The Fresh Diet: Days 3 and 4 – I weighed myself

Day 3 was supposed to be my final day on The Fresh Diet, but that night, I had already planned on meeting up with a friend for dinner and to pick up her house keys. She agreed to let me stay with her for the month of May so I could move out of my apartment. Thanks, friend!

Life sometimes gets in the way of diets, but what are you supposed to do? And what are you supposed to do when you go on vacation? I still haven’t gotten used to how small the portions are, but it’s common sense that if you eat smaller portions, you’re going to lose weight.

8:30 a.m. – I don’t know if it was just me, but my french toast wasn’t Hawaiian pineapple stuffed. It was only whole wheat with three slice of strawberry on top. I also didn’t feel like I could microwave the french toast because of the strawberries on top. Who wants hot strawberries? This meal was okay. Definitely not my favorite.

Breakfast – Hawaiian pineapple stuffed whole wheat French toast with strawberries and blueberry cottage cheese
10 a.m. – Not gonna lie. My heart kind of sank when I looked at this snack. Look at it! It’s teeny tiny. It was pretty yummy though. I loved that the glaze wasn’t very visible or overwhelming but definitely present.
Snack 1 – Chicken skewer with tequila lime glaze
12:30 p.m. – I loved this salad. The shrimp pieces was sliced in half to give the illusion that there was an abundance but really there wasn’t. Everything about this oozed freshness, from the yellow tomatoes to the light citrus dressing. Again, it was small but the taste was great.
Lunch – Lemon pepper grilled shrimp salad with yellow tomato, cucumber,
alfalfa sprouts, baby lettuce and citrus dressing
3:30 p.m. –  This was by far my least favorite snack and the oddest combination of ingredients ever. There wasn’t much about it that appealed to me although I must have been intrigued when I picked it from the menu. It was kind of a mess. There was salty ham, peppery arugula, sweet honeydew and crunchy pine nuts. I thought it was just too confusing.
Snack 2– Grilled Canadian bacon over baby arugula with fresh honeydew and toasted pine nuts
I weighed myself the next morning and found that I had lost 3.2 pounds in the last week! I’m sure a great deal of that had to do with the diet and I’m also pretty sure that I probably gained it all back over the weekend. 
I finished off the last of my Fresh Diet for lunch the next day since I had to skip out on dinner. Again, I love picking the baby food. The spaghetti squash in basil pesto was more of a mash that anything. The meatballs weren’t dry at all and the green beans added a good contrast in flavor.
Dinner – Lean turkey meatballs with fresh marinara sauce
with spaghetti squash in fresh basil pesto and haricot vert

Now that I am done with my test run of The Fresh Diet, would I do it again? I most certainly would if I could afford it. For a person who cooks meals only for herself, I find it very difficult to make a variety of things to eat. I usually make huge vats of dishes on the weekend and try to eat them during the week. Three meals later and I’m sick of eating it. If I did buy a variety of food, I just wouldn’t be able to eat all of it on my own. The Fresh Diet always you to have a huge variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for every meal. The meals are healthy, low calorie, portioned, and most surprising to me, great tasting. The cost is just too prohibitive for me.  How can someone pay $350 for one week of this? I know I can’t!

The Fresh Diet: Day 2 – This food is small

Today’s portions seemed very small to me, but that didn’t mean I was hungry all day like yesterday.

9 a.m. – I got stuck in traffic because the president was going to the airport and was a hour late for work this morning, so I had breakfast later than usual. My meal wasn’t very pretty looking. The bananas looked sort of grey, but it was alright and it was filling. I didn’t even eat a mid-morning snack.

Breakfast – Ricotta cheese crepes with caramelized bananas and chocolate sauce
12:30 p.m. –  Lunch looked good except for when I opened the container, the greens looked pretty sad and wilty. The taste was fine in the beginning and then became more and more fishy as I ate. It was alright though and it was definitely filling.
Lunch – Tuna burger on a whole wheat bun with cucumber and avocado salsa
3 p.m. – I wasn’t exactly hungry at this point but felt like I should have an afternoon snack. The mousse was very tasty but since the crostini had been refrigerated, it was a bit soggy. Normally, when I eat something like this, I can have six of them easily. I guess it is all about eating until you are no longer hungry.
Snack 1– Smoked salmon mousse on whole wheat crostini
4:30 p.m. – I was kind of scared of eating this after having had cauliflower mash with dinner last night. However, in combination with the artichoke, this snack had enough flavor. I saved this snack until the very end of my work day because I was afraid of being hungry until dinner rolled around.
Snack 2 – Artichoke bottom filled with creamy cauliflower

7 p.m. –  I jostled my dinner when I was taking it out of the container so it didn’t look very pretty. I seemed to have ordered another meal with baby food, but I didn’t mind the carrot and rutabaga mash at all. I absolutely love beets and could eat them everyday. The pork was so small. I was sad when I saw how small it was, but it had a good flavor and wasn’t chewy. Mango salsa makes things yummy too.
Dinner – Roasted pork loin with pineapple mango chutney with carrot and rutabaga mash and honey glazed beets
The toughest part about today was that I thought a lot about eating other things. I will admit that the thought of stopping by McDonald’s did cross my mind on my way home from work. Temptation and discipline are the enemy of weight loss. 

The Fresh Diet: Day 1 – I’m Hungry

A few months ago, Groupon had a promotion for The Fresh Diet . One day of fresh delivered meals (three meals plus two snacks) for $29. Normally, this program costs $350 for 7 days, so this was quite a discount. I decided to purchase three days worth of meals to try it out.

6:15 a.m. – I woke up to go to the bathroom, and while I was up, checked to see if my container had arrived. It had indeed and it was a cutie, if a little dirty.

In the front pocket was a menu of the day’s selections and inside were two ice packs and all of my food. Prior to delivery, you are able to pick out what meals you want to have. I think there are around three choices for entrees and many choices for snacks. Since it is Meatless Monday, I chose only vegetarian options. For women, the meals wind up being 1200-1400 calories per day and for men 1500-1600.

8:30 a.m. – For breakfast, I had a fruit salad with yogurt. The only thing I didn’t like about the salad was the apples. I don’t like apples. The salad was a lot larger than I was expecting it to be, but once I threw away most of the apples, it become significantly less substantial.

Breakfast – Fresh fruit salad with apple, blueberry, kiwi, papaya, watermelon and apricot yogurt
10:30 a.m. – I’m hungry. Time for my mid-morning snack, which consisted of two slices of tomato, some goat cheese crumbles and some sad looking pieces of basil. Hmmm…don’t think I’m going to last until 1 p.m. However, the snack was quite yummy and fresh tasting.
Snack 1 – Red and yellow tomato with goat cheese and fresh basil
12:30 p.m. – After making a quick trip to CVS to buy toothpaste, I eat my lunch in my office as usual. I also buy myself a Coke Zero because I’m deathly afraid of being hungry again two hours from now. My Santa Fe wrap was delicious and had lots of stuff I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat like cheese.
Lunch – Santa Fe style wrap with pepper-jack cheese, tomato, avocado, corn, black beans and baby lettuce

3 p.m. – I’m hungry. I lasted 2 and a half hours this time! My menu says that I’m having chocolate covered strawberries. Why is there only one? Oh dear, I am going to be hungry again.
Snack 2 – Chocolate dipped strawberries with creamy vanilla ricotta cheese

5:30 p.m. – I am starving as I’m leaving work, starving as I’m shopping at Office Depot and starving when I get home. I cheat and eat one almond and three pieces of rotelli pasta that I had in my fridge. Must…wait…until at least 7 p.m. for dinner.

7 p.m. – Okay, it’s 7! I can eat now. This is the first meal I’ve had to heat up today, which was also convenient. For dinner, you get a choice of entree and also a choice of two sides. The chickpea patty was actually really tasty especially with the chillies. I really did not enjoy the cauliflower mash at all. It was a whole lot of tasteless. The rest of the meal I would eat again in the future if given the opportunity.
Dinner – Spicy chickpea patty with cilantro lime and green chilies, with curried cauliflower mash and grilled asparagus
The verdict for today is I’m hungry. Actually, I’m not right now, which surprises me since it has been two and a half hours since I had dinner. I’m hoping to space my snacks out more tomorrow and be less hungry.

The Best of Culver City/Palms (according to me and my budget)

Twelve days from now, I will be moving out of my Culver City apartment. My original desire to move into this neighborhood stemmed from its close proximity to Downtown Culver City. As soon as I got here, I immediately realized just how great the number of dining options were in this area. I love everything about it here except for my apartment.

I’m glad to be able to explore new neighborhoods, but here are some of my personal favorites that I will miss. 

Brunello Trattoria (6001 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232, 310-280-3856) – For homey, authentic Italian food, this is the only place I want to go. The bread is dangerous, as in it so yummy and fluffy on the inside that it doesn’t matter if I burn myself trying to pick it up, I want it in my mouth. Always, always listen to the daily specials. My favorite has been a squid ink pasta with lobster. It was to die for. They have a good selection of Italian wines as well. I like this place so much that I had my last birthday party here. The service is impeccable and it still seems to remain under the radar as there has never been a wait when I’ve gone.   
Taro’s Sushi and Teri (10834 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232-3610; 310-837-3733) – So hole-in-the-wall sushi seems like an oxymoron, but I don’t think it’s half bad. It is cheap and fast, although I’m not exactly sure how fresh it all is. I have a feeling some of the fish is frozen. My go to order is the chirashi, which will set you back $9.95.

Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken (9537 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232, (310) 202-5453) – A thigh, a biscuit, a Mexican Coke and some honey, and I am satisfied.

Tender Greens (9523 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232, 310-842-8300) – Ultra fresh, organic meals that are tasty can be had here. I love the grilled flat iron steak with roasted beet salad and the potatoes that come with the hot plates. They also have a nice selection of local sodas.

Thai Boom (10863 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034, 310-842-8291) – When Thai Town seems just too far away, this is my preferred alternative.

Simpang Asia (10433 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034, 310-815-9075) – Excellent street noodles dish, unbelievable shaved ice with avocado, coconut, jack fruit and condensed milk, and wonderful little grocery store for hard to find Asian eats on the westside.

Westsubs/Cafe 70 Degrees (3863 Overland Ave, Culver City, CA 90232, 310-837-6000) – By far the best boba in West Los Angeles. They also have free wifi and a small selection of wraps and sandwiches.

The Mandrake (2692 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034, 310-837-3297) – This is my favorite bar in the area. While some might call it a dive bar, I don’t think it’s very divey. I personally don’t think dive bars serve proscuitto and brie sandwiches. The area next to bar can get mind-numbingly loud, so I prefer to sit at the picnic benches in the back. 


Ugo Wine Bar (3865 Cardiff Ave, Culver City, CA 90232, 310-204-1222) – For some reason, I just find it fun to taste different wines coming out of spouts.

Museum of Jurassic Technology (9341 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232, 310-836-6131) – What is jurassic technology? I have no idea. Why do none of the audio phones work? I have no idea. What I do know is that the sewing needles are amazing as are the butterfly wing mosaics.

Corey Helford Gallery (8522 Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90232, 310-287-2340) – This gallery has had a number of really exciting shows recently. Gary Baseman and Shag were two of my favorites.

Downtown Culver City Shuttle to the Hollywood Bowl – Driving to the Hollywood Bowl is so 2000. For $5, you get a ride, don’t have to worry about drinking and make it home before you would have even gotten out of the parking lot.

Royal/T Cafe (8910 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232, 310-559-6300) – Hello Kitty birthday party, anyone? Royal/T is a gem and not just for Japanophiles. There are interesting exhibitions there all the time and it makes for a lovely setting to enjoy a big pot of milk tea.

Shopping and Services
WOW Beauty Center (10836 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232, 310-559-1900) – Eyebrow threading

Tiffany’s Coin Laundry (9607 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232, 310-202-0223) – Laundromat, free wifi, and Josh the proprietor is a fellow Texan

Sol Salon (10115 Washington Blvd,Culver City, CA 90232, 310-836-9166) – Get your hair did by Catherine

Your Neighborhood Studio (3625 Hayden Avenue, Culver City, CA 90232, 310-876-3498) – I’ve had my butt kicked in classes like Cardio Ballet and Bollywood Fusion. It’s both sweaty and fun.

Surfas (8777 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230, 310-559-4770) – I don’t actually cook that much, but sometimes it’s just fun to dream that maybe someday I will need ramekins in five different sizes and will know what to do with them.

Things to Do Before I leave LA

I have approximately 81 days left in Los Angeles. I don’t think I can add much more to this list because it will be impossible to achieve. 

Things to Eat:
– Eat a bacon-wrapped hot dog from a street cart
– Palm Springs date shake (June)
– Eat a chili burger at Tommy’s
– Animal
– Beacon
– Bludso’s Brisket
– Cole’s French Dip
– The Coop (April)
– Craft
– Fraiche
– Gloria’s Salvadoran (April)
– Jitlada
– Lawry’s Prime Rib
– Let’s Be Frank’s Hot Dog
– Ludo’s Fried Chicken (April)
– Mo Chica (April)
– Nickel Diner
– Patisserie at The Bazaar
– Spago
– The Gorbals
– The Golden State
– Umami

Watch a Derby Dolls match
– Get a naked scrub down at a Korean spa
– Watts Tower
– Self-Realization Fellowship
– Van Nuys Japanese Garden
– Mt Wilson
– San Antonio Winery
– Monastery of the Angels
– Charmlee Wilderness Park
– Griffith Park Hike
– Heritage Square

Eat and Drink: Resto (New York City)

I get a day off for Cesar Chavez Day, so Matt and I planned a short trip to New York for the weekend. We didn’t have any luck with the two restaurants that I wanted to try. When the original restaurants had entirely too long of a wait, we wandered some back streets, looking on Yelp for possibilities. We wound up stumbling upon Resto in Murray Hill, and I am glad that we did.

Resto is an adorable, homey Belgian restaurant. It was very quaint and unpretentious for a New York restaurant and was just comfortable. I ordered the chicken and waffles. The citrus chili syrup was kind of a strange addition and I wasn’t particularly fond of it. But the gravy, chicken and bacon waffle were amazing. 

Chicken ‘n Waffles
(bacon waffle, peppercorn gravy, citrus chili syrup)
Matt ordered the traditional Belgian dish of steamed mussels and fries, but with a twist. Resto has three different kinds of broth you can choose from, so he picked the Thai-inspired one. It was absolutely delicious. The frites were also great. Big and fat, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. They also come with a ton of options for dipping sauces, and he picked an Indian-inspired cumin, yogurt one. Yum! I do wish I had ordered this dish now!
Moules & Frites
(green curry, lemongrass, coconut milk, kaffir lime broth)

111 East 29th Street
New York, NY 10016

Eat and Drink: The Golden State Cafe (Los Angeles)

Seems to me that there is no limit to the number of amazing burgers to be found in Los Angeles. The Counter. Father’s Office. 25 degrees. Umami Burger. I heard another amazing burger could be found at The Golden State. Then I heard that a beer float could also be found there and I had to try it despite the fact that it scared me to death.

The burger looked tiny to me when it was set before me, but it was extremely filling. The bun and arugula were perhaps my favorite elements of the burger. I was still on my 40 days without fried foods, so I ordered the Persian cucumber salad. I was very happy that I did because it gave a fresh contrast to the heavy burger, rather than the normal heaviness upon heaviness that the combination of burger and fries normally presents.

Burger with Harris Ranch beef, Fiscalini Farms cheddar,
glazed applewood smoked bacon, arugula, housemade aioli and ketchup
And now for the beer float. Made from Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and Scoops brown bread ice cream. I could only eat half of it. The stout was extremely bitter and hoppy. However, it was a fine experiment. Next time, I would prefer the root beer float. 
Beef float with Scoops brown bread ice cream

The Golden State Cafe
426 N. Fairfax Ave. 
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Eat and Drink: The Vegan Joint (Los Angeles)

On Matt’s last excursion to Los Angeles, he fell ill and couldn’t eat much of anything. Therefore, for breakfast, he only wanted to have a fruit smoothie. The only places I know of that serve fruit smoothies besides Jamba Juice and Robeks are vegan restaurants, so we decided to try out The Vegan Joint. The food was very delicious and I think the fruit smoothie wasn’t bad either. Don’t order the thai iced ice with boba, however. It was terrible. The boba was rubbery and undercooked. 

Dumplings had a strange texture but I guess that is what happens with fake meat. The mushroom soup tasted just like tom kha and the Chinese soup had a refreshing, light broth. I am looking forward to eating here again despite the fact that I dislike vegans very much.   

Grilled Dumplings
Fruit Smoothie
Mushroom soup with coconut milk and bamboo shoots
Chinese soup with glass noodles, shiitake, broccoli, tofu and napa cabbage
10438 National Blvd. 
Los Angeles, CA 90034