...look who came to visit...yes that's Sister K! I love when Sister K visits because she loves to do everything and she gets me to do a lot of stuff that I normally am too lazy to go do by myself. She is really good company since I don't have a lot of friends that I get along with.

And look...she got me a present and it is not even my birthday! So nice of her! Look at the exquisite wrapping and the amazingly cute card she made. So talented. What can it be?

Vegan dessert recipe books!! Yay!! I cannot wait to make these. So excited! Hopefully I will have time to make some this weekend. You will definitely see some baking going on soon. I told you my vegan dessert dreams are about to come true. I saw some vegan cupcakes at the Mother's Market the other day for $3.99 each and they were small. WTHeck?!?

After I picked up Sister K from the train station we went to have lunch at a local Japanese noodle type restaurant. I had some hot sansai (japanese mountain vegetable) udon and Sister K is showing off her cold soba noodles with Yamakake (grated mountain potato).

Thai Food and A Walk in the Hills

I finally went out for a run this morning and it felt pretty good but I wasn't running very fast since it was a hilly run. I had planned to only do 7 miles max and ended up doing 9 because I had to use the restroom half-way to my destination and ran off-course to look for one. :( Let's not speak of this again. I may run that same route again tomorrow since it was really very nice outside today. Very hot though so need to get up super early again!

So last night instead of practicing my culinary skills, I went to have Thai food instead at Thai Cafe. Yeah, they just cook so much better than me...by far. This is my new favorite Thai food place if only because it is close to where I live. But it is actually very good. I come here quite often. At least once a week or every other week.

This structure use to be a Mexican restaurant that I never went to but heard bad things about. Perhaps that is why they are no longer here. I can only guess that the interior has since been re-done because it doesn't look like a Mexican restaurant any more.

Here we have some lovely brown rice, beef & broccoli, and some very yummy pad thai.

Updated 1/4/2011: Ate here during December 2010 and had a really yummy beef and broccoli chow fun. Not very healthy but it was so delicious!

Update 5/2011: Shrimp spring rolls. I love these spring rolls!

Glass noodle salad - this dish is really fresh, healthy and delicious.

Update 6/2011: I ordered the Tom Yum Noodle Soup but swapped rice noodles for glass noodles. Tasty! I wish the glass noodles were thicker though.

Hahaha...so this is what it looks like when you are lactose intolerant and go into a Yogurtland! Yes, you get to have some toppings but no yogurt! My life is sad sometimes but these toppings were still good: walnuts, kiwi, small gummy bears, lychee, tiny pb cups, and tiny cookie dough balls.

After all that eating, a walk was in order. I haven't walked after dinner in so long, I can't even remember but my mom use to tell me that it can help with digestion. Plus the weather was so nice in the evening yesterday that this seemed like a great idea and it was. I live by a pretty trail that is great for evening strolling or more often used by bikers and runners. This path is also a "shortcut" to my work..meaning some 7 miles away but it is a shortcut to me because the other path to work that I sometimes run on is about 8.5 miles. I try to run to work at least once a week. There's my little pup...trucking along. He is super fit for his size (7.5 lbs). He walked a whopping 2.5 miles total with an incline for the first mile. He surprised me with his endurance.

Here are some more photos of the walking/biking path. I really need to walk after dinner more often and I will because I plan to do this every chance I get while the weather is nice. It was lovely!

Thai Cafe
14715 Jeffrey Road
Irvine, CA 92618-0401
(949) 559-5382

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Tale of Two Juicers

Ok, so it is more like A Tale of Three Juicers but that title just didn't have a ring to it. Anyways, if you've read any of my other posts this past month, you'd know that I'm in training to be the next Jack LaLanne (nickname given to me by Sister K). Coincidentally, Jack was also into doing Body Weight exercises like me, plus he loved to juice. So, you can say that he's like an older, manlier, Caucasian version of me..ok, maybe not. I'm going somewhere with this people.

This post is about juice and juicers and how I am now a lean, mean, juicing machine. This is a new hobby to add on to all my other hobbies. I have LOTS. If I were an octopus, I would be juicing with one arm, croheting with another, knitting with another, scrapbooking with another, baking with another, calligraphying with another and running with the two remaining legs. Can you picture that?

Anyways, on to the juicers. There are lots of juicers out there and I am not even going to attempt to talk about them all or how they all work differently in their own special ways. I am only going to mention I believe there are 3 types: fast juicers - centrifugal, slow juicers - auger, and the new slow-fast juicer - auger function with centrifugal styling. Obviously, I am not a juicer expert by any means and so far that is about all I really know. The important thing to note here is that the auger type juicers retains more nutrients...or at least that is what I read.

Due in part to some influencing from a couple of blogs out there, I got curious about juicing. My sister just happened to have a juicer sitting at her house unopened and before you know it, the family invited ourselves over to her house for a juicing party. That is mainly how this whole juicing escapade started. Juicing can be a lot of work especially when the juicer has a narrow opening and you have to crop everything up or all the washing of produce and the actual juicer. It's a pain in the butt. But I find it relaxing and green juice is like green coffee. It makes me feel so good when I drink it. Since I started drinking juice green, I just noticed that I feel more energized throughout the day and I've stopped drinking coffee around 3pm. I had a bad habit and I didn't know how to stop. Problem solved. Trust me, green juice is the stuff of life! I don't know if I want to live as long as Jack Lalanne but maybe this juicing thing will help keep me fit into my old age and I am ok with that.

Photo: So this is my sister's Sharper Image juicer, which juices pretty good for a fast juicer. It is probably similar to the Breville that more people may be familar with. I actually really liked it. It's very fast, has a large opening for stuffing with ingredients, but you have to clean it out often if you are making lots of juice. There I am, juicing away in my parents kitchen. Please excuse the fancy foil-covered wall, it's more for spatter protection than for channeling aliens...I promise.

Photo: This is my new Hurom juicer. It's Korean made and it is quite expensive...for a juicer. It is a slow-fast juicer so the juice comes out darker than with the centrifugal juicer and pulpier. I have to strain it to get it to the same consistency as with the fast juicer. But since it is an auger type juicer, it will juice just about anything...soybeans, wheat grass, mangos...limitless. You just have to cut your stuff up into smaller slim pieces because the opening is more narrow. I've only juiced romaine, carrots, apples, chard, lemons, celery and cucumbers so far. The pulp that comes out after juicing is very dry unlike with the centrifugal juicers. I'm going to continue to play around with it some more to see what else I can create with it. Maybe some Bloody Marys?

Photo: This is the juicer from Panasonic (fast juicer) that my parents let me borrow while I was waiting for my Hurom to arrive in the mail. It's pretty old. It also smelled funny because it had been in storage in my parents' garage. The smell went away after I let it sit out for a few days. But, it splatters like crazy at the spout area. It went all over my sink counter and on my clothes. I only used it once and quickly returned it to the box where it came from to be returned to my parents. But the juice was the same as with the Sharper Image juicer.

Photo: This is the stuff yummy juices are made of.

Yes, I do eat alot.

This past weekend was one of my non-traveling ones. Meaning that I didn't go visit my parents or had to run a race. I really love these so-called "free" weekend when I don't have to answer to anyone and can just be lazy. I'm sure that if I didn't have anything else going on in my life all the time, this could get boring but it is so nice to have a weekend to myself once in a while. So what did I do? Well I started my weekend like every other weekend lately by going for a long run on Saturday morning. I woke up kinda late but since it has been over-casted here lately, I was still good to go. So I went out the door for a planned 14 mile run. It went ok, except I misjudged the distance of a new route and ended up doing about 15.25 with some walking at the end because quite frankly, I was just tired. Thank goodness this is a scale back week and I only have a 10 miler this coming weekend. I am going to take advantage of this low milage week to recover a bit because the next 2 weeks will be a 16 miler, follow by a 17 miler. WTHeck, I want to crawl into my bed and never come out again!

On to more important things...FOOD! So aside from the running, there was food. Ok, I was not eating healthy this weekend, I admit, but I wasn't a pig as this post may suggest. lol. I ended up at Lucille's BBQ on Sunday night because my dining companion felt inclined to get some pulled-pork after watching the Food Network one hour too long and also this place was across the street from the movie theater that I eventually went to and watched Eclipse. I will spare everyone of the details of the movie! ;)

Photo: I just wanted to point out that my dinner was the baked beans and one biscuit (it wasn't to die for). I may have had a taste of the pork..hehe.

So this section of my post is inspired by Glenn who informed me that this Mentatsu place had some good ramen. I was hungry Sunday around lunch time and since I was out and about running errands, I thought that I would stop in and try this place out. I want to first say that I am not coming back here again. Mainly because as soon as I walked into this place, it had a strange smell. I can only describe it as boiled pork boned. But it was strong and got even worse when they seated me at the bar which was directly in front of the kitchen door. I thought I was going to lose my lunch before I even ate it. Luckily when my food came out, the process of eating distracted me from the smell. Either that or I was subconsciencesly trying to not breathe too deeply. LOL. The ramen was just ok. The noodle was chewy but the broth was pretty craptacular. I've had way better in places that I will also not be going back too again either. I really wanted to like this place too. Oh well.

Photo: Shoyu ramen

Photo: burger and fries (Knowlwoods) - not my food, my lunch was the mahi mahi tacos, 2 juicy plums from the farmers market, japanese pancake with red bean filling (front and side angle), bowl of delicious gruel I eat for breakfast every morning, organic bananas because I really dig organic produce now, and a mango necterine that looks like a nectarine but tastes like a mango.

Photo: I also ran into this guy in front of the movie theater. He was dressed to impress. That Please Keep Off!! sign is only for show because shortly after I took this photo, 3 kids were climbing all over him. And no, I was not one of them.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chasing Kogi!

Just catching up as I am always a dollar short and a day late. Last Friday, I took a day off work to extend my weekend and to do none other than catch up on errands that I have been neglecting due to work and all this running that I've been doing. Yeah, I am actually taking my running seriously for once. An example, yesterday, I almost bailed on track practice. I mean, I really really didn't want to go but I went. I didn't feel good about that decision until today when I thought to myself, how glad I was that I had gone. Does track ever get easy? I've been going for 3 weeks now and it feels like it just gets harder every week. I will continue to go every week until my race in October. I don't want to look back and regret that I didn't put everything I had into my preparation. We did 12 rounds of 400s with 2 mins of rest in between. For the most part I clocked in mostly 1:36s (96 sec laps).

In food news, I don't think I've ever talked about this on the blog before but I've been trying to catch the Kogi Truck for quite some time now. Well not actively trying, except for once when I actually followed them on Twitter, tracked them down, only to be greeted by the longest line of people waiting to buy food from a truck that I have ever seen. I ditched that line quick and vowed never to be so gullible again. But in the back of my mind, I was still curious to try Kogi's offerings. Well, last Friday, during my day off, I went to get my car washed and there it was. The Kogi truck just parked there at the car wash with no lines. No lines people! So I went up to the order window and ordered a spicy tofu taco and I ate it and thought it was tasty but not enough to stand in line for. Who do they think they are...Apple?

Photo: up close and personal with the Kogi truck (Orange)

Spicy tofu taco

Added 4/8/2011 - Tofu Tacos - same as above but this time I noticed how salty these tacos are. I hadn't noticed it before.

Added 4/8/2011 - Short rib tacos - also very salty, maybe it was the kimchi.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Long Weekend...Here I Come!

I took the day off from work today (yiippee) but I'm going to make sure that I make the most of my day off. Woke up this morning semi early at 7:30, which is pretty good for a non work or long run day..lol. After I walked my pup, I headed out the door for a race pace 6 mile run. Turns out I only felt like running easy, so I did 5.5 easy miles at 9 min/mile place. It was nice but still too humid outside for me to call it a nice day to run. It started getting hot halfway through my run which was why I cut it short early. That and I have a 13 miler tomorrow and I didn't want to wear myself out too much. After my run, I grab a quick shower, threw on a mask, relaxed a bit and cleaned my place (it's a total mess). Then I made myself a nice green juice. I have a couple more errands to run in a little bit and then it's lunch time.

I am feeling kinda tired after my run this morning but I am determined to get my long run in tomorrow. I hope it will be less humid. Yeah, nothing much happening here today folks. Thank you and come again. I leave you with some photos.

Photo: Purple hydrangeas from my parents' yard

Photo: my parents' cat (Meow-mie) being goofy

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Made Dinner!

Yeah it's just dinner, but I made it so it's a great accomplishment to me. I've been in a real dinner making slump lately and have been just eating random things here and there. Luckily, I don't eat much so my wallet hasn't really felt the pain. But earlier in the week, I was sitting in my work cafeteria eating something when I discovered that one of the items on the plate had dairy in it. It was well hidden, but I could tell it was there because it tasted delicious, lol. Actually, I've been having lots of issues with making sure that my food is dairy-free and it is really hard to manage when you eat out. I don't know why but more often than not, I will get the strangest looks when I ask if something has dairy in it. Sometimes, I think they either don't understand what I am getting at or they are just not used to being asked often enough. Sometimes I will have to ask specifically if it has milk or butter or cream, individually..literally have to run down a list of dairy items. It's crazy. Sometimes even after all that, I still find dairy in my food. I throw my hands up in dispair!

So, I figure it is probably time to start cooking my own food again. So I made Snobby Joes (vegan Sloppy Joes). I got the idea and recipe from here. I also roasted some brussel sprouts and cauliflower to go with the Snobby Joes.

I know a couple of people who would probably look at this dish and ask where the main dish was..haha! It was good and filled me up but let's be honest it's not ramen!

On the running front, I went out for 4.5 miles of hilly/humid running this morning. It was gross outside and those hills were just kicking my ass left and right. Glad it's done! Six planned for tomorrow and 13 for Saturday. Let's see how much of that I actually get in.

Photo: Very full pan of pre-roasted brussel sprouts and cauliflower

Photo: Finish product!