Thursday, February 9, 2012

[Juicing Cleanse: Se'Stan Juicery Downtown LA]

Well now, it's a new year and one full of changes and epiphanies. Well, maybe not so much epiphanies but the realization that I'm five years away from 30 and my metabolism is not going to get any better. That 30 lbs I've put on since I've started dating K? (I know, I'm ashamed too, damn you love weight!) Gotta go!

My new pet is juicing, which any girl worth her weight in Jimmy Choos and Vogue magazines probably already knows about. I've heard girls rave about how "cleansing" it is but I have my doubts about keeping the weight off. "It's not about the weight, it's about cleaning your system," my friend informed me. Alright then, this should be a good way to start the year then, right?

I picked up a 3 day cleanse from Sustain Juicery (who spells it Se'Stan? I'm not sure but the logo says it like that.) $39 for 18 bottles of juice and if you pick it up in person, you get 3 extra smoothies. Unfortunately my time is worth more than the 3 smoothies so I forked over $12 with my credit card by phone to have them deliver it to K's house, which barely makes the delivery radius.

K has little faith in my ability to maintain this juicing and I admit, I'm off to a bad start already. I have to go to Laguna Nigel tomorrow for a job that requires I eat dinner and breakfast, so I really don't know how that'll work. I intend to juice all the way until dinner though and pick up for lunch the next day. Hopefully I won't do much harm taking a break mid-way.

Alright, here we go then...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Greetings from the rice bowl!

For all of you out there that have to work between Christmas and New Year's...I feel you!

Happy holiday, folks and may 2012 be even more interesting than 2011. <3

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

[The Facebook Fridge]

Whether you’re hungry or full, working hard or dawdling, you’ve probably come across this situation before: you find yourself standing in front of the fridge, door open and no idea how you ended up there. Munching and snacking is the excuse we all give ourselves when we’re trying to fill in time, take a mental break or just break up monotony. Look at college campuses around finals season and you’ll see a prime example of just about 80% of the campus camped out at one food spot or another. Even at the office, I tend to find myself making excuses to make a pb&j or poke around the 3rd floor vending machine in hopes of something zero in calorie, amazing in taste and totally able to take a long time in eating so I don’t have to get back to that report that needs reading.

Really, admit it, you’re not even hungry when you stand there, reopening the fridge for the 10th time, as if somehow the contents of it have changed in the 15 minutes since you’ve last stood in front of it. Did the freezer fairy suddenly deposit a bowl of Coldstone’s in there since you left? Probably not. But I find myself there once again, pawing ever so hopefully in search of something that looks more appetizing now than earlier.

Food aside, I find Facebook the new refrigerator of my life. Coming across a hard section of reading? Faced with editing yet another poorly written report? My fingers seem to have a life of their own as they go click, click, click, newest news feed! Oh look, some guy you don’t remember the face of has posted a list of …all his favorite stats from Skyrim? What? This isn’t news- oh well, 30 second distractions.

It’s such a waste of time, energy and lord knows how many braincells have jumped off the metaphorical cliff of my medulla oblongata in an attempt to escape reading through yet another “What celebrity am I like” meme, but just like the tasteless bag of chips and frozen dinners in the fridge, you find yourself coming back. Nothing significant has been updated, you’re probably not going to find out anything all that important, and you could probably be much more productive if you stopped letting yourself wander over (physically and mentally), but hey. We all need a little break, right?

Plus, I like to consider it social multitasking if I can eat AND find out if that hot girl from high school is finally breaking up with her douche of a boyfriend.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

[Ramblings: Ringtones]

My maternal figure is obsessed with ring tones. She can’t stand anything standard because she feels like it’s “ugly” and not “unqiue” enough for her tastes. However, she’s also too cheap to buy anything that is being sold by the phone companies (I don’t understand by she wouldn’t accept Oops I Did It Again, I was even willing to pay for it.) What resulted was hours of her looking for youtube videos with her favorite Christian songs so she could try to convince my brothers and I to rip it and upload it for her phone. Hallelujah indeed.

The funny thing with ring tones, it’s one of those things that was so very important five years ago and now, people just have conveniently moved on from. Everyone I knew in high school had their own song that was oh, so expressive of their life (usually the same 15 pop romance songs for the girls and variations of Because I Got High for the guys). Even voicemails- how many of you have called and heard the standard leave-a-message-after-the-beep blurb with a static-y version of Beyonce’s Crazy Love in the background?

I’m guilty of my own revolving playlist of ring tones when I was younger. I remember setting my ex’s ringtone to Because of You by Kelly Clarkson (I swear we didn’t break up because of domestic violence, he was a gentleman.) My maternal’s incoming calls were Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson (I liked to see it as instructions on what to do while answering the phone.) My favorite by far was I’m Normal, Please date me by Charlotte Martin.

This little ditty is a great tongue in cheek for the average girl able to laugh at herself. After all, who here hasn’t felt a bit stalkerish? (Anyone who’s never tried googling a first date or facebook stalking a crush can cast the first e-stone.) We all want to assure ourselves (and we wish our male counterparts could understand) that we really are normal, we’re just…a bit insecure. We want to feel like we don’t give a damn but at the end of the day, gauging interest through how many hot female friends he has friend-ed and whether or not he has a criminal record is just too easy to give up. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it happens.

My ringtone these days is the guitar strum of the iPhone defaults. Do I want to get a custom ringtone? I guess, but it doesn’t seem as important as before when walking across a college campus and having heads turn at “…My probation officer is kinda cute…” was a moment of win. Or maybe I’m just worried that my boss just might not get the joke of just how normal I am. (Restraining orders not included, I swear.)

[FOOD: Bottega Louis]

Bottega Louie. With a name like a well-oiled Italian handbag, it’s exterior also has the aura of a Louis Vuitton store. With tall open windows, bold crown molding and white with gold accented faux-euro architecture reminiscent of ancient east coast banks, it’s no wonder the bakery restaurant (or as some call it, gourmet market) captures your attention. Standing like a lioness on the corner of 7th and Grand in Downtown Los Angeles, it has a reputation for good dinners, pricey but delicious desserts and a loud andcrowded youthful atmosphere after work hours. Luckily for K and myself, we had Columbus Day off and indulged ourselves by traveling to this recommendation from M. Parking in downtown is always a pain just two levels short of pulling teeth, but thank God fthe parking lot located just behind the restaurant on Grand has $3 parking after 4PM on weekdays. Win.

We sauntered over to the restaurant and immediately the bright boxes and culinary equipments in the open bakery (the restaurant also has an open kitchen and pizza bar) excited us. (Or me. If you want to excite K, just hand him a bottle of Peruvian aji sauce to eat with anything and you’ll see excitement.) Ahem. Anyways, there’s a side door to go to the bakery and a small opencooler area with premade foods, not unlike at Fanima or 7-11, probably for the grab-n-go lunch crowds. We went around to the front of the restaurant, in through the large heavy double doors, ready to be awed. The interiors were very nice, high super-vaulted ceilings, a lounge/bar area and behind that, the main restaurant. We’d arrive at 4:40 and were informed that due to Colombus Day, they were on a limited cafĂ© style lunch menu and the dinner menu would not be available till 5. Boo. On the other hand, our suave good looking waiter did mention that the much heralded Portobello Mushroom Fries were off the menu but available. Yeeeeees. [insert fistpump here]

We peeked through the regular menu but were relatively hungry enough that we decided to try their lunch one and then add on more if still hungry. We had the Club Sandwich and a wood fired pizza. I wanted to try more than one flavor for the pizza so went half and half with Burrata, which included burrata, proscuitto, rapini and granna parmesan. The other half was Sausage, fennel sausage, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. We also clung onto the dinner menu is anticipation of the so-close-yet-so-far 5 o'clock.

After getting a nice glass bottle of chilled tap water which the water left with us after serving our glasses, we sat looking outside the restaurant. This is in the heart of downtown and it shows. Security kept walking by our window seating along with businessmen, the homeless, and the "casual crowd". Our mushroom fries came before long and boy, were they delicious just like we'd heard. Thickly sliced portabello mushroom dipped in a light batter and fried, I could see the mushroom through the fried outerskin and also the salt and seasoning dashed on lovingly. Served in paper in a metal cuplike container, what made it just right was the aioli dip served with it. Creamy with the flavour of classy mayo, it gave the light salted batter exterior and the meaty tender interior of the mushroom a nice pair of handcuffs to tie together and swim straight into my tummy. Not too greasy at all for a fried dish, this is a must order uniqueness at Bottega Louie.

After gobbling up our fries and making a crumbling embarrassing mess on the table paper, our water informed us the kitchen was ready for dinner orders so I added on a French Onion soup. (I adore soup.)

Our pizza holder was delivered with standard cheese and pepper bottles. (Oh, how I miss the fried garlic bottles of Il Chianti.) When the pizza was served, it looked yummy and Italian and not unlike Italian style pizza I've had before. The sausage pizza was my first taste and it had a nice meaty flavour, a good pairing with the mozzarella although I felt they could have put a little more cheese. In major chunks of slices, there was just marinara with a dash of spices-no meat or cheese. Maybe it's the style, but if you're eating the combination of sausage, cheese and sauce, you should be able to taste all three in every bite. The prosciutto burratta was good too, K liked this one more although I found the rapini to be a tiny overpowering and the arrangement only one slice of prosciutto for each slice to be disappointing. As Oliver Twist said, "Might I have some more, sir?"

All in all, true to the taste of Italian pizza making although not my favorite rendition. The crust was a bit thick and neither of us ate more than a bite of it, leaving a sad little mountain of discarded crusts sitting on our plates.

Next was the club sandwich with French ham, turkey, tomato, gruyere, avocade, watercress and slices of hardboiled egg. Apple smoked bacon hide out somewhere between all that, somewhere between all the healthy stuff. Served with a side of thick cut potato chips, the chips werely inedible in my view. Flavourless, dry with a oily touch, I recommend asking if you can substitute for something else. The sandwich, which comes crustless and quartered was Meh. Not mindblowing considering the ingredients had given it at least a decent palatte to work with, it is nothing more or less than an okay club.

By now we were full so the soup was a good ending. Served with a square of bread and cheese baked over, it looked really really good.

It wasn't. It was on the bland side, the simple onion soup just a little too late, the cheese not able to bring out it's flavour fully with it's onion soup partner floundering in the tastes department. The bread, which looked really pretty actually hurt the soup. Because it took up such a large space in the soup, there wa not too much soup to begin with. And because slices bread suck up liquid much the way my Dyson sucks up cookie crumbs, what was limited became less. Hardly $8 worth of soup in my opinion.

We were full and not thrilled but surely Bottega Louis could not let us down in their speciality, desserts. The waiter recommended the Le Grande Macaroon, two large Italian macaroon cookies with ice cream sandwiched between and fresh berries. The macaroon was very hard, the taste sweet but the consistency of hard cookie cake, the bite sticky as if there were jam mixed into the cookie. I admit, I'm not familiar with much macaroons but this was not my idea of a to-die-for dessert. Nevertheless, the fruit was fresh and the ice cream at least was good.

I hear their dinner menu is good but to be honest, I have yet to see any example of exemplerary cuisine. However, a large variety of desserts still await testing along with a reasonably sized lounge area, not too expensive pricing (except for the disappointing soup) and a late closing time. If I'm feeling snacky for mushroom fries while in downtown LA, I just might come back.

Bottega Louie
700 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(866) 418-9162

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

[Hungry Ramblings]

It’s the day before the day before Thanksgiving and I’m finishing up work while dreading tomorrow- because it contains the annoying “wait for it to end” feeling. Somehow the day before an event always winds up being 1.5 times longer while the actual event winds up being only ½ as long as you thought it would be.

Proof? While waiting at work for the day to end so you can finally get out and have fun with your friends, haven’t you ever questioned exactly how long it’s taking for the clock to tick down to 5PM? I mean, does the second hand /really/ have to move that slow? Yet it always seems like just when you’ve warmed up to having fun, it’s time to say goodbye and head home.

Oh well, at least we have gluttony to be thankful for during the holidays. I’m very proud of my carnivorous tendencies and prefer to call myself a t-rex over a vegan (I’m vegetarian friendly, don’t worry, I eat everyone equally.) Uncle J once again will wow us all with his ability to produce enough meats to feed a platoon and have just as much ready for us to pack. For an Asian household, we have an awfully American Thanksgiving compared to every other holiday. (We do pack our Turkey full of sticky rice stuffing though- gotta represent!)

Oh wow look, another 10 minutes burned. Just a bit closer to the end of the day, freedom and delicious things to eat. Here’s wishing you all a good Thanksgiving and happy Friday shopping!