March 2010


I’m sure you’ve all noticed the ads for Pick Up Stix running alongside your food blog for the last month or so. Well, thanks to the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a $50 gift certificate to taste-test!

Even though I’ve lived in LA for 3+ years, I still forget that this city is SO spread out. The only Pick Up Stix location nearby is in THE VALLEY.  For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, going to the Valley involves words like “driving over the hill” and is always accompanied by a groan and/or eye roll. In other words, I live in Santa Monica…a good hour trek (at least!) from Pick Up Stix. Luckily, driving is relative and I’m used to spending eons in the car. Also, two of my very favorite girls, Katie Jo & Julia, live in the Valley, so I’m always willing to hop the hill.

Kate cubed (so many Kates!) and Julia hadn’t gotten together in nearly two weeks (GASP!), so it wasn’t hard to twist anyone’s arm for FREE! CHINESE! TOGETHER! Kate Winston and I took her pup for an hour hike through Runyon (which totally kicked my butt) to stretch our legs and build up an appetite before dinner. When we finally went to pick up the food, it was almost 9PM!

I had checked out the menu beforehand with intentions of ordering something light and healthy, but since Winston and I picked everything up for the group to share, we just went to town and ended up ordering the following spread:

  • Vegetable egg rolls
  • Wonton soup
  • Steamed dumplings
  • Dan Dan Noodle bowl with chicken
  • Vegetable Chow Mein
  • Lemon Chicken
  • Beef w/Broccoli
  • Steamed Veggies
  • White Rice (why kid ourselves at this point with brown rice, right?)

Yes, for 4 people. Our grand total came to $50.09. I mean, 9 cents. We had the best time picking things off the menu and asking the cashier “How much do we have left now?” I felt like a kid in a candy store. Thank you Foodbuzz and Pick Up Stix – ordering has never been so much fun!

Here’s a snapshot of the night’s taste-testers. From another occasion, I have to add. Wednesday night we were in sweats and chowing down around a coffee table :)

Kate (me!), Kate (Katie Jo), Kate (Winston), Julia

Everyone was super hungry, so I snapped a quick photo of the vegetable egg rolls so we could start on those while I unwrapped and shot each dish. We piled our plates high and made a really decent dent in all the food. So much for leftovers?!

Vegetable egg rolls

Steamed dumplings

Dan Dan Noodle bowl with chicken

Steamed vegetables

Lemon chicken

Beef with broccoli

Vegetable Chow Mein

Group favorites included beef with broccoli, lemon chicken (which was definitely fried and crispy), and the Dan Dan Noodle bowl (which was super spicy). Here’s a shot of my plate…plus many more bites straight from the containers!

My thoughts? Well, I went into the night intending to order a healthy chicken and vegetable bowl with steamed brown rice and ended up with the feast above. I really appreciate that there definitely are some healthy options on the menu (Wok Smart), although everything I ate was pretty much fried and sodium-packed. I LOVED the lemon sauce for the chicken and thought the veggies tasted pretty fresh for “fast food,” although I wasn’t a fan of the egg rolls or won ton soup, which is strange because those are usually two of my top picks.

Overall, I don’t eat that much Chinese takeout (I think the last time was December 2008?), but Pick Up Stix was great for a quick, friendly, easy, filling, tasty option. It’s not my usual style of eats but we all enjoyed it and gobbled everything up.  AND I got to spend the night gabbing with three of my favorite loves, so no complaints!!

In other news, thanks for playing the one truth game! Almost everyone guessed either #1 or #7 and the winner is…NUMBER ONE.

  1. I’ve never had a cavity. TRUTH. Jealous?
  2. I played basketball in college. FALSE. I played from elementary school until early high school when I turned in my mesh shorts for newspaper editing.
  3. I’m left-handed. FALSE. 100% righty.
  4. I love scary movies. FALSE. I hate scary movies. Even episodes of Law & Order watched alone at 11PM give me bad dreams!
  5. I’d like to bungee jump at least once in my life. FALSE. While I would love to give sky diving a chance, the though of snapping back on that cord just freaks me out.
  6. I’m afraid of horses. FALSE. I was actually born on a horse farm and even now approach horses with childlike enthusiasm. What? All horses don’t like when you hang from their necks or blow in their noses? Well…I will probably do both those things.
  7. I never visited my college in DC before confirming my acceptance. FALSE. I am insanely indecisive. I visited DC many, many times before finally sending in my acceptance, and I actually had an acceptance to another college in the mail and called my mom before the post got picked up and had her switch them out. Down to the last second.

That was fun, although hard to come up with so many lies! Looks like the week has flown by yet again. It’s been a busy one at work and at night. It’s supposed to be gorgeous this weekend AND I have a pool party/BBQ planned AND Beck-O is coming to town from NYC so I am pretty pumped. Plus, I have my camera back. SIGH. Hopefully I will have some good updates for once!

Happy weekend everyone :)

I really wish I had some good food photos to share! I have been eating out WAY too much over the last two weeks (if that’s even possible) but my camera ended up in Katie Jo’s hands last weekend after a girls’ night (better her purse than the bar floor, right??) and I haven’t gotten it back yet.

So, sadly I can’t share my tacos from Loteria!, or my chips and salsa from Pink Taco, or my applewood bacon/gruyere burger from Father’s Office, or my sweet potato ravioli from Fritto Misto. Happily for my tastebuds (not quite as happily for my buttoning my skinny jeans) — that’s only a handful of my meals out since I last posted!

In an effort to not leave you hanging completely, I managed to track down a pretty close duplicate of my Father’s Office burger thanks to Food Dude. Mind you, I could only eat half…but I did finish all my crispy sweet potato fries.

I also got tagged by the lovely Miss Swanky aka Kristen (wish her a happy birthday!!) and my favorite Boston chick Amy for the “Creative Writer” Award — thanks ladies!

As I’m sure you all know, I am supposed to share 7 statements…6 of which are FALSE. Which one do you think is the truth?

  1. I’ve never had a cavity.
  2. I played basketball in college.
  3. I’m left-handed.
  4. I love scary movies.
  5. I’d like to bungee jump at least once in my life.
  6. I’m afraid of horses.
  7. I never visited my college in DC before confirming my acceptance.

Wow! Anyone else find this hard to do? I kept typing totally outlandish statments and then realizing that they were all legit.  Guess it must be because I’m always so truthful tehe :)

Tonight I’m going out on the town for dinner (yes, again) and then to Cafe Was for “Forty Deuce” Friday, which is billed as “the original burlesque show to which all others are compared.” All others, huh? Should be entertaining! Darn, I wish I had my camera.

I finally did it! Friday night I committed to doing NOTHING. It was hard; I was tempted with plans for drinks downtown but turned them down to do absolutely jack. I worked late (for a Friday) and motivated myself to head to the gym for 4 miles on the elliptical.  My bargaining game this time?

Go to the gym, stop by Yogurtland on the way home. Done and done!

When I got home, I made an amazing dinner: veggie burger topped with ketchup, pickles, and red onion; asparagus; homemade potato fries.

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Look how crispy and yummy these turned out!

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During dinner, Rachel and I popped in “The Ugly Truth.” Seriously raunchy, right? But I kind of like the movie anyway. Haha this movie poster still makes me crack up like a ten-year-old boy.

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I also ate my Yogurtland…so delicious that I forgot to photograph. I was too focused on the candy toppings to remember my camera, clearly. After the movie, I crashed hard. Finally!

Of course I woke up before 7am. Damn you, internal alarm clock! Luckily I had the makings for an amazing yogurt mess on hand. This bowl included my beloved 0% Fage, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen cherry berry blend, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup Kashi Heart to Heart, and 1/2 cup Total. So good!

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This mix took me forever to eat, meaning I actually got to play a little blog catch up. Is it weird to be looking at other people’s breakfasts as you eat yours?

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After breakfast, I cleaned. And cleaned. I tried to walk to the banks but it started raining. Boo! I need some sunshine!! Finally, I saw a break in the skies and headed out for a few errands. I love being able to walk to so many places in my neighborhood.  Santa Monica definitely has the whole residential/city vibe going on.  For lunch, I took the plunge and went to Bay Cities Deli.

EVERYONE has been telling me this place is a MUST and it’s only two blocks from my apartment. I was expecting a sub shop and instead found a gourmet/specialty store! From squid ink pasta, to hundreds of cheeses and gorgeous cuts of meat – I was in foodie heaven. SWOON! The men behind the counter were super nice and I went basic with turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and balsamic vinegar on a hard roll. Hands down, the bread was the best part. Those crispy crust bubbles remind me of NY bagels. As I was eating this sandwich, all I could think about was going back to buy a loaf of this freshly baked bread!

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On the side, I had regular Lay’s Chips and my favorite “special” soda – Stewart’s Diet Root Beer. Something about the glass bottle gets me every time :)

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Lately I’ve been having to finish off my meals with something sweet, so I had a Weight Watchers ice cream bar and promptly fell into a total food coma. After a LONG nap, I spent the rest of the day reading, catching up on TV, and watching X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I secretly love the X-Men movies! All of those comic book/blockbuster films actually. Around 9pm, I started to get a bit hungry so I fixed up my new favorite simple salad: broccoli slaw with soy/ponzu sauce.

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I also flipped on the oven and cooked a Trader Joe’s veggie eggroll with red onion and lemon pepper brussel sprouts. These eggrolls are a must if you haven’t tried them already! I always keep my freezer stocked. They’re a great side for so many meals and a perfectly sized snack for guests.

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I kept dinner light and the oven ON so I could whip up the ultimate lazy weekend movie treat – chocolate chip cookies! I ignored the raw egg in the batter and had some of this…

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..and some cooked! I added walnuts to half. Is there anything better than warm cookies fresh out of the oven?!? I kept going back for one more :)

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Today the weather was gorgeous – no rain – finally! I met Stephanie at the Brentwood Farmer’s Market, and then Rachel & I decided to take advantage of the sunny day and set out to find a new place for lunch. We ended up at Jack & Jill’s (as always!!) and just decided that we can call this our “regular” joint so we never have to feel badly about not branching out. I did get a wee bit adventurous with a new sandwich – chicken, gouda, tomato & basil panini. It was good but decadent, if you couldn’t tell from that greased-up bread. I ate a bit more than half of everything.

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Cue food coma part 2! Of course, I still found room for a hot cookie when I got home. I have to break this treats cycle…

Speaking of cycle, I decided to take the new bike out for a late afternoon spin. There’s a fabulous bike path near my house that rides right along the ocean. I took it up toward Malibu and whipped out my phone for a few shots.

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My bike and my beach :)

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Now I’m contemplating dinner and my week ahead. I have some press releases to work on tonight, whoops! Better get on it. Happy Monday world!

So I’ve been MIA again! Work has been crazy. I know, that’s my standard line, but I’ve been running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off the last few days (ew, sorry for the mental picture).  Well, actually for the last few months! I’ve been taking over for my boss while she was out on maternity leave and we found out Monday that she isn’t coming back. Hence, craziness. In good news, I will most likely be getting a promotion next week as a result!

Tonight is my first night at home all week!  My DVR is practically full :)

Last night, I went to a taping of The New Adventures of Old Christine to see Julia!  Yes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but also MY Julia!!! She got cast into a sweet reoccurring role and will be in at least two episodes as Heidi the Roommate. The show tapes before a live audience, so I got to see her act and she was so funny! Her faces were spot on and everyone was laughing!!! I was like a proud mama. I’ve seen a few late-night shows tape before but never a sitcom. It was LONG but I watch the show regularly and think it’s pretty hysterical so I was entertained.

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I made it to the gym and powered through 40 minutes on the elliptical thanks to the latest issue of Us Weekly. Vienna and Jake are providing me with some good gossip! Unfortunately, I just ate my pasta and veggies in .2 seconds, so I’m going to have to share a meal from earlier…errr…last week.

What’s happening with me lately? Another copycat meal? Instead of Rachael Ray, I got inspired by the delicious Bulls Eye breakfast at Shutters on the Beach. To make my version, I roasted some eggplant at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

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I mixed some tomato sauce with hot red pepper flakes for a good kick!

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Then I poached an egg for the top. The secret to a perfectly poached egg? A glug of vinegar added to the boiling water!

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Usually the Bulls Eye is served with toast, but I was craving a baked potato and the combination sounded awesome. I kept everything separate for photography but I’m sure you can imagine – it got pretty mixed together once I dug in!

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Okay, so it looks nothing like Shutters’ version, but it was pretty amazing!

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Now I am gearing up for a whole hour of The Office! Wahoo! I’m so ready for the weekend! Tomorrow, my plan for Friday night is…nothing. Sweet, beautiful nothing. Let’s hope I can make it happen :)

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